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savcom

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About savcom

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    Wiltshire, UK.

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  1. I'm starting the refurbishment of my old, blue Skywatcher Startravel 150/750 refractor and wondered if anyone has bought the newer (white/black) version and has since upgraded the focuser. If so, do you still have the original focuser and would you be prepared to sell it? I will try and refurbish what I have got, but I fear there may be just too much play in the unit I have - plus I believe the newer focusers have the 'camera ready' fitting, which mine sadly lacks. Thanks everyone.
  2. Last post this evening - the two eyepieces are also cleaned. The scope came with 10mm and 25mm Plossls which are adequate to start with. New eyepieces are on order but not delivered yet ... Without their covers on the eyepieces again need a clean, so using the blower I removed the dust and then, with lens cleaner and cotton buds I got rid of much of the grease and dirt. This looks a little smeary so I will see in the morning to see if this can be improved.
  3. The next step in this refurbishment was to inspect and clean the finderscope. On the 150/750 the finderscope is a 9x50 unit with a cross-hair reticule supported in the standard Skywatcher finderscope mount. As with the diagonal this hasn't been protected much against the elements and both objective and eyepiece lenses were quite grubby. I will need to source new covers for this scope, so if anyone knows the diameters of the covers or the Skywatcher part numbers, please let me know. Thanks. Looking at the objective you can see that it is pretty grubby again: It's ha
  4. I then started on the optical parts of the scope. These steps are basic housekeeping that should have been done by the previous owner, Anyways - on with the refurb, starting with the diagonal: Here is a view into the diagonal. I've tried to focus on the surface of the mirror to show you wnat the state of the optics were. Pretty dreadful. The diagonal is held together by four bolts on the base. Undoing these and gently separating the base shows the mirror is on top of a thick piece of glass supported by two softer pieces, one to provide blackness and one to support
  5. Thanks for this - I couldn't find many favourable comments about the scope when I was researching it. Everyone says it was too fast, so would have chronic CA, but for me, who is also interested in DSOs, a scope capable of decent wide-field views is just what I want. I know I can't expect great results if I image, but I have just bought a 72mm ED refractior which will do that, so I can shoot through one scope and observe through this one. I fully intend a respray in time togetrher with a refurb of the mechanical parts of the scope. Optical steps first though, as you will see. For n
  6. I had noticed that some of the buttons on the handset were not making contact without a firm press, so I opted to carry out a basic service of the internals of the handset. Turning the handset over shows four screws in the base: Once these are released the cover can be removed - but a word or caution. While the main PCB remains attached to the base due to age, the LCD display is screwed to the top, so, if you are not careful splitting the base from the top you will put strain on the LCD cable and risk damaging it. When opening the unit therefore you should carefu
  7. I went ahead and updated the firmware using the procedure outlined in the Skywatcher documentation (making sure, as I had a V3 handset, that I downloaded the correct software for both my PC and the handset. The software page for the V3 handset is http://www.skywatcher.com/download/software/synscan-v3-hand-controller-firmware/ Powering on my handset with the original firmware showed this screen: I then connected the handset to my computer using the lead I made above: and powered the handset on with keys 8 and 0 pressed to put it into 'Update Mode' as you can see o
  8. Thank you @DaveL59. It's true that there are arguments for and against upgrading firmware in devices that are working, but looking at the Skywatcher site I see that my old version of firmware (3.27) may have issues with the GPS module, so updating to the latest version (3.39.15 at the time of writing) corrects this and ensures other fixes are included. Providing the sequence described in the Skywatcher notes are adhered to, there are no difficulties in updating the firmware. If anyone has experienced issues with newer releases of firmware, I would be happy to hear them.
  9. After proving it all worked, and noting the condition of the optical train, I've gone ahead and built a lead to connect the handset to my computer, then used this to upgrade the handset to the latest version of firmware: Cable first: I ordered a 1m RJ12 '6P6C' cable from Amazon. This allows me to make two cables. The 'correct' colour coding for an RJ12 6P6C cable is as follows: For the Synscan RS232 cable you need to wire three cores to a DB9 female. These cores are: RJ12 Pin 2 to DB9F Pin 2 RJ12 Pin 3 to DB9F Pin 5 RJ12 Pin 5 to DB9F Pin 3 I
  10. I've recently acquired a 'pre-owned' Skywatcher Startravel 150/750 refractor on an EQ5 mount upgraded with Synscan. I hope to document my refurbishment of this scope one step at a time as a record of what I have done - and, hopefully, provide you with a) amusement and b) a guide if you should wish to do the same. First steps were to put it all together and see if it works:
  11. I was just about to post a question about transporting a 72mm refractor, diagonal and eyepieces, tripod and Star Adventurer Pro with a camera body and bits and I think you've just answred my question. Thank you. Unless anyone has any other suggestions....
  12. If yuou are going the DIY route, don't buy an audio phono lead and add a 2.5/5.5mm power plug as the cable in the audio lead would not be suitable for the power you need to draw. One option you can take (particularly if you want to make just an adapter cable) is to look on eBay/Amazon for something like these: Then simply solder a decent quality RCA female socket on the end with maybe some sleeving on the centre pin wire to prevent shorting out the power. Better still may be some of these:
  13. I went through the same thought process as you and I have just bought the Altair 72EDF with the 1.0 flattener and the upgraded focuser. Looking at the specs the ZS73, the Altair and the RVO 72ED are pretty much the same scope. Now waiting for the clouds to do one. I suspect you're not far from me (south of Salisbury), so I expect you are thinking the same. Good luck.
  14. Hi Steve I was aware of the USB-C issues but a quick trawl revealed these (which may now be resolved of course). Looks to mainly apply to earlier versions of the Pi4. Also - it's not clear if these would affect the uses we are putting them to. USB-C issues: https://hackaday.com/2019/07/16/exploring-the-raspberry-pi-4-usb-c-issue-in-depth/ https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/02/24/raspberry-pi-4-rev-1-2-fixes-usb-c-power-issues-improves-sd-card-resilience/ Raspberry Pi failure rate and main instability sources: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=295976&am
  15. I've heard much the same - and it's not clear where the unreliability is coming from, so I too will be staying away from the Pi4 for now. I have two Atom-based motherboards and one Atom-based and one i7-based SBC, so I think I have enough computing power . I have a couple of 5-port switches and some TP-Link wireless nano-routers that will do the basics for networking and waterproof box to mount it all in. Just need to put it all together, one step at a time.
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