Power in the field is an important concern for modern astronomers. Whether it be powering goto scopes, CCD imaging equipment, or dew-heaters, having a good and reliable battery is essential.
Conventional lead-acid batteries are heavy, require comprehensive care to prevent damage, have a short life of up-to 5 years, and contain toxic metals. Celestron's new Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) battery solves these problems. This battery can be deeply discharged without damage, can be left on a shelf without damage, and does not suffer from memory effects when charging. LiFePo4 batteries have a considerably longer service life up-to 10 years, while providing superior reliability and excellent efficiency.
This battery has a capacity of 86.4 Watt-hours, equivalent to 7.2 Ah at 12 V. This means the battery can supply a 12 V device 1 A for 7.2 hours. It is important to note that this is effectively more capacity than a 7.2 Ah lead-acid battery because the lead-acid battery must not be discharged below half its capacity to prevent damage.
One aspect of LiFePo4 batteries that other websites often don\'t address is operating temperature. LiFePo4 can operate down to -10c, or even -20c, but may need some help in sub-zero temperatures. Battery capacity and output depends on the battery being warm, store and charge the battery in a warm place. Keep the battery warm in the winter by placing it in a box wrapped with something mildly insulating (eg: blanket). In low temperatures, especially if the current draw is low (eg: mount is tracking the sky, no slewing), you may want to run a dew heater on the scope or on the battery, until the battery is producing its own heat internally. A reuseable hand warmer may also be used.
All required accessories are included. A 100-240 V universal AC charger is included that can recharge the battery from flat in only 3 hours. A 2.1 mm tip-positive power cord is also included, capable of powering mounts and cameras alike.
The Celestron Lithium Phosphate battery is designed to integrate well onto a telescope mount. It is small enough to be attached to the leg of a steel tripod, and light enough to hang from the accessory tray. Straps are included for both of these methods.