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Everything posted by Brent

  1. I've not been on here for a while. Not had my scope out much for the last 4 years. Used it over the summer for a couple of nights just out of interest. Don't think it will ever be used again and I am more than fine with that.
  2. Thanks. I now think this may be the biggest issue then as until PHD2 started to warn of this I had very minimal dec backlash which wasn't a problem to PHD2. Thanks for the suggestion, I've done this for a long time and last time out also tried guiding in one direction only and RA dithering only. It didn't help the calibration of course but did seem to stop the constant struggle back and forth during guiding. I was hoping to tackle this at source (which might be beyond me by what you've said), so I will keep an eye out for a replacement drive for the time being if I can get one cheap enough. They seem to be getting rarer to find now though, so failing that an EQ6-R Pro may be on the cards.
  3. My Meade LXD75 is extremely loud and high pitched at full slew. So bad that straight after purchase 8 years ago I immediately changed the HC setting to quiet slew and have left it there ever since. Although I wouldn't describe it as quiet myself, it's comparatively so and cuts the the noise by over half. Takes maybe three times as long to complete a 180 degree slew but I only really image so makes no difference at most twice a night. It's still loud enough that I wouldn't slew if my neighbours window was open though because I set up only 3 feet from my house, right next to the boundary and live in a semi-detached.
  4. An interesting read following that, thanks. Probably not something I will ever do myself but have bookmarked it with other guides just in case!
  5. Sorry, been snowed under with work and didn't see this. The only photo I have at the moment is this, don't know if it will be of any help. I'd removed the three bolts form the right hand side to try to slide the motor out but the ferrite core (?) won't go through the housing without cutting the wires. I didn't want to do that there and then but will do if necessary and resolder after. Thanks.
  6. Thanks for that. I'd got it back together and was outside when you replied, sorry. Everything else feels good and tight so I didn't bother messing with the worm and wheel mesh as I think I managed to sort that a couple of years back, I think the issue is the motor shaft now. Everything was back to 'normal', at least I hadn't made anything worse. Just as a test as I haven't done it properly before, I guided in one direction and dithered in RA only. Not too happy to dither long term like that but it seemed to work to keep the dec more under control. I haven't stacked anything to see if that will be noticeable yet. An EQ6 Pro purchase may be closer than I thought though!
  7. Oh, yes thanks, forgot to say that the grub screw is sat on the flat of the shaft and tight, no detectable movement at all between them. The shaft will also move in and out of the motor housing maybe by about a mm or two, so if I understand what you're saying that would indicate that the bearings have had it?
  8. I have an old problem with massive dec backlash that PHD2 is struggling with and I'm trying to get it sorted now. I have the motor off and have some play in the gear. After checking that the gear grub screw was tightened down on the shaft (it was), I have realised that the gear shaft turns with the gear and so the play appears to be within the motor itself If I was to open the motor up is it likely that there would there be some way of tightening the shaft? Or has the motor had it? Dec.mp4
  9. Great idea. Just out of interest, what would you estimate the cost of materials to be?
  10. Hi Robin, Firstly, thanks again for this great piece of software. I have an issue which I have found an effective (if long winded) workaround for, but I thought I'd let you know about it anyway. I have SharpCap 2.9 and have been testing the polar alignment routine with a 9x50 finder and a Philips SPC900 LX modified webcam. I can set the exposure length correctly (I need to use about 12 seconds to resolve enough stars) and the screen displays each new exposure UNTIL I open the polar alignment window. The last image then stays on screen only until the next exposure completes, at which point just a frame which appears to be noise is displayed. I found that if I close the polar alignment window, new exposures resume being displayed correctly, and if I re-open the polar alignment window it will return to the step at which I closed it and continue, using the last frame displayed (hope that makes sense!). So, I can open and close the PA window and time it right to get through the routine but obviously don't have live on-screen updates on the final step. The routine is otherwise really fast and accurate I must say, well done, and thanks to you and @themos for this great innovation ?.
  11. Wow, I feel an attempt at a bayer removal coming on!
  12. By the way, if you particularly want Live View I'd get one of the others you mentioned. It's never bothered me not having it though.
  13. I have a 350D. Canon never released any 64 bit drivers for it so you'd need to either be running 32 bit Windows, or a 32 bit virtual machine. Many have had success using a virtual machine but I installed 32 bit XP instead as my netbook isn't very fast and is short on RAM Once that's done it can be controlled in the same way. I use Astrophotography Tool, it does everything I need and much more and the free version includes almost everything.
  14. Thanks Rodd. SharpCap's polar alignment routine is remarkably easy actually. I used a finder guider with a Philips SPC900 LX webcam, and the plate solving is standalone and included in the download, i.e, no internet connection required once installed. The finder doesn't even need to be closely aligned with the scope as long as it's FOV is within 5 degrees of the NCP. The procedure is detailed on the SharpCap website, but a short description: 1) Do a usual polar alignment via the polar scope, but anything within 5 degrees seems to be acceptable (so you could theoretically have no polar scope and eyeball it!) 2) Set the scope to polar home and take an 8 second (or so) exposure. 3) SharpCap will plate solve it (in under a second in my experience!) 4) Move the mount about 90 degrees in RA. Take another exposure. 5) SharpCap will plate solve the second exposure, then compares the two images and works out the centre of rotation. It then tells you how many arc-minutes/seconds to move the mount in simple terms (up/down/left/right) and shows a visual overlay with an arrow and a circle to move a given star into. This is updated onscreen as you move the mount bolts and new exposures come in. (I had a slight issue here which I'll have to report to the authors, but overall it couldn't be simpler!) Hope I haven't missed anything (apologies ro the authors if I have), but have a look at the SharpCap site for a more detailed version.
  15. I set up on Friday 16th under a full moon with a plan of just testing the polar align routine in SharpCap. It works really well, actually better with my mount than Alignmaster now that I have some backlash issues. It takes backlash totally out of the equation! Thanks to @themos (PhotoPolarAlign author) and @rwg (Robin, SharpCap author) for this great feature. It was really fast and easy to do and I'd thoroughly recommend it! Anyway, having accurately polar aligned in record time I thought it would be a waste to let a clear sky go unused when I was already fully set up, full moon or not. This is 45x180s of lights (limited length subs due to the moon), 50 flats and 50 bias. Captured in APT and processed in DSS and PS. It needed a REALLY healthy dose of HLVG which I'm guessing could be due to the full moon (?) as I've never really needed to use it before. Equipment: Canon 350D (Full Spectrum) with CLS-CCD & Baader Mk III MPCC Skywatcher 150p Meade LXD75 Finder Guider Thanks for looking.
  16. I can see that myself now, great description! And let's face it, I think we could all be dragged away by the men in white coats, what with obsessing about graphs and standing out in minus temperatures for countless hours . So I won't tell if you don't
  17. First time out this season on the 11th September after 17 weeks of no setting up. To be honest I'd have just been happy to remember how to set up after that long but I also got an image (of sorts!) to boot. Interestingly, guiding was absolutely atrocious with a range of +/-5 arc seconds (the larger spikes seem to come every 6 mins or so, so I'm assuming they're all dithering related?). Screenshot of guiding also below, help very welcome. Just 18x300s of lights, 50 flats and 50 bias, so not much to work with and it shows! The rest of my kit is in my sig, thanks for looking.
  18. You can also easily add as many new stars to the Alignmaster database as you like to give you many more options in pairs. Just add them in the correct format in the sterne.txt file. Closer pairs will obviously need more iterations carrying out to increase the accuracy though. This is what I've had to do to get usable pairs from my setup location and it's worked very well.
  19. Excellent presentation, Sara. I also was planning to do more imaging of asteroids after capturing 2012 DA14 on its close pass in Feb 2013. Then I got into struggling with introducing guiding to my setup and I haven't done any asteroids since! By the way, that last image in your video of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter scares the heck out of me! At the minute I'm halfway through "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven, that one's about a comet, but still.
  20. Great images Tim, I particularly like the Heart. Which UHC filter are you using if you don't mind me asking? I'm seriously thinking about getting a Castell UHC but I'm unsure whether its bandpass is narrow enough to shoot with the moon up.
  21. @wimvb , Thanks for pointing that out, totally correct! Having got it back into PS in a darkened room and hopefully corrected it with HLVG, all I've got to say is I NEED TO STOP PROCESSING IN A DAYLIT ROOM!! I've replaced the image in the OP, thanks again.
  22. I'm by no means an expert and someone else will be along soon, but I would say give it a go, it's the only way you'll find out for sure. Results will partly depend on your equipment of course, but you WILL get something. As an idea, I can only see at most 3 stars in Ursa Minor including Polaris on most clear nights. I also get maybe only one or two clear nights a month which I can actually use, so I feel your pain on that one! By the way, both targets you mention are rich in Hydrogen Alpha so you'd need a modded DSLR or a CCD camera to be able to get something really worthwhile on them. Without an LP filter you possibly won't be able to go far past two minute exposures but there's still plenty to go at with that. I made the move into imaging about 2 months after getting my smallish 'scope because the horrendous light pollution was stopping me seeing much at all. Imaging kept me in the hobby basically! (but then emptied my wallet )
  23. Another re-process to keep my hand in over the summer nights. This one's from the 12th August 2015, which was a remarkably transparent night around these parts! The gear used is listed in my signature (except I didn't own the coma corrector then, not actually such an issue on this large crop.) Details: 25 x 300s lights @ ISO 800, no darks (& no dithering), 50 flats, 50 bias. Not sure why I didn't dither but must have been a technical issue because I know the value! The first image is the original, the second is the new process (thanks to wimvb for pointing out the massive green cast the first time I posted, I really should get a better monitor as well ). Hopefully there's more depth in the newer one. The background is noisier though, maybe I should hold that back more. If you click the first image you can then click the left and right arrows to go back and forth between them to (hopefully!) see the differences more easily. Just noticed you can also use the left/right cursor keys which makes it even easier. Thanks for looking, comments either way very welcome.
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