Field Day

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Field Day

Howard Hoyt
Hi Elecraft Braintrust,

I will be part of an 8A effort here in Orange County, NC, and last year
I used a PbA battery with a 25W Coleman solar panel and its supplied
charger which was noisy, so I ended up getting a second PbA battery and
just charging one offline during the day.  It worked fine, and I was
able to run my KX3 and Asus Transformer PC for the entire Field Day no
problem.

This year I am using a Bioenno 20AH LiFePO_4 battery and want to use
their MPPT charger model SC-1220JU.  Has anyone on this list used one of
the Bioenno MPPT chargers, and are they RF quiet?

I appreciate any shared experience,

Howie - WA4PSC
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Re: Field Day

Jim Brown-10
On Sun,6/5/2016 7:50 PM, Howard Hoyt wrote:
> Has anyone on this list used one of the Bioenno MPPT chargers, and are
> they RF quiet?

Pretty quiet, but not totally so. The answer depends on proximity of
antennas and operating frequency. I just tested the 4A charger they
supplied for my 20Ah battery and heard a very low level buzz on the 160M
antenna 25 ft from my shack. A choke with 18 turns on a single #31
2.4-in diameter toroid killed it.

> I appreciate any shared experience,

Me too -- the state of the art is advanced when we do that in a
thoughtful way. Thanks for the good question, Howie. I had asked it
myself a few weeks ago, which is why I checked mine.

73, Jim K9YC



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Re: Field Day

thelastdb
In reply to this post by Howard Hoyt
I have not experienced any RFI from my 4A Genasun MPPT controller.
Myron WVØHPrinted on Recycled Data -------- Original message --------From: Jim Brown <[hidden email]> Date: 6/6/2016  4:20 AM  (GMT-07:00) To: [hidden email] Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Field Day
On Sun,6/5/2016 7:50 PM, Howard Hoyt wrote:
> Has anyone on this list used one of the Bioenno MPPT chargers, and are
> they RF quiet?

Pretty quiet, but not totally so. The answer depends on proximity of
antennas and operating frequency. I just tested the 4A charger they
supplied for my 20Ah battery and heard a very low level buzz on the 160M
antenna 25 ft from my shack. A choke with 18 turns on a single #31
2.4-in diameter toroid killed it.

> I appreciate any shared experience,

Me too -- the state of the art is advanced when we do that in a
thoughtful way. Thanks for the good question, Howie. I had asked it
myself a few weeks ago, which is why I checked mine.

73, Jim K9YC



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Re: Field Day

KK5IB
In reply to this post by Howard Hoyt
I use a solar controller made by KI0BK, especially designed not to be noisy. Good for up to 170 watt panels, cost $40 plus shipping. Just checked noise, a little noise at bottom of broadcast band with radio right on top of controller, no noise on HF with antenna right up against the controller. I have three and no problems yet.
Darryl, KK5IB
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Re: Field Day

Grant Youngman
The Genasun GV-5 solar charge controller with MPPT is reputed to be noise-free.

Grant NQ5T
K3 #2091, KX3 #8342




> On Jun 6, 2016, at 12:47 PM, KK5IB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I use a solar controller made by KI0BK, especially designed not to be noisy.
> Good for up to 170 watt panels, cost $40 plus shipping. Just checked noise,
> a little noise at bottom of broadcast band with radio right on top of
> controller, no noise on HF with antenna right up against the controller. I
> have three and no problems yet.
> Darryl, KK5IB

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Re: Field Day

KK5IB
Hate to say it, but nearly twice the price and less than half the
capacity, probably a better quality, but I run 100 watt panels,
wouldn't work for me.
Darryl, KK5IB

On 6/6/16, Grant Youngman [via Elecraft]
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> The Genasun GV-5 solar charge controller with MPPT is reputed to be
> noise-free.
>
> Grant NQ5T
> K3 #2091, KX3 #8342
>
>
>
>
>> On Jun 6, 2016, at 12:47 PM, KK5IB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I use a solar controller made by KI0BK, especially designed not to be
>> noisy.
>> Good for up to 170 watt panels, cost $40 plus shipping. Just checked
>> noise,
>> a little noise at bottom of broadcast band with radio right on top of
>> controller, no noise on HF with antenna right up against the controller.
>> I
>> have three and no problems yet.
>> Darryl, KK5IB
>
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Re: Field Day

Raymond Sills
Genasun  makes 10 A (and higher current) controllers.  They are also available for different battery chemistries… not just lead-acid.  They ain’t cheap, but they have a very good warranty, and are RF quiet.  If you were using the controller for continuous use, not just field day, the improvement in efficiency would eventually pay for the controller, based on the amount of recovered power.

73 de Ray
K2ULR
KX3 #211

> On Jun 6, 2016, at 3:01 PM, KK5IB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hate to say it, but nearly twice the price and less than half the
> capacity, probably a better quality, but I run 100 watt panels,
> wouldn't work for me.
> Darryl, KK5IB
>
> On 6/6/16, Grant Youngman [via Elecraft]
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> The Genasun GV-5 solar charge controller with MPPT is reputed to be
>> noise-free.
>>
>> Grant NQ5T
>> K3 #2091, KX3 #8342

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Re: Field Day

KK5IB
Don't want to get in an argument, just know that several of the
cheaper controllers are noisy and that there are choices for us that
are useful.
Darryl, KK5IB

On 6/6/16, Ray Sills-2 [via Elecraft]
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> Genasun  makes 10 A (and higher current) controllers.  They are also
> available for different battery chemistries… not just lead-acid.  They ain’t
> cheap, but they have a very good warranty, and are RF quiet.  If you were
> using the controller for continuous use, not just field day, the improvement
> in efficiency would eventually pay for the controller, based on the amount
> of recovered power.
>
> 73 de Ray
> K2ULR
> KX3 #211
>
>> On Jun 6, 2016, at 3:01 PM, KK5IB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hate to say it, but nearly twice the price and less than half the
>> capacity, probably a better quality, but I run 100 watt panels,
>> wouldn't work for me.
>> Darryl, KK5IB
>>
>> On 6/6/16, Grant Youngman [via Elecraft]
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> The Genasun GV-5 solar charge controller with MPPT is reputed to be
>>> noise-free.
>>>
>>> Grant NQ5T
>>> K3 #2091, KX3 #8342
>
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>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> below:
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>
> To unsubscribe from Field Day, visit
>
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Re: Field Day

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by thelastdb
Thanks for the input, Gerry. The 18-turn choke described below would be
a good starting point for RFI on the AM broadcast band.

73, Jim K9YC

On Tue,6/7/2016 2:46 PM, Gerry leary wrote:

> I found an off a lot of interference on the a.m. band from other radios. So for example my roommate who lives downstairs, couldn't use much of his a.m. radio receiving abilities when I use that charger..
>
> Sent from my iPhone this time
>
>> >On Jun 6, 2016, at 6:27 AM, thelastdb<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> >
>> >I have not experienced any RFI from my 4A Genasun MPPT controller.
>> >Myron WVØHPrinted on Recycled Data -------- Original message --------From: Jim Brown<[hidden email]>  Date: 6/6/2016  4:20 AM  (GMT-07:00) To:[hidden email]  Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Field Day
>>> >>On Sun,6/5/2016 7:50 PM, Howard Hoyt wrote:
>>> >>Has anyone on this list used one of the Bioenno MPPT chargers, and are
>>> >>they RF quiet?
>> >
>> >Pretty quiet, but not totally so. The answer depends on proximity of
>> >antennas and operating frequency. I just tested the 4A charger they
>> >supplied for my 20Ah battery and heard a very low level buzz on the 160M
>> >antenna 25 ft from my shack. A choke with 18 turns on a single #31
>> >2.4-in diameter toroid killed it.


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Re: Field Day

Bill Frantz
I have been using a solar charge controller from CIrKits
<http://www.cirkits.com/scc3/>. The kit comes in a 20A version
and there are modification instructions for 40A, 60A, and 80A. I
have the 20A version and have noticed no RFI in my suburban QTH.
The higher current modifications change some of the circuit
resistors to keep the RFI low, so low RFI was one of the design goals.

This controller feeds full panel current to the battery until
the voltage reaches the float voltage and then floats the
battery at that voltage. This techniqueis a good for lead-acid
batteries but is probably not appropriate for lithium family chemistries.

It is also not the most efficient way to charge a lead-acid
battery. Higher efficiency can be achieved by charging at a
slightly higher voltage and only reducing the voltage to the
float voltage when the charge current becomes low. With my 7.5A
rated panels, I can recover the batteries charge in a day after
spending a weekend contesting at 100W, so the additional
efficiency is not a major concern. The charge system also works
well on field day at QRP power levels.

73 Bill AE6JV

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Frantz        | Ham radio contesting is a    | Periwinkle
(408)356-8506      | contact sport.               | 16345
Englewood Ave
www.pwpconsult.com |  - Ken Widelitz K6LA / VY2TT | Los Gatos,
CA 95032

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Solar Charge Controllers (was Field Day)

Jim Brown-10
Yes on all counts. This unit would be described as a simple hysteresis
controller -- it doesn't pulse the charge current, it simply turns
charging on if the battery voltage is less than full charge, turns
charging off when that voltage is reached, and turns charging back on
when battery voltage has dropped some pre-set amount. Chargers like this
are, by their nature, free of RFI, because there's no square wave to
generate RF trash. Several years ago, a local ham pointed me to this
product, which does the same thing, but is rated for a lot less current.

https://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-7-Amp-Charge-Controller/dp/B0006JO0XI/ref=sr_1_1?srs=2601531011&ie=UTF8&qid=1465406526&sr=8-1&keywords=solar+charge+controller

The more efficient charge controllers of which Bill speaks are MPPT
controllers; they have a DC-DC converter that converts the relatively
high panel voltage at low current to lower voltage at the higher current
that the battery can accept. This allows a large battery to accept more
charge in a shorter period of time. By their nature, they use square
waves, so they can be noisy, and most MPPT charge controllers ARE noisy.
The Genesun MPPT controllers create very little RF noise, and won't be
heard in most installations. My solar panels are next to my 160M
antenna, so I need a choke on panel side of the controller to prevent
noise pickup on that antenna. That's a pretty extreme condition. :) So
I'd call the Genasun controllers RF quiet.

73, Jim K9YC

  On Tue,6/7/2016 6:12 PM, Bill Frantz wrote:

> I have been using a solar charge controller from CIrKits
> <http://www.cirkits.com/scc3/>. The kit comes in a 20A version and
> there are modification instructions for 40A, 60A, and 80A. I have the
> 20A version and have noticed no RFI in my suburban QTH. The higher
> current modifications change some of the circuit resistors to keep the
> RFI low, so low RFI was one of the design goals.
>
> This controller feeds full panel current to the battery until the
> voltage reaches the float voltage and then floats the battery at that
> voltage. This techniqueis a good for lead-acid batteries but is
> probably not appropriate for lithium family chemistries.
>
> It is also not the most efficient way to charge a lead-acid battery.
> Higher efficiency can be achieved by charging at a slightly higher
> voltage and only reducing the voltage to the float voltage when the
> charge current becomes low. With my 7.5A rated panels, I can recover
> the batteries charge in a day after spending a weekend contesting at
> 100W, so the additional efficiency is not a major concern. The charge
> system also works well on field day at QRP power levels.


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Re: Solar Charge Controllers (was Field Day)

Jack Brindle-2
Thee is an issue with the cheaper solar controllers - they tend to place the switching transistor in the ground leg, making connections difficult. For example the Sunforce controller that Jim mentions uses an N-channel FET as its pass transistor, in the ground lead. If you then connect the radio or other load to the battery while it is being charged, you can end up with a floating ground. One local solar expert discovered that his setup of this kind caused massive current flow on the shield connection of a USB cable - it was essentially carrying all the ground current!

The better controllers use P-channel FETs in the positive leg of the charger, as shown in Mike Bryce (WB8VGE)’s design in the ARRL publication “Emergency Power For Radio Communications” and also in the CirKits design that Bill mentions. I have a pair of each of these and will be using them this Field Day to keep a pair of Marine deep-cycle batteries charged from a 100 watt solar array and also a 45 watt backup array. I like the WB8VGE design better, but it won’t handle the 100 watt array without modification, which caused me to pick up the CCS3 boards. Unfortunately the WB8VGE kits appear to no longer be available, but the CirKits boards (also designed and sold by a ham, forgot his call) are very much available and a fun build.

- Jack, W6FB

P.S. Listen for both Bill, myself and many others from the WVARA operation at Mora Hill, CA using the call K6EI in FD. It is an all-K3/QRP operation with outstanding antennas in a location you have to see to believe. And, if you are in the area and searching for a place to play, look us up!


> On Jun 8, 2016, at 10:36 AM, Jim Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Yes on all counts. This unit would be described as a simple hysteresis controller -- it doesn't pulse the charge current, it simply turns charging on if the battery voltage is less than full charge, turns charging off when that voltage is reached, and turns charging back on when battery voltage has dropped some pre-set amount. Chargers like this are, by their nature, free of RFI, because there's no square wave to generate RF trash. Several years ago, a local ham pointed me to this product, which does the same thing, but is rated for a lot less current.
>
> https://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-7-Amp-Charge-Controller/dp/B0006JO0XI/ref=sr_1_1?srs=2601531011&ie=UTF8&qid=1465406526&sr=8-1&keywords=solar+charge+controller
>
> The more efficient charge controllers of which Bill speaks are MPPT controllers; they have a DC-DC converter that converts the relatively high panel voltage at low current to lower voltage at the higher current that the battery can accept. This allows a large battery to accept more charge in a shorter period of time. By their nature, they use square waves, so they can be noisy, and most MPPT charge controllers ARE noisy. The Genesun MPPT controllers create very little RF noise, and won't be heard in most installations. My solar panels are next to my 160M antenna, so I need a choke on panel side of the controller to prevent noise pickup on that antenna. That's a pretty extreme condition. :) So I'd call the Genasun controllers RF quiet.
>
> 73, Jim K9YC
>
> On Tue,6/7/2016 6:12 PM, Bill Frantz wrote:
>> I have been using a solar charge controller from CIrKits <http://www.cirkits.com/scc3/>. The kit comes in a 20A version and there are modification instructions for 40A, 60A, and 80A. I have the 20A version and have noticed no RFI in my suburban QTH. The higher current modifications change some of the circuit resistors to keep the RFI low, so low RFI was one of the design goals.
>>
>> This controller feeds full panel current to the battery until the voltage reaches the float voltage and then floats the battery at that voltage. This techniqueis a good for lead-acid batteries but is probably not appropriate for lithium family chemistries.
>>
>> It is also not the most efficient way to charge a lead-acid battery. Higher efficiency can be achieved by charging at a slightly higher voltage and only reducing the voltage to the float voltage when the charge current becomes low. With my 7.5A rated panels, I can recover the batteries charge in a day after spending a weekend contesting at 100W, so the additional efficiency is not a major concern. The charge system also works well on field day at QRP power levels.
>
>
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Re: Solar Charge Controllers (was Field Day)

Jim Brown-10
On Wed,6/8/2016 8:42 PM, Jack Brindle wrote:
> Thee is an issue with the cheaper solar controllers - they tend to place the switching transistor in the ground leg, making connections difficult. For example the Sunforce controller that Jim mentions uses an N-channel FET as its pass transistor, in the ground lead. If you then connect the radio or other load to the battery while it is being charged, you can end up with a floating ground. One local solar expert discovered that his setup of this kind caused massive current flow on the shield connection of a USB cable - it was essentially carrying all the ground current!

Thanks for the alert, Jack. However -- the controller I referenced is a
low power product, specifically designed for a single panel charging a
battery. Such panels are rarely connected to a ground except via the
return side of the pair feeding the battery through the charge regulator.

Also, if a USB cable is the only connection between equipment in a
system, that system lacks proper bonding.

Abuse of the return conductor is not limited to devices like these. The
very popular Watts Up inline volt-ammeter meters in the return lead,
which can lead to very wrong answers when used to measure current within
a station, for exactly the reasons Jack notes -- DC return current
divides between the intentional path (the return wire) and all of the
other return connections between equipment in a station, and bonding
conductors.

The Hamsource EZmeter ($80) and the West Mountain Radio PWRcheck ($180),
both sold by DX Engineering, measure current in the positive conductor.
I found the EZmeter at Pacificon last fall and quickly added it to my
collection of test gear.

73, Jim K9YC

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