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Deck Engineering (Backyard Observatory Part 2: Operations)

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#26 mmalik

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Posted 09 September 2023 - 11:02 PM

The protection...

 

 

...when not in use. I've a special situation for protecting it from (heavy) snow that piles up on the dome rim. Plus it will protect it from heavy rain splashes from the rim.

 

 

Please shed some insights into your implementation since I am just shooting in the dark? What I am not sure about is if this kind of camera is waterproof if it remains extended/exposed under rain or other elements? Regards

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 09 September 2023 - 11:15 PM.


#27 mmalik

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Posted 09 September 2023 - 11:31 PM

Getting (USB) through the wall...

 

 

Goal was to terminate the skycam at the PC in the warming shed. Regards

 

 

 

Note: You'll need a deeper box to make USB connections possible inside the box since it can be quite tricky to accommodate USB in boxes otherwise designed for electricity.

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 09 September 2023 - 11:34 PM.

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#28 mmalik

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Posted 09 September 2023 - 11:55 PM

Terminations...

 

 

 

Power and USB for the skycam at the (outside of) warming shed. Red arrow points to the power adapter, green to the USB confection with ferrite ring inserted along the way.

 

 

Note: USB box had to be wired for USB connection to PC inside, another hefty undertaking.

 

 

Note: I also added a (power) switch to the adapter wire for easy ON/OFF operations of the skycam.

 

 

It is getting busy out there. Panel shown is on the outside but protected under the porch roof. Regards

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 10 September 2023 - 03:47 AM.

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#29 mmalik

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Posted 11 September 2023 - 07:00 AM

Fully extended profile....

 

 

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#30 mmalik

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Posted 11 September 2023 - 07:01 AM

Fully extended view...

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 11 September 2023 - 07:01 AM.

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#31 archer1960

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Posted 11 September 2023 - 07:26 AM

The protection...

 

 

...when not in use. I've a special situation for protecting it from (heavy) snow that piles up on the dome rim. Plus it will protect it from heavy rain splashes from the rim.

 

 

Please shed some insights into your implementation since I am just shooting in the dark? What I am not sure about is if this kind of camera is waterproof if it remains extended/exposed under rain or other elements? Regards

 

 

.

Since it is described by the manufacturer as a weather and meteor observation camera, and has a built-in dew heater, it would pretty much have to be weather proof as long as it is mounted properly, which you appear to have done.


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#32 mmalik

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:19 PM

More automation...

 

 

I had a need to monitor CDK14 movements since there are positions it can come close to effects like the display monitor on the pier. Plus in the dead of the winter you would want to have a way to keep an eye on things without having to get out there. I had a second USB port available on the outside of the warming shed, which meant I would have a dedicated USB connection all the way to the (warming) shed PC, 'no' sharing with the Skycam traffic.

 

 

 

Note: Camera is QHY5III462C with QHY lens; comes with the expansion kit version of the camera (QHY5III462C-EXP)

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 24 September 2023 - 08:21 PM.

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#33 mmalik

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:32 PM

Then came the question Kahty once raised...
 


I don't bother with night vision. I only need the camera if there is a problem, and I don't mind turning on the lights (remotely) to see what the problem is. Sure I lose one sub, but if there's a problem, I was probably going to lose it anyway.

 

 

So, recalling this line from Kathy made me think how am I going to keep an eye on the scope? First thought was the same, have a remote controlled light to see where the scope was or were to move. But then I tried raising the gain on the camera and came back with the following, sort of built-in night vision. Regards

 

 

Note: I would still need to have a functionality to remotely turn on lights if needed to see things via QHY5III462C, but this high gain solution looks promising in itself. Your thoughts?

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 24 September 2023 - 08:39 PM.

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#34 mmalik

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 09:45 PM

Moving in...

 

 

I have pretty much moved into the 'living quarters'. Most of you folks talk about how you let the scope run, take exposures and even close the dome when done and enjoy your sleep all this while. There is NO such thing in my case; I can only rest easy when I am done. While scope is in operation, there is NO sleep for the weary. There is so much (stuff) that needs attention and keeping in eye on albeit all the automation that it is just not worth risking it. Just my take. Regards

 

 

Note: Mattress rolls into the corner when not in use to create more (office) space.

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 24 September 2023 - 10:22 PM.

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#35 mmalik

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:22 PM

Living quarters...

 

 

...created another dilemma; (frame) TV was on the opposite site and not viewable while lying down. This is how if solved the puzzle.This is a secondary monitor to the (warming) shed PC and works great viewing as a TV, controllable with the (same) PC mouse from the bed. Regards

 

 

Note: Monitor is mounted/tilted on its usual mount just cut at the bottom

 

 

.

 

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#36 mmalik

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:42 PM

There are rewards...

 

 

...to be reaped of the due diligence; don't be hasty. This is just a status check of where CDK14 stands, a recent sample of its performance (...not a library of images). I always wanted it to be a work horse, just perform, no questions asked. It has delivered it thus far, for that matter the whole setup just perfumes flawlessly, no glitches, no limit on subs how long you go, no ovals, no rejects, no flats, just dark subtraction. Regards

 

 

 

Note: Hydrogen and Oxygen only integration

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 24 September 2023 - 10:45 PM.

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#37 mmalik

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Posted 09 October 2023 - 10:18 PM

All about the deck...
 
 
...solar scope goes up on the secondary pier, finally. PlayerOne is at the backend. Shielding the display while fine tuning the etalon under bright sun is something I am trying to sort out. Regards

 

 

Note: Not knowing how etalon tunings hold over time, most of the solar management will be done from the warming shed. Optec focuser automation will happen down the line.

 

.

 

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Secondary pier hasn't seen the light of day...

 

 

Upcoming Solar eclipse caught me off guard; not just that impending winter warrants some winterizing. Heating bands added to keep scope acclimated during winter and/or prior to use. Lot of time got spent on getting the dome scope (CDK14) ready and un-kinked. I think time has come to get the Solar scope unwrapped.

 

 

While the dome offers some protection, looking for your insights how you manage things under a trap in winter. I am sure all the equipment on the secondary pier can withstand sub-zero temps (...they actually already have last winter 'unused'), this time I actually intend to use the secondary pier throughout the winter for Solar especially during the times dome gets frozen shut. What are your thoughts on constantly running the heating bands or is it unnecessary?

 

 

Note: Arrow points to the frontal band

 

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Edited by mmalik, 09 October 2023 - 10:57 PM.

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#38 mmalik

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Posted 09 October 2023 - 10:47 PM

Three straps...

 

 

For the start I have installed 3 heating bands, two 5" at the front and the back, and one 2" at the FeatherTouch.

 

 

Note: Note that there is an in-line blocker embedded in the FeatherTouch hence the intention to defrost with the help of two bands at the back end (arrows). Etalon wouldn't necessarily require any such warming.

 

 

Your insights welcome.

 

 

 

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Edited by mmalik, 09 October 2023 - 10:56 PM.

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#39 archer1960

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 06:43 AM

Why would you need (or want) to heat anything in the winter? That's just asking for thermal currents inside your OTA, which will mess up your views big time. Is there some piece of gear that won't work at low temperatures?



#40 mmalik

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 07:16 AM

Why would you need (or want) to heat anything in the winter? That's just asking for thermal currents inside your OTA, which will mess up your views big time. Is there some piece of gear that won't work at low temperatures?

 

May be I am overthinking Solar...

 

 

I guess sunlight itself would be adequate to temp. equalize, defrost, dehumidify, de-dew, etc. I am thinking in terms of exposing a deeply frozen (...think 0°F or -10°F or below) scope to direct sunlight; wouldn't it fog things up until temp. stabilized and/or pre heated? Wouldn't prior heating help reach the needed equilibrium sooner. What am I missing? Regards

 

 

.


Edited by mmalik, 10 October 2023 - 07:18 AM.


#41 archer1960

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 07:41 AM

Things fog up when they are cold, and then exposed to warmer, humid air where the dew point is above the temperature of the item, such as taking it inside. When your scope is stored outside and you move it out into the sun, the air it's exposed to is still the same dew point, so you won't get dew as the sun warms it up; it would be just as if you had a heater on it. The one thing you might need to consider is what your breath might do to the eyepiece, though.


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#42 mmalik

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 08:36 AM

The one thing you might need to consider is what your breath might do to the eyepiece, though.

 

Camera only...

 

 

...at this point. Idea is to be able to tune the Etalon in the (extreme) cold and then monitor from the warming shed. Automated focusing will be added later, manual focusing in the beginning.

 

 

I want to get to a situation where I could do solar on a regular basis from the warmth of the shed with minimal intervention. Ideas welcome. Regards

 

 

 

Note: At some point I was considering running a USB cable from the (solar) camera to the shed but then decided on going Ethernet with such a robust onboard (secondary pier) computing.

 

 

.


Edited by mmalik, 10 October 2023 - 08:45 AM.

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#43 archer1960

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 08:43 AM

I don't know much about an Etalon, but unless it's very sensitive to temperature, I don't think you would want any heating on it.



#44 mmalik

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 08:46 AM

Things fog up when they are cold, and then exposed to warmer, humid air where the dew point is above the temperature of the item, such as taking it inside. When your scope is stored outside and you move it out into the sun, the air it's exposed to is still the same dew point, so you won't get dew as the sun warms it up; it would be just as if you had a heater on it.

 

Good points; plus heating bands will be (totally) ineffective at the extreme temps in question. All will get tested this winter; it's been long time coming. Regards

 

 

.


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#45 mmalik

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Posted 10 October 2023 - 08:57 AM

I don't know much about an Etalon, but unless it's very sensitive to temperature, I don't think you would want any heating on it.

 

Etalon is nothing but a pressurized chamber. Plus heating bands can be selectively controlled in Pegasus. Will leave bands as-is for now and report along the way. My take is bands will have NO effect whatsoever given the mass of the scope and extreme temps. Regards

 

 

.


Edited by mmalik, 10 October 2023 - 09:12 AM.


#46 mmalik

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Posted 11 October 2023 - 10:33 PM

Unintended consequences...

 

 

While the articulating arm I had improvised was for the primary pier monitoring, it seems to capture secondary pier and its movements quite nicely. This was a happenstance but a welcome surprise, nonetheless. The versatility of the arm has been well tested and is recommended. Regards

 

 

.

 

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Edited by mmalik, 11 October 2023 - 10:57 PM.


#47 mmalik

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Posted 15 October 2023 - 09:28 PM

After much ado...
 
 
...a failed attempt. Shown configuration has single stack with FT focuser, 34mm in-line blocker and PlayerOne (Saturn-M). I guess a (hefty) extension tube is in order? Since scope came with this particular configuration (AS-IS) from Lunt, I was hoping FT backfocus would have been adequate.
 
 
Note: 2nd stack didn't come installed, came in a separate box and I don't intend to use it for the start. Your feedback welcome as to how much backfocus would be required with this setup? Regards
 
 
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Edited by mmalik, 15 October 2023 - 09:57 PM.


#48 mmalik

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Posted 14 November 2023 - 09:50 AM

Not even close...

 

 

...with the straight through blocker. Long story short, after quite a few failed attempts at bringing scope to focus, and little to NO help from Lunt, following is what it took to reach focus.

 

 

Note: This is a long back focus but should cut down with double stack since currently only single stack is attached.

 

 

Well, about time for the secondary pier to get to work and just in time for the winter. Plan actually was to have the secondary pier ready for solar for the winter months. Regards

 

 

.

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#49 mmalik

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Posted 16 November 2023 - 12:35 AM

First light of sort (11/15/2023), not so much...

 

 

 

First solar image capture setup but I have lot of questions if you can help answer here.... Thanks in advance!

 

 

While I have the laptop setup by the scope, once I am focused/pressure tuned, I can manage the rest of the session from the (warming) shed. Although, I would like to automate both (focus/pressure) in due time so I wouldn't have to have anything setup by the pier. Regards

 

 

 

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post-205769-0-08374900-1700111022_thumb.


Edited by mmalik, 16 November 2023 - 12:37 AM.


#50 mmalik

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Posted 20 November 2023 - 06:00 PM

First light (11/19/2023)...

 

 

...with LS130MT/B3400-Straight/Saturn-M.

 

 

SharpCap>AutoStakkert>IMPPG>PS. Suggestions/comments welcome to improve since I am just starting in solar, an uncharted territory for me. Help appreciated with capture settings in SharpCap and tone curve in IMPPG. Regards

 

 

Note: Secondary pier profile for the same session

 

 

.

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