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astro_al

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Posts posted by astro_al

  1. I used a binoviewer with my Quark while I had it. I had no issues with backfocus with the Takahashi FC-76DC due to the Quark’s built in 4.2x Barlow - assuming you don’t have the combo model. I did replace the eyepiece holder with a T2 fitting so I could use a bayonet fitting though as that is what my binoviewers use. Saves some backfocus as well. At the time I had a pair of Zeiss binoviewers with a clear aperture of 25mm. I believe the clear aperture of the Quark is 21mm so I stuck with 25mm Televue plossls as these have a field stop of  21.2mm. Ideally I would have used longer focal length eyepieces to drop magnification and increase image brightness to offset the drop in brightness from using the binoviewer. Working with the 25mms at 95x was OK for many sessions but the exit pupil was a bit low for me. I think that is one of the challenges of visual work with a Quark. I now use Baader Maxbright II binoviewers which I find to be good. These are coupled with an F7 100mm Lunt scope but need a 1.5x glasspath corrector to accommodate the required backfocus. I can still get down to 42x with the 25mm plossls though but tend to mainly use 20mm or 15mm eyepieces which give about a 1.4 or 1.8 mm exit pupil which I like - compared to 0.8mm with the Quark.  
     

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  2. I agree that Lunt kit is extremely expensive in the UK and you can’t buy direct from them if there is a reseller in your region - as far as I know. Worth noting though that if you have Lunt kit already and want to upgrade then Lunt do offer a ‘trade up’ program. You won’t get as much for your old kit as selling privately but being able to buy direct from the US makes up for that despite a weak Pound, VAT, Duty and high shipping costs. Shows just how expensive the kit is in the UK. Lunt are good to deal with and the ‘trade up’ program worked out for me. 

    • Like 1
  3. I also doubt that you would regret going with the LS80. I had an LS60 and was torn between upgrading to either the LS80 or the LS100. I went for the 100 and I am still happy with the decision. Beyond an increase in resolution part of my reasoning was that the increase in brightness at the magnifications I typically use would help if I double stack at a later date. I use a binoviewer. 

    • Like 2
  4. My 12V charger arrived today but of course it doesn't work with the Dell XPS 😡 The Dell complains that I need to provide 45W. The charger provides a maximum of 60W via the USB-C port (20V/3A) and the Dell requires 19.5V/2.31A - so I thought it should work. Maybe it is a Dell thing as it is fine in my MacBook Air. I was hoping to use the PC at the pier to utilise Firecapture's support for ASCOM for controlling the mount and the focuser but maybe I will have to use the Mac instead and rely in INDI which is fine for the mount but the driver for the focuser is not as good as using the ASCOM driver. Never easy.

     

  5. Many thanks to all those who replied, great information. For now I am going to try and power my laptop from the 13.8V supply at the pier as this means no new cables. I do like the idea of the single ethernet cable for the KVM option though so I may look into that more. I would probably replace the old USB 2.0 cable with ethernet and patch that into the wall box inside the house.

    Regards

    Al

  6. 11 hours ago, MCinAZ said:

    Does the low refresh rate seen in your RDP/VNC window affect the speed at which frames are captured?

    It doesn't, but I can tell already that focussing and panning remotely would be a real pain. At the moment I am more interested in viewing the feed live than capturing data for post-processing. I may capture some 8bit AVIs for a record, but no 16bit SERs. Thanks.

  7. 16 hours ago, discardedastro said:

    If you're just using VNC to monitor unattended capture it's OK, but if you want high update rates you're going to need a directly attached monitor or some form of external video/display encoder/long cable to move HDMI video from A to B.

    Thanks @discardedastro - your last sentence sums it up. I had thought that if I got the PI performant enough for capture then just viewing the screen would be the easy part. I have had a great experience doing this with a PC host and a Mac client over RDP and was looking for a lower power option. Although the Pi is a lower spec than either of those devices I am still surprised at how bad the remote experience is, even for basic operation of the Pi without any capture running. One of my aims is to be able to view the data from inside where it is cool and shaded so a local monitor is not on the cards. I also don't want to run any more cables down to the pier. The NUC option looks interesting but the power requirement is much higher - just like my laptop. I think I will probably see if I can use a 12v adaptor/inverter to use the 13.8v at the pier for my laptop, assuming I have enough amps. If that works out I may consider the NUC.

    Thanks for your help :) 

  8. Hi all.

    I have been dabbling with a ZWO camera for solar imaging and for viewing live vs my binoviewers. I started with a laptop but didn't want to run a mains extension to the pier so bought a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM and an SSD. I installed Astroberry and have everything working. Firecapture seems pretty good with a ROI of 1024 x 768 giving over 100 FPS with a 9ms exposure which is what I use with my Ha scope.

    So all was looking good through a directly attached monitor but then I connected remotely via VNC and it is awful. The image from the ZWO refreshes about once every 3 seconds and even just navigating the Pi when Firecapture is closed is not great. I tried RDP which was marginally better, but still nowhere near RDP refresh rates between PCs. Am I expecting too much from the setup? I am using a wired connection at both ends at the moment.

    The remote connection was one thing I didn't really think I would have an issue with. If anyone else is using a PI with/without Astroberry and has a different experience, or has any help in general, then that would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Al

  9. I had my scope out all day today to grab quick sessions here and there. I didn’t think conditions would be decent at the end of the day because the wind had picked up but I was completely wrong. First time I have got a decent view at 100x plus in Ha with the binoviewers. Very nice. 

    • Like 1
  10. On 11/10/2020 at 20:15, Peter Drew said:

    I doubt whether fitting the front etalon to a different, albeit better refractor will make much difference, the aperture will still be 60mm.     🙂

    Well, 4 months on I picked up an adapter and mounted the double stack filter to my FC-100 and the view is significantly improved over the Lunt LS60 in single stack mode. More contrast and takes higher magnification much better. Also feels like the whole disk snaps into focus better. Conditions weren’t great but side by side the difference was very noticeable. I was using the same blocking filter as I only have the one and I have to use a GPC with the LS60 which puts its effective focal length pretty close to that of the FC-100.

    It seems clear that the front mounted etalon is bringing the bulk of the viewing experience in my double stack system. Is that normal? Just wondering if I should investigate getting the LS60 serviced or if it is just that the front mounted etalon happens to be better. It is the fact that the base unit doesn’t take magnification very well that concerns me the most. 

    Thanks for any input.

    Al

     

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    • Like 1
  11. 15 hours ago, Kitsunegari said:

    The taxes excuse is pretty lame if that is what is going to stop you from enjoying your life with a new toy that you want.

    It’s not the taxes. I accept that imported products incur VAT and import duty as well as an increased shipping cost. That’s the 30% Nigella referred to and that’s why the $90 adapter I ordered from Starlight Instruments costs £90.

    If the $1200 Lunt module was £1200 in the UK then that would be inline with my experiences, but it’s not - it’s £1600. An extra £400 above what it would cost me to buy direct from Lunt - which I cannot do. 

    I am all for supporting the UK reseller model (not suggesting they get the £400 as I wouldn’t know) but the cost of this particular item is too high for me compared to the dollar price. 

    • Like 1
  12. I was thinking that there may be state tax for US buyers so it may not be quite as ‘cheap’. However, even with that considered the gap feels too big. I think there was a sale a while ago when they were more like £1200. I think I will wait for that to come around again. 

    • Like 1
  13. I would really like to try the Lunt module but I have a hard time with the price compared to the dollar value. I am used to US products being the same cost in pounds over here as the US dollar price but the Lunt module is $1100 in the US and nearly £1600 here - that’s pretty much twice the cost.

    Edit. Maybe the US cost on the Lunt site doesn’t include taxes. See, I am already trying to justify the purchase 😁

    • Haha 1
  14. Sounds great. I also managed some viewing earlier today, made a nice change from the rain :). I had some good views in Ha with my binoviewers and then dabbled with some imaging in white light and saw the sunspots exactly as you described.

    JAC_114121.jpg

    • Like 4
  15. I also ended up with a used Lunt LS60 after returning my Quarks. It is a different experience i.e. full disk and better suited in my opinion for quick looks/setup. However it does not take magnification very well - could just be my sample though. Although the Quarks I had didn't deliver much on surface detail the higher-magnification views of spicules and proms through my 76mm and 100mm refractors were very good and I do miss that. If I had bought the Lunt new I think I would have been disappointed after owning the Quarks, but maybe that's not fair considering the greater aperture scopes that the Quarks were used with. Using the Lunt with the DS unit really does make a difference surface detail wise and overall I am happy with the scope visually, despite what I consider to be the need to use it at a low magnification (30x). As I start to dabble in imaging I am sure the desire for larger aperture and higher resolution will creep back in but maybe this time I will either think about the Lunt Calcium K module for use with the 100mm refractor, or a Solar Spectrum filter as an alternative to a Quark. A way off having to make that decision though, however I understand your long-term goal as it's what attracted me to the Quark in the first place.

    • Like 1
  16. 1 hour ago, skybadger said:

    Also, why are you using a x3 Barlow when the quark has its own x4 built in ?

    The Quark Combo doesn’t have the 4x telecentric so you need to introduce your own to get up to F30ish.

    I had a regular Quark that showed prominences with no power and changing the powered setting made no real positive difference. I added a 35nm HA filter as an ERF but it didn’t help. I returned it and the replacement only worked under power as I was expecting, and there was a definite setting where I could see surface detail better. Unfortunately there was also a very pronounced vertical sweet spot. 

    I did spend time checking the different settings over multiple sessions and at different times of the day. Even though surface detail was sometimes hard to come by I could almost always see prominences.  

  17. 1 hour ago, david_taurus83 said:

    Are Daystar aware of the bad press they receive on forums like this?

    I don’t see how they can’t be. I also don’t understand why they don’t up the price of the Quarks to cover whatever is needed to ensure better QC. Even if they added 50% to the cost it would still be cheaper than other high resolution options. 

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