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BrendanC

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Everything posted by BrendanC

  1. Hi all, I've had this problem before - see https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/340193-ascom-eqmod-eqascom-ascompad/. I've installed the ASCOM platform and the Skywatcher ASCOM driver. The planetarium software (CdC) works fine, slews the mount (Skywatcher Synscan AZ GOTO) every which way. But the astro apps I currently have installed - APT and a trial of Backyard EOS - only allow slewing west and east, not north and south! The POTH hub will sometimes work, but it's very clunky and not particularly predictable, and just doesn't feel right as a solution (I shouldn't have to use them if I'm using the Skywatcher ASCOM driver). In APT, the controls don't respond at all. It's only the ASCOM pad that enables West and East slewing. In Backyard EOS, the controls do respond, but again, only allow East/West, not North/South. A while back I sort of got it to work in Sharpcap but it doesn't any more. I've looked extensively online and cannot find anyone else that has this problem. I have a really bad feeling it could just be a problem with my setup or, worse, a hardware fault. I'm using the proper Skywatcher USB connector in Windows 10. Any ideas? I've also tried using other drivers in the past, which unfortunately didn't fix this. This will really be a problem if/when I come to want to do some work remotely (ie mount in garden, astro work indoors) because I really will need to make small manual adjustments without having to dash outside (and guiding is way, way in the future for me, if at all). I'd have thought a simple N/S/E/W control would have been extremely basic and operable. Thanks, Brendan
  2. I have precisely the same question! Please consider this thread bumped. Can anyone help? I'm transplanting an auto focuser from a 130P to a PDS and I need the longer screws (actually they're allen/hex head screws) to fit through the bracket, through the focuser plate, and into the focuser body.
  3. Thanks! I'll go through that. There's also this thread which covers pretty much the same ground: I'm still fairly astonished that their own products don't seem to work interchangeably...
  4. I've got a Skywatcher 130PDS to replace the tube on my 130P. Everything set up fine, but I cannot figure out how to attach the Skywatcher auto-focuser I used to have working perfectly on the 130P. The problem is that the spindle on the Crayford focuser is really thin, and the grub screws on the autofocuser connector don't reach it. I have a nasty feeling there was an adaptor that came with the auto focuser packaging that I may have mislaid, which may have been for exactly this situation. If I'm right about that, then the only fixes I can consider would be longer grub screws (no idea what type/size/thread etc they are), or trying to remove the x10 part of the focuser to see if the other spindle is thicker (absolutely will not come off that I can see). Or, try to get my hands on an adapter. Or, make one. Or, just not use it, which would be a pity because I like it. Any ideas? Does anyone have a 130PDS with the auto focuser attached, and if so, how did you do it? Did you have an adapter that came with the packaging? If so, any photos would be very much appreciated so I can see what I might need to do - or any other advice, obviously! Thanks, Brendan
  5. Fantastic, thank you so much for this advice. I've already made the commitment, am picking it up Sunday morning. Everything you say chimes exactly with what I've come to understand, that the mount is the weak link but it should do for the basic stuff I want to achieve, until I decide to upgrade that. The DSLR and OTA are good, solid performers and won't need changing. I've got a sandbag holder to hang from the tripod legs to help with stability, but I totally understand the AZ GOTO mount is only just about up to the job. Great to know the auto focuser works, I've kept the spare bracket that came with it just in case. If it doesn't fit, I'll just use the manual focuser on the PDS which I understand is much better than the 130P, until I find time to get a bracket that works. Hopefully it'll just be a case of swapping from one to t'other. I've got a slightly extended eyepiece as a result of a previous purchase so hopefully that will mitigate the viewing. If not, and the extension isn't included, I'll be back here asking another bazillion questions about that!
  6. Thanks! Really appreciate the help. I reckon I'm going to go for it!
  7. Sorry to bump this thread but I have a chance to get a cut-price 130PDS, but I really must know the answers to these questions first, if ANYONE out there can help: * Can I put the 130PDS (ie dovetail fitting and weight) on the mount for this: https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watcher-explorer-130p-synscan-az-goto-telescope-528-p.asp* Is the PDS OTA good for observing too, as well as imaging?* Does the Skywatcher auto focuser work with its focuser? Anyone?
  8. Sorry, should have mentioned: I don't have a lens for the DSLR. I just bought the body thinking, foolishly, that I could achieve prime focus with the scope. Nice idea though, and it's kind of why I'd like to hang on to the DSLR ideally, because it does open other possibilities of much wider field images (also, it's a modded DSLR with the IR filter removed). In future I could get a nifty fifty or a 135 f2 for other imaging. But right now I need to decide on what the best way forward is, with a PDS or a new camera. To decide this, I just need to know the answer to my four questions above!
  9. Which I think would be almost exactly the same weight as the current setup ie a 130P plus DSLR plus motor focusser, which is a shade over 4kg which my current mount can handle ok. Still don't know definitely if the motor focusser will work with it though, as in physically connect to it given it's a different kind of focuser. I think it will, but don't know. Still don't know definitely if the dovetail for the PDS will work with my mount. I think it will, but don't know. Apparently the PDS has a vixen dovetail fitting, but I don't know if that's the same as for the 130P. Still don't know definitely if the viewing is compromised with the PDS compared to the P. I think it isn't, but don't know. Still don't know what the chances would be of selling the 130P OTA on its own. At all. So many unknowns! If I can confirm these questions then I'm getting a PDS. If not, then I'll probably be taking the other route ie ditch the DSLR and get an astrocam.
  10. Nice shots! Still need to know if the mount for my kit will work with the PDS OTA however...
  11. This is my full kit: https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watcher-explorer-130p-synscan-az-goto-telescope-528-p.asp Yes, I know, very basic, better for visual than for photography, etc etc etc I'm fully aware that I'm not going to get the results as per the 130PDS thread, but I do want to take a next step towards that as an aspiration, and the PDS could just be what I need. I just need to know if the mount will handle the PDS. I figure they're similar in weight (around 4kg - yes, I actually just weighed mine to check) so it should be fine weight-wise, just not sure of the dovetail and whether the auto-focuser, which I have, will work with it because I'd quite like to keep it. Totally appreciate that a strong EQ mount is called for, but there's absolutely no way I'm going to spend £999 on one, not until/unless I'm very confident indeed that this is something I want to pursue.
  12. On 'another astro forum' which shall remain nameless! (I don't want to get involved in a bunfight!) Gist is that someone tried to use a ZWO120 cam but couldn't get focus even with the focuser all the way out, had to use adapters to make up the extra few mm. I get that the camera is more for planetary use, and for that you probably would insert a Barlow anyway, but it just gave me the willies, that's all. The 130PDS thread is truly amazing, and it's pretty much made up my mind. Now, if I could just get my local supplier actually to respond to the emails I've sent asking a couple of questions about it, I'd be sorted. Actually, I may as well copy them here in case anyone can help! These are they: * Can the mount for the 130P handle the PDS (ie dovetail fitting and weight)? * Is the PDS OTA good for observing too, as well as imaging? * Does the Skywatcher auto focuser work with its focuser? * Finally, what are the chances of being able to sell just the 130P OTA to make up towards the cost of the 130PDS? I've seen loads of ads for the PDS, none for the P. I just want to make sure I'm not making another mistake. I'm doing this on a budget and can't afford mistakes. Thanks again, all the responses on this forum have been terrifically useful.
  13. Good point, and I'd already been through the thread at https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210593-imaging-with-the-130pds/?tab=comments#comment-2247736. Stunning images. So that means there isn't a problem with dedicated astro cameras, right?
  14. Hi again, so I've heard tell that the PDS isn't great for prime focus for dedicated astro cameras. This surprises me greatly. Any comments on this? I was virtually about to buy a PDS but this concerns me. I'm confident from what I've found out that it'll work with the DSLR, but if I ever want to invest in an astro camera, I'll be wanting to achieve prime focus with that too.
  15. Ta. I might go the PDS route. Or, I might go the new eyepiece camera route, assuming I can get prime focus with one. Looks like I managed to choose almost precisely the exact combination of equipment that doesn't work. Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it.
  16. @alacant That's one of the mods I've come across before but it scares the bejeezus out of me. The photo is useful but do you have any more specific instructions? You say you use M5 bolts because you have a 250, so what manner of bolt would I need for a 130? Is there such a thing as an M3 bolt? I have no idea. I've found the other threads knocking about regarding modding Skywatcher 130Ps, but the photo links are broken. Also, how does this affect collimation? And how does this affect viewing - presumably you need a longer eyepiece holder to compensate? @daemon Yup, the PDS is a cool scope and I wish I had one of them now! Apart from the focuser, the crucial difference is indeed the length of the tube, which makes prime focus a doddle. That's another avenue I'm considering, exchanging the 130P OTA for a PDS. Thanks for the suggestions. The mod is definitely a contender and would enable me to keep all my gear, but I'm just, well, scared, you know, like that first time you climbed the gym rope at school?
  17. Hi, After much research and head-scratching, I'm starting to realise that basically, a Skywatcher 130P , DSLR camera and prime focus don't get along well together. There are mods I could do (scary), new OTAs I could consider (pricey), new lenses I could buy (ditto, plus I want to use my scope, not buy new lenses). So, I'm considering selling the DSLR, and trying a dedicated astro camera instead. I already have the Bresser Mikrokular which is a joy to use but pretty limited. I'm after better planetary and moon shots, and the possibility of at least starting to delve deeper into the brighter DSOs, nebulae and galaxies and suchlike. However, I don't want the same palaver I've had with the DSLR re achieving prime focus. I want something like the Bresser - pop it in the eyepiece holder, off you go. Looks to me like the best candidates are those with 224 and 290 sensors, from Bresser, Altair and ZWO. Which brings me to my question: if I go for one of these, will I be able to achieve prime focus ie remove the Barlow, in goes the camera, get focus? If it's just not possible with a 130P then I'll accept it, maybe have a little cry to myself in the corner, and then just crack on with what I've got ie good observing, sort of ok imaging. I'd just hate to take delivery, get all excited, remove the Barlow, pop it in, then realise that I just cannot get prime because it's not possible with my scope. I'm not after specific recommendations for cameras, but I really would like owners of Skywatcher 130P scopes (not PDS, because that works, apparently, darn it) to tell me their experiences. Thanks, Brendan
  18. OK, so I now have a name to my pain. The t-ring adaptor I bought didn't have the internal screw fitting! It was just the ring, which fits to the camera fine, and then three tiny screws with nothing inside. I assumed the screws were to hold the two-inch eyepiece adaptor for prime focus - which is correct - but I had NO IDEA that it was also supposed to have an internal ring, which is also held in place with the screws, which in turn has a thread for attaching the 1.25 eyepiece! I realised it after poring through many photos and videos such as the one above, observing how other people seemed to screw their cameras into their adapters, and suddenly noticing the distinct absence of thread in which to screw anything on mine. So, I bought another one and assembled the lot in, what, a minute? So, what I was trying to do, which I considered impossible, was actually impossible. On the one hand I'm slightly narked that I bought an incomplete item. However, rather than send it back, I'm thinking that actually it might come in handy. I can just buy another two-inch eyepiece adaptor and attach it permanently to the incomplete T-ring adapter, which will make swapping between prime focus and non-prime much quicker and easier. This probably makes no sense at all, but the main thing is, it's fixed, mainly because it's now fixable. Thanks for the help along the way!
  19. Thanks for the replies. @Cornelius Varley - this is what I keep finding: people say it's possible, but having unscrewed everything and tried to put it all back together in just about every single possible combination, I just cannot get from the camera with T-ring adaptor at one end, and the scope at the other, with the Barlow in between. Do you know of any pages that actually describe this ie this bit, which you'll find here, goes there, etc?
  20. Hi all, I know, I know, this has been discussed before but having been through a bazillion threads, here and on other forums, I'm still clueless as to what I need to do here. I've got a Skywatcher 130p AZ GOTO scope and mount, and recently got a Canon 1000D, astro modded. I've managed to connect the camera to the scope using Skywatcher's clever eyepiece adapter plus a T-ring adapter for the camera. All good. However, I cannot focus on the moon. At all. I know this is because reflectors have limited in-focus range, and it seems to be that it's about to get into focus as the focuser goes in, then stops. So, not enough travel. I understand the problem, and I know plenty other folk have had this in the past, and I think the answer is eyepiece projection or inserting a Barlow. I've played around with every bit of kit that came with the scope and cannot figure out for the life of me how I'd get the Barlow inserted. So, I either need an adapter of some sort for eyepiece projection , or to get the Barlow into the optical path. Can someone please tell me exactly what I need here? An actual link to an actual product would be most appreciated. I totally understand that really, the camera plus scope combo would be better for deeper sky objects, and I'm not trying to get 'the whole moon' in the image (happy with mosaics). I just want to be able to focus on the moon. Any/all advice appreciated. As I said, I'm sure the knowledgeable around here will be rolling their eyes because this must have been asked plenty of times before, but despite reading up on this I just do not know what I should be buying to get around the problem. Thanks Brendan
  21. Outstanding. Thanks all. I love it when I'm told it's something I don't need to worry about. And I think I'd missed the bit about it being just for EQ mounts, so I think I actually understand it with respect to EQ and not AZ. What a relief. Toothache gone.
  22. Thought I would tie this one off - I finally sorted it. I noticed that Sharpcap recognised my mount via the Ascom drivers, so I can control it exactly as I want from within Sharpcap. Get aligned manually, centre the image on the viewfinder, then I can fine-tune and centre on the computer screen. All controls work fine, only bugbear is that if I turn tracking off, it turns it back on a few seconds later for some reason. So, out with alternative drivers, EQMOD and even the ASCOMPAD, it really is just a case of installing the ASCOM platform and the ASCOM Skywatcher drivers. Which it should have been to begin with, but wasn't.
  23. Hi all, So, when I first bought my scope (Sky-Watcher Explorer 130P SynScan AZ GOTO) the nice lady in the shop told me that, to align it, I should choose two-star alignment. Several months later I'm all fine with that. I often find that daytime alignment with Saturn or Jupiter just as it's going dark tends to be sufficient for quick viewing, but I have used two-star and it all works well. However, polar alignment has always bothered me. I keep coming across it. It isn't available as an option in my Synscan. I've read plenty about it, but really, just do not understand why it's necessary. Sorry, I'm sure this has been asked before many, many times, but it's just not making sense to me. So my two questions are: 1. Why is polar alignment necessary if, say, you can align yourself with two (or even three) stars? If someone could answer this in, say, fewer than 50 simple words that would be great. 2. Furthermore, even if it's necessary for a manual mount., it is necessary if you're using a mount that tracks automagically like mine? That's all. Again, apologies if this is numbingly familiar to you all but it's something that bothers me, a bit like vague toothache that you know you should do something about sooner or later. Thanks, Brendan.
  24. Decided to leave this one on ice for now. Seriously considering just getting around the problem by using the StarWatcher app instead, which means either updating the handheld hardware or buying the wifi upgrade.
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