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Desperate help needed!


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I've got about 20 days until I got to astro camp in Wales, and I'm in need of 2 power sources to power my mount and so I can charge my laptop while I'm there, I think I'm going to go for a power tank to charge the laptop as I can recharge that on site, I think ill go with this

http://www.maplin.co.uk/5-in-1-jump-starter-with-portable-power-224871

Will that tank be a good choice just for the laptop to charge off?

now for the mount people have suggested a leisure battery but I don't now where to start, or how I would connect in to my mount, and will I need to damp proof it or anything, so can people post links or links to the batteries they use and how I would connect them to my mount please? I think I may have a small idea of how to do this, but I'm not sure.

like I say I have 20 days until I go and I'd like everything equipment wise I'm going to need sorted out maybe a week before I go so I have time to get last bits if needs be.

Any help would be massively useful

thanks

chris

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I use a marine deep cycle battery. Deep cycle is important: it means you can drain it substantially without damaging it. I basically plug the scope the scope straight into the battery. My scope has a cigarette lighter adaptor on its power-cord, so on the battery I use an alligator clip to cigarette female adaptor: http://c1199712.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/532209.jpg

I've never damp-proofed anything. If you're concerned you could just keep the battery under the car to stop dew forming on it or maybe cover the terminals in grease.

Exactly what power leads you use depends on your mount. If your scope has an input DC jack that accepts about 12V then just fashion leads to plug this directly into the battery. You might want to go via a fuse, if you don't have one on the mount. Make sure you get the polarity correct. A hobby electronics store will have all the parts you need.

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Depending on how much power you need and what your budget is you have a few choices. I have heard good things about the Lithium Tracer batteries from FLO (http://www.firstlightoptics.com/power/tracer-12v-8ah-lithium-polymer-battery-pack.html) 0- they are expensive but supremely portable.

A more traditional route would be a deep cycle battery, and if you're worried about dew you can get a battery box. Most boxes have a cigarette lighter output which you can use with a splitter to power a few devices. I have limited electrical knowedge but it is my understanding that it would be a good idea to power the laptop inverter on a different source to everything else. Hopefully Oddsocks can chip in here.

If you want to go with deep cycle you need a leisure battery and charger. A good quality charger is really important. Some links for you with recommendations:

Battery (you don't have to have one this big): http://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/marine-batteries/110-ah-ultra-plus-leisure-battery/

Charger: http://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/10-amp-numax-automatic-intelligent-battery-charger/

Box with cigar output socket: http://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/accubox-deluxe-leisure-battery-box/

Power cable for mount: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/power/skytron-power-supply-cable-for-skywatcher-celestron-mounts.html

4 way adapter: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/power/4-way-cigarette-lighter-adaptor.html (can anyone tell me if this is any good - thanks).

Spending money on a good charger is money well spent. It will look after your battery and make it last as long as possible, the one I have linked is a charge and forget intelligent charger.

Finally, if you're going to have access to mains power then this is brilliant: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/power/maplins-xm21x-7a-138v-regulated-mains-power-supply.html

Email First Light Optics with your requirements - I'm sure they'll help you out.

Good luck & clear skies!

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Well my point doesn't have a cigarette lighter port, what I was going to do first was get this

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-cables-leads-accessories/skytron-power-supply-cable-for-skywatcher-celestron-mounts.html

but that was when I was going to run my HEQ5 mount off a power tank then people said a proper battery would be better

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A battery is much better than a Power Tank - double, triple or quadruple the amp hours for the same money. If you buy the battery and put it in a battery box as linked you basically have a power tank. Many people make their own battery boxes.

You just need to work out how many devices are going to need power and plan accordingly.

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Depending on how much power you need and what your budget is you have a few choices. I have heard good things about the Lithium Tracer batteries from FLO (http://www.firstligh...ttery-pack.html) 0- they are expensive but supremely portable.

A more traditional route would be a deep cycle battery, and if you're worried about dew you can get a battery box. Most boxes have a cigarette lighter output which you can use with a splitter to power a few devices. I have limited electrical knowedge but it is my understanding that it would be a good idea to power the laptop inverter on a different source to everything else. Hopefully Oddsocks can chip in here.

If you want to go with deep cycle you need a leisure battery and charger. A good quality charger is really important. Some links for you with recommendations:

Battery (you don't have to have one this big): http://www.alpha-bat...eisure-battery/

Charger: http://www.alpha-bat...attery-charger/

Box with cigar output socket: http://www.alpha-bat...re-battery-box/

Power cable for mount: http://www.firstligh...ron-mounts.html

4 way adapter: http://www.firstligh...er-adaptor.html (can anyone tell me if this is any good - thanks).

Spending money on a good charger is money well spent. It will look after your battery and make it last as long as possible, the one I have linked is a charge and forget intelligent charger.

Finally, if you're going to have access to mains power then this is brilliant: http://www.firstligh...wer-supply.html

Email First Light Optics with your requirements - I'm sure they'll help you out.

Good luck & clear skies!

well that's the advice I was after! And tbh I think ill want something that's going to power my mount for at least 5 hours once winter rolls in you can be out longer then that, when I'm in Wales ill certainly be up with my scope that long if not longer I fancy seeing mars and that's not up until about 3 in the morning

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That power unit from maplins you posted is the same as mine, it runs my eq5 pro perfectly and should last once fully charged, can get days use out of it (3hrs+ viewing) plus it has 2 sockets so one for dew prevention.

As for charging a laptop, no.

Tried this on a weekend away camping only partly charged laptop and it was flat.

I would go for an inverter to plug in the car..loads to choose from

Sent from my Nexus S using Tapatalk 2

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Just had a thought, I'm clueless when it comes to electrics but if I buy a car charger for my laptop and take the cigarette light part off, and then put crocodile clips on, could I run it off the batter I'm using for my mount? Or is that just not going to happen?

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I'd go with a decent 'Leisure battery' as this will give you a huge capacity. Connecting up is quite straightforward and there are already some threads on SGL showing how to do it but we can re-tell if you go down this route and can't find the threads.

The Jump Starter kits from Maplin and elsewhere can be good but in my experience they are of variable quality and you only know if you have a good'un by finding out the hard way! Wiith a jump starter kit you are paying for bits you don't need and getting a low capacity battery into the bargain.

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You can get an inverter to power your laptop that has clips so it goes straight to the cars battery, this should be OK for the laptop, just run the car for a few minutes to keep charged, can't see a problem doing that.

Also is it possible for you to plug the mount straight into your car? I did this before I bought a power tank, it takes very little power it never caused me any problems, as long as you can set up near your car of course;)

Sent from my Nexus S using Tapatalk 2

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There's a noise rule after 10 so no cars can be started after :( haha! I think if its possible then ill charge my laptop off the battery ill use for my mount, sorry if this has been answered I'm useless with cars and electrics etc but how would I charge the battery for my mount!? Or would that not be a problem

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I think the crux here is that if you have zero access to mains power, eventually you'll run dry. Or out of petrol!!

There must be a plug...somewhere!

yes there is haha bit silly of me not to say, there is a communal charging point for the whole camp site for charging during the day

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I have that exact one. I charge it for 12hrs (probably over kill) before I use it for a night of imaging. I have had my mount, laptop and dew strap hooked up to it and it ran for 4hrs one night and then the next night for 2-3hrs and didnt die. But I had my laptop set up to use minimal power and didnt plug it in until the battery was just about dead. Using just the cigarette light tends to not drain the battery as fast as using the 12v plug in in the back. In the US we have 12v, forget what GB uses. Anyways I love it and as long as I remember to have it charging for the day before I take it out that night it works great. You will need to recharge it every day of course. When I ran my setup without guiding-so just the mount and dew strap if needed-I ran it for 2-3 nights ranging from 2-6 hrs and never had it die on me. I've even used it to jump my car twice. So the jumper cables work too.

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yes there is haha bit silly of me not to say, there is a communal charging point for the whole camp site for charging during the day

In that case you should be fine with the maplins power tank, just top it up in the day

Sent from my Nexus S using Tapatalk 2

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If you've got to buy anyway, then get a leisure battery and charger. I've heard people on here say that they've run the mount, dewstrips, laptop for 5 or 6 hrs on a maplins and used 5% of the charge. Now to me, unless they have got some freak jump starter, the maths alone won't allow this. say you've got a really low consumption laptop that only uses 1Ah. that's 5Ahs in as many hrs and that's 1/3 of the total charge of a system that should not be drained to more than half way. Them there's the mount, dewstrips, possibly cameras down the track, usbhub, and probably stuff i've forgotten. do yourself a favour and get a 100Ah leisure battery and a good charger and you won't even look at replacing it for at least 10 yrs if you maintain them right. How do I know?......I bought the maplins :(

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Didnt you post this same thread a while ago?

I use the jump starter you linked too to run my HEQ5 Pro, i have used it many times without charging in between, BUT i have read people say that it drains fast if you charge a laptop up off of it. I dont have a laptop so can't comment on experience.

Like steve said, a lesiure battery may be better for charging both up. How long is the camp? Just a weekend or a few days?

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I'm with Scott above, used a large leisure battery to power dewstrips, netbook & lx mount. Just get a decent trickle charger to keep it fresh. There is a project for you making a box and using some marine grade 12v connectors for the winter. Most bits can be sourced at reasonable cost on ebay!.

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I know that the deep cycle problem has been already explained, but If you are really stuck for a battery, use a spare car battery if you have one. I was given a new Fiesta battery and it has done surprisingly well for powering my mount. It did struggle a bit with the inverter and laptop connected to it, however the laptop can be charged/powered from the car, just run the car during the day for a bit. During the day I used a solar charger panel to top the battery up such as here http://www.maplin.co.uk/batteries-and-power/solar-and-wind/solar-briefcase-generator

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I'd hardly call myself the greenest man on the forum but I'm cringing at the number of people suggesting the 2 litre geni. If your going somewhere in the car fine, but to crank it over just to charge a laptop?

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I'd hardly call myself the greenest man on the forum but I'm cringing at the number of people suggesting the 2 litre geni. If your going somewhere in the car fine, but to crank it over just to charge a laptop?

Charging from the car is a bodge at best... for a couple of hundred you can have a reasonably portable set up to get you through more than a nights viewing. Those batteries are heavy mind!

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Yes I did post it a while ago haha! I just got so confused with it all, and I don't know if I can actually charge the laptop off the car during the day ill have to check with my dad, as he's taking me. But I wouldn't have thought it would take that long from the car

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Only damp proofing I do with my battery is to put one of those bags for life (from supermarkets) underneath it when I'm out observing. Just stops any dampness from the grass getting on the bottom of it. Never really needed to worry about dew forming on the actual battery.. never been to any really humid places so far!

Anyway, I'm off to the same camp, so see you there!

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