More updates ready for the new season! September 2019 - in an effort to reduce the number of trailing wires, the computer that controls the mount - all the cameras, filter wheel, guide scope and dew controls have been mounted on the scope and all data and power cables custom made to the correct length - end result - just one cable from the scope to the power supply. Full library of darks, flats and bias taken - just need a clear dark sky now!!
More equipment updates !!! Feb 2019 (Below) the mount has been changed to a Mesu 200 which has a carrying capacity of well over 100kgs. Imaging camera swapped from Atik 460 EX to an Atik 16200 (much wider Field of View).
Equipment update - Feb 2019 - (Below) guide scope changed to a longer focal length and a more sensitive camera. Skywatcher Evostar ED72 and ZWO ASI 290MM. Two more big changes coming soon - the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse mount has been sold and a Mesu 200 will be installed. The main imaging camera (Atik 460 EX Mono) will be changed for a camera with a much bigger sensor and more powerful cooling (-50º) - an Atik 16200 Mono.
The new setup for 2018/19 imaging season is finally all put together. Takahashi FSQ 106 EDX iv mounted on Primaluce rings on a Losmandy plate with a matching Vixen plate on top for the Skywatcher EvoGuide guidescope (with Atik GPCam for guiding) on a home made mounting bracket. The scope is fitted with a Lakeside electronic focuser, Atik 460 EX mono camera and Atik EFW3 electronic filter wheel with 2" Baader broadband (LRGB) and narrowband (Ha - SII and OIII) all mounted on an Avalon Linear Fast Reverse mount - and all colour co-ordinated !! ;-) HiTechAstro Dew band controller powers dew bands on both scopes.
23rd April 2018 - The Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 Carbon Hexfoc and the Skywatcher AZ-EQ6-GT mount have been sold. The new scope and mount ready for the 2018/19 winter season will be installed soon !!! (Avalon Linear Fast Reverse mount and Takahashi FSQ 106 EDX IV on Primaluce rings with a Lakeside electronic focuser)
Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 Carbon Hexafoc in action at -8º and covered in ice !!
28th October 2017 - the rebuilt mount and rebuilt focuser on the ST80 performed flawlessly guiding the main scope. See guiding graph (below)!
29th May 2017 All back together again (above) - Bearings replaced with top qulaity FAG/SKF where required and degreased, thorough clean out, re-greased with Superlube (fully synthetic grease with added PTFE) and carefully reassembled adjusting the end floats, pre loads and especially the worm to crown clearances. It now slews much more smoothly and quietly and there is zero backlash in RA and DEC.
24th May 2017 The Skywatcher AZ-EQ6-GT has landed !! First thing I do with a new mount is take it to bits and put all the bearings in the bin! Then replace them with top quality bearings from SKF or FAG. Everything is degreased to remove all the back sticky gunk that passes as grease at the Skywatcher factory. Reassembly (whilst I can remember where all the bits go) involves high quality Teflon grease and endless patience to get the end floats and preloads spot on and most importantly getting the gear mesh adjustment as tight as possible without binding under load - this is the key to good guiding. The difference this procedure makes is incredible and well worth the time and a few pounds for new bearings.
8th May 2017 This making your own scope mallarkey isn't as easy at it looks !!! See above images !!! I cant achieve focus, but on the upside its very light - doesnt need any counterweights and it cost less than a fiver!! It's a mockup made from ends of rope reels and garden canes to see if a scope I am thinking of buying will fit on my new mount in my micro obsy. I have slewed it in every conceivable direction and it gets to within 25mm of one of the walls [eeek !!]
The Orion Sirius mount shown in the images below was sold in April 2017 to make way for a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6-GT which has a much higher load carrying capacity. Photos to follow when it arrives.
Below - This is my Skywatcher brand ED80 mounted on an Orion Sirius mount (known as the HEQ5 in the UK) - the small scope is the finderscope converted to a guide scope. Focuser - Moonlite with stepper motor focusser. Filter wheel - Atik EFW2. Camera - Atik 460EX mono.
Above right and both below - This my alternative guidescope a Skywatcher ST80 - longer focal length than the finderscope but heavier!
Above left - Moonlite focusser and stepper motor - SW reducer/flattener - filter wheel - camera Above right - altitude and azimuth bolts for polar alignment
Securely mounted - no flexure here !!