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Chris Owen 66

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  1. Hi all, I'm hoping someone can help, perhaps because the same thing happened to you. I have a Skywatcher 10" goto Dob. It hasn't been used in a long time, and after buying a new battery recently, I hooked it up this evening. But after connecting the new battery (Ultramax 12V 7Ah), the handset was mostly unresponsive. I know the battery is charged, because there's a cigarette lighter-style connector that connects the leads coming off the battery to the motor lead (like a junction box), and the red LED light on the side of this connector was on. Everything was hooked up correctly, but nothing was happening. Now, the handset wasn't dead 100% of the time. Occasionally the screen would have a red glow on its borders and I got the beep a few times, and one one occasion it came on but just read "COMM ERROR 1" or maybe "COMM 1 ERROR" and then froze. The handset hasn't been used in several years. Does this sound like it has died? I've read other reports on here of this hapening to some of you. I even tried putting the power connector directly into the handset instead of its usual place into the altitude motor box, but without success. Is it possible that my battery isn't strong enough? Is 7Ah enough? Or is it more likely the handset has died through several years of not being used, and being in cold garage through several winters? Thank you. EDIT - I should add the handset comes on normally when holding down '0' and '8' to go into update mode. So maybe all is not lost. Should I try to update the firmware in case it's corrupted? Any advice mych appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Hi all, I need a new battery for my Skywatcher 10" Flextube Goto Dob as the previous one won't hold a charge anymore. I don't know much about volts, Ah, etc....but would this battery on Amazon be ok? I'm on a budget, but £15 seems very reasonable. https://www.amazon.co.uk/NP7-12-Rechargeable-Battery-NP9-12-NP6-12/dp/B00SMRQ7KA/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=12v+battery&qid=1586626092&sr=8-4 It's the same brand as the one I had, which lasted 10 years or so without any problems. Many thanks for your advice, Chris
  3. I'm hoping to stack multiple shorter exposures, maybe 15 - 20s max....depends on what I can get away with and how accurate the tracking is ! Lodestar x2 seems really sensitive, so fingers crossed. I'll search for other examples of that combo in the video section and youtube.
  4. Even though I first started as an amateur in 1985 (just in time for Halley!!), I took a break from it all due to various committments, but am now really back into observing, and am slowly getting my kit together. Technology has moved on so much in the interim, so I want my set-up to be more user-friendly than it used to be! I'm moving house soon, and the rear garden is a decent size and SE facing (so pretty decent), We back on to a road about 30ft away, and there's a few street lights there. We have a summer house, and I was hoping to have the following set-up.....10" Skywatcher goto Dob (already own this) sat in middle of garden with Lodestar audtoguider camera mounted, plus UHC filter to filter out street lights wavelength..... me sat in summer hosue with table, laptop, Stellarium/Sky Safari, atlases and giudes, etc....I'm hopimg to select objects with Atlases/Stellarium, then using cable to send signal to activate goto drives on 'scope, then when 'scope has located object I prompt Lodestar to take an image, then receive the image on laptop via another cable. The distance from summer house to the 'scope is only about 10ft. This sounds a perfectly plausible set-up, can anyone forsee any issues with it? Many of you guys will have a lot more experience than myself, especially with a set-up like this, so will have experienced potential snags. Many thanks for any comments.
  5. The advice is sooo welcome guys....MUCH appreciated. I've decided to opt for the Lodestar x2 colour at around £450, and will buy when funds allow (soon, hopefully!!). The extra sensitivity, relativity short exposures, user-friendly intuitive software, single USB cable, simplicity of use, and the awesome results I've seen online have all convinced me! I'm assuming I'll need a c-mount adaptor in order to test my Skywatcher UHC fillter with it. In addition to viewing DSO "live on screen" with a new level of detail and colour, it'll be great to capture more transitory things like comets and meteors (using wide lens, or perhaps no lens???). And to think.....I recently had the chance to upgrade my 10" Dob to a 12" for about £300, and was briefly tempted....but for around £150 more I can get the Lodestar, and see tons more than a any 12"!!
  6. Gents....your comments and advice are SO appreciated. One of the things I love about the astro community is everyone's willingness to assist others with *ahem* a smaller knowledge base (management speak for not knowing as much as you!!) Dom, thank you for all of the guidance and links....some of those images you pointed me towards (well, most of them, if I'm honest) are quite breathtaking. It's hard to believe that when I started out in amateur astronomy in the early-mid 80's, that one day amateurs would be able to achieve results like this, almost instantly and in real-time. When added to things like goto scopes, planetarium software packages, using laptops and smart phones...it's a glorious time to be a back yard astronomer! Having done even more web research, I really think the Lodestar x2 seems to tick all of the boxes, whereas the Mallincam, while still as astonishing piece of kit, 'only' ticked 90% of them! Just need to decide on colour or monchrome. My budget was around £350 - £450, not a huge amount I realise. So at around £750 - £800, the SX Ultrastar is out of my price range. So I'm leaning heavily towards the Lodestar x2 at around £450. I keep seeing what I'm assuming is the mk1 version of this on some retailers websites, at about £100 less, although it dosn't seem to be available anymore. Apart from the price, there doesn't seem a huge amount of difference between this and the x2, although I'm sure there is! Bearing only the price in mind, would that be a better purchase if I can find one? Unless I take my kit to a dark sky site, I have some interference from street lights in my back garden, so I use a UHC filter visuallly. Despite it's impressive sensitivity, am I right in assuming the Lodestar would still benefit from attaching the UHC (via a c-mount adaptor) to reduce/elliminate the street light glare? Then possibly add a focal reducer to reduce exposure time and add a wider FOV, and I think I'm sorted!! Thanks again for help guys, so much appreciated. Chris Owen
  7. Many thanks for your response Dom, certainly food for thought. But from what I can see, the Loadstar x2 is just an autoguider, is that right? Or does it double as a camera AND autoguider in one body? I like the sound of that, but it doesn't seem as though Skywatcher's goto Dob mounts support any autoguiding. But then, if the Loadstar only needs short exposures, would I even need any autoguiding? Or would the Dob's tracking be accurate enough for 20 - 30 second exposures? I like the idea of a single USB cable, and the software seems ideal as it can control the cam, and do live stacking and live viewing. I've got the chance to but a used Mallincam VSS for £350 tomorrow, but am having second thoughts now! Many thanks.
  8. Hi all, I'm a fairly experienced observer, but am new to video astronomy. I'm thinking of getting a Mallincam VSS or Jnr Pro to use on my Skywatcher f/5 10" goto Dob, as I love the idea of outputting the image to a laptop, and seeing better images than I'd get visually, outreach, etc. I also want to be able to capture still frames for processing in Resitrax or similar. Does the camera control software also double as the 'live' video viewer/still image grabber? Or do I need to get seperate software to view and grab the images on my laptop? Also, could someone with more experience please advise if I will need a focal reducer? I realise the benefits of using one (wider field, etc), but is it entirely necessary? I see the Antares is only around £35, which seems reasonable. The Dob is alt/az tracking of course, which I realise isn't ideal for video work, but from what I've read on forums, this should be okay as most exposures on the Mallincam are less than a minute (for moderate DSO's), with many only needing 20-30 seconds for good images of brighter nebula, etc. I'm assuming that for planet/moon/sun, this will be even less of an issue due to the much shorter exposure times? Thanks for any help you can give. Chris
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