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  1. All, Thought I'd get into astro-imaging by purchasing a pre-modded SPC880 webcam (seeing as Venus in transiting Jupiter at present) from Morgan's. Trouble is it seems these things are now out of stock will little chance of them getting anymore in. As I don't want to pay £60 for what is essentially a £14 webcam on the usual fleabay/ab&s, does anyone have any alternative suggestions that are as good (or better) for modding and using for planatary/lunar imaging? Many Thanks, Gary
  2. Hi Demon Barber, do you have any images or guides on where this may have already been done before? I'm a little worried about the prospects of stripping the focuser down, especially as I wouldn't even know where to begin... Gary
  3. So is this a common problem with these units then (mines the non DDG version)? If so, surely WO should be doing something about this? Mines out of warranty as it was purchased used from an astronomer in Norfolk a few months back but I have only just had the opportunity to set it up and try it. I'm a little disappointed to say the least... Gary
  4. Hi, I have the above mentioned refractor telescope, currently mounted on a standard photographic tripod for solar viewing. I used it for the first time yesterday and noticed that when tilted beyond 25-30 degrees in elevation, the focuser (drawtube) was not able to to be drawn back into the scope when fitted with a 2" diagonal and 20mm Meade 5000 EP. If levelled the tube would retract okay. If the EP was removed and the angle adjusted beyond 30 degrees again, the drawtube would drop by about 8mm, under it's own weight. Do I have a problem with my focuser? Thanks in advance... Gary
  5. Yep, both fully released, but as stated this is only slight friction and only when the weight or scope is at a certain point in rotation - for RA it seems to be when the OTA is in the Eastern position. For DEC it is when the OTA is horizontal with the floor. This maybe just because all the weight is bearing down on the bottom of the axis at both of those points? It simply impedes full (hands-off) rotation under it's own weight/momentum if moved slightly by hand... Gary
  6. Thanks guys, I've now removed the rear safety stop screw and managed to achieve balance...of sorts :s I'm convinced my mount is suffering from 'stiction' in both the RA and DEC. Now that balance has been achieved in DEC there appears to be a small amount of friction in the DEC axis if I try to move the OTA out of balance. Is this normal as it appears the same in both DEC and RA or is this 'Stiction'? I'm afraid I'm still a little new to this term and so couldn't categorically confirm whether what I am seeing (feeling) is that what is stated...? Any further advice before I contact the retailer would be most helpful. Thanks, Gary
  7. Hi mag10, do you have any pictures of your setup in DEC balance with the clutch disengaged? Just thought it might be useful to show a comparison when I go back to the supplier (Dave Hinds) about this...? Thanks, Gary
  8. Not without removing the safety 'end-stop' screw at the rear of the dovetail. I have tried this and moved it as far back as I thought safe to do but this still made no difference. Can I assume then, from my attached images, that there is something wrong here and that the OTA should remain horizontal when the clutch is released (when balanced correctly) - ? Gary
  9. Here are some images taken of the scope balanced in RA (and then locked off for safety) with the DEC clamp released. No matter where the OTA sits on the mount it still swings down (i.e. back heavy). I even removed the spotting scope and diagonal/EP to see if this improved matters. I think I may even have a little 'stiction' in RA aswell?
  10. Thanks guys, but surely a scope sold as a package shouldn't need additional weights added to it to enable it to balance correctly and as exampled in the supplied user manual? Plus, if I add more weight to the front I may then need to purchase additional weight to balance the scope in the RA axis...? My brain hurts!! Gary
  11. In answer to your question RobH, the OTA has the 9x50 spotting scope, SCT adapter, 90-degree diagonal and 40mm EP that came with the scope. The front protective cover has also been removed, as detailed in the manual. Even when fully set forward (and removing the back-stop screw) the scope still wants to swingupwards - i.e. the EP end is pulling down against gravity and the corrector plate (light-gathering) end is pointing straight upwards. Gary
  12. Hi, I have a newly purchased Celestron CGEM 800 EdgeHD scope and mount but am having some trouble balancing the damn thing as described in the manual - excerpt: Balancing the Mount in DEC Although the telescope does not track in declination, the telescope should also be balanced in this axis to prevent any sudden motions when the DEC lock lever is loose. To balance the telescope in DEC: 1. Loosen the R.A. clutch lock lever and rotate the telescope so that it is on one side of the mount (i.e., as described in the previous section on “Balancing the Mount in R.A.”). 2. Tighten the R.A. lock lever to hold the telescope in place. 3. Loosen the DEC clutch lock lever and rotate the telescope until the tube is parallel to the ground. 4. Release the tube — GRADUALLY — to see which way it rotates around the declination axis. DO NOT LET GO OF THE TELESCOPE TUBE COMPLETELY! 5. Slightly loosen the knobs that holds the telescope to the mounting platform and slide the telescope either forward or backward until it remains stationary when the DEC clutch is loose. Do NOT let go of the telescope tube while the knob on the mounting platform is loose. It may be necessary to rotate the telescope so that the counterweight bar is pointing down before loosening the mounting platform screw. 6. Tighten the knobs on the telescope mounting platform to hold the telescope in place. Like R.A. balance, these are general balance instructions and will reduce undue stress on the mount. When taking astrophotographs, this balance process should be done for the specific area at which the telescope is pointing. The problem is that with the OTA setup as indicated (with front cap removed + 9x50 finder scope, diagonal and 40mm eyepiece attached) the scope will not balance horizontally when the DEC clutch is loosened. I have tried to push the scope as far forward as possible on the mount but still no joy. Is this even possible? I also noticed that when balancing in RA there appears to be a slight 'sticking' for want of a better word. It's only slight but noticeable as it stops the off-set balance from moving the scope when in the EAST side. Is this what is termed as 'Stiction' and is it something I should worry about and/or get back to the supplier to remedy? Thanks in advance for any comments...(Come on Clear Skies! ) Gary
  13. Okay, I've just taken delivery of my brand spanking new Celestron CGEM 800 Edge HD and couldn't be happier. One slight annoyance though is it comes with a 12v cigarette lighter power cord I would ideally like to try out the electrics and motors to ensure all is working okay and so wondered if anyone has one of these mounts and can recommend a suitable AC Adapter that won't damage this mount? Note: As expected, Celestron states that you should only use their branded products but they on produce 1.5A and 2.5A 12v supplies for their mounts and the online specs state that it requires 12v and 3.5Amps! (Still waiting for a response from both Celestron and the seller - Dave Hinds Ltd on this matter) Anyway, any advice from you chaps would be very much appreciated... Many Thanks, Gary Come On!...Clear Skies PLEASE!!
  14. Hi, I'm (still) in the process of getting together my first few eyepieces, a barlow and diagonal to go with my new refractor. I had considered either a WO Carbon Fibre or Revelation Quartz 2" diagonal but then came accross the Meade #647 2" flip Mirror digaonal. This is obviously used for viewing and photography, which I intend to do a lot of, but wondered whether the quality of the mirror in these was suffient to remove the need for a seperate (viewing only) diagonal altogether? Details here: http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/meade-647-2-flip-mirror-system_d85.html Note: Obviously I will also need to purchase an SCT to refractor slot adaptor. Any thoughts or advice...? Thanks, Gary
  15. Hi, I was reading this thread with some interest and was looking at following a link on how to modify the Microsoft Lifecam HD (720P) camer for astrophotography when I noticed that MS have since released a newer Full HD (1080P) webcam - MS Lifecam 1080p. Microsoft Unveils New LifeCam With Stunning 1080p HD Sensor: Closest Thing to Being There in Person: LifeCam Studio is the perfect HD video calling companion for Windows Live Messenger 2011. Does anyone have any experience of using this camera for astrophotgraphy and whether there is any real improvement in image quality over that provided by the older 720P model? Thanks, Gary
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