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Everything posted by DaveL59

  1. yep, more sky and in focus too Didn't see the point of tweaking the last setup when I knew the lens would be here a day or so later, figuring the odds that the more often I'm taking it to bits the sooner I'll go drop one of the tiny screws lol
  2. yay so the new lenses arrived The 2.1 needs a longer m12 mount and I just CBA to swap that over from the original TVI unit I removed from the dome, but the 1.7 does with a turn or so to spare, I use a locking ring so it ain't gonna shift focus or fall off. Had to pull the boards from the sphere as the lens is wider than the hole but sits lower than the rim, more fun with tiny screws while up the ladder. Still, its in and hopefully focused reasonably well and back on the shed roof once more. Not a bad super-wide view I think tho not the complete image disc as it clips on the longer sensor edges. That's ok as otherwise it'd be catching the upper windows and more of the tree, tho upside would've been getting some view of the small planes going to/from the local airport. Other limiting factor is that with the lens sitting lower than the lip on the sphere it cuts the Fov slightly by a few degrees, not bad tho. So SkyCam v1b is now up and running, at least for a few days till the 5MP board arrives. Might look at how I can run both the IMX291 & IMX335 cameras alongside each other and be able to directly compare on the same sky views, tho one will be hampered by the dud dummy dome casing. I do think that a M12-1/25-inch nosepiece just might make one of these viable as an eyepiece imager further down the road, via video recording and stacking. IP connectivity not a problem to me in the garden as I can just run a cable out and power it via the LAN cable. Might as well re-use the tech I have sitting around than be buying something else, at least till I decide if this is what I want to do and learn a bit more...
  3. thanks Gina For what is in fact a mini CCTV with a 1/2.7-in sensor and a lens that's 15mm across I wasn't expecting planetarium grade images, tho was hoping there'd be a little more. But then the setup is geared at closer objects and day or IR illuminated use really, with the smarts for H264/5+ encoding and motion detection etc sapping power from processing abilities. I don't seriously expect the 5MP will be a big step improvement either, same issues and although a bigger lens its still tiny compared to the C/CS mount lenses or the fab lens you're using, nor a "proper" camera like my Fuji S100FS. The latter I may try piggy-back on the 130EQ2 at some stage when I want to try some imaging as I do have a timer controller so would be able to do long exposure or video and try the lens set from 28-400mm to see how well it copes, the R/A motor on the mount should help it track reasonably well, maybe. The moon glow has been creeping across the sky here too and now just coming into frame, the sky is full of clouds again, always the way huh.
  4. hmmm so now is dark and clearer, I can see a couple stars, but as little circles not points, so pretty much confirms focus needs tweaking. Oh well, can wait till the new lenses arrive as it'll be fiddly dismantling atop a ladder and opening up the unit in the dark. I can tho make out ursa major and another bright star, and noted a few planes traverse overhead too
  5. sorry to resurrect an old thread but seemed more sensible than starting another Tal-M thread. I bought a 1994 one a short time ago, needs a little refurb but in generally useable condition and in the wood case with wood supports. Initial impressions are that its a lovely little scope and very well built. The white paint has taken a beating and it was missing both OTA end caps and only has the barlow and 15mm eyepiece with the 32mm helical focuser and in-built finder, screwdriver and brush, but no spanner or 25mm EP not the extension tube. So to replace the mirror end cap I ordered a 110mm OD nitrile bearing cap which is a nice snug fit, plus a plastic 110mm tube end cap for the open end, just trimmed the fins off and filed smooth to suit the OTA. A 35mm served to replace a missing foot pad also, just trimmed down the length to suit the shallow foot recess. Hopefully that may come in useful if anyone else needs to source replacements in the future I've also stripped off the thin foam on the wood supports and replaced with felt and found a couple spare bino lens caps to cover the finder objective and 15mm lens. I'm hoping I might eventually source an original 25mm eyepiece but looking at other posts on the TAL-M it seems there was an extension tube also? So perhaps another missing item I hadn't realised I may need, could a standard 1.25-inch short extension tube be used I wonder? I've tried standard 1/25-in eyepieces and ran into the focus issue (not enough in-travel) and I do wonder if part of that may be due to the way the tube is not very deep? Anyway I've moved the primary mirror inward using longer screws for now and can get the newer EP's to focus fine, that is unless I add a filter and then they don't quite, so may have to move the mirror in a little further later on. Also replaced the secondary adjuster screws with longer M2.5 ones that clear the spider, to make future collimation a little easier. Downside is that now I lose the use of the finder scope unless I use the 15mm original EP. Also I find that neither the TAL barlow nor a regular 1/25-in barlow will work for any EP against the main mirror. Am thinking of options regarding the finder, is it possible to shift the objective in further to compensate? But before I start dismantling it all I figured best to ask those more experienced and I noted AndyH mentioned moving the primary on his M and wondered if you found a solution for the finder too? Or do you just use original EP for finder and then switch to standard EP's for observing? I wonder if the later TAL-M's had similar issues with regular EPs or if not how they solved the finder issue, is it possible maybe to replace the helical focuser with another helical with more travel? many thanks Dave
  6. if you take a look at my "el-cheapo sky camera" thread I've listed the one I've ordered
  7. hmm so as the sky is clearing, the focus might not be soo bad as the v high cloud looks reasonably sharp compared to the dark low clouds when I first fitted this version up. Some flare from the sun hitting the lens plus a reflection off the lens onto the dome but there's not a lot that can be done there - not like I can fit a lens hood on a v wide angle lens under the dome after all No doubt the flare and reflection might worsen once the wider 150-180 lenses arrive which may well be later this week as they're in the country already and the 5MP board is imminently departing china on its way here too. Light rain earlier hasn't affected the rig and so far being toasted by the sun its still working fine too. The black dome structure the module fits to is metal so could be a double-edged sword tho, shunting heat away from the module but also getting hot from direct sun and cooking it. hmmm will have to see how that goes over summer as temps rise...
  8. not so far, but then the camera board modules do generate heat and run quite warm, so I guess that'd keep the dome above ambient. Hog cam is exposed direct to atmosphere and never had a problem over winter so hopefully the dome will be the same. Forgot to wipe it over with rain-x when I fitted it so will get around to doing that when I next open it to adjust focus or fit the 5MP board, just to hopefully keep the dome clearer in the rain.
  9. ahh I wondered when the kitties would investigate... I guess the next obstruction will be lookup up a birds behind lol
  10. ok so with the right lens with IRcut filter, doesn't seem too aflicted by the IR lighting thinks the focus will need tweaking tho as I think I've over-reached the infinity focus but wasn't anything useful to fix to with the dull cloudy skies today, but in principle its not too bad. Just missed a bat crossing the camera as I screen grabbed, there's a couple of them that flit around which is nice to see. So now its just a wait for the wider lenses and the 5MP module...
  11. So today the postie brought the new dome camera, wow it was a LOT smaller than I thought but... Stripped it down and its a mini sphere containing the camera unit. Removed the original single-board mini camera module, stripped down the mini-cube and thankfully same board size but mine is a 2.2 board module. But it does all fit with just enough room for the cable connections - I swapped the cable over too since mine is LAN and not AVI. Of course you then realise you shoulda threaded the module end through the base and spring BEFORE closing up the camera sphere... DOH! Once completed, fitted it to the shed roof just below the peak and drilled a 19mm hole into the shed just below the edge of the roof. Oh no! the LAN end won't quite fit grrrr. So stripped the camera down again and fed the module end out from the inside and reassembled it all once again, not fun up a ladder with tiny screws but made life so much simpler. Nice thing is I only need to undo a small allen set screw to unscrew the outer ring and remove the dome so I can get to the camera to tweak focus and angle of view. Plus it should be rain-proof with the o-ring seal around the dome and under the dome edge. So there it is, SkyCam_1a
  12. know what you mean Gina, same here. May well find out how water resistant my el-cheapo is soon lol
  13. hmmm, been looking again at the mk-1 setup and I'm not so sure the filter on the lens really is IRcut, or not effective at least. The tree should be showing green leaves now and they're more purple which makes me think that one had the supposed IR filters I'd ordered separately and fitted but they are only UV. Oh well, too late to mess with it now given its silicone sealed and weather outside is a little damp. One to sort when the better housing arrives and the Mk-1a setup is ready to go... Will be less of an issue with the 5MP unit is that has switchable IRcut, should be possible to force it into colour/B&W or auto as desired too
  14. oh I guess I should add, having tried the Tal 15mm in one of the other scopes, it won't fit the 1.25-inch focuser, so I guess what I'm seeking is the older 25mm eyepiece that is a 32mm fit rather than a regular 1.25 incher, just to make life harder lol
  15. ok so looks like the IMX335 might be good, smaller pixels than the 291 but good sensitivity from what I've found. So decided I'd purchase one and have a play. Pretty good price for the module with a 1.7mm lens supplied
  16. Next steps will be: Upgrade the lens to a wider 2.1mm or 1.7mm to get a wider FoV - on order from Treeye so hopefully 10 days or so I can try those. These are M12 types so I don't expect DSLR or video camera quality images, light grasp of such a small lens will be limited but these will be F2 so might give some useful image (current is I think 2.8mm F1.4) Upgrade the housing so it has a better dome and makes opening for tweaks more viable. Yeah I plan to pull the internals of this one and replace with the IP one, bit wasteful maybe tho can possible lob that onto the older video feed DVR if I need it later. Am also considering maybe updating the starvis module to a 5MP one, tho this won't have SD on board, but want to do a bit of research on the sensitivity of the new IMX335 vs the IMX291 I already have. One for the futre at the mo I think
  17. Not sure how you in-line the pics so they're all at the end Anyhoo, initial testing shows that the clarity thru the cheapo dome is variable, with wobblies that can be seen in the focus of the oak tree. Still, an image of the sky can be had which is the aim of the game Focus could do with a tweak too but not so easy now its set up. At the moment, with the moon so bright only a few bright stars show but that's not too bad and about what I was expecting to achieve tbh. I had a play with manually setting exposure etc and can get the sky dark, but likely that'd mess the day image quality so have for now left it set to auto exposure, white balance and turned off stuff like BLC, DNR, WDR etc. The old Mk-1 eyeball showed a lot more but no surprise there, plus the moon glow was masking a lot of the sky even to the naked eye, so a fair result with this cam I think. Not having a spare micro-SD to use I didn't leave it recording (only live watching at the mo) so no idea if things improved once the moon had set, will have to give that a go at some stage, but can't easily install the SD now the casing is sealed up so would have to record on the PC directly. A handy reason for going the IP route really as I have a switch in the shed linked back into the house for the CCTV systems tho the hog and sky cams are not linked into the CCTV recorder as its already at the full compliment of cameras. I'm not expecting this would be a great observing rig for imaging etc, just a bit of fun for the moment...
  18. so, something I had thought about for some time, but got new inspiration from reading Gina's all sky camera revisited thread, I decided I'd have a go at re-purposing one of the mini IP CCTV units I have laying around. It's a tiny mini cube with Sony IMX291 starvis sensor with WiFi and micro-SD capabiity and HikVision compatible, sourced from AliExpress a year or more ago. I had a few of these but replaced now with Annke HikVision cube types for the main CCTV system. I will say that these mini cams are not weatherproof so I'd need some means of housing it if I want it aiming up at the sky and that's one reason I'd not got around to it so far. I do have one of these outside as a hedgehog cam, under a makeshift rain shield (an old ready meal container lol) and looking downward, all I did with that one was to cover any ingress points with silicone dielectric grease and 6 months down the road its still working great So, how to test this sky cam idea. Well I purchased a dummy CCTV dome off ebay for a couple £ with the plan to install one of these mini cubes into it which has a 2.8mm starlight lens with IRcut filter afixed (no auto IRcut in these tiny cams). Didn't think to take any piccies as I did this, but easy to figure out. I used a metal bracket under one of the securing screws inside so the camera is held central and coiled the cables under it in the housing. Hole drilled in the lower section to feed the LAN cable in and then dielectric grease in the connectors just in case. Add a silica gel pack and duct tape over the hole, then clear RTV around the clear dome and the top plate and there you have it, a cheapo test rig... Now I will say that the dummy dome is pretty poor optically, its not nicely smooth so there are ripples in the view and more so at the very top of the dome. But this is a test rig to see if this might work. Wasn't expecting something fantastic at that price, my expectations are low in terms of this "project" at this stage The other issues I have to deal with are: A large oak tree that will obscure the view to the SW and could well add a sap drip issue over time; IR lighting for the security CCTV setup, can't shift those either so need to try shielding some of the impact to the sky image; Camera limitations: 1/25s slowest exposure, for example The garden is reasonably dark so in theory this may work ok, unless folk turn their garden floodlights on of course, time will tell...
  19. Aliexpress I tend to buy my lenses from Treeye as they tend to be good quality and prompt, and aim for the higher MP lens compared to the sensor in the module as they'd be better quality too, so for the 2MP module I go for 5MP lenses. You can also get the starlight lenses but they don't have IRcut filters, tho they will add those if you ask them. The new lenses I've ordered are for 1/2.5 sensors where this module is 1/2.8 so will see what sort of image I end up with, it may truncate but I am at the experimental stage so... Thinks I should start my own thread on an el-cheapo sky camera tho so Gina's isn't sidetracked too much
  20. rather than epoxy as was suggested earlier, some loctite blue threadlock may help? At least you'd be able to undo it later if you needed to tho I can't say the mechanical force acting to rock the pin wouldn't also work it loose over time
  21. so this cctv kinda works, tho stars are faint, pretty much expected given its fighting both the IR lighting and the sky lit by the moon behind the tree... Can just make out the 3 stars in the tail of the plough at the top 1/3 in from the right, looks better with the mk-1 eyeball but hardly surprising given this module only goes down to 1/25s exposure. Was only expecting to get bright objects with this setup so fairly pleased as it goes, be interesting to see if it does any better in darker conditions but for a v low cost test rig, not a total fail
  22. thanks Gina, I'm currently playing with the spare kit I have, being between jobs means limiting the spend somewhat so an astro camera is a bit out of reach for now Here my back yard is not that big and with a large oak tree to SW of where I might put the camera plus houses at around 20-30 degrees above the level a 150 wide would likely do for me at the mo. Will see how it plays, I've ordered a 2.1 and 1.7mm lens so will have a play and see how they go. Might try a 5MP starvis module later on as they can be had for under £20 now, assuming that the current play rig turns out to be viable...
  23. Hi Gina now wanting to hijack your thread, but this inspired me to get around to picking up the idea I had a long while back but had never got around to it. Since I have a couple spare mini-IP cctv cameras with Sony IMX291 starvis sensors, I bought a dummy dome cctv for a couple £ to test the idea. Fitted up the camera into it and sealed with clear RTV since the clear dome just pushes into the body and fixed it to the pergola by the shed. Not an ideal setup as its only a 2.8mm M12 starlight lens, needs to be 1.7 I think for this to be workable and focus isn't quite right plus the dome isn't optically great hence the abberations in the image, but... it seems to work so far. One concern I've always had is - do you get the sensor burning out with the sun tracking across it? I do have an IRcut filter behind the lens so hopefully that'll help? I know I'll have a problem with the security IR lighting so masked the facing edge of the dome to hopefully reduce that a bit, can't move the IR illuminators unfortunately, so will see how hazy the image turns out tonight I guess. If this all works out then I'll look to order in a wider M12 lens and a proper CCTV dome housing (or camera and strip it to retrofit this camera module). Nothing as professional as your setup but might be a neat cheapo solution for me
  24. DaveL59

    hi everyone

    thanks all Yeah aperture fever, I may well get there eventually but I think for the moment the SW130EQ will suffice, especially give this is a small house with little storage space, tho the conservatory helps a lot. The little TAL-M seems to work well too and packs away in its wood case which is a plus. Have managed to sort replacement end caps for it now, modified a 110mm tube end cap and a nitrile bearing cap EC110x12 is a nice fit over the tube at the mirror end, almost tempted to get another for the open end now too. Just need to decide the best route for using the newer EP's and then sort repainting it. Even the tiny NG 76/350 isn't bad, well to my inexperienced eye lol. After tweaking the secondary location so its now central under the focus tube it shows a reasonable image so long as you don't try to push the mag too much. Added a plate under it so it can mount onto a video tripod but its far to shakey when focusing either on the tripod or sat directly on the concrete steps, need to ease the focuser to make it smoother I think, but once in focus its not too bad
  25. might help, but it'd need to be low power inside the obs else everything would be very overexposed to the CCTV camera looking down on it. Maybe mount the IR source lower down so its not hitting the scope lenses but then you probably put the inside of the obs into shadow. Will be a case of experimenting to find the best placement really, assuming of course that the IR source isn't built into the camera in which case you're kinda stuck with it as-is. If the camera has smart-IR then it'll lower the light output to improve the image quality which may reduce the impact, but that's not possible with external IR sources that I've seen so far.
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