how to shop/buy a power supply.

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mparker

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i should be getting a mobile rig soon to use as a base. ill need a power supply. i have no idea the first thing to look for in a power supply.

i need it to power an icom IC-208H.
 

texasemt13

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First think about the future: Is this going to be your only rig for awhile or could you possibly want to power more off of it (think of the possibilities of devices you can power off a power supply).

Second, most professional radios require 13.8V DC (like some base/mobile scanners), and without knowing anything about your ICOM I'd say it would also. That means the power supply must need to put out that much voltage. Look here for a quick lesson on power supply basics.

Third, all radios have a certain current requirement that must be available to perform optimally. For most it is around 15A. Make sure your power supply can handle the current that the radio needs to draw.

Lastly, most people will swear by Astron power supplies (I have an RS-20A; 20A=20Amp ICS*). It provides 16Amps continuous (when the PTT is held), and my radio requires 15A. Search Astron supplies, here.

If you need more amperage because you'll run more than one device off of it, account for it.
 

N0IU

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I agree with texasemt13 on everything except one thing... I know you are a Technician now, but if you think that you might even consider upgrading one day and getting an HF radio, I would say to get an Astron RS35A 35 amp power supply (or the RS35M which is the same thing with meters on the front). It doesn't cost that much more than the 20 amp supply and will have plenty of current to feed a 100 watt HF radio. Remember, buy quality up front... it only hurts once! I have been using the same Astron power supply for nearly 20 years. As a matter of fact, it is the only original piece of equipment I have had since I was first licensed in 1992.
 

N6RDC

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I've had an Astron RS-20A that's served me well. Also I've been attracted to the Alinco DM-330 MVT
due to it's compact size. Read the reviews on Eham and stick with a name brand.
 

prcguy

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The Astron switching supplies like the SS-25 and SS-30 are much smaller and lightweight compared to the RS series plus the M versions have nice voltage and current meters. These can be had on Ebay for under $100.
prcguy
 

mparker

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Thanks guys. I fully agree on spending a little up front for quality.

For now i think i just want a PS that will power one or maybe 2 vhf/uhf rigs... how are mfj's stuff? Their prices seem good. Ill also check out astron too

When it comes time to open the wallet for a hf rig... ill cross that bridge when i get there.
 

kb2vxa

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Some switching supplies throw out an awful lot of RF hash, you might direct inquiries in that direction. I avoided the whole issue with a linear type also known as "heavy metal" for its big, heavy transformer, high current pass transistors and massive heat sink. The Tripp Lite PR-60 is a bit of overkill but it can power the whole shebang even with two rigs transmitting at the same time.
PR60 - 60-Amp DC Power Supply - Precision Regulated AC-to-DC Conversion

"When it comes time to open the wallet for a hf rig... ill cross that bridge when i get there."
Sounds like a plan. My first supply was an on the cheap car battery and trickle charger (high current charging produces explosive gas and acid spatter you don't want in the shack) which worked out very well while I saved my pennies for a 12V regulated supply.
 

XTS3000

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If my equipment draws 16 amps, the I like to get a power supply that is at least 25-50% higher in current capacity. That way your not stressing out the 16 amp PS and running it at 100%.

With 16 amp draw, I would get a 25 amp PS.

Same principal applied to speakers being hooked up to amps. If the amp is 100 watts/channel, you'd want at least a 175-200 watt speaker.
 

SCPD

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Consider the Alinco MVT-340 *Linear* PS. It's big and heavy, but it'll handle anything now or 100w HF rigs in the future.

It's a bit pricey, but a good PS is an investment. :D

PS. I own the MVT-330 and while it's a great PS for VHF or higher, but I wouldn't recommend it for HF. It does have some very slight noise (switching ps) issues. It's not a huge deal, but for the price, I wish I would have purchased the 340.
 
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mrweather

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how are mfj's stuff? Their prices seem good. Ill also check out astron too
There is a reason why many hams call MFJ "Mighty Fine Junk". Their stuff is marketed at a price point that is attractive but something has to suffer for it. With MFJ it's usually quality control.

Do it right and buy an established name like Astron.

I personally own an Alinco DM-330MV and it's been running 24/7 for the last 5 years without a hiccup. No RF noise either. It puts out a maximum of 32 A and weighs all of about 2 pounds.
 

USScanner

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i should be getting a mobile rig soon to use as a base. ill need a power supply. i have no idea the first thing to look for in a power supply.

i need it to power an icom IC-208H.
I was in the same boat looking for a power supply & came across the Mean Well S-250-12's on Ebay. The company seemed reputable and the price to feature comparison blows away an Astron. 18Amp power supply for $60.00 shipped with 3 + & - rear connectors could not be beat. Plus a built in fan. I use it to power my Kenwood V71A on Echo & connect a 4" fan to blow on the rear of the radio with 1 + & - free for expansion or another radio. The Astrons has 1 + & - connection creating a jumbled mess attaching multiple connections on 1 prong.

A quick Ebay search did not find any, I found this company selling them
S-250-12, Mean Well S-250-12

For the price I saved not buying an Astron I bought 2 so to keep 1 as a backup.
 

W9BU

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I'll cast another vote for the Astron switching power supplies. Small, light, and I have no RF problems on VHF/UHF. Since Astron is in the business of building power supplies for radio communications, I'd like to believe they pay attention to eliminating the RF hash that some switchers generate.

As for sizing the supply, I like the idea of getting one that is about 50% oversized for the largest load. And, unless you plan on keying two radios simultaneously, you can use the radio with the highest transmit current to do your sizing. Most radios when in receive mode draw a fraction of what they draw in transmit.

Also, pay attention to how the power supply is rated. Is it a continuous or intermittent rating? The intermittent rating will generally be higher than the continuous rating, but the power supply won't be able to deliver the intermittent rating for a long period of time.

One thing to be careful of with Astron's, and maybe others, linear power supplies...On some Astrons, the heat sink on the back of the PS is electrically hot. If something in your system, like the shell of a coax that's connected to a radio that's connected to the power supply, touches the heat sink, you'll cause a short circuit. I've seen the sparks!
 
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