Friday, November 7, 2014

Regulated 13.8V mobile Power supply

Having minimized the cable voltage drop in the car portable wiring system I noticed I was only getting 60W out of the K3  unless the engine was running when I got the full 100W.  This was due to the drop in the supply voltage from 13.8V to 12V. What was needed was a box that maintained a constant 13.8V irrespective of the volts being supplied by the car.

I vaguely remembered that N2CEI had battery conditioning modules in his rover setup.
The large box at the rear of the trailer contained 2 car batteries and 2 voltage conditioners which maintained 13.8V. So I asked him who made them. He pointed me to his supplier TG Electronics . They did the The New N8XJK Boost Regulator:-

Voltage: Input: 9 to 15 Volts DC.
Output voltage: up to 15 Volts DC at 30A.
Dimensions: 7" wide x 3.5" deep x 2.25" high 

I also found MFJ did a similar unit "MFJ-4416B Battery Voltage Booster 12V" for $160, however having had reliability issues with MFJ equipment I decided to go with the TG Electronics unit. I ordered the optional 30A thermal trip to save having to replace fuses. It took a week to arrive.

The unit has a UHF socket which can be used to RF trigger the unit and place it in circuit when in transmit mode. Note this only works on HF/6m, forget UHF/Microwaves!. 
Performance was most impressive. When providing 20A at 13.8V from an 11.1V Input there was only 5mV RMS ripple on the output and the K3 produced 100W. I also had a listen on the KX3 while on transmit and no noise could be heard from 160m through 6m.
Another neat feature is that I could set the unit to put itself into bypass mode and sound an alarm when the input voltage dropped to 11.0V.  

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