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Author Topic: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit  (Read 37308 times)

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Offline DrRobin

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #30 on: 22:30:49, 18 May, 2012 »
Hi,

My C11 SharpSky focuser is finished, but my home made beam coupler proved more problematic than the rest of the kit put together.  I had to make 3 before I got one to work properly, so Dave I would be interested in a proper one, let me know how much and I will send you the cash?

I have to confess to knicking the spacers from work.  Actually I had to add them to an order first as we didn't have the right size.  They are made from aluminium and are threaded all the way through.  I then used threaded rod to screw in to the SW focuser body.  To get the dimensions right I drew the focuser and parts I made in to works 3D CAD, but for the C11 I just measured and cut without drawing it out first. 

The C11 bracket was made from an old aluminium bracket we had at work, it was ideal as it was already painted black.  It's a bit chunk, but actually matches the Steel Track.

If anyone wants to follow either of these designs let me know and I will send you the drawings.  Or Dave if you want to keep a file of designs I can send you them?

Of course it's now cloudy and raining so no chance of actually using either focuser, but if I get time tomorrow I am going to try the C11 on the scope with my camera.  Will let you know how the motor works.


Offline DrRobin

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #31 on: 13:31:56, 19 May, 2012 »
Hi Dave,

I fitted my Steel Track and SharpSky focuser to my C11 today and gave it a quick go, just on the bench.  It works really well, is nice and smooth and can carry a very big load.  I will only be using it with an Atik16 or a Canon 600D but I reckon the motor could carry a lot more.

I also had a try with APT to control SharpSky, works a dream.  I can set it up for long slews and just leave it to it as I normally wind the focuser all the way in after each session, not having an obs.

Just one question, the buttons on APT work the opposite way round, in other words focus in is actually out, is there a way to reverse them in the Ascom driver?


Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #32 on: 12:10:05, 23 May, 2012 »
Hi DrRobin,

Apologies, I seem to have missed this post !

Very good sounds like everything is working well, always nice when the gear is actually fitted and up and running on the scope.

Interesting APT is the opposite way around, I didn't notice that.  Not a problem, in software all things are possible :)  I will add a checkbox to the driver allowing the button direction from the connected client to be reversed.  The checkbox will persist once set and will not change the direction with regard to temperature compensation.

Will post when I have done the mods.

Clear skies,

               Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
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Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #33 on: 20:17:26, 24 May, 2012 »
Hello Robin et al,

I have released a new version of the SharpSky PC driver V3.5.  The new version has a new checkbox driven feature allowing the user to reverse the motor direction with the respect to input from the client software.  Depending which side of the scope you mount your motor this will determine what direction IN & OUT are when using the focus buttons on APT, MaxIm or whichever client you choose.  The temperature compensation operation has a separate driver based direction selection allowing independent control.

When installed the driver defaults to checkbox unchecked and the operation of the driver is identical to that of the previous version V3.4.  Once the checkbox is checked the motor will operate in reverse.  The checkbox persists and so only needs to be checked once.

To install the new driver just ensure that no client software is open before uninstalling the old driver, this is the case with any Windows based driver.  The new driver can be installed from the SharpSky website or from here :

http://dt-space.co.uk/SharpSky/source/SharpSky%20Setup.exe

I have attached a screenshot just showing the new checkbox.

Cheers & clear skies,

                Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #34 on: 10:08:25, 27 May, 2012 »
Morning,

A few guys have asked if I have any close ups of the assembled SharpSky PCB.  Sure do so have attached and will put in the PDF kit document.

Have fun in the sun  :D

Clear skies,

            Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #35 on: 20:09:45, 30 June, 2012 »
Hi Guys,

I have had a few questions regarding temperature compensation so decided to make a short video just showing the SharpSky temperature compensation actually operating in practice and upload the result of the logged data. I hope is clarifies the operation a little

Video :


The file logged during the demo :
http://www.dt-space.co.uk/SharpSky/source/SharpSky_templog.txt

Any questions or comments please fire away.

Clear skies,

            Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
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Offline Dave_Rose

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #36 on: 18:44:48, 10 July, 2012 »

I think Dave's SharpSky focuser is brilliant  8)
As mentioned in previous posts, the kit is excellent value, well documented and it's possible to get it
working on the bench in about 3 hours or so, may be quicker if you've had previous electronics experience.
To mount the motor gearbox housing to my scope required a flat plate and a couple of spacers. I had a
couple of holes already tapped in the side of the focuser base from a previous motor focuser which made
coupling the motor to the focuser shaft fairly straight forward.

This is the progress so far. I need to fit the pcb in the case to finish things off.



Motor fitted to the focuser on my 10" f6.3 Newtonian.


I'm using CCDsoft 5 for my camera control and have it working the focuser through Dave's ASCOM driver which was great to see.
I should be ready to set up and start test imaging on the next clear night, when ever that'll be!
Cheers,
Dave.

10" F6.3 Newtonian. ST10 xme. CFW8. Ap1200. Vixen 102ED. TMB 80/600 apo
www.daverose.co.uk

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #37 on: 21:53:08, 10 July, 2012 »
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the really positive feedback !

That's a very nice piece of fabrication and a nice motor mounting solution.  I suspect you won't have an issue mounting the board in the box.  As you say if we ever get another clear night I'll be very interested as to how you find operation when using in anger.

Good job & clear skies,

               Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #38 on: 22:30:02, 11 July, 2012 »
Hi Guys,

I have been working on the SharpSky client software. Modifications have been made as a result of very positive feedback and comment from Imagers on the excellent Australian site 'IceInSpace'.  Quite a few of our fellow imagers from 'down under' have built up SharpSky focusers and have been giving very helpful feedback on the client software.

I did try and negotiate the exchange of good weather and seeing with our antipodean friends but they were having none of it  :D

Any way, the latest version V1.9 of the client is free for download : www.dt-space.co.uk/SharpSkyClient

I have also attached a couple of screen shots.

I have added a few new features :

- Split screens to minimise the screen real estate used by the client
- Added an emergency halt button
- Added colour coding to indicate which filter was last selected
- Added temperature compensation enable checkbox
- Added reference lock checkbox.  When unchecked 'Go' buttons take the focuser to positions which factor
in temperature offset and manual offset changes.  When checked 'Go' buttons take the focuser to offsets
with respect to the reference position and all other input is disregarded.

Any feedback very welcome.

Cheers & clear skies,

           Dave

Forgot to mention, the software is ASCOM compliant and will therefore work with any such focuser.
 
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline Nomis Elfactem

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #39 on: 00:30:47, 16 July, 2012 »
Can I just add myself to the now long list of successful implementations of SharpSky.  I'm now one happy bunny !!  Probably th ebest £75 I've ever spent  :urock: :thumbup:

I've had a great day engineering the bracket for my Ikharus (photo's to follow) and finishing up all the wiring so to say I was chuffed when I switched it on, plugged it into the laptop, fired up APT and connected to the focuser all without a hitch would be an understatement... I'm like a kid in a sweetshop !

This really is a belting piece of kit Dave - have some K from me mate !

Now I just need to clear skies to put it through its paces... roll on 2015  :'( >:( :(
 
S.
Simon

Scopes: Astro-Tech AT-111EDT Triplet, TS65ED Quad, Orion ST80, Modded PST-90 Solar Scope, PST Cak (on loan)
Cameras: SXVF H694, Atik 16ic, Canon EOS 600d, DMK41, DMK21, QHY 5L-II (mono & colour)
Accessories: SX USB Filter Wheel, SX OAG, Baader LRGB Ha SI OII Filters, SharpSky Focuser
Mount: EQ6 (EQMOD), SW Star Adventurer, plus a lot (and I mean a lot) of other bits and pieces

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #40 on: 10:16:36, 16 July, 2012 »
Morning Simon,

Excellent, that's a good start to a Monday morning.  There is something slightly cool about building something for yourself that has a real use and solves a problem.  Obviously astrophotography lends itself to such projects due the amount of time available when not imaging .... especially true at the moment  :D

I am very interested to see photos of the hardware assembly (as I'm sure others are).  The bracket is clearly scope specific but most focusers have a similar form.

Yes the weather :( having just spent three days carp fishing I can confirm it is cloudy and raining  :laugh:

Again, good job !

Cheers & clear skies,

              Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline Nomis Elfactem

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #41 on: 16:18:59, 18 July, 2012 »
OK, here's some photo's of the hardware assembly.  I've also just finished the manual controler so it's fully complete and all working nicely now.... bonza  :urock:

We might even get some clear skies in the next week or so which would be great to give it a test drive.  Also, now I'm the proud owner of a fully automated setup gone are the days of standing out in -4 condition... top dog !

S.

PS - I've got a couple of suggestions for Construction Document but I'll email those through when  get a minute to jot them down  :thumbup:
Simon

Scopes: Astro-Tech AT-111EDT Triplet, TS65ED Quad, Orion ST80, Modded PST-90 Solar Scope, PST Cak (on loan)
Cameras: SXVF H694, Atik 16ic, Canon EOS 600d, DMK41, DMK21, QHY 5L-II (mono & colour)
Accessories: SX USB Filter Wheel, SX OAG, Baader LRGB Ha SI OII Filters, SharpSky Focuser
Mount: EQ6 (EQMOD), SW Star Adventurer, plus a lot (and I mean a lot) of other bits and pieces

Offline Woody

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #42 on: 23:38:37, 18 July, 2012 »
It looks good Simon. 
My package from Dave arrived yesterday so time to start soldering! (or first learn how to!)
Cheers
Jeremy
Sharpstar 65Q Sharpsky pro
GSO RC 6", Moonlite hi-res stepper
QHY9+Baader filters
Heq5(Belt modded), Eqmod,SGP
Ormeau Hills Observatory

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #43 on: 10:07:00, 19 July, 2012 »
Hi Guys,

Excellent job on the hardware Simon, as Jeremy says looks really good  :D

I think you could be right, 'apparently' the weather is supposed to be improving next week - jet stream moving North or something like that.

Have a play with the backlash compensation value in the driver as it's value will depend on the actual focuser the motor is driving.  I have my value set to a about 6 steps which to be honest is almost imperceivable.  Did you find the motor was man enough for your focuser and load ?

Looking forward to seeing the results Jeremy, soldering takes a little practice but the PCB is very forgiving being through hole plated.  Use a good quality flux core solder and resist the temptation to re-touch joints.

Good job :)

Clear skies,

                  Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

Offline dtrewren

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Re: SharpSky ASCOM focuser - PCB based kit
« Reply #44 on: 10:12:01, 19 July, 2012 »
Minor point :

I have released for download a V1.10 version of the SharpSky client.  Just a cosmetic change to the focuser buttons ....... should have listened in English class as then I would have known it is a 'Coarse' adjustment and not a 'Course' adjustment.

Muppet .... :)

               Dave
HEQ5 Pro
Skywatcher 80ED & 120ED
Skywatcher 80 short guidescopes
Altair Astro 8" f/4 Newt
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED widefield
Lunt60 PT + DS + DMK41
QHY9M + FW (LRGB & NB)
QHY10 OSC
Focuser & Dew control : SharpSky Pro
Starshoot autoguider

 

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