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Everything posted by LouisJB

  1. Alright so it sounds like in terms of scope, a 50mm finder like this http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-mini-50mm-guide-scope.htm would suffice. As for camera, I was thinking to modify the MS lifecam hd (720p) with the billetparts adapter. Total cost there about say £30+15 = £45, the guider is around £90 Then I'd need GPUSB which is around £80. So total around £90 + £80 + £45 = £215 and in that I'd also have a webcam for planets. The snag being having to use a windows VM for guiding, but I guess I could live with that. Is that a reasonable & cost-effective solution?
  2. Thanks for the info. Are you a windows or mac user? Also I presume with QHY that you're connecting direct to the mount with ST-4? I may have to revise my ideas and use a VM, due to lack of OSX native camera drivers, but I see some options are supported by PHD (but not QHY* by the looks of it). Have you tried the QHY as a planetary webcam also. If I can get something dual purpose then maybe it wouldn't be so bad. What would you do for guiding then or does webcam stacking align frames providing the planet remains in the shot?
  3. I've recently got an HEQ5 pro synscan. For visual and goto it works fantastically after polar and 3-star alignment. However I'd like to try some long (5 mins say) exposures and hence think about guiding. For imaging, initially I'll be using a DSLR. I don't think I want to get drawn into the OAG discussion to much, I was hoping for something simple and relatively cheap. I use a mac (OSX 10.8) and have PHD installed. I can get a GPUSB for ST-4 guiding. Recently I got the USB-serial to handset control working also. If necessary I can run windows (say win 7) from a VM, but would rather not have to. My questions are: 1. What sort of guide scope, a 50mm is sufficient, I see some from BST, Orion etc, & recommendations, pros/cons? 2. What camera. I know QHY5 will probably come up. I was hoping to modify a webcam (like say the MS Lifecam HD) and be able to use that also for planetary video stacking from time to time as well. However, I guess this won't work at all with PHD on OSX, I'd have to use the Windows VM? Any options that would work natively, should I just accept the VM route? 3. Mounting, what are the options. Can I bolt the finder to a dovetail bar on top of my telescope? Any help much appreciated, it's all a bit of a learning curve and there are so many options! Many thanks, Louis
  4. Hi, thanks for the replies so far. I'm starting to get the idea now I think. To clarify, this is not for pics of the moon but for some long exposures of galaxies and nebula etc. I realise I can get unguided tracking from the mount (which I'll try for sure), but my ability to get accurate polar alignment every time is not certain and accurate drift alignment would eat into my available time for capturing images. In any case I might want to take long 5minute shots etc of really faint things, so hence the specific guiding (not tracking) questions. So from what has been said already, I can guide using either port. Since PHD + webcam is cheaper than a dedicated auto-guider then this seems a good way to get started. This can control the mount over USB-Serial or GPUSB-ST-4, but again if there's nothing in it guiding control-wise then a USB-serial converter and serial lead is the cheaper way to get started. This would also allow planetarium software to goto my mount if I wanted. However, whether I can use both bits of software or have to shut one down I guess I'll just have to try it out and see. Anyone else got this sort of setup? I'd like to get relatively reasonable guiding for a reasonable price and that way I can put more into the tube upgrade when I'm ready, but conversely I don't want to get the wrong equipment because it's cheaper initially only to realise it won't do what I want longer term. thanks again for the advice. Louis
  5. Hi, I'm a complete novice. I've got a 130P (EQ2) and after failed attempts to take any pictures other than of the Moon (using DSLR for now) I've ordered an HEQ5 pro synscan. I'd like to get guiding working with the 130P and do some imaging then finally I'll upgrade the tube. My question is this. I have a macbook pro. I thought I'd probably use PHD guiding software. I'll get a USB webcam and some sort of small guider-scope. Initially I thought I needed the USB ST-4 adapter (shoestring GPUSB) and plug the laptop direct to the ST-4 on the mount. However, I might like to use software like Stellarium to goto the mount from time to time. I don't think this can be done (slewing/goto) over the ST-4 port? In which case, should I use a USB to serial adapter and connect the laptop to the handset. I think that allows goto positioning from software (right?) and alternative guiding control from say PHD. Am I correct here? Can I goto from the laptop and then guide or will I get software conflicts etc. Is the guiding the same over ST-4 vs. serial (accuracy etc) - the USB-serial option seems cheaper as I think USB to serials are £10-20 and the GPUSB more like £75-80. Can someone tell me exactly what I need to order in each case and the pros/cons of each, please? Many thanks, Louis
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