Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Scope #2 - Cabling

I had to order 2 more counterweights to mount the Takahashi scope (it's so much heavier then the Celestron EDGE scope!) Once I had those, I could work on mounting it and connecting it. I wanted to move all the equipment boxes (Robofocus box, Dew Heater box, Power distribution, USB hub). Then I only have 2 cables through the mount which should make this easier. Also, when moving the scope outside or back, I would have to carry the mount and the scope separately - and that would be much easier if I only have to connect 2 cables.

Went to Home Tepot to buy fitting screws and some metal sheets. I screwed them into the bottom of the accessory ring:

And then mounted all boxes on the side with velcro tape:

The metal is a little too flimsy and bends slightly. Either I have to buy thicker sheets or alternatively I could try to 3D print a perfectly fitting piece. But for now, all boxes are now on the scope - and they are on the axis, i.e. don't contribute too much to the momentum of the scope.

When I used the scope, I noticed that I couldn't pull out the focuser enough - the cables were too tights. Of course, with this focuser I have to leave some slack in the cables:

I never had that issue with the Schmidt-Cassegrain scope ...

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Scope #1

I finally decided to get a new scope. There are too many issues with the Celestron EDGE to make it a fully-automated imaging platform with minimum maintenance. After a very long search, I finally decided to get a 130NFB Takahashi refractor. Together with a FLI 11002-2 MLI camera, larger filters, filter wheel, OAG and other necessary equipment (new mounting plate, clamshell, red dot finder, Robofocus bracket...) A BIG thanks to Chris Hendren from Opt Telescopes. He and I exchanged countless emails to figure out which scope and equipment I need. He never got tired of helping me to understand different scopes and equipment and how I could integrate them.

While I was on a business trip, I found this scope (with a Scope Guard case, clamshell and an accessory ring) on Astromart. I bought it and on my return the shipped scope was waiting for me. I also bought all the other equipment from Opt Telescopes (plus the Robofocus bracket from Technical Innovations and Flip Flat panels from Optec) - unfortunately it will take a little while until all of it arrives.

When I came home, the new scope was waiting for me. So, well packaged! I took it out and the first thing I noticed was how big and heavy this beauty is. From the pictures, you don't really get this. And also how BIG a 4" focuser is!
(see my feet on the left hand side, to get an idea of the size!)

First thing I did was to install the Robofocus bracket, so that I can use my Robofocus unit with the Rack&Pinion focuser. Took me a little while to figure out how.
1. Had to remove one of the focus knobs
and then install the bracket on the focuser with the Robofocus motor on top.

The bigest problem was how to remove the wheel from my Celestron focuser that was on the motor shaft:

I emailed Jeremy from Technical Innovations Robofocus and he offered to remove it for me. So, I sent it off...

But I could put the red dot finder on the scope. I mounted it to the focuser:

Although I might want to move it to the accessory ring too - it's made out of metal, i.e. not super light weight. And the less weight I have at the end of the scope the better. But for now I can use it.