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Lets talk about power

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KE5YOU

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Power it is something we all need. Without it our hobby would be impossible. As such I am curious, is there a difference between power supplies? The reason I ask is because soon I will be working up a power solution for my shack and need some input. I am thinking about running the radios off of a battery (or two) and keep said batteries charged via a Powerwerx PWRgate that will be hooked into a power supply and eventually a solar panel or two. Thus brings me to my question. For these purposes I'm thinking that the cheapest power supply that will supply enough amperage will do fine. Would I be correct in this assumption?
 

acyddrop

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Provided you use a quality power supply, with quality parts there's really not much difference between one power supply and another. The biggest factors come in with choice of components during the build process and the quality of the workmanship of the product. Assuming that you purchase your power supply for a reasonable supplier than the next step is the quality of parts.

There are a number of factors when it comes to the parts chosen for a particular device (be it a power supply or a flat screen tv). But generally speaking (this has a lot of caveats mind you) more expensive power supply units may come with higher quality parts. One way you can work out of a switch mode power supply is going to be a reasonable performer is to see if it is using nippon chemi-con caps. If a manufacturer spent the time to put those caps in you can usually count on the rest of it being generally up to the specs on the box. There are other great caps out there but Nippon Chemi-Con was the first that came to mind.

Beware of cheap power supplies, they are generally built down to a price and cut a lot of corners in the build process and the choice of components. Just buy for a reputable manufacturer and you should be OK.
 

n5ims

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One thing to be aware of is that power supplies actually have two significant power ratings, constant and peak. As you may guess, constant is what the supply will deliver day in and day out, 24/7/365 while peak is what it can deliver for only a short duration (think seconds here, not even minutes). This difference is because much equipment draws quite a bit more power when it is first switched on than it does while running (like your car draws much more current from its battery when you crank the starter than when it's running down the highway).

One significant difference between many high quality supplies and those el-cheapo ones is you can easily find the peak vs. constant ratings on the better supplies while the el-cheapos often only list the peak values (so the number looks larger, of course). When comparing supplies be sure to compare peak to peak and constant to constant. If only a single number is listed, assume it's the peak number and estimate that the constant value is 1/2 to 2/3 the value listed.
 

chief21

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To add another perspective, I've always preferred a linear supply (think big and heavy) as the primary supply in my shack, as opposed to a switching supply (think small and much lighter) which I often use for powering individual radios. I've had a power arrangement similar to your idea in operation for several years without any problems.

Keep in mind that the PWRgate device is intended to operate your equipment from the power supply under normal conditions and only switch to the battery(ies) if the power goes out. If you intend to operate directly from the batteries at all times, you don't need the PWRgate device - you could just use a high-quality battery charger/conditioner to keep the battery(ies) topped off.

Also, be aware that if you intend to use regular lead-acid batteries, be sure to keep them outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, well away from your radio equipment.

John
 

acyddrop

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Also, be aware that if you intend to use regular lead-acid batteries, be sure to keep them outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, well away from your radio equipment.
^^^^ EXCELLENT ADVICE!!! ^^^^ Lead acid batteries produce hydrogen gas while charging, and if you've ever seen the Hindenburg videos.. Well you get the idea.
 
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