Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Amateur Radio How-To's

Power for a VHF base rig in the home

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firetoad:
To all the hammers and radiophiles, what are you using to run power to your base stations?

I have started researching this a little bit, but am not sure the direction I want to go.  I know I could just get an AC to DC power supply, but...  My current thinking is to get a 12V sealed, marine deep cycle with an automatic trickle charger/maintainer hooked up and run my radio directly off of that.  That way, in the event of a power failure, I would have some reserve/backup power if needed.  I am not looking to power my radio and house with a 12V system for weeks of reserve or anything along those lines at this time.  But, I figured a little bit of reserve wouldn't be a bad thing.  The only reservations I have regarding this comes to offgassing of the battery (I know it is sealed, but even sealed units can offgas some) and storage inside of the home due to where my base unit will be set up.  Thoughts/comments?

blar:
I will assume that you are talking about 50W output power for now. in that power class I have setup a system like you are thinking about for a fellow ham. We used a modified 12v ATX computer power supply http://www.instructables.com/id/Convert-an-ATX-Power-Supply-Into-a-Regular-DC-Powe/ to feed into a lawn tractor sized (sonic power) sealed AGM battery. The power supply is set for about 13V and is hooked in parrallel with the battery and radio. This arrangement works fine on his HF rig also and provides no gap in use if the power drops while operating. and has been working great for him over 6 month now. his typical use will let him operate 50W on VHF for about 3 days ~8 hours of TX time rest RX without the AC/DC supply powered up. Out gassing should not be a problem as long as your using sealed batteries and AGM are about the safest for indoor use, we have a whole room UPS system at work that is not vented and has about 60 large AGM batteries in it by design so I think you'll be alright with just 1.

Hope that helps... -A

firetoad:
Thanks blar!  I guess that would have been helpful to include some information re. my intended power consumption. 

Yes, you are correct, I am looking at a standard 50-60W mobile for my base unit.  I do have a question for you.  How do you regulate/maintain the power to the battery?  That is, how do you keep from overcharging it?

Thanks in advance for your help.

blar:

--- Quote from: firetoad on December 20, 2008, 11:02:53 PM ---Thanks blar!  I guess that would have been helpful to include some information re. my intended power consumption. 

Yes, you are correct, I am looking at a standard 50-60W mobile for my base unit.  I do have a question for you.  How do you regulate/maintain the power to the battery?  That is, how do you keep from overcharging it?

Thanks in advance for your help.

--- End quote ---

The power (Amps) is not an issue, all that matters for keeping the battery charges is the voltage. Keep the voltage at about 13.8v for most 12v batteries and you wont have a problem, the ideal charge voltage is more like 14.2v but I play it safe. the battery will just draw as much amperage as it needs to keep it charged so as low charge it may be 10A at high charge it may be 100mA. all a charge controller is doing is varying the voltage so that it can "peek charge" a battery so with this arrangement you will get a bit less capacity but it is safe and has its benefits. Think of how your car charging/battery system works, the alternator supply's about 14.1v and the battery just eats it up all the time once the battery voltage meets the supply voltage it stops taking more voltage and current.

DeltaEchoVictor:
I think I read a thread on ZS where someone had a deep cycle battery setup on a charger in their shack.  It was essentially a stand alone system that could be run if the power went off, but while power was on it stayed connected to the battery charger to keep it topped off.

Of course I can't find the thread now, so it may not have been on ZS.  I could have seen it on my net travels somewhere else.

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