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Thread: Powering Your Telescope and Mount

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    Lightbulb Powering Your Telescope and Mount



    Powering Your Telescope and Mount

    For household power, its very easy just get a nice surge protector and a 12V (please check your manual first you may need something else here) power supply.

    Several Options for PORTABLE power:

    1) build your own powerpack (see below)
    2) buy a powerpack specialized for telescopes (like the Celestron Power Tank)
    3) buy a powerpack for car starting (car jumper)
    4) buy a large powerpack with inverter to power laptop, telescope and more.
    5) use your cars lighter socket for power (not recommended - you may get stuck somewhere or worse degrade your car battery and they usually are not cheap)




    An example of a powerpack capable of powering telescope mounts for many many hours.

    Building your own Powerpack

    You can buy a SLAs (sealed lead acid batteries) and build your own powerpack!




    Battery Maintenance and Repair

    Ok been doing a lot of searching and reading ever since my powerpack "died"... seems after I moved I should have charged it every week or so (or at least after you use it!). Seems low charges cause the sulfur to precipitate on the lead electrodes, causing the battery to fail to accept charging and decrease in its capacity to keep charge (due to the loss of electrolyte).

    There are several methods to combat this:

    1) keep your batteries charged
    2) use a trickle charger like a solar panel on your batteries
    3) try to desulfinate your batteries (you can build a desulfinator)
    4) open up your powerpack and replace the SLA (sealed lead acid battery)


    Replacing Powerpack Batteries

    Due to my busy schedule, I didnt charge my powerpack and seems i may have lost it for now. I will attempt to open this powerpack carefully (my wife insists on me getting goggles first), and replace the battery with a new SLA.
    Pictures and how to soon.


    Improving Powerpacks

    When I get more time (and money) i will replace one of my powerpacks with a large capacity battery. Coming soon (EDIT: Here we go! )












    Some Useful Threads:

    Battery Power Supply & Powering Your Telescope Mount

    more coming here soon...
    cheers
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    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    updated!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    Like you Gus I use the same ( almost ) Power Tank , I also have a Skywatcher 7ah as well as a back up. Intending to get a mains adapter for the EQ6 mount ( for when I do the pier ) .

    A good few folk use Leisure Batteries, last longer , better power ratio.
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    Default

    thanks for the advice on power packs to power my celestron I have one of the car booster packs as shown and was wondering if it could be used it was cheaper than the celestron power tank and I thought it may do the same job.

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    Default An Interesting Problem I Had With My Pack

    I have a Meade ETX-125AT, Celestron 7ah PowerTank, and the Meade 25 foot (!) 12V adapter.

    I have edited the adapter to 8 ft - much better!

    Anyway, I got my setup in November, and one cool evening the AutoStar handbox kept resetting!! Yikes - this is a brand new scope! Shot an email to Mike Weasner who thought an update-reset might help. Did it, and it seemed to - no problem with the scope on a couple really cold nights (19F).

    Then last weekend the handbox started acting up again (temp in the 30's F)! I wiggled every connection between the handbox and the scope - that just did not seem to be it...

    ... until I took the scope in and went to unplug the adapter from the power tank. Wow - was it loose! Did a little experimenting the next day, and now I am sure of it: the receptacle in the power tank is very smooth, and the plug on the adapter has some very powerfully spring loaded, and very rounded, contact points.

    The plug was working itself out of the socket! It was not as big a problem on the really cold nights because the metal was contracted and the contacts were not exerting as much force on the socket. On the warmer evenings, out that puppy came.

    In my 74F living room it would work its way out in about 5 minutes - I did several trials. Attached the fuzzy half of a strip of velcro to the plug, and it held nice and tight for 4 hours and was still tight when I put everything away.

    So if your handbox ever starts acting up for no apparent reason, and you are using an external 12V supply, check that adapter plug! Could save you a pile of frustration!
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    Default

    Copied from my "What to add to collection" thread in the eye piece forum, as it was going off topic there! Anyway:-

    Just starting to get a shopping list together. If I were to buy the official Sky-Watcher dual axis motor drive for my EQ5 mount, does anyone know if the Power Tank that can be bought separately would be of any use to me?

    The Tank advertises outputs of 3, 6, 9V, etc., but the motor drive just states "battery-operated" on the sites I can find it on.

    I like the idea of using the rechargeable Tank with its built-in torch and so-on, but I won't have any other power requirements than the motor drive in the foreseeable future. (Well, I'll have the Telrad if I get one - I guess the Power Tank wouldn't work with that anyway..?)

    Thanks again everyone
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    Default

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts on my last Q, if anyone has time. Just to clarify, I'll probably be getting the Sky-Watcher dual axis motor drive, but NOT any kind of guiding computer. Would a power tank still be of use to me? Cheers. (BTW, if this is posted in the wrong thread - i.e. sticky - please advise!)
    Scope: Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P (200mm f/5 Newt GEM)
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    Default

    All the power tank is is a 12v power supply. If your motors run off 12 volts, then the answer is yes. The power tank will last a LOT longer that batteries. When the voltage starts to drop due to discharge, slewing and tracking can go haywire. This is where a power tank type device comes in to play. It will give you many hours of trouble free slewing/tracking where as a set of batteries will often start causing problems in <2hours in cold weather.

    I have a portable jump start battery pack I bought at K mart. It is a 22ah battery, has a blinding white light (need to get red leds for that) jumper cables (they come in handy occasionally) it has a power inverter where you can plug in an AC device and run it, two 12volt outlets, and a tire pump.

    It will power my eq6 mount and my heater strip for the 9.25" ota all night without any problems. So if you have 12 volt equipment one of these type power tanks will supply you with power all night. When you are done, just plug it up and it recharges. That alone will save you enough money to pay for the power tank in short order.

    Jim
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    Now where did I put that clear sky button!

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    Default

    Thanks for all the info, Jim: I'll check with my supplier on the exact nature of the power requirements for the motor.
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    Default

    As this is a general thread a lot of people might be seeking advice here, the advice up until now has been excellent. I just wanted to add the specifications of my own equipment, so that members thinking of buying some battery can come here and compare.

    I have 8" Newtonian on a Synscan driven LXD75-clone. Thanks to what I read in this thread and the advice I got from my brother in law, who is a carp fisher, I decided to power my mount using a 7,5Ah sealed lead acid battery (similar to the one inside the yellow power pack in the previous posts, only difference is that the battery without the power pack only costs 20 EUR, but it will probably not be able to jump start your car). The Synscan manual mentions it needs 2A of current (I thought it said continuously). This has 2 implications:

    1) A 7Ah-battery would only last 3h.
    2) A battery incapable of delivering 2A of current will get damaged.

    The first implication appears not to be valid in practice. I have used a 7,5Ah sealed lead acid battery (similar to the one that is inside the yellow power pack in the pictures that were previously posted) and was able to perform the following cycle:

    Day 1: 8h continuously tracking (did not sleep)
    Day 2: 4h continuously tracking (had some sleep)
    Day 3: 4h continuously tracking (had some sleep)

    During at least one of these night the temperature became <0 °C, the others had the lowest temperatures <5 °C. It was only after the third night that the battery had to be charged. It can thus be concluded that the motor does not need 2A of current continuously, but rather during slewing.

    The second implication however, is valid. Either at the start up sequence or at the first slews the amount of current needed is quite high. This is illustrated by the 3Ah battery I tried first, which I am now no longer able to charge and lasted for only half an hour during the observation. Further inspection of the battery showed some small text mentioning 'initial current <xA' (don't know the exact number any more), which is probably related to how much current you can draw from the battery.

    There are however some other factors as well.
    It was mentioned by the admin you need to store your batteries fully charged and keep them charged during storage. It is therefore better to have a battery that lasts only one or two nights, than a battery that lasts 2 weeks (lots of Ah's), because the latter battery will not be fully charged most of the time (unless you charge it every day between observations, but why spend the money for all those Ah's then?)
    This is why I opted for two 7,5 Ah batteries, which I can alternate ==> I only had to pack one charger!

    That brings me to the charging part, the admin mentioned trickle-chargers and desulphation to combat early battery retirement. I do this with my CTEK XS 0.8 battery chargers (I have one for each battery to store them charged at home), you can leave the batteries plugged into these chargers and they will take care of your batteries. They even have a desulphation step, with which you might recover any dead batteries (I will test this on the damaged 3Ah battery). They cost me 50 EUR each by the way.

    I hope this can help some members decide what battery to purchase. I will try to post some pictures soon.

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