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View Full Version here: : Suggestions on integrated power & USB hub for AP


AstroApprentice
15-08-2017, 11:39 AM
Hi astrophotographers,
I'm hoping for some opinions & recommendations on cable management/simplifying my imaging system with an integrated power and USB hub, possibly with onboard PC.

I've come across the following options and wonder if anyone has experience with them or if you can suggest other options.

1) Primaluce Labs Eagle S - USB 2x2 & 3x4, power x4, decent onboard PC+wifi. Looks awesome, but $$$
https://www.primalucelab.com/astronomy/eagle-s-advanced-control-unit-for-telescopes-and-astrophotography.html

2) Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox - USB 2x6, power x4, motor controller x1, temp/RH port x1 + sensor, dew heater ports x2. Looks very good quality, compact, ports well protected.
http://pegasusastro.com/products/ultimate-powerbox/

3) Kendrick Power Panel - USB 3x7, power x4 + cig lighter x4. Quality, ports well protected, but looks bulky.
http://www.kendrickastro.com/powerpanels.html#GeneralInfo

4) HitecAstro Mount Hub Pro - USB 2x4, power x8, dew heater ports x4, motor controller x1.
https://www.hitecastro.co.uk/index.php/products/item/mount-hub-pro

5) QHYCCD Astrobar - USB 2x8, power x4, basic PC+wifi. Version 1 prototype available, but still in beta testing.
http://www.qhyccd.com/AstroBar.html#AstroBar

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time.

beren
15-08-2017, 04:39 PM
I'm watching this....... https://www.stellarmate.com/ ......new product, waiting for reviews

AstroApprentice
15-08-2017, 06:32 PM
Thanks Beren,
Looks good, but could do with power hub and maybe USB 3 ports.
Easily affordable option.

AstroApprentice
11-09-2017, 12:17 PM
Primaluce Labs have released their Eagle2 and Eagle2 Pro controllers with added dew heater ports. Still $$$
https://www.primalucelab.com/astronomy/computer-and-software/

redbeard
11-09-2017, 02:27 PM
Hi,

I went with the DIY approach as I wanted something that would suit my setup and most other options were very expensive.

I built my own dew heater controller using an Arduino. It has an auto feature for setting temp and a USB connection to log graphs and set manual settings for manual mode. It even starts up to the tune of Black Dog by Led Zeppelin!
These are easy to make if you are tech inclined. There was a similar one here on IIS in the DIY section.

OR

Use a simple very cheap motor controller for the dew heater control from eBay $12 per channel. Power in, Dew straps out! Simple, put in a small box. I have one as a spare.

The next bit was the power box.
I made this from multiple DC to DC modules from eBay.

Very very simple, I used 4 of these with a 12volt regulated 5 amp power supply. The cool thing about these is you adjust each one for the exact voltage to require for each device. For example: Camera 8v, Focuser 12v, usb hub 5v, laser pointer 3v.


As for a USB hub, I buy a small powered unit that has 4 USB ports.
1 - Main imaging camera
2 - Guide camera
3 - Focuser
4 - Dew Heater

The power box, the dew heater and the USB hub all fit on the actual telescope tube somewhere or another as they are small lightweight plastic boxes.

If one bit breaks, cheap and easy to replace/fix.

I use 3 cables only to go to the actual scope tube, it's really like 2 cables as 1 is the USB cable from the PC and the other 2 are tied together for power to the power box and the dew heater power. I keep the dew heater on a separate power supply so no unwanted noise creeps in.

As the mount for my telescope is fixed, I run power directly to it and also have a USB lead from the laptop to it for control as well. These cables remain fixed and do not move so cable management here is not needed, just cable ties to keep neat.

The thing it does not have is the ability to switch the USB port on and off, but I personally have never really had to worry about that, the system just works. If I did have an issue with one of the ports, I would simply unplug the USB lead ans plug it back in.

So in summary I have a system where there is good cable management at the scope end, only 3 cables all tied together as 1 to go to the scope and I have auto control for dew heaters, focus control, camera control and power.

I can then use any type of computer I wish without going too proprietary and expensive. For example, the other night, I thought I had all the software I needed loaded on the new laptop, not the case, and the bits loaded had Murphy hanging around, so, I grabbed my old laptop, plugged everything in and was good to go as it was still configured for imaging.

Costs:
Dew heater controller $40 approx.
Power box $15 approx + Power supply. I have a few 12v regulated 5A plug packs.
USB hub $25 approx.

So for about $80, I have a system that I am happy with, is versatile and quite easy to put together.

Oh and add on another $2,142 for cable ties :lol: Only kidding.

There's my take on this topic, good luck with making a choice.

Cheers,

Damien.

jwoody
11-09-2017, 04:21 PM
That is cool. I can imagine that as I open the sliding roof on my obs....." Hey hey mama said the way you move......"

ChrisV
11-09-2017, 06:17 PM
Damien

Do you cover the hub etc. Just asking as I got a 12V powered USB hub nearly a year ago and its dying now - dew/water got into it as its rather exposed. I've dried it out but that hasn't fixed it.

Chris

kens
11-09-2017, 07:04 PM
I've been using an Orico 7 port USB3 hub. The only things I don't like about it is that it needs to be switched on after powering up and the USB inout is a bit flimsy. I've got all my gear running on 12VDC so I just have one power supply and daisy chain a bunch of 12V connectors for mount, hub and cameras. I made the cable up myself with 2.1mm plugs with screw fittings - basically each one acts as a terminal block.
I'm going to get hold of the Orico Heavy Duty hub once I find out if the power switch can be set to always on. It has a very sturdy looking case and uses the big USB3 connector. I can let you know how it goes.

With the cloudy skies lately, I think the opening lines to Rock and Roll would be more appropriate.

redbeard
12-09-2017, 01:26 AM
Hi Chris,

I got a good couple of years with a $12 eBay one, same with a Jaycar one, got it's power from the power box, but I think that was luck as I didn't have a cover over them. It was positioned closely behind the dew heater controller which may have helped to prevent dew. Good idea though a cover. Perhaps slide a piece of bicycle tyre tube or similar depending on size, over the hub then cut slits just enough to push through the USB lead.

I'm about to rebuild my rig and adding another Jaycar one as they are small. And now a cover for it! I might do a search on one of the so called super dupa, USB hubs that appear inside other devices.

Cheers,

Damien.

AstroApprentice
12-09-2017, 06:12 AM
Hi Redbeard, your DIY approach sounds great - and cheap!
For those with $ to burn, apparently Kendrick will be releasing their new Premier Controller soon: USB, power & focus control plus dew control/sensors of course.

ChrisV
12-09-2017, 07:46 AM
Thanks Damien. I built a box which is a mix of Diego's and what sounds like yours (but with a lower tech dew heater controller) and Roland's power supply module. It supplies 12V 5V and 8.7V for a camera.

But I started piggybacking USB wifi bluetooth modules onto it. Its all a mess now, dew gets into it. Not black dog, or rock'n'roll. More of a heartbreaker when it goes awol during a viewing session. I've got to get it all into one box somehow.

speach
12-09-2017, 08:12 AM
I'm fed up with spending money on hub that son'y work or only work on some plugs, so I've now rearranged my whole set up so that each cable has it's own extension and they all plug into the computer individually. That's my hub problem solved!
:lol::lol::lol:

redbeard
12-09-2017, 04:30 PM
Like your response :lol:


I've attached a couple of pics to show the setup.

First pic shows the Moonlite focuser with the stepper motor attached. Attached to the stepper motor is the focuser controller, (Moonlite), and attached to the stepper and controller is the power box. I have 4 connections for power, each with a different output socket type so I can't plug the wrong plug into the wrong socket. Out of view on the power box is a 3 digit LED voltage display which shows the input power. Good for troubleshooting.

2nd pic shows the dew heater mounted on the tube.
There is no USB hub shown as I'm re setting up cables etc, but it would sit just behind the dew heater controller in the ridge on the back of the scope and I guess it is a little protected from dew being sort of under the scope whilst imaging.

I do have a little luxury of having the 10" Meade as it has a fair amount or real estate to help with mounting.

Cheers,

Damien.