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About Leo.A

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    Star Forming

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    Lithgow, NSW, Australia
  1. So it's not just where I live in Australia (Lithgow, NSW)? Seriously, we had maybe 20 hot days all summer and maybe 6 of them had clear skies. As of Autumn we've had 2 clear, sunny days. Every other day our skies are filled with contrails from planes we don't even hear which eventually turn into never ending clouds. Our weather is seriously messed up, 10 inches of snow October 10th last year (mid spring), gas heater running and jumpers most of summer. Now, autumn here has been so cold. I'd sell all my equipment but I don't believe with the skies now anyone would buy it. I'd near kill for 2 clear days and nights in a row.... I've been considering trying to set up a similar project with a permanent camera (former speed camera with 1/2" CCD and full computer control base) but there's nothing to see other than clouds....
  2. The SPC880/900 now seems to sel used for $100+ AU on ebay for used units which aren't modded. I still have mine in pieces doing the Yes Yes mod. I alleviated the need to cut the pins on the circuit board connectors by making up an adaptor which both boards plug into and wires redirecting to the switch and custom board instead of hacking the fitted connectors. One day when I don't have a migraine I'll solder onto the minute base of Q3 and assemble the thing again.....One day.
  3. I have a friend with obvious signs of NPD (Narcissistic personality disorder), every sign actually but if anyone says anything "But everyone tells me how wonderful I am." Everyone tells him how great he is at everything, how he's always a natural and, how he's always 100% correct. Every conversation has this stuff included, it gets so tiring. Deja Moo The sense that I've heard his bull before! I taught him an old mathematics trick I learned as a young kid. I'd told him how my teacher would never reveal how he did it and how it took me years to figure it out. Three months later he came back with my story as his own and tried too show me the trick. I'd rather the truth any day unless, entertaining my son and making him laugh, then, it's "If you can't baffle with brilliance, dazzle with bull".
  4. I've just acquired 2 former speed cameras extremely cheap and upon investigation I found they have a 1/2" 0.1 lux colour CCD and some amazing gear within. The camera module itself is high spec and amazing quality and I'll soon have one up and running with it's 10-200mm F2.5 lens set wide open to capture the Milky Way. I'm looking into trying to acquire the 4 times digital zoom module too, which unlike a standard camera doesn't pixelate the image but gives an extremely clear enlarged view of the centre of the image. With it's standard zoom doubler and optional 4 times digital zoom, the camera has a focal length of 1600mm and I'm hoping I can use it as is for planetary imaging. If not, I know the Milky Way should look great at 10mm. Info on camera specs: http://elbex.com/product/switchable-high-sens-color-0-5lux-to-bw-0-1lux-traffic-control-camera-20-x-zoom-99-presets-and-auto-slow-shutter/ The full motorised drive on 2 axis (alt- azimuth), all computer controlled as per most CCTV cameras Specs: This could be a very worthwhile venture for anyone who may be able to purchase them second hand. I've been lead to understad Britain is heavily monitered with security cameras? There would likely be a source of cheap, used items when they upgrade. Mine cost me $20AU each but $160 went on freight from an interstate location. A little more than the actual cost ($60) but I wanted to be sure I covered packing and handling time for the stranger kind enough to make this possible. An amazing find considering an international forum I frequent with 3,000,000 members and 1 member asking in the HelpDesk for information on these units. Thankfully, he was an Aussie member and soon confirmed he had access to a few of them. No expense has been spared in the manufacture and maintenance of these units (Elbex 2330P) If my eventual images come out well, I'll post them here. A friend asked me if I could get one for him, I'll be looking into that today. I may see if I can get one more for myself as well and remove the camera unit and use the rest of the case for my letter box. That should slow some of the local drivers down a little, lol.
  5. Sorry to be a pain. I've seen mention of lines appearing, similar to scan lines on a TV after the mod. If anyone is interested in knowing, the original stand-off's are also earth points along with the little spring connector in one corner. If the stand-off's are not refitted correctly, this is the result. The lines are due to poor earthing.
  6. I will be doing it in stages, or more to the point, testing it in stages. Nothing happens too fast around my place with chronic migraines every day. I'll still do the LX and amp off in one hit, be illogical not to but while the thing is in pieces (OK, boards separated), I'll slip a small heatsink behind the sensor and slap a fan on the case. That in itself may be sufficient but I'm still keen on playing with the coolers since I purchased half a dozen of them. If a fan and heatsink cool sufficiently to reduce noise I'll use the peltiers for some other project. The mod will be somewaht simplifeid and complicated at the same time by using headers instead of direct solder points. It will make it easier for me to trace my mods and less risk of me damaging anything with a soldering iron. I spent many years studying electronics (diploma level engineering at TAFE) and have done a lot of soldering but, with bad, blurry vision even magnifiers won't assist, I keep soldering to a minimum. Next task is my pier mount but that's when the weather clears. At least I have everything I need for that (except a shed to weld in).
  7. Yes, 2mm pitch for the 20 pin header joining the 2 boards and 1.27mm for the USB header. I'm aware of the need for the heat sink on the peltier but depending on the temp I want to run (supplied voltage regulated) I have played quite a lot with a couple without fan. That's the one thing I was concerned about. I don't really have the disposable income to purchase a dedicated CCD and my DSLR is an old 10.2MP Nikon D80 which seems to suffer considerably from amp glow. I've spent around $40 on components to do the mod and if it doesn't work, it will be back to the drawing board (and my modded xBox 360 cam) I'm still in the planning phase while awaiting delivery of my components and anything/everything can change. As long as my SPC880 still works for planetry imaging when I've finished I guess I'll be happy but I'd really like to try DSO's. Thanks for the replies!
  8. What ever happened to the ability to edit our previous post? I forgot the main thing I'd like to know: Is there a circuit diagram (schematic) for this cam available anywhere?
  9. I'm just looking into doing the serial mod on my flashed SPC880 and I have a few questions (hope this thread is still current). First stupid question (sorry if it's covered in the 38 pages, I haven't had time to read them all), has anyone used peltier cooling with this mod/cam? I have some 40mm peltier coolers and was contemplating using one to cool the sensor. I've been told condensation can be a problem if I run a cold finger from the peltier to the sensor (rear) and figured it would probably affect other curcuitry. I'm toying with the ridiculous idea of using a small cpu heatsink assembly on the rear of a peltier and having a small PC type fan blowing past the cold side of the peltier into the jiffy case I'll be using. I also purchased a controller to adjust the temp of the peltier but doubt it will fit in the case (I'm going to need a shoe box, size 11 at least, lol). I've drawn up a rough design of a small funnel type device with the peltier mounted vertically below the case (cam case) on the side of the funnel and a fan drawing air in from the base. The idea is the air will cool sufficiently as it passes the peltier and have sufficient force to blow up into the cam case and exit small vent holes. With this idea I could also direct the air easily to cool other components in the box. I've purchased a 40mm adjustable speed ball bearing fan for the design. Another thought, if I use an alloy jiffy cases and mount the peltier directly on the case, would that also cause condensation inside the case? If I mounted it a small distance from the alloy case with holes would the peltier provide sufficient cooling by chilling the entire case slightly without the need of an extra fan? I may need a fan on the heatsink, hopefully not. The same circuit I see everywhere from Yes-Yes lists the diodes as 2N4148 which list as triacs in all the references I could find. I've assumed they're 1N4148 diodes. I've purchase pin header bars (male and female) from China via ebay to minimize my need to solder directly onto the cam board. Everything except Q3 will be a plugged connection. This will aslo save me from having to cut/break off any pins or bend and file the pins/socket. I've even ordered 50 pin units with 1.27mm pitch to replace the original USB connector. I only have to cut it down to 6 pins. Now to the tricky question: Q3 has a very small solder point and with chronic migraines every day and ever failing eyesight I'm hesitant to want to solder directly to Q3 if I can avoid it. I checked with my multimeter and found a few points which connect directly to Q3 but they are just as tiny. If I solder to Q3 is there any unused point on the sensor board with no connection I could perhaps solder a small pin onto then use a plug type connection from the base of Q3 to the zener diode? I'd still have to run from Q3 to the pin via a soldered joint but since I'm likely to do these mods in stages (health issues) I don't want to risklifting Q3's solder pad. I may drill a small hole in the sensor board on the front edge (opposite cut out on second board) and use a small screw in pin. Due to my my lack of necessary parts at home, I won't be able to start till all my goodies arrive and won't know what size case will be required till I get all the boards sorted. I'm contemplating running the boards separately instead of plugging them back together via the 20 pin connector (I purchased these from Hong Kong, should be here in 3-4 weeks). I think if I make small cables running tbetween boards instead of soldering everthing, there's less chance of messing up. I probably have all the necessary parts on old boards (my old washing machine circuit boards have the diodes and BC547 transistors) but decided I'd do this once and not mess up since these cams are now near impossible to locate, other than from France (Ebay) for $120++ (excluding $40 freight to Aus) for a non modded, used item. Hind sight would have been great, I paid around $120 new, flashed to the 900 from a UK ebay seller and this included the nose cone. I should have purchased a few, I'd be able to get $200+ now for them here.... Is there a known replacement cam which substitutes for this in CCD quality/low light capacity? I have a few friends intersted in trying cam astrophotography after seeing some of my moon and planetary shots. Once I get started I'll likely post a few shots of my own take on the mods ( big thanks to Yes-Yes) and hope I won't require a forklift to lift the cam to the focuser (I always over engineer, even simple electronics). A big thanks to the input of everyone here, some I've read and many I'm yet to read. The night is young and my reading glasses are clean, all I need now is a bucket of coffee....
  10. I like the Nikon cameras because I have a range of Nikkor lenses from my 2, 35mm Nikon bodies which fit straight on and work like a charm. I use an old Nikon D80 (10.2MP) for my astro camera but would like to upgrade finances permitting. I've looked at the D3200, D5200 but have taken a liking to the new D7100 because it doesn't have the optical low pass filter. Albeit a $1000 body compared to much more affordable D31-3200 and D51-5200. It's likely a pipe dream, I'm a disability pensioner but dreams are what keep us going. I'm not sure on post shot filtering on the D3100 but do know many of the Nikon's have a software/hardware (not sure which one) filter applied while saving the image. There's a work around accredited to someone whose name I can't recall and that is to shoot with Hi noise reduction enabled- applied (selected in options menu) and turning the camera off soon after snapping the image. This will save the RAW image pre filtering but I haven't tried it myself. While this in itself sounds very simple, turning the camera off and back on, for my attempts at capturing the Milky Way as a series of shots processed into a panorama, I'm going to move my camera every time I try to switch it off and on. That and I use an intervalometer to capture X amount of images before moving the position of the camera slightly and starting over, usually around 20-40 shots at 30 seconds with an 18-55 Nikkor lens (F3.5). I also have a wide angle adaptor from my Panason FZ50 which is a x 0.5 adaptor but it tends to distort the outer edges of the images. Two rather cheap fisheye adaptors I purchased from Ebay now serve as paper weights so be wary of cheap glass. Good luck!
  11. This may be of no use to you but I do know some scopes are designed where the Barlow must be used to obtain focus. Were you previously using a Barlow when focus was achievable but perhaps forgotten about it? I can't obtain enough in focus with a couple of my smaller scopes for photography purposes but using the 2 X Barlow moves the focal point back and corrects the problem. I was also given a small reflector which couldn't achieve visual focus without the Barlow, that was the way it was designed to be used. Worth dropping a 2X Barlow in and trying I say.
  12. Sorry for the double post, no longer able to edit my former post. Hi Adam, welcome to the forum! You will need a standard T adaptor to suit your Canon if you want to photograph through the telescope (keeping the focuser eyepiece size in mind). Most newer scopes have a 2" eyepiece capacity with an adaptor for 1.25" Myself, I'd go with the 2" unit (my scopes will accept this) because the extra size gives a little more in focus without the 1.25" adaptor, a problem I'm currently having with 2 of my scopes. For many deep sky objects, many people piggyback the camera onto their telescope because they are't wanting the magnification through the scope for wide field shots. This still provides the guiding feature through the telescope. Not sure on the iPhone, I think the Canon is going to weild better results with more features. Having said that, my son has taken some remarkable moon shots hand holding his iPad (complete with 1.3MP camera) to the eyepiece. Do you know who Plugtop is? If so, I'm G13
  13. Do you use an USB to network powered extender for your 10 metre USB cable? I believe USB only extends to 5 metres without signal degredation and slow transfer rates. I recently purches 2 of these devices, one was very cheap from China but only USB 1.1 compliant, still good enough for my Philips SPC900 web cam but not suitable for the PS3 and XBox 360 wen cams I modified for atsronomy use so I had to pay a little extra to get the USB2.xx compliant cable (USB to RJ45) which is powered and I can use a long network cable to transfer my signal. I also use a network cable hooked to my synscan controller so I can control it from the warmth of my tent (where the electric heater resides during our -10C winters). I still have to work on the remote focus but now winter is over, as soon as the fires and skies clear (I live in Lithgow, NSW, Australia, where we've just had some very severe bushfires), I can get outside without cold being problematic. Now to that mosquito zapper.....
  14. Leo.A

    Milky Way

    I agree about the pole star. Everyone explains how to use the polar alignment scope on my 2 synscan mounts (EQ3, EQ5) but it's not so easy in the southern hemisphere. I can't wait for pole shift, then the northerners can put up with what their southern cousins have had to contend with, lol. I wish everyone could see what I see most nights when the moon is not out, I still think it's the most spectacular view on earth.
  15. Pardon my ignorance but I'm confused as to why the German equatorial mounts don't need to be levelled? Wouldn't this throw the tracking out somewhat with my EQ5 Synscan system were I not to level the mount? I have some 152mmNB pipe I've just picked up and am currently designing my own pier. I have looked at so many designs online and thought the extra plate to level the head created a weak spot and considered using shim washers at the base for absolute level. Should I decide to go the top plate, I have some 3/4 stainless bolts which will be the attachment medium for strength. I've seen many done with 8 and 10mm bolts and they appear to let the overall (overkill) strength of the rest of the pier design down considerably. I am a welder (among other qualifications) and will be doing the welding myself and am confident of affixing the upright square to the base. I am however somewhat confused with what many specify as minimum requirements for pipe wall thickness and base plate thickness. Steel plate isn't cheap in my region with cutting costs added and I've decided to go with 16mm base and head plates. I first considered 19mm base plate but found cutting charges for 3 plates was going to triple the cost of supply ($50 steel and higher charges for cutting). I have a friend whose an engineer and he's going to get the plate cheaper for me as long as I do the final grinding of the edges. Were he not so busy I'd have him do my mount head too, which is to be machined out of some 125mm aluminium billet and attached with 6-8 bolts (design not finalised). My largest two scopes are my 8" GSO (Bintel branded) reflector weighing in at around 10KG and a 152mm (1200mm focal I think) Skywatcher refractor I recently acquired. I haven't weighed the SW yet and, they will both take turns on my EQ5 Synscan mount head. My biggest problem will be specifications for the concrete base. I'm working on an idea of around 900mm deep and 350mm square to accept the 300mm (12") square base plate. This will be affixed with 16mm high tensile threaded rod set around 600mm depth in a welded configuration so it can't pull out of the concrete. I believe this to maybe be overkill for my scopes but it may as well be strong. I don't know what the land lord is going to say (rented premises)..
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