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NGC 7380: The Wizard Nebula

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Portable power set up

Started by John999R, 08/02/2014 08:53PM
Posted 08/02/2014 08:53PM Opening Post
I don't even know if I'm in the right category, so here goes.

I'm preparing to escape to some dark sky locations in the next couple months. I have the locations pegged, its having the portable power requirements that has me confused.

I'm running a typical set up: mount, DSLR, laptop, and possibly dew heater if needed. I've posed some questions elsewhere with some people asking for my exact power needs in terms of watts, amps, volts, etc. I looked buy I couldn't find one value that was consistent enough to add it all up so how much does your typical set up as I have draw? All I need is a general figure so I can move on. I know I'll have to get an inverter to cover the initial power surge of the device, so the power number will be substantially more than the total watts needed.

Another problem are the connectors, some items have cig lighter while others like the laptop and camera battery adapter requires a two prong outlet. I've heard it's best not to connect your laptop to a modified sine powered pack, like the big box store power packs. I know people use them and I was thinking on purchasing a pure sine inverter just for the laptop, or the whole kit if I can afford it.

I wish I could convert the items so they could run on a cig lighter adapter, is that possible? I don't think I've seen one for a laptop ever.

I've settled on getting an AGM or gel battery. I've also heard why use an inverter when it coverts wall AC power to DC then the computer adaptor converts again.

Does an inverter in general use a lot of battery juice, more than using a cig lighter adapter to power pack set up?

I've seen pure sine inverters with 2, 3 and more three prong plugs, even some with a USB adapter. The number of plugs relates to the power output of the device. I can't recall seeing one with a cig lighter adapter. But if I had one of reasonable power and two outlets I could plug in the laptop and DSLR battery adapter and if it had three plugs I could include the mount too. I can then keep the Celestron 17ah power pack in reserve for the dew heater if needed. The set up would be clean with all plugs going to one source.

Besides cost, anything wrong with the above set up?

Posted 08/02/2014 09:20PM | Edited 08/02/2014 09:26PM #1
If you have the smarts to do astrophotography, you also have the intelligence to exchange cord connectors to a cigarette lighter plug or whatever cord connector you want. Just pay attention to wire polarity (positive & negative) when exchanging plugs (which involves cutting off the supplied plug & then re-connecting the two cord wires to the new plug either via soldering, crimp-connectors, or twist-on wire nuts all of which are available at a local Hardware store).