Battery UPS/charge devices for use on the Flex 6k (Question)

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I have my station computers, Maestro plus everything associated with it power backed up with a nice rack mount APC UPS.

I would also like to have the Flex 6K box on one of the backup devices I see listed in the ham radio on-line companies. There are a few, won't mention brands as they seem similar.

My goal is only have the 6K box power hold up long enough (10 seconds) until my whole house generator transfers so I am thinking the batteries would not necessarily need to be very large.
I was thinking a pair of common lead acid 7 AHr batteries in parallel like you find in the majority of UPS's would be adequate for 10 seconds.

My next question is about the "charge" function of these boxes on the market.  Do they just float the batteries or is it possible they could overcharge the batteries and possibly cause harm (split the battery case or even explosion)?  I will place the batteries in a protective battery box of course.

I would prefer to hear from those that are currently implementing a similar backup.

Is there anything I am missing?  I want to do this right the first time.

Thanks
Clay N9IO

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Clay N9IO

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Posted 2 years ago

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Bill Axelrod

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Clay,

     If you get any input off line, please share.  I am interested in doing something very similr to what you want to do.

Thanks and 73...   Bill K3WA
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Clay N9IO

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Nothing off line Bill but I will keep you posted.
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K0UNX

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What I recently did is overkill for YOUR purposes, but you may learn from it, and OTHERS may enjoy the fruits of my research.  I had more than the radio and computer to power, and have had some power outages that lasted many hours and a couple that lasted over a day, so I wanted a SUBSTANTIAL UPS setup.  

I ended up going the MARINE POWER route and ordering this unit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NZCRFRQ/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is 3,000 watts, and you hook up as many batteries as you want to it.  I have two car batteries.  It runs the radio, computer, network equipment, GARAGE DOORS, and a few other things.  It FLOATS the batteries, and even has the smarts to CYCLE the batteries every two weeks, to keep the batteries healthy.  It also has an output that will start up a generator (if I had one.)  

I've tested it by shutting off the mains, and letting everything run on battery power.  The power stays steady at 120V under full load for six hours.  During that time, I've used the garage doors several times.  

The unit runs cool, and steady.  When I shut off the mains, it kicks over fast enough that nothing reboots.  Everything just keeps purring along happily.

I couldn't be happier with the setup!

Jim
K0UNX
Littleton, Colorado
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David Warnberg

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http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=pg40s

Add battery... done

Depending on battery size you may be able to run off battery for hours.. my batteries, twin 100 amp/hr plus a solar charge controller and a 100 watt panel on the roof... no power necessary

David
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Clay N9IO

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Sorry I have not been at the computer till last night since I posted here on Friday.

I am inclined to make this my choice or perhaps the Astron version only because I prefer direct terminal connections as opposed to Power Poles.

Either case I cannot find a schematic on any of these units.
I would like to know if there might possibly be a way to OPEN the trickcle charge circuit and possibly place a switch in line to enable or disable the charge function?

This way I don't have to worry about over charging at all.
I have the advantage of my whole house generator with auto transfer and
only want the backup to hold the Flex unit up for 10 seconds.

Clay N9IO
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David Warnberg

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Per west mountain radio's manual on the super power gate..

"The charging circuit has four selectable charging current settings, 1A, 4A, 7A, and 10A, to be chosen appropriately for the battery’s rating."

Nothing about shutting it off completely 

http://www.westmountainradio.com/pdf/PG40Smanual.pdf
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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PwrGate and a sealed deep cycle battery works flawlessly here. No overcharging, quiet, and instant  switch for my 6500 for the last 2 years.
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Clay N9IO

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I am heading in this direction George.
Do you know if there might possibly be a way to OPEN the trickcle charge circuit and possibly place a switch in line to enable or disable the charge function?
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Mike va3mw

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Clay.. don't over think this.  

For about 9 years, my TS480 on my remote base had a 12V tractor battery on the 12v line from the Astron power supply.  That is all you need, just like David says.

I just topped up the water in the battery as required.

Some times the easiest solution is the best and often the cheapest.

Mike va3mw
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K0UNX

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THANK YOU!  You are correct.  I was trying not to be too verbose, but the batteries that I use ARE Sealed AGM's.
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Chuck White

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The smell to which I was referring wasn't the batteries, but the Astron power supply itself. It nearly cooked itself and took about 4 hours to finally cool down to room temperature after shutdown. Astron linear supplies are rated based on surge amperage thus the internal current limiting is set several amps above their continuous duty rating. It was very unhappy running in this overloaded condition for so long.

Nevertheless, flooded, gel, and AGM batteries do require ample ventilation and flooded cell technology needs more than the other two. They're popular with solar systems, but really need to be installed away from living spaces and vented directly to the outside. I use AGM batteries in a ventilated cabinet, but even they have proven to vent unpleasant gases when a cell has shorted or otherwise failed.
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David Warnberg

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Chuck... I'm confused.. what astron power supply where you using?  curious as my understanding is the westmountain super power gate max charge amperage is 10amps and it can be set lower..

Per west mountain radio's manual on the super power gate..

"The charging circuit has four selectable charging current settings, 1A, 4A, 7A, and 10A, to be chosen appropriately for the battery’s rating."


Thanks
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Chuck White

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The problem occurred before I was using the PowerGate. The batteries were directly in parallel with the output of the Astron RS-20 just as Mike described above. When the power came on after the batteries had been discharged, the Astron ran for several hours at its surge current limit trying to recharge the three 75 AH batteries in my shack. That's why I now use the PowerGate in one setup and a homebrewed switch in another.

Chuck AI4WU
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David Warnberg

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Thank you
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Chuck White

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Clay,

In my go kit I use the PwrGate and 5 GelCells (12V 7AH). This setup ran my FT-897D on battery for 24 hours providing talk-in at our last Field Day.

Two caveats apply here:

1.  You need to raise the voltage from the power supply to a little over 14 volts to fully charge the batteries via the PwrGate. This is explained in their documentation.

2.  The PwrGate is a diode based switchover, so when running on batteries you have a Schottky diode voltage drop from the batteries to the radio. This will cause many microprocessor based radios to shut down slightly before the batteries are fully exhausted. Not an issue in most cases because its easier on the batteries anyway, but if you need them for emergency use, you may want every drop of energy.

If you're looking for plug-n-play, that is the best solution in my opinion.

In my shack, I use a home-brewed switch using an Arduino controller and Mosfet switches. This avoids the diode drop and the Arduino program shuts down the batteries at a predetermined voltage to avoid deep discharge.

73
Chuck AI4WU
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Greg - N8GD

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DO NOT use automotive (car) batteries indoors!  I had a group 24 car battery in my shack about 15 years ago as a backup, similar to what is being discussed here.  I had a charger on it that had an automatic float mode, so that when the battery was fully charged, it switched to the float (trickle) mode.  It was made specifically to maintain batteries.  Unfortunately, after several years of flawless operation, the charger failed.  I woke up in the middle of the night to hear all of my smoke alarms blaring, and the house was filled with the pungent smell of hydrogen sulfide gas.  I figured out the problem quickly and disconnected the battery and charger and aired out the house.  The charger had failed to the point that it went to full, unregulated voltage, overcharging the battery.  The battery, being a vented automotive type, managed to belch the noxious fumes throughout the house.  It really wreaked havoc in that every copper pipe, copper wire, and copper connector turned black from the fumes, plus all of my smoke and CO detectors were ruined.  I still find blackened items to this day, 15 years later!  PLEASE use only sealed lead acid batteries, most of which are AGM type batteries (absorptive glass mat), nowadays.  They do make AGM car batteries, but they will set you back about $200 for a typical 75 AH unit.  I use a 1500 VA sine wave UPS to keep my equipment going until I can get the whole house generator going (no auto switch-over here).  It's a lot easier and all works at the 120 VAC level feeding the 13.8 VDC supplies.

Greg - N8GD
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K0UNX

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THANK YOU!  You are correct.  I was trying not to be too verbose, but the batteries that I use ARE Sealed AGM's.
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David Allday

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I have a car battery installed in parallel with my power supply.   I have been doing this tor 15 to 20 years.  Of course, I have the power supply voltage turned to 12.8 volts or so, so it does not overcharge the battery.   I check the water level 3 to 4 times a year and change out the battery every 4 or 5 years.

No need for a switching device, it all works automatically.   Also adds more short term current capacity to my power supply.

Powers all my radios for hours if not days.


D Allday, KD6LAY


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David Warnberg

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On the subject of batteries.. might I suggest the following..

http://www.vmaxtanks.com/

I run twin 100 amp/h batteries, they are also charged by a 100 watt solar panel and solar charge controller..  I don't need power and can operate indefinitely..  We use this setup every year for field day.

David 
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Dan -- KC4GO

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I use the West Mountain Radio PG40S a AGM group 31 battery
( http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/datasheets/31AGM_Trojan_Data_Sheets.pdf)
and a 30 Amp linear power supply to drive it. Part of Howard's (KY6LA) how to create a quite station. 
This is all connected to a West Mountain Radio RIGrunner 4007U. The power supply is connected to an APC 1500 UPS just to be on the extra safe side. All DC connections are power pole. 
(Edited)