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Old 05-04-2021, 01:00 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Portable Power Options... Reviews..??

Hi All,

I am a very recent owner of a 8" Newtonian & a Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount but didn't take much time to realise how much light pollution exists in where I live. Which has now left me only one option to observe at a remote location, which I didn't think I'll have to think this soon!!

So, I have been reading forums and asking my best friend Google about options and have come across 3 which are below;
1. Adventure Kings AGM Deep Cycle Battery 98AH + Maxi Battery Box
This does seem to be bulky and the specifications indicates weighs 27.4Kg and price of just over $300 including delivery

2. Dometic Coolpower RAPS 44Ah Battery Pack
The specifications indicates a weight of 13.5kg and price of $350 including delivery

3. Lifepo4 12V 40Ah Rechargeable Battery Pack
This does seem to be the best option indicating a weight of about 5.7kg and priced at $334

I definitely don't want to have anything bulky and heavy and so checking to see if anyone have used any of the above or could give me a suggestion on a small portable power source please? Tbh I don't have a clear picture of how much power I'll be needing but it will be for the mount, camera, dew heater and a laptop(I know mine drains a lot of power but not in a position to change it right now).

Does anyone have any experience on my above option 3 as I'm inclining more towards that but the delivery seem to be taking ages as it comes from China!!

Thanks all in advance!
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2021, 12:18 PM
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My advice - be careful! You need a regulated supply, these are not common. Typical 12V Li based systems will drop to below 12V well be fore exhaustion. SLA fully charged are 13.8v and 12.5V when dead (but deep cycle models are heavy). Have a look at this thread:


http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=189535


I have recently been made aware of this product which seems useful for use with unregulated powerbanks:


https://goalzero.com.au/shop/cables-...gulated-cable/
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2021, 02:08 PM
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Yes, regulated is very important. LiFePo4 maintains is voltage well past 50% though. You're unlikely to drop below 12V with a good quality LiFePO4 battery (like Solarking) but there are lots of not-so-good lithium batteries out there...
Deep cycles have issues going below 50% (you really shouldn't be going below that, which halves the capacity of the battery), and they weigh a metric tonne. TBH, I would steer clear of any sort of SLA/Gel/LeadAcid battery in 2021. It's old tech and superseded by Lithium in almost every metric.

So recommendations? If you want to build your own, get a good battery then pair it with a good quality battery box.
If you need AC, adding a pure sine-wave converter will be costly, but doable.

For what it's worth, the following will get me through the night:

- Jackery 240. This is not LiFePO4, but Li-Ion (slightly different Li-Ion to phone batteries). This gives me about 200W useable power during the night (for AC, DC a bit more) and includes a pure sine-wave converter for AC power when I need it (I do at the start of the session for my USB hub)
- 15Ah Solar King battery. My Jackery basically outputs 40W when everything is running smoothly (dew heaters, mount, cooler for camera). When I plug this in, it charges the Jackery at 38W, so a net 2W difference. This battery will run at 38W for about 5-6 hours, meaning the entire system will run through the night easily.

I can also use the Jackery's AC to charge my laptop, as it's a bit of a beast and uses a 95W AC adapter. Most of the time, I use another battery (Cygnett 20,000mAh power bank) to top up the laptop battery, but maybe once in a blue moon I'll use the battery if it's exceptionally cold (which wears down the performance).

What I've just showed you is pricier than the above options, but if you don't need the sine-wave converter, you can just go with a good capacity LiFePO4 system and be done with it.
When you experience the weight difference, portability and ease of setup, you'll understand why lithium is the future
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Old 12-04-2021, 02:22 PM
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Here's a picture of what these two look like with a standard lightbulb for size comparison. There's loads of power here in a very very small package.
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Old 17-04-2021, 05:37 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
My advice - be careful!
Thanks for the warning JohnH
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Old 17-04-2021, 05:40 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
What I've just showed you is pricier than the above options, but if you don't need the sine-wave converter, you can just go with a good capacity LiFePO4 system and be done with it.
I've gone ahead and purchased a 70Ah LiFePO4 system hoping this will be good enough.

However, I have come across another hurdle which I'm unable to find any solutions yet. How do I use a power bank to charge my laptop if it doesn't have a USB-C port???

Thanks,
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Old 18-04-2021, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asela View Post
I've gone ahead and purchased a 70Ah LiFePO4 system hoping this will be good enough.

However, I have come across another hurdle which I'm unable to find any solutions yet. How do I use a power bank to charge my laptop if it doesn't have a USB-C port???

Thanks,
That depends on the power bank. Can you link to it? Can you also share you make/model of the laptop?
Some power banks can be used with a specific cable for your laptop.
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Old 18-04-2021, 11:45 AM
Asela (Asela)
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Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
That depends on the power bank. Can you link to it? Can you also share you make/model of the laptop?
Some power banks can be used with a specific cable for your laptop.
I do have a Romoss 30000mAh power bank and the charger socket for my Dell laptop is 7.4 * 5.0mm so I'm assuming I have found the correct cable now
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/15440267...xoCqAAQAvD_BwE

Is this the type of cable you were referring to?
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Old 18-04-2021, 08:30 PM
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Yep, those sorts of cables will work so long as you have a USB-C Male cable as well (make sure you choose the right DC cable.. I don't know what Dell laptop you have)

That said, the output of that powerbank is pretty low. Laptops like 12v or 15V power. That powerbank puts out 18W at 12V. Again as I don't know what laptop you have, that could be okay, but it's pretty low. My Surface Book wouldn't charge at all with that power. I have a 45W charger (20V @ 2.25A) which just about works (it actually likes 90W, but I'm not buying more batteries!)
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Old 19-04-2021, 10:32 AM
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My laptop (Toshiba) needs 19V to charge. In my search for a good portable power supply I ended up buying a Comsol LP200 which I now use to power the Toshiba but my main solution when mobile is to use a low power NUC for image acquisition - or you could go with the ASI Air, these are quite happy at 12V ...
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Old 19-04-2021, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
My laptop (Toshiba) needs 19V to charge.
For real? That's a lot! The output of my laptop charger is 15V @ 6.33A. It has a built in 5V 1.5A USB charger as well for just over 102W total output

What sort of amps is your charger pushing out?
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Old 19-04-2021, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
For real? That's a lot! The output of my laptop charger is 15V @ 6.33A. It has a built in 5V 1.5A USB charger as well for just over 102W total output

What sort of amps is your charger pushing out?

Well it is an old machine with one of the early i7 CPUs (that was a desktop type unit), it does not do well on the internal battery!...fwiw the mains adapter is output says 19V 5A DC output....
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Old 19-04-2021, 05:44 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
Yep, those sorts of cables will work so long as you have a USB-C Male cable as well (make sure you choose the right DC cable.. I don't know what Dell laptop you have)

That said, the output of that powerbank is pretty low. Laptops like 12v or 15V power. That powerbank puts out 18W at 12V. Again as I don't know what laptop you have, that could be okay, but it's pretty low. My Surface Book wouldn't charge at all with that power. I have a 45W charger (20V @ 2.25A) which just about works (it actually likes 90W, but I'm not buying more batteries!)
Thanks for the advice and now I know. Have found options which are costly but will see how I go with my 70Ah LiFePO4 first and see what additional power I will require before purchasing anything else at this stage.
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Old 19-04-2021, 05:50 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
My laptop (Toshiba) needs 19V to charge. In my search for a good portable power supply I ended up buying a Comsol LP200 which I now use to power the Toshiba but my main solution when mobile is to use a low power NUC for image acquisition - or you could go with the ASI Air, these are quite happy at 12V ...
Mine is a bit worse than that actually!! But it's because I had no idea I'd be working with it outdoors and not in a position to change the laptop at this stage either(less than 2 years old).

I've found a good portable power option(which is the only one I could find anyway) and it definitely is costly. So will wait for now and see how many hours my 70Ah LiFePO4 will give me with the whole setup outdoors and maybe add another power source later if required.
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Old 19-04-2021, 06:11 PM
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I mean there's no reason you couldn't power the laptop via the LiFePO4 battery if it's okay with 12V (or 12.8V). Again, depends on the laptop.

Anyway, give what you've got a go, and come back if you need help in future.
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