Collet Communicator Power Supplies
Its no secret I am a fan of motorcycles. When I go riding with my family it is always nice to be able to talk to eachother. Thats why we all have Collet communicators. These communicators let us keep the conversation going on our motorcycles even if we are seperated by about a mile. The only problem with the communicators is that they run on a proprietary battery pack. I am always forgetting to charge my battery pack. Not only that, I like to hook my MP3 player up to the communicator which drains the battery pretty quickly. Instead of buying more battery packs I decided to make my own power adapter for the communicators that would allow them to be plugged into a cigarette lighter.
There were two problems with this; the battery pack puts out a non-standard 4.8 volts and my motorcycle does not have a cigarette lighter. The second problem was easy to solve. I installed a power port on my XS 1100. I had to do more work to solve the first problem. I determined that the best approach would be to get a adjustable voltage regulator from Radio Shack. This thing was good from 1.2 - 37 volts DC. In order to adjust the voltage you had to put a set resitence on the various pins. For that I had to buy few resistors. All these things have some pretty small solder leads so I decided to simple circuit board, or project board, whatever you want to call it. I figured I would start with this setup. If the regulator was getting to hot I would add a heat sink. My other fear was that hooking the communicators up to the motorcycle electrical system would introduce significant noise on the line, like alternator noise through your car stereo.
Now that I had all the pieces I ready to get started. I checked the original collet battery voltage one last time just to make sure the 4.8 volt label was correct. To my surprise the battery was putting out 6 volts DC. This meant I could provide up to 6 volts to the communicators and they could handle it just fine. Now 5 and 6 volts are standard voltages. I checked my closet and sure enough I had an extra 12 volt DC to 5 volt DC cigarette lighter adapter. I hacked it up and soldered on a female RCA style end to interface with the commuicators. I tested it out in my car and everything worked flawlessly.
Since then I have tried the system out on my motorcycle while running the MP3 player and having the passenger communicator connected as well. There is no audible noise introduced by the engine's electrical system. All in all I am very happy with the performance of the new power supply.
I was so happy I decided to make 2 more. After all, I am going on a week long family motorcycle trip next week in Colorado. I think everybody could use one of these power supplies. For the next two I took it a step further. I added two leads off the power supply. There is always one for the collet communicator. On one of the new power supplies I added a mini-USB adapter so I can charge my cell phone or MP3 player while I ride. On the other communicator I left on the default power plug with fits a bunch of devices, including Nikki's bluetooth GPS. I think I will keep one of the version 2 adapters and give the rest to my family.