Lakeside Focuser broken (23rd Jan)

So whilst Dave was in his garden using the binoculars and failing down holes in the process I was setting up to relearn how to take images ….. it’s been that long and the weather hasn’t helped.

So all was going well except that the Moon was bright and right near the winter nebulas. Even how bright the moon was I decided to use the time and practice using the Monkey Head Nebula as my target.

The tripod was levelled and the iOptron CEM60 polar aligned, the scope was balanced, the Atik460 CCD was cooled (-25℃), OpenPHD calibrated, the plate solver completed and the successfully sync’d and . The first step was to autofocus on a decent bright set of stars before the imaging run.

That was when the night was over ! SGPro set about running it’s autofocus but strange things were happening. SGPro was reporting that the LakeSide Astro focuser position was changing but the star HFR profile was not changing and the V curve remained flat. Since the focuser position was “changing” I did not think to go out into the garden with a red torch for an hour.

Upon inspection it was fairly obvious why it wasn’t working and inside the issue was proved to be a disconnected wire on the motor port.

Hmm …. I wonder what the issue could be !

I thought it would be prudent to double check which of the two spare connectors the wire came from and indeed it is the top one.

Source – Stargazers Lounge

Removing the heat shrink outer and you can see that there is barely any wire left since the majority of it was left in the solder when it broke off. This will require a wire extension and the old solder with the remains of the wire removed first before new solder being reapplied.

View of full cup connector with solder and empty cup connector

So since I’m really bad at soldering and I was worried about having to replace the whole unit (£90) I asked a friend who is fairly handy at this to perform the fix for me.

Viewing Report 22nd/23rd June 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 22:00 – 02:31

Tonight Bob and GingerGeek came over to progress with commissioning the observatory. The task for tonight was to get the Esprit 120 focused and given first light. As the evening progressed there was slight frustration of how long it was taking to sync on a star, in terms of finding it and then being able to sync so we could go back to it. This is because I had been the night before messing with the polar alignment and we have yet to perform a Point run.

Out of focus Esprit 120

It also took some time to get focused on the Esprit due to us setting the maximum extent to the focuser tube incorrectly, falling short of the distance needed at the back focus to get good focus. We then had to go into the observatory and modify the maximum out figure for the Lakeside focuser.

Once this was done focus was achieved and GingerGeek used autofocus within SGPro to get good focus.

In focus Esprit 120

A single image was taken to prove it.

Next we need to refine the polar alignment with a TPoint run and then perform a longer Point run to finish the commissioning of the Paramount MEII.