Trailer Magazine

Don’t lose your volts

  • From the July 2020 issue.
Don’t lose your volts

Where increased demands are placed on rigs with every passing kilometre, REDARC shares some tips on how to maintain a stable power supply with its REDARC DPS Range (DC Power Supply).

Computers, measurement devices, precise actuators and communications equipment can be sensitive when it comes to the power they receive from the source. Clean and stable power, according to REDARC, is critical to preventing electronic damage and poor performance.

There are a few major causes of electrical noise or instability in a typical heavy vehicle setup. A vehicle start battery charging requires a ‘middle of the road’ level of voltage to be applied, generally around 14V (28V for 24V vehicles) to ensure long driving periods do not overcharge the battery and short runs can effectively recover the batteries from starting. These voltages are much higher than normal operating voltages when not under charge, of around 12.7V (per 12V battery) at rest. Likewise, when the battery is being discharged, its voltage will gradually drop from around 12.5V to as low as 9 – 10V, particularly when under a heavy load. There can also be loads on the battery or related circuits that cause short drops in voltage when they start up, like a compressor fridge or water pump.

Other loads like radios can have the same effect when they are transmitting as their current draw increases at these times. Very high current consumers such as the engine starter motor when cranking, or electric hydraulic pumps for lifting tailgates, decks, ramps, or cranes, will have a large and rapid effect on the battery voltage – and just like any electrical motor they can create a high level of electrical noise in the system.

The charging system itself, such as the vehicle alternator, also causes electrical noise on the system which can affect sensitive devices. Couple these factors with long cable runs, potentially along multiple trailers and across numerous connections, and the voltage levels can be very low in the end.

The effect of decreases and increases in voltage are generally performance related, for example lights being more dull or bright, or radio strength changing, or fridge efficiency and performance dropping with voltage, inaccurate measurements being taken, or actuator speed and strength can suffer.

Voltage drop along lengthy cable runs can have this effect, when the load is a significant distance from the battery the load may run poorly or inefficiently even though the supply battery still has plenty of charge in it and the vehicle charging system is working fine. Long cable runs also have the potential to cause voltage spikes when high power devices are turned off.

On the worse end of the scale, devices may even be damaged by under or over voltage, this is most likely when rapid voltage changes occur. Electrical noise can also cause excessive heat and interference in components resulting in damage to electronic components or internal batteries, or poor performance during operation particularly on radio and measurement equipment.

As a solution provider for a wide range of industries including heavy transport, REDARC have recognised the need to create a product which can deal with this diverse range of noise and voltage levels in these mobile environments – and so the REDARC DPS range (DC Power Supply) responds to these demands.

Whether it is a 12V or 24V vehicle running a 12V or a 24V appliance, requiring a clean and stable specific power supply, the DPS will provide this power in even the harshest of environments.

With a range of power ratings that operate from 9 – 32V input, you can make sure your vehicles safety, communications, and critical equipment always has the power to function effectively no matter how great the distance.

In other news, REDARC has won multiple accolades at the 2020 Endeavour Awards.

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