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Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

  • dmcdona
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Dew Controller
I recently invested in a Kendrick Premier Premier Digital Dew Controller to extend my observing sessions without resorting to prancing around the garden with a hairdryer.

There are a good few dew control systems available "out there" including plans for DIY'ers. The price range is pretty broad and varies with functionality, quality and availability.

I wanted a system that would do the job, do it without any fuss and do it remotely. That pretty much limited me to the Kendrick Premier. I checked out their other models but since they were offering a deal (the remote software for free) the Premier looked like the business.

I had a bunch of questions and on finding the nearest dealer (Altair Astro - www.altairastro.com) fired off an email. Nick got back immediately. Rather than just answer my questions, we had a chat and he asked *me* a bunch of questions. Nick was keen to ensure I chose wisely - a turn up for the books. After all questions answered, I decide on the Premier not only for the reasons above but:
1. It had electronic feedback loops that only powered the dew band when required.
2. It is RF shielded to prevent electronic noise spoiling sensitive CCD's
3. It has plenty of room to grow (two power outputs, and four heater outputs, one with temperature sensing)
4. Can be operated remotely.

There's a bunch more stuff it can do as well - see www.kendrickastro.com/astro/dewremover.html#PremierController and check out my pictures of the installed system at www.astroshack.net/gallery/equipment/equipment.php

Ordering was efficient (via secure internet site) and the unit arrived within a week - very well packaged.

Installation was relatively simple. I tie-wrapped the stainless steel control box to the underside of OTA mounting plate and made sure all cables were free from tangling. Luckily the unit just clears the RA motor on the mount. Remote control is achieved using a standard telephone cable - I've about 25 metres of cable and it works fine. I'd imagine you can run an even longer cable than that. The dewband (8") fitted snugly and easily. It can be quickly repositioned if necessary by virtue of a velcro strap and its so low profile that my dewshield easily slipped over it.

The software is really easy to use and you have options galore to make sure you are dew free. Once set, you can forget about it. Of course, all functions (plus a few more) are available on the unit itself via a very robust keypad.

The supplied manual was little confusing at first (probably due to my haste) but issues were very quickly sorted out by Nick who was always easy to contact by email.

In operation, the Kendrick Dew Heater does what it says on the tin. And it does it very well. Whilst the price is significant, you get what you pay for. My needs were pretty stringent so I needed to spend top dollar. But given the quality of the service and the product itself, I'd have no problem recommending any of the units Kendrick manufacture.

Power Pack
Now that I had the dew controller and a hungry mount, my power needs increased. Kendrick had a sale on their Power Packs (their website says they are clearing out their last supplies, though I suspect they'll keep selling them - see below). I needed growing room as well as serious power so it had to be the 33 amp hour pack with four outputs.
www.kendrickastro.com/astro/battery.html

The unit uses a sealed absorbed glass matt battery (whatever that is). It sounds safe from spillage anyhow. The charger for Ireland is supplied at no extra charge (Kendrick are Canadian) and you get a carry bag thrown in too. One important selling point for me was that the unit can be left charging even while it is in use (though this uses up one of the four output points).

I asked Nick if he could ship it for me but given the nature of the beast, it was not possible at the time (Breaking news - Nick can ship these units from the UK - with or without the batteries - you can supply your own to save weight and shipping costs).

Again, Kendrick in Canada were very efficient at answering all the questions I had and ordering was easy peasy. Shipping was pricey and it had to ship by sea - a six week wait. But that's the way of it. Of course, there's was also duty and VAT to contend with too when it arrived.

Kendrick ship via CanadaPost so you can track the package on its journey and you can be safe in the knowledghe that all is insured in case of the worst.

I received the unit just over four weeks after order. It was very heavy but extremely well packaged. there wasn't even a mark on the outside box so it had been well cared for. An added bonus was the postman not mentioning Duty or VAT. I didn't ask either...

Setup is so easy - batteries aren't that complicate I guess. The instructions were very good and the carry bag is well made and very functional - lots of pockets for the charger etc. You really need the bag for carrying this beast. You really don't want to drop this on your toes.

All cables are quality and of sufficient length. Each output also has its own reset switch too for added protection and a really snug fitting plug to protect it when not in use.

I've only used the unit once and it easily copes with the mount and the dew heater. The winter may be a better test of its mettle. But so far, I'm delighted. You can always tell a quality product, and this one is very well built and appointed.

This was a top end battery but Kendrick do others. And now that Nick can supply them, you won't have to wait four weeks.

Overall
If you want quality, you have to pay for it. But when you get it, you know you have spent wisely. In Kendrick's case (both Canada and the UK) the quality not only pervades their products but their customer service too. Its so refreshing to get answers quickly and without fuss and to know that if things go wrong you won't get an answerphone... And throughout all of this, there was no heavy pressure to buy, no holding back of info in case there was no sale... But then with quality, the product sells itself.

Dave
16 years 4 months ago #32416

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Dave,

I have the older version of the Kendrick Dew Removal System (V4?) and the problem which characterizes it is the fact that all ports are powered even though you may be using one port. In other words, it drains your battery wastelessly.

Any idea if they changed the functionality of the new unit so that only the port(s) in use are powered?

Anthony.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
www.perseus.gr
16 years 4 months ago #32520

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  • dmcdona
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Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Hi Anthony - ports can be disabled though I think one of the two power ports is 'always on' - but presumably, even its it on, if nothing is attached, it shouldn't drain the battey? I could be wrong...

So far, the battery is holding up with both the AP and a 8" dew strip operating...
16 years 4 months ago #32521

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Dave,

With the previous version of the Kendrick dew remover (V4), this was precisely the problem. You turned the dial to control the amount of heat sent to the dew strap and, regrettably, it was sent in quadruplicate (all four ports).

I used to drain my 7 Amp-hr battery quite fast (30 minutes from what I recall, if not faster).

Anthony.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
www.perseus.gr
16 years 4 months ago #32522

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Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Ahhh, I see - there are six 'powered' ports on the Premier controller. Four supply power to dew bands. Two are auxilliary power ports (you can attach e.g an illuminated reticle, fouser etc).

The four dew band ports are individually programmable. You can have them on or off. If they are on, you can control the power going to them individually. I could have 100% power going to port one, 50% power going to port two and20% power going to three and four etc. So its sounds like its far more controllable than the older model.

Of the two auxilliary ports, one is controllable (on/off) the other is always on - but without anything connected, I guess it shouldn't draw power.

Dave
16 years 4 months ago #32523

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Dave,

From your description, it seems they have addressed the earlier blunder.

Anthony.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
www.perseus.gr
16 years 4 months ago #32524

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Replied by jeyjey on topic Re: Kendrick Dew Controller and Power Pack

Dave --

Good to hear about Altair Astro -- I'm thinking of ordering one of those Sky Quality Meters from them.

Cheers,
-- Jeff.
Nikon 18x70s / UA Millennium                              Colorado:
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16 years 4 months ago #32534

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