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Mr TamiyaCowboy

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Posts posted by Mr TamiyaCowboy

  1. Lights : these are the images you take of the object 

    Darks : these are images you take with the telescope covered, we use these to capture noise the camera makes.

    Bias / Flats : these images are of a white background, we tend to slip a white t-shirt over the top the we takes some pictures,

    these images show spots of dirt and also the gradient ( slight changes graidents and viengeting (sp). 

    now take all the light frames, and the dark and flat frames we subtract from the main lights ( computer does this for us)

    what we get is a nice clean image devoid of most if not all errors like gradeints, and noise - viengneting.

    if you have a DSLR stick with that, take pictures and learn to manipulate them, every picture needs adjustment.

    and you need a lot of them.  most start with a webcam and/or a camera. most basic things can still give you an image.

    astrophotography / imaging is NOT easy , its not a plug in record and yeah i haff awesome pictures.

    its the 3hrs waiting for the computer to chug out that image then to find its no good, then another 3 hrs and an extra day messing around

    then the extra two months going back to get more data to add to your picture to have that eyecandy facemelting picture of glory.

    thats what i have learnt before even starting to try DSO imaging.

    I have a webcam to but i dont like the planets , trying to image mars with a dslr you will need a few barlows just to make a dot.

    a webcam does 100times that of the dslr. but my DSLR will capture DSO something the webcam will struggle with. 

    I own a DSLR and its my most fave imaging device, its simple it was cheap being secondhand, and it does the job.

    it works day and night, the major area is SOFTWARE, you need to be able to understand software.

    i spend an hour or so watching youtube videos on Gimp image editing software, learning how it works and adjusts.

    i also spent time watching videos on learning to stack with DSS and registax. 

    I spent countless months playing with said software , lunar images are nice to test with learning how those sliders work and pop out details.

    or how DSS would stack images and the differnet adjustments that could be used and the effects, it wastes away those raining nights and days.

    I had all the Gear and No Idea, now i have half the gear and a good idea on how things work,

    start cheap and simple then allow your knowledge and gear to grow

  2. a couple days ( 3-4 days) ago when i was trying to capture leo triplets. 

    i had failed a couple of times to even see them in the scope, i put it down to the small ST80,

    so i went star skipping, i went to regulas and hung around there for a couple mins, ( few sips on the yorkie tea),

    returning to the scope and 25mm eyepiece i notice a star moving backwards. 

    the weird part it was moving slow enough for me to barlow up, re-aquire target and slip a 10mm in the holder.

    i tracked this new object heading east at the same ALT as regulas , moving at a slow speed (#6 slew speed ).

    i lost sight when it started to dip away east towards mars. its not the first time i have spotted a backwards flying star and slow travel

    either.

    denebola, regulas, orion sword are the three places i have seen this kind of backwards flying star/object.

    its not an aircraft because i also hunt them at night to ( more so in moonlight as it gliters and highlights vapour trails)

    so am acustomed to seeing landing/navi/and strobe, 

    but backwards flying stars have puzzled me and stellarium says theres nowt there in the sky.

    i just put it down to some weirding effect or my old eyeballs have a few floaters hanging around

  3. thats ok fellow 

    am glad its more simple to understand what is happening and how it happens. 

    as for sawing its cool, but aligning the mirror's can be some what of a paint as you have found.

    dont regret what you have done, most would have gave up sold on and went else where.

    we learn from our mistakes .

    have a look around for a cheapy plastic focuser unit  some people upgrade to a nice fancy one,

    and im sure with all the members on the site one would have an old skywatcher ( short body / long body ) plastic focuser

    knocking around. 

    Having this could help when selling on you just install the new un-cut plastic one and send the other as spare/repair.

    But yep, mulling over it all, thats where that alignment kick is coming from

    if you pop an eyepiece into a focuser you will notice if you DO NOT tighten the grubs down it can move around.

    You pop a catseye into your cut focuser because there is a slight difference in hight around the top rim of focuser.

    it allows the cateyes to shift a little. No if that cut focuser body is replaced with an un-cut , i would hinge a bet that the alignment error on spider and cross hair alignment is removed 100%

    Edit ..... 

    my theory comes from the last area, HOW you ground down the focuser top. 

    when lapping ( polishing a surface to a mirror finish ) and new to lapping you tend to find you place an uneven pressure

     your surface starts to slope.. usually its on an edge and because when you draw back and forwards your placing more pressure on the back stroke,

    this in turn grinds down the back edge more than the front edge.

    removing the whole unit and placing it upon a flat and true surface you will see where this error/slope is .

  4. i can understand how you may think everything is good. 

    here what is happening ( i cannot be sure without hands on and eyes ), the focuser tube is UN-CUT. 

    this is a true to level top.

    now your plastic focuser tube holder ( the bit thats hacked). this to was flat and true when it was casted in plastic.

    the bottom of your focuser tube ( the black plastic lip at the top ) and the focuser holder top area are both flat and true.

    so the focuser tube when retracted fully sits lovely and flush. 

    you take a saw and hack of the focuser holder top, there are two things  that happen here, YOU SHORTEN the tube.

    first off, the focuser holder itself is not going to be true and flat. so its going to allow for some play shifting and a small kink

    where the lip is not true flat. 
    second is the focuser holder is a certain length for the focuser tube length. imagine two tubes one fits inside the other like a focuser.

    each tube compliments each other, the other tube holds the inner tube, as the inter tube slides out the outer tube holds it nice and level.

    NOW we hack off 1/2 the outer tube  we have a long interneal tube and a short external tube.
    when the inner tube is drawn out, it starts to droop, the reason is because your outer tube is now shorted and does NOT support the inner tube. 

    its long winded  buts thats what is happening, you also have to remember your using an optical so one very small error is shown at a bigger magnitude because of the optical system.

    look at differnet focusers, notice how they range in size, IE focus tube to focuser tube holder. 

    they come in short medium and long. crayfords are short stuby little focusers like the moonlite ones.

    then you get the skywatcher focusers ( white mid stubby ) 

    then you get the bog standard skywatcher plastic job.

    if your needed to adjust something to reach a prime focus, two areas are played with.

    the Main mirror is MOVED up the tube towards the focuser, and allows you to prime focus. or

    the second area is purchasing a shorter focuser and fitting this instead of major mirror moving.

    Both methods will bring the focal point closer to the camera. most will go the mirror route

    and some may go a focuser swap. BUT companys have clicked on to what we modders do,

    so now you can find telescopes aimed at imaging with cameras, what they have done is

    just used a slightly shorter telescope tube so the focal point sits just right for a camera.

    before companys started doing this astronomers toom things into there own hands and would have telescope tubes cut

    down slightly, or swap out focusers to a better more meaningful focuser, ( ie a shorter crayford for imaging, or a dual speed for quick focusing when eyeballing )

  5. I have recently taken my focus tube off and sawn it down to reach focus with my DSLR, could this have anything to do with it you think??

    I took about 8mm off.

    Bungielad.

    hmmmm, now this is not really a good idea. 

    when you say sawn it off, like with a good fine tooth saw or better still milled it down.

    if your like me you would have hacked at it with a cheap hacksaw / woodsaw, or even rubbed it on the concrete maybe ?

    if so i think this is where your little kink in the cross hair and spider vane alignment.

    now given the error its not to bad, BUT i would advise you if possible to have that top section you cut off

    milled down nice and true level 

    getting that top lip true and level, will knock the cross hair and spider vane alignment dead centre

    and a little tip, concrete / hacksaws are ok for some stuff but focuser tubes just get them milled down

    or chopped down with a good high speed cross saw

  6. Hi Tam,

    Sorry to see you have such limiting medical issues... it cannot be easy for you.

    How are you set up when it's cold?... is the scope also behind double glazing or is it outside with just you inside?

    If it is the former, then trying to align accurately on a star through 2 layers of glass will cause problems due to the double refraction through 2 spaced planes of glass... this will put the image in the wrong place relative to the real world sky.

    The other issue is that the amount the image is offset will depend on the angle between the scope and the window glass... the more acute the angle the further double refraction will move it... hence you would be miss-aligning your GOTO... and any alignment data would be false... hence GOTO errors.

    Just a thought... and my apologise if this is not the case.

    My very best regards.

    Sandy. :grin:

    Makes lots of sense and yes i am shooting through double glass, and the angle of incedence is big. regulas does have a semi disc like fuzzy just below ( reflection).

    will just mess around until the nights get alot warmer then i can get it onto the front lawn also gives me time to find an old windsaver/shield 

    stop some of the street lights causing problems. 

  7. am no super tech dude, and do not know much about aligning mirrors but ...... 

    i have noticed on my cheaper skywatchers ( those plastic or semi plastic alloy focusers )

    the focus tubes can move a fair amount ( wiggle ) and the futher out the focuser tube comes the more that tube can move-wobble. 

    you can see it happen when your focusing, there is like a tight spot then a slippage and slight kick, thats the focuser tube. 

    now i think this could be where your cross hairs are miss matching the reflection of the spider vanes,

    maybe worth just checking to see if focuser tube is not the problem, plus its another tick of the list if found to to be the cause.

    My new ST80 has a couple hex grub screws that run on a teflon pressure plate on the focuser tube

    and helps you adjust for that focuser tube wiggle/ slop / droop , Its a crying shame this feature is not added to the cheaper focusers

    that we are so often faced with on our first scopes

  8. OK, with you now (and sorry to hear you can't go outside, must be frustrating :().

    So I would repeat your test but this time make sure you align as precisely as you can for both alignment stars, using accurate time & location.

    Then GOTO Mars, again get this dead centre and use PAE to record Mars' position.

    Then GOTO Denebola and hopefully it should be centred. If it's almost centred but not far off, centre it and try PAE again. If it's way off then something's gone wrong.

    Then finally GOTO M66 and presumably at this point you connect your camera.

    M65 & M66 are tricky visually so I think trying this with the Moon up is going to be hard work, but then again I'm not an imager so I might be talking rubbish on this point.

    As an aside, have you got the park / power off / power on / no re-alignment required problem solved?

    yes if we have some more clear skys tonight, if not should be dark moonless skys from 20th onwards. 

    i turned off and recycled power, and it asked if i wanted to start from park/home

    after saying yes, it took me straight to set up menu, ( before it would ask to align or skip )

    so i think its fixed in that way. But thinking about it logic wise, it would not hurt to just align each time

    bit like checking an EQ and its polarsight is bang on every so often. but am hopeful this new 3.35 firmware is a better

    version of the 3.08 i was running

    just need the warmer summer nights to come on , so i can atleast get out  even if drapped in thick coats n gloves.

    these winter/spring evenings-nights i can stand out for about 5 mins before i cant feel the fingers - toes ( thats having gloves on and in pockets lol),

    not ideal trying to fumble around the 350d buttons and fine focus, 

  9. ok here is the workflow. 

    procyon is my first star ( brightest alignment ) , when asked to goto a second star 

    i have the scope track to regulas , both of these are centered. regulas is very high up its right on my slew limit boundry,

    any higher and i am looking at a ceiling/window frame.

    tell scope to goto Zosma its above charlon  , from here i slew down  to the  bright star below, charlon ( spelling wrong here)

    following charlon, i slew down then i skip east a tad. 

    in more simple terms, i look for regulas, its the third brightest star in my sky (procyon around 210 degree, then regulas thats on my alt limit  then spica thats just sitting below the moon and mars)

    and at around 11pm its roughly 210 degrees between 4-5 fists away is the tail end of leo and the ebola star ( denebola aka ebola its easy to remember)

    and just below the tail thats a kinda triangle is  m66 and m65, and just below these to the south west is a 

    small very unforgetable star in the shape of a triangle.

    mars was off center in my 25mm eyepiece, it layed right at the top edge of field in my 25mm eyepiece

    so my guess on polaris was close. 
    i have a heart condition so being outside is very much frowned upon ( thats how i had my heart attack, jupiter is both beautiful and was nearly my maker)

    when its cold so thats my reason i tend to view and image from behind double glazing.  a few more days

    and that moon will be gone again, and my finding of objects becomes a little less strain on the old eyes.

    i know i am close because i have imaged leo's tail ( the off shaped triangle, and the smaller three star triangle.... see image )

    post-16869-0-63314500-1397729088_thumb.j

  10. Have the mount up and running. 

    brightest star alignment, used regulas and a rough guess on polaris. 

    time-date-gps all exact 

    i can slew to m66 but am not seeing nothing ( ie no cores(bright stars) in the st80 and 25mm )

    i can slew back to regulas and its bang on. need to wait for other named stars to come into view to test

    but it looks not bad'ish at the mo. 

    still frustrated no m66 or m65  , and being stuck indoors when i need to be outside to see the good stuff in the sky.

  11. Forget polaris and try this ( own an ALT-AZ synscan goto)

    sit your down and release clutches, 

    Now point scope to NORTH and ALT to horizontal.

    Now lock the clutches. ( we call this PARK-HOME in synscan alt-az we dont use polaris we use north and level )

    plug in power and boot up the system 

    enter your details , date - time - location - DTS saving.

    once entered your asked if you want to align, press 2 to say no.

    Now click the Utility (button 3) scroll down to PARK-HOME and select it.

    now click enter again, scope should make minor adjustment and beep, then tell you to power down.

    so power down and then power back up. 

    enter date- time location-dst and run a star align. once star aligned. press button 3 again

    select Park-home and enter.

    scope should move back to north facing and horizontal. when it beeps just click ESC to return out, and go back to goto viewing.


    this is what i have learned after flashing and problems with my multifunction goto, 

    there is also another thing you need to know, WHEN aligning you MUST ALWAYS end the alignment with UP and RIGHT.

    (dont ask me why, im still trying to figure these backwards synta instructions myself lol ). 

    EDIT ...... 

    here we go this is a link to skywatcher synscan handset , you really have to read this a couple times

    to start to understand things and how the handset/goto works and functions. ( you ned to take note of the ALT-AZ areas ;) )

    http://www.skywatcher.com/downloads/SynScan_HandControl_web_280313V3.pdf

  12. been googling around see exactly what the merlin is and found this site.

    it shows both ALT and AZ motors-gearboxes and optical encoders,

    it also shows the mainboard driving the encoders, ( note jmpr 1 -2 -3  ?) 

    http://twiki.cis.rit.edu/twiki/bin/view/MVRL/BioGigapan

    my version is the tabletop one, i do have a tripod but it is not upto the job.

    the merlin head WILL NOT fit a standard EQ-1 leg-set  ( the catchment bolt is to short in length.).

    so i have it plonked on the floor 5ft away from the window, 

    more playing tonight but no camera, just a 2x barlow and a 10mm sw eyepiece with lots and lots of coffee ( super strong)

  13. gave up last night after an hour,

     powered on with NEW firmware. 

    done my brightest star alignment ( am indoors so i only see 1 star either regulas - procyon ) 

    its off but nearly in view in a 25mm, my problem i dont have a 25mm eyepeice fitted , i have a 350D canon camera dangling from the telescope

    that small  mistake on my 25mm eyepiece is huge in the camera. 

    so i swap and tell it im looking for stars in the south west ( my room window points 210 degrees)

    low and behold procyon is on the list ( its also on the south list ) so i chose this and try again.

    Still off not much but its off.  

    NOW heres the wierd part, i unhooked camera and shoved in the 90 degree and a 25mm

    took a gander, next i barlowed up and popped a 10mm in.

    now i adjusted mount to center star and , i could hear the motor clicking away , but the was a lag

    the scope would whirr a little then start moving !!!
     

    BACKLASH !!!! i have a feeling that maybe this is my error ? each time scope is ordered around it adds that small error.

    and we all know if you add lots of small errors together they grow to a huge messy error ?

    so whats your ideas ladys n gents, could i be seeing large backlash errors from the rotary encoders / motor engagement gearing. 

  14. location fix gps sat lock = 4/6

    N 52° 38  -  1° 13 E

    i left a couple numbers off, mainly the sub zeros lol. 

    time, i get this from my HTC phone, no clue it just tells me the time. 

    heres how i input time 

    i click the hours and input say 23:45 , then when it gets to seconds i just click ok,

    phone dont show seconds so i guestimate kinda think with my man-senses , its about 20 seconds now, spam enter. 

    i have used no other time device. 

    i have about an hour till my powerpack is beefed up (13.7v and going up, i used a fair bit last night to)

    i am also in two minds to grab a DC-DC converter and wire into my powerbrick, this way the feed to mount is fully regulated.

    I have read that a un-regulated source can cause problems ( battery is not regulated ?).

    Its not going to beat me astronymonkey, its frustrating and a headache lol.

    GOTO make your astronomy simple ( i thought the advert meant, not pull your hair out and grow gray whiskers making it goto)

  15. back again..... 

    flashed the handset to 3.35. 

    Now have a lot more choices added,

    for a start my merlin mount (synscan goto) was said to control camera and take pictures.

    it never ever did or had a camera option ( one of the reasons i got it) , now i have camera control on the handset. 

    ALSO my manual is nothing like the one online, its more indepth at explaining PAE and aligning.

    IT IS NOT SAID in my manual anything about the last two inputs of aligning star should be right and up. 

    and if you over shoot you need to use left and down, then finish with right and up. 

    so yeah are you puzzled yet ? , trust me it gets even more wierd. 

    MOUNT should remember where it was last and should not need re-aligning is somehwat a fib.

    if you want full mode YOU HAVE to align each time you reboot system.

    If you just wanna rough guess point and cruise ( newbie friendly) you skip alignment.

    BUT both methods are accruate and the same . 

    anyways new firmware uploaded, i did not know about motor board firmware so did not download or install

    as i had no clue what ones to use.

  16. Scopes balanced, and adjustable slider rail is fixed solid so no slippage at all.

    100% sure on slippage not happening. 

    not skipping or missing any input features DST is selected when needed, 

    Cromer is a bit off, am just outside norwich near a little village called easton.

    well i waited and waited and finaly M66 was in my viewing window.

    booted up mount, skipped alignment ( mounts not moved)

    hit goto M66, nothing at all, black'ish sky and no big stars anywhere.

    So i unhook camera and check images back, every image is around  a full frame and a half out 

    thats more than one degree, its a huge error. 

    so i go back, recycle power and start again, this time i re-align.

    hit goto m66 take a 25s shoot, view it back and YEP .....

    its still out by a frame width or two, thats still a huge error and nothing had changed. 

    i have better luck trying to capture a screengrab from stellarium than this goto finding an object. 

    this is how bad it is, i go from north and horizontal to the moon, handset beeps. 

    i have to adjust ALT by 5+ degree ( upwards) before the moon is near in view, this is with a ST80 and a 25mm eyepiece.

    then i have to slew a few marks AZ( no clue the handset does not tell me how much my deviation is in AZ) and it comes into view. 

    clear sky tonight i will give it one final go, and restart the whole thing with all new data input inc gps location data.

    if that does not work..... i dont know where to go next other than just give up all together.

  17. If you power off then the scope loses information or adopts a default - time being the obvious one.

    So yes you will have to do the alignment again.

    It should have kept the location data so you will have to confirm this location I think, then give it the time, and DST then perform the alignment.

    Any reason why you appear to be switching it off/on several times?

    Also not sure that performing PAE on the alignment stars during alignment is safe. PAE takes the new position as the new start point/datum and I would guess you are losing information about what errors need to be corrected for.

    Just centre each of the alignment stars, don't try PAE in the middle of the alignment procedure.

    am doing PAE after alignment, align stars, skip to m66 and its off, so back to alignment stars and PAE them 

    slew back to M66 its still off by lots

  18. Park home, you select this, then scope slews back to North pointing and horizontal.

    the location is stored inside the handset ( nodoubt something like a 8-16kb cmos or the likes)

    my scope is rated for a 12v source and no more than 2amp, hence the 2a fuse fitted inline on the pos lead.

    i need another hour before i can boot up the mount  and get it to go direct to M66 from home/park.

    will skip alignment as the mounts not been moved since last use. and im governed by stars moving into view from window.

  19. i have a USB serial adapter, i use it to control the mount for panoramic photography / timelapse.

    also had it hooked upto stellarium once. 

    My location comes from  GPS status and matches google maps  

    time is taken from my mobile phone and is correct to GMT/BST

    time input is ALWAYS taken from the mobile phone, no other time device used, just the phone.

    as it says in manual use the same clock when possible.

  20. it is an ALT - AZ mount , 

    EQDirect is EQ mounts ? if so it would not work on an ALT-AZ mount as there is No RA-DEC.

    updating the handset is more a chore, its two updates, one to update the second to fix the update because it gave false voltage readings.

    My laptop i had to loan to my Niece for a couple weeks she just started University ( will look a reight geek with all the astro / photography software on it).

    so i am stuck to using the gaming computer to run things. 

    It is also the main reason i have stayed well away from the ascom stuff and direct control,

    being it used always on EQ mounts and never on ALT-AZ

  21. ok heres the story so far, 

    skywatcher synscan AZ goto , running V3.02 firmware ( i think anyways its update-able)

    12V 12 AH Lead acid battery with a 2amp fuse for safety 

    ST80 + canon 350D mounted prime. 

    all input data has been added correct IE: location - time - daylight saving - 

    Alignment was done via Procyon and regulas ( also PAE on both stars to)

    i center with a 25mm then i run a 2x barlow with a 10mm eyepiece to fine tune center

    **************

    so i go about my viewing, i have my NORTH-SOUTH marked out and a level base.

    scope is set Mag north with digital compass measuring in Mill  on heading so im very very close.

    it gets late and my battery system monitor starts warning of a low voltage,
    I flip the mount to OFF and plug in a new 12v 12ah battery source ( i have spares lol)

    when i turn on mount, i hit enter, then enter again, and the stupid thing now asks me to align the mount again

    via brightest- 2 star alignment, but its not even 5 mins ago i had already aligned. 

    this is happening all the time, any time the mount is turned of i have to re align mount all over again.

    have to input time - date and just skip location ( its already remember it). 
    highly frustrated at this point i tend to shove everything away and give up. 

    **********

    now this is not the only problem, we have aligned to the stars and we say hey GOTO M66

    mount slews around and then beeps ( heres m66 fool ) , so i take a gander and guess what

    BLACKNESS maybe a star ( scopes focused to) , ok i say Mount GOTO MOON.

    mount starts up whirls around and beeps ..... now yeah before i even look i know this darn mount is not pointing at the moon.

    but again i have to adjust, and this aint no small adjust just a tap left/right, this is a slew speed8 zzzzzzzzz, zz ,z burrr.

    Tried to image the leo cluster, but i was around 1.5 degree off ( up-left), camera wise thats a whole frame up and across.

    I just dont know what to do anymore, and i really do not want to be flashing the handset, cannot afford to replace it

    if it breaks or gets bricked up.  

    so any ideas would he helpful to say the least.

    is this a common problem amongst the skywatcher brand, how can it be fixed  or atleast have the huge errors removed, 

    ie i say GOTO somewhere and it does that, ? 

    at the moment i can point out areas better than the synscan can and i have no clue what im looking at.

    Its that Bad, and the mounts  not covered any more, ( purchased more than a year ago and that was a 1.5 month hassle )

  22. Modded 350D cameras usually have the IR filter replaced. 

    the filter inside the canon 350D is a top notch IR blocking filter, it blocks the red IR bandwidth very tightly.

    the filter inside a Astro-mod 350D is a top notch IR PASS filter, it ALLOWS the red IR bandwidth to pass onto the camera sensor. 

    Most rep IR pass filter are the Baader glass ones, expensive but very good.

    now theres an added bonus to, because the new filter is the same thickness as the old block filter, your

    focal point of the sensor compared to the viewfinder is the same. unlike if you have no filter installed. 

    The little wheel on camera viewfinder, is a dioptre (sp) adjustment. 

    look through viewfinder and tweek your dipotre left or right ( up/down)

    notice how the icons in the viewfinder become somewhat off focus, 

    in focus, this is used for people with glasses, it adds agitisum to the finder to compensate your eyesight.

  23. Dedicated charger, costs very little when compared to the full price of a new battery. 

    charging : 

    Lead acid should NOT be charged more than 14.7v, and to be safe have it shut down at around 14.4 volts

    lead acid battery should not be DISCHARGE to less than 12.6v. current varys but no crazy 4amp charge cycle

    slow and easy is best for lead acid, it give time for the electrons to get absorbed. 

    dedicated chargers, these are clever parts of kit, once programed they start to work.

    they feed a gentle voltage to the battery, this in turn raises as the amps are pumped in.

    as the battery starts to reach capacity, the charger will start to DROP the current. 
    So say your charging at 3 amps , as the battery reaches full, and charger shows, you will notice the charger

    start to ramp down the current. once charged it cuts current and voltage.

    Those cheap chargers you get with batterys in a little plastic brick. the 15+v @500mah 

    yeah those things, well its just a 240v to 12v transformer, with a diode and maybe possible a regulator.

    all it does is pumps 15v in at 0.5amp no brains nothing, its just keeps feeding juice all the time.

    Very crude, no safety cutoff, no overvoltage protection no over current regulation, and we plug in and leave these things for a couple days

    charging the battery, its not a good idea if you think about what happens to a battery when it fails .

    Do Not use them , use a decent car batetry charger with regulation and cuttoffs built in.

    as said you really need to be safe, a lead acid battery can be a nasty piece of kit.

    overcharging produces highly flamable gasses , at the same time you could find you have BOILED off all the electrolite

    and your battery now resembles a balloon. 

    be safe and be smart use a dedicated charger and charge OUTSIDE in a very well vented area away from human and/or animal

    Carbattrys and likes need the vent plugs removed, SLA are vented but should NOT be opened up and again charged slowly.

  24. Maybe first take the Lady to a stargazing party or an astronomy club. 

    here its possible to see different telescopes models and makes.

    and of different sizes to. 

    Once you have seen the multitude of scopes, had a peek maybe then you have a better choice.

    forget box art, i got suckered by this, awesome pictures on box and the 20 zillion times zoom statements.

    but what you can see is still awesome. small scopes only reach so far, the big scopes

    cost alot more But the View is alot bigger and brighter, ( bigger the telescope mirror/lens the more light you gather )

    but again size can have an impact, portability to also plays a part. 

    an astronomy club or a star party will get you talking with like minded people and show you

    different views you get from different telescopes.

  25. this dew heater problem had me thinking......... 

    those cheap 5 quid 12v ceramic car heaters/fan blower. 

    i wonder if one could be modded to a smaller footprint and used for heating etc etc.

    it would run of the 12v battery no problems. 

    nose heavy scopes,...... 

    training weights, those ankle weigh straps you see advertised for the ladys at the gym / working out.

    a couple long'ish straps and a couple old plastic clip click buckles,

    sew these up into a long weighted strap, slip it around rear of tube, slide up and down to get new

    balance point, tighten strap buckles and your onto a winner. 

    differnet strap weights will allow different setups, cam , finder, guider etc etc

    just slip on an extra lighter strap and you can adjust on the fly

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