Ham Radio EMCOMM Go Kit – Power Box v3

About two years ago I built a new version of my Power Box, which turned out pretty well and performed great. I liked the smaller form factor and versatility of it, however, the build-out was a little cludgy and didn’t make the best use of the equipment (having to open the lid to see the power meter was less than ideal).

This new build makes use of the large Tac-comm carrier I previously used for the HF module in my Go Kit. In the year since that version of the build I decided to go a different route regarding this part of my kit, so I had the carrier available for reuse. This build is essentially a re-casing of the same equipment I had in the previous power box; the only alteration is the circuit breaker. I replaced the generic, no-name unit I had been using with a genuine Bussman RV style circuit breaker. I also changed the circuit breaker to one with a 35 amp trip instead of 40 amp. This was done because all of the West Mountain gear I am using for this build (PWRcheck & Epic PWRgate) are rated for 40 amps and I wanted the breaker to trip before potentially damaging any of this expensive equipment. I won’t be using much over 20 amps at any given time, so this shouldn’t restrict my operation in any way.

As luck would have it, all of my power box devices fit perfectly inside the larger size Tac-comm carrier. There is plenty of room to wire everything and this layout also provides the massive benefit of mounting the circuit breaker and power meter in the front of the case. This makes turning the unit on and off and checking my state of charge and power consumption super convenient. The front mounting plate is made of a sheet of ABS plastic mounted to a section of aluminum angle that is bolted to the carrier. The PWRgate is mounted to the carrier using velcro strips which hold securely while also allowing for easy removal. I had a few different ideas for how to mount the battery, but I ended up using 12 squares of super heavy duty velcro. Each square can hold 2 lbs and the battery weighs under 11 lbs, so it shouldn’t be going anywhere. I also added some padded strips to the top half of the carrier to keep the battery from shifting.

The end result of all this is a much more convenient and versatile power box. The weight increased slightly to 17.25 lbs, but it’s more compact overall and the build quality and looks are much improved and due to the slits in the carrier, the LED indicators on the PWRGate are still visible so there really isn’t any loss in functionality. It’s also super easy to work on, just remove 4 screws and the top cover comes off for access. I think I might have finally found the ideal power box configuration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *