MonstIR #1 Installation - Step 2 - Wiring Harness
Well the best laid plans of mice and men, oft go astray or are at least a bit more complex than originally thought, but more on that later...
You will recall from Step 1 - Planning that I had been deeply involved in planning the installation. I have just completed a master plan to detail all the steps I need to do to get this MonstIR in the air... the list is almost daunting in that I will simultaneous be installing a 6/2/440 Vertical on the top of the tower mast (no tower is complete without being crowned with VHF/UHF vertical), a 80M/60M Dipole hanging from the side and possibly a 160M Tower Shunt Feed as well as the 40M - 6M Monstir.
I had a long chat with the boys at SteppIR about the K6QK installation methodology I described previously in Step 1.. They indicated they had used a similar method to install arms on tilt over towers before but we would be the first ones to do it with the boom in sections. They agreed that quick disconnects were the way to go and that they had used them in the first SteppIR but ultimately abandoned them due to costs... i.e. for a 4 element.. materials would be $150 with labor and assembly, and profit.. likely $500 additional per unit out the door...they are still debating offering them for future MonstIRs as a sort of platinum option...Currently they are backordered 30 MonstIRs but were prepping MonstIR#2 for shipment when I talked to them.. so it is already a successful product for them...
Still waiting for the Assembly Manual to be completed but was able to confirm that the wiring diagram is the same as the 4 Element... they were going to be UPSing me a temporary controller as they are currently updating the firmware for the MonstIR based on Mikes most recent Moses Lake tests as well as about 25' of extra motor control wire for my wiring harness.. FYI - the motor control wire is 4 - #22 AWG wires in twisted pairs covered in UV protected PVC with a shield and a drain wire..
The Wiring Harness
I am currently constructing a wiring harness for the Monstir.. It consists of 6 connectors.
Approximately 18" from each motor I will install a quick disconnect of the 2 - twisted pair control wires and drain wire. The Male Plug will be on the Motor side.. Each of the 4 motor plugs is keyed differently so that it will be impossible to incorrectly connect them to power. For redundancy I am using 2 pins in each connector for 1 wire.. The cables will run back a differing lengths to the point where the terminal strip was going to be housed. There instead of the terminal strip, I will connect the Reflector and Driven Element Cable to one Connector and the Driver #1 & #2 Cables to a Second Connector. The Female Sides of these two connectors will connect to the 16 wire main control cable.. Again redundancy by using 2 pins per wire and Keyed to prevent misconnects.
You remember that as good hams we visited our surplus stores and were lucky enough to find the perfect connectors for only $1.95 a pair... Well the bad news is that the wiring color codes on the male and female ends did not match which aside from aesthetics is a sure fire way to guarantee wiring errors...So out came the Mouser Catalog and $16.20 later (more than the connectors cost) & $30 for overnite FedEx, I ordered an extraction tool. I am still over a $100 ahead.. but alas you always pay for your bargains...
So right now I am waiting for the extraction tool... yes.. I know you can brute force them out ... and delivery of the test controller...and of course, the assembly manual... As it is raining I have time to work indoors on the Wiring Harness..which I hope to have ready for testing this weekend...
I will post some pictures of the wiring harness assembly as it progresses..