SmartSDR v3.7.3 and the SmartSDR v3.7.3 Release Notes | SmartSDR v2.12.0 and the SmartSDR v2.12.0 Release Notes
SmartSDR v1.12.1 and the SmartSDR v1.12.1 Release Notes
Power Genius XL Utility v3.8.4 and the Power Genius XL Release Notes v3.8.4
Tuner Genius XL Utility v1.1.20 and the Tuner Genius XL Release Notes v1.1.20
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.
Antenna Disconnector Prototype
On May 30th, 2020 my residence took a very near lightning strike that took out my SPE 2K-FA amp and my Palstar HF-Auto tuner. My 80 meter loop remained intact so I know the strike was not directly to the antenna, but perhaps the power lines. The exact strike point is unknown but I did suffer the loss of quite a bit of equipment, not only ham radio equipment but also network switches, printers, WiFi, TVs, etc.
Before this strike happened I wanted to build a disconnector but it kept getting pushed back. Currently I am in league with a really good mechanical design person and we are designing a disconnector that we can sell as a kit. I'll keep the world aware of if we can get something working and affordable.
In the mean time I wanted to prototype some ideas. Since I am pretty confident my equipment loss was due to power I wanted a disconnect system that could disconnect both 110V AC and 220V AC.
I searched all over the place for good connectors to use for this purpose and they may exist but I have not found them yet. So I came up with an interesting solution.
For not much money on Amazon you can by knife switches. Big ones that handle 100A. All I needed to do was to come up with a way to engage or disengage the knife handles.
So the link below shows my prototype in action. The total cost of this prototype is about $350. The linear stages can be purchased from Amazon with a stepper motor attached for about $190. The knife switches were $30 each.
I used home switches that I had laying around. I purchased some nice adjustable linkages to connect the knife switches to my movable bracket. I had a friend machine the bracket for $50.
I removed the stepper motors provided on the stages and used much nicer and yes more expensive servo motors from ClearPath. The benefit of these motors is they generate a lot more torque than a standard stepper and the models I have offer a two point move profile using digital inputs. So I simply have to supply +24V to an input and the motor moves to a programmed position. Remove +24 and it returns to the prior position. Perfect for this use. These motors cost about $700 total for two motors.
Again you could probably do this with the provided steppers and a controller but these motors I had available from a prior project.
My plans for implementing this prototype is to power it from a 24V battery that is trickle charged. This way even if A/C power is lost I can still get the disconnector to move. I plan to use a Digital Loggers web relay to control the motors and send them to/from the stored positions. I also plan to just run a cable to a 3 watch switch and mount it on the way. So I can either use the computer and connect/disconnect or just throw the switch on the wall.
The reason I included the knife switches is as I said above I believe most of my damage came in through power. So the knife switches will be used to completely disconnect 110V A/C and 220V A/C from the gear.
My network switch is a short fiber link so I figure when disconnected there will be nothing connected to radio gear or amplifier at all. No antenna nor power.
Now realistically speaking if my house takes a direct hit then probably all of this becomes a pile of melted slag and that is when insurance kicks in to bring the world back to normal hopefully. But for the passing thunderstorm I am hopeful this disconnect system will provide more protection for my gear than I've had before.
Leave a Comment
- All Categories
- 240 Community Topics
- 2.1K New Ideas
- 472 The Flea Market
- 7.1K Software
- 5.9K SmartSDR for Windows
- 129 SmartSDR for Maestro and M models
- 329 SmartSDR for Mac
- 238 SmartSDR for iOS
- 220 SmartSDR CAT
- 159 DAX
- 347 SmartSDR API
- 8.5K Radios and Accessories
- 6.9K FLEX-6000 Signature Series
- 721 Maestro
- 40 FlexControl
- 834 FLEX Series (Legacy) Radios
- 705 Genius Products
- 379 Power Genius XL Amplifier
- 243 Tuner Genius XL
- 83 Antenna Genius
- 225 Shack Infrastructure
- 150 Networking
- 358 Remote Operation (SmartLink)
- 119 Contesting
- 567 Peripherals & Station Integration
- 113 Amateur Radio Interests
- 796 Third-Party Software