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JamesF last won the day on January 21

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About JamesF

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    Wiveliscombe-ish, Somerset
  1. As it appears your EQ3-2 accepts a dovetail (the older models used to just have mountings for telescope rings), I'd get a short dovetail and either fix a ball head with a quick release camera mount to it, or fix a quick release mount directly to the dovetail, and then fit the camera on that. Alternatively if you're using a bigger lens with its own mount, fix the lens mount to the dovetail. James
  2. I think the bottom line is that the manufacturer needs to see a return on investment somewhere and has to set limits on what they can do from the point of view of support. That probably means that either it is free and only supports their own products, or it supports other hardware and it has to be paid for. Fortunately it's not the only software out there... James
  3. I think that's about all there is to say about the build itself. Over the last couple of days I've built a third controller that I'm in the process of testing. Once that's done I'm going to start looking at Robert's focuser controller with a view to fitting on to each of my OTAs. I do also intend to build one more dew controller to go with my travel kit. Depending on my experience with the focuser controllers I might actually make single box containing focuser controllers, dew controller and RPi to reduce the number of things I need to carry around, but without an LCD display and probably the dew strap LEDs. I will need to keep the fan I think. I think I will probably also swap my first controller from the 6P4C connectors for the temperature sensors to GX12 plugs, but there's no real hurry for that. Another thing there's no urgency over is the possibility of an improved design for the temperature sensors themselves. The ones I have (which I believe are the ones recommended) have the sensor inside a metal barrel about 60mm long and 8mm in diameter, which isn't always the most convenient shape to use on a small OTA. I've been wondering if I could use the DS18B20 case style that's used for the board temperature sensor and perhaps epoxy it to a small piece of stainless steel sheet. With the wiring I think the entire sensor end need only be about 10mm by 30mm which might be more practical for small OTAs. Actually, that's probably something else worth mentioning... Attaching the temperature sensors. I've no idea what the best way to do it is, so what I have at the moment is a strip of thin camping mat long enough to go right around the OTA. The sensor goes underneath that, and it's all held in place with a velcro strap, just behind the dew heater itself. James
  4. It's about time I finished this thread off. So, a bit about testing. I downloaded the arduino code from Sourceforge and unzipped it to find a directory called "Tests", which seemed quite straightforward. In the documentation there are a list of tests n the order they should be run, but I think it actually works out that the subdirectories of "Test" are arranged so that they're in the correct order when listed alphabetically. The first was "TestBlueTooth" which I skipped as I didn't build the Bluetooth interface and moved straight onto the second, "TestBoardTempSensor". I'm a Linux user and I had the default set of Arduino tools already installed on my Mint 19 desktop system. There is a "Readme.txt" file in the Tests directory that talks about where to put the various library files for Windows, but no information for Linux so I decided that initially I'd just try compiling things and see what happened. I plugged the dew controller USB connection in, set the correct board type in the tools and made sure the device name was /dev/ttyUSB0, but even so what happened was a horrible mess of errors. That led me to download the latest version of the Arduino tools from the Arduino website and try again. Better, but still no cigar. It did create a subdirectory of my home directory however, called "Arduino/libraries", so that seemed a reasonable place to put the library files. I copied all the subdirectories of the unzipped "myDewController Libraries" directory into that and tried compiling again. Success! From the Arduino IDE tools menu I opened the serial monitor and uploaded the sketch. In the serial monitor I was rewarded with: I followed the same process for "TestDHT": and "TestDSB1820TempProbe": (I've just noticed that is in fact out of sequence). From then on it's a little more complicated, and requires that the 12V supply be plugged in and switched on. "TestFanandLEDs" runs the fan at various speeds and sets the RGB LED to each of its possible colours, so that's a visual check. As noted already this didn't work for me and close inspection of the PCB showed some soldering I wasn't happy with. I so hate having old eyes I redid the soldering and it worked once reassembled. "TestLCD" displays a message on the LCD screen. The display I used for this build worked perfectly first time, but on my first build I had to adjust the brightness using a small adjuster on the back of the display. It's the blue component in the top right here: If you're nervous, disconnect the power and USB, adjust it and then reconnect everything. Or use a plastic-bladed screwdriver to adjust it. Or, like me, just go for it with a normal small steel-bladed screwdriver and be very careful not to short anything out. The last test I ran was "TestPWMOutputs", which sets the dew heater outputs to 0%, 100% and 50% in turn. The dew strap indicator LEDs should change brightness at the same time. With all the tests passing I set the controller up on the mount and connected everything up, including a USB connection to my pier-top computer which allowed me to run the Linux "myDewControllerPro3L" application to monitor the controller and adjust the settings. After my first night using the controller I noticed that dewstrap 2 was on according to the LED, but not warm. I brought the unit inside again and found that even with that channel full on and the LED lit, there was no voltage across the dew strap connector. As the LED and dew strap are connected directly together on the PCB that pointed to a connection problem between the PCB and socket. I opened the case up to discover that the socket I'd plugged into the PCB for the dew strap connector had one of the pins pushed back out of it so there was no connection. Clearly I'd not put it in properly the first time. I made sure this time, replugged it and now everything is working as it should. I'll put it back on the mount tomorrow.
  5. You could just try those first four in the menu (last image) and see which one looks right. If I were to guess I'd go for "Generic GBRG" first though. James
  6. I agree it's probably not a planet, but I don't think it will be Betelgeuse at the moment because it is quite dim. I'd suggest perhaps Sirius or Procyon, the latter perhaps being the better bet given the description of its position. James
  7. In my mind, Google will never really have mastered search engines until it can do: "Oh, you know, a thingy! Has lots of holes in and you use it when you're cooking spaghetti. Begins with a 'C'" "Yeah! That's the one! Parmesan grater!" James
  8. "Around" 63mm according to TS, but I'm as close as I can reasonably manage to 63mm and I'm not getting round stars, so clearly a better way is needed to set it up. James
  9. A search for "tailgate latch" or "dropdown tailgate latch" might find them. James
  10. The timestamp includes the date too, so in that case you shouldn't ever get a clash. James
  11. Probably a good plan to get Ekos to put the timestamp in the filename, Gina. James
  12. You'll also need to look at how you cope with losing the guide star, Gina. Things can get a bit messy when that happens, if you get a short burst of cloud, for instance. James
  13. My feeling is that if a shirt or jumper can keep me sufficiently warm then its purpose is still served even if it is badly frayed, full of holes or covered in a combination of oil/paint/blood stains. More so, I claim this is an environmentally responsible attitude. My wife declines to share this point of view, though the expense of replacement can sometimes force her to temporarily accept it. James
  14. I didn't realise that was Mark Twain, though I also admit to having used the quote on a number of occasions. James
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