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    Star Forming
  1. Hue, I thought that some amount of 'hammer work' may have been required but low and behold this weekends efforts have some reward. Still loading belongings into container and removing various items as I need them, nightmare. However, did manage to get the Dec motor wired up and after dismounting the rig from the forks for this to be done did a fair bit of tweaking to various bits that required some attention. Pleased to be able to report that the new drive motors are now operating as goto via the eq6 control panel, moving very smoothly with no need for any hammers whatever! The new camera adaptors for centring of images also appears to work very nicely, have yet to get the rig outdoors and star test / align the 4 Canon's to the current choice of Guidecam / QHY5l-II. Next stage is to make up the power supply to the whole rig. At the moment I have three separate 12 volt batts plugged into the control consol. These are more than adequate at 24 Ah each, but have recently brought a couple of 100 Ah batteries and want to make a dedicated supply with circuit breakers and fuses etc. really looking forward to getting some images very soon, wish I knew how to post a short video on this thread so that other people could see all the rig going through its ra / dec positioning and focus movements etc. Its just so good to be able to press a switch and see it all happen without a pc crashing, stalling or just doing its own thing. Old fashioned I know but it works like a dream! When ready to take some images, I think they will simply be test shots without filters for the first sequence. They wont be great! even though the four Canon's are astro modded they will need some test runs to find optimum exposures for whatever target. I do now have four Astronomik CLS clip filters to use so at least I will be able to block any light pollution equally and then see just how different perhaps the images are from the four cameras. I hope they are identical, but in the real world I know that perhaps is wishful thinking. What the tests should be able to do is inform which camera may be best suited to specific filters EG. Ha, Hb, Oiii and Sii etc. Any advice on this is most welcome. Boyd
  2. The fork arms mounted to the base will have to wait till the weekend. I have however been busy ting out a specific problem with the 'shift' in the various camera images. It seems that when you rotate a Crayford through 180 deg you loose the concentricity! No wonder I spent so much time re collimating my newts! Had to think of some way of correcting the very slight offset of the four images and came up with a connection from Canon camera to the Crayford using a 'variable shift' type adaptor. I looked around for the best canon bayonet connector in terms of widest aperture and good locking capabilities. Eventually decided on the Canon extension tubes used for macro photography. You have to be a bit selective on where you buy these, some are awful with a lot of flop, I have gone through 3 suppliers and eventually got some good ones. Using the Canon bayonet and the smallest threaded extension I made 4 aluminium 'adapters' which you will see from the pics I have not threaded for the simple reason that anyone who has done this on a lathe will know that it is so difficult to get a start for the thread so that the component being threaded on it aligns in a set position! It is important that the 5 long grub screws are positioned so that two ( at the top of the camera avoid contact with the 'flash nose' which protrudes a good way. ( I can see why some people who do mods cut these off!) Things will become clear when I post some pics of these adaptors fitted to the rig. The large aperture is really important,.... when the 2" standard fitting goes into the Crayford and the full amount of offset is used on this adapter (about 6mm) you don't want any vignette. First pic..... Top right is the Canon extension tubes as they come Bottom right is the Canon bayonet from the extension tube set. You can see the greater aperture over the std canon 42mm type adaptors. Second pic...... Shows the 76mm x 20mm aluminium blank used to turn the component shown top /bottom left which is the adaptor. Third pic..... is a rear view of the turned adaptor with the canon bayonet attached. Fourth pic.... is the front view of the adaptor with the std t thread ring held in place by the five 6BA grub screws. These are set at 72 deg apart and as mentioned, clear the camera flash 'nose'. Fifth pic..... Shows the adaptor with the std Crayford 2" connection fitting in place Sixth / seventh pic.... Shows the std 2" at max offset. last pic... Shows all four adaptors , grubbed and with t thread collar's in place. This idea may be useful to others so I thought I would post it just now before I continue with the mount construction and wiring. Boyd
  3. Begun the wiring for the RA / Dec drives at last. You will see from the couple of pics that the reason for the bore on the base bearing mount was to take the wiring loom for the dec and also the dew heater control cables through the centre of the mount. This I have found much better that coiled cables from the base or orther and allows the fork mount to completely rotate without any snagging of cables. Hope to get the fork arms on to the base unit in the next couple of days and wire up the Dec motor / dew heater connections. Boyd
  4. Interesting post! second for longer exposure but as James has said, If meteor capture is top of agenda then some experimental time required! Wish you well this evening with clear skies and no glitches on PC's! Boyd
  5. Hi Davey, The OSD setting 'buttons' are also on the rear of the Phil Dyer one but I removed the key pad and rewired so as to extend the OSD controls by several meters. Bit of a fiddle of a job but it works. The whole control box was quite small and that included the K-world video thingy. Boyd
  6. I vaguely remember playing about with a Watec 902h (1/2" sensor I think?) and viewing via a video grabber (K-world unit) Unfortunately most of my astro stuff is packed in boxes at the moment so cant really have a fresh look. I do remember that at the time I thought that the combination may make a basis for an all sky camera. I think that was what Michael Morris used but not too sure. A search of his posts may help perhaps. 1/2" pc camera sensors are not too common it seems. The other video camera that I have tried is the Phil Dyer one I think they where about £100 or so and had a high sense up, OSD etc. I modified a couple to enable direct switch over from video to digital using the aforementioned video grabber, again packed in crates although I may be able to locate one if useful. Boyd
  7. Once again thanks to those who posted likes. Very busy today loading the 40 foot container with stuff but did manage to fit the RA motor and main gear assembly. One other thing that is required is to drill two 10mm holes in the top section of the base assembly near where the fork arms attach. Couple of pics to show this. Hope to get some of the wiring looms in the base section some time this week. Boyd
  8. Hi Ajohn, thanks for your likes post &/post. Yes, transplant of drives is a good way of looking at what I am doing. Simply taking advantage of similar gear systems / ratios and making the mount do much more. never liked the Meade motor drives I know they work but speed is awful compared to the 800 x RA speed that the Skywatcher steppers produce. Have had a very busy day, filling a 40 foot container with house stuff and quite a lot of astronomical related equipment. Its surprising when you gather it all together just how much stuff you accumulate over the years. Did take a little break of sorts and spent some time making the angle plate that supports the DEC motor assembly. Just a couple of pics to show that. Will go into detail of the worm wheel assembly for the fork arm when I have time. Just want to try and get this rig finished to a point where I can take a few images before it gets 'contained' within the storage facility! Boyd
  9. Hue, As I have said in other threads.... One of the reasons that I am so interested in the developments of video cams and stand alone guiding cameras is the fact that no PC's are required. I love my PC's when they do what I ask but some times they have a mind of their own. This is why I cannot understand why so many projects that are displayed on various threads on this forum that depend on 'peripherals' such as rasp pi Arduino etc etc. Analogue control is still used in situations that are vital, I consider that in a power cut ( which is the best time to photo shoot since no light pollution) that my observing and recording are VITAL. Even with UPS you still only get 20 mins or so when no mains power, So doing away with pc control! and when I get around to making all sky thingy, I will go for video camera. One of the Watecs perhaps. Have a couple of them and they are good. The Phil Dyer cam is also very good and would be a serious contender. Boyd
  10. The 'Fiddle' jobs to be done to the fork base! Most Meade fork mounts in my limited experience have a few casting flaws! The example I have chosen to demonstrate the modification to GOTO that I do is no exception ! Sorry to repeat a pic, but pic 1 shows the problem of casting flaws just in the wrong place! I have need to 'bore' a hole and tap it with a large thread just at the point where the top bearing is located on the cone of the fork arm bearing fixture on the base assembly. The need for this will become apparent soon! Because of the porosity of the casting I have had to drill slightly off centre so as to avoid the holes and get a good thread. This is an important bit, this is what hold the fork arm assembly to the base so with great care! Pic 2 shows the 1/2" threaded 'plug' after drilling and tapping the casting and also shows some of the porosity that I described. Pic 3 shows the front of the base housing drilled with three 16mm diam holes and the connection skts fitted to take the RA / DEC drive cables and also the cables for the PWM heater Dew control loom / connections. Pic 4 shows the small section of casting that needs to be removed to allow the brass drive gear from the motor assembly access to be fitted. Pics 5&6 show the modified motor assembly in place within the base structure. Hope to show the main worm gear in place within this base section in the next day or so. Then the DEC modification to the arm. Boyd
  11. Hue, One of the reasons that I keep thinking of stand alone guiding is the fact that most programmes like sharpcap, phd etc simply dump at will for no apparent reason the protocol they are to carry out. The images so far look very promising! Thinking of making one of these all sky things myself! Keep us posted as the twilight fades and the images get stronger with lots of stars! Boyd
  12. Hi Hue... Thanks. The curves are usually cut with an 'abrafile' ... its basically a metal rod treated with diamond similar to a tile cutting saw. Like a small diameter round file that fits a standard hacksaw frame. I then use round, half round files to file up to the line and then use a cylindrical 'drum' sanding abrasive thingy in pillar drill to finish off. takes an age but I like the 'ergonomic' feel. Its not so bad when cutting 3mm thick aluminium as in this case but when its 6 or 10mm thick you know that you have done some work! If you have a look at my posts on filter wheels etc you will see that I am keen on asymmetric design! Boyd
  13. many thanks to Ajohn and Dsidote for the likes posts. Thanks Horwig / Hue... Life is not complete for big boys without a small collection of hammers! Mine come in really useful for those circuit boards that refuse to function regardless of the fact that fault finding reveals no fault, just cheap components! Just a little progress today... A couple of pick to show the start of the GOTO EQ6 drive for the RA. First pic is the marking out of the stepper motor retaining plate which is fixed to the Meade worm drive mechanism. Must say that this is quite important and no room for much in the way of error since the whole tracking system is dependant on a really good accurate meshing of the gears etc. I have now done so many fork conversions, not all GOTO by the way. Sometimes I simply use the standard EQ6 non GOTO drive motors if it is for a rig that I don't mind initially lining up beforehand. However, since modding three other fork mounts to GOTO capability the frustration of waiting what seems hours for the minimum of movement makes me save pennies and try to buy the upgrade kit! Second pic is the RA motor plate cut out and machined. Third pic is the stepper motor cast plate which comes as standard with the up grade kit. The one on the left is how it comes, which is too large for the base housing of the Meade mount so has to be cut down to proportion as in the right pic. forth and fifth pics are the new motor / worm drive assembly ready to be fitted to the base of the Meade fork mount. A few fiddle jobs to be done to the base section before it can be fitted and hope to show these ASAP. Boyd
  14. Delay due to house move, which is on going and beset with complications! Thanks to Ajohn for likes post Michael.... so sorry! I had this project on back burner for some years also, don't delay with yours... get it started again. NickK..... not sure about the Spock chair.... have a chair idea to go along with my 'Pod' design but few people have seen the models and I will be subject to psychological scrutiny when I publish ! Whilst waiting for 40foot container for storage of stuff from house to arrive today have been working on the mount modifications. My fork mounts are mainly Meades... and I have opted universally to modify using EQ6 drive components... they are tried tested and reliable so why not. the beauty of these are that they have 180 worm gear config for the electronic circuits to maintain tracking capability. The EQ6 has 180 tooth worm as does the Meade fork mount so all I do is modify the drives on the Meade forks to accommodate the components from EQ6. Not quite as simple in practice but achievable. Intend to post updates on the way I do this but for now just a few pics of the strip down procedure and some of the modifications. Much more to follow! I will give explanations to pics when time but really self explanatory. Boyd
  15. Hue, Just in case you cannot find the mechanism that I made and described I hunted and found the plate! taken a few close ups of the contraption which is what I would be thinking of using if ever I was to build an all sky camera that needed focus arrangement like you and others have, i.e. via a lever mechanism. Of course this is quite large since it was for a 80 mm diaphragm / iris aperture and would need 'miniaturising' but the theory is the same. For the type and size of lens you require the lead screw would only have to be a couple of cm, with careful placement and alignment Hope that tomorrow brings good vibes! Boyd
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