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Author Topic: How to mount electronics in Pelican Case  (Read 67520 times)

Posts: 7

« on: February 28, 2011, 10:44:33 AM »

Hi, I am in the process of building a go kit using a Pelican Case. I am looking to mount the main units in the base of the case and the remote heads in the lid of the case. I have a Kenwood 480 as well as a TM-d700 2 meter both of which have remote heads.

What do I use to secure the main units in the base? I want to keep it waterproof so screws thru the case are out. Do I use a certain glue to mount the brackets and then the units in the brackets?

Lastly I am having a custom aluminum frame made with cut outs for the unit heads which will go in the lid, how do I keep the heads secure in the aluminum frame? L brackets with glue?? Any pictures of kits you can point me to that show this?

Any help greatly appreciated.


Posts: 3203


« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 01:48:48 PM »

Which particular model of Pelican case are you using?  Huh

Posts: 490

« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 08:36:55 PM »

Why not just use the foam that comes with them and pack the radios in the case just for transport? Then when you get to where you're going, you can set the radios on top of the case, set them on a table, put them alongside some other stuff, whatever.

Most of the pelican cases I've bought (and I've bought more than a few) have hinged lids, which open to about 100-110 degrees (i.e. 10-20 off of vertical). That's good for not losing the top, but it would make a rather uncomfortable operating position unless it was at just the right height. Setting that on a standard folding table would be rather awkward.

When I was doing mobile (as in carry all the gear to some place and set up the "control room" in whatever closet you could find) television, we had all our gear in road cases such as are used for bands and such. These cases had front and back panels that came off to reveal the equipment mounted inside. With that you could set them on a table and operate quite well. They stacked well and seemed to protect the electronics pretty well (considering how much they got tossed around).

The thing you have to watch out for is overloading them. Anything that weighs more than 50# when packed for shipping is going to need two people or one VERY STRONG person to haul around. Even 50# gets awkward when you're loading stuff into a truck.

There are lots of cases designed specifically for transporting and operating but they aren't Pelican cases. shows some of the cases used by bands who are on the road all the time. shows some of the types of cases I've used in the past (I don't know if they were made by this vendor, but they are the same type of deal).

In both examples, the cases have 19" rack rails for which you can buy all manner of shelves, drawers, panels, etc. Some come with wheels and handles and they stack very nicely (they interlock so the top case won't slide off the stack). With a shelf, you can just use the radio's mobile mount and have your radio mounted very securely to the case.

Either way, have fun with your project!



Now I remember, we used SKB cases such as these:

Have fun!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 08:39:54 PM by K7RBW » Logged

Posts: 7

« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2011, 07:31:25 AM »

I will be using a Pelican 1550 case. I don't want to use the foam because I don't want to have to set up the unit and connect everything every time I want to use it.

I don't plan to ship it anywhere, just an occasional trip to the country. As far as road cases, that will be too big to carry around. I wanted something more compact. Regarding the angle of the lid, that's something I did not know about.

Everything is pretty much ready to be mounted. I am having the case shipped to me today as well as the panel frames to mount the aluminum. The only thing left is to design the panel cut-outs for the radio heads and have them cut and then to wire everything up.

I thank you all for reading this post and offering any suggestions to make this project a bit easier. Again my main concern right now is how to hold everything in place.


Posts: 490

« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 08:37:22 AM »

Well if you have your Pelican 1550 already, that's different.

If you're going to mount the gear in a frame and want to mount the frame to the case, I haven't had any experience with epoxied or other types of mounts in a Pelican case but that would be one option.

Another would be to drill holes in the case planning to use gaskets or rubber bushings. If that can keep the water in a toilet tank, it'll probably keep the water out of your pelican case.

The problem with directly mounting the gear to the case is that any shock to the case is more-or-less a shock to the gear. The way the military solves this in the gear I worked on is to use eleastomeric shock mounts (google the term). I've seen these in surplus stores and the occasional hamfest/swapmeet. They provide some shock isolation between the case and the gear.

WRT operating out of the Pelican case, I'd look into mounting the control heads on the bottom half so they can be close to the handle (i.e. the opening). But if you're going to remote the heads, try a few different locations to see what's most comfortable for where you plan to operate. Another idea might be to make it so you can take the heads out of the case allowing you to be able to set them on the table while you set the case on the floor. Save the space in the lid for cables and connectors. You could make/find a bag or net or something to hold them in place in the lid.

WRT just storing the gear in the case, it's not all that bad. I keep my FT-857 and related radio gear in a Pelican 1500 and it takes about 5 minutes to take it out and connect it up. For occasional operation (E.g. weekends), it's not a big deal. I generally spend more time setting up the anennas so 5 more mintues to set up the radio seems like nothing.

Have fun and be sure to post some pics!


Posts: 5482


« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2011, 12:07:58 PM »

I mounted some equipment inside of a case like that but since water ingress wasn't a priority I just used flat head machine screws with countersunk holes in the case.  You see the heads but nothing protrudes.  I'd bet that would still be pretty water resistant, enough to safely sit out in the rain but maybe not good enough for submersion.  You could always use RTV on the screw/hole during assembly for good measure.

Another possibility is construction adhesive, like liquid nails.  If you roughen each surface I would bet you'd end up with a permanent bond.   That's what I used to mount a switch and connector block for my mini pelican case APRS box.

Something else that comes to mind is a critical fit insert that matches the contours of the case, then is secured with setscrews or compression wedges.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 7

« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2011, 12:16:06 PM »

Thanks for the many replies. I like the idea of eleastomeric shock mounts and will be looking into them and how to mount them. As far as being waterproof, that really is not my main concern, but if I can get everything mounted without drilling any holes it would be a plus.

Another idea someone gave me is to glue 1/2" MDF to cover the entire bottom of the case with the MDF held to the case by glue. That would give it more of an area for the glue to hold, then screw the brackets that will hold the radios in place to the MDF.

If the MDF works, that still leaves me with the problem of keeping the radio heads in place in the lid. Again, the only thing I can think of is fabricating L brackets and gluing them to the back of the aluminum frame to hold the heads.

One other issue I am thinking about is how to run the wires from the bottom of the case to the head units in the lid. Ideally I would like to make some kind of connection like a din plug or something like that that I would screw in whenever I was using the radio and disconnecting when I shut the lid. Any ideas??

Once again I thank you for any responses and will surely post the pictures once I am finished.

Posts: 46

« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 09:22:26 AM »

Respectfully, I have concerns about how happy you will be with this set up.

Any place that you set up will most likely be warm and dry- if it isn't, you should probably work on that first. Having a big box in front of you will take up a lot of room that you could use for other things- like a laptop, log book, white board, etc. The radios are a tool- and the more room they take, the more pia they are.

As stated above, a Pelican case is a great way to safely transport delicate, expensive stuff. You'll find that when used as per manufacturers direction, you can drop the case several feet onto concrete and your radios will survive.

More importantly, once you're set up and working, I've always ended up shoving the radios as far forward (and out of the way) on the desk as I can to leave room for the other, important stuff on the desk. Headphone cords are longer for a reason....

If in an austere location, I've always managed- either run the rigs out of your truck, trailer, or under a tarp- we're creatures of comfort- and if we can hack it, usually our gear can too.

Now, I've been wrong before- and would love to see pics of your project- happy to learn!



Posts: 86

« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2011, 04:06:15 PM »

Have you seen this?

The video summary includes links to some pages that diagram the full setup and ways to buy the panels.

It's not exactly what you describe, with the remote heads in the lid, but it is pretty slick and might give you and idea for your set up.

How about the power supply and main radio unit below the panel and the remote head on top?


Posts: 56

« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 05:07:02 PM »

Electronic installations:

Panel frame:  1550PF

Peli Quick mounts: 1507



« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 05:15:35 PM by KJ6EAD » Logged

Posts: 6

« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2011, 09:48:58 PM »

I deal with this sort of issue for work on an almost daily basis

the 1550 has a panel frame ring as others have mentioned is a website that will allow you to download a free autocad type program, design a panel to fit that frame ring, then order it (approx $100 typically)

Put the body of the radios inside the case, then put the remote head on top of the panel frame designed above.  You can also have holes cut for fuse holders, on off switches, etc.   You can end up with something pretty slick if you take the time and spend the money on it

As was mentioned, you could put a piece of MDF or other wood along the bottom, glue that down and then screw into it to maintain waterproofness. Or, you can just bolt through the bottom and glue over the screw bolts. 

Also as was mentioned, the question is how happy you will be with something like this as opposed to just using the pelican case to transport the gear then take it out.

if anyone would like more information or pictures, email me  at  ric0123   at h0tmail dot com.    I'm not on this forum much but I'll share as much information as I can

Posts: 5

« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2011, 08:10:22 PM »

Everyone please be aware that drilling your Pelican case voids the warranty on the case if it is damaged.  You can still get the latches replaced for free if they wear to the point that they no longer stay secure, but the case will not be replaced if it is ever damaged.  I know this because I work at the company HQ in Torrance.  As KF6GYX mentioned, there is the Special Application Panel Frame which can be ordered from a Pelican dealer which you can take to a machine shop to be customized (unless you want to do it yourself).  Picking and plucking the foam and deploying your gear is certainly a way of saving some cash.  Having a radio case-bound on a table or desk can be more of a PITA than just having the gear sitting loose where it can be out of the way.  If you can get a panel frame customized, that's great.  Just make sure there is some air space around the gear.

For radio gear, I recommend the 1510 case with wheels for carrying smaller gear.  My girlfriend carries 4 HT's and all of the accompanying support items (speaker mics & chargers, batteries, etc.) inside and it's easy to move.  We also use the similar Storm iM2500 case for the Baker-to-Vegas command post radio and power supply.  She's the Communications Director for the race.  We also have her stack of mobile command post radios stored in a 1660 case.  It has 9 radios stacked between two 19" rack panels with a TacCom box as the base with the Rig Runners inside and the 1660 is the only case it fits in easily laying on it's back.

Best of luck in your quest for outfitting your Pelican case.  Folks here have had some great suggestions.

73 from KG6JKJ

Posts: 1042

« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 12:04:41 PM »

If you are not shipping the case and are not using it all the time or leaving it in your car, why not consider even cheaper alternatives?

I use a Bucket Boss Gladstone type bag [sometimes called a Gator Mouth] - 3 sided zip, opens like Otter's Toy bag in Animal House.  I added some cheap closed cell pads and drop in an FT-897, an Z-11 Pro autotuner, mic, power cords, bits and bobs, fuses and a battery booster, etc.  Everything but the battery and the antenna fits in this bag, even feedlines if needed.

If I'm operating portable in the field, a smaller bag holds a 33 amp hour AGM battery and a 3 amp power supply - used in combination with a plug, I'm good to go forever, w/out AC, a full day.

Takes me about 3 minutes to set up the radio gear on any flat-ish surface.

If you want a radio case pre-setup, I recommend the Gator style cases and rack mount shelves - that way you drop on table, pop covers off and hook up antennas.  VERY quick and everything can be ready to go in seconds.  However, these tend to be really bulky if you put a lot of gear in them.  A big station would best be built into 2 or 3 cases which for a group user would be very flexible if correctly designed.


Posts: 244

« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 02:15:24 PM »

This is a Pelican 1550 with Icom 718, Samlex SEC-1223 power supply, and LDG IT-100 tuner.

Posts: 3189

« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2011, 10:35:51 AM »

Why waterproof?

You understand it won't be water proof anyways when you are actually setup and operating the equipment right?

This idea of using sealed rubber grommets etc etc on the peleican case doesn't make sense because you have to actually open the case to access the equipment inside to use it anyways.

I can understand waterproof for storage purposes mabey.

Guess I'm thinking a large zip lock freezer bag will do the same job of storing it in a water proof enviroment and it only costs a few pennies.

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