Dedicated Starlink and mobile 4/5G thread

Geo.Lander

Well-known member
Hi!

Quite a bit of time researching Starlink and installations on our truck and the best resource by far was Marcus' blog found here, some of you probably know Trucks Truck already.

We wont be getting our Starlink Dishy until Q1 2023 but I wanted to start planning the dish install, i think leaving it up there might be difficult it seems unless they come out with a more ruggedised one designed for marine use etc (which they are apparently). Until then we will install a 5G unidirectional antenna with a 5 - 10dBi gain boost. Also handy that it is 5 in 1 (WIFI, GPS bands).

Another interesting article was the DCDC conversion he did, the man has skills!
 

cobo

New member
I'm definitely listening in on this one. We already have Starlink at home and I have other units ordered for a more remote property in the same region as well as for a Unimog U500 we are building a camper for. I'm an EE with DC-DC converter experience so the plan is to build something custom for the Starlink PoE. Camper will have a 48V or 400V battery system - still deciding based on a number of factors...
 

Fred Skywalker

New member
Starlink on my shopping list as well. @cobo I'm planning my electrical now and was all set on 24V system but I'm not knowledgeable here. Is there an advantage to 48V? Thanks guys.
 

clydeps

Member
Is there an advantage to 48V
Going from 12V to 24V gives significant advantages in terms of cable size required, the same applies again going to 48V but the overall impact is probably less. 24V has the advantage that many RV applicances are available in 12 and 24V, but rarely 48V. 48V will run your Starlink directly though!

48V is getting into the low end of the potentially hazardous range for body contact, 24V is no issue in that regard.

Personally I think 24V is a good choice for the application.

As an aside, why is this thread in the Mog forum?
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
More toys to buy for or truck :) Now that it is mobile, it will be a great addition to enable us to keep in contact with family no matter where we are. The data speeds seem better than what we get from our fixed system in the house.
 

cobo

New member
Starlink on my shopping list as well. @cobo I'm planning my electrical now and was all set on 24V system but I'm not knowledgeable here. Is there an advantage to 48V? Thanks guys.
48V is just close to the maximum of what is considered "low voltage" human safety-wise. It is more of a pain in that nothing designed for automotive or trucks can use it directly. Many things like DC refrigerators are either 12V or 24V for example. In the PoE and network hardware world many things do run on 48V however. I have a number of Ubiquiti products and cellular modems that all work off of 48V for example. There are also a good number of solar / hybrid inverters that use 48V batteries as opposed to higher voltage types that use 400V-800V where there are more safety issues.
 

Geo.Lander

Well-known member
48V is just close to the maximum of what is considered "low voltage" human safety-wise. It is more of a pain in that nothing designed for automotive or trucks can use it directly. Many things like DC refrigerators are either 12V or 24V for example. In the PoE and network hardware world many things do run on 48V however. I have a number of Ubiquiti products and cellular modems that all work off of 48V for example. There are also a good number of solar / hybrid inverters that use 48V batteries as opposed to higher voltage types that use 400V-800V where there are more safety issues.
most mobile appliances rated for 12v in Europe are also rated for 24v. Almost everything from Dometic etc run on both. The only thing in my build I’ll need a 24/12 converter for is my maxxfan… I wonder why 🫣
 

cobo

New member
most mobile appliances rated for 12v in Europe are also rated for 24v. Almost everything from Dometic etc run on both. The only thing in my build I’ll need a 24/12 converter for is my maxxfan… I wonder why 🫣
Yes, same here in the US. I also have a Volvo C303 which is all 24V and had no problem with all of the appliances, inverters, etc. The only issue is things like ham radios with seem to be only 12V.

Unfortunately, the NA version of the U500 is a mix of 12V and 24V. It uses a 12V alternator and 3 12V main batteries, then has a 12V->24V DC-DC converter to charge a pair of smaller batteries to operate the ECM and other engine components. I really wish the whole thing was 24V like the Euro version, but I don't have the energy to try and convert everything back to 24V.
 
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crazysccrmd

Observer
I'm trying to make sense of your clamp setup. Is this for inoperative transportation only? How does this dish manage to point to the North?
I have the same question, unless it's some fancy heavy duty pivoting mount that we can't see under the dish. Mine will not function if the dish can't automatically align to find the satellites.
 

cobo

New member
I have the same question, unless it's some fancy heavy duty pivoting mount that we can't see under the dish. Mine will not function if the dish can't automatically align to find the satellites.
I just wanted to point out that this could theoretically work in the sense that there will be some Starlink satellites in view overhead (versus a northern view in the northern hemisphere, and southern in the south), but my understanding is that they don't allow this for several reasons - interference with geostationary satellites, not being able to plan which satellites / ground stations you will be using in your current area, etc.
 

clydeps

Member
The dish does not *need* to point to the north (or south in my case) - it chooses to do so to optimise the view of the most satellites. The actual steering of the beam is done electronically. If you unplug the motors it complains but works just fine anyway, perhaps with some reduction in performance.

This is not theoretical, not only have I tested it on the ground pointing straight up with the motors off, but there are several others I know of using it in a similar manner.

It also works in motion, though Starlink say it's not supported and will void your warranty.
 

cobo

New member
The dish does not *need* to point to the north (or south in my case) - it chooses to do so to optimise the view of the most satellites. The actual steering of the beam is done electronically. If you unplug the motors it complains but works just fine anyway, perhaps with some reduction in performance.

This is not theoretical, not only have I tested it on the ground pointing straight up with the motors off, but there are several others I know of using it in a similar manner.

It also works in motion, though Starlink say it's not supported and will void your warranty.
Yes I understand phased-array antennas - I guess I should have said that it is technically possible, but I assumed they would not allow it. The problem is that they know what you are doing - you are not connecting to the satellites moment-to-moment that they are intending you to for the region you are in. It's good to know they are allowing this as clearly it is a much simpler and lower-profile setup with a less occluded FOV for mobile applications, but I do wonder if one might get shut down using it in this way. If it remains a small number of users that do so I can see how it wouldn't create significant issues for them and would be better PR-wise just to leave people alone. It seems likely this is how they would approach providing service to airliners, although perhaps with multiple patch array antennas / units on the sides as well as top of the aircraft so that the always have a couple of good links. The problem is that a lot of fixed terrestrial users (including myself) could also benefit from a zenith orientation to avoid occlusion by trees closer to the horizon without having a 100' mast. Once everyone discovers that you can disable the motors and point it to whatever 100deg-cone patch of clear sky they have available to them - Starlink is going to start having problems...
 

Geo.Lander

Well-known member
Starlink dish installed on roof. Just got to finish wiring and test.

View attachment 723531
View attachment 723530
Really interesting! I Suppose SpaceX have already signalled their intent to provide connections to the maritime and mobile category with a more robust antenna already. I suppose this will be encapsulated in a dome for protection.. Interesting stuff and great that this actually works on the move too!
 

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