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Found 63 results

  1. Hi. Finally it's time to start a project i have been planning for a while. My remote Linux - INDI observatory Some info about the project. The observatory is going to be box style. I don't do any visual stuff, so i wont make room for myself. It is going to sit on a south facing second story balcony at my parents place. It's by a fjord near Drammen, Norway, so almost everything southbound is water and zero light pollution. The house itself sits on a spot with mostly green and yellow on the LP map, so beats my apartment where there is dark red LP as far as the eye can see (sadly).. To start things off, I'm building the pillar. As it's on a balcony, there will be no way to dig and cast a base in concrete. However concrete (b30) will be used to make the pillar more substantial. I want it to be very rigid, and I guess by having some weight to it, some flex in the floor will be "pre flexed". Any project starts with a good drawing so here is some cad. The outer tube is a cardboard casting tube. It sits on a wood plate with a total thickness of about 3.6 cm, has four m20 threaded rods that will be casted in with four 50x35 cm steel angels for stability. On top there is three steel plates connecting the base to three m20 bolts with mounts for the celestron avx. I will use the celestron's plate from the tripod (removing the legs) on top to mount the head on. The gap between plate one and two from the top is to be able to adjust and level the mount. I will have to get the three plates and three blocks on the right fabricated, but hopefully at a acceptable prize, hopefully... This weekend was mostly drawing, but did get something started. Let me know what you think about the design. More to come as project progresses...
  2. [A few more photos are in the imgur album] Made this telescope for observing sunspots. The Sun gets projected onto a piece of paper after bouncing from 3 mirrors inside the frame. It's compact, light, takes only a few seconds to point at the Sun, and sketching sunspots is as easy as circling the spots on a piece of paper. It can even project the Moon: The design is inspired by a commerically available telescope, but I’ve done all the designing myself, just for the fun of it. Sunspotter is full of little details that make it interesting. How do you fix the eyepiece in the exact place where it needs to be? How do you keep the lens in place and perfectly aligned? Building the telescope was a lot of fun, I’ve learned to use a jigsaw, X-Carve and a 3D printer. The plan is to use it to complete the Astroleague Sunspotter Observing Program, but unfortunately I completed it at the minimum of a Sun cycle, and won’t see any sunspots until next year. Telescope parameters: Magnification: 75x Size: 41cm x 41cm x 15cm Weight: 1kg Design: Keplerian Projection size: 75mm Materials needed: Lens: Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic doublet Mirrors: 1, 2, 3 Eyepiece: Baader 10mm ortho 1.5m² of 10mm plywood Wooden glue 5m of PLA filament 12 nails Compressed air Isopropyl alcohol Tools I used: Jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity X-Carve 1000 3D printer A laser pointer Clamp Learned modelling basics in: LibreCAD Easel TinkerCAD Fusion 360 Part 1: Choosing the lens The idea of a sunspotter is that the light goes through the lens, travels inside the telescope, bouncing from 3 mirrors, enters an eyepiece and the image gets projected on one of its sides. The distance the light travels before entering an eyepiece is the focal length and it determines the size of the telescope. I chose a Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic double. Observing the Sun doesn’t require a large aperture, 50mm is more than enough. I wanted a high magnification and went for the longest focal length I could find, which was 750mm. Achromatic doublet design is what people use in refractors. If it is good enough for a refractor, it’s definitely good enough for my project. With the focal length chosen I could design the wooden parts. A drawing showed that the frame needed to have sides 30cm long, but I wasn’t sure about the placement of the mirrors and went for 31cm sides, planning to shorten the light path as needed by adjusting mirror positions. This is the LibreCAD drawing of the layout of parts on a piece of plywood: Part 2: Building the base Having a drawing of the base in LibreCAD, I printed the drawing 1:1 scale on multiple A4 sheets of paper and glued them together. I transferred the drawing to a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Applied this cardboard template to the sheet of plywood, and cut out two parts with a jigsaw.. I’m not an experienced user of jigsaw, and couldn’t manage to cut half-circles accurately enough. Even worse was that the two parts were very different. I didn’t want the frame to randomly tilt left or right when adjusting its altitude, and had to spend a lot of time with sandpaper to make the halves as similar as I could. Glued the two large parts with three small parts in the middle. Additionally nailed the parts and the base was ready. Part 3: Frame The frame is simply a triangle made of three pieces, with short sides cut at a 30° angle. Most jigsaws can cut at 45°, but not at 30°. Had to buy a new jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity. Cut out three sides, cut short sides at a 30° angle, but didn’t put them together just yet. The lens needs to be perfectly aligned with the Sun-facing part of the frame, otherwise the Sun projection isn't circular but elongated. My solution was to carve a hole with a little step as shown on the image. The inner hole is Ø46.5mm, the outer hole is Ø50.8mm. The outer hole is the exact size to let the lens fit, but with a little bit of friction. Had to carve several holes to find the minimal size the lens could fit in. The step is just large enough to have enough surface for the glue to keep the lens in place, I didn't want to reduce the aperture too much. I used an X-Carve for carving and Easel for modelling. With all 3 sides ready, I could assemble the frame. It appeared that my 30° angle cuts were not very precise, but after some sandpapering the sides started fitting together alright. Glued the parts together and left them to dry for a day. To apply some pressure on the joints, I wound several twine loops around the frame really tight, made sure all sides fitted well together and left it to dry like that for a day. Part 4: Mirrors When selecting mirrors I was looking for the smallest mirror that fit the cone of light. Small mirrors are a lot easier to place, and they let me better control the length of the light path. I considered using elliptic mirrors, but they were bulky and really hard to place. All mirrors are first surface mirrors, otherwise planning their locations would be a lot more confusing. This was my original plan of placing the mirrors: As you can see, all the angles and distances were carefully measured, and I wanted to simply make mirror holders of those exact dimensions. This was clearly a bad idea. I 3d-printed some parts like this: And only later I realized that the frame angles are not exactly 60°, and that there are drops of glue along the edges that don’t let me fit the pieces deep enough in the joint between the sides. I cut angles from all the mirror holders: After I put the first mirror in place I realized the angles are all wrong, and that I needed to re-do the holder. Separating the mirror from the holder was a huge pain, which resulted in an accident. The mirror fell off the desk and got damaged. Luckily, only the back side got damaged, the front side was still working: The final designs of mirror holders looks like this: The holes in the front surface let me apply pressure on the back of the mirror if I ever want to separate it from the holder. The recesses collect the excess glue to avoid mirror skewing when gluing them. All other holes are simply to save the filament. Part 5: Placing mirrors What I learned is that you can’t plan positions of several pieces with high precision and just hope that it all comes together. I needed a feedback about the precision of mirror positions. I used a laser pointer to verify mirror positions at each step. In the picture you can see that the laser is firmly set in a hole in another piece of wood, with layers of isolation tape on the tip of the laser pointer to make it stable. A clamp holds the piece of wood in place, ensuring that the laser ray goes in the same direction as a solar ray would. A crosshair of black thread at the center of the lens ensures the laser goes exactly through the center of the lens. When placing each mirror, I marked the spot where I expected the laser to end up. While gluing the mirror holder to the frame, I kept the laser as close to that spot as possible. If for some reason, the laser couldn’t hit the expected spot, I did my best with placing the mirror, and recalculated locations of the following mirrors. I saw the first sunspots after placing all the mirrors and simply holding an eyepiece in hand. Part 6: Eyepiece holder I tried eyepieces of different focal length and liked the picture I got with a 10mm eyepiece the most. An eyepiece needs to be in a very exact spot to produce a sharp image. At this point it was obvious that my frame doesn’t match the model, and that I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong with the frame. I didn’t want to rely on the model and moved forward with trial-and-error. I printed several parts to hold the eyepiece, with different eyepiece locations: The part in the photo was a total disaster. It needed quite a lot of filament, at the same didn’t have enough surface area to be glued to the frame, and not enough surface area to hold the eyepiece firmly. The next iteration was a lot better: This part has a lot more surface area, and needs less filament to be printed. I intentionally printed the hole for the eyepiece too small, and had to sandpaper it a little bit, to make the eyepiece stay firmly fixed. Adjusting the focus is done by sliding the eyepiece up and down until the Sun becomes a circle with well defined borders. Part 7: Dust All optical parts should be kept clean. Dust on the mirrors and the lens will make the image darker. Dust on the eyepiece will show up as artifacts on the projected image. Unlike sunspots, the artifacts will not move with the Sun. To clean the eyepiece I used compressed air. To clean the mirrors I used isopropyl alcohol. Part 8: Fire safety Don’t leave devices with magnifying lenses lying around. Once the Sun happened to be in such a spot that its light went right through the lens, burning through the cap of the eyepiece. Luckily, nobody was hurt and no other damage was done. Part 9: Future work Build quality of the base is very poor. The frame tilts sideways when adjusting its altitude despite all my efforts. I’d like to build a new base, but leave all the work to the machines. I already have a model for an X-Carve to make both base parts, compatible with my current frame: A notch along the edge of the half-circle should eliminate the tilt. The precision of the machining should make the base very stable. Maybe next year, when sunspots become a common daily sight, I’ll get to this project. Thank you for reading this far! I hope you enjoyed it.
  3. Ardufocus is a full open source Moonlite compatible focuser. The source is still under heavy development so things move around a bit. To access source code and detailed instructions visit the Github repository, for the 3D objects visit Thing #2446069. Motivation After buying the CCD, filter wheel and filters I was broke but still wanted to have an automatic focuser. Design Goals Moonlite compatible: This was a very important part of the design as I didn't want to spend time and effort dealing with ASCOM and INDI drivers, the Moonlite focuser is a well known, reputable rock solid focuser. The serial protocol used by them was easily reversed engineered (plain ASCII) and most of it was already documented on the Internet. Cheap: Another big point was to made it as cheap as possible recurring to as few parts as needed. That's the reason why the 28BYJ-48 stepper motor was chosen, out-of-the-box using the ULN2003 gives you a really cheap (less than 2€) focuser for medium loads (380gcm). If you require the focuser to driver heavier loads (800gcm) then the motor itself can be modded into a Bipolar stepper motor and driven by the A4988 step stick which will cost you less than 1€. Builder friendly: Using off-the-shelf components such as the Arduino Nano and easily available parts Ardufocus is aimed to be build by anyone with a soldering iron and some patience, no degree in electronics required. Hardware It was built on top of a standard ATmega 328 Arduino such as UNO, Pro or Nano; currently it does not support the Mega or any other ARM based board. BOM 1x Arduino Nano 1x A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Module 1x Electrolytic capacitor 10uF 1x NTC 10K 5% 1x Resistor 1/4W 10K 1x DC Power connector (male, female pair) 1x DB9 connector (male, female pair) 1x 28BYJ-48 Stepper motor 3D printed parts To download and print instructions for the 3D printed parts have a look at the Thing #2446069. A4988 driver with a Bipolar motor Example schematic how to building and Ardufocus using a modded 28BYJ-48 Stepper motor.
  4. Hello, It's been a long time since I've posted in this forum, anyway I've picked up a Skywatcher 200p F/6 dobsonian as a DIY project whilst I continue to work on a new telescope from scratch, (I've started to grind the mirror). I'll be making improvements to this dobsonian as a project and learning experience, I've already got a temperature controlled fan which has a probe that can measure both mirror and ambient temperature. I'll be measuring the primary mirror with my in progress Foucault/Ronchi/Bath Tester when that's finished in the next couple of weeks, may even refigure it depending on results. But I'm most excited about this right now. The blackest Black Paint as an alternative (hopefully better alternative) to flocking! This stuff is seriously black and flat, I backed it on kickstarter and received 3 bottles along with goodies. I plan on painting the area opposite the focuser, area around the primary mirror, inside the focuser drawtube, potentially the secondary mirror holder and edge of the secondary also. It's a shame I don't have any flocking to compare it with but it looks incredible. This video shows just how impressive it is (moreso than my little tester I've done). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJIIzcbRD9w I'll try and get some decent before and after pics. Dan
  5. So my birthday just past so money to splash on astro stuff , i will have my 1000D modded by juan at cheapastrophotography and also have ordered an autofocuser from deepsky dad https://deepskydad.com/autofocuser i know they can be done DIY but this is a neat package and costs about the same as a SW autofocuser and a hitechastro focusmaster and i`m no electronic wizard and pavel seems to have a good product and works with ascom and confirmed it works with APT i will update in a few weeks time when hopefully i will have received and tried out .
  6. Here we go. It's been a long long time I've been wanted to have my own obsy. Having recently (2y ago ) upgraded my scope to a LX200 10", I found that setting up that scope was no longer a 10 min operation and as a result, my observations got severely reduced to close to nothing. I have to admit I've taken on a full house renovation last year with my family and 2 young children so been quite busy. But now that the house is done, 2016 will be all about getting the garden done and that mean a new shed.... which has to have space for the telescope. The old shed was a simple 7x4, so it makes sense to upgrade to 13x7 doesn't it?! A small spot for the lawn mower and the rest for the scope plus maybe a warm room. Still working on exact plan and dimensions so I will start posting more soon and keen to get feedback. One thing for sure is I've decided to build it from scratch rather than buy. just much more fun. One first question is wether i need a concrete slab or concrete foundations or i can simply lay it on top of stone tiles. The garden is well protected so not worried about wind. Thoughts? manu
  7. Hello all, As the title suggests, I am making some plans of building an Arduino powered dew heater. Lately the dew on my telescope has stopped me in my tracks halfway through the night so its time to build some dew heaters. I want the buildup to be very simplistic in design with as little wires and as basic as possible. So far I have the basic supplies and ideas for it. In the sketch below is a very simplistic view of what i have in mind. I am looking at making 4 dew heaters, 1 for either the 250PDS or the ES triplet, 1 for the guide-scope, 2 as Spare or eyepiece heater. They are connected to the control box via a cinch connector, inside the control box we have 4 TIP transistors to switch the dew heaters on/off. These TIP120 transistors are cooled by some air vents in the box and controlled by the Arduino. The temperature sensors will be 1-wire devices which will be able to measure the heat of the dew band. To make sure it does not overheat. An external DHT22 will measure the outside temperature and calculate the Dew-point with the temperature and humidity. With this dew point and the temperature on the temperature probes we can calculate when to turn on the dew heaters. The dew heaters will be controlled via PWM. They will be made of NiChrome wire for the 250PDS and resistors on the smaller triplet and guide-scope. To prevent the Dew-Heaters from short-circuit or over-heating we also plan to place a fuse between the TIP120 and the Dew-Heaters themselves. This fuse will be of around 3.75A. (can be changed at a later point) I added a simple scheme to show what I mean. For the sharp people, in one of the pictures is a Arduino Uno, we chose to use this as it is bigger and a base for future Arduino projects. We will keep everyone here updated as the project develops and gets more automated! Clear Skies! Buikimaging
  8. Hi all, Pretty often I read about people having issues that may be related to backlash in DEC or RA, and I would like to offer a very simple and effective cure for it. I have done it on my HEQ5 Pro but surely it can be modified for any mount that needs it. With this simple fix, I can live with a rather big backlash (with no risk for binding in freezing temperatures). For DEC, I always balance carefully (neither front nor back heavy). Then I stretch the coil spring until it has a small impact on the DEC balance (and later in the evening I eventually forget about loosening it when I slew away... so you will need some replacement springs. It took maybe 10+ of such mistakes until I stopped forgetting...). The bracket is only attached with double sided tape (on three sides), but the black maintenance plug (not original) also supports it. RA is usually OK with just the standard method "East Heavy", but occationally the scope is poing due west or east (counterweights pointing north) and then there is no "East Heavy" impact. That is when I use this: It´s a little hard to see in the pictures, but I get a momentum in RA (in reverse to tracking direction) when I tighten the string. Now, I happen to have the Rowan belt mod which includes a thick nylon spacer inside the gear cover, and that is a good thing here because it adds to the momentum. I usually hook it up an hour or two before the CW bar points due north. Then when it has well past north I will stop the camera, remove the backlash killer and re-adjust "East Heavy". EDIT: (Sorry, English is my second language...) Should be a torque, not momentum. Ragnar
  9. JemC

    The Obsey

    In the famous words of Bilbao Baggins, I'm going on an adventure! Almost 2 years ago i got rid of my old shed with the intention of replacing it with a R O R shed, Well a lot has happened since then, but no R O R shed ? No way i could build one, my DIY skills are rubbish. My mount and scope plus other bits have sat in the garage ever since, mainly because it's such a pain to drag everything out and set up only to be thwarted by cloud/rain, so i decided that they would stay in the garage until the arrival of R O R shed, so fast forward 2 years..... Well! while browsing some astro sites i happened across an advertisement which said something like wooden observatory for sale, 7ft x 7.5ft, buyer to dismantle and remove, so me being in need of one had a look at the pictures he posted, that will do nicely i thought, so i contacted the seller and asked for more info and pictures, It's not a roof that rolls off onto supports, it turns out 1/2 of the roof rolls over the other 1/2 with a front section of the shed that drops down, I was happy with what i received from the seller, he couldn't have been more helpful and seems a really nice bloke, Right then, where are you located mate i asked, Bovey Tracey he replied, to be honest, i had never heard of it, so time to consult google maps.. Well it turns out it's only about 270 miles one way from my house in Lancashire ? (so round trip of approx 540 miles) Time to make a decision, do the positives outweigh the negatives, is it going to be a cost effective solution in getting my R O R shed ? after doing some calculations and a little more contact with the seller, the answer to the 2 questions above is YES ? I have hired a box van for this coming Saturday,shangied my brother in law to accompany me and.. I'm going on an adventure to Bovey Tracy to dismantle it and give it a new home in sunny Lancashire, even though my DIY skills are rubbish i feel i have to give this a go, All in with the cost of The Obsey (as it is now known until i can think of something better) and with the hire van/fuel and brother in laws dinner it's going to set me back approximately £570 and a day out, I'm well chuffed with that, the cheapest quote i had to have one built was £1000 I have a couple of pictures of the obsey in it's current location if anyone would like to see them, Sorry to waffle on so long, Thanks for reading JemC
  10. Hi there, can anyone recommend the optimum length for a pair of dew shields for my 15x85 binoculars. Kind Rebards Paul J.
  11. Now the colder and damper nights are closing in I've found that I need to wipe off dew on my Celestron StarPointer pro finder quite often as it is pretty exposed to the elements normally (see third photo below), so I set about making a home made dew shield with some foam sheet (£1), and some Velcro (£2.50) to hold it in place. The results are below, which whilst not maybe a work of art does the job of keeping dew off the finder, and allows access to the controls on it still too. Total cost £3.50
  12. This post is about what I did during the British Monsoon. I have not many techniques to share here. It just want to encourage others that want to be able to look at the sun with a low budget (£25) and safe Solar filter. I was able to make one filter for my scope (102mm) and two small ones for my binoculars (2x 50mm). Actually you can produce 2 sets and share the cost with a friend. Only £12.50 for a set of filters, scope and binos. Materials Baader Astrosolar Filter Film A4 size - £23 One thick cardboard - recycled One thin cardboard - recycled from filter's posting package. Bendable card - £1.29 Masking tape - daughter's school kit One A4 sheet - daughter's school kit Tools Cardboard knife Sealer tape Scissors One CD and tin 1- Cut the A4 sheet in half and use it as model to cut the thick cardboard, the thin cardboard and the baader film filter. 2- You only need to cut circles in the cardboards. They will be the film holders. You can use the film square as it is. 3- Use the CD (102mm) to draw a big circle and a can around 50mm diameter to draw the small circles. Spread the circles wisely so there is enough space for the film to cover the circle, and expands until close to the edge of the cardboard. 4- The film holder is going to be a sandwich of one thick cardboard, the thin cardboard and the film filter in the middle. 5- Before sticking the film to the holder, remember to remove the fine translucency plastic that covers the filter on the side that is not protected by the tissue paper that comes with it. 6- Cut three stripes in the bendable cardboard, two inches or 5cm each. And one stripe of one inch or 2.5 cm for the binos.Use these stripes to make a tube that will fit to the scope/ binos. Just tape it as you circle the aperture of your scope/binos. 7- Use the tapes to put together the film, film holders and tubes. 8- To avoid the filters touching each other, fit the filters in different levels in the binos objective. I already tried it and I am very happy with the result. Any question please let me know. Kind regards
  13. It's about time that I got together a thread describing my rebuild of my old Orion Optics SPX350. I'd bought this a *long* time ago with a mind to doing it up to use for AP, but then house move, life, etc meant it sat around doing not a lot for a long time. When I came to use it, I got some good results, esp on planetary work, but also found that under the weight of the heavier SBIG CCD, the thin tube didn't hold collimation particularly well. Here it was: So, eventually, I decided to have a rebuild. I plumped for a truss tube over a remount inside a carbon tube. Not sure whether carbon tube would have been cheaper now though to be honest! As the scope is mounted on an EQ mount (my Losmandy Titan), it needed to have a central brace, and so I shamelessly borrowed many ideas from Rolf Olsen's excellent scopes (see: https://www.rolfolsenastrophotography.com). It started with the three rings - these were routed out of 21mm Baltic Birch Ply (sourced free from a mate who works in wood sales...). Internal diameter is 390mm. Onto these were mounted a new Orion 9 point primary cell (to replace the naff original 3-point cell) - shown here without any connecting hardware!): and with a bit of 1.5" aluminium tube, some drilling and making of small recesses using a spade bit, a secondary cage was constructed -- again without the final countersunk parts and connecting hardware: To be continued!!
  14. Took the bull by the horns and done the power modification on my Eq6 pro to connect via the 2pin connector , bit nerve racking haven’t really done much soldering before ,managed to do soldering without frying anything, used Blu-tac to isolate surrounding area so I didn’t solder anything I shouldn’t have , mount powered up checked slewing with handset , steady red light voltage reading 14v dropping to 13.9v slewing phew ?
  15. Hi all, After having my mind programmed into thinking that home observatories should be round or square I saw an article showing a triangular one. This altered my thinking completely. I had some plywood and other wood left from building my house so took a couple of days to build my observatory. The size was dictated by the tripod base and the movement of the telescope on the mount. I have a NEQ6 Pro and 8inch ACF. The first thing is to align the tripod along the meridian North South with the help of the sun's shadow and the time. This means that with the scope parked it takes up less room. The roof hinges over with the help of a counterweight (not shown on my first video) and the base of the observatory is a equalateral triangle about 5-5 feet high to allow the scope to see most of the sky. This setup allows for access to the scope but is really for remote viewing. The triangular base is approx. 6 feet on each side but the roof requires room on one side to be hinged over. The observatory can be built from 4 sheets of 18mm exterior grade ply and one sheet of 5mm marine ply for the roof and 3 4.2mtr length of 50mm by 100mm treated wood. The cost could be less than £200 if you can use some reclaimed bits. The video I made is about 20 minutes long and involved me thinking and working things out while building it. The triangular construction is much easier and stronger than a square or circular one. The design means I have the scope setup and ready for those short glimpses of clear sky while also able to try remote control of the scope with the roof closed. Since the first video I have put more hinges on the joint and a beam (made from hardwood I bought as an off cut) with a couple of old rail track plates used as counterweights. The next thing is to use a garage door opener to remote the opening of the roof. So here is the link to the video. Please just see it as an example of what you can do, not as a 'this is the way to do it' video. If I was building it again it would be similar but better.
  16. From the album: Astronomical Equipment

    Heating my 21mm Baader Hyperion
  17. I have several parts, motors, and an arduino based AstroEQ controller that I don't use and maybe they could be useful to someone else. Btw I currently live in Turkey and I will ship everything with registered post from here. It should take approximately 2-3 weeks to reach to UK or other parts of Europe. I can accept payments from Paypal and also UK bank transfer. First, I have the arduino based controller. I have put it in a plastic project box. Pretty much everything is connected by jumper cables and the stepper drivers are on a breadbox. So it would be possible to change the casing or the individual parts rather easily. The DRV8825 stepper drivers are fast decay modded so they won't jump steps with lower voltage motors. I have installed the latest firmware that Tom has put on the website. If you want I can also adjust the voltage on the drivers before shipping depending on your setup. I'm asking £20 for it and £7 for shipping. Next I have two nema17 0.9 degree 6V 0.8A steppers. I have attached RJ11 female jacks for connectivity. £15 each and £7 for shipping. Both of them are sold. I also have a Nema14 1.8 degree 4.6V 0.8A stepper. Again I have put a RJ11 female jack. Price £10 and £5 for shipping. I've two handmade motor brackets for EQ5 (or equivalent) mounts. One for Nema 14 motors and the other for nema17. I have used the nema17 for RA and Nema14 for DEC. I'm asking £7 each and £5 for shipping. I have GT2 pulleys and belts. Two 40teeth and two 16teeth. 40s are bored to 6mm and 16s are 5mm, so they will fit the EQ5 worm and the stepper motor shafts. That would make a gear ratio of 2.5. I've included two GT2 140mm belts, which worked with my setup by adjusting the space a bit. I'm not willing to split this as the shipping cost would be more than the parts. As a whole I'm asking for £15 and £5 for shipping. Sold Finally, I two 2 meter cables with RJ11 jacks. From my experience when the standard thin phone cables are too long sometimes the motors don't function properly. Hence, I've used ticker cables with these connectors. £10 for total of two cables. £5 for shipping. If I ship multiple items together it will be cheaper. I'm also open to offers. And please ask me if you need more info.
  18. I have searched SGL for a tutorial incase this has been covered so forgive me if it has. I've also searched the web in general and couldn't find a full tutorial to do this, so i have collated a couple of tutorials that make it work. I have managed to get SkySafari to work with a £32 ish Raspberry Pi3 and the cable that came with my scope with a usb to serial converter - the same things you need for connecting to a PC. It allows me to control the scope using the SkySafari Plus app on my tablet or phone AND it creates a wifi hotspot on the Raspberry Pi so it doesnt have to be on a network to work. This also turns the pi into a natty mini wireless router which is handy if you travel since it gives you a private wireless network when plugged into hotel wired internet ? ***STANDARD DISCLAIMER*** I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE THAT MAY OCCUR TO YOUR HARDWARE BY FOLLOWING THIS POST OR ANYTHING LINKED TO THIS POST It takes about 30 mins to do the tinkering, make sure you use the latest LITE version of raspbian. You need: Raspberry Pi 3 Portable power to it (preferably) Raspbian Lite Image file Appropriate cables to connect your Telescope to it via USB Computer connected to network Network cable to connect Raspberry Pi for initial setup A GoTo / Push To etc telescope mount compatible with SkySafari Plus / Pro A nice case for the Raspberry Pi You need to know a little about accessing the Raspberry Pi by SSH. For windows, use Win32 Disk Imager to burn the latest Raspbian LITE image to a micro sd card. Open the card on the pc (called boot) and make a blank file on it called 'ssh' - no file extension. This enables ssh access automatically. Stick it in your Pi and plug it into your network router and a power source. Find its ip address - i log into my router by typing its ip address into a web browser and look at connected devices, there are other methods though. I use a program called Putty to ssh. There are many tutorials on how to do the above and it isnt as hard as it first seems. I used 2 tutorials to do this and i will link to them directly as the original authors explain it better than me. The first one is muuuch longer than the second which is just 3 steps so bare with it. ***NOTE*** When the first tutorial suggests a reboot after the upgrade, DO IT! Then ssh back into the Pi and continue. Don't bother rebooting after tutorial 1 either. Tutorial 1 - Turn Raspberry Pi into a portable wifi hotspot See 'CONNECTING' after doing step 2 in the next tutorial to actually connect to the scope as what you have just done changes it a bit. Tutorial 2 - Make it talk to SkySafari App and the 'Scope You can now unplug the pi from your router. Plug your USB to serial adapter into the pi, your telescope cable into that and connect it to your scope as you would do with a pc (mine is into the AutoStar hand box) and use it as a stand alone adapter just like the £200 SkyFi adapter! CONNECTING: To connect SkySafari to the pi you simply connect your tablet or phone to the pi's network like you would any other wifi network, i called mine Scope, connect using the security key / password you made up in tutorial 1. Open SkySafari and follow step 3 in the second tutorial but with IP address 192.168.0.10 - the port is still 4000 (unless you changed it) If you are at home and your cable is long enough to reach your router you can plug the pi into that and use your home internet too - which you cant do with the SkyFi adapter! I am going to shorten my serial cable to make it a neater package, i can always solder new plus to make an extension if i ever need one. I am also working on finding out how to make it share usb internet so a 4g dongle can be plugged into it when out and about since when you connect to the pi's wifi in the field you will not have internet on the device connected to it. Also the Pi could possibly be used for imaging or tracking, someone on here will probably know more on this.
  19. Hello reader, Appreciate your time to read that topic. Have you ever tried 3D printing tech to create/design any of your astro components that may substitute expensive ones?. I'm curious to know your thoughts about it. Thankfully, Bamo
  20. theropod

    Hi Everyone

    Hey all, Last summer I figured out how to capture images of meteors during the Perseid shower using my iPhone 6+ and the app NightCap Pro. Since then I have managed to grab over 200 of these speed freaks. I built a barn door tracker and learned how to drive it with an Arduino, Easy Driver and a salvaged bipolar stepper motor from a dead Epson printer. After numerous adjustments of the code to get the speed just so I can get 5 minute shots with little to no trailing in the wide field work I am doing. The tracker can run for about 5 hours before it needs to be rewound to the starting point. The variable interval setting in NightCap Pro is perfect for the kind of images I am after. Attached is one of those Perseids that started this whole affair well beffore my barn door tracker came to be. Of course this was enough to cause an addiction, and I bought a little Celestron C90 mak. I love the scope, even though it isn't an earth based Hubble. The erector prism is a joke as is the tripod and finder scope, but the main scope is a fine little machine. So far I have managed a few fair shots of Jupiter and Saturn, but my barn door tracker is not sturdy enough to carry the scope. In an attempt to overcome this I bought the iOptron Skytracker Pro and matching ball head. Let me just say I am far from impressed. This tracker is mounted on a 1/4" plate of aluminum which is in turn mounted to a water filled 55 gallon drum that serves as a large pier. My barn door tracker is also mounted to this plastic drum, and the barrel sits on a thick bed of crushed limestone. I also drove steel T posts into the ground nearly level with the barrel top, and then clamped all this together with a 1 ton ratchet strap. No matter how hard I crank down the setting knobs on the ball head the scope droops slowly to plumb. When I just mount my iPhone to the ball head this issue doesn't arise, and I have made 25 minute exposures with nice crisp stars. The scope is supposed to be well within the capacity of the tracker and ball head, but apparently is not. So, my next purchase, after months of research, is going to be the Celestron Advanced VX mount, and I may give the iOptron gear to a deserving kid. I don't care about serious deep field work, but the C90 can easily resolve more faint objects than I thought it would. Resolving the major moons of Jupiter is a trvial endeavor. The narrow field of view doesn't bother me at all. Perhaps I will buy a larger scope in a year or so and use the C90 as a guider. Some personal info: I am a retired 63 year old man and live off the grid in north central Arkansas Ozark mountains on 60 acres with my wife of 24 years. In a former life I was the executive director of a small natural history musem that focused on the terrestrial fuana of the very latest Cretaceous of the Hell Creek formation in South Dakota (when non-avian dinosaurs became extinct). Currently I am attempting to recover from a broken fibula that happened the second monday of March, but had a CAT scan last Friday in preparation for reconstruction surgery later this week. The breaks, yes multiple fractures, have failed to reunite as they should. This, of course, will mean a restart of the mending and effectively put my sky watching in a bind for another 6-8 weeks. Even if I am back on crutches I will be ready for the Perseid shower, and will probably visit with my son in Oregon to watch the total solar eclipse in August. So, here I am and eager to absorb the collective knowledge I have already seen is a commonality on your fine forum. Thanks for having me. Perhaps I can even contribute a few tidbits from time to time. Roger
  21. Hi guys and girls, I would like your thoughts on my grand design for my observatory as Kevin McCloud is busy and I am looking for that little gem of advice which may help me navigate around or avoid a common or not so common problem already addressed by the informed users of SL. I have a (second) shed measuring 2.5m x 3.0m and this is to be my observatory with great views 340° of the night sky (tree hiding NNW so not an issue). I live in the country 10 miles away from the nearest town so light pollution isn't an issue although I'm not in a dark skies site I have looked at the website below and found my area is in a reasonably good area for darkness. So to not ruin the aesthetics of part of our garden I have been looking for alternatives to the rolling roof option. I have a flat roof at a slight angle to accommodate rain and have decided the best option is to cut the roof in half and open it up like a book with both halves folding on hinges to 170° being supported on chain with a rope pulls to pull them back in and dampeners to stop them slamming down. There will be a fixed pier and suitable wiring for plug sockets, red wall light and a consumer box. A desk along one wall and storage space. What are your thoughts? I will post pictures when i begin! http://www.avex-asso.org/dossiers/wordpress/?page_id=127&lang=en_GB#
  22. Hi, Decided to have a go at a Bahtinov Mask today. I used the generator at http://astrojargon.net/maskgenerator.aspx to create an image which I printed on a laser printer. This was then taped to a piece of thick black card and the slots carefully cut out using a scalpel. I left some tabs of card around the edge. I then took a strip of black card and joined the ends so it fitted around the end of the scope. The front was then attached via the tabs and it was all taped up with black insulation tape. No stars out tonight to test it on so had to make do with a distant street light. Not ideal but it shows the principal. Very happy with this simple tool and can't wait to try it out for real. The mask front cut-out with tabs around the edge Assembled In focus Out of focus
  23. I know the topic of DIY autofocusers has probably been done to death, but just thought I would share my experiences of making one this evening. I got most of the technical / clever bits from Motionco, and two metal brackets (for attaching the motor to the scope) from B&Q. I have got to say that this was quite a bit easier that I was expecting it to be. Making the bracket and attaching it to the scope took ~3 hours, but this was me taking my time and following my old dad's motto of measure twice, cut once . As a result, I did not [removed word]-up at any stages, a very rare occurrence for me . I wanted the motor to be very easy to attach / remove in the dark, and I think the bracket I have ended up with does a pretty good job, it is just a pity it looks a bit ugly . Got to say that it works brilliantly, and the main reason I built this was because I was finding it really difficult to get my arms in to position to focus the scope, while trying to look at the laptop screen during imaging, with the image was jumping about all over the place every time I touched the focuser knob . Now I can just do this really easily, straight in front of the screen and the focusing control is really fine, much better than I can do with my hand and virtually no image wobble. Here are a couple of pictures, and if any one is remotely interested in how I did it / exactly what bits you need to buy, please post in this thread and I will add step by step instructions with pictures, but not tonight, I need some sleep . A few quick pictures:-
  24. Hi all. I have built my first solar observing scope, and wanted to share it with you all. I built the filter using Baader solar film. First, I wrapped card around the end of the telescope, about 3cm wide, and taped it down until I had three layers of card. Before attaching the film, I taped over all the edges of card, to reduce sharp edges and reduce sharp edges, and hopefully preventing damage to the film. Then I laid the solar film over the top, gently taping it around the edges of the card. Around the outside of this, I wrapped a further three layers of card and taped it down again. I made this layer a little wider, so I could put the filter in a protective box without the worry of the film being damaged. Then, again, I taped around it all to add to the strength and durability. Here's a photo: The finder was made using a example on the internet. I used a piece of standard waste pipe, cut it straight on one side, and in this hole went a piece of card with a pinhole. On the other end, I cut the pipe at 45 degrees, and then put a piece of paper in the opening. When lined up with the sun, a point of light from the pinhole is visible on the paper, allowing you to align with the sun and protect your eyes. As you ca see in the first photo, I attached it by simply laying it on top of my accessory shoe, and used an elastic band - works surprisingly well! And here's a photo from the setup (mobile phone held above the lens.)
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