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Everything posted by Lonestar70

  1. Yes I do think it varies with mount build and does not appear to be type specific... more like pot luck really. My own HEQ5 pro required the DEC rotated almost a complete 90 deg before I got a clear view through the polarscope. I have since adjusted mine to allow the view at Home position as I find it more convenient. I think the OP would be better off not being concerned about this aspect at this time and concentrate on becoming more familiar with the mount. Then, if thought necessary, the adjustment required can be explored later. Best regards. Sandy.
  2. Hi Peter, I agree with you as far as the alteration is concerned, however, not wishing to confuse the OP any further, I was stating things as is supplied by the factory. It even specifies on page 10 of the mount manual that you will need to rotate the DEC axis to be able to see through the polarscope. The change of position is certainly worth doing for future use though, since it only takes a couple of minutes to do, however this is not a procedure mentioned in the manual. Best regards. Sandy.
  3. Hi Iwols, A finder scope would leave you with a mounting problem since the majority are designed to attach directly to a telescope. A spotting scope is one option but you would need to be sure it has the correct dovetail mounting fitting to suit the mount. A better alternative would be the following: - http://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-80-ota.html This has several advantages... 1. It is much the same price as a decent spotting scope. 2. It has the correct mounting hardware for the mount. 3. It has a top connection for your camera. 4. It can be used as a scope in it's own right. 5. It can serve as an excellent guide scope for a later imaging scope... which is something you will need for long exposure astrophotography. Whichever you choose I would suggest you do a rough polar alignment of the mount without anything mounted on it... this will eliminate any potential clashes with the mount legs when you rotate the RA axis to get the Polaris hour angle in the right place. It also places less stress on the mount adjustment bolts (which are quite flimsy) by reducing the load. Finer alignment can then be performed using the Synscan handset Polar alignment routines or Drift Alignment using the scope. Good luck and clear skies. Best regards. Sandy.
  4. Hi, 5.5mm is correct for the OD (outside diameter), however, the ID (inside diameter) of the tip needs to be 2.1mm... some are around 2.3mm or larger and will not make a connection to the pin in the centre of the socket on the mount. The Positive tip polarity is correct. Good luck and be careful how you charge that battery... don't leave it un-attended... lithium batteries must be handled and charged with great care... if the battery gets too warm to touch when charging then disconnect it immediately and seek help from a qualified engineer. It should also have a LOW VOLTAGE cut-out or warning light to prevent over-discharge; which would severely damage the battery. Good luck. Best regards. Sandy.
  5. You can download version 3 Focusmax from here: - http://www.astronomylog.co.uk/focusmax-downloads/ CCDWare is the official download location for the latest V4. You can register it as a trial version but after the trial period you will need to pay for the package in order to continue using it. I have not tried any version as yet since I am not sure it works with DSLR cameras. Hope this helps. Sandy.
  6. Short answer is NO. With the HEQ5 mount in the parked position (Home position) then the polarscope viewing hole is blocked by the Dec Axis spindle... you would need to rotate the DEC axis by approx 90deg to be able to see through the polarscope. This is quite normal for the majority of SW EQ mounts. Hope this makes sense. Best regards. Sandy.
  7. Hi Per, Interesting... Does focusmax work with DSLR cameras? I was under the impression that it was specifically for CCD astro cameras. The blurb states it first takes a 3x3 binned image to work with... how does it do that with a colour DSLR sensor... the Bayer matrix would prevent that I would have thought. Or perhaps I am missing something... which would not be unusual Best regards. Sandy.
  8. Hi Lee and welcome to SGL, you have found the place for all your answers. Just post a question in the General and Getting started section (or other appropriate section) and you will quickly get a response from several members who are familiar with your particular issue. Remember the only daft question is the one you don't ask... we have all started at the bottom and most, if not all, of us are still learning new things. Good luck and clear skies. Best regards. Sandy.
  9. Sorry Matt it is the other way round... the RA axis is the one aligned with the Earths rotational axis not the DEC when polar aligning. Don't want the OP to get this wrong. Polar alignment aligns the mount not the telescope and can be done without the scope, or camera in this case, being attached. Once aligned the scope or camera can then be mounted and both axis can be balanced by adjusting the counterweights and/or the location of the scope/camera after which the assembly should be set with the front of either scope or camera pointing towards North and with the counterweights straight down... This is referred to as the HOME POSITION. Goto (star alignment) can then be performed so the electronics know where everything is in relation to this home position. Star alignment without a telescope will almost certainly need you to use LIVE VIEW on your camera in order to see the alignment star and centre it in the field of view... if you have a suitable laptop you can make excellent use of an astro capture program to control your camera which will also allow you to use on screen Live View and software focusing aids to make this more exact. For your Nikon I would recommend " BackYard Nikon" which will do just about everything you will ever need for astro work with a DSLR. You can find the latest version here: - http://www.otelescope.com/index.php?/topic/1242-backyardnikon-103-just-released/#entry8199 A trial version is available with pretty well full capability. Good luck with your new mount. Best regards. Sandy.
  10. The Iridium 12 satellite was in approx that position relative to the moon at 21:36:55 last night. Nothing else shows up on stellarium around that time... not that Aliens would take much notice of that though Could it be something military and therefore classified? Very strange. Nice catch though. Best regards. Sandy.
  11. Hi Phil, Ok about the live view, I was not sure if the 350D had it or not. I think that model also had Auto power shutdown which can be set for various timespans or switched off all together in one of the menu's... if this is active it could create possible problems with reconnecting to the USB ports when you try to power up again (the ports get hung up)... often requiring the cables to be disconnected and then reconnected. Hope you can find the problem. Best regards. Sandy.
  12. Stellariums Image data base does not contain images for every nebula, only those for which suitable photographs have been made available to the Author are currently included. If you type IC1396 into the search and then zoom in it will show tha core stars of the Elephants Trunk Nebula region. Good luck and clear skies. Sandy.
  13. Hi Paul from another Scot and welcome to SGL. That's 5 1/2 of us now so the Sassenachs had better watch out Clear skies. Sandy.
  14. Hi, Sikaflex is the business for sealing around the base periphery, however, it is possible the water is coming from beneath the concrete slab, especially if you did not install a waterproof membrane beneath the slab. If this is the case then you will need to coat the entire slab with a waterproofing sealant and one of the best is: - http://aquron.co.uk/aquron-products1/aquron-2000-waterproofing-for-concrete/guaranteed-waterproofing You will, of course, need to allow the concrete to fully dry out before you apply the sealant. Good luck. Best regards. Sandy.
  15. If you are using live view for extended length of time during focusing/alignment/framing etc then it is possible the camera is shutting down due to internal temperature (Thermal Shutdown). Does it come back to life after leaving it switched off for 20mins - 1/2hr? Several of the Canon models have such thermal protection fitted... especially those which have video facilities. Best regards. Sandy.
  16. Quote" the appliance internal fuse, if any, properly protects the appliance." And there in lies the issue... Whilst I totaly agree that with a domestic AC mains appliance the plug fuse is there to protect the wiring not the appliance, however, we are talking about a DC installation, probably unearthed on the DC side and where the only return path is via the Negative line, and an expensive mount which does not contain any internal protection for overcurrent or for reverse polarity. It would seem prudent to me (also a fully qualified electronics engineer) to fit a suitably rated fuse at the input of the mount to provide some such protection in the event of an overcurrent situation rather than rely on a much heavier fuse protecting the wiring to a whole bank of sockets... the likelyhood of this blowing before the tracks on the mount motherboard vapourising would seem to me to be tempting fate. The only mount protection provided by Skywatcher is a fuse fitted inside the Cigarette plug on the power cable supplied with the mount and since this is not being used in this case it would seem resonable to replicate it by fitting an individual fuse at the appropriate socket. Good luck with your new supply and I hope you will get your electronic focuser up and running soon... I did mine a year or so ago and it made a huge difference. Best regards and clear skies. Sandy.
  17. Hi and welcome to SGL. The Hitec adaptor is only for use in conjunction with ASCOM/EQMOD+CDC or Stellarium control of your mount without the need to use the handset (it replaces the handset)... it cannot be used for handset or Mount software upgrades. For that you need the following cable: - http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/serial-cable-for-skywatcher-and-celestron-mounts.html And if your PC/Laptop does not have a true RS232 port you will also need one of these: - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plugable-Adapter-Prolific-PL2303HX-Chipset/dp/B00425S1H8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1448297797&sr=8-2&keywords=USB+to+RS232+serial+adaptors as Julian has stated above... This cable and adaptor can also be used to control the mount from your PC/Laptop via the handset by placing the handset in PC Direct mode. This emulates the Hitec device, however, it also adds some additional signal delays which can make some functions, such as guiding or camera control, unreliable... there is also a major problem if you also try to use the handset buttons at the same time when in this mode... things can tend to go a bit nuts. The majority of users choose the Hitec adaptor rather than the PC direct mode. The NPE error is just telling you that there is a small value of angular misalignment between the RA and DEC axis (which should be at 90deg to each other) currently stored in the handset memory... this can be caused by cone error or mechanical misalignment and/or mount not being totally level. You should be able to reset the values stored for both CE (Cone Error) and NPE (Non Perpendicular Error) to zero using the handset, however, they will be updated and re-stored when you do a star alignment. Some people don't worry about it and just accept the error and carry on with the alignment. This only came about in the v3.35 or v3.36 SynScan release and has caused a fair bit of discussion on the forum... try doing a forum search for NPE error. I don't think many members actually know how the value is determined by SynScan... but there might be one or two. I hope this helps. Best regards. Sandy.
  18. Well stated Michael. Gaj, I would point out that wiring also includes the printed copper tracks on your mount circuit boards... some of which are quite small in cross section... whilst these will be of adequate size for normal running currents it is quite possible (and often the case) that they get burnt off when something causes the normal working current to rise rapidly, such as both motors stalling during a slew due to a trapped cable. In such a case the large fuse protecting the whole group of sockets is less likely to blow before the tracks, or other circuit components, are damage beyond repair, wherase a small individual fuse rated say 1amp higher than the normal maximum current would prevent any such damage... it would also help to prevent unwanted/uncontrolled shut down of other devices connected in the chain of sockets which could, in some cases, also cause unnecessary damage. As Michael has stated... mount motherboards don't come cheap... and are not readily available in a lot of cases. A small fuse and holder costs only pence. Your understanding of flammable gas/air mixes is good to hear... sadly so many don't realise the potential danger. The test you described may have only increased the pressure by 1psi but that would have placed an instantaneous load of over 1/2 ton on each door... so I am not surprised they blew open quite rapidly. As for the forced fan venting... I am not a believer in using any type of electric motor in a potentially explosive atmosphere, however, providing the brushless motor is of the GAS SAFE sealed type and the control electronics are outside the enclosure then it should be ok. Perhaps it should be set up to draw fresh air in via a shielded and filtered side entry (to prevent condensation ingress) and with an exit in the base (this should be well off the ground in your case due to the wheels etc). Alternatively, if you can get access to the vents on the battery, it may be possible to fit vent tubes directly to these and pass them through the sides, or bottom, of the case via sealed glands. Stay safe and hope you get clear skies. Best regards. Sandy.
  19. Hi Gaj, A very neat unit with room for future expansion and improvements etc. I would suggest that you fit individual fuses for each output, rated for the attached load... having a single fuse per bank means using a much larger fuse rating which would not fully protect an individual attached device. One word of caution though... DO NOT charge that battery whilst enclosed in the unit. Lead acid car batteries give off Hydrogen gas + Oxygen whilst under charge and the small volume of the box will soon get filled with these... especially with the top board and lid fitted. Hydrogen gas is explosive at 4% by volume in air and the additional vented Oxygen will add further to this explosive condition... all it would need would be a small spark, say from plugging something in to one of the sockets, to cause it to explode. Remove the battery for charging in a well ventilated space. They also give off sulphuric acid fumes when charging, and even when not connected, which will play havoc with your electronics and electrical connections. A better battery choice would have been a sealed gell type leisure battery, albeit they are a somewhat more expensive. I trust you are connecting the mains via an RCD device. Stay Safe. Sandy.
  20. Unfortunately the same applies to Controlmynikon for the same reason. Nikon have not released an SDK for the D3100... or any of the D3000 - D3300 family which makes 3rd party software control very unlikely. 'Digicamcontrol' does not fully control the D3000 series either especially for Live view and Bulb modes. This does not leave many options available for those Nikon camera's. Software control of the shutter for long exposure sequences, using the electronic release you have/are building, can be achieved using a free download 'DSLRshutter'. http://www.stark-labs.com/page26/DSLR_Shutter.html You will only have liveview focusing using the built in screen on the camera... which can, I believe, be zoomed in to get a better resolution. Good luck. Best regards. Sandy.
  21. Prism protrusion will depend on your imaging camera sensor size. A good way to set it is to run your imaging camera in live view or preview mode during daylight and focus on a very distant object... then move the scope to point at an evenly lit part of the sky... adjust the prism down until you can see it just starting to protrude into the edge of the frame... then carefully back it out until it just clears leaving no shadow. Lock it at that and you should be OK. Good luck and clear skies. Sandy.
  22. True, however, you may have to optimise the distance between the OAG prism and the reducer in order to get the best selection for guide stars when the Image sensor is at the correct backfocus distance from the reducer. Once this optimised distance has been established then the spacing between the prism and the guide camera sensor can be established to achieve the same backfocus. It is not always as simple as just making both sensors the same distance from the prism, as may seem convenient, and then adding enough spacers to satisfy the image camera backfocus, since this may not optimise the location of the prism for guide star selection. I hope that makes some sense. Keep Happy. Sandy.
  23. Whilst I agree with Freddie in principle, you must also take into account the backfocus requirements of your reducer (if fitted) and adjust both camera sensors to be at the same required distance from the rear element of the focal reducer. The Imaging camera is the more fussy, since any deviation from the focal reducers specified backfocus distance can make a huge difference to the image quality... the OAG Prism does not enter into the imaging camera's path so it is not really relevent in this measurement. The guide camera is not quite so fussy and can have a little more leeway in location. Hope you manage to get it sorted out... spacing can be a real pain sometimes. Best regards. Sandy.
  24. I have both of these software packages and BYNikon eats controlmyNikon for breakfast... it is, by far, the superior package for astrophotography needs. ControlmyNikon was originally developed as a camera tethering package, more for daytime photography and, originally, lacked the facility to control long exposures necessary for astrophotography use. The latest version does have this facility using a Dsub cable release or directly via USB where the camera model allows... it is a great piece of software for tethered use but lacks a lot of the features more suitable for astrophotography. BYNikon (just like BYEOS) was specifically developed for astrophotograhy and as such it does a lot more in that it can use several different external electronic shutter release devices (including the Dsub). It can also control an electronic focuser via ASCOM to give FWHM focussing in a separate window, it has much more sophisticated camera control, which can be programmed for a whole sequence of timed exposures including sequences of mixed lengths, each of which can have specific names, ideal for targets like the Orion Nebula, or the Andromeda galaxy where shorter subs are required for the brighter core areas and longer ones for the outer regions. It can also directly link and synchronise with PHD for guiding...+ a good many other astro related features, including dithering, which are unfortunately lacking in ControlmyNikon. The old problem of Star Eating in earlier Nikon Cameras is no longer an issue and all in-camera noise reduction can now be dissabled via the camera menu's. The Canon edge for astro use/control is now not such an issue. Keep happy. Sandy.
  25. Hi Louise, Ok, thanks for the info and I hope you can tame yours to your satisfaction. Keep Happy. Sandy.
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