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OAG Mod: Lodestar2 to Atik One OAG Flexure solved

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#1 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:21 PM

Wow, I'm still a little tired from last night, but I feel I had to post this new update to my flexure issues.  Maybe it will help someone else and offer up a nifty modification I made to my Atik One OAG, thanks to a suggestion by Peter in Reno.

 

The problem I've been fighting involved my Atik GP guide camera.  It was difficult to connect to either PHD2 or TheSky.  Something also may have been wrong with it, because it didn't seem very sensitive.  On the suggestions of folks here, I picked up a Lodestar 2 last week.  Wow, what a nice camera!  It connects with everything, and I was up and running (camera-wise) in about 5 minutes.  However, when I tried guiding through my off axis guide scope, I was still getting flexure. 

 

I tried for several weeks to determine the cause.  I remembered what great guiding I had the one time the OAG did work, but the Lodestars 12.7mm backfocus wouldn't allow me to reach focus using the Atik's OAG with its designed 5.2mm backfocus.  Enter Peters' in Reno's suggestion from my other thread.  He suggested I make a 7mm spacer to place behind the Atik's OAG and connect it using longer cap screws.  So, last night I fashioned an adapter on my lathe and mill, a 7mm aluminum spacer with a raised step ring.  It took me about an hour to machine from the billet.  Although it had just rained and the humidity was almost 100%, the stars were out, so I went out to try and achieve focus and possible get a test image in. 

 

I set the helical to the midpoint of focus and focused the main imaging camera.  Next, I focused the Lodestar.  Hey!  Success!  I only had to tweak the focusing helical a turn or two to get both cameras parfocal!  With both cameras running, I quickly did a 54 point Tpoint run and slewed to M16. The acid test would be imaging in the Southern sky, the area I've always had the most flexure issues.  I imaged M16 in HA for 600 seconds as an experiment.  Did it work?  In a word...spectacularly!  I was able to guide easily up to 30 minutes, and every shot I took last night had round stars!  The only failure I had came from PHD2 when I lost the guide star.

 

So, the good news is the flexure issue seems to be solved, PLUS I still can use my nifty Lodestar 2 AND get great connectivity in PHD2.  No more pesky driver issues.  Here's the setup....

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Edited by APshooter, 18 August 2015 - 01:25 PM.

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#2 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:22 PM

Here a closeup shot of the adapter ring:

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#3 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:23 PM

And some test images:  None of these are well processed.  They are just star tests, but the results speak for themselves.  This one was 30 minutes:

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Edited by APshooter, 18 August 2015 - 12:25 PM.

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#4 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:23 PM

Another, 10 minutes on M 16:

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#5 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:24 PM

900 seconds on M17:

 

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#6 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:25 PM

20 minutes Ha on the Veil:

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#7 Peter in Reno

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:28 PM

CONGRATS!!!!! Your images look awesome.

 

It's too bad that A-P guide scope setup didn't work. What's strange is that not only your guide scope setup is made by Astro-Physics, your scope is also made by A-P. I am kind of curious where the flexure originated but not worth the effort investigating.

 

OAG will always beat any other kind of autoguider setup.

 

Don't forget to paint the new adapter to flat black to avoid internal light reflections.

 

Peter


Edited by Peter in Reno, 18 August 2015 - 12:46 PM.


#8 anismo

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:33 PM

very nice AP. congrats on squashing the gremlins. Looks like the setup is ready to rock. Must be nice to have a lathe and milling machine handy :)



#9 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:38 PM

That's really cool! Great work!



#10 Footbag

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:54 PM

The gremlins are gone!

And some nice images to show for it!

#11 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:56 PM

 

very nice AP. congrats on squashing the gremlins. Looks like the setup is ready to rock. Must be nice to have a lathe and milling machine handy :)

 

 Invaluable!  I've made several camera spacers and eyepiece adapters over the years, as well as focusing knobs and other doodads.  When Peter suggested the spacer, I said 'this is worth a hour's labor to try and beat this thing'.  Can't wait to try it out under better skies.  My scope was dripping wet from the humidity, as was my sliding glass door out to the observatory.



#12 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:57 PM

 

The gremlins are gone!

And some nice images to show for it!

 

Thanks, Footbag!  After I start collecting some real data for once, I hope you guys can give me tips on tweaking my images with PI!   



#13 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 01:27 PM

It's too bad that A-P guide scope setup didn't work. What's strange is that not only your guide scope setup is made by Astro-Physics, your scope is also made by A-P. I am kind of curious where the flexure originated but not worth the effort investigating.

 

OAG will always beat any other kind of autoguider setup.

 

 

 Peter, I tried everything, never located the cause.  Thanks for the spacer suggestion, it worked very well.



#14 Madratter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 02:26 PM

Glad to see you got it licked. :)

#15 Psyire

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 02:56 PM

I've read all your threads and am glad to see you never gave up and the situation is now solved!  Congrats!



#16 Goofi

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 02:57 PM

Congrats on getting this solved!



#17 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 03:28 PM

Thanks guys!  I'm very happy right now!



#18 WesC

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 03:33 PM

Woohoo! I'm really happy for you, Grant! I knew you would figure all this out.

 

I'm going to make a t-shirt... FLEXURE SUCKS!

 

Who wants to buy one? :lol:



#19 Peter in Reno

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 03:39 PM

One more thing to check and I am sure you already checked that. If your scope's focuser is rotatable, did you make sure to lock the focuser's rotating ring?

 

OAG or not, I still suggest to add extension in between drawtube and focal reducer or flattener so that the drawtube is further racked in. I know your focuser is very durable but better safe than sorry. I added two A-P extensions so that my 3.5" FT focuser's drawtube is racked out only 15mm which is enough room for auto focusing. Look at my sample picture setup:

 

https://peternagy.sm...ent/i-9WrXrst/A

 

My setup does not use flattener but same concept.

 

Peter


Edited by Peter in Reno, 18 August 2015 - 03:41 PM.


#20 freestar8n

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:41 PM

Nice work - OAG is a difference of night and day - and it shows in your multiple examples.

Frank

#21 CharlesW

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:59 PM

30 minutes, now you're just showing off  :waytogo: I'm glad you got that sorted out. It's time to have some fun. 



#22 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 05:23 PM

OAG or not, I still suggest to add extension in between drawtube and focal reducer or flattener so that the drawtube is further racked in. I know your focuser is very durable but better safe than sorry. I added two A-P extensions so that my 3.5" FT focuser's drawtube is racked out only 15mm which is enough room for auto focusing.

 

 

Peter:  I tried the 4" extension I have last night.  The extension was sucked into the focuser barrel and hit the stops.  I'd need a shorter one, maybe 2" to keep the focuser from drawing too far in.  MMm.  More parts to buy.



#23 Peter in Reno

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 05:32 PM

If you don't already have the parts, then it may not be necessary. You can always use your lathe to make extensions. :grin:

 

Peter



#24 APshooter

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 05:39 PM

 

If you don't already have the parts, then it may not be necessary. You can always use your lathe to make extensions. :grin:

 

Ah, my one bane:  I can't cut threads onto parts, I never got the thread attachment for my lathe.  I could buy another spacer far cheaper than getting the thread cutting machine.  ;)



#25 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 06:19 PM

Ah, my one bane:  I can't cut threads onto parts, I never got the thread attachment for my lathe.  I could buy another spacer far cheaper than getting the thread cutting machine.  ;)


Dude! This is such the wrong attitude! In fact, I'm about to buy my mill a rotating friend specifically so that I *can* cut threads!
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