Alternative Dreamcatcher Power Methods

Jerry @maxboysdad recently provided me with a device new to me - - a Buck Converter - - as a method of powering the Dreamcatcher.

Simply put, a buck converter is a DC-to-DC power converter which steps down voltage (while stepping up current) from its input (supply) to its output (load). Specifically, the one I’m testing steps voltages from 6 to 26 vdc down to 5.25 vdc at a maximum of 3 amps. This current is plenty to run the Dreamcatcher, and the 5.25 vdc is also within the Dreamcatcher’s operational range which I believe goes up to 5.5 vdc.

What makes it most useful is you can use any dc voltage power cube to run the Dreamcatcher - - you don’t have to use a USB power cube which may be hard to find with the required voltage and current capability.

My Dreamcatcher is now running off a 12 vdc power cube drawing .3 amps. The output going into the Dreamcatcher is 5.35 vdc (a bit higher than it’s spec) drawing 1.1 amps.

Here’s an example from for $3 complete with a standard USB plug to connect to the Dreamcatcher. Ken



The average user is probably better using the buck converter that are enclosed in the waterproof housing. I have used these for years with good success. The usually have a sticker that says CPT input 12v output 5v 3a 15w, but they are safe for input 8vdc to 30vdc. Various out connector are available (usb-a, mini-usb,micro-usb, usb-c) or bare wires. All cost $5 to $15 in single unit quantities.

The are NOT very efficient, maybe 70%, so they do get warm with wasted heat dissipation.

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I’ve tried several of these in the past on other projects, the enclosed and bare models. I found them unusable due to excessive RFI. I didn’t test interference at the Outernet frequencies, but they attenuated or totally blocked some VHF marine frequencies and the higher ADSB aircraft band, even quite a distance away. Maybe there are higher quality units available today which don’t have this problem.

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You might be right, I only used them next to my (12v powered) midland data radios that are completely enclosed in an aluminum box. The 5v was used for rpi’s that did the audio frequency encode/decode …
So RF was either in coax or inside the data radio’s. Antennas were more then 10 feet away.


Hopefully future versions of Othernet’s Dreamcatcher will be less dependent upon input power. We shall see :heart_eyes: Ken