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festoon

Powering a Intel compute stick with battery

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Hello all,

I'm looking for advice on how to power a Intel compute stick by battery

The two options I am looking at for the compute stick are

1) STK2M3W64CC which the power supply provided gives 5V 4A

2) STK1AW32SC which the power supply provided gives 5V 3A

One option I have been thinking is to use my Tracer 12V 22Ah LiPo (which powers my camera and mount) and using a 12VDC-5VDC transformer (e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/SUPERNIGHT-Transformer-Adjustable-Automotive-Electricity-Black/dp/B079N8HCHB/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1547655371&sr=8-22&keywords=12v%2Bto%2B5v&th=1)

Does anyone have any thoughts if this transformer with the LiPo would be suitable for powering the compute sticks above?

I was alternatively thinking of using a USB type-C powerbank with power delivery e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/PD-Power-Bank-RAVPower-USB-Black/dp/B06XTMK9H2

As far as I understand this would only give up to 3A with the USB-C output, so could possibly be used with only the STK1AW32SC.

Using a powerbank sounds like an eligant solution at reasonably low cost, but my worry about using this would be how stable the 5V would be with potentially 3A current.

Edited by festoon

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In some extent it depends on the USB ports the stick is equipped with. I have measured power consumption of several sticks and mini PC, and the rated power is usually a sum of stick own power requirements plus USB ports. USB2.0 port should be able to provide 0.5A, and USB3.0 1A (but of course not all USB components will drain that much power from USB port).

So now is all up to what you plan to connect to your USB ports. If all USB ports will be loaded with maximum allowed power, then you need as much current as it is stated. Otherwise stick itself requires about 1.5A (at 5V) maximum when CPU is 100% load.  

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Thanks @drjolo this makes sense :)

I plan to use 2 USB 2.0 ports, one for a communicating with the CCD camera and another for communicating with the mount - so based on your comment powerwise may need up to 2.5A

Would anyone have any reccomendations what is the best way to supply the power? From the options above - battery to 12V DC-5V DC transformer or 5V powerbank or even new suggestions?

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Would four AA batteries in a battery holder work, that gives 6 volts? I use eight to power my Astro Devices Nexus.

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24 minutes ago, Scooot said:

Would four AA batteries in a battery holder work, that gives 6 volts? I use eight to power my Astro Devices Nexus.

to be honest I would not know if it would work or if it would be stable enough. As you say 4 AA batteries should give around 6V, and I guess at 2Ahr capacity each, does it work that 4 together in series would give a capacity of 8Ahr?

I guess the output of the batteries would be un regulated in terms of voltage as the cell starts to be drained....is this right? In comparison would the transformer option would give a regulated 5V output as it is converting down?

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Definitely you need to power stick with regulated voltage. 12V battery with DC converter to 5V is good idea, for powerbank - I do not know if you can draw constantly 2-2.5A, maybe yes. If yes, then it would be more convenient, because you do not need to use DC converter. But power bank contains usually 3.7V battery and boost converter to 5V, so the max current is limited by output converter. 

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1 hour ago, festoon said:

to be honest I would not know if it would work or if it would be stable enough. As you say 4 AA batteries should give around 6V, and I guess at 2Ahr capacity each, does it work that 4 together in series would give a capacity of 8Ahr?

I guess the output of the batteries would be un regulated in terms of voltage as the cell starts to be drained....is this right? In comparison would the transformer option would give a regulated 5V output as it is converting down?

I don't know either but there's some information on options here that includes some discussion about using batteries in mobile scenarios. I only mentioned them because if it would work theyd be a good compact portable option.

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-power-a-project/all

Edited by Scooot
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cool link - thanks....looking at this having the AA batteries in series would lead to a capacity of 2Ahrs. So not really enough to power the stick for very long.

Would be very portable, but based on this possibly not suitable :(

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Are there any cigarette adaptors that have 5V USB outputs that can output 3A through the one port? Most of the ones I can find seem to be 2.1 or 2.5A.

Cannot work out for sure if this would give 3A one one USB output https://www.amazon.co.uk/UGREEN-Cigarette-Splitter-Extension-BlackBerry/dp/B077P629DS/ref=sr_1_5?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1549554342&sr=1-5&keywords=cigarette+lighter+3A+usb

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I'm super confused about all this QC 3.0 and USB-C stuff

Just found this on Cloudynights from 2017

"I use a core m5 compute stick with an asi290 and write to a microSD card. I’ve have had no problems with high speed planetary capture at frame rates much higher than 25fps, over usb 3.

The one thing to watch if you’re interested in the more powerful core m5 compute stick (which is nice and snappy running windows 10) is that it has different power requirements to the lower powered chips. I power though usb c using the Qualcomm Quickcharge 3 port on one of these:

https://www.ravpower...l- charger.html

Note that the usb c port on that doesn’t give enough power for the m5. The m5 needs a very slightly higher power than most usb or usb c battery packs put out. I discovered this the hard way with several battery packs. Basically the machine would not boot or just shut down at random moments with any lower amperage power source. At the moment I only know quickcharge 3 will give you enough power. I get five or six hours out of it, maybe more."

The direct link appears to be broken but apprera to be pointing to a "20100mah-external-battery-charger-QC3.0-type-c". The closest I can find to this is https://www.ravpower.com/p/ravpower-turbo-20100mah-power-bank-with-usb-c-and-qc-3.0.html

But then again I'm confused that the spec says

QC 3.0 Output: 5V / 2.4A

Type-C Output: 5V / 3A

So surely the USB-C output is the more suitable with this product?

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I've been through this with my compute stick (Intel Core M3) and although the powered USB hub I am using can supply 5V / 3A it didn't work and the stick was rebooting all the time. The max measured current draw was 2.4A so in theory it should have worked. In my case it didn't make any difference whether the hub was powered by mains or battery power so probably something to do with the hub or the way Type-C delivers it to the stick. In the end I got a 12V to 5V converter and that works without any issues (although I use a large leisure battery so not sure about smaller batteries).

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2 minutes ago, AngryDonkey said:

In the end I got a 12V to 5V converter and that works without any issues (although I use a large leisure battery so not sure about smaller batteries).

Thanks @AngryDonkey....which particular converter did you use?

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As long as you plan to only feed stick with 5 V power, I believe it will not use more than 1,2 A. I have a m5 stick and it needs no more than that. If you need to feed devices via USB ports on the stick, you have to add that. Using 6 V and dry cells is not good. Better will be to use rechargable batteries with 1,2 V, totalling in 4,8 V.

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Yes I think rechargables would be better than dry cells. For now I'll rule out using smaller rechargable batteries as I dont think (unless I'm wrong) it will have enough capacity to power the stick for long (the ones I can see are 1.3A-hr)

I'm tending to think the transformer 12V-5V converter may be the better option especially if they are rated at e.g. 5A or 10A (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079N8HCHB?tag=stargloung-21)

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I think the one I got was this one (but there are plenty of others that will do the job, just look for DC to DC buck converters):

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/QS-4805CBAN-90W-DC-Auto-Boost-Buck-Converter-Input-4-5-60V-Output-1-2-30V/1998282795.html

17 minutes ago, Juicy6 said:

As long as you plan to only feed stick with 5 V power, I believe it will not use more than 1,2 A. I have a m5 stick and it needs no more than that.

I've measured my m3 stick with an inline amp meter and got spikes up to 2.4V.

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The simplest solution might be a MaxOak K2 50,000 mAh. Offers a massive 185 watt-hours; with 20v, 12v and four x 5v outputs (two at 5v/2.5A, two at 5v/1A). Incredibly versatile for around £109.

The 20v output can be used to charge/power a laptop or power a 19V Intel NUC.  12v can be used for cameras, 5v for smaller devices. The only limit is a total amperage limit of 3 Amps, so whilst incredibly versatile, it won't run too many devices simultaneously, but should meet the OP needs.

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These compute sticks are really handy. I bought a couple of these, and measuring power usage with camera and filter wheel attached I barely got to 1 amp.

I had  a test indoors, with the camera continuously shooting, and changing filter every now and then. The power bank lasted for nearly 48 hours.

Of course battery performance outdoors (in cold weather) might suffer quite a bit, but it's still gonna last a while, I'd think

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The stick will be running sharpcap in live stacking mode connected to an atik cooled ccd camera, Skywatcher goto mount connected using synscan app, stellarium scope, stellarium to control mount, and platesolving in sharpcap.

Which of these two sticks would be more suitable for the job STK1AW32SC (Intel Atom x5-Z8300 1.44 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC) or STK2M3W64CC (Intel Core m3-6Y30, 4 GB RAM,, 64 GB eMMC)

Would the M3 give much superior and stable performance for a live imaging application? Or is the Atom more than sufficient?

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