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Author Topic:   12-Volt Power Distribution for Work Bench
jimh posted 03-09-2011 09:38 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
For distributing 12-Volt DC power on my work bench, I have been using a small power distribution panel that employs the Anderson Power-Pole connectors and is made by West Mountain Radio. The power distribution panel is called the RIGrunner, and they are available in several sizes. I use the Model 4005, which provides for connection of five loads and one source. Here is more information on the device:

I have several marine electronic devices connected to this distribution panel using the mating Anderson PowerPole connectors:

(Note that the RIGrunner comes with six pairs of connectors included.)

I find this is a convenient way to power 12-Volt devices on the bench. A temporary power cord can be made with PowerPole connectors on one end and bare leads on the other for attaching to the power leads from equipment.

The RIGrunner devices are not intended for marine use, and I would not try them in a small boat environment. They are great on the bench.

There is something of a standard among radio amateurs who participate in emergency preparedness activities and training to use the PowerPole connector as their 12-Volt DC power interface to equipment. The RIGrunner distribution panel is fitted with connectors that conform to the standard. This provides for compatibility among equipment and power distribution that might be shared in an ad hoc assembly of resources as might occur in an emergency situation.

The West Mountain Radio power distribution panel pricing seems quite reasonable to me. For about $65 it really cleaned up the haywire power distribution on my bench.

djahncke posted 03-09-2011 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for djahncke  Send Email to djahncke     
I use one from MFJ Enterprises, the MFJ-1124.

This one has the added flexibility of having two binding posts in addition to the Anderson Power-Pole connections so I don't have to make up a temporary power cable if I am just doing a quick check.

jimh posted 03-09-2011 11:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Don--That unit from MFJ is a good alternative. I like the binding post option.

Also, I will mention my bench 12-Volt DC power source: it is a storage battery. I have a nice (used) AGM 12-Volt battery of about 40-Ampere-hour capacity. I am using a sealed valve-regulated battery like an AGM to reduce the risk of any acid spilling on the bench.

I very much like the idea of a battery powering my marine electronics because I am quite confident there is little chance for too much voltage. The value of the electronics is often more than $1,000, and it makes no sense to me to risk valuable devices to some low-quality DC power supply. Some of the Radio-Shack-level 12-Volt power supplies I have seen are really junk. If the regulator in them were to fail the connected devices could be damaged. Also, the cheapo 12-Volt power supplies often have noticeable AC ripple on the output. With a battery there is no AC ripple.

To keep the battery at full charge it is charged by a precision regulated 1-Ampere charger. For long term charging you must hold the charging voltage to below the threshold for producing gas from the electrolyte. This demands a precision-regulated charger. I use a ProMariner 15-Watt Battery Maintainer. If there is any doubt about the AC ripple on the battery I just unplug the charger and I am back to pure DC for testing.

jharrell posted 03-12-2011 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
This is very good information, I am currently working on my workbench in the garage and was thinking about 12v power among other things.

I have a still in good shape starter battery off my Montauk, after purchasing two new AGM dual purpose for the move to the console, that I will probably use initially along with a charger.

I would still like a decent variable power supply for the bench for other electronics work not at 12v perhaps something like this as it can actually generate arbitrary waveforms using software: programmable-dc-power-supply-32v-5a-lab-grade-hy3005dp/prod_49.html

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