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Old 28-10-16, 00:45
Bruce Parker Bruce Parker is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
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Default Wireless of the Week - week 37

Developed in 1941, the Switchboard, Charging No.5 was an attempt to standardize and simplify charging batteries that were required to operate wireless sets. Up to that time, charging panels had been unique to a particular radio or wireless installation, but with the 19 and 22 sets then in use, pairs of 6 volt batteries in series were a common power supply with one pair operating the set while the other was being charged by a gasoline generator.

No. 5 Switchboards were most often seen in wireless trucks even if that truck had a factory supplied panel. This was not only to standardize, but in many instances the existing vehicle system was insufficient to operate the more modern wireless equipment and batteries. Also, the No.5 Switchboard could be removed and used from a remote location such as a penthouse or trench if required.

The unit was 18-1/2” wide by 11-1/4” tall by 5” deep and consisted of four ceramic ‘stove’ switches with porcelain knobs set in a bakelite panel. The switch knobs only turned clockwise (lifting and turning counter clockwise removed them) and each switch was protected by a plastic cover. The top left switch determined which pair of batteries supplied the wireless set, the top right controlled ‘internal lighting’ and the two lower ones were to select which generator charged which pair of batteries. Terminal posts running down either side were supplied to attach two pairs of batteries, two generators and output for ‘internal lighting’ which could also be used as a generic 12V DC supply for anything that required it. Two additional posts in the centre were the positive and negative 12 volt output for the wireless set. The bakelite front panel was secured to two wooden battens that were also the mounting points, and the battens to a plywood backing panel. The space between the front and back panels was open so the switchboard was not waterproof.

Shown here is a British ‘Switchboard Charging No.5’ and a ‘Switchboard, Charging No.C5 Canadian’. Note the larger switches and scalloped knobs on the British board. A modified Canadian unit with additional terminal posts was also made for use with the No.19 Amplified wireless set. Noted also is that the British panel used vinyl coated solid core copper wiring which must be one of its earlier uses.

Photograph 4 shows the mounting brackets for the switchboard and in the 5th a diagram from the 52 set manual that shows how it is connected.
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