Sunday, March 13, 2005

ICE 348 Surge Protector

The model 348 from International Communications Engineers is an 8-terminal device intended to protect rotator control wires. I am using 3 of these: one for a Yaesu G-1000DX rotator and two for a SteppIR 3-element yagi controller. Here is what we see when we open the box:

The MOV devices fire at voltages over 50 V. Bypass capacitors help reduce any RF problems. Construction is "basic", to be charitable. The MOVs are rated at 1000s of A of surge current, but it's not clear if the wiring will handle the rated surge gracefully. The top and bottom plates, not shown, are secured by 4 bolts to the rectangular extrusion seen here. There is no "reliable" connection to the mounting tabs, which are on the bottom plate, except compression of the alumninum plates. For a more reliable surge ground, I am using the screw terminals visible at either side.

Compared with the Polyphaser devices in the coax lines, I worry that the rotor/SteppIR protection with the ICE unit is fairly weak. The upside is that the Rotor and SteppIR controllers are relatively robust, and in the worst case they can be considered "sacrificial". Still, a multi-stage spark gap/inductor/MOV system (similar to the Hyperlink DSL device) would offer more security, at higher expense.


Anonymous said...

Hi I got one of these for my small nexus rotator. I hooked up the wires but the rotor would not move. Did I hook up the wires wrong? can I test the 348 with a multimeter ? how ?


Martin AA6E said...

You should attach two wires to each of the screw terminals -- The wire to the rotor and the corresponding wire to your controller. Each terminal is independent of all the others (unless there's a short). So the most likely thing is misconnecting your rotor and controller. Try lifting the wires off the '348 and see if the rotor works.


Andrew James said...

Thank you for the post about voltage surge protector!