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Temperature Controlled Laser as a Finder Scope

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#1 TonyMan

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 01:44 PM

We have a scope at our observatory that we are considering adding a laser as a finder scope. We have been discussing various laser modules available on eBay. We've also discussed the need for a heater and a thermostat to insure operation in cold weather. Before we get too carried away with building something I was wondering if anyone has seen a product similar to this that is commercially made. 

 

Thanks



#2 sg6

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 02:56 PM

520nm laser, direct without the frequency doubling so they are advertised as OK down to -10C.

In the standard GRP it seems to be the IR to Green bit that is the temperature problem. I suspect the crystal uses thermal energy to double the frequency somehow.

 

The 520's are a direct output from a laser diode.

 

Laserland(s) sell them in the US standard of 5mw, think only as 5's.

So don't think I am breaking any rules here.

 

Would be a lesser cost to find out, and may do what you want. As in stay on.

 

After that I expect that a rifle sight one is required, full adjustment present on the unit. Would likely need a small heat source however I expect.

 

Reason I know the laserland one is I have just ordered one to find out.

 

Better add that the site seems to describe them on the page as 510nm but think that is a typo.


Edited by sg6, 14 December 2019 - 02:57 PM.

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#3 SteveG

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 03:16 PM

We have a scope at our observatory that we are considering adding a laser as a finder scope. We have been discussing various laser modules available on eBay. We've also discussed the need for a heater and a thermostat to insure operation in cold weather. Before we get too carried away with building something I was wondering if anyone has seen a product similar to this that is commercially made. 

 

Thanks

I use a Z Bolt with great results. They have 532, 515 (green) and 450 (Sapphire). I have the blue Sapphire and really like it, as it is not as bright as the green, but still bright enough.

 

Z-Bolt gets mostly great reviews but a recent purchaser on this forum got a bad unit and received bad service, so YMMV.

 

https://www.custom-l...s.com/astronomy



#4 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 04:22 AM

I use the Pinty brand.,made for firearms.,They are inexpensive.,work in the cold very well.,No need for any type of heater.,and you can buy or make a mount.,They also come with a remote switch.,and have the same type of alignment as a rifle scope.,I get them from Amazon.,Around $20.,

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Edited by clearwaterdave, 15 December 2019 - 04:25 AM.

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#5 NuclearRoy

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:34 AM

I use the Pinty brand.,made for firearms.,They are inexpensive.,work in the cold very well.,No need for any type of heater.,and you can buy or make a mount.,They also come with a remote switch.,and have the same type of alignment as a rifle scope.,I get them from Amazon.,Around $20.,

That's the one I use as well.

No problems yet.



#6 AstroVPK

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 10:45 AM

Orion has a nice laser - I much prefer it to the Orion red dot finder.



#7 SonnyE

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 11:43 AM

Tactical Lasers like these ones on Amazon also have the advantage of being adjustable to zero them in.

 

Currently I'm using a type 303 green laser mounted under my guide scope. When the Grand kids ask what I'm lookin at, I just push the momentary button and BAM, a green line lights the way!

 

Of course, then they all want a turn.... wink.gif



#8 luxo II

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 04:33 PM

Had a Skywatcher green laser finder about 10 years ago but didn’t really like it much, and sold it; back to using a conventional 8x50 finderscope.

 

The laws in my country are such that Id sooner not have the legal problems associated with using one. 



#9 halx

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 07:03 PM

The thermostat might be still in order as batteries tend to weaken in the cold as well.

There is another option though, which I'm practicing personally:
Make the GLP easily removable! So when not in use you can keep it in the warm pocket. The simple hole-in-the-block mount is good enough, as the GLP doesn't require as precise alignment as an optical or even an RDF finder (thus no need to overpay for "Tactical" ast the latter are relying on the spot not on the beam's end for targeting). Just make sure you can reproduce the body rotational angle, as a typical GLP doesn't care about the beam being coaxial with the GLP body. I'm using the groove on the side of the mount's hole for the side button of my super cheap 2xAAA laser pointers (3D printed it with the slope, so when the GLP is deeper inside the button on its side is automatically depressed). That scheme is also good for the outreach, as kids indeed want to play with it insted of looking through the EP (so I have an option to allow or disallow that at will grin.gif ).


Edited by halx, 18 December 2019 - 07:05 PM.


#10 Volvonium

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 07:11 PM

The Pinty green rifle lasers are fantastic.  they're my favorite finder tool.   I have had the front lens dew over a couple times on mine which caused it to scatter all of the laser light, but it would be trivial to make a long dew shield for it, which would mitigate how long it would take to dew over.  I imagine even just a lopped off shampoo bottle lid might be the right diameter and long enough to help.



#11 halx

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 07:17 PM

Dewshield? C'mon! Just wipe it! And again not an issue with the removable GLP pen. 


Edited by halx, 18 December 2019 - 07:18 PM.


#12 Volvonium

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 07:20 PM

Dewshield? C'mon! Just wipe it! And again not an issue with the removable GLP pen. 

But if you paint the dew shield black, it would look even more tactical muahahah



#13 clearwaterdave

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:26 PM

The thermostat might be still in order as batteries tend to weaken in the cold as well.

There is another option though, which I'm practicing personally:
Make the GLP easily removable! So when not in use you can keep it in the warm pocket. The simple hole-in-the-block mount is good enough, as the GLP doesn't require as precise alignment as an optical or even an RDF finder (thus no need to overpay for "Tactical" ast the latter are relying on the spot not on the beam's end for targeting). Just make sure you can reproduce the body rotational angle, as a typical GLP doesn't care about the beam being coaxial with the GLP body. I'm using the groove on the side of the mount's hole for the side button of my super cheap 2xAAA laser pointers (3D printed it with the slope, so when the GLP is deeper inside the button on its side is automatically depressed). That scheme is also good for the outreach, as kids indeed want to play with it insted of looking through the EP (so I have an option to allow or disallow that at will grin.gif ).

Why not just get a laser that works in the cold and leave it mounted.,I certainly don't want to be fiddling around putting it on an off in the dark every time I want to use it.,

  And I don't need a 3-D printer to come up with a mount design either.,lol.,

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Edited by clearwaterdave, 18 December 2019 - 09:38 PM.

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#14 halx

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:50 PM

By the way, sometimes folks are suggesting to replace batteries to lithium to avoid them freezing. Careful, some lasers have weak protection from that. As lithiums are of a higher voltage.

Edited by halx, 18 December 2019 - 09:53 PM.


#15 halx

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 06:13 PM

Sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, hopefully someone could recall seeing a thermoregulated GLP beast in the wild for you TonyMan.

Meanwhile, my post will help keeping the thread floating near the top so these folks could notice it sooner grin.gif

 

If you have no 3D printer yet, a decent hole-in-block mount for a typical cheap 2xAAA GLP can be made using the epoxy putty stick.

 

  1. Move the scope to the outside view at the dark and point it to some immobile (i.e. terrestrial) target far away (light bulb on a pole).
  2. Decide on the GLP mounting location, cover it with the piece of masking tape.
  3. Wrap the GLP body in a piece of thin paper (keep the side button outside).
  4. Knead the putty and wrap it around the paper on GLP sculpting something to your liking all the way to a "Urinating Boy" statue if you so desire. Just make sure there is base to go on the OTA and some side-button fixed position introduced (like the button on the top of the wrapping blob) so you could post-process the mount when cured to accept the button in the desired position only (simple low profile flush aerodynamic blob would suffice, no need for high riser to catch your nostril on in the dark).
  5. Put your sculpture base over the prepared spot on the OTA and sculpt the perfect base figure as well.
  6. Now turn on the GLP and make sure it is hitting the distant target twisting and kneading your creation as needed (just make sure the GLP body wrap is still tight).
  7. Leave it curing for an hour or two per instruction (I would periodically check the beam direction, as in case there is a not very cooperating gravity force involved the beam may "flow" as epoxy curing. Just push it back and compress down periodically, also if  it's on the bottom or on the side you can add a strip of masking tape over it).
  8. Remove it from the OTA, remove the GLP and paper. Dry it more. Sand, polish, carve for the button ramp, drill for mounting screws, spray paint, screw/glue down to the OTA over the marked spot (which you have marked before removing the cured sculpture, right?). 
  9. Insert the GLP back and enjoy the perfect GLP mount flowerred.gif

Note: the scope is assumed well collimated already, as collimating it afterwards may shift the optical axis enough to introduce a noticeable GLP pointing error.

 

Note: just in case: the mounting location should be fixed in relation to the main optical axis in the same position if the scope requires assembling (it's probably bad on a strut).

No, I'm, not a Putty Vendor.


Edited by halx, 19 December 2019 - 06:16 PM.


#16 dan_h

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 12:38 PM

The thermostat might be still in order as batteries tend to weaken in the cold as well.

There is another option though, which I'm practicing personally:
Make the GLP easily removable! So when not in use you can keep it in the warm pocket. The simple hole-in-the-block mount is good enough, as the GLP doesn't require as precise alignment as an optical or even an RDF finder (thus no need to overpay for "Tactical" ast the latter are relying on the spot not on the beam's end for targeting). Just make sure you can reproduce the body rotational angle, as a typical GLP doesn't care about the beam being coaxial with the GLP body. I'm using the groove on the side of the mount's hole for the side button of my super cheap 2xAAA laser pointers (3D printed it with the slope, so when the GLP is deeper inside the button on its side is automatically depressed). That scheme is also good for the outreach, as kids indeed want to play with it insted of looking through the EP (so I have an option to allow or disallow that at will grin.gif ).

The OP is looking for something to use in the observatory and I assume that means a permanent installation.   Personally, I'd eliminate the batteries and if necessary, install a heater around the laser.  

 

dan



#17 halx

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 06:20 PM

Well, to be exact, there is no permanent installation as a mandatory feature has been stated by the OP. "Observatory" may mean everything from an even rock outcrop in the open alpine meadow, to the robotic telescope in space.



#18 sewhite

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 12:36 PM

I have 2 of the Z-Bolt cold weather green lasers and they can take colder weather than I can without dimming. Low to mid 20s is all I can stay out in for an extended period of time.
CS, Stan
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