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About noah4x4

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    Proto Star

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  1. Best three locations I have enjoyed....one distant, one European, one local.. 1. Galapagos Islands Truly awesome, with much more to offer and now more accessible/affordable. 2. Caldera of Mt. Tiede Tenerife. Long drive up to 12,000 ft from the beaches, but well worth it, even with just binoculars or small suitcase friendly telescope. 3. Orford, Suffolk. I made three (expensive) week long trips to Kelling Heath, plus one to Keilder Forest and I never once saw a star due to cloud. So I found what is probably the nearest half -decent location to London. But frankly, I now rarely leave home and instead rely on camera/Hyperstar to beat light pollution. But with 6,000 new homes erected in my vicinity in less than a decade that is becoming more challenging. I fear astronomy might soon become as difficult to pursue from within England as Coral Reef Scuba Diving or Snowmobile racing.
  2. A potential idea to give you far more flexibility..... 1. 12v DC battery (as proposed) to power a.... 2. Bestek 12v DC to 240v AC 300W Power Inverter (around £29.99 from Amazon). Having available 240v in tne field means your choice of regular (now mains equivalent) monitors is then vastly greater. This is how caravanners and campers might resolve this. Perhaps carry the battery and inverter in a tiny 'toolbox'. Carefully calculate the amp-hours required from 1. My experience with tiny 12v field monitors isn't good. You are typically restricted to 720p resolution. The above route means you can use a regular 12" or 15" monitor offering 1080p HD or even 4K UHD. Regular monitors are in mass demand and hence typically cheaper than specialist models.
  3. I have the similar NexImage Burst and if using an Alt-Az scope I found it very difficult to hold a planetary image in its FOV without accurate polar alignment (on wedge), and detailed attention to tracking and backlash accuracy. The magnification is so great and the FOV so small it requires pin-point precision. To be frank, it was more luck than judgement.. But below is an image of Jupiter. To be honest, after capturing this, I gave up and moved onto a DSO camera as the planetary camera was frustrating to use.
  4. It is the same basic principle Skipper Billy. My core point was that not every 12v battery offers a true12v and an inverter/regulator adds the 19v stability one ideally needs. I wholly agree that using a 12v DC to 240v AC inverter then using AC/DC adapters to produce the correct lower outputs is less electrically efficient than a direct 12v DC to 19v DC converter. However, the fact mine offers a 240v possibility (from12v) gives me more options on a miserable cloudy night. in tent or caravan. I can then power toaster, TV or fridge (but pub always wins).
  5. Quality of 12v battery is crucial with a NUC. I had no problems with my Tracer 22aH. But my i5 NUC didn't like the 12v output of some cheap Chinese battery packs that offer circa 12v but soon deplete to 11.3v. The NUC needs an absolute minimum of 11.6v. However, I have recently tried a different solution with interesting success. Connect a 12v DC battery to a 12v DC/240v AC Bestek 300w power inverter (£26). Then use its 240v output with the manufacturers AC adapters supplied with camera, focuser etc. This is a great replacement where mains electricity is not available and often used by caravanners etc. Whilst this sounds convoluted, the supply seems to be more regular/reliable as the NUC then gets its 19v, the camera get 12v, focuser 12v, with each receiving the correctly specified voltage/amperage as it uses it own AC adapter as if connected to the mains. Just make sure you buy an inverter that has enough wattage. I put battery, inverter and plug sockets in a small plastic easy to carry tool box.
  6. People argue cable is the only reliable solution for large sensor high resolution cameras. But USB (or HDMI) is limited. The signal dies in under 30 feet of cable. Cat6 cable or wireless is far superior. However, many slimline modern computers don't have RJ45 Ethernet connectors (e.g. for Cat6). Fortunately, you can buy cheap USB to RJ45 converters. However, you may also need a powered Network Switch.. Wireless can be much easier than cable if you know how to (say) manage Windows Remote Desktop and RemoteFX compression. See my earlier post. You might have a 433 mbps wireless network, but if RemoteFX compression is strangling it,, you might struggle to exceed 10mbps. Resolve that and you can discard cables. But best advice, keep any USB cables short.
  7. That day has huge memories for me. Aged merely 16, I was representing Great Britain at the Idaho Farragut State Park Boy Scouts of America International jamboree. First time I had left the UK, let alone flown to another continent.. Was privileged to meet Astronaut, Frank Borman; Boxer, Archie Moore and Jessie Owens. Then watched the Moon landing on a colour TV which I had never seen before (and yes, the lunar images were grey!). The overall experience changed my life deeply as it instilled a "can do" mentality into a previously unambitous child that had up to that point largely wasted his education and opportunities. I went on to enjoy a wonderful career that brought great satisfaction and reasonable affluence. But had I not been inspired by the combination of the Moon landing and this additional event. I suspect that I might have stumbled through life. But instead I now have few "I wish I had" regrets. One of my greatest is perhaps not making time to properly enjoy astronomy until my retirement, but one cannot have everything.
  8. You simply connect PC to the SkyPortal external WiFi accessory rather than to your regular WiFi network when in Direct mode. Alternatively, you can connect both to your regular WiFi network in Access Point mode. CPWI will auto-find it. When you select connect to WiFi.
  9. Answering a question from an earlier post.... You do NOT need NexRemote with CPWI. So no messing about with Win8 compatibility mode required. You can now directly link your scope to a Windows PC using a SkyPortal external WiFi accessory. Previously that was only possible with Android/IOS.
  10. CPWI is your best solution, and being realistic, all you need today. Stellarium or Cartes Du Ceil do have more sophisticated databases, but (no disrespect), you are not going to see the vast majority of the extra objects they include through your limited scope. My advice is don't waste money investing in accessories for it unless they can later be migrated to a higher quality GEM. Astrophotography on an Alt-Az is challenging; and a wedge can be frustrating; and the only other Alt-Az solution is Hyperstar. But I suspect your scope is not Fastar/Hyperstar compatible. It's a good beginners scope and will offer a lot of initial fun. But if smitten by astronomy, you will soon wish to upgrade.
  11. Celestron has announced firmware updates for both Nexstar and Nexstar + HC's that will resolve the 'GPS Rollover Bug'. These are available within TeamCelestron, where final beta testing is being concluded before final public release.
  12. Caution if buying a used Celestron SkyPortal external WiFi accessory. It is odds on that it is an inferior first or second generation SkyPortal dongle.. Similar caution with a Starsense camera. If the previous owner unscrewed the lens it might need factory recalibration.
  13. Celestron is working on a firmware fix and I posted an interim workaround above. I think Derik's (firmware engineer) comment needs to be put into perspective as it doesn't reflect an uncaring attitude. It was also made in a confidential forum designed for beta-testers and with an entirely different purpose to SGL. Posting that comment in SGL is a breach of TeamCelestron terms & conditions, especially as it is quoted out of context. I don't know anybody else as passionate about customer problems or works harder to find solutions to often tricky unexpected challenges. It seems that NOBODY in the astronomy equipment world anticipated this problem until it had almost dawned on us. Twenty years ago, Telescope manufacturers bought GPS devices from third party suppliers either oblivious of their 1024 week lifetime or with the intent of finding a fix before it expired that then got forgotten. The firmware enginners that originally implemented this are probably long retired. It was cutting edge technology at a time when many of us still had mechanical watches. It's absolutely true, "everything does die eventually" and merely reflects the status of that component.. Derik is a top guy who is currently managing solution finding for a huge number of challenges. Just count the number of current threads in TeamCelestron. I am confident a firmware release will appear soon. But is it any great hardship to manually input year data for a few weeks while this is fixed? Let's give the man a break, as until late-March he didn't even know there was a problem. A part has 'died' out of warranty after a lifetime of 19.7 years from its inception (albeit that the timescale for some purchasors is less). Cars regularly get recalled for unforeseen component failure. Why should telescopes be different? Thankfully, it sounds like a no cost solution is feasible soon.
  14. The trouble with most telescopes is that mechanical bits wear out; they are stuck in a Windows 7 RS232 serial time warp; they are easily damaged or scratched in the dark and once out of warranty are not easily repaired or serviced. I am staggered that they retain value as well as they do. Second hand Accessories can be a nightmare. Buy a used Celestron SkyPortal external WiFi accessory and it's odds on that it is the weaker problematic early version. Buy a second hand Starsense and the camera lens has possibly been uscrewed and needs a factory recalibration. Early GPS models have just crashed after the 6th April epoch rollover date. How many times does a mount or HC need new firmware in its lifetime? If it was a car the recalls and unreliability would put it at the bottom of the rankings. Telescopes get away with this because a firmware update is owner servicable. Telescopes will never be an investment unless 24 carat gold plated or formerly used by a celebrity. But my guess is some are more easy to sell than others as you move up the price chain. There will inevitably be more owners of cheap entry level scopes wanting to upgrade.than in the mid or higher price brackets where folk are more likely to be content, I found I invested £thousands in my first three years then reached contentment when I discovered Hyperstar imaging at f/2 meant I didn't need long exposures, guiding, bigger aperture, wedge/GEM or other paraphernalia. Eventually we reach a plateau. But until then this money pit hobby will fuel a vibrant used market sustaining surprisingly high used prices for kit that once out of warranty is pretty high risk when buying used.
  15. My first view of Jupiter through a 12mm eyepiece was awesome, but I could barely make out its banding. However, my second using merely a cheap Celestron NexImage Burst camera blew my socks off..... This is a low resolution stacked image produced under horribly light polluted urban Bortle 6 skies. It is what lured me into the deep money pit that is EEVA and AP. Beware!
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