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INDI Library v1.9.1 Released (26 Jun 2021)

Bi-monthly INDI Library v1.9.1 is released bringing a few new drivers and improvements to existing drivers.

Power in the field for RPi 4?

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Hey all,

I've been running StellarMate on a Pi 3 for a good year now. I found a powered USB hub whose wall-wart output was 12 VDC, cut the cable off the wart, and just wired that onto my field astro system's battery. Plug 12V into the hub, USB from hub to Pi, Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt, away I go clickety clickety. (OK, fine, CMOS astro cams don't click but you get the idea.)

Contemplating upgrading to a Pi 4 once 1.4.6 drops, and am concerned that the hub won't pump enough juice. Plus I'd have to use a USB-A-to-C dongle; I have those for my Mac but am not convinced that they'll carry power to the Pi properly.

What do you folks who are running Pi 4s do for power when you're doing astro away from mains power?

thx
rw
1 year 7 months ago #46541

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I am using:
-- TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh battery pack (there are two versions - one with an additional 5V out, the other - without 5V, only 12V). That 5V output doesn't work with RPI - you need 12V and
-- Sabrent 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB + 2 Charging Ports with 12V/4A Power Adapter
also I use
-- a Y-cable - HIGHROCK 30cm USB 2.0 a Power Enhancer Y 1 Female to 2 Male Data Charge Cable Extension Cord

12v from battery --> hub (5v) ---> Y-cable (from the two "red" charging ports) ---> RPI

USB-A-to-C dongle should work.
I use the same hub to connect all my equipment to RPI.
Lasts all night.
I use another 6000mAh battery to power CCD cameras. 3000mAh - to power the mount. another 3000mAh - to power a dew heater. another 3000mAh to power a 10" HDMI monitor.
www.indilib.org/forum/gallery/1014-post-....html?start=72#44888

HTH
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Nikon D5500 H-a modified. Nikon D5500 stock
AT72EDII, TPO RC6
ASI2600MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM Mini on ZWO 30F4
ZWO ASI224MC-S on Orion 50 mm f/3.2
ZWO EAF x 2
SW AZ-GTi
SW HEQ5
RST-135
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1 year 7 months ago #46726

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Thanks, that's reassuring. My hub is an Anker product, but from your description I think it will serve. Oddly, though, if I try to power the Pi off the charging port (my hub sports but one), it doesn't go. Off a "regular" USB port, it does.
1 year 7 months ago #46742

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I am using the DockerPi power board. It takes 12V, powers the Pi, has an on/off button and IR remote. It has a small fan that keeps the Pi from over heating. Plus a couple 12V header pins that can be routed to power other devices.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
PHD2
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
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1 year 7 months ago #46750

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ZOMG that's brilliant! It's even got a barrel connector! OK, bookmarking THAT bad boy right the heck now.
1 year 7 months ago #46751

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I presume it is using the header pin to supply the 5v as the older GPIO route is not allowed on the 4 (so I have read) - as this method does not provide any protection do you know if that board provides the equiv protection as provided by the c-type connector ?

"You can not power the Pi through GPIO pins, however you always have been able to power through the 5V & Gnd pins on the expansion header.

Many HATs do this, and the Foundation has documentation on this. See github.com/raspberrypi/hats/blo ... pio-header

Indeed on the PI 4 the 5V pins are directly connected to the power on the USB-C power connector "
RPI3 Ubuntu 16.04 / AMD desktop Kstars under Ubuntu 16.04 Mounts :azeq6 ,SWAZGoTo

RPI3 Fedora testing out on AMD desktop Fedpra 28 - running kstars 2.9.4 , Indilib 1.7.4 ?????
1 year 7 months ago #46754

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I f I go with something like the DockerPi, I suspect I'll just ditch the powered hub altogether. It never worked for the mount or the USB GPS dongle on my Pi, so all I could ever plug into it was the camera and guide camera. Since I'm using a ZWO camera with two USB 2.0 ports on it now, I plug the filter wheel and the guide cam into those, then a USB 3 cable to the hub; that and the power cable to the Pi are all that's connected to it! Since the 4 has USB 3.0, it should work even better to plug the USB 3 cable straight into the Pi, along with the GPS and the mount, which can go in the 2.0 ports. Two fewer cables, one fewer box.

I was seriously considering sticking the Pi onto the telescope so that the only cables that have to move when the mount does will be the power to the Pi and to the TEC cooler on the camera. I suppose I could gin up something to connect the TEC to the 12V output on the DockerPi so that there would be only one.

The fan on the DockerPi doesn't produce enough vibration to worry about having on the scope, does it? I'd probably use Velcro anyway, which would provide a bit of cushioning.
1 year 7 months ago #46761

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The DockerPi fan is only 30mm and runs quietly. I don't believe vibration will be a concern.
It powers the Pi with the power pins on the 40pin GPIO header, and it communicates with the Pi via I2C when commanding it to shutdown.

You will have to customize your PI's case for it.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
PHD2
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
1 year 7 months ago #46762

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I don't have Pi 4, but an Android TV box running kstars/ekos on armbian which needs 5V 3A as well.

I use a 12V to 5V/3A Buck converter to connect to my Harbor Freight 3-in-1 Power Pack battery's lighter plug.

Buck Converter

An adapter would be needed to connect to the USB C of the Pi 4.
Last edit: 1 year 7 months ago by A Nomer.
1 year 7 months ago #46833

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Very interesting. I'm currently using a USB-A type supply (only 2.4 A), simply because I was worried that if I bought a USB-C supply it might not like the Pi and supply no power or limit to low current mode.

I have had a couple of times where the Pi has stopped responding then found the red power led is off which seems to suggest low power supply.
RPi 4B (4gb) running Stellarmate OS
Skywatcher Quattro 250 with f4 coma corrector
Skywatcher Evostar 80ED with 0.85 reducer/flattener
Skywatcher AZ-EQ6,
ASI1600MM Pro with ZWO 8x1.25" EFW,
Guide scope 50x190mm, Guide camera ASI290MM
ZWO EAF focuser
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1 year 7 months ago #46889

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Thanks again all. For my particular rig, the 12V barrel connector and the fan make the DockerPi board ideal, so that's what I'm going with. Probably going with a HighPi case that has room for the hat, unless my friend prints me a case. Conceivably I might get a touchscreen and go with that, obviating WiFi problems most of the time, but then it would suck up more power and dollars.
1 year 7 months ago #46892

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