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Homebrew Rig Runner

For power distribution in the shack the Anderson powerpole is my preferred method, they are a great connector and seem to be becoming the de-facto DC connector for amateur radio - how long until we see one on a rig I wonder?


If you need to split your power supply across several devices then a West Mountain Radio RigRunner seems a great solution. A 5 way fused unit, the 4005 would be ideal for my needs but at £80 (2013) it's a little too steep for my pockets so a home made version was to be made!

Components:

  • Hammond 29830PSLA die cast box from Bitsbox EN013 £6.95
  • 6 off black 30 Amp Powerpoles
  • 6 off red 30 Amp Powerpoles 
    • (I'd suggest getting genuine powerpoles: buy 2 mixed pack of 10 red/black 30 Amp powerpoles from Torrberry  - cheaper and better than ebay- you'll have a few spare to use for your cables! £9)
  • 1 off 6 way heavy duty blade fuse holder - image later on
    • Ebay from 5starautoparts for £6.49 
    • Even better go to the local car shop and keep your local business going
  • Selection of blade fuses
    • Box of 120 from e-bay for £3.28
  • 2 off M4 nut and bolt
  • 3 off M3 nut and bolt
  • 3 spacers
    • Biro pen case cut to 10 mm
  • Piece of PCB
  • Solid copper wire
    • some stripped twin and earth
Assuming you have the last 5 items in your shack then the total cost is approximately £25 and you get lots of spare fuses and some powerpoles as well.

Here we go for the construction....

I built the prototype in a plastic box an learnt a lot from that experience, the main processes are:
  • Cut the box apertures
  • Make the PCB
  • Terminate the powerpoles
  • Mount the powerpoles to the PCB
  • Mount the powerpoles and fuse holder to the box
  • Make final connections
All the dimensions are shown below and a CAD file is attached for those who can read them (click to enlarge):


The hatched areas are those to be cut-out to accommodate the powerpoles (shown red) that are attached to the PCB (shown green).

I stuck a 1:1 print of the drawing on the front of the box and then used a sharp modelling knife to cut out the areas to be removed, then drilled them and smartened them up as shown below:



Check the fuse holder (without the cover and a small bit of plastic protruding from the edge as a key)...



Next connect solid wire to the powerpoles, crimp and solder for a low resistance connection:


Then add to the connectors to the powerpole cases (as per the supplied instructions) that have been joined together as below...


Then attach the power poles to the grilled and etched (sawn!) PCB - the circuit might help when making the PCB...


My PCB was 'etched' with a hobby grinder!





















Note that the PCB track is not sufficient to carry 20 Amps so the solid copper wire is needed - the wire is not optional!!

The photo above also shows how the powerpoles are connected to the fuse box - don't trim the leads on the +12 V side!

The 12 V bus is added to the fuse box


Above is the practical view of the circuit diagram.

Once all completed check everything twice and test with an Ohm meter.

Then you can connect up and start using it like I did.....














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