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DIY Polar Scope Illuminator

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26 replies to this topic

#1
Zaphod360

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After reading lots of different threads on here and on tinterweb I thought I'd have a go at making a polar scope illuminator for my EQ5 mount.

This is what I came up with:

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Now I'm going from memory as I didn't keep my receipts, but this is what I used:

LED - Maplin Code: CK46A
3 AA Battery Holder - Maplin Code: YR61R
Enclosure - Maplin Code: KC91Y
Switch - Maplin Code: FH94C
Pipe fitting - B&Q 34mm push fit pipe fitting

Total cost is around £8

I removed the pipe fitting nut and turned it around, when tight this would give me a larger area to fix the battery enclosure. The pipe was then cut to length (approx 37mm past the nut). I filed a flat on the bottom of the pipe, again to help with fixing the battery enclosure.

I drilled a hole through the enclosure and another through the bottom of the pipe fitting for the LED.

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This shows the arrangement of the batteries etc.

The LED is 5v but with three 1.2v rechargeable AA's it will illuminate dimly. With some trial and error I routed the LED up into the pipe and masked with insulation tape.

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The LED needs to point away from the polar scope or it will be too bright.

A couple of wraps of insulation tape on the end of the pipe fitting gives a secure fitment when slotted into the end of the polar scope (see pics above).

I've tested this out when the moon is nearly full and can still see Polaris through the illuminated scope clearly. It keeps both hands free for easier alignment.

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Here are some of the links I used for inspiration:

Polarscope LED Installation
Telescope Reviews: DIY Polar Scope Illuminator using PVC

#2
bigal1

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Thats a nice neat mod well done , i kind of made a temporary one which is just a small led and a few button cell batteries connected to a switch which all sits inside the polar scope housing but your mod is a lot more elegant so i'll sure have a go at your method thanks a lot for posting ;)
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#3
Broady67

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Hi, I have just bought the list of components to make the illuminator but then realised i have no knowledge of how to put it together. Looking at the parts i have i am not sure if i am missing something? Do i need to solder anything when assembling it please?:)
Andy

#4
Zaphod360

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Yes you'll need to solder your wires onto the LED, I kind of made this up as I went along, so sorry if this isn't very technical. I got some wire and connected them to the battery box. I ran one to the switch, another from the switch to the LED, then one back from the LED to the battery box. The feed to the LED only goes one way so make sure you check this before soldering. You'll need some 'heat shrink' sleeving to protect the soldered joints and stop them shorting out. I made sure I had plenty of spare wire to be able to align everything in the box.

I'm posting this from my iPhone, if I can think of any more details I'll add them tomorrow.

Hope this helps, this little illuminator has become one of my favourite tools, it makes setting up so much easier, good luck.
Celestron CPC 1100
WO 2" Diagonal
SW Aero 40mm, Panaview 32mm & 26mm, WO 20mm SWAN.
Circle-T Orthos: 7mm, 9mm, 12.5mm & 18mm
Messier's 49/110

#5
oldturk

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an excellent idea, much along the lines of the instrument your GP uses to look in your ears. I have one hand holding the red LED torch shining into the polarscope and the other doing the adjustments - egad!
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#6
Bizibilder

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The led you used LED must have an inbuilt resistor? - if not it will fail immediately. If you make one of these check on the web for an appropriate resistor value (Google "led resistor").
Have a look here: Optoelectronics and scroll down to the led selection/developement kit about half way down the page for a cheap selection of suitable bits (usual disclaimer - Bitsbox have given me and others very good service over the years).

Edited by Bizibilder, 04 December 2011 - 12:10 PM.

Roger

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#7
Zaphod360

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The one listed above does have an in built resistor, I forgot to mention.
Celestron CPC 1100
WO 2" Diagonal
SW Aero 40mm, Panaview 32mm & 26mm, WO 20mm SWAN.
Circle-T Orthos: 7mm, 9mm, 12.5mm & 18mm
Messier's 49/110

#8
Broady67

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Yes you'll need to solder your wires onto the LED, I kind of made this up as I went along, so sorry if this isn't very technical. I got some wire and connected them to the battery box. I ran one to the switch, another from the switch to the LED, then one back from the LED to the battery box. The feed to the LED only goes one way so make sure you check this before soldering. You'll need some 'heat shrink' sleeving to protect the soldered joints and stop them shorting out. I made sure I had plenty of spare wire to be able to align everything in the box.

I'm posting this from my iPhone, if I can think of any more details I'll add them tomorrow.

Hope this helps, this little illuminator has become one of my favourite tools, it makes setting up so much easier, good luck.


I think i have figured it out in my head. Please see diagram and if this is not correct will you please indicate one way or the other?
Andy
Attached File  Polar scope illuminator.xls   28KB   105 downloads

#9
Bizibilder

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Looks OK.

Edited by Bizibilder, 04 December 2011 - 08:04 PM.

Roger

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http://bizibilder.blogspot.com For Pics of Observatory and other little gems!


#10
glowjet

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Thats an extremely good idea and well thought out as it is self contained, just as a thought though, you could create the same device without the batteries and use a direct wire connection to your 12v supply using a Maplins LED code CJ66W red standard brightness or CJ70M high brightness, both are 3mm 12v with built in resistors, if you want to vary the illumination then just place a 470 Kohm pot in the circuit and use the same project box and switch, which is what I will do when I get round to making one, thanks for the input :)

#11
Reggie

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If you want a cheaper solution to this, then look for 'LED tealights' in poundland, poundstretcher etc. They come in packs of 3 or 4 and have everything built in, battery, switch, all you would need would be the pipe fitting and some hot glue.

If you want to dial down the amount of light thumping out of the led, you can use some sandpaper on the outside of the LED to diffuse the light somewhat.

#12
Bizibilder

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"If you want to dial down the amount of light thumping out of the led, you can use some sandpaper on the outside of the LED to diffuse the light somewhat."

Or paint it with red nail varnish!!!

Roger

A few bits and pieces that live in a green shed in the garden.

http://bizibilder.blogspot.com For Pics of Observatory and other little gems!


#13
Rob L

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Love it! Great idea. :)

Holding a torch with one hand, adjusting bolts with the other hand, whilst down on one knee and craning your neck skywards sounds easy until you try it. Much easier with 2 spare hands.
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#14
Reggie

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Following on from this DIY led theme, Old vitiamin pill bottles and a red led might be useful as an astro freindly lamp, they produce a very diffuse light, and of course using a higher value used in conjunction with the led will allow you to limit the amount of light it chucks out :)

#15
Broady67

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Just adding to the all polar scope thread, i have seen somewhere where the grub screws to adjust the scope have been replaced with thumb screws. Has anyone any idea what thread size they are and where to source them from?
Andy

#16
Yosser70

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I've just tried to make an illuminator and think I've over done the LED! I hadn't see this thread before I started so I used a 9v LED with a 9v battery. Now having tried to use it I think it might be a bit ott! Does the LED need to be quite dim for it to work properly?

#17
Zaphod360

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Yes, otherwise you can't see Polaris through the red glow, I'm not any good at electronics but a suitable resister or potentiometer should help, you just need someone who can do the calcs to figure out what size.
Celestron CPC 1100
WO 2" Diagonal
SW Aero 40mm, Panaview 32mm & 26mm, WO 20mm SWAN.
Circle-T Orthos: 7mm, 9mm, 12.5mm & 18mm
Messier's 49/110

#18
Yosser70

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Ya I thought I'd gone a bit ott but it'll come in handy as a red light! I've got a few 9v LED's so will try them with lower volt batteries.

#19
DaveT

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I dont know what celestron were thinking when releasing a polar scope with no back lighting?? Basically you can see nothing without the led. I too have ordered some LED's to make similar to the above, so thanks for the suggestions for construction mate. Im gonna go down the road of 12v Led (pre soldered Resistor) wired through a 470k pot to the 12v supply for the scope. This will let me vary the brightness. I may also fit one to my spotting scope, as it could do with a minimal of back as well

Dave
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#20
Zaphod360

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Sounds a lot more refined than mine, you'll have to report back how you get on with it. Good luck.




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