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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] discussion on USRP-->Wall Socket for Power Line C

From: Nick Foster
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] discussion on USRP-->Wall Socket for Power Line Comms
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:20:41 -0800

Before anyone goes out there and barbecues themselves with a USRP, two things:

1) Use Ettus Research products for power-line or hazardous voltage applications at your own risk and after careful evaluation by competent engineer.
2) VAC, Gredmann, Hitachi, Magnetica, and other companies make power-line-communications-specific transformers with IEC-approved isolation. Search for "PLC transformer". Please don't do anything with HV/line voltage without real isolation; using resistors for power line isolation is asking for trouble.


On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM, John Ackermann N8UR <address@hidden> wrote:
Well, I'd put it that large resistors result in high impedance.  You still have the full line voltage across the output of the two resistors, but any load resistance will form a voltage divider and drop the voltage very quickly.

A simple next step would be adding an appropriate load resistor and using an op-amp as a follower to provide a low impedance output to drive the BasicRX.

I'm not sure why you'd need to unground anything -- the output is an AC signal, and the resistors limit any current to a miniscule and safe level.  Folks have been plugging this design into all sorts of grounded gear with no issues at all.


On 2/21/2012 3:57 PM, Evan Merewether wrote:
Two issues:
1) Large resistors results in large attenuation.  This circuit attenuates
120VAC to ~5V for the microcontroller.
2) You would need to un-ground all of the components (USRP + PC + you) and
float everything to somewhere around 60V

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-gnuradio-bounces+evan=address@hidden
[mailto:discuss-gnuradio-bounces+evan=address@hiddenorg] On Behalf Of
John Ackermann N8UR
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:45 PM
To: George Nychis
Cc: discuss-gnuradio
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] discussion on USRP-->Wall Socket for Power
Line Comms

On 2/21/2012 3:00 PM, George Nychis wrote:
Okay!  So apparently there is some interest in power line communication
for GSoC.  But, what we would want to do is already have a safe way of
connecting the USRP in to the wall socket for the student(s), and for
the future of GNU Radio and USRP power line communications development.

So, as a goal of this thread I'd like to get some feedback on how we can
make this possible.  Ideally, something off-the-shelf would be great,
providing the highest amount of safety for those experimenting with it.

Here's a very simple approach:


There was a bunch of discussion about this on the time-nuts mailing
list, and some folks suggested changes for increased safety (including
putting two resistors in series so that if one fails short -- which is a
very unusual occurrence -- there's an extra layer of protection.  But in
general, with large value resistors the current is limited to a very
safe level -- and it's current that kills, not voltage.


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