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Hi again folks,

As I am aspiring to rake up all the bits necesery to having a go at AP and also because I am on a REALLY tight budget, I was wondering if there was such a thing as a cheap but effective guide camera? when i say cheap im talking sub £100 the more sub the better! :) I have tried to research this on my own without having to bother all of you, but i cant find any good info.

I was thinking perhaps the Neximage might do? or perhaps a modded webcam? I have heard the toucam works but they dont make them anymore. So im looking for a soloution with current modles.

Im planing on upgrading my CG-5 with RA motors and then using the shoestring method and a lappy, so a usb camera is what im after.

Hope you can help me.

Thanks for you time in advance.

Michael

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I don't know the details but you can use an astro webcam and would find one easily enough second hand. You need some cheap connecting gizmos (I think from Shoestring Astronomy) and a guide programme to run the system. (PHD?) It's not what I use but plenty do. Someone will jump in with a proper 'How to' on this one, I'm sure.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Michael, a webcam can be used, and in theory, PHD can use a non modded webcam, but I had no success at all when I tried it. A mod to a webcam, if you get it done by astronomiser is going to take you over your budget, although plenty of people have done it themselves.

Philips SPC900NC uncovered

That talks about the SPC900 but I believe the neximage is the same camera in a different box.

The QHY5/5v work well in the guidecam role, although they are over your budget, the cost of a neximage and mod will be in the same sort of price range.

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Thanks for the replys, Ahh so the neximage wont just work out the box then..hmm o well, I would'nt mind modding a webcam myself giving that it isnt too complicated however which models can you do this too? I have heard the spc9000 is a good choice but their just impossible to find these days, so are there anyother options?

Thanks again chaps!

Michael

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oh forgot---to olly...yea i think i might of seen what you are talking about their on astrobuysell for cheap! it was just listed as an "astro webcam" is this a brand as to me it just seemed vauge lol, perhaps i was wrong tho.

Thanks

Michael.

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oh forgot---to olly...yea i think i might of seen what you are talking about their on astrobuysell for cheap! it was just listed as an "astro webcam" is this a brand as to me it just seemed vauge lol, perhaps i was wrong tho.

Thanks

Michael.

Michael, I wasn't using a brand name or anything, I just meant a webcam modded for astronomy. I'm sure the OP will find a second hand one. Sorry if I am confusing everyone. I have a Celestron branded Toucam and had I moved up to somethng like a DMK I would be selling it. Surely there must be lots who have. Try a 'wanted' on the sales section. You might pick up the whole caboodle for very little.

Olly

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Michael, remember that there are two requirements (excluding a second telescope/off axis guider and suitable software - which is available free) for autoguiding - the guide camera itself and the control electronics to actually interface with the mount. Some cameras have the necessary interface built in and the cheapest of these is probably the QHY5 camera. There is a different method of controlling the mount in minute increments using a system known as 'pulse guiding' but this is not supported by all mounts. What mount do you intend using when you do start imaging?

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Hi Steve,

I was hoping to upgrade my CG-5 mount with Motors and then hack the box 'shoestring method' and use the simplegpusb interface to my laptop.

I like playing around with electronics so i dont mind giving this option ago. plus it looks to be the cheepest option to me considering i just got my hands on a secons hand CG-5.

Thanks Steve,

Michael

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AH hA!! up googling all night...joys of the night-watchman! lol i may have found what im looking for...a Logitech Quickcam Pro 3000 with the SC1.5 Mod, and from what i have been reading people have had success with this as a guide camera even un-moded! so as you can pick them up for £15 and im willing to give the mod a try perhaps this is the soloution i was looking for.

Have any of you heard of anyone using this method?

Thanks for your time and insight, much appreciated.

Thanks,

Michael

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There's an spc900 in the for sale section - but you may have to negotiate cos it seems a tad expensive and you can get them already modified s/h for less than the stated price.

Cheers :)

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I would add that you don't necessarily need to modify a webcam to use for guiding. I didn't.

I use a basic unmodded Phillips SPC900 attached to my ST80 guidescope, and rarely have a problem finding a guide star. I did have some problems when I had a longer FL guidescope, but with the wide field of the ST80 there's always something within range. There's always something at 6th magnitude somewhere nearby, which is usually sufficient.

Edited by lukebl
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I also autoguided for some time with an off the shelf toucam, and it worked a treat. Although it does limit targets, it's a good way to start cheap, and can be modded at a late date. I subsequently did this, and the camera worked even better for autoguiding after this too.

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I use a Meade DSI Mk1 to auto guide. They can be bought for well under £100 2nd hand. Get PHD Guiding and ASCOM software for free and your sorted.

I did try autoguiding with a Long Exp. modded toucam but never had any success as I found it wasn't sensitive enough.

HTH,

Gary

Edited by gary1968
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