|Power supplies very good, some problems with rack mounting
||Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
|My experience has shown that Astron makes good quality, RF-quiet switching power supplies. The SRM-30M-2 incorporates two 30 amp units on a standard 19” rack mount panel. My ham shack is based on a rack mount system, so I chose this product as one of my 12 VDC sources.|
Two design issues were created because Astron had simply adapted standard power supplies to a rack mount panel.
The first design problem is minor: If the SRM-30M-2 is mounted next to rack panels both above and below, the unit cannot be easily removed from the rack because each power supply comes with its standard factory-mounted table-top “feet” installed on each unit’s bottom. They extend below the front panel’s bottom edge, catching on the lower panel when attempting to remove the SRM-30M-2. There isn’t enough clearance to lift the unit up to clear the feet when removing the panel, so the unit is stuck without removing an adjacent panel.
The solution is to remove these feet before installing the gear. Then of course, there now will be some extra feet that will likely get lost. This may be a non-issue, since rack mount gear doesn’t need feet in the first place. My thought is that Astron should simply ship the SRM 30M-2 without the feet installed on the units. If someone later wants to remove the units from the rack and use them as stand-alone table top rigs, aftermarket feet could be installed.
I didn’t realize these feet would be a problem when first installing the gear, because I was building up my rack system panel-by-panel. So upon installation, there wasn’t any interference. But when the panels above and below are in place, it then becomes a problem if the gear needs to be pulled.
The second design issue is a bit more problematic. It has to do with the output wire connectors on the back of the power supplies. Output power wires attach straight into the power supplies, which is very nice, but the set screws used to secure the wires is accessed from the side. When there are two units side by side, as in the case of the SRM 30M 2, one unit blocks screwdriver access to the other unit. Worse yet, the rack enclosure side panels block access to the set screws on the other power supply. The only way to use a screwdriver on these connections is to remove the unit from the rack. What I’ve done to get around this is to install short Anderson Power Pole pigtails to each unit before mounting it into the rack. (It is when I was wiring the supplies that I realized this problem, which created the need to pull the unit from the rack, causing the first design problem already mentioned above!)
Being a product manager (in the dental equipment industry), I understand how easy it is for companies to respond to a need (such as “...can you develop a rack-mount version of your power supplies...?”) and do it without thinking about all the details.
These two design problems are not show-stoppers for me. If I would have known about them in the beginning, I still would have bought the product. I simply would have been better prepared to address the design shortcomings before doing any installation.