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Gina

Getting back into imaging after a long break

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The title says it really...  It's been a long time since I did any imaging and thought I might have had all I could take but I seem to have got my interest back a bit.  ATM I have nothing set up - not even my all sky camera after the camera was destroyed in a storm a few months back.  I am now getting my astro kit out and seeing what I have and what I might set up.

My observatory is equipped with an EQ8 mount which is working and should still be polar aligned (I hope).  I think the roof still opens fine but I'll check it again today while we have some fine (though cold) weather.

My last lot of imaging was widefield narrowband and I think that's what I shall go for first as the setup should be easier.  I have a ZWO ASI 1200MM-Cool camera with Mini EFW with all the filters and a SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5 lens.  The lens has a gear quadrant attached to the focussing ring.  Now to see if I can find the RPi electronics box that goes with it and any other bits and pieces.  I shall also read through my threads and see what I had set up before as I can't remember now.

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Just been out and checked the observatory roof - opens and closes fine.  I might look into automating it again later if I get into imaging again as I'm hoping.  I owe it to Per's memory actually as he obtained a special drive motor for me.

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Had a look for parts for the widefield imaging rig but not had much success.  I may need to start again with designing 3D printed parts and also sort out the RPi setup.  I've started reading my threads and blogs about it.

I think I would like to get my all sky camera working again too but it needs a new astro camera - either a ZWO ASI 120MC or ASI 385MC.  The former is around £150 but doesn't cover all the sky.  The latter is more than twice the price at around £350 but does fully cover the sky right down to the horizon.  At least I have all the expensive kit for normal imaging and I think I should sort that out first.

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Here are some photos of what I've found :- 

Camera, EFW, lens and focussing gear.
318191400_2019Rig01.JPG.b267b594d0b8ee69e98ac90bc3c73776.JPG

A broken bracket with mini stepper motor that matches the Blog, but the motor pinion is missing.1500771522_2019Rig02.JPG.904c9dc42f4c5f85fd3d506f79cb04fc.JPG

And finally an electronics box to match the Blog1243933283_2019Rig03.JPG.db7546e068ed9cff6e42d778b6ab0847.JPG


Here is a post from the Blog :-

On 21/09/2017 at 15:44, Gina said:

The rain has gone and the sun is out though still plenty of clouds so still uncertain about tonight for imaging.  ATM I'm also not sure if I'm going to be ready because the rig is not working - not getting a LAN connection so I have some faultfinding to do.  I have the rig set up in the observatory and I think I shall have to bring it back indoors to sort out.  I have a digital ammeter on my observatory power supply and the rig is drawing just under an amp which seems reasonable.  The fan is running on the camera so that's getting power.  The electronics box has worked fine before so it seems something has gone wrong with it.

Here are some photos.

59c3cfd5dad23_WFRig06.thumb.JPG.64d621848bc6193f146c884a3d2e7fb9.JPG59c3cfc274c6f_WFRig07.thumb.JPG.9f81a9b08a2fd11cff8210814508ff5d.JPG59c3cfb42ac59_WFRig08.thumb.JPG.3301a889ec12a2f327cbc73d28a53a03.JPG59c3cfab6855f_WFRig09.thumb.JPG.80e6e90ae9bb50876e144e0f3e84f5de.JPG59c3cf9ea63ed_WFRig10.thumb.JPG.ce52e8a487a679ca77e88311c3ae93b1.JPG

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The RPi doesn't have a micro SD card in it but from the Blog it seems it wasn't working anyway so I guess a fresh start is called for.  OTOH I might have an image backed up.  This is a pretty good start.  It needs brackets to attach the rig to the EQ8 and hold the electronics box, plus a lid for the box (or a new box) and pinion for the focus motor.  Design and production of 3D printed parts is no problem.

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Preparing to design mounting bracket to attach camera and lens to EQ8.  Camera body OD = 78mm, lens = 56mm though with this very short lens I think brackets on the camera will be sufficient so it will just need a bracket for the focus motor.   I've decided not to use the arrangement I had before but to mount everything on an ADM dovetail (of which I have several).  In fact the electronics box already has a mounting plate on the bottom with holes that match the ADM holes so it can be mounted behind the camera.1597803984_2019Rig04.JPG.cf580cf6d7fa7ef6ca75f99467a41db5.JPG

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Firstly a bracket for the camera.  Body is 70mm long and clamping brackets can be 15mm wide leaving the air vents clear.  The dovetail bar has holes in a 50mm square I can use to attach the camera bracket with M6 screws coming up from underneath.  I shall now start up my CAD software and see what I can design...

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Great you are getting your Mojo back Gina, we look forward to seeing your results.  After such a long break expect to make mistakes, we all have a tendency to do that even after a shortish break, stupid stuff usually.

I love your home made motorised focusser.

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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2 hours ago, Gina said:

I think I would like to get my all sky camera working again too but it needs a new astro camera - either a ZWO ASI 120MC or ASI 385MC.  The former is around £150 but doesn't cover all the sky.  The latter is more than twice the price at around £350 but does fully cover the sky right down to the horizon.  At least I have all the expensive kit for normal imaging and I think I should sort that out first.

Keep an eye on the classifieds here and on AB&S, Gina.  If you're not in a rush you might well be able to pick up a used one.

James

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Good thinking James 😀

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Here's a screenshot of the design for the camera bracket - first attempt.

1608595180_Screenshotfrom2019-02-0316-41-26.png.16785452df4d268912923b69c083a620.png

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Personally, I'd also print a cover for those fuses, dew\frost can easily short them....

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I think I already have some covers for them - good point.

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Printing the camera bracket on my Concorde 3D printer.

312866985_2019Rig054.JPG.ca6fe9c113cb8b2042213d4869dccb4e.JPG

Edited by Gina

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A bit later...

486688393_2019Rig06.JPG.0a6e69f897ad93ea97310f53d89cd1b8.JPG

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Printing finished and I've tied it out on the camera and dovetail.  I'm not satisfied either with the camera bracket or the placing on the dovetail.  The electronics box really wants to go nearer the end so that the whole camera+EFW+lens unit is within the dovetail.  Hence I shall design a new electronics box with more suitable fixing holes.  At the same time I can fit the fuses inside the box where they are safer from damage. 

The camera bracket I printed in PLA but I think it needs PETG for better flexibility, robustness and interlayer adhesion.  Yes, I succeeded in breaking it!

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Really looking forward to seeing your images Gina. It's been a while.

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Indeed it has!

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New test model for camera bracket.

1973892328_Screenshotfrom2019-02-0322-57-25.png.1776c2f6706f47b49b59430cdac672d8.png

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I might make a combined print for holding camera, focus motor and electronics.  That would want just four screws to attach it to the dovetail bar.

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