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Author Topic: Where to get a busbar  (Read 2437 times)
WB1AAT
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Posts: 56




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« on: April 02, 2008, 09:10:00 PM »

Hello,

I have a couple 12V, 30A power supplies that power my base station. The station is primarily two rigs, a TS430S and a FT857D.  But I also have a bunch of lighted meters, preamps, tuners, etc, etc. All need 12V power. So I am looking at a couple busbars for each power supply to share the connections. I've looked around so far and found only strips meant for inside home and commercial electrical panels . No insulation or flexibility in mounting to speak of, not to mention "overkill" in current rating. I know many prefer Anderson powerpoles, but this adds up to a lot of $$$, ranging from Rigrunners, with even the simpler Powerwerx gang adapters being expensive for what they are at $25-35 each (the Powerpole conenctors themselves arent cheap either). The station never gets reconfigured or broken down for move/field work, so Powerpoles is probably overkill too.

Where can I get 30A busbars suited for this kind of thing? Or does anyone have any other suggestions?

Mike WB1AAT
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K9KJM
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2008, 01:10:36 AM »

I use the large heavy duty 12 volt terminal strip units sold to the high power audio folks (Automotive use) Where they install those giant subwoofers that you can hear all over the neighborhood.....  Most any shop selling to that audio crowd should have them, Around 5 bucks each, Handles #4 copper (Or many smaller gauge wires)  
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2008, 05:10:31 AM »

I still go for the PowerPoles as the best solution.  Then, if you need to use your equipment in another environment, or someone else's equipment in yours, there are no mistakes.
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K8AC
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 11:00:16 AM »

Bus bars would be a bad idea.  Shorting the two together would be a frequent occurrence and there are no insulated bus bars.  If you don't want to go the Powerpole route, look at the MFJ units that are made for DC distribution using banana jacks.  You can plug in using banana plugs, or screw them down to hold spade lugs.  You could, of course, build your own power strip that way, but long narrow enclosures are hard to find.  I've used the MFJ strips in the past and had no problems with them.  Today I use a strip with powerpole connectors.  The individual fusing of the rig runner units is great.
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W3LK
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2008, 04:10:19 PM »

One option to the PowerPole distribution panel idea is what I do.

The output of the power supply runs, via 10g wire, to two, 2x1/4" bolts through the back wall of the operating desk. The two bolts are six inches apart, making a short across them very difficult (but NOT impossible).

All wires terminate in 1/4" ring terminals which are then stacked on the exposed end of the bolt and held tight by a 1/4" wing nut. This has worked well for me the last 15 years and makes swapping wires out very easy.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2008, 06:48:07 PM »

Is there a problem with the RigRunner? http://www.westmountainradio.com/RIGrunner.htm
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W3LK
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2008, 07:40:34 PM »

Are you asking me?

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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AA4PB
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2008, 09:55:27 AM »

Not necessarily. Just wondering why nobody suggested that solution.
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W3LK
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2008, 12:20:51 PM »

Bob:

I have tried the RigRunner a few years ago and gave up on it because the support necessary to keep the cables for the rigs from pulling out of the sockets was a more of a pain than the convenience(?) of the RigRunner. That's why I went with my "power bolts". Smiley The RR was OK, though, for accessories with 18g and smaller wires.

Some people love them; they just didn't work well in my particular situation.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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TANAKASAN
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Posts: 933




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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2008, 12:48:29 PM »

OK, here's some alternatives.

1) Powerpoles. If you're worried about the cost of a rigrunner then make your own, it isn't too complicated.

2) A sheet of PCB material about two inches wide with a slot cut down the middle through the copper. Attach leads to the copper using tags with nuts and bolts.

3) Two copper pipes running the length of your bench, one for positive and one for negative. Attach to the wall using plastic clips and attach your connections using copper 'P' clips. This is the closest to what you asked for BUT it is very dangerous because of the possibility of short circuits.

4) A custom wiring loom using 10 gauge wire. In the UK the electricity supply is wired as a 'ring main' with the cables behind the wall going in a loop back to the fusebox. Duplicate this and you will reduce I2R losses.

Tanakasan
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2008, 06:34:10 PM »

My RR is inside the console with all the equipment so the wires don't get moved much. Guess thats why I haven't had any problem.

I found the PowerPole connectors a pain however until I purchased the right crimping tool.
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W3LK
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2008, 08:40:28 PM »

Amen on the crimping tool! Smiley

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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N2IK
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Posts: 220




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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2008, 08:43:58 PM »

Go to a marine supply store or see West Marine or other boating supply vendors. West Marine has a good website. There are many bus based terminal blocks with either one or two bus bars and insulated covers. Made for low voltage DC wiring on boats. They are available with screw terminals and with 1/4 inch spade terminals.They also have fused panels and circuit breaker panels for DC wiring.

I am using Rig Runner Powerpole distribution box in my shack and am not seeing any accidental disconnect problems. My Rig Runner is wall mounted slightly above my riser shelf behind my ham bench. Some of the DC cords dangle behind the bench and some are supported by the bench. I have had no disconnections and no failures.

I had to do a lot of recrimping of PowerPoles until I got the ratchet crimping tool.

73 de Walt N2IK
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WB1AAT
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Posts: 56




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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2008, 08:31:35 AM »

Thanks all for the great tips. I would have done the Powerpole route for sure if money and elegance were no object.

My first try will be some "barrier strips" I got from a electronic supply house. They are rated for 35A and the ones I got are "Euro" syle, which have recessed conenctions and set screws. They are white and sort of look like a grounding bus in a home elecreical panel, but the recessed hardware prevents accidental contact.

If this doesnt work out well, I will look into that marine supply route. An excellent idea that I hadnt considered and a quick look at the website shows barrier strips like what I seek along with covers for the conttections. Boats would indeed have this very same challenge. Thanks N2IK!

Mike WB1AAT

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KI4ENS
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Posts: 79




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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 10:14:21 AM »

Mike,

You could also consider automotive add on fuse blocks.  Many go up to 30 amps and are relatively inexpensive.

Max
KI4ENS
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