Jump to content

Banner.jpg.692da9ed9af2eace53e1dc94cfc0e912.jpg

kit upgrades


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

A strange thing happened this week, I managed to talk the wife into allowing me to upgrade my equipment.

I currently have an EQm-35 Pro mount

Skywatcher 72ED OTA

Stella Mira Field Flattener

ASI 120mm mini guide camera on a 9x50 finder scope

what I want to buy is,

  1. ASI Air Plus
  2. ZWO 2" Filter draw
  3. M42 and M48 Connections
  4. Optolong L-enhance dual narrowband filter 2"
  5. ZWO EAF electronic focuser 5V
  6. ZWO ASI533MC Pro colled camera
  7. A couple of 12v mains power supplies
  8. ZWO Miniscope 30mm F/4
  9. Heater bands with intergrated controllers
  10. A red/white head torch.

My budget is £2000, I am interested in getting opinions on the choices I have made. Is there anything on the list which you would swap for something different or better?

I have been using a modified DSLR camera and to be honest the results have been pretty poor, I am hoping that this equipment will give me much better  outcomes.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Astronix said:

Hi All,

A strange thing happened this week, I managed to talk the wife into allowing me to upgrade my equipment.

I currently have an EQm-35 Pro mount

Skywatcher 72ED OTA

Stella Mira Field Flattener

ASI 120mm mini guide camera on a 9x50 finder scope

what I want to buy is,

  1. ASI Air Plus
  2. ZWO 2" Filter draw
  3. M42 and M48 Connections
  4. Optolong L-enhance dual narrowband filter 2"
  5. ZWO EAF electronic focuser 5V
  6. ZWO ASI533MC Pro colled camera
  7. A couple of 12v mains power supplies
  8. ZWO Miniscope 30mm F/4
  9. Heater bands with intergrated controllers
  10. A red/white head torch.

My budget is £2000, I am interested in getting opinions on the choices I have made. Is there anything on the list which you would swap for something different or better?

I have been using a modified DSLR camera and to be honest the results have been pretty poor, I am hoping that this equipment will give me much better  outcomes.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments. 

I don't think you'll gain much swapping the guide scopes any why 2 power supplies? Just go for one good Nevada PSU. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

I don't think you'll gain much swapping the guide scopes any why 2 power supplies? Just go for one good Nevada PSU. 

I did think about that, but I also thought it does not hurt to have a spare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canon 450d fully modified, but I struggle with it. I am after equipment that is more forgiving than I have at the moment.

yes I am staying with the 72ED, for now at least. I have not really seen any decent results so I want to see what it can do and take it from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of your list I would say the asiair is essential, followed by the 533, and for the time being you probably don't need anything else but will eventually benefit from filters if your light pollution and bortle skies are unfavorable. I was in a similar position to yourself starting with a modded DSLR (which I still have for widefield), once my azgti starting working properly and autoguiding worked (it was around the time I got the asiair it all came together coincidentally), everything just clicked and I haven't looked back. If you're not autoguiding currently you'll also need a usb A to your mount connection type (RJ) eqdir cable. Some people will say the asiair is not essential so I'll reword it as probably the most user friendly and progressive piece of small and light equipment you can add to an AP setup due to having all you need in one unit to work alongside the rest of your AP setup with a simple and easy to use user interface which works seamlessly over WiFi on a mobile phone. Your DSLR I think is also compatible with it (you'll need the right usb A to usb B mini cable, some don't work so well), otherwise you're tied to zwo cameras which is not a bad thing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're really into it, other than the asiair, I would get a mono camera with filters (filters will take up just as much budget as the camera if not more). You'll have the added benefit of imaging narrowband or however you like utilising all pixels of the sensor at the filter bandpass you're using at the cost of slightly longer post processing and project management time. Mono is not necessarily a slower process either due to the full pixel sensor utilisation.

BUT before you go down that sinkhole, try with your modded DSLR first, with DSLRs you have to dither often when autoguiding to average out noise from the camera, even cooled astro cameras also have noise but it's much finer, most people blur/Denoise it out in post processing to get a smooth image.

Edited by Elp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Elp said:

Out of your list I would say the asiair is essential, followed by the 533, and for the time being you probably don't need anything else but will eventually benefit from filters if your light pollution and bortle skies are unfavorable. I was in a similar position to yourself starting with a modded DSLR (which I still have for widefield), once my azgti starting working properly and autoguiding worked (it was around the time I got the asiair it all came together coincidentally), everything just clicked and I haven't looked back. If you're not autoguiding currently you'll also need a usb A to your mount connection type (RJ) eqdir cable. Some people will say the asiair is not essential so I'll reword it as probably the most user friendly and progressive piece of small and light equipment you can add to an AP setup due to having all you need in one unit to work alongside the rest of your AP setup with a simple and easy to use user interface which works seamlessly over WiFi on a mobile phone. Your DSLR I think is also compatible with it (you'll need the right usb A to usb B mini cable, some don't work so well), otherwise you're tied to zwo cameras which is not a bad thing.

Darn it, after reading the first sentence I was ready to put pen to paper but you managed to rectify it 🙂 🙂

All joking aside "if" you can get by without an ASIAIR (personally I'd recommend NINA but each to their own) then I would put that money towards an electronic filter wheel. In fact if you go for the ZWO mini you'd have money left over and could get the 1.25" L-eXtreme as well as a UV/IR too 🙂

Edit - I'd probably also say the EAF is "essential" as my view is once you've used one, well you know how the saying goes......

Edited by scotty38
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Elp said:

Out of your list I would say the asiair is essential, followed by the 533, and for the time being you probably don't need anything else but will eventually benefit from filters if your light pollution and bortle skies are unfavorable. I was in a similar position to yourself starting with a modded DSLR (which I still have for widefield), once my azgti starting working properly and autoguiding worked (it was around the time I got the asiair it all came together coincidentally), everything just clicked and I haven't looked back. If you're not autoguiding currently you'll also need a usb A to your mount connection type (RJ) eqdir cable. Some people will say the asiair is not essential so I'll reword it as probably the most user friendly and progressive piece of small and light equipment you can add to an AP setup due to having all you need in one unit to work alongside the rest of your AP setup with a simple and easy to use user interface which works seamlessly over WiFi on a mobile phone. Your DSLR I think is also compatible with it (you'll need the right usb A to usb B mini cable, some don't work so well), otherwise you're tied to zwo cameras which is not a bad thing.

Absolutely right about the Asiair, complete game changer for me as a beginner. After struggling for months with Astroberry and Stellarmate I virtually gave up my astrophotography ambitions because of driver problems with both my Sony cameras making the learning curve an almost impossible mountain. The opportunity to acquire a used Asiair Pro and a used ASI533 mc pro has set me back on the path again.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's all a personal thing. Forgot to add if you're currently using a 50mm finder, the 30mm will be a downgrade due to aperture reduction, I went the other way and saw a massive improvement in amount of stars increasing to 50mm from that very same 30mm.

Like all of us we like to constantly upgrade to the next, but I personally stopped short getting a filter wheel or EAF which is why I asked in my first reply if the OP will be with the scope. If you're with it I feel these additions are an unnecessary purchase and will only benefit if you like to stay indoors/remote or have a fully automated setup which stays outside untouched. If you're used to fine focusing manually the focus routine within the asiair works fine, I've done it with all sorts of different optical equipment manually. Focus point does change due to temperature but I've never seen the need to adjust it during a running shoot other than when changing filters which I do manually anyway.

Maybe it's just me, I like to physically be with the setup just to ensure nothing goes wrong with it, even if checking up on it a few half hours/hours at a time.

Edited by Elp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 19/09/2022 at 20:45, Astronix said:

what I want to buy is,

  1. ASI Air Plus

For my 2p worth, personally I would go for a Pegasus Powerbox as I don't like being locked into a single manufacturer's products. But for the moment I just run long cables into the house, cheaper and works well as long as the cable run is done well, of course that leaves more budget for the stuff that actually takes the images.

 

On 19/09/2022 at 20:45, Astronix said:

A red/white head torch.

Are you actually going to stand by the scope and watch it? If you ae imaging and retreating indoors once set up, any old cheap torch would do.

 

For £2000 why not go for a used ASI2600MC Pro with 2" filter drawer at £1600, then add an EAF (£190 new, less second hand) and filter (£130 new)  and that will leave you £80 to take your wife out for a good dinner or to buy some appropriate, loving gift.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't get these YT videos of APers using red torches, they're using cameras to take images so why the need for red light which is more a requirement for visual viewers. If your phone has a torch mode that's what I use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Elp said:

Out of your list I would say the asiair is essential, followed by the 533, and for the time being you probably don't need anything else but will eventually benefit from filters if your light pollution and bortle skies are unfavorable. I was in a similar position to yourself starting with a modded DSLR (which I still have for widefield), once my azgti starting working properly and autoguiding worked (it was around the time I got the asiair it all came together coincidentally), everything just clicked and I haven't looked back. If you're not autoguiding currently you'll also need a usb A to your mount connection type (RJ) eqdir cable. Some people will say the asiair is not essential so I'll reword it as probably the most user friendly and progressive piece of small and light equipment you can add to an AP setup due to having all you need in one unit to work alongside the rest of your AP setup with a simple and easy to use user interface which works seamlessly over WiFi on a mobile phone. Your DSLR I think is also compatible with it (you'll need the right usb A to usb B mini cable, some don't work so well), otherwise you're tied to zwo cameras which is not a bad thing.

That is the reason for the choice of the ASIAir, ease of use. I think that in the short time I have had the gear that I have, I have tried pretty much everything with very limited success. After lots of research I think the the ASIAir should make things a lot simpler.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Elp said:

If you're really into it, other than the asiair, I would get a mono camera with filters (filters will take up just as much budget as the camera if not more). You'll have the added benefit of imaging narrowband or however you like utilising all pixels of the sensor at the filter bandpass you're using at the cost of slightly longer post processing and project management time. Mono is not necessarily a slower process either due to the full pixel sensor utilisation.

BUT before you go down that sinkhole, try with your modded DSLR first, with DSLRs you have to dither often when autoguiding to average out noise from the camera, even cooled astro cameras also have noise but it's much finer, most people blur/Denoise it out in post processing to get a smooth image.

A mono camera and filters will probably happen for me in the future but for now I am looking to simplify things as much as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, scotty38 said:

Darn it, after reading the first sentence I was ready to put pen to paper but you managed to rectify it 🙂 🙂

All joking aside "if" you can get by without an ASIAIR (personally I'd recommend NINA but each to their own) then I would put that money towards an electronic filter wheel. In fact if you go for the ZWO mini you'd have money left over and could get the 1.25" L-eXtreme as well as a UV/IR too 🙂

Edit - I'd probably also say the EAF is "essential" as my view is once you've used one, well you know how the saying goes......

Yeah, I have ordered all the kit now and a couple of extras and the EAF was part of the order😀

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Elp said:

It's all a personal thing. Forgot to add if you're currently using a 50mm finder, the 30mm will be a downgrade due to aperture reduction, I went the other way and saw a massive improvement in amount of stars increasing to 50mm from that very same 30mm.

Like all of us we like to constantly upgrade to the next, but I personally stopped short getting a filter wheel or EAF which is why I asked in my first reply if the OP will be with the scope. If you're with it I feel these additions are an unnecessary purchase and will only benefit if you like to stay indoors/remote or have a fully automated setup which stays outside untouched. If you're used to fine focusing manually the focus routine within the asiair works fine, I've done it with all sorts of different optical equipment manually. Focus point does change due to temperature but I've never seen the need to adjust it during a running shoot other than when changing filters which I do manually anyway.

Maybe it's just me, I like to physically be with the setup just to ensure nothing goes wrong with it, even if checking up on it a few half hours/hours at a time.

No I don't intend to leave it completely unattended, I will be in and out and at times will probably spend long periods outside.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Varavall said:

For my 2p worth, personally I would go for a Pegasus Powerbox as I don't like being locked into a single manufacturer's products. But for the moment I just run long cables into the house, cheaper and works well as long as the cable run is done well, of course that leaves more budget for the stuff that actually takes the images.

 

Are you actually going to stand by the scope and watch it? If you ae imaging and retreating indoors once set up, any old cheap torch would do.

 

For £2000 why not go for a used ASI2600MC Pro with 2" filter drawer at £1600, then add an EAF (£190 new, less second hand) and filter (£130 new)  and that will leave you £80 to take your wife out for a good dinner or to buy some appropriate, loving gift.

To be honest I don't mind being tied into ZWO equipment if it works pretty seamlessly. I want the head torch for trips out to darker skies one of my mates will be coming with me and we will also take some visual kit at times. I will upgrade as time goes on, but every revue that I have seen of the ASI533 has been very positive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Elp said:

Out of interest what issues have you had/disappointing results?

well to begin with the usual beginner issues with polar alignment. From there it has been a long list and a long learning curve. The images I have managed, I probably have not managed to get enough good data because I started at the beginning of summer. So the short nights have not helped with ironing out problems. The 450D that I have is fully modded and I have really struggled to get to grips with it. 

In the time I have spent outside I have probably not got more than 10 hours of exposures, but I do feel that I have learned a lot in that time. I am pretty confident that I can crack it with the gear that I have ordered, fingers crossed.😀

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure people here can help if you keep a list of the issues. We've all been through it. I tend to keep a live document and then the next time try to address each one methodically without thinking about dwindling imaging time. Short nights don't help no, but since this time last year I haven't really had a slow month other than earlier this year when it was unusually windy, bringing in unsettled weather. What I can do during daylight hours I do.

Good luck with the additional stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On power supplies, some general comments.
I would go for one very big power supply. Enough for the kit you plan, with spare capacitiy.
Use a distribution box with separate outputs so a fault in one peripheral item is easy to identify.
Why one supply not two? Read on.

Any power supply that is not pushed to deliver 100% will in all probability last longer.
Long story. Requests for details on a postcard please🤣
If you have two power supplies, it is more likely one will fail at some point. If one fails, you are stuck.

I don't think I have explained it particulalry well. But if it thought relevant, ask and i will try again.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/09/2022 at 20:17, Astronix said:

well to begin with the usual beginner issues with polar alignment. From there it has been a long list and a long learning curve. The images I have managed, I probably have not managed to get enough good data because I started at the beginning of summer. So the short nights have not helped with ironing out problems. The 450D that I have is fully modded and I have really struggled to get to grips with it. 

In the time I have spent outside I have probably not got more than 10 hours of exposures, but I do feel that I have learned a lot in that time. I am pretty confident that I can crack it with the gear that I have ordered, fingers crossed.😀

I bought my rig earlier this year and my early results were so so too. However as i got more experience with using the air plus and it's actual settings things improved dramatically.  Also you need time getting used to the settings and is very much mount dependant.

This ZWO video is handy if your struggling ASIAir Plus - Review & Tutorial - YouTube

I don't want to look as though I am teaching you to suck eggs but lacking knowledge of your overall experience with the ASI Airplus below are some tips for you.

When aligning try to get your polar alignment down to less than 00 00.30 (I regular get it to less than 00 00.20) With my rig when I align to less than this I usually gets my dec tracking at around 0.3 average, most of the error comes from RA.

Other mount settings which affect guiding are as follows: 

"guiding rate" 0.9. (default 0.5)

Max dec duration 400ms  (default 2000)

max RA duration 350 ms  (default 2000)

Dec aggression at 60% and RA aggression at 50%. (these are for the fine tuning the guiding)

You will notice above 3 of the settings above are very different to the defaults, this just works with my mount and the F3.75 guide scope. Yours may be different but I doubt they will be the default. 

Also never used a modded camera, I use a dedicated ZWO cooled camera. You have the 533mc which by all accounts is a brilliant camera so I would be using that instead. Far less settings to faff around with by all accounts. I simply do almost everything at unity (medium gain) and zero temperature with exposures dependant on object being imaged.

Hope this helps you a little

steve

 

 

Edited by bomberbaz
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.