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About Avocette

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  1. I think you’re being a little unfair to Radek, the man who has assembled the Astroberry package! He’s regularly responding to questions (supporting) and has talked of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 version (developing) although awaiting further progress from the Ubuntu MATE team. In my own case I’m, like Gajjer, more of a hardware man, hoping to be led through this software labyrinth through the easiest of possible steps. Nevertheless, I’ve now got my RPi running Astroberry, interfacing to my mount and camera, with a GPS dongle giving precise location and time, my old (2009) laptop running Ubuntu MATE 18.04, and controlling things via the astroberry WiFi hotspot from KStars/Ekos, and with SkySafari (4+, 5 pro or 6+) on my iPad giving me an optional secondary planetarium screen and controlling some mount positional features. And in the meantime I am definitely learning stuff......
  2. Slight change of topic I detect - which allows me to do the same and say ‘Happy New Year!’ I’ve just picked up this thread after a fortnight of similar struggles to get Ubuntu MATE 16.04 working on the RPi 3 B+. I firstly tried the Astroberry image which worked from the start, but I wanted to slim the unrequired features down (and understand) the INDI installation. A friend loaned me his RPi 3 B, and I set about adding the tweaks to the Ubuntu MATE downloaded image to avoid the ‘rainbow square’ freeze (updated boot loader), and then to get the WiFi working (firmware files). I’m now trying to add the missing B+ .dtb file to the boot folder in the SD card, although back to rainbow square freeze at the moment on the B+. I only bought my RPi in November as an early Xmas present to mess about with in the holidays so I was surprised to recognise the package as similar to Stellarmate and ASIair and so suddenly become aware it could be really useful to my Astro set up. I’ll be happy to follow this thread and I’ll report back on any further progress bringing the RPi 3 B+, Ubuntu MATE and INDI into a working system (other than the already impressive Astroberry and Stellarmate images).
  3. I’m following this thread with great interest. I recently chanced upon an ED80 to add to my Newts and the Mak, so I’m not in a position to make Frac vs Mak test comparisons yet, especially with the present weather. But I sympathise over the doubts sown in your mind when using the Mak. Are the imperfections you observe caused by the atmosphere or by internal thermal currents, miscollimation, or basic SW Mak QC factors? And while waiting for perfect observing conditions, it’s easy to doubt your scope.
  4. The Hotech Advanced CT laser collimator would not work on a SkyMax 150 due to the spacing of the three lasers. Specification says ‘larger than 170mm diameter’.
  5. The 66mm thread seems to have been unique to the SkyMax until in recent years the SCT thread replaced it. I don't think you should attempt to budge it - better to get hold of one of the special adapters to fit this thread and convert to SCT, at around £40 a unit last time I asked.
  6. Hi there - good choice of scope! As John says, get some experience whenever you can with it as it stands. I find personally that I need some help in getting to the right bit of the sky to look for particular objects unless it's Venus or the Moon for example. So I have added a 'setting circle' to calibrate the azimuth angle and I attach a Wixey magnetic angle gauge to the steel tube (alongside my Rigel Quikfinder and my RACI finderscope) to measure the angle of elevation (Altitude). I look up the instantaneous Alt/Az angles for the object I am seeking on my iPad running a planetarium program App (Sky Safari 5 in my case). There's more info also in this thread written about the 200p (and 250px) Dobs I owned before the 300 flextube.
  7. There are a few things you might consider as improvements to your 200p Dob that I wrote up a few years ago. I would also recommend adding a Rigel Quikfinder and replacing the straight through finder with a RACI one. The stand places the eyepiece at a more comfortable height and protects the chipboard from dew on the ground. The Quikfinder and RACI finderscope are the final steps in helping you to find the objects you're looking for, after pointing the tube roughly according to the digital setting circles for azimuth and a Wixey angle meter for elevation.
  8. When I bought my Skyliner 300p second hand it had no rubber grips. I made some from the textured rubber sheet Aldi sell for lining a car boot and glued them in place with Maplin black two sided foam adhesive tape described as 'Motor Tape' (or similar). This is 12mm wide which fits perfectly between the focuser knob flanges, and has very strong adhesive.
  9. When you attach your DSLR directly to your scope you need to place the camera sensor at the 'prime focus' of the optics. This may be just a little beyond the reach of the focuser when adjusted to its fully in end stop. If this is the case you may be able to move the primary mirror up the tube assembly by adjusting the collimating screws, but there may not be enough range to achieve this. The solution then becomes one which requires shortening the tube - not to be tackled lightly. Skywatcher make the shorter tube version of the 130p with the dual speed focuser (130 PDS) specially for this purpose.
  10. Do you mean that you want to reinstall Windows on it without preserving your other files? That's easy enough - if you have the installation disk. Which model of ThinkPad is it and which version of Windows are you running?
  11. The Finderscope is held by an O ring at the front, a spring loaded support and two adjustment bolts at the rear. It's entirely for you to decide the rotational angle of the eyepiece. There is a certain amount of friction to overcome to turn the main tube but this can be reduced by releasing the adjustment screws and rotating to the required position and then readjusting the pointing direction.
  12. Hi Steve, There are at least three types of (single speed) Sky-Watcher focusers fitted to SW Dobsonian scopes in the market place so depending on when you bought yours and whether it was new then or second hand it should have come with various extension tubes. My first SW Dob was an early model and had a rack and pinion type focuser with two adapters for the two sizes of eyepieces as shown: 1.25" adapter and 2" adapter . A subsequent SW Dob was fitted with a Crayford type single speed focuser which took exactly the same adapters. However my latest SW Dob, fitted with the latest single speed Crayford focuser came with two different eyepiece adapters with a different size of conical flange at the base. These conical flanges which fit them into the focuser tube are actually 2" wide whereas the older ones were 2 1/4". With the new adapters the 1.25" adapter will actually stack into the eyepiece end of the 2" adapter whereas the older type won't do this. I've read a few stories on SGL where people have been mightily confused when they've stacked the two adapters together and can't get anything to focus. The new style of 2" adapter looks like this with the narrower conical flange. . My guess is you should have had one of these supplied with your scope, and if you bought it second hand, the previous owner may have mislaid it and forgotten to give you it.
  13. But surely, that's what cloudy weather is for......to modify astronomy equipment?
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