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SteveNickolls

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SteveNickolls last won the day on December 11 2018

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About SteveNickolls

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  1. I'm afraid not, I bought one of these with the Eagle Core- https://www.365astronomy.com/primaluce-lab-eagle-compatible-power-cable-for-canon-eos-550d-600d-650d-700d.html I see the price has increased since I got mine last year. 365 Astronomy have a very wide range of these DSLR power cables, Flo have some also. I'm not sure if it's something one could piece together as the part includes a voltage regulator to convert the 12V output to 8V input for the DSLR. That's a very tidy, non intrusive and balanced control system you have there noah4x4 you will be very pleased to have designed and built it. Have you thought about making available a guide to choosing parts and assembly (my apologies if this is something you have already done on SGL)? Cheers, Steve
  2. I understand what you are saying kunene about the price of the PLL accessories. With my Eagle Core I purchased from the cheapest suppliers their proprietary cables to power my CG-5 mount, the cable to power my Canon DSLR's, the 5A 12V mains unit and a 140 mm dovetail and small clamp. The unit came with a cigarette lighter connection to a power tank but I haven't used that to date. There's no denying the design of the items and quality and I had to wonder if it was being made in the EU rather than China that had made prices so high and seemingly anti-competitive, just a thought. One of the strengths of the PLL PLUS system of accessories is their wide range of matching parts. You can buy the cable connectors though kunene if you are ok at assembling to your own cables, I can't comment if their price is high or not, here's a few UK links- https://www.365astronomy.com/primaluce-lab-eagle-type-connector-for-power-in-and-5a-or-8a-power-out-ports.html https://www.365astronomy.com/primaluce-lab-eagle-type-connector-for-3a-power-out-ports.html https://www.365astronomy.com/primaluce-lab-eagle-type-connector-for-power-in-and-5a-or-8a-power-out-ports.html Money presently being tight I have held off buying a pair of their 105 mm tube rings and instead been able to employ an extra SkyWatcher tube ring and some perseverance to connect the Eagle Core securely above my telescope (where there's a will there's a way). I'm experimenting on how to position the guide camera, I may likely just connect the guide scope foot to the 1/4" screw on the top of the Eagle Core. The black tape and plastic are my poor man's way of giving some dew protection to the exposed upper holes in the Eagle core casing while allowing air circulation. In practice I have found the Eagle Core powers my mount and DSLR without any problems. I use a Lynx Astro 4 port dew controller and two Astrozap dew bands that I already owned but separately power this from the mains power reel as it is placed under the mount. If I hadn't been so mean I could have purchased the 10A 12.8V PLL power supply but it would have meant paying out for PLL dew bands and which frankly would have exceeded my budget. These accessories are all transferable of course should you decide to upgrade to a higher model of Eagle in their range. Cheers, Steve
  3. Thanks kunene for your posts it can't do any harm us contacting PLL and suggesting improvements to make the device more useful and desirable given the growing competition out there. It's hard not being a programmer judging what is possible given the limited resources (cpu and memories) of the Eagle Core. I certainly like the idea of being able to add external memory, now could that be used to empower additional capabilities for the Eagle OS? Allowing support for CMOS cameras would go against the ethos of the Eagle Core being for DSLR's and as you rightly mention they have a cadre of more capable mini pc's able to do just that and provide for the functionality required by astro-camera users. Will look out for the v2.7 update, there's not a day that goes by without me checking for a firmware update on thei site. I'd like to think some small ideas put to them will be added to the feature set. Yes, if the latest ASiair Pro had come out some months earlier I might well have gone that route but the Eagle Core has its own distinct advantages, its weakness is perhaps its small percentage penetration of the market compared to ZWO which has a large presence due to its extensive camera range. Having said that Chinese firms are suffering loos of manufacturing capability and sales due to the coronavirus and the controls in place, that won't resolve for some time. One important element PLL could do would be to rewrite the manual for the device, it is not without spelling mistooks and needs a thorough review with one up to date manual being available to download. That doesn't take any system memory or cpu capacity on the part of the device just experience, time and patience to write it up. Here's looking forward to v2.7. Cheers, steve
  4. Hi noah4x4, with the higher priced Eagle versions it does seem there are big savings should you be willing and able to self build. I guess it becomes more difficult if you can't or daren't try and build an alternative. As I mention above the Eagle range has a lot going for it beyond the mini pc concept but how much one values this is down to each imager to weigh up in their mind. We tend to be folks who like to tinker so there's an appeal of building stuff cheaper and learning much in the process. I dont think any product is so simple to be the equivalent of plug and play. Cheers, Steve
  5. Hi JEM_svca, yes the Eagle Core is a decent option for people wanting a small, lightweight pc to control imaging with a DSLR but requires tweeking. You've experienced it also works controlling a EQ mount by wi-fi but the jury is out concerning guiding right now. It has a number of pluses considering the current competitors, I'd mention the unique design and ability to become an integral part of the equipment, its compatibility with a very wide range of Plus accessories, the ability to power other components and cabling which allows equipment to be kept assembled between uses, saving set up and tear down time. Oh, and lest I forget its Eagle OS (Eagle App) permitting wi-fi connection by Windows, iOS, Android plus pc control by crossover Ethernet cable. So it has much going for it. Perhaps soon we could all contact PLL to suggest those tweeks which could be implemented in v2.7? Cheers, Steve
  6. Yes, I hope that PLL are taking note of these tweaks to make the Eagle app more capable. Unfortunately I'm not a programmer but surely small changes that bring better usability can be added to the firmware along the lines we are suggesting and would like to see in the future. There doesn't seem to be many paces online that the device is being discussed and reviewed. I hope therefore to soon be able to post on my experiences using the Eagle Core to control guiding of both my mounts. Cheers, Steve
  7. Hi JEM_svca, my mistake, I was referring to a desired ability in the Eagle App to take a dark frame for use when guiding to pre entry guiding on a stuck pixel. Appreciate you would also like to perform long exposure noise reduction with your DSLR when controlled by the Eagle App. It all does make me wonder if adding such a feature in the software is simply too much to pack into the memory. Cheers, Steve
  8. And before you decide have a read up on the iOptron iPolar as an alternative to the PoleMaster. Cheers, Steve
  9. My understanding on the Eagle Core spec (taken from the technical data tab on https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p9959_PrimaLuceLab-EAGLE-CORE---Control-Unit-for-astrophotography-with-a-DSLR-camera.html ) is that the ARM cpu is very efficient and runs a proprietory Eagle App, I think Linux based. I understand ARM cpu's are used very widely to run bespoke systems using little power. This is however enough grunt to perform the necessary image acquisition and guiding, perhaps just enough. That is why I am unsure if any developments in terms of dark frame subtraction to help with guiding would be possible given the hardware limitations. The other products in the Eagle stable use Win 10 Enterprise edition that is stripped down of the usual bloatware and the user has the freedom to add whatever astronomy programmes they want to use. The differences in the larger models is the specification of the cpu and memory involved (that is both RAM and storage memory). Off the PLL website- Note there is no specification given here for the Eagle Core. I am really interested in your comment JEM_svca - as at one time I tinkered with the idea of getting such a camera for guiding. I certainly didn't read any information in the PLL literature to that effect. The ASI178 has a 6Mpx sensor of course. I'd also mention that the last image you see on your tablet or pc is of the JPEG taken not the RAW image, this will have a smaller file size which presumably the device can handle fairly speedily. It actually explains a lot about the Eagle Core device, not detrimental given its use but understanding its limitations. Regards, Steve
  10. Hi noah4x4, that is all very interesting and most useful to know-thanks. I had wondered if the Eagle Core's Wi-Fi range had been compromised at night with more people being at home and all using their 2.4GHz channels for whatever purposes they had. It would be worth me checking during the day and in the evening to see what numbers of networks are in the vicinity and what variabilty happens. I haven't really looked into things in any depth but I think I recall the unit having 11 possible channels to use and seeing it preset to channel 6 which I understand is one of the three non-overlapping channels on the band. I'm rather stuck with just using 2.4 GHz with the Eagle Core but I do like how you have neatly resolved your communication issues using the 5 GHz 'Wholehome' discs. I don't have any outside building in which the mount is located but I would be tempted to use a wired solution. I have used a crossover Ethernet cable to control imaging with the Eagle Core from a laptop indoors but ideally prefer to avoid cables wherever I can. It is a very poignant point that your friend makes regarding foil backed plasterboard affecting the signal passage. Good luck by the way with your project making your set up smaller to more meet your needs. The Eagle Core does have the strong selling points of being quite petite at around 155 mm x 80 mm x 30 mm, weighing around 512g and its box metal construction with pre-drilled holes allow the unit to become a rigid part of the imaging rig. I do like how the unit can be used to power peripherals (I power the mount and DSLR), keeping cabling short and ready for use. The ability to interface its proprietory (I think Linux-based 'Eagle App') using either Windows, iOS, Android OS etc. machines also opens it up to a wider number of potential users. I mentioned in some earlier post that the device is quite modestly powered cpu-wise using an ARM A7 1 GHz quad core with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB SSD on board bearing in mind its intended use. Cheers, Steve
  11. Hi noah4x4, thanks very much indeed for this 'heads up' concerning the 'SkyPortal' and its descendants. I'm sure it will be also very helpful for others also considering the device and alternatives. Your experience building and running an alternative mini-pc to the Eagle range is most welcome and I hear what you say concerning competing wi-fi signals on the 2.4GHz range. I have found the range offered by the Eagle Core varies, it can be over 30 feet allowing connection from indoors but other times this becomes patchy. I now try to keep my tablet within about half that distance to avoid drop out which has worked flawlessly. The Eagle core has the ability for users to change the channel used for the connection but i have not attempted to alter any settings. An advantage of the Eagle Core is it can be operated using a wireless connection from Windows, iOS and Android devices etc. and I also have operated mine using an Ethernet crossover cable which worked fine and avoids signal drop outs. I did however get the device to mainly reduce the number of cables (and the time spent laying them out and gathering them back in at the end of a session. I'm really pleased there are now so many ways to make astronomy more enjoyable and the solutions meet every level of ability and personal requirements. I understand the larger models in the Eagle range use dual band connectivity like you own built system. Hi JEM_svca, My, what a lovely image you took there, the benefits of a dark, high site certainly spring out. I'm pleased you have been able to use the Eagle Core and show its usefulness in such circumstances. Do any of your companions on such trips also use an Eagle Core for some or all of their imaging? Given what noah4x4 says in his post at least at a remote dark location any interfering signals should be few. A few years ago we went on summer holiday in Coverack, Cornwall-a very dark location on the English coast and one evening for a period in between sea mists was able to take some exposures of the North American Nebula/Pelican Nebula region. Just looking at the individual frames I was stunned by the great improvement in detail over what can be captured back home under typically 19.21 SQM-L average skies. I was able another night to take images of the Heart and Soul Nebulae region and when back home attempted to compare the results, you can image the difference. I'd like to utilise the Eagle Core as the basis of a lighter weight travel set up to take advantage of darker sky locations. Cheers, Steve
  12. Ahh, you are very lucky living in California, I once heard that it never rains there and having access to local dark sites to image are very welcome indeed. I can see how your equipment is geared towards minimising set up despite having to travel; the Eagle Core ideally would provide that hub between guider, mount and camera. Unless you are fortunate enough to live at a dark location it's only a dedicated few people in the UK who travel to dark sites. Despite being a much smaller country than the USA we tend not to travel so far, or at least feel a trip taking an hour or more is actually too far. The few times I would travel a long distance would be to go on holiday where I'd hope to take the Eagle Core along with my Star Adventurer. Thanks very much for sharing your image of Andromeda, I do like the dust and star forming regions-was that image taken at a dark site by any chance? The weather here can be terrible for months on end and I do most imaging set up in the rear garden at home under a Bortal 6 sky. I have consequently taken the road less travelled and mostly couple very fast lenses with a modified Canon 700D DSLR and Ha filter to take images of nebulae. Two hours of total exposure will usually produce a reasonable image since one cannot always expect to get another clear night for some time. With patience however I have been able to construct mosaics, this is from late 2018 using a Samyang 135 mm lens- Being able to make visible what is otherwise completely invisible in our night sky is really rewarding and particularly how a mosaic can bring a very large object such as the Great Northern Coal Sack into plain sight. The dark cracks of dust running between the North American Nebula to around Sadr merely hint at what more remains hidden from our Earthly perspective. And more recently using a canon 50 mm lens at f/2 of the Orion region, I was pleased the camera captured the fainter arm of nebulosity reaching out to Betelgeuse from Barnard's Loop- Well I'm hoping to get guiding with the Eagle App resolved one way or the other before the galaxy season begins and when I will need guiding to use my telescope. Clear skies. Cheers, Steve
  13. That is a very good looking set up you have, I like the customised metal work holding the Eagle Core and the platform below that. I now see how tidy the cabling is in the sheathing. May I enquire how you have found the performance of the Celestron Lithium Powertank in operation? Do you use your Eagle Core to then power your mount and DSLR? I use a mains extension reel with a portable rcd to provide power to the Eagle Core which then in turn provides power to the mount and DSLR. A separate lead from the reel to the Dew heater. I didn't think the capacity of my older type power tanks would provide enough power to all the equipment over a prolonged imaging session. Hmm, it is good to know that you have been able to mix using your keypad and SkySafari to control the mount. There are so many things that I need to trial surrounding the Eagle Core yet at the moment the combination of our fickle UK weather with storm following storm and a persistent cold have put paid to doing anything outside. Cheers, Steve
  14. I have yet to try out the guiding process under the night sky with the Eagle Core but from tests of using the guide scope and guide scope and from my previous experience using PHD2 I think choosing decent star for guiding will be quite possible to do, the proof of course will be in the doing. Yes, PHD2 has all the helpful tools to make the job as simple and painless as possible and to stop you making mistakes, it has had a lot of user feedback to get it that way and is a much more mature product than the Eagle App. My disposition is one of hope that the Eagle App will allow guiding to be accomplished so I have a handy device to control guiding and imaging by wi-fi. Cheers, Steve
  15. Hi JEM_svca, that's exactly my concern after finding my new ASI120MM-S has many hot pixels. I have identified a gain setting to use that while showing actual stars does not show most of the stuck pixels. I will be contacting PLL to suggest them adding the use of a dark frame or bad pixel map if the Eagle App has the memory and storage to address this. Cheers, Steve
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