Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

How to Make a Flat Frame Panel for Dark Sites (Cheap)

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 profdmt

profdmt

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 13 Oct 2020

Posted 28 March 2021 - 11:16 AM

Having recently dived into astrophotography, I have found that most problems I face have been faced before, and have a plethora of solutions. Typically, those fall into a couple of categories – expensive, and cheap do-it-yourself. But backyard astronomers being the type of people they are, they tend to share one endearing characteristic – heavily over-engineered for the problem at hand.

Click here to view the article

#2 Tommy Dowling

Tommy Dowling

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2021
  • Loc: San Gabriel Mtns. So Cal

Posted 28 March 2021 - 12:54 PM

Brilliant idea. I'm wondering if the scope is necessary though. could you put a smaller EL panel on the end of a T-adapter and take the exposure with just the camera. I have an 11" SCT and building this to that scale could be prohibitive. I'm just learning astrophotography myself so please no rude comments. 



#3 GaryShaw

GaryShaw

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 949
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Massachusetts / Wyoming

Posted 28 March 2021 - 01:38 PM

I believe that Flats need to be made with the full optical train in place...telescope, correctors, filters, OAG, sensor, etc. Darks can be made with just the camera and a cap to block the light. 
Gary


  • nicedoggie, Michael Covington, bobzeq25 and 3 others like this

#4 GaryShaw

GaryShaw

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 949
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Massachusetts / Wyoming

Posted 28 March 2021 - 01:45 PM

The electroluminescent panel lots of folks use is powered by the usb from your laptop and costs about 24 usd. Works on apertures up to about 260 mm. Not sure if larger ones are available.
Gary



#5 Michael Covington

Michael Covington

    Author

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,775
  • Joined: 13 May 2014
  • Loc: Athens, Georgia, USA

Posted 28 March 2021 - 02:17 PM

Yes, flats need to be made with the full optical train in place so they can compensate for any blockage of light, including dust motes anywhere in the system.


  • nicedoggie, bobzeq25 and Benschop like this

#6 ssagerian

ssagerian

    Maker Uranographer

  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Joined: 30 Nov 2013
  • Loc: Chicago Suburbs, USA

Posted 29 March 2021 - 07:17 AM

Nice job, always great to see people making stuff, a tradition in this hobby. Did you use 1/4" or 3/4" plywood, maybe the photos make the thickness look exaggerated.  Can you post a few histograms of from your camera?



#7 fishonkevin

fishonkevin

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,088
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Michigan

Posted 29 March 2021 - 07:28 AM

Do you have a link to the panel you bought?  Also you said the panel was cuttable/scalable, has anyone actually cut one to size? I would prefer square, and the 10 x10cm is to small.


  • Baron von Smoogle likes this

#8 Baron von Smoogle

Baron von Smoogle

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 06 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Lusby, MD

Posted 29 March 2021 - 11:19 AM

Does this put out white light or Blue?  Does the color actually make a difference?  I thought you had to use a white or very light colored source.



#9 profdmt

profdmt

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 13 Oct 2020

Posted 29 March 2021 - 01:06 PM

So let me answer a couple of questions posed.  First, the blue light did create a bit of a problem.  When taking flats with a CLS filter, in particular, I was getting zero red signal in the flat frames.  So I replaced the blue EL panel with a white one, here:

 

http://glowhut.com/a...-and-connector/

 

Now that one does not have the battery pack (because I could reuse the battery pack from the first EL panel I purchased), so you'd need to purchase that, as well.



#10 Aaron Small

Aaron Small

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 119
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2012

Posted 29 March 2021 - 08:58 PM

I tried the EL panel but the one I got had a black smudge (bad spot) on the screen and eventually the actuator (on-off) wore out and I never could get the whole thing working again (still tweaking because I can't just throw it out).  I hadn't gotten around to mounting it due to the weight issue and material choice for the light block.  I replaced it with this:  https://www.amazon.c...uct/B07TPS9TQ1..  The USB cord that came with it is long enough to reach to my battery pack which has a USB charge port.  I've also used it with a USB phone power pack which is similar to your battery.  I do like your idea of the foam to eliminate stray light.  May have to create a sleeve for the pad for each of my scopes.  Great work.


  • AstroAug likes this

#11 fishiversity

fishiversity

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 21 Mar 2021

Posted 30 March 2021 - 10:43 AM

Love the DIY aspect!  Here's another option.  I just got this on Amazon for about $25, and seems to work very well and runs off of my USB battery pack:

 

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1


  • AstroAug likes this

#12 ram812

ram812

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 989
  • Joined: 10 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Grants Pass, Oregon. Originally Los Osos/Morro Bay, California

Posted 30 March 2021 - 11:48 AM

Excellent idea! I have a new project that will be a great addition to my kit. Thank you for sharing!

 

CS, Ralph



#13 Michael Covington

Michael Covington

    Author

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,775
  • Joined: 13 May 2014
  • Loc: Athens, Georgia, USA

Posted 30 March 2021 - 04:26 PM

If the color of the light is not white enough for you, you can filter it with a theatrical gel filter at very low cost.  I wrote an article right here on Cloudy Nights something like a year or year and a half ago about that very thing.



#14 fishonkevin

fishonkevin

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,088
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Michigan

Posted 01 April 2021 - 09:35 AM

After reading the article I decided to search for square panels.  Rectangles don't work for me. I found this website Technolight.....https://www.technoli...dBoCoQMQAvD_BwE


  • bcloud and AstroAug like this

#15 Lori Prause

Lori Prause

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2012

Posted 05 April 2021 - 11:55 PM

Easier yet, is to buy "Fairy Lights" from Amazon that have flat watch batteries. You just tape them to a board and create a box out of foam board with a cloth defuser inside. They are much, much lighter than a battery pack and work well. 



#16 ntph

ntph

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 208
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Sudbury, ON

Posted 09 April 2021 - 05:30 PM

My flat panel came in a cardboard box, nicely held securely with foam packing around the edges. I simply cut out a circle in the middle of the panel (box ) to accomodate my dewshield, cut out a hole over the on-off button and one for the USB power cord then sealed it up like it arrived with postal packing tape. When it is in place and turned on, there is essentially no light leak. Just put it in place, turn it on, take your flats, turn it off and remove. I couldn't be happier with how simple and effective a solution this is. 



#17 galacticinsomnia

galacticinsomnia

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 620
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2020
  • Loc: Pacific Northwest - Oregon

Posted 17 April 2021 - 04:10 PM

1st, I love it.  I'm a do it yourself'er guy.
What problem does all this work solve ?

 

Seriously, is all of this kind of mock up thing really necessary to get good flats?  Are taking flats in this manner necessary. 

Like I said, I really love it, I'm just not sure if this is going to be "better" than a simple translucent plastic or tshirt over and embroidery hoop.  

Clear Skies !!



#18 Michael Covington

Michael Covington

    Author

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,775
  • Joined: 13 May 2014
  • Loc: Athens, Georgia, USA

Posted 17 April 2021 - 05:14 PM

I gathered that when he said "no light leak" the point was to have something you could use at a star party without disturbing others.  Is that the case?




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics