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About AMcD

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  1. The autofocus routines are great - when they work. However, given how rare it is to get a clear night with good seeing I want to able to fall back on a reliable remote focusing method if the autofocus software decides that it is not going to behave on that evening, rather than waste time fixing with the software. The project is really designed to mitigate what I find to be the inconsistent reliability of focusing software. You can see my plan for implementing both a remote Bahtinov mask and a scope cover/flat on a refractor at: I do not tend to have issues with the wind due to scope b
  2. The components are gradually coming together. The mounting brackets for the stepper motors, the aluminium bars to join the end bearings to the motor plates and the box for the electronics should be coming in the next couple of days. The plan is to use the Stepper Bee product as the circuit board. I am currently adapting the open source programme that comes with it as the control software. At present, the plan is to mount them on the saddle plate on either side.
  3. It was pretty straightforward to put together - and needed to be as my engineering skills extend largely to drilling holes in things
  4. I am running a mini PC mounted on the scope to control the mount, cameras, acquisition software, guiding etc. I also had some Wi-Fi reception issues so now control the mini PC from inside the house using a hardline LAN connection to my home PC and the MS Remote Desktop software that comes with Win 10 Pro. My mini-PC is a fanless HUNSN industrial mini-PC which I purchased new from Amazon for about £275-£300. It has an Intel Core I5 CPU, a 128G SSD and 8GB RAM and comes with Windows 10 Pro preloaded. I run it off a 12V supply provided by the Pegasus PBA mounted next to it. It also has fou
  5. With a view to ultimately being able to use my garden observatory remotely when I am away I have been engaged in an ongoing project to automate it. So far I have got to the point where I can run the mount and camera from the house via a hardline LAN connection but I still have to go out to remove the scope cover, turn on the mount and roll off the roof. I also need to place the Bahtinov mask on the scope periodically to refocus (I don’t get on well with autofocus routines for some reason). It seemed therefore the next step was to automate these procedures and I am starting with the scope co
  6. I mount my electronics on a home made plate mounted on top of the scope rings. It is getting a little crowded now and I am in the process of designing and building a remotely controlled Bahtinov mask and scope cover. The electronics box for that and the stepper motors will have to hang off the side like the current TEC box for my QHY8
  7. This is the first image I have attempted with my new single scope configuration. IC443, also known as the Jellyfish Nebula and Sharpless 248. Taken with a QHY8 and TS152 Achromat with 2.5"field flattener and a 2" Optolong L-Extreme filter on a Losmandy G11 under Bortle 5-6 skies. Approximately 5 hours of 5 min sub-frames. Stacked and calibrated with DSS and processed in PixInsight and PS. The image is still very noisy indeed and I intend to gather further data when the clouds permit to try to improve the SNR...
  8. Just as a quick follow up, I took the dark frames the morning after I had finished imaging, i.e. when it was light. I suspect therefore that there is a light leak, which led to the artefacts on the dark frames. There is an old thread from CN from 2008 that speaks about this issue which reinforces my conclusions in this regard.
  9. I have now traced the artefacts to the dark frames. I am not sure why the dark frames have these artefacts but it is reassuring to know the luminance data is sound! Many thanks to you both for your help.
  10. Good point. No, they are not on every sub, and, as far as I can see, not on any of the subs. Does this suggest, as Seelive points out, that they are perhaps a processing artefact from DSS?
  11. Has anyone seen X shaped artefacts like this before? They seem to appear when I shoot to the West. I have covered up a chrome smoke stack that I thought might be causing reflections but this roughly processed data was gathered subsequently. If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful. It has ruined hours of data.
  12. Having sold my Celestron Celestar 8 I wanted to keep using my 8” Thousand Oaks 2+ solar filter on the TS152. For obvious reasons, I also wanted to make sure I can use it safely. This meant ensuring an 8” filter can fixed securely to the front of a 6” scope. So, I carried out the following modifications... The idea was to ensure that the filter could be held securely with a three point fixing system on the rim of the filter. As the rim is aluminium I began by drilling three guide holes before drilling out step by step to the required size for tapping (a 5mm hole for an M6 tapp
  13. Many thanks. Apart from the modern additions (ZWO EAF, Filter Wheel, Mini PC and Pegasus PBA) it is a product of 20 years of second hand purchases. Clears skies to you both
  14. New configuration ready to go. Aiming to get some more integrations of IC443...
  15. I did contemplate doing that but decided to sell it to someone who would use it regularly. The buyer picked up the C8 and the Hyperstar yesterday morning and by 5pm it was sitting on an AP mount next to a very high quality refractor. I fear the C8 is going to think it has been rather slumming it with me for the past 30 years
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