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Old 10-01-2015, 12:06   #1
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Bus Bar?

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?


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Old 10-01-2015, 12:27   #2
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Re: Bus Bar?

That is how a lot of our stuff is connected. It becomes near impossible on many boats to run direct connections to the actual batteries for everything.

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Old 10-01-2015, 12:35   #3
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Re: Bus Bar?

I assume you are referring to 12V electrical supply. As long as its sized correctly and you use circuit protection on each leg, I can't see anything wrong with it. Negatives will have to be sized correctly as well.
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:39   #4
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Re: Bus Bar?

How ours is wired as well. Just remember that bus bars usually result in some separation between positive and negative conductors, and in DC wiring in particular, that leads to the generation of significant magnetic fields. Add that you're talking probably your highest power devices on the boat, and that means you need to make sure your separated conductors don't pass near compasses and other magnetically influenced equipment. Other than that minor caution, easy.
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Old 10-01-2015, 13:36   #5
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Re: Bus Bar?

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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?


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Are you doing this for purpose of grounding or bonding? It makes a difference
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Old 10-01-2015, 15:00   #6
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Re: Bus Bar?

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Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
I assume you are referring to 12V electrical supply. As long as its sized correctly and you use circuit protection on each leg, I can't see anything wrong with it. Negatives will have to be sized correctly as well.
And use appropriate overcurrent protection in the circuit supplying the buss bar.

You might as well install a separate buss bar for the negative portion of the circuit.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:31   #7
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Bus Bar?

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Are you doing this for purpose of grounding or bonding? It makes a difference

Was trying to avoid making long runs to the batteries for three radios. For the positive and negative for power. I knew what I meant lol. Just didn't put it down that way. That's why I live this place everyone sees thing from different directions.

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Old 11-01-2015, 10:44   #8
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Re: Bus Bar?

Got it! Grounding. In that case, others have already given you the best answer.
The other unspecified advantage is to preclude ground loops which can adversely affect efficacy of the radio(s).
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:45   #9
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Re: Bus Bar?

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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?


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Here's a photo of how it's done.

bus bar - Bing Images


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Old 11-01-2015, 10:48   #10
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Re: Bus Bar?

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.
I see nothing wrong with the bus bar.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:57   #11
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Re: Bus Bar?

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.

Maybe one of the HF radio gurus will chime in on this. John? Bill?
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:59   #12
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Re: Bus Bar?

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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.
I see nothing wrong with the bus bar.
I like that idea. What size battery, a moped or a Harley?

So how long could you transmit with the battery you used?
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Old 11-01-2015, 11:16   #13
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Re: Bus Bar?

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I like that idea. What size battery, a moped or a Harley?

So how long could you transmit with the battery you used?
It wasn't very big actually.... maybe 6-7" long and 4" wide? it was a suggestion by a Ham radio mentor who wasn't a boater. I started out with a new SGC digital ham radio... but had a terrible time getting it to do Packet radio well... he convinced me to get a Kenwood and it was perfect. The SGC antenna tuner was very good though.
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Old 11-01-2015, 12:43   #14
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Re: Bus Bar?

The only red flag that I see, and may be obvious to you as well, is that the bus bar needs to have a fused power line of sufficient size to support the max current of all devices on the bus. A 100w SSB will draw around 20A, a typical VHF & 2meter will draw 5-10A each when transmitting, and the tuner will draw just a couple of amps. The red flag part is that each individual power lead needs to be fused for its current limit. The SSB needs at least a 20A, VHF is smaller, etc. You don't want to have a bus bar with a 35A fuse and small unfused wires running out to the tuner or VHF. Those wires might start a fire before the bus bar fuse trips. So each leg needs its own fuse and the bus bar needs one to support the whole load.
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Old 11-01-2015, 12:49   #15
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Re: Bus Bar?

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Originally Posted by El Rubio View Post
The only red flag that I see, and may be obvious to you as well, is that the bus bar needs to have a fused power line of sufficient size to support the max current of all devices on the bus. A 100w SSB will draw around 20A, a typical VHF & 2meter will draw 5-10A each when transmitting, and the tuner will draw just a couple of amps. The red flag part is that each individual power lead needs to be fused for its current limit. The SSB needs at least a 20A, VHF is smaller, etc. You don't want to have a bus bar with a 35A fuse and small unfused wires running out to the tuner or VHF. Those wires might start a fire before the bus bar fuse trips. So each leg needs its own fuse and the bus bar needs one to support the whole load.
The solution to that is available at marine retailers. A panel with sockets for fuses and a negative buss bar all built together. All that's needed is the fuse or circuit breaker at the battery end of the cable and the appropriate fuses for each device.
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