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Everything posted by SteveNickolls

  1. Thank you for posting. I have followed this product along the way and it is great to see a positive outcome. Now could I ever afford one, definitely no? Perhaps the years will make this technology affordable to more people, really hope so. Cheers, Steve
  2. Thanks for making this available on SGL. Cheers Steve
  3. Thank you so much for this as always. Hope you have clear, dark skies over the holidays. Cheers, Steve
  4. Thanks kunene for the wish to have plate solving and polar alignment added to PLL's Eagle App. As they are not going to provide support for the ZWO ASI120MM-mini guide camera and I cannot afford a replacement compatible camera for the foreseeable future I hadn't got that far down the line of suggesting further improvement to the Eagle App. I am presently using an iOptron iPolar on my mount and can recommend it. There's no harm suggesting these additions to PLL though the Eagle Core is the baby of their Eagle range with the least CPU power. Cheers, Steve
  5. Well done. Now let's hope the local pigeons don't take a fancy to such a grandstand perch. Clear skies. Steve
  6. They again miss out on a cooled, mono- version APS-C. He, he.
  7. Thanks for the great review. One day when I'm older I might save my state pension up and aspire to one of these. Your mention of covering the vacant holes on the top of the unit to prevent dew is of interest, I will have to do similar on my Eagle Core. Thanks again for the review and the very best with using the new equipment. Cheers, Steve
  8. Hi, thanks for the enquiry. I've just looked through the manual and there are several illustrations in Italian in the English part of the manual, these are- p67 The two illustrations on 'How to connect the Eagle Core using iOS device (iPhone or iPad)'. p68 The two illustrations on 'How to connect to Eagle Core using an Android device'. p76 The illustration concerning 'Eagle Core update'. p97 A photo illustrating the position of the Pole Star to the Big Bear. In truth none of it is detrimental to understanding what is being described. Perhaps we ought to offer our services up as proof readers. When I updated the firmware of my unit from v2.5 to v2.6 I did think the whole documented process could be more accurately set out to follow the steps needed to be done by the average user. Cheers, Steve
  9. Yes, a printed bilingual manual amounting to 121pages. It includes guidance on mount control for SkyWatcher, Orion and other mounts with the device and Skyfi, and for Celestron mounts, the device and SkyQLink2. Cheers, Steve.
  10. I ordered the PrimaLuceLab (PLL) Eagle Core at the end of July this year as part of a wider plan for the coming season with the objectives of wirelessly controlling imaging sessions with a DSLR and lenses/telescope, decrease set up and take down times each session and generally use fewer and shorter cables. I also planned to use the Eagle Core to control guiding when using my telescope/DSLR combination. It’s been three months now so how have I found the product and how have things worked out in practice? For those members who aren’t aware of the product the Eagle Core is the baby of PLL’s range of mini-pc’s and the Eagle Core has been designed specifically to allow control of DSLR’s for astro-imaging. The unit itself weighs around 512g and is very solidly built. The Eagle Core design is very well thought out and its box structure with pre-drilled holes take a wide range of dovetails, tube rings, clamps, guide scopes and telescopes and make the unit solidly part of the imaging equipment. It sports a bold red livery which matches the very wide range of accessories from PLL. PLL also make an number of devices to record temperature for dew control and to control focusing. The unit comes in its own box which also holds the reasonably well written manual (in Italian and English), a selection of M5 and M6 bolts and a long DC power supply cable with a cigarette lighter type end. The manual contains detailed ideas for how the unit can be utilised for a variety of imaging set ups. I also purchased a 140 mm dovetail bar, clamp and DSLR power adapter. The unit has a ¼” photographic screw pre-installed on its upper surface allowing a ball head to be positioned there to take a DSLR as one mounting configuration. The unit itself can be attached to the mount directly using a dovetail. The unit has many set up configurations detailed in the manual but users will discover solutions to their own requirements. The Eagle Core has a power connector on one side which takes either the supplied DC power cable or a PLL mains power accessory. Next to the screw in type power in connector is the screw-in wi-fi antenna connection. At the front end are three USB 2.0 ports and a network port. At the other end are three screw-in type 12 volt power out ports, two rated at 3A and one at 5A. PLL sell a range of mains power adapters with different maximum outputs to suit the range of their mini-pc’s and the overall intentions of the user and the equipment to be powered. I use one of the 3A outlets to power the CG-5 mount and another my DSLR using PLL cables. Having the Eagle Core provide power to peripherals cuts down on the need for long cables and potential snagging. The screw type power in and power out ports are not likely to allow inadvertent disconnection when in use. Shorter lengths of USB cables can be used to connect up the DSLR and guide camera to the Eagle Core. When in use the product creates its own wi-fi hot spot which the user connects to either with a mobile, tablet or pc. One of the attractions of the Eagle Core is the range of devices that can be used to communicate with the Eagle OS, taking in iOS, Android, Windows 7 and 10. Windows pc’s can also control the unit using a crossover Ethernet cable. The Eagle Core supports a growing range of DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon including some mirrorless cameras. PLL periodically releases firmware updates increasing compatibility with more cameras and other functionalities. The lighter summer months coupled with the relatively poor UK evening weather this season have limited the use of the Eagle Core but some imaging sessions have been possible. I have found what had previously become the bane of setting up and taking down equipment each night and the time involved has been lessened with the Eagle Core. I am able to lift the CG-5 mount and imaging equipment down to the pre-marked imaging location without having to make fresh cable connections each time. I do use a rcd protected mains extension reel to provide power to the Eagle Core but that is the only long cable needing to be placed outside. If I had a larger power tank this cable could be done without. I have found connecting to the Eagle App simpler with an Android tablet than using a laptop running Win 10 and the Eagle App appears to have been designed to look its best on a mobile or tablet held vertically. The range of steady connection to the device seems to vary, sometimes it can be solidly connected while sitting indoors 30+ feet away and other times not. The channel used for the hot spot can be altered and access to the hot spot is password protected and which can be user defined. The Eagle App has two main functions, PLL name them ‘guiding’ and ‘acquisition’ (that is imaging proper). I have not been able to try out the guiding capability of the Eagle Core/Eagle App since my ZWO ASI120MM-mini camera is not supported. Communication with PLL is that they are not intending to add compatibility for this camera only for the later USB 3.0 models. This was the gamble I took when I purchased the Eagle Core with eyes wide open so no fault of PLL there. Strangely there is support for QHY5L-II and Lodestar guide cameras. As regards imaging during my first uses I was getting an intermittent freezing of the App during imaging runs. I contacted PLL who advised updating to the latest firmware version (currently v2.6) and replacing the USB cable between the Eagle core and DSLR. Around that time I found I was getting an error on the DSLR reporting a connection problem between my DSLR (a modified Canon 700D) and the lens (a Canon 85 mm). I am left feeling that this is related to the continued freezing. This has happened a few times now and is remedied for a time by separating the lens from the camera body and cleaning the contact of the DSLR and lens using isopropyl alcohol. It's possible that the physical disconnection and reconnection make a better contact betwen camera and lens for a time. I need more time to try out the DSLR with other lenses to eliminate any worry that it might still be software connected and the overall experience has left me with a lack of confidence with the robustness of my set up. I really need to set aside time in the busy day to further trial this out. The Eagle OS provides the basics to allow astro-photography by wi-fi and Ethernet cable but does require a number of settings be manually made on the DSLR, examples being 'Bulb' mode and f-ratio. I have suggested a few improvements to PLL for the Eagle OS interface interface including replacing the image timer (currently displaying as a percentage of the current exposure done) with one that shows seconds elapsed. As exposures are taken the Eagle OS saves both a RAW and JPEG file to the camera's SD card and displays the JPEG of the last image made on your device. Unlike with BYEOS there is no ability to temporarily stretch the image to bring out fainter features. The displayed JPEG can however be increased and decreased in size to help with framing and focus. Settings such as ISO, exposure time and number of exposures are all user controlled via the Eagle OS. A number of features I've found helpful in BYEOS are lacking in the Eagle OS, these include a histogram to provide user feedback on the exposure levels during the session, information on the camera temperature for each image, the capability to set up more than one imaging run and the ability to designate light, dark, flat and bias frames in a sequence. PLL do provide firmware updates providing greater functionality and hopefully these missing capabilities might be added at some future date if other users also think they are valuable to have. PLL are very helpful, responsive and keen to learn from their users. I will continue to use the Eagle Core for imaging sessions and hopefully iron out the intermittent problem experienced which is likely a problem with the camera and lens. If I get a supported guide camera in the future I will be able to report on its capability on SGL. I would also like in the future to try coupling the Eagle Core to my Star Adventurer imaging set up. I hope this report will help other SGL members interested in the Eagle Core and its unique design strengths and provide DSLR astro-photography across a number of operating systems and by wi-fi. Cheers, Steve
  11. Hi Tim, a warm welcome to SGL and the hobby from a fellow Nottingham enthusiast. Your plan for observing and imaging the brighter planets is sound given the light pollution we have in the area though maybe at some date you will consider imaging using a Ha filter to do some DSO work. Enjoy the hobby and let's hope the weather is favourable, finger's crossed. Cheers, Steve
  12. Thanks once again Steve for your great monthly newsletter. Cheers, Steve
  13. Hi, if you haven't already seen this it is worth watching it may help you save time regarding exposure times- There's also a handy calculator here to input your own imaging site, camera and filter data-http://tools.sharpcap.co.uk/ Best to experiment with different values and see what actually works for you at your imaging location. Happy imaging. Cheers, Steve
  14. Hmm, it reads that around a dozen telescopes have already been built there, so what suddenly is the big problem I wonder? Thanks though for bringing this onto SGL for a 'heads up'. Regards, Steve
  15. Hi and thanks for posting. I'm really hoping that despite the number of these (and other organisation's) satellites that are due to go up into LEO the stacking software will remove them. My own interest is with wide field imaging so more satellites are to be expected in individual exposures. I have put a temporary hold on buying new gear to see how things go this season. In the UK we only get a relatively small number of clear night's for imaging, in the three years I've been imaging this has varied between 30 and 44 occasions each year. When a future cargo launch of satellites is launched we are likely to endure the initial train of satellites which if this coincides with a clear night has the chance to scupper that evening's work. This year Space X are meant to be launching 5 more of these satellite groups and have up to 12,000 satellites to place, that could mean 200 launches. I understood the craft have a lifespan of 5 years so to keep numbers of the constellation up continual launches will take place. This is just for Space X. I don't envisage changing my sport to imaging satellite trains. Time of course will tell. Best regards, Steve
  16. No No Yes Only exception was a lunar eclipse one time. Takes all sorts. Cheers, Steve
  17. Yes, just taken a couple for you- Fitting the adapter was a little fiddly, getting it sitting as flush as possible while tightening up the little internal grub screw was perhaps the most awkward part. I don't think I'll be removing the adaptor often if I can avoid it. The other thing I'll alter is to replace the very tight fitting top cap with a little plastic bag and elastic band. I also found I had to take off the mount's DEC clutch lever and re-position so it can be tightened with the iPolar in place. Cheers, Steve
  18. Well I've bitten the bullet and a day after ordering (thanks FLO) have my iPolar fitted into the top of my CG-5 mount's polar opening. The camera is recognised in Win 10 (64-bit) and the iPolar software has been installed on the laptop. Just need the cooperation of the fickle weather now to give it all a try out and to post comments. Cheers, Steve
  19. From the album: Next Attempts at DSO's

    I last imaged this target in Cepheus during May 2018 using a Samyang 135 mm lens and on the 12th May this year I re-imaged the region but this time with a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens on my CG-5 mount. In all x24 five minute unguided exposures were taken at f/1.8 with my modified Canon 700D DSLR with clip-in Astronomik 12nm Ha filter. The light exposures were taken at ISO 400. The resulting frames were subsequently stacked in Deep Sky Stacker together with x18 temperature matched dark frames, x50 flat frames and a library master bias frame. The resulting image was processed in StarTools. I am pleased with the amount of nebulosity and dark dust lanes in the image compared to my previous imaging attempt last year which I put down to a better use of StarTools.

    © SteveNickolls 2019

  20. Good luck deciding. Nothing wrong with the 700D, it has a touch sensitive screen which is articulated. At the back of my mind I recall concern over the 650D model. Cheers, Steve
  21. Thanks for the heads up, will have a look at the product. Cheers, Steve
  22. Not sure on your particular model but there are 4 lens reviews here for Samyang 14mm lenses which might shed light on the design-https://www.lenstip.com/lenses_reviews.html Cheers, Steve
  23. That's brilliant So pleased for you. May I enquire what model DSLR you have and what functionality you have with the camera, that is are all the DSLR capabilities able to be used (e.g. 'Live View'). Good luck with your future imaging and don't forget to post your images. Best Regards, Steve
  24. Hi, some people on CN have reported partial success of sorts with some models but my understanding is more work is needed before all Canon DSLR's work fully functionally with the ASCOM driver, but you might be fortunate with your camera though the odds are probably against it right now. Cheers, Steve
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