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Xbox Livecam Mod (Cliff)


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Hi Daz,

Yes go for it. I found that solar observing was easier than I other forms of astrophotography I have tried and it has the advantage of giving you something to do on those bright sunny evenings.

Cliff, as for glue, I just used Bostick multipurpose glue. It held a metal body to my Xbox camera and it stuck the cardboard together on my solar filter. Mind, I put plenty on, you could have glued a model of a Spitfire and the Turpitz together with the amount I used.

Still rehousing in a black box would help with the light leak and stop you having to tape up the existing white enclosure.

Edited by DrRobin
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OK, as promised, two images of Jupiter, one from the Xbox cam, the other from the Toucam Pro II. You can see the Toucam is more sensitive as it picked up two moons and there is more detail on Jupiter

I went off Cliff's instructions and figured I would take pictures and explain in a bit more detail...Thanks for the initial mod Cliff. Here is the beginning...Materials used: 1. livecam 2. Plastic ru

Found another bit of film from last night which gives a little more detail from the xboxcam...

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Hi Daz,

Yes go for it. I found that solar observing was easier than I other forms of astrophotography I have tried and it has the advantage of giving you something to do on those bright sunny evenings.

Cliff, as for glue, I just used Bostick multipurpose glue. It held a metal body to my Xbox camera and it stuck the cardboard together on my solar filter. Mind, I put plenty on, you could have glued a model of a Spitfire and the Turpitz together with the amount I used.

Still rehousing in a black box would help with the light leak and stop you having to tape up the existing white enclosure.

I shall get some glue tomorrow going to redcar town for change gunna look in game shop check for any xbox cams :(

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Hi Cliff,

Redcar and it's a sunny day you lucky lad. Don't get burnt sunbathing on the beach!

Slightly off-topic but at your suggestion I thought I would have a go at Star Trails and download StarStax, I have posted the results from last night and the night before below. Now if I used an Xbox camera for this with my 1.9mm lens, take a picture every 30 seconds, sum the frames and then it would produce a nice star trail, maybe?

post-23264-133877778887_thumb.jpg

post-23264-133877778893_thumb.jpg

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Hi Daz,

Yes go for it. I found that solar observing was easier than I other forms of astrophotography I have tried and it has the advantage of giving you something to do on those bright sunny evenings.

Cliff, as for glue, I just used Bostick multipurpose glue. It held a metal body to my Xbox camera and it stuck the cardboard together on my solar filter. Mind, I put plenty on, you could have glued a model of a Spitfire and the Turpitz together with the amount I used.

Still rehousing in a black box would help with the light leak and stop you having to tape up the existing white enclosure.

Hiya Robin

Ive just flocked the inside of my 150P just need to get hold of a modeling knife now to cut it from the focus mount etc. next up will be the Xbox cam, Ive ordered a nose piece for it to save any messing with tubing and glue, so when that is set up I'll get hold of some film. How would I go about putting that on the 150P? over the EP or focus tube, or over the aperture end? or both... Having never done this before Id like to get it right first time as its rather a dangerous thing amplifying the Sun and all that comes with it.

I did do some EP projection years ago with some success, however its bereft of any colour that way. Im quite looking forward to all this now, Ive also just bagged what I thought to be a bargain on Ebay, an Eq-5 with RA drive ex window display for £145 Buy it now delivered. I imagine I was probably one of the first to see it listed luckily, Im sure the drives are around £90 alone.

So when all this is set up, i'll be able to do longer movies with the web cam and stack them in Sharpcap or DSS/Registax. I cant for the life of my get Astrocam thingy working at all so will stick with what I know for now.

Its such a damn bind being stuck in crutches as I cant carry anything at all. :S

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Hi Daz,

Sorry to hear you are stuck on crutches, that must really suck with the good weather? Good news about your eq5, sounds good and it should be big enough to carry your 150p for both visual and astrophotography.

The solar film goes over the aperture, but 150mm is too big. Your 150p should have come with a lens cap and that lens cap usually has a smaller cap offset from the centre axis which is about 50mm in diameter. If it has, make a solar filter to go over this smaller aperture in the lens cap, as anything bigger will just let too much light through.

If it hasn't got a smaller cap in the lens cap, then make two cardboard covers, cut a 50mm diameter hole to one side and place the film between the two covers over the smaller aperture. Make sure you use dense enough cardboard to block out the sun.

I would think that 50mm will be about right for a 150p and an Xbox, but you might need to block some more light if it lets too much through.

I had to cover my Xbox camera with black tape to block out the stray light through the back (especially where the word Microsoft is).

Try as I might I couldn't get the film to sit flat, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

I have a motor box for my eq1, it takes a bit of fiddling with to get the speed right, but once it is it will hold the sun in position for a few minutes, easily long enough to get a movie.

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Hi Daz,

Sorry to hear you are stuck on crutches, that must really suck with the good weather? Good news about your eq5, sounds good and it should be big enough to carry your 150p for both visual and astrophotography.

The solar film goes over the aperture, but 150mm is too big. Your 150p should have come with a lens cap and that lens cap usually has a smaller cap offset from the centre axis which is about 50mm in diameter. If it has, make a solar filter to go over this smaller aperture in the lens cap, as anything bigger will just let too much light through.

If it hasn't got a smaller cap in the lens cap, then make two cardboard covers, cut a 50mm diameter hole to one side and place the film between the two covers over the smaller aperture. Make sure you use dense enough cardboard to block out the sun.

I would think that 50mm will be about right for a 150p and an Xbox, but you might need to block some more light if it lets too much through.

I had to cover my Xbox camera with black tape to block out the stray light through the back (especially where the word Microsoft is).

Try as I might I couldn't get the film to sit flat, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

I have a motor box for my eq1, it takes a bit of fiddling with to get the speed right, but once it is it will hold the sun in position for a few minutes, easily long enough to get a movie.

Hiya Robin,

Yea I had my right foot rebuilt with bone grafts as the original titanium plates were grating on the joint above them so its been fused together now. Crutches and an aircast for 3 months Im far from happy at the timing!

The 150P does have a single 50mm cap in the main aperture cap so I'll set about making something for that. I have ordered some sefl amalgamating tape for the Xbox cam as I noticed how 'see through' the case was when I held it up to the sunny windo yesterday. So I'll use the tape and the nose piece to sort that out. One more question if you dont mind, the IR filter... in or out? I know its needed for true colour but Im wondering whats best for the Sun really.

I have heard the film is an absolute swine to get flat no matter how hard you try itll crinkle! The motor sounds like it will come in really handy then :-) but that'll depend on how good the polar alignment is. I know the latitude of where I live but the setting plate is only marked as single degrees so I'll have to guess the 52.13 north. No polaris available in the day I dont suppose hah!

I'll be selling my Eq 3-2 once Im set up with the EQ 5 if you're interested. I was going to put it on Ebay but its a total rip off that place they sting you for listing, photo's, reserve price etc. then take a chunk of your money in the end, then Paypal takes its 10% too! I dont know of any other sites where I could advertise it.

Anyway Im waffling again, it happens when you're bored stiff! :(

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Hi Daz,

I kept the stock IR filter in place on my Xbox as you will need one if you try the moon or planets. I don't know how much difference it will make on the sun, but won't harm it to leave it in place.

Regards to buying and selling you could try www.astrobuysell.com/uk, it's a really good site full of genuine buyers and sellers and I have bought a few thing on there. It is free to buy or sell, unless you want a feature ad and people use all sorts of payment methods. Just put a sensible price on the kit and it sells very quickly. Usual buy/sell precautions apply....

Regarding polar alignment, I would just set it approximately, for something like the sun over a short period of time it won't make enough of a difference to notice.

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Robin them startrails are awesome aint they and that software is beauty StarStax :( bet you be making more and more them.

I glued me tubing back to xbox cam.

here video of sunshine took today just quick testing :) all ready for venus transit if lucky and weather keeps clear who knows mite have chance capture somet.

Cliff's sun video 24th may 2012

Just need to now clean dust bunny's awkward they are

sometimes end up cleaning bit get more on it hehe

could do with that air puffer thing try clean lens that way.

Edited by Stargazing_Cliff
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Okey dokey I'll leave it in place then it keeps the dust off the sensor that way too. Although I have a rocket blower which is incredible at cleaning the dust off sensors I use it on my Sony DSLR. It also worked a treat on the primary mirror on my 150P too as that was just utterly filthy it had like large blobs of what I could only describe as soot all over it.

I shall try that site you mentioned, Ive no idea how much to ask for the EQ3-2 Ive never seen a s/h one for sale anywhere. Most for sale are EQ2's or 1's. I did find the 150P was a tad too much for the 3-2 the slightest breeze and it just shook far too much. Hence my EQ 5 purchase.

So if I use a compass and spirit level, then set the latitude approximately it should keep it in sight for a decent time. One more thing, how do you find it? just line of sight then use the slow controls or have you some protection for the finder?

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Cliff, I have one of these and its amazing http://www.amazon.co.uk/Giottos-GTAA1900-Rocket-Air-Blower/dp/B00017LSPI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337887386&sr=8-1 , its 62mm diameter opposed to the 55mm of the hurricane blower so you get tons more air blast plus it sucks in clean air from a one way valve in its base. Its recommended by almost all DSLR mags for cleaning the sensors. I used mine on my 150P mirror and its done it brilliantly, and all without even touching it! :-)

They arent the cheapest, but you get what you pay for

Edited by daz395
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Okey dokey I'll leave it in place then it keeps the dust off the sensor that way too. Although I have a rocket blower which is incredible at cleaning the dust off sensors I use it on my Sony DSLR. It also worked a treat on the primary mirror on my 150P too as that was just utterly filthy it had like large blobs of what I could only describe as soot all over it.

I shall try that site you mentioned, Ive no idea how much to ask for the EQ3-2 Ive never seen a s/h one for sale anywhere. Most for sale are EQ2's or 1's. I did find the 150P was a tad too much for the 3-2 the slightest breeze and it just shook far too much. Hence my EQ 5 purchase.

So if I use a compass and spirit level, then set the latitude approximately it should keep it in sight for a decent time. One more thing, how do you find it? just line of sight then use the slow controls or have you some protection for the finder?

Heya Daz,

Well-good bargain on the EQ5 btw, especially with the ra motor - they do cost alot. :(

To answer your question - you will need to make a aperture filter which has the cardboard the right size to fully cover the front opening and that should hold a circle of film thats a little smaller (with the sun only a few inches is all thats needed in most cases) with no gaps at all, then the finder needs a good fitting film filter attached too - its a must for assuring saftey.

I'm gonna use my 130p az goto for the sun (plenty big enough) and an xboxcam to attempt to image it. First time for me, to get as good a picture as dr robin would be totally chuffing - and here's wishing you good luck for 6th june.

Regards

Jay

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Heya Daz,

Well-good bargain on the EQ5 btw, especially with the ra motor - they do cost alot. :(

To answer your question - you will need to make a aperture filter which has the cardboard the right size to fully cover the front opening and that should hold a circle of film thats a little smaller (with the sun only a few inches is all thats needed in most cases) with no gaps at all, then the finder needs a good fitting film filter attached too - its a must for assuring saftey.

I'm gonna use my 130p az goto for the sun (plenty big enough) and an xboxcam to attempt to image it. First time for me, to get as good a picture as dr robin would be totally chuffing - and here's wishing you good luck for 6th june.

Regards

Jay

Cheers Jay!

I couldnt resist hitting the buy it now on that Eq5 with RA motor, I knew if I left it much longer it'd go so it was impulse time hah! Ive seen them on Ebay for £350 without the motor drive. So I'll be busy on Monday when that arrives :-)

Cheers for the info regarding the Solar film, Im wondering if my little 3" reflector would work too as I doubt aperture really matters all that much with the Sun eh? I know it wont get surface granulation but I like to experiment with new ideas.

I did wonder about the finder would you project onto card after a sort of line of sight method or trust the Solar foil and look through it? I bet its a hell of a sight but eyes come in two's for a reason.

The 130 goto has always been a scope Ive looked at and been very tempted by, its ideal for solar work as I doubt you even need to look through it at all if its accurately set up? Robin's pics are brilliant, and to think they were taken with a £4 web cam too haha! I bet with a bit more tweaking these cameras can do even better you know :)

When I was looking at Saturn through my 150P last week, I put my hand over the end of the tube, and the cassini division just popped out of nowhere! Took my hand away, and the rings became solid again... so stopping down the aperture like you do in photography works with the telescope too. Any lens wide open gives a very soft image, but stopped down they become pin sharp. I may make a few stoppers out of a few cereal boxes to test this out when I get more able to move around.

Thanks for the luck! Im going to need all I can get :-)

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Hi,

So far I have just used my eq1 and just vaguely pointed it north, seems good enough for my pictures so far. I line the sun up by holding a piece of white card behind the camera and watch for the scopes shadow to go across the card, once close I can usually see the sun on the laptop screen and then adjust with the slo mo.

But for the transit, I am going to take my eq6, it's a bit overkill for an ST-80 but I can line it up before it gets light and then it should track pretty well. Mind the eq6 is a heavy old thing, but at least it will be solid. I will do the best polar align I can get and then do a 3 star align if I can see enough.

I think the best scope for the sun is a short focal length, that way you can get more of the sun in the frame and i used a focal reducer to get the whole disk.

After that, tracking is nice and it's just a case of fiddling with the camera settings. I think the sun is the easiest object I have had a go at, I even took some pictures through thin cloud and they came out all right. I reckon the Xbox is probably as good as a Philips, although there is no long exposure for it. Cliff is a genius to have spotted it's potential.

Let's hope the morning of the transit is clear, otherwise I am stopping in bed.

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Haha! That would be typical eh? I always miss the great events myself, when is the transit Ive lost track of so much with not being able to get outside its just ridiculous. I have a liquid compass, but every time I put it on the scope tray to train it north, the needle points anywhere but.... I pick it up and it points north, put it back down the needle goes wild! Same with my phone's app too! The tray must be slightly magnetic thats all I can think of.

You've got to take a photo of your EQ 6 with that scope on it I hope you're removing the weights haha!! it will be overkill but hey if it gets results then who can argue!?

Id try that on DSO's too and see how it goes with a tracked stacking. Its definitely worth a try.

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Hi Daz,

Out having a go at a DSO now with a Canon DSLR, but the mist has just rolled in, so just taking a few dark shots and if it is no good in 5 minutes I am packing up.

6th June is the transit, at sun rise, so I will need to be at the coast by 4am.

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Thanks robin guess i am genius :( finding xbox cam at first i once used hercules webcam and that did pretty cool night sky that got me into modding webcams

then i thought of why not try game console cams thats when come across modding xbox cam i remove the ir filters on all mine so they pick up lights we cant see infrared.

got a infrared beam from maplins safety alarm thing other day i so gunna use that on foggy night lol watch cam pick it up.

went to redcar along sea front they making new sea defences wall what heck cant even see seaside.

had some chips with colleen and went to rock shop i got some fudge

How redcar used to look on the pic on fudge box.

redcarfudge.jpg

Edited by Stargazing_Cliff
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This is first video made using modded cam

just capturing strange lights from skies

Cliffs video what got me into modding cams

This video what got me into modding more and more cams :(

I used to like that hercules cam till it got damaged some how over modding it.

you can watch more me video's on me youtube channel using various cams.

Edited by Stargazing_Cliff
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Hi,

That box of fudge reminds me of Filey, close to where I grew up. They launch the fishing boats off the beach and use the tractors to pull them over the sands. It's okay on a nice calm day but gets very interesting when it's rough.

Still I bet the fudge was nice?

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Hi,

That box of fudge reminds me of Filey, close to where I grew up. They launch the fishing boats off the beach and use the tractors to pull them over the sands. It's okay on a nice calm day but gets very interesting when it's rough.

Still I bet the fudge was nice?

Had 1 fudge upto now and was nice :(

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Cheers Jay!

I couldnt resist hitting the buy it now on that Eq5 with RA motor, I knew if I left it much longer it'd go so it was impulse time hah! Ive seen them on Ebay for £350 without the motor drive. So I'll be busy on Monday when that arrives :-)

Cheers for the info regarding the Solar film, Im wondering if my little 3" reflector would work too as I doubt aperture really matters all that much with the Sun eh? I know it wont get surface granulation but I like to experiment with new ideas.

I did wonder about the finder would you project onto card after a sort of line of sight method or trust the Solar foil and look through it? I bet its a hell of a sight but eyes come in two's for a reason.

The 130 goto has always been a scope Ive looked at and been very tempted by, its ideal for solar work as I doubt you even need to look through it at all if its accurately set up? Robin's pics are brilliant, and to think they were taken with a £4 web cam too haha! I bet with a bit more tweaking these cameras can do even better you know :)

When I was looking at Saturn through my 150P last week, I put my hand over the end of the tube, and the cassini division just popped out of nowhere! Took my hand away, and the rings became solid again... so stopping down the aperture like you do in photography works with the telescope too. Any lens wide open gives a very soft image, but stopped down they become pin sharp. I may make a few stoppers out of a few cereal boxes to test this out when I get more able to move around.

Thanks for the luck! Im going to need all I can get :-)

Hey Daz, hope your doin okay, and yeah the eq5 was a excellent buy - I bought mine with the 200p for *cough* just over 400 bucks (:(), so umm yeah... quick thinking there.:)

As for the transit, if your able to catch it, on cam or just visually, that'd be cool.

BTW I read somewhere to make your filter with a good 4" of extra card surrounding your scope's aperture OTA and finder - it allows you to peek through the (filtered) finderscope without getting too much glare.

I'm looking at my sheet trying to work up the courage to make the frames and stick it together without botching it up.

Also desperately trying to figure Registax out - nightmare, no good at software n tech stuff - but missed saturn this year due to neighbours houses and giant trees, but going by what you said I did get a brief look when it was showing slightly throgh tree branches and it did seem to be a little sharper. Might just be me, or the clear air, whatever it was it seemed a good image considering there was a huge tree in the way.

I'm working on some moon shots in registax taken with the xboxcam, if it works out I'll post 'em here.

Will also be interested in the nice pics drRobin has been capturing on the xboxcam of the sun. Detail is impressive, cant wait to try it.

Take care

All the best

Jay

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wow i have actually created a fish eye lens havent clue what pov it is like

but from look me face pmsl would have to have close up

looks awesome fish eye

Seems i'm getting bit fishy lately with xbox cam :) cud do with tweeking focus bit better sometime

then again i wait till it's night time on stars then focus bit :( as sometimes mite look out focus close

range and further away objects may look in focus i'll test later on tonight if have any clear skies.

from look me image fish eye effect looks awesome.

fisheye5.jpg

what have i created here ?

Edited by Stargazing_Cliff
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Hey Daz, hope your doin okay, and yeah the eq5 was a excellent buy - I bought mine with the 200p for *cough* just over 400 bucks (:(), so umm yeah... quick thinking there.:(

As for the transit, if your able to catch it, on cam or just visually, that'd be cool.

BTW I read somewhere to make your filter with a good 4" of extra card surrounding your scope's aperture OTA and finder - it allows you to peek through the (filtered) finderscope without getting too much glare.

I'm looking at my sheet trying to work up the courage to make the frames and stick it together without botching it up.

Also desperately trying to figure Registax out - nightmare, no good at software n tech stuff - but missed saturn this year due to neighbours houses and giant trees, but going by what you said I did get a brief look when it was showing slightly throgh tree branches and it did seem to be a little sharper. Might just be me, or the clear air, whatever it was it seemed a good image considering there was a huge tree in the way.

I'm working on some moon shots in registax taken with the xboxcam, if it works out I'll post 'em here.

Will also be interested in the nice pics drRobin has been capturing on the xboxcam of the sun. Detail is impressive, cant wait to try it.

Take care

All the best

Jay

Hiya Jay, yea I was lucky to be the first one to see that Eq5 come up on Ebay, I had a search set up for new posts in motor drives and that came through. So I snapped it up :-)

Thanks for the tip regarding the card, it makes good sense actually! I used to do EP projection with Solar pics but was never very happy with the details. I have read that a few crinkles in the solar film is actually better than having it perfect. Not a clue why but thats what was said.

I'll definitely be having a crack at it with my xbox camera, will film as much as I can and take a few stills too. Im looking at making a solar filter for my dslr too so I can take a few shots with my 300mm lens. With that I can use live view to save looking through the optical viewfinder. Its not like these transits happen every year so Im gonna do all I can to make sure I can get at least ONE decent photo haha!!

Nothing Ive done actually worked so Im sticking with Deep Sky Stacker (free download but only works with stills not vids). I have come across a few tutorials for registax so I'll link you when I get back online tomorrow.

Dr Robin has got some great shots with his Xbox cam so it cam be done its just time, patience, effort and no CLOUDS! haha!

Cliff... that fisheye looks awesome!! I hope you manage to get infinity focus sorted out matey it'll be a cracker once its set up and running :)

Edited by Spikey
swear filter bypass
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Update on fish eye lens i created with xbox cam

didnt pick out up yet as weather changed was all foggy last night will test later on

as cams so senstive at moment doesnt work in daytime

gunna make some kind system so it can see in daytime so can work on focus

get infinity focus mite need to chop bit of plastic casing of xbox cam normal tube so can move lens bit closer to get xbox cam totally out of focus before i attach the fish eye which brings everything back to focus again automatic

the fish eye thing has slider kind like focuser itself gunna try un jam the thing.

Got focus bit better will put on test with night sky see if picks out up. kind like arched fish eye lol

Guess it's only top corners not showing out like.

xboxfisheye.jpg

Edited by Stargazing_Cliff
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