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Re: [ccd-newastro] Time to get a Focuser

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  • Don
    I have a Starlight FeatherTouch focuser on my ATRC12. I put a RoboFocus on it and am very happy with the results. http://www.robofocus.com/products.htm I
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 10, 2013
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      I have a Starlight FeatherTouch focuser on my ATRC12. I put a RoboFocus on
      it and am very happy with the results.

      \\http://www.robofocus.com/products.htm

      I use FocusMax to control the RoboFocus. I recommend contacting Technical
      Innovations by phone and tell them the make and model of your focuser and
      ask them what you need in order to match your focuser. They have always
      been very helpful to me.

      Hope this helps.

      Don Waid
      http://www.waid-observatory.com


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "nicotewarren" <nick.warren@...>
      To: <ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 10:01 PM
      Subject: [ccd-newastro] Time to get a Focuser


      >I just got a bonus at work and I want to buy a motorized focuser. I'd like
      >to get opinions from the group on what people have experienced.
      >
      > All I do is imaging - no visual observing. I have a Stellarvue 105 APO on
      > a CGEM mount and I guide through the Orion Awesome Guide Package. My OTA
      > has a 2" Featherlight focuser. I use MsxIm DL for all the control of my
      > QSI 583 CCD and have recently been considering session automation software
      > like CCD Commander (no decision yet). I have a permanent pier and keep
      > everything snug in a Motel o'Scope from Dan's Piers.
      >
      > I want a focusing solution that will achieve excellent focus in my images
      > throughout an entire night's imaging session. Most of my filters are
      > parafocal - but not all. So the solution must be automate-able in MaxIm
      > DL. Here in Texas we also get a wide range of temperatures in an evening
      > (as much as 30 degF swing) so regular refocus is a good plan.
      >
      > Travel on my Featherlight is an issue - I only have about 2 inches.
      > Current payload on the drawtube is a field flatner and the QSI 583.
      >
      > I'm a big fan of Ron's book. In it, he talks about a few types of
      > motorized focus solutions and I've been researching them looking for the
      > specs he mentions (min step distance, encoding ability, backlash to name a
      > few). Few of the options give specs.
      >
      > I'm eyeing the following:
      >
      > Technical Inovation's RoboFocus
      > Starzona's MicroTouch
      > Rigel System's cFOCUS
      > Finger Lake's DF-2 (very expensive relative to others)
      >
      > Anyone have a setup similar to mine that owns one of these? What's been
      > your experience?
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Mark Acker
      The Feathertouch+MicroTouch is all but unbeatable.  It along with FocusMax+CCD Autopilot is an awesome combination.  I have this on a TOA-130 and it s
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 10, 2013
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        The Feathertouch+MicroTouch is all but unbeatable.  It along with FocusMax+CCD Autopilot is an awesome combination.  I have this on a TOA-130 and it's fabulous.  I'm in Central TX as well, so I get the temp changes you talk about.  The TOA is pretty sensitive itself, so the ability to either use temp. comp. or just refocus periodically is sweet. Have also used Robofocus (on a different scope) and it's great as well, but as I needed to change from a 2.7" to a 4" to carry all the gear, I went with the whole kit from Wayne and never looked back.  It's pretty square in the middle in terms of cost, but I can't imagine anything that performs any better.  My imaging is reasonably heavy with a flattener, MMOAG+SBIG RGH and STL-11000, so it's pushing 7-8 lbs and the focuser has never flinched.  Well worth serious consideration.

        Mark


        ________________________________
        From: nicotewarren <nick.warren@...>
        To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:01 PM
        Subject: [ccd-newastro] Time to get a Focuser


         
        I just got a bonus at work and I want to buy a motorized focuser. I'd like to get opinions from the group on what people have experienced.

        All I do is imaging - no visual observing. I have a Stellarvue 105 APO on a CGEM mount and I guide through the Orion Awesome Guide Package. My OTA has a 2" Featherlight focuser. I use MsxIm DL for all the control of my QSI 583 CCD and have recently been considering session automation software like CCD Commander (no decision yet). I have a permanent pier and keep everything snug in a Motel o'Scope from Dan's Piers.

        I want a focusing solution that will achieve excellent focus in my images throughout an entire night's imaging session. Most of my filters are parafocal - but not all. So the solution must be automate-able in MaxIm DL. Here in Texas we also get a wide range of temperatures in an evening (as much as 30 degF swing) so regular refocus is a good plan.

        Travel on my Featherlight is an issue - I only have about 2 inches. Current payload on the drawtube is a field flatner and the QSI 583.

        I'm a big fan of Ron's book. In it, he talks about a few types of motorized focus solutions and I've been researching them looking for the specs he mentions (min step distance, encoding ability, backlash to name a few). Few of the options give specs.

        I'm eyeing the following:

        Technical Inovation's RoboFocus
        Starzona's MicroTouch
        Rigel System's cFOCUS
        Finger Lake's DF-2 (very expensive relative to others)

        Anyone have a setup similar to mine that owns one of these? What's been your experience?




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mark Acker
        Should have also mentioned that the imaging train contains a Tak CAA+ Astrodon Takometer, so that s a bit more weight for the focuser to carry. Mark
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 10, 2013
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          Should have also mentioned that the imaging train contains a Tak CAA+ Astrodon Takometer, so that's a bit more weight for the focuser to carry.

          Mark


          ________________________________
          From: nicotewarren <nick.warren@...>
          To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:01 PM
          Subject: [ccd-newastro] Time to get a Focuser


           
          I just got a bonus at work and I want to buy a motorized focuser. I'd like to get opinions from the group on what people have experienced.

          All I do is imaging - no visual observing. I have a Stellarvue 105 APO on a CGEM mount and I guide through the Orion Awesome Guide Package. My OTA has a 2" Featherlight focuser. I use MsxIm DL for all the control of my QSI 583 CCD and have recently been considering session automation software like CCD Commander (no decision yet). I have a permanent pier and keep everything snug in a Motel o'Scope from Dan's Piers.

          I want a focusing solution that will achieve excellent focus in my images throughout an entire night's imaging session. Most of my filters are parafocal - but not all. So the solution must be automate-able in MaxIm DL. Here in Texas we also get a wide range of temperatures in an evening (as much as 30 degF swing) so regular refocus is a good plan.

          Travel on my Featherlight is an issue - I only have about 2 inches. Current payload on the drawtube is a field flatner and the QSI 583.

          I'm a big fan of Ron's book. In it, he talks about a few types of motorized focus solutions and I've been researching them looking for the specs he mentions (min step distance, encoding ability, backlash to name a few). Few of the options give specs.

          I'm eyeing the following:

          Technical Inovation's RoboFocus
          Starzona's MicroTouch
          Rigel System's cFOCUS
          Finger Lake's DF-2 (very expensive relative to others)

          Anyone have a setup similar to mine that owns one of these? What's been your experience?




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • tpiccian
          I m using an SCT with a full load of equipment behind my focuser. I m using an Optec TCF-S for control. It s holding an ST8 and a Pyxis Rotator. I removed my
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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            I'm using an SCT with a full load of equipment behind my focuser. I'm using an Optec TCF-S for control. It's holding an ST8 and a Pyxis Rotator. I removed my CFW-8 and put an Optec 2 inch filter wheel in front of the focuser so the weight to the focuser is reduced. But, before my recent update the TCF-S was able to handle the camera, rotator and CFW without issue. That's a LOT of weight!

            I also use a Stellarvue 102 but the draw tube just slips if I put that much weight on it. I have to lock it down manually then use the TCF-S to focus.

            The problem with the TCF-S is that you need to manually get within 1/2 inch of focus before using the unit. Its travel is only 3/4 of an inch so you don't have much room. You might want to use a simpler motor focus to get close then use the Optec unit to get right on.

            Tom P.

            --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, Mark Acker wrote:
            >
            > Should have also mentioned that the imaging train contains a Tak CAA+ Astrodon Takometer, so that's a bit more weight for the focuser to carry.
            >
            > Mark
            >
            >
            > ________________________________
            > From: nicotewarren
            > To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:01 PM
            > Subject: [ccd-newastro] Time to get a Focuser
            >
            >
            >  
            > I just got a bonus at work and I want to buy a motorized focuser. I'd like to get opinions from the group on what people have experienced.
            >
            > All I do is imaging - no visual observing. I have a Stellarvue 105 APO on a CGEM mount and I guide through the Orion Awesome Guide Package. My OTA has a 2" Featherlight focuser. I use MsxIm DL for all the control of my QSI 583 CCD and have recently been considering session automation software like CCD Commander (no decision yet). I have a permanent pier and keep everything snug in a Motel o'Scope from Dan's Piers.
            >
            > I want a focusing solution that will achieve excellent focus in my images throughout an entire night's imaging session. Most of my filters are parafocal - but not all. So the solution must be automate-able in MaxIm DL. Here in Texas we also get a wide range of temperatures in an evening (as much as 30 degF swing) so regular refocus is a good plan.
            >
            > Travel on my Featherlight is an issue - I only have about 2 inches. Current payload on the drawtube is a field flatner and the QSI 583.
            >
            > I'm a big fan of Ron's book. In it, he talks about a few types of motorized focus solutions and I've been researching them looking for the specs he mentions (min step distance, encoding ability, backlash to name a few). Few of the options give specs.
            >
            > I'm eyeing the following:
            >
            > Technical Inovation's RoboFocus
            > Starzona's MicroTouch
            > Rigel System's cFOCUS
            > Finger Lake's DF-2 (very expensive relative to others)
            >
            > Anyone have a setup similar to mine that owns one of these? What's been your experience?
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Mike Dodd
            ... Indeed. I forgot to mention in my original response that I also once had a 2 TCF-S on a 9.25 SCT, with the same ST-8, Pyxis, and CFW-10. The TCF-S is a
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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              tpiccian wrote:
              > I'm using an SCT with a full load of equipment behind my focuser. I'm
              > using an Optec TCF-S for control. It's holding an ST8 and a Pyxis
              > Rotator. I removed my CFW-8 and put an Optec 2 inch filter wheel in
              > front of the focuser so the weight to the focuser is reduced. But,
              > before my recent update the TCF-S was able to handle the camera,
              > rotator and CFW without issue. That's a LOT of weight!

              Indeed. I forgot to mention in my original response that I also once had
              a 2" TCF-S on a 9.25" SCT, with the same ST-8, Pyxis, and CFW-10.

              The TCF-S is a great focuser. I never used it with ACP or FocusMax, but,
              as I recall, it worked with MaxIm.

              I also used a Bellerophon focuser <http://www.clementfocuser.com/> for a
              while. This one looks a bit odd, and weighs a lot, but it's very
              well-built and capable. I installed a Robo-Focus on it. Never used it
              with ACP or FocusMax, though.
              --
              Mike

              Mike Dodd
              http://astronomy.mdodd.com
              Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24
            • Mark Acker
              Did I misread?  I thought the OP is using a 105mm refractor.  Seems to me that neither a TCF or Ballerophon would be a very appealing option on a refractor
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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                Did I misread?  I thought the OP is using a 105mm refractor.  Seems to me that neither a TCF or Ballerophon would be a very appealing option on a refractor that size.  Seems to me that the drawtube would buckle under that amount of weight if extended very far at all.  Perhaps I misread.

                Mark


                ________________________________
                From: Mike Dodd <mike@...>
                To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 8:08 AM
                Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: Time to get a Focuser


                 
                tpiccian wrote:
                > I'm using an SCT with a full load of equipment behind my focuser. I'm
                > using an Optec TCF-S for control. It's holding an ST8 and a Pyxis
                > Rotator. I removed my CFW-8 and put an Optec 2 inch filter wheel in
                > front of the focuser so the weight to the focuser is reduced. But,
                > before my recent update the TCF-S was able to handle the camera,
                > rotator and CFW without issue. That's a LOT of weight!

                Indeed. I forgot to mention in my original response that I also once had
                a 2" TCF-S on a 9.25" SCT, with the same ST-8, Pyxis, and CFW-10.

                The TCF-S is a great focuser. I never used it with ACP or FocusMax, but,
                as I recall, it worked with MaxIm.

                I also used a Bellerophon focuser http://www.clementfocuser.com/> for a
                while. This one looks a bit odd, and weighs a lot, but it's very
                well-built and capable. I installed a Robo-Focus on it. Never used it
                with ACP or FocusMax, though.
                --
                Mike

                Mike Dodd
                http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Mike Dodd
                ... No, you did not misread. You are correct that the Bellerophen would be pretty heavy for a 105mm refractor. That s why my original reply mentioned the FT. I
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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                  Mark Acker wrote:
                  > Did I misread? I thought the OP is using a 105mm refractor. Seems
                  > to me that neither a TCF or Ballerophon would be a very appealing
                  > option on a refractor that size. Seems to me that the drawtube would
                  > buckle under that amount of weight if extended very far at all.
                  > Perhaps I misread.

                  No, you did not misread. You are correct that the Bellerophen would be
                  pretty heavy for a 105mm refractor. That's why my original reply
                  mentioned the FT. I lost track of the OP's OTA when I wrote about the
                  Bellerophen; sorry.

                  OTOH, I think a TCF -- especially the 2" model -- would be a reasonable
                  choice if a threaded adapter is available to attach it to the OTA.
                  --
                  Mike

                  Mike Dodd
                  http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                  Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24
                • tpiccian
                  The TCF-S does need an SCT thread. You can get an SCT to 2 inch barrel adapter. Not expensive at all. I used to use one when I was using SCT attachments on a
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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                    The TCF-S does need an SCT thread. You can get an SCT to 2 inch barrel adapter. Not expensive at all.

                    I used to use one when I was using SCT attachments on a large reflector I used to own.

                    Tom P.

                    --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, Mike Dodd wrote:
                    >
                    > Mark Acker wrote:
                    > > Did I misread? I thought the OP is using a 105mm refractor. Seems
                    > > to me that neither a TCF or Ballerophon would be a very appealing
                    > > option on a refractor that size. Seems to me that the drawtube would
                    > > buckle under that amount of weight if extended very far at all.
                    > > Perhaps I misread.
                    >
                    > No, you did not misread. You are correct that the Bellerophen would be
                    > pretty heavy for a 105mm refractor. That's why my original reply
                    > mentioned the FT. I lost track of the OP's OTA when I wrote about the
                    > Bellerophen; sorry.
                    >
                    > OTOH, I think a TCF -- especially the 2" model -- would be a reasonable
                    > choice if a threaded adapter is available to attach it to the OTA.
                    > --
                    > Mike
                    >
                    > Mike Dodd
                    > http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                    > Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24
                    >
                  • Mark Acker
                    Agreed on both counts.  I have a TCF-Si as well that I use on an ACF.  Great focuser. The Ballerophon was a bit out of my price range, not to mention a
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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                      Agreed on both counts.  I have a TCF-Si as well that I use on an ACF.  Great focuser.

                      The Ballerophon was a bit out of my price range, not to mention a rather unpleasant bit of communication with its creator.  Not to veer off too much here, but Mike, didn't you have to brace it a bit on the back of your scope?  I actually spoke to you about this a couple of years or so ago and thought I remembered some photos where you essentially bolted it to the back of the scope to sort out some flexing.

                      Mark


                      ________________________________
                      From: tpiccian <tpicciani@...>
                      To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 10:01 AM
                      Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: Time to get a Focuser


                       
                      The TCF-S does need an SCT thread. You can get an SCT to 2 inch barrel adapter. Not expensive at all.

                      I used to use one when I was using SCT attachments on a large reflector I used to own.

                      Tom P.

                      --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, Mike Dodd wrote:
                      >
                      > Mark Acker wrote:
                      > > Did I misread? I thought the OP is using a 105mm refractor. Seems
                      > > to me that neither a TCF or Ballerophon would be a very appealing
                      > > option on a refractor that size. Seems to me that the drawtube would
                      > > buckle under that amount of weight if extended very far at all.
                      > > Perhaps I misread.
                      >
                      > No, you did not misread. You are correct that the Bellerophen would be
                      > pretty heavy for a 105mm refractor. That's why my original reply
                      > mentioned the FT. I lost track of the OP's OTA when I wrote about the
                      > Bellerophen; sorry.
                      >
                      > OTOH, I think a TCF -- especially the 2" model -- would be a reasonable
                      > choice if a threaded adapter is available to attach it to the OTA.
                      > --
                      > Mike
                      >
                      > Mike Dodd
                      > http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                      > Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24
                      >




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Mike Dodd
                      ... Hi, Mark. Yes, I bolted the Bellerophon to the rear casting of my C9.25 SCT. I don t know if this was necessary, but I didn t like the idea of sll that
                      Message 10 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
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                        Mark Acker wrote:
                        > The Ballerophon [...], but Mike, didn't you have to brace it a bit on the
                        > back of your scope? I actually spoke to you about this a couple of
                        > years or so ago and thought I remembered some photos where you
                        > essentially bolted it to the back of the scope to sort out some
                        > flexing.

                        Hi, Mark. Yes, I bolted the Bellerophon to the rear casting of my C9.25
                        SCT. I don't know if this was necessary, but I didn't like the idea of
                        sll that weight hanging off the SCT threaded connector that was directly
                        connected to the central tube holding the primary mirror.

                        When I was done, the Bellerophon was securely bolted to the scope, and
                        the central tube made no contact with it at all. I fashioned a light
                        shield to cover the gap between the two.

                        --
                        Mike

                        Mike Dodd
                        http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                        Louisa County, Virginia USA N37.58.23 W77.56.24
                      • Wayne
                        I have a Moonlight (www.focuser.com) stepper-motor focuser for my Televue NP127is and SBIG ST2000XM. I use it with MaximDL and FocusMax. Once I figured out how
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 11, 2013
                        • 0 Attachment
                          I have a Moonlight (www.focuser.com) stepper-motor focuser for my Televue NP127is and SBIG ST2000XM. I use it with MaximDL and FocusMax. Once I figured out how to use FMax, it has performed excellently. I now have a new SBIG STT8300 with filter wheel coming and am looking forward to trying that bad boy out! Just need some clear skies here in Seattle!

                          --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "nicotewarren" wrote:
                          >
                          > I just got a bonus at work and I want to buy a motorized focuser. I'd like to get opinions from the group on what people have experienced.
                          >
                          > All I do is imaging - no visual observing. I have a Stellarvue 105 APO on a CGEM mount and I guide through the Orion Awesome Guide Package. My OTA has a 2" Featherlight focuser. I use MsxIm DL for all the control of my QSI 583 CCD and have recently been considering session automation software like CCD Commander (no decision yet). I have a permanent pier and keep everything snug in a Motel o'Scope from Dan's Piers.
                          >
                          > I want a focusing solution that will achieve excellent focus in my images throughout an entire night's imaging session. Most of my filters are parafocal - but not all. So the solution must be automate-able in MaxIm DL. Here in Texas we also get a wide range of temperatures in an evening (as much as 30 degF swing) so regular refocus is a good plan.
                          >
                          > Travel on my Featherlight is an issue - I only have about 2 inches. Current payload on the drawtube is a field flatner and the QSI 583.
                          >
                          > I'm a big fan of Ron's book. In it, he talks about a few types of motorized focus solutions and I've been researching them looking for the specs he mentions (min step distance, encoding ability, backlash to name a few). Few of the options give specs.
                          >
                          > I'm eyeing the following:
                          >
                          > Technical Inovation's RoboFocus
                          > Starzona's MicroTouch
                          > Rigel System's cFOCUS
                          > Finger Lake's DF-2 (very expensive relative to others)
                          >
                          > Anyone have a setup similar to mine that owns one of these? What's been your experience?
                          >
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