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Posts posted by Daz69

  1. Wow, that's mighty impressive! I'm just doing a small box at the mo just for dew heaters and charging of tablet/phone. When (if) I get a goto mount and get into AP, then I'll have to make a more substantial box that will utilise my 110A caravan battery (on a trolley) if I ever go away from home, as well as 240v for quick plug in when at home, which will be the majority.

    Thank you for sharing this with me. I may have to ask you some questions at a later date if possible? I'm still waiting on some parts to arrive for my box. Even if I do eventually make a more substantial box, this one won't go to waste as I'll be able to use it when fishing away for several days.

  2. Some good reports there JOC. Nice scope by the way :) I've got a Rigel illuminated finder, and once aligned, the effort to find anything is very minimal which helps us newbies! 

    I've had about 4-5 good clear (frozen) nights here in Nth Hants, but I have to be careful as I have Trigeminal Neuralgia and the cold on my face can trigger a very painful attack, so I've got a big heavy winter wax 3/4 length coat with big hood, thermal neck/face tube and a Thinsulate hat. My hands are bare for ease of use, but might try and find my old motorcycling silk gloves.  I can only observe for about 60-90 minutes as I don't want to chance my luck. 

    So looking forward to the warmer months!

    keep up the good work.


    • Like 1
  3. Mine was covered in ice the overnight after finishing observing at 00:30hrs. Brought it into the kitchen, and pointed the tube downwards so any condensation dripped of the front of the tube (which it did, and lots of it). I then dismantled it the next day for storage. I need to make a dew heater for my Rigel as that kept getting dew all over the angled lens. 

  4. Its not a difficult scope to use at all if you're prepared to learn how to use an EQ. I've only had mine less than a month, and although I'm yet to use the mount to it's full potential, I can polar align and then work out roughly where I need to point it, but that's enough for me at the mo. This does take time to learn, I can appreciate that, and I'm prepared for it to take me a while. I think it will take a few good evenings (preferably when it's warmer!) just to learn how the EQ works properly. My other nights foray, I didn't bother with alignment as it was an unplanned session, but I still had a brilliant session.

    Furthermore, the mount needs some work, and all of the mount's pivot points need greasing for fluidity and easy usage, as they come dry. Hang a dumbbell weight from the centre of the tripod and get the weight near the ground to lower the CG to help with cutting down on some percentage of shakes.

    If you can't get on with the EQ mount, just loosen the mount/tripod bolt slightly, and just pan round for manual viewing like an Alt/Az mount  

    The first upgrade I did was to put a large penny washer and plastic disc behind the secondary mirror to help with easy adjustment. This makes life a big deal easier with collimation. The next was to centre spot the primary mirror with an A4 reinforcing disc. There's plenty of tutorials on youtube to do this. 

    Aesthetically speaking, it's not the prettiest scope, what with that plastic monstrosity on the front end, and vanes that are too thick. But, for the price and a gateway into astronomy, it's a great scope. I'd like to get this plastic front end removed altogether and make new vanes from metal. The EP holder can be separated from the plastic front cap, so there is potential for doing this mod. The secondary mirror's holder size isn't important so long as it's not bigger than the mirror itself, so for ease I'd utilise the original one to work with the new vanes.

    I don't think the scope can be beaten until you get to the SW 150, but that's another £50 dearer, but doesn't come with a tripod.

    Ditch the supplied finder for sure, and go with the Telrad or Rigel for cheapness, or an illuminated RACI if funds permit. Upgrade your EP's. 

    Remember, it's a cheap beginner's scope. If you can afford a dearer more precise scope, then get the dearer one. This one does need some work out of the box, but if you're prepared to do such jobs, then it is a brilliant scope. If you don't want to spend time to get these bits working to their fullest, get a dearer scope where it's done for you.

    Upgrade the EP's as soon as. I bought the Celestron Plossl's, and the difference is amazing. Well worth the minimal outlay, which will never be lost as they can be used on later scopes, or sold to other beginners. I will, one day, get the SW 200 for sure, as stepping from the 130 to the 150 I think, isn't worth it, and I'd just go straight to the 200. 

    Edit. Just got my flocking material, so will be doing that mod today as well!

  5. 15 hours ago, Dave In Vermont said:

    Hi Daz, fancy meeting you here! :p

    I have a few papers for you. One is a general-but-in depth description of what M31 is and much more too! Here's this:

    Messier 31 – The Andromeda Galaxy.pdf

    And now a very simple method to help you 'bag-your-beast.' And away you go:

    Use Pegasus to Find Andromeda Galaxy.pdf

    I presume you've got and/or use Stellarium? If not, let us know, please, so we can send out the introduction and links. As with all else I introduce - completely free of charge for keeps! Stellarium is probably the greatest bargain in this galaxy.

    We'll get you to Andromeda, of this I'm certain.



    hello Dave.

    Thanks for the papers, very interesting to read that it is heading for us!

    I believe that I was looking in the wrong place totally, but that's due to lack of experience. I'm worried that it states that it is visible with the naked eye and I couldn't see it :) 

  6. Finally, the clouds cleared and using my new EP's I had my first view of the Orion Nebula. What a sight to see! I was well chuffed to see it, and spent about an hour gazing at it. I need to get a nebula filter one day that's for sure, but not sure what one to get, or are there several I should get? 

    Don't laugh but I couldn't find the Andromeda galaxy, think it may have gone below my sight line due to trees.  Pleiades looked extra special tonight, for some reason that just reminds me of a black table cloth covered in diamonds, all sparkling away. 

    Even thought I saw 2 white shooting stars closely shadowed by red and a green flashing ones, but lifted away and saw that a jumbo jet had flown through my view, lol :)  made me jump a bit too!

    Did see a few real shooting stars, which was nice. The moon finally decided to show up, and spoil the Southern sky :(  And also managed to collimate my new (to me) Rigel finder on Betelgeuse. 

    • Like 7
  7. If it's only exposed the copper wire inside the black sheath, just wrap "proper" electricians tape around it, not sellotape or parcel tape. If it's exposed the copper wires inside of several wires, disconnect it from the power source, separate each set of copper wires, and tape up individually. Can you post a photo?

    If all you have done is torn the sheath, a £1 roll of electricians tape might be cheaper than buying a whole new lead. Once done, you need to establish a way of not allowing it to happen again. 

    Better still would be to cut the wire, re-solder and cover with heath shrink tube. It's always worth learning how to solder. A whole set up of a cheap 30 watt soldering iron, flux, solder and a selection pack of heat shrink tube would be circa £20.

  8. I'm a newbie myself, and the only suggestions I can give you are to go elsewhere to observe, which you've already said, or a lager scope. I live in a light polluted area but using a 5" Newtonian scope works ok for me at this stage in the hobby. As I get to learn more and want to see more, then I'll go up to an 8".  That may be sooner than I expect though :) 

    Everyone but the luckiest folk are troubled by light pollution to some degree, but what about making a shield to try and hide behind?

  9. I use a 4" wall fan that vents through the wall in my bird house, set for 20 minutes every 2 hours, daily except at night. It shuts off at 8pm and restarts at 8am.

    A PC fan won't shift enough air IMO, but several might. A suggestion would be to have them high on one wall and low on the opposing wall to increase the cold/warm transfer. 

    A butyl skirt around the roof/wall joint will be ok so long as you make sure that the butyl on the roof edge joint is 100% sealed to avoid water seeping behind it and inwards. Personally, if I went with this idea, I would seal a butyl skirt around the roof edge long enough to sit over the roof/wall joint, using Sikaflex adhesive, and then another strip over that top joint by 50% and lay the remainder underneath the corrugated sheet on top. 

    • Like 1
  10. Hi there Jack.

    I don't wish to rip your idea apart, but if I was building as obsy, and I wanted it to be right first time, I'd go with something like this:

    In regards to a concrete floor, 2" isn't really thick enough, and any movement of the soil underneath will cause it to crack, even with anchors. Suggest minimum 4" thick laid over scalpings. My 20'x10' wooden framed workshop sits on 5" thick poured concrete, and that hasn't cracked or shifted. No need for reinforcement or anchor bars unless your ground is steeply sloped or likely to subside, but I'd lay the WPM under the concrete to stop damp rising through it, which will be even more better. Above this, lay some 2" thick polystyrene sheets for insulation, as bare concrete, even with board on top, will cause your legs to fatigue (I've spent too many years in my workshop to know this!). Space out 2x2 battens and screw to concrete, then put the styrene in between the battens. Then lay your boards onto the battens.

    If you go with the corrugated sheet roof, I'd have a breath space between that and a solid board roof underneath that is also insulated. That should help with the condensation issue. A heavy roof is easily moved if you use counterweights to assist the movement, but a winch as you describe will move it easily enough. Just make sure that you incorporate a locking system in the closed position, and thirds or quarters. To secure the roof in a closed position, I'd incorporate a strong metal plate secured to the inside of the roof, that will locate over another plate secured to the wall (like an asp and staple). I'd go the extra mile doing this rather than tethering it with rope, especially if your area is windy.

    The solid walls you describe would be better clad in either T&G or overlap to help with stopping leaks, as you state that you want to use flat boards and paint them dark. These will heat up quickly and the expansion and contraction will cause any joints to move more. That way, it will be more watertight, and you can use a thinner ply. Insulate on the inside if you want, but not really necessary seeing as the whole roof will be open! 

    Think about a warm room, somewhere where you can warm up, or as the hobby progresses perhaps, somewhere where you can sit and operate a GOTO system via a computer, and not face the coldness. 

    There are plenty of pier ideas so I'll leave that.

    Alarms. Put one inside so that it can't be readily attacked from the outside, and change the piezo sounder for one with a higher Db, so that it is ear splitting. Something I done in a previous workshop was to have the loudest sounder that I could find, separate from the alarm box sounder. That way they have 2 sounders to deal with. Also have the lights and any electrics inside operate via a master key switch so that they are not easily turned on to help thieves locate your gear. 

    These are just my ideas, and what I would certainly look to do, but each to their own.

    Good luck with your build.

  11. I had this scope bought for me this Christmas. The finder is useless. I've tried in vain to get it to adequately work in conjunction with the scope. It is easy to align with the scope as described above, but IMO it is too small, and the 2 red LED's inside are pointing in the wrong direction. 

    There is someone that I found via Google search who had adapted the angle of the LED's so that it worked as it should, and apparently he states that he has had success. However, that's all fine and dandy if you're good with tinkering, but even though this is the sort of job that I like to do, it is quite fiddly so I decided to just bite the bullet and go for a better finder, like a Rigel or a Telrad. I managed to get a secondhand Rigel which arrived today, and although many people say that because it stands up, whereas a Telrad lays flat, I can immediately see that the Rigel will be more comfortable to use due to it standing upright. It stands about 4" high. The Telrad will be around 1.5" - 2" from what I see, so there isn't much difference in height. 

    You can get much better finders for around £100, and as much as I'd like something like this, I will wait until I progress to my next scope. 

    Furthermore, if you go the same route as me, these Rigel's and Telrad's will be easy to sell. I was looking at a used secondhand Telrad on Ebay which sold for £5 less than a brand new one! 


    • Like 1
  12. I was thinking about getting the missus to make a carry bag out of foiled bubble wrap like the stuff used in insulation, using her sewing machine. If you can get hold of a decent bit and some inch wide webbing to protect the seems and make a carry handle. That's my idea. just got to find someone with an off cut, as it's expensive stuff to buy a whole roll! 

    I got the idea from my protective wing bags used in model RC flying. 


  13. Just an idea, not even sure that it's made, but can you get shielded cat6 wire? OR, try and shield the dew heater wires with copper foil, or swap the wire running from the PWM to the heater with a shielded RCA phono lead, which is fairly simple and cheap. Even a guitar/amp fly lead, I know they are shielded as I use them. 


    If drilling through a wall, use a thin long drill bit and go outside in. Once through, step up to the larger bit. That way you won't get a large "break-out" on your plaster inside. Avoid drilling through eaves as described previously, as a lot of older houses used asbestos for the soffits.

  14. Yes, the dimmers are for the heater controls. I use the same sized battery in my power box that I use for night fishing, and that runs a 12" LED bar and charges my phone and tablet. It lasts for ages, but irrespective, when I get home I stick it on the 4 stage charger.

    I will charge the battery via one of the cigarette sockets.

    The 5 volt will initially be a test output to run a 12v PC fan to see how much it puts out. If not enough then I'll use a 12v regulator, or even a 9v one (might actually go this way first). Not sure I'll need any USB sockets as I usually use one of those cigarette socket/USB adaptors when fishing, and I'm happy with that. 


    • Like 1
  15. Just ordered a load of bits to make my own 12v power hub. To start, I'll use a 12v 9ah SLA deep cycle battery. There will be a press to operate switch to display the voltage via a small LED voltage display. There will be 4 sets of 12v banana sockets using PWM, and 1 set of 5v banana sockets direct voltage. Finally there will be 2x 12v cigarette sockets. 

    I ordered 2x 12v PWM dimmers


    which I'll remove from their cases and adapt to fit my project box, and each of these will power 2x sets of banana plugs for heaters. I'm thinking 2 for the scope (secondary and EP) and 2 for something like the EP case and a seat pad???

    The 5v will be for a primary fan. The cigarette sockets will be for a phone charger and the red LED strip light.

    Anything else I should be thinking of? I'll be using 7805 and 7812 voltage regulators for the power sockets, and caps for smoothing the supplies, but this may change once I open the PWM's as I believe there should be some inside anyways.

    I'll be making my own heather elements using nichrome wire.

    • Like 1
  16. Why can't you drill the Telrad base 2 new holes to screw onto a new smaller shoe, so that the new shoe fits onto the dual holder that was posted? Surely this would be easier? 

    I'd suggest lining up the Telrad base squarely on the new smaller shoe firmly, and marking through the new show mounting holes onto the underside of the Telrad base, then drilling two 2mm holes through. Then turn it over and drill the right size holes and countersinking to take bolts that will fit into the new shoe. Attach the Telrad base to the new shoe, then slide the shoe into the dovetail dual holder. As long as the new shoe and Telrad base were as square as possible when you placed one on top of the other, and your drilling was was also correct (suggest using a drill press) then you will be ok. If you're close to me then I'll do it for you on my press?

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