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Portable Power Options for ZWO setup

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#1 nhmorgan79

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 09:05 AM

With the current sales, I decided to finally make the leap and upgrade my gear. I've been using an HEQ-5, asiAIR pro, and z6ii. Currently (pun intended), I'm able to run everything from a RAV power 250wh power cube (It looks like they've discontinued this). This has a DC out rated at 12v 10a. I use that to run the HEQ-5, then the PD out that is rated for 12v 3a with a PD to DC converter cable to run the asiAIR pro.

 

I've upgraded to an AM3 mount and 2600mm pro and plan to keep using the ASIpro (unless there is a compelling power splitting reason to upgraded to the PLUS). I have not purchased any power connectors yet for these.

 

I have three main questions. 1) is there an airline friendly (under 100wh if I understand it) power bank that I can use to power the AM3 when I travel with it and am at places without AC power (one of the selling point for me on this mount). I assume it needs 12v 5a to run but would need a stable supply through the power drainage.

 

2) My RAV power cube only has on DC out. Is there a was to split that and run everything and still have ample power to each device? I would use the 12v outs on the asiAIR but I've read mixed thoughts about using that for AM3 and for the 2600mm

 

3) If I'm going to use AC power at home, what's the best solution with the fewest number of cables? Can I power all this off one AC plug somehow?

 

I don't really understand the electricity side of this, so go easy on me. Thanks in advance for the help.



#2 nhmorgan79

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 09:14 AM

A good option for airline ok power for the AM3?

https://www.amazon.c...1zcF9hdGY&psc=1


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#3 Hindsight2020

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 09:38 AM

This is what I came up with:

https://www.cloudyni...ac-power-setup/

 

Ignore the first pic - that was the old setup. New setup is below that. Basically it's a 12v charger (NOCO brand) that will work on lipo as well as lead acid (regular and deep cycle), that also has a mode to function as a power supply. It has nice connectors. All you need to do is buy one extra cable for it, cut one end off, and splice in a round power plug (5.5 x 2.1mm), or two or three (however many you need for all your components - you can also just use 1 and then buy a 2, 3, 4, or 5-way splitter etc). I run a mini-pc instead of an ASIAIR which means I also had to splice in a 12vdc to 19vdc laptop adapter but you can skip that. 

 

So, at home, you just plug it into AC power, connect your little custom harness and plug it into your gear. Done. 

 

In the field, you bring a 12v battery of your choice - Lithium for like $250-$300 for a high capacity one, or a deep cycle lead acid car battery for ~$100 at any auto parts store or market, then you use the alligator clip harness and plug that into the harness you made as described above. You can then re-charge your battery with the NOCO charger when you are back in a place that has AC power. So when traveling, you just need to buy a lead acid battery at your destination, then turn it in for recycling when you are done. If you have a cooled camera with a mount and an ASIAR and dew protection, I don't think you're going to run that all night long on any battery you could bring on a plane. So IMHO this is the best option. It has worked well for me. 



#4 astrohamp

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 06:55 PM

Now that is a nice piece of DIY work Hindsight'.  The fact that you can plug in any 12v battery is a great idea.  However I'm go'na pick on three nits...

 

That handle is ... well... tough on space when packing if that is ever a problem.  I have stuffed about 800 pounds of gear in my CRV to motor over to the Cherry Springs and needed every cranny available. 

 

Don't see any Anderson Power Pole connectors/sockets and yes I am biased for their use.  There are better connectors but not at that price point by a long shot.

 

And third is having your cooling fan on top where dew, bugs, dust, and rain, can settle in on your insides.  I know why the choice and yes you can put the box on it's side if need be so never mind.

 

Oh yes, since I;m being a hard &@* about it no easy access to your fuse block.

 

I also use the gl-inet router Beryl it looks like which I power from a NUC pc high output USB port, bought and use a "PWR+" 12 to 19v converter for my laptop,  and use XT60/90 connectors for some things.

 

Cable management is a chore, necessary, usually manageable, although with the cold season upon some of us requires serious thought and some expense.

 

Thanks for posting a DIY power project.



#5 Hindsight2020

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 07:23 PM

I think maybe you missed my note about ignoring the first pic. That was the old setup. New setup is the second pic. Only device is the NOCO charger / power supply and wiring. 

 

I know some people love Anderson Power Poles. I don't have anything that uses them though. Maybe I'll convert one day. 



#6 Gravity Wave

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 09:13 PM

you biggest challenge is the airline friendly battery with 100wh.  The carry on allowance is actually up to 2 uninstalled 160wh batteries.  With your setup, and assuming a 3 amp load, a 100wh battery is around 2.75 hours runtime, and the 160wh will be just under 4.5 hours.  Is that going to be enough imaging time?



#7 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 04 December 2023 - 10:17 AM

I've been down this road.  What you really need to do is setup the rig with a power analyzer between the power supply and the rig so you can measure and monitor input voltage, current draw, and total system power while the rig is doing some test runs.  For a test run the mount must be tracking and Air must be taking data and guiding the mount. 

 

My current rig is an iOptron GEM45, AT130EDT F7 refractor, ASI Air Plus, SVBony 60mm guide scope, ASI120mm mini guide camera, ASI EAF, ASI EFW (8 slot wheel for LRGB and Narrow Band mono, 5 slot wheel for One Shot Color (OSC), ASI183MM or MC Pro camera, Dew Not 12v dew heaters on the main OTA and guide scope and a dew heater on the main imaging camera.

 

I started out using a similar TalentCell battery pack.  It would run the mount just fine, but it really didn't have enough "grunt" the run the mount, Air, Cameras, and dew heaters so as a stop gap, I bought a 300-Watt, 296-Watt Hour (Wh) 12V 8 Amp power supply.  It worked, but the run time was less than optimum so I split the power distribution system. I used the TalentCell to power the mount (it only draws about 7watts) and let the "big" power supply power Air and the accessories. Things got significantly better.  Not only was the run time better, voltage input to Air was more consistent.  The key point is Air needs a reliable power supply that has very good output voltage regulation.  If the input voltage drops below 11.5 volts, Air gets real stupid.  WiFi becomes unreliable, accessories drop off-line, and you will lose data.  BTDT.  

 

Having said that, I really didn't like the idea of using two separate power supplies and as luck would have it, smack in the middle of an imaging run the main power supply failed.  So, I hit Amazon and bought a bigger power supply that is rated at 320Wh and 12.8 VDC @10Amps.  It is 3 pounds heavier than the previous supply, but it runs the rig all night with power to spare. 

 

Some final points:

 

1.  DO NOT power the mount from Air.

2.  DO NOT power Air from the mount.

3.  DO NOT use  AC to DC power bricks.  They waste power and shorten run time.

4.  Air Plus has better accessory power management functionality and better WiFi reliability than Air Pro.

 

Energizer Power Supply 

 

In-Line Power Analyzer



#8 nhmorgan79

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Posted 05 December 2023 - 08:07 AM

I've been down this road.  What you really need to do is setup the rig with a power analyzer between the power supply and the rig so you can measure and monitor input voltage, current draw, and total system power while the rig is doing some test runs.  For a test run the mount must be tracking and Air must be taking data and guiding the mount. 

 

My current rig is an iOptron GEM45, AT130EDT F7 refractor, ASI Air Plus, SVBony 60mm guide scope, ASI120mm mini guide camera, ASI EAF, ASI EFW (8 slot wheel for LRGB and Narrow Band mono, 5 slot wheel for One Shot Color (OSC), ASI183MM or MC Pro camera, Dew Not 12v dew heaters on the main OTA and guide scope and a dew heater on the main imaging camera.

 

I started out using a similar TalentCell battery pack.  It would run the mount just fine, but it really didn't have enough "grunt" the run the mount, Air, Cameras, and dew heaters so as a stop gap, I bought a 300-Watt, 296-Watt Hour (Wh) 12V 8 Amp power supply.  It worked, but the run time was less than optimum so I split the power distribution system. I used the TalentCell to power the mount (it only draws about 7watts) and let the "big" power supply power Air and the accessories. Things got significantly better.  Not only was the run time better, voltage input to Air was more consistent.  The key point is Air needs a reliable power supply that has very good output voltage regulation.  If the input voltage drops below 11.5 volts, Air gets real stupid.  WiFi becomes unreliable, accessories drop off-line, and you will lose data.  BTDT.  

 

Having said that, I really didn't like the idea of using two separate power supplies and as luck would have it, smack in the middle of an imaging run the main power supply failed.  So, I hit Amazon and bought a bigger power supply that is rated at 320Wh and 12.8 VDC @10Amps.  It is 3 pounds heavier than the previous supply, but it runs the rig all night with power to spare. 

 

Some final points:

 

1.  DO NOT power the mount from Air.

2.  DO NOT power Air from the mount.

3.  DO NOT use  AC to DC power bricks.  They waste power and shorten run time.

4.  Air Plus has better accessory power management functionality and better WiFi reliability than Air Pro.

 

Energizer Power Supply 

 

In-Line Power Analyzer

Thanks a lot. When you say don't use AC to DC power bricks, what do you mean? A regular plug in AC to DC adapter?



#9 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 05 December 2023 - 08:34 AM

Thanks a lot. When you say don't use AC to DC power bricks, what do you mean? A regular plug in AC to DC adapter?

What I mean is when you are in the field with no AC power available and you are using a portable power supply, do not use a plug in AC to DC adapter to power your rig.  Not only does the DC to AC inverter in the power supply waste energy, the plug in AC to DC Adapter (aka a brick) also wastes energy.


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#10 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 05 December 2023 - 08:52 AM

A good option for airline ok power for the AM3?

https://www.amazon.c...1zcF9hdGY&psc=1

I have this one:  Talentcell 12v lithium ion battery pb120b1   It will power my GEM45 mount (~7 watts) for several hours, but it cannot power the mount and the imaging train (~30 watts) for any useful length of time. 



#11 stevesanacore

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Posted 06 December 2023 - 06:09 AM

I have a few high quality 120w portable power supplies for my MacBook’s that only have USB and USB-C ports. Is there a way to convert this those for powering our scope or accessories? Has anyone tried going from usb-c to power the ASIAir? 



#12 Hindsight2020

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Posted 06 December 2023 - 08:22 AM

Those are probably 28vdc. You would need a buck converter to step the voltage down to 12. The other issue is that most modern laptop power supplies have circuitry in them that negotiates with the device you plug them into. If the handshake doesn't work because there is no signal from the device you have plugged into it, there is a good chance it won't. 



#13 stevesanacore

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Posted 06 December 2023 - 08:31 PM

Those are probably 28vdc. You would need a buck converter to step the voltage down to 12. The other issue is that most modern laptop power supplies have circuitry in them that negotiates with the device you plug them into. If the handshake doesn't work because there is no signal from the device you have plugged into it, there is a good chance it won't. 

Probably correct, thanks for pointing that out. I’ll go back to shopping for a portable power supply like a Jackery or Bluetti. 



#14 nhmorgan79

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 10:46 AM

I have a few high quality 120w portable power supplies for my MacBook’s that only have USB and USB-C ports. Is there a way to convert this those for powering our scope or accessories? Has anyone tried going from usb-c to power the ASIAir? 

I've got a PD type C to 12v cable that works great for powering the ASIAir with a power bank that can do 12v 2a. 



#15 Gravity Wave

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 04:08 PM

Thanks a lot. When you say don't use AC to DC power bricks, what do you mean? A regular plug in AC to DC adapter?


The battery has to convert the 12v to AC which is not very efficient. Then the power brick converts from AC to 12v which is also not efficient. So you are needlessly burning battery. Running a straight 12v cable is the way to go.

Edited by Gravity Wave, 07 December 2023 - 04:27 PM.


#16 cmcacmca75

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 09:03 AM

With the current sales, I decided to finally make the leap and upgrade my gear. I've been using an HEQ-5, asiAIR pro, and z6ii. Currently (pun intended), I'm able to run everything from a RAV power 250wh power cube (It looks like they've discontinued this). This has a DC out rated at 12v 10a. I use that to run the HEQ-5, then the PD out that is rated for 12v 3a with a PD to DC converter cable to run the asiAIR pro.

 

I've upgraded to an AM3 mount and 2600mm pro and plan to keep using the ASIpro (unless there is a compelling power splitting reason to upgraded to the PLUS). I have not purchased any power connectors yet for these.

 

I have three main questions. 1) is there an airline friendly (under 100wh if I understand it) power bank that I can use to power the AM3 when I travel with it and am at places without AC power (one of the selling point for me on this mount). I assume it needs 12v 5a to run but would need a stable supply through the power drainage.

 

2) My RAV power cube only has on DC out. Is there a was to split that and run everything and still have ample power to each device? I would use the 12v outs on the asiAIR but I've read mixed thoughts about using that for AM3 and for the 2600mm

 

3) If I'm going to use AC power at home, what's the best solution with the fewest number of cables? Can I power all this off one AC plug somehow?

 

I don't really understand the electricity side of this, so go easy on me. Thanks in advance for the help.

 

 

I usually just run everything from 1 120vac plug,  because my setup is at home.   I don't have great angles,  so I want to be able to run out in a field. 

 

The issue is that I use a lot of power because I control it remotely from inside the house.  CGX-L, 3 cameras,  NUC computer,  router,  2 dew heaters, focuser,  rotator...

 

I took advantage of the cyber Monday deals and put this together.  I can charge with a dc-dc 40A charging unit with 600w/26V solar panels,  or a 20A 120VAC charger.  2 - 100Ah LiFePo4 batteries. 2000W inverter. 

 

This would give me at least 9 hours a night. I can run a 120V extension cord outside the car,  or pick it up and put it near the scope setup. 

 

 

Schematic
Mounted in car

Edited by cmcacmca75, 11 December 2023 - 09:09 AM.


#17 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 12:27 PM

I've got a PD type C to 12v cable that works great for powering the ASIAir with a power bank that can do 12v 2a. 

That is enough to power Air, but you can't power a camera or dew heaters.



#18 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 12:59 PM

Probably correct, thanks for pointing that out. I’ll go back to shopping for a portable power supply like a Jackery or Bluetti. 

When you do that make sure you get one that has a WH (Watt Hour) rating higher than 300.  Most of the low price units range between 200Wh and 296Wh with 12volt outputs rated at 8 amps or lower.  These are not good enough.  I had a 296Wh 8Amp supply.  It should have given me just over 9 hours but the truth is after about 6 hours the 12volt output started to sag and once it dropped below 11.4volts, my Air Plus got real stupid. As a stopgap I added a 12Volt TalentCell battery and used that to power the mount.  This gave me a longer run time, but it wasn't an optimal solution.  The main supply failed unexpectedly, so I bought a new one that is rated at 320Wh and 10 amps.  Now I can power everything from a single power-supply and get a solid 10 hours of runtime.

 

Just to keep things straight, Watts is a power output rating.  Watt Hours is runtime.  A 300 Watt 300Wh supply will put out 1 watt for 300 hours, or 300 Watts for 1 hour.  Amps and Amp Hours (Ah) behave the same way.

 

This is the one I have:  Energizer PPS320W01


Edited by Cliff Hipsher, 12 December 2023 - 01:13 PM.



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