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johninderby

Starsense Explorer Stand Alone Conversion

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You need a bit of aluminium or plastic plate wide emough to screw to the bottom of the Celestron bracket and then screw that to your photo adaptor.

9DCBB876-6399-4F9C-B786-F18E4C5CE702.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

perhaps John, tho I did rig something for now...

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Only held with 2 screws this way and I had to dig around to find a couple longer ones to suit but here it is piggy back on a tube ring on the TAL-1, seems quite stable 🙂

I'll have a hunt around for a thin plate so it can be more secure but for how this'll work I think. I've opted this route as I can simply transfer the camera bar over to the SW130 or the TAL100RS much as I'd planned on for the SkEye rig using a regular phone holder. Longer term I'll likely rig a prism/mirror onto the Joby holder so I can use that in either Starsense/SkEye mode and return this mount back to the LT70 for when I pass the scope on to my daughter.

Did a quick test using a prism out of an old 10x50 bino and it gives much the same view as the mirror in this mount so I think that may be a workable solution if I can rig some suitable mounting for it later on.

Edited by DaveL59
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ok phone compatibility. I've unlocked the note-3 which I updated to android 10. App reports not compatible but press on and see. Unlocked just fine but the app crashes as you go through the alignment. Saying it is aligned it crashes again, so I guess they may be related to the camera hardware. Oh well, unlocked the note-10 and that goes through the alignment stuff just fine so I guess I'll be using the 10 for starsense and the 3 for SkEye/pics at the eyepiece then.

Such is life, worth a go and I might have a play with other custom ROMs some day and see if another will run it any better on the note-3. Being older but premium hardware and I'm cheating re the android version I was hopeful but ran into the rocks on this so far lol.

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I was going to use an older phone but it wasn’t compatible with the app. Think it lacked the hardware needed. With my new phone just simply installed with no error messagaes and used the code and that was it. 

There is the option of bying a new cheap Chinese phone on Amazon that runs a newish version of Android.🤔

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Posted (edited)

I was hoping to avoid the expense of more electronics tho John, hence was updating the N3 OS which was a top-line phone back in 2012. The app installed fine but says unsupported but I was hoping that was just because it saw that it wasn't in the supported list from its hardware ID. Seems its a bit more than that, pity. Not a problem really given I have a newer N10 that it is happy with, so far. Might just drop the N3 back to the note-7 ROM port that was droid v6 and get the sPen functionality back and live with this limitation. It'd still run SkEye on that ROM so no great loss.

It's easier to get new cases for the N10 too so I can always get another case to mod for a mirror/prism rig for this setup.

Wonder if I can get Celestron to delete the N3 registration so I'd still have 4 phones to activate on 😉 

Edited by DaveL59

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Posted (edited)

I tried, but new toy = resistance is futile
image.png.4cd62b0d94085f2b422e1587216ba3cc.png

Sure it's a bit wobbly when adjusting but actually it ain't too bad really. Tripod feels real lightweight so I'm wondering if it'd sit better if I can transfer the mount yolk over to a foto tripod but not too fussed at the moment. The diagonal does appear to be a mirror rather than an erect image prism which was unexpected. Awkward to insert into the focuser tho even with the screws backed right off so tolerances not good. Focuser is plastic but held that huge SV171 zoom fine and gave a fair view of distant tree tops even zoomed to 8mm. Slight CA perhaps but otherwise a pleasant image given the flat grey skies here.

Looks tiny compared to some of my others pictured here 🙂 
image.png.868e57c0626e1054378e391326ea8a04.png

So this could be a nifty little lightweight grab n go perhaps...

edit: scrub that comment about the diagonal, my bad I realise after viewing through it that it is erecting after all, doh! I've an svbony dielectric mirror one on order to improve the use under stars.

Edited by DaveL59

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I've ordered some acetal sheet to make up a rig for the phone using either a prism or mirror but while I wait for that to arrive I thought I'd have a play using some acetate sheet, flock and a prism from a 10x50.

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and in the joby phone holder

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Not ideal as I had to set the phone low in the holder and of course the power button is pressed if you clamp the holder too far lol.

Kinda works tho 🙂

image.png.b860cd9616f700e224a21ab5d317361e.png
 

 

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gave the scope a quick test pointing at Mars and the Moon a short time ago in a brief break in the cloud. Using the SV171 zoom it performed very well with no false colour on the moon at all. Wobbly as heck when adjusting anything but with the tripod legs extended no surprise there. Nice that it's so light that going for a smoke and seeing a clear patch it was literally seconds to pick it up and pop it into the garden and enjoy the view. My others take much more effort. So not too bad for a very low cost scope really.

No chance to try the starsense tho as too much cloud and wasn't long before the next lot engulfed everything. It does warn about the moon and suggests aiming elsewhere but that side of the visible sky for me was all cloud so it'll have to wait for another night.

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oh wow, so I noticed my skycam showed much clearer skies and decided to have a play with this starsense app, not with the scope tho, just rested on the ground aiming at the sky. Initially tried handheld but it kept complaining about movement. Found its location after a minute or so and then directed to the chosen target, Mars and then wanted to re-solve and give further directions. So I can confirm it works quite nicely. 

So I decided to then try in with my home-brew prism rig. Seemed to work even quicker than with their mirror at fixing its location and then re-solving when closer to target.

This was with the Samsung Note-10 since my Note-3 isn't gonna play nice, well the app didn't want to play with it...

I'd say a nice result, for sure I'll build a carrier for the prism once the bits arrive and then the bulky OEM holder can go back on the LT70 scope 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

just for fun and in case anyone wants to make something up and doesn't have a prism handy (or a cheap mirror diagonal) I thought I'd try a plain mirror. This fell off the handle of a travel hairbrush so taped to some card and positioned under the camera.

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Had a quick play under a clear window of sky and it quickly found its location and reported directions to Saturn. Couldn't test further as too much cloud now but could be a simple and cheap option if you fancy making your own rig, just rob the OH's makeup kit 😉 

update: having cleared a bit again I gave it another go and it was quite happy finding its position as I aimed it randomly at patches where some stars showed. Am actually quite liking this app now I've got it unlocked and able to play about. Will have to get it out with a scope at some stage soon I think tho might have to shuffle a couple things around first to get a decent mount out there (or refit to the LT70 lol).

Edited by DaveL59
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Posted (edited)

Or ifypu have a spare Telrad riser and a cheapie mirror diagonal and bits of a smartphone holder.. 🙂

One I built earlier. 

92AD3724-DC3A-4B9D-A57A-F10A28B28569.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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9 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Or ifypu have a spare Telrad riser and a cheapie mirror diagonal and bits of a smartphone holder.. 🙂

One I built earlier. 

92AD3724-DC3A-4B9D-A57A-F10A28B28569.jpeg

yep, a lot easier than figuring a way to secure a prism tho I found a small ledge at the low side and encasing it with a hole for the camera to look into worked really well 🙂 Hopefully will make something better once the acetal sheet arrives that I can then fit onto the Joby mount so its all more firmly positioned.

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Posted (edited)

Finally had an hour or so to fit the starsense to my skytee. Weather been rubbish all week and no signs of it getting any better. Just a bit of clear perspex and a Geoptik camera adapter.

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Edited by Steve Clay
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1 minute ago, johninderby said:

Perfect use of the top mounting position on the Skytee. 👍🏻

Think this will be temporary. I've got some acetal plate so will fashion something to hold the telrad as well, as that's where it normally sits. I'll also plonk the wixey on the plate as well. So: Telrad, starsense and wixey all together in a row. Should be able to find stuff then. 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Steve Clay said:

Should be able to find stuff then. 

Or get confused? 🤔

Too much information? 😁

Edited by johninderby
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as the 2mm thick acetyl sheet has arrived I thought I'd start looking at making a prism carrier for this, aim being I'd use the Joby adjustable phone holder for my phone and re-fit the OEM mount back onto the LT70. The Joby on a camera bar is an easy transfer across to my other main scopes but the LT70 less so, plus hopefully I can pass that on to my daughter later on so the OEM holder would be real useful at that stage.

So I made a mock-up using card so I can confirm the idea might work and that the 100x300mm sheet is big enough. On the right is the acrylic sheet test rig I knocked up earlier for comparison.
 

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Next take the mock-up apart and check it'll be workable

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Then get the Acetyl all marked up ready to cut
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Now assemble the cut pieces with masking tape so I can test for fit. Reason for picking 2mm is that the phone will still be held secure with this sheet under it in the Joby clamp.image.png.7fa2408b2f11b0b8baa7d1585621af2a.png

As you can see I make that small acetyl offcut work by cheating - well I prefer to think of it as creatively cutting the base of the prism baffle into the flat section that will be under the phone in the holder and so invisible in use 😉

Side views
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And view from the front/Prism side
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All seems to work 🙂

Some tidying to do and then glue it all together,  fit a stiffening rib on the underside to prevent it flopping and locator lugs to align with the phone. Oh and of course make a hole so the camera gets to look out via the prism. Then flock the baffle surface and fit a removable sprig across the prism top edge so it won't try to escape. I'm thinking I'll drill and tap a couple 3mm holes one each side of the prism too, so I can lock it in place and have a little side to side adjustment if needed, much like some older Japanese prism diagonals do. A quick check looking through the prism and the baffle is outside the FoV so I reckon this DIY rig will work just fine once finished.

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5 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Here’s your Blue Peter badge for that. 😁

8177E891-F89C-445F-B247-D2133A485BAA.jpeg

I'll only earn that if I round off all those sharp edges and angles I think 😉 

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1 minute ago, DaveL59 said:

I'll only earn that if I round off all those sharp edges and angles I think 😉 

Ah.........elf and safety and all that. 😀

Edited by johninderby

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1 minute ago, johninderby said:

Ah.........elf and safety and all that. 😀

yep those Elf's are a right PITA lol

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I was tempted to use a spare case to glue the prism carrier part onto, but then swapping cases each time I wanted to use this sounded too much hassle. Not to mention the hard back and soft sides of the case would then split apart after a while and it'd be back to doing another build. This way just seemed simpler in the long run.

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15 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

Some tidying to do and then glue it all together, 

What are you going to use to glue acetal Dave? it doesn’t seem to stick very well to anything?

Has anyone had any luck using this thing? is it accurate and reliable? It is very tempting

Mark

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The westher has stopped anyone from testing it out properly yet but from brief bits of use looks promising. 🙂

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7 hours ago, markse68 said:

What are you going to use to glue acetal Dave? it doesn’t seem to stick very well to anything?

Has anyone had any luck using this thing? is it accurate and reliable? It is very tempting

Mark

using epoxy which should work, roughened up the contact areas first with emery cloth.

Here it is assembled and flocked (well where it matters at the moment at least)
 

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Tapped for 2x M3x16mm thumbscrews which will secure the prism, the top one nudges into the ground off corner that Bino prisms tend to have. Will make it easier to remove the prism for future cleaning. The nib at the front (arrowed) should be a close fit to the lip of the case on the phone and stop the prism holder sagging, I noticed that it did a little so added this and a rib underneath so things stay reasonably stable in use.
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comme ça
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View vignettes because of the prism but earlier testing when I had some clear skies showed it worked just fine and quickly found the location and offered directions to target. Prism needs a clean as I can see I got sharpie pen onto the long surface, oops
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Worst case if I find this doesn't cut it I can easily swap in a piece of plain mirror which also works 😉 

Edited by DaveL59

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