Whether you’re stargazing or tracking specific objects with your telescope, having portable power is vital to guarantee that your equipment is operational when you need it the most. But, what are some of the best options on the market?
This article will dive into three of the best portable power stations you can find in 2021.
Here are the top three picks:
- 1 The Case For A Portable Power Supply
- 2 Celestron PowerTank Telescope Battery
- 3 Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- 4 Celestron PowerTank Lithium Telescope Battery
- 5 Portable Power For Telescope Buyers Guide
- 6 Final Verdict
The Case For A Portable Power Supply
The majority of astrophotographers are usually unable to take decent pictures from their homes due to light pollution.
So, naturally, you gather all of your equipment, get a solid and portable power supply, and walk out to a less populated location.
But before you can even do so, you need to make that power supply purchase.
It’s not easy.
There are several power stations that you can utilize for different types of telescopes.
It might be somewhat of a hassle if you decide to start with a deep cycle battery because you’ll need clamps and extra gear while also killing your back as they aren’t the lightest.
Lithium batteries are much more portable and easy to use, but they can be on the more expensive side as well.
Some solutions are far superior to others, but they can also become quite expensive.
With all this in mind, let us now look closely at why those three selections were made and why you need one of them!
Celestron PowerTank Telescope Battery
- THE ORIGINAL TELESCOPE POWER SUPPLY: Enjoy extended astronomy sessions with this 7-amp hour sealed lead acid power supply with 84 Wh capacity.
- WORKS WITH A VARIETY OF DEVICES: Includes two 12V output cigarette lighter ports that are compatible with all Celestron computerized telescopes and other popular astronomy gear. PLUS, two USB ports for charging other devices in the field.
- EASY AND CONVENIENT TO USE: Includes a built-in red LED flashlight to help you stay organized while observing and a bright white LED that can illuminate your site at the end of the night for easy cleanup.
- AN EMERGENCY KIT ESSENTIAL: Keep PowerTank charged and ready for unexpected power outages. There are even positive and negative terminals so that you can use PowerTank to deliver a boost to weak car batteries.
- CABLES INCLUDED: Cigarette lighter and 110 V/220 V switchable universal AC adapter included.
Features & Specifications
- Two 12V output cigarette lighter ports
- Built-in flashlight with red filter cap
- Two built-in USB ports for charging portable devices
- Energy-efficient LED spotlight
- Booster terminal on the rear side
- Built-in Circuit Breaker for safety
- 110 V/220 V switchable universal AC adapter included
This is a tremendous all-around power supply for telescopes, no matter if you’re into casual astronomy or the long hours of astrophotography.
The Power Tank from Celestron is a 12V mobile power station that’s built for portability and long-lasting reliability.
Simple To Use/Adaptable
Whether you have a computerized telescope or utilize motors to control your telescope, the company designed the power tank to be simple to use and widely adaptable.
For optimum adaptability, this battery is usable with all computerized telescopes from Celestron.
There are also two 12V cigarette lighter outlets for your astronomical equipment.
Celestron’s 12V Power Tank features two USB connections as well as a big flashlight for emergency and low-light scenarios.
In comparison to low-quality li-ion batteries, this sealed lead acid battery has safer and more stable chemistry, as well as a circuit breaker built-in for added security.
When the power supply is entirely drained, it takes about sixteen hours to reach a full charge. Nevertheless, a full charge will last you approximately ten hours, which is more than enough for most astrophotographers.
In addition, you can turn on the embedded red LED illumination to keep organized without jeopardizing your vision.
Helps You Find Your Equipment
When your observation session is finished, put on the brilliant white LED flashlight to illuminate your location and guarantee that none of your equipment gets left behind in the dark.
Regarding telescopes, it’s the motorized mount that’s the most critical component of any astrophotography equipment.
They’re utilized to sustain your whole setup while also tracking the sky and assisting you to capture stunning photographs.
Furthermore, your camera is another piece of hardware that demands electricity. There are some cameras that run on batteries alone, while others require a continual supply of power for optimal performance.
The bulkiness of the Celestron Power Tank is one of its key drawbacks. It has more significant proportions than some other power supply options.
No Rubber Cap
Furthermore, the Power Tank lacks a rubber cap around the washers, which might be harmful if not used properly.
Although this is not a typical issue, it is worth knowing, so you don’t accidentally insert your palm in the incorrect location and wind up getting shocked.
Many different power banks come with varying features, but Celestron has been a staple provider of equipment to astronomy and astrophotography enthusiasts.
There isn’t a massive list of cons for this particular power supply model, but make sure it’s a proper fit for your specific use case before you commit.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital Trends. A classic choice for your pick.
- EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing only at 6.6 pounds. The solid handle makes it easy to carry around for outdoor adventures such as Tent Camping, Road Trip, Backyard Camping, etc.
- VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC car port to charge your road trip essentials such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, fans, lights and so on. Pass-through charging is supported.
- GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station can be recharged by the Jackery SolarSaga 60 solar panel. Its built-in MPPT controller enables the solar panel to operate at its max power point for the power station to be recharged at its highest efficiency. TWO alternative ways to recharge: through the wall outlet or the car outlet.
- WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station, 1*AC adapter, 1* car charger cable, 1* user guide.
Features & Specifications
- Capacity – 240Wh(16.8Ah/14.4V)
- AC-Output – 110V~ 60Hz, 16.4A, 200W (400W Peak)
- Weight – 6.6lbs
- USB-A Output – 2 x 5V-2.4A
- DC Input – 12V-3.5A
- Dimensions – 9.1” x 5.2” x 7.9”
This entry-level portable power station is built for many use cases. It has a 240Wh lithium-ion battery and weighs only 6.6 pounds, making it one of the lightest portable power supplies available.
The sturdy handle makes it convenient to transport for outdoor activities such as stargazing and astrophotography.
The SolarSaga 60 from Jackery offers a solar panel that you can use to replenish the power supply.
Its built-in MPPT controller allows the solar panel to work at maximum efficiency, allowing the portable power supply to be recharged in a reasonable amount of time.
Furthermore, you can recharge the SolarSaga via a wall or car charger.
Another cool feature about its charging capabilities is that it supports pass-through charging.
This allows you to connect multiple devices to the power station and recharge them while the power supply itself continues to charge.
Celestron is known for these feature-packed portable power stations, which are lighter than traditional deep cycle batteries.
Sometimes, they have a cigarette lighter port, USB ports, and occasionally even lighting capabilities, and they are helpful when you’re trying to pack up all of your equipment in the dark of night.
These gadgets are ideal for beginning astrophotographers with relatively low-power equipment.
They are significantly more practical to utilize than traditional power stations for telescopes, although every few years, it’s common for a replacement to be needed.
Automatic Shutdown Functionality
When the portable power station has been working on 10W of electricity for more than twelve hours, it will shut down automatically by activating economy mode.
For optimal performance, make sure you store it between -20 and 45°C.
It’s also essential to keep your portable power supply away from high temperatures and direct sunshine to extend its life, which shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll be using it primarily at night.
Most portable power supplies have a single switch to turn the device on and off for all outputs.
It’s a unique power station in that each of its outputs has its own switch providing more precise control.
The clear LCD screen, reliable build quality, solar panel, and charging capabilities make the portable power station from Jackery an ideal choice for astrophotographers and stargazers alike.
No USB Connections
The rise in popularity of USB-C has soared in recent years, and everything USB will almost certainly use this type of connection.
Even though Jackery has been around for quite some time, many consumers worry about the absence of USB-C connections, especially given how prevalent they are.
Moreover, there have been semi-consistent concerns about the power supply not being as waterproof as many would like.
You should always keep the Explorer 240 on dry land to avoid any unintentional malfunctions in and around the water.
This particular power station is also notorious for not doing well in extreme temperatures.
Although that may be the case for many different types of batteries and electronics, it can still end up being a hindrance as these power stations have many outdoor use cases.
AC Port Placement
Regarding the posting of the AC port, many people have complained that it isn’t placed optimally on the power station and can make it awkward to utilize depending on where you’re charging it.
Celestron PowerTank Lithium Telescope Battery
- PORTABLE POWER MADE FOR ASTRONOMERS: The perfect solution for most computerized telescopes, PowerTank Lithium features a 12V connection, 10 hours of battery life, an onboard red/white LED flashlight, USB ports, and more. Mounts directly to the tripod leg.
- SMALLER, LIGHTER, SAFER: Unique Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry makes this battery smaller and easier to maintain compared to sealed lead acid batteries, and safer than lithium cobalt batteries. Does not use toxic heavy metals.
- 10 YEARS OF DEPENDABLE PERFORMANCE: Unlike other batteries with limited lifespans, PowerTank Lithium will be your companion for years of astronomy adventures; it is rated to withstand up to 2000 charge cycles.
- WORKS WITH A VARIETY OF DEVICES: 12V connection works with all current Celestron computerized telescopes. PLUS, two USB ports—one quick charge and one regular.
- AN EMERGENCY KIT ESSENTIAL: Keep PowerTank Lithium charged and ready for unexpected power outages. The USB ports will keep your devices charged while the flashlight will illuminate your surroundings.
Features & Specifications
- Battery Capacity – 86.4Wh
- Charge Time – 3 hours
- Dimensions – 7.5” x 3”
- Weight – 2.25lbs
- Telescope Power Port – 12VDV at 3,000mA
- USB Charging Port Output – 5VDC 1,000/2,100mA
Other batteries on the market are known to have short lifespans, while the PowerTank Lithium will be your partner for years of astronomical experiences, with a rating of up to 2000 charges.
Furthermore, the Celestron PowerTank Lithium portable battery is ideal for the majority of computerized telescopes.
It has a 12V connector, over ten hours of battery life, multiple USB ports, and other additional features. Directly attaches to the tripod leg.
The battery comes with Lithium-Iron Phosphate chemistry which makes it easier to maintain than standard sealed acid batteries.
It has never been easier to utilize a portable power source on your astronomy outings, whether you’re tracking celestial objects or simply shooting images.
Once your telescope is attached, use the provided Velcro straps to firmly tie the battery to one of the legs of the tripod, keeping it safely out of the way.
This portable power supply comes with USB connections such as one quick-charge and one conventional, and you can power your other devices.
Of course, you can easily use it in conjunction with the telescope charger.
Furthermore, Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries can sustain temperatures higher than ordinary lithium cobalt batteries and will not ignite if it’s punctured accidentally.
Using a telescope guarantees that you will have to constantly make adjustments to your view to maintain your desired object in focus.
If you don’t have enough power, you won’t be able to spend the amount of time needed for the best possible images and photographs.
It can be pretty challenging to capture a clear photo of an object in deep space without a motorized mount, especially if you don’t have the power supply needed for the most reliable performance.
Although the PowerTank is easily one of the most portable options on this list, its compact size does come with some downsides regarding a variety of features.
Unfortunately, its multi-charging capabilities aren’t very vast. When 12V is in use, the PowerTank can only charge one device, while many other power stations can handle multiple simultaneously.
In addition, some might not like the 3 hour charging period regardless of how notable the brand may be.
Furthermore, Celestron is a solid brand well known in the telescope community, and they provide a wide range of valuable products.
Unfortunately, the price of this power supply is reaching close to $140, and that’s a bit on the high end considering what’s provided.
Other minor concerns include that tripods on particular Celestron devices aren’t always the most stable when the PowerTank is mounted to them due to the slight shift in weight.
Battery Life Management
Lastly, this particular product is a lithium power supply, and it can be challenging to determine when the lifespan of these batteries may run out.
Although there haven’t been many reports of this being a common issue with this power supply, it’s still important to remember if you’re searching for the most reliable option on the market.
Portable Power For Telescope Buyers Guide
Features To Look For In A Portable Telescope Power Supply?
As always, you want to find a power supply that’ll suit all of your telescope’s needs, and this would entail power output capacity, portability, in addition to charging ports and multiple 12V power ports.
Whether you’re using a telescope from home or out in nature, you want to ensure your motorized equipment will work without a hitch for the entire session.
How Long Do Portable Power Supplies for Telescopes Last?
This is determined by a variety of things, but you can get a fairly good idea based on what type of power supply it is.
Lithium batteries are becoming more commonplace for telescopes in modern times, and you can expect them to last between 10 upwards to 16 hours on a full charge.
Furthermore, you can also find many that can be charged through a car adapter, allowing you to continue using the power supply for prolonged periods of time.
Depending on your needs, there are plenty of power supplies to choose from on the market.
This list contains three that cover a wide range of features for many different types of telescopes.
Whether you’re stargazing from home or going out in nature for a deeper look into space, you want to ensure your power requirements are met without fault.
When searching for your first power supply, make sure you take a look at battery capacity, how many charging ports are available, in addition to what mAh limits come built-in.
These features will better help you determine what’s best for your telescope.
With that being said, and with those factors in mind, I wouldn’t look any further than the Celestron PowerTank Telescope Battery. And I would get it from Amazon too ⬇️