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Powering your equipment... 13.8 volts or 12 volts

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#1 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 11:07 PM

Just wanted to say that I have a backyard "garden shed" observatory and I have the benefit of permanent AC power.  That being said, I run all my equipment off of a DC converter.  I originally used a simple 70W 10 Amp "generic" power supply which I ran to a Power Distribution Block mounted to my Scope, and from there to the mount, mini PC, Camera, EAF, etc...

 

Well, I had a few strange issues lately and decided that just MAYBE it was power related, so I went out and bought a much beefier Power Supply.  Figuring that automotive batteries that everyone seems to use are 13.8 V, I bought a nice 13.8 V, 30 Amp power supply.   Now, I recommend you check all your equipment first, but ALL of my Astronomy Gear will safely work at 13.8 Volts.  HOWEVER, the Mini PC will not boot at that voltage...     So, here is the whole point of my post...  I picked up a beautiful little DC voltage regulator.   It is small, very lightweight, and works wonders!

 

https://www.amazon.c...ref_=ast_sto_dp

 

If anyone needs an inexpensive Buck Converter / Reducer, I highly recommend it!

 

I now run 13.8 Volts to the Power Distribution block, and then out to all my Astronomy gear, but I added the converter in between the Distribution Block and the Mini PC.   All is well again!

 


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#2 calypsob

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 11:32 PM

so the mini pc needs 12v ?  I always assumed anything 12v ran fine at 13.8v There always seems to be something to learn.  



#3 KTAZ

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 12:03 AM

I have this: https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It gives me what I need at this point (I don’t have an observatory). Only my mount and my ZSO cooled cam need direct 12v, and both can handle 13.8 just fine, so that’s what I use. Everything else gets USB.



#4 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 12:04 AM

so the mini pc needs 12v ?  I always assumed anything 12v ran fine at 13.8v There always seems to be something to learn.  

My particular Mini-PC  (Beelink) simply will not boot at 13.8 Volts.   The wall wart that comes with it shows 12.0 Volts.   When I reduced the power to 12.0 it boots just fine.  (Thankfully nothing happened to it when I gave it 13.8)    

 

I do know that Intel NUCs come with regular laptop bricks that supply 19 Volts.  (I'm not sure if that's just because Intel uses the same power supply for laptops and NUCs or perhaps they really need the 19 Volts.)

 

Bottom line is CHECK your Voltage requirements!



#5 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 12:09 AM

I have this: https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It gives me what I need at this point (I don’t have an observatory). Only my mount and my ZSO cooled cam need direct 12v, and both can handle 13.8 just fine, so that’s what I use. Everything else gets USB.

I had something similar but 12 Volts.    With the mini PC, EQ6R-Pro Mount, ASI 1600mm Pro camera, EFW, EAF, and guide cam, something , somewhere was just short on a little power...  maybe the mini PC and it's USB ports, I really don't know.    I went out and bought https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and now all my little glitches are gone.  But again, the Mini PC simply would not boot at 13.8 Volts!



#6 RandomJoe

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 11:57 AM

I do know that Intel NUCs come with regular laptop bricks that supply 19 Volts.  (I'm not sure if that's just because Intel uses the same power supply for laptops and NUCs or perhaps they really need the 19 Volts.)

 

The NUCs (at least the ones I read about when I bought mine recently) can handle a pretty wide input voltage, and (mine anyway) run fine down to 12.0V.  From what I read, they can get flaky if it drops below about 11.8V, which makes them a bit problematic to run straight off battery in the field.

 

I have my AP gear set up to run off the 12V house bank in my van.  So far I've always been at the club observatory where I can plug in to power so the AC charger keeps the house batteries at 13.8V.  I wanted to be sure the computer would be fine if I ever go off-grid with it, so first got a small boost converter that would take anything down to 10V in and supply 15V out to run the computer but since then have found with testing that one mount (EQ6-R) can get a bit testy if its input voltage gets too low as well.  Doesn't help that the entire rig is powered via a ~25 foot cord from the van, so there's a little voltage drop.  I now have a larger DC converter that can handle 10-15V in and supplies 13.8V.  It's a bit overkill (36A!) but what the heck...  I'll feed it with the line from the van, then run the entire mount - computer, mount, focuser, camera... - from the converter.  (Just got it, haven't hooked it up yet.)



#7 Peter in Reno

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 04:44 PM

In my opinion, if a 12VDC device cannot handle 13.8VDC, then the 12VDC device is a poor design. 

 

Peter 



#8 Huangdi

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 05:29 PM

I've seen the reverse happening quite often. Especially mounts that are designed to work with 12V tend to start having problems when the voltage gets near 12V

#9 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:42 PM

In my opinion, if a 12VDC device cannot handle 13.8VDC, then the 12VDC device is a poor design. 

 

Peter 

Well, the Beelink Mini PC is designed specifically for AC Power... I know there are quite a few people who use them scopeside... They are an inexpensive Chinese version of an Intel NUC. Now I wonder how other people power them, and if mine is just flakey... Either way, it's working fine now, at the documented voltage...




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