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About SamAndrew

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  1. Here is a shot from the IP camera; scope facing south. As you can see the scope is fairly obscured so if I lost position it would be fairly tricky to repark; think I'd have to get on the phone to my mum if it was an emergency; I'll give her an emergency tarpaulin at some point House obsures the view to the west so the door doesn't need to be opened any futher than its current position. Wonder if any of the IR light from the IP camera is having an impact on the SNR, will have to do an experiment at some point but I don't want to turn it off at the moment.
  2. I'd add that the cost of removal and disposal is far greater than the cost of pouring it in the first place.
  3. Did 0.5 m3 on my first build and that was far too much. There shouldn't be any forces on a well balanced scope, I'd maybe aim for a weight of concrete that is a few times the weight of your gear.
  4. Didn't push it too hard last night, packed up when some clouds rolled in around 10pm. Had a heart in mouth moment when one side didn't appear to want to close! but it was just the IP camera buffering thankfully! Shot a few different targets, here is the best 30 x 1 mins on the Horse and Flame nebula. Just a stretch of the raw stack, no darks (didn't think to shoot any at 1 min when I was originally setting up the camera) and no flats yet. Testament to the EQ6-R how well this has come out without guding at 1 arc second resolution (quite a high sub rejection being the obvious disadvantage of not guiding) In action again tonight - 1 hour on IC63 so far whie I waited for M42 to pass the meridian.
  5. Only real way to find out is to test it in action; so far so good, it survived storm Brendan last week while closed. Last night wasn't windy so no issues. Will just keep an eye on it.
  6. Using 4 of these in my build, good for the money but a little noisy! was accutely aware when I was closing up at 1am and the neighbours bedroom window is only a few m away.
  7. Well, quite amazingly, it works! . First night in action, only issue so far is the guide scope is too out of focus to guide with manually focused on a distant object when i set it up and then added a bit, but haven't quite got it right. Planning to add an off axis guider, so might bring this upgrade forward and sort it out in the next few weeks. Currently just running some 1m unguided subs on the bubble nebula and it looks like they're coming out ok. The heater on the secondary is protruding into the light path and causing some odd star shapes, so that will need addressing too. Other than that, so far so good.
  8. Well it's operational! It has taken longer than expected, but then that's the problem with building something at a remote location and only getting a few hours a week to work on it. In hindsight I could have built it at home and borrowed a van to transport it, which is what I will do for the next version. I got the scope setup on the 3rd of Jan, and then fettled it today and have taken some trial images. Had the double whamy of everything being completly new (scope, mount, camera, aluto focuser, PC), but it's all connected up and working relatively painlessly. Everything seems to have survived a week of damp weather. Overall finish is a bit untidy but I have had to rush things during the limited hours I was working on it Main outstanding issue is I've experienced the PC restart on a couple of occasions, so there is something not 100% with the power supply (has been fine for 5 hours this evening); I'll look to add an uninterruptible power supply. I'm currently turning everything on and off using a wifi controlled 3 gang extension lead, but I want more control over each item so I'm going to add some arduino controled relays. I want to move my IP camera so that it's directly in front of the scope facing south so I can more easily recover to the home position if I do get a power disconnect (Camera is currenty mounted on the house facing NE). I'm also going to upgrade the actuators to ones with built in hall sensors, and then replace the arduino with an ESP32 to have better control of the door positioning, but neither of these things will stop me using in in the meantime) It has been an interesting project; not one that I spent much time planning, but I'm now much better aware of the challenges, and I'm working on an improved version. Total cost has been about £550 not including the PC or all sky camera. First cope of pics are from Friday the 3rd when it had it's first partial opening and setup. Other pics are from today where I was adjusting the cladding and sorting out the wiring, and added a plastic membrane to the hinge joint to seal the gaps.
  9. Quick update. Fitted the cladding to the upper clamshell and then moved it outside, the below pics were taken in progress; the top section is now completely clad and has essentially been on trial for the last week to confirm weather proofing (not that there has been any real rain yet). The rear side against the fence has a plywood panel that can be removed for access in the event that it doesn't open for some reason as there's no way to open it from outside. No insulation or membranes fitted; I'll see how it goes with dew forming inside and then possibly add a heater or fan as necessary. Planning to get it operational this Saturday; jobs still to do: Move all sky camera to the fence post behind the observatory, add dew control heater. Install PC inside the obsy and connect up to the electronics for the actuators - test and adjust things as necessary. Complete the lower section - triangulate the corners, add batons, clad Adjust the pier and install the scope (polar align if the weather allows!) Already got ideas for improvements for version 2.1 and 3.0 as I now realise there was no need to have the narrow sides as part of the clamshell; these could have been fixed and then just have two flat sides that butt up against. Also instead of hinges the sides could slide to expand like a caravan/motorhome but that's a much bigger change. Will start sketching up some new designs. The good thing with this build is it's all bolted together so can easily be adapted in the future.
  10. There will be enough space either side to open it all the way to the ground if necessary, I could raise the lower actuator pivots up so they're in a more horizontal position when closed, as there is plenty of stroke to play with, we'll see how the design does initially. It's unlikely I'll be using it if it's that windy. Tested it for the first time yesterday; I wanted to double check the scope had enough space to move in all directions before reinforcing the pivot points. Thankfully it did, and I have about 15cm of space above the scope so could lengthen the pier or reduce the overall height; not sure a long refractor with camera hanging off the back would fit mind. Pic below shows the actuators at about 60% extension. I have also added a plywood roof and bolted some vertical wooden strips to the sides to attach the cladding to. Now just need a free dry day to get it outside and bolted down so I can fit the cladding.
  11. Looks like coma to me as the stars are all pointing out towards the edges, you'll just have to try adding and removing spacers to see which makes it better. What is your total distance from sensor to the coma corrector? It should be 55mm. The uneven illumination is a feature of the fast newts I believe, so don't worry about that, it will correct out with flat frames.
  12. This is the diagram for the motors; just a simple high low signal to the driver for each direction. I'm using two so I can control each door separately. Will post the code up later.
  13. Thanks for the suggestions; I hadn't thought about a wind speed sensor; I was planning to rely on the weather forecast for wind information, but a sensor is a good idea. It's fairly well sheltered on two sides, which will reduce the wind load, we'll see how it goes. Hinge points will be strengthend up once I'm happy witht the positioning - haven't been able to fully open it in the garage. Abandoned the idea of building my own H-Bridge motor driver and just bought a couple of BTS7960's which has made the Arduino project very simple. Made a bit of progress today - drilled some holes in the house to get power and network connections outside and setup an all sky camera and IP camera - currently watching the rain fall on the ASC now The ASC is an ASI 120mc-s in a cheap CCTV dome enclosure with some added waterproofing.
  14. Made some more progress today; photo taken after I added the second door and all the actuators. I then added in some bracing to stiffen it up (not pictured yet). I then dug and poured the foundations (was dark when I finished so no photo). Hopefully they're up to the job; only 250kg of balast used in total including 50kg for the Peir; the last one I did was 0.5 tons for the pier alone. I've set a dozen 150mm bolts into the concrete for the frame and pier. Set the scope up on a tripod inside just to confirm it still fits - some slight doubt in my mind now as to weather I'll have a complete range of movemnt when the doors are fully open after changing the design. Theres about 10cm of clearance at the top so I can shorted the legs to give the scope more clearance if necessary. Also written an app to control the doors and capture weather data; I'll start wiring the electronics up this week. Hope to do the cladding this weekend: plan is to bolt wooden battons verticaly all around and then screw PVC cladding to that.
  15. Yes imaging only. Dexion is useful stuff for prototyping built a robot for Robot Wars out of it too.
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