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Astronut1982

My power tank isn't working - Help!!!

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Hey all,

I have a skywatcher 12v power tank which has decided to pack in on me. It's says it's fully charged but it won't power anything & the the 2 torches won't work although the red light came on for a second twice. Has anyone had the same problem or, does anyone have any idea whats wrong coz I need it for Sat night & I'm getting desperate!

Cheers,

Jeff

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Have you checked for a lose or broken wire/connection? Or, if it has fuses, a blown fuse? (sorry I don't own one so I'm not sure of the "internals").

Edited by Bizibilder

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Sorry to answer a question with a few more...

How long have you had it...?

When did you last use it...?

and

Do you charge it straight after use and every few weeks if it isn't being used...?

Peter..

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Hi Astronut,

Echo comments above, well documented in the stickys about keeping these charged regularly ---- else they die.

Sorry

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If you press a button to get a reading on the Voltmeter, it will be misleading you. Put a load across the main battery terminals, then press the button and check the reading then. Chances are, it will be very low. As Peter intimated, it may need charged, and they require a long time to get topped right up.

Ron.

Edited by barkis

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I was wainting for an answer from the OP about how the power packs "history"...

Without getting to "technical" you can end up with a battery that has one (or more) cells that has developed a high "internal resistance"..

This has a number of (and bad) effects...

Firstly It stops the battery recharging properly...

and

The battery voltage collapses when you try and draw any current from the battery.. The brief flash from the light is one indication that this might be the case...

Peter...

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Hi guys,

I have had the power pack for about 4-5 months & I last used it a few weeks ago. I was usually charging it every 7-10 days although I hadn't done so in the last 2 weeks. I have also checked all the cables & the fuse but they look fine.

It sounds like it may be dead. :)

Cheers,

Jeff

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I wouldn't have expected the battery to have gone this quickly if that's the way you have been using it.. How long have you left it on charge?

Peter..

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I know this sounds stupped but have you switched it on switch under the plastic clear perspects ?

Doug

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I just kept charging it until the green fully charged light came on.

If it is dead, thats bad news because I can't afford £100 at the moment & it's incredibly bad timing. I've just bought a 80ED DS pro & I've been getting the hang of photographing DSO's in my garden but I'm meant to be going to a dark site this weekend & was looking forward to trying all my shiny new gear there. blumming typical!

Jeff

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Is it the 17A/h or the 7A/h unit?

The main heavy duty leads tucked away on the unit, are connected directly to the battery. Have you checked to see if there is juice at those large croc. clips on the end of the red and black cables?

try connecting them to a 12v motor or other load to see if there is supplly there. Make sure whatever you use as a test load is not polarity conscious, ie, make sure you connect +ve to +ve, and -ve to -ve.

Ron.

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Don't buy another branded one when Maplins sell 17Ah jumpstarters for about £20 or so (depending on whether or not they are "on offer").

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The batteries can be replaced so it's not a total write off if they fail...

You could try an "intellegent" battery charger connected to the HD leads...

Aldi had some on offer last weekend...

Peter...

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Thanks guys,

Its a 17 a/h I have. I'll try the jump leads on my friends car & see if they still work.

I'll have a look at maplins just now as I'd like a 2nd one anyways for occasions such as these plus when I'm imaging I want to use my goto dob for observing as well.

How easy is it to replace the battery on the pack Peter? I'm no expert with these things but I am reasonably proficient.

Jeff

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Jeff, Do you use the mains charger which is usually supplied with these power tanks?

They aren't particularly good at recharging the battery when it becomes drained.

It is extra expense but a smart charger like the one in the link will sometimes recover a drained battery and can de-sulphate and recondition the battery. The plates sulphate if they are drained below around 70% of full charge. The little charger block supplied won't recover the battery in these circumstances.

We have 17Ahr back up batteries on CNC machines at work which are occasionally dumped as dead. The smart charger will recover these to a working state. I have a couple on standby as replacements for when the originals really do die. If you are investing in power tanks in the future this is the best option to maintain them in a long term working condition.

Ring Smartcharge 8 12-Volt Battery Charger

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Yeah I do use the standard charger with it. I'll have a look into getting one of those packs, if it extends the life of my power packs it'll be worth it.

On another note, I had a look at Maplins & found this which I was considering buying just now :-

200W Portable Power Pack Free Delivery : InCar Power Invertors : Maplin

Can any of you guys tell me if it would be up to the job? I was hoping to go out to catch the Orionids & was gonna buy it to do me just now.

Jeff

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Hi Jeff,

I have never had one of the skywatcher tanks so I don't know how easy it is to get to the battery...

Can anyone else help out?

Peter...

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I had an issue with my power tank not charging too, after much frustration it turned out to be a faulty charger, I have since replaced the charger and have had no problems since.

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I've had a power pack for many years mainly for when I go on long fishing sessions to run phone etc. My battery died not long ago but was nearly 15yrs old!!! If it's used and charged regulary it should last a long time. I like you was gutted, this one came from Maplins and has 2x 12v, 3,6,9v sockets as well which you don't get anymore. Just bought a 12v 7.2ah battery from Maplins instead of the 12ah one it had as I don't use it for jump starting. My cases just split when I removed the screws and the battery was just soldered to the 2 wires. It's now reborn and so much lighter!!

Edited by cabby

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If it is like the Celestron and Orion power tanks, the "Fully Charged" light is misleading. It comes on far too early in the process, when the voltage trips at a low level, but not at the fully restored level. There is a second, "Charging" light. While this is lit, there is enough voltage to be called 12V, but not full capacity which is well over 13V. The Charging light needs to turn off to show truly full charging.

The problem with the early termination is that the user thinks the power tank is up to capacity and uses it thusly. Unfortunately, the battery is struggling along at minimum. If the batter is brought below 50% of full capacity, insidious damage starts building up to the point that one or more cells is the first to give up. With a quality, multistate charger/maintainer like Battery Defender or Soneil, the battery can sometimes be restored from the sulfation.

Regarding replacement of the internal battery, I believe that the Celestron/Orion power tanks have something like 19 screws that hold the case halves together. They are said to be easily removeable, but one or more may be obscurely hidden.

Power tank/jump starter units are very convenient for us, but the wrong technology for best results. These units are intended for high current/short duration use, while we do low/slow. The chemistry changes during the discharge is accumulating damage, which can be somewhat reversed by quickly recharging after use. But still, 50% of capacity is the maximum useage rule. One change we can make in our application is to switch to some sort of deep discharge supply, such as a scooter/wheel chair/golf cart/marine battery, built for our low/slow requirements. There is still the need for a 50% of capacity use limit, and immediate recharging, but at least the plates are built to work in our environment.

So, full circle, the light on the power tanks can be misleading. And, charging through the jumper cables with a quality multistate charging unit is highly preferred.

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That charger / conditioner looks like an essential piece of kit for anyone using a power tank, studdedsole.

Would this larger version be a bit too much though? It is just £10 more than the Ring Smart Charger 8 that was mentioned, but looks much more substantial.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ring-Professional-Automatic-Workshop-Battery/dp/B003DM0RK0/ref=sr_1_7?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1323771276&sr=1-7

Could be a good investment, it would surely manage anything we could throw at it and save money in the long run on replacing batteries (assuming it does it's job well).

I realise that I mis-treated my Maplins 5-in-1 Starter battery pack, but perhaps one of these smart chargers could revive it. I would then have two units, as I just placed an order with Maplins for a second one to replace the one that died. Oh well!

On the LED reading, I found this to be next to useless; it always showed as full except when the battery actually had insufficient power to light the 8-LED torch, then it did actually read low on the LED scale. Of course, by this time the battery must have been down to almost no juice at all, and gone into a deep cycle coma (and thus won't charge).

Edited by jonathan

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Modern Car Batteries last 5 years or more, don't cost the earth and a lead with 2 clamps and a cigarette lighter socket on the end so there's no connecting the wrong way round would cut out all this my batteries flat and i don't know what way to turn....just my 2 pence worth...

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I have a 7ah Celestron battery tank. It is apparently fully charged (as of when it arrived). Should i plug it in to charge?

The problem in the OP could well be the fuse.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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I bought another 17ah power tank from Maplins in the end as I thought the old one was done for. It has an invertor on it so I can power my laptop rather than run it on the battery.

I have to say though, the power tanks are frustrating as I'm unable to power my GOTO dob & my HEQ5 PRO together for any length of time. Because of this, I invested in a 110ah leisure battery with the 3 outlet cigarette lighter to battery terminal adaptor from astronomiser so I shouldn't have any more problems.

However, after I bought the leisure battery I bought a smart charger for it & thought I'd try & charge the old power tank. Lo & behold its back up & running! I have gone from having no power to having so much power that I now take my docking station with me to listen to some music while observing!

So if anyone has the same problem as me, I strongly recommend taking studdedsoles' advice & use a smart charger as it works wonders!

Jeff

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Glad things have worked out. I have only had a battery tank since friday and have no idea of the issues involved if and when it dies.

I actually had 2 delivered. One with my scope (as planned) and then another one showed up a couple of days later. I have decided to keep this extra one and send a cheque to the retailer for spare one.

Cant hurt to have a spare one kicking around.

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