RIGrunner Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I want a RIGrunner?
- What are Anderson Powerpole® connectors?
- How is a RIGrunner hooked up?
- I plan to have 3 or more radios on my RIGrunner. Is that OK?
- I noticed the RIGrunner comes with fuses installed. Can I change them?
- What does the RIGrunner precision power monitor do?
- Can I damage the RIGrunner by hooking it up wrong?
- I don't see the LED blown fuse indicators. Where are they?
- What mounting considerations do I need to consider?
- How do I put Powepoles® on my cables?
- Why is there RF bypassing on the RIGrunner?
- Is the RIGrunner grounded?
- Can I use the RIGrunner in my airplane or boat?
Why do I want a RIGrunner?Mainly for convenience, but also safety!
Imagine if your home's 120 VAC wiring had different types of plugs and sockets in every room, and on every light and appliance. That would be a nightmare wouldn't it? This is what you probably have now with your 12 VDC connections; think about it. The purpose of the RIGrunner is to standardize all of your 12 VDC connections using Anderson Powerpole® Connectors according to the ARES RACES standard for DC power connections. Anderson Powerpole® Connectors are widely used by hams, and are the best choice for clubs and emergency groups to standardize on. See our links for amateur radio groups that are using Powerpoles®.
You can connect 12 pieces of equipment to a RIGrunner. Connect as many transceivers and solid state amps as you need on one RIGrunner provided you do not exceed the 40 amp maximum capacity by transmitting on more than two radios at a time.
Each and every connection has it's own easy to replace fuse. Each piece of equipment is individually protected, unlike other power panels. The RIGrunner uses easy to find, inexpensive, standard automotive, ATC/ATO blade fuses. ATC/ATO fuses are available in 10 values from 1 to 40 amps. We have even provided blown fuse indicator LED's on each fuse to quickly and conveniently locate a blown fuse. No need to ever pull a fuse out just to check it.
The RIGrunner has our precision window comparator circuit that accurately and effectively monitors your DC power source. There are LED status indicators and an audible alert. Our system will clearly warn of a bad alternator, bad power supply regulator or a low battery condition. Voltage is checked closely for a proper operating condition. The audible alert will get your attention without looking at the RIGrunner. The alert may be easily configured to warn of a low battery instead of the default overvoltage warning or it may be disabled altogether for a visual-only alert.
You can plug and unplug your equipment "hot" as Powerpole® connectors are insulated and polarized. It is prudent to turn off your equipment before making or braking the connection. With other products that use cheap binding posts, good luck hooking or unhooking something with your power supply on!
What are Anderson Powerpole® connectors?Anderson Power Products Powerpole® connectors are simply the best and highest quality DC connectors made. They don't break, get loose, get stuck, short out, go in backwards or ever go bad and they are made in the USA. They are more costly but they are worth it. Our low prices make them even better.
They have a flat wiping contact system that allows for minimal contact resistance at high current,and a wiping action that cleans contact surfaces during connection. We have measured a pair of them at less than 0.05 volts drop @ 25 amps. A 1' piece of #12 wire has triple that voltage drop.
The interchangeable genderless design simplifies connection possibilities. You can hook batteries to power supplies, batteries to radios, batteries to batteries, power supplies to radios, etc., with the same genderless plugs.
Color coded modular housings provide visual color coding that match the wire and plug polarity.
They have silver and tin plated copper contacts with stainless steel retaining springs.
Polarized housings prevent electrical damage from connectors being mated incorrectly.
The series we use are mounted to our board with #10 buss wire that has a 45 amp 25 degree C rise rating. With the RIGrunner's 40 amp fused circuit we are using them very conservatively.
Recessed, shielded connections avoid shorts when power source plugs are left unplugged and they may be safely plugged in hot without load.
They may be soldered or crimped, the housings snap together. They may be disassembled if you snap them together incorrectly.
The UL94 V-0 housing material connectors meet strict UL flammability ratings.
We know that from our testing and from technical articles about electric R/C aircraft competition that the 45 amp Powerpole® connectors will easily survive operating intermittently at close to 100 amps. They are not permanently damaged until almost 200 amps.
How is a RIGrunner hooked up?Using Powerpole® Connectors!
Make sure you understand that the whole idea is to standardize ALL of you 12 VDC power connections. Your home station,your mobile, portable, club, contest, emergency.....whatever should have the convenience of Powerpoles® on every 12VDC cable. If every radio and every power source you have has Powerpole® connectors, you will easily be able move your equipment around between, home, bench, car, club or wherever. If you belong to a radio club that is active with portable or emergency communications, try to get your entire club to standardize on Powerpoles®. If you are already using Powerpole® Connectors but you did not use the ARES RACES standard, you may have to snap them apart and re-arrange them to conform, your club members should do the same.
If you do not have Powerpole® Connectors on all of your equipment put them on! See our OpTips and Support pages for help on how to properly install Powerpoles®.
Power supply cables to supply your RIGrunner and station are available from us as an accessory.
I plan to have 3 or more radios on my RIGrunner. Is that OK?You may certainly have as many transceivers hooked up as you like, even one on each of our twelve outputs. You could have all 12 transceivers hooked up, turned on and in receive. The consideration is how many can you transmit with at the same time. The answer is probably two, one on SSB and one on FM. Two 100 watt rigs running CW or FM (continuous carrier) might take out the 40 amp fuse. An HF 100 SSB transceiver and a 160 watt FM station should be possible. If you transmit on two or more radios at the same time, you will have to estimate the total average current draw an try and keep it below 35 amps. Remember that this is average current, steady state current draw cannot exceed perhaps 35 amps but an SSB duty cycles could exceed 40 amps without blowing a fuse. Whatever you do, the worst thing that could happen is that you will blow a 40 amp fuse.
I noticed the RIGrunner comes with fuses installed. Can I change them?The RIGrunner comes supplied with a range of fuses installed. This assortment will probably be usable for most stations. Do not feel for any reason that you cannot change the fuses installed. Every RIGrunner output is safe up to 40 amps but the total is also 40 amps.
You MUST have a fuse in each position that is in use. ANY ATTEMPT TO BYPASS OR SHORT ACROSS THE FUSES WILL BE DANGEROUS AND VOID THE RIGRUNNER WARRANTY. Since the maximum available automotive fuse is 40 amps, the RIGrunner will be protected as long as any value ATC/ATO fuse is installed. You should choose the correct fuse for your equipment.
Standard ATC/ATO automotive blade fuses are used. They are available at auto stores, super markets and even drug stores. These fuses are available in 10 values ranging from 1 amp to 40 amps.
The DC input should have a fuse that is appropriate for your power supply's rating. If you will be using a smaller power supply you may wish to use a lower value fuse than the 40 amp value supplied. Ideally all of the outlets should have a fuse that is the next higher value above the maximum current draw of the unit on that fuse. If the unit to be plugged in already has a fuse on it?s power cord you may match that value or go one or two values higher. Sizing each fuse for each unit is desirable but not absolutely necessary. Having a higher value than the minimum will simply give less protection for that unit, too low a value will blow out prematurely, of course.
What does the RIGrunner precision power monitor do?We could have put a cheap little 1" 25V meter on the front but we figured that would be useless. Since most radios are designed for 13.8 VDC +- 15 %, 11.73 V to 15.18 V. On a tiny little 24 V meter that range is displayed as an unresolvable pointer needle width.
We decided to provide a precision expanded scale comparator with accurate indication of an under voltage, normal or overvoltage condition. It uses a National Semiconductor LM3914, temperature compensated and voltage regulated, precision window comparator, calibrated with 1% precision resistors.
We have chosen voltage windows of < 11.5 V as under voltage, 11.51 V to 14.99 V as a normal or nominal 13.8 V and an overvoltage condition as >15.0 V. Our logic selecting these points is based on the following. Aircraft or automotive alternator systems, when properly operating, are between 13.8 V and 14.3 V. A resting, charged, lead acid battery is a nominal 12.0. An AC powered 12V DC supply should be set to 13.8 V +- 0.1 V. If you battery or alternator or power supply is inside our "normal" window it is GOOD. Car alternators can and will go haywire, power supplies can stop regulating, especially in the presence of RF. Anything over 15 V is BAD! Even though your radio might tolerate 15.2 volts we opted for a more conservative 15.0 as our overvoltage point. Low voltage of less than a rated 11.73 V will not hurt your radio but it may lose phase lock or operated improperly. We picked 11.5 as a definite indication point that your battery is going dead and that you should cease operation.
In addition to LED indicators we also included a 70 dB SPL audible alert. This alert is normally set with a jumper block to sound off with a high voltage warning. If you are running strictly battery power you may move our internal jumper for a "low alert", alerting you of a dying battery and possible improper operation of your radio. You may for some reason wish to disable this alert altogether, that is easily done by simply removing the jumper.
The comparator circuit is reverse polarity protected and safe to 35 volts maximum.
Can I damage the RIGrunner by hooking it up wrong?No, not if you have a full set of fuses in it and you connect it to less than 35 volts. Even if you hook it up backwards you will not hurt it. You can DEFINITELY damage your equipment with the polarity backwards. We do not have reverse polarity protection on the RIGrunner outputs. Powerpole® connectors are polarized making it impossible to plug them in backwards provided you assemble them correctly in the first place.
If you defeat the fuses, especially the input fuse you can destroy everything, or even start a fire. Our product warranty is void if you do this: we will be able to tell. We make it very hard to jump out the fuses, don't even think about trying!
I don't see the LED blown fuse indicators. Where are they?Since ATC fuses have color coded transparent cases, we put the LED blown fuse lights under the fuses. If you have a blown fuse with a load on that fuse it will light up and should be visible in normal room lighting, you can spot the problem right away.
What mounting considerations do I need to consider?It should be located where it is easy to get to and central to all the units that will be connected to it. Remember that the power supply cable has all the current on it so if you have a choice put it close to your power source. It should be in a cool dry location, this is especially important with a mobile setup.
How do I put Powepoles® on my cables?Powerpole® connectors come in two pieces, an insulated body and metal terminal. You may use our inexpensive crimp tool or you may solder them on. Crimp or solder the terminals on each wire. Click the terminal inside an appropriately colored housing Slide the housings together to match the standard orientation and correct polarization.
For full details see our RIGrunner Optips and Support pages.
Our RIGrunner Support Page
The only tools you should need is our Gardner Bender GS88 crimper, or equivalent and a pair of wire strippers.