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Old 12-01-2015, 11:41   #16
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Re: Bus Bar?

John,
I hate to be the voice of dissent...but..
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhnhll View Post
So I am installing a SSB, tuner, VHF, and maybe my 2 meter radio. Is it acceptable to run large gauge to a bus bar close to the station and tie everything into that?
But, while it might be acceptable for many devices to be powered this way, HF radios on board tend to require more consideration....(I'm not saying your idea will not work, just that it is not the "typical" accepted practice...and might cause you some difficulties...)



As Skip mentions, running the DC power for a marine SSB transceiver directly from the main house battery bank, with sufficiently large enough wire to reduce voltage drop, is SOP (standard operating procedure) for all professional marine SSB installs, being both good RF engineering practice and good DC engineering practice....
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I have installed bus bars for the main 12V negative grounds and positive supply that I use to feed all my currently installed 12V loads.

However, though I have not yet installed my SSB I have read in a number of places that one should run the SSB transceiver + and - directly from the battery. I'm guessing for two main reasons: avoid voltage drop when transmitting and to reduce interference from other systems.
Skip's words here are words of wisdom....but there's even a bit more to it...

In detail....
a) Yes, to reduce voltage drop, not only to the radio....but also to avoid excess voltage drop on the DC power bus, powering other devices/systems on-board...
Keeps other systems from cutting-out / brown-outs, when transmitting...

b) To reduce RFI on-board....both your transmit RFI (radio interference to other devices on-board), and receive RFI (other devices interference with your radio)...

c) To reduce/eliminate RF pick-up by the entire DC power system on-board, so-called vessel-wide RFI....


If you've ever heard fellow sailors talk of how their panels lights flicker as the talk on the SSB radio???
Or, the sailor who must have someone steer when talking on the radio, as the autopilot will suddenly veer off-course??
Or, how about the guys that must shut-down everything on-board just to hear an HF weather report??
These are examples of RFI, which can be helped by powering the radio directly from the main battery bank...
Now, that's not a guarantee that just doing this will eliminate RFI....but it is a good starting point...


Again, you can power multiple radios thru a separate buss bar (adequately sized wire / fuses, etc.), without major issue...
But, powering an SSB transceiver this way, may cause some issues....(it may work okay, or it may not....depends on your wiring, buss bar, radio, battery bank, distance, etc. and a little luck...)

In years past, powering the SSB directly from the battery bank was an absolute....as the typical breaker panel did not have adequate wiring run from the batteries / battery switch, nor thru the panel itself....nor was the typical cruising boat designed for such high-current systems (which are voltage critical)....
So, the "tradition" of powering the SSB directly from the house battery bank, was an absolute!!

And, now with modern boats / systems, and all the associated electronic devices on-board, this "traditional" SOP still holds water, as it helps in these other ways too....

As I wrote above, it is less of an absolute nowadays....but, it is still highly recommended by myself, all professional marine SSB folks, as well as the radio manufacturers, etc...

So John, in a nutshell....while you may find your SSB to work okay onboard wired thru a buss bar with other radios / devices, I do not recommend it....everything else on-board wired that way is fine, but not the SSB radio....

Just my recommendation....


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:46   #17
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Re: Bus Bar?

"....If you've ever heard fellow sailors talk of how their panels lights flicker as the talk on the SSB radio???
Or, the sailor who must have someone steer when talking on the radio, as the
autopilot will suddenly veer off-course??...."

As a further note, most the lights on my panel would pulse off and on when operating the SSB even though it had it's own dedicated isolated battery!
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:07   #18
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Re: Bus Bar?

Let's keep in mind that the ABYC limits the number of direct connections to boat batteries (off the top of my head it's four).

If your radio transmitter is causing your lights to flicker or other problems, perhaps a separate battery is the best solution. Just as most of us have a start battery and a house battery (or bank), an additional battery could be installed for the transmitter with an ACR or combiner to keep it charged. No flicker and no direct interference.
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Old 12-01-2015, 13:27   #19
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Re: Bus Bar?

Really like the idea of the HF having its own dedicated battery, adds redundancy also.
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Old 12-01-2015, 14:59   #20
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Re: Bus Bar?

I'm a neophyte with electronics as it applies to radios. Mechanical, if I have a manual I can fix it. Radios, not so much. How is it different having a larger gauge cables straight from battery to radio box. Will that cause more rf problems than the supplied wiring going from radio to battery. really do appreciate the help.


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Old 12-01-2015, 15:02   #21
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Re: Bus Bar?

Everyone please understand that there are many variables that effect each set-up / installation differently....
And, while we can always make general recommendations (that generally work, almost all the time), there are specifics to each set-up that can make it work in unsuspected ways, and sometimes require a rather unique approach....

Now that I said that.....please allow me to highlight something specific....
On-board RFI, particularly transmit RFI....such as evidenced by panel lights "blinking" (rather than "dimming") during SSB transmission...
("dimming" of lights, panel or otherwise, during transmit is almost always a DC voltage drop issue, not RFI...."blinking" of lights, is almost always an RFI issue...)

You can reduce panel light "blinking" in many instances, by wiring the radio directly to the main house battery bank...but..
But, in some instances this will make no difference, as the panel lights and their associated wiring is simply picking up your transmitted RF from your antenna....and in these cases, rewiring of the panel and/or copious use of ferrites on 12vdc power wiring is a good solution...but sometimes, just cleaning and reattaching wiring /connections (including your SSB antenna and rf grounding connections), solves the problem...
But use of a separate battery, is unlikely to solve the problem....as if the problem is coming in onto the DC power bus, it is the large house battery bank that actually acts as a big filter capacitor and filters/shunts the RF....
Unless you used a LARGE battery for the radio, it is unlikely to be a solution to this problem...

And here, this brings up other issues with a separate / dedicated "radio battery"....
In theory, this is a good idea....but only if the "radio batteries" are rather large, are well-maintained, with a good / full charge....and this just isn't practical on small / mid-sized cruising boats....mega-yachts, commercial vessels, yes, this approach works...
And having a separate/secondary, redundant DC supply for your communications gear IS part of the GMDSS requirements for SOLAS vessels....and, in some instances of "24 volt boats" with "12 volt radios", having a separate 12vdc "radio battery" is necessary....but for 99% of us, it is a waste of space/money, and usually results in poor radio performance....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I used a sealed motorcycle battery located near the Ham radio, I had a switch that charged the battery when not using the radio. This isolated the radio from the rest of the system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
As a further note, most the lights on my panel would pulse off and on when operating the SSB even though it had it's own dedicated isolated battery!
I do not wish to be critical, but this would not be a recommended option....a general rule-of-thumb, would be to use a large enough battery, so that its A/H rating is about 5 times that of the max current draw of the radio....that's going to mean a 100 - 150 A/H battery....(this comes from both the math calculations and from dozens of years operating in the field off alt. energy-charged battery power...)

Cheechako, please understand that I mean no disrespect, and I'm not discounting that you evidently had good results with this approach....
But, I stand by my words here, this is NOT a recommended option....
(not the least of which is the "voltage sag" of the small battery on transmit causing radio transmit issues / poor transmit intelligibility / increased IMD products, etc.....the list goes on and on....)





Yes, adds redundancy....but only works if the battery is BIG enough....and even then it adds complications to a system that should be as reliable as possible....
Quote:
Originally Posted by giant View Post
Really like the idea of the HF having its own dedicated battery, adds redundancy also.




Ron, is quite correct here, about the ABYC recommendations...
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Let's keep in mind that the ABYC limits the number of direct connections to boat batteries (off the top of my head it's four).




But here again, we need to recognize that only SOME of the light flickering issues (and other transmit RFI issues) can be solved by using a direct DC power connection to a large battery, as some of these are simply these other devices picking-up your transmitted energy after it leaves your antenna....and further, we need to understand that it is this "large" battery that is providing the solution, not a "separate" battery....
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
If your radio transmitter is causing your lights to flicker or other problems, perhaps a separate battery is the best solution. Just as most of us have a start battery and a house battery (or bank), an additional battery could be installed for the transmitter with an ACR or combiner to keep it charged. No flicker and no direct interference.
And, even further....even if you did have the room and extra charging capacity for a BIG dedicated radio battery, this further complicates what is supposed to be a reliable system....




In the real world, a separate dedicated battery bank for every critical system on-board would be nice-to-have, but in 99.9999% of our boats, it is completely impractical / overly-complicated, and attempts to do things "half-way", typically fall way short of the mark, and cause more problems that they solve!!!



Bottom line here, for John (the original poster), and everyone else....
1) Wire the SSB radio directly to the main house battery bank, with LARGE wire / appropriate terminals, and adequate fuses/breakers....
---or---
2) Use a buss bar, wired as described in #1....

Use of "small" dedicated "radio batteries" is not recommended....("Cheechako's" apparent good luck with it notwithstanding, a "small" radio battery is NOT a good idea..



Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie


P.S. Cheechako, again please do not take any offense....I just do not wish non-standard / non-recommended ideas to propagate to far, without some additional info....
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Old 12-01-2015, 15:16   #22
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Re: Bus Bar?

John,
To be blunt (sorry!), I think you're over-thinking this!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhnhll View Post
How is it different having a larger gauge cables straight from battery to radio box. Will that cause more rf problems than the supplied wiring going from radio to battery. really do appreciate the help.
Not sure I understand what you are now asking here???

If you want the best overall performance, with the least possible problems / issues, then go with the standard recommendations (that I, and other radio professionals, have been making for years/decades)....

If you wish to make short cuts / cut costs (?), then you may be fine....but you also may be in for some rather frustrating surprises....

Please read what I wrote above....I think it's pretty self explanatory....
Bus Bar?

Bus Bar?


But in a nutshell, this should give you the gist...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
In detail....
a) Yes, to reduce voltage drop, not only to the radio....but also to avoid excess voltage drop on the DC power bus, powering other devices/systems on-board...
Keeps other systems from cutting-out / brown-outs, when transmitting...

b) To reduce RFI on-board....both your transmit RFI (radio interference to other devices on-board), and receive RFI (other devices interference with your radio)...

c) To reduce/eliminate RF pick-up by the entire DC power system on-board, so-called vessel-wide RFI...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
if the problem is coming in onto the DC power bus, it is the large house battery bank that actually acts as a big filter capacitor and filters/shunts the RF....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Bottom line here, for John (the original poster), and everyone else....
1) Wire the SSB radio directly to the main house battery bank, with LARGE wire / appropriate terminals, and adequate fuses/breakers....
---or---
2) Use a buss bar, wired as described in #1....


John, if the above is confusing to you, please let me know....maybe I can rewrite some things better....
And, if you wish to learn a LOT about both installing and operating radios (specifically marine SSB, but others as well), please have a look at the "stickies" at the top of the "Marine Electronics" page, where you'll find just about everything you could ever need....including details of what we are talking about right here/now....and LOTS more!!
(watch the videos, and read a lot....and you'll end up knowing more than 95% of the sailors /cruisers out there!)

Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)

Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call




Fair winds....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 12-01-2015, 15:26   #23
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Re: Bus Bar?

My suggestion in post #18 is not for the typical marine VHF transceiver. If your boat's lights flicker when you key the mic you have other problems.

My suggestion was intended to solve or limit problems associated with high power transmitters not normally found on recreational boats. This is certainly not the only way do deal with this situation but it's an option to be considered.
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Old 12-01-2015, 15:50   #24
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Re: Bus Bar?

Ron,
PLEASE forgive me, I do not wish to a pain....but, I (and I think, everyone here) are talking about marine SSB transceivers (which are rather high powered transmitters), and these are normally found on most cruising boats....

Unfortunately, on many of these, there ARE on-board RFI issues (including "flickering" lights)....some have these issues because of lax / poor installation procedures, and some just need a few "tweaks" (such as a few ferrites)....
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
My suggestion in post #18 is not for the typical marine VHF transceiver. If your boat's lights flicker when you key the mic you have other problems.

My suggestion was intended to solve or limit problems associated with high power transmitters not normally found on recreational boats. This is certainly not the only way do deal with this situation but it's an option to be considered.

I usually never even imply that others opinions are any less valid...but, in this instance I have decades of experience here....
And here, I stand behind my words...
Quote:
if the problem is coming in onto the DC power bus, it is the large house battery bank that actually acts as a big filter capacitor and filters/shunts the RF....
Unless you used a LARGE battery for the radio, it is unlikely to be a solution to this problem...
Quote:
...a general rule-of-thumb, would be to use a large enough battery, so that its A/H rating is about 5 times that of the max current draw of the radio....that's going to mean a 100 - 150 A/H battery....(this comes from both the math calculations and from dozens of years operating in the field off alt. energy-charged battery power...)
For most cruising boats, a "radio battery" big enough to do this job, isn't practical....due to space/size/weight, as well as the complications of keeping it charged, and then being able to use your other batteries for the radio, when the inevitable event of the radio battery being too low state-of-charge and/or capacity....


Again, I do NOT wish to argue this point, as it is completely moot to the original poster's query....
I just wanted to save some from going down an expensive road that isn't likely to solve problems, but will more likely cause problems....
(anyone with a boat big enough to have a usable separate / dedicated radio battery, is probably going to have a professional project manager overseeing the design / commissioning anyway....so, most of this is rather moot...)


Again, please excuse any perceived rudeness here....as that is not my intention at all!!!
Just wanted to clear up some confusing things...


Fair winds....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 12-01-2015, 16:00   #25
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Re: Bus Bar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
I do not wish to be critical, but this would not be a recommended option....a general rule-of-thumb, would be to use a large enough battery, so that its A/H rating is about 5 times that of the max current draw of the radio....that's going to mean a 100 - 150 A/H battery....(this comes from both the math calculations and from dozens of years operating in the field off alt. energy-charged battery power...)
This depends on how, and how often, one uses their SSB. Ours is wired directly to the start battery, which is just a typical group 24 FLA automotive battery. This battery is always fully charged. We listen and participate on a morning net or two and pull occasional gribs and email using the SSB. Once in a while we will talk briefly to someone underway.

All of this is well within the capacity of a daily charged small starting battery, and we have no problem and the battery never falls under 12.7V while using the SSB. Unless one is spending a large portion of the day transmitting at 150W, I don't see why a 100-150Ahr battery is necessary.

I highly recommend to people to switch their SSB power over to their starting battery. The voltage is always high on it (particularly in the morning when most are using their SSB and their house banks are low), it is separate from all the house systems so interference is greatly reduced, and (as happened to us) if you get hit by lightning the SSB on an isolated battery stands a high chance of surviving when all your other radios on the house bank are molten pools of metal and plastic.

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Old 12-01-2015, 16:11   #26
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Re: Bus Bar?

Mark,
This is way off topic, and I don't wish to argue the points here....
There are many "if's" that need to be considered if using your recommendation....(especially the horrible transmit spectral purity of many radios, when operated at too low voltage, etc...)

Maybe we can just politely agree to disagree??

fair winds...

John
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Old 12-01-2015, 16:40   #27
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Re: Bus Bar?

1. I refer to the comment that each electronic component should be fused, using a fuse panel.
I do not like fuse panels. Fuses tend to get loose and when they burn out, I have to hunt for another fuse. A separate panel for the navionics would be helpful. Circuit breakers are the way to go. See for example Blue Sea Systems panel 1450, for about $89. Or West Marine has a 6 position switched panel with 10 amp fuses, for $59. Comes with positive and negative busbars. Otherwise, you could buy separate push button breakers for $6 each, or separate breaker switches for $15 each but the switches are a pain to mount unless you buy a mounting panel.(prices as per defender.com, no affiliation.)
Instead of a busbar, you could wire the input side of all the breakers together and then just have a separate common negative busbar.
Also busbar is more correctly one word. A "buss" is a kiss. If you have a tavern at which kisses are exchanged, that would be a buss bar.
2. As far as an SSB is concerned, I believe the manufacturer's instructions might be illuminating. The manual for the ICOM M802, which is a very good product, shows that the unit is internally fused with a 30 amp and a 5 amp fuse. Installers are advised to connect the head unit directly to a ship's battery ONLY utilizing the power cable supplied:
CATION:[sic] The supplied DC power cable MUST be
used to provide power to the transceiver. AVOID
exceeding the 3 m (10 ft.) length of the DC power
cable. When it is necessary to make a run of over
3 m, use #6 or similar weight cable instead of the
supplied DC power cable for a maximum of 6 m
(20 ft.).


Reference: page 55 of the manual, 2002 edition
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Old 12-01-2015, 16:45   #28
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Re: Bus Bar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Mark,
This is way off topic, and I don't wish to argue the points here....
There are many "if's" that need to be considered if using your recommendation....(especially the horrible transmit spectral purity of many radios, when operated at too low voltage, etc...)

Maybe we can just politely agree to disagree??

fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
Sure, no problem, but I think you missed my point about the starting battery always being fully charged in the morning when using the radio, as well as it never sagging below 12.7V when transmitting. I rarely have my house bank at that stage - and never when I want to use the radio.

On the other hand, it is not unusual for the house bank in boats to be at 12.3V in the morning - coupled with other noisy loads like reefer, etc on that bank, the transmissions I hear from these boats are terrible. Particularly if they are trying to charge their house batteries enough to use their SSB's.

Sometimes practically good is better than theoretically perfect.

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Old 13-01-2015, 08:20   #29
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Re: Bus Bar?

Quote:
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Ron, PLEASE forgive me, I do not wish to a pain................. I have decades of experience here...... For most cruising boats, a "radio battery" big enough to do this job, isn't practical....due to space/size/weight, as well as the complications of keeping it charged, ........................ Again, I do NOT wish to argue this point, ........................ Again, please excuse any perceived rudeness here....as that is not my intention at all!!!
You do not wish to argue this point but that is exactly what you are doing.

I'm sure that in your "decades of experience" you have come to realize that there is more than one "right" way to wire a boat and a radio. My suggestion is one of those "right" ways although it may not be the way you would prefer to do it. It's certainly not a wrong way. Keeping a separate battery charged is pretty simple and inexpensive and as for size, a group 31 battery should keep that radio powered up for several hours.

I only suggested that solution for the people having trouble with low voltage to other appliances when transmitting on the radio (and yes, I know we're not talking about a 25 watt VHF here). A better solution is to rewire the boat to handle the installed appliances but for some folks that would be difficult and expensive.

Let me point out that it's not unusual for boats to have dedicated batteries for windlasses and bow thrusters. This is no different.
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Old 13-01-2015, 10:53   #30
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Re: Bus Bar?

The small battery did work for me, but I have to say that my Ham/SSB operation was almost entirely on Pactor. Very occasional Vox tx for a few seconds like checking in with Herb etc. or for Weatherfax
The battery was just switched out of the main 12V system on an as needed basis to eliminate noise. When switched into the 12v system it charged.
If I was going to transmit on voice a lot solely from that battery, I would want a larger battery. I had space in a small cupboard right at the nav station for the motorcycle battery. If I had a larger space I would have went with a larger sealed battery. Under the Nav seat would be a good place on many boats I suppose...
Although I just had a used Kenwood TS450S... many times people would come to our boat for the Ham nets etc due to the clarity both incoming and outgoing.
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