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  1. Hi, I have a 3" focuser on my APO 5" telescope. High quality and works very fine, except it could slip sometimes in the friction coupling. Even if I set the force higher with the adjust screw it slip sometimes. When the telescope get wet from moisture the water act as an oilfilm and lubricate the axis and steel plate friction surfaces. Now I must do something about this problem, took the focuser apart yesterday and looked after what was wrong with it. I have as usual documented what I do, for myselfe and all other that maybe have the same problem: http://www.astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/project-focus-friction/project-focus-friction.html I will update the page when I have done the first test after my fix. Any smart ideas how to increase the friction? /Lars
  2. Especially to those among us that do unguided imaging a new and free software-tool I recently created may be of interest: FITSalize. When doing unguided imaging stability of the set-up is of the essence. Question is how one can properly assess the stability of a tripod or an observatory and distinguish flexure in the imaging train from deformation of the basis of the set-up. From the images themselves it is impossible to assess whether elongated stars are the result of tracking errors or due to stability issues. FITSalize is a command-line tool that runs under JAVA and uses ASTAP to plate-solve the images taken and to determine their SQM values. It is built to analyse FITS-files from a stationary scope (i.e. a scope firmly attached to the pier or base of the mount and pointing in a fixed direction) and to convert the images to accurate alt/azi coordinates. Being taken with a stationary scope the alt/azi coordinates should remain unaltered during the imaging period. Any deviation may indicate issues with the stability of the set-up. As these plate-solves result in J2000 RA/DEC coordinates they cannot be directly used to analyse stability. FITSalize corrects for precession to produce mean JNOW RA/DEC coordinates from the J2000 RA/DEC, then corrects for the effect of nutation in longitude and obliquity of the ecliptic and for the effect of annual aberration to find the apparent JNOW RA/DEC. These are then converted to alt/azi and stored (with all intermediate results) in a .csv-file. The algorithms in FITSalize are based on J. Meeus, Astronomical Algorithms, (Richmond (VA), 2005) and have been compared to results from the SOFA-library (many thanks to Massimiliano Chersich for testing this, he also initiated this type of measurements last year at the 10Micron forum) and with the algorithms in Han Kleijn's ASTAP and Stellarium (only Stellarium does not apply annual aberration to the calculations). Using your favourite spreadsheet (examples are provided) graphs can be produced to visualise the stability: Above example shows the stability of InFINNity Deck (my observatory) over a period of approximately six hours. Deformation in altitude was less than 4 arc-seconds, in azimuth less than 2 arc-seconds. In addition to deformation measurements FITSalize can also be used to plot SQM-values against alt/azi. For this regular FITS that were acquired to image a target are analysed: In this example light pollution affects the SQM-values in the north-east of the observatory. From those same FITS the focuser gradient and intercept can be calculated: For more info and download of the software see the FITSalize-page on my web-site. Nicolàs
  3. My old Win 7 box has died. It used lazyfocus.dll to drive the motorized focusser. The new box has Win 10 Pro and most everything (TheSky, MaximDL, LesveDome, SX cameras, etc) now works after some re-installation and re-configuration. The focusser steadfastly refuses to be driven by software. The Moonlite PRO ASCOM driver supposedly works as a LazyFocus driver but doesn't. Everything I have tried so far to install the old DLL has failed. Has anyone managed to get LazyFocus to work under Win 10? If so, how? Otherwise it looks like new hardware will have to be bought and got working. Thanks for any help. Paul
  4. Hello everyone. Bit of a niche request for my first post, but is anyone using the ZWO EAF focuser on the standard Crayford type 150/750 Sky-Watcher Newtonian? The focuser is stated as being compatible only with Sky-Watcher's astrophotography OTAs with their dual-speed focuser, but I can't see why that is except perhaps that ZWO assume you wouldn't do imaging with the standard tube - whereas it works fine with my Nikon D750. I'm intending to get one but seeking reassurance it will work. I've seen this video: it's on a bigger OTA by the looks of it, but the focuser looks the same as mine (in French, but very clear even if you don't speak it):
  5. Hello stargazers, I am using a Newtonian telescope (114mm/900mm) that has a 0.965" (24.5mm) focuser. My eyepieces are all 1.25" (31.8mm), so I use an adapter to make them fit. Yet, because the adapter adds distance between the eyepiece and the primary objective, does using an eyepiece adapter affect the way that my focuser works? Thank you for your advice.
  6. Hi Everyone, Would someone happen to have STL files for a simple printable Crayford/R&P focuser please?
  7. From the album: Meade 5000 APO 80mm focuser

    Brass wire for tensioning
  8. Spaciual shout our for Moonlite Telescope Accessories and their product. As most will know I am a bit iof a fan of Moonlite focusers. I own two a tri knob dual rate for my 8" Newtonian and tri knob dual rate with all the bells and whistles on my Maksutov. The focusers have always performed wll, shifting heavy loads and large eyepieces and are well made, good value and a very worthwhile upgrade to almost any telescope. Two weekends ago while camping my Newtonians Moonlite went wobbly - this one is about 4 years old. The focuser would slip super badly under loads of 1lb and more and when the tensioner was tightened (and this must be done very slowly and in time amounts by the way) the 10:1 reduction unit ceased to work. In a nutshell I could live with either slippage or no fine focus. As the weather was cloudy the whole three days we were camping (no more Salisbury for me) I let it lie and resoived to take a look when back home. A few days investigation and fiddling acheived nothing. Focuser tube was cleaned, the pressure bad cleaned and the spindle cleaned plus the top rollers. The unit was stripped and cleaned a fair few times but no matter how much I messed with it it just plain refused to work. I suspect the tension on the bearings is not high enough and the spring loaded element has weakened. Soooooooooo........I puit in a call to Moonlite and spoke to Ron. The unit was sourced from Steve at FLO but I didnt want to bug him on a unit thats four years old and felt Moonlite would be the best option. Ron was courteous to a fault, suggeted the spring may indeed be the source of problems and said they wouldn't expect any unit to fail and said if I shipped it back to them they would fix it free of charge and ship it back to me. Ro also offered a firmer spring which that offer as an option for those of us with heavyweight EPs etc. So I would just like to conclude by saying as ever what a great company to do business with. Courteous, helpful and happy to replace something thats gone a bit wobbly. I always say that any company can have a dud go through or a product thyat has a few issues but its how they deal with things when stuff goes wrong thats the real test. So there you are - great product, great company to deal with and its nice to know yor investment in their product is backed up by people who stand four square behind their product and will help when things go wrong. Thank you Ron. Mel
  9. Hi all. I've been pondering over the idea of upgrading the standard focuser on my 200p to a dual speed one. This one: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-focusers/dual-speed-crayford-1252-inch-focuser-for-skywatcher-explorer.html This is primarily due to my frustration when observing the planets, especially when the seeing isn't great. I really need that extra tiny bit of precise focus, and the focuser I currently have just moves that notch too much when I try and fine tune. Do you guys think it's worth going for one of these? Also how easy is it to attach a new focuser? I don't want to go recking my scope by dropping screws onto the mirror Many thanks, Thomas
  10. Hi again, another newbie question. I bought a used Skywatcher Quattro 10" CF ota. In the future I intend on some astrophotography but currently i'm interested in visual. Regarding the focuser, it did not come with any accessories, only the 2" focuser itself...and all of my EPs are 1 1/4". I bought a 2" to 1 1/4" twistlock adaptor and tried a meade 32mm plossl. I seemingly could not get close to focus. This did not really suprise me as the scope is primarily intended for imaging. Is it correct for me to assume that I require a 55mm extension tube/spacer to be able to reach focus on the eyepiece? If so, would a 50mm spacer maybe work? Many Thanks for any info.
  11. I just bought an Istar 150mm F12 lens and cell and will be building the telescope to hold it. The guy I bought it from has generously given me some excellent advice, so I know where I will get the aluminium tube and how I will cut it, how I will plan the light path and baffles, and how I will flock it internally. He also suggested a couple of focusers that he has used and likes. I think I will probably go for a Moonlite focuser as I have one on a newtonian and I really like the smoothness and precision of it, but I am also considering a couple of others. Do any of you have either the TS Monorail or the Baader Steeltrack? What do you like and dislike about them? I will be using the scope for visual observing only and the heaviest eyepiece I will use on it will be my Explore Scientific 30mm 82° at 1.4kg. Thanks.
  12. Hi folks, I wonder if I may ask advice for what software to use for observatory automation and imaging. I am currently working on a little newt for astrophotography. I've come to the point of making the focuser. Now I was just going to make a simple manual focuser because it will just be one camera mounted there all the time. In an ideal world I would just set the focus and forget it, now I'm getting the feeling I may have to adjust it more often then I anticipate. Being a remote observatory, I thought it might be silly to have to run out to do it manually. So this leaves me with an electric focuser. I spent some time last night looking into a few options, I am going to go the DIY route. I guess the crux of my question is do I go down the ASCOM path or the INDI path? This should really be a question I decide on my own, but I'm not prepared at this point and want to continue with designing the focuser project. Essentially I want to run a small observatory from inside. Open the obsy shutter, slave the observatory to the mount, get weather, maybe a skycam, goto, tracking and Stelarium. I'm a little overwhelmed, I guess I need to decide the "main" software before building the little accessory computers? SGP sounds interesting, then again so does EKOS... Should I go ahead with the "ASCOM myfocuser" type build?. I'm not even sure how the camera interfaces with everything, ie: does it communicate with the focuser for auto focus, or is it all controlled by the main piece of software? Actually I'm unsure if I can even do this with a Sony camera, perhaps I need a Canon, I know they are a little friendlier when it comes to using extra software. Any info and experiences would be appreciated.
  13. Second sunny day in a row so another chance to play with my new Lunt 50 Ha scope. I had read Gary’s post so I knew there was plenty of limb activity on show. The large prom at the 2 o’clock position was fairly easy to spot but I struggled to find the others . I could see there was something there further down the limb but it was very indistinct. I played around with the pressure tuner but to no avail. It then occurred to me it was probably a focussing issue. I replaced the supplied focuser with a Feather Touch focuser. What a difference. Easily spotted the other proms and could make out a fair bit of detail. Although this is only a single action focuser it is very smooth to use and fine focus adjust is easy. Now after a warming coffee I will get back out and try to sketch the proms. Not that I am much good at sketching, but it is fun to try.
  14. Hi guys, I have made a video of how to mount a Primalucelab Sesto Senso focus motor on a true 3" Feather Touch 3215 focuser. I thought some of you might wonder how to use the extra collar you need to mount the motor on to the bigger versions of the FT focusers, and also how to align the motor shaft. Enjoy
  15. Hi! Have anyone tried to make a DIY version of hand controller for zwo eaf focuser? Or tried measuring what is the output of the controller? I want to print a hand controller +battery case all in one but unfortunately do not have the controller to check what needs to be outputted thru connector. I assume it will be pretty basic like shortening contact but maybe someone has already checked Thanks for looking!
  16. Do somebody using Dual-Speed SCT focuser for Cassegrain? Read about it and all of users say the same-it's a huge improvement. Can anyone share your experience with me in case? I found one on FLO - MoonLite CS Dual-Speed SCT Crayford ,looks impressive.
  17. Having suffered for some while with broken teeth on my Tracelscope 70s plastic focuser rack; I finally got around to doing something about it. First of all I cut a piece of aluminium (aluminum for our friends across the Pond ) the same size and dimensions as the plastic one on the focuser tube. Using the damaged one on the tube as a template, I marked out the replacement and began to file it down to size. Once this was done I copied across the positions of the valleys between the teeth onto the aluminium replacement. Using a manual mitre saw with a blade suitable for metal I cut the valleys. Some rough filing and the rack was almost complete. A hole was drilled at each end to receive a screw. I then cut off the plastic rack from the focuser tube, filed the cut flat and the glued and screwed the replacement into position. Due to the rough hand marking, cutting and filing it is not 100% smooth running, but at least it gives me full travel. A couple of pics: Broken plastic rack (removed). New aluminium rack glued & screwed in place
  18. I've mostly finished the bulk of my scope's parts design but I'm stuck on the focuser now; specifically on where it should be along the optical axis and how much travel to allow for. My main concern is, when the focuser is fully racked in, how far outside of the focuser tube should the primary focal point be, and how far inside should it be when fully racked out? Some info that might be useful: I'll be using it for astro observing, no imaging or terrestrial viewing. It's a 150mm f/5 scope and I'll use a range of EPs and Barlow with it. Do you have any guidelines for me on this topic? Some further reading references to theory and literature will also be helpful.
  19. Seeing as it was rainy the other day, I took to my spare parts box and pulled out an old WifI IP Camera that had been drowned previously, control boards fried. Fortunately, it’s 2x stepper motors still worked (24BYJ-48 - you can get them off eBay for next to nothing). I’d picked up some UL2003 driver boards a while ago with the intention of a play with a Raspberry Pi, so this seemed the perfect project. 30 minutes in Python, a swift bit of Node-Red-UI, 2 pieces of Meccano and 10 minutes soldering et voila! PiFocus Testing the motor control via breadboard... The Raspberry Pi in question currently sports an Energenie two-way RFM69-based radio transmitter for controlling household sockets etc, and 2x 1-wire temp probes - these are handled by Domoticz, a free open source home automation system for which I wrote a plugin a few months back to allow voice / mobile control via Apple HomeKit protocol & Siri. Breadboard tests all worked, so got it all soldered up, and fortunately with the quick addition of two pieces of meccano, got it all strapped to my 114EQ OTA via the existing finder scope mounts... et voila! It’s not the speediest of things at the moment. Still needs some improvement to the “transmission” but it takes 45000 steps of the stepper motor to get from full-in to full-out, so it should be sensitive enough... so here’s the final test - mounted up with the weight of an Opticstar PL131M to give it something to work with: Rather chuffed if I do say do myself!! Last step is to add virtual switches into Domoticz for Siri-controlled action...! Am quite happy to share all the code etc if anyone wants it (s’all standard stepper control code kicking about a few raspberry pi sites). Should work on any Raspberry Pi running Jessie with Node-Red, Node-Red-UI & Python 2.7.x installed.
  20. Hi all, I've been thinking about a focuser upgrade for my 250PX for some time now, and recently spotted the above (link: http://www.tringastro.co.uk/skywatcher-dual-speed-low-profile-crayford-focuser-3948-p.asp ), which I like the look of. Opinions seem to vary, with some users reporting focusing issues and fitting problems. I know the focuser is claimed to suit DSLR users, the low profile nature allowing the camera to achieve focus, but is it also suitable for purely visual observing? Some users seem to be saying 'yes', by use of the inbuilt extending tube, whereas others suggest 'not'. If it is suitable for visual use, would I need anything else (eyepiece adaptor, for instance)? Anyone got any direct experience? Cheers, Kev
  21. Hello all! I just installed this Lacerta 1:10 Micro Transmission focuser on my 8” Skywatcher Dobsonian. It is a direct replacement for the stock focuser and works extremely well. I was surprised at how easy it was to install! Ordered it from 365Astronomy and got fast shipping.
  22. Anybody used a Lacerta Dual Speed 1:10 Microfocus Upgrade Kit for Skywatcher Crayford Focuser? Are they any good? easy to fit? or should I just spend the extra to get a full dual speed focuser? cheers for your thoughts
  23. I'm finally nearing the end of my project to move imaging over from a Olimex A20 running INDI to a raspberry pi (also running INDI) that will be mounted to the side of my LX90 fork arm to really reduce the amount of cables running down the mount. I'm now down to a single multicore cable from the ground to supply two separate power lines, one for the dew heater and then the second that is split between CCD, LX90 and the Raspberry PI. The PI itself controls my CCD, Guide cam and filter wheel via USB but in addition I've built a "Hat" (although I shouldn't really call it that as it violates a few parts of the official hat spec). That provides an RS232 connection for the LX90 autostar and a DRV8805 based controller to drive my newly arrived (Early Christmas present to myself arrived just a few days before Christmas) Moonlite focuser. Below is an image of the final board mounted onto the Raspberry PI and here's a photo of it hooked up to the Moonlite focuser. The project wasn't without its issues, quite a few of them to be honest. From design flaws with the PCB switch mode power supply (luckily fixable without needing a new PCB) to... well they're all covered on my blog which has several posts covering the project. On Christmas Eve, it all came together though. With a custom INDI driver for the board driving the focuser perfectly. Full source for the INDI driver, hardware schematics and PCB gerbers along with a few kicad components are all available at:- https://bitbucket.org/BWGaryP/mup-astro-cat https://bitbucket.org/BWGaryP/mup-kicad-library If you're wondering about the name (he says hoping someone read this far), it was originally the MUP Astro Hat, but since I didn't end up following the full PI hat spec, I decided to rename it. It was a toss up between CAT (after the SCT it's used with) or CAP, since a Cap is like a Hat but not quite a hat! For the odd person who did get this far, there's much more detail on my blog in a series of posts including a totally, amazing, action packed video of the focuser erm moving. http://www.mups.co.uk/post/2016/12/moonlite-focusing/ Bottom of that blog post is a link to all the earlier posts which cover the many mistakes made and bodges to fix them This is the first PCB I've ever made, so I'm incredibly chuffed with how well it turned out despite some rough edges and the many issues along the way. Can't wait to sort the last couple of bits now (few cables and counterweights to sort) so I can finally give this focuser a proper test under the (hopefully not quite as blurry) stars
  24. Hi Guys, I have SW Equinox 80 pro and it was fitted with focusing motor which I have removed. I can't find its locking screw and two small silver screws to tighten the focuser. Do you know where can I buy the locking and small silver screws. Thanks AJ
  25. Folks just a short note to share a modification which some of you may find useful. The standard Crayford has fairly poor focus accuracy as we all know. But rather than chuck it and buy the twin speed version at about 150 quid... try this first. Simply double the gearing ratio by reducing the dimaeter of the spindle. I used a 2.5mm screwdriver and a ball of tape to give me a handle. The original spindle is abour 5mm So in stead of 3 full turns to rack end-to-end, you get amnost 6 full turns of the spindle. here is a fairly crude yet very effective implementation using a precision scredriver. this has greatly improved my focus accuracy! ...and as a bonus it can how hold my DSLR without applying the focus lock! Hope you like it and give it a go! Cheers Ray
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