Self-Contained s/iGate + Digi

Yesterday, I quickly put together a self-contained, self-sustaining, easily deployable i/sGate + Digipeater in-a-box.  I had all the parts I needed, so, most of the work was to designing and assembling the system and took me about a day (after bug fixes, etc).

The parts I used here include:

  • A used Ammo-Can (large enough to hold 2 7Ah SLA batteries, and the below parts)
  • Raspberry Pi 2,
  • TNC-Pi,
  • Baofeng UV-5R w/ charging cradle and battery (1800mAh)
  • Solar Panel + Solar Charge Controller
  • 30A fuse box w/ fuse
  • a 30A rated switch (on/off)
  • cigarette lighter connector
  • cigarette lighter USB charger/adapter rated for 1.5A at a min
  • a few Anderson Pole connectors, and tools to make the wires
  • Wires/solder equipment
  • liquid electric tape  – exterior rated
  • Velcro tapes
  • grommet
  • tools of the trade
  • Hot glue / gun

A couple future additions/ideas:

  • air vent + fan (12v dc) for air circulation
  • weather related input devices

I have a YouTube video of the first phase and can be found here:

Since the video was made, I made a few mods to the setup to make it more efficient and zero noise and the below pictures are taken during and after the mods were made


Version 3: Rx Only w/ DireWolf 1.2 experiment

I made a few follow up modifications to the setup.

  • changed the iGate to use DireWolf software and thus removed TNC-Pi momentarily for experiment
  • changed the iGate to Rx Only
  • added a programmable voltage regulator at 5Amp rating
  • added the new usb WIFI dongle.

The below pictures are from these changes.

(since these experiments, I have finally landed on the following project for “field-ready” setup. The project can be found here)


73, N0AGI

5 Comments on Self-Contained s/iGate + Digi

  • Eric Richards says:
    June 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I love the web page while it has lots of photos it still comes as using a very modestest 660KiloBytes of data.
    Great value when other websites eat away your expensive mobile data, I found one page as 6Megabytes Unreal man.

    From Eric ZL1ERI


  • Wm. Kim Sherman WA8KIM says:
    June 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Nice looking project, Nagy. Thanks for all the pictures… it makes replicating your project much easier. Great website. Full of good info.


  • Bob says:
    June 24, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Look at a software application running on the Pi in lieu of the Pi-TNC. A small group of us have deployed DireWolf very successfully at 3 different locations.


  • Mike Myers says:
    April 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Nice project, I am curious how you are keeping the UV5r in the charger securely or do you always deploy it in the same positiion, also, how do you set it so that the solar panel gets enough sun to keep it charged and going?

    Keep up the good work!


    • N0AGI says:
      April 20, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Mike – thanks for visiting and asking. The UV5R’s charger cradle is hot-glued into the base of the container and the radio is also hot-glued in place to the cradle making sure that the charging contacts are not hindered. Hot glue may not the best idea there is, but, seems to work great despite high temps in hot weather.

      Secondly, the Solar Panel eventually was retrofitted w/ a bracket in the back so that it was tilted in an angle for the max sunlight (can be adjusted). The box is to be placed at a location where there’s max exposure to the light. The solar panel’s position is static once adjusted in place.

      If I were to add a feature to this box, I can think of adding a down-facing air circulation vent. Down facing to prevent rain or other source to seep in.

      hope that helps.

      73, N0AGI


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