View Full Version here: : Making an instant setup astrophoto desk for dark sites without power
22-05-2011, 09:36 AM
Hi all, I am going to start a project today to build myself a astrophoto desk that can fold away for easy storage and transportation measuring 650mm x 400mm x 150mm it will look like a briefcase when folded up. Inside will be four 600mm legs, a 24V charger and 12V charger for when mains power is available. also included will be three DC motor controllers one acting as a Dew heater controller, another as laptop power supply, and the third run a 1tb HDD and EQ6 mount. The chargers will attach via cables to three 12V batteries which will then connect to the DC motor controllers two batteries will be connected together in series to produce 24V power(have a sparky that is hooking me up). When set up it will let a laptop sit onto of the circuity have a shade cloth to stop light seepage and knobs to control power supply to all other astro equipment. Also hoping to have a system in place to connect a QHY CCD to this box for power supply. drawings and pic to come.
22-05-2011, 09:46 AM
Sounds like a great idea - especially for the mobile imager.
Here is a thread (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=74164) about my electronics box that sits under my mount. I went this route rather than putting things onto a desk.
Look forward to seeing your finished product.
22-05-2011, 12:31 PM
Here is a link to my portable observing hutch (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/63-370-0-0-1-0.html). For the Mk II, upgraded and re-designed version, I covered the assembly with a bespoke canvas flysheet to prevent dew from forming on the equipment.
Please post some photos of your finished unit!
22-05-2011, 04:19 PM
Hi all ok so the project progresses ... most of the wood work is done now on to electronics. As you can see in my images it sets up like a suitcase. http://i944.photobucket.com/albums/ad281/stanlite88/IMG_5222.jpg
It will open and have a canopy inside atm just using a stick the canopy will be attached to the roof and come out with an internally held frame.
underneath the top inner piece of ply is the electronic heart of this beast, atm you can see a 24Vdc step down to 12V DC 3amp control switch which will go through the wall of the box on the side to a speakercon connector and straight to the mount. next to it but not shown will be my dew heater control switch those knob will come through the ply wood cover, Also there will be a 24Vdc to 19v Dc step down at 3.5amps to run my laptop from. all these will attach to either a 24V battery or two 12V batteries in parallel circuit housed on the other side of the box (you can see two 12vDC 5amp battery presently. This will allow the box to operate seperate from mains for short periods of time. not included are the 24V and 12V chargers to be housed at the empty end of the box and the various plugs and connectors to plug into from outside. ideally the setup will run from two to three batteries stowed under the box in cases of no mains power. http://i944.photobucket.com/albums/ad281/stanlite88/IMG_5225.jpg
any questions or queries i will gladly try to answer
22-05-2011, 05:06 PM
Looks good so far,
Couple of questions:
How big are the batteries? Will you have enough capacity?
What will the final weight be?
22-05-2011, 05:29 PM
not sure on the weight yet ... probably around the 15kg mark is a max.
as for batteries looking at three 12vdc 20amp bats internal but they are only there for when i have access to mains (think of them as a built in UPS) the main power for darksky sights or unreliable mains power (ie Astrofest) will be three 120amp 12V batteries that will sit on the ground and connect to the case externally ... hope to have a switch that i can just flick to change from internal bats to external. Also the ply inner will be on a hinge so i can lift up and change where the chargers are are sending there power (ie internal or external)
22-05-2011, 05:47 PM
3 x 120 amp/hrs sounds like the ticket! Just don't drop them on you toes...
22-05-2011, 08:52 PM
Nice joinery! Are you going to varnish the wood to protect it from dew?
I’d be interested in how you will fit the legs – will they swing out and lock in place or will they be bolt on?
22-05-2011, 10:19 PM
yes i am going to Varnish ... the legs are going to bolt on ... installing a threaded screw underneath the legs are going to be 560mm long with 35mm bolt into them ... so when you unscrew they will fit into the box top section.
23-05-2011, 09:42 AM
I have a large 'suitcase' that my EQ6 arrived in that may geta similar treatment. Quite deep and large enough. Power supply in the base, laptop on a platform with an extra screen fixed inside the lid for a red light/chart illuminator or Stellarium. Run that as an extended desktop with a red background. It will also have room enough for EPs and bits. And run from 240 v at home and 12volt in the field.
23-05-2011, 02:46 PM
Looks great so far Grady.
23-05-2011, 07:55 PM
WOW Dennis!:eyepop: the thread on your hutch is amazing-really well presented.Your craftsmanship and attention to detail is of such,that to see such craftsmanship anywhere else one would have to visit a Sothby's Regency furniture auction!
This is an amazing piece of furniture,I have admired it at astrofest,and now with your instructions-I can look at build on similar-with some modification for bird photography.
25-05-2011, 02:45 PM
Ok have now made the frame for the dew/light cover. also not showen are four legs that will also fit into the lids when not attached. The flap lid now opens on a hinge too.
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