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BEST Monitor for Mallincam/StellaCam Etc.

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#51 smokin oakum

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:52 AM

Looks like you may have a little window tonight to streach your dobs legs.

#52 smokin oakum

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:55 AM

I can't wait till I've gotten all the logistics worked out so I can enjoy that kind of setup. :bigshock: I just need to get the in-travel problem adressed, then I can move foward. Until the I will just have to hate you! :lol:


Neil, how do you KNOW thatyou have an in-travel (aka: backfocus) problem? I haven't tried it out yet on my XT10i to know one way or the other. Jack suggested to me that he didn't know either way...

Do you have some hard data (yet)? Cause we'll both be in that boat together!

clear skies


My toUcam won't focus unless I have a barlow in. I just suspect that it would be the same for the mallincam, though it could be that the chips on each camera are set at different distances. That why I'm VERY interested in what you find out with your dob!!!

#53 Bowmoreman

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:57 AM

Yeah - you'd think so... right now it is freezing rain though, and the entire backyard (where I'd setup) is a skating rink!!! I'm not so sure I BELIEVE my CSC just now :lol:

I have to start the Planning for that tonight though! :lol:

Cause you can bet if it is remotely clear, and/or there are any suckerholes - I'm outta here, and OUT THERE! :roflmao:

(actually that would be rolling on the icy ground laughing my bottom off!)

Hmmmm, wonder if my observatory roof will even roll open tonight? Haven't tried THAT yet under snow/ice conditions...

Ahh, the joys!

#54 smokin oakum

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:01 AM

Sorry for takin the thread off topic, but I might as well bring it back.

Has anyone compaired the 4" Marshall to the 3.5" Watec?

#55 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:16 AM

Here is a link to the Watec-35 mounted on Bob Schilling's 20" Starmaster UTA.

http://tinyurl.com/2z7f2y


Jack Huerkamp

#56 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:24 AM

Guys,

One of my fellow club members bought a 12" XTi and he also owns a MallinCam. I will try to get Johnny to see if he can achieve focus with and without the focal reducer.

Jack

#57 Douglas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:26 AM

For In Travel problems you can try a low profile adapter. If you only need a little more room that can do the trick.

- Doug

#58 smokin oakum

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:35 AM

Guys,

One of my fellow club members bought a 12" XTi and he also owns a MallinCam. I will try to get Johnny to see if he can achieve focus with and without the focal reducer.

Jack


Thanks a lot Jack. That will put my mind at ease.

#59 Bowmoreman

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 12:18 PM

Let the race be on - my CSC says I might be able to give her a go tonight... And this will be the first time trying on the
Toshiba portable DVD monitor to boot - he says, to stay close enough to "on topic" and not be a hijack! - :lol:

clear skies

#60 mclewis1

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:50 PM

I forgot to mention to Dave, you can use a Y cable to use the same power source for both the MallinCam and WATEC monitor. My Y cable came with my wireless transmitter from the VFM store and I use it with the WATEC. I also had Charlie Starks from www.marklessastronomics.com fabricate some custom length power cables to keep it all neat and tidy. You can also find custom length video cables from www.cablesondemand.com

- Doug


Uh, I'd be really careful with that setup. It appears (visual assessment only) that the Mallincam supplied AC 12v adapter is a 1 to 1.5amp model, likely closer to 1 amp. The Mallincams draw 400-500ma and the Watec 3.5-4" monitors draw 500ma, so you'll need at least an amp total. It's generally a good idea to drive power supplies at only 50-75% of rated capacity. They run cooler and last longer. Sure it works now with your setup ... but what about the next guy?

With the wall wart style power adapter supplied with the Mallincam you're going to be pushing the limits ... especially when the seasons change and the temp goes back up. When these little power adapters fail it can often get ugly with a much higher raw unregulated voltage being fed to the output.

With the investment everyone is making in the Mallincam and a nice monitor it would make a lot of sense to spend a few extra dollars on a good 2-3 amp regulated and protected 12v power supply ... or alternately a battery setup like all those goto scopes use, either way you'll be under $50 ... consider it a cheap insurance policy.

#61 Douglas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 02:04 PM

I checked with Rock and Charlie on the power cables before we fabricated anything. No problems at all with this set up. The power cable that comes from MallinCam has a fuse in the tip that protects you, you can unscrew the tip of the cigarette style adapter and you will see where the fuse goes.

I actually run the cable into an RCA jack terminal on my UTA, down my truss poles, into a power rail in the mirror box and then out to a Celestron Power Tank which is a traditional 12v source, 17amp-hour, battery.

Charlie from Markless Astronomics, who designed the powered truss system, and Gary Myers from ServoCat both helped me do an amp calculation to make sure everything was setup ok.

- Doug

#62 mclewis1

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 02:29 PM

Doug,

Sorry about that ... I think I really should have pointed my response at Dave Wagner (Bowmoreman) since he wrote ...

"Hi Jack, I am pulling the trigger on the WATEC 35 today ...

It notes it comes with a "power plug", but, do I need to order their power supply? Can I just connect a "Y" adapter from the Power to the MCHP and tap into 12V that way?"



It sounds like he is going to try and use the Mallincam power adapter and I think that will not be acceptable to drive both units.

Doug, nice setup ... you and I seem to be on the same page in terms of using good quality 12v sources and cables.

#63 Douglas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:06 PM

Thanks Mark!

It took some planning and time to fabricate custom length power cables with the proper power tips. It pays to speak to Rock or Jack when customizing these cables. The current color MCHP cameras have a 2.1mm tip but the older models have a 2.5mm tip. They have a positive center pin. I checked the polarities of all the connectors.

Charlie Starks does an outstanding job. He spoke to Rock about the camera, emailed the VFM store in Hong Kong to make sure the power tips matched the wireless transmitter and WATEC and did all the amp calculations.

Rock Mallin said the MallinCam draws less than 280 ma. when plugged in and with the Thermal Electric Cooling turned on it would draw 450 ma.

The WATEC monitor draws 2.16w and is advertised as a low electric requirement: I = P/V = 2.16W/12.6V = 171 ma, or 0.171 a

The wireless video transmitter consumes 500mA and the Astrosystems secondary dew heater draws 317ma

My total draw is about 1.438 amps.

My next project is to build a freeze switch so I can freeze the good images for longer duration viewing for group viewing. At the higher integration settings of 56 seconds, with my alt/az tracking, I get some good, some poor images as it refreshes. I want to freeze the good images. While folks enjoy that view you can slew the scope to the next target and get set up so you can flip quickly from target to target for large groups. The freeze switch instructions were posted in the MallinCam Yahoo forum and reviewed by Rock but come with a disclaimer. An improperly made switch can fry the cameras circuitry and void the warranty. You must test the final construction with a volt/ohm-meter prior to attaching a homemade switch to the camera.

That being said, folks have been using properly constructed freeze switches without any problem. Screen captures can be performed while the image is frozen so you can really plan a group viewing session and keep things moving along.

- Doug

#64 Bowmoreman

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 04:06 PM

Doug,

Sorry about that ... I think I really should have pointed my response at Dave Wagner (Bowmoreman) since he wrote ...

"Hi Jack, I am pulling the trigger on the WATEC 35 today ...

It notes it comes with a "power plug", but, do I need to order their power supply? Can I just connect a "Y" adapter from the Power to the MCHP and tap into 12V that way?"



It sounds like he is going to try and use the Mallincam power adapter and I think that will not be acceptable to drive both units.

Doug, nice setup ... you and I seem to be on the same page in terms of using good quality 12v sources and cables.


Thanks, Mark... You were partly right, and the point you make is extremely important for anyone reading this thread!

I was going to use the Power adapter (Y cable) that comes with the WATEC... I was planning on checking amperage provision (and demands) before doing anything... my major in college was Electrical Engineering... I've experienced the "expensive transistors failing to protect cheap fuses" too many times in my life to underestimate the importance of a good, stiff, well-regulated and over-sized power supply :roflmao:

I'm probably going to lash something up to connect to either a higher power +12V config running of AC in the OBS (If when I verify the specs of the Mallincam Power "wart" they don't cover at least 2Amps continuous), and to plug into my various multi-amp DC Power Tanks when in "field" mode... I have a couple starting at 17A and upwards...

I knew that the WATEC came with a 'Y' power cable - so's I would'nt hafta rig that part up myself!

To everyone else - Mark is 110% correct; as unintuitive as it might sound, NEVER undersize a power supply! (btw: while on this topic, never undersize a power amplifier for your speakers either, unless you want to destroy them! - similar, though not quite identical cause/result!).

Clear skies and I love how CNers watch out for each other!

#65 smokin oakum

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:11 PM

Sorry for takin the thread off topic, but I might as well bring it back.

Has anyone compaired the 4" Marshall to the 3.5" Watec?


I forgot that I asked this question but I'm still interested in hearing if there has been a compairason.

#66 Rusty

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 09:56 PM

This for Mike Harvey: Which specific model Marshall monitor did you choose?

#67 Douglas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:24 PM

Another display option is video glasses. I tested a pair with a fellow Westchester Amateur Astronomer, John Paladini, who wrote up a piece for Cloudy Nights entitled "Video Binoviewing". There was also a fourm tied to the article.

The video glasses made the view personal, much like the experience at the eyepiece. Great portability for field trips and large screen tv images.

Check out the video glasses at www.vrealities.com

- Doug

#68 Mike Harvey

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:07 PM

This for Mike Harvey: Which specific model Marshall monitor did you choose?


Hi Rusty...

The V-R104DP-HDA.
B&H is taking orders for an 8" version that looks to have the same features.
If so, that's all you really need.
I gave mine a real workout this past weekend at CAV and I'm very pleased with it. But I realize, now, that I don't use the full 10.4".
The monitor has a setting called Pixel To Pixel and it matches the onscreen image size to the output of whatever camera you're using. With the Mallincam that comes out to a little over 7" diagonal.
The images were just stunning.
Lots of features that I'm still trying to figure out, though! :)

Mike

#69 Rusty

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 09:04 PM

Thanks, Mike...I'm still recovering from paying homeowners and car insurance and RE taxes (all in Nov-Dec); but I think a 7-8" monitor will be the way to go. Actually, maybe I should get a Mallincam to go with that, too! :grin:

#70 Bowmoreman

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 03:18 PM

Well, just got my WATEC 3.5" ordered from SpySite... getting the MiniStand that has the ball socket as per advice earlier here.

Hoping their "Airborne Ground" shipping will get it here BEFORE 12/20.

I have my first school outreach scheduled for 12/20 (clouds permitting obviously!).

Wish me goo results and luck with this first batch: 2nd and 3rd graders!

Clear skies

#71 John Vogt

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 01:03 PM

I contacted Marshall about the 8" monitors, the exact equivalent to Mike's 10.4" is the 8.4" V-R84DP-HDA. Interestingly the price difference between the two models is only about $110. As the only difference between the two is the screen size wouldn't the image be smaller on the 8.4" as the way the aspect ratio is treated is the same?

John

#72 midway199

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 01:38 PM

What makes the best monitor "the best"? It seems to boil down to opinions from people who try out this and that. At least, that's all I've seen is reviews from people saying they like the monitor they have, which is helpful, don't get me wrong. They're saving the rest of us from making an expensive mistake, or wasting our time, at least. :bow:

But aren't there specifications that would quantify a monitor's ability to produce a pleasing image? For instance, an LCD monitor with low response time and higher Image Contrast ratio is better when you shop for a monitor for your PC. 1080p is better than 1080i in Hi-Def, right?What specifications should we be looking for in a video monitor for video-astro cameras? I'm a little surprised that this information hasn't been provided to the astro-video community yet.

Just a thought. :question:

#73 rolandskythree

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:00 PM

What makes a good monitor (assuming the candidates have sufficient resolution) are very dependent on how the observer wants to setup astrovideo.

Actually the choices of monitors are unlimited if you consider computer monitors that have a converter box between the astrovideo input and the monitor. In terms of high resolution color monitors that are CRTs, the choices are very limited. The Sanyo 8614 is one of the few where the price is not out the roof (about 300) and it delivers well, but it is heavy (30#) and (like most color high res CRTs) uses quite a bit of power. I use it in non-mobile settings but resort to an LCD/converter box for mobile. As also many have said on threads, there are some small screens available with various advantages and disadvantages--depending on whether you want to be at the EP or sitting with a group. Another option I have mentioned that does not get much press but works very well: two daisy chained monitors where your first monitor is a typical security high resolution 800-1000 tvl B&W monitor. Then the video out on this monitor feeds a color monitor, or projector (we do this also...and it works well), or a color CRT/LCD --all of which can be spaced away from the scope setup. The B&W high res monitors (less than $100, light, use about 15-20W) are great primary monitors also when the object has little color. They are easy to replace, work in hearty environments, and usually deliver a good range of brightness. Roland

#74 jayscheuerle

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:35 PM

If you want the best image from whatever monitor you choose, you'd want one with an S-video input, controls for adjusting brightness, contrast, color & hue, and a flat screen.

After that, your choices are give and take, depending on how you want to use it.

#75 smokin oakum

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 05:36 PM

So what are you people finding in the $400 range that will deliver a pixel to pixel translation to the screen, witch I'm understanding is a 8" screen?


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