Is there a viable alternative to satz power station?

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by Hands Solo, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Sorry about another satz PP question.

    We are having to put together a Basic Electricity Kit from scratch and budgets being what they are funds are limited.

    For the components we're going with this style (from SLS unless anyone has any horror stories).
    We are buying D battery holders for some stuff but also want a set of 15 power packs. We're going for the red 3A satz power station but I'm aprehensive as there is some criticism of them. My question is, is there a reasonably priced alternative? The satz ones can be had for £38.50.

    Thank you.
  2. Nick Mitchener

    Nick Mitchener COMMITTEE

    You can make battery holders much more cheaply than buying them, we get the acrylic cut out on the laser cutter by D&T. Works out around £2.50 to make a strip of four D cells.
  3. After power packs really. I can suggest the battery alternative but I think it would be a no. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    I should say we're getting the single cell holders.

    It could be that the satz PP's are the best answer I guess.
  4. PhysicsSimon

    PhysicsSimon COMMITTEE

    If it's price that's critical.....and only up to GCSE....then I guess it's an answer, but maybe not the best........ but otherwise the P Harris spacesavers are excellent (alas at around £100 ea unless you get 5 at a time &/or hit one of their sale periods)
  5. Price is not the only factor but it does have quite a bearing. As we need 15 P/P's, 15 each volt and ammeters plus all the rest of the basic electricty kit for a class set, all out of the budget for this year, £1500 plus just for the P/P's is, sadly, a bit unrealistic.

    What I'm trying find out is if these satz units are ok, especially as I can get 15 for under £600. If £1-2k was available I'd go for something better. I'd like to think we will be able to buy at least 1 or 2 better units per year to build up an improved stock.

    With this, and that they're only for upto GCSE, in mind what would be your best answer please.

    Could you post a link to the Spacesaver power packs please, I can't seem to find them.

    Thanks Simon.
  6. Nick Mitchener

    Nick Mitchener COMMITTEE

  7. PhysicsSimon

    PhysicsSimon COMMITTEE

    I think I'm confusing things sure they used to be called spacesavers.....and, even more alas, cost more than I remembered too (tho I understand that there's a 20% discount right now if you've received the official mailshot - and for 15 off you definitely need to phone for their best price/see what they can do....however you want to phrase it - 15 years in Sales will teach you how to play the game:))
  8. Nick Mitchener

    Nick Mitchener COMMITTEE

    The case is called the space saver case. It is common to a number of power supplies and also a few meters.

    We bought 30 of them on ebay brand new in boxes for £30 each plus carriage a few years ago and now have 45 of them. (we have 100 power supplies in total)
  9. PhysicsSimon

    PhysicsSimon COMMITTEE

    Thanks Nick - We have less than that (& still 1.5 teaching labs with the old orange Unilabs - starting to fail now tho').....have just got the go ahead for another 5 this year, taking advantage of the special offer (as well as replacing our temperamental, newer microwave transmitter/receiver......sort of need 3 sets of these (the 2 old sets work perfectly))

    My favourites PSU's are made by Weir but we keep these for us techies/our project lab/special pracs....fully adjustable output so for F=BIL we tell the students to work in half amp steps, measuring the mass/weight/force
  10. Thanks guys.

    Alas I don't think we could stretch to these, even with a discount I think they're out of our reach at the moment. I think the way forward will be the satz (if nothing better in the same sort of price range rears it's head) with the intention of getting 1 multi buy pack of 5 each year for the next 3 years.

    As you are both obviously experienced physics techs what would, in your opinion, be a better answer to the question of cheap power packs for yr9 and GCSE electricity practicals please? The HOD wants PP's rather than battery packs.

    Thank you.
  11. Nick Mitchener

    Nick Mitchener COMMITTEE

  12. PhysicsSimon

    PhysicsSimon COMMITTEE

    I think I'd try to look at the value, rather than specifically price - yes you need something now & cheap & cheerful can fulfill that need but may have a limited lifespan - get what you need yes but accompany it with a plan for the future so that in 5 years time you've decent kit that'll last a long time in your environment.

    Mind you I have to admit that I'm a bit biased....with some complicated practicals it's astonishingly annoying to find something as fundamental as a PSU is causing the problem - I always seem to assume it'll be the fiddly bits so start problem solving there.....e.g. half an hour ago it took far longer than it should to set up a demo for wave-phase difference with an ultrasonic transmitter/receiver ----- someone (prob me) had left the oscilloscope in external trigger mode & I didn't notice for a good 10 mins of head scratching & pratting about
    chris vaudin likes this.
  13. Thank you all.

    I put through all our orders today apart from the PP's, I'm still not fully convinced myself but am fairly resigned to getting the satz.

    My longer term plan would be to get 5(ish) better PP's per year for the next 3 years and then have a decent class set for pre 6th form use. We do have enough decent PP's from our initial spend, the idea being these will be 6th form only as the lower years mess about with them and are killing them off. I shall discuss this with HOD and see where that takes us. I'm not sure if a fixed voltage plus potential divider would work with our students (especially with non physics specialist teachers), it may lead to confusion. HOD is a physics specialist of many years experience so this will also be discussed

    I do understand about value over price and this would take precedent if we already had a class set of PP's for use and were trying to top up our supplies. Alas it's all about being able to afford a Basic Electricity Kit, including PP's, so students can carry out their practicals.

    Sorry to keep banging on about this. I'm not a physics speciallist at all so trying to find the best solution to something I don't really understand the ins and outs of. Thank you for your patience.
    PhysicsSimon likes this.
  14. Tee


  15. It can be quite frustrating trying to sort things like this. We've got a couple of class sets of the Satz ones and I know they're not the best value for money, but budget is tight. We also have the issue that we don't have subject specific labs and some of the better PSUs are quite heavy making it a real pain trying to move a class set of them around.
  16. the old grey satz ones were about 1/2 the price of the blue/red ones, but i have at least 20 dead ones, not sure i'd buy them now.

    They don't go up in 1 Volts either so that can be a problem.
  17. Tee, if we could afford that sort of thing we would but it ain't gonna happen. At over £2k for a set of 15 they are well out of our reach.

    Mandy, your reasons are exactly what I'm talking about. It's not easy to find a cost effective soluition that ticks the quality box. As I alluded too earlier if we could afford value for money over price we would. It's nice to know I'm not the only one having to compromise.

    Paul, it seems it's the original grey satz ones being critized, I'd be interested to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about the red ones available now. For the GCSE RP's and yr9 the voltage range can be worked around, although I agree 1v variations would be preferable.

    After a chat with HOD it's been decided we will order 1 red satz to use and abuse to see how it goes and then make a decision from there. She agreed that using a fixed voltage source of some kind (batteries?) with a potential divider would probably confuse the students.

    I do hope the satz works out, I've got no idea what we'll do if it doesn't.
  18. you could ask the rep for samples to look at.
  19. Now that's a good thought!