Cable management recommendations for an astrophotography setup
Use a certified and branded power supply unit that can deliver at least 12V DC / 10A.
The higher the delivered Amps, the better. A 20$, cheap 12V/10A PSU will probably have power issues resulting noise, less power than was advertised and high voltage ripple. You always get what you pay for.
You can check our certified power supply units
Make a rough calculation of your average current consumption. PSUs tend to overheat when they are close to their max power output. Therefore, use a PSU that will be able to deliver power at least 30% higher than this consumption. If you consume 7A, get a 10A PSU.
Use thick and short power cables
Use at least a AWG17 input cable which can deliver at max 10Amps. For your devices make sure you use AWG20 or thicker cable which can deliver up to 5Amps. Thin and long cables are going to produce a severe voltage drop during power load (voltage lower than 11.5 Volts) leading to multiple problems such as:
- Mount stall – Mount motors (RA /DEC) cannot receive the required power, resulting to mount slewing or tracking failures (motor might jam producing noises).
- Camera issues – Lots of CCD /CMOS cameras might produce artifacts (band lines, patterned or random noise) in light and dark frames if input voltage is below 12.0 Volts. These artifacts can be also produced if output quality of the PSU is bad. Moreover, cooling TEC might not be able to achieve the maximum delta temperature.
- Small factor PC unexpected resets – If you use an Intel NUC or a similar small factor PC which is powered with 12Volts you might see random power resets / reboots especially when the CPU requires high power to perform heavy tasks.
If you use AC power and convert it to 12V DC, it is highly recommended, to bring the AC mains cord close to your pier / mount head and then use the PSU to transform mains voltage to 12V DC.
AC voltage can travel at long distances. DC has voltage drops when it travels at long distances especially through thin wires.
Same applies to batteries. Place the battery as close as possible to your setup. It is a non-sense to have the battery away from your setup and use long wires to transfer the power there. By doing that you re loosing significant amounts of power and you are prone to voltage drop
Pay extra attention to the battery adapters
There are lots of recorded cases that these adapters (image below) have very poor wiring inside. Usually the cables are very thin leading to severe voltage drops.
Make sure that the adapter does not create a power bottleneck between your battery and your equipment. Cables should be thick enough to support up to 10Amps of current.
(We have seen that they are advertised that they are up to 15A but usually they can deliver up to 5-6Amps at max)