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Running a Flex Radio in the garage

I am finding it difficult to run coax outside of my shack now that I had to relocate to the second floor of my home. One option I am considering is a remote radio in the garage that I can run from my office on the second floor. I can't find the operating temperatures for a Flex radio anywhere. Has anyone done this or know if the radio could handle the summer heat we have in Texas if it were in the garage?

Answers

  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019

    I can't help you with you question, but can recommend that you mount a fan and **** over the top of the radio. You can remotely turn on the fan when you turn on the radio. I have done that and the radio runs cool in very hot temps during the day.


    Jim, K6QE
  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited June 2019
    Hi Jeff

    I run my radio in an unheated building the year round from -30C to about +32C without issue.   (Welcome to the great white north)

    The radio bottom temp is about 0C (32F).  If you keep it running and not turn it off, you'll be fine.  The upper limit will require some cooling fans I think.  What temperatures do you think it will see?    If it is really hot, you could put the radio in a small **** fridge. LOL

    If it was me, I would just try it and see how it goes.  I would use FRStack to monitor the PA temp which is easy to do.  

    I know others that have had great success doing exactly what you want to do.

    Mike va3mw
  • K1DLMK1DLM Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    If you care about the longevity of your radio, I would encourage you to install it inside.  Heat is the enemy of electronics, and all the dirt and dust certainly won't help matters.  Not to say it won't work, but I wouldn't do it!
  • K1UO - LarryK1UO - Larry Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I have had a 6700 and 6600 running inside a remote garage location (unheated or cooled but in a small 4X6ft partitioned room unfinished) for the past 4 years or so.  I leave the radio on all the time and in the Summer with the PGXL generating 1500 watts it gets quite hot but no problems have been noted either in the heat of Summer or the Dead of Winter.

    YMMV  Larry K1UO
  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited June 2019
    I'm like  Larry.  :) . I ran a TS480 for 9 years without issue.  Next came the Flex 6300 for about 3 years and now I have the 6600.  

    I do agree, dust is an issue, so keep it blown out.  This will affect the overall cooling.

    Mike 
  • Jim  KJ7SJim KJ7S Member ✭✭
    edited January 26
    The Spec sheets show temp range from +32 degrees to +122 degrees F or 0 to +50 C so I'd say as the others have, run fans so more air will draw through the radio to help keep it cooler.

  • Dave, KY0LDave, KY0L Member
    edited June 2019
    Running the Flex radio inside of a refrigerator isn't going to work because the refrigerator can keep things cool that don't themselves generate heat, it can't cool enough to cool things that do generate heat, because a refrigerator simply doesn't have enough cooling capacity. You could partition part of the garage and install an air conditioner venting it to the outside to cool a small area in your garage. Cooling the whole garage would be expensive. 

    Running the electronic equipment is probably not a good idea. The equipment probably will have a shorter lifespan and will be less reliable in the long run.

    Here's a YouTube video that explains why a refrigerator isn't an effective way to cool a high end computer that generates a lot of heat, which would probably be similar to the Flex radio that also generates heat.

    https://youtu.be/B8bhGw4vUFE

  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited June 2019
    If I remember correctly, the FGPA generates about 7 watts of heat.  The rest of the radio, not much  unless you are transmitting and we only transmit about 5% of the time or less (unless in a contest).

    If I was in Jeff's position, I would still test it and add a tracking thermometer (or even use FRStack) to see just how hot the radio gets and if it goes above 122F, which is the designed operating range.

    As you can tell, I am a big fan of 'try it' and see if it works.  Monitor your results.  Yes, if the temperature hit 150F or more, I would be worried.  But, for a well ventilated location you are likely going to be ok.  You can, of course, remotely turn it off it is really hot.

    I know people say that heat will  **** it or shorten the range, but what I don't know is just how much heat it takes and how  long before it affects operations. 

    We do have a lot of customers who run their radios in out buildings of some sort all over the world. 

    Mike  
  • WX7YWX7Y Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 6
    Actually the small refrigerator cranked up to about 50 / 60 Degrees would keep the radio/ AMP and Fishing worms cooled down and be a more dust free environment for sure not to mention a type of Faraday cage agents RFI. 

    I run my 6700 / FPGA remote for the last 1.5 years and works slick.
    I few things don't work I wish they could fix like PC MIC audio when DAX being on and the DEXP doesn't work remote but other then that works great. 

    73's
    Bret
    WX7Y

  • John KB4DUJohn KB4DU Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Jeff;

    According to SDR Monitor, my 6400 temp runs about 10F above ambient during receive, about 10F more after extended transmit (FT8). I would run some test, like into a dummy load and see what the internal temps do compared to ambient. If my experience is typical, this type of install should be OK up to about 100F ambient.
  • Jeff ScaparraJeff Scaparra Member
    edited June 2019
    Thanks all for the replies. I will likely start with it in the garage but I am looking at how to get an entrance panel set up now because well none of my other radios can really be run remote very well. :)
  • Dave, KY0LDave, KY0L Member
    edited June 2019
    I think you could build a small room, maybe on a perimeter corner of your garage, inside the garage. You could make it big enough, so you could sit in there in a comfortable office chair and operate the radios. The door could be a standard entry door. You might need to use type X drywall and a fire resistant door, to meet building code. Then you could put lighting in the ceiling and electrical outlets in there. If you need to go cheap, you could use a cheap window AC unit. But the cheap window AC units are inefficient, and the operating costs might too high in the long run. The mini split AC units are more expensive, more efficient, and very quiet, which would be s big plus if you’re sitting in that small room for hours. You can build the small room keeping in mind how you can reverse the build, and remove the small room when it comes to the time when you would want to sell the property. That’s where the mini split AC unit in the garage would look better than the room AC unit. The small window AC unit makes your perimeter more vulnerable to break in than the mini split AC unit. I’ve seen houses that have a mini split AC unit or even a standard central AC unit in their garage, but those cost more money. People put AC in their garage because they use the garage as an extra room and keep their cars outside. But you auto insurance might cost more if you keep your cars outside. Of course, you’d have to insulate the small room too, to reduce the cooling costs. A mini split AC unit might be able to heat too. Otherwise, a small electric space heater could be used. You could put in a 220 volt circuit too, in case you have an amplifier, or buy one in the future. Maybe a mini fridge could be put in the small room and a coffee maker if you’re a coffee drinker. You might also check out the Rig Pi to see if that’s a remote control solution for some of your radios.

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