Friday, April 10, 2015

First Simulation - Battery Draw Down Tests

Rig: KX3-KXPA100-PX3
PS: Gamma Research HP100
Powergate: KI0BK
Battery: Battery Tender Li-Fe-PO4 24 A-h
Computer: Toshiba Laptop
Software: N1MM Classic
Power Monitor: Watt's Up
Starting Voltage: 13.4 Volts (Fully charged)
Power Level: 50 watts on key-down (measured on a peak reading watt meter)

I wanted to realistically assess how many QSO's and how long I can run on my primary battery and how long I can keep logging and keying the rig with the laptop.  I had the laptop running in power save mode.  I turned off the Panadapter to reduce current draw on receive.  Current draw on receive with the Panadapter on is about 630 milliamps and with it off is about 480 milliamps.  My resting current draw is about that level.  Keying the rig brings the peak amperage to about 7 amps (6.5 amps with the PX3 off) but that is only momentary.  I ran for a steady 2 hours at about 175 Q's per hour.  At the end of the 2 hours I was down 4.4 amp hours according to the power monitor.  So, effectively, my average current draw was about 2.2 amps.  Voltage at the end of the second hour was about 12.9V.  At the end of the 3rd hour, the voltage had dropped down to 10.5V and the KXPA100 will not key up anymore.   At the end of the 3rd hour the laptop battery was almost depleted.  Realistically, 450 QSO's can be had in 3 hours of operating.  I generated that many mock QSO's in 3 hours of the simulation.  A second battery would double my run time.  However, unless I can extend the laptop run time through another laptop battery, logging will have to be done by paper and pen.  A solar panel can extend operating time if sun is available.  So between a solar panel, a second battery, a second laptop battery, 6 hours of operating time should be realizable with run time to spare.  That will be the subject of a second test.

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