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Smartphone as a binoculars e-finder

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#1 fromEarth

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 08:36 AM

Hi, 

 

I am a binoculars newbie and really enjoying my Nikon Action Ex 8x40.

 

Since I have been quite spoiled by my push-to dobsonian (SkySafari + Nexus II + Skywatcher 12'') system, I decided to use my android smartphone as an e-finder for my binoculars (I am going to use SkEye app for the push-to function).  I think it will be very helpful for my kid to learn sky maps.

 

I found this video at Youtube:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=i7VKW2s812c

 

I ordered a simple L-shaped tripod adapter and a cheap ball head last night. Is there anyone who uses this setup? Any photos and links? 

 

fromEarth 


Edited by fromEarth, 30 April 2019 - 05:28 PM.

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#2 fromEarth

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 10:34 AM

Where can I get this simple smartphone adapter? Any idea? 

 

https://www.amazon.c...ASIN=B00PNPKN90

 

fromEarth



#3 range88

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 06:58 PM

I once used it for my 100ed bino. I no longer use it. And I think it's useless for low power binoculars, they are already finder class.

Edited by range88, 01 May 2019 - 06:58 PM.

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#4 RussL

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:59 PM

I think I know what you are trying to do. With an app your smart phone can perhaps show you things that are in the sky better than you can see them naked eye. Wirh it set up, you can then look through your binoculars at an object or piece of sky. Is that correct?

If you want to mount your binoculars, bear in mind that a parallelogram mount would work best. It's very hard to look straight through with them on a tripod unless your object is at low altitude.

Another option to a parallelogram mount is a zero gravity chair.
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#5 fromEarth

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 10:55 PM

Yes, I am going to use smartphone as a virtual finder (via SkySafari or SkEye app), which tells me what objects I am looking at and where I can find the next target. I am under the Bortle 7 sky, so believe that this setup will be helpful to understand sky maps. 

 

As range88 mentioned above, this setup may be useless for low power binos like my 8x40, but I think it could be very educational for my kid --- and even me. 

 

I am not going to mount my 8x40 bino to a tripod yet. I saw lots of nice parallelogram or pipe mounts in this forum and really want to have one, but I think hand-held will be just fine for my small 8x40 at this moment. 

 

fromEarth

 

I think I know what you are trying to do. With an app your smart phone can perhaps show you things that are in the sky better than you can see them naked eye. Wirh it set up, you can then look through your binoculars at an object or piece of sky. Is that correct?

If you want to mount your binoculars, bear in mind that a parallelogram mount would work best. It's very hard to look straight through with them on a tripod unless your object is at low altitude.

Another option to a parallelogram mount is a zero gravity chair.



#6 Simon B

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:53 PM

I've used it a few times in this configuration - usually I don't, because I know the major targets and their locations pretty well by now. But it is pretty neat : )   at a dark site it's a bit bright to have the display right there, even with the red screen mode on, and the brightness setting to minimum

 

 

 

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#7 RussL

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 05:44 AM

I agree with Simon that the phone might be too bright if mounted on the binos. But, at Bortle 7 might work. My skies are Bortle 7 also, but I use my phone separately--that is, if I use it at all. I learned the sky the old school way long ago using charts.

Something else you might like is the book, Turn Left At Orion. It utilizes the brightest stars seen in a bright sky to find objects. Also, a good planisphere such as David Chandler's will help. There are also many good field guides out there. Your son would enjoy learning the sky with these tools as well.

#8 fromEarth

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 08:31 AM

Hi Simon,

 

That simple setup (L-type adapter + smartphone clip) is exactly I am thinking ! Where did you get the clip? I am looking for a clip fully made of hard plastic because some steel parts can interfere a magnetometer in my smartphone. 

 

fromEarth

 

 

I've used it a few times in this configuration - usually I don't, because I know the major targets and their locations pretty well by now. But it is pretty neat : )   at a dark site it's a bit bright to have the display right there, even with the red screen mode on, and the brightness setting to minimum



#9 fromEarth

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 08:45 AM

I have never learned how to properly do star hopping -- Bortle 7 sky and my push-to system spoiled me. Perfect dark adaptation is almost impossible in my observing site (front yard) even though I wear a big red goggle.

 

When I ordered my Nikon 8x40, I also bought Sky&Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (Jumbo) to get used star charts. I really like the book ("old school", anyway), but my son prefers apps to printed charts.

 

fromEarth

 

 

I agree with Simon that the phone might be too bright if mounted on the binos. But, at Bortle 7 might work. My skies are Bortle 7 also, but I use my phone separately--that is, if I use it at all. I learned the sky the old school way long ago using charts.

Something else you might like is the book, Turn Left At Orion. It utilizes the brightest stars seen in a bright sky to find objects. Also, a good planisphere such as David Chandler's will help. There are also many good field guides out there. Your son would enjoy learning the sky with these tools as well.

 


Edited by fromEarth, 02 May 2019 - 08:33 PM.

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#10 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:04 AM

All plastic smartphone clamp/holder adapter

 

https://www.bhphotov..._phone_1_4.html

 

I assume you would just flip the L bracket upside down and screw the smartphone clamp to the underside of the L bracket (where it usually mounts to a quick release plate)

 

I believe this matte black textured finish Binocular tripod adapter is all plastic also (not 100% sure on the all plastic but most metal tripod adapters aren’t textured)

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 02 May 2019 - 09:30 AM.


#11 Simon B

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:22 PM

Hi Simon,

 

That simple setup (L-type adapter + smartphone clip) is exactly I am thinking ! Where did you get the clip? I am looking for a clip fully made of hard plastic because some steel parts can interfere a magnetometer in my smartphone. 

 

fromEarth

 

I think this is the same as the one I bought, it's plastic:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07573W8M8

 

 

 

And the tripod adapter I bought is steel:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IF16XE2/

 

 

Maybe you could find a similar one made of aluminium or plastic? Although I can't recall the steel adapter ever interfering with the phone's accelerometer. I think this is a myth, try it with a piece of steel, or even a fridge magnet - the accelerometer will not be affected : )


Edited by Simon B, 02 May 2019 - 03:27 PM.


#12 fromEarth

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 04:10 PM

It's magnetometer, not accelerometer. I had one plastic clip before, but found that spring parts inside of the smartphone clip can affect the accuracy of smartphone compass. A steel tripod adapter is just fine. 

 

 

I think this is the same as the one I bought, it's plastic:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07573W8M8

 

 

 

And the tripod adapter I bought is steel:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IF16XE2/

 

 

Maybe you could find a similar one made of aluminium or plastic? Although I can't recall the steel adapter ever interfering with the phone's accelerometer. I think this is a myth, try it with a piece of steel, or even a fridge magnet - the accelerometer will not be affected : )


Edited by fromEarth, 02 May 2019 - 04:12 PM.


#13 Simon B

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:08 PM

It's magnetometer, not accelerometer. I had one plastic clip before, but found that spring parts inside of the smartphone clip can affect the accuracy of smartphone compass. A steel tripod adapter is just fine. 

 

Actually a smartphone would probably use both magnetometer and accelerometer for an app like Skysafari, but yes, I suppose I meant magnetometer there. The good thing about the tripod adapter I linked to is that you can use it in various configurations - you can orient the phone closer to the eyepieces by reversing the adapter. Ofcourse you'll need a second 1/4-20 screw to attach the phone clamp to the tripod adapter



#14 fromEarth

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:17 PM

Simon, Vondragonnoggin, and RussL:

 

Thanks for all your suggestions and info! They were really helpful.

 

fromEarth

 

 

Actually a smartphone would probably use both magnetometer and accelerometer for an app like Skysafari, but yes, I suppose I meant magnetometer there. The good thing about the tripod adapter I linked to is that you can use it in various configurations - you can orient the phone closer to the eyepieces by reversing the adapter. Ofcourse you'll need a second 1/4-20 screw to attach the phone clamp to the tripod adapter



#15 Boki

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:08 PM

I use RAM X-grip mount and it is far superior than anything else. It is also universal and fits different phones easily. And the simplicity of using a phone and its sensors as a finder is fantastic. But, it is not very precise. It is ok for wide field binoculars, but not for telescope. Cs,,boki



#16 fromEarth

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:40 AM

Parts were finally delivered and I assembled them on Saturday.

 

A little bit heavy with Galaxy Note 5, but still pretty cool. My son loves it !! However, we could not test this system yet, because, as usual, we had 5 rainy days in row here.

 

https://1.bp.blogspo...00/IMG_2898.JPG

 

Thanks for all your comments and ideas !!

 

 

fromEarth


Edited by fromEarth, 13 May 2019 - 11:44 PM.

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#17 scfahy

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 05:17 PM

I've used it a few times in this configuration - usually I don't, because I know the major targets and their locations pretty well by now. But it is pretty neat : )   at a dark site it's a bit bright to have the display right there, even with the red screen mode on, and the brightness setting to minimum

Hi

That adapter would be perfect for my  Binoculars   - Celestron Echelon  16x70 .

Do you have a Link to where I could purchase this product,

thanks

Stephen 



#18 scfahy

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 06:20 PM

Parts were finally delivered and I assembled them on Saturday.

 

A little bit heavy with Galaxy Note 5, but still pretty cool. My son loves it !! However, we could not test this system yet, because, as usual, we had 5 rainy days in row here.

 

https://1.bp.blogspo...00/IMG_2898.JPG

 

Thanks for all your comments and ideas !!

 

 

fromEarth

Could I get a link to those parts as I can see you've an adapter attached to the Binoculars and then a Smartphone Holder.  Do you need additional screws for this setup.    Im looking to do the same with my Echelon  16x70 Binoculars,  thanks Stephen



#19 SonnyE

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 09:28 PM

Not with Binoculars, but early days and early ways....

 

DSC 0107 mount
 
I did this with my spotting scope before I owned anything better.
I've moved my Tasco Red Dot sight from my telescope onto my Parallelogram for my binoculars.
I mounted the sight on the L bracket so I can switch binoculars and still have the sight intact to the device.
I am seriously considering another Laser to mount on the P-gram. I have one on my AP rig and really like it.
 
I have it zeroed better now, but you get the picture...
 
Andromeda Laser Beam Aim Test 25s 1 25s W
 
 
Rats! You pushed me over the edge. I ordered a blue laser for my P-gram mount. I'm hoping to undermount it.

Edited by SonnyE, 24 October 2020 - 09:42 PM.


#20 fromEarth

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 01:32 AM

Hi

That adapter would be perfect for my  Binoculars   - Celestron Echelon  16x70 .

Do you have a Link to where I could purchase this product,

thanks

Stephen 

You can search "smartphone adapter" at ebay/Amazon/Aliexpress. I strongly recommend one made of only plastic/ABS material.

 

https://www.ebay.com...dapter&_sacat=0

 

Most of them use steel parts (spring, screws etc.) and this can cause issues with your phone's magnetic sensor. If you buy an adapter using metal parts, place your phone's magnetic sensor from the metal parts as far as possible.  Any free "metal detector" iOS/Android app will be very helpful to locate the magnetic sensor in your phone.

 

fromEarth 


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#21 PEterW

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 04:26 AM

Mounting the phone above the binoculars looks like a cool idea for getting started. You’d need to calibrate the pointing on something like the moon or Jupiter. I am not sure how accurate this will be, the “AR sun/moon” apps seem to be pretty close... probably fine for low power binocukars, not sure about nighter power ones. In end to use low powers first so I know where I am and can reliably starhop about, then move to higher power to repeat the process (now I know what I am expecting). A green laser can let me point the bigger bins accurately on a starting point.
Once mounted it might be worth calibrating the compass by moving it in figures of eight.. some apps ask you to do this,
Will reduce the effect of the binoculars and mounts.

Good luck

PEter

#22 fromEarth

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 02:34 PM

If you have an android phone, SkEye Pro's "Virtual D(igital)S(etting)C(circle)" function is quite useful (but not perfect) for finding targets after multi-star alignment. You will still need to find a best way to minimize magnetic inteference by steel parts.

 

SkyEye Pro

 

https://lavadip.com/skeye/

 

and read Chapter 3.

 

https://lavadip.com/...ser_manual.html

 

 

fromEarth

 

 



#23 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 02:59 PM

I really like this uncomplicated aid, especially for low power wide angle instruments:

 

IMG 4105

 

I will also use it with my upcoming 150mm APM Bino

 

Jochen



#24 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 01:47 PM

I hold the binoculars in one hand and an iPhone with SkySafari Pro in the other.  I compare what I see in the binos with what I see in SSP.  It works as long as the binos aren't too heavy.  "Too heavy" is dependent on the user.  It helps to do pushups.  It also helps it the binos are IS (Image Stabilized).

 

grin.gif

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 29 October 2020 - 01:49 PM.


#25 fromEarth

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 10:45 PM

Since my push-to bino system (Nikon Action Ex 8x40 + smartphone + adapter) weighs about 1.3kg / 2.8lbs, I prefer use it on a strong 32mm ball head / tripod / monopod / parallelogram mount. I found this one at Amazon. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...917a19b2c5a47e0

 

The max load is 33lbs/15kg and it's build is very impressive. I guess it works fine with 10x50 (1kg / 2.2lb)

 

 

These are front/rear views of my push-to binos system:

 

https://1.bp.blogspo...1112_123640.jpg

 

https://1.bp.blogspo...1112_123640.jpg

 

fromEarth


Edited by fromEarth, 13 November 2020 - 04:51 AM.



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