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Power and Data Box


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For your 7.4v canon supply, consider a MC7808CT DC-DC convertor or its like. Drops 12vdc say to 8vdc. Better to take a look at Bernd Margotte web site to see how he used this chip.

I am in the process of a P&D box but it will not be so nice as yours. The box is from the garage and is a Bosch power tool plassy container. This, being 'free' along with other bits I had at hand and a few bits more should bring the cost to £20ish. Includes a panel volt meter to monitor PSUs' tho' mainly my diy twin heater controller volts. The controller and heaters cost were about £10-12 - a little cheaper than a good £100 from vendors. I elected to have a single controller for the heaters as they were identical in wattage and each around a 80mm OTA.

But I rattle on.

Good looking well made box - mine won't be anything like that inside or out so don't expect any foties.

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Hi Steve, I'm sure you know already but with the Startech hub you have to set internal jumpers to control how the hub supplies power to the USB outlets. This is taken from the 'reviews' of the un

I have three of those StarTech hubs - one of them slightly broke. They are tough to break but my mount cover leaked some time ago and let water through, this literally filled the hub with water! I onl

Hi Steve, I can't say anything against this PSU. It's been in there for many years now and has never given me any problems. I'm using a few more of these around the house and observatory; one for

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I am agog with all this about "CE" regs. None of us are going to market our homers.

Is one allowed to cable up your own mains plug? Is one allowed to build one's own kit? My latest gripe is not being able to get panel mount USB plugs and sockets without a connecting lead between them - the danger is a whole 5Vdc. But yet you can get an IEC socket with protruding exposed pins all at 240Vac. Excuse me? Has this health and safety gone totally mad? (When I was a lad .........)

Agree with above - RCD no fuses other than the 3 amp in the one and only supply plug and electrics sealed. As important is to be sober, alert and watchful in the dead of night.

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I am agog with all this about "CE" regs. None of us are going to market our homers.

Is one allowed to cable up your own mains plug? Is one allowed to build one's own kit? My latest gripe is not being able to get panel mount USB plugs and sockets without a connecting lead between them - the danger is a whole 5Vdc. But yet you can get an IEC socket with protruding exposed pins all at 240Vac. Excuse me? Has this health and safety gone totally mad? (When I was a lad .........)

Agree with above - RCD no fuses other than the 3 amp in the one and only supply plug and electrics sealed. As important is to be sober, alert and watchful in the dead of night.

I think you'll find that you are permitted to wire your own plugs, but if your were to make something and sell it (be that for cost or profit) it must have a molded plug fitted to comply with the EU regulations.

As for the IEEC connections, I think you have things the wrong way as all mains powered outputs have to be female sockets (C13 type) so that it's not possible to accidentally touch them. Things like kettles where power is supplied from a lead will have exposed terminals as they are expecting the input of mains.

The current regulations are designed to prevent dangerous equipment and practices, and to protect the consumer. But it has also killed off the hobby electronic market overnight. I personally know of one case where someone made a fancy light unit / controller for a tropical fish tank. Under pressure he made a small batch and sold them via a forum. A few months later one unit went faulty and killed around £500 worth of tropical marine fish and inverts.. that person then proceeded to seek compensation threatening to take the maker of the equipment through the courts.... Faced with a stint in jail and large fine the chap made a payment to replace the fish. - It was for this reason that i wasn't going to take any chances with the reptile thermostat project

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Chris,

I love the look of your box. Could you let me know where you found the power supply and the actual container box? I currently use a PC power supply with a multiway plug but as I've added componants its getting quite messy so am in the process of replanning the whole thing.

Cheers. Chris

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Hi Chris,

you did contact me via my website a few weeks back, didn't you? ;-)

I had replied a day later but it seems you didn't get that email.

I order most of my components on Ebay from China/Hong Kong (unless I need them quickly, shipping usually takes about 2 weeks).

It's been a while since I ordered that PSU, so that Ebay listing doesn't exist any more. But it was something like this:

DC 12V 20A Switch Switching Power Supply Driver For LED Strip Light AC 220V/110V | eBay

The Ebay search term I used was "12V 20A power supply".

Then plastic enclosure is also from ebay and is this one here:

Sealed ABS Plastic Enclosure 340x280x129.5mm | eBay

Hope that helps... ;-)

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I fabricate and install automated gate systems as part of my daily business, the CE and EN regulations are there to protect us all from harm. However, to comply with these regulations it does not automatically cost £ks. I have to use and prove I use CE marked/warranted components, which I do. I have to provide a "user manual" which has to contain amongst other things the CE certificates of all components used, which are downloadable from my suppliers. I can then produce my own CE lable for the gate (or "machines" as they are under EN regs). I do have to carry out force testing on every installation I complete using a calibrated meter which was the most expensive item I had to purchase to comply. What I'm trying to get across is that it may not be costly to stay within the law.

Edited by Aoraki
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... What I'm trying to get across is that it may not be costly to stay within the law.

This is interesting. Could you please be more specific? Is there anything against the law with this box I built? I was under the impression that this CE mark thing only applies if one wants to sell the device after building it, not if it is only for personal use.

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With most things it all boils down to 'does money change hands?' and is it for public or private use?

That's the law side of things.

The insurance side of things means you want to take resonable care which normally means, you keep records, do tests, take photos.

It doesn't mean you necessarily need to pay very much money.

You can self certificate in many cases.

Derek

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This is interesting. Could you please be more specific? Is there anything against the law with this box I built? I was under the impression that this CE mark thing only applies if one wants to sell the device after building it, not if it is only for personal use.

I do belive that you are right about the CE mark regards the selling of an item, personal use I think you can still basically do anything you want as long as it does not endanger others.

With most things it all boils down to 'does money change hands?' and is it for public or private use?

That's the law side of things.

The insurance side of things means you want to take resonable care which normally means, you keep records, do tests, take photos.

It doesn't mean you necessarily need to pay very much money.

You can self certificate in many cases.

Derek

Self certification is what I do as I outlined above, but you do need CE certs for all the items used to produce your finished item, easy for me and my automation systems but could be harder for the items Yesyes has used.

Also money doesn't have to change hands for there to be a sale. If I automate Yesyes's gates and he makes me one of his boxes, that amounts to a "sale" and all the rules and regs then apply.

Insurance though, is not a niceity, it's a necessity, I currently have £5 million cover for Public and Product Liability should the worst happen. :)

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Great power box Chris, I am just thinking of putting one together so will steal some of your ideas.

I plan on putting a couple of Arduinos in there and relays so that everything can be started and stopped remotely.....oooh just thought I could add in the PC start push button onto a relay as well.

Really good photos on your website as well, they will be very usefull....and the ebay link for the box (I was wondering where you got that from)

Thanks

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  • 2 months later...

Chris, can you remember where you got the twin panel mount USB leads from, can't seem to find any anywhere like that, and also what hubs are you using there ?

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I bought 2 of these but havent tested them yet as i am waiting for a 5v power regulator-

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USB-2-0-Internal-4-Port-High-Speed-HUB-3-5-5-25-Bay-Black-/380417130256?pt=UK_Computing_USB_Cables&hash=item5892a0bf10

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I looked at using two of these buti wanted to connect 2 USB to serial converters inside the box and make the D types available as sockets and wasn't sure I could connect to two of the USB ports from the inside as it were without butchering the pcb somehow.

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I looked at using two of these buti wanted to connect 2 USB to serial converters inside the box and make the D types available as sockets and wasn't sure I could connect to two of the USB ports from the inside as it were without butchering the pcb somehow.

No there is no connection inside, only 1 power and 1 white socket which connects to the PC USB socket using the provided cable. You are better off using Chris´s.

I am running my serial cables off of these usbs so am not connecting anything inside. I will connect the Arduino over ethernet.

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  • 3 years later...

Hi Chris,

Holy thread revival....

I am looking at your thread thinking of building something similar.  How reliable has that 240V to 12v DC proven to be and has it driven your gear ok?  Also many mounts need 13.8V?? 

There are lots of those PSU's on ebay and if I used one a lot of very expensive kit could be powered by a cheap PSU  - worrying me a little!

Those power output sockets you used, the ones that Gina liked.  Not quite sure what they are?  What is the corresponding plug that slots into them?

Thanks, Steve

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Hi Steve,

I can't say anything against this PSU. It's been in there for many years now and has never given me any problems. I'm using a few more of these around the house and observatory; one for the obsy LED lights, one for the 3D printer, one for my IT equipment in the house (router, FTTC modem, VMware server, ... I like to power all these things from one PSU as I think less power is wasted than running a separate PSU for each device). I've had no issues with any of them.

As far as I know the mounts need 12V but can tolerate 13.8V (as that is what is supplied by a car battery).

The power sockets are panel mount sockets for 5.5mmx2.5mm standard plugs. They look a bit off-centre because they have a built in switch (activated by plugging in a plug) which I'm not using. They just looked a bit more sturdy than the usual 5.5x2.5mm sockets.

 

I have, in the meantime, improved this box quite a lot. I have designed a circuit and a PCB (which I had manufactured in China) that can switch power supply ports on and off remotely via my home automation system, it measures voltage and current on each port and reports it back to my system. 2 ports are PWM (for dew heaters and so on) and they can also be controlled remotely. It also has a colour LCD. I should probably update this thread with some pictures of that...

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OK, so here is what I have done to the box last year:

This is the assembled Pier Controller PCB on a 3D printed plastic tray
IMAG1808.thumb.jpg.493214093342c3fa654d5

PCB mounted in the box on 3D printed brackets. I have also replaced the EOS power supply with an adjustable DC/DC regulator (the small blue PCB to the bottom left of the controller)
IMAG1829.thumb.jpg.6affd05deca8fe69a70e0

Colour LCD mounted on the side of the box
IMAG1834.thumb.jpg.03746ab03cc7cdc39f361

433MHz RF module plugged into the controller (I replaced the antenna cable with one that has an angled plug later)
IMAG1839.thumb.jpg.35512617274b6bb21f245

Antenna installed. I also installed a fuse holder on the mains input side just above the power switch, just in case.
IMAG1842.thumb.jpg.670b954dad07a49f3b1eb

Controller wired up...
IMAG1849.thumb.jpg.fd213a7d8d38d501616a3

The LCD... (negative current displayed was later fixed in the Arduino software)
IMAG1878.thumb.jpg.d1a1f356c73115a22949b

Edited by yesyes
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Amazing work Chris.  Wow!  I did an HND in electronics many years ago and you put me to shame ;-)  I'm still a dab-hand with the soldering iron though so may get going building something like this shortly!  

These are the sorts of PSU I have been looking at: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-Power-Supply-Universal-Regulated-Switching-Power-Supply-for-LED-Strip-CCTV-/281816675316?var=&hash=item419d9533f4:m:mRsUjhlabqrc5q78u_HEmuQ

Still cannot determine whether to build an whole box solution like you or to use a dedicated external PSU from Maplins and run a cable from that to the peer and then build a Power Distribution/USB box at the mount.

Steve

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Yes, these look like the same PSUs.

It's of course up to you how you wire it up on your pier. But I do like the fact that all cables go to one place (the top of this box) and I don't have many small boxes (USB hubs, PSUs,...) on the pier with lots of cables between them. Especially when the scope is used for imaging, there is a crazy number of various cables required on the pier. :-D

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I built a power box about the same time as chris using some of the parts he suggested. The power supply has been working for ages with no problem.

I bought an arduino with ethernet and 8 relay shield and control it from a webpage.

I love my power box, it makes it so damn easy and that psu has been great.

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16 hours ago, ncjunk said:

I built a power box about the same time as chris using some of the parts he suggested. The power supply has been working for ages with no problem.

I bought an arduino with ethernet and 8 relay shield and control it from a webpage.

I love my power box, it makes it so damn easy and that psu has been great.

Which PSU did you get Neil please?  One of the generic ones off of the bay?  I'm torn between doing it the way you and Chris have or buying a "proper" bench PSU.  Hmm, decisions!

Do you power your expensive gear like your CCD and MESU via this?

Edited by kirkster501
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17 hours ago, kirkster501 said:

Which PSU did you get Neil please?  One of the generic ones off of the bay?  I'm torn between doing it the way you and Chris have or buying a "proper" bench PSU.  Hmm, decisions!

Do you power your expensive gear like your CCD and MESU via this?

Yes one of the generic ones from ebay which if i remember correctly supplies up to 20A. I added a 12v to 5v converter to power the usb hubs. I use 6 lighter sockets of which 4 are connected. 1 to the mount, 1 to dew heater and camera, 1 to focuser and 1 to filter wheel.

I switch them on and off using a simple webpage which the arduino serves.

I'm not too bothered with the psu connected to the mesu etc. I had the psu working before getting the mesu and checked the voltage was within the required range before using it.

Thinking about it, i've got another one on the 3d printer thats the same.

It all depends on whether you feel comfortable with the electronics side.

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Now i come to think about it i adjusted the psu to the correct voltage using a pot on the side.

It was cheaper than the bench psus and be careful with the current rating as some of those bench psus only supply 2A\3A. So the advantages for me were: cheaper, large current rating and able to create bespoked box.

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