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AC to DC... Eliminating Wall Wart?

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#1 Footbag

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:13 AM

Is there a way to convert a device to DC just by eliminating the wall wart and using a fusable socket?  Or do I need to use some sort of boost buck device to get the current right? 

 

I am trying to take my dew heater, focuser and USB hub; and put them in an enclosure with one cable powering them all from a 12v battery.  I'm also planning a few 12v lighter sockets.  The USB runs off the wall wort as do some other devices.  I remember readin about something like this, but don't remember the details. 

 

I have an unused Powerpole distribution panel if that does anything to help me.  I'll probably use a Harbor Freight small storage box to mount everything in. 


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#2 tazer

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:48 AM

 

 

I am trying to take my dew heater, focuser and USB hub; and put them in an enclosure with one cable powering them all from a 12v battery.

 

You'll have to look at the power output of the USB hub wall wart but I suspect it's something around 5VDC. You can use a variable buck converter to get a 12VDC power source to the correct voltage. I used the below converter to convert 12VDC to 7.26VDC for my DSLR. Works very well.

 

http://www.amazon.co...uct/B00C0KL1OM/

 

Keep in mind that it's rated at 2A continuous, so you need to be aware of the power each of your devices consumes.



#3 bicparker

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:41 PM

Is there a way to convert a device to DC just by eliminating the wall wart and using a fusable socket?  Or do I need to use some sort of boost buck device to get the current right? 

 

I am trying to take my dew heater, focuser and USB hub; and put them in an enclosure with one cable powering them all from a 12v battery.  I'm also planning a few 12v lighter sockets.  The USB runs off the wall wort as do some other devices.  I remember readin about something like this, but don't remember the details. 

 

I have an unused Powerpole distribution panel if that does anything to help me.  I'll probably use a Harbor Freight small storage box to mount everything in. 

First, I would suggest forgetting lighter sockets and just use the PowerPole panel.  Lighter sockets are not always standard from one to another and their reliability can go down in the outdoors, especially if you have significant temperature changes between day and night (like we do here).  I converted most all of my 12v connections to PowerPole connectors.  

 

There are a few of reasons I like standardizing to the PowerPole connectors:  1)  Everything you have will be connected the same.  If you change equipment, you shouldn't have to change power connections.  2) They are genderless which means that (if you set up your connectors in the standard ARES configuration) you don't have to worry about the polarity of connections.  3)  PowerPoles are easy to connect in the dark with no flashlight at all.    If they are connected, they are working and you don't have to visually line them up.  6) They are designed to be used in field conditions,  5)  If not only you, but your observing buddies are also standardized on PowerPoles, then you can swap connectors, cables, and supplies without worrying if you have the right connector.  6)  If you are a Ham operator (I am.. KF5IIL), then you can use the same power connections for your telescope that you use for your radios.    This really simplifies life in those hobbies.

 

If you are using a PowerPole distribution panel like the Rig Runner, then you can have individual fusing for each power lead, depending on the model you are using.  



#4 Phil Sherman

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:02 AM

I second the use of PowerPole connectors. I've been using them for a portable imaging rig for a few years and they make setting up much easier. You can even purchase single lot colored connectors for different voltages. Be careful if you do this though, I discovered that the yellow and red connectors are almost impossible to tell apart when it's dark and you're using a very dim red light. (Your eye's cones require more photons to discern color than the rods need.)

 

I also use buck and buck/boost regulators for field power. My distribution box has 5, 7.8, 12, and 13.6 V outputs for various devices. The 13.6 comes from the buck/boost regulator while buck regulators generate all the voltages less than 12V. A powerPole connectioin to the battery lets me use a 17AH gel cell or a 100AH marine battery as needed.

 

Phil



#5 cbwerner

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:52 AM

I'm also using a RIGrunner to distribute power to my equipment from a 55ah AGM battery (a RIGrunner 4012). The PowerPole connectors are far superior to the lighter sockets. It can take some patience to get the wire/crimped connector into the housing (I'll do 5 in a row and still feel like I'm fumbling in the dark sometimes), but once you've got it you're golden. I even use them for disconnects on our electric fence to allow us access through gates. Even my darling but completely un-mechanically inclined wife can use them reliably and with no problem, provided she remembers to reconnect them. :)



#6 guyroch

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 02:22 PM

Or you can buy this ready made.  I bought one but haven't used it yet.

 

http://www.kendricka...owerpanels.html

 

It's on the expensive side though.

 

Good luck,

 

Guylain



#7 Footbag

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 07:20 PM

The Kendrick is pretty close to what I want, but I want to integrate my focuser and dew heater. The Hitech Astro Mount Hub Pro does it and a lot more. But it's not sold in the US.

The Mount Hub Pro would also require me to make new cables. I don't love that idea, even for Powerpoles. I kind of like the versatility of lighter sockets.

#8 BarryBrown

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 07:28 PM

Darn you guys. I had just bought a kit of SAE adapters and quick-disconnects for my power supply project. Now I have learned about PowerPoles. I must buy those instead.  :undecided:


Edited by BarryBrown, 12 August 2014 - 07:36 PM.


#9 bicparker

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:22 PM

I think the Kendrick is an interesting idea, but I prefer standardizing on a good connector standard, ergo the PowerPoles.  Lighter sockets and plugs, while predominant for several things, are not "standard" (there is considerable variation with the inner diameters of various sockets).  I have had too many lighter sockets lose connections due to slight movements against their cord or plug that disconnects them in the socket. These are often accompanied by arcing.  Such incidents like that aren't really appreciated by camera and cooling circuits.  Additionally, lighter sockets are not as easily weather-proofed as in-line style connectors can be and they also take up quite a bit more room.  

 

I think one other thing I like about standardizing on a connector and distribution method is that it scales up and down well and consistently.  In other words, I can use this same method for powering a one device or several devices.  I don't have to be worried about different connectors for different devices.  I am only limited by the number of PowerPole interfaces I have.  I am not faced with having only 2 lighter sockets when I need 4 and 5 terminal plugs when I only need 3.  Instead, if I need 7 power outs then all I need are 7 available connectors in my RIGrunner (and I have 8 in mine).

 

To accommodate other connectors (spades, and other terminal connectors, for instance), I typically make a set of pig-tails from that connector to a PowerPole.  That way everything going into the main power distribution connectors and controls are using the same connections, which is much easier to manage, especially in the dark (rule #1, everything has to be done in the dark).  

 

If you are interested in PowerPoles and PowerPole accessories (I know, I'm sounding like "King of the Hill"), Powerwerx is a great place to start.  They also sell the RIGrunner power distribution appliances with PowerPoles (and they also have a model that includes two USB ports, too!).    You will find that they have everything needed for power wiring, regulation, and distribution, plus a great deal more.  Their prices are reasonable and they are extremely reliable.

 

Here is their web site:

http://www.powerwerx.com



#10 n1wvet

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 11:08 PM

I use the Powerpole approach as sell.  Makes running everything on 12VDC very easy.  The connections really add up - laptop, battery, graticles, camera, mount, etc....  Also safe from reversing polarity while connecting in the dark.  I'm a ham as well - N1WV.  November-One-Whiskey-Victor.


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#11 PJ Anway

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:15 AM

Maybe it's ol' school, but I've been using banana plug connectors for years for my 12v connections. They've served me well and are relatively inexpensive.

#12 D_talley

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 09:44 AM

As for your 5 volt usb hub, get rid of it and get a 12 volt one that will eliminate the need for power converters.  I use this for my USB.

 

http://www.amazon.co...=12volt usb hub



#13 Phil Sherman

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 12:21 PM

As for your 5 volt usb hub, get rid of it and get a 12 volt one that will eliminate the need for power converters.  I use this for my USB.

 

http://www.amazon.co...=12volt usb hub

 

Using this device will certainly eliminate the need for a 12V to 5V regulator but, like most devices, there's a lot about it that isn't mentioned in the marketing description.

 

USB devices require 5V power supplied by the socket., therefore this device must have a 12V to 5V regulator built into the box. There are two types of regulator that could be used; a switching regulator or a linear regulator. A linear regulator, a much simpler device, will use twice as much power from the battery as a switching one. I'd also hope that whatever regulator they installed in the box is capable of supplying 2A of power at 5V, enough to supply the standard 500ma that USB specifications require at each of the four ports.

 

Phil


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#14 dandabson

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:01 AM

This was my solution:

 

https://www.facebook...07517483&type=1



#15 bicparker

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:17 PM

If your needs are both 12v and USB 5v (which, for better or for worse is becoming a common thing... I find it odd that simply to have a power source we also need it bundled into a high speed data connection), then RIGrunner offer a pretty nice little package if you are also considering or using Anderson PowerPoles as your primary power connection method:

 

http://www.westmount...ts_id=rr_4004_c

 

4004U-bigZoom.jpg

 

As you can see, the input and each power output (except for the USB) is also individually fused.


Edited by bicparker, 17 August 2014 - 12:19 PM.


#16 bicparker

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:35 PM

While this is a bit beyond the scope of the OP's original question, I wanted to show this as an example of what some of the good long term ramifications can be.  This might not be relevant to many people trying to decide what power connections to use, but for those who are considering a back yard observatory, a remote observatory, or even something they can monitor from their tent during a star party, then something like this might be worth investigating.

 

The nice thing about using a robust standard connector like a PowerPole is that it also opens up some other options for power management that are not as easily available with lighter plugs.  For example, if you need something even more sophisticated, such as if you are operating a remote observatory and want to monitor your power distribution over the Internet (including email alerts) then there is this option:

 

http://www.westmount...cts_id=rr_4005i

 

4005i-bigZoom.jpg

4005i_back-bigZoom.jpg

It also comes in a wi-fi version (for your observatory just up behind your house)

 

4005i_wifi-bigZoom.jpg

and a rack mounted version:  

 

4005i_metal-bigZoom.jpg



#17 StephenW

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:50 PM

Another vote for the Anderson powerpoles – love them!

 

I spent a couple of hours yesterday converting all my power sources to DC with power pole connectors to make it easy to switch things around.  I am also using some buck convertors to give me 8v (DSLR), 2x13.8v (mount and CCD) and 19v (laptop), plus a selection of 12v connections for all the other stuff.

 

I love the look of the rig-runners  - much better than the collection of free floating connectors/convertors I currently have – but they only provide a single voltage across all the outputs, where I need a mix.

 

Does anyone know if there are equivalents to the rig-runners that support different output voltages?

 

Steve


Edited by StephenW, 17 August 2014 - 02:52 PM.

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#18 bicparker

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:13 PM

 

Does anyone know if there are equivalents to the rig-runners that support different output voltages?

 

Steve

So you are either looking for a device with one input voltage and multiple output voltages or multiple in and multiple out?

 

Looking at other manufacturers and sellers (Powerwerx, MFJ, West Mountain Radio, et al), the power distribution boxes they make are for one voltage/multiple loads, which is because they are designed with Ham radio operators in mind, primarily, who mostly use equipment designed to run off of 12v.  The one exception, of course, is the RIGRunner I showed above with the additional 2 USB ports (5v).  However, one of the reasons these distribution panels are made in different sizes with respect to numbers of outlets is so one can mix and match where necessary.  

 

So one solution would be to get or more RIGrunners or RIGRunner equivalents (there are a few others out there if you do a quick search) and have different voltage inputs to each of them.  The 12v rated rigs can certainly support lower voltages and there are others designed for much higher voltages and amperage (Anderson PowerPoles come in a variety of current capacities).  Most of these rigs can be surface mounted or rack mounted (or both) so you should be able to put together a pretty decent power management center.  Make sure, however, if you are running less than 12v through a RIGRunner, you will need to use a model that does not have the audible alarm for voltage drops.

 

As another option, Powerwerx and a few others also offer PowerPole brackets and mounting accessories if you want to make your own power distribution device (plus there are a ton of plans and videos on the Internet with instructions and different design options).



#19 StephenW

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:50 PM

Thanks for the response David.

 

Yep - was hoping to find either a single to multi voltage unit, or even a multi-multi voltage unit.

 

Anyway, had another look at the Powerwerx site, and the brackets look like they might be enough to help tidy up my current setup.

 

Steve



#20 BarryBrown

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 05:35 PM

Oh boy.

 

I just dropped $200 on a PowerPole setup: $80 for the RigRunner with USB ports, $40 for the crimper, and the rest on assorted parts. All that to plug in one scope -- but with an eye toward future expansion.

 

I must say, though, PowerPoles are quite nifty! The connectors are easy to hook together, yet feel solid. The RigRunner is probably overpriced for what's inside, but it sure saved me hours of cutting holes in a homemade chassis. It'll handle up to 40 amps, which is way overkill.

 

For those curious, here's my shopping list, all from powerwerx.com:

 

6ft 10ga power supply cable with 45 amp PowerPoles, $14

RigRunner 4004 USB, $80

Set of 10 bonded red/black 15 amp PowerPoles, $12

2.1mm right-angle DC power adapter, $8

50 ft 16 ga red/black zip cord (for making extension cables), $20

Mounting clamp for two PowerPoles (for mounting extra PPs), $3

Assorted color 15 amp PowerPoles (in case I want to supply different voltages using buck/boost regulators), $11

Crimper, $40


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#21 mclewis1

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 10:28 AM

Barry,

 

It certainly is great gear. You'll be happy you made the jump ... even years down the road.

 

"Overkill"? ... perhaps

"Expensive"? ... certainly

"Superb quality" ... absolutely

 

You've bought not only plenty of capacity and future expansion capability but also good insurance. What's it worth to you to not ever have to worry or wonder about the quality of your connections?

 

The part that always makes me uncomfortable (money wise) is the crimping tool. Years ago I helped a friend with an observatory and we asked around to find some ham radio folks who loaned us the crimper. We also shared spare connectors and bulk cable.


Edited by mclewis1, 30 August 2014 - 10:29 AM.


#22 bicparker

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 12:04 PM

Not that expensive when you consider what you are doing with this.

 

I found, through time and experience, that the crimping tool is by far the most important piece of equipment in making PowerPoles work well.  I am a Ham operator (KF5IIL), so I get more than average use out of my tools for power.  But when I first started setting up PowerPole connections many years ago, I tried using a lesser expensive, simpler crimper.  That ended up being a huge mistake. I had to continually reshape my crimps and was destroying 1-2 crimps out of 10. The typical premium crimper for PowerPoles, by contrast, easily makes consistent, squared off reliable crimps for the connections.  With a PowerPole contact/housing unit costing over 50 cents apiece, you find yourself wanting to pay the additional $$ for a better dedicated crimper.  

 

The difference here, by the way, is between $20 for the cheaper tool that uses simple interlocking flanges (and you will have to reshape the crimp after your initial press) as opposed to the $40 tool that uses a contact containment die to properly shape and consistently place the crimp placement without over delivery of crimp pressure (making it a much easier one step process).  I'll spend the extra $20 for the premium crimp tool knowing what I know now.  Unfortunately, I originally spent $20 for the cheap tool and probably around $8-10 on bad crimps, and then $40 on a good crimper.  So, the lesson was learned at the expense of an additional $30 (and time lost) on top of the $40 I would have spent originally if I had simply bought the better crimping tool.

 

Good stuff does not come free.  I try to look at costs like this in context.  So, for instance, we are willing to spend a few thousand dollars on some precision optical, mechanical, and electronic equipment, so why shouldn't we be willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a high quality, reliable electrical power distribution system that will help protect the thousands of dollars we already spent on this system?  I'm not advocating that spending money will always solve problems, but there are some things where money can be well spent and I think this is one of them (cases for equipment is another, again, if it is spent on quality casing).



#23 BarryBrown

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 12:50 PM

I didn't balk at the price of the crimper. $40 seemed quite reasonable. Having put together my share of Cat5 cables over the years, I have experienced the value of a good crimper. Thankfully, Monoprice has put an end to my need to make Cat5 cables.

 

I just hope I need to make more PowerPole crimps in the future. So far, each crimp has effectively cost $10. ;)

 

Now wondering if PowerPoles are secure enough for quadcopter use...



#24 tigerroach

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 12:57 PM

I think I am going to switch to powerpoles also... I don't need many connections - the ground board on my dob has all I need for fans & dew heaters, so I really just need 1 to plug it in. So I don't think I need a rig runner... I was thinking of this power supply:

 

http://www.powerwerx...powerpoles.html

 

Would that work, or should I look at other options?



#25 bicparker

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 01:14 PM

That will work just fine with overhead to spare.  If, later on, you have additional power distribution needs, then you can add a RigRunner.


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