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Time to select a motorized focuser

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  • Lance Wozniak
    I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my 10D (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser that can be used on either
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 29, 2005
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      I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my 10D (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser that can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT at prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF (with smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both are about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP or Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in the background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of what value is a temperature sensor.
      Thanks,
      Lance


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • EMorbius
      Lance, I usually just lurk around this group, but since no one has answered you yet I thought I would put my 2 cents in. One thing to look at when comparing
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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        Lance,

        I usually just lurk around this group, but since no one has answered
        you yet I thought I would put my 2 cents in.

        One thing to look at when comparing the NGF-C to the TCF is size and
        weight. The TCF is significantly beefier (over 2 lbs.) than the NGF
        (18 oz). If backfocus is at all an issue, the TCF needs almost 4 in
        while the NGF comes in around 2 1/2.

        With bigger scopes and sturdier mounts, these things can be overlooked
        I guess. But for my C9.25 I'm using the NGF(-CM) and I've gone with a
        RoboFocus for my FS102 (with the focal reducer, the RF is the only way
        to go and it works great).

        Like I said, just my 2 cents. Hope it helps!
        Ken


        --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...>
        wrote:
        > I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my 10D
        (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser that
        can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT at
        prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF (with
        smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there
        advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both
        are about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP or
        Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in
        the background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of what
        value is a temperature sensor.
        > Thanks,
        > Lance
        >
        >
      • Randy Nulman
        When I had my SCT, I first used the JMI focuser, but quickly changed to the Optec TCF. At that time, I found the Optec focuser to be much more robust , and
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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          When I had my SCT, I first used the JMI focuser, but quickly changed to
          the Optec TCF. At that time, I found the Optec focuser to be much
          more "robust", and (in answering your other question), the temp
          compensation worked quite nicely. What I don't know is if the current
          version of the NGF focuser has been improved? All I can tell you is
          that the Optec focuser was a pleasure to use. If you want "one"
          focuser to work with both scopes, you will need to determine if you
          have enough backfocus to handle a "crayford" syle focuser with your
          TV101...they do eat up backfocus. If not, you may need to consider the
          Robofocus for the TV scope...although I would still recommend the Optec
          focuser for the SCT...This hobby gets expensive <G>

          I highly recommend MaximDL as a superior imaging/processing software
          tool. You can arrange Maxim to control your image acquisition while
          the focuser (either stand alone or via software) does the temp
          compensation.

          Hope this helps,
          Randy Nulman
          http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org


          --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...>
          wrote:
          > I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my 10D
          (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser that
          can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT at
          prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF (with
          smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there
          advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both are
          about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP or
          Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in the
          background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of what value
          is a temperature sensor.
          > Thanks,
          > Lance
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Randy Nulman
          Good points! My experience is similar. Randy Nulman http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org ... answered ... and ... overlooked ... with a ... way ... 10D ... that
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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            Good points! My experience is similar.

            Randy Nulman
            http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org


            --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "EMorbius" <emorbius@y...>
            wrote:
            > Lance,
            >
            > I usually just lurk around this group, but since no one has
            answered
            > you yet I thought I would put my 2 cents in.
            >
            > One thing to look at when comparing the NGF-C to the TCF is size
            and
            > weight. The TCF is significantly beefier (over 2 lbs.) than the NGF
            > (18 oz). If backfocus is at all an issue, the TCF needs almost 4 in
            > while the NGF comes in around 2 1/2.
            >
            > With bigger scopes and sturdier mounts, these things can be
            overlooked
            > I guess. But for my C9.25 I'm using the NGF(-CM) and I've gone
            with a
            > RoboFocus for my FS102 (with the focal reducer, the RF is the only
            way
            > to go and it works great).
            >
            > Like I said, just my 2 cents. Hope it helps!
            > Ken
            >
            >
            > --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...>
            > wrote:
            > > I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my
            10D
            > (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser
            that
            > can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT
            at
            > prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF
            (with
            > smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there
            > advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both
            > are about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP
            or
            > Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in
            > the background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of
            what
            > value is a temperature sensor.
            > > Thanks,
            > > Lance
            > >
            > >
          • astroimage2002
            Randy, Don t get me wrong, I am not trying to start a war . You have made a bold statement and I would like to go a little deeper. I am currently trying to
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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              Randy,

              Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to start a "war". You have made a
              bold statement and I would like to go a little deeper. I am currently
              trying to decide on what software "platform" to use for my setup. It
              appears that you are very happy with MaxIm and I would like to know
              what advantages it has over other pieces of software. I had not wanted
              to plunk down another chunk of change on software but if its better,
              it better!

              Help a NEWBIE out?

              Brian


              > I highly recommend MaximDL as a superior imaging/processing software
              > tool. You can arrange Maxim to control your image acquisition while
              > the focuser (either stand alone or via software) does the temp
              > compensation.
            • Randy Nulman
              No problem (and no war) ...it s just my opinion, but I ll try to elaborate a little: MaximDL/CCD is one of the few programs that incoporate a nice
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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                No problem (and no war)<G>...it's just my opinion, but I'll try to
                elaborate a little:

                MaximDL/CCD is one of the few programs that incoporate a nice
                combination of _both_ image acquisition tools AND processing
                software. For example, on the processing side, Maxim has a quite
                sophisticated color combine routine and many imagers feel it's
                superior in results. Also, DDP, Kernal filters, histogram
                stretching, gradient/flattening tools, sigma combine (along with
                other comine options), hot/cold pixel mapping/removal, a robust
                alignment routine (much improved over their old versions), and many
                other tools as well.

                On the image acquisition side, there are a few good options, but I
                still think Maxim excels here as well. Maxim has a sophisticated
                sequencing routine that allows for MANY permutations, control of
                filters and filter offset, the guide routine is also quite
                sophisticated in that it allows "on the fly" changes in settings,
                automatic changes in guide exposure time per filter and again, many
                options that should be looked at. Also, Maxim seems to be "first"
                in keeping up with technology...I believe Maxim was one of the first
                programs that allowed "any angle" guiding, the first (non-SBIG)
                program that successfully incorporated use of the AO7, and they just
                seem to keep things more up to date than some of the other programs
                IMHO.

                The above is/are some of the main reasons I chose to use Maxim...in
                no way am I saying that the other programs available won't do a good
                job...they do!...I just feel that Maxim incorporates more "goodies"
                into one program. In reality, I use MANY programs because each one
                has a strength that the others don't. But for image acquisition,
                basic calibration/alignment/combine (including color) I feel Maxim
                is a good place to start.

                Hope this helps,
                Randy Nulman
                http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org


                --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "astroimage2002" <b_rich@j...>
                wrote:
                > Randy,
                >
                > Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to start a "war". You have
                made a
                > bold statement and I would like to go a little deeper. I am
                currently
                > trying to decide on what software "platform" to use for my setup.
                It
                > appears that you are very happy with MaxIm and I would like to
                know
                > what advantages it has over other pieces of software. I had not
                wanted
                > to plunk down another chunk of change on software but if its
                better,
                > it better!
                >
                > Help a NEWBIE out?
                >
                > Brian
                >
                >
                > > I highly recommend MaximDL as a superior imaging/processing
                software
                > > tool. You can arrange Maxim to control your image acquisition
                while
                > > the focuser (either stand alone or via software) does the temp
                > > compensation.
              • Lance Wozniak
                Thanks for the replies from everyone. I have learned that I need to replace my coarse rack and pinion focuser on my TV101 with something like a precision
                Message 7 of 8 , May 1, 2005
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                  Thanks for the replies from everyone. I have learned that I need to replace
                  my "coarse" rack and pinion focuser on my TV101 with something like a
                  precision Feathertouch crayford style focuser from Sarlight Instruments Inc.

                  Also Starizona of Tucson sells a MicroTouch Wireless Autofocuser that can be
                  used with the above focusers as well as with a micro-Feathertouch focuser on
                  a SCT. Wireless sounds so appealing, since the "first law of physics" in my
                  estimation is "if anything can get tangled up, it will." Anyone with
                  experience with this wireless that can comment?

                  Thanks,
                  Lance

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Randy Nulman" <rj.nulman@...>
                  To: <ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 11:04 AM
                  Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: Time to select a motorized focuser


                  > Good points! My experience is similar.
                  >
                  > Randy Nulman
                  > http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "EMorbius" <emorbius@y...>
                  > wrote:
                  > > Lance,
                  > >
                  > > I usually just lurk around this group, but since no one has
                  > answered
                  > > you yet I thought I would put my 2 cents in.
                  > >
                  > > One thing to look at when comparing the NGF-C to the TCF is size
                  > and
                  > > weight. The TCF is significantly beefier (over 2 lbs.) than the NGF
                  > > (18 oz). If backfocus is at all an issue, the TCF needs almost 4 in
                  > > while the NGF comes in around 2 1/2.
                  > >
                  > > With bigger scopes and sturdier mounts, these things can be
                  > overlooked
                  > > I guess. But for my C9.25 I'm using the NGF(-CM) and I've gone
                  > with a
                  > > RoboFocus for my FS102 (with the focal reducer, the RF is the only
                  > way
                  > > to go and it works great).
                  > >
                  > > Like I said, just my 2 cents. Hope it helps!
                  > > Ken
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...>
                  > > wrote:
                  > > > I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my
                  > 10D
                  > > (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser
                  > that
                  > > can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT
                  > at
                  > > prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF
                  > (with
                  > > smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there
                  > > advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both
                  > > are about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP
                  > or
                  > > Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in
                  > > the background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of
                  > what
                  > > value is a temperature sensor.
                  > > > Thanks,
                  > > > Lance
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • erdmanpe
                  Unfortunately, adding another focuser (I think that s what you mean) gives you a few more joints to flex. You can add a Robofocus directly to your present
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 1, 2005
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                    Unfortunately, adding another focuser (I think that's what you mean)
                    gives you a few more joints to flex. You can add a Robofocus directly
                    to your present pinion shaft, giving you the focusing precision you
                    need without any additional flexure problems. The problem with the
                    TV101 focuser is not one of "coarseness", but of flexure and
                    vignetting. I do believe that there is a Feathertouch entire
                    replacement for the TV focuser (they unscrew). If that is what you
                    mean, then the questions of vignetting and flexure need to be reexamined.

                    Peter

                    --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...> wrote:
                    > Thanks for the replies from everyone. I have learned that I need to
                    replace
                    > my "coarse" rack and pinion focuser on my TV101 with something like a
                    > precision Feathertouch crayford style focuser from Sarlight
                    Instruments Inc.
                    >
                    > Also Starizona of Tucson sells a MicroTouch Wireless Autofocuser
                    that can be
                    > used with the above focusers as well as with a micro-Feathertouch
                    focuser on
                    > a SCT. Wireless sounds so appealing, since the "first law of
                    physics" in my
                    > estimation is "if anything can get tangled up, it will." Anyone with
                    > experience with this wireless that can comment?
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    > Lance
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Randy Nulman" <rj.nulman@v...>
                    > To: <ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 11:04 AM
                    > Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: Time to select a motorized focuser
                    >
                    >
                    > > Good points! My experience is similar.
                    > >
                    > > Randy Nulman
                    > > http://www.nulman.darkhorizons.org
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "EMorbius" <emorbius@y...>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > > Lance,
                    > > >
                    > > > I usually just lurk around this group, but since no one has
                    > > answered
                    > > > you yet I thought I would put my 2 cents in.
                    > > >
                    > > > One thing to look at when comparing the NGF-C to the TCF is size
                    > > and
                    > > > weight. The TCF is significantly beefier (over 2 lbs.) than the NGF
                    > > > (18 oz). If backfocus is at all an issue, the TCF needs almost 4 in
                    > > > while the NGF comes in around 2 1/2.
                    > > >
                    > > > With bigger scopes and sturdier mounts, these things can be
                    > > overlooked
                    > > > I guess. But for my C9.25 I'm using the NGF(-CM) and I've gone
                    > > with a
                    > > > RoboFocus for my FS102 (with the focal reducer, the RF is the only
                    > > way
                    > > > to go and it works great).
                    > > >
                    > > > Like I said, just my 2 cents. Hope it helps!
                    > > > Ken
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Lance Wozniak" <yumalan@a...>
                    > > > wrote:
                    > > > > I am looking to save time and increase accuracy in focusing my
                    > > 10D
                    > > > (and future CCD camera) by upgrading to a motorized autofocuser
                    > > that
                    > > > can be used on either of my TV101 refractor or my Celestron 8" SCT
                    > > at
                    > > > prime focus. I think there are two similar options, JMI's NGF
                    > > (with
                    > > > smart focus or the hand controller) or Optec TCF-S. Are there
                    > > > advantages of one over the other to consider in this purchase (both
                    > > > are about $725)? Assume I would use a computer control program IP
                    > > or
                    > > > Maxim/DL. Are both or either of these programs working full time in
                    > > > the background while one is actively acquiring images? If so, of
                    > > what
                    > > > value is a temperature sensor.
                    > > > > Thanks,
                    > > > > Lance
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
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