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Electric focuser for all sky camera??

Skipper Billy

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Every year when I bring my all sky camera in for a clean up and check over I have the same issue.

I focus the lens without the dome in place but the focus changes when the dome is added.

After much faffing about I can get the focus close with the dome in place but on occasions its not quite sharp when the temperature changes wildly.

I am toying with the idea of making an electric focuser - I am OK with the mechanical part (small motor and toothed rubber belt) but how  can I control it with a PC ??

In the ASC box there is a mini PC running AllSkyEye software under Windows 10 and the ASI 178MC with an Arecont lens.  The PC has spare USB ports. The whole system is completely autonomous but I can access it with RDP from indoors.

In a perfect world it would run an autofocus routine when the camera is activated (ie when the sun dips 6º below the horizon.) Near perfect would be the ability to adjust focus by 'eye' using an electrically driven focuser driven by the mini PC.

Any suggestions ??? (Other than - its not worth the effort!) 😉 


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If you already have a simple DC focuser, something like the Skwatcher DC Focuser, then this 4Tronix RF unit may be a cheap and easy solution.  In the past, before swapping over to an ASiAir controlled auto focuser, I used a Hitech Astro Focus Controller.  The Hitec Astro controller allowed focus control via a dedicated GUI on the laptop - connection was by USB over ethernet - not auto focus though.   I also at one time used Robert Brown's MyFocuser Pro diy arduino/stepper motor project which again provides its own GUI which allows remote auto focus control via the laptop. 


https://www.indilib.org/focusers/myfocuser-pro-2.html#:~:text=myFocuserPro2 is a fully featured,Absolute and relative position


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