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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: W8JX on February 16, 2011, 07:44:50 AM



Title: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 16, 2011, 07:44:50 AM
I just did a test that many may find interesting especially those wanting to be more "green". Using a old style Astron 20amp Linear supply and a Astron 30 amp switching supply I made the following observations.  Also the test rig was a Kenwood TS-570 and transmitting FSK into a dummy load.  Furthermore radio draws 1.45 amp on standby and 12.46 amps at 50 watts out and 17.4 amps at 100 watts out @13.8 volts.

RS20

Turned on no load:                             18 watts   total
With radio turned on low volume:        53 watts   total
With radio transmitting 50 watts:        310 watts  total
With radio transmitting 100 watts:      436 watts  total


In summary, power supply draws 35 watts extra to power radio and 292 watts extra to transmit 50 watts and 418 watts extra at 100 watts output


SS30

Turned on no load:                              9 watts   total
With radio turned on low volume:        36 watts   total
With radio transmitting:                     215 watts  total
With radio transmitting 100 watts:      306 watts  total

In summary, power supply draws 27 watts extra to power radio and 206 watts extra to transmit 50 watts and 297 watts extra for 100 watts out


Overall efficiency we see that RS20 is  37% at standby and  55% @ 50 watts and  55% @100 watts key down

And for the SS30 it is  55% at standby and  80% @50 watts and 79% @100 watts at key down

It has gotten my attention and I am retiring RS20a to standby duty. A even bigger linear supply would likely have even greater efficiency losses at light to moderate loads. The RS20 uses more power from wall socket at 50 watts out than SS30 does at 100 watts out. Very good reason to go with a switching supply here.   :)


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB2WIK on February 16, 2011, 10:57:14 AM
Good observations; seems about right...however how did you measure the line power consumed (AC)?



Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 16, 2011, 06:39:03 PM
Those readings were as taken at socket plug for power supply. (it was plugged into a device that measure power being used) Line voltage was 120.1 during test. I was kinda surprised at the difference. 


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KH6AQ on February 17, 2011, 02:17:53 AM
Good data. Most rigs spend most of their time in receive mode. With the 17 watt difference and figuring 7 cents per kW-hr the payback for switching to the $140 SS30 occurs after 13 years of continous use.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 17, 2011, 12:18:33 PM
Also consider that the linear supply I used was a RS-20 and many use a RS-35 which surely would have a higher usage idle no load and also therefore power efficiency on light loads too. In this case the saving with a SS30 would be greater. I have no RS35 here to test.  I do have a Astron SL-11 and it draws only 7 watts on standby with no load.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 17, 2011, 02:07:13 PM
Good data. Most rigs spend most of their time in receive mode. With the 17 watt difference and figuring 7 cents per kW-hr the payback for switching to the $140 SS30 occurs after 13 years of continous use.

While the data is interesting, the difference is not enough to make me replace my existing Astrons.

I was reading a story about the new crop of computerized front-loading washing machines. They cost anywhere from 70 to 100 percent more than a comparable top loader and the dollar savings in water and electricity average $48/year. Considering the average life of a washing machine in 7-10 years. one will be hard pressed to recover the increased cost within the lifespan of the unit. Not to mention that repairs run 75 to 300 percent higher than a top loader.

Same deal with power supplies - linear supplies are generally easily repaired by the average ham and switchers seem to not be.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 17, 2011, 03:32:09 PM
Switchers are here to stay and very reliable if properly sized for load. Linear power supplies are going the way of incandescent bulb which are very inefficient too. I was a believer in old technology power supplies until and saw how inefficient they are.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 17, 2011, 03:47:06 PM
Switchers are here to stay and very reliable if properly sized for load. Linear power supplies are going the way of incandescent bulb which are very inefficient too. I was a believer in old technology power supplies until and saw how inefficient they are.

No argument, but I see no need to replace perfectly functioning equipment until it dies, especially since any actual savings in the interim is minimal, at best.

If you get the idea that I'm not exactly a big fan of being "green", you are very astute. :)



Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 17, 2011, 04:03:05 PM
Well for me it is not about being green per say but rather more efficient when possible. Maybe I might save 20 or 30 bucks a year which will not break the bank but point is it is money to spend elsewhere. Also when it comes to emergency power, my shack can run off two each 1 KW UPS and one is commercial duty with external batteries and the switch puts far less load on even at 100 watts out and no power supply start-up surge either.    Also during cooling season there is less heat to cool too.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 17, 2011, 05:41:01 PM
To each his own ... for whatever reason(s).


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KE3WD on February 17, 2011, 05:43:37 PM
And many of the more modern switcher designs also include Power Factor Correction, as well.  


With a very wide AC voltage input range.  

Coupled with the genset, it is indeed a win-win situation for the EMCOMM operator or even the casual portable or camper operation as well as the contester, who these days may be able to garner some extras as contests follow Field Day on the idea of including these kind of off the grid power sources.  

Smaller size, MUCH lighter in weight, the tradeoff is heightened complexity and possibly lower MTBF due to the component count.  

Troubleshooting and repairing switchers is not the impossible task that the uninitiated like to speak about, either.  We have to get over the ridiculous notion that "change = bad" someday.  

It is a good thing to have choices. 

It is an even better thing to be able to make those choices by design. 


73


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB2WIK on February 18, 2011, 01:42:58 PM
And many of the more modern switcher designs also include Power Factor Correction, as well.  


With a very wide AC voltage input range.

Indeed.  Actually to comply with CE requirements in Europe, power supplies above 70W (I think) must be power factor corrected.  And it's very true that many, and probably most, switch mode power supplies are "universal input," 90-264Vrms 50/60 Hz, so if you change countries you only need change a plug (adapter) and nothing else.  Very handy! 

 


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 18, 2011, 03:22:36 PM
I guess I didn't phrase my replies correctly, so let me try again.

(1) I have nothing against switcher power supplies. I have a Samlex that I use with my drag-along-rig, but I have two linear Astrons in the shack, plus a spare.
(2) The projected savings in electricity is measurable, but not considerable, and it will take more than a few years of continuous service to recover the additional cost vs a linear.
(3) In light of (2), I see no need to replace perfectly functioning power supplies at this time. When one fails, possibly, maybe even probably, but not until then.
(4) I am not against change, but not just for change's sake; I have to have a reason, and personally, the minuscule savings over the course of a year isn't a sufficient enough reason.

As I posted previously, To each his own ... for whatever reason(s).


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KE3WD on February 18, 2011, 04:14:40 PM
Aw c'mon, Lou, you know me well enough by now to know that penny pinchin' yours truly wouldn't toss *any* working piece of anything unless and until it is of no value of any kind.  And even then, I usually strip out whatever is left that may be good, or at least save the case and chassis for a future project. 

I'm also well known for buying a new car and hanging on to it until I have driven it into. the. ground.  *grin*


73


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 18, 2011, 08:14:12 PM

I'm also well known for buying a new car and hanging on to it until I have driven it into. the. ground.  *grin*


I tend to keep them at least 8 to 10 years and usually 200k miles or more too


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KH6AQ on February 19, 2011, 06:26:02 AM
Troubleshooting and repairing switchers is not the impossible task that the uninitiated like to speak about, either.

I design switching power supplies and would prefer not to have to troubleshoot an unfamiliar unit. At the price of ham power supplies they are disposable. Broken power supply? Buy a new one for $89.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 19, 2011, 06:45:55 AM

I'm also well known for buying a new car and hanging on to it until I have driven it into. the. ground.  *grin*


73

I'm not quite THAT bad, but my '03 Windstar does have 147k on it. :) It was my company vehicle that I bought when I retired. It got a rebuilt transmission at about 95k and I will drive it until the repairs exceed the book value.  Of course, I'm not driving 25-30k a year any more.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KE7DZS on February 19, 2011, 11:09:16 AM
I have have an astron ra 20 and ss 30.  I only bought the ss 30 because I got a new radio that needed a beefier supply.  I can't see how upgrading to a switcher would be cost efficient in most ham shacks as I am sure sure we all have wall warts that wast much more energy each year.
     I am not a fan of CFL bulbs.  They are expensive, in my experience don't last much longer than incandescent bulbs and are much less green in their manufacture and disposal.  Perhaps it is just me but CFL bulbs seem to break easily. A drop where an incandescent bulb would bounce and be OK results in a shattered CFL bulb. As I understand it the manufacture of CFL bulbs produces more toxic wast and uses more energy than the manufacture of incandescent bulbs. So in the end I believe CFL bulbs are worse for the environment.
      My 91 car and 96 Diesel PU are paid for and run fine.
     
      When someone tells you a newer technology is better and more energy efficient  be skeptical and look at the whole picture. How many folks look at electric cars as the answer to pollution. Depends on where the power comers from, burning coal to make electricity to run a can is about as stupid as using corn to make ethanol to put in gasoline.  Do any of you recall the recent fraud where a guy was selling stock in a company to run cars on compressed air.  He made a lot of money the disappeared.  A large tank of compressed air may propel a small car a couple miles at best. 
      Time to get off my soap box.

KE7DZS


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 20, 2011, 10:00:43 AM
I have have an astron ra 20 and ss 30.  I only bought the ss 30 because I got a new radio that needed a beefier supply.  I can't see how upgrading to a switcher would be cost efficient in most ham shacks as I am sure sure we all have wall warts that wast much more energy each year.

Wall warts or not, wasted energy with a old supply is wasted energy and will use more than a switch so I see no logic in this.

     I am not a fan of CFL bulbs.  They are expensive, in my experience don't last much longer than incandescent bulbs and are much less green in their manufacture and disposal.  Perhaps it is just me but CFL bulbs seem to break easily. A drop where an incandescent bulb would bounce and be OK results in a shattered CFL bulb. As I understand it the manufacture of CFL bulbs produces more toxic wast and uses more energy than the manufacture of incandescent bulbs. So in the end I believe CFL bulbs are worse for the environment.

They can be had for peanuts today and they are evolving too. I have some that have been in service since they first came out and my house has long been all CFL except for oven and fridge lights. A incandescent bulb converts approx 5% of energy to light and other 95% to waste heat. It gets kinda scary to consider how many billion o tons of coal, billions of barrels of oil and natural gas we have wasted over the years with incandescent bulbs. CFL does have draw backs in outdoor cold weather applications as they can take several minutes to warm up at zero and below but now there is LED PAR replacements available that are not too pricey. I bought a few to test with outdoor lights on rear of house and while they draw 13 watts each they are very bright and broad and instant on even below zero. Also in another test I replaced 3ea 60 watt incandescent bulbs outside for porch and outside of garage with 3ea 2w SMD LED bulbs. They are nearly as bright and very clean white light.  If you run numbers and average 12 hrs a night. Old bulb used 788KW and new ones 26kw a year. Saving is even bigger when you consider they are sometimes left on all day. 

      My 91 car and 96 Diesel PU are paid for and run fine.

I have a 89 4x4 burb I bought new that is still cherry and runs like new at over 200k original running gear.

     
      When someone tells you a newer technology is better and more energy efficient  be skeptical and look at the whole picture. How many folks look at electric cars as the answer to pollution. Depends on where the power comers from, burning coal to make electricity to run a can is about as stupid as using corn to make ethanol to put in gasoline.  Do any of you recall the recent fraud where a guy was selling stock in a company to run cars on compressed air.  He made a lot of money the disappeared.  A large tank of compressed air may propel a small car a couple miles at best.
 
Well you are somewhat correct on electric cars but being that a IC car only puts about 15% of energy to wheels and rest goes to heat and friction while a electric car can be in 80% range and above. On corn it is real dumb to convert a food source to motor fuel, REAL DUMB. Furthermore because of JQ Public affinity's for 87 octane which severely limits engine design as far as CR ratio which has a big effect on fuel efficiency. Alcohol has a much higher octane and much higher CR could be used in a engine made for alcohol.  Main reason diesels are more efficient is because average CR is twice that of a gas motor. Many will only change when forced too.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KH6AQ on February 20, 2011, 01:31:10 PM
Alcohol contains one half the energy per weight as does gasoline. It takes about as much petroleum energy to produce a BTU of corn ethanol energy as can be usefully obtained from it. Our food production and distribution is petroleum intensive. So goes the price of oil goes food prices.

Diesel is more efficient because the engine - a heat engine - has a higher temperature differential. But it takes 1/3 more petroleum to produce a gallon a diesel. Savings gone!

Electric cars are actually coal cars. Plug an electric car into the power grid and where does the power come from? Not from wind or solar. That power is already spoken for and always runs as full as it can. Plug in an electric car to charge and someone somewhere turns up the knob a little bit at a coal plant. Drive an electric car with lead-acid batteries and roughly 3 lbs of battery must be rebuilt each day. That's not so green now, is it?

Why do gasoline cars rule? Because they the free market has decided (correctly) that they provide the lowest cost per mile.

Incandescent bulbs? No more 100 watts bulbs as of the end of this year. The next after that 60 watters go away. And the year after that go the 40 watters. If you enjoy incandescents stock up now.

Have fun and consume. Who are you saving the petroleum for? The world will drink deeply of it until it's gone, global warming or no global warming. Crank back the power on an amp to make a tube last a little bit longer? No way! Push that puppy and work that DX. Buy a bigger power supply so it "loafs along?" A waste of capital. But the smallest and use it. Use the left over money to buy something else. Consume, don't conserve.



Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 20, 2011, 02:34:12 PM
Alcohol contains one half the energy per weight as does gasoline. It takes about as much petroleum energy to produce a BTU of corn ethanol energy as can be usefully obtained from it. Our food production and distribution is petroleum intensive. So goes the price of oil goes food prices.

Not is all as it seems here. First is has about 60% of BTU energy but it also has much higher octane and cools mixture far more with means greater expansion and power (Indy cars have long raced on Alcohol) The Problem is that all fuel cars do not exploit E85 and do not use it efficiently because they are ham stringed with a lower CR for 87 octane tolerance. A much higher CR would raise MPG up to nearly par with gas PLUS much greater power too.

Diesel is more efficient because the engine - a heat engine - has a higher temperature differential. But it takes 1/3 more petroleum to produce a gallon a diesel. Savings gone!

Heat engine? It is not a Sterling. It gets its efficiency for greater expansion from higher CR as this captures more energy. As far as cost, when they crack a barrel of oil they get several products problem is diesel demand has unbalance the split demand and therefore costs more to make today than in past. 


Electric cars are actually coal cars. Plug an electric car into the power grid and where does the power come from? Not from wind or solar. That power is already spoken for and always runs as full as it can. Plug in an electric car to charge and someone somewhere turns up the knob a little bit at a coal plant. Drive an electric car with lead-acid batteries and roughly 3 lbs of battery must be rebuilt each day. That's not so green now, is it?

Actually they are natural gas and oil cars too because last administration pushed expansion and use of oil and natural gas for power plants because it was cheaper to clean even though we are the middle east of coal with proven reserves exceeding 300 years. Power plants are about 50% efficient for overall more efficient than a gas car.  Plus there is wind power and such and nuclear. Nobody uses lead acid batteries for cars except home brew or golf carts.
 

Why do gasoline cars rule? Because they the free market has decided (correctly) that they provide the lowest cost per mile.

A Myth. It is because other forms of energy have been stifled. Do you think Big Oil wants solar, nuclear or coal power to expand? People complain about a 30 or 40 cent tax on gas that at least is spent here but not the 2 dollars plus of ever gallon that goes overseas.

Incandescent bulbs? No more 100 watts bulbs as of the end of this year. The next after that 60 watters go away. And the year after that go the 40 watters. If you enjoy incandescents stock up now.


Good riddance.

Have fun and consume. Who are you saving the petroleum for? The world will drink deeply of it until it's gone, global warming or no global warming. Crank back the power on an amp to make a tube last a little bit longer? No way! Push that puppy and work that DX. Buy a bigger power supply so it "loafs along?" A waste of capital. But the smallest and use it. Use the left over money to buy something else. Consume, don't conserve.
Nothing wrong with trying to use power more wisely as the wasteful attitude by masses has put us in this pickle today. I remember many many years ago during cheap fuel days my dad telling me it was cheaper to heat than insulate well we are paying for it now.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 20, 2011, 05:42:56 PM
I just love demagogues who try to impose their "vision" upon others. :)


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 20, 2011, 09:00:39 PM
I just love demagogues who try to impose their "vision" upon others. :)

Not imposing anything. Some just like to ignore facts and reality and pretend things are fine and we can go on the way we have forever. Many will not conserve or get more efficient until costs force them too. And if one tries to even remotely discuss it they are brandished for it


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N0SYA on February 21, 2011, 08:30:45 AM
pave the planet!


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 21, 2011, 12:22:24 PM
pave the planet!

<gggggggg>


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KE3WD on February 21, 2011, 03:39:17 PM
and nuke the whales...


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N0SYA on February 21, 2011, 06:00:50 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR1A_HNGVMM


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on February 21, 2011, 06:26:38 PM
and nuke the whales...

I didn't know there were whales in Tehran and Tripoli. <g>


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KH6AQ on February 23, 2011, 10:51:04 AM
W8JX, an internal combustion engine is a heat engine. Your answers tell me you have not taken college physics.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 23, 2011, 11:35:59 AM
       Do not make assumptions about me as you would be quite wrong. I actually wrote a large research paper on improving efficiency of IC engine while working on a degree in college in 70's. (got a A on it too)  IC engines are not true heat engines in that while they do harness heat energy from expanding gasses they require fuel to be burned internally while a heat engine like a Sterling (which in theory is more efficient too) it uses a external heat source to run and is not fuel or heat source type dependent. So you could argue either way on the IC engine being a heat engine and yet not one too. The CR (Compression Ratio) of a engine has a direct bearing on its efficiency because the greater that expansion the more energy that is captured and the main reason that diesels are more efficient (BTW diesels were originally designed to run on coal dust too). Gas engines by limitation of fuel octane must run a lower CR and therefore lower efficiency too. (a E-85 only engine could have a much higher CR and have more power and greater efficiency than current all fuel engines) You can also improve efficiency by raising engine block temperatures (less heat from expanding gases is lost to cooling system) but this creates cooling and lubrication problems as temperatures rise. During WW2 and for many years after we had 115 plus octane aviation fuel that allowed for some very powerful and efficient compound super charged IC gas motors that could reach into low 40% range in overall efficiency but that fuel is gone and old aircraft still flying today have to run at reduced power and efficiency with lower octane fuel. Furthermore while diesel are more fuel efficient that have long been very big NOx generators and only recently been required to reduce this but still a lot dirtier than a gas motor in NOx emissions. For many years diesels have disguised this by moving a lot of excess air through engine with a turbo charged which can reduce/dilute PPM (parts per million) but not actual GPM (grams per mile) so they are not really as clean as they seem at times.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KH6AQ on February 23, 2011, 12:08:57 PM
I do see where you're coming from on CR. I believe that running a higher compression ratio (CR) is just a means to an end. The next intermediate goal on the way to higher efficiency is a greater temperature differential (there's that heat engine thing again) and a higher CR is just a means to this end.  

IC engines do run some pretty high compression ratios these days thanks to electronics. What is the CR of a WWII era 115 octane engine?




Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 24, 2011, 08:16:04 AM
I do see where you're coming from on CR. I believe that running a higher compression ratio (CR) is just a means to an end. The next intermediate goal on the way to higher efficiency is a greater temperature differential (there's that heat engine thing again) and a higher CR is just a means to this end.  

IC engines do run some pretty high compression ratios these days thanks to electronics. What is the CR of a WWII era 115 octane engine?


The "effective" CR was about 14 to 1 in that they typically ran about 65 inches of mercury of absolute manifold pressure at rated output. (about 16PSI of boost relative to sea level or about 31 PSI true pressure) They experimented with a P47 running as much as 90 inches of mercury (abt 30 PSI of boost) to increase level flight speed to over 500 mph to try to deal with potential German ME-262 threat. Threat never real materialized in a large scale and project was abandoned but they did break 500 in testing. If you can believe it they had cooling problems with engine getting warm enough to run properly. (they had some other problems too)

On the flip side pre 1973 cars had factory CR's as high as 12 to one in some models when 100 plus octane leaded fuel was widely available. Main reason CR was chopped 8 to 1 in 73 was to reduce NOx emissions as higher CR's generate it in higher amounts and there was no technology to control it otherwise.  When this happened MPG really went down toilet for many years. Today they have restored some compression and use advanced fuel management and spark knock control to tolerate low octane fuel and reduce/eliminate consumer complaints of fuel knock as they strive to buy and burn cheapest possible fuel. It is a double edged sword though in that while it masks fuel knock really well it reduces efficiency a lot at times. Particularly in warmer weather and when towing or loaded heavy.  If many would run a higher octane fuel they would find they would get better power and economy. Problem is engines are quick learners when low octane fuel is used (they have a knock sensor that detect vibration of knock potential before you even hear it and quickly retard spark curve) and slow to restore timing curve for higher octane fuel and if you switch you will not see a change for a few tanks of fuel unless you pull ECM fuse and force it to relearn spark curve. The ONLY reason modern engines have spark management is for knock prevention and to limit consumer complaints as it serves no emission purpose. In "old days" you knew when you were not feeding your car proper octane as it knocked but today it is hidden/masked. If they were to put a "octane" light on dash that lit every time spark was retarded to control knock you would realize how much 87 octane hurts you at times. But then that will never happen because many would complain of it being on nearly all the time with 87 octane fuel and consider it a car defect and not operator error from feeding it wrong fuel.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N8CMQ on February 24, 2011, 09:03:39 PM
Hog wash, this is the same crap that has been forced on the public since the seventies...
They just claim it is "Going Green" today. There is no green if it uses any fossil fuel.
But how many want to go back to caves and animal skins? I sure don't.
Oh ya, let me jump into my flying car and buzz over to the automart for lunch...
Don't get that last line, you're too young...


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on February 24, 2011, 09:17:40 PM
Hog wash, this is the same crap that has been forced on the public since the seventies...
They just claim it is "Going Green" today. There is no green if it uses any fossil fuel.
But how many want to go back to caves and animal skins? I sure don't.
Oh ya, let me jump into my flying car and buzz over to the automart for lunch...
Don't get that last line, you're too young...

There will always be sheep that will follow those how want to believe that all is well and fish bowl we live in will never fill up and oil will never run out. They are the ones that ignore science too. Wishing is not gonna change things. To put this into perspective, here in US we use the equivalent of about 125,000 semi tanker trucks of oil a day. Bumper to bumper it would make a line nearly 1800 miles long, every day, day after day and it cannot go on for ever. And, of all the know proven reserves in world the US owns or controls less than 3% of them. Remember the big stink about ANWR oil reserve in AK? They never bother to tell you in fine print that at its peak it would never make more than 1% of US daily needs and if it could be fully recovered all at once there is less than a years supply of oil in it based on US consumption. But again those promoting it never bothered to tell you that.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N0SYA on February 28, 2011, 09:07:41 AM
if only the warmers/greenies would do the right thing, the one thing that will keep them from being hypocrites and live in caves eating roots and grubs, traveling only by foot, there would be just that much more energy for the rest of us

:D


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 01, 2011, 04:56:44 AM
Ignorance of problem will not make it go away and will only make it more costly to fix long term.  Their are some in politics that believe never fix today when it can be fixed later for 5 to 10 times the cost because it "looks" better today.   


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: NO9E on March 02, 2011, 01:28:13 PM
Coming back to power supplies.

MFJ switchers are considered quite clean but generate birdies on 160m. Those birdies drift a bit and are are dependent on load. Probably same with other switchers as filtering lower frequencies is more difficult. So when one is running and those real DX start coming in, the birdy moves in and jams!  Not a problem if one has a beverage 500 feet away but a problem with K9AY next to the house.

The moral end of story: linear PS may be still preferable for top banders.

Ignacy, NO9E


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB6DGN on March 09, 2011, 11:16:58 PM
And THEN, there's the issue of reliability!  There's got to be a reason why, every time I have to leave for an hour or more, I go around turning off and unplugging every switcher I'm unfortunate enough to own. With few exceptions, I consider them a potential fire hazard and the ones that I do trust are VERY pricey.  I've seen them fail.  They not only let the smoke out, but, often, a few flames as well.  As for me, I'll stick with my linear supplies as long as the law will let me.
By the way, thanks for the article even though the method and equipment used to measure power consumption was conspicuously absent.  I would have expected a bit larger difference.  Now you need to compare them against the ferroresonant supplies used in an earlier generation of two-way gear (Micor, MastrII, for example).  Those will REALLY make your switchers look good (but NOT any more reliable!)
Tom DGN


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 10, 2011, 06:50:05 AM
I have had my switch for 3 years now and I would by more. Every time you turn on your PC, laptop with power adapter, new HD TV and so on you are using a switching supply. They are far more reliable than you give them credit for. I never unplug anything but I do have most devices plugged into surge suppressors and have for many years. Any addition pwr supplies I buy will be switches.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: K7KBN on March 10, 2011, 04:54:47 PM
Hog wash, this is the same crap that has been forced on the public since the seventies...
They just claim it is "Going Green" today. There is no green if it uses any fossil fuel.
But how many want to go back to caves and animal skins? I sure don't.
Oh ya, let me jump into my flying car and buzz over to the automart for lunch...
Don't get that last line, you're too young...

I think you meant automat.  Prof. Peter Schickele reminded us of them in the "Concerto for Horn and Hardart".  (Google "Horn & Hardart", with or without the quotes.)

73
Pat K7KBN


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W3LK on March 10, 2011, 07:02:45 PM

I think you meant automat.  Prof. Peter Schickele reminded us of them in the "Concerto for Horn and Hardart".  (Google "Horn & Hardart", with or without the quotes.)

73
Pat K7KBN

I have that album, as well as all the others. Did you know that Schickele was actually the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the time the Peter Schickele albums were recorded?


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB6DGN on March 10, 2011, 10:11:27 PM
Quote
Every time you turn on your PC, laptop with power adapter, new HD TV and so on you are using a switching supply. They are far more reliable than you give them credit for. I never unplug anything but I do have most devices plugged into surge suppressors

Yes.  In fact it was a popular brand PC supply that was one of the ones that "let the flames out".  Having been an electronics (LMR) tech. for just over 50 years I am familiar with which of my devices have switching power supplies, hence my comment about the ones I unfortunately own.  As for "surge suppressors", they don't prevent failures from anything except surges (if you're lucky).  Even then, it takes very good quality ones, constantly maintained (read frequently replace the battered MOVs) along with a properly designed and installed single point ground system, for them to be effective.
By the way, I was recently reading an article about a study that examined the "leakage" current, and, thus, unintended power consumption, of the increasing numbers of devices that are never actually turned off (most switching power supplies fall into this category).  The on-off switch cuts power OUTPUT from the device, NOT power INPUT to it.  While the current used per device while in the "OFF" state is quite small (in the microamp range), the massive and ever increasing numbers of these devices is having a significant impact on the demands made to power generation facilities.  Could this, perhaps, indicate that a large percentage of the "power savings" of these types of devices is, in reality, illusory?

You like your switchers; in their present state of development, I loathe them.   I'm sure that nothing I say will change your mind and I'm equally certain that AT THIS TIME nothing will change mine either so these exchanges could probably go on ad infinitum (much to the dismay of other readers, I'm sure).  That said, I'll wish you luck with yours and call it a day on this topic.
Tom DGN


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: K7KBN on March 10, 2011, 10:28:30 PM

I think you meant automat.  Prof. Peter Schickele reminded us of them in the "Concerto for Horn and Hardart".  (Google "Horn & Hardart", with or without the quotes.)

73
Pat K7KBN

I have that album, as well as all the others. Did you know that Schickele was actually the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the time the Peter Schickele albums were recorded?

I wasn't specifically aware of that.  But I did get a chance to meet him at a birthday roast for one of the other old-timers in the Bremerton Symphony.  This guy had been pretty close friends with the Prof. in school, and without any fanfare, Schickele shows up for the party!  This was only a couple years ago.  He looks a bunch different up close and dressed semi-regularly than he does in his PDQ mode as seen from a hundred feet or so away.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 11, 2011, 08:51:45 AM
You like your switchers; in their present state of development, I loathe them.   I'm sure that nothing I say will change your mind and I'm equally certain that AT THIS TIME nothing will change mine either so these exchanges could probably go on ad infinitum (much to the dismay of other readers, I'm sure).  That said, I'll wish you luck with yours and call it a day on this topic.
Tom DGN

To me a Switch vs Linear supply is like having a 15 mpg car vs a 20 mpg car. Both get you there but one costs less to run. You could say that maybe a switch saves you 20,40, 60 bucks (or much more a year if you use them a lot) it is still money to spend on something else instead. Kinda like toilet paper in that you flush it away and no sense in spending excessively here either. BTW I have seen some spectacular failures of linear supplies but the few switches I had fail (laptop pwr adaptors after 1000's of hours of usage) simply died with no "show". 


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KJ6HYC on March 12, 2011, 10:37:03 AM
Now that we have saved the planet, worked out the gas mileage, how about back to the original thread? Linear vs. switchers efficency? The linears are the old tryed and true method, and the switchers are the current and more complex technology. I have found that with either one, if it is quality, it lasts. The switchers are much more efficent, so depending on your on-line hours, electric cost, and cost of additional air conditioner heat load, you would have to calculate the pay back period for a switcher upgrade. I have recently picked up a good quality 13.5V 25.8A 350W chinese switcher on E-baY for $38.00 delivered to the USA. Runs my FT 896 at 100W no sweat. Wasn't difficult to justify, as my electric is at $0.20 KWH w/all taxes/sur-charges etc. 


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 12, 2011, 05:56:40 PM
The point i was making is that this is not 1980 and linear supply's are VERY inefficient by today's standards. There was a time when I thought a RS35 was the power supply to have. Not anymore.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB6DGN on March 13, 2011, 11:25:30 PM
Quote
...so depending on your on-line hours, electric cost, and cost of additional air conditioner heat load,...

Let me see if I got this right!  You're running an Air Conditioner but you're concerned about the few extra pennies a linear supply costs over a switcher???  The old expression "penny wise and pound foolish" comes immediately to my mind.  Shut off the air conditioner, you'll be money ahead.
Tom DGN


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KJ6HYC on March 14, 2011, 11:37:39 AM
Quote
...so depending on your on-line hours, electric cost, and cost of additional air conditioner heat load,...

Let me see if I got this right!  You're running an Air Conditioner but you're concerned about the few extra pennies a linear supply costs over a switcher???  The old expression "penny wise and pound foolish" comes immediately to my mind.  Shut off the air conditioner, you'll be money ahead.
Tom DGN

It is a consideration when you live in a very Hot/Humid climate, and is an additional cost. I live in the desert, where air conditioning is not considered a luxury, and at the current cost of electricity (I pay $0.20 KWH w/taxes etc.) It takes more wattage to remove the heat than to generate it, the pay back to convert to a switcher the savings on the heat load would be significant on a yearly basis.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 14, 2011, 05:12:13 PM
Let me see if I got this right!  You're running an Air Conditioner but you're concerned about the few extra pennies a linear supply costs over a switcher??? 

I think you miss point here. It all adds up and why give more to power company than you need too, Also I have a 1KW inverter designed for 100% duty cycle with outboard battery packs and I can easily run rig even at full power on a switch along with computers, router, modem and lighting in shack for several hours with easy. If i use  linear supply, the extra 150 watts it uses puts inverter near overload. So switch not only lets it work better, it extend backup run time too. A win win senario.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB6DGN on March 16, 2011, 11:47:53 PM
To restate from an earlier comment that I made.  Yes, I agree that a linear supply is less efficient than a switch mode supply but the linear supply is only consuming power when it is turned on.  On the contrary, MOST switch mode power supplies are consuming power (albeit very small amounts) whenever they are plugged in, and many remain plugged in 24/7/365.  Studies have clearly demonstrated that this difference significantly impacts the theoretical advantages of the switch mode supply as a power conserving (green) device to the extent that some jurisdictions are rethinking their sanctions against linear supplies.  As the old saying goes, "all is not as it would first appear".  Again, relating to safety, at least when I shut off my linear supply, I KNOW that it is OFF, not just that its output is disconnected from its load.
Tom DGN


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: WB6DGN on March 17, 2011, 12:47:35 AM
Quote
Also I have a 1KW inverter designed for 100% duty cycle with outboard battery packs and I can easily run rig even at full power on a switch along with computers, router, modem and lighting in shack for several hours with easy.

Why do you convert from DC to AC, back to DC again to run your radios?  Wouldn't it be more efficient to power your radios directly off of the batteries in the first place?  You are losing efficiency in the inverter and, then again, in the power supply.  Even if it is a switch mode supply, it is probably, at best, about 80% efficient, and, likewise, your inverter is also, at best, about 80% efficient.  To be optimistic, you are losing at least 35% there.  Even if you insist on maintaining 13.8 volts at your radio's power connector, a simple buck/boost regulator would provide that with far better efficiency than what you're getting now with all that extra hardware in line.
Tom


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 17, 2011, 03:35:51 PM

Why do you convert from DC to AC, back to DC again to run your radios?  Wouldn't it be more efficient to power your radios directly off of the batteries in the first place?  You are losing efficiency in the inverter and, then again, in the power supply.  Even if it is a switch mode supply, it is probably, at best, about 80% efficient, and, likewise, your inverter is also, at best, about 80% efficient.  To be optimistic, you are losing at least 35% there.  Even if you insist on maintaining 13.8 volts at your radio's power connector, a simple buck/boost regulator would provide that with far better efficiency than what you're getting now with all that extra hardware in line.
Tom

Inverter is powered by a stack of 8 big gel cell batteries wired series/parrallel  for 24vdc to power inverter. So it is not practical to power radio directly from battery bank. I know they is some efficiency loss through inverter to switch to radio but it is back power. I also have generator power available for extended power outages which recharge inverter batteries while powering equipment. I do not bother with generator unless outage is going to be more than 3 or 4 hours.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KJ6HYC on March 17, 2011, 05:00:59 PM
To restate from an earlier comment that I made.  Yes, I agree that a linear supply is less efficient than a switch mode supply but the linear supply is only consuming power when it is turned on.  On the contrary, MOST switch mode power supplies are consuming power (albeit very small amounts) whenever they are plugged in, and many remain plugged in 24/7/365.  Studies have clearly demonstrated that this difference significantly impacts the theoretical advantages of the switch mode supply as a power conserving (green) device to the extent that some jurisdictions are rethinking their sanctions against linear supplies.  As the old saying goes, "all is not as it would first appear".  Again, relating to safety, at least when I shut off my linear supply, I KNOW that it is OFF, not just that its output is disconnected from its load.
Tom DGN

I switch my "switcher off" it is on a power strip.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: AA4HA on March 22, 2011, 11:29:19 AM
I have been using a few Sola linear supplies to keep my battery strings charged. Most of my station is 12 VDC or 24 VDC capable with the exception of the tube gear and a RF power amp.

The Sola linear supplies work fine. Have not had to screw with them quite a while. They are backed up by a 4 KVA UPS (as well as the AC gear).

Recently I started to switch over the Sola linear supplies to Lambda LRS-55 supplies that have the additional noise filter on the DC output. One Lambda switcher keeps the 12 VDC station batteries charged up and the other Lambda charges a 24 VDC battery string for some specialized gear.

I have some modular DC/DC converters that take 24 VDC in and it gives me +/- 12 VDC and + 5 VDC for a few items that require those voltages. The DC/DC converters are really small and maybe pull 1 A off of the 24 VDC supply.

So far the Lambda supplies are working fine. A big downside with that brand is that the supplies are pretty expensive ($200-$400 each), even on the surplus market.

I did some sweeps with a spectrum analyzer attached to a short antenna and I do see small inverter spurs from VLF up into UHF. It has caused me to begin fabrication on a small Faraday cage made of copper mesh with Pi filters for the switcher supplies. No matter what, I am still going to have those spurs from every semiconductor device in the house that has some sort of clock circuit (microwave oven, computer, television, satellite receiver, etc... etc...).

Not many amateur ops are going to have the equipment to go on the hunt for harmonics coming from switching supplies or through the trouble of adapting a supply by building a Faraday cage. Left unmanaged, I can see how with the abundance of switchers, dimmer controls, fluorescent light fixtures, computers, etc... etc... can make it damn near impossible to hear anything when the noise is at S9. It is difficult enough to control the environment within your own home. For those who live in a suburban area I cannot even imagine the hassle that you need to go through to "bug hunts" for offending signals from your neighbors home or what that discussion is going to be like when you come-a-knockin on their door to tell them of their responsibility for FCC Part 15 compliance.

Is the efficiency better with a switcher? Sure is, also it is a smaller supply and does not have a transformer. In 1989 it caused a month of hell for me as I was a compliance engineer trying to get a satellite modem with a telephone interface (Pt 15, Pt 68 compliance) through testing with the damned switcher supply that we chose because it had a smaller footprint. The end result was even more circuitry that needed to be added to the line supply side and the DC load side of the supply to quiet it down. Then when it went through the HiPot testing everything shat-the-bed again and it had to go back for even more design. The FCC expects that your product will "keep working" after a HiPot test. It is really bad when it spouts flames and parts explode.

Yea, I had bad experiences with switcher supplies. Our process was not for the product to go back to the original design engineer for rework. If a product made it to compliance testing it became the compliance engineer's duty to do the redesign. A linear supply would have been bigger, a bit less efficient but could have been protected with a few MOV's.

Ms. Tisha Hayes
AA4HA


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 22, 2011, 03:09:53 PM
I have had no issues or RFI related to switches and my house has a LOT of switching supplies in it too. Next we are going to be arguing old fashion carburetors are better than modern fuel injection. This is 21st century and with it newer and more efficient power supplies too. You cannot turn on a modern TV or stereo or even charge your cell phone without using a "switch".


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W6RMK on March 23, 2011, 09:09:08 PM
Good data. Most rigs spend most of their time in receive mode. With the 17 watt difference and figuring 7 cents per kW-hr the payback for switching to the $140 SS30 occurs after 13 years of continous use.

While the data is interesting, the difference is not enough to make me replace my existing Astrons.

I was reading a story about the new crop of computerized front-loading washing machines. They cost anywhere from 70 to 100 percent more than a comparable top loader and the dollar savings in water and electricity average $48/year. Considering the average life of a washing machine in 7-10 years. one will be hard pressed to recover the increased cost within the lifespan of the unit. Not to mention that repairs run 75 to 300 percent higher than a top loader.

Same deal with power supplies - linear supplies are generally easily repaired by the average ham and switchers seem to not be.

Lucky you with seven cent/kWh.  Our next kWh rate is 34c

The new washers are a LOT easier on the clothes, that's where you save the money, not buying as many shirts, sheets, etc per year


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: VE7BGP on March 28, 2011, 11:31:51 AM
Astron is the most Efficient Linear!
In response to this thread yes the Switchers are more efficient way to go with power supplies. In comparing Astron RS-Series with the other Linear Supplies Astron Engineers did their Homework in designing the Astron Bullet Proof Linear Supplies. Astron is the most efficient design of the linear Supplies. First of all Astron uses a Full Wave Center Tap Transformer that has increased efficiency over the more Common Bridge Rectifier. Full Wave also has better Raw Regulation. The High Current  that drives the Collectors of the pass Transistors is at a lower voltage and separate from the Lower Current Higher Voltage path to drive the Pass Transistors and perform the Regulation & Current Limiting functions. At Full load there is only about 3 or 4 Volts drop across the Pass Transistors on the Astron Supply vs the Yaesu and Icom supplies that have greater then 10 Volts across their Pass Transistors as they drive the Regulator with the same voltage as they supply to the Collectors of the Pass Transistors and Bridge Rectifier has more loss 4 diodes Vs 2 diodes the no load to full load unregulated variation is a lot greater then Astron and more voltage across pass Transistors more HEAT and Power lost in Pass Transistors! Astron Engineers did a great Job keeping these losses to a reasonable level in designing their Linear Supplies and their Fold Back Current Limiting is the other Great feature of their Supplies. Yes the Astron Power supply is not as efficient as newer Switchers but they are less prone to the Switchers Headaches of Noise and being harder to repair for the average Ham then those Venerable Old Astron Linears are. It is hard to find a better supply for the reasonable Price the Astron Supplies sell for these days. I hope that helps clear up a few things.
73
Gerry VE7BGP


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 28, 2011, 12:16:30 PM
I do not understand while many try to "sell" old inefficient Astron linear power supplies as best solution today. Yes they were well built but fact remains they are very inefficient and electricity like gas is not getting any cheaper. Then there is the claim that they are harder and cost more to fix. Number one cause of the failure of any power supply is overload not if it is a switch or not.   Consider one ham that responded and said he paid 34 cents a kilowatt. If he had a RS 35 and left it on all year it would use 80 dollar a year just to idle before you factor in actual load costs on it. If he had a Astron 30 amp switch it would use about 27 bucks a year to idle and far less under load than a linear supply so in effect the supply will pay for itself in a year or less. As far as RFI from them this is a strange claim being that every modern TV, stereo, desktop computer or laptop and even a cell phone charger is a switch and if they were half as noisy as claimed it would be impossible to use a ham radio around them today but such is not the case. If you want to pay more for you power that is your call but to not try to sell it that switches are unreliable and noisy because it simply is not true.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: AB0RE on March 28, 2011, 07:17:11 PM
I did some tests a while back with a Kill-O-Watt AC Wattmeter and came up with the following:

"I first turned the supply on with no load, then turned
my HF radio on (~1.5A), then transmitted a carrier at
5W (~5A), then a carrier at 50W (~13A), then a carrier
at 100W (~17A).  Although the tests are somewhat
unscientific using a very crude measuring device, I
think it gives a fair apples-to-apples comparison as
the same radio was used and they were all tested back
to back.  Results are as follows:

Alinco DM-330MVT 32A peak / 30A continuous *switcher*:
- No Load: 8W
- 1A Load: 30W
- 5A Load: 105W
- 13A Load: 221W
- 17A Load: 292W

Astron RS-20A 20A peak / 16A continous *linear*:
- No Load: 22W
- 1A Load: 53W
- 5A Load: 160W
- 13A Load: 334W
- 17A Load: 433W

Astron RS-35M 35A peak / 25A continous *linear*:
- No Load: 13W
- 1A Load: 43W
- 5A Load: 147W
- 13A Load: 314W
- 17A Load: 408W


So, a couple interesting findings:

- The RS-35M was MORE efficient than the RS-20A
(smaller) power supply.   The RS-35M has a
*slightly* bigger transformer, two 35A rectifiers
mounted in parallel (vs 1 on the RS-20A), and four
pass transistors instead of two as found on the
RS-20A.  I also noticed the main capacitor of the
RS-35M was substantially larger than that of the
RS-20A (I didn't jot down the value of either).

- On the low end, a comparable-sized switching supply
would be 38% more efficient than my RS-35M.  On the
mid-range 17A setting it'd be 28% more efficient than
my RS-35M.  Although a noteable difference, with the
low cost per KW/Hr of electricity and the ease of
repairability of the linear supplies, it doesn't
exactly make going with a more efficient switcher an
easy sale."

Anyway, after the testing a couple years ago I decided just to stick with linear power supplies.  They are simpler from an electrical standpoint and one doesn't have to worry about the power supply creating noise on the HF band (RF Pollution = Not "Green").  An added bonus is that linear power supplies are harder to steal as they're so dang heavy!  Our local electrical rates just went up but we're still at around $.08/KWh, in which case linear power supplies still makes sense for me.  Most of the time, my radio is in receive mode.  I'm not going to notice the 13W difference on my electrical bill between the Astron and the switcher (every 77 hours of "standby" time I'll save a whopping $.08).  I'd be better off putting my computer in "power saving" mode, or limiting TV usage.  And the real power hog of the house is the dryer... 24A @ 240VAC.  Install a clothesline outside and you'll be MUCH further ahead of game as it costs about $.50/load to dry your clothes. 

73,
Dan / ab0re



Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: KA5N on March 29, 2011, 05:06:43 AM
[  Install a clothesline outside and you'll be MUCH further ahead of game as it costs about $.50/load to dry your clothes. 



[/quote]
Just don't wash your clothes so often.  Hams already have the reputation of having BO,
almost all posts about Ham Fests reinforce this fact.
Allen


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 29, 2011, 06:05:49 AM
You know I keep seeing this "repairable excuse being used. In nearly 30 years of using various power supplies I have yet to need to repair the first one. I have always powered them through good surge protectors and never overloaded them. So, repairabilty is not a factor for me at all in power supply selection.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 30, 2011, 10:41:05 AM
The real issue is the payback time.

Say that changing from a linear to a switcher saves you an average of 50 watts. And say you use the rig 2 hours per day, 350 days per year. (How many of you actually use your even rigs that much?)

Then you're using it 700 hours per year, and saving 35 kWh per year. If a kWh costs you 20 cents, that's a $7 a year saving.

How many years does it take for the switcher to pay back its cost at that rate? If the switcher costs $140, you'll break even in 20 years *if you don't count interest*.

OTOH, a couple of CFLs and LEDs, a clothesline and a programmable thermostat will save a lot more kWh in a lot less time.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 30, 2011, 11:06:31 AM
Well for starters, if you leave switch on 24/7 at 20 cents a KW it will cost you abt 15 bucks a year to power it idle, a linear about 3 times that amount. Next your average power saving will easily exceed 50 watts and likely close to 100 watts or more in operation because switch uses 170 less watts at 100 watts out. so 2 hrs a day times 365 equals 730. Then savings here is about 15 bucks but would climb fast if you use it more. If you factor in idle power usage (as many forget to shut off supply or leave it on so radio backup battery has max life) so 30 plus 15 is 45 minimum saving in one year but likely much higher. Might seem like chump change but it adds up over time. On a side note I mow about 7 acres of grass here and recently was faced with overhauling engine in my current mower or spend money for a newer and bigger mower that would reduce my mowing time too. I went with newer mower which cost more up front but in long run it cut my fuel bill by more than half saving 200 to 300 a year on fuel and with fuel going up in ten years time it could save 5 grand and more. Nothing wrong with doing same job/work for less cost.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 30, 2011, 02:16:33 PM
Well for starters, if you leave switch on 24/7 at 20 cents a KW it will cost you abt 15 bucks a year to power it idle, a linear about 3 times that amount.

Hmmm....

You measured your switcher at 9 watts idle and your linear supply at 18 watts idle. That's a 1:2 ratio, not a 1:3 ratio. With the rig on at low volume, the switcher drew 36 watts and the linear 53 watts, which is about a 1:1.5 ratio, not 1:3.

A non-leap year has 8760 hours in it so at 20 cents per kWh the cost is almost $16 for the switcher and about $31 for the linear supply. If you pay less, the savings are less, too.

But the big question is: why leave it on all the time?

Next your average power saving will easily exceed 50 watts and likely close to 100 watts or more in operation because switch uses 170 less watts at 100 watts out. so 2 hrs a day times 365 equals 730.

How much is saved depends on how you operate. Not just how many hours the rig is on, but how much of the time you're transmitting and in what mode (CW and SSB have fairly low duty cycles while AM, FM and RTTY have high duty cycles). For example, if you operate CW and spend half the time listening and half the time sending, the key is actually down less than 20% of the time.

So if the savings is 17 watts key-up and 170 watts key-down, the average savings is (0.8 x 17) + (.2 x 170) = 47.6 watts average savings while operating.

Then savings here is about 15 bucks but would climb fast if you use it more. If you factor in idle power usage (as many forget to shut off supply or leave it on so radio backup battery has max life) so 30 plus 15 is 45 minimum saving in one year but likely much higher. Might seem like chump change but it adds up over time.

It all depends on how much you operate, what modes, and whether or not the supply is left on all the time.

As for the backup battery, how much does one cost? Spending $15 on electricity to avoid changing a $3 battery doesn't make sense to me...

On a side note I mow about 7 acres of grass here and recently was faced with overhauling engine in my current mower or spend money for a newer and bigger mower that would reduce my mowing time too. I went with newer mower which cost more up front but in long run it cut my fuel bill by more than half saving 200 to 300 a year on fuel and with fuel going up in ten years time it could save 5 grand and more. Nothing wrong with doing same job/work for less cost.

Again, the real question is payback time. If the new mower saves $300 a year in fuel and cost $1500 more than repairing the old one, the payback time is 5 years (not counting interest). If fuel gets more expensive, the payback time shortens, of course. There's also the expected life of the new mover vs. the old one after overhaul, the resale value of the old mower, etc. Most of all there's the value of your time: if you enjoy mowing, spending less time doing it has a very different value than if you don't.

What I'm saying is that the cost of the investment must be considered as well as the operating cost. Spending a lot to save a little may not make sense in the typical ham application. And the same money invested elsewhere may bring a much higher return.

73 de Jim, N2EY 


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 30, 2011, 02:40:24 PM
Granted backup batteries are not expensive but they always fail at wrong time when they do.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 30, 2011, 02:46:12 PM
I am not a fan of CFL bulbs.  They are expensive, in my experience don't last much longer than incandescent bulbs and are much less green in their manufacture and disposal.  Perhaps it is just me but CFL bulbs seem to break easily. A drop where an incandescent bulb would bounce and be OK results in a shattered CFL bulb. As I understand it the manufacture of CFL bulbs produces more toxic wast and uses more energy than the manufacture of incandescent bulbs. So in the end I believe CFL bulbs are worse for the environment.

In my experience the opposite is true.

Yes, a CFL costs more to buy. But they last so much longer and use so much less electricity that the difference is in their favor. I have found they last years longer than incandescents (I write the date on the base every time I replace a bulb of any kind, so I know how long it lasted. CFLs win hands down).

The BIG problem with CFLs is that people don't know how to use them properly. CFLs are best in applications where they are on continuously for relatively long periods, not where they are turned on and off frequently. And forget about dimmers unless you get special dimmable CFLs.  

      When someone tells you a newer technology is better and more energy efficient  be skeptical and look at the whole picture. How many folks look at electric cars as the answer to pollution. Depends on where the power comers from, burning coal to make electricity to run a can is about as stupid as using corn to make ethanol to put in gasoline.

No, it's not stupid at all. It all depends on the overall system efficiency.

In the case of the gasoline car, you have the energy cost of making the gasoline, the energy cost of transporting it to the station, and then the efficiency of the car itself. You'd be surprised how low the overall efficiency is.

In the case of the electric car, you have the energy cost of making the electricity, the energy cost of transporting it to the charger, and then the efficiency of the car itself. Note that the electric car can easily have regenerative braking so that energy is recovered rather than being wasted heating the brakes.

In the end, the electric system efficiency is much higher. The same results are had when you consider pollution; the electric car pollutes less too.

The #1 reason you don't see more electric cars is simple: Limited range with the batteries now available. You can drive a certain number of miles and then you have to stop and charge the battery, which takes hours.

That limitation is fine if you don't need to go long distances, or you have another car for longer trips. But if you can only have one vehicle, or you need all your vehicles to have long range, the limited range of practical electrics is a deal-killer.

There are better battery technologies in development, but they're not available yet.

There have been proposals to make electric cars with quick-change batteries, so that when the battery is almost dead you pull into a service station and swap out. That would work, but would require an enormous new infrastructure of battery-swap stations, plus a standard battery design for all cars. Maybe someday, but not tomorrow or next week. Or next year.

Solar panels on the car, you ask? They would help, but even in perfect conditions the amount of electricity generated by a car covered with solar panels isn't enough to run it continuously at highway speed. The panels extend the range but not indefinitely. Again, if you can live with the limited range...

One practical solution is diesel cars. In Europe, where fuel is much more expensive, oil is more scarce and pollution regs even tighter, most new cars are diesels. They're clean and efficient.

The problem is that here in the USA diesels have a bad rep due to the lemons put out by GM back in the 1970s. And fuel here is so cheap that the payback time is longer than most people want to wait.

I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 



Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 30, 2011, 02:47:40 PM
Granted backup batteries are not expensive but they always fail at wrong time when they do.

Just keep a record of when it was last changed.

My rigs don't have backup batteries so I'm set.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 30, 2011, 06:23:58 PM
Just keep a record of when it was last changed.
My rigs don't have backup batteries so I'm set.

73 de Jim, N2EY

I have several older rigs that have them and have not changed any for ages because they are usually on a 12 v source.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 30, 2011, 06:44:47 PM

The #1 reason you don't see more electric cars is simple: Limited range with the batteries now available. You can drive a certain number of miles and then you have to stop and charge the battery, which takes hours.

That limitation is fine if you don't need to go long distances, or you have another car for longer trips. But if you can only have one vehicle, or you need all your vehicles to have long range, the limited range of practical electrics is a deal-killer.

There are better battery technologies in development, but they're not available yet.

Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range. They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet. This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

One practical solution is diesel cars. In Europe, where fuel is much more expensive, oil is more scarce and pollution regs even tighter, most new cars are diesels. They're clean and efficient.

The problem is that here in the USA diesels have a bad rep due to the lemons put out by GM back in the 1970s. And fuel here is so cheap that the payback time is longer than most people want to wait.

Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.


I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.


I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 31, 2011, 03:23:41 AM

Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range.

Never is a very long time. Who knows what could be developed? Look at the microprocessors we have today compared to 30 years ago.

The point is that practical long-range batteries don't exist now, and won't exist any time soon. Electric cars will have a very limited market until that changes.

They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet.

Which is simply a form of plug-in hybrid. A partial solution that uses existing infrastructure, but is expensive.

Didja know that the Prius uses an Atkinson-cycle engine, not an Otto-cycle?

This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

Yes - but there's a lot of ifs in all that. The fuel cells have to be long-lived, inexpensive, efficient and powerful. And with fuel cells you still have the whole fuel-making-and-transport process. 

Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.

Point is, a lot of folks got a bad feeling for diesels because of GM products back then.

I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.

I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.

The only reason I let my old Rabbit go was that the rust got it. A lot of cars here in the Northeast were lost to rust back then.

I didn't find the diesel characteristics to be any problem at all. I really liked putting 10 gallons the tank and driving 500+ miles on the highway.

Diesels can run on vegetable oil, too.

And that was with the diesel technology of 30+ years ago. Today's diesels are even better. But in the USA we have a very limited selection of them.

A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 31, 2011, 04:45:09 AM

Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range.

Never is a very long time. Who knows what could be developed? Look at the microprocessors we have today compared to 30 years ago.

The point is that practical long-range batteries don't exist now, and won't exist any time soon. Electric cars will have a very limited market until that changes.

They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet.

Which is simply a form of plug-in hybrid. A partial solution that uses existing infrastructure, but is expensive.

Didja know that the Prius uses an Atkinson-cycle engine, not an Otto-cycle?

I knew was a different design engine but not name of cycle it used. The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

Yes - but there's a lot of ifs in all that. The fuel cells have to be long-lived, inexpensive, efficient and powerful. And with fuel cells you still have the whole fuel-making-and-transport process. 

This is true but given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well


Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.

Point is, a lot of folks got a bad feeling for diesels because of GM products back then.

Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.


I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.

The only reason I let my old Rabbit go was that the rust got it. A lot of cars here in the Northeast were lost to rust back then.

I didn't find the diesel characteristics to be any problem at all. I really liked putting 10 gallons the tank and driving 500+ miles on the highway.

Diesels can run on vegetable oil, too.

And that was with the diesel technology of 30+ years ago. Today's diesels are even better. But in the USA we have a very limited selection of them.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.


A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: N2EY on March 31, 2011, 05:03:14 AM
The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

The Prius runs on the battery alone until either the demand from the accelerator pedal is too much or the battery is too low.

People have modified their Prii (Priuses?) to run on the battery alone if so commanded by the driver, and to recharge from an electric outlet. Their pure-electric range is only a few miles at low speed, but for short trips that's enough.

given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well

No argument there! But again the fuel cells have to be inexpensive, efficient, durable and powerful.

Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.

VW was making their diesels in the 1970s too; GM wasn't the only pioneer. Water-in-the-fuel was never a problem for me; the huge fuel filter in the Rabbit was also a water separator.

I prefer the smell of diesel to the smell of gasoline. Diesel is also much less dangerous to handle.

IMHO the biggest issue was that Americans want a car where you just turn the key and roar off into the dust, and put in a familiar fuel without any real thought. This mindset dooms any car that requires thinking or planning beyond a certain level - be it electric, diesel, fuel cell, etc.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.

Diesels may have higher NOx but they are lower in other emissions. All modern car engines are complex; it comes with the territory.

The real reason for a turbo is not pollution but to give a variable compression ratio, and to get more HP out of a smaller engine.


A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.

What I mean is that so much of American transport is totally dependent on roads and fossil-fueled rubber-tired vehicles. And it doesn't have to be that way.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Astron Power Supply efficiency
Post by: W8JX on March 31, 2011, 05:58:51 AM
The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

The Prius runs on the battery alone until either the demand from the accelerator pedal is too much or the battery is too low.

People have modified their Prii (Priuses?) to run on the battery alone if so commanded by the driver, and to recharge from an electric outlet. Their pure-electric range is only a few miles at low speed, but for short trips that's enough.

Again Prius is primarily a gas driven car with very limited battery storage and very small electric motors too. Toyota would do well to re-invent it and kinda follow Volt concept and make it electric drive only with a small aux gas motor to charge batteries. This motor could be gas or diesel and could be very efficient and low emission as it would only run basically at one RPM and load cycle


given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well

No argument there! But again the fuel cells have to be inexpensive, efficient, durable and powerful.

There is some debate on how to power/fuel them too as some want to make a fuel cell that uses gasoline to use existing fuel distribution.


Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.

VW was making their diesels in the 1970s too; GM wasn't the only pioneer. Water-in-the-fuel was never a problem for me; the huge fuel filter in the Rabbit was also a water separator.

I prefer the smell of diesel to the smell of gasoline. Diesel is also much less dangerous to handle.

IMHO the biggest issue was that Americans want a car where you just turn the key and roar off into the dust, and put in a familiar fuel without any real thought. This mindset dooms any car that requires thinking or planning beyond a certain level - be it electric, diesel, fuel cell, etc.

Diesel has its own dangers and harder to cleanup in spills too. Get some on clothes or track it into your car mat and odor is tuff to loose. And yes average driver want a car that starts instantly and runs smoothly and quietly and that will not smell up garage when the open door and warm car up on a winter morning.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.

Diesels may have higher NOx but they are lower in other emissions. All modern car engines are complex; it comes with the territory.

The real reason for a turbo is not pollution but to give a variable compression ratio, and to get more HP out of a smaller engine.

Diesel are deceptive polluters. Yes turbo boosts power but the excess air through motor also dilutes PPM (parts per million) of emissions to make it "look" clean (like diluting muddy water with a big stream of clear water) but when you look at GPM (Grams Per Mile) you find diesels are dirtier than gas motors. They will soon be going to GPM standard to close that loophole.    Besides, direct injection gas motors will soon be main stream and with them more power and better efficiency which will further null diesels "edge".  Also there was a time with diesel motor were cheap option (compared to today) and fuel was cheaper to give you a pay back but with diesel motors costing far more today and higher than gas fuel prices in many areas the payback point is much further away and many loose money with diesel when you factor in all costs over life of vehicle today especailly with direct injection gas motors coming on line.


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.

What I mean is that so much of American transport is totally dependent on roads and fossil-fueled rubber-tired vehicles. And it doesn't have to be that way.


That is true but there are those that make billions every month off of fueling this and do not want to see that income go away