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Minimizing the setup weight and profile for power

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km5l's picture
Minimizing the setup weight and profile for power

Thought y'all might be interested in my homebrew power distribution I just completed today. I had four goals -

1 - First and foremost - since I also have an active music band, setup load and weight is a huge consideration, always looking to reduce weight and bulk. Same principle in portable mesh deployments.

2 - Build a power distribution system that I could use for two primary purposes
     A - AREDN portable node
     B - Our band's events, on-stage power (eliminate the 9V batteries and consumption at every gig - expensive)

3 - Assist with meeting or exceeding our NTX AREDN goal of full portable deployment in less than 30 minutes

4 - Make it chargeable from the outside, use ubiquitous Anderson power pole connectors and fuse each circuit on the inside of the unit

Here's I came up with for version 1.0:

The box is only 5"X 9"X 6" (HWD) in size (yay), poly plastic. The Raspberry pi is connected to the small HDMI touch screen display and is fully powered by the box. The Ubiquity works fine on 13 volts so all I did there was borrow 4 leads on CAT5 ethernet cables, with Anderson connectors on the other end.

The bottom right Anderson connectors are actually inputs to charge the battery. You throw the switch in the down position and it connects the battery directly to those connectors.

A look inside:

The battery chosen was a lithium polymer (LiPo) with many positive benefits over other batteries.

The inside has a common negative marine buss and the fuse block for + side. 

I have some buck power units I may add inside and eliminate the need for external bucks - for example for the 5V DC USB for the pi. We have a pretty large demo of demos going on in a special "Technet on the Hill" this Saturday - the Dallas Amateur Radio club is coming out for an AREDN demo as well as many other club projects - looking forward to deploying this system.

Patrick KM5L
​North Texas AREDN group

WU2S's picture
Very nice!
It's very nice and practical - thanks for sharing this. Could you make the parts list available?
km5l's picture
Will do
I'll put that together over the weekend for sure. Thanks for the nice comment.
Patrick KM5L
WL7COO's picture
Thank you for sharing this Patrick!

I'm looking forward to learning from your success!

With the September Rasbpian Pixel release including unlimited licensing for RealVNC Server and the Viewer being free and as cross platform as it is, Pi functionality is growing exponentially.

Thank you for your contributions.

73, ...dan

km5l's picture
Parts and schematic for the power distribution box

Here you go, let me know if you see an error!

The Box (almost a perfect fit)
Mouser Part #:
Manufacturer Part #:
Hammond Manufacturing
Enclosures, Boxes, & Cases Polycarb. Watertight 9.40x6.30x4.70" Grey. This was a perfect size box. Battery fits, but you will need to trim the plastic channels in the middle where the screws go because it tapers into a wider channel. Recommend a dremel tool, an exacto knife took me an hour.

Anderson PowerPole unit

LiPo Battery
12V, 12Ah LFP Battery (ABS, BLF-1212WS)
Be sure to read up on this, impressive/lightweight/long lasting battery. Take care though, read the documentation.

6 Gang ATO or ATC Fuse Block with Negative Common Bus Bar for Boats.
Had to look for this one awhile. What I loved is the multiple spades on the common negative bus making hookup a breeze.

12V to USB (5V) module with Anderson on one end and USB on the other.
Option 1: ANDERSON POWERPOLE Sermos 12V DC to 5V 3A USB step-down Converter Charger volt.

This feeds the raspberry Pi. Converts 12V DC to 5.0 V DC. A one amp fuse is too small, try 5 amp. The advantage of this is that all your Anderson’s stay at 12V supply. But you need converters like this on the outside. Option two instead of this could be a buck down power unit – 12V to 5 Volt, make it 2 amp or better and you can put it inside and terminate with a microUSB for the pi.
LED with voltmeter
These ae cheap and work pretty well:

73, Patrick KM5L 
WU2S's picture
Thanks, Patrick, this is really helpful.

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