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Tscope pcDSC - it's the smartest BBox ever made

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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 03:48 PM

I'm spinning off some general purpose electrontics from the work I've done on the Tscope GOTO system.

The first product is "the Tscopes pcDSC" and I claim that it's the smartest BBox ever made...

First, if you don't know what a "BBox" is, its a little box that lets your computer, laptop of PDA read encoders mounted on each axis of your telescope. The encoders tell which way your telescope is pointing.

Many planetarium programs can talk to these encoder interface boxes and, through a procedure called a "two star alignment," shows where you are pointing your telescope on your computer screen. You can work it in reverse too: you search for an object in your planetarium program and them move the crosshair (representing the telescope position) until it's on top of the object... if you did everything right, then the object will be in the field of view of your eyepeice.

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What makes the pcDSC the smartest BBox ever made? Well, not all planetarium programs support BBoxes. Some planetarium programs will only talk to full-fledged digital setting circles. They expect the DSC to convert encoder values to RA and Dec coordinates for them. Unlike any other BBox out there, the pcDSC can do that too.

The pcDSC has the two star alignment procedure (that converts encoder positions into RA and Dec) just like DSCs do. The pdDSC doesn't have buttons or a display like a DSC box; instead, it uses your computer's built in terminal program ("HyperTerminal" on Windows) to communicate with you while you do the two star alignment. Because there's no software to load, the pcDSC already works with planetarium programs on Windows, MacOS, Linux or whatever...

Pros:
- Costs $149, about 1/2 to 1/3 of what DSC boxes costs.
- You do everything right from your computer screen.

Cons:
- like all BBoxes, it needs a computer, laptop or PDA to talk to.

I've updated the Tscopes web site; there's more info there about the pcDSC and other soon-to-be-available electronics too.

Oh... I've converted the pcDSC manual to PDF. That can be downloaded from the web site; but here's a direct link (28 pages, 900 KB) as well.

Thank you,
- Ed.


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