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About hughgilhespie

  • Rank
    Star Forming

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  • Interests
    First tentative steps in DSO imaging
  • Location
    North Devon
  1. hughgilhespie

    The 14" build is finally underway

    'So, now i've got my CNC kicked into shape, it's time to start my 14" dob build. I've had the optics since i was 21... i'm now 52 HAHA so yeah...' I am so relieved - it's not just me then. I've been sitting on a 12.5 inch conical mount mirror from R F Royce and a matching carbon fibre tube for the past 5 years. OK, it's not quite so extreme but I still feel the guilt. My mirror cell is also about 80% complete. One day............. Regards, Hugh
  2. hughgilhespie

    Easy PCBs

    If you look at the video, the OP was using this https://easyeda.com/ It looks fairly straightforward. My problem is that I keep meaning to learn how to use a PCB layout package but when push comes to shove, I am in too much of a hurry so it's back to the good old strip board. One day............... Regards, Hugh
  3. hughgilhespie

    Remotely Controlling Imaging Queries

    Good point! Skywatcher mounts are also a bit picky about input voltage. I run my set up with a nominal 14 volt supply that becomes about 13.2 - 13.6 volts at the Pegasus hub I use. However, when I was looking at choice of mini computer to mount on the OTA, quite a lot of the options specified 19 volts - this is a sort of standard for laptops. When I queried the manufacturers, none of the ones I asked said that their machines would work on 12 - 14 volts. So, choose carefully and check, check and check again! Regards, Hugh
  4. hughgilhespie

    Win 10 Fall Update

    Aerial Gloucester Old Spots anyone? I have no doubt at all that Microsoft will be moving Windows to a subscription model. They missed out big-time on data harvesting a la Google / Facebook etc so now they need to boost their revenue stream ............... Just my opinion but I will accept modest wagers.................
  5. hughgilhespie

    Win 10 Fall Update

    Upgrade now!! £7.99 to go to a MUCH better operating system than Windows 10!!
  6. hughgilhespie

    Remotely Controlling Imaging Queries

    Hi Steve, Another late entry to this thread. You don't say what sort of mini-pc you will be using or how it will be attached to the imaging set-up However, I can strongly recommend that you get a 12 volt powered mini-pc that you can attach directly onto your telescope. Also, while your attaching things, consider adding a USB/Power hub - think Pegasus or Hi-Tech Astro. That way you can have almost all your cables actually on the OTA. The only dangling cables would be your network cable and a DC power cable to the hub. Regards, Hugh
  7. hughgilhespie

    Setting up for an allnighter

    Hi Mike, A bit confused re iTunes? What I am trying to do is to get to a level of automation that lets me start an imaging session remotely. So, during the day I will do the following: 1. Choose a target or targets 2. Set up a sequence of events for that target using SGPro. This will include an initial opening of the dome shutter and slewing the telescope / dome to point at the target. After the first slew SGPro will focus the scope and then do a plate solve and final, accurate, slew to centre on the target. Next start taking images according to the sequence I have already set up. Come the nice, clear, (rare) evening I go to the obsy and take off the scope cover (currently a large bin bag) and the lens caps from the main and guide scopes. Next is fire up the power and the computer I am using to control everything. This is a headless (no display, keyboard or mouse) mini computer mounted on the OTA. I connect to this OTA computer using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol. I have another ordinary computer in the obsy that I use just to connect to the OTA computer so I can control things while I am in the obsy. Once everything is running nicely, I can sign out of my RDP session running on the obsy computer and go back into the house where I will log onto the OTA computer using my normal home pc and then I can start the imaging session from there. That's the theory anyway. In practice, as described in my earlier posts, I hit problems as soon as I try to start my SGP sequence running. Basically the telescope moves - as it should - but my dome and shutter do nothing so the telescope ends up pointing at black painted fibreglass. This is almost certainly a case of mea culpa. I designed/built/wrote the software that operates the dome rotation and shutter opening and closing. Somewhere in my code there is a silly little mistake that stops it working as it should. Not an obvious mistake because when I send commands to the dome or shutter manually, it works just fine. So, I have been playing hunt the bug for what seems to be a long time. The good news is that it can mostly all be done during the day and I don't have to wait for precious clear evenings. Regards, Hugh
  8. hughgilhespie

    Setting up for an allnighter

    I'll let you know when I get that far!!! I believe it does but I am hopelessly stuck trying to get my dome synchronising with my telescope. I know it CAN work - I have sat in the obsy and watched keep track faultlessly for hours but every time I try to set it up from scratch something goes wrong and usually SGP just freezes and I have to shut it down and restart everything. But - on the bright side we had a clear evening last Friday and I managed to polar align using SharpCap Pro. SharpCap says my PA is 'excellent' and less than about 10 arc-seconds. I am yet to be convinced that it's that good but it is nice that something went to plan. After polar aligning I decided to try running an SGP sequence - and had the normal 30 minute descent into total chaos before I abandoned ship. More trials tomorrow! Regards, Hugh
  9. hughgilhespie

    Refractor For Galaxy Imaging

    Thanks to everyone who replied and all the help offered for me to spend loads of dosh! Actually it's all been very helpful. I should have perhaps said in my original post that I am very much just starting out - I haven't actually managed to take a single image yet. Despite now having all the gear working-ish I am still struggling with software. There is so much to learn!! Day dreaming about new telescopes is really just a way of escaping from grim reality!! A few answers to specific questions. @photogav - I have very, very little experience with my EQ8 mount I have managed to guide it using PGD2 and I was getting an RMS guiding error of about 0.55 arc-seconds. I was encouraged by that and hopefully that figure may be improved somewhat when I know what I am doing. My imaging scale with the Tak at f/5 is 2.03 "/pixel so the guiding is good enough with that scope. At 1000 mm FL, I would benefit from improved guiding but could probably get away with the current figures. @swag72 - I think I'm stuck with the EQ8 - Even dreaming of an Esprit 150 is terrifying. To expand the dream to a new mount as well.................. @ollypenrice - Yeah - I can do better than 0.4 "/pixel no problem - at least as long as I keep dreaming! @kirkster501 - TEC140? - See above reply about fiscal limited dreaming. Again - thanks to everyone. Now back to trying to get my dome to rotate in glorious sychrony with my telescope. Regards, Hugh
  10. Thinking aloud. I am lucky enough to have a Tak FSQ106ED which gives me a native f/5 and I have the 0.73 reducer which gives me the possibility of f/3.6 for widefield imaging. However, For imaging galaxies a longer focal length seems to be desirable. Just wondering what's available at around 1000 mm focal length and say f/10 to f/8? I use an ASI1600MM Pro camera so I would be a bit over sampled. At 1000 mm FL my image scale would be about 0.78 arc-seconds per pixel but other people seem to manage with numbers like this. My mount is an EQ8 so it should cope with a longish refractor and it would be a permanent setup in an observatory. So, what scope - refractors preferred and what else should I be thinking about? Regards, Hugh
  11. hughgilhespie

    Power Management

    Why thank you kindly, Sir. Methinks 'tis I should be thanking thee for all'st thine help with matters too numerous to mention herein. My diagram is a reflection of too many cloudy evenings! Regards, Hugh
  12. hughgilhespie

    Power Management

    Hi Iapa, Coming a bit late to this party but I would be very surprised if you couldn't run your set-up from a Pegasus UPB. My main DC power supply has an ammeter fitted to the output and even with everything running at once I have never seen a total power draw more than 7 - 8 amps. My power network on the OTA is like this and the Pegasus handles it without any problems. HTH Regards, Hugh
  13. hughgilhespie

    Setting up for an allnighter

    Hi Mike, I use SGP that allows me to set up a sequence in advance then automatically runs it. It is very powerful and gives you a lot of control over what events you want to include in the sequence such as when to autofocus, change filters, etc. Regards, Hugh
  14. hughgilhespie

    Setting up for an allnighter

    Hi Mike, Same as you really - I used one of these http://www.robot-electronics.co.uk/files/dS378.pdf to control the obsy power switching. It lets me turn on the 13 volt DC power to everything and turn on or off the charger for the shutter motor battery - I have a bit of electronics that connects the shutter battery to the charger when the charger is running. When the charger is turned off, the battery connects to the shutter motor drive. That system works together with a sort of spring connector that connects the charger on the static wall to the rotating dome when the dome is in the home position. All the mechanical stuff works OK - or OKish anyway. The problems all come with the operator! In theory I can run everything remotely- except taking the cap of the Tak and guide scope. Actually I also put a cover (bin bag) over the scope and its associated computer and the Pegasus hub. Pulsar domes let in a lot of water when the rain comes horizontally as it often does in North Devon. So, one visit to the obsy in the afternoon, take off the cover and lens caps and back to the nice warm house for a comfortable imaging session.....................I wish! Regards, Hugh
  15. hughgilhespie

    Setting up for an allnighter

    Hi Mike, I can't offer any help but I can very definitely sympathise. I am also involved in trying to get automated overnight imaging going and finding it a real struggle. I have a Pulsar dome with homebrew automation for opening/closing the shutter and rotating the dome. I use the Lesvedome system to control it. I also have an EQ8 and I am running everything using SGP. For various dull reasons, I can't manage to stay up all night with the equipment, so I am limited to trying to get everything working in a couple of hours up until about 9.30 pm and then leave it running on auto. So far I haven't managed that. I am trying to do one thing at a time but as every single thing - focusing, guiding, plate solving, etc. etc. is new to me, my nice, simple plan for the evening rapidly descends into chaos. Last night was guiding night. I started with a firm resolve not to include anything that wasn't needed. So, I started by doing everything actually in the obsy - normally I would be running everything from the house via RDP - firing up Sharpcap to check the guide camera was working and to tweak the guidescope focus. The results were poor but I did my best. Then I used CdC to slew the scope to a target then manually rotated the dome until the target was visible through the shutter opening. Using Sharpcap I got a reasonable image from my main scope but sweet nothing from the guide camera. OK - check connections, try a different USB port, pull out hair. Then it dawned on me - the OTA was pointing in the same direction as the obsy computer and the miniguide scope I use doesn't have a dew shield - the objective lens is right bang at the end of the tube and was picking up loads of light from the computer screen. OK - now pick a different target, this time one in the East rather than the West. Slew, etc. and bingo! We have an image from the guide camera. Switch to PHD2 and - nothing! Camera connects but screen is completely white. Some time later - yes, I was using the wrong camera (QHY5Lii) driver. At last, some sort of image on the PHD2 screen. More faffing about to try and improve focus and eventually after doing dark calibrations I can actually start guiding. That was actually the high point of the evening. For the first time ever I was producing my own guiding graph and it was working! According to PHD2 I was getting an RMS of about 0.55 arcseconds which sounds pretty good to me. So, in a spirit of wholly unwarranted optimism I decided to try an actual sequence with SGP. I chose M31 - well, who wouldn't! When I connected the dome driver in SGP odd things started happening - not surprising as I have no idea at all what I am doing. The dome decided that it needed to go the wrong (long) way round to my target. OK - why not. The 'why not' was because I had put the lens cap from my Tak FSQ106 on the little flat shelf sort of thing at the base of the dome, so it was carried around as the dome rotated. At least it was carried around until it hit my Dome Home Position Sensor, £22 of fragile plastic. I tried to leap to my feet when I heard the crunch but it was (a) too late and (b) I hit my head on the EQ8 counterweight bar. Still - all in all I count the evening a great success. I have a PHD2 profile that actually works and RS have a really good delivery service. Saturday night is looking light there will be some clear skies in North Devon - here comes Plate Solving!! Regards, Hugh

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