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Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery

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#1 SpaceFreak131

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:45 AM

Hello guys

I have an Orion Atlas mount. The thing is absolutely beautiful, but I am running into a series problem, I can't supply it with enough power. I have a car jump starter that I use as my mobile power station. On the front it says it's capable of delivering 600 amps, but I'm assuming that's just for the very short duration that the car battery draws current.

The power station has a 12V cigarette port on the front. I have the necessary adapter to go from that to the 12V barrell plug on the Atlas mount. However, when at full slew, the motor occasionally stalls and doesn't move because it isn't getting enough power. I know this because the sound of the motor stalling happens in perfect conjunction with the power LED flickering off.

The guy I bought it from included an AC adapter capable of delivering 2.1 A. Even with that, it stalls some times. So I'm guessing that at full slew, the mount draws even more current, perhaps 2.5-3 A.

Does the Sirius mount draw less current? If it does, I can sell the Atlas mount for a nice profit and use those proceeds to go towards a Sirius.

#2 Raginar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:02 AM

It could be the battery is older and isn't capable of keeping up with the 2.5-3A during full slew.

Instead of selling your mount, maybe you should invest in a new battery? It'll be cheaper than dealing with the shipping et al related with it and you'll still have a good mount.

#3 ghataa

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

Most of those jump start batteries can't provide enough power. You need something like a Marine deep cycle battery to provide the necessary sustained power.

Good luck!

George

#4 SpaceFreak131

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:09 AM

The battery is only a few months old. Not even, it's only a little over 1 month. What if the AC adapter couldnt provide the power as well?

#5 WadeH237

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:21 AM

I would agree with the other posters. You don't have a mount problem. You have a battery problem.

The two options for reliable power are either a real deep cycle battery, or a *regulated* power supply rated at 5 amps or more.

I use 35ah AGM batteries designed for wheelchairs when I run from a battery. For running off of A/C, I have a 12 amp regulated power supply. I sometimes run my laptop, camera, etc. from the power supply, so I needed something bigger than 5 amps.

Car jump start batteries and "wall wart" power supplies are both well known to be unreliable for this application.

#6 rmollise

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

Most of those jump start batteries can't provide enough power. You need something like a Marine deep cycle battery to provide the necessary sustained power.

Good luck!

George


Not the case at all. The jumpstart batteries can easily supply more than enough current for the Atlas. I've used a 17ah model I got from Wal-Mart nearly ten years ago and it works fine and reliably. Any fully charged 12-volt battery will provide sufficient current. The question is "how long?" A deep cycle marine battery is good for two reasons: higher amp-hour ratings; it will go for a longer time between charges, and a full discharge is less likely to damage it. HOWEVER, a charged 17ah, or even 8ah jump start battery will run the Atlas all night long.

OP: Is the red led on the mount flashing (blinking, not "flickering," which may indicate another sort of problem)? That indicates a low-power condition. If not, there's a possibility something else is wrong with the mount. I'd carefully check the cable, and make sure the battery is fully charged (for 12 hours). When does the motor stall? During slewing or tracking? During tracking the mount doesn't draw anywhere close to 2-amps... ;)

#7 ghataa

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

I haven't had any luck trying the Celestron power tank and a few jump start batteries from Auto stores so I have soured on the idea. Maybe the OP is running into similar bad luck.

Good to hear others have had better experiences though!

George

#8 SpaceFreak131

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

OP: Is the red led on the mount flashing (blinking, not "flickering," which may indicate another sort of problem)? That indicates a low-power condition. If not, there's a possibility something else is wrong with the mount. I'd carefully check the cable, and make sure the battery is fully charged (for 12 hours). When does the motor stall? During slewing or tracking? During tracking the mount doesn't draw anywhere close to 2-amps... ;)


It's not blinking like an error code or anythings. It's specifically flickering as if it's barely getting enough juice. And when the LED completely goes out, the motor stalls, signifying that nothing is getting enough power.

The power meter on the battery says its nearly fully charged. The motor stalls during the full slewing, as if I told it to go to some object across the sky.

#9 Pat at home

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

Check the fit of the plug at the mount, you might have a slightly loose connection there that becomes intermittent when the mount is slewing. I had a couple of occurrences of what you describe so I put a little piece of velcro loops on the cable near the plug and affix it to a piece of velcro hooks on the mount. Haven't had that problem since.

#10 jgraham

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

I never had much luck powering my Atlas off of a jumpstart battery. I use an AC adapter instead. I'm sure some have had better luck as not everyone observes from their back yard near a power outlet.

#11 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

The mount is doing the same thing with two different power supplies. You have a problem with the mount. If the mount was drawing enough current to cause a low voltage condition AT THE BATTERY/POWER SUPPLY, you would smell and see magic blue smoke.

#12 Raginar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

Well, he mentions it's an AC adapter, but doesn't state that it's a stock one. Perhaps it's not regulated or it isn't actually putting out 2.1A? The guy I bought my MI250 had a similar situation where the AC adapter had malfunctioned and wasn't actually pushing the 2A or what not required by the mount.

In addition, he might have a 'new' car start battery to him, but it doesn't take into account how long it was sitting on the store room floor.

I dunno, sounds like he needs to try a new regulated 12V power supply (preferrably rated higher than 2A) and give it a run.

Otherwise, ask the guy what the deal is. Maybe the AC plug isn't seating correctly (take a jewelry screw driver and spread the center pin slightly to make a good connection, had to do this with my CGEM a few times).

I have a hard time believing it's the mount.

#13 neptun2

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:49 PM

I have the heq5 pro (sirius) mount and never had problem to power it from skywatcher 17Ah power tank. Several times i also used generic chinese 220 to 12V adapter rated at 4 Amps also without problems. Strange that you see flickering of the power LED. I have seen 3 states of it. If it is constantly lit all is ok with power. If it is slowly blinking this indicates lowering voltage and that your battery is near end. If it is rapidly blinking this indicates very low voltage and you can expect problems. What you describe looks like loose connection between the power cable and the mount power socket.

#14 hcsceo

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

What you describe looks like loose connection between the power cable and the mount power socket.


+1 this would be my guess also. Could be a cold solder joint inside or an issue with the center post not making great contact or even dirty connectors inside the jack or on the cig lighter adapter. Like on a car it could be making a connection to run the low amp stuff but as soon as you try and load it up the poor connection keeps it from starting. Check both ends, the jack and the cig lighter side for corrosion and take the fuse out of the lighter adapter and make sure it isn't corroded or has loose ends. To be sure I'd use the cig lighter in your car as a test to eliminate the battery deal as a problem. If you car can start then it has enough power to slew that mount anywhere at any speed.

#15 astro_baby

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:19 PM

It coud also be a poor quality lead. The ones that come with the mont are rubbish and the ones that come with the powerpacks are worse. Wet string.

Get a decent quality power lead and I bet the problems go away.

#16 rmollise

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

If it's a long run of cable, yes, that could be a problem. The short length used for the Atlas, especiallly at the relatively modest current draw? The cable is good enough...it's the connectors that are usually the bummer.

#17 neptun2

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:34 PM

I have one very thin power cable which came with the power tank. It is not useful for any load over 3A but works fine for the heq5 pro. So just like uncle Rod i think that the connections are most probable problem.

#18 bogg

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

I had a problem with the power supply to my CG5 mount. Ended up tracing it back to the jump start battery. The power supply cable from the power aux power point was not making proper contact. I tried fitting it better but the only thing that worked was a new connector on the power supply cable. The aux power points in some of the jump start batteries can be picky.

#19 EFT

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:40 AM

If you are not using the stock power cable or an Orion AC adapter, you need to make sure that you have a 2.1mm plug and not a 2.5mm plug. The 2.5 will fit but will cause an intermittent connection. If you are using a 2.1mm, then I would try spreading the power pin in the socket to help make sure it is connecting well. I use the same power cord for all the mounts I work on and it is surprising how it works fine in some mounts and not in others. There is a lot of variation in this type of power socket. I pluged into a mount yesterday and power socket screwed up and flashed the mount on and off and put my hand controller into a program state that required me to reprogram it before I could use it again.

I would certainly suspect the power cable or the plug at this point. In addition, all jump-start batteries are not created equal and some people clearly have problems with some. A Sirius would probably not perform any better under these conditions.

#20 WillCarney

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

I was a little wary of getting one of those power tanks. I purchased a deep cycle marine battery and a ac-dc inverter. For my Atlas I use the Orion AC adapter and plug into the inverter which attaches to the marine battery. That is when I don't have access to AC.
The first thing I would do if I were you is to buy the Orion AC adapter or the auto-lighter cable directly from Orion. Both of these would solve your amp or fit issues. You have to have 12v at 2amp with the right plug for the Atlas. William

#21 SpaceFreak131

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

Hey guys, sorry for the late responses. Here's what I've tried so far to trouble shoot.

I figured maybe the car adapter cable I was using wasn't capable of carrying 2+ amps, so I cut the wires and soldered in 15 gauge speaker wire, and it still doesn't work properly. Then I tried a power supply capable of supplying 2.5 A. Using that, the thing didn't work properly at all. It would start slewing the RA axis, cut out after a few seconds, and the DEC axis never moved. I checked the current meter on it, and it wasn't delivering more than 1 amp, so I think that power supply is a piece of trash essentially. I am going to see if I can borrow a power supply that can do up to 60V and up to 5 A.

#22 EFT

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:23 PM

Hey guys, sorry for the late responses. Here's what I've tried so far to trouble shoot.

I figured maybe the car adapter cable I was using wasn't capable of carrying 2+ amps, so I cut the wires and soldered in 15 gauge speaker wire, and it still doesn't work properly. Then I tried a power supply capable of supplying 2.5 A. Using that, the thing didn't work properly at all. It would start slewing the RA axis, cut out after a few seconds, and the DEC axis never moved. I checked the current meter on it, and it wasn't delivering more than 1 amp, so I think that power supply is a piece of trash essentially. I am going to see if I can borrow a power supply that can do up to 60V and up to 5 A.


Just as long as you don't exceed about 13.5VDC that would be good. If you go to high on the voltage you will burn up the board. I think that 3A is the minimum for these mounts, 5A is better.

#23 SpaceFreak131

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

I recorded a video of whats been happening

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=rUN03C8og8c

#24 Raginar

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:41 PM

Spacefreak,

I still think it's the AC adapter connector. Notice how it worked fine for a little bit and then died after a few minutes? It was after you were slewing. I think as it's moving it's losing it's 'grip'. Have you tried spreading the pin on the inside? Also, if you can try a good 12V regulated AC adapter that provides at least 3A like Ed is saying...

Anyways, mount 'sounds' good minus it losing power.

#25 EFT

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

I recorded a video of whats been happening

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=rUN03C8og8c


Here's a simple test. Take a piece of electrical tape (or something else with a good grip) and tap the power cord to the mount so that it does not move in the power socket as the mount slews. A lot of people do this with a cable tie like you use for cable management under a desk. Try slewing with the cable tied down and see it if happens. If it doesn't, that will tell you that it is just the loose socket. I see that frequently with both Atlas and CGEM mounts.






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