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Mered

Mains or battery for mount power?

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I've been using a Skywatcher Powertank to power my mount, but even though I've tried to keep the correct charging routine it feels like it is losing power a lot sooner than it should do.

I want to upgrade the power supply and can't decide if I should get a bench power supply (the Nevada from FLO would be perfect for my needs) or just get a leisure battery.

I have easy access to RCD protected plugs outside, but I'm not sure if the bench power supply itself is suitable for outdoor use? Would getting a decent capacity battery be a better alternative? And the battery would still give me the option to move around rather than stick to the one spot. The leisure battery option would be more expensive though, once the costs of a box, fittings and decent charger are added on, but that isn't really much of an issue.

 

So, battery or mains, what would the folks of SGL do?

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My vote is for mains power. I used to put a bench supply in a really useful plastic box to protect from the outside world. I never had a problem and more importantly, the mount worked perfectly all night whatever the temperature drop! The bonus is that you then have mains power to your imaging area, ready for computers etc to be plugged in with no problems.

As you say, the downside is that you are limited to only using the kit near a power outlet. Are you really going to use it all in places with no plugs?

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I have one of the FLO ones which I use for my mount and dew heaters, and they are pretty good for the money, so a thumbs up there from me.  You could put the power supply indoors and run a 13.8v lead outside.  This is what I do and it works fine (and is much safer as the supply isn't IP rated).

For me personally a battery wins it for quality of output and versatility, but of course this comes with its own pitfalls as you've noted.

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Mains power wins ever time, site the PSU in the dry and just run a lead out to the mount , 13.8v supply on a 30' lead lost 0.02 volts or put it another way, next to nothing......

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I agree with Tinker, mains power every time; however, if you are going to do star parties etc you may need both!

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Mains power it is then!

I'm very unlikely to use the telescope far from the outside sockets, my main focus is imaging so a good reliable supply of power is my main requirement, rather than being able to move that supply around :icon_biggrin:

 

It probably won't happen for a while, but would a single power supply have enough capacity for a CCD camera and heaters too? I have just my mount and sometimes my Synguider currently, as far as I know the HEQ5 mount uses 2A max, and the guider less than 1A. At the price they cost, if I ever do switch to CCD imaging, I could just get a second power supply anyway.

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Good choice.  As noted you may later want another battery as well, this is what I do, but that is only for when I'm out and away from a supply point.

Power wise It'll be close depending how many heaters you run and the power level you have them on, but with 2 heaters and a CCD I would have thought you'd be fine with a 6A supply.

I personally run 2 supplies.  The FLO one just runs my mount and heaters, and I have a separate larger adjustable one running everything else such as mini PC, CCD Filter wheel etc.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/172211182498?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

In reality the larger one is way too big for my needs, but I just wanted to separate what I considered to be sensitive and non sensitive elements, and this works perfectly for me and gives me capacity to run a second rig.

Edited by RayD

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I moved over to a mains power supply this summer and think it's far better. I found the battery (Maplin power pack) was good for a few hours but the mount would start playing up in unexpected ways in the wee small hours. No such problem with mains.  I keep the power supply in the shed and have a 10 metre long cable to the mount. But in principle it could be longer if you need to set up in different places around the garden. The cable just needs to be beefy enough not to see a voltage drop at the mount.  The plastic box idea suggested above is another viable alternative. 

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I agree with all the points above, but the one from FLO isn't IP rated, so really shouldn't be used outside in damp conditions.  The RCD protection will (theoretically) stop you getting electrocuted, but it will also stop your imaging session dead.

If you go with the FLO one, or any other one which is not IP rated, then place it indoors and run a lead outside.  Over the short distances you're taking about voltage drop isn't even going to come in to it as most of your stuff will operate on 12V anyway.

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8 hours ago, RayD said:

I agree with all the points above, but the one from FLO isn't IP rated, so really shouldn't be used outside in damp conditions.  The RCD protection will (theoretically) stop you getting electrocuted, but it will also stop your imaging session dead.

If you go with the FLO one, or any other one which is not IP rated, then place it indoors and run a lead outside.  Over the short distances you're taking about voltage drop isn't even going to come in to it as most of your stuff will operate on 12V anyway.

Yep, that is a good point, I suppose condensation could be a problem too in the cold, damp conditions?

Thanks for all the replies everyone!

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