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About old_eyes

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    Proto Star

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    North Wales
  1. Haven't dug my hole yet (scheduled for later this week), but basing my thinking on instructions for Altair Astro pier https://www.altairastro.com/public/pier/Altair_Astro_8_Adjustable_Steel_Pier_Installation_Instructions_2014.pdf. 50 x 50 x 90 - rough dimensions. A number of experts have commented that we over-engineer our pier bases driven by practice in the US when you need to make sure you get below the frost line. A one-quarter cubic metre concrete block should be sound.
  2. Took a few days off to break ground on the observatory, only to be hit with torrential and persistant rain. I think it is the observatory building equivalent of the permanent cloud setting in when you have just taken delivery of a new scope, camera, eyepiece or whatever. So have had to write-off this week and hope for a chance again in a couple of weeks
  3. Exactly so. Your choices are big enough to move around comfortably, or small enough that everything is in arms-reach from the outside. I have gone for big enough to move around in (and to change my mind about telescope!). I think small enough for easy external access requires careful thought.
  4. As others have noted you need to think about accessing the scope in order to set-up and tweak it. It is not only space to squeeze past, you have to bend over to get at things and unless you have contortionist skills that means more clearance! I found this description of the 'exclusion zone' around an equatorial mount very useful in my planning https://www.blackwaterskies.co.uk/2013/12/observatory-planning-and-german-equatorial-mounts/. There is a whole lot of useful information on the site about building a small imaging only observatory.
  5. Okay - after a visit from my son and daughter-in-law who live in California, it is back to work. Following discussions over placement with my gardening and wildlife conserving wife, we decided to shift the proposed location away from the middle of the field to the side against a hedge. This has the advantage that the trees to the south are less obtrusive and the hedge to the north is something I can deal with myself without heavy machinery. This diagram shows the current angle to the horizon in blue, and the limiting angle created by the observatory walls and roof in orange. The spike in the landscape to the NE is a dirty great Sycamore that I might or might not have the energy to deal with (I hate Sycamores!). The stuff from W round to N is mostly hedge that could be reduced to a horizon of about 20 deg without too much effort. The large trees to the S have pretty much been taken out of the equation. I could reduce the height of the warm room to improve the view to the N, but is it really worth it. It would mean taking the warm room from something I can reasonably stand in to something which is a perpetual crouch. I am inclined to say that is good enough, but if anyone thinks differently, shout! In the meantime, stuff is starting to arrive, so I need to get on with things. These are the cables and conduit for power and ethernet. Waiting for the trenching people to confirm a date to dig a 70 metre run.
  6. Not as bad as I thought then. Supply chain problems have been known to lead to products being cancelled. I will remain optimistic!
  7. Hi Steve, Does that mean that the supply chain problem to the factory has been fixed and they are now in production again, or are these CEM60EC mounts the ones you mentioned made prior to the stoppage? Just wondering if there is hope for those of us a little bit further down the queue.
  8. I agree. I was having great trouble with downloading data from my QHY168C over USB3. Tried it with multiple computers and periodically it would hang or produce a corrupted frame. Having torn my remaining hair out for several days, I tried switching to USB2. Behold! No lost frames and an average download time almost the same. USB2 is just more robust for the things we want to do (at least at the moment!).
  9. That's a very nice image of the galaxy with clear tidal streams. But as you have identified the sky is too blue and there is a fair amount of colour noise. I would say this is beyond 'getting started', and it would be a good idea to repost in the Image Processing - Help and Techniques forum where you will find many experts who can advise on how to improve the processing to get the best out of your data. They have certainly helped me.
  10. Thanks for the replies. Several people are interested and I will work through them sequentially. So for the moment this is Pending Disposal.
  11. PM Sent re CGE. 



  12. I have a broken CGE mount, the one with the coffee-can electronics pillar. It may be useful to someone who has such a mount and needs spares or someone who believes it can be resurrected. It was bought second-hand a while ago for a planned observatory that never happened. It was far too much of a beast to set up and take down each night, and so apart from playing around for a couple of nights nothing was done with it and it was stored. Revisiting the observatory, I set it up and began doing some tests. Only to find some problems with erratic slews and failing to home properly. Jiggling the ethernet cables that connect the electronics to the mount motors sometimes triggered it into action for a while. This suggested cable problems - a well-known flaw with these mounts. Having tried the obvious with new cables and contact cleaner, the advice from the CGE users forum was to go for the Gary Bennett replacement cable system. So I installed that. No joy. The RA axis is working fine (at least visually), but the DEC axis only runs at high speed. It responds to handset control, but only at full speed. If I slew to a target the RA axis slews and then settles, but the DEC axis just goes round and round. I swapped the RA and DEC connectors at the pier, but got the same result. That suggests it is not the electronics, but the motor, and probably the DEC axis motor encoder. Now this is a very old mount, and spares are not available. The CGE forum is full of experts who are putting in new motors and encoders, resoldering diodes and all sorts of things that are beyond my skills and the time I want to invest in a dicky mount. Does anyone have a good use for this; either for spares or because they want a challenging project? There is a fairly large community of users, mostly in North America, and they seem to have fixed almost everything that can go wrong. They have circuit diagrams and all sorts. But I lack the time and inclination. So here it is: The tripod is a beast. Those tubes are 70mm across. To repeat. This is a non-functioning mount. Apart from the motor problem already mentioned, the handset is dead. However, it responds to computer commands and the handset from my CG5-GT talks to it OK. If you can give it a home, DM me with your intentions. Otherwise it will have to go for scrap. I have no use for a large and beautifully engineered doorstop. I have original packaging, but it will have to be collection as it is so heavy, either from my home or meeting somewhere within reasonable driving distance of Chester.
  13. Altair Astro recommend 15” square, by 36” deep for their skyshed pier. A number of people have said that we go overboard on concrete block size, perhaps driven by US builds where frost heave and ground movement can be a much bigger problem.
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