Powering My Telescope With The Nevada PS-08
The Nevada PS-08 is a “regulated linear” power supply unit (PSU). It is used as a main power hub to power equipment. I’ve been able to use this now for a while, supplied from First Light Optics. Alongside the Nevada unit I was sent the Lynx Astro 4 Port Dew Controller. They now live in a box together and work alongside each other to get me going.
In this article I’ll be reviewing the Nevada PSU as well as the Lynx Astro 4 port Dew Controller which I used to power my equipment.
The Power Unit
The Nevada PS-08 is a portable power unit capable of outputting 6A of continuous DC Centre Positive power. I’ve used it for a few months now and not noticed a hitch in my power at all. It’s a quiet little box that sits there dutifully doing it’s job supplying the necessary juice to my gear.
It has a cigarette lighter port on it as well as two terminal pins to attach ring connectors on. So if your powered by either of those then you’re in luck. What it doesn’t have, though, is a 3 pin socket on it. I guess that’s because it would be redundant then, since you’d just plug into the mains.
The illuminated rocker switch also is handy as a quick visual indicator whether it’s switched on. That’s always useful especially at night time and in the dark. No need to get down there with a light to shine on it. The other important thing to talk about is the awesome and retro analogue ammeter gauge on the front of it. This needle shows you the current draw of power going to your equipment.
Remember that this can supply a continuous output of 6A, 8A at a spike. That should be plenty to power a modest amount of equipment. More than enough for a usual imaging session. I didn’t try powering my laptop from it, admittedly. But find the correct plugs needed and put the laptop into low power mode (or use a tablet with the ASIAir or something) and you’ll be fine.
The PSU has to keep dry though. It isn’t sealed and has heat sync fins on the back for cooling the internal electrics. This naturally would help keep dew at bay, as electrics get hot. But ideally this is suited for a well ventilated area or an observatory.
So naturally I stuck mine into a small box and rested the lid on top.
If I was keeping this permanently, I would get a bigger box and probably fit some small fans to the box to promote airflow through the case to assist cooling. But otherwise having the box, the PSU, my cables and the Lynx Astro Dew Controller to hand in a box made setting up even easier and faster.
The construction is fine, but I wouldn’t want to have this subjected to a large or sudden jolt or bang. The internals feel a bit fragile and the steel shell will protect it from general dings whilst moving it about.
At £33 it’s practically a steal. If you’re setting up an observatory and want a way to power everything without having to run countless mains plugs to the place then this could be ideal. It is rated as being ready and designed for an observatory after all. I’m sorely tempted to keep it myself.
Lynx Astro 4 Port Dew Controller
Now I was supplied this unit along with the PSU in order to power my mount as well as the ZWO ASI 533mc Pro that I was loaned for review. I didn’t get any dew bands but I have had a look at it and a play with it, as well as the software.
The Dew Controller has 2 DC centre positive ports on it for powering devices. I powered my Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro as well as the ASI 533mc Pro. using these. The power supplied from the Nevada PS-08 was very clean and consistent. Distributed through the Lynx Astro 4-Port Dew Controller, it was more than enough – and stable enough – to power both bits of kit with no problem.
One issue that is found a lot with the EQ6-R Pro is the need for a stable power supply. When I first received this mount, I had problems powering it. You can see more on the EQ6-R Pro review I have. So I can easily speak from experience that this combination powers it absolutely fine.
The 4 Port Dew Controller has RCA type ports on it in order to connect dew bands like the AstroZap series. From there you can adjust the heat by moving the knobs on the front of the box – or connect it to your laptop via Micro-USB and control it via software.
I velcro’d it to the side of my mount, and from there I can easily route the cables through my telescope’s dovetail and down to the power panel on the mount, then run a cable to the camera. Neat enough. Lynx Astro do their own silicone cables for this purpose and they’re so light and supple they don’t get stiff in the cold at all.
In my opinion the biggest drawback this controller is the lack of an enviroment sensor. I would prefer it to be more like the Pegasus Astro Pocket Power Box (I think they’re quite comparable). It is, however, £65 more expensive and requires its own dedicated power brick to supply 10 amps (which is another £50 or so).
The Lynx Astro is much lighter than that. I believe with its 4 RCA dew band connectors it is designed for a more complicated rig where there may be more telescopes. Most would only need 2 ports after all – the guide OTA and the main OTA. Though with additional dew bands you could also warm your reducer or camera as well to help keep dew at bay.
The 4 Port Dew Controller only has a cigarette lighter port on it. This is the primary reason I was given the Nevada PS-08 to assess also. I think this is a bit of a downside. But I understand the rationale behind it: if you’re at home then you might as well use mains. If you’re travelling then the portable power pack will have a cigarette lighter. It’s an easy and affordable way of powering multiple devices necessary for portable imaging from a portable power pack.
I really just would’ve loved to see an environment sensor so you could select an ‘Auto-Dew’ setting akin to the Pocket Power Box. For £100 I think it’s very well priced for an all-in-one dew and equipment power box for portable astrophotography.
Lynx Astro also has a wide range of silicone cables. The chances are very high that you’ll find the cables you need to connect your equipment.
Admittedly at home this system is a bit redundant. The PSU is designed for an observatory and the Dew Controller seems more suited for portable astrophotography. However, combining both together in my little carry box – as mentioned – significantly improved my set up times. As well as removing two plugs. Had I have the dew bands necessary then that also removes two very cheap and hungry USB heaters from my rig and would streamline everything into one box I could plug into quickly.
Would I keep it? Yes. But it isn’t at the top of my buy list though. However if you’re someone who routinely goes out to do their astro, then I’d definitely recommend checking out the dew controller and the associated dew bands and cables.
And at £33 the Nevada PS-08 is practically free and can supply enough power for the cooling on a ASI camera as well as powering a mount. More than what’s usually necessary.
Thanks to First Light Optics for supplying me these items to use and review. You can find links here in case you’re interested in checking them out.
Until next time, clear skies everyone. Keep looking up and keep them cameras clicking.