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Potential Astro powertank - Beaudens 240Wh Power Station - mini review and test


paul
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image.png.aae9458a067d11e3697413dd6ac46196.pngI'm assessing this pre-2021 model for my "portable" imaging solution. Firstly this is a potentially attractive unit because its now just a little more expensive than the 84Wh Celestron Powertank, and at 240Wh it has almost three times the capacity! It uses the same LiFePO4 technology and being LiFePO4 means that the combined cell output natively exceeds 12V and should stay over 12V for most of its charge capacity.

 

The powertank has a very simple UI, each segment of the LCD battery indicates 20% charge approximately. It has two 12V outputs for a 10A total as well as USB 2,3 and C. At the rear is a 240V AC output (up to 150w). It also has a very bright white light which  is good for setups and tear downs though at a star party you might get lynched. You can recharge from any source that can supply at least 3A and a voltage between 12V and 25V. The unit weighs 3.5kg (not the reported 5kg) so its very portable with a nice quality strap it feels robust. It has a metal chassis with plastic front and rear panels and grippy rubber feet. 

 

I would have liked a power meter on the display but that would lose efficiency and drop the output voltage under load so I can live without that. The only minor disappointment (or positive I guess) for me has been that my USB C charged laptop exceeds the powertank's 60W limit so when the laptop battery is flat the overload protection kicks in. Its good to know its protected.

 

My requirements are simple: Ideally 5 hours runtime per session (my maximum limit away from comforts). Voltage must be over 12V for the duration and all my equipment can run off of it.

 

I didn't want to waste a night imaging so I decided to simulate as much as I could in the daytime and then allow a big fudge factor safety margin to any results. Like most battery technologies performance at lower temperatures is reduced and my tests would be done at room temperature. I understand at -20 capacity reduces to 40% of the room temperature capacity. I can't easily prove that but I can allow for it in my capacity budget or I can keep the battery warm (in a cooler box 😀).

 

I ran two tests at room temperature:

 

Test Set up 1:

HEQ5 Pro with Altair 71ED and 5kg counterweight

ASI 120MM guide camera - looping images

ASI 533MC-Pro imaging camera @-10C (around 65% power indicated)

EAF usb connected to 533 and 12v of ASIAIR Pro.

ASIAIR Pro connected to HEQ5, 120MM and 533 and memory stick.

Tablet connected to ASIAIR, display permanently on and trickle charging from the powertank.

Imaging 100 images @ 3 minutes each (5Hrs total)

Result: 5 Hrs. Run completed with 2 bars capacity (20-40%) remaining🥳

 

 

Test Set up 2:

As Test 1 but with 3 inch and 2 inch dew straps at 100% (connected direct to 12v through ASIAIR)

@4hrs 2 bars remain and 12V output at ASIAIR DC port = 12.3V (remove the dew straps and it rises to 12.6V)

@5hrs 0 bars remain and 12V output at ASIAIR DC port = 12.1V (remove the dew straps and it rises to 12.4V)

Result: 5 Hrs. Run completed with but surviving on vapours😟.

 

Conclusion

Its a very capable solution. I think I have my "down the field" portable solution sorted. I now have to give it first light.

 

Practicalities

In cold weather an insulated container would be a good idea - to keep the capacity optimal. Also I think in practice with PWM active, energy draw will be a less for the dew straps. Conversely on warm nights the cooler will have to work harder so on balance I think the outcome of Test 2 represents a realistic result. The Celestron unit can be strapped nicely to the tripod leg, the Beuaden can hang from the spreader and help dampen vibrations. A USB red lamp would complete the setup.

 

Notes

The pre-2021 model (the unit tested) has max DC current of 10A (and is currently selling for £30 more than the Celestron unit), the 2021 version has a better strap and claims 12V @ 15A, more charge cycles and higher peak power and is just £40 more (in reality though the extra performance is probably not needed unless you have to burn brighter for a shorter time). 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Been using this power tank for several sessions now it continues to impress me. Even in the cold weather driving my dew heaters its has had enough capacity for 5 hrs.

 

I noticed last night that the mount was flashing its power LED while slewing. Thankfully the tank has a second output and on future sessions I'll use that for the dew heaters and mount instead of powering the mount through the ASIAIR Pro which will be dropping some voltage driving the camera too...

 

Although its intended for my grab n go package I have found it has reduced the hassle and time setting up in the garden away from the obs so I will continue to do that. So much easier then reeling in the mains cable at the end of a session too.

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  • 2 months later...

This is one of my, getting old, batteries. They have worked for more years than they should have and some need replacement. I've been thinking about doing a step up. Thanks for doing my homework for me. I feel like the person standing on the edge of the pool with cold water and hesitating to jump in. You came up behind me and pushed me in. I just ordered a Beaudens 240Wh Power Station. 🙂

IMG_1896.jpeg

Edited by rwillits
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On 5/7/2021 at 11:29 PM, rwillits said:

This is one of my, getting old, batteries. They have worked for more years than they should have and some need replacement. I've been thinking about doing a step up. Thanks for doing my homework for me. I feel like the person standing on the edge of the pool with cold water and hesitating to jump in. You came up behind me and pushed me in. I just ordered a Beaudens 240Wh Power Station. 🙂

 

I think you will be surprised at how lightweight it is in comparison especially for that capacity. Have fun👍

 

When my house flooded I lost the charger due to water damage. That gave me a reason to check out the 12v cig socket charger they supply. It boosts the 12v to 15v and works well. I have a few 19v laptop supplies around so I may adapt one of those.

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I received the unit today and after reading the manual and plugging in a few things, I like it. I've ordered a second one. Besides being perfect for astro (it has all the right plugs). It is also designed as a power source for a cpap machine, which my wife has. Did you think that any astro device would be appreciated by a spouse. 🙂

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  • 1 month later...

How does that Beaudens unit do in the cold, as regards DC voltage ? What is the no load output voltage? Has it got any audible "low battery" alarm or mention about having one in the user manual ? I ask because the smaller Beaudens unit has an ear splitting low battery alarm, not good for use at a StarCamp !

At the moment I use a SW Powertank 17 with a Tanya / Powerline Mobility battery in it, or just 12V 12Ah or 12V 17Ah batteries with a 12V socket put on them. I would like to get something for Star Camp use that can't be damaged much if it is left in a pretty discharged state (I can't do that with lead acid batteries).

 

Regards.

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I see that there is a new 2021 version of this unit made by Swarey which has Pure Sine wave instead of the cheaper Modified Sine Wave of the older Beaudens unit, so certain equipment that you plug in no longer buzzes with electrical noise. I'd get the newer one but they are out of stock on Amazon UK. Also pass through charging works on the new one and does not work on the old one. I'll try and buy the new one as soon as I can. I hope it has no low voltage alarm on the new one!

Regards.

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/8/2021 at 12:33 PM, Live_Steam_Mad said:

I see that there is a new 2021 version of this unit made by Swarey which has Pure Sine wave instead of the cheaper Modified Sine Wave of the older Beaudens unit, so certain equipment that you plug in no longer buzzes with electrical noise. I'd get the newer one but they are out of stock on Amazon UK. Also pass through charging works on the new one and does not work on the old one. I'll try and buy the new one as soon as I can. I hope it has no low voltage alarm on the new one!

Regards.

I've been away from the fun things for while so missed your post! 

 

I don't have direct experience of running lithium in very cold conditions but over winter I had a couple of sessions with frost on the scope and the box worked just fine. I would advise storing it inside your house so its core is always above its  minimum operating temperature, so it starts off warm at least. 

 

I was considering running the unit from inside an insulated container ( cooler box). It has a pretty efficient converter so unless you are driving the AC output I don't expect much self heating. If you are using AC I would think that would contribute to keeping the unit several degrees above ambient (it has a fan for cooling the AC generator after all).

 

TBH I hadn't worried about the AC output, its a last resort for me given the extra losses in all the up and down conversions. What sort of equipment were you concerned to drive? A laptop is going to have universal power supply that is very tolerant and output 19ish DC volts. Anything that is powered internally by DC is almost certainly going to be just fine. Large inductances like an ac motor or fan might not work so well though.

 

I might be more concerned if I wanted to drive some sort of audio visual equipment but that's not my use case. I am curious now so I'll plug in a radio to the AC and see what happens on MW and FM compared to normal mains.

 

 

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So I tested the radio and unsurprisingly there was hetrodyne noise and a general increase in hiss. This was conducted noise leaking in to the sensitive IF/receiver circuit. You probably want to avoid powering your camera  via this AC output just in case it introduces pattern noise.

 

 

 

 

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