Jump to content

Epicyclus Dave

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Epicyclus Dave

  1. For me at remote imaging sites i like to have on in the background any virgin label years Tangerine Dream albums  (Force majeure  & tangram  & white eagle my favs) ,also sometimes some Orbital , boards of canada , good synthwave stuff (Dan Terminus , Lost Years , Robert Parker , LazerHawk) , and if a badger gets too close some classic Swedish deathmetal to clear it off  :D:D 



  2. Hello :)

    When I built my flats panel for my SW ED80 refractor, I used a 200mm x 300 piece of  50mm thick closed cell foam sheet (it is very stiff and almost no debris when drilling) , I then used a hole saw drilling in reverse to stop cutter jump & mangled circular hole effect & sliced the final size with a long craft blade, the el panel was fixed to the back of the foam with the light side peering through the hole in the foam and the back side of the EL panel was capped with a bit of 6mm ply wood , when I do my flats I push the foam square onto the dew shield and it holds the panel flat against the rim of the shield and stays put  allowing coffee to be enjoyed / histogram monitoring/ flat frame taking :) .



    On the back pic you can see the 12V to high voltage step up power pack that runs the EL panel.


  3. Hi, if you really need a warming band , I would say 0.5 A would be good for a slight warmth, we are not looking to roast a leg of ham with the band :) :) yum , that equals 24 ohms total resistance or as close as you can get  ( 12V divided by 0.5A) , so if you need 2meters of nichrome wrap around, you would have to get nichrome that is 12 ohms per meter  and if you require 3 meters worth length, it would need nichrome that is 8 ohms per meter, the values will depend on physical size of battery & how many loops needed and what resistance per meter you can purchace

    When I made the nichrome band for my Skymax180, I sleeved my nichrome with 2mm heatshrink to ensure no shorting along the length of the band .

    In most situations a band for the battery is not really needed if the box is well insulated, but i liked the idea of maximising the battery performance by having it operating at house temp. in Scottish winter time.


  4. Heh :)  there is always useful information hiding in old threads , old threads are great :D .

    The power box is still going strong, no issues with power on outings, and stable in freezing conditions,.....  fingers crossed for another few years use from the AGM battery , I keep it happy with a multi stage Ring charger  RSC512   http://www.ringautomotive.co.uk/uk/products/Cars/Battery+Care/SmartCharge-plus-/RSC512  .

    If you can get your hands on some off cuts of Kingspan or cellotex expanded foil lined foam wall sheet from a builders skip, they are great insulators , if not give your battery a jacket of itchy loft rockwool :) 


  5. Epicyclus Dave,  I've been looking at your thread and I'm wondering about a could of things.

    Do you really need the dew band for the battery?  or is the insulation enough?

    If you do need the dew band, how much power does it draw?  do you leave it on all the time, or just give it a blast once in a while?  And can you provide details of how you made the band?

    Hi , before I built the one in the link above, I used a a couple of Lucas 22Ah golf batteries in parallel in a box with an open top, on a cold January night years ago they sapped pretty quickly.

    When I was planning the big box supply, I looked at the battery manufacturers spec sheets online to see the Temp/ time discharge graph curves  and they showed room temp as ideal operating conditions , so I knocked together a simple resistor dew band to run at 3 or 4 watts from one of those led dimmer units ( I had to re-flow all it's solder joints , easy job to do) from hong kong.

    It was an article on ice in space website that I looked at for the maths side of working out a dew band, but I adjusted my own pencilled out equations to make a long low power band.


    Since getting a skymax180 I have now started using nichrome wire ,much easier and quicker build of big heat bands.

    When I unload the car at a remote site, I switch on the battery warm band to a medium setting on the control dial and leave on for the session, in winter I turn it up a bit more , power wise , everything runs sweet - NEQ6 with diy 13.6V step up regulation / SW ED80 / finder guider / XP laptop / diy dew band control & bands / DSLR supply.


  6. Hi Obi

    Here is an old link to the power box I made for my outings to remote sites , I used insulation in my box & I made an extra long, low power diy dew band wrapped round my AGM 90Ah battery , it maintains almost  room temp. inside the battery housing .

    A frosty battery lasts no time at all, keep it snug :) , take time with the design & construction of your power build and it will work for years .

    Happy building.



  7. Hi all ,  I finally got out with the new scope :) .

    Got the nichrome wire delivered & made the diy dew band , fitness mat shield now fits a treat.

    Here is a night time long exposure shot of the scope in action....


    On the day I received the scope I set it up outside the house during day time to look at some distant terrestrial things and I was surprised with the sensitivity to air currents (now I know this is long FL in action) unable to focus I instantly thought it may need collimated ( glad I didn't touch it) , 8 days passed before a moon lit clear-ish night appeared and I set off to a remote site , by the time I set up & remembered how to polar align since last out in January , the 180 had a good hour cool down , Wow what a difference  , I was scanning over the moon with my Hyperion zoom eyepiece and I was amazed by the crispness & clarity of the lunar views compared to my old helios 120 F8 achro with barlow.

    Next I set the mount to target Uranus , First time I have seen it through a scope , a green dot   :) , fantastic when I think of it's distance away , then Neptune , now this was hard because of the whispy, moon iluminated cloud hovering above the tree top line , there was definetly a blue dot there but I had to use averted vision :) .

    After 2 hours out in the cold Borders air, the tube was very cold and so was the surrounding fields (no ground thermal currents), I swung back to the moon and the view was even more stable & clear .

    I now having used this scope , understand it needs at least an hour or so before it performs brilliantly , I'm absolutely happy with that  and I am really looking forward to getting a fast planet camera next year , I Love This Scope :D :D .


    • Like 2
  8. Sounds good would like to check that out and those natural sounds must be highly appealing. I like to listen to music, usually radio 3 (classical or Jazz) on arrival and whilst setting up, then particularly whilst driving home. No need for anything whilst observing, natural sounds are fine, though last weekend I could hear the distant thud of periodic explosions drifting across from the Military zone in the Northumberland National Park. 

    We can hear the army shelling up in mid Borders too sometimes ,  it must be a nightmare for mickeyscope (mike) trying to image with the new OTA with all the vibrations , heheh :D :D

  9. Thanks for the handy tips  everyone :).

    Focuser is now attached to rear end & I have ordered nichrome wire as the diy dew band I made with resistor ladder design is a bit too lumpy for getting the dew shield to sit square.

    Diy dew shield , I popped in to sports irect to get a Lonsdale fitness mat , it has a really flat black non reflective material on top of the 6mm foam sheet , today I went to mums house to use a big needle & thick waxy thread for stitching leather , I had a lovely hour of home crafts (stitching) hehehe :D , now have the industrial Velcro securely stitched onto the long lip of the shield.

    Every night since getting the scope has been thick with cloud or it has been clear at 2am when I have to get up for work at 6:30am, humph! . 

    Hope to get out to my local site soon .


  10. While at remote imaging sites, I like to listen to Tangerine Dream - Force majure / Tangram / White Eagle albums also Plasitkman - Consumed album & some 1980 - 1984 Ultravox , if there is a fox or badger sniffing about while guiding , Napalm death - Peel sessions album scares them off :)


    • Like 4
  11. Well....... I caved in , and ordered last night a SW Mak180 & a red moonlite sct focuser  :D :D .

    Next year when im thinking of getting a fast planetary camera I will do the flocking & ring mods , I have a friend at an engineering firm who can make some custom tube rings, sorted :)

    Tomorrow will be a long day at work knowing a courier will be dropping a large cardboard box off at home :D


    • Like 2
  12. I used marine twist lock 12v sockets on my home made 90aH AGM battery box and are still working a treat after 3 years . admittedly, last years astro season nights were a total cloud fest , but I hope we get some good frosty nights this winter :)


  13. Great project you are working on here , nice detailed documentation  , I still have the xlr power socket mod to do on my neq6 , tho I have had no problems with power issues since I converted a step up power pack to supply 13.8V to my mount a couple of years ago.


  14. Hi all ,  I normally travel 10 - 20 miles to a few remote imaging sites with my SW ED80 / NEQ6 / modded Canon 500D / finder guider / laptop & mini "Torness" battery power box.

    I also still have my very first scope, an old Hellios F8 / 120 acromat that I use for a wee bit of solar imaging .

    I have been hankering after a longer focal length ota for a while now and I hope to get a zwo asi224 camera next year for some planet pix , I have a budget of around 1K and I was interested in the skywatcher skymax 180 mak  (which I would eventually do most of the common mods to , flocking , orion tube rings , 2 speed focuser )  .

    Is there a marked difference in use between the skywatcher sct Crayford & the moonlite sct focusers ?.

    And would a flip mirror added in the eventual image train have problems with distances ?.

    Dave. :)

    • Like 1
  15. Hi , yes the battery will do fine, it is a flooded lead acid  Leisure battery in the specs on the link you posted, if you were ever to replace it at all , I would recommend getting an AGM (more discharge cycles, etc )  , but you already have this battery, so use it :) .

    A common discharge level of these batteries we use , is about 50% (many battery pdf technical documents state an increase in battery life if mainly used to 50%)  , on Per's posted table above which relates to flooded lead acid deep cycle batteries, you can see your battery 50% voltage is 12.2V  , at this voltage a dc to dc converter for the mount will still be running fine , but an EQ6 running direct at that voltage would be quite impossible to tolerate :) .

    AGM have a tolerance that allows them to occasionally be run down to 30% / 40% discharge , but 50% is a good mark to aim for


    A smart charger is always recommended for marine / leisure batteries , C-tek is a very popular choice for a lot of astro folk , I use a http://www.ringautomotive.co.uk/uk/products/Cars/Battery+Care/SmartCharge-plus-/RSC512  and It does a grand job.

    At 50% battery level , when out at a site,  you don't need to immediately switch everything off , but be conscious that the battery has reached half way :)


  16. Yes , exactly why I chose a 90Ah AGM after exhaustive research before buying a big battery , sorry  I got the discharge volts wrong , I was in a hurry this morning to attend a full roast dinner ;) .

    When I was ironing out my set up problems, I noticed one of the things also to take into account is the cold temp. the battery is exposed to at a remote site, often sitting on frozen ground in winter in the -degC numbers , this really affects battery performance , to fix that , I built a cosy insulated carry case for the AGM battery, with a long DIY dew strip wrapped round the battery to keep it snug.

    For the past few years the 90Ah AGM running a 12V dc to dc converter for my NEQ6 / a 12V dc to dc converter for my already charged laptop / 4 dew heaters( objective / finder guider / DSLR on tripod doing timelapse / battery snug belt)  , this set up has been working fantastic, when the weather behaves :)


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.