Jump to content



  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by ncjunk

  1. I have two focusers one with a gear and one without and they both work fine.

    Personally I prefer the geared stepper though as I have 32000 steps to play with on the range of travel of the focuser.

    With the non geared stepper I have 200 steps x 8 (microstepping steps) = 1600 per revolution if I remember correctly

    I use about 5000 steps for the range of travel of the focuser.

    I use the non geared on an ED80 and the geared on a C11.

    The most critical thing with the focuser is to ensure everything is tight and your coupling is solid. Any slack in the system

    will add to the backlash and the inacurracy in the focusing.

    I have not had any problems focusing the ED80 but I wouldn´t stick the non geared stepper on the C11 as the focusing

    is more important at the higher focal length for me.


    • Like 1
  2. I also keep mine running 24/7 and use the cloud sensor to see what I missed during the night. The PC

    keeps itself dry that way. Does get hot in the summer but when I bought it of off ebay I bought two of them (cheap old dells 35 pounds each)

    and have the backup in the garage for when the first breaks.

    • Like 1
  3. I feel you were a bit harsh but then I understand the frustration as I have some code that only works up to a certain version of arduino software - must fix that someday.

    BUT - in the 80s it cost a fortune to buy and build anything. I remember being at home looking through my maplins catalogue in order to see what was new and drooling over the 6800 processor and wanting to play but it being too expensive.

    I can now buy, and have, an arduino that fits in my wallet for the price of a packet of crisps with 8 AI and 8 AI, inbuilt serial comms, low power consumption etc etc.....seriously I'm living the geeky 16year old me dream.

    Not only that but when ever there's a problem I can google it and find the answer. So yes it's frustrating that the software is sometimes flaky but I can usually find the answer. Would I use it at work in automation? no, because I need to be sure that the components are of a high enough quality to work for years without failing and there are always doubts with these chinese electronics.

    At home though it's a different matter, I have 3 spare arduinos in the garage so can just replace it if it fails - the focuser though has been working for 4 years now without a faiure.

    99.9% of it does work properly I think you need to accept the minor failures due to the major benifits - free software, cheap hardware - I just can't believe I can buy something so useful and so cheap with a free ide that works....I don't want the 80s! give me want we have now with some bugs any day of the week.

    • Like 5
  4. On 12/8/2016 at 16:48, Gina said:

    I have a cloud sensor project on the books but it's shelved ATM.  Far far toooooo many projects...  And I just keep adding to the list!!  I just muddle on and on :D

    To be honest it won't be very challenging for you Gina! It's relatively easy and you'd have it sorted in between breakfast and mid morning tea ;-D

    • Like 1

    The IR cloud sensor detects sky temperature and when it is clear it will read -30ish and when cloudy it will read the temperature of the clouds, I assume it will be reflecting a certain amount of heat that would normally rise and hence detects that or reads the temperature of the clouds (probably a mix of the two). It cloudy conditions the temp will read 12 deg.

    You could use the MLX90614 sensor and they come with 45 deg views or 60 deg view - you need to check the wavelength of ir it detects i think it's 5-14 wavelength range.

    The only problem I have is dew as I've never been good at getting rid of it. You need to put a rain sensor with heater element inbuilt next to the ir sensor to keep both clear.

    If you get an MLX90614 a couple of resistors, capacitors and an arduino you can have one up and working in a couple of hours - including the usual time fluffing around because you have the wires wrong and the baud rate doesn't match.


    • Like 2

    I had a cloud sensor working with the MLX90614, i think, IR sensor and it does work very very. You need a decent rain sensor with inbuilt heater as well and this can provide the heat to keep the dew off of it.

    My sensor died because the test case wasn´t waterproof and the electronics got wet. I moved to the AAG cloud watcher as I don´t have time to redo the homemade one or integrate it into ACP and the AAG does it all for 300 euros and was effectively the same hardware that i bought for mine.

    The IR sensor is very easy and you are only looking for the temp difference between ambient temperature reading, that the MLX provides with onboard temp sensor, and the sky temp. A normal clear temperature reading varies depending on atmospheric conditions and time of year. So, in the winter the IR sensor can be reading -30 with ambient of 5 giving a difference in temperature of -35. When cloud comes over then the sky temp will rise to above 0 giving a difference of -5 but you'd be able to detect cloud, dust or changes in conditions before that.

    At this time of year, summer here in spain, the atmospheric conditions are worse and the sky temp reading can be anywhere from -1 to -12 deg for clear with an ambient temp of 24 deg C.

    If you have the time and enjoy playing then the IR sensor is really quite easy but you do have to tweek the alarm trigger points for Clear, Cloudy and partially cloudy depending on the time of year and conditions.

    I'll usually check the readings before the start of the night and change the limits as required.

    you could always program the Arduino to replicate the comms and replies from a commercially available unit and use their code. I know of a couple of people that use their homemade units with their own software but I don't think you are finding lots of people with homemade one's because of models like the AAG that are "only" 350 euros which in our hobby is relatively cheap compared to everything else.

    If you enjoy tinkering then I recommend doing an IR sensor as it's quite interesting, it would be easier than the camera method you're describing here. My gut feeling is that this camera method will work to a certain degree but won't be as sensitive as the IR sensor and more of a challenge to implement - you never know though until you try.




    Neil C


    • Like 2
  7. 2 hours ago, NadrejN said:

    Very good and lucky with weather.

    What did you use for processing M27?



    Maxim dl however i don't do much processing just levels and curves as i dont have time.

    I prefer maxim for combining and then photoshop XI that i got free with my nikon D50. But these were just maxim.

  8. 2 hours ago, ChrisLX200 said:

    Well done for guiding that big SCT so successfully! No mean feat that :)  and the results here are excellent.


    I have to be honest here I have rather a good mount so it's easy to guide. I had the c11 on an eq6 once a few years ago now that was entertaining. I always think these people who produce stunning images on low end gear are the true masters of astrophotography.

  9. 6 minutes ago, Martin Meredith said:

    Great results -- I'm a big fan of the Quintet and that's a really nice shot. Too right it is hot over here, and getting hotter...


     You're in the north as well, Its too hot for me today but the great thing is i get clear nights. Winter is not a good time as i get continuous cloud off of the Atlantic.

    Off down the beach when it cools off a bit ;-D

  10. The weather´s been hot over here so finally some imaging time and 5 hours a night.

    Some great fun with the C11 at 1800mm Fl with the ATIK 428 camera.

    M27 which is 24xRGB 300s

    Stephan´s Quintet 47x Luminance 600s (I do like this one)


    M 27-RGB 24xrgb.jpg

    NGC 7320-L_47_x600_sd_LD_F_crop.jpg

    • Like 11
  11. You´ll need the Arduino software version arduino-1.5.6-r2:


    You can also get the files from sourceforge (The non ascom version is ok)


    I just set it up in my garage and it´s working so if you have any questions post here and I´ll answer them.

    If you want the old free version of focusmax 3.8 which is no longer supported to try autofocusing then I can send you a copy of that as well but there´ll be

    a bit of a learning curve in setting that up. Better to start with the manual control while you get the setup working.


  12. 8 hours ago, RuralBill said:

    You will have to become a member of the yahoo group to access this one, may take a few days to get it activated...just to let you know

    It shouldn't this time as i'll just send the files via email or approve it.

    As Mick J says there are a few other threads on here with software you can try as well.


  13. I´d concur most designs I´ve seen look like this it´s not likely you´d come up with something different.

    Dome, Heating element and box er....perhaps add a picture of a fruit and call it an iskycam thus infringing on at least 2 copyrights!

    Nice video and graphics on the video.


    Neil C

    • Like 2
  14. I had the c11 which is 12kg with 2 cameras, an oag and atik filter wheel then two 5kg counter weights. So 12kg + 4 ish of imaging equipment.

    Your edge hd 8 is 6.5 kg so 5.5 less which brings it to within the capabilities of the eq6, just bare in mind there will be a lot to learn and tweak. 

    The focal length is 2032mm which is doable as you aren't overloading the mount. The C11 was 2800 or 1800 with focal reducer.

    I've got an SX usb filter wheel with the 7 x 1.25 filters and it's a nice design.

    I'd probably go:

    Atik 383:   £1,599

    Sx mini usb filter wheel with oag: £280

    Sx lodestar x2: £445

    I've not included filters, focal reducer or spacers to get the correct distance between focal reducer and camera.

    I can't comment on the Moravian as i've never used one but check the reviews, there's a reason some people have problems with qhy.

    You could always try buying second hand to reduce costs. 

    I also think the atik 460 or 428 may be ok, well i like them as i have the 428....

  • 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.