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AC Power Bar Circuit Boards
#1
Hello everyone, I've been working on a circuit board for the power bars to make assembly easier and would love to get some feedback to see if anyone thinks there could be issues or improvements.

The board is solder directly to the AC outlets then 3 AC wires need to be soldered from the AC socket on the case to the circuit board, and it's up and running, the board is also fully isolated from the controller using optocouplers.

The power bar would no longer have a power supply installed because they are so big and the case needs to be large to accommodate it plus if the power supply dies its difficult to replace. I know having an external power supply has downsides too because it uses up another precious AC outlet in the wall so what I did was added a movable jumper to the circuit board so outlet 8 can always be on and used for the 12v power supply to power up the controller. This way you save the plugs in your wall and still have 7 available in the power bar.

So now 12v from the controller goes into the power bar, then into some DC-DC converters and it powers up the optocouplers used for isolation. Then there's a mini AC-DC power module on the circuit board that puts out 1000ma and used to power the relays making it fully isolated. 99% of currently users are only partially isolated unless you added a second power supply for the relay module. 

I also added an I2C IO expander so only 4 wires (USB cable) is needed to connect to Robo-Tank instead of that hard to find expensive VGA cable, in the future I can update the code so 8 AC power bars could be connected instead of 2 currently allowed. This won't affect any current users as there'll be an option on the display for the power bar type attached.

Here's some technical data, if you see an issue or something that could be improved please let me know. All the components for relays are the same as the blue 8ch relay modules.

The image below is for the universal AC outlets, I'll have one for the other outlet types as well. The board is 193x137mm

This is the front and what you would see when you open the case. The green part of the board in the red circle I drew is where the AC Hot and DC ground plane come close, I added cutouts there which can't be seen so it can't create a bridge, same as the blue 8ch relay modules.
[Image: Power-Bar-Universal-RevA-Front.jpg]

This is the back of the board and can't be seen when mounted.
[Image: Power-Bar-Universal-RevA-Back.jpg]

This side has the 8 AC relays, AC-DC power module (HLK-PM01) and electrolytic capacitors. 

The downside to I2C is cable length is quite limited, 10ft would probably be the maximum so I'm also going to make I2C extenders so longer cable could be used. I'll also have an expander for the controller so you could plug into the main I2C port and have a bunch of USB I2C ports for the power bars and whatever else might come.

It'll probably be a month before I have everything to test, I'll start with the North American outlets and once its working then I'll get for other outlet types.
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#2
Hi!
It looks good!!
Did you think about the possibility to use a RF transmiter and a power socket RF?
I see this solution in other open controller , and i will test it, i think its an esay way and very clean!!

Bye.
Jorge
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#3
Thanks Jorge, I didn't think about wireless but that's something I've thought about in the past, I'll have to give it some thought again.
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#4
I would go with a more plugable approach as outlets differ per country.

So Just the relay boards with some form of push-in fitting, and if the costumer wants a case they need to specify the socket they wish to use (or need to use in thier country)
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#5
Wireless rf solution should be kind of easy job to add. You can use example these kind of 433Mzh transmitters / receivers. http://randomnerdtutorials.com/rf-433mhz...h-arduino/

Edit: Nevermind :D I forget little thing. If you use those kind of transmitters / receivers, you must put additional arduino inside power bar :D Not so good idea :D
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#6
(02-19-2018, 06:35 AM)fietsenrex Wrote: I would go with a more plugable approach as outlets differ per country.

So Just the relay boards with some form of push-in fitting, and if the costumer wants a case they need to specify the socket they wish to use (or need to use in thier country)

What do you mean by plugable approach? I'm trying to eliminate the AC wires. I was using those crimp connectors and still send with a kit but they aren't idea because you have to pinch each one of them to make sure they're a tight fit, if they aren't a tight fit there's resistance there and they can heat up and cause issues. When I assemble a power bar I solder all the wires however that takes very long and a lot of heat which isn't good on the wire sleeve or the outlets. Also good AC wire is quite expensive.

I have a universal outlet that covers most countries I ship to, then I have an outlet for North America and one for Australia which are physically the same so I only need two board versions.

(02-19-2018, 09:56 AM)niksunen Wrote: Wireless rf solution should be kind of easy job to add. You can use example these kind of 433Mzh transmitters / receivers. http://randomnerdtutorials.com/rf-433mhz...h-arduino/

Edit: Nevermind :D I forget little thing. If you use those kind of transmitters / receivers, you must put additional arduino inside power bar :D Not so good idea :D

lol I've said, this should be kind of easy, so many times then I realize. :)  In the past when I thought about it I figured I would add a Arduino Nano as they're cheap. Maybe what I'll do is leave it today and once this is up and running I can have an optional wireless power bar that cost maybe $25 extra. It should be kind of easy to add a simple microcontroller to the board with a programming circuit if the program on it had to be changed. RF on the controller is definitely coming one day as I plan to have wireless sensors such as temperature, I'm looking forward to doing that soon.
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#7
Something like the attached photo.

Just for the DIY version, the complete kit with cases you should build it just the way most easy for you


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
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#8
Those look nice, I'm guessing you don't have to trim the wire ends? I send out a screw terminal block to make it a little easier but no fun stripping the wire.
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#9
Rob my top off unit has exactly what your talking about for having the plugs mounted dirctly to the PCB I will have to unmount it from the wall and open it up to get some pics if want me to. It has 2 rows of 4 plugs 10Amp fuse to protect it only thing I wish it had is a toggel switch next to each plug to over On/Off just of that plug
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#10
No you still have to strip the wire, and if unlucky you need solid core wire..
There are types where it is not needed, otherwise you need to solder the wire ends or place a wire end cap before inserting it
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#11
(02-21-2018, 09:42 PM)rott Wrote: Rob my top off unit has exactly what your talking about for having the plugs mounted dirctly to the PCB I will have to unmount it from the wall and open it up to get some pics if want me to. It has 2 rows of 4 plugs 10Amp fuse to protect it only thing I wish it had is a toggel switch next to each plug to over On/Off just of that plug

Hey Rott, I got those pics that's a nice power bar. This one will be similar but a bit bigger. The toggle switch is a good idea but would need a separate board so you can access them unless you mess with a bunch of wires. Mine will have jumpers on the board so you can set an outlet to be always on but yeah not the same as a switch. But since they are there one could mount switches on the case, just drill a hole, and run wires to the jumper on the circuit board and you could turn it on/off.

(02-21-2018, 11:28 PM)fietsenrex Wrote: No you still have to strip the wire, and if unlucky you need solid core wire..
There are types where it is not needed, otherwise you need to solder the wire ends or place a wire end cap before inserting it

Ah not so good then haha, its probably not a common thing with AC. I think these boards will work out nice, gonna get some made soon and give it a go.
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#12
I would place the switch in the AC side of the wiring, Just as a safety in case you got a sticky or faulty relay and the AC remains present on the outlet
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#13
That would be harder, at least back to using big bulky wire but you make a good point. I'm not going to add switches, I like the idea but people can always add if they want.
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#14
Big Bulky wire?
For AC wiring you need atleast 1.5mm2 (about AWG 16) Just to keep things up to standard requirements..
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#15
Yeah 16awg is getting big IMO, the wire I use takes a lot of heat from a soldering iron and that's when I start disliking it.
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#16
just remember awg rating for 110V wire is 14gauge for horizontal runs and 10awg for lateral (up and down between floors) it is like soldering a stove pipe

this what I was thinking of for a power bar box


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#17
I use high quality 16awg as they are very short wires but it's really expensive, it'll be nice to get rid of it. That's a nice power bar, if I didn't have to assemble them I would do something like that but I see many hours with all that wire. The worst thing with DIY is you have to use crimp connectors for the outlets which can cause resistance and possible fire (which hasn't happened) or solder to the terminals but then it doesn't look very pro. My goal with this is to assemble in under an hour and look safe and professional inside. I've got some boards being made now and really looking forward to them, I'm done with measuring, cutting, stripping, tinning and soldering wire. Also no more VGA connectors to solder, that was minimum 30 wires that are gone.

I'm also working on an I2C extender so there can be more than 10ft from power bar / atlas circuits and the controller. Also a junction box which would connect to the I2C port on controller and give you 2-8 USB ports for I2C connections so wiring is cleaned up at controller. On my next set of boards I'm going to change the 4pin screw terminal connector for I2C to USB so it's easier to manage and less trouble.
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#18
Usb connection is how it all started LOL I still have some of the old stuff that I used the usb cables for. Should make it a lot easier to connect and look nicer. will make it a lot easier for connecting break out boards and add-ons :)
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#19
Lol, how can you forget. That didn't work out so good for everything without custom cables. I like these 4 pin screw terminal connectors for most ports, At some point I'm going to change dosing pumps to those as the RJ45 has the same issue. But yeah the USB will be nice for add-ons, I'm going to add one USB port on controller board for the add-on port. Cables for them won't need to be cut up so it'll be nice, plus I get to use up the big bag of connectors I still have.
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#20
I do remember. and the big thing was usb cables are to short :) you had some crappy usb connectors you didn't like then a week later I got a bag of usb connectors from you in the mail LOL back in the day:) I got a half a roll of 4 core wire from a guy at a liquidation sale that was for 3 days only think it has 150 feet on it $15 that was all he had I was hoping he had a stash or some thing but no luck
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