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Good or Bad: Switching Power via External Switch

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TennFordTN

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Let me preface this post by saying that I am still a noob, and have much to learn and would love for some of you to bestow some knowledge with me.
So I can never get a straight answer in person from some buddies that are electrical geniuses. I am doing a very, very small budget build in my truck with a few radios, key word: budget, because I'm a college kid with not a lot of money.
Either way, if I were to wire all my radios individually to separate external switches in a switch panel (like on a faceplate for a patrol car) and leave the radios power switch on, could I safely power my radios on/off from the external switch without doing any damage to the equipment?


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Redryderadio

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Switching Power via External Switch

*Except for the Uniden BCD536HP,* absolutely yes. Have done it often and still do.

The BCD536 has its own set of well-publicized caveats, one of which is that cutting DC
without first turning off the power switch will not allow the micro SD card to be written
(housekeeping). AFAIK, this is the only current scanner to which this warning applies.

Have fun--and please post pictures when your installation is complete!
 

TennFordTN

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Redryderadio, thank you so much for your input. I'm glad to hear that it will work.
Since I'm still in college and funds are limited, my dad and I are going to be building an Emergency Vehicle Center Console out of MDF coated in bed liner, and will use the same faceplates as a patrol car, but will still retain a semi-stock look in my 2005 F-150.
As of right now, my only equipment is a Bearcat 880 CB, Midland Titan 70-1344B VHF, and two external speakers that will all mount with dedicated faceplates. Hopefully it'll turn out pretty good for a budget build!


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mmckenna

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Yep. Many patrol cars are set up this way. A device like a Lind Timer Shut Down Timers, Battery Chargers and Laptop Accessories | Lind Electronics
Is used to shut off power to the radios after a set amount of time to protect the batteries.
Some people also just use a master kill switch.

If you are going to be running a couple of radios, consider running a single heavy gauge power feed to your console. Power directly off the battery through a suitable sized fuse. Route that to the console and a fused terminal block. Fuse each radio independently. Use a good body ground close to the radios. Don't tap into existing circuits as this is a really good way to introduce noise into the power feeds.

Good luck!
 

ofd8001

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For the radios in my truck, I used a 12 volt power relay/solenoid. A new circuit was run from the battery with the relay/solenoid being "triggered" when the ignition is on. All of my radio equipment is on the load side of the relay/solenoid.

This relay/solenoid is effectively a switch and is probably equal to the cost of several switches.

Also, one of my radios is a BCD536HP. Even though the manual says it should not be shut off by disrupting the power, I've yet to experience any issues in the 5-6 months of doing so. Perhaps I'm just lucky.
 

firemedic2150

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Something you might want to consider that I found very helpful at times is doing the solenoid route ofd8001 mentioned but adding a double pole switch with a center off position. With the solenoid feed running from the center terminal, switched ignition on one of the on terminals and constant B+ on the other terminal, this allows you to have the radios follow ignition, or be able to leave them on with ignition off and adds the ability to kill everything with the center off if you need to.
 
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