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Old 02-05-2013, 10:19 AM
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Peter Ward
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FLI atlas

Decided to upgrade my AP Honders focuser with a FLI Altas due, on going random small focal plane tilt variations with the standard 3.5" AP unit.

The FLI unit has a nice innovation by way of their connectors that pull everything orthogonal when torqued down. My only gripe would be the rather short 1/2" travel limit of the focuser...plus the need to get some not inexpensive custom connectors made for the Honders, (thanks to AP for supplying the specs to precise parts )

The system now produces sublime star images right up to the edge of a KAF16803 sensor...no mean feat...Anyway, as they say one picture can say a thousand words.

A link to the results here

(single 300 second exposure, self guide at 2 second intervals)
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2013, 11:06 AM
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Great results, Peter!

I love my Atlas too and just had an adapter made so I can use it on the Ceravolo 300. I hope to test it this weekend.

Cheers,
Rick.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:15 PM
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Wow. That's impressive.

Greg.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:24 PM
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Yikes, very nice.
I won't ask the price, I can't afford it.
Great shot, looks like some serious sessions coming up.
Gary
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Wow. That's impressive.

Greg.
Even more so... given the seeing was pretty ordinary last night.

With even a slight camera tilt, the system simply wasn't in focus across the entire field.

Have to say I'm now very pleased with the optical performance... star sizes are remarkably tight from edge to edge.

Suffice to say Roland has done an excellent job with this design
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:02 PM
clive milne
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Going to the dark side Peter?

You have to give credit to FLI, when you hold a piece of their kit in your hands, the engineering excellence is self evident.

As to the image, it almost feels churlish to point out the very slight elongation of the star images in the bottom left hand corner. Even so, I expect you must be pleased. A system limited by pixel charge diffusion is a rare beast indeed.

best,
~c
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post
Going to the dark side Peter?


best,
~c
I don't think I've ever been critical of FLI gear, the price was up certainly there, but no gripes as it does the job extremely well...infact I can't think of a more precise focuser.

Greg Terrance and Gary Mac were also good to deal with.

Cameras however

What can I say? The power of the "self-guide" is hard to beat

P.S.
Probably unresolved double-stars at that left edge
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:03 PM
clive milne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
...infact I can't think of a more precise focuser.
I have no experiential basis to state how this focuser compares to the Atlas, but the Reginato looks to be an interesting contender :
http://www.reginato.it/accessory.html
For those contemplating AO, the built in FR makes it look attractive.

Quote:
What can I say? The power of the "self-guide" is hard to beat
I'll grant you, on board self guide is convenient.
However, I might be so bold as to suggest the following combination will dust its pants:
SXV-AO -> OAG -> Lodestar... then filter wheel.
The caveat to this is finding an anastigmatic OTA with enough back focus to use it.
Also, forget it if you are using a 16803 chip... A 6303 is probably the limit unless you have a wildly diverging light cone.


Quote:
P.S.
Probably unresolved double-stars at that left edge
Nope... definitely not double stars....
As I alluded to earlier, the deviation from a circular psf is very small (at the level of quibbling) so essentially meaningless from an aesthetics perspective, but it is definitely visible if you zoom in 400%.

Last edited by clive milne; 02-05-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:36 PM
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fwiw) The reginato 'rotofoc' sells for 2650 euro.
On the face of it a fairly substantial investment, but still a fair bit cheaper than what an Atlas & 3" Pyxis will set you back.... ymmv.

~best
c
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post

SXV-AO -> OAG -> Lodestar... then filter wheel.

.
Sorry I'm already using a STT8300/FWG/AO-8 combo that makes the above look quaint (the ability to position and focus the guide CCD ahead of the filters is pretty cool)

The (soon to be released) AO-X will work with SBIG self-guiding filter wheels up to KAF11002 sized sensors...and standard self guide with KAF16803 sensors... though I cheerfully admit filter attenuation makes the latter a little difficult at times.

P.S.
I was joking about the unresolved doubles
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post
I have no experiential basis to state how this focuser compares to the Atlas, but the Reginato looks to be an interesting contender :
http://www.reginato.it/accessory.html
For those contemplating AO, the built in FR makes it look attractive.

I'll grant you, on board self guide is convenient.
However, I might be so bold as to suggest the following combination will dust its pants:
SXV-AO -> OAG -> Lodestar... then filter wheel.
The caveat to this is finding an anastigmatic OTA with enough back focus to use it.
Also, forget it if you are using a 16803 chip... A 6303 is probably the limit unless you have a wildly diverging light cone.
The self guide is very, very convenient. I basically got into imaging with a sbig st4000xcm and ao8, which worked a treat because filters were not needed.

I also have a stl11k and aol combo which also works well with AO, and granted I do have filter attenuation, the ao works best in luminance where all the detail is anyways. At worst with the filters instead of superfast guiding, effectively I am only moving a small prism for corrections, rather than 100 odd kilos of scope and mount. I have since ordered the innovations foresight's new onag xt to try with AOL and sbig remote guide head, I'm very keen to see how that works out. I did try the moag route, but I didnt like it.

The SBIG ao prism guiders have been flawless in every regard. No jamming unlike the sx-ao. I'm sure sbig will do a great job with the std-ao. Also the lodestar has no shutter for darks which makes remote darks impossible. Although I am not sure if the sbig filter/guider has a shutter?


Clive: thanks for the rotofoc info I hadn't heard of it. I have been googling rotators for weeks and now that my new 3 inch pyxis has arrived... now I see the rotofoc.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:20 PM
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The only two things I don't like about my Atlas are:

1. It is extremely noisy. So noisy that my daughter can hear it through her bedroom window.

2. It is extremely slow. So slow that TheSkyX used to time out on it until I got the guys at SB to make the focuser timeout time user settable. (CCDSoft always waited, I guess, forever if need be.)

Other than that, I love it.

I wish my Optec 3" Pyxis had the same non-marring Zero Tilt attachment mechanism as the FLI Atlas. That's one of the particularly good features of the FLI Atlas.
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