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Everything posted by Bulkins

  1. With regard to my earlier post (#113), on reflection I think that two specific guidelines / recommendations would very substantially deter traders and also give all members a better chance of benefiting from the For Sale section: The convention whereby items are sold to the first person who notes an interest / sends a pm should be avoided at all costs. Instead set a minimum deadline of 24 hours for notes of interest - this should be enough to generate several notes of interest given the amount of monitoring of the For Sale section that goes on. After this deadline has passed, use the advanced search facility to compare the For Sale activity of prospective buyers - it is extremely easy to do a couple of quick searches for this purpose. In the absence of a good reason to do otherwise, sell to the person with the least buying activity (or at least try NOT to sell to the person with the most buying activity). NB This obviously makes it all the more important that the buyer is made known at the end of the For Sale thread. Traders will soon learn that constant monitoring of the For Sale section in order to jump in first no longer works. Non-traders will not be hacked-off when they log-in after work every evening only to find that another item they have been looking for for weeks has been snapped up - and with sellers practising an informal 'sale-balancing' they have a greater chance of success (sooner or later). Some might think that the second guideline / recommendation could be ignored in some cases, for example if one of the prospective buyers is a known very genuine astronomer who is in the middle of buying a 'set' of kit. However, I think in most cases PMs and 'Wanted' posts should cover these types of situations without ever getting to the point of placing a For Sale ad - so I think it would be far more preferable to stick to both as much as possible. If any For Sale guidelines included these two items then perhaps posting the guidelines in a prominent place that is accessible to 'guests' / prospective members (as well as within the For Sale section) would in itself deter would-be traders from joining in the first place. Even if the guidelines are imperfectly practised, would-be traders seeing the guidelines might think the reduced chances of cherry picking make it not worth their time or effort.
  2. Lets be honest, it will be impossible to completely eradicate the 'trader' issue. They are driven by the profit motive and while I'm not saying that is a good or bad thing, it would be naive to expect them to play 'fair' by, for example, declaring themseves. My own view is that the only way to ensure that you don't end up being hacked off when you find out that the buyer was a trader (and not the genuine astronomer you thought) is to forget the altruism and sell on ebay or some other commercial auction site - that way it is more likely (but not guaranteed) to go to an astronomer. However, I appreciate that many would still prefer to pass on items at bargain prices to genuine astronomers, thereby making a real contribution to the propagation of the hobby. With that in mind I think providing selling / buying guidelines will be key. For example: The For Sale section is intended to facilitate transactions between astronomy enthusiasts rather than be a source of cheap items for traders. However, the onus is on individual members to satisfy themeselves that items come from or go to a 'good home'. It is simpy impractical to burden volunteer moderators / administrators with the monitoring and policing of a For Sale section that is not even part of the core activities of the site. Should the For Sale section result in an unreasonable burden being placed on those volunteers we reserve the right to close the facility. The likelihood of this happening can be minimised by following the For Sale guidelines. Buyers must accept that they will be identified via their user name on conclusion of the sale. There is absolutely no obligation (or convention) to sell to the first person who notes an interest in an item or items. Sellers should set a deadline for notes of interest / PMs making offers, and after the deadline has passed they should assess, via the search facility, the post history of the potential buyers before deciding who they would prefer to sell to. This assessment may also involve seeking guidance from site moderators on potential buyers or checking any 'warning' lists that may be introduced to the site at the discretion of the moderators. Buyers may similarly check post history, consult with moderators or check warning lists before making an offer for an item. On completion of the sale the seller must make a final post on the for sale thread which simply states 'item sold - bought by user-name'. This will help make the search process for future transactions more informed. Sellers are not obliged to justify why they decide to transact with a particular buyer and can deal with any such requests from disgruntled would-be buyers by reference to the guidelines - if they fail to accept this the matter can be referred to moderators. Issues with transactions must not be aired in public but may be raised with moderators. Moderators will use their discretion when deciding what to do with such information but in most cases are likely to refer the complainant to the For Sale guidelines (supposing they have not been followed). The administrators / moderators accept no responsibility (legal or otherwise) for any dissatisfaction on the part of sellers or buyers. The For Sale section is used entirely at the risk of those involved in the transaction who should have the reasonable expectation that not all transactions go smoothly and the onus is on themselves to minimise the risk of any dissatisfaction. The guidelines will be updated in line with experience. Consequently, they should be consulted by sellers / buyers prior to every transaction. I'm not saying this is perfect or exhaustive or anything other than an example, but I do feel that guidelines / recommendations such as these, if followed, will be a far more effective way of achieving satisfactory sales than by attempting to implement an overly prescriptive rules based system. I believe a guidance based system has the added benefit of distributing the effort across all of the membership and minimises the burden on moderators.
  3. I use the Kata DR467i which is a back pack designed for carrying camera, lenses, laptop etc. Excellent. Kata DR-467i Backpack for Digital Camera - Black/Green: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
  4. Apologies if I have missed an announcement somewhere but... From this thread I understood that those social groups that were not going to be maintained going forward would still be viewable for a period and work was being done to try to copy across the social group postings into the relevant equipment based sub-forums. I was looking for an old thread in the Video Astronomy group but all content has now disappeared and it has not been copied into the new sub-forum. Is it lost for ever or is this a work in progress? If it has not proved possible to copy the info across automatically would it be possible to restore the content for a period to allow those with an interest to cut and paste the threads they are keen to keep?
  5. Here is the link to the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh. Astronomical Society of Edinburgh They meet once a month on George IV Bridge and there is also an imaging group that meets once a month at Juniper Green. They have access to a reasonable dark site in West Lothian. It is actually the site of the West Calder Aeromodellers club with whom they have an agreement. I have only been to one meeting of ASE myself but would like to go to more. Some topics are inevitably always going to be found dry for some of the attendees as specific interests vary so widely. I get the impression (which may be entirely wrong) that the clubs historical association with the Edinburgh Observatory means that they have the contacts to arrange presentations by many with formal roles in astronomy and this may lend a more formal appearance to their meeting agendas, which again may increase the impression of dryness to many. However, looking at the meeting schedule for the current programme (there are only two meetings left in the current programme on 24th and 29th September) I personally think it looks to have been incredibly interesting with guests having included a musician and a comedian(!) and I am disappointed that I have not been able to get along to more meetings. My personal impression was that ASE members are the same as all the other astronomers I have met - extremely friendly, enthusiastic and always very keen to help and I would highly recommend you go along if you can find the time.
  6. I bought a Sentribox XLOCK 515 van box - the type of metal tool box that you often see in the back of pick-up trucks. All my stuff fits in it, it is crow-bar resistant, can be bolted to the floor of my garden shed and also fits in the back of my 4x4 across the folded down rear seats. When in the car I can padlock a chain through the box handle and the rear door handle. It takes two to lift it when empty and when fully loaded two would struggle to shift it. I haven't figured out 'in the field' security yet but reckon it would just be a case of tightly wrapping a plastic coated security cable around the mount and tripod to prevent them being separated then loop a second cable through the first and chain it to whatever is handy (?) - in my case probably the swing bar of the rear mounted spare tyre.
  7. If it turns out you have a duff EasyCap device and you want to get the EZCap device I got mine from: Genuine EZCAP116 USB 2.0 Video Capture | eBay They are cheaper than anyone else I could find and although they also sell via Amazon if you buy via ebay there is no postage charge. Mine arrived two days after I ordered it.
  8. I use EZCap as well. I take it is EZCap and not EasyCAP - which would be a fake (notoriously poor). Mine works fine but gets quite hot (which apparently is normal). I did have a bit of faffing around with the drivers - have you checked that they have been successfully installed - no yellow exclamation marks against the 'Sound Video and Game Controllers'? If they have been successfully installed then it should just be a matter of plugging in the usb, opening the software (Arcsoft Showbiz 3.5?) and selecting the correct source on the 'Capture' tab. PS The software works but is a bit naff in that it only outputs mpeg1/2 - so if you want to get AVIs to stack in registax then download SharpCap.
  9. What hardware are you using for video grabbing? As far as I can tell Tversity is just video streaming software - you need some sort of hardware video grabber.
  10. Noticed a similar thread in the Social Group but I'm assuming this sub-forum supersedes it. eBay - The UK's Online Marketplace As already stated elsewhere this camera has no integration capability. I believe it has no IR filter and for astronomy is usually used as a comet-spotter.
  11. I'm no expert in this area and hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly to expand / correct this. My basic understanding is that much of the (red) colour seen in DSO images (nebulae in particular) is due to hydrogen alpha emissions at a wavelength of 656nm. The IR filters in Samsung CCTV cameras are apparently quite brutal and cut off at a wavelength well below this thus blocking off this colour. Removing this filter should therefore allow you to capture images with Ha colour. It is also suggested that the nosepiece used to connect the camera to the scope is fitted with a high-quality astronomy filter that blocks at a higher level - which I believe is supposed to result in sharper images while still allowing the Ha wavelength through. From what I've read elsewhere in this sub-forum, fitting a high-quality filter will also have advantages for planetary imaging but I may have misunderstood this and would prefer someone else to elaborate. The Cloudy Nights forum has quite a bit of info on this topic in their 'Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy' sub-forum.
  12. For astronomers I suggest they are 100% clear on what is covered 'away from home'. Some insurance companies have different limits (regardless of any specified high value items) on what they will pay out when items are stolen from a vehicle and will only contemplate such a pay out when items are out of sight in the boot. Items left unattended at star parties or when observing in the field are never covered. After much consideration I decided that the 'away from home' cover was so leaky that the best option was to invest in appropriate security rather than pay for expensive insurance add-ons. Having a clear understanding of the limitations of my insurance also lessens the likelihood of reckless behaviour on my part and therefore lessens the risk of a loss, i.e. I know when I'm not covered and behave accordingly, rather than simply assume that I'm always covered. Sermon over
  13. PS I'm not sure that the Day / Night setting in the video ('Auto') is correct for the SCB-2000. This could be down to differences between the two featured cameras and the SCB-2000. The SCB-2000 has electrical day / night while the other two are true day / night. When the setting is 'Auto': I think that true day / night works by mechanically moving the filter out of the way when low light is detected (usually once the sun has set) while with electrical day / night the filter is always in place but camera settings are changed - including moving to B&W mode (with a 'Night' setting the mode will also be B&W). If you always want to be in colour mode then I think the setting should be 'Day' - with the filter permanently removed as you will typically be using the camera in the dark. I could be wrong and it may be that for true day / night cameras the 'Auto' setting will also shift to B&W mode in low light and the user in the video is happy to do astrovideo in that mode - he is a very highly respected video astronomer on the Cloudy Nights forum (Dragon Man). I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than me will be along shortly to correct any errors in the above.
  14. Correction - there is only one video showing filter removal: BallaratDragon's Channel - YouTube Apparently filter removal for the other commonly used Samsung (SDC-435) is extremely simple involving only a couple of screws. IIRC the SCB-2000 is equivalent to the SDC-435 so (unless I'm wrong) it should be a doddle.
  15. Here is a Youtube video of samsung camera settings - I think the onscreen menus are very similar across samsung models. The same guy has also posted videos of how to remove the filter on two different models.
  16. Astrovideo - for wow factor and educational purposes a Samsung CCTV camera might be a good cheap option. http://stargazerslounge.com/astro-lounge/147700-disappointed-dso-views-i-have-answer.html
  17. You can add equipment, e.g. telescopes, eyepieces and barlows, and then select which equipment to use to provide a particular FOV - an outline (circle/rectangle) of the appropriate size is then superimposed on the main screen. There may be other functionality that is appropriate to your question but I'm no great expert in the software.
  18. PS Once you have selected the images and labels you want (and there appears to be as third option for Chandra images) if you want to keep these permanent so that the labels stay on the main screen you will have to select 'Save Current Options As Default' from the Options menu at the top of the main screen.
  19. Not sure if this is what you mean, but if you go to the Options tab and expand the Deep Space section you can then select 'Hubble Images' and 'Spitzer Images' (also check the 'Labels' box so that they show up in the main window). This should then show items which when you zoom into (magnify) will show an image rather than just some magnified dots or smudges.
  20. With the Samsung cameras 'P' means PAL and 'N' means NTSC. See the link in post #166 for full explanation of naming conventions.
  21. For those that might be interested, this is the equivalent of the SCD-435 (and I understand all are SCB-2000P models): Samsung SCB-2000P Hi Res Camera on eBay (end time 23-Jul-11 13:51:48 BST) Samsung Cctv Camera | eBay Samsung Cctv Camera | eBay
  22. Thanks all for the responses. I spoke to Samsung this morning about this and it appears to work as follows: Day/Night setting = 'Colour', shoots in colour with filter in place Day/Night setting = 'B&W' shoots in b&w with filter removed Day/Night setting = 'Auto' switches between the two according to light levels. As far as I can see this means that for astro purposes if you are happy shooting in b&w then set to 'Auto' and the filter will be removed in low light so no need to open the camera and physically remove the filter. Shooting in colour will only happen when Day/Night = 'Colour' or when Day/Night = 'Auto' and lighting is good, i.e. daytime. In both cases the filter will be in place. Physically removing the filter does not automatically make the camera shoot in colour. It seems that the only way to get colour shooting in night conditions (if that is what you really want) is to set Day/Night to 'Colour' and physically remove the filter. NB The Samsung person I spoke to seemed quite knowledgeable and he also consulted a more senior colleague but I'm guessing they were only 95% sure of this because I was asking about functionality that is specifically excluded from the camera design and which they had not considered before. But it seemed logical to me. This applies to the Day/Night (ICR) cameras as opposed to the Day/Night (electrical) cameras (in which the filter is locked in place). However, I think the principle is the same on both, i.e. if you want colour, set Day/Night = 'Colour' (to prevent b&w AE settings being made) and physically remove the filter. Edit - got the terminology wrong (Day/Night instead of Colour/B&W) and this really just confirms what great_bear said in one line! Edit - there is a youtube video showing settings for the SCB-4000 which sets Day/Night to 'Auto'. I can only assume that this means the operator is happy to use B&W at night time (in which case filter removal would be unnecessary).
  23. The SCB-2000P is PAL. The following document explains the naming conventions. http://support.dynamic-cctv.com/shop/PDF/Manuals/SCB-2000P%20(manual).pdf I am interested in whether anyone can explain the Day and Night setup on these cameras. There appear to be two systems: Day and Night (ICR) - infrared cut filter removable. The SCB-2001 and SCB-4000 fall into this category. Day and Night (Electrical) The SCB-2000 falls into this category. From what I can gather the ICR methods works by sensing when light is poor and mechanically moves the IR filter out of the way and switches to b&w - when the Day and Night setting is auto (as opposed to Day or Night). The electrical system appears to work by having a fixed IR filter but changes AE settings in low light. If the ICR method involves shifting the filter out the way in low light why bother with physically removing the filter? Would setting the Day and Night setting to 'Day' and physically removing the filter give you colour in low light, i.e. stop the camera automatically shifting to b&w mode? With the electrical system does physically removing the filter stop the AE adjustments in low light? On a more fundamental note - can anyone explain why it is recommended that the built-in filter is removed but replaced with a high-quality UV/IR filter on the nosepiece? PS when do I get access to the For Sale section?
  24. On reflection, and having looked at the ebay second chance offer rules, as a seller I would always re-list. As a buyer being offered a second chance I would only contemplate the offer at a price calculated on the basis of my last post - but I suspect the system will not allow this as an option. It appears that the second chance offer email to the unsuccessful bidder is automatically generated and the offer is always at their highest bid - not the bid value that might have won the item if the original winning bidder had not entered the auction. As the rules stand the second chance offer seems like a fraudsters charter. Another reason I wouldn't issue a second chance offer as a seller is simply because I wouldn't want to appear like a chancer - and most people, rightly or wrongly, probably think that's what those making second chance offers are.
  25. There are plenty of cases where a max bid submitted in the last few seconds is higher than the bid that actually wins. E.g. if with 10 seconds to go the bid stands at £50 and three late bids arrive as follows: New bidder no.1 with a max bid of £100 New bidder no.2 (you) with a max bid of £150 New bidder no.3 (shiller) with max bid of £160. The shill bid has flushed out your highest (unsuccessful) bid but if that shill bid had not occurred you would have won with an automatically incremented bid of £105 (assuming £5 increments). So to consider what is a reasonable second chance bid you have to consider the next highest valid bidder - in this case you should be prepared to pay £105 not £150 if offered a second chance. It will vary on a case by case basis with your second chance offer always being £5 higher (for example) than whatever that second highest valid bid was. The amount might occasionally match your max bid but odds are that it will usually be lower. That's my understanding of how ebay works - it doesn't automatically bid your maximum. In any case, there are many legitimate reasons for not being able to complete a sale with the first highest bidder. I had a recent case where the winner (with seconds to go) then proceeded to change the delivery method to collection by courier. I foolishly agreed and ended up wasting three days waiting for the courier to arrive. In retrospect I should have declined the post-sale request in which event we might have then mutually agreed to cancel the sale. If I was selling and the sale fell through I think I would just relist - it would be to complicated otherwise. You would have to consider whether, if the sale fell through for a legitimate reason, the original highest bid could still be considered legitimate and not having flushed out other highest bids in a illegitimate way. If I was a buyer being offered a second chance I would always calculate my offer on the (unstated) assumption that the previous winner was a shill bid. edit - re-wrote last paragraph as it didn't make much sense - blimey it's complicated!
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