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Electronic Focuser for Starlight Feathertouch

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#1 LeftCoastAP

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 06:36 PM

Looking for recommendations for an electronic focuser.  It's for a Starlight Feathertouch FTF3105B-A on a Tak FSQ-85.  

 

I'm open to any recommendations but would be particularly interested in comments on whether the ZWO EAF is a good option for this focuser as I will, in certain setups, use this OTA with an ASIAir Pro.  

 

Thanks


Edited by LeftCoastAP, 13 April 2021 - 07:40 PM.

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#2 photoracer18

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 06:55 PM

Lots of options depending on the focuser and the motoring company. I like that PrimaLuceLab company because instead of larger motors as the focuser gets larger like Starlight's own system you just need a different coupler for a different focuser (Sesto Senso 2). You also have Pegasus, Rigel, and of course ZWO and a couple of others..


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#3 PirateMike

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 08:36 PM

I use Starlight's Focus Boss II and it is quality in the first class, but it isn't inexpensive. https://starlightins...ry&path=112_114

 

I will be using two Primaluce Sesto Senso 2's for my 60mm dual array. They have separate adapters to connect the motor to the scope, so no worry about attaching it. Some other electronic focusers require a "work around" to attach it to certain scopes.

 

Do your homework before purchasing one. Calling the manufacturer can help with determining whether their focus system will easily fit on any particular scope and it can certainly save you from buying something that just won't easily fit onto your focuser.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 13 April 2021 - 08:40 PM.


#4 LeftCoastAP

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 01:02 AM

I use Starlight's Focus Boss II and it is quality in the first class, but it isn't inexpensive. https://starlightins...ry&path=112_114

 

I will be using two Primaluce Sesto Senso 2's for my 60mm dual array. They have separate adapters to connect the motor to the scope, so no worry about attaching it. Some other electronic focusers require a "work around" to attach it to certain scopes.

 

Do your homework before purchasing one. Calling the manufacturer can help with determining whether their focus system will easily fit on any particular scope and it can certainly save you from buying something that just won't easily fit onto your focuser.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Thanks Miguel.  Are you using the Focus Boss with a Feather Touch focuser?  Do you think it's worth the added cost and larger form factor?  The Sesto Senso 2 form factor and the ZWO EAF are appealing because I currently use an ASIAir Pro and have a Primaluce Eagle on the way.  So they look like a simple plug and play solution with minimal additional weight, whereas the Focus Boss looks like it would involve mounting the focus motor plus a control box.  That's a small price to pay if it results in a noticeable increase in critical focus or better reliability.  Any thoughts on whether the Focus Boss is significantly better than the Sesto Senso 2?


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#5 gundark

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 04:37 AM

Focus Boss II is a rebranded version of FocusLynx, built by Optec, and is 100% compatible with Optec parts and motors.

https://optecinc.us/.../products/19690

Optec makes an all-in-one autofocus solution for your focuser that does not require an external controller.

https://optecinc.us/products/19972

I have two of these motors and they are very precise and well made. They are a little more expensive but pro all the way. The drivers are solid, too. Call Jeff at Optec if you have questions. He is super helpful and can solve almost any problem.

Having said that, I also own a Prima Luce Esatto 2” electronic focuser. It is well-designed and solidly built, too, but I have yet to install it on my 10” newt so cannot comment on its performance.

Edited by gundark, 14 April 2021 - 04:39 AM.

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#6 PirateMike

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 08:05 AM

Thanks Miguel.  Are you using the Focus Boss with a Feather Touch focuser?  Do you think it's worth the added cost and larger form factor?  The Sesto Senso 2 form factor and the ZWO EAF are appealing because I currently use an ASIAir Pro and have a Primaluce Eagle on the way.  So they look like a simple plug and play solution with minimal additional weight, whereas the Focus Boss looks like it would involve mounting the focus motor plus a control box.  That's a small price to pay if it results in a noticeable increase in critical focus or better reliability.  Any thoughts on whether the Focus Boss is significantly better than the Sesto Senso 2?

I am using the FB with a Starlight Retro-Fit on my Tak focuser.

https://starlightins...&product_id=124

 

I have to go out for now but I'll get back to you later today with more detailed photos of my electronic focuser setup. Here is a preview...

 

Kitchen Scopemed.jpg

 

You can see the FB control box and the Power Box under the scope, I used to have those on the top but I removed my OAG and am now using the 60mm for guiding.

 

The newer version of the motor doesn't require the control box (as gundark points out) but it does require two cables going to the motor itself... my setup uses just one short Cat cable from the box to the motor.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 14 April 2021 - 08:15 AM.


#7 LeftCoastAP

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 11:43 AM

Great info.  Thx.  The Optec all-in-one focuser looks like a great solution to keeping weight down.  In my use case, I think the only trade-off is I'm not sure it'll be usable with my ASIAir Pro.  That might be a worthwhile trade-off though since I only plan to use the ASIAir for imaging away from home.  At home (by far the majority of my imaging time), I can use it with the Eagle PC and then just manually focus at dark sites, when I'll likely be standing at the scope anyway.  

 

I guess that leads to another question for another post -- will non-ZWO focusers work with ASIAir Pro?


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#8 PirateMike

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 12:19 PM

Electronic focusers work very very well. I wouldn't want to go to a dark site and then have to manual focus and risk having a slight "focus issue". Dark sites should be where you want to do you best work.

 

ASIAir and an Optec focusing system? I don't know about that. You will need to do your homework, but I imagine that they should work together, they are both ASCOM compliant.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#9 LeftCoastAP

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 12:29 PM

Electronic focusers work very very well. I wouldn't want to go to a dark site and then have to manual focus and risk having a slight "focus issue". Dark sites should be where you want to do you best work.

 

ASIAir and an Optec focusing system? I don't know about that. You will need to do your homework, but I imagine that they should work together, they are both ASCOM compliant.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Sounds like good advice.  From what I see online, which looks slightly dated but I don't see anything newer, ZWO does not intend to build support for third-party focusers into the ASIAir Pro.  The ZWO focuser works with any ASCOM-compliant computer but the ASIAir only supports their focuser.  I think that means I either drop the ASIAir Pro from my lineup or go with the ZWO EAF for the Takahashi since that's the OTA that I intend to use for home and away imaging.  

 

Longer term, I have an order in for a TEC 140 with Tolga and plan to use that as a semi-permanent install on my pier at home.  The Optec focuser would seem to be the better solution for that rig, which I'll be driving purely on a windows platform with no ZWO components.  So I think were I come out on it is ASIAir and ZWO EAF on the Tak, and Optec focuser and PC on the TEC.  Would be nice of my ZWO gear would play nicely with the other kids on the playground. 



#10 PirateMike

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 12:38 PM

I would say... dump the ASIAir and go full laptop on everything, it will make your life easier and allow you to use any programs that you wish.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#11 LeftCoastAP

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 05:43 PM

I would say... dump the ASIAir and go full laptop on everything, it will make your life easier and allow you to use any programs that you wish.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

I may be heading that way but, for a portable setup, the simplicity of the ASIAir is pretty appealing.  I'm still pretty new at imaging and have a lot of new info floating around in my head. The ease of polar alignment, focus, guiding and image sequencing all in one program, and a lightweight box is a real asset for the time being.  And, while I don't have much to compare it to, I've been pretty impressed with the ASIAir Pro -- as long as I use it with their cameras and, apparently, their focuser.  



#12 JCT

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 06:20 PM

I may be heading that way but, for a portable setup, the simplicity of the ASIAir is pretty appealing.  I'm still pretty new at imaging and have a lot of new info floating around in my head. The ease of polar alignment, focus, guiding and image sequencing all in one program, and a lightweight box is a real asset for the time being.  And, while I don't have much to compare it to, I've been pretty impressed with the ASIAir Pro -- as long as I use it with their cameras and, apparently, their focuser.  

So I just did exactly this.  Got a bit frustrated after my EAF + ASAIR didn't work well (totally hit or miss) with either my SCT or MN190 (both with feather touch focusers).  So I started the process of moving to a Win 10 NUC to run everything and give me a wider range of electronic focuser choices.  Like you, I also have a big refractor on order (in my case a Stellarvue SVX140T, so I figured I would have to make the switch away from ASIAIR at some point. 

 

My transition is a work in progress, but getting there.  And I plan on keeping my ASIair for a super-light travel kit.  It should be fine for that.

 

Oh and I replaced the EAF on the SCT with an Optec ThirdLynx.  Haven't set it up yet, but I'm confident it will work well. Nice to have choices.

 

Best of luck,

 

JT




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