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About jacksdad

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    Salisbury, UK
  1. Imaging w/ SW 150p EQ3-2

    You'll get that absolutely everywhere - ask a roomful of 'experts in their field' how to do something and I bet you get as many different answers as there are people There's no one right way to do it, which is sometimes unfortunate but is what makes it interesting. Is it wrong to download someone else's images to look at? Is it wrong to throw money at the problem until you get a nice picture yourself? Is it wrong to want to modify and adapt cheaper things to find out for yourself just what is actually possible compared to what 'people' say is possible? You could go to either extreme - you could do as you were advised earlier and ditch all the kit you currently have and spend the equivalent of a new car and still not be guaranteed results - or - you could whittle yourself a new mount from driftwood (it'd be something to do when it's cloudy...) Let's be honest, there really is no 'minimum' for taking pictures over and above a camera - there are many stunning images gathered with a kit list comprising gate hinges and lumps of plywood, so choose your path and make your own decisions on which direction it leads you (nothing wrong with asking fir advice along the way, but remember there is no gospel...)
  2. DIY Pier

    I haven't built one, but I have poured a fair bit of concrete and stuck lots of metal together over the years. From a stability viewpoint, I think it would be very difficult to make a pier that performs worse than a tripod plonked onto the grass/patio/tortoise/etc. Time saving? Well that depends... It'll save time if you want/need accuracy of alignment, but if you're using (say) an alt/az or something else that doesn't care where it points then I honestly can't see much time being saved. There's also the consideration that once it's there, it's there. You can't exactly take it to the other side of the garden if the neighbour's tree gets higher. If you're happy to have a fixed viewing/imaging location and your current solution isn't doing it for you, then I reckon it's one of the technically simplest astro projects available.
  3. More attempts on EQ3-2 improvement

    Well, I did some more fiddling and reached a conclusion of sorts. Fundamentally this mount isn't bad. Unfortunately, I'm thinking that the scope is too long... There's still vibration and settling issues, and while it stabilises quite quickly (compared to how it was) it's still a pain. Once focussed it's not bad, but manually tracking stuff makes the image dance about. I've now tried it with a skymax 102 (which a friend donated to me the other day) mounted instead of the 150pl and it's absolutely fine. Now, the 150 is (imho) well within the static weight capability of the mount, but the leverage imposed due to having the mirror/eyepiece so far away from the centre of gravity means the mount doesn't stand much chance really - try holding a bag of sugar in your hand, easy right? Now put it on a 2ft stick and hold it steady at arm's length I'm not giving up on it totally though, once we have a scope house built with a permanent pier I think it'll do much better.
  4. 16 " Open Truss Dobsonian Build

    Try searching for "roll pins".
  5. Seems it's that time already

    Did I say this would be a slow build? If I didn't, then it will be... For a start, I've got to build a new chicken enclosure first. Anyway, I was roughly planning around a shed type affair with some form of roll off. Last night, a large spanner got thrown in the works though. The wife looks up and shows me a picture on her phone - "I think a dome would look nicer than another shed".
  6. Seems it's that time already

    Well this afternoon I started trying to figure out how to dismantle the obsy I mentioned (yes, I got the job). If anyone recognises this, let me know
  7. Seems it's that time already

    I must remember to take pictures when it's light out... Well, got some more groundwork done - this bit is quite tedious, but essential. The area we're working with is sort of made up ground, it's about 2' above the original level and quite loose. It means I have to skim all that soil (and stones, and lumps of concrete) off to get back down to a starting point. No point trying to build onto something likely to shift... So, probably around 2-3 tonnes of 'stuff' to stick elsewhere in the garden.
  8. Seems it's that time already

    So, not much has been happening really - I've had dull stuff like work, boo... Still, the groundwork is coming along slowly. Also, today I went to price up a job. I have to dismantle and remove a... ...roll off roof observatory! Complete with all the mechanism for the powered roof, fittings and benches from inside, red lighting - basically everything except an ota, pc and chair. It'll need significant remodelling to work, but it gives us rails, wheels, motor etc. as well as a load of usable materials like shiplap cladding. The current owners are happy it's not ending up as landfill too. Sometimes, life gives you something other than lemons
  9. Seems it's that time already

    This evening has been destumping the site... One out, two to go. I've just come in, and I would go and take a picture but it'd strongly resemble a dark frame
  10. Seems it's that time already

    So, my 'horizon survey'. One of the things I had to clear out of the way was a small tree type thing which I'd cut down, but left a stump (lever to help remove root). This is about 75cm high. I trimmed the top off so it was level enough to work with, then marked out compass points (every 22.5°) and cut a vertical slot. Then, in those slots I inserted a digital angle gauge which I leveled with a spirit level and then sighted along to find the angle of the horizon at each compass point. It's easier to do than explain, but maybe a picture... From this, I could note the viewable angle to the horizon at each point, and also approximate the rough direction of notable features/obstructions. These numbers could then be plotted on a graph to give a representation of my visible sky. Because I'm a bit weird, I did my graph on paper - using a pencil and everything It actually looks much much worse than it is in reality as the two axes aren't to the same scale - azimuth is on X with 7.5° per division - altitude on Y with 1° per division. Nothing tops 20° and anything that gets close is a point anyway The accuracy probably isn't fantastic - the bearings are referenced from magnetic north, but the current dec here is apparently around 1° at the moment and I'm pretty sure I couldn't resolve to that figure anyway - same with the alt measurements, they're only as accurate as my sighting and spirit level but I did round up to the next half degree... I think that the chosen site should work quite well.
  11. Seems it's that time already

    Might as well be observatory (that's what I had planned anyway) to properly reduce setup and pack up time. Being able to do an hour's observing because we've got an hour spare is the goal. I've done not much more than decide on a site as far as planning goes, so the design is somewhat fluid right now... It also depends on what materials we can scrounge up as to how and when it'll get done. I (/we) also want to have a go at imaging too, so it would give us better opportunity to do this - like make a start together and I can either leave stuff running and/or go back out later. I'd say it's a good 50/50 I like building things, he likes helping and we both like looking up, so it makes sense.
  12. Well, my son has had his scope for less than a month, and we've discovered enough excuses to get building... I'm sure they've been recounted many times already, but still. Given his age, there's not much dark before bedtime, so getting the kit outside and acclimated makes for very short sessions. Also, our exceptionally reliable weather (;)) means that chances are we plan to go out, get everything outside and it clouds over. Apparently, a 150pl isn't a suitable living room decoration. I'm currently leaving it all set up so I can just pick up the whole caboodle and plonk it outside - packing it up every time would make already short sessions even shorter. So, a shed thingy it is then! This isn't going to be a very quick build but I thought I might as well start nattering about it right from the start. So far, I've started clearing an otherwise unused corner of the garden and I thought it'd be fun to do a 'horizon survey' - I've got a few pics and some details which I'll post in a bit.
  13. Just shimmed my 2inch focuser. Wow!

    Yep, getting the pinion preload 'just so' is a challenge on the sw one - a smidge loose makes it feel sloppy and going the other way makes it feel indexed... Neither is good. And, I don't exactly trust the spring plate screws to stay put for long either.
  14. More attempts on EQ3-2 improvement

    Delays! (See focuser thread...) After more thought, a strut may (/will definitely) help, as would sleeving the pivots, but I think the biggest change would come from removing the need to have hand contact with the scope or the mount. Watch this space
  15. Dual speed r+p focuser

    Well, wife stopped play! Seemingly, getting a new sofa (which obviously necessitates rearranging and/or replacing the rest of the furniture...) took precedence Still, we managed a play outside with it, and it's a lot better but it still induces shakes in the image. I'm now considering a friction drive conversion (get rid of the notchiness) and possibly a remote controlled motor drive... Updates soon.