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About Kris_A

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    Reading, UK
  1. Hello All, I am in the process of making an Arduino controller focuser for my MAK 127 and was thinking that I could add a cheap GPS module to the Arduino and connect to the SynScan handset to provide location and time information in the place of the Skywatcher GPS Mouse. I recently read that the SynScan handset used to work with lots of different GPS modules and now only works with the SkyWatcher module, so if the SynScan can detect which module is connected then I figure something must be a little different in the GPS output. From past experience I know that GPS modules typically send output in plain text over a serial port in NMEA format as soon as they are plugged, as shown in the link below: https://www.gpsworld.com/what-exactly-is-gps-nmea-data/ Has anyway connected the Skywatcher GPS Mouse to their PC and could send me a sample of the data it sends out? If I get the Arduino version working I will share the project details and code... Thanks, Kris.
  2. Hello all, I have recently modified a Logitech C270 webcam to use with my telescope and thought someone might find a write-up useful. I have included a few links below but I don't have any affiliation with them. The webcam I bought is the one linked below as I had read you can use a webcam adapter directly with it, unfortunately it wasn't that straightforward: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01BGBJ8Y0/ I wanted to use a metal webcam adapter to go from an M12 thread to 1.25" eyepiece size: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-25-Webcam-Adapter-for-Astronomy-Telescope-CCD-Camera-Monocular-Professional-Telescope-Accessories-W2158/32972118644.html When I disassembled the webcam I found it has an 8mm threaded lens, so there was no way to attach the webcam adapter. Luckily I found a part on Thingverse that someone designed for exactly this purpose: https://makerware.thingiverse.com/thing:2783610 I found a 3d printing service on eBay and got 2 of them printed out and sent to me for a few pounds. I think it would have been better if I get the printed in black to make them more opaque, but it didn't cause any problems. This part replaces the lens holder on the C270 and fits the M12 thread of the adapter: To install it you simply remove the original lens holder from the board by removing the 2 screws on the back of the circuit board and screw the printed one on in its place. This does expose the sensor so be careful not to touch it! The next issue was enlarging the hole in the front cover of the C270 case to allow fitting the webcam adapter, I did this with a dremel and made a bit of a mess but in the end it looks pretty neat with the adapter screwed on: A few points to note: 1 - There is an LED on the board to show when the webcam is on, I covered this with a small bit of black tape and also stuck some black tape around the outside of the printed adapter to make sure no light got through from the LED 2 - The 3d printed holder is a little loose on the webcam adapter thread, I stuck a little tape inside the holder to stiffen this up. 3 - After all this work I found the sensor was a little dirty, you can carefully clean it with a dry cotton bud or 2 Lastly, most of the weight is in the bracket fixed to the back of the webcam so I wanted to remove this. If you peel off the little round stickers on the end of the hinge you can remove a screw, push out the hinge pin and remove the bracket: The final product looks like this: After all this I finally got around to testing it out a few nights ago in my Skywatcher 127 MAK. I installed it directly into the back tube of the telescope without the diagonal, just a moon filter installed. The field of view is about the same as a 10mm eyepiece in my scope, and apart from being a pain in the backside to focus I got a few nice pictures of the moon. I recorded some short videos using SharpCap and stacked them in AutoStakkert, results below: I used the automatic sharpening in Autostakkert and it looks little extreme, I have attached the original images below for reference. I'm just beginning my journey with astrophotography and will be trying to capture some pictures of some planets when they come into view! Any suggestions for next steps? Thanks, Kris
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