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My portable AREDN node

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AL7MH's picture
My portable AREDN node
  1. NanoStation M5. ($82 from Amazon)
  2. Tripod with 18-foot Mast.
  3. 12-volt battery go box.
  4. DC POE injector ($9 from Amazon).
  5. Ubiquity airGateway ($23 from Amazon) for 'remote wifi connection to Windows, Mac, or iPad.
  6. Microsoft Surface Pro with Chrome web browser to talk to airGateway and Nanostation, MeshChat, Winlink Express for ptp email.

Ethernet cord is about 10 feet and station seems to be fine with 12-volt (instead of 24-volt Ubiquity spec).  Draws about 0.17 amps.  Doing longer term testing.

AL7MH's picture
Interesting, we learned

THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN RESCINDED.  I disconnected and reconnected everything and it works fine with multiple devices.  I may have not had the DC power connector inserted all the way?

Interesting, we learned through testing today the 4-port POE injectors will support only ONE attached device if it (the POE injector) is powered by a 12-volt battery.  But works fine, powering a single Ubiquity device.

al0y's picture
That's very weird. 
That's very weird. 

I have a POE injector (4 ports) probably the same as the one in the picture... and  Iam using it to power the NanoStation node, a Netgear smart switch and a Grand Stream Phone. 
kc0wkp's picture
What kind of runtime are you
What kind of runtime are you seeing off that battery?
what model tripod?
what model tripod?
AL7MH's picture
I think there are a lot of
I think there are a lot of options out there, but I use a buddipole for portable HF operation, and they have a nice tripod/mast.

Info on run time in the morning, I'm running a test now.
AL7MH's picture
The NanoStation is powered by

The NanoStation is powered by a 7 amp sealed lead acid battery.  A fully charged battery discharged to 12 volts after about 12 hours.

KD2EVR's picture
Assuming that's the same POE
Assuming that's the same POE adapter as I have, I don't see why you are having trouble powering multiple devices.  If you remove the two screws on the bottom and pop the case open you'll see that the negative is distributed by a ground plane and the positive is less than 3" of .06" wide trace total.  You may want to check for bad solder joints.  On the two I received, the terminal block connector was lifted up off the board at an odd angle so to straighten it I had to re-heat the joints anyway. 
AL7MH's picture
Thanks, I'll dig into it a
Thanks, I'll dig into it a bit more.
k1ky's picture
Check the far end

If you are putting 12 volts (what is it really?) in the POE injector, you may be barely getting what the node needs at the far end given line and connector losses.  They "say" that the nodes will run down to around 11 or 10.5 volts - but I haven't really tested it.  I would look into a voltage booster to get the overall beginning voltage up to around 24 and you should be golden.  Each UBNT node draws about 3 watts, so do the math depending on what voltage is arriving at the connector.  There are some inexpensive POE analyzers starting around $24.00 available and is a nice addition to our MESH diagnostic toolbox.  Small enough to take up a tower to check voltage/current/power on nodes and cables in the air too!

I would recommend if using
I would recommend if using cables less than 100ft that the voltage be 22.5 or 23vdc at most.

​There is an onboard 24v zener diode used for overvoltage protection that is tied to V+ and V- and any spikes in the supply line at 24v could cause it to go into conduction which could either reset the supply, increase current consumption, and possibly increase heat in the Zener.

​The 16v Ubiuiqit supplies have historically been used to 100ft and he 24v supplies for everything past that by WISPs. However Ubiquiti has been shipping the 24v supplies more frequently now
k1ky's picture
And Reset possibilities on OverVoltage
Conrad brings up another interesting point - I have seen conditions where voltage spikes have caused the node to "reset" to default "NOCALL" condition.  Is that zener cutoff action triggering the node "reset" circuit on voltage spikes somehow?  And yet we possibly digress from the original topic.  It's been a while since I have studied that part of the circuitry. Inquiring minds...
Yep we might be getting off
Yep we might be getting off track here,  There is another 15v zener diode that handles the reset.  Its on the opposite side of a center tapped transformer that when voltage is applied it couples over goes through the zener and triggers a transitor to trigger the reset pin.   I can't pul lthe schematic up of how Ubiquiti did it and what pin they chose to send it up on, but any of the data pins probably would work to trigger it since each one goes through half a transformer before going to ground.

AL7MH's picture
I'd like to get about 12
I'd like to get about 12 hours portable operation from my station.  Here's my question - does the node draw more when it's actually connected to a network and handling traffic than it does when it's static?
k1ky's picture
12 Hours of Runtime on Battery
I have only tested devices while connected and running traffic.  I don't think it really makes any difference.  I do know that they don't draw any more or less power if you change the power output settings on the node.  If you are concerned, I would suggest that you hook it up under full production mode, handling traffic and put a power analyzer on it that measures the actual Watt-Hours measured over a 12 hour operating period just to be sure.  I use a power analyzer that is used in the R/C industry.  PowerWerx has models ranging from $48 - $80 that are very handy that will handle a wide range of voltages and current up to 40A.  You may be able to find cheaper units on Amazon.
Last year I did some testing
Last year I did some testing with a 2S Li-po RC battery, 7.4V nominal, on a Nanostation. It ran the battery all the way down to its low voltage cut-off protection, around 6.2V, with the node still operating until that moment. Granted, I was only using about 5FT of cable, so I do not recommend doing the same over a long cable run.
I also noticed that even with the current increasing a few mA at the lower voltages, the P=I(V) was lower than when running the node at 24v and 12v. In other words, the power consumption is not linear. This was not a scientific test, but would love to do it again with better test equipment, in 0.5V increments for a better plot.
WP4QAJ's picture
More Pictures
Can you post more pictures?
maximum cable run

Since this discussion touches on the power aspects of the AREDN node and voltage of the POE cabling, A question of practicality: given a 24 Vdc power into a POE injector, how long of a run of Ethernet cable can be used and still have solid performance? Assume worse case - that the AREDN node is running full power and the cable wire is 24 gage (like ToughCable Pro as an example). Not looking for a theoretical answer, just a practical one based on actual deployment.

WU2S's picture
Maximum cable length
As Darryl K5DLQ reported here, there is a Rocket node at the end of a cable 475 feet up a tower in Montgomery County, Texas that works just fine.
Maybe we should keep a record book for longest cable run actually in use.

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