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Everything posted by Lonestar70

  1. Hi Gina, A couple of pointers re your software issues with CdC and ASCOM. I had similar problems when I first installed these on my laptop and found the following: - 1/ Make sure you set all software to start up as ADMINISTRATOR. 2/ Do not start ASCOM/EQMOD and then start CdC... always start CdC and then use it to conect to and start ASCOM/EQMOD. 3/ Double check that CdC and ASCOM are showing the same settings/parameters for TIME and LAT/LONG... there was often a discrepancy between them with some versions whereby the Lat/Long figures were different in, I believe, the minutes window... If I recall correctly it was something to do with ASCOM/EQMOD being able to store 3 digits (with the last digit hidden) wherase CdC will only accept 2 digits, or something like that... I am not sure if this was corrected in the later revisions though. If you have GPS available then I would use this to set up both CdC and ASCOM/EQMOD... this will also take care of SUMMER TIME/WINTER TIME variations. CdC and ASCOM would normally use your PC/Laptop clock to obtain the current time, so It would pay to synchronise this to the GPS time and arrange for it to be updated from one of the ATOMIC clock sites... there are several to choose from under clock steetings in Control Panel. Finally, It will be of benefit if you go into 'POWER SETTINGS' (from Control Panel) on your laptop and dissable the SLEEP MODE for both Battery and Mains power... the last thing you want is the laptop going to sleep halfway through an imaging sequence. I would also dissable SCREEN SAVERS and all auto updates (such as WINDOWS UPDATE and your ANTI VIRUS)... since these will still try and connect to the internet even though you have it dissabled (i.e. wireless link or LAN)... at best such occurances would possibly mean a lost frame... worse case is it loses your guide star (PHD can be very touchy)and you now what that can mean. I hope you find the problems soon. Best Regards.
  2. Hi Guys, Steve... The old pentax thread was M42 x 1mm pitch (same as Zeiss and Praktica) for astro fittings M42/T2 is 0.75mm pitch. Jason... The thing that caught my eye on your dividing attachment was the size of the dividing wheel... how many divisions has it got?... I have a similar unit on my Myford which can take Myford gears, and it fits into the back of the spindle where it is locked in place with an expanding taper. It also has a sliding rod through the spindle, which serves as an adjustable backstop... this has a separate locking mechanism. For Screw cutting I can attach a separate hand crank. I also meant to add that Internal threads an be done using the same technique... the only differences being that you move the tool outwards rather than inwards to increase thread depth and the tool can be made from a spare boring bar. Keep happy.
  3. Hi Jason, You are making a super job of that filterwheel, must have a go at one myself soon. That is a very interesting looking divider attachment you have there, is it your own design? If you have a spindle handle for your lathe then that is the thing to use for this sort of threading. Don't even think of trying to run the lathe in reverse, with the tool at the back... you will almost certainly unscrew your chuck. If you make an undercut about 1 thread wide, and the same depth as the thread + about 5 thou = (0.127mm) at the shoulder this will allow you to run the thread cleanly up to the shoulder. Make a 60 degree threading tool on the end of a piece of a 1/16" or 3/32" wide parting tool, this will save a good bit of grinding. The M42 thread you need is 0.75mm pitch, so you will need a 21 tooth change gear. Once you have the gear train set up... the tool fitted (make sure that it is at 90 deg to the work and at centre height) and you are ready to begin threading... engage the leadscrew nut and leave it engaged until you have finished the thread completely. Lock your compound slide (tighten one of the gib screws if you don't have a separate lock bolt). a/ Take shallow cuts ( a few thou at a time... this is put on using the cross slide handwheel) and wind the spindle until the tool reaches the undercut... you should see a shallow thread forming. b/ at this point retract the tool, using the cross slide handwheel so that it is clear of the thread... wind the spindle in the backward direction until you are back to the start position... c/ put on a bit more cut,using the cross slide handwheel and repeat steps a thru c until you have reached the required depth...You can check this using an M42 t-ring or some such. The thread depth will only be around 15 thou so keep an eye on your cross slide dial (this is why it is handy to be able to zero it). Hope this is of some help. Look forward to seeing how you get on. Best regards.
  4. Hi Bacchus and welcome to the CLAN SGL. Yes the weather is also lousy on the West Coast at the moment so I know how you feel. Hopefully we will get some clear skies later this week. Best Regards.
  5. Hi Artemisia and welcome to SGL. 'Saturn'... one seen never forgotten. I am sure you will learn a lot from the SGL community, I know I have, so just ask your questions and I am sure you will get lots of help. Clear Skies.
  6. Lonestar70

    Hi all.

    Hi Mike from GM8ICC and welcome to SGL... the best place to be when clouds are about and propogation (radio waves) is rubbish. Clear Skies. 73
  7. Hi Kris, welcome to SGL. Bet you can't wait for your 10" DOB... nice size. Clear skies.
  8. Hello from a cloudy Scotland and welcome to SGL. You should get some great views with your 200p. Clear Skies.
  9. Lonestar70


    Hello MYLUCKYSTARS, welcome to SGL. Clear skies.
  10. Hi Again, I thought that might be the case, however, all is not lost. What you need is one of these: - http://www.amazon.co.uk/adapter-Prolific-PL-2303-Chipset-compatible-Windows/dp/B0085MGSG0 This can be inserted into one of your USB ports and the 9 pin end of the lead you were supplied with (for updating the handset software) can be plugged into this. The other end of the supplied lead then plugs in to your handset (see your manual) RJ11 socket. You should just plug the USB end of the adaptor into your laptop first though... this will detect the converter and load the appropriate drivers (you may get a CD with these on it... if so then insert the CD when prompted and let the task complete. If you then open 'DEVICE MANAGER' from your laptop control panel and scroll down to 'PORTS (COM & LPT)' click on this and you should see your adaptor listed... take a note of the COM port number assigned to it... Stellarium will need to know this number. If you now download 'STELLARIUM' (google it) which is a FREE planetarium software, this has a plug in (installed when you install the package) I think it's called 'Stellarium Scope' with which can control your telescope. Stellarium is also great for learning the night sky and for planning a viewing/photo session. Once the adaptor drivers and Stellarium are installed, you can then connect your telescope using the supplied lead. As for a camera, well I would suggest a webcam, modified with a suitable nosepiece (there are quite a few webcam mod theads under the DIY section which will help you with this)... in conjunction with 'SharpCap' which is a FREE video capture programme for astrophotography use.( Google it) I hope this is of some help. Best regards.
  11. Hi simmo39, A word of caution... you may find that this is not a serial port, but an external VGA monitor port. How many pins does it have?... if it has 15 then it is a VGA monitor port... an RS232 serial port will only have 9pins. Nor sure how old the laptop is (I know it is new to you) but most modernish (is that a word?) laptops are no longer fitted with serial ports. What mount are you using?... this may help us to advise you better as to how you can control it from your laptop. Best regards.
  12. Hi AndyO, I had a similar problem with my ED80 and my solution was a custom made balancer. I did post a description and pictures of it in the following thread. http://stargazerslou...n-ed80-on-heq5/ I am fortunate enough to have a lathe and milling machine so this made things a lot easier. However your solution looks to be a good alternative for you, and for those not having the same facilities. Well done. Best regards.
  13. Hi Wyldkatt, Welcome to SGL. Now that's what I call getting hooked... wish my other half would get a bit more interested. Best regards and clear skies. Sandy.
  14. Lonestar70


    Hi Sandy, Welcome to the club from another Sandy... that will confuse the sassenachs!!! I am a wee bit further up the west coast than you near Lochgilphead. Enjoy your time here and ask any questions you like, there is always someone who can answer them. Best regards. The other Sandy. :grin:
  15. On reflection, I think I should have posted my last entry in the DIY section but wanted to keep it along with the previous posts on this subject. If the modorators feel the entire subject should be moved to the DIY section then please do so. My appologies if it is in the wrong place. Best Regards. Sandy.
  16. Hi Skyscanner, As Astro_Baby has mentioned above, using the dials is quite easy once you get the hang of them so it is worth getting them set up correctly. Polar finder will show you where polaris should be at any given time... the trick is rotating your RA axis to get it exactly in the right place... easy when it's at 12oclock, 3 oclock, 6 oclock and 9oclock... but not so easy when in between. I don't actually use the dials (or the handset) since I have my HEQ5 mount connected to a laptop and control it using Ascom and EQMOD. This has the advantage of having a built in polar alignment facility which locates the correct position for polaris (it auto rotates the RA for you) and it also gets the time from the laptop and remembers your Latitude and Longitude settings, which the SW handset doesn't. Polar alignment using polaris only will be good enough for observation work and for picture capture of up to around 60 seconds MAX. depending upon how carefull you are with the setting. For longer exposures you will need to refine your polar alignment using DRIFT Alignment. Again, Ascom has a suitable solution in the form of EQalign... but there are several other programmes available for this function. Hope this helps a bit more. Best regards. Sandy.
  17. Hi All, Having done some more work on this subject and having rejected the long dovetail idea, since I think it could introduce unwanted flexture from the single point mounting... the following is the result of my playing around with a sliding weight balancer attachment. I first needed to establish the approx weights required for different set-ups Using the standard SW 210mm heavy-duty dovetail bar, and the scope pushed as far forward in the scope rings as possible, the scope is mounted on the HEQ5 at the back of the dovetail... Right under the focuser. With my Nikon D90 DLSR (quite a heavy lump), SW FR/FF and stepper motor focuser drive attached and with the focuser at normal focus position it was established that the counterweight necessary to balance the assembly in DEC was as follows: - 900gm (approx 2lb) at the front of the dovetail bar. 450gm (approx 1lb) at the front of the dew shield. To simulate a set-up similar to Gina’s with SW FR/FF + powered filter wheel + Atik CCD camera and the necessary extensions I fitted an additional 80mm long x 2” dia extension and racked the focuser all the way out. In this configuration the required balance weights were: - 1587gm (approx 3½ lb) at the front of the dovetail bar. 680gm (approx 1.5lb) at the front of the dew shield. From this it was clear that a sliding weight of around 800gm (approx 1.75lb) would satisfy both requirements. The standard heavy duty SW dovetail bar supplied with the ED80 pro had 2 convenient tapped holes (albeit one was ¼” UNC and the other was M6) available towards the front end, so these were used as the mounting points for the balancer assembly. The main T shaped mounting block was made from aluminium and was tapped 5/16” BSF on one vertical face to accommodate the slide bar. The slide bar is made from 5/16” dia stainless steel and is 270mm (10.625” long) including the threaded section which screws into the T mount block… thus it extends outward to almost the end of the dew shield. The outer end of the slide bar is drilled and tapped M5 to accommodate a safety stop. Originally I made a single sliding weight of some 880gm from a convenient piece of 1 3/4” dia brass bar that I had in my stock drawer (I did not see the point of cutting off an odd 3/8” or so as to make it exactly 800gm) This was drilled and tapped in 2 places M6 for the locking screws. The locking screws for the weight, and the stop screw for the end of the slide bar were made from stock 9/16” brass bar and knurled for easy tightening. The first photo shows all the original component parts. When first attached to the scope I found that the single weight was a little tricky to position easily, so I cut it in half in the lathe leaving me with 2 weights of 430gm (0.92lb) each. These proved far easier to set. These last 2 photos show the final assembly with the 2 weights fitted. In reality, I only need to use 1 weight for my DSLR set-up, when taking the weight of the slide bar, end stop and mounting block into consideration, since the original weights established would have been inclusive of this weight. I will keep the second one for later, when I go for a full CCD set-up. I can now easily balance the scope in DEC; whatever I choose to fit at the focuser end and I am very pleased with the outcome. I accept that this method does add a little extra weight, however, it is well within the capabilies of the HEQ5 and it overcomes the possibility of flexture when using an overhung long dovetail bar. I hope this gives some of you an idea of how to go about such a balancing act. Best Regards and clear skies to all. Sandy
  18. Lonestar70

    Balancer 2

    From the album: Lonestar70 Scope bits

    ED80 DEC balancer fitted and showing revised double weights.

    © A F Campbell

  19. Lonestar70

    Balancer 1

    From the album: Lonestar70 Scope bits

    ED80 DEC balancer showing component parts and original single weight.

    © A F Campbell

  20. Lonestar70

    Balancer 3

    From the album: Lonestar70 Scope bits

    ED80 DEC balancer close up showing attachment to dovetail bar.

    © A F Campbell

  21. Hi, The statement 'A fully 'Stabilised' mount' in my last post should have read 'A fully 'Stabilised power supply'. Sorry for the typo error... too many thumbs!!! Best regards. Sandy.
  22. Hi DeeRoy, Most modern mounts run from a NOMINAL 12v DC. A lot of people use a rechargeable 12v battery which, when fully charged will output 13.8v... this is quite normal. The mount electronics can take any voltage between 11v and 15v ( skywatcher/celestron ) without any problems. I would strongly suggest that you choose a good 'Stabilised' power supply, such as the one I listed or a similar quality one. I would steer away from the plugtop types, since the majority are not 'Stabilised' and their output voltage can vary quite a lot with load variations, or input voltage variations, meaning that you could quite easily apply too low a voltage (less than the minimum 11v) which would cause eratic behaviour of your mount or, worse still, too much voltage (more than the 15v max) which could damage your mounts electronics. (expensive repair job). A fully 'Stabilised' mount will provide a constant 13.8v at any current up to the maximum output current of the power supply. Your mount should not draw much more than 2 amps and the suggested power supply can provide 4 amps, leaving a fair margin for you to use the same supply for other items, such as a dew heater or camera. I hope this puts your mind at rest. Best Regards. Sandy.
  23. Hi SkyScanner, Polaris transits once every 24hrs approx but the exact time may differ for different locations. You can find the exact times for any day using the following FREE software. http://www.myastroimages.com/Polar_FinderScope_by_Jason_Dale/ it will also show you where the little polaris circle should be positioned (in your polarscope) at any given time on any given day. remember... your polarscope will show an inverted image so 0hrs/2400hrs will be with the small circle at the bottom when viewed through the polarscope for any of the daily polaris transit times. Hope this helps. Best regards. Sandy.
  24. Hi DeeRoy, This would do what you require: - http://www.rapidonline.com/electrical-power/fixed-out-13-8v-4-6a-cigar-socket-psu-85-1714 It is the same power supply as sold by several telescope suppliers but at a much lower price. Hope this helps. best regards. sandy.
  25. Hi Mike, How about using some 25mm aluminium electrolytic capacitor clamps (vertical) http://www.audiocap.co.uk/accessories-67-c.asp The second ones down should do the job. Hope this helps. Best Regards. Sandy.
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