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Anyone ever run a base station off grid?

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nfernaays

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I have been thinking of putting together some sort of off grid solution for running my base station. I have a Uniden 980SSB and a 100w kicker running to a A-99. I have a nice Mega watt power supply (S-700-12 50 Amps Continuous Adjustable Voltage 10 - 14 VDC) that works nicely running my gear. But for and off the grid solution i was hoping to get some input on a type of battery, connections, and perhaps charging hardware ideas.
I know some hams us things like the DC to go box (West Mountain Radio - Home) and they look pretty slick, would these work the same for CB? Obviously i understand they all run on 12 volts and would be able to use them but would they perform the same way if i hooked up a cb with kicker or would it be an expensive way to power my radio for 5 mins? Over all i would like to be able to operate for a few hours at a time, charging via a generator or solar. All ideas are welcome.
 

mmckenna

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It'll work, but it's an expensive solution.

There are easier ways to do it.

You can purchase 12 volt power supplies with a battery revert option. When there is AC power available, it'll run the radio/amp and keep a 12 volt battery charged. When the AC power fails, it'll automatically revert to the battery. 23 Amp 12VDC Power Supply with Battery Back-up | SEC-1223BBM

The amount of run time off the battery will depend on how big a battery you purchase.
You can buy just the stand alone battery revert modules if you shop around. You can even make your own.

Important part is that you shouldn't have a 12 volt battery charging inside your home. They need to be properly vented.
 

nfernaays

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It'll work, but it's an expensive solution.

There are easier ways to do it.

You can purchase 12 volt power supplies with a battery revert option. When there is AC power available, it'll run the radio/amp and keep a 12 volt battery charged. When the AC power fails, it'll automatically revert to the battery. 23 Amp 12VDC Power Supply with Battery Back-up | SEC-1223BBM

The amount of run time off the battery will depend on how big a battery you purchase.
You can buy just the stand alone battery revert modules if you shop around. You can even make your own.

Important part is that you shouldn't have a 12 volt battery charging inside your home. They need to be properly vented.
Whoa! I like this, i am wondering could you run a few 12 volts in parallel and still have this work?
 

mmckenna

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Yes, putting a few batteries in parallel will work and increase runtime.

I'd recommend fusing each individual battery. Wire each battery to a common point, and then a heavier gauge cable to the charger.

Other option is to just run a 12 volt battery system for all your stuff. Use a well regulated/voltage controlled power supply to keep the batteries charged. The battery manufacturers will supply a "float" voltage where you can safely leave them connected 100% of the time.
 

nfernaays

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Yes, putting a few batteries in parallel will work and increase runtime.

I'd recommend fusing each individual battery. Wire each battery to a common point, and then a heavier gauge cable to the charger.

Other option is to just run a 12 volt battery system for all your stuff. Use a well regulated/voltage controlled power supply to keep the batteries charged. The battery manufacturers will supply a "float" voltage where you can safely leave them connected 100% of the time.
This is all great information. Besides the previous link provided do you recommend anyone else as far as getting this gear? Also what type of battery do you suggest? I know i should get a deep cycle but is lead acid better than gel type? I heard lithium ion would be a good way to go as well...Thoughts?
 

mmckenna

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This is all great information. Besides the previous link provided do you recommend anyone else as far as getting this gear?
I think there are a few others, but none pop into my head at the moment.
Like the one I linked to above, you can get ones with the battery revert built in.
You can also find external units that would work with your existing power supply.

Also what type of battery do you suggest? I know i should get a deep cycle but is lead acid better than gel type? I heard lithium ion would be a good way to go as well...Thoughts?
Gel cells are lead acid, but yes. What you want to avoid is the liquid type batteries, like motorcycle, ATV, most automotive. They'll work, but it's really not what you want for this sort of application.
There are a number of options, but in general the gelled electrolyte types are ideal.

What you need to do is decide how much run time you want, how much money you want to spend, and decide what will work. Higher ampere/hour ratings give you more run time, but that's also comes at a cost.
There are several sources, but sometimes if you look around you can score old telecom or alarm system batteries for free or cheap.
 

rbm

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You can refer to this thread and my posts there.

Last month I lost power for 5 days and was still able to run my computers, Broadcastify feeds, watch TV, run the water heater and well pump, keep my electric fence live, and surf the internet with my setup.

And ........
Run more than 40 scanners and eleven computers.

With NO problems at all.
Other than the extra cost for the gasoline. ;)

http://forums.radioreference.com/electronics/331881-battery-backup.html#post2675538

Rich

Edit:
Oh, and I kept the 5 kegs of beer cold also. ;)


.
 

nfernaays

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I ended up taking a different direction and built a cb go box. This is a uniden 980 SSB with a RM KL203P kicker running off of a 40ah LiFePo4 battery (yes it was expensive) I have a rig runner with usb connections and run a dipole antenna. Still in initial testing phase on this rig but i like it so far. In a grid down scenario i can hook this up to my base antenna and have gotten great reports.
 

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edweirdFL

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That's nice and clean looking. I like it.

One of the reasons I take one of my amateur HF radios to a park each week and operate from battery power with a portable antenna for 2 hours is to practice for a grid down scenario. I don't lug my solar panel and charge controller along, but I have one that I would use to recharge my battery in the event of an extended power outage.
 

prcguy

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Many years ago I ran most of my amateur station from a 110AH deep cycle battery charged by a 60w solar panel and a cheap solar charger. Using a 100w HF rig a lot and occasionally transmitting on 2m/440 I never came close to running the battery down.

The 110AH battery was about $80 from Costco, 60W panels are now $49 from Solar Blvd and you can get a 10A MPPT solar charger from Ebay for about $15.

Later I super sized to a 720AH calcium lead wet cell and 400W of solar panels because it was mostly free. That's more power than you could ever use powering radios. At some point an ammeter in the charging circuit failed and I didn't know the batteries were not getting charged and they ran my entire station for about 6mo with until I finally damaged the batteries.

Now I have four 6V 220AH golf cart batteries in series parallel for 12V at 440AH charged from my 400W panels. The batteries were cheap at $86 each and so far its working great powering the entire station and an ocasional 500W amplifier.

I also camp a lot using the 110AH battery in my travel trailer to power a 100W HF radio and a bunch of other 12V equipment charged from a 60W panel and I use a second 110AH battery sitting outside charged from a portable 200W panel to run a 500W amplifier. I've used the 500W amp all day and all night without running the battery down to any critical levels and the panels charge it right back up the next day.

With all that said I think most amateurs or CBrs can get by with a single 100AH class deep cycle battery and a 60W solar panel, but prices on solar panels have dropped drastically and a 100W panel is only about $85.
prcguy
 
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swen_out_west

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I have my prospecting camper hooked up as an off grid comm shack, lol. It works great. Keep in mind that if you have a charger connected at the same time you are running the radios, you will get AC hum.

WalMart sells a big capacitor in the car audio section that works great for shunting ripple to ground. Just picked up another one last week, Scosche 500K Micto-Farad for $40.

They work great and the nice part is that it has a display on it showing your voltage. Personally they work so well for my apps that I have installed them on all my rigs.

FYI I have an antenna switch hooked up for this set up. I have one 4' firestik permanently mounted.that I sometimes switch out with a 7 footer depending on clearance. (Once I hit the desert I put up the 7 footer). I also use a Imax 2000 on 2 10 foot fencepost rails when at camp. It really only takes 5 minutes to set up. Am thinking of getting an A-99 for this purpose though which would make it even easier.

I have a 100 watt solar panel on 2 batteries and run the small generator in the evening. I also run a GMRS radio, tv and other stuff off of it so the run time is not going to be the same. Running my 203 will definitely decrease my transmit time but barefoot you could go all day.
 
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Lockedin

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I ended up taking a different direction and built a cb go box. This is a uniden 980 SSB with a RM KL203P kicker running off of a 40ah LiFePo4 battery (yes it was expensive) I have a rig runner with usb connections and run a dipole antenna. Still in initial testing phase on this rig but i like it so far. In a grid down scenario i can hook this up to my base antenna and have gotten great reports.
VERY COOL ! I really like that.
 

LCRay

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I ended up taking a different direction and built a cb go box. This is a uniden 980 SSB with a RM KL203P kicker running off of a 40ah LiFePo4 battery (yes it was expensive) I have a rig runner with usb connections and run a dipole antenna. Still in initial testing phase on this rig but i like it so far. In a grid down scenario i can hook this up to my base antenna and have gotten great reports.
This is sweet.

Do you spread out any radials from the antenna base?

I have built portable solar ( or charger) powered battery packs but the built in radio set up is a great addition.
 

jhooten

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Four 35ah SLAs charged by a 160 panel powering (subject to change at a whim) a Kenwood VHF, Kenwood UHF, Midland CB, and an Icom IC-735. An inverter is available to power non-12VDC equipment as may be needed.

No that the panel has been upgraded the batts will be up sized at the next scheduled replacement.
 
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