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JamesF last won the day on January 21

JamesF had the most liked content!

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About JamesF

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    Wiveliscombe-ish, Somerset
  1. JamesF

    Astro EQ mod WANTED

    I wasn't aware that Tom had stopped making them now. Only recently I've been playing with mine on my EQ3-2. At the moment I'm trying to tune the RA worm backlash to the point where it runs without stalling. If you do find one, or decide to build from scratch yourself, I can recommend using stepper motors combined with drive belts instead of the standard motors. The standard motors have a built-in gearbox that has some horrendous backlash. James
  2. Actually I recall that there is an Altair SDK for the RPi so it could be done for some cameras (and I may well do exactly that this year). Unfortunately however Altair don't seem to want to keep the ARM version up-to-date with the SDK available for 64-bit Intel MacOS and Linux environments. No idea why, but in the past they've told me that they just don't support it. That doesn't mean it isn't possible however, given a little work. James
  3. The ASI cameras have a completely different interface from the Altair ones, so I don't see an obvious reason to assume they'd work. James
  4. This does seem to be true. And therein lies the problem I think, as it seems to be far from obvious what actually causes the mileage to vary James
  5. Looks like something's broken again :D James
  6. Thursday looks possible here. Otherwise it's rain with brief intervals of heavy cloud for all of the next week by the looks of it. James
  7. I've never managed to get powerline ethernet to work reliably, even within the house. I've not tried with both devices on the same ring, as that's not particularly useful to me anyhow. If I really didn't want to dig a trench I'd probably buy a load of cat5e and run it inside conduit along walls or fences between the house and observatory (inside conduit because around here there's always some damn stupid animal that will decide to see how tasty cabling is even if it's carrying 240V mains). Or if you're not likely to garotte yourself on it, run a catenary wire and use it to carry some cat5e with UV stable sheathing. If you don't want to make up the ends yourself, which isn't hard given the right tools but can take a little practice, you might even be able to buy suitable lengths already made up. And run two cables. Always run at least two cables. An alternative would be to use optic fibre instead of cat5e, with media converters at each end. Probably a better solution technically, but a bit more expensive. Or you could try using wifi. That's what I'm doing until I get around to digging another trench. It works for me, but it's not brilliant across the 20m or so to the observatory and transferring lots of FITS files to the house takes a while. It would probably be better if I used directional aerials, but it's not a "forever" solution so I'm not going to worry about it. James
  8. It's not the compression per se that's the issue. It's the way it's generally done in this case. JPEG compression throws data away on the assumption that something reasonably approximating what was thrown away can be recreated from the data that is left. For daytime photography that can often work relatively well, but as you rightly say when it comes to astro images it can result in horrible artefacts in the regenerated image (and if you take that image and process it further, saving the result as JPEG again, it just gets worse). PNG does also store images in a compressed format, but no information is lost in the process. James
  9. I don't use Astrobin, so I can't really comment specifically about that service, but as a general point (and also being someone who works in IT) I would never rely on a third party to keep data safe that was important to me even they were charging for it. These days I just don't believe I can trust a business to do that for me and absolutely guarantee that it will always be available without fail. Or if they can, it will cost an arm and a leg and so few people will be happy to pay for it that it won't be viable as a business. Should they lose your data I think the majority of big companies would just say "That's a shame. Sue us if you dare." and the small ones would just fold either before or after the papers were served. Offsite (over the network) backups just aren't practical for me anyhow, but if I felt the need to do that (and I appreciate that it is a sensible solution for some people) then I'd back up to at least two completely unconnected organisations, it being completely pointless if, for example, you found that both the companies you chose hosted all their files using the same supplier. James
  10. Woohoo! Just had a wild flash of lightning and lots of thunder followed by all the power going out for about 30 seconds and ice hammering on the windows. Not prime observing weather. James
  11. During the summer of 2018 we stayed at a 4-bed villa near Velez-Malaga on the southern coast of Spain. Only a few kilometres from the coast, but 500m up into the foothills of the mountains. Whilst there was a fair bit of LP from the towns on the coast we were pretty much above it all and I got some nice images of the lunar eclipse that wouldn't have been possible from the UK. On one day we could even see Africa. It was not without negatives however. The road from the coast up to the villa was quite buttock-clenching, often single-track with many hairpins and huge drops with no barrier. The tap water wasn't potable (basically it's for irrigation) so all water for drinking, cleaning teeth etc. had to be bought in bottles. The temperature was stupidly hot and I was utterly shredded by biting insects, though those might not perhaps be issues in the winter. I'm not keen to go back to find out though. All in all I think I'd prefer to be a bit further north and accept that the weather might not be quite as good. And preferably not be responsible for helping the local insect life to breed. James
  12. Cloudy again and now we have some heavy duty thunder to go with it, topped off with a sudden pick-up in the wind speed. On balance I think there's not going to be much opportunity to do any observing tonight. James
  13. My preference is to sit. I find that I'm more relaxed and can concentrate more easily on the view if I sit. In the OP's case, perhaps a taller chair that means the knees don't have to be so bent might work? My ultimate goal for visual though is to have a telescope mounted on an alt-az chair. With goto, obviously :D James
  14. Clearing here too, but it's still very windy and the forecast is for plenty more rain overnight, so I'm not going to open the roof up just yet. James
  15. Also maintaining perpendicularity to the optical axis. Motorising it should be the easy bit, I reckon. It doesn't even matter if there's a bit of backlash. It's the accuracy of the engineering that is the challenge for this one I suspect. James
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