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Epicyclus Dave

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Everything posted by Epicyclus Dave

  1. Hi all , i just recently built a new "Torness" battery box http://stargazerslou...-diy-power-box/ and have tested it out at remote sites with good results. On an unusually clear night i had the power running for more than 4 hours , during slewing to another target i noticed the mount power led flashing slowly , i checked the lead & plug at the mount thinking bad contact but that was ok . Out came my multimeter and i had 12.48V on the battery (13.06V when at full charge) .After noticing the power led flashing i found my images to have trailing stars , small amount but enough for DSS to dislike them . At home i decided to perform a full load test pluging in one thing at a time and measuring the voltage as well..... fully charged battery nothing connected = 13.06V. NEQ6 pluged in = 12.95V. plugged in 4 Dew heaters on max setting = 12.88V. Then plugged in the Laptop + 12v charger ( lappy full charged at house) = 12.47V. ahem !! Ok , the laptop supply is chewing almost half a volt off the battery supply which in turn is setting the mount battery low warning off and possibly affecting tracking too. I narrowed it down to 2 options ..... A - spend £140 on a go-to handset (i bought the syntrek version with simple control last year) . B - After searching over the forum i spotted "Merlin" uses a 12v to 15v step up pack £16 Maplin or ebay (they are called universal car chargers 12Vinput / selectable 15V - 19V output 80W ) So i got one of these to feed the mount with 15V even when the battery is at 50% discharge. Now i just need a clear, cold , starry night to give it a real test , im hopeing this works i seem to iron out one problem then another arises , nevermind, fixing these problems helps you understand all your gear properly Dave.
  2. Great idea with the toolbox , i had a look at some toolboxes in Q&B before i built my wooden one but their handles looked like they would come off , heh. Insulation is very much needed for batteries , esp. if you are out at Whiteadder water in January at 2am , and it's not much warmer 20 miles south a bit near Galashiels . Dave.
  3. Hi all, had a great day yesterday at the castle , very interesting talks , i liked Robbie's Kielder deep view talk and after, the vivid aurora green pix taken in Iceland , very nice . I also had a bit pocket money with me and got a bahtinov mask for my ED80 & a set of stronger alt. bolts for my mount from one of the vendor stalls . I also felt my wallet get hotter & hotter as i got close to the 6" William optics APO refractor on one of the stalls, but rational thinking part of my brain switched on and i kept away from it, hehe , nice to see one in the flesh tho , web pix don't relate the sheer size . Met up later with Keith from sunderland astro & Mike from our borders club for a cuppa. Good day out on the Saturday , looking forward to the March event already. Dave.
  4. Hi there . First test was friday night (28th) and all seems good . I carried out a temp. test for my snug belt on the battery , after 3 hrs outside sitting on gravel , with the long diy heat band on med temp setting which is velcro'd round the battery, it maintained 19C inside the batt. chamber while it was 6C outside, magic , i suppose the real test will be in January at the cold minus numbers , heh . I also tried my cheap 12V plug in volt meter from fleabay and it's not quite the same reading as a bench meter (about 0.5V out) i'll see if it comes apart to find a trimmer inside , saying that i should really take a multimeter with me to remote sites, always handy . Loading up the power box with Neq6 / laptop(12v charg) / 5 Dew heaters (scope, finder, eyepiece, 2 dslrs doing tmelapse on tripods) / battery warm belt , the constant current draw was 4 to 4.5 Amps , the battery is a 12V 90Ah AGM now working at room temp. outside , half the rated battery capacity for prefered 50% discharge = 45Ah = 10 hours constant 4.5A draw , more than enough for 2 typical nights after work. Fab Dave.
  5. Thanks Knobby , taken a while to build but im really pleased with it .
  6. id call mine rough as a badgers rear end, but functional . Getting one finished and using it is the main thing , Good stuff Dave.
  7. Hi Mike . We were up the hill between yarrow and ettrickbridge and saw the green light enter the atmosphere then slowly coast across the sky breaking up as it went , initially we thought it was heading for Carlisle at that point the lead and bigest chunk broke into many pieces and started to follow the curve of the earth heading in Ireland direction & beyond. I was frozen to the spot with jaw wide open thinking maybe hiding behind the car would save us :D . I returned back to the telescope doing M31 subs and about 5 mins later heard "boom boom" then a fading rumble, very strange. Dave.
  8. Hi again. That's the control box finished The red pcbs came with a red / black / yellow wire that was so thin it snapped just looking at it , for those pcbs i re-wired the pots back to the 3 pin header on the pcb , removed the header pvc socket housing to leave the 3 pins sticking up and soldered direct , one of the pots had a bad carbon track / lug weld , changed it for an alpha pot (1K) i had lying around tho i need to chop the splined shaft down a bit to match the others (dremil job) , chuffed it's all working , i coupled the panel red leds to the output side of the circuit, they dim / glow as per heat setting. Sound as a pound . Dave.
  9. good news / results , my new batch of dimmers have a green pcb (first batch had a red pcb) , i think it's an identical circuit but slightly different component layout, the resistor pulse width mod works with these too , i tried a 5W diy band i have just constructed for my old threaded M42 metal camera lenses , low setting = room temp 18c ./ Half way = 33c . / Max setting = 49c . Should give enough variation for damp nights to -17c rural hilltops . Dave.
  10. Hi all , I got my other dimmers delivered today to finish off my controller . I was testing the output of these PWM controllers again with my oscilliscope and found that just like some analog synth PWMs the width is varied from about 20% to 80% of the pot turn, this means the max temp. is reached at 3/4 of the turn on the 1K control pot , past this point to full clockwise on the pot , the temp starts to drop again. ....So ..... to stretch the max temp to corespond with 100% pot travel i soldered a 680R (680 ohm) in series with the red wire and the max lug on the pot . I tried a few values and 680R gave good results for me. LEDs will dim just fine with these controllers but resistive heaters seem to exhibit temp drop at max pot setting , wiring the resistor onto the pot & red lead seems to fix this. Have fun . Dave . :)
  11. Heh , didn't know i had "sisters of mercy-first ,last & always album" type font , LOL
  12. No foggy lens for you Gina good stuff im still using resistor designs but im interested in trying the nicrome wire method. A quick question Gina ... i see you got a steeltrak focusser , after changing the stock ED80 dual speed was there any distance to reducer problems or did it all couple up fine ? , i remember reading the reducer was matched for the scope , i wondered if upgrading the focusser changed anything , im thinking of saving up for a steeltrak too :) . Heres the jpeg design i took to the sign makers shop in town to get my control panel sticker done , pic of the finished unit in a week or so when i get the last dimmer order delivered. From the top down on each channel i have DP toggle switch on/off. Pulse width pot control. Circuit active led. Output socket (panel phono type). Dave.
  13. Malcom..... Nice neat layout there , i see you took off the terminal block and wired direct to the pcb.... more space acheived , cool . I'm just waiting for these other dimmers to arrive then i can get my box finshed. Dave.
  14. Hi there . The pcb dimensions are , allowing for the green connector plug fitted .... aprox 30mm wide by 65mm long and about 20mm high , have fun gutting them . Dave.
  15. heh , , 6 ch on controller and 1 in the new battery box & one left over as a spare. I hooked up one for a quick test with a 48 ohm camera lens warmer diy strip and i taped a temp probe that came with my "Rapid" 5 digit meter onto a resistor on the band , temp rose from room 19c to 47c in 5 mins , i noticed little variation in temp sweeping the dial , even over half hour settle periods between sweeps , i'll check those wee leads on the 1K pots , very thin wire used , i may just re-wire & crimp the pot to pcb header wires, less likely to snap as some have already Dave.
  16. Hi there. almost finished , got the controls wired up at the weekend & tested with a multimeter before connecting the brass clamps to the battery terminals. I slightly underestimated the weight 18Kg , nevermind , i'll just have to have 3 wheat-a-bix before carrying it out to the car heh . At the control panel i have a big square red on/off DP switch, + and - wired from the battery with 6mm sq cooker cable , to the separate switch poles, the switch in "off" position couples the charge socket to the battery , the "on" position isolates the charge socket and supplies the fuse bank still with 6mm cable , . The circular red switch is for turning on an led dimmer pcb, the control dial is just out of pic, for my (still to build) battery snug belt , which will warm the air gap between the insulation & battery , really an extra long dew strip. Circuits 1 to 4 are the first 4 marine sockets protected with 5A blade fuses , for mount / laptop etc.. Circuit 5 a marine socket with 10A fuse. Circuit 6 a marine socket with 20A fuse (12V hair drier for bad dew ). Circuit 7 battery warm / dimmer circuit protected with 3A fuse. I was going to build another battery low led / transistor circuit but i spotted one of those cheap plug in cigar type, 7 segment volt reader displays. Dave.
  17. Thanks Jesper , i got some lock plugs for these sockets , twist to release type , should do the trick . Dave
  18. Hi all I've been busy with the saw last weekend in the shed and some off cuts of ply & a paint brush . To house my new 90AH 12v AGM battery (alpha batt own brand) , i have knocked together a 400mm L / 330mm W / 300mm H , plywood box with foil back sheet insulation on bottom & sides and foam sheet for the lid . I've made room for a control / charge panel inside and a wee space for my mount power lead storage. A pic of the box with 6 12v marine sockets , each wired with 2.5mm sq stranded cable ready to plug into the fuse bank . And a side elevation cross section of the battery area diagram . Hope to get some more stuff done over the weekend. Dave.
  19. Starnut , that panel looks great , nice clean layout , reminds me of a modular synth panel (my other diy interest). I got 4 of 8 dimmers delivered , next 4 due soon , im hoping to build a 6 channel control box , im designing a panel sticker on corel draw and will take the file to a local sign maker to get printed on adhesive vinyl, looking forward to building. Dave.
  20. Hi , thanks all , ive done a wee diagram of between the battery and the cigar sockets . My current diy box i built last year has 2 x 22AH AGM batteries , one for heaters and one for mount etc & diy battery low led indicators , im converting to a larger capacity 1 battery setup with the 90AH AGM , i'll mount a cigar socket with smoothing and label it Heaters , i've still to make a 4 channel controller as well , phew , id better get wiring , the dark nights are coming fast Going to make a start at the weekend in the shed building an insulated carry box from plywood, also including some warm plates for the battery to fool it into thinking it's in the house when it will really be outside in winter time, heh ( i've wanted to solve my problems with battery capacity on very cold nights , hope this works , snug battery . Dave.
  21. Hi there . I'm about to make a new , larger power box for taking to remote sites around southern Scotland. I will be powering my NEQ-6 , Laptop ( cdc & EQmod ) and dew heaters from 1 battery , 90AH 12V AGM gel . I was wondering if it would be wise to add smoothing for the heater circuit , i will have 4 pwm circuits pulsing away in the dew hand controller. I have found 4 - 4700uF 25V in a component box that i was thinking of soldering onto veroboard , wiring just before the dedicated heater panel socket. Do other single battery users find they have a supply ripple from pwm circuits affecting sensitive mount pcb's or am i perhaps thinking too deep about this . thanks for any ideas. Dave.
  22. Hi Keith , if you do decide to lop 40mm off the tube that collimator you were thinking of buying will be needed to finish the job , tell me when you need the STIHL saw , Dave.
  23. Hi there So i should think about the skywatcher ED80 & F/R with a possible focuser upgrade nearer xmas time, then guiding to think of after that :) . thanks for all your input. Dave.
  24. i love the mental vortex with 5 scopes swirling round all shouting detailed spec data at me
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