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uhb1966

Setup times for imaging rig - shocking revelation ;)

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Posted (edited)

Hello everybody!

I measured my setup times when i did my last imaging run. Absolutely shocking 🤔 

Step 1: unmount 8" quattro, disassemble EQ6 into 3 parts, move parts to terrace and reassemble EQ6, remount 8", without counterweights: 6 minutes 50 seconds (correct position marked on terrace, with right arm hurt, good time ;)

Step 2: Mount counterweights and set scope to park position: 1 minute 55 secs

Step 3: Connect power sources and connect all cabling: 20 minutes

Step 4: get the computer and software running (on a very good night): 10 minutes

Step 5: Let my old QHY8 cam and the scope cool down: 1 hour - otherwise i get strong gradients!

Total prep time: 1 hour 39 minutes. Obviously, the cable time could be improved massively by training. But even if we could get the cabling time to zero, i'd get only down to 1h24', with the total time being dominated by the cooling of my rig.

Open question: As i would not leave my cam outside, there seems no real possibly to cut down significantly on my prep time, even with a small obsy? Or am i doing something wrong?

Best, U.

P.S.: Getting an expensive cam is right now no good option :( 

 

Edited by uhb1966

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Do step 5 first? Then 40 minutes of the cooling time would be used for steps 1-4, leaving only a 20 minute wait?

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Leave everything set up oustide but take the camera inside?

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Yep, prioritise getting the camera/scope connected as soon as possible to start the cooling. Understandable you don't want to leave them outside all the time, but could you bring them out at the start of your setup and build everything else while they are passively cooling?

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45 minutes ago, KevS said:

I have a comparatively smaller rig where the USB hub and Power distribution hub are all mounted on an oversize (read long) dovetail, complete with both the main and guiding scopes. So when I set up I only have to mount the rig, plug in the usb to pc link and the power to the power distribution hub. I leave the cameras attached. From start to finish I take roughly 1/2 hour. The most time consuming aspect is polar aligning. But obviously with a 200mm telescope thing are different. Nevertheless having all of the hubs integral to the telescopes does save a significant amount of time.  

Yes, polar alignment was the worst part for me as well. I have now marks on my terrace where the 3 tripod legs ought to be, so the PA is reproducable and good enough for PHD2 to take it from there ;) 

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Thanks everybody! 

Yep, the key is getting down the time for the cam to start cooling, which in turn means it's key to get down the time for my power supply to work outside. The idea of attaching a power distribution hub to the OTA is great! @KevS could you post a pic of your power distribution hub?! Best, U.

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Posted (edited)

@KevS thank you very much!! Highly appreciated ;) Yep, that's a very nice rig with few wires!

By the way- how much Amps has the power supply? Best, U.

Edited by uhb1966
amps

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I had no room for an obs but I built an outdoor concrete pier with power running to it and all cables in place (running back to a PC in the shed). I leave the mount outside on the pier (under a breathable BBQ cover with very low level heat running).

This has saved me loads of time lugging stuff in and out and wiring up every night aligning etc. I leave my scope with cameras etc all connected and remove the whole lot in one at the end of the session by just turning off and unplugging wires. To set up I just carry the scope/cameras outside, attach it to the mount and plug in the wiring and flick a couple of switches, takes maybe 5 minutes. Then cooling time of course.

I know it’s not for everyone but it worked well for me, it saves me time and no faffing about every night with wiring, polar aligning and going through star alignments etc.   

 

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41 minutes ago, Spaced Out said:

I had no room for an obs but I built an outdoor concrete pier with power running to it and all cables in place (running back to a PC in the shed). I leave the mount outside on the pier (under a breathable BBQ cover with very low level heat running).

This has saved me loads of time lugging stuff in and out and wiring up every night aligning etc. I leave my scope with cameras etc all connected and remove the whole lot in one at the end of the session by just turning off and unplugging wires. To set up I just carry the scope/cameras outside, attach it to the mount and plug in the wiring and flick a couple of switches, takes maybe 5 minutes. Then cooling time of course.

I know it’s not for everyone but it worked well for me, it saves me time and no faffing about every night with wiring, polar aligning and going through star alignments etc.   

 

I was thinking of doing this. Have you had an issues with the mount? Does it have motors/electronics?

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Posted (edited)

Why wouldn't you leave the camera out in an observatory? If the worry is security then fair enough. But living in an observatory your kit would be perfectly safe environmentally. In protracted damp spells you could put a drape over it with a pet warmer or dew heater under it to keep everything above the dew point. It takes me about 10 - 15 minutes to get going with an observatory-based dual rig.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
typo
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2 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

I was thinking of doing this. Have you had an issues with the mount? Does it have motors/electronics?

It’s a HEQ5 and lots of imaging associated cables under the cover.

Only issue I had initially was condensation but I quickly got a humidity monitor, added some very low wattage (8W) boot warmers and sprayed the whole lot with ACF-50. Not had a problem since, been out there under cover for about a year now. I do air it maybe once a week when it’s dry outside.  

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1 hour ago, Spaced Out said:

It’s a HEQ5 and lots of imaging associated cables under the cover.

Only issue I had initially was condensation but I quickly got a humidity monitor, added some very low wattage (8W) boot warmers and sprayed the whole lot with ACF-50. Not had a problem since, been out there under cover for about a year now. I do air it maybe once a week when it’s dry outside.  

Thanks,

I'd had the idea of building something lightweight/plastic to put over the top, but then I should have realised we have a few things covered in our garden with good quality covers and they keep the contents dry all year round. I was hoping to live of battery power for the cameras/raspberry pi I'm planning on using, but I'll look at the boot heaters too.

They key will be in not having to realign/balance the scope each time. I can take the scope/cameras in with when I'm done each night.

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Dear all, thanks again for your feedback! 

@ollypenrice Yes, security reasons - but on the other side, who would steal a 12 year-old cam that doesn't even look remotely like a cam at all (for a non-astronomer)? Probably not all that risky after all. But would have to leave the OTA outside as well- have to think about it.

@AngryDonkey That is, in fact, an extremely interesting idea - never heard of it before, but why not! The FridgeCam(TM)! 😂

@KevS Thanks! Yep, with 24 Watts for the EQ-G and 30 Watts for the cam's cooler, i'll probably settle for 2 switched+stabilised 5Amps power supplies. I have the luxury of a power outlet at my Bortle 4 home ;) 

--> Okay - so i have several possibilities:

1- Optimize setup - minimal prep time 1 hour (lower bound)

2- Bite the bullet and store OTA outside, cam either outside or in fridge - setup time might go down to maybe 15 minutes if i train a bit - also lower bound.

---> I'll first optimize my power setup because that's where most of the fast benefits are. I have already finished a prepped power/usb cable tree. Since i now have a repeatable polar alignment, the biggest pro for a concrete pier has somewhat diminished returns now.

Again, thanks everybody! Best, U. 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, uhb1966 said:

probably settle for 2 switched+stabilised 5Amps power supplies.

Just asked tonight about this power supply.  Is it the best to use 2x5Amps instead of 1x8Amps.  Also struggling with cable management😬

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Pegasus Pocket Powerbox is a good reasonably priced power hub with environmental data and variable dew control and an application to control it all.

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Posted (edited)

The asiair can also do power distribution and eliminates the need for a laptop plus cabling...

 

Not with a qhy camera though. Doh!

Edited by jimjam11
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On 17/06/2020 at 00:46, SamAndrew said:

Pegasus Pocket Powerbox is a good reasonably priced power hub with environmental data and variable dew control and an application to control it all.

Is it built like a ring? 🤣

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I used to set up a steel pier tripod, Mesu mount, Esprit 150 and cooled camera in about 45 mins. I marked round the feet of the tripod on the patio so I could put the rig in the same place every time, and the position of the mount on the pier was also marked, but I still had to Polar align with Sharpcap every time. The camera cooling took about 15 mins, and I always set up ahead of Astro darkness so I was ready to image when it was properly dark.

It did help having everything except the scope and camera kept outside In a secure garden box, (essential as I couldn’t carry the mount outside each time). To be fair, I did this for 5 years, and had everything down to a fine art by the end, it probably took me twice that time when I first started.

Surprisingly, setting up was always quicker than taking down, something to do with eager anticipation, cold and fatigue always slowed me down at the end of the session.

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@tomato very interesting! How are you doing it now?

 

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17 hours ago, uhb1966 said:

@tomato very interesting! How are you doing it now?

 

Fortunately I’m now retired so I have permanent observatory (dome). I certainly don’t miss the set up/take down activity, I think having a permanent setup is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce frustration levels for this hobby in the UK.

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3 minutes ago, tomato said:

Fortunately I’m now retired so I have permanent observatory (dome). I certainly don’t miss the set up/take down activity, I think having a permanent setup is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce frustration levels for this hobby in the UK.

I don't think it's much better over here 😬

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Posted (edited)
On 14/06/2020 at 15:15, uhb1966 said:

Total prep time: 1 hour 39 minutes.

Hi

Is there any way you could leave the mount set up permanently? An upside down water tank, bin or roll off cover for the mount? Put a mark of the dovetail carrying the optics at balance and attach when it's clear?

For me at least, it's the difference between imaging and can't-be-bothered!

Cheers.

Edited by alacant
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On 20/06/2020 at 08:26, alacant said:

Hi

Is there any way you could leave the mount set up permanently? An upside down water tank, bin or roll off cover for the mount? Put a mark of the dovetail carrying the optics at balance and attach when it's clear?

For me at least, it's the difference between imaging and can't-be-bothered!

Cheers.

Hi @alacant yes, possible! but i guess if i optimize my setup, i might make it without a permanent setup. Thanks for the idea with the upside down water tank!!!

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With an optimized setup, i got the time for hardware setup and start cooling down to 11min 3 sec.

Again, thank you all ;)

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