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Posts posted by DaveL59

  1. For Mars that'd be surprising, or any planet for that matter. I believe your scope is a 70/700 so much the same as the Celestron I have. With the 25mm eyepiece you'd get x28 and the 10mm would give x70. The barlow would double those figures but even at x140 the planet should be well inside the field of view and quite small.

    Only way I can think it would fill the frame would be if out of focus where it'd become a larger fuzzy ball. In focus it'll be at its smallest in the eyepiece but also at its sharpest if you see what I mean.

  2. which eyepieces are you using when you aren't getting good focus?

    You should be able to get crisp focus with the diagonal and the 25mm eyepiece, the MA10mm should give more magnification but isn't the best. Not sure which barlow is supplied but that can affect image quality if its an all plastic affair.

    Is the focuser smooth or quite stiff as that can make a difference when making small adjustments. If its very tight then you can ease this by slackening the 2 screws under it just a touch till it suits your needs.

    • Thanks 1

  3. 2 minutes ago, Stuart1971 said:

    The thing is with the blink cameras, is that they are completely wire free, run from batteries up to 2 years and connect to house Wi-Fi...and the cloud storage for files is free too... it if fitted indoors though, then I guess connecting with wires is not so much of an issue....👍

    I guess, tho you can get some of these which have WiFi, the ones I have are Hik compatible also which is useful as my NVR can support them as well as the Hik iVMS app for remote monitoring. Sony IMX291 sensor gives great low-light ability but you do still need to run 12v power to them. I tend to run them with a passive PoE splitter so one LAN cable and splitter at the end is all that's needed. I replaced a few with Annke cube models that are Hik flashable so repurposed to be Hog cam, SkyCam etc.

    Some/most support stuff like XMeye for remote viewing etc but I don't want any cloud connectivity, these IoT gizzmo's are the worst of security vulnerabilities you can introduce onto your network IMHO (incl fridges etc in that) so I isolate them to a vLAN that they cannot reach the outside world from.

    • Like 1

  4. 8 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:


    That said after a night of imaging the blink dews over and is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Dewstrip for a webcam anybody?

    Never had that with the IP CCTV modules I use but then they run quite warm so are in effect their own dew heater 🙂 The only one that has an issue is the one looking thru the shed window. Similar to this but without the IR (I use separate IR lights)

    Not outdoor versions these tho, but I have one external under a makeshift plastic lid that's been running over a year with no issues. Case of keeping water off it and I smeared dielectric grease round the case join and cable connectors.

  5. Can be a problem in confined spaces for sure as most CCTV are geared to illuminate to a fair distance. You could try disabling all but a couple and see if that gives enough light to see but not cause interference, either blank them off with paint/tape or disconnect.

  6. so long as the IR isn't shining at the opening on the OTA and you've no light leakage issues then an IR equipped unit should work fine. Downside with webcam's is they achieve low light by adding while light illumination which would likely be more disruptive than IR.

    The Logi c270 can do fairly well at low light but probably still won't resolve much detail if there's no illumination and you may want to disable the white LED, tho via sharpcap might do what you need since it'll go down to 1sec exposure. I use a Dericam HD webcam for one of the skycam's that runs to 0.5sec and it does quite well for that but I doubt it'd be too useful for monitoring in total darkness.

  7. 2 minutes ago, John said:


    I guess the answer to the OP's questions is, well it depends who you ask !



    Also what they are comparing against. For me the Svbony 7-21 & 8-24 are very good but then my main eyepieces are TAL Plossl, Vixen NPL and a couple of old ortho's which to me all give good views, the NPL perhaps a little more relaxed than the Plossls. I guess if you are more used to high end eyepieces they maybe won't seem as good so the caveat on these really is YMMV 😉 

  8. hmm yes only review since end-2008 and he acknowledges eyesight issues. Other than that precious little about these other than saying they're super.

    They also do a 20x80 astro at slightly below the price of the 20x60 but at this price point you have to wonder how good they really are.

  9. I guess you have the phone mounted level/parallel to the OTA?

    The OEM mount has the phone tilted upward at the front end which I guess keeps its FoV a little above the horizon when aiming at low targets. Is the scope on an EQ mount, sounds like it is. Seemed to work fine on the TAL-1 but I rotate the OTA if needed of course so I can use the focuser comfortably, which brings the starsense rig back to a more vertical orientation when I'm closer to target.

  10. While the NG will gather more light, they don't tend to be particularly good quality nor well regarded. I have the small 76/350 of the same type as the one you ask about, needed some work to give a reasonable image and even then it's not the most usable piece of kit. It works but you can't easily adjust the mirrors to get the best from it unless willing to do serious modifications. 

    The Celestron 70mm refractor should be ok optically, I have the Starsense LT70AZ and it gives a nice image with better eyepieces than supplied. It may be a bit wobbly tho owing to the tripid and mount, but most tripod mounted scopes at that end of the price range will be. As Dave above says I'd opt for this rather than anything NatGeo.

    edit - I should add too, the eyepieces NatGeo supply are... dreadful!

  11. That was my plan initially but feeling how slack the threads were and finding they were greased already I decided something more was needed. As you'd expect on the bottom end gear, close precision in cutting the threads was clearly not a consideration. I guess the weight of the scope leaning on it would mean many won't notice it or recognise the level of movement vs the shaky viewing and so "it'll do" was good enough 😉 

  12. 6 minutes ago, markse68 said:

    Hi Dave, nice improvements you’re making :) Where did you get that ptfe sticky tape? I used to have some like that but it’s long been used up

    On my 114az i think the lions share of the alt adjuster slop (there’s a lot!) is actually the bolt through the eye bolt- was planning to shim that at some point but haven’t got round to it yet


    thanks Mark.

    The teflon tape I used was this stuff

    Been useful to improve the focuser movements too as its sticky-backed so can be located and pressed to secure into place. Used it on the little NG dob and the SW130 newt to good effect.

    I thought the same re the eyelet so a while back added a tiny bit in there too but turned out the worst play was in the threads and also the eyelet being too loose in the carrier, hence the nylon washer. Feels a lot better now, kinda like the feel of loose scratchy knobs on a cheap amp vs the smooth quality feel on the better gear if you know what I mean.

    • Thanks 1

  13. So while I seem to be on a bit of a mr fixit spree today I thought I'd revisit the LT70AZ focuser and Alt SloMo control. Decided to remove the teflon tape and only apply to the side opposite the focuser pinion but increased the layering to 5 strips. That seems to have relaxed the tension in the focuser movement but still give good drag for the motor focuser, will see how it tests on celestial targets when I next get a change to play outdoors.

    Looking at the SloMo adjuster, I never liked the slop and suspected this was down to play in the internal threading. I'd had a look previously at this but it was resisting attempts to open it

    The red line indicated a slot in the ring next to the silver shaft and there's a corresponding one opposite. Awkward getting a pin wrench placed well because of the eyelet but after a lot of force I got it to turn and unscrew. It's glued to keep it secure. Ran a 14x1mm tap in to clean the thread before reassembly.

    Now we can see what's inside. Pics post mods as I forgot to do any before I altered things, so dismantled to take some😉 


    The eyelet is held with a nut and washers but had some play, so I added a nylon washer to reduce that.image.png.b587ed4b0b40b6985fa95bfe2f6f51ac.pngimage.png.6e3ce75f997c71e7ffd266f5e8b8e4bc.png
    You can't fully tighten this as it needs to allow the adjuster to rotate reasonably freely around the shaft or you'll have no adjustment or it'll be excessively stiff. Now as ever I can't find the plumbers tape when I need it so I cheated and put a little of the teflon tape I had removed from the focuser, laid beyond the end of the thread as shows so that it'll be retained in place as you screw the rod back into the adjuster.


    Note the thread is greased but it really doesn't have any drag to it and the thread is loose in the nut, hence there's fair amount of play if you rock the bar in/out of the adjuster. With this tape there's almost no play at all yet the action when adjusting is nice and smooth. The teflon tape will probably last a lot better than PTFE plumbers tape too. I've not glued the eyelet carrier threads as yet, will do that later if I feel it needs it.

    So reassemble by screwing the bar back into the adjuster knob, refit the eyelet and tighten it up, refit to the scope/mount and result, smooth movement and no slack. OK there's still the U fork itself that flexes, but hopefully these mods will improve the perceived feel when using this low-end LT70AZ scope a little bit.

    • Like 1

  14. 23 minutes ago, jammyg said:

    So I guess the question is - does anywhere stock Hubbles and how much are they !


    Will have a proper look through that link thanks.  I have no huge expectations, and haven't given the kids any either.  I think the moon alone will enthuse them for a while.

    Please could you share a link to the mount you mentioned to make the phone screen the eyepiece ?


    Many thanks


    One that gets good comments is the Celestron NexYZ but again stock is a problem or could be. You fit that to the eyepiece and align the phone camera. Very similar to the Starsense carrier which was based on the NexYZ by the look of it.

  15. just a thought, have you taken a read of this thread:


    worth setting expectations as other than the moon everything else will seem quite small and nothing like the glossy pics you see on the box or the web. Nebula will not be big colourful objects as seen via Hubble or photos posted here and elsewhere, more like faint whispy smudges etc.

    • Like 1

  16. The issue with the LT range is the lightweight wobbly mount but once you get it focused and lined up it gives good views. I expect the LT80 will be very similar but a bit brighter being a larger lens. I was tempted to get the 80 but mainly bought it for the starsense unlock key so didn't feel the extra £40 worth it since I have bigger scopes to use.  I've not tried the eyepieces that came with it as I already had better ones to hand, but have used the scope a few times since it arrived, weather permitting and its quite competent especially considering the price point. Nice views of the moon and Jupiter/Saturn. Mars less so but weather hasn't been the best when I've had the opportunity.

    Tracking a target tho means small and gentle movements as it has no slow motion control on the azimouth. A bit beyond youngsters perhaps esp a 5YO but you never know till you try. The Starsense is good, works very well unless its very cloudy when it may struggle.

    For the youngsters it may help to have a phone at the eyepiece so they can see while you then track the scope, tho that would mean 2 phones unless you swap the phone from the starsense mount to another at the eyepiece, but again you can decide what's the best approach as you go. 

    You can improve the experience (view) by getting better eyepieces and star diagonal later on, I use an SVbony diagonal and 7-21mm zoom on the LT70 which work well and are reasonably inexpensive at the moment (discounted on Aliexpress via the svbony store).

    • Like 1

  17. 6 minutes ago, jammyg said:

    Thanks for the reply, I've just stumbled across the Celstron StarSense explorer LT70AZ now and it looks perfect for what we need, and the phone integration is perfect for finding things to see quickly!  Now to find somewhere in stock ...


    be worth having a read of this thread then

    Also do check your phone is compatible before plunging in.

    Stocks are scarce everywhere so worth registering with a few and then you'll get notified when they come into stock. I got my LT70 via Harrisons who happened to have it in stock a couple weeks ago but I think most are out at the moment.

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