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Geoff_L

Synscan controller - colour issues

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I have severe red/green colour blindness, which prevents me from being able to read a Synscan controller in the dark or in red light even with the display at maximum brightness. When I'm on my own, I use a low-power, white light when reading the controller display and accept that it'll take me ten minutes or so before my eyes get back to dark adaptation. However, I'm taking my EQ5 Pro mount to a public star party next weekend and suspect that using a white light to read the display won't be welcomed. Hence I'd appreciate ideas on how I can get around this issue.

TIA and clear skies, Geoff

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The only thing I can think of is to put an eye patch on your observing eye to protect its dark adaptation and look at the controller under a cover of some sort to shield everyone else from the white light.

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Not a lot you can do really - you need to use a white light souce in order to do any astronomy. So if reasonable the others will have to accept that. You can mitigate it by getting a dim white light - not so easy these days. Letting whoever is organising the star party know and perhaps positioning yourself not in the middle.

The other aspect is if someone wanders over make a joke of having to use a white light in order to carry on doing astronomy - get in first before some "all knowing" person decides they need to tell you about using a white light.

Personally I have little problem with a white light as long as it is low level illumination and used sensibly. Think someone at FLO took an image of people attending a star party. The star party was enclosed in the classic dome of light pollution. Did seem a bit odd.

Cannot think of any other realistic option. Last person that mentioned my white light torch I was using to show people around the observing area with was introduced to my red light one that gave them sun burn in less then 5 seconds exposure. But it was red. Go search "crazyfire" on Amazon or eBay.

I assume the handset is Red by use of red LED's and not Red by using a red film ?

Daft question but would a blue one work ? Just thinking it is at least not white but a monochrome.

Edited by ronin
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I don't know a lot about colour blindness, but could you place another colour over the synscan to change the colour it appears as.  i.e.  get a blue tinted bag and put it in.  I don't know if it would help, but it might be worth a try.

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Hi Geoff,

I expect you could drive your scope via a tablet, iPhone, laptop etc, and tweak the display to be predominately blue?

Michael

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Maybe change the light in the handset for something more suitable? Like blue maybe? Or just dim white/yellow? Haven't opened a Synscan but I bet someone on here has. They might be able to say what the lights are.

Or maybe swap the display panel out for one like you see on DVD players/custom PCs (VFL is it)? Just a thought.

Edited by Yearofthegoat
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Maybe it's possible to replace the LCD with one with a blue backlight...no idea of course f that's even possible, but it may be worth looking into as a long term solution. 

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Thanks to all for the suggestions. I suspect that, short term, I'll try making a joke of the situation while keeping the use of white light as dim and short as possible. Long term, I'll try to work out something to have my laptop driving the mount via CdC and EQAscom or via Stellarium. I know how to do this, have a "red screen" app and can turn down the screen brightness. However, I need to work out how to allow the 'scope to be used at all "angles of azimuth" and keep the laptop out of the way so that people don't walk into it no matter where the 'scope points.

Thanks again and clear skies, Geoff

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You should be able to go into your laptop video driver software and reduce red and green and boost blue, much better result than red screen.

Michael

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Geoff,

My father was also red-green colour-blind, so I can appreciate your problem.

Whilst out, observing, this evening, I tried a couple of experiments. I have the Skywatcher astronomer's torch, which has switch-selectable red or white LEDs and the light exits through an aperture of about 1.5" diameter. With the white LEDs selected, I held a 1.25" green filter over the end of the torch, giving a green light. I next tried a UHC filter and got a decent blue.

Would this help you?

Regards,

another Geoff

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Thanks for the suggestions. FWIW, I have a low-power, white LED torch that does the trick. I found that by putting my finger over the torch lens that I can limit the light to a narrow slit just enough to illuminate the Synscan display. I was more concerned for those around me than my own night vision. In the end, the Cloud Lady struck in spades for the star party on Saturday as we got about five minutes on the Moon at twilight and then had to call it an evening. Even with the clouds, about a half-dozen members of the public showed up.

Thanks again, 'tother Geoff

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In hopes of offering some guidance, I opened up a Celestron Nexstar handset to identify the light sources.  I did not go as far as powering it up while it was dismantled, but it looks like there is a surface mount LED behind each button and also a sealed text display, so changing the light emitters would involve some precision surface mount de soldering and soldering -  quite impractical without special tools. Not to mention the red text display.

In your situation, the best solution might be a small cloth black tent arranged so that your white light activities do not annoy others at public events.

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2 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

In hopes of offering some guidance, I opened up a Celestron Nexstar handset to identify the light sources.  I did not go as far as powering it up while it was dismantled, but it looks like there is a surface mount LED behind each button and also a sealed text display, so changing the light emitters would involve some precision surface mount de soldering and soldering -  quite impractical without special tools. Not to mention the red text display.

In your situation, the best solution might be a small cloth black tent arranged so that your white light activities do not annoy others at public events.

Thanks for taking the time to do that. I guess that most electronic gizmos these days have surface-mounted ICs and so it would be a difficult task to modify the handset. Thankfully, I don't have an issue with the buttons, just the display.

Thanks again, and clear skies,

Geoff

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