Category : How To

New Geoptik Adaptor Videos

I have just uploaded 2 new Geoptik videos. There are now 4 in the series (so far).

1. Unboxing the Geoptik CCD to Canon Lens adaptor
2. How to set up the Geoptik CCD to Canon Lens adaptor
3. How to focus the lens on a Geoptik CCD to Lens adaptor
4. Setting backfocus and some example images using the Geoptik CCD to lens adaptor

You can view Geoptik videos here, or on my YouTube Channel or on my Geoptik video playlist on YouTube.

Guiding in Maxim DL with a Finderscope Guider

At last my guiding seems to be working, after using a finder guider for a couple of years with mixed results, I think I have it cracked.

I originally used to expose my QHY5 camera on my Skywatcher finderscope every 2 seconds for guiding, and have aggressiveness setting of 4-5. I also used to use my finderguider un-binned with a calibration time of 25 seconds.

This is now my Maxim DL autoguiding set-up:

2x Binned QHY5 camera
5 second exposures
Aggressiveness of 6 and 6.5
Calibration Time: 40 seconds
Waiting time between frames: 65 seconds

These are the settings when imaging through my Altair Astro 80mm Triplet at f4.8 at 3.46 arc seconds per pixel. These settings may change when I image with my 8″ RC scope.

How To Add a Skywatcher Auto Focuser to a Skywatcher Equinox 66 Telescope

In the past I have attached the Skywatcher Auto Focusers to my Skywatcher ED120 and ED80 DS-Pro models, so as soon as I purchased a new Skywatcher Equinox 66 I immediately went out and purchased another Skywatcher Auto Focuser and set to work attaching it to my Equinox 66.

These simple jobs rarely are simple as I was about to find out. The main problem I previously had with the DS-Pro models was that you had to completely remove the focuser in order to attach the DC motor part to the pin part of the focuser. This time with the Equinox 66 this problem also occurred – but so did the issue that the bracket supplied with the Skywatcher Auto Focuser does not fit/line up with the screw holes found on the underneath of the Equinox 66.

But don’t worry with a couple of extra drill holes in the bracket and some bashing of the bracket with a hammer the attachment of the Skywatcher Auto Focuser to a Skywatcher Equinox 66mm telescope is possible.

Step 1:

Remove the focuser knob from the single speed side of the telescope focuser by inserting an allen key into the hole of the focuser and loosening it.

Remove FocuserFocuser Removed

Step 2:

Drill the extra 2 holes required in the bracket so that they match the screw positions on the bottom of the Equinox 66.

Focuser Bracket with Extra Holes drilled

Step 3:

Now completely or as best you can loosen all the screws that attach the focuser to the telescope, you should then be able to move the focuser at an angle, or remove it completely. Slide on the DC motor onto the pin and tighten it with the supplied allen key. Make sure you tighten it in the right position by either laying the bracket in position or by actually fitting the bracket first to see if the screw holes line up between both parts.

Add DC Motor

Step 4:

With the motor in place now attach the bracket by using the 4 new screws supplied with the Auto Focuser. Be careful not to dislodge and lose the small rubber washers inside the telescope focuser when tightening everything up.

Add Bracket to Telescope

Step 5:

Now bring together the bracket and the DC motor and try screwing both parts together with the thumbscrews and metal washers provided with the Auto Focuser. If they do not align up very well, then you will need to remove the bracket and change the angle of the bracket to bend it to the correct position. I used a hammer for this.

Flatten bracket with hammer

Screw two brackets together

The End: You should now have it completed. Just try it out.

How To Stop Maxim DL cycling through filters

One of the main problems I found with Maxim DL when setting up the Autosequences was that if I set it up to do LRGB imaging and repeated each filter by say 20 times, instead of Maxim doing 20 frames in Red, then moving onto the Green filter to do 20 frames, it would do 1 frame in Red and then move onto 1 frame in Green and then onto Blue etc etc.

This seems a bit crazy and it also means your filter wheel is constantly on the move and it may wear down your filter wheel faster than you think.

Another downside to this is that you really want to take all your frames through one filter then take your flats for that filter, as the filter wheel may not move the filter back into exactly the same position again once you have moved filters.

To stop Maxim DL doing this choose the option “Group by Slot”.

It can be found by clicking on the ‘Autosave’ button on the ‘Expose’ tab then when in the Autosave Setup screen choose ‘Options’ and select ‘Group by Slot’.

How To Clean the Meade Autostar Handset

For ages my Meade Handset on my LX200 GPS telescope has been very unresponsive to key presses. I always find myself having to hammer the keys in order to get the handset to register the key press.

But I did not want to buy a new Meade handset as they are so expensive, so I was glad to find some details on the internet on how to clean the handset.

All you need to do this is some cotton wool buds and some alcohol.

Begin by unscrewing the 4 screws on the back of the handset, then remove the rear plastic case cover which contains the red light plastic cover.

Opening the Meade HandsetYou will how find that the front of the handset and the main motherboard are joined by a ribbon type cable, so be careful not to stress this cable as the cable is not that long.

I then began by dipping my cotton bud into the alcohol and gently rubbing each of the contacts in turn and then using another cotton wool bud in order to dry and further clean the contact.

Meade Inside Handset ControllerThere are quite a few contacts to clean, so you may find yourself using quite a few cotton buds, but you should visibly see the dirt on the cotton wool buds.

After doing all the contacts on the main board, I then cleaned the black rubbery dots on the back of the keys using the same method.

Cotton Buds after cleaning the Meade HandsetAfter finishing I then put everything back together and made sure that the ribbon cable does not get put in front of the main lcd screen, as otherwise you will see the ribbon cable in the window and some of your wording on the handset will look strange. I did this first and then noticed it when I attached the handset to the telescope and turned it on. I then took the handset apart and repositioned the ribbon cable.

Once I tried the handset with the LX200 I was then amazed at how responsive the keys then were. This is definitely a quick and simple little job to undertake if your Meade handset keys are also not working so well.

I also recorded a video on what I did to clean the Meade handset, and it can be found below:

1 2 3 4