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Everything posted by malc-c

  1. Hi Matt, You basically contradicted your other statement and agreed with me .. Both mounts are equally suited to the OTA used with them. But you wouldn't consider mounting the RC8 on the Az-GTi, which is my point. It may work, you might get something decent, but equally you may run into problems with stability. Anyway, a lot of what's been discussed here is going OT - That lovely Redcat scope is £200 over the OP 500 euro budget, although the mount would fit within the budget, but for me I still prefer to recommend an EQ
  2. Matt, I'm sure you would soon be disappointed with the results your expensive cooled camera would give when its attached to a reasonable scope on a modest mount... the two really go hand in hand. There is no way I would attach something like a QSI 683 to a 200P mounted on an EQ3 or EQ5 mount... If you are spending that sort of cash then you more likely to be using a 200mm Ritchey-Chretien telescope on a Skywatcher EQ8 mount. Yes you can get some fabulous images using modest equipment, but often that takes a lot more effort to make the equipment play nice
  3. Nigella raises another point. Security. The majority of low life are still able to recognise what a dome observatory is. Even if they don't, the fact that it doesn't look like any other domestic outbuilding draws them to it. If you live in the sticks then things may be different. Her video also highlights that you still have to factor in the construction of the floor and base. Personally give UK weather I would have used exterior grade ply rather than a particle board for the floor, which at todays prices can add a further £200 to the budget.
  4. My apologies, the price was for the short height dome - the 2.1m standard is indeed £3795 The nexdome is listed as being under £3K at £2960 (inc VAT - which presumably is at UK rates?). But being outside the EU you may have to pay duty to import it into the UK following Brexit. I'm hoping its just their website that is at fault as I wanted to find out how much the shipping cost would be given the size, and this was the result when I placed the product code into their website on the shipping page, yet the table below shows the standard UPS for <44kg being £78.51, up to £194 for UPS Express Hopefully they will get back to you to confirm the price, shipping and if any additional taxes or duty would be payable I know I've said it's your money etc, but you could get a far better alternatives for the £3k - If you do reconsider and look at traditional wooden ROR observatories, DONT place an order with Home Observatories UK - other forum members have been waiting more than 12 months for their observatories and two have resorted to recovering their deposits via the small claims courts. Even though my observatory is 10 years old, the equipment is always dry, and I can be up and taking that first image in less than 15 minutes on a good night. I don't have to worry about any issues with the dome matching the Earths rotation, and thus can run sessions all night from the warmth of my living room via RDC to the observatory PC. That observatory that Stuart built from a small summer house looks very sturdy and practical. Such a building would make an excellent replacement for the metal shed you currently have. I'm sure they can offer larger if you wanted more space. My scope room is approx. 6.5' x 8' and I can easily walk around the 200P without having to limbo around it ! I would even wager a pack of donuts that if your went down the same route as Stuart you could build the base, purchase the building and materials to modify it, and lay in all the power and data for the same amount you would spend on just purchasing a commercial dome. But as I said, its your money, your choice and your project...
  5. Life is never easy I think you need to find out from the seller exactly what make and model the observatory is, and if they are vague, find out its history and how they came to have it. If it is their own observatory then they should know its age, make and model. If it does turn out to be a MK1 pulsar then yes, based on the above information an off the shelf ready to run drive system would require a lot of fettling to get it to work. EDIT: A quick google and came up with this Which confirms its a pulsar. But as their new domes are totally smooth and unsegmented then this suggest it is an early version In fact further research and its an original - have a read of this document and you can see one of the originals form 2000 which is the same as the one in the listing
  6. And this throws another variable into the works.....
  7. I was product manager for Tasco between 1981 and 1986, and use many of the telescopes we had on display, including the 11TR. In fact my first view of Saturn was through an 11TR and from my aging memory was thrilled with what I saw that I dragged the whole family out (I was circa 20 year old at the time !). The optics were good, it had a parabolic mirror, and the 12m and 20m eyepieces were OKish - but if you could get hold of a better eyepiece the images were a lot better. It suffered from two things that made using it a pain. The wooden tripod and small mount didn't provide a sturdy platform, and the eyepieces were basic and of the 0.96" size rather then the now standard 1.25", so you were limited to what accessories you could use. For $100 CAD - £60 GBP its worth a punt, especially if its in mint condition, if only for the nostalgia.
  8. I'm guessing that its the one in Kent I'm not sure if its a Pulsar, if it is then it's possibly an early version. But at £1500 plus the delivery that's still half that of a new one. The advantage of new is that that it will have 12 months warranty, and if you want to spread the cost, choose the three instalment plan via paypal. If you later want to motorise the dome you know the drive will fit and will work. Bottom line is that its your cash, and ultimately your observatory. This DIY section is filled with examples of home build observatories from £300 sheds from Argos through to £10,000 fully automated domes. We all built them the way we did for various reasons and had different budgets. Do you pay £2K for a second hand dome, petrol, hire charges, and any other expenses associated with renovation (the rollers look as if they need replacing - something a friend had to do when he got a second hand dome), or pay £3K for a new one that won't need anything else and should work out of the box. - Only you can make that choice
  9. Well if all that can run on my old core 2 duo PC I'm sure the above machine will cope
  10. Not sure about the "best" version, but the latest can be found on the CdC web site 4.2.1 has been the current version since November 2019. Latest build of the Beta version here but it's beta and not a RC version so what bugs are in it or how stable it is is anyone's guess
  11. Replace the handset with this cable Down load the ASCOM platform and EQMOD software. Then follow the instructions in this post
  12. Pete, I know you have your heart set on a dome, but for the reasons mentioned above, and covered in my previous post I would seriously urge you to reconsider your plans. You want something that is going to be secure, dry and doesn't require a lot of maintenance. Granted it's now a decade ago since I built my 2.2m x 4.8m observatory, and with current shortages building materials have shot up in price, but I still managed to come in at under £2K for the building materials, £500 of that was on quality shiplap. This gives me a 2.2m x 2.8m scope room, and a 2.2m x 2m warm room (now workshop). In that 10 years the only issue I have had has been a small leak that developed 18months ago but a felt patch fixed that. Other than that I replaced the door to put a window in it and it's now treated to an annual coat of dark oak preserve Electrics: Seek the advice of an qualified sparky. It will need armoured cable, and that typically has to be on its one circuit from the consumer unit. I was lucky, we have a feed to a consumer unit in a brick built shed, which already had 2.5m twin and earth armoured to a light on the patio which could be reutilised. You can't simply lay some armoured cable on the ground, it has to be surfaced mounted or buried in accordance with part 19 rules. Data: Lay in external CAT 5 (or 6) between the observatory and the house. Also use ducting with curved pipes rather than sharp bends, and feed in a couple of draw cables whilst assembling the ducting. When pulling through low voltage power or USB cables between the observatory and mount tape another draw cable to the front of the cable so you draw through a replacement at the same time as the USB cable. Alarm: Fit some form of alarm system. Having 120bd sounder going off 1m away is a big discouragement to anyone who ventures in there when not wanted !
  13. Just for clarity - my 200P, ST80, +cameras and cables came to circa 11KG and that weight is on the limit for an HEQ5 !! - No way would anything less be able to safely manage 10K and maintain precision and stability.
  14. To be honest, if you look through the DIY observatory section you will find very few DIY Domed observatories. There are several reasons, which is why most of us turned to traditional roll of roof designs. Domes are complicated to construct, especially in wood. It can be done, but the results tend to be extremely heavy and doesn't lend itself to be automated as a result. Also, every joint is a potential weak point where water can ingress, and to get a decent dome you would need quite a few segments which means lots of potential leak points. If you MUST have a dome then look at picking up a second-hand commercial fibreglass one and either a matching base, or construct the base from brick or timber depending on your skill set (or budget if you are using a builder). As a guide the RRP for a new Pulsar 2.2m domed observatory with base is around £3795 There are advantages and disadvantages using domes over traditional ROR construction. Having the dome driven is IMO a must as the slot the scope observes the night sky with is narrow and the dome will need rotating regularly. Having a light (compared to a wooden) GRP dome makes motorising that fairly easy (Pulsar make kits of parts to do so). If the dome is heavy it will take big motors and draw a lot of power to achieve that. It's doable, and some members have an almost fully automated domed observatory, but what pitfalls they had to overcome in developing those systems, how easy it was, and whether in hindsight they would do that again is another thing. You might also want to research any planning regulations your local authority have. There are height restrictions within certain distances from any boundary fences / hedges and planning application may be needed. Also check with your household insurance company to see if an observatory is covered under your existing policy. Some only cover sheds as outbuildings and workshops or observatories are classed as additional cover. Some insurance companies may decline cover for a dome observatory as it's more of a target and "advertises" the fact that expensive equipment is contained within. To anyone passing our house, my observatory looks like a large shed, in keeping with the other sheds in the garden, so for us cover was provided. Other than that, I would advise anyone who has the funds, space and ability to build an observatory to do so. It takes observing / imaging to a new level of convenience.
  15. A decade or so ago things were simple, SW had around three mounts, possibly four if you include the EQ6 and you could recommend a mount to suit a particular payload. Today with such a wide variety of mounts, some designed for camera mounting rather than scopes, it's very difficult to suggest just one. The main thing to consider is payload. What is the weight of all the camera and lenses? - Ideally you don't want the total payload to be right on the edge of the mounts limits. The next important function is for the mount to be equatorial and be driven so it can track objects. An ALT / AZ mount will suffer from field rotation, which whilst it can be worked around, is better to have it removed form the equation at the start. Now whether you will find a mount that fits these requirements for your budget is another thing.
  16. I have a Maplin station, no fancy electronics in the rain gauge, just a PCB with a single reed switch - all the counting etc is done by the transmitter unit
  17. I have a modified D400, so no live view, but any camera that has its IR cut filter removed will give very red / pink images
  18. I presume you've downloaded and installed the dedicated drivers from the manufactures website ?
  19. Looking at images of both devices a USB cable that has a type B connector one end and type A the other. Ideally if you are going over 4m I would suggest using a 5m Active cable rather than passive. An active cable boosts the signals .
  20. Excellent... now all that you need to do is work out why you are experiencing Venus's temperatures rather than Earths
  21. Just to follow up Davis post - here are the links to GS Server and The Discussion group
  22. Open up windows device manager and under ports confirm the LYNX EQDIR cable is registered when it is connected and that the driver has installed correctly (ie no warnings) Select the PORT and right click to select PROPERTIES and then select the second tab PORT PROPERTIES Confirm the BITS per second is set to 9600, databits to 8, parity NONE, stop bits 1 Close Device manager Open EQASCOM TOOLBOX and select DRIVER SETUP Ensure the same port number that you just checked in Device Manager, and select the same baud rate of 9600 Click OK to close Power up the mount From the toolbox select TEST CONNECTION. EQMOD should launch and make connection with the mount. To the right of the NSWE buttons are two sliders for RA and DEC rate. Between them is a drop down option - select 4 Use the NSEW buttons to move the mount. If the same "No connection" message comes up, power down the mount, remove the EQDIR cable and connect the handset. Power up the mount and confirm that the handset connects to the mount and doesn't display a "NO RESPONSE " message for either or both axis
  23. From a limited google search I believe that the basic control under EQMOD works, but there maybe an issue with the support for encoders. I'm not sure of the "version" of EQ8 my friend has, be he recently switched to GSServer as it supports full current drive of the stepper motors, which apparently EQMOD doesn't EQMOD have an active discussion group, and they may be able to advise you further.
  24. To be honest, all this statement on anywhere between 50% and 80% of the mounts visual payload is meaningless to a degree as each instance will be different. A mount with a large scope that is well within that "limit" may perform poorly in one location due to the site being exposed, but gives good results in a more sheltered location. Like I stated above my set up was around 75% of the HEQ5's maximum load capacity (which Stuart has stated in his opinion is undermounted), but even with a basic Dslr camera and with guiding enabled manage to get results like this from the middle of a modern town Or with a webcam and a double stack of 2x barlows, the 200P even gave me some decent planetary data to work with Granted I have the advantage of a sheltered observatory, but often even then if the wind is blowing well I don't bother going out and image with the scope as it can still affect the scope. If the mount was so undermounted then these image swould have been a major struggle Malcolm
  25. That's really interesting, and effectively the reverse of how I thought the circuit worked. The confusing thing for me was that the datasheet stated that the counter would trigger with a negative edge, and the transistor was current sensitive rather than voltage, which threw me. But what you describe makes sense as you would want to have a device that is as frugal on power as possible so it makes sense to have the transistor turned off in its wait state rather than powered and wasting battery..
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