Marauder

Switchbox Troubleshooting

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Second board looks like altered as well. Either that or sloppy manufacturing techniques.

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Time to let the Ph.D. EEs have a look at it. I'm only a no good, lousy board swapper.

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So I'm none of the above but what he's done is attached a little power supply to the top cover to feed the board 12v. Does the unit power on? My guess would be the power supply cooked, in which case it would be very easy to splice in 12v from a wall wort used for a phone or something. 

 

Basically all you have there is a power supply split to feed 12v to the device and then 120v split across the built in relays. Either a relay fried or like I said that cheap looking power supply. 

I'm on my phone so it's a little hard to say all I need to. Let me know if the lights come on and we can probably get you back in biz

 

If you have reliable wifi in the hangar a raspberry pi solution would be easy and cheap with dns dynamic. I'm sure there are cheap wifi outlets too. 

 

 

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On 12/2/2015 at 5:19 PM, PTK said:

Chris, it's a GSM remote box with two 30 amp relays. I did all the wiring so I can control both relays independently. I use it to control my batteryminder and preheater from my iphone.

I bought the box online a couple of years ago for around 75$ iirc. I paid 10$ for the sim card from tmobile. It works like a charm!

I can show you how to wire it if you'd like...but it'll cost you!!

image.thumb.png.8f583cadb7ec3b59971d20e0

I have the same thing except I think Phil runs too many amps through the pcb. I use an external relay triggered by 12v from the swotchbox, that way I know how many amps I can safely run. 

 http://www.powerswitchtail.com is what I use. Yeah I could build it cheaper but it was reasonable and an easy size

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Chris,

Non-PhD EE Comments FYI:

1) the wires added to the traces on the bottom of the PCB apparently are to 'beef up' the current capacity of those relay lines.  The relay is rated at 10A but those traces sure are not.

2)  I found a very similar item on eBay, a 7 channel variant, looks as if it was designed by the same group and uses the same parts.   You may find useful hints in their user's manual at http://www.relaysupply.com/docs/GSM-RELAY.pdf

3) getting the SIM card configured clearly takes some effort. Either the service provider or the user has to enable the SIM card # and disable any PIN and the voice mail features.  Too bad the remote controller card itself does not appear to do this.   There IS a programmer (USB or RS-232) sold along with most of these eBay items and it may help to be able to set up the controller yourself. 

4) I agree with PeeVee that if the 12V supply is not working you could buy a decent wall wart 12V DC / 1A rating and throw out that ugly little board.  Test it with your Radio Shack DVM to see if it is alive.

5) if in fact your load is heavy - such as a powerful engine heater drawing multiple amps at 120VAC - you should use an external power relay and let the GSM controller operate that relay at lower current.   The relay may be rated for 10A but that PCB connector and the traces are not.   PV's PowerSwitchTail looks like just the ticket.

6)  There's an even more similar 2 channel controller with this manual http://www.waferstar.com/downloads/GSM-AUTO-MANUAL_WAFER-V1.1-1209.pdf

 

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I am an EE and agree it's likely the power supply. Those cellular modules draw a peak of around 2.5 amps. So your supply should be at least that. Easy to measure 12v on the terminal strip. I would be curious as to what cell module is used. It's on the other side of the board with the SIM card. If this were a good product it would all be SMT Devices on a single board. No need for the 4 separate boards and all those wires.

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I am an EE and agree it's likely the power supply. Those cellular modules draw a peak of around 2.5 amps. So your supply should be at least that. Easy to measure 12v on the terminal strip. I would be curious as to what cell module is used. It's on the other side of the board with the SIM card. If this were a good product it would all be SMT Devices on a single board. No need for the 4 separate boards and all those wires.

Well this answers that question:

7e58aecce41838cfb903cfc3100144e8.jpg

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Solution. Use my 20 year old Radio Shack power supply and wire it in.

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1 hour ago, Marauder said:

Solution. Use my 20 year old Radio Shack power supply and wire it in.

Wow! Haven't heard of Shadio Rack in a long, long time. 

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Thanks Larry. I may order the one with the built in power supply. I think I can pull all of the plugs off of the SwitchBox. I can get my Radio Sha k power supply back.

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I am an EE and agree it's likely the power supply. Those cellular modules draw a peak of around 2.5 amps. So your supply should be at least that. Easy to measure 12v on the terminal strip. I would be curious as to what cell module is used. It's on the other side of the board with the SIM card. If this were a good product it would all be SMT Devices on a single board. No need for the 4 separate boards and all those wires.

Larry - great call on the power supply. I hooked everything back up and got it to work with my old Radio Shack 12V power supply. I have been checking Amazon for an alternative power supply. Do you think a 2 amp supply will be sufficient to power it? I haven't seen anything larger in a plug in version.

I haven't found any bare wire solutions either, so it looks like I will need to buy one and cut the end off of it.

Thanks for the troubleshooting help!

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Another option for the SIM card is http://www.alarmsim.com/

T-mobile Service, $30 SIM card, $0 monthly fee, $0.15 per text.   It seemed to good to be true when I found it but after a purchase 1.5 years ago with $30 prepaid there is still over $20 left in my account.  

I'm a CB also and bought a cheap low power switch and added my own higher amp relays.  

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This could work. Maybe it's even small enough to fit inside the box

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017R17YQC?keywords=12v%20led%20power&qid=1450712538&ref_=sr_1_9&sr=8-9

That alarm sim seems attractive. It's the only one I have ever seen that doesn't expire or use a monthly minimum. Seems perfect for this application, and you can get it on ATT too.

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I'm trying to keep up.  Do you think it was the power supply all along, or do you think you were having simm card issues and then the power supply issue?

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I'm trying to keep up.  Do you think it was the power supply all along, or do you think you were having simm card issues and then the power supply issue?

All power supply. Once I put my Radio Shack 12V in place of the SwitchBox's power supply board, the unit is working fine. Now I'm on a quest to find a replacement power supply that is smaller than the Radio Shack unit.

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2 hours ago, Marauder said:

All power supply. Once I put my Radio Shack 12V in place of the SwitchBox's power supply board, the unit is working fine. Now I'm on a quest to find a replacement power supply that is smaller than the Radio Shack unit.

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You probably have an old router or something with a 12v supply. Check the label on the wall wart and clip it and use it or, Amazon it for 6 dollars

 

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Adapter-Supply-2-1mm-CCTV/dp/B00452YFZU

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2 hours ago, Marauder said: All power supply. Once I put my Radio Shack 12V in place of the SwitchBox's power supply board, the unit is working fine. Now I'm on a quest to find a replacement power supply that is smaller than the Radio Shack unit.

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You probably have an old router or something with a 12v supply. Check the label on the wall wart and clip it and use it or, Amazon it for 6 dollars

 

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Adapter-Supply-2-1mm-CCTV/dp/B00452YFZU

Larry above is recommending at least a 2.5 amp unit. The Radio Shack unit is rated for 2.5 amp and there are others out there that might work.

One thing is very obvious about the SwitchBox. It does not have a UL, CE or any other electronics manufacturer certification on it. And considering what I saw on the traces, including not removing excess flux, I'm a little worried about potential electrical issues with it. He has it rated for I believe 1500 W, but who knows what testing was done to achieve that claim.

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On December 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM, Jerry 5TJ said:

Chris,

Non-PhD EE Comments FYI:

1) the wires added to the traces on the bottom of the PCB apparently are to 'beef up' the current capacity of those relay lines.  The relay is rated at 10A but those traces sure are not.

2)  I found a very similar item on eBay, a 7 channel variant, looks as if it was designed by the same group and uses the same parts.   You may find useful hints in their user's manual at http://www.relaysupply.com/docs/GSM-RELAY.pdf

3) getting the SIM card configured clearly takes some effort. Either the service provider or the user has to enable the SIM card # and disable any PIN and the voice mail features.  Too bad the remote controller card itself does not appear to do this.   There IS a programmer (USB or RS-232) sold along with most of these eBay items and it may help to be able to set up the controller yourself. 

4) I agree with PeeVee that if the 12V supply is not working you could buy a decent wall wart 12V DC / 1A rating and throw out that ugly little board.  Test it with your Radio Shack DVM to see if it is alive.

5) if in fact your load is heavy - such as a powerful engine heater drawing multiple amps at 120VAC - you should use an external power relay and let the GSM controller operate that relay at lower current.   The relay may be rated for 10A but that PCB connector and the traces are not.   PV's PowerSwitchTail looks like just the ticket.

6)  There's an even more similar 2 channel controller with this manual http://www.waferstar.com/downloads/GSM-AUTO-MANUAL_WAFER-V1.1-1209.pdf

 

Jerry -- thanks for the insights. The more I look over the box, the more concerned I have been getting. Granted, I worked for a company that sells high end instrumentation with all of the global electrical certifications, but the looks of the traces and the overall condition of the soldering, has me concerned. The last thing I need is an insurance claim for a hangar full of planes because of something I bought on the internet. I will look into the relay approach.

BTW -- when you bringing the Ovation up for me to see? I've seen your C, now I gotta see the Ovation ;)

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On December 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM, Jerry 5TJ said:

Chris,

6)  There's an even more similar 2 channel controller with this manual http://www.waferstar.com/downloads/GSM-AUTO-MANUAL_WAFER-V1.1-1209.pdf

Jerry -- I just read the manual you provided. I'm 99% convinced this Waferstar product or some variant is the SwitchBox. 

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31 minutes ago, Marauder said:

Jerry -- I just read the manual you provided. I'm 99% convinced this Waferstar product or some variant is the SwitchBox. 

It is. I posted the link to it on the other thread. The swotchbox phone app even works with it.... 

I'm sure he gets them in bulk, then cuts up a cheap wall wart and glues it in the case. Cuts up a couple of extension cords to feed in and across the board and back out, slaps a sticker on it and sells it for 300 bones. 

 

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31 minutes ago, Marauder said: Jerry -- I just read the manual you provided. I'm 99% convinced this Waferstar product or some variant is the SwitchBox. 

It is. I posted the link to it on the other thread. The swotchbox phone app even works with it.... 

I'm sure he gets them in bulk, then cuts up a cheap wall wart and glues it in the case. Cuts up a couple of extension cords to feed in and across the board and back out, slaps a sticker on it and sells it for 300 bones. 

 

You forgot the remaining line... "And sells it to idiots like Marauder".

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Yes, these are Waferstar GSM-AUTO devices.. the early ones needed an external AC-12V converter  (or that little board).. 
http://www.waferstar.com/en/GSM-auto.html

The extra wiring on the back of the main board is current capacity.. SB must have found that the OEM board traces really can't handle the 30 amps that the relays are spec'ed for or even the 10A a block heater can draw.   They should handle up to 15A since it has a NEMA 4-15 plug+socket.  Technically it should also have a 15A breaker on the input so that if you plug two 10A loads it trips the 15A input  rather than attempt to draw 20A down the 4-15 plug. 

That power supply is a switching supply, and more complex than a wall wart, which is just a transformer if  12Vac  and a transformer + diodes and a smoothing CAP if DC..   You can wall wart it as a replacement. 

Later ones have a AC-DC converter:

http://www.waferstar.com/en/gsm-auto-ac.html

If you are worried about current/fire risk I would just point a thermal camera (or just touch the relay/board/) after it has been running for an hour.  Unless there is excess heat it won't be a problem.. but that device definitely isn't UL spec. 

This is one of the times when it is good to add a LED to your device.   Then you can ask "is the LED on?"  Which allows you to quickly debug power supply, did they plug it in, is that outlet live, GFCI popped, sort of issues. 

I can tell you that pulling 20A through a 12/3 cable with 4-20 plug will get "warm" under continuous load.  
 

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Looking at the strain relief on the 12V side cable that was some sort of converted dongle. 

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