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Astronomy Power Box Project

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#1 Olivier Biot

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:02 PM

Astronomy Power Box Project

By Anna Morris.

#2 mcoren



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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:49 PM

Nicely done. You were wise to use a real battery charger/tender as part of it. The weakest link in many of the inexpensive "jumpstart battery" packs that people use is the wall-wart charger. It produces a loosely regulated DC voltage that doesn't change once the battery goes from fast charge to float/trickle charge mode. I think this kills more batteries than anything else. Anyway, nicely done again. Have fun with it!

#3 vsteblina


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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:05 PM

Nice looking power supply.

You might want to add a solar panel to the lid. It won't recharge your battery totally, but it will extend the life of your battery. Depending on where you store the box it would eliminate having an external charger.

I cannot not tell the size of your "lid", but it should be easy to find a 10 or 20 watt panel that would fit it. Those start at about a 100 bucks for the 10 watt.

#4 frolinmod



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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:36 PM

You used Anderson power pole connectors for internal connections, but did not add any for external connections?

You added cigar lighter sockets? :bawling:

#5 blb



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Posted 10 December 2011 - 12:10 PM

I think that this is a wonderful project for home or observatory use. It would be a bear to transport to the club field or some other observing site though. :bow:

#6 Philip Levine

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 02:03 AM

This project must certainly have kept you out of trouble for a respectable amount of time. :applause:
Interested in hearing reports as you use the power supply Astro-Pig in the field, and if you make any modifications.

#7 myersbw


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Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:44 AM

Great job, Anna! I like the inclusiveness of everything YOU needed. That's what's cool about personal projects like this. It's practical and it was driven out of need. I'll certainly respect your slant on this and add my own twist. Some mentioned the field, so I might gear mine around a 2 wheel dolly to give it "tilt ability" to muster across various terrain. But, it looks like a "buddy carry" is fine the way you positioned your handles. (Maybe in most terrain you might need >6" wheels anyways.) LOVE your resourcefulness and an awesome name! :)

#8 Bowmoreman


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Posted 14 December 2011 - 06:49 PM

Excellent job, Anna... Inspiring.

I may have to learn from your project. I like Jim's solar panel recharger idea, and you have the room...

#9 City Kid

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:43 PM

Anna, your battery box puts mine to shame. Very nice.

#10 astrocamman


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:44 PM

Nicely done Anna. Very impressive. I wonder if you could email me a pic of your 'state of charge chart'. I have a deep cycle battery on my dolly for my C14 but am not sure what state my battery is in. Also can you tell me where you got your digital voltmeter? Looks simpler and more compact than the HFTools voltmeter I am using. Thanks so much. Karl astrocamman@gmail.com

#11 rdhood



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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:15 PM

kudos on the power box. I am a newbie and just built my own this weekend. I didn't go quite as far as you, but your project gave me a lot of good direction. I incorporated a fuse to the pos pole to 30A switch, and 30A switch to an auto 6-fuse panel. I have it all contained in a typical size 29 plastic box. When I need an inverter, it will be easy to add. For now, I can run my mount and a couple of heaters with no problem. You did all the basic thinking for me!

#12 Donald6887


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Posted 03 January 2012 - 07:05 PM

Looks like a great project, you did not state the finished weight, just curious.

#13 JoLo


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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:56 PM

I am in the final stages of completing a box based upon yours Anna. I am very happy with it..4 12v plugs, same inverter as you, but i left off the USB hub, I just use one directly connected to my netbook. The Anderson Powerpoles and Rigrunner are fantastic. I should finish it this weekend.

My only issue is the size and weight..it is very heavy. But my 95ah battery was heavy by itself, and it didn't have wheels like my new box. Mobility is not the issue, in and out of the car is....thanks for the inspiration, great project.


#14 antimorris


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Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:47 PM

I just realized there was a thread for my "how-to" ... oops, sorry I didn't pop by here sooner.

A few things from your comments:
I am considering adding a solar panel for charging at some point, but currently here in England I have yet to see enough sun to make it worthwhile, probably once I get back to the States in a few years. I have a few possibles bookmarked for down the road - might go with a Battery Tender solar charger.

frolinmod: everything I run has CL sockets to power them, that's why I used them.

blb: I have 6" pneumatic wheels on it, it moves around a field quite easily as a result - a little heavy to load in the car to bring out in the field, but after its there its no problem getting it around. If I take the battery out and throw it in the car separately I can get it in and out of the car myself so is a feasible option for remote/star party power.

astrocamman: I will email you the state of charge chart I have as soon as I did it off the hard drive. Expect it later this evening. I got the digital voltmeter from eBay.

Donald6887 - I haven't actually weighed it. I will do this sometime soon and post the final weight here. The box itself isn't that heavy - the weight is mainly the 140AH battery.

I have gotten to use this many times now and must say I am incredibly pleased with it. 10 hr nights for two nights over the weekend has been no problem and with the USB hub I used that has #s for the ports I #d the corresponding cables so they always go in the same port which has eliminated the "finding driver" problem that is typical when using a USB hub and moving the accessories around. The side lights have been fantastic. When I but the AstroPig up to the tripod of the scope one shines through the legs which has eliminated tripping over tripod legs and the other gives me an ambient ground light to avoid tripping over cords and to use to read charts/make notes as necessary.

I have added a few things since I wrote this up: I have fans on it now for circulation (one on the back top and one underneath) not always necessary, but nice to have. I also have a humidity/temp gauge now. Here is a recent pic:

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