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Thread: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

  1. #1
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    Default Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...



    I have an ETX105 and I've made my own piers and tripods in the past, but one thing that always bothered me was the bulky power supplies needed to run the scope, dew heaters, etc.

    I've used 110 volt to 12 volt converters (USA here) for plugging in when at home. But even that was a pain because I needed an outdoor 110v outlet and an extension cord (so much fun wrapping up a wet, dew covered cord when I'm done).

    Then I went with a portable 12 volt power supply (the kind used for 12 volt power and jump starting a car) because I wanted to take it other places as well. While the portable power supply wasn't terribly big or heavy, it still was yet one more thing to take out, even when I wasn't going out for very long.

    I wanted my scope to be a true "grab'n'go" scope setup. Just leave my little ETX105 right on the mount/tripod, with the dew heaters, controllers AND the power supply all right on the whole setup. Just pick the whole thing up and take it out as is, flip a switch and start viewing.

    So, I thought well...the enclosed carry case for the power supply isn't really necessary, so I tore the power supply case apart and found the battery itself inside was not very big at all. It's about 1/4 the size of the whole power pack enclosure, if that. The circuit board is only 2 by 3 inches and I just made it it's own separate battery tester/charger. I tossed out the car battery clamps as they aren't needed.

    Once apart I reassembled the power supply components where I wanted them. It adds very little weight to the setup and the entire power section for all my needs sits conveniently right under the tripod head and sits on the tripod leg spreader board. Takes up no more space than not having it there!

    I'll post up some pics of my all-in-one "tripod/mount/power-supply" when I'm finished (should be in about a week as time allows). Anyone who carries around these bulky 12 volt power tanks should look into taking the enclosure apart and remounting it all right under the tripod mount. Once apart, the components can be reconfigured to position them where you want them to fit. It saves space. It's one less thing to haul around and eliminates a lot of dangling cord issues. It's very convenient and quite easy for a DIY'er to do.
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    johnrfeeney (10-09-2013),OleCuss (10-09-2013),Pitter (10-09-2013)

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    Default Re: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

    I like that idea a lot.

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    Default Re: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

    looking forward to the pictures - great idea

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    Default Re: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

    Here's a few pics...

    This is of the inside of my PEAK Power 300 12 volt power supply...

    case-open.jpg

    This is a pic of my new power supply by taking out only what was needed from the Power Supply case and adding 3 outlets and a switch, with it sitting on the "spreader plate" under the tripod head...

    under-mount.jpg

    Here's a side by side comparison of the difference in size. The new supply on the left and the old case on the right (just the back half as the front got cut apart for the circuitry). You can see the original power supply was too large to fit under my tripod head...

    side-by-side.jpg

    And here's the spreader plate under the Meade 884 tripod head with my new tripod. In this pic the plate is just the start of it all. The tripod, power supply, spreader plate/accessory shelf/power supply holder is nowhere near being finished and looks ugly as hell right now. Right now I'm just making test fittings as I build it. It will look nice once it is all done and painted.

    spreader-plate.jpg

    And that's it for now. I still have a lot of work to do to finish the actual power supply mounting bracing as well as converting the rest of the space around it as an accessory shelf. Then there is finishing the tripod too. The power supply will run my scope, dew heaters, an LED light on a flexible shaft, as well as a 12 volt power supply for my Android tablet running Google Sky Map.

    The tripod legs are made of two steel tubes (one slides inside the other) that I cut down from an old art show display framework. The leg adjusting screw nuts were already welded onto the bottom of the legs. The upper half of the legs have a solid maple dowel inside for extra stability. The lower legs will only come out maybe a few inches simply to level it. The "spreader bar" is actually the flat board in the last pic (which is held in place by the Meade 884 tripod head's spreader center bolt), which is becoming the base of my power supply/accessory case. This case will be removable so the legs can collapse for transport. Although at home the whole thing (scope, mount, case, accessories, power supply, tripod, etc.) will all remain setup together so I only have to carry it out, flip a switch and start viewing.
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    Default Re: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

    Thanks for posting. Your concept saves even more bulk if your jump start battery is the kind that has an air compressor built in. Another very portable power source the size of a pack of cigarettes is a 10 cell AA battery pack with 10 rechargeable NiMH AA batteries. Easily last for a night of viewing; telescope only... probably separate pack would be needed for dew strips.... I don't know as dew is not a problem at my location.
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    Default Re: Tore apart 12 volt power tank...made my power supply more modular...

    Yes, dew problems are big here. Either very heavy in the summer, or frost in the winter.

    I know there are newer battery alternatives available these days, but I also know a lot of people already have these 12 volt power packs in use. While the carry case is great for their "intended" use, for us astronomers who want more portability, the carry case (and battery clamps for car starting, or like you said, compressors, or even a big ol' white light) is pretty useless and take up for more space than what is needed. I even have a little red LED lamp on a flexible shaft for my mount system that will light up the accessory compartment (or anything else I want lit by red light) and it all still fits under my mount.

 

 

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