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"Non-astronomy" equipment adapted for astronomy?

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#476 StarStuff1

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 11:43 AM

Has anyone tried adapting the batteries used in garden tools (e.g. hedge clippers)as a power source for some astronomical devices? I know the Ah might be low, but it might be useful for small devices.


Recently I purchased a Black and Decker cordless weed trimmer. It came with two 20 AH lithium batteries. Very impressive performance. Since one battery will last for three yard trimmings the other battery begs to be converted to astro use. The batteries are compact and lightweight to boot.

#477 Mike Lynch

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 07:45 PM

Sheesh! Finally got back to this little project! A dew shield from a very inexpensive plastic "For Sale" yard sign from a hardware store.

First, I cut the sign in two using a straightedge and razor-cutter:

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#478 Mike Lynch

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 07:54 PM

Spray-painted the "printed" sides of the sign with multiple coats of flat black paint... Cut one of the pieces to the length needed to make a dew / light shield by overlapping about an inch and a half with the other... Used two-sided carpet tape to connect the two, reinforcing the edges with black electical tape... and joined the two ends with adhesive-backed velcro strips. Very inexpensive!

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#479 Mike Lynch

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 07:56 PM

Two pieces of the "former" sign joined...

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#480 Mike Lynch

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 07:57 PM

Final product on my 127mm Surplus Shed scope...

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#481 StarStuff1

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:13 PM

A couple of months ago I was at the local "County Convenience Center" where we take trash and re-cycleables. The lady in front of me was about to toss a smallish black case. I asked her what is was made for. She said it was for a clarinet (or some other horned instrument). She said it was only the case, no instrument, but if I wanted it I could have it. No hesitation on my part. After ripping out the innards it makes a great case that holds my new to me 80mm f/6 ED refractor and several eyepieces

#482 starrancher

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:45 PM

A couple of months ago I was at the local "County Convenience Center" where we take trash and re-cycleables. The lady in front of me was about to toss a smallish black case. I asked her what is was made for. She said it was for a clarinet (or some other horned instrument). She said it was only the case, no instrument, but if I wanted it I could have it. No hesitation on my part. After ripping out the innards it makes a great case that holds my new to me 80mm f/6 ED refractor and several eyepieces


Excellent ! ! :bow: :bow: :bow:

#483 SLarkin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 08:12 PM

Regarding using a weed trimmer battery, my Black & Decker weed trimmer has a 24 volt battery. I imagine that would not be good for a 12 volt scope.

#484 StarStuff1

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:43 PM

I was thinking of either using the 20-v battery for dew control or stepping down the voltage with resistors for a scope driver.

#485 Mr Greybush

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 07:24 AM

I found this umbrella to work quite well from Dick's Sporting Goods and for $60.00 you couldn't beet the price and kept the dew off my computer equipment the entire night

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#486 rnc39560

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:48 PM

I went in a thrift store yesterday looking for outdoor stuff. I found a poker chip and card case minus the contents. Suits my need perfectly for ep case! A $2.00 aluminum bargain!! All I need now is some foam!!

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#487 rnc39560

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:51 PM

Outside...

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#488 DoctorNoodle

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 10:57 PM

This is a 17-inch long gooseneck with big jiffy clamps at each end. It's sold as a pet grooming accessory and is designed to hold a blow dryer while the groomer has both hands free to brush out the "client." It's also good for holding a red LED flashlight at just the right height above my eyepiece case and assorted charts.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#489 ctjer

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 11:27 AM

Cut a piece of closed cell foam off a block, drilled a hole, and inserted the end of my red LED flashlight - which hangs around my neck. The block angles the light off my torso to nicely illuminate the chart. Frees up a hand.
http://ct-pov.smugmu...P1040571-X2.jpg

#490 Saint Aardvark

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 05:05 PM

Very clever! I'm going to steal that idea. :)

#491 Starhuckster

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 09:33 PM

Last week I had a commercial supply catalog on my desk and decided to flip through it. They had some recycled plastic flip top stacking containers for $12 that seemed about right for my ZEQ25. I think the pluck foam cost as much with the shipping. The top has a lip around the edge and seems like a useful surface. Posted Image Posted Image

#492 laprof

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:27 PM

There are times when I need additional counterweights, but in small weight sizes that are generally not available. So....I purchase body building weights (the one shown is a 2-1/2 pounder from Wal-Mart at $4.95), use a hole saw and cut out a slightly oversize plug from 1/2" pine and use my shop press to seat the plug in the weight. Then I drill the appropriate size counterweight shaft hole in the plug and sandwich the new counterweight between the existing ones. Cheap and very effective.

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#493 laprof

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:26 PM

Needed a piggyback mount so I used an old camera rail, 4 really large aluminum nuts and two 1/4 x 20 bolts and Viola! My camera now rides astride my 152mm refractor. Also, the solar filter you see is homemade from a cookie jar lid, 2-3" glass rounds sandwiching a sheet of solar filter film.

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#494 laprof

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:33 PM

Needed a dolly so.... three pieces of scrap 2x4s, a homemade center section, some 45 degree x 2" PVC fittings mated to the appropriate plugs which are screwed to the 2x4s and 3 Harbor Freight locking wheels and that's it.

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#495 zyzyz

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:20 AM

Aluminum cases for $30

I've been trying to find something to keep my visual and photo gear separate. I saw some cases Harbor Freight that are the right size for my needs. They're 18 X 12 3/4 X 6 with foam inserts and dividers. The foam is 'cubed' and easily removed for a custom fit. The ad for the cases is:

http://www.harborfre...case-69318.html

Hope they can fill your needs too.

Larry

#496 Mark Costello

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:24 PM

For me, equipment not designed so but used as "adjunct astro-gear" for my sessions include:

A step stool as an astro-chair. It works about 90% of the time.

A flashlight wrapped with translucent shopping bags used as my red light.

And, of course, a nice sketch book, and pens and pencils.

Best regards,

#497 berobertsmd

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:58 AM

I use a screw in ground anchor, like those for a tent or dog leash, to stabilize my tripod. Screwed into ground, under center of tripod, then attached to center of tripod with rope or bungee. Stabilizes tripod and also prevents accidently overturning, or someone snatching and running away with equipment.

#498 Doc Willie

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:14 PM

I use a screw in ground anchor, like those for a tent or dog leash, to stabilize my tripod. Screwed into ground, under center of tripod, then attached to center of tripod with rope or bungee. Stabilizes tripod and also prevents accidently overturning, or someone snatching and running away with equipment.


Ooo. I could have used one of those this summer. Left my SCT up during the day on grass, covered with a contractor bag. Wind came along, caught the bag and knocked the rig over, damaging one of the gears in the mount. I'm gonna get one of these.

#499 precaud

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 10:12 AM

I really like this two-buck lighted magnifier from Harbor Freight. I wear reading glasses but observe without them, and this magnifier is perfect for reading star maps without having to put my glasses on to do it. It's well-made, too, with a glass lens. A couple coats of red fingernail polish tints the lamp nicely.

http://www.harborfre...ight-69690.html

#500 jaymcgil19

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:35 PM

I use the 5 gallon Homer Bucket with lid for my 8" dew shield storage and carrying. I first slip the dew shield into a pillow case then slip it into the bucket






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