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Uranium235

Set up and walk away - possible?

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Hiya,

Im thinking of having another session in the garden tonight as it should be clear from 9pm-3am (depends how much snow is left out there). The trouble is, the cramped conditions in the shed and hours out in the cold over the past couple of weeks has played hell with my back (not as young as i used to be!), therefore im having to take it easy.

So ive had the idea of using a combo of PHD & Nikon Camera Control Pro. Basically, the idea is to first get it tracking smoothly enough, then use NCCP (in time lapse mode) to take a user-defined number of exposures. Once its set up and snapping, In theory I should then be able to go in for a comfy chair, a cuppa and a spot of QI.

The limitation of NCCP is that the maximum exposure time available for time lapse mode is 30sec, the "bulb" setting requires the manual use of the remote shutter release.

Has anyone else tried this before? Its possible for me to set up NCCP to automatically do 2hours worth in 30s subs (240x30)... but ... but will 240x30s be as good as 120x60s, or 60x120s? Im using DSS to stack btw.

Hmmm... I have a feeling im going to need to throw in some longer subs at some point tho - so im having the idea of "modding" the Nikon ML L3 remote so it can be used at any distance. Basically by means of opening one and using its guts to make a wired microswitch remote, or maybe even radio operated (if I can be arsed to get myself over to maplins). The benifit of this is that I wont have to tippy-toe up to the scope to get close enough to use the remote... but thats a whole other project :eek:

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I've not tried it using software control of the camera, but it works very well using my timer remote. I normally setup, kick it all off running, have an observe with the 15x20's (unless I have things to do around the home) and let it all get on with it. Checking from time to time, to make sure the camera is still capturing, tracking is still, well tracking, guiding is still active, not too much dew buildup, and still cloud free...

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If the camera fires with the IR, Shoestring do an IR / usb control box. This can be used via Craig Stark's DSLR shutter. This can run all night long giving whatever exposure times you fancy. Another alternative is to use a timer control from ebay. Don't know which one fits the D60 but they're quite good for the money. I use the Shoestring.

Problem..... the batteries in the Nikon will run out long before the night is over. Are you using an external power supply ? Also it's a good idea to leave about a minute between exposures to let the CCD cool a bit.

Hope that helps,

Dave.

Two replies as I was typing ! Must improve :-)

Edited by davew

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Ok, ive been doing a bit of "inventing" and ive come up with a solution of a remote control for the ML L3 remote control (..lol).

Ive taken the "stones, knives and bearskins" approach and just used what I had to hand which consisted of:

1) Masking tape

2) Double sided tape

3) A file

4) Baking foil

5) An adjustable spanner

6) A curtain pole

7) A few odd bits of cable

Its a simple case of rigging the battery so the electrical circuit is only completed when the wires are crossed. The adjustable spanner is the only thing i could find that would apply constant pressure similar to that of a human hand (a small g-clamp would have worked) to the remotes button. Then I just taped the spanner to a pole which can go in the ground within sensor distance of the D60. Ive tested it with a 5m speaker cable and it works just fine :evil6:

Yep, It looks rough - but as long as it works im not bothered :eek:

post-18171-133877427626_thumb.jpg

post-18171-133877427629_thumb.jpg

Edited by Uranium235
typo

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I like the look of that battery grip :D but maybe a cheaper solution would be to buy some cheap 3rd party batteries for the D60, Ive seen energiser ones that are nearly half the price of the official Nikon battery, so If I get 2 of those - a total of 3 batteries should be more than enough to get through the most demanding of shoots as I will always have one on charge. :o

Nikon EN-EL9 replacement

ENERGIZER EN-EL9 7.4v 1000mAh Nikon D40 for 35.99atJacobs Digital Photography & Video

Thanks for the suggestions guys :eek:

Heh heh :evil6: its a bit mad how the human mind can be so inventive when the need arises! Its that sort of sprit that got us humans to the moon... shame nobody had the guts to do it again.

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With your talent I would expect an external power supply made from sticky backed plastic and a few old nails.

Now, where to find a reliable 7.4V supply.

Dave.

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Three batteries used to do me when i was using the D200 as the battery would discharge quicker than it could be charged in the charger .. so i used to have one in the camera and two on charge....

The advantage of the grip is as well as having the timer remote is that you wont have to disturb the camera to change batteries...

I make my own battery eliminators these days easy for the Canons as they are dumb batteries the 3e for the D200 is more interesting though as it "talks" to the camera...

Astronomiser will sort you out with a unit to run from 12V dc....

Peter...

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With your talent I would expect an external power supply made from sticky backed plastic and a few old nails.

Now, where to find a reliable 7.4V supply.

Dave.

Youre giving me ideas man.... lol :evil6:

Its one thing to rig a remote control battery, but a its much bigger project to find a way of powering the cam by way of a DC supply. It probably can be done in the same manner, but its not something I would want to screw up :eek:

There wont be much spare room in the battery compartment for cables either, not unless I can salvage a few ribbon cables from somewhere.

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That's interesting.

I think Andy at Astronomiser used to supply external power supplies. They were empty plastic battery bodies with leads. I think he still does them for the Canons.

1000mAh is not much as Physchobilly indicates.

Must investigate this too.

Dave

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I buy cheap clone batteries on Ebay take them apart and use them to make adaptors...

The 3e one is still defeating me at the moemnt though mainly becuase i ripped a 3 apart and that doesnt have the "intelligence" implemented...

The canon ones are easy the 3rd terminal is used to sense battery temp during chargi

ng and stops the battery being charegd out of its spec operating range...

7.4V is the minimum battery voltage and can result in the camera giving low battery warnings especially when its cold...

Measure the voltage of the camera battery when it comes of charge and you might have a bit of a suprise...

Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly

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Ive had a look at my battery, its got + - and S.

So the "s" is the temp sensor? does this need to be connected to anything to get it to work when using a DC supply?

I will have a look @ maplins in a bit to see what adapters are available, there should be something near the 7.4v mark (or variable).

Addendum:

Found something here, 7.5v 1200mA - should do the job nicely.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=32754

Edited by Uranium235

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Not so sure about Nikons...

Havent found much info on them on the net either.. the canon battery circuits are available online

I have got a d50 running but have so far failed to get the D200 working.. as well as giving charge remaining it gives long term battery life info...

"The EN-EL3e battery shares its information with the camera. The status of the battery can be checked via the menu; it shows the state in 6 levels together with battery life and the number of pictures taken since the battery was last charged."

Not sure about the D60 havent had one to play with...

ANYHING YOU DO IS AT YOUR OWN RISK...

Edited by Psychobilly

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A bit more digging...

If its an EN-EL3e the S terminal is a serial data terminal and if the battery eliminator doesnt "talk" to the camera it wont work... :eek:

I might have to buy a clone and rip it apart not going to do it to my 3 original nikon ones...

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Just pulled the battery out of my D70 and the no load voltage is........... 8.09V. That's not fully charged.

There is a chap on the Nikon forums making a " Mode 3 " adapter for two pole batteries. I don't think he can do it for the three pole.

Dave

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From what I've just read it would seem the D70 at least will take up to 9V.

Don't take that as Gospel ! It may not be the same for the D200 or the D60 and may be wrong anyway.

Dave.

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I think youre right peter, the S must be something more than just a temp sensor. I need more info on that tho to be sure if its worth attempting. Mines an EN-EL9... and at the end of the day it might be just less hassle to change the battery (very carefully) :eek:

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