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Posts posted by pjmaciw

  1. I have just completed a small project to add encoders to my 12" Dob and connect it up using Bluetooth to the SkySafari app running on phone or tablet.  I am amazed how good this setup is.  I managed to move effortlessly from one object to another and have never viewed so many objects in one hour.

    I used an Arduino nano  with bluetooth adapter and a couple of cheap encoders from China (£9 each off Ebay) all hooked up with patch wires, so no need to solder.  It fits neatly into a small plastic box and is powered from a small phone battery pack.  The whole build only cost about £50 and has transformed my viewing.  I no longer have to spend ages trying to star hop in light polluted skies where half the stars cannot be seen.

    The encodes were the key as other options I looked at used expensive 4000 PPR or 10000 PPR encoders but for visual observing using a Dob I felt this was over kill.  I opted for optical encoders with 600 PPR which, using software to detect each rise and fall on both channels, gives 2400 PPR which is enough for visual.






  2. Hi,

    I have just brought a used Skywatcher 250 dob but the 50x8 Finder scope is without the o-ring so it flops about and is useless.  Does anyone know what diameter the o-ring cross section is or where I can buy one from.

    I have ordered a Rigel QuickFinder but it would be nice to have the finder scope working as well.

    Thanks, Pete.

  3. Hi, 

    I need some help identifying a telescope.  It came with a Tal mount so I initially thought it was a Tal 150K but the photos tell a different story.

    It appears to be a 6" (150mm) SCT of some description.  It's very well made and heavy.  The focussing is by a standard rack and pinion and not by moving the primary mirror as in SCT's.  I think it dates from the 1980s.

    So, there is the challenge.  What is it?


  4. Hi Steve,

    I have had a Quattro 10" steel tube since they came out and am very pleased with it. (see my review on FLO). One down side is that you are supposed to have good quality ep's although I have made do with the ep's I already had and still really enjoy the views. I mainly use it for imaging and manage to get good pics with minimum hassle.

    If you have any specific questions I will try to answer.


  5. I decided to get a few Televue eyepieces to work with my Quattro 10" F4 reflector.

    I managed to get a Nagler 13mm and very good it is too. I already have a Televue 8mm plossl and Televue 2x barlow,

    The question is what to get next? I was thinking of a 19 or 24mm Panoptic or possibly going the other way with a 6mm Delos.

    I only want (can afford) one ep for now, so what would be the best choice. All suggestions welcome but must be Televue.

    Thanks, Pete.

  6. Brilliant picture ..... love the detail in the dust lanes. I also took a pic of this galaxy but nowhere near as much detail as you have captured.

    Did you do any special processing to bring out the dust detail? I do struggle with the processing and don't do anything fancy yet .... still learning. Also, I see you have taken lots of darks and flats which I do not do at the moment. Do the darks and flats make much difference to the final pics.

    Anyway, great pic...keep up the good work.

    Regards, Pete

  7. I was out till late last night but pleased with the result from a light polluted back garden in Reading. The pics were made up of 10x10 minute subs for NGC 4565 taken with BackyardEOS and my trusty 550D (unmodded). The tracking played up on the M108/97 pic so I stopped after 5 subs.

    I have decided that I have not been taking long enough exposures and now adjust the exposure using the histogram on BackyardEOS with much better results needing minimal processing. I do not take darks, bias or flats as it takes enough time taking the lights but I will get around to experimenting more one day.

    Now, what to do tonight as clear skies yet again.



  8. Very nice animation Mel. I suppose having a modded cam helps with the red. That's another thing that I wonder about. With an unmodded dslr can I still get similar pics to a modded dslr if I increase the exposure or is the info completely filtered out in an unmodded dslr.

    Back on subject - It occurs to me that only the flats may be useful and I can propably not worry about bias and dark frames, for now at least. I think I shall try to get some flats next time and see if I can see what difference they make.


  9. Up until now all my photo's were snaps to see if this or that worked and to set up my equipment.

    On Sunday it was a clear night so I thought I would have a proper attempt at taking some subs, stacking and processing. This is the result of 50 x 30 sec subs, stacked and processed. I have real trouble with the processing but now feel that I am getting there.

    I did not take any bias, dark or flat frames and am not quite sure how they would change the final image. The thought of taking dark frames is not very appealing. Are bias, darks and flats needed with DSLR's considering the high pixel count. I think you would be hard pressed to find a hot pixel out of 18million pixels.




  10. I have a 6AH power pack which does not last long enough when running NEQ6, USB hub and cameras. I would also like to connect the laptop which draws another 2A plus dew heaters, say another 3A. When I add all this together I get something like 7A for, say 5 hours which gives me 35AH if everything was running flat out.

    I have been looking at the different battery types and a 75-88 AH sealed leisure battery would do the job but is that over kill. I wondered what others use ..... I would like be be able to get away with a 26-30 AH GEL battery but don't think that would be enough.

    So come on guys (and gals) what are you using and do you have any advice before I splash out. And, no, I do not want to use a mains power supply.

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