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What’s Wrong Here

Astron 50 ready for mod

Astron 50
ready for mod


OK, here’s my idea: I’m using an Astron 50 for Field Day, but want to have backup if the power fails or at least receive function while the generator is being refueled, so I’m hooking up a solar panel to the filter capacitors in the Astron (right after the diode bridge rectifier).
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The Astron will handle all normal functions, and indeed, with the solar panel addition will not have to work so hard (1 Amp worth) and that will save a little bit of gas on the generator. Then, if the power fails, the panel (it’ll have a diode to prevent reverse current) will be regulated down to 13.8 by the Astron circuitry and power the HF rig enough to receive.
F/Day Solar Panel (white wire to Astron)

F/Day Solar Panel
(white wire to Astron)


Is this a good idea or what? (insert Smiling Emoji)
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BUT HERE’S WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS IDEA
Solar costs a lot! Sure, it’s great powering a radio out in the boonies, or for certain ‘low power’ applications where it’s inconvenient to run an AC wire, but for things like running your house and the air-conditioner it gets really expensive compared to the 10c/kWh commercial AC.
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The dividing line is somewhere around a 60 Watt light bulb. If your basement is dark you can screw in a 60W bulb and run it all year, about 8000 hours, for (60 x 24 x 365 divided by 1000 times 10 cents) about fifty ($52) two bucks. You’re using 525 kWh of electricity doing that. How many 45 Watt Harbor Freight panels would it take to supply the 1.4 kilowatts you need every day? (The panels produce 0.180 kWh in 4 hours of sun if it’s not cloudy, and then you need some big batteries.)
P. S. The bulb, rated at 1500 hours, will last about 8000 if you never turn it off. Same advantage for tubes in WOW TV’s transmitter.
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The ASTRON 50 idles at about 60 Watts with nothing connected. When the power goes off your panel’s precious milliamps, 750 of them, will be partially wasted running the regulator circuitry. There won’t be enough left to run a Yaesu 857 which draws 550 mA squelched and around an Amp with the audio on.
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Note: The Harbor Freight three (3) panel setup runs 15W per panel. The single panel shown above doesn’t come close to making a full Amp. I mean 750 maybe, but never an Amp unless you get some big mirrors.