Remote Operation Power Switching?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 3 months ago
  • Answered
I am getting ready to figure out how to make my station ready for remote operation.
The means I need two things at least:

1.  Remote WiFi or Ethernet controllable 120 VAC power switch relay board.

2.  Remote WiFi or Ethernet controllable 220 VAC relay, for Amp.

I know that people have posted a fair number of parts/options for 120VAC relay units.
What are people using for their 220VAC Amplifier switching?

Also, some of the 12 volt equipment probably prefers to be switched, rather than just
come up with the 12 volt power supply being turned on.   I have an HF-Auto tuner,
and some other items.  Do you guys use other relays to switch your 12 volt gear,
or just let one massive surge turn all of it on when you switch on the 12V power supply?

I am fairly sensitive to equipment failures, unattended, for a long time, causing a fire.
So I do NOT wish to leave everything running 24/7 if I am not present to monitor it.
Do any of the remote Ethernet/WiFi power switch boxes also require a password,
so that no random network glitch or scan can cause a power on?

Cheers,

Neal
Photo of Neal Pollack, N6YFM

Neal Pollack, N6YFM

  • 315 Posts
  • 152 Reply Likes

Posted 3 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Bill W2PKY

Bill W2PKY

  • 596 Posts
  • 114 Reply Likes
May want to include a cheap WiFi camera to visually monitor the equipment.
Photo of bobby

bobby

  • 97 Posts
  • 28 Reply Likes
The $20 wyze v2 camera available at your local Home Depot store or online works super and has no monthly fees just connects to wifi and uses an SD card for local recording and you get cloud storage free which holds up to 14 days.
Photo of Mark NS9N

Mark NS9N

  • 98 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
I use only solid state switches to switch my line voltage 110 or 220. Here is an excellent tutorial.

https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/...

Then pick the internet switch of your liking but I made my own with a raspberry pi and use VNC Viewer, a free version is available for single use, which if the internet goes down all the pi switches go to off and the station shutdowns perfectly.

You can buy a pi relay board with 4 or 8 lower power relays and then switch everything in your station independently. There are any number of pi programs out there you can copy and modify to your liking.

I switch my AC power with one output, the remote flex radio input with a 2nd one, antenna relays with a third, and my amp with a fourth.

Enjoy the project. I never programmed a pi before and learned a lot doing so.
Photo of Michael Walker

Michael Walker, Employee

  • 1368 Posts
  • 406 Reply Likes
Hi Neal

First I don't use WiFi at all as it has failed me too many times.  Everything is hard cabled and that is more critical for a remote operation.

I use the KMTronic Web Relay:  https://info.kmtronic.com/kmtronic-lan-ethernet-ip-8-channels-web-relay-board.html.  You could run your 110VAC through these as they are relays that are heavy enough duty.  This  device has 8 ports on it and I have 2 of them since I know control over 11 items.  


220VAC is a bit of a challenge.  There is no off the shelf solution that I know of, so I built my own using a commercial Potter and Brumfield Relay in an enclosed case.  You may have to check with an electrician who knows your building laws in your area.  

I also have had reliability issues with remote web switches that have a server in the middle.  iHome, etc have all caused me intermittent loss of connectivity.  

Since, I am in the 'trust no one' area, all my stuff is direct IP addressable or you have to bring up my VPN.   This requires a bit of internet knowledge (port forwarding and dyndns'ing), but it isn't really hard and easy to  teach.  

I will like discuss this again at the Dayton Remote Operating presentation on Friday.

There is no off the shelf solution for remote HF ham operations that handle power, rotators, etc.  There is a need is someone what to build a nice solution all ready to go.  I don't think it would be inexpensive though if it was commercialized.

I hope that helps some.  Others will have similar ideas.  Only use those ideas from those that have trusted their station to be truly remote for months at a time.  It is a whole new idea when you won't be home at dinner to reset something.

Mike va3mw



 


Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1826 Posts
  • 571 Reply Likes
I agree with Mike ́s post 100%. Hard cable everything, it is way more stable.

A few of my own experiences.
Even though I have everything on hard cable, I run a local router with WiFi in the radio shack for devices that are WiFi only. They are not mission critical and the WiFi Router itself is connected to a LAN Switch in case I need to reset it.

I also use the KMTronik but I use them with 220v without issue. Instead of 15A you get 10A.

My amp and power supply get their own Actuators that get activated through KMTroniks.

PSRotator (great piece of software) allows you to interact with the KMTronic. It also allows for Rotator access remotely and it has some nice integration with weather station. PSTrotator will connect with the Flex radio by TCP and allow you to turn on and off devices based on frequency. For example, I only turn on the PSU of the transverters if I am in the 145MHz, 430MHz frequencies.

Cameras on the Radio Shack are invaluable. And several Remote access options are also important. I have 3, Teamviewer, Anydesk and Chrome Remote, running at the same time on the same computers.
Photo of W7NIK

W7NIK

  • 65 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
I also Use the kamtronics udp board lan IP as much as you can . I use team viewer, and pst rotator . And of course the smart sdr iPhone app or a computer. The amp I use is wire into the on off switch with the relay s , and stand by / operate is another relay . BE VERY CAREFUL 120v mixed voltage is dangerous. Meaning 12v on 6 relays and 120v switch legs on two relays. Identify the wires . If the amp is plugged in the 120v switch legs are hot . Ameritron 1300. . Just my opinion.
Photo of John

John

  • 29 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
We use a Digital Loggers, inc. web-addressable switch with 8 positions fed from a cable modem, both on a UPS device, with filtered AC power.  The 12VDC power supply, Ameritron remote coax switch and Green Heron rotator controller are AC out of a position of the strip, the computer power is controlled from another position, and there is a 115VAC relay, mounted in a box in the wall, to control the 240VAC to the amplifier.  The other positions are fitted with digital Logger relays ($8 each) to control various DC lines such as Flex 6500 on, 2K-FA amplifier on, tower up/down enable (240V AC relay in box at tower), tower up, and tower down (interlocked).  We use various software viewed by TightVNC on the computer.  We were originally using SoftEther with V1 of SmartSDR, but soon will use V3 and not need SoftEther (I think).  The station as described ran without intervention for a year in all modes with two different operators from PCs, laptops, iPads and a remote Flex device.  Two IP cameras are on the wifi.  JK Navassa at 85 feet, JK 4030 at 75 feet, 80m dipole.
See the station diagram: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3y3rk6xvqpwwkqc/Remote%20Station%20Diagram%20V3.1.pdf?dl=0
John, K2CIB
Photo of DrJ

DrJ

  • 129 Posts
  • 14 Reply Likes
I agree. I do 75% remote operation. All Flex equipment including PGXL. The new DLI (Digital Loggers 90-250 VAC) remote power controller works over Wi-Fi and or Ethernet. I can pre program cycling power off or on, remote turn off or on and also a wifi camera to look at everything to boot. Believe me I have been remote operation for over 10 years and this is the best way. I have Green Heron antenna switchers and rotor controllers as well. Everything hooks through my DLI. Commercial industry uses this.
Photo of Michael Walker

Michael Walker, Employee

  • 1368 Posts
  • 406 Reply Likes
Wow!  Glad to hear about the 220  Power Controller.    Is this it?  https://dlidirect.com/products/new-updated-rack-pdu-with-wifi

I had the previous one briefly but I found the User Interface not appliance user-friendly.  
Photo of Steven Linley

Steven Linley

  • 461 Posts
  • 81 Reply Likes
I use dyndns with all my remote ip addressable devices. I use RealVNC, to see my PC and amplifier screen. I use a Cyber Switching Dualcom S 120/240vac ip addressable PDU. I use a Digital Loggers relay to remote switch the Flex On/Off before switching On/Off the Flex power supply.

I have a RF-KIT B26 RF- 2K+ amplifier with has four antenna outputs. That helps me manage my antennas as it follows the Flex 6600's frequency and band changes. The amplifier has a built-in ATU.

I have a 5-band 2 element Quad. I use PSTRotator software to control my Green Heron/YaesuDXA1000.. I use a SainSmart 8-relay board to hack/add extra OR gate inputs to my Ameritron RCS-10 Remote antenna switch. There is USB bit cable between the SainSmart relay board and my Flex.

I use a Maestro to control the Flex and a laptop to control the rest from anywhere with good Cellular or internet service.

I've used it for months at a time for the past 3 or 4 years.
(Edited)
Photo of Steven Linley

Steven Linley

  • 461 Posts
  • 81 Reply Likes
I have a ip camera in the shack to get a peek out the window or look at the shack equipment. I haven't used it to look at the shack in a long time.
Photo of Steven Linley

Steven Linley

  • 461 Posts
  • 81 Reply Likes
My PC in the shack gets shut-down like any PC then I turn Off the power. But the bios is set to start the PC when power is applied.
Photo of Larry Loen  WO7R

Larry Loen WO7R

  • 234 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
The power-up-when-power-restored BIOS feature is a really critical thing.  I have recovered my PC (in the extreme case) by powering it down and then up.

But the critical thing about this setting is that your PC comes up after an ordinary power failure, which is a very good thing.

Your ISP's box, your router and whatever you use for the A/C switching must also come up flawlessly after a power failure.  There is no UPS that lasts long enough -- I don't even use one.  I also have a solution that sets up a VPN automatically.  My remote site is for all practical purposes invisible on the internet.
Photo of David-N5PSM

David-N5PSM

  • 213 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
I use "ControlByWeb" X600 & X-19s. (This baby has a plc in it and "C"/LUA script)
togeather with 12V automotive relays inline with my "PowerPole" connectors

I use my phone or remote pc to monitor/switch things.

Temperature sensors on all heat sinks.

Even a temp sensor on the core of my BalUn on the roof.

12V coil 30A contactor for my PGXL.

...no cameras
Photo of Larry Loen  WO7R

Larry Loen WO7R

  • 234 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
So far, I have left the 220 gear in the "always on" position.  I use the Digital Loggers solution (15 amps, eight switches, hard wired ethernet) for the 110 stuff.   https://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc7.html   My 220 stuff is strictly for amps.

The Expert 2K HF amp has a software on/off that has proven satisfactory.  I don't mind having the on-board whatever-it-is (PC?  Embedded Controller?) on at all time, awaiting a USB command to turn the "real" amplifier on.  Having the rig turn on / off with the 110 switch also improves my confidence in the solution.  Not too much to worry about without an exciter. 

Been working since about 2014 without any issues.

There is usually something in a modern, remotable amplifier that you can turn off even as you leave the 220v on.  Look for it.

We have cameras but have not deployed them.  We have Arduinos that monitor anything that the amps themselves do not monitor.   But, the Expert 2K tells me everything needful about itself.

I can't imagine a modern amplifier that would be suitable for remote operation that wouldn't have adequate automated band switching and built-in monitoring that wouldn't work along the lines I suggest.  I ran the Alpha 9500 for several years and only switched to the Expert 2K to get 6m capability.   Both have the kind of capabilities to control and monitor themselves via software.

If your amp cannot be controlled in such a fashion, you might wonder about your solution.


Photo of SA7AKE

SA7AKE

  • 23 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
We use stuff from microbit;   http://www.remoterig.com/wp/.


Photo of Jim Gilliam

Jim Gilliam

  • 975 Posts
  • 242 Reply Likes

Take a look at the Synaccess line. they have modules that work on both Ethernet WAN and  over a phone line should the router/modem go awry. Downside is you need a dedicated landline. Also their firmware allows you to constantly ping the modem and router to do a power reboot.
(Edited)
Photo of David-N5PSM

David-N5PSM

  • 213 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
As I said in an earlier reply,  I use "ControlByWeb"

All of my controls have Android Phone controls as well as HTTP Web pages.  Most are a built in framework and no programming required.

1. The DC Power to my flex radio has an automotive relay to my DC Power.

2. The "Remote ON" function of the Flex 6700 is also controlled.

       When the Flex is on (+5V from the accessory connector is live) an opto relay tells me that it is on and all of the peripherals are switched on...
         2.1 The 2MLDPA gets power
         2.2 The Palistar HF-Auto gets power.
         2.3 The LP-700 SWR Meter gets power.
         2.4 The Antenna Genius gets power.
         2.5 The Ethernet switch gets power.
         2.6 The lighted station sign gets power.
         2.7 When the TX output of the accessory connector is active,  a large red "ON AIR" lamp comes on above my station;

3. Once the station has power,  of course it appears on smart link and I can connect.

4. The PGXL Amp 230V can be switched on and will appear in the software. This is done using a 230V 30A contactor with a 12V coil.

5. A Mini PC that has "power on after fail" enabled and will auto boot.   When the power light on the mini PC comes on I am informed as well.  If the power light goes of then the power is turned off to the Mini PC (this happens when I choose "shutdown" over Team Viewer.)

     There is no monitor connected to the main video of the Mini PC. I use "fit Headless 4K" to simulate the main monitor.  The second monitor output goes to an extra input of another PC in my shack.

  With the mini PC I can operate any local connected devices.

6. Additionally my 432 Mhz transverter can be remotely switched.

7. Other items...

 TEMPERATURE PROBES using digital 3 wire probes (3-wire bus)

       7.1 Heat-sink of 2MLDPA
       7.2 Inside shack temperature
       7.3 Outside Temperature
       7.4 16:1 BalUn core temperature (using type "k" TC)
       7.5 Heat-sink of 432 Transverter.

  ANALOG VALUES
       
       7.10 230V Mains voltage (4-20mA)
       7.11 12V system voltage (Large battery system under house)
       7.12 Water Pressure to house ( We have a community tank and I can calculate the level in the tank)
        7.13 Battery charge/discharge current 250mA resolution.

      
Here is a screen shot from the HTTP Page.




Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1826 Posts
  • 571 Reply Likes
Outstanding!
Great ideas in your setup. Thanks for sharing.
Photo of David-N5PSM

David-N5PSM

  • 213 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
thanks,  The ControlByWeb device has REAL web  support.  It can even talk to other devices and control them like the "DataLoggers" and others.