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Steve 1962

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Posts posted by Steve 1962

  1. Just by way of an update, I sold my dome back in June to @Jkulinand he struggled to remove the single coat of Polytrol that I applied last February.

    In the end, he resorted to sanding the whole dome down and repainting it with two pack paint. 😧

    This was expensive, hard work and very time consuming for John, so I really cannot recommend the use of Polytrol in these circumstances. 


  2. John

    I've been following your progress on SGL and am genuinely sorry that you're not happy with the dome that you purchased from me back in June.

    I'm also very sorry if you feel I was economical with the truth when you bought it. I believe that I was completely open and honest about any issues that I knew about at the time of sale and I tried to help you solve any problems that arose after you had installed it at your home.

    For the record - for any one considering the use of Polytrol. The treatment that John struggled to remove was a single coat of Polytrol that had been applied by brush approx. 18 months ago. So please use with care!

    Anyway, I'm pleased you've managed to sell the old dome on for what you paid me for it and hope you enjoy your new one.


    • Like 3
  3. No problem at all John. Re the offsets - just remember that it doesn’t matter where the scope is pointing - if your offsets are correct, the dome should align itself so the scope sees through the middle of the slot.

    You can simulate and tweak this to your heart’s content in broad daylight - and because you can run with the shutter closed, you can even do it when it’s raining! 

    • Thanks 1
  4. Quote

    Thanks Steve, yep seems obvious now you mentioned it, what do you reckon, drop it to 15 secs?

    No harm in trying that John.


    I want to experiment with the Ascom (rather than the Arduino) interface just to satisfy my curiosity.

    Again - there's no harm in trying that but I would point out that whatever software you use (SGPro, ASCOM dome etc) interfaces with my Arduino ASCOM dome driver, which in turn just sends and receives codes to and from the Arduino. So whatever software you use should work equally well - having said that, I never tried the driver out with ASCOM Dome so I'll watch with interest!

    For information, the software uses a series of standard methods and properties to communicate with the ASCOM driver and the driver converts these to the Arduino's "language" of 997 and 996 codes. Attached is the webpage showing the ASCOM methods and properties used.


    So as a simple example, if you press the Open Shutter Button in SGPro, SGPro sends an OpenShutter method to the ASCOM driver which translates this into 997,801,998 and sends it to the Arduino.

    In just the same way, when the software needs an update, it sends a Get Property method to the ASCOM driver, which converts the query into a 996 string to the Arduino. The driver listens to the response from the Arduino and converts it back into an ASCOM property which it passes back to the software.



    • Thanks 1
  5. Quote

    The mount slews first and then after what feels like an eternity, but is probably only about 60 secs, the dome then moves to its position, I'll let you know how it gets on.

    Hi John

    That'll probably be because the update interval in the driver slave settings is set to 60secs. If you want it move sooner, try reducing this..



  6. Hi @old_eyes

    I've just read your post - and thought I might add my two penny worth.

    I'm not sure about Voyager, but SGPro, which I ran with when I had my observatory just used an ASCOM Safety_Monitor device (e.g. the Aurora that I've just sold). 

    The ASCOM Safety_Monitor feature only provides an Is_Safe (from memory) flag which is either true or false - depending on parameters which are set by the user through the ASCOM driver in the safety device itself. In the Aurora case (again from memory) this is a combination of cloud, rain and lightness and this is all that my driver does - safe or not? Yes or No!. The Aurora also has a set of relay contacts which I understand provide a "hardware alternative" to  the Is_Safe software flag.

    The ASCOM Environmental Conditions feature could provide you with data such as sky temp, ambient temp, rain, lightness etc. but I never got around to writing a driver for this use of the Aurora. Sorry!

    Again, I'm not sure how Voyager works but you might find this interesting....http://www.dehilster.info/astronomy/ascom-safetymonitor-hub.php

    Hope that helps



  7. I started off with Baader NB filters and had halos around bright stars. When I put this to the vendor, he replaced the filters....and I still suffered halos. A bit of research found that this is a common problem with the Baader filters.

    I later replaced my whole filter set with Chroma filters (LRGB and 3nm Ha, Oiii and Sii) from Modern Astronomy - and the improvement was dramatic.

    Here's Baader Ha of Alnatak


    ..and here's Chroma Ha 3nm



    No halos, stars is smaller and the background is darker.

    Also - here's a comparison post from just after my Chroma purchase: 

    I use my Chroma's at f3.6 and when I bought them, they were optimised by Chroma for the f3.6 beam - I don't know if they still do this.

    Bottom line - I've been delighted with my Chromas and would wholeheartedly recommend them




    • Like 1
  8. When I powered up my observatory a couple of weeks ago, I was horrified to find that my trusty six-year old Atik 460ex mono was completely unresponsive - no fan noise, no connection to the PC - nothing.

    The follow day, after a quick email and telephone exchange, I posted the camera off to Atik . I was pleasantly surprised by the cost of postage (£11.70 Royal Mail Special Delivery by 1PM with £2.5k insurance).

    Andrew at Atik emailed the next day to let me know that the camera had arrived safely and to apologise that the repair would take longer than usual because they're doing some building work at their factory in Portugal.

    A week later, an estimate arrived for £148 plus VAT and P&P , which I accepted (being less than 10% of the cost of a new camera I was very pleased  - apparently they do not make a profit from repairs - just cover costs).  Thankfully the chip was ok but the camera needed a complete new electronics board.

    An invoice arrived on Monday for about £200, which I paid immediately and my old camera has just landed on my doormat looking as good as new.

    Really great service from Atik - many thanks!

    Now then - where are those clear skies...?


    • Like 4
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