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About Penguin

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  1. Thanks for all the advice, I'll have a think. Unfortunately, it does have to be a laptop as it will also be the family machine. To be fair, I've been using Pixinsight on my current laptop (HP 250 G1 with an I3 processor, 4GB RAM and inbuilt graphics) so pretty much anything will be an improvement!
  2. Hi All, I am looking to get a new laptop for the family that I will use for PixInsight. The old one is getting a bit sluggish but I'm hoping it is still good enough will go in the observatory I am building to control the scope/mount/camera etc if I clear out all the crap it has accumulated. So I am wondering what I should look for in the new machine. I gather that image processing tends to go faster with a dedicated graphics card (this also opens up the possibility of playing Elite Dangerous one it :-) ). Can the forum make any recommendations as to what I should look out for? My budget is for up to around £500. Is an Ebay refurbished job my best bet?
  3. Thanks Olly, do you have pictures of yours? I'm not expecting winds high enough to lift the thing but was wondering how best to secure it Sliding it under a flange on the pier was certainly my favourite plan when I get to that stage. --- Alistair
  4. Quick update with a photo of the current situation. 3 walls pretty much done and I'm hoping to get the doors done this weekend. More photos on the tardis builders website I linked to previously.
  5. I'm actually logging the build on the TARDIS Builders' forum over here: It's not going to look as good or authentic as some of the creations on that site. In particular, the roof design will deviate significantly for reasons of weatherproofing. So far, the base is built and on its casters and the first wall is glued together. This is going to take a lot longer than my original plan for a non-TARDIS shed!
  6. Ah, situation normal: me being an idiot. Hopefully I'll be a bit more with-it when doing the build! Try this:
  7. I posted a link to the pier build pictures on Flickr. It's in my initial post at the top of this thread. It's also here: It's ultra low-cost: the mounting plate is made from plywood and the pier itself is a drainage pipe filled with concrete! I will update this thread as I go but am not expecting quick progress.
  8. Change of plan, Wife and kids loved Luke's Tardis so we are going for that, at least for the moment. There are lots of Tardis build instructions and designs online and I have a rough idea how I will do it. I think the roof will be the hardest bit to get right (and weatherproof). I'm going to build the rolling base first while I consider the rest of the design. Casters are already ordered!
  9. Both of those look good, I'm obviously loving the Tardis! Mine will probably have to be a similar size to the Tardis, at least on the outside, but I was going to try and make it look more like a seaside beach hut with an apex roof, tongue and groove cladding and a nice summery colour scheme. Going to visit a local shed company tomorrow to discuss options but I'd like to build it from scratch myself if I can.
  10. Thanks Dave, I had a quick look before posting but could only see dome and RoR builds. If you say there are roll-away ones discussed on here, I will make a more thorough search.
  11. This time last year, I put a permanent DIY pier in the garden which meant the mount could stay outside (pictures here: This obviously means I don't have to polar align for every session, but the scope, camera, etc still have to be set up each time and it's not worth the extra hassle to computer-control stuff as well. So this year I want to put a shed around it. I don't have space for a full-sized shed so I am thinking of something like this: to just encompass the scope itself and roll-away when I'm using it. What do people think about this solution? Has anyone on here done anything like this? Looking foward to comments.
  12. Hi Snakey,

    Can I ask, did you manage to source a replacement LCD for your V3 Synscan controller? I think I have the same problem on my V2: the controller lights up but the display is blank. Pressing Ok repeatedly eventually gets the scope to slew, probably going to the first available star in the alignment process so I am pretty sure the controller itself is fine and I would much rather replace the LCD than the whole controller!

    For now, I am disconnecting and reconnecting the ribbon cable, in case its just a 'dry joint'.

    Any advice would be gratefully received.

    --- Alistair.

    1. SnakeyJ


      HI Alistair,

      I think the ribbon cable wear very quickly and are not intended for multiple connection.   In the end I brought another V3 handset, though to be honest I hardly every use this since being introduced to EQMOD and CDC, which is far better IMO for an observatory setup.      You will see V3 and the new V4 handsets come up on Astrobuyandsell from time to time around the £ 60-85 mark second hand.


      Good luck - Jake

    2. Penguin


      Ok, thanks for that, I might start monitoring AstroBuyAndSell.

      I also like EQMod, ASCOM and StellariumScope but that is also playing up the last couple of times: complains about the Prolific USB driver though it was fine 3 weeks ago. The hand controller was my backup!

      It did display a few ascii symbols for a few seconds later last night and I have seen multiple posts suggesting it might actually be my power supply. But I am using a 12V, 5A mains supply so surely that can't be it?

    3. Penguin


      Plugged it in this evening and it worked fine. I think I will just keep the controller indoors and concentrate on getting EQMod etc working again.

      Thanks for the advice.

  13. Very useful post, thanks. My V2 Synscan controller has given up and it seems to be the LCD: the controller functions but will not display anything so it's pretty useless at the moment. Rather than forking out 3 figures for a new controller, I was wondering if you managed to source a compatible replacement LCD for your V3 and if so, where from? --- Alistair
  14. Thought I'd update with a link to my flickr album of the build now that it is done.
  15. My kids don't like her and I agree, the breathless speed when she is speaking and the pauses in strange places distract from what she is actually saying. I also find her constant nodding when she is listening to an interviewee offputting. But then Sir Patrick also had a very fast delivery that was sometimes hard to follow and I think much of her delivery is probably down to sheer enthusiasm for the subject, possibly combined with nerves over being on the telly. Nebula's point about the presenters' interests and specialisms influencing the topics covered in the show is an interesting one that I hadn't considered. Luckily for me, I enjoy the weird theoretical stuff as well as coverage of what we would actually be able to see if the clouds and light pollution ever went away. My bet for "not even light can escape" is at around 5 minutes in. Say 5'20"