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Field Charging Stations

Old 02-01-2010, 04:04 PM
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Walt Thyng
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Default Field Charging Stations

Well the only thread that came up was three years old, so here goes. The Fox Valley Aero club has finally recognized the growth of E-power and is in the process of planning and building a field charging station. Since we have limited 110 ac available we will be using power supplies to energize nine outlets. We've pretty much settled on the electrical set-up. What I'd like to see is photos of your club field charging stations. I would also like to know what kinds of problems you have encountered.
TIA,
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:40 PM
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crashoverride
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at the local field they have a 110 outlet at almost every "pit" station the pilot brings his/her own converter and charger.
seems to be working fine and havent heard of any problems,
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:18 AM
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Walt Thyng
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It would cost us $40,000.00 to get a big enough service to do this )-:
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:44 PM
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wow ok,
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:22 PM
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If you don't have enough 120V AC to run chargers, you don't have enough 12V DC, either (unless you install a solar system or something like that) - it's the same wattage whether you provide everyone with 12V sockets or 120V sockets, and the utility company will bill you for the same amount of power either way. You could install a bunch of SLA batteries to act as a buffer, charging them up slowly overnight and letting the chargers pull bursts of more power than the utility can provide at once during the day.

I can definitely understand not wanting to run outlets to all the individual benches, because that can be a lot of work. I probably wouldn't bother with a big DC power supply, though - just put a bunch of normal AC receptacles at your charging bench and let everyone do their own conversion; not everybody uses the same DC voltage, and it saves you trying to find a bunch of big, powerful 12v supplies.

I'm still a bit worried about your comment about the electrical service, though. What's your actual situation for power? You're going to use the same amount whether you provide receptacles all over the field, receptacles at a single bench, or DC at a bench. The only possible exception to this is if you use a single, very large, very efficient 240V power supply to produce your 12V, and even then we're only talking about a few percent difference.

Anyway, for the bench itself, you mostly want something shady, non-conductive, and difficult to burn. A wood bench with tile or concrete for the working surface would be excellent, but all-wood will also work. Provide plenty of bench space for equipment, and put your electrical supply connections on a vertical wall behind the bench, to save space.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:41 PM
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Walt Thyng
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Aramid,
according to the manufacturer a 40amp d/c power supply draws 10 amps a/c. We can easily run three power supply's which would support up to nine chargers. One of our committee members is a licensed electrician; I assume he knows what he's talking about.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:56 PM
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What's the voltage on that 40a DC supply? It must be a 24-30v supply to carry numbers like that, but most chargers want to run from 12v.

Anyway, you're missing my point - a 12v DC supply will always be able to provide 10x as many amps as it draws from the 120v outlet. The efficiency is pretty much the same whether you provide a single big DC source, or simply let everybody use their own. That's because volts * amps is constant; 120v * 30a = 12v * 300a, no matter how many smaller power supplies you use to add up to those numbers.

It's far cheaper to wire up a handful of 120v receptacles and let everybody bring their own AC-DC power supply. You don't have to pay for three high-capacity supplies, and you don't force all your modelers to use the same DC voltage. Everyone uses what they need, the club spends less money, and the AC power draw from the utility is exactly the same.

Your licensed electrician should know this, but since most of his professional time is spent with high-voltage AC, I'm not entirely surprised he's overlooked it. He'll still be a great help in wiring up your 120v receptacles.
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