A while back, I posted some comments about the OP-177 Special Forces Power Supply. Now I'd like to share a bit of info about the Protonex SPM-612 charging equipment.
SPM-612 (Squad Power Manager) is showing up on eBay frequently. New setups are being posted for $1500-$2000, but used sets sell for a few hundred. This is useful equipment, versatile, and well worth a few hundred bucks.
SPM-612 is a power scavenging, voltage shifting, battery charger and power supply. The full kit (there are several variants) typically includes a 60 Watt class PowerFilm folding solar panel, the SPM-612 itself, an AC mains power supply, a small AC inverter, and a lot of cables for scavenging and distributing power.
You can scavenge power from two sources simultaneously and charge up to 5 military batteries at once or power two devices at different voltages simultaneously.
The cables are proprietary, use expensive connectors, and have internal circuitry that tell the SPM-612 what cable is plugged in, what it does, and the SPM automatically sets up the port voltage for that. Many of the cables are for specific military batteries and equipment, but others are useful for consumer goods. For example, the Dismounted Kit comes with two USB cables, a cable with battery clamps, a notebook computer power cable with tip adapters, etc.
Input voltage(s) may be anywhere in the range of 4 to 34 VDC at up to 150 Watts. Output voltages can be set within a similar range. Very flexible settings.
Ordinarily, if you plug in a cable such as the cigar lighter socket, the SPM senses this and sets the output voltage correctly. But you can OVERRIDE that programmed voltage and set the voltage where you want to. So, it is cheap and easy to get a cigar lighter plug, wire the adapter you need for your device, say a 9V radio battery clip, stick the plug into the cigar socket and set the voltage where you need it to operate whatever you wish.
The SPM-612 is not the latest Protonex product, and when they designed it, the company did NOT program a lead-acid battery charging profile. When I want to charge a large lead acid battery, I get around that shortcoming by using a PowerFilm LA-11 cable ($15) attached directly to the solar panel and then to a Genasun GV-5 MPPT charge controller ($75) and don't use the SPM at all. Then, I can use the battery to power the SPM to run what I want to.
You could set the SPM to 12V and run a battery charger on that for a smallish lead acid battery, but it wouldn't be very efficient if the battery was a large one.
I have a few Nitecore chargers for small consumer batteries, (AA, AAA, etc) and the Nitecore works fine when powered by the SPM. You could run a Triton or similar charger for lithium calls and batteries, NiMH, and so forth, and feed the Triton its 12 from the SPM.
For a few hundred bucks, which is about half the cost of the solar panel alone, the used SPM-612 sets can be worthwhile. Just be sure you get a set with most or all of the cables. The carrying case has pockets for each cable and device, and if the pictures on eBay show all the pockets are populated, you are probably getting all the stuff.
'Nuff said. Protonex has a great web site with full operating manuals and such where you can get the info you need. When my SPM-612 arrived, I contacted the company, made certain mine wasn't on the stolen list, and got a good deal of advice and help from Customer Service.
Been looking at these. Thanks for the info.
Making these posts is a two-edged sword. More people with an interest drives up prices,
especially for the man who is bidding right now or was about to. I hope I didn't foul you up.
If so, sorry. Just be patient. I think many more of these will appear very soon. They are already common
on the government liquidation sites.
The SPM has a ton of useful functions, you pretty much covered the power point. That's a great price for the used units.