Sunday, March 26, 2017

New power distribution kit build - Now that was fun!

At the Mike & Key Flea Market I came across a table which was displaying a radio in box concept in a small ammo can.   Not unusual, but how they put it together was very intriguing.  A QYT tiny radio was interesting, but the real surprise was the power distribution box that was built from a kit.
It had more outputs than I had see before in such a small box and there were LED lights that displayed when power was on and status of each of the outputs, as well as a digital power meter.   Since I was working at the flea market I didn't get around to buying one of these kits, until afterwards, when I contacted K9JEB  and below is the result.

K9JEB , John Boal offers the power distribution center kit at $50 plus shipping (at the time of this writing).  Per his web site its features/advantages are:
  • Build your own Kit - save money and do it yourself!
  • Flexible - build only what you need now, add or upgrade options later
  • ARES, RACES, RSGB, ARRL standard connectors
  • Industrial Strength DC Power distribution
  • Genuine Anderson PowerPoles
  • Each output Fused with its own Fuse-Blown / Short-Circuit LED
  • Filter Capacitors on each output connection (optional) - keeps electrical/vehicle noise down
  • Hot-Connect, quick-change PowerPole connections
  • Daisy-chain several units together for lots of outputs
  • Use for collecting energy from multiple Solar Panels
  • Great for power distribution from Solar Charge Controller output to the DC load
  • Use in the Car, EOC, Go-Kit, Home, Base station, or all of them!
  • Handles 30A (total load) with optional upgrade to 45A
  • Optional features:
  • Digital Voltmeter
  • 3A Max (2.5A continuous) DC-DC USB 5V Charger Power Module Option
  • 1-10V 3A Step-Down DC-DC Power Module option Can use for Baofeng, other Handheld Radio Chargers
  • 15-30V 3A Step-Up DC-DC Power Module Option - Charge your laptop battery!
  • Shipping is about $5 in the USA

You never known with "kits" what the quality will be or if the instructions cover everything.  I can say with this kit, the instructions were close too perfection.  The quality was excellent and surprise, it came with all the parts needed.   The only things I had to add was about 18 inches of #18 solid wire (which came from my scrap wire bin) and the soldering labor to make everything stay put.

Any question I had was answered by the downloadable documentation and in an evening I had everything together, tested and in operation in the shack.

My power distribution center box is the standard one with no optional power modules noted above.  Basically, one Powerpole pair for 12 volt input and eight Powerpole pairs of various amperage outputs.  The power meter was quite accurate and I mounted it on the surface of the project box.  Also included was the USB power port which is rated at 3 amps.  This works well for phone charging, running a USB light, charging a tablet or whatever other USB powered device you have hanging about.

I replaced a RigRunner 4005 with this kit.  The advantage over the 4005 was more output pairs, the power meter and of course the USB power.  The 4005 is rated a bit higher amp-wise then the basic kit, but even that is covered in the instructions.  Details are provided on how to modify the board so that it can surpass the amperage of the 4005.  I did those mods, but have not fully loaded the box.

You can see several photos of the power distribution center kit on John's website.  They are nicely put together.  I have included a photo of mine below.  Since I immediately put it into service the night I finished it, there aren't any "progress" images.  Did I mentioned it only took an evening from start to finish?  Trust me, it was easy to assemble, as long as you follow the excellent instructions.

Overall, I would highly recommend this power distribution center kit to anyone interested in learning what goes into making one and as a side benefit save a bit of money.   It was a fun project!  

Thanks to John Boal, K9JEB for creating the kit and answering all my question prior to purchase.