Computers in the shack 2018

•August 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

2018-Computers: I use an Intel I3-4150 Dell mini-tower for its disk space and as my Win10 outpost until microsoft licenses me out into the cold.   CPU: i3-4150 @ 3.50 GHz / 8 GB

We’ll probably go one more round of hardware upgrades before we ditch Microsoft completely.  Ham radio apps, SDRs in particular, have not migrated fully to openSource, i.e. Linux, at least for the hardware I have.  And Windows is convenient for now (2018).  I use hand-me-down macbooks from my daughter and my sister for portable and some digital ops and for wireless ssh/x11 for the raspberry pi’s, and hard wire USB for arduino projects.  Often I’ll use a rapspberri pi to front end an arduino, and do arduino development from the pi, from a ssh to the pi from windows or osx.  I use raspberry pi’s for programming and development – mainly python, C, and perl languages.  The pi’s are more or less a dream come true for an old unix dog like myself.  As the need arises I use arduino’s, mainly the nano’s for projects needing microprocessors – they are to me suprisingly powerful C/C++ language developments platforms too which seems outlandish, but they can do some  significant number crunching on a thumbnail size chip.

MFJ-4125P Fan Noise

•April 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The MFJ-4125 is notorious for noise coming from its muffin fan (1) .  The MFJ-4125 uses an 60x60x15 mm fan.

Noise increases with airflow. I plotted the data (from  remarkable Yate Loon product data sheet (2) for it’s fan product line.  See the YL spec table and other figures further down ).  It’s interesting so I share the plot below.  Makes sense of course, but the noise spec in dB is interesting.

airflowlinear.JPG

To reduce noise, reduce airflow by reducing RPM.  The human ear detects sound intensity in increments of a decibel or two.  For every increase in one  cubic foot a minute  airflow, there is a one to two dB increase in noise.

Reduce RPM by reducing voltage – 4 diodes in series

A number of hams reported using 60Ω to 100Ω power resistors to drop the voltage and reduce fan rpm.  I am trying diodes instead of resistors since I don’t have the needed power resistors.  4 diodes in series produce a 25% voltage drop from 12V to 9V.  Noise decreased noticeably; every diode drops .7 v drop and each results in a small drop in noise, so this might have been 4 to 8 dB.  At 9v, the fan still makes noise. The question is what’s the impact on airflow and necessary cooling.  E.g  a 25% drop in airflow from  22 CFM  would be 16 CFM …  is that enough to make a difference in the power supply temperature?   {9/1/18 after a few months, still seems to be fine with no apparent ill effects.  Using a noise app on my phone, the fan now elevates background noise in the shack from  30 dB to 35 dB with the mic a few feet away from my operating position.}

There are many comments out there of hams who have installed resistors. Nobody has reported any issues with dropping the fan speed using resistors.  We’ll just sort of see how it goes with diodes.

I put a thermistor on the heat sink to enable monitoring the temp on it and set up my arduino thermistor .  (let’s put a thermistor in there – now that we have a small inventory in stock !)

(6/2/18 – all holds up well with this solution in place)

9/1/19 = supply temperature test with TS590sg  transmitting into a dummy load.  PS heatsink temp rose to 103 from 84 with 100 watt cw.  That’s not too bad I think.  (the ts-590sg rig remains cold to touch).   Under digital condition the temperature of the heat sink however goes to 123º F.  For this we’d want to be able to switch on full power to the fan.

Temperature controlled fan driver (4)
(Taming the MFJ-4125 PSU Fan)
Below is a schematic from G0KLA who used this circuit for regulating span feed from temperature for his linear amp power supply.   He used the same circuit with an MFJ-4125 and posted it ( see 4 ).   It’s the same analog control concept as ( #6).

4/8/18  I built out the circuit for testing.

tempcontrolfandirver.png

C17  – electrolytic,  filter/time constant ?   R31 – the gate resistor 10k seems to be typical to protect the gate from transient voltage at the expense of switching speed.  Switching speed for turning on a fan is hardly critical. (5)

Test Session #1 – Standby noise of about 35 dB and 109º up to 50 dB+  and temps above 118º on 9/13.

prototype.jpg20180903_141318.jpg20180903_141250.jpg

From April to September, the power supply ran with diodes in the fan circuit with no ill effects.  I did not install it in the power supply,  since the diodes seem to work fine and I shelved the project until September, reasonably happy with the diodes.

9/13/18 Testing temperature driven fan controller-  finally.   Removed the  diode breakout and inserted the test unit.    Insertion notes:  for testing I tapped tge 12V on the rear panel, and attached fan leads directly to fan + and  minus – .   There is a better way.  Make a power cable to get the 12V from the fan power socket on the board, and provide two header pins for the fans power plug. This allows the fan circuit insertion without cutting / soldering  on the MFJ4125.

 

9/10/18 Results.   The circuit works well.   I set the trigger point to occur at something close to 105º F by trial and error .  At this setting with tranceivers powered up, the fan idles with heat sink temps around 105º and 110º and fan noise is barely audible with total ambient noise of about 35 dB.    On transmit, the fan speed revs up, and with a lot of transmitting activity like with a digital mode, the fan goes to full speed as the MOSFET switches on to deliver the full input voltage to the fan. The fan at full power adds another 10 to 15 dB of background noise.

fanCntrlTest.JPG

The spec we’re most interested in is the junction temp of the power transistors attached to the heat sink .   Then the heat sink temperature might tell us if the cooling is enough.  We’re leaving this to another time.

9/10/18 Production Insertion Notes.   Came up with the better idea for how to make the insertion. Soldered two header pins to plug the fan end connector in.   Used a two pin socket to plug into the fan power supply socket on the rear of the 4125 main board.

(1) http://w9xc.net/w9xc-html-site/projects/mfj4125mods/mfj4125p-mods.html
(2) http://www.yateloon.com/en/product-38825/DC-FAN-SERIES-60x60x15.html
3) http://www.nmbtc.com/fans/white-papers/dc-brushless-cooling-behavior/
4) http://www.g0kla.com/workbench/2016-05-06.php  – heat sensitive ran speed reduction circuit.
(5) http://www.electronic-products-design.com/geek-area/electronics/mosfets/using-mosfets-as-general-switches
(6) https://www.google.com/search?q=using+mosfet+to+control+dc+motor&safe=off&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=8VQ36z01EUPryM%253A%252CKpP3Zyk_V6miYM%252C_&usg=__qMZ6oTM2b7Ruq27wP5WeLTlBarU%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKrZ6a6a3aAhUQTawKHbWGAU4Q9QEIUzAE#imgrc=8VQ36z01EUPryM:

Fan Specifications 

The fan used OEM is a 60x60x15 mm 2 wire YateLoon S60SM-12 run at 12V with the fan load, 13.8v no load.

The specs and replacement information are included here because the originals bearings are on borrowed time and multiple re-lube operations.

Below: product sheet from Yate Loon (2).  YL has data on four different models of 60x60x25 fans with different motors.  Airfow and noise increase with RPM

fan specs

OEM Source (3) 60x60x20   
https://www.pchub.com/uph/laptop/656-166398-52375/Yate-Loon-D60SM-12-Server-Square-Fan.html

D60SM-12 Technical data:
Dimensions: 60x60x20mm
Nominal voltage: 12V
Nominal speed: 2700rpm
Airflow: 18CFM
Noise level: 30 dB(A)
Power consumption: 1,2W
With 3Pin Molex plug, 60cm cable and rpm signal

Here’s what I bought:

ebayFan5apr18.JPG

 

 

Shipping Lithium batteries

•December 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After buying lithium cells for years from Battery Junction, Tenergy, and others, in Dec 2017,  Battery Junction will not ship batteries to Hawaii because their carriers all use air freight.

Today I ordered 4 CF123A rechargeable cells from Green Batteries.  Green batteries worked with me to find a solution.  The USPS allows air shipment of two batteries per package.  Green Batteries sent four CR123A rechargeable lithium ion batteries in two small packages which arrived in a few days.

So the future of the lithium battery segment of the industry is to find surface shipment qualified for hazmat shipping.  Nimh may be a different story still.  The air travel restrictions apply only to lithium, but demonstrably safe packing measures – factory packing if possible, taped terminals, individual plastic bags or containers are the minimum requirement.  Boxed and sealed to avoid contact with any object prevents short circuits. Most important, they must be carried on and cannot be checked.

June 28, 2016   https://support.myunu.com/hc/en-us/articles/221753607-Transportation-Security-Administration-TSA-Requirements-on-airplane-for-batteries

Lithium Ion Batteries: (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all consumer-sized lithium ion batteries (up to 100 watt hours per battery). This size covers AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game, tablet, portable drill, and standard laptop computer batteries. External chargers are also considered to be a battery. With airline approval, devices can contain larger lithium ion batteries (101-160 watt hours per battery), but spares of this size are limited to two batteries in carry-on baggage only.  … 

This criteria allows qualifies a 10 AH x 12V = 120 watt hours LiFePo4 battery for travel.  Two of these in parallel is 20 AH – the maximum allowed.

https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/safe-travel/batteries

Carrying a small shipment of several lithium metal cells could be problematic.  This is where securing an online source is just better.

MFJ4125 25A Power Supply Fan Bearing Noise –

•November 23, 2017 • 3 Comments

10/1/17

D6-SH-12 Fan Making bearing noise, clicking, ticking. Thought it could even becoming from the radio audio.

mfj4125.pngfan.PNGfanbearing.PNG

Pulled the fan, removed sticker and pried out a plastic cap covering the bearing.  Have to pry it out gently – it’s a tight fit.  Couple drops of light bearing oil on the fan bearing.
Replaced plastic cap and sticker.
hardware : (8 x 3mm button head screws to remove the cover, use #2 phillips for screws and for the 4 x large self tapping fan screws)

Fan is no quieter but there’s no ticking noise.

2/4/18  rattle noise returned after 4 months.  Relubed.  It’s better but Pete grt is right of course.  The fan bearing is failing. 4/1/18 – relube fixed rattle – still good.

Performed a mod to insert 4 diodes in series

37fSamL38L86_200.jpg

Noticeably quieter.  Installed a thermistor on the heat sink to allow heat monitoring.  At 100W CW temp goes up to 103 so this is effective cooling still.  Idle temperature is 96 or about 13deg above ambient with the ft-857 powered up (9/2/18).

9/2/18 perfomed preventive maintenance, lubricated, inspected.  8Xzfm6iK9MoQ_200.jpg

 

 

Noise Drop Nov 2017

•November 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

November 2017 – noticed a significant drop in raw noise level to from S9+5 or more to S5 on 40 meters.  That’s 40dB of noise drop!  The mfj-1026 noise canceling signal enhancer is still useful on 40m to audibly improve signal to noise reception

Example 40 meter settings -best day to day settings vary

  • PreAmp – out
  • Freq – in
  • Phase – out
  • Aux Gain – 10
  • Phase – 9.6
  • Main Gain – 3

Antenna: 40m dipole

updated 1/3/18.   80m end loading in effect in Nov 2017 has been discontinued as ineffective with little change in operating conditions.

Kenwood TS-590SG restarts

•October 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Status update: resolved
Last night the TS590sg started doing something wierd while I was doing FT-8.  On transmitting at high power levels, it would lose power and the start “Hello” screen would appear.

Apparently, loose Power Pole connection to the power supply.  Reseat, it seems to be working.

{ the longer story

At exactly the same time, there was a power spike/brownout which affected the whole house momentarily, but all devices stayed up, because the dropout was a fraction of a second.  However, the radio’s power supply (MFJ 4125P) is plugged into a SurgeSentry power box that instantly cut power to the rig.

The Internet “Online” link on the router also dropped.  This as it turns out was caused by the regional power glitch, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I was running a QRO full 100W transmit in FT8 at the time because of conditions of the ongoing QSO.

So I didn’t know whether the RF took out the Internet ( never happened before but if the finals blew, a local spike might have occurred ? ).  Later testing seemed to make it unlikely the finals were out, but the power loss was puzzling.

This is the difficulty of contra-indications and multiple stuff going on at the same time.

This AM AH6IO had suggested that it sounded like a power supply and suggested I try another.  I unplugged, came up on battery, and all worked.  Then I plugged back into the 4125P and all worked.

I think what happened was that I was also working on the HTX-100 which is wired for power poles.  Unplugging that loosened the PP connection on the radio, so a high power draw through the high resistance power pole caused the radio to power supply to drop momentarily and the power supply reset … I can’t explain the exact mechanism so in a way the event is still unsolved.

Looks OK now after reseating the power pole!

}

Nov 24 17- no recurrence of the problem.  Loose power pole.

SDR Issue- very wide LO signal on waterfall

•July 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Capture