Jump to content

Banner.jpg.39bf5bb2e6bf87794d3e2a4b88f26f1b.jpg

A 'permanently' portable set-up!


Recommended Posts

After a year of struggling with the heavy EM400 mount every time I wanted to image, I decided it was high time to sort out the situation once and for all.....

We don't have a large garden, and what we have is nicely set-out and established... besides the fact that the 'other half' was never going to allow an observatory to be built...!:D

So, after some searching on the old web, I came across the scope buggy solution from the States. I didn't think that the 'standard' version would fit down the side of the house, and the bespoke version + delivery + customs was going to get too expensive so I had to come up with another idea! :D

I took the general design and a chap at work offered his advise and said he would be prepared to take the project on. 10" pneumatic tyres were purchased off the web (£25 for 4) and he was away!

It's was tested over a weekend (before I got my hands on it), with 100Kg of cement on it and looked none the worse for the experience...

Below is the UNFINISHED buggy at home (just to make sure that all fitted down the side - which it does - phew!)

I had a very quick go at imaging with the FSQ on top. 2 x 5min shots of M13 just before the clouds rolled in (still to process), to make sure all was stable - guiding RMS figures around 0.5 pixel, so that looks pretty good...:)

Buggy has gone back to be finished (edges capped-off) and powder coated. Purchased some small ratchet straps to secure the mount/scope to the tripod (although it doesn't look like it would come off anyway), but best to be safe than sorry.

Hoping to get it back for the weekend (I'll post more shots then), so I can keep the scope/camera all set-up with the wires stored through cable tidies, etc.

My plastic box with all the cables and PSU's in also fits quite happily on the wooden shelf - just need to add the sticky backed velcro now to secure everything.

This should speed my set-up time no end and allow me to image when I only have a few hours free - especially in the winter months.

For me, this has got to be one of the best ideas going for us 'portable astronomers'.....

Regards and clear skies,

Damian

post-16760-133877453797_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, you're quite right!

Although it does give me a workout - especially as I sit at a screen all day usually! ;)

Although the advertising gumph suggests...

"It is ideal for the itinerant observers wishing to take advantage of their optical tubes under the best night skies, like for instance TOA-150 refractor or Mewlon-250 reflector." :):D :D

I can't imagine the time and hassle of setting up a TOA150 and this mount + camera and computer every time you wished to use it, then having to wait for it all to cool! ....and then having to break it all down again.....?

I'm going to enjoy sorting it all out at the weekend (as I now have it back, all finished and powder coated - looks the business!!! :D), so I'll take some pics and post up here....

I think things are going to be sooo much easier in the future :)!

Does anyone else have something similar?????

Damian

Edited by TakMan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a similar problem with my setup, which is stored in the garage and brought out into the garden for use. I described the setup here:

http://stargazerslounge.com/equipment-discussion/102899-typical-nights-setup-ba-towers.html

I initially pushed the pier round on its wheels, but the vibration was quite high, and it was a bind to have to screw the levelling bolts up and down every time it was setup, and confirm it was level. So I converted a Costco sack trolly to hold the pier securely during transit, with the pier levelling bolts preset to the right level. Its now a smooth journey with the big pneumatic tyres, and once located and released the pier usually requires no further levelling.

I'd looked at the US scope buggies first as an ideal solution, but at the time couldn't find a UK supplier. I also couldn't find cheap big tyres for a DIY version. The Costco trolly was about £15 and worked well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent idea!

You can get the standard ScopeBuggy from Telescope House now....

ScopeBuggy LX Series 8" 10" 12"

But at £400 it's getting rather expensive (says the man with an EM400!!!! :D) Also, I needed to keep it compact (like the bespoke one you can order from the States), where the rear wheels are behind the rear axle and not on the sides.....

* ScopeBuggy.com * USA Toll-Free: 1-866-31-BUGGY * 1-866-312-8449 *

As for the 10" pneumatic wheels, they came from here (£25 for 4 including free delivery), although the chap who made the trolly replaced the bearings with up rated ones....

Set of 4 Pneumatic Wheels Sack Trucks Spares & Accessories

Thanks for the reply!

Life should be so much easier going forward for both visual or photographic.... especially in the future if I want a longer focal length scope (like Olly has just done), perhaps a TEC140, TOA 130 or a 9.25 Celestron...... :)

Anyone else got a similar solution?

Roll on the weekend when I can enjoy putting it all together! :D

Clear skies,

Dame

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thankfully it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, gave me chance to set-up the mount/scope onto the finished scopebuggy - I have good vibes that this is going to make imaging far more enjoyable in the future - roll on autumn!!!

The chap that built it really made a great job, especially taking the time to add rubber finishes to the main handle and the screw-down supports - so my 'arty hands' won't freeze to them in deepest winter!

Below the finished article. I've done a few shots as I put it all together - they'll follow when I get a chance....

Thanks for looking,

Damian

post-16760-133877455152_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike

When I next see the chap - I'll add the details on here (and pm you, so you don't have to keep looking!)

The latest attachment shows the EM400 finally atop the scopebuggy! I added three ratchet straps to secure it (just in case), though there should not be a problem as the shoes for the tripod feet were made deep enough.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rolson-Tools-44204-15ft-Ratchet/dp/B000QF7EQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1276763052&sr=8-1

The FSQ is attached with a BT Technologies (Losmandy style) saddle and dovetail plates. Pictured is it set up with the 1.6 focal extender (850mm f8), plus a TrueTech filter wheel - hand controller (velcro) attached to the front of it, and my SBIG camera (with safety lanyard just in case!)

To aid rough polar alignment I've marked the patio slabs so I can quickly place the buggy stabilising feet as well as adding a 20mw green laser pen (with a velcro backed bracket from Astroboot - £5), alongside the Tak's own renowned Polar Scope.

The one great feature of the Takahashi mounts is that you are not required to get the tripod level - a built-in spirit level (shown in he lower right picture) allows quick alignment of the polar finder in conjunction with the longitude offset scale.

Next installment: the cabling - happy days :)!

Thanks for looking....

Damian

post-16760-133877455944_thumb.jpg

Edited by TakMan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Too right Kevin!

Should make things far easier - I'm lucky to have a flat run to be able to utilise a trolly.... an observatory would have been a step better, but you can't have everything I suppose....

Anyway, cabling was my second biggest headache (after setting up the mount), as you can see from the shots! With four leads coming out the bottom of the mount (hand unit, power, control back to the mac and guider), and three out of the camera (power, USB and guider).

I purchased a storage box from Wilkinsons (about £4.99 with lid), to keep all the electrics in. I've just swapped out though the old 4 way gang for a new (surge protected) 6 way unit - importantly though, with individual switches so I can turn things on in the correct order, or off when not required!

I looked everywhere for such an item, found it in the usual place (Amazon!):

Tacima 6 Way Switched Surge Protector: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo

I've also taken the opportunity to also add a safety RCD adapter into the electrics train:

Masterplug Safety RCD Adaptor: Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools

Cable tidies where purchased from the local 'Pound Stretcher' shop £1.99 for a metre, and the sticky backed velcro has 'come into it's own'(!!!) being used on the TrueTech filter wheel to keep the hand unit in place and also on the back of the Kendrick Dew Controller - I love the stuff! :)

Tomorrow, I'll upload the finished item...

Until then, thanks for reading!

Damian

post-16760-133877456231_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, last two as I'm sure you're all bored with this thread by now!

Well spotted Rob - I've had that glow in the dark NASA sticker for years, just waiting for the right thing to attach it to! It's now like rolling out the Saturn V :(

So firstly is the finished buggy and Kevin was right with his comments about 'plug 'n' play'.... one mains cable and one USB cable (terminated the two USBs into a single hub).

The white velcro (easier to see at night!) is just to take the weight off the connectors and also to hold the guide cable on start-up....

The reason for that, is that due to an idiosyncrasy (??!!) of the Takahashi mount, it has a 'funny turn' if the guiding cable is connected to the camera before the camera is powered up... :mad:

The last picture shows the scope set-up ready for flats with the home made electroluminescent panel The panels transformer only has a small cable - so I needed to work out a solution with a lightweight single extension cable. Sticky backed velcro to the rescue again - as shown in that middle picture.

Lastly I stumbled across a rear cycle light in Wilkinsons last Saturday for £1.99 with a quick release bracket - so added that to the steering arm. At least I'll always now know where I put the red light! :icon_scratch:

Just printed out some large sticky labels to add to the top of the 6-way gang to tell me what electric device is plugged into what socket - should also make life easier in the dark! At least I won't have an excuse for turning off the wrong thing now!!! :)

So that's it - thanks to all who've taken the time to read and reply....

Perhaps it'll inspire those like me who can't have an observatory to source a similar solution. If any of you though would like a buggy made - there is a chance that Andy may do a small production run! Just pm me.....

Clear skies and roll on Autum! :)

Damian

post-16760-133877456347_thumb.jpg

post-16760-133877456355_thumb.jpg

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

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • 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.