Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

43 Excellent

About solwisesteve

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Location
  1. Cheers... I wondered about fusing the ends. Thanks. Steve
  2. So I set about replacing the spiral cable wrap with the braided wrap which I still had in a box. Then I remembered another reason why I changed from using it.... it keeps on unweaving all the time ? Threaded the cables through and I now have 4 inches unwoven at the ends of the braiding ? Is there a version of this stuff that doesn't unravel?
  3. So are we saying going for an overhead cable system is just making it too complicated and not necessary if more care is taken with cable routing? It just seems that when ever I get the scope to slew it always wants to go the route which means the cables get tangled ?
  4. I tried the woven outer sleeve and I might go back to that. I agree the spiral wrap is quite stiff and I do worry about that.
  5. Not been at this lark all that long but I've quickly learnt that sensible routing of the umpteen cables required for a scope setup is a constant worry/nightmare. I got a new ZWO camera yesterday so this triggered another 2 hours session in the evening trying to work out the best way to run the multiple power (3) and USB (3) and focuser cables ? This must be fourth or fifth time I've tackled this issue and I'm sure it's not the last! One of the problems seems to be guarding against the cables wrapping around the tripod/pier. I've now grouped my cables (using spiral wrap) into those for the scope and those for the mount which, I think, is the best idea I can come up with (at the moment). So any way I got to thinking and I might have come up with a novel idea. What about the cables coming from above? So you have an arm that comes overhead. Fix arm to a post set a suitable distance away (so you don't trip/walk into it); I'm thinking of using one of those bases used for outdoor brollies (you could always counterbalance the cable/equipment arm if required and the post could be easily setup and moved around if one particular direction causes a problem). Arm is at a suitable height to avoid you or the scope hitting it and enough reach to be over the scope/mount. Cables hang down to the rig. In my case I'd fit the mini-PC on the arm or post so the only cables going to the post would be power (and a lan cable... undecided whether to use wifi or a lan cable at the moment). I thought of this after considering the cables that are used in factories and workshops etc.... often the cables drop down from overhead. I had a similar setup for compressed air in my own garage. Now I know there's going to be the issue of the post being in the line of sight but, in my case, fit the post in the northerly direction and it wouldn't be an issue (I have a tree that way anyway). Also the arm might cause a small field of view issue but it's only in a small line right overhead so, again, a minimal issue and make it so it can swing back and forth and you can easily move it out of the way - actually making it free to swivel sounds a good idea anyway to allow more free movement. So this won't completely fix the problem of cables snagging but it sounds like a big step towards tidying them up. Opinions please ?
  6. ZWO 294MC... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-294mc-usb-30-colour-camera.html Reads fantastic spec! Arrived about 2 weeks before I expected to see it.... FLO being efficient as usual ?
  7. 100% agree.... XP was the pinnacle of Windows development. But that's when Windows was sold as a work and business tool. Since then the development has been on how to turn Windows into a Smartphone in order to please that market sector i.e. kids that want to play with their apps and social media and don't understand anything computer(ish) beyond stabbing at brightly coloured piccies on their phone. So Windows is no longer a tool of work... it's a media/games console ? Unfortunately as a business package it's the best there is. We simply couldn't run our company if we had macs on the office desks instead.
  8. I'm new to this lark but the amount that I'm having to hold in my head about the workings of the various bits of hardware and the software programmes to keep it all working is starting to tax me ? If I go off and do something else for a week and then go back to it, it then takes me half a day playing around and manual reading to get back up to speed ? Even polar aligning the mount means pulling the book out and going over it several times - hopefully my new permanent pier should at least simplify that stage i.e. do it once and never again. For everything else I might end up having to write my own QSG with everything correctly laid out in the correct order.
  9. Well it's tanalized and I've given it two drenches down with creosote so it should be okay. It only sticks about 3ft out of the ground so that should help limit the overall flex.
  10. I started another thread a few weeks ago when I put forth my plans for a quick and dirty (QAD) telescope pier. Well it's been some time but it's done! So the aim was a cheap(ish) pier that would be quick to install. This is to go in the field at the back of my house and is intended as a temporary fitment until I decide when/where/how to mount a permanent obsy. I'd been making plans for a permanent fixture but I realised this was going to be some time off (maybe a couple of years now) and I wanted something to tide me over. My chosen location could be better but there's a ready source of power and a warmish stable to retreat to not far away where I can use my laptop with remote-desktop. I wanted something that would be quick to install and not cost the earth. In keeping with the QAD theme I went for a 6” wooden gate post set 2ft in ground and concreted in with postcrete. On top I fitted a removable, fabricated obligatory 'rats-trap' setup. I've used screw dowels in the end of the post with wing nuts so the 'trap can be quickly fitted and removed. As it happens putting the post in place took no more than a couple of hours but the scope mount took ages what with the measuring, and more measuring, and even more measuring, marking, drilling, redrilling (holes were not 100% correct despite all the 'measuring'), etc.... I must have spent a good 6+ hours doing the scope rat-trap. Parts: 6” gate post (8ft long but I needed 5 ft), ebay, £35 delivered Postcrete, 8 bags, wickes, £36 2x 230mmx12mm MS discs, lasermaster, £50 (for both) 5 x M10 SS screw dowels with wing nuts (for fixing rat-trap to pier), ebay, £11 5 x 3/8 x 2 Stainless UNC Hex Head BOLTS (only 3 needed), fixing scope mount to rat-trap, ebay, £4 Clear Acrylic PLEXIGLAS Perspex Sheet, A3x15mm, spacer on the rat-trap (see below), ebay, £20 random selection of studding/nuts/paint/etc.... sourced from the garage. Total cost of parts about £156 though, in hind-sight, this could have been cheaper. Stage 1, place and dig hole ? I'd already decided where to place the pier since this was the same spot I'd been using a tripod from. It could be better, there are a few trees blocking some of the view, but it's not too bad and, as mentioned, there's the nearby stable for power and a little RnR ? The three pavers are what I've been using for the tripod. I started at 9:00 and 45 mins later a 2ftx2ftx2ft hole is dug. Thankfully there's some nice and solid clay after you've gone a foot down so this should help stability. A quick break for a cup of coffee and a drive to wickes for 4 more bags of postcrete; I realised that 4 bags was no way going to be enough! Now 8 in total. I put some 4” screws into the post to help lock it in place in the concrete and then placed it in the hole and used 4 house bricks (one each side) to wedge it vertical in the hole. Now postcrete sets darn quick so I had watering cans of water and the bags opened and all lined up ready to go. Then bag, water, bag, water, etc.... as it happens 8 bags was exactly right to fill level to the top ? 15 mins later the post crete is in and almost set. An hour later this is what it looks like... post in and a mornings work (okay it was just over an hour really doing the work) total time and that part's done So now the rat trap. The bottom of the 6SE wedge mount is about 8” diameter so I went for 230mm diameter steel discs for the 'trap. I spent ages trying to figure out if it was possible to use a single disc but the fact that the bolts go up into the base of the wedge mount but the screws holding the 'trap onto the post have to go down meant I had no choice but two plates held apart by some SS threaded bar (10mm – from 'stock' in the corner of the garage). That way there was enough room to get my hand in to get access to the fixing bolts. So the plan was two steel plates with holes in the bottom one for fixing to the screw dowels with wing nuts to the top of the post. Then holes in the top plate for bolts holding the wedge in place. Fix the two plates apart using 4x10mm pieces of threaded rod long enough for fixing nuts and giving about 3” space for aforementioned hand. I needed a spacer to fit between the top plate and the 'scope wedge, this was because the rods/nuts used to separate the steel discs projected where the base of the wedge is located. So I used a 15mm A3 sheet of perspex and drilled some large diameter holes to recess the rod/nuts into. I wanted the plates as small a diameter as possible but, again in hindsight, if I'd have gone for about 250mm diameter then I could have fitted the spacer rods with a wider spacing and that would have done away with the requirement for the perspex because the rods/nuts would have been outside the foot print of the base of wedge. Another option was to use some 18mm marine ply for the spacer. Anyway I went the perspex route and that was a right pain! Drilling and cutting 15mm perspex is not fun... the steel plate was easy in comparison. I must have wasted a couple of hours drilling those darn holes ? The trick is drill slow and in small and gentle dips of the drill bit. If you rush it then the perspex melts and the drill bit jams – BTDT again and again and again. Next time I'd go for either the larger steel discs or the 18mm ply route – if I hadn't already thrown twenty quid at the perspex then, believe me, it would have gone in the bin and I'd have been off to MKM for a sheet of ply. So this is the final result If I may say so it looks pretty damn good. Exactly level and pointing exactly north. The aim is to leave the wedge bolted to the mounting plate and, using the wing nuts on the post screw dowels, I can quickly remove the whole assembly and sit it on a bench in the shed/stable/garage. When ready to use a quick fit of the wedge/mount to the post and then fit the OTA to the wedge. So would I do anything different? Yes. Next time use marine ply for the spacer; it would have been tons easier and quicker. Also get some new drill bits; drilling 12mm m/s with some old rusty HSS bits meant I wasted time. In fact after the first hole I went down to wickes and got some new bits.... the other holes were a doddle then – except the perspex ones that is ? Also a final admission... I might, in hindsight again, have gone for a concrete post using 160mm sewage pipe as a former. I say 'might'. It was quick and easy to do with the wooden post but I think going concrete would have been almost as easy if I'd have put enough planning in. However, I admit, I'm not good at planning jobs, I like to just barge in and go by the seat of my pants, so maybe a wooden post, for me, was better. tbh I don't know.
  11. Yes... less than 5" square. In fact a few people in the office are thinking of getting one for home use! All updates now done (after 6 hours I left in doing them overnight!) and various astro programmes installed ?
  12. But so sad... ? The end of a glorious era.
  13. My mini-PC from China: Diskless, i5, 8GB RAM, 240G SSD, Win10 Pro, 2.4/5GHz wifi, 1G LAN, lots of USB.... £250 delivered! Updating windows as I'm typing. Then I'll get remote desktop working. Install my astro. apps and then use it remotely for scope/imaging/control. Very chuffed ?
  14. FCUSB to go with my motofocus. Not sure how good this combination will be at giving 100% auto-focus but I thought it was worth a bash.
  15. If it works then it looks a no-brainer... having to touch the scope to focus is a right so-and-so :-( Obviously a more robust mount would help as well ;-)
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.