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Remote HF AC and DC wiring

Mike-VA3MW
Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

I have been at this remote stuff since 2005 and have had my remote shut down due to just about every possible failure (surprisingly, the Windows PC has been very solid without a single failure).

I've lost power, internet, UPS's failing, animals eating cables, etc. If it can go wrong, it will.

I wanted to share how I have my AC and DC wiring laid out.

This is not a complete diagram, but an overview of those items that I can remotely turn off.

I post this as an idea for you to consider if you are thinking of making a remote HF station that you need to be able to manage while being away for extended periods of time.

There are many ways to achieve the same goal, so I urge others to share.

The hard part is the 240VAC remote switch, especially in North America. I built my own 12V driven switch using a 240VAC 15A DPST relay.

These relays are easy enough to find, but may not be legal to use depending on your electrical code, so do your homework. It would not be good if you home brewed something and had it fail and this might result in insurance cancellation.

This gives you an idea of what I have and what works for me. This is not the only way to manage your power at a remote station and you may have a different solution. I will do more pages as I get time to create them (LAN, RF, etc).

Mike va3mw



Comments

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭✭

    Wow, nicely done Mike. I use one of those cheap 4 channel WiFi web switches to select among 3 antennas and use the fourth channel to remotely power the Flex 6400 on and off. Since I only occasionally operate remotely, it meets my needs. If I start operating away from home more frequently or for longer periods, I will definitely consider a setup like yours.

    Do you use the Raspberry Pi to control the bottom device (network modem/router?) instead of the Web Switch because it is the device looking at lightning maps? If so, why not have all the other relays operate off the R Pi?

    73,

    Len, KD0RC

  • Thanks for posting Mike. What accessory supplies are you using, and what's your Network Switch and Firewall? Is your switch managed or unmanaged, and why did you decide to go that route?

    73, Lou W0FK

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Personally, I have a pfSense firewall and an unmanaged TP-Link 1G switch. I chose pfSense as I like to have good reporting numbers on bandwidth and to be able to attempt to tune my own bandwidth and attack buffer bloat. For me, the pfSense router was about learning.

    However, out of the box, the IQRouter by Evanroute is very good and just works.

    As for Switches and Networks, it is nothing special as 99% of the stuff is awesome. Don't make your own LAN cables on anything you are moving LOTS of data through. Buy good quality CAT 5 or 6.

    Mike va3mw

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited October 2020

    Len,

    The PI does a few things. One is to power cycle internet related things like the Modem if there is no internet. I had to roll my own, but today, you can buy off the shelf devices from Amazon. I have not tested any of the commercial ones at all.

    The other PI runs NodeRed for my user Dashboard.

    Mike



  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    Mike

    Good topic to discuss and share ideas. Your system looks very good.

    Since the end objective is to enhance remote reliability of the power source, I took a slightly different approach. I do not switch the power supply on some of my devices and I have a UPS based 13.8VDC bus.

    My 13.8 VDC is used for all devices, except for the PG-XL. The 13.8VDC is derived from a 110VAC / 13.8 VDC power supply and a 13.8 VDC battery combined using a Paradan "DC Gate" to a central UPS 13.8VDC bus. I do not switch the 120VAC to the power supply, the power supply 120VAC is alway on. The Paradan keeps the battery charged. This approach also eliminates several "power rats".

    I added a "low voltage disconnect" to the bus from the Power Gate, to ensure the downstream equipment is not damaged if I loose the 120VAC and the battery is drained to 11.5VDC. The disconnect will re-close when the 120VAC is restored and the power supply or battery voltage is greater then 12.0 VDC.

    Primarily for safety reasons, I added a manual overload/disconnect switch on the battery output to the Paradan DC Gate.

    I do not have a switch on the Flex Server 13.8 VDC input. The Flex Server is always powered up.

    I use a 12VDC to 24VDC voltage converter to power the SteppIR SDA100. I do not have a switch on the Stepp iR power in. SteppIR recommends the SDA100 power always be on because of the small "hold" voltage to the steppers. 24VDC is on the lower limit of the Stepp IR voltage specification.

    I power my Raspberry Pis, all LAN components, and the router, from the 13.8 VDC UPS bus. I use 12 VDC to 5 VDC voltage converters.

    I monitor the 13.8VDC bus using my Raspberry Pi. If the voltage drops below 12.5 VDC, Node-Red will shutdown the Flex Server using the Flex remote on/off option and "home" the SteppIR antenna.

    All components are fused. I use a powerpole fused power **** for the devices drawing more than five amps.

    For devices drawing less than five amps, I use a Electronics-Salon Power Distribution Fuse Board.

    Alan WA9WUD

  • Steve KD2OM
    Steve KD2OM Member ✭✭

    Mike,

    I wonder how your radio handles the power supply output voltage dropping down slowly if the power supply is switched off from the web switch? Flex mentions some place not to allow the DC to rise or decay slowly like it does when AC is removed from a supply.

    I was concerned about that so I take a similar but less sophisticated method than Alan uses. I use an Astron battery backup module, I don't think the Paradan was available when I got it.

    I just recently added a manual big red switch so I wouldn't have to keep dragging the radio out of the shelf to disconnect the power poles when the radio needs the complete removal from power.

    73

    Steve KD2OM

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭✭

    Hi Steve, I could not find any reference to removing power from the rig. Was this cited for the 6000 series or was it possibly for an earlier model? I am curious because I normally power off my 6400, wait until it looks like no more activity, then I shut off my 70 amp Astron linear supply. The voltage ramps down until I get 3 red flashes and then total power down. I believe the flashes are the beginning of the low voltage status indication before the voltage drops enough to stop the internal MCU (or FPGA or whatever) and therefore the rest of the low voltage flashes. I have not had any problems to this point using this procedure, but would like to know for sure.

    Thanks & 73,

    Len, KD0RC

  • Steve KD2OM
    Steve KD2OM Member ✭✭

    Hi Len, I think it was mentioned in a message that was answered by someone at Flex that the radio should be shut down first before the supply. The shutdown like you are doing is not what I was talking about.

    What I was saying is when the radio is running and you pull the plug from the input of the linear supply like would happen if a power failure occurred. This would cause the DC voltage to drop slowly. Voltage sag to the SD card can cause corruption. That is why I run mine from the battery backup switch, we get power failures were I live and I usually have the radio on.

    This would happen in Mike’s system if the webswitch shuts down the supply. According to the diagram he does the same thing to the computer running win10. Eventually that will cause a problem.

    Steve KD2OM

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭✭

    Ah, understood. Thanks for the clarification.

    Len

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    Mike

    Good topic to discuss and share ideas. Your system looks very good.

    Since the end objective is to enhance remote reliability of the power source, I took a slightly different approach. I do not switch the power supply on some of my devices and I have a UPS based 13.8VDC bus.

    My 13.8 VDC is used for all devices, except for the PG-XL. The 13.8VDC is derived from a 110VAC / 13.8 VDC power supply and a 13.8 VDC battery combined using a Paradan "DC Gate" to a central UPS 13.8VDC bus. I do not switch the 120VAC to the power supply, the power supply 120VAC is alway on. The Paradan keeps the battery charged. This approach also eliminates several "power rats".

    I added a "low voltage disconnect" to the bus from the Power Gate, to ensure the downstream equipment is not damaged if I loose the 120VAC and the battery is drained to 11.5VDC. The disconnect will re-close when the 120VAC is restored and the power supply or battery voltage is greater then 12.0 VDC.

    Primarily for safety reasons, I added a manual overload/disconnect switch on the battery output to the Paradan DC Gate.

    I do not have a switch on the Flex Server 13.8 VDC input. The Flex Server is always powered up.

    I use a 12VDC to 24VDC voltage converter to power the SteppIR SDA100. I do not have a switch on the Stepp iR power in. SteppIR recommends the SDA100 power always be on because of the small "hold" voltage to the steppers. 24VDC is on the lower limit of the Stepp IR voltage specification.

    I power my Raspberry Pis, all LAN components, and the router, from the 13.8 VDC UPS bus. I use 12 VDC to 5 VDC voltage converters.

    I monitor the 13.8VDC bus using my Raspberry Pi. If the voltage drops below 12.5 VDC, Node-Red will shutdown the Flex Server using the Flex remote on/off option and "home" the SteppIR antenna.

    All components are fused. I use a powerpole fused power **** for the devices drawing more than five amps.

    For devices drawing less than five amps, I use a Electronics-Salon Power Distribution Fuse Board.

    Alan WA9WUD

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    If you are concerned about the voltage decay rate when removing 120VAC power to the Flex 13.8VDC power supply, then I suggest you add a low voltage cutout switch such as as this. It will open the circuit when the power supply decays to 11.5 Volts.

    Although I use a 13.8 VDC battery for my Flex power, I also use this same low voltage cutout switch to ensure the Flex never sees less then 11.5 Volts, should I loose AC power for a long time period.

    You can select other dropout/pickup voltages if you like.

    Alan WA9WUD

  • KR5OG Paul K
    KR5OG Paul K Member ✭✭
    edited December 2020

    You guys are awesome this discussion has really got my mind working since I’m in the early stages of starting to set up something similar, keep up the good work maybe one day I will know enough to get mine operating very well thanks again.

    Paul

    KR5OG

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