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About Neil56

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  • Interests
    Astronomy, astrophotography, making the tech bits work. history especially medieval history.
  • Location
    Cheshire UK
  1. Hi I don't know if this thread is still active as its over a year since anyone posted. However just in case it is here goes. I am intrigued by your original post, can't help out with the cable but how did it go fitting a mini computer to your OTA ? Am I correct in assuming that this is to run EQMOD or something similar ? What sort of mini computer did you use and what sort of capability do you get with it. I would be interested to hear a bit more about it. Thanks Neil
  2. Hi thanks for that. Odd innit, I buy new bit of kit, user guide comes in box, I assume that coz its in the same box it will be the correct guide for new kit ! Why do I never learn ?I fall for it every time. Of course it won't be. AAAAArgh Thank you for taking pity on me, yes the link is indeed for the controller in my hot little hand, unlike the bit of worthless s$$$$ in the box. Not that it says a huge amount about the new port but does at least mention it and give some explanation. Exasperated of darkest Wales.
  3. Hi Stargazers. This is perhaps 2 questions in one. I have recently had to replace my SynScan hand controller after the Welsh climate did for my previous one. I use it to control an EQ8 mount. It works fine but being a version 5 has an extra port. As well as the Port to connect to the mount and the multi-purpose port it now sports a USB port type B ( the square sort like wot wired printers use ). This is new and I wonder what can it be used for ? the documentation with the hand controller does not seem to mention it at all. Also I use a gps mouse that plugs into the multipurpose port but I would like to use this port to connect to my computer serial port, and "The Sky X". Clearly I can't run this and the gps at the same time. once the mount has gone through the initial setup with the gps mouse connected, is it ok to unplug the GPS mouse and plug in the computer cable instead ? will this work or will the mount lose its time and location data when the gps is unplugged. Altertnatively is there a way I can use the new USB port to connect to the computer instead ? From my reading of the "Sky X" help pages it only seems to work via a serial connection. Any ideas or thoughts on these points would be most welcome. A friend suggested trying a usb to serial adapter in reverse !! I think he was joking !!! Thank you for any comments.
  4. Thank you all for these suggestions, quite why it hadn't occurred to me to try pc control is probably best glossed over ! Always was good at missing the totally obvious. Thanks again Neil
  5. Seasons greetings to all. I have a Sky-Watcher Eq8 Pro mount with synscan , a bit over 2 years old having had fairly light use ( due to moving house). This has sadly developed a problem. When all plugged in and switched on the LED on the switch comes on , steady red, no flashing, the hand control lights up, but looks somewhat dim and anaemic and the screen remains blank, there is no initialising, in fact there is no anything other than an orange glow. I have tried the obvious things, I have cleaned contacts, replaced cables etc. No better. Reading other posts, it seemed likely that this may be a power supply problem, especially as mine was somewhat dodgy and on the end of a very , very long wire. Santa helpfully provided me with a new regulated switched power supply delivering a steady 13.5 Volts DC at up to 5 amps. To try this out I brought the whole thing inside so that there is no longer the long wire, I plug it in full of high hopes and guess what. no change, still nothing on the synscan screen. BU**ER it !! Clearly there is a fault in either the hand control or within the mount itself. Can anyone suggest a way of determining which is at fault ? I don't want to pay quite a lot to get the mount to a service agent only to find that a replacement hand control would have fixed it. The handbooks that came with the EQ8 give little information on troubleshooting and what little there is, requires a working connected hand control. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. NEIL
  6. I have a deep and lasting hatred for the tube rings for my 300mm Newt. I have this beautiful new EQ8 mount ( sighs of deep love and satisfaction) and a 300mm Skywatcher Newt that fit together just a treat. BUT every time I fix the telescope into the tube rings I just about destroy my fingers on the cheap nasty knurled knobs on the cheap nasty tube rings. There must be a better way of doing this, can someone tell me what it is please. I have seen rings with much better looking clamps, but have been unable to find any big enough for a 310mm tube, which is what I need. Are the clamps not considered strong enough for larger scopes or am I looking in the wrong place ? Does anyone know who makes such things. Thanks.
  7. Hi Guys. I have a NEQ6 Pro mount, about 3 years old. One of those with the poxy little jack on the main circuit-board to plug in the power supply. ( I understand this has been improved in later models) Despite taking care, after much use the inevitable has happened and the socket has parted company from the circuit board and the mount can't be used. Prior to it breaking totally I did a DIY repair soldering it back on to the pcb. This worked for a while but I don't much fancy my chances of doing this a second time, what with hot soldering irons and delicate, heat sensitive electronics not being a great mixture. I live in deepest darkest Shropshire ( Thats in the UK for non locals! ) does anyone out there know of a place within a reasonable distance that they would trust to do the repair. When I contacted Skywatcher, they said I would need to replace the entire pcb and wanted over 200 quid!! This seems just plain silly, it needs someone to attach 2 wires to the pcb going to an external socket, job done and can't break again in the same way. Any suggestions ? I am pinning my hopes on you guys.
  8. Hi, I have just read your comments about the mount being secured by a single bolt. I know that the circumstances are different, but you may be interested in some of the comments following my post of Feb 17th "The sickening crunch of breaking kit." ​Briefing what happened was that the two bolts securing the scope-rings to the dovetail bar snapped landing my telescope and attached care on the deck. Whilst this does seem to have been a bizarre one off type event, it has left me decidedly suspicious of expensive kit being secured by not very much. Obviously no manufacturer is going to knowingly secure things with a size of bolt that won't take the strain, steel is strong stuff, and 99.99% of bolts don't have some metallurgical weakness hidden inside. However this does not help, if the single bolt securing your kit just happens to be the other 0.01 % In a situation where failure would be catastrophic, and there would be room to double up, what does one gain from only using one bolt ? As a single, small component of a rig costing thousands of pounds, the cost if an extra bolt can surely not dent anyones profits..... ............can it ? NEIL
  9. Well, so far as I can find, nobody seems to import these into the UK ( could this be a business opportunity ? ) however "Scope-Stuff" were more than happy to send one so long as I paid it's air fare from Texas. Can't say fairer than that, and I am now the proud owner of one laser collimator with an adjustable-intensity laser. Fits the bill, Perfect. So thanks again for the help and thanks for putting me onto "SCOPE-STUFF" wow, what a superb bunch of guys they are. They must be the ultimate purveyors of the off-beat, weird and down-right strange bits of astro-kit. So you want to connect a peanut butter jar to an off-axis guider ? No problem, these guys will sell you the adaptor !! NEIL
  10. Thank you all for your excellent replies. This is just what I wanted to know. I had eye surgery a year or so back and whilst my vision is fortunately fine, it has left my eyes more light sensitive than before. This is not due to abnormally dilated pupils or due to any medication, It is probably just my paranoia, but bright lights bother me more than before. As I was casually screwing my eyes up to collimate my telescope I just started to wonder if this was something that I should not be doing. I had intended to ask my Ophthalmologist at my last visit but needless to say, I forgot ! So I thinks,m who needs an Ophthalmologist when I can ask you guys Fortunately my collimator is of a proper make, not some home made DIY job, it is a red beam and is rated at >1mW maximum output. However in my ignorance I had no idea what 1mW of laser light could or could not do, hence my query. So thanks again for your answers and comments, thinking about it, I think Ronin hits the nail on the head . It's not just the brightness of the red dot, it is the scintillation and the lack of focus as much as anything.. Thanks also to Dave in Vermont. The collimator with variable brightness is the obvious answer. Time to order one up methinks. ( so long as they sell them in UK ). So, til next time, ta for now. NEIL
  11. Hi All. Herre is an off-beat question. Doubtless we all know of the dangers of lasers our eyes, should we look directly into a laser. As the waveform of laser light is all in one plane, the same amount of light delivers more energy to whatever it falls on than ordinary light does. ( to any physicists, I know this is simplistic) So even a laser of modest power, (such as that in a laser collimator) can deliver enough energy to the cells in the retina, to kill those it falls on. So looking into a laser will give you a blind spot on the retina, or a blind streak across it unless you close your eye before turning away. This much we know. However, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I use my laser collimator, and try to aim the bright red dot back down the hole in the target, I find that it is too bright to be able to look at it without discomfort, and I wear very dark sunglasses to do this. My question is “Is there any danger to my sight by looking at the reflected laser light?” My High-School physics tells me that once the laser beam hits a surface (Other than a mirror) the light is scattered with the light waves being in all planes, so it is no longer damaging. However common sense tells me that looking at anything that is so bright that it hurts my eyes, can not be a sensible thing to do, and can’t be doing my eyes a whole lot of good. Is there anyone out there reading this who can give an answer based on actual knowledge, rather than common sense and High-School Physics ? NEIL
  12. Hi all, a hopefully simple query here. I have been playing about with driving my Sky-Watcher N EQ6 mount with THE SKY X , and have been having much fun and amusement. I have it set up with the mount directly connected to the serial port on the computer, NOT going via the hand control, ( which I know is an option. ) The obvious drawback with this, is that as the EQ 6 has no knobs for manual slewing and fine adjustment, this has to be done via the software, this is not easy if I am attempting to look down the eyepiece at the same time !!! In his excellent book on astrophotography, Allan Hall describes a computer game , wireless, game control handset as being the best way to do this. This all sounds fine until I look to buy said game pad, and then discover that there are about 2 million of them to choose from !! So my query is simple, Is there a gamepad that others have found works well, without breaking the bank ? Rather than just sticking a pin into the list as a way of choosing, it would be good to know that Joe Bloggs uses this gamepad and it works well for him. Having asked my question I will now sit back to await replies. Wouldn't it be great if five people replied, all suggesting the same gamepad. ( Sound of hollow laughter. How likely is that then !!!) Thanks Chaps & Chapesses. NEIL
  13. Hi all. sorry to be long-wounded here. I have a bit of a problem with my pride and joy, a Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount. I have been experimenting recently with control from a computer rather than the handset and how long a wire I can have between pc and mount for it to still work. So there has been much connecting and disconnecting of various cables and connectors in numerable combinations to see what works by trial and error. Throughout I have always been careful to treat the mount and its connectors with respect, and have never connected any sort of external power, other than it’s normal 12 volt supply. I have never connected anything that has more power than that which comes out of a USB-2 socket. So whilst the problem has arisen whilst I have been doing a lot of “fiddling about” If I have caused the damage I don’t know how !! The problem is that yesterday when I connect the handset in the normal way , nothing happens. If I disconnect it from the mount and connect an external power supply direct to the handset, it lights up and works as normal. So I am presuming that the mount is no longer delivering power via its RS 232 socket. Running the self-diagnosis test on the handset, this gives errors on Com1 and Com2 though the handbook does not tell me what this means. Does any one have any thoughts about this . I could test the voltage on the various pins of the RS232n with my trusty voltmeter, but does anyone know what readings I should get ? and which pin does what ? Finally wherte could I take it for repair, I am in South Cheshire. Thanks for any suggestions.
  14. Thank you all very much for your helpful comments and sympathies. I spoke to the Insurance Fairy today, and as it is a first claim they will pick up the tab to replace any bent or broken bits with no excess, so I can at least replace the camera , this is very dead the bout that I assume is the sensor chip is in several bits. I will certainly take some photos and post them ( If I can work out how ). Its now nearly 2 am so I will leave it until tomorrow. I have been trying to remember exactly what happened. The scope had just stopped after slewing onto Jupiter. As I reached out to focus, there was a surprisingly loud crack and one end of the scope lurched down, I tried to catch it, but before I could do so there was a second crack and we were on the deck. Fortunately It fell onto our gravel driveway, I was not in my usual place on solid concrete. I think gravel is a bit better to fall onto. I can only assume that I must have over,tightened the bolts, a few days ago they had worked loose so I did tighten them up, but hey, I am no superman believe me, and snapping bits of steel has never been my party trick. From everyones reaction, this sounds like a very odd thing to have happened after all A Sky-Watcher 200mm is no great weight, had it been the big 300mm one I would have been less surprised, that weighs a ton. I will certainly be taking the precaution of adding a second set of rings. So clearly this was very out of the ordinary and needs more looking into. I will take photos and return. Thanks again NEIL
  15. HI ALL Last night I had something of a disaster, there I was, stood out in t' cold getting ready to see if I could get my recently purchased Neximage 5 to take some pretty pictures of Jupiter. I was just adjusting my telescope (A bog standard Sky Watcher 200P Newt on an EQ6 Pro mount) to get the image centred and focussed when there was a loud crack, followed by a second as the two bolts securing the telescope rings onto the dovetail bar both snapped. Needless to say, telescope camera etc hit the deck with the aforementioned sickening crunch. I suspect that it must have landed camera first, this is not going to be taking pretty pictures of anything, it is dead, deceased and definitely not just asleep !! The finder- scope similarly is a write off I suspect, the objective lens having detached itself tho somehow not broken. Somehow the telescope itself seems to have survived ok. It was half full of gravel and the collimation was knocked out of the park, but the mirror looks ok and the focuser still appears to work. I am always careful about balancing the telescope, having the correct weights etc so I am at a l;oss to know what if anything I did wrong. I suspect not a lot, after all the telescope was not in motion when it went. So has this happened to others ? is it one of those things where everyone tells you how your model is well known for self destructing or whatever, and you wonder why nobody told you before you bought it. If this was just straight mechanical failure, one of the bolts had some hidden weakness or something then I am bothered. My other scope is a Sky watcher 300 on the same EQ6Pro mount. The assembly of tube rings, dovetail bar etc looks equally vulnerable, whilst the dt bar is the wider, Losmandy type, the rings are still only attached by a very similar two bolts. The bolts are a bit bigger though not massively so (M10 rather than M12) though the scope weighs very much more, being at the limit of what an EQ6 can carry. However the assembly is presumably designed and built to carry the weight it says it can carry and presumably the bolts SHOULD be strong enough. I know hidden defects can be there, and if one bolt goes, the other has no chance. So at last my question. Is there any alternative and perhaps stronger way of attaching the scope to the mount. Any thoughts mot gratefully received, and my apologies for being so long winded. NEIL
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