Saturday, March 15, 2014

Counting - Radio #2 - Yaesu FT-817ND - Portable Power Setup

So, the weather is finally getting better and as we move into sunny days I really need to finish my portable station.
No station works without power, so today's post will be about what I will be using to power the little FT-817ND portable station.
So, let's see what's already available to power the rig.

On the right side of the picture there's on old laptop PC power supply, salvaged from my parts box. I have described it before, so if you want to know more please see here. This power supply is useful when operating from locations where mains is available. During the Summer holidays I'm sure it will see some use.

On the left side of the picture there's a SLA battery. My Dad offered me this one. He told me that it was a surplus battery, removed from an alarm system. SLA batteries come in different sizes ans shapes. This one is a 12V 7Ah with a nice shape (although a bit heavy).

In the middle there's the FT-817ND power cable. Since I'm using Powerpoles on the whole system, changing from mains to battery and vice-versa is very quick and really easy.

It's not here yet, but to keep a watchful eye on Volts and Amps I have ordered a Turnigy 2 in 1 power meter. This will go between the power source (battery or power supply) and the load (radio). This is how this meter looks like:

The meter has two channels, both visible on a small TFT display. I will only be using one channel, but the extra channel may be useful down the road. You can find more info about this meter here.

Finally, to keep my SLA battery topped while not in use, I am using a motorcycle battery charger.
Here's the battery in more detail:

And here's the charger (it used the same power cord as the power supply):

And this is how it all goes together when charging:

The charger is an Oxford Oximiser 900. I got it second hand on ebay and, of course, it was converted for Powerpoles usage:

So, what's missing?
Well, in the future I may look into adding some solar powered solution to the portable station so that I can operate more hours away from mains.
I have seen a solar panel that I liked, but it's expensive. It's the PowerFilm F-15-600 and here are the specs:
  • Operating Voltage: 15.4
  • Wattage: 10
  • Current: 0.6 amps
  • Width (mm): 533 mm
  • Length (mm): 602 unfolded; 88.9 folded
  • Width (in): 21 inches
  • Length (in): 23.7 unfolded; 3.5 folded
  • Weight (kg): 0.33 kg
  • Weight (lb): 0.73 lbs
So, we'll see first how it goes with the battery only...
Share your ideas on portable power. Let us know what you are using on your own system.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some ideas for your setup.
Until the next post... 73.

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