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Everything posted by savcom

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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:
  10. 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....
  11. 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:
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. Very interesting and informative thread - thanks. I'm starting out on my imaging journey and this thread answers a lot of questions I was beginning to form while planning my control gear. My plan is to build a seperately networked set-up with a link to the house for remote control/monitoring. I have a couple of x86-based SBCs and microITX systems so will be using those to control the scope, camera and mount(s). I may have difficulty putting Windows on some of them due to the hardware so I was looking at using Ubuntu or Mint instead. For portable use on my Star Adventurer Pro I wouild
  16. Holy Thread Ressurection, Batman! - but I was looking for some background about this scope and found this thread! So thank you @Madhatterfor the review. I have one of these and I'm looking at making a simple mount for it - either a small Dob or a tripod-mounted Alt-Z, just for casual observing - to try and improve the scope's performance. I'll do a basic clean and collimation to see if the scope performance can be improved. I'll not report improvements here, but will post in DIY Astronomy and put a link here to cross-reference the work.
  17. Thanks again everyone.
  18. Not as big as many others in this thread - but here's my Startravel 150/750 f5 on its first outing after acquisition at the start of the year: No real set-up. Just point and shoot, so to speak. All I wanted to do was prove it all worked and the optics were clean. Scope needs a clean and the mount needs a service, but that's cool. Not saying it was cold, but the dew froze on the scope - and the patio froze over. That head torch is pretty fine though.
  19. Thank you everyone. It's nice to be made welcome. Surely these cloudy nights can't last much longer? At least I can take advantage of them to get to understand the EQ5 and how it all interacts electrically. I'll also be able to service the mount and clean/refresh the Startravel 150/750 so that they're both ready to use when the clouds lift. Clear skies, everyone - and stay safe. Martin
  20. I've just ordered an Altair 72 EDF refractor and an adapter for the Pentax to start me on my journey. It would appear AltairAstro's web site's stock control is accurate!. I'll take my time about eyepieces and see what I can get later on. Thanks everyone for your help.
  21. Hi everyone. Apologies for posting a question when starting my membership of SGL and not saying hello first! I didn't see this forum till tonight otherwise I would have said hello. I'm here now and I'll try and make amends. I'm very recently retired, having moved to Wiltshire mid-2019 from Surrey. We're perched right on the edge of Cranborne Chase, so we're close to dark skies (Bortle 3 to 4 in my garden). I'm an electronic engineer by training and enjoy tinkering, so I am looking forward to desiging and building the control systems needed to watch and image the stars. I
  22. I am also looking at eyepieces for use on the new scope when travelling, so use on both scopes has to be considered. I appreciate your point about the eyepieces you suggested but again, availability may be the deciding factor at this point.
  23. I had noticed Altair Astro had a better stock situation than many but they've not updated their site to say they're back after Christmas, so who knows if the stock is accurate. Teleskop-Express also seem to have some stock too. As you'd have guessed, I'm putting together a small set of equipment to get me going. The older SW 150/175 comes with a 2" diagional and two eyepieces that will serve to start me off, but that 38mm SWA PanaView may well be within budget - and interesting it's a 2" size too. Thank you.
  24. Thank you @KP82. Very useful information. I've also noticed the lack of supply - some sites quoting June as the earliest stock may be available! This may sway my decision a little bit but more likely after I decide between a 70mm, 60mm or 50mm scope. It looks like I have two steps to take now: For imaging I need to check the FOV offered by each scope when used with my Pentax I also need to check that the scope/camera/finder will work on the Star Adventurer Pro. Thanks for the help regarding the eyepieces. I'll see what budget is left once I choose the scope, but t
  25. Greetings everyone - first poster and, as usual, I would like some advice. A bit of background for you all - I'm interested in both observing and imaging and am pretty much at the start of both hobbies. At present I am more interested in DSOs than the solar system (both for observing and imaging) so would like to concentrate on these aspects of astronomy with my equipment. I have a SW Star Adventurer Pro with its own tripod that I have used with my Pentax K3 DSLR and lenses for imaging and I recently acquired a motorised EQ5 with an SW 150/750 refractor. I'm fully aware the large S
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