Power supply needed for programming a mobile radio!

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MisterK33

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Seems like a really dumb question, but I need to ask it anyways... I'm looking to get my first dual-band mobile unit later this year and install it in my truck. With my Baofeng, to program local frequencies I just hooked up the radio to my computer, ran CHIRP, and was done. When I get my mobile unit, do I have to pick up a power supply to program it from my computer that *one time*, and then install it? I don't have a laptop to use to program the new radio after it's installed...
 

jonwienke

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I don't have a laptop to use to program the new radio after it's installed...
CHIRP doesn't require much CPU horsepower. You could use a 10-year-old clunker laptop running XP, and get it cheaper than a good 12V power supply.
 

FKimble

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Just use a battery. I keep an old one around for such things. Yank the battery out of your truck to use. Be a good time to clean the post and cable ends before installing radio in your truck. And as long as you don't press the PTT key, the radio won't use much juice at all. And since there will be no antenna attached while programing, you shouldn't be trying to key up, it's really not good for the radio. A 12vdc wall wart may even supply enough juice for powering up and programing.
 

quarterwave

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A 12v battery from an alarm system will work. Those gel cell square or rectangle ones in the metal panel of the alarm system...not hard to find. Even a used one should be good. They will run 1-2 amps load for hours.

If not that, use a 12v DC output powerpack from something. Most people have a few of these somewhere...just check the label and make sure it's 12-13.5 V DC and will put out at least 500ma, that should be good enough to run a mobile for programming. Just don't try to transmit.

For my M mobiles, I actually use an old charger for an old M bagphone cell phone, it has the right plug, and is wired for the right polarity, plug and play.

If you just need one or two shots, in a pinch, go to the hardware store and get an lantern battery.

There are several solutions.
 
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Just be careful whatever methiod you choose, if a connection come loose or your battery dies during the programming sequence. Your radio may end up in an un-recoverable state i.e., a brick.
 

MisterK33

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So it looks like there's 3 options:

1. Install the radio, pick up a cheap laptop, hook up the radio with a USB cable to the laptop, and run the programming software

2. Hook the radio up to a power supply (~$100 new, cheaper used), program the radio from my computer using a USB cable, run the programming software, then install radio in truck

3. Hook up the radio to a power source (car battery, etc), program the radio from my computer using a USB cable, run the programming software, then install radio in truck.

Any other thoughts or suggestions? I really appreciate every bit of information...
 

jonwienke

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I would recommend option #1, because then you can update the programming of the radio if needed without uninstalling it.
 

N4KVE

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A 12 volt power supply should be the 2nd piece of equipment any radio enthusiast gets. Decent used 20 amp switchers can easily be found for $50.
 

cmdrwill

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And your second piece of 'test equipment' would be a 50 - 100 watt dummy load. Not some cheep hammie thing with lots of swr......

Power supply with proper fuses in cable
Dummy load
Multimeter
 

vagrant

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As mentioned, a portable 12v battery jumper box is a good investment, or you may have one already. Make sure it is fully charged and use the 12v cigarette plug port on there. Another option is to use the 12v...hopefully it is a 12v battery out of your backup power UPS you should be using with your computer. (Do not leave it plugged into the leads on the UPS device. Remove it completely, then connect your radio.)

Do not plug in the microphone. This will help you avoid transmitting, but not entirely with all radios.

I have tried CHIRP with Kenwood and Yaesu radios. It did not work so well. While it works wonderfully with a Baofeng, I found that using the free Kenwood provided software for my specific radio works best. For Yaesu I use several versions of G4HFQ Radio Programming Software. Yes there is a fee for that software, but it is well worth it.
 
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