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Everything posted by Lonestar70

  1. Hi Jay, and welcome to SGL. Another vote here for 'Making Every Photon Count' it will save you a lot more than it's cover price when choosing equipment for astrophotography... more importantly, it will save making expensive mistakes. Clear Skies,
  2. Lonestar70

    New member

    Hi Avtar and welcome to SGL. Hope you can find some dark skies to use your new gear under. Best regards,
  3. Hi Paul, Designer handbags and shoes don't count then do they? :grin: The ST80 and SPC900 with LX mod are a common pairing for guiding and PHD supports this camera and modification. The SPC900 is not quite as sensitive as the QHY5 and certainly a lot less sensitive than the Lodestar, however, it is adequate for most general guiding where a suitably bright guide star can be located (you may need to adjust the guidescope a little in order to locate one). 2 or 3 second exposures will usually be enough, any more and you will run into too much sensor noise. The use of the AMP OFF modification will help with this. All camera control and exposures can be directly controlled from PHD so you won't need any other software for guiding. I use an SPC900 with LX and AMP OFF mods on a SW 9 x 50 Finder scope under PHD. Hope this helps. Best regards.
  4. Hi Blinky, No problem my friend... always ready to help a fellow stargazer. I think the main problem you were having was that you had not selected 'Relative' mode. The standalone package always defaults to 'ABSOLUTE MODE'. It also assumes the focuser is in the parked (fully in) position and sets the POSITION value to ZERO... regardless of where the focuser is physically positioned... hence the recommendation to manually set your focusser fully In before starting the software. The results you were getting suggest this, since you were only able to perform one button push (using your 100 steps) Absolute mode works a bit like GO-TO in that it will go to the position stated by the NUMBER OF STEPS if it is not already in that position. When you powered up the software defaulted the actual position of your focuser to be position ZERO... you set number of steps to 100 and pressed the out button... it moved to position 100... when you pressed the IN or OUT button a second time nothing happened, since the focuser was already at position 100... to get it to move a further 100 you would have had to set the step number to 200... if you then wanted to move IN 150 steps you would have to set the number to 50 (position 50).. etc etc. RELATIVE mode works in a different way... it just moves the number of steps set in either direction (IN or OUT) from where it currently is, so long as this would not make it go beyond the INWARD or OUTWARD limits (0 and 10,000 by default) and it adjusts the POSITION value accordingly. Apart from finding, and setting, your focuser limits, as described in my last post, the only parameter which may need a bit of playing with is the SPEED (step 3 in my last post). This number is actually the delay (in microseconds) used for the stepper pulses and is used to set the ON and OFF times of each pulse. The default is, if I remember correctly, 200... this number will probably need changing to suit your MOTOR/Load. A higher value will give longer, but more powerful, ON and OFF times to each pulse. A lower value will give shorter, but less powerful, ON and OFF times to each pulse. Shorter pulses will make the motor move faster but it may not be able to move the load of your camera (especially is the scope is pointing toward ZENITH). Not usually a problem in the OUT direction, but it may not be able to do it in the IN direction, since it will be trying to lift the entire focuser tube and camera weight. Selecting a higher value will make the motor move more slowly but it will have a lot more power, allowing it to lift the load. Play around with this value and find one that allows your motor to lift the required load in the ZENITH orientation and always set it to this value. I found I needed to set mine to 600 to lift my Nikon D90, SW x0.8 Focal Reducer/Field Flattener on my ED80. I use the same value on my SW 150PDS. Hope this makes sense. Let us know how you get on. Best Regards.
  5. Hi Blinky, Have you may not have set up all the parameters on the standalone user interface. Start by manually setting your scopes focuser fully in (without the electronic focuser powered up). Power up the electronic focuser, and standalone focuser software. On the standalone control panel: - First select your COM port... then connect to focuser. 1/ On the left side of the control panel ... Set Position = zero (0) default. 2/ exactly below it... Set Steps = 100, or whatever step number you require. 3/ On the RIGHT side of the control panel... type, say 500, into the speed box and click the SET speed button just below it. 4/ The SET LIMIT should be set for the maximum number of steps you need to reach the FULLY OUT position of you scopes focuser, however, since you don't yet know this number just leave it at the 10,000 steps shown as default. 5/ In the centre of the control panel click on the SET RELATIVE button. (It defaults to ABSOLUTE) You should now be able to step in and out the number of steps you have set in step 2 above. If you try to go below the lower limit (0) nothing will happen. Step out at say 500 step intervals until your focuser is almost fully out... then reduce the number of steps to say 10, or 20... keep stepping out whilst watching for movement of you focuser... as soon as you see none... then step back IN by the same amount of steps. In the centre of the control panel, at the top you should see an entry labeled 'POSITION' with a number just below and to the right... this is the number of steps between the FULLY IN position of you focuser and the FULLY OUT position. If you now type this number into the SET LIMIT box (step 4 above) and click on set limit, this will set the maximum number of steps beyond which the electronics will ignore any further OUT button presses. Unfortunately, the Standalone focuser control panel does not remember any of this when it is powered down so take note of the numbers for next time... then you can easily preset them the next time you use your focuser again. Hope this helps.
  6. Nicho, The link you gave is for a 'Skywatcher Power supply cable with a cigar lighter plug. This has the correct 2.1mm Centre positive plug for your Atik but it will require a power tank (battery) to supply the power, or a Mains powered regulated 12v DC power supply. If you don't want, or have not got, a battery/DC power supply... FO also do a mains powered supply for the Atik: - http://www.firstlightoptics.com/power/atik-power-supply-unit-psu.html Beware of any cheap mains 'PLUG TOP' type power adaptors... a lot of them are not stabilised and can output a substantially higher voltage than 12v if used at a lower current than it's label says it is rated for. For a £1000.00 + camera, it is better to spend a little more on a properly regulated (stabilised) power supply than risking any of the cheap units. Hope you get it sorted out. Best regards.
  7. Hi Gaz, and welcome to SGL. If you are getting in to AstroPhotography then the 200pds would be the better scope... although the HEQ5 would be at it's limit with this OTA, especially when you add a guidescope etc (a have must for long exposures)... the HEQ6 would be the better mount. Whatever you end up purchasing you will get lots of help and guidance from the members on SGL. Enjoy... and clear skies.
  8. Another alternative is to use o-rings... obtainable from most good hardware stores or garages. Get 3 or 4 with an inside dia just a little smaller than the OD of your focuser knob and stretch them over it. Several fitted side by side will give a good grip and are easily replaced when/if necessary. Hope this helps.
  9. Whilst it is true that the SPC900 gives approx the same image scale as you would get from a 6mm eyepiece, it does not mean they focus at the same position on your focuser... unless the eyepiece and the camera are exactly parfocal. The best way to focus the camera is to use a nearby bright star and focus on that, using a bahtinov mask. Once focus has been achieved you can then slew back to Saturn and adjust brightness, contrast and exposure time to give you a fairly dim image in liveview. As has been stated, if you find the image too small then employing a barlow will be of benefit... but remember this will increase the focal length of your set-up... meaning a longer exposure time would be required. Hope you manage to get some decent images.
  10. Hi Guy's, Replacement ain boards are available from: - http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Accessories-Mounts-Skywatcher.asp?p=0_10_5_2_0_60 not exactly cheap, but may save a lot of headaches trying to reconfigure a suspect board. Keep happy.
  11. OOp's...I should have also stated, the whole lot runs just fine on my machine. Hope you find the problem with yours.
  12. Hi All, I have eqascom/eqmod installed on my window 7x 64bit pro laptop and am also using eqdir to my HEQ5 pro. Ascom, Eqmod, Eqdir are all installed (by default... by the ascom installer file) as win32 programme files and it uses the 32bit drivers. I also run all these packages as ADMINISTRATOR... which often helps with such problems. I was always under the impression that ASCOM et al were 32 bit programmes by default, have yours installed as 64 bit? if so then this could be the problem. Hope this sheds some possible light. Best regards.
  13. Hi Emad, You could try the following: - http://www.rosshandling.co.uk/economy-handwheels.asp http://www.mossplastics.com/polypropylene-scalloped-handwheel http://www.wdsltd.co.uk/products/Machine-Parts/Plastic-Hand-Knobs/WDS-8161-Hand-Screw-195/ They may have something suitable. Best Regards.
  14. Hi Chris, On reasonably smooth surface 1ltr of PVA should be enough for around 64 sq ft of contact surface. For your 4 outside frame joints you will only have around 25 sq ft.... spread a thin layer over the whole surface using an old straight knife or the back of a hacksaw blade and assemble straight away... it starts to set off pretty quickly. I would buy a couple of 1ltr bottles at that price as I am sure you will need to glue up lots of other joints etc. It Keeps well in a coolish place if well sealed. Keep happy.
  15. Hi Chris, M8 would just about be ok... 10mm would be much better. Don't forget... you also need the large dia washers or square metel plates to bolt up against. the ones for the head end have a square hole... the nut side has a round hole. The down side to this method will mean the heads, plates and nuts stick out from the surface which might be a problem for your cladding. At least Screws and Glue will eliminate this problem. Choice, Choices!!!! Keep happy.
  16. Hi Chris, 80mm screws on their own would not provide sufficient sheer capability... used in conjunction with gluing the boards together would be adequate for your use. When gluing... clamp the boards together and fit screws whilst clamped. Have you seen the price of waterproof PVA??? Keep Happy.
  17. Hi Gina, I had a look on the internet and found some details of focal length for the ASAHI PENTAX LENSES. This is specified as 45.5mm Flange focus distance... This being the distance required between the rear flange of the lens and the front face of the camera sensor, and the lenses use an M42 x 1mm attachment thread. The ATIK site states 13.1mm from front of camera flange to sensor with T2 thread (M42 x 0.75mm) So, with these figures in mind I drew up a possible filter wheel housing using 3mm thick sideplates and has 20.4mm of available inside width... this should be more than enough to fit the carousel and drive mechanism even with the 8mm thick filters. Auto Filter wheel_1.pdf The lens side adaptor should allow you to screw your lens in directly without need of any other adaptor. The Camera adaptor is a direct attachment for the ATIK. Both are custom adaptors which could easily be made. What do you think? Best Regards.
  18. Hi Gina, Correct me if I am mistaken, but I seem to recall (from one of your many threads on camera spacing) that you had to add an 8mm or perhaps a 10mm extension spacer between the EFW and the Atik to obtain the correct back focus distance. It may have been in relation to using the Atik a EFW with your ED80... which requires 55mm behind the FF/FR. If this is so, and your camera lenses are of similar backfocus requirements... then you could add the 8mm-10mm to the width of the new filter wheel and do away with the external extension... just a thought. Best regards.
  19. Hi Chris, Yes that would be fine and it makes the boards easier to handle (2" not as heavy as 4"), however, it would be normal practice to bolt them together using coach bolts and large washers( or bearer plates ). On 6" wide timber you need 2 rows of bolts... a top row say 2" down from the top and pitched at about 2ft intervals. A second row 2" from the bottom also spaced at about 2ft intervals but offset by 1ft from the top row... you end up with a sort of zig-zag pattern. The reason for bolting them like this is to more evenly spread the tensions through both and minimise each board warping in a different direction to it's partner. Some buildings I have seen glue the 2 boards together and put 1" dia pegs through both boards in much the same pattern. Hope that all makes sense. Best Regards.
  20. Looking good Chris... just one cautionary suggestion though. From you Sketchup drawing it would appear that you are proposing to use 4" x 4" (100mm x 100mm) for the floor supports. This is not good engineering practice when spanning best part of 8 - 9 ft between concrete supports... they will almost certainly bow downwards between the pillars when any weight is applied to the internal floor. You would be best using at least 6" x 3" (or even 6" x 4") for the outer frame with 6" x 2" minimum for any remaining floor support joists (these can be attached to the outers using metal joist hangers. Be sure and use pressure treated (tanilised timber) not ordinary (interior grade) timber. Keep up the great work. Best regards.
  21. Hello Chris in the SE of Oz, from the West Coast of Scotland... welcome to SGL. Clear Skies.
  22. Hi Jaccord , welcome to SGL. Some great dark sky sites up there in upstate NY . Best regards and Clear Skies.
  23. Hi from a soggy West Coast of Scotland and welcome to SGL. Plenty of help here if/when you need it... just ask. Best regards and clear skies.
  24. Hi Nikolaj and welcome to SGL. With your 2 scopes and a great mount you are set up for pretty much any kind of viewing, and you could even get into astrophotography with your 4" APO Refractor if you felt the urge to venture over to the dark side clear skies.
  25. Lonestar70

    New member

    Welcome to SGL Starbright. The loss of a loved one is hard to bear at any time and always leaves a huge hole which can never be filled, My Condolences. I hope you find a good scope etc soon. Clear Skies.
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