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About Astro-Geek

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    Norfolk, UK
  1. Astro-Geek

    Meade ETX 125 PE with Case and Tripod - Reduced...

    Now reduced to £350 (on here)......
  2. Astro-Geek

    COMPLETED - SOLD Binoviewers

    Blast.... !! I've just bought exactly the same pair of binoviewers via Ebay for £140...... I could have saved £70 if I'd known they might pop up on here. I can second Vicky's opinion of them. I have a 72mm IPD (my big head - ), and they work really well for me. My previous binoviewers had single screw clamps, and were very sensitive collimation-wise when being tightened. These have the copper band clamps, and centre much more accurately, maintaining collimation easily. I also like the integrated interchangeable Barlows, which enable me to use them with all my scopes, even the 200PDS Newton. They enable a much shorter combination, unlike my previous binoviewers, which needed a separate Barlow, resulting in a very long assembly pulling on the focuser.
  3. Astro-Geek

    Eyepiece caps.

    I've always been surprised at the cost of these things here in the UK, and the lack of anywhere selling them in multiples, so the cost becomes even more disproportionate. Searches on Ebay seem to always lead to a supplier in the US, where they are quite reasonable, but then of course the shipping and VAT brings them back up to 2 or 3 pounds each. My salvation has always been Amazon, where they can usually be had from one supplier for £9.80 for a set of five plugs and five caps, (making them just a pound each if you have Prime). The quality seems the same as most OEM plugs and caps, rather than being 3D printed. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dust-Caps-1-25-Telescope-Eyepieces/dp/B0753BP8ZX/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1550302840&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=Dust+Caps+for+1.25"+Telescope&psc=1
  4. Astro-Geek

    Case for mount

    Sorry for the delay in taking the pics, here they are now. I use foam inserts for most of my cases, but the EQ5 is very heavy and fairly compact, so I used a wooden insert instead. It's very simple carpentry, just a thin ply base with the separator screwed to it and then covered in thin rubber cushioning. It fits snugly so doesn't move round while closed. As I mentioned before, I made the mistake of leaving a space for the weights, but they make it far too heavy, so I keep those in a separate padded bag, with a wooden insert in that to stop them rolling around inside. I also sewed on a new wide nylon strap handle that passed underneath, because of the 10kg weight !
  5. Astro-Geek

    Case for mount

    Just to add as a footnote here, be aware that an "EQ5" mount is quite a different shape to an "AZ EQ5" mount.... I adapted a Peli style case to hold my CG5 mount, which is the Celestron copy of the EQ5, with exactly the same shape castings. I'll take a photo of it and add it to this thread. I made the mistake of neatly including space for the two 5kg counterweights, and then found I could hardly lift the damn thing , so I now keep those separate in a modified camera bag......
  6. Astro-Geek

    Meade ETX 125 PE with Case and Tripod - Reduced...

    I know how you feel Greymouser, every time I find something fragile and bulky it's on the other side of the country ! (and yet eyepieces and other small bits are just around the corner...... )
  7. Now reduced to £350........ I'm selling my Meade ETX125 PE "Premium Edition", (the version with the additional automatic self-levelling setup as well as full goto). The OTA is excellent optically with no marks or dust on the lens or mirror. The mount works correctly and I have made a few (removable) mods. 1. A much more rigid bracket for the well-known flimsy plastic dot finder. This holds it very rigidly and still retains the standard alignment knobs. 2. A longitudinal counterweight balancing arm under the OTA to enable easy balancing of cameras and binoviewers. (It's made of lightweight aluminium and is easily removable via the two standard screw threads under the OTA base). 3. A Peli-type waterproof case tailor fitted to hold the OTA in its fork mount plus accessories. (The case weighs 32 lbs with the scope inside). 4. A heavy duty plastic zip on the telescope bag to replace the flimsy one that broke. The standard red dot finder works, but if the brightness is turned up, two or three additional but much dimmer dots appear beneath the centre one. I've tried cleaning it but it still persists. The complete set up comprises of: ETX 125 PE Screw on outer lens cover Meade Field Tripod with tilting azimuth Meade Autostar full goto controller Heavy duty Peli type waterproof fitted case. Orion Plossl 20mm eyepiece (Not Meade) Plossl 8mm eyepiece (Not Meade) Counterweight system Retracting Meade RS232 computer connection lead Original User Guide 12v power lead to Cig Lighter/tank plug. The last few (complete setups) seem to have gone via ebay for about £450 to £500. I've benefited from this specialist forum's advert section with some great purchases from other members so I'll kick it off at £380, collected, (I live about 10 miles north of Norwich). (Now reduced to £350)........ It's personal collection only, due to the weight and fragility and so that I can demonstrate that it's fully working and show the new owner how important it is to put the scope in the "home" position before switching it on, so that the auto alignment doesn't reach the rigid end stops. The procedure is surprisingly buried deep within the operating manual ! Failure to follow it could result in the azimuth slew reaching its fixed end stops. potentially damaging the gearing.
  8. Astro-Geek

    Synscan AZ Goto Telescope

    I bought exactly the same skywatcher AZ mount via ebay where the seller had admitted that it was working intermittently. When I checked it out I found that the RJ11 plug from the hand control to the base unit had a poor connection. These plugs are modular "IDC" (Insulation Displacement) and are transparent so they can be inspected quite easily with a magnifying glass. The coloured internal wires should be clearly visible in the tiny grooves on the opposite side to the clip. They should be fully "in", running right up to the outer end of the plug. Mine had partially pulled out. Luckily, I already had the necessary crimping tool (as used on PC network cables), but they are surprisingly cheap, costing less than £10. The pics show an RJ11 plug, (though the correct connection colours will vary. The plugs are not re-usable, but new ones cost only pence.
  9. Yes, that should do the trick for me Louis, thanks. I had actually found a "negative" profile eyepiece adapter, where the 1.25" bore is actually sunken within the 2" outer, but I guess that would be tricky with the binoviewer's flat wide front, which might prevent it from going in far enough. http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_npea.htm
  10. I though I'd better start this as a new thread with a more appropriate title after my "lowest power barlow" thread evolved into binoviewers. I mentioned on there that I was looking for the lowest power barlow to enable my binoviewers to achieve infinity focus on my Newtonian 200PDS. I was fairly happy with my "Binomate" binoviewers apart from the collimation problems with the simple thumbscrews. I was attracted to the Arcturus clones because of their self-centering eyepiece bands and included triple nosepiece set (straight through, x1.8 and x3). They've just arrived, and as promised, here's my first impressions. Nicely made, but initially I thought they were not very well collimated with vertical displacement. After a bit more tinkering and trying my various Meade Plossls I found that they lined up nicely after a bit more care when inserting them and tightening them up. I should make it clear that I have never owned or looked through any expensive binoviewers, so my impression is based on limited experience with them, but on the other hand I'm very "picky" with conventional binoculars and over the past 60 years I've owned and used some very expensive models. I'm relieved to say that I'm quite happy with the mechanical quality and the optics, even the included "free" pair of 32mm Plossls and the two barlow nose pieces. I've tried them in my Celstron C8 SCT and my Skymax 127 Mak, and they achieve infinity focus with out the barlows. I then tried them in my Skywatcher 200PDS Newton and they focus down to half a mile without a barlow as well, but only with the included recessed 32mm Plossls. If I could find a 1.25" to 2" adapter that had a thinner outer flange than my present 10mm, it would reach infinity focus. (remember though, it is the PDS model, with the shortened focal path for astro-photography.
  11. When I bought my 250 Dob I mused over flextube vs solid as well. The base is the same weight on both and the flextube is slightly heavier even though it can retract to a little over half of the rigid's length. One slightly obscure advantage of all of the flextubes is that there is almost unlimited "in focus" because of the simple ability to not fully extend the front tube assembly. This easily enables prime infinity focus with cameras and even binoviewers, which are usually impossible on Newtonians without the handicap of a Barlow and it's usually unwanted extra magnification. Having said that, I ended up buying the GSO solid tube 250, because it had two speed focus, adjustable pivot balance, a proper ball bearing lazy susan, and a primary mirror fan. I'm very pleased with its performance and usability, but I do slightly regret not having the flextube's greater flexibility with binoviewers. (I often suffer from the "grass always being greener on the other side of the fence" syndrome though.... )
  12. Astro-Geek

    Allsky Dome camera - very basic questions

    Ok, thanks Gina.
  13. Astro-Geek

    Allsky Dome camera - very basic questions

    I bet the level of my input on CCTV night sky imaging is way below yours Red Dwarf as I'm sure I've given the game away with my starting this thread ! I said I couldn't find any link to the camera I was thinking of because I failed trying to find out it's technical details when supplied new, as presumably a complete unit (housing and camera). It's on Ebay at the moment, but with a fairly vague description and no technical provenance. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/All-Sky-CCD-Colour-Dome-Camera-with-150-degree-wide-angle-lens-Photography/401698211963?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649
  14. Astro-Geek

    Allsky Dome camera - very basic questions

    Thanks for the very quick replies. The camera I'm thinking of has a sensitivity of 0.8 LUX at F1.2 without IR's. I can certainly understand the need for high sensitivity without IR illumination. I can't find a link to the complete dome camera I'm thinking of, but here's a link to a simpler camera with the same sensor and electronics, (albeit with a pinhole lens instead of the 150 degree wide angle). edit - oops, I took so long to compose my reply that it was before Absolutely's reply. zwo camera ?
  15. I've been searching through the forum to find out the basics of All Sky 180 degree sky monitoring. Excuse this post if it has been covered before at a very basic level, but all I've managed to find so far is detailed threads about specific camera and lens setups by people with extensive knowledge and experience. I'm thinking of buying a simple ready-made 180 degree cctv composite video 700TVL dome camera. I already have a (4) multi camera cctv home security system with a standalone box/recorder and I was thinking of adding the dome camera to be able to easily monitor the night sky for clear viewing opportunities (as they're so infrequent at the moment !). Is there any Internet resource that has an idiots guide to this specific branch of astro photgraphy ? Or perhaps a youtube video ? I've searched in vain so far.....

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