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HEQ5 Syntrek power issues

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In an attempt to do some guided imaging I've put together a system with an 8" Newt with a 80mm Eqinox pro piggybacked. This mounted on an HEQ5, controlled from EQMOD with Skymap and PHD Guiding. The HEQ5 has a longer counterbalance shaft to reduce the weight needed (and clear the longer Alt adjust). The whole setup is powered with a 17AHr pack from Halfords. The connectors are cigarette lighter type - I have though of replacing them but I am not getting any intermittency and they are not warming up.

It's rare that me, my kit, and a clear sky coincide but on the 2 occasions I've tried so far it's taken me ages to set up. About the time I'm ready my laptop flags that's it's turning off the network card - a sure sign that the supply voltage has dropped. This is closely followed by the mount starting to lose tracking.

Given that I don't have this problem when I'm one scope up I'm guessing that the mount is hoovering power. The extended counterbalance was an attempt to address this but doesn't seem to have done the trick. I do try and balance carefully (Dec 1st then RA) but the mount movement does not seem to be free enought to get a good result.

Obviously stripping, cleaning and regreasing might help - but has anyone got any other suggestions for getting a better balance? Am I expecting too much from an HEQ5?

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When I went from tracking to guiding/EQMod Goto with my lightly loaded HEQ5 my 17Ah batter pack lasted me about 2 hours if I was lucky. I guess if it's breezy the guiding has to do more to compensate and will use more power operating the motors...

I've given up with the battery pack, and now use a mains connection. No power problems at all now.

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Yup - everything off 1 powerpack (I observe from the middle of a dark field to avoid town light pollution, so mains isn't an option). There's the mount, 2 cameras, laptop.

Without the 80mm piggyback it will run for > 6 hrs with no problems (did messier marathon last year). I would have thought he laptop will take a bit but not that much and is protected by its own supply - the notification about the network card is just a useful indicator that power is dropping!

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I can see that recharging the laptop could take a good suck - but I always start with mine fully charged. Also why would I not have the problem when using just the newt? The latter seems to point to a load issue.

Nevertheless, what you guys are saying does suggest that another pack would help {sigh - yet more stuff: I work away from home during the week so i have to make a judgment on sunday eve whether to stuff all the kit in the car :D}

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