Everyone in this hobby knows that you need power to your mount and other equipment. You can supply this power with batteries or with a power supply connected to an outlet. If you are planning on using your telescope and equipment out in the field and on different and remote locations you will probably need to have a battery. If you, like me, are planning on using your telescope and equipment in your backyard or in close proximity to an outlet you can manage without a battery.
I have a need for 2 power sources, one 12V and one 5V. I also have a need to power at least 5 devices and I don’t want to use 5 power supplies. After some research I found power supplies with good specifications, one 12V with 10A and one 5V with 10A. I mounted those to one of my tripod legs on my mount.
I also ordered a lot of DC power connectors so that I would be able to solder my own cables and cable splitters. My primary reason for doing that was minimizing the cable length but also that I would be able to choose the correct type of DC plugs. The normal 12V DC plug here in Sweden is a 5.5mm outside and 2.1 mm inside male DC plug. The power supplies I ordered from Germany had 5.5mm outside and 2.5 mm inside male DC plugs so I soldered splitters with 5.5mm x 2.5mm females in one end and 5.5mm 2.1mm males in the other. One for 12V and one for 5V.
The next step was to take care of the cables from the DC splitters and to the equipment. I have 2 devices that use 5V at the moment and those are an active USB3 cable and a USB3 hub. The USB3 hub is mounted to the telescope and used to connect the guide camera, the main camera and the PC. I used the power supply that came with the USB3 hub and the active USB3 cable and cut the power supply and soldered a 5.5mm x 2.1mm female DC to that end.
I attached a power distribution box on the second tripod leg and connected the 2 power supplies. This power distribution box is then connected to the outlet on my house. You can see the active USB3 cable in the background that I can use if I’m not using a MiniPC directly attached to the mount. The active cable is 15 meters.
I have 2 devices that use 12V on the telescope assembly. The devices are a dew heater controller with 2 dew heating straps and the mount itself. I also use the 12V power supply to power a mini PC, not in this picture (I actually have a 3 way DC splitter as well).
All cables from the telescope run inside a cable sock. Everything is mounted to the USB hub and that is mounted to the finder scope mounting point on the telescope. If you detatch the USB cable from the Canon camera, the USB cable from the guide camera and the 2 power cables to the dew heat straps you can unscrew the entire assenbly and remove it from the telescope. This takes only a few seconds.
If I use my mini PC mounted directly to the third tripod leg I only have 1 cable that I need to plug in and that is the main power cable. Everything else is secured to the mount and tripod. When I carry the equipment to the backyard I remove the telescope and counter weights. The rest I carry as it is and that means that I don’t have to remove anything else.
Until next time, clear skies!