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About London_David

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  1. London_David

    Which Compute Stick?

    I have a compute stick with the m3 chip and it’s great. It’s the same power as a surface pro 3 and runs windows 10 nicely. Both the atom and the m3 will work for eea (and ap) however, if you have a large sensor camera you’ll want to go with the m3 version due to the larger memory and faster chip. On smaller sensor cameras like the asi290 the atom is perfectly adequate. I went for the m3 version because it gave me room to expand and I knew windows 10 would be smooth. Windows on an underpowered machine is always horrible. If you do some digging on this forum and on cloudy nights you’ll see quite a few people using the compute stick in various configurations. I have my compute stick headless at the scope and it connects to the main WiFi. I then rdp into it from my iPad Pro which makes it a great wireless experience running sharpcap, motor focus and the mount wirelessly from my iPad. I can walk around anywhere inside and outside my house and have full viewing and control from the iPad since rdp runs across the main WiFi. So long as the WiFi reception is good the response is pretty much instant. If you crank up the resolution to the almost 4k native iPad screen resolution it’s a bit sluggish but still usable. Most of the time I stay streaming at hd. 4K is nice for detail on a wide field, but most of the time I’m zooming in anyway. It also runs off a usb c power so I can use a standard lithium ion battery pack in the field if I want and be completely wireless there too. The compute stick is a really great compact solution. It’s not the cheapest, but there’s nothing smaller that I know of that can do the same. The Nuc form factor machines are also good, though much bigger, they are cheaper. But you can’t run them off a regular L Ion battery since they tend not to have a mobile chipset. If you search my old posts I’ve outlined exactly the items I have and what I’ve been doing with them. I think I have exactly the m3 stick you’re looking at. edit: just found an old post with all the details. It’s a bit out of date since I’ve made a few tweaks upgrades and additions... but the core compute stick bit is all the same.
  2. London_David

    Best CMOS Camera for 8” EdgeHD

    I have the 294pro (it’s cooled) and really like it. I bought it direct from zwo and it only cost about £760. Currently its $999 though you’ll need to pay shipping and you may be unlucky at customs for another 150 or so. In short, from zwo I’d look at the 294pro the 1600 the 183 the 385 the 224 and the 290 mono. I’m sure there are other cameras as good but these are the ones I know about... It doesn’t seem like there’s been a lot of change recently. Other manufacturers have similar cameras with the same chips but I like zwo and the build quality and support. Which camera generally depends what you want to do ultimately - eaa, ap, colour or mono. They all have their advantages and disadvantages for each. The short version... If it was me on your budget I’d get the 294pro if I was into eaa with some ap, the 385 for just eaa, or the 290 if I was into eaa mono or mono ap on a budget, and the 1600 mono for ap. In terms of oversampling and undersamping, for me I don’t mind oversampling since you can software bin cmos with basically no issues when the read noise is low (as they are for all these cameras), and of your seeing turns out t be amazing one night you have the ability to make the most of it. Always worth checking out your fov from the camera it’s combo on the astronomy tools website. Also from Scotland originally, I got into eaa to beat LP in London. I do like colour and it’s good on the 294 but I like searching for faint galaxies and the 290 sensitivity is great for that even if it is just mono. I don’t want to bore everyone with me writing the same posts, so here are links...
  3. London_David

    Favourite eea camera?

    I love my ASI290 for eea. I have a couple of other colour cameras but the ASI290 is easily the most sensitive which makes it easiest and quickest to use for observing. It’s also not too expensive. It is mono - that’s the only thing. If you need colour you’ll have to look elsewhere Often I’ll just grab the 290 intending to just do a quick look on a smaller object and end up using it all night. The main reason is the sensitivity. I still don’t think there’s any other cameras that compete at the moment if you’re looking for short exposure eea on dso. It makes it far easier to find objects binning at high gain since you can see objects at video speed (maybe 2-24 fps live update), then lower the gain and drop the binning and do live stacking for detail. I really have been surprised how much I keep coming back to that camera for a quick look that turns into the whole night.
  4. London_David

    Adaptive Digital Pixel Binning

    No worries. Whenever you can. Also, maybe Robin can just implement it in SharpCap...
  5. London_David

    Adaptive Digital Pixel Binning

    Hi -- so I've been trying to get this to work but I'm afraid I'll need more help. You'll have to give me the idiots guide to this. I've discovered I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I thought I'd be able to figure it out but I've not looked at coding in about 20 years and the level I can handle now is pretty much copy and paste, and that's about it. Despite some attempts to figure it out, your conversation with Robin on the SharpCap forum is beyond me. Sorry! Can you paste the code block for the dll file here, and tell me where to save it. Also -- can you paste the python code for the SharpCap scripting. I presume then I can copy and paste the python script into SharpCap,. Thanks!
  6. London_David

    Adaptive Digital Pixel Binning

    Didn’t get the chance to try this yet. I should have some time over the weekend to try.
  7. London_David

    Adaptive Digital Pixel Binning

    That's really exciting -- I'll check it out tonight if the weather holds to see what happens. I think it could be quite useful -- thanks for building! I've just had a look through the code and posts but I've not used SharpCap scripting before. If you have a step-by-step of how to drop it in that may be helpful... Otherwise I'll see how I get on.
  8. I tried my AZ-GTI with my 150PDS as an experiment one night and it worked fine. Estimated weight was 5.6 for the OTA, 120g for the camera, plus another 150g for the finder. So properly overloaded at almost 6kg and... I wouldn't have called it super stable, but I balanced it and worked and tracked fine. Using wireless control I never had to walk near it and I wasn't too worried. Crucially (and this is why I did the test) the setup time was about 90 seconds rather than the 23 minutes it takes me to setup my EQ mount. The only issue I've had is the weird software issue noted elsewhere where it sometimes stops tracking unless you restart the app. I have been using the experimental firmware though and haven't updated it. It was working fine before that.
  9. I’d definitely buy an eqmod cable for the AZ GTI. Also, does anyone know where to buy a counterweight bar for eq mode? I’ve read it fits an eq1 bar but I can’t find that to buy separately. I don’t even know if the eq1 bar is correct. To date I’ve bought 3 different bars now and none of them fit. Very boring!
  10. London_David

    Video / Live Astronomy - Starting out Help?

    The ZWO ASI224 has the same sensor as the IMX224, if that’s the kind of thing you’re after in the ZWO range. The zwo has amp glow reduction so you’ll get a cleaner image though it is marginally more expensive. I have one and really like it for the price point in colour. If you want to go up a little in price, the asi290 mono is much more sensitive with higher resolution. You can get the mini version for about £275. So if you don’t mind black and white and a little more expensive I’d recommend that. The advantage in mono is a more detailed more sensitive less noisy picture. I prefer the pictures from my asi290 because of the detail. Colour is more fun to start with, but I’ve tended to keep going back to the asi290 because it’s much more sensitive and you can see more stuff easily. If I’m throwing on a camera for a quick look it’s the asi290 not the colour camera I go for. Just a thought... mono isn’t for everyone though. Here is a review going into details on the imx224 based cameras: https://www.californiaskys.com/blog/usb-cameras-with-the-sony-imx224-cmos-sensor While you will want to check your field of view with the small sensor size it really depends what you want to see. I have a 150pds and it’s great for galaxies and most stuff I want to look at. I think you’ll be happy putting the camera on either the star wave for wide and the Skywatcher for smaller objects. The best thing is to check out what you will see by looking up the combination on http://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/. For your budget in colour I’d be going for the asi224, or the asi290 in mono. I think the next best colour camera, if you are going up in price is the asi385, but thats a big step up for your budget. Also, quick tip if you don’t already have them... get a bahtnov mask for focus, and you’ll almost certainly want to use sharpcap for software.
  11. London_David

    ASI 294MC-Pro (or maybe not?)

    I have a 294Pro and really like it. I mainly use it for eea rather than full on imaging. With Atik what you pay for more than anything else is the software. The Horizon and the ASI1600 are virtually identical cameras except in price and software control. There is more detail about that here: As I mentioned, almost all I do with the 294 is live stacking eea using SharpCap which is great. Indeed, that’s why I bought the 294. I’ve not used the Atik software but it is meant to be very good and easy to use however essentially it’s ~£250 built into the cost of the camera. The alternative sharpcap is £10/year or free if you don’t want to use the more advanced features. I really like sharpcap since it is easy to use with fantastic new features coming out all the time. All things considered I’d say the 294 is actually a better live stacking eea camera than the Atik. So if you want live image building style observing I’d tend towards the 294. However, the 1600 chip in the Atik and the asi1600 is very popular for astrophotography and does have certain wins over the 294 (sorry I can’t remember them at the moment, I think pixel size and image scale is one), however the 294 blows it out the water on full well depth, and is more sensitive — sensitivity was the key for me since I use it for eea. If your interested in the Atik I’d also take a look at images and discussions here and on cloudy nights about the asi1600 since you’ll get pretty much identical performance to the Atik from it. Pixel size should be fine - I use mine on a WO GT71. However, you should check out astronomy.tools to make sure you’re going to get the view you want from either camera. It depends what you want to be imaging. To answer your final question... I’d buy the 294 - I already did this research and picked! I’d make the same choice again between he horizon and the 294. If I was more oriented to ap however, I’d take another look at the ASI1600 or if zwo have a new camera out that is more ap oriented I might look at that.
  12. London_David

    A quick midsummer session

    Well I have to say that all sounds very impressive. I can’t wait to try it! The circular tool makes more sense to me now — especially if pixels aren’t lost and you can zoom out. Also, I would imagine throwing the image on a second screen full screen is a relatively easy thing to do, then you have a tool for viewing and a tool for manipulation. To be fair — your circular feature layout doesn’t look that skeumorphic - it’s quite flat. It’s more the concept of the circle=eyepiece. But if it has reason to be that way from function, not just so it looks like something physical, then my accusations of skeumorphism are probably unfair! I’m very interested in the automation you are implementing. I did AI at university along with some machine vision stuff — a long time ago now, but I have wondered about some kind of ai solution to stacking and stretching since it seems like a mathematical puzzle to simply maximise the representation of signal in the image and minimising noise. Assuming we’re not mainly in the business of making pretty pictures... The feature list is pretty impressive. The completely reversible functionality sounds quite a radically departure and improvement from any other eea software. That is also very exiting. Also good is an annotation engine. I’ve struggled with a lot of different bits of software to give me a no good experience with annotation. PixInsignt a possible exception — barring the price. Have you tried Observatory on the Mac? I tried to like it but found it cumbersome with a strange paradigm I couldn’t quite click with. I have been tempted to retry it though. Lightroom is good, but it could do with astronomy tools. What is novel... I mainly use sharpcap and firecap. But from my experience, the observing lists is novel in an eea capture software. However, SharpCap can control the mount and plate solve for you. Darks and flats application are in sharpcap. But you have to select them from your library. It’s not automatic. Hot pixel removal is automatic in sharpcap. There is defiantly some overlap, but I think you are building an eea too from the ground up, whereas sharpcap was originally an imaging tool that now does eea. And Mac software is very welcome! I caved and have been running things from my Win10 compute stick and through Parallels. But a native Mac app would be great.
  13. London_David

    AZ EQ6 or CEM60

    It does seem like there is a shortage on the CEMs. I was looking at this last week in the US and even there places like OPT didn’t have them in stock. On the CEM I’d definitely not go for the extra encoders for what I want. Unless— are they the same as the freedom find tech on the Skywatcher? Did you ever use the mount encoders manually like that? It seems a cool idea, but I’m not sure how much I’d use it. Again, accurate go-to is much more useful for deep sky in my light pollution. I don’t see myself upping the payload much more than where I am... but you never know. I have been tempted to piggy back some additional cameras (like a zero with a standard f1.8 eos lenses for a wider field of the same part of the sky in the compares to my f4 the f1.8 lens really makes things pop out — at low magnification of course. I look forward to hearing how you find you find the new mount!
  14. London_David

    A quick midsummer session

    @Martin Meredith This is looking all very impressive and exciting. Sorry to say (and it seem’s I might be in a minority here...) I’m not going to lie though... I find the circular image a little skeumorphic for my taste because you seem to be throwing out quite a lot of the sensor information to have it — what if you’re imaging a galaxy pair on two opposite sides of the frame! Or a large nebula...? Having said that, it is true most of the time at my focal lengths most things are quite small in the center of frame. Either way - very excited to try this out when you manage to figure out your distribution! I also love the inverted option. I have that set up as a quick access shortcut on my Mac screen too for use on SharpCap (iPad and parallels in case your confused). What is your main intention with the software, how does it differ - just in terms of why are you creating it rather than just using SLL or SharpCap? Is it UI, adding features, automating things... Software development is a lot of work, so you must be highly dissatisfied with something!!!
  15. London_David

    AZ EQ6 or CEM60

    I’m looking at one of two mounts for a setup with a core of: 11.5 kg BorenSimon TS Optics 10” ~ 0.5kg of camera 0.2 for telrad finder whatever rings, mount plates etc are required Then maybe dual saddle adding: ~ 2.5kg William Optics 71GT with diagonal <1kg for any eyepieces I have The idea is for a dual eea and wide field visual rig. In truth, I may not add the WO to the party... it just seems like a fun thing I could try. I like looking visually at things I’m checking out on eea at the same time. Yes, I know the darkness adaption kills all but the bright stuff, but I still find it interesting being able to see the augmented digital vision and the photons into the eye version, even when there’s nothing there to really see. In practise this is going to be in a permanent fully automated roll on roll off and I may just prefer to have the visual scope on another mount. It was the EQ6 design that got me thinking about it. The other thing about this is... the idea for this rig is ultra fast exposures. I want to go as fast as possible to combat seeing. 4-10 second exposures are a current norm for me on my f4 and I want to go faster. Of ocurse, I will still want to play with some long exposure stuff using filters. But that’s not my main use. Backlash has been an irritation for me on other mounts, ideally this one is backlash minimum. So the question is... has anyone had good or bad experiences with either mount? Will I over stretch the EQ6 with a 10” in the wind? I use eqmod right now and like it, I control everything wirelessly from my computer and with an Xbox controller. Will the iOptron control be as wireless and easy to set up to be fully automated? Could it be better? I believe @ollypenrice likes the EQ6 a lot, and I definitely trust his opinion, but I do like the design of the CEM60 and the thought of extra weight stability (that I may not need in truth). Anyone had any experience with either mount?

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