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  #381  
Old 09-05-2013, 10:35 PM
gary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeno View Post
Just received a few bits and pieces, only a day after ordering them.
Great back up service! A very dedicated and professional company who also give back to the astro community.
Sorry I won't be at the SPSP this year to take in some views through the 3RF scopes

Thanks Gary
Deeno
Thanks Deeno,

We appreciate you taking the time to post and for your kind words.

It was great to catch up with you at the IceInSpace Astrocamp.

Though you and Amanda will be missed at the SPSP, we wish you well with the
next soon-to-be family member.

Enjoy your weekend. It looks like it will be a good one!

Best Regards

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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  #382  
Old 11-05-2013, 12:12 AM
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FJA (Faith)
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I'm considering getting a set of Argo Navis digital setting circles for my 18" dob. I like to think I'm quite good at finding stuff using just my charts and Telrad but, sometimes, it gets to be a drag and I wish I had something like Argo Navis. I've seen these in action at the Texas Star Party and at home in England, too, and they look fantastic.
How easy would they be to retrofit to my 18"? It's made by UK scope maker David Lukehurst and is based on the Obsession design.
Cheers
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  #383  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:24 AM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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Faith
the Argo has made a huge difference to my observing with my 20". Much easier than going up and down a ladder.
I retrofitted mine but I would definitely contact Gary as he has been nothing but completely helpful with my silly questions.
I purchased a Astrosytems pivot bolt system for the rocker box ans ground board pivot as this comes ready to install the encoders. The other thing that is important is to get the alt encoder accurately installed at the centre of the Side bearings.

Malcolm
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  #384  
Old 12-05-2013, 04:28 PM
gary
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Argo Navis on David Lukehurst 18"

Quote:
Originally Posted by FJA View Post
I'm considering getting a set of Argo Navis digital setting circles for my 18" dob. I like to think I'm quite good at finding stuff using just my charts and Telrad but, sometimes, it gets to be a drag and I wish I had something like Argo Navis. I've seen these in action at the Texas Star Party and at home in England, too, and they look fantastic.
How easy would they be to retrofit to my 18"? It's made by UK scope maker David Lukehurst and is based on the Obsession design.
Cheers
Hi Faith,

Thanks for the post and greetings to you there in the Isle of Wight.

Great to read you have seen Argo Navis units in action at TSP and in England.

David Lukehurst typically builds his telescopes with encoder installations in mind and
so the encoder installation should be pretty straight forward. If you drop me
an email at sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au I would be delighted to
open a dialogue and suggest to you the recommended components for a system.

Once again, thanks for the post.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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  #385  
Old 12-05-2013, 08:10 PM
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FJA (Faith)
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Thanks for the replies Malcolm and Gary. I feel that getting an Argo Navis will help me maximise my observing time. While I am reasonably proficient at finding stuff using a chart and finder, I also waste a fair bit of time when I can't track down objects. With three or four, sometimes more, sometimes fewer, observing sessions each month I'd like to make better use of my observing time.

Gary, I'll drop you an email.
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  #386  
Old 13-05-2013, 12:05 AM
gary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJA View Post
Thanks for the replies Malcolm and Gary. I feel that getting an Argo Navis will help me maximise my observing time. While I am reasonably proficient at finding stuff using a chart and finder, I also waste a fair bit of time when I can't track down objects. With three or four, sometimes more, sometimes fewer, observing sessions each month I'd like to make better use of my observing time.

Gary, I'll drop you an email.
Hi Faith,

Thanks for the response.

Many Argo Navis owners are highly experienced star hoppers. Some are even,
dare I say, veteran star hoppers.

On the observing field, during phone conversations and in email exchanges over the
years I have heard it repeated many times. Time is precious, observing opportunities
can be few and far between and life is, let's face it, too short to spend time
mucking about finding an object rather than observing it.

Having returned from the South Pacific Star Party this weekend, where many
Argo Navis units were also in use, I personally appreciated the ability to move
back and forth quickly between similar classes of objects to compare or contrast them.

I also assisted with conducting sky tours at the star party, last night using
a 25" Obsession equipped with Argo Navis. We were able to entertain the
queue with a succession of cool objects, each one of which we were able to
locate in seconds. Most eight year old children have limited patience and
we were able to keep them and their parents entertained much, much longer
than we would have been able to do otherwise.

Thanks again and I look forward to your email.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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  #387  
Old 13-05-2013, 04:02 AM
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FJA (Faith)
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I totally agree Gary, I have wasted over an hour looking for faint objects by star hopping and, recently, went looking for galaxies off the beaten path, with no stars nearby for any sensible star hopping.
I have sent you an email (might need to check your spam folder).
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  #388  
Old 13-05-2013, 07:33 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Hi Faith,

I have been a very long time star hopper and now have 4 Argo Navis units, on 4 different telescopes (all dobs). I will never own another telescope without an Argo Navis, or something very similar.

Conservatively, I would estimate that Argo increases the number of targets I can observe in a night threefold, and probably more.

If you want a standard Argo installation there is no reason to buy anything from anyone other than Gary. He sells everything you will need (including the azimuth pivot bolt). It all fits together and works exactly as it should and he will provide you with unsurpassed after sales service and installation assistance.

Something to consider which I don't think Gary sells is the Servocat powered ground board. This costs about $200 and makes a really nice job of getting power to the scope and to all other parts of it for dew controllers etc. The Markless Astronomics Catstalk is another really nice option for getting the Argo and cabling right out of the way. These things aren't difficult to fit, but a little harder than a standard Argo install

Cheers
John B
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  #389  
Old 14-05-2013, 12:04 PM
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erick (Eric)
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I did my 12-18 mths apprenticeship star hopping and I think all should do this - good for your star-gazing soul!

Then I went Argo Navis ("push to") and haven't looked back. I have two AN units now - one designed to mount on a binocular mount!

The thrill of the search with star hopping is great, but if you have limited time and nights of observing, actually seeing the objects you seek is more important. I agree with what others say about actual observing time - it is much increased, several fold.

Just one thing, however, that I miss, and that is the joy of serendipitous discoveries during the star hopping. But, every so often I just relax and start scanning the sky with no particular objects in mind and see what I come across. But I may first set the AN to "identify" so it can tell me what I have discovered.
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  #390  
Old 14-05-2013, 09:09 PM
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FJA (Faith)
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Hi John and Eric, I've spent 21 years star hopping and it's high time I stopped and began letting a computer do it for me! But, I agree, Eric, everyone should do star hopping to begin with, it's a great way to learn your way around the constellations, rather than jump straight in with go to systems which a lot of people do these days but, that said, star-hopping for me has got old and I'm tired of spending more time looking for stuff than I do observing it.
I'm doing the Herschel 2500, well, attempting to do it(!) but 10 objects in an evening is not going to cut it!

Living where I do with a climate comparable to the maritime climate of Victoria (i.e. a bit yucky), I'd like to maximise the several sessions I get a month which I think the AN will do. It's a "no-brainer" really.

I've contacted Gary via email and he's supplied some questions with information he needs and, once I've got that - and some money I hope to be getting next month, fingers crossed - I hope to be in a position to order one.
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  #391  
Old 18-05-2013, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJA View Post
Hi John and Eric, I've spent 21 years star hopping and it's high time I stopped and began letting a computer do it for me! But, I agree, Eric, everyone should do star hopping to begin with, it's a great way to learn your way around the constellations, rather than jump straight in with go to systems which a lot of people do these days but, that said, star-hopping for me has got old and I'm tired of spending more time looking for stuff than I do observing it.
I'm doing the Herschel 2500, well, attempting to do it(!) but 10 objects in an evening is not going to cut it!

Living where I do with a climate comparable to the maritime climate of Victoria (i.e. a bit yucky), I'd like to maximise the several sessions I get a month which I think the AN will do. It's a "no-brainer" really.

I've contacted Gary via email and he's supplied some questions with information he needs and, once I've got that - and some money I hope to be getting next month, fingers crossed - I hope to be in a position to order one.
That's if the Az encoder will fit...! There's not much clearance.
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  #392  
Old 18-05-2013, 03:11 AM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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That's if the Az encoder will fit...! There's not much clearance.
Hi Faith,

That's a pretty easy fix for any 1/2 decent handyman.

You just need to recess a small part of the bottom of the rocker box, around the altitude encoder, to let the encoder sit down enough to clear the mirror box, when the scope moves in altitude. There are plenty of ways to do this. eg. router, chisel etc etc. There should be plenty of meat in the rocker box base, to allow for this.

This is done at the construction stage on many scopes to get the eyepiece height as low as possible.

Cheers
John B
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  #393  
Old 20-05-2013, 07:37 AM
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Thanks John. I hadn't thought of that. I think Gary is going to get back to me with some further info.
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  #394  
Old 20-05-2013, 09:19 AM
gary
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Originally Posted by FJA View Post
Thanks John. I hadn't thought of that. I think Gary is going to get back to me with some further info.
Hi Faith,

I've been making some 3D CAD drawings based on the dimensions you supplied
and hope to forward them to you by email later today.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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  #395  
Old 20-05-2013, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post
Hi Faith,

I've been making some 3D CAD drawings based on the dimensions you supplied
and hope to forward them to you by email later today.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
Thanks Gary.
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  #396  
Old 12-07-2013, 10:34 AM
gary
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Argo Navis TPAS assists with blind pointing Mallincam

A Canadian customer emailed us yesterday who owns a Starmaster 16” f/4.3 Dob
to which he had added a Mallincam in the hope of being able to still observe
DSO's from his mag. 4 limited light polluted city skies.

The challenge he faced was being able to get the scope to blind point onto the Mallincam sensor.

This is where the in-built Argo Navis Telescope Pointing Analysis System (TPAS) came to the rescue.

It was such a good story that I thought other Argo Navis owners would be interested in reading it too.

He writes -

Quote:
Originally Posted by RP
Hi!

Yesterday evening a really great session.

The goal I’d set more than a year ago of being able to use my Starmaster 16” f/4.3 dob with a Mallincam, and be able to point accurately enough to get DSOs on the monitor screen has been fully accomplished. I did a TPAS sesssion that improved my pointing substantially.

RMS RAW = 15.7’
RMS FITTED = 3.4’

IE = –15.8 +/- 2.9’
NPAE = +20.4 +/- 2.5’
ECEC = 22.0 +/- 4.6’

19 sampled stars.

I was the able to place 20 other stars in a row on the Mallincam chip which gives a screen of approx 24’ wide and 18’ high. Not very big. There was only one problematic star, and it turns out it was a variable star that was much fainter than it’s max. Then the moment of truth: I placed 30 DSOs in a row onto the Mallincam screen. Very impressive pointing!! It took 12 observing sessions, plus 12 ‘garage’ tweaking sessions, along with your excellent support/help all along the way in the form of many eMails, advice, etc.

I was able to ‘observe’ on the screen many many objects that were not at all visible in the eyepiece here, in my mag 4 light-polluted city skies. Galaxies down to mag 15.5 All kinds of structure. Three stars inside M57. M101 spiral arms. NGC7331 with four of it’s faint firely galaxies. All five of Stephan’s Quintet. The list goes on and on. Without the Argo Navis pointing accuracy, there’s no way I’d be able to find these targets well enough for the Mallincam, unless I’d spend 30 minutes per DSO and revert to blind star-hopping. There are still a couple of bleeps to attend to, but the concept is fully proven, now. This definitely will work even better than I dared hope. Thanks very much for making this amazing device, and sticking by me with assistance / support until I got it going properly.

Makes a huge difference in my ability to observe from the city. Wanted to let you know.

Thanks again,

RP
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  #397  
Old 12-07-2013, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post
A Canadian customer emailed us yesterday who owns a Starmaster 16” f/4.3 Dob
to which he had added a Mallincam in the hope of being able to still observe
DSO's from his mag. 4 limited light polluted city skies.

The challenge he faced was being able to get the scope to blind point onto the Mallincam sensor.

This is where the in-built Argo Navis Telescope Pointing Analysis System (TPAS) came to the rescue.

It was such a good story that I thought other Argo Navis owners would be interested in reading it too.

He writes -
A great story Gary,

I bought what I believe was the first consumer available Argo Navis in 2002 after hounding you for about a year. It changed my astronomy, I did indeed "Find More Stuff"
I don't use one at present but the AN to this day stands so far ahead of the competition (is there any left?) in both use and product support.
I have had oustanding service from Starlight Xpress and Software Bisque but the service you provided was akin to a Supernova, you outshone everyone else around you.
It is great to see your success rewarded by user feedback... the very best type you can get.
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  #398  
Old 12-07-2013, 06:50 PM
moonunit (Joe)
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As a new owner of a 16" meade lightbridge, do I need to purchase the communication and power cable options, what do I need as a minimum, also does AN drive the scope or is that what Servo Cat does, I don't mind starhopping and pushing the scope so how does AN help in that regard if I don't know where I am going, another thing does the 'stalk' get in the way, and how is AN powered, I have a battery for the fan and a dew heater do I need another power supply, i'm interested but I have questions, of all the photos I see of AN, I never see any diagrams or drawings, or have I missed something?
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  #399  
Old 12-07-2013, 09:06 PM
gary
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Argo Navis on Meade LightBridge 16"

Quote:
Originally Posted by moonunit View Post
As a new owner of a 16" meade lightbridge, do I need to purchase the communication and power cable options, what do I need as a minimum, also does AN drive the scope or is that what Servo Cat does, I don't mind starhopping and pushing the scope so how does AN help in that regard if I don't know where I am going, another thing does the 'stalk' get in the way, and how is AN powered, I have a battery for the fan and a dew heater do I need another power supply, i'm interested but I have questions, of all the photos I see of AN, I never see any diagrams or drawings, or have I missed something?
Hi Joe,

Thanks for the post and congratulations on the new 16".

When combined with a pair of optical encoders, Argo Navis provides what some
refer to as a "PUSHTO" system.

What we refer to as a "Bundled Special System" which includes the Argo Navis,
a pair of encoders that provide 10,000 steps resolution per axis, an encoder cable
and the encoder mount hardware specific to a Meade LightBridge 16" can
be purchased online here by selecting "Meade LightBridge 16"" under the
"Bundled Special" pulldown and entering a "1" in the corresponding Qty box.
See http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au/purchase.html

That will then provide you with a system that can assist you in locating
and identifying celestial objects.

The encoder mount hardware is very easy to install and does not require any
special tools or skills. You can find a copy of the altitude encoder hardware
instructions here -
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com....ges/lb_alt.pdf
and the azimuth encoder hardware instructions here -
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au/images/lb_az.pdf

The altitude encoder is designed to be quickly and easily removed so you can
transport the scope.

As mentioned, an encoder cable that plugs into each encoder and in turn
goes to the Argo Navis encoder port is provided with the Bundled Special.

Align on any two objects you know, typically a pair of bright stars, and Argo Navis
"knows" where you are pointing. Dial up one of the approximately 30,000 objects
in the preloaded catalogs by name and the Argo Navis display shows you how much
to move the scope by in each of its axes in terms of degrees. As you move the scope,
the numbers update in real-time and when they reach zero, you look through
the eyepiece and there's your target.

Or you can work in an inverse mode and ask Argo Navis what it thinks an object
is based on filtering criteria you select.

You can even take a tour of objects based on your own filtering criteria.
For example, a tour of all galaxies in Virgo of, say, magnitude 14 or brighter or a tour of
all globular clusters within, say, 15 degrees of where you are pointing and so on.

Argo Navis is powered by a set of four alkaline AA batteries. Typically they
will provide you with enough power for a couple of weekends of observing.

The External DC power cable option allows you to power your unit from an
external DC power source, such as sealed lead acid battery to save on AA cells.
Argo Navis can accept an external power source of between 8V and 16V DC.
So your existing battery is perfect.

Argo Navis comes with a CDROM which includes a software utility we call
Argonaut. It allows you to upgrade your firmware and to download the
orbital elements of asteroids, comets and satellites. It also gives you
the ability to load about 1100 of your own user defined objects. That's
on top of the in-built 30,000 objects already in there. You can even
add your own comments and observing notes. And when you are finished
with those objects you can erase them and load another 1100. All of our
firmware upgrades are free and can be downloaded from our web site.

The serial cable, part number pn-ser-cbl, that connects between the Argo Navis and
a computer, brings about all these benefits and in addition it allows you to
interface to your favourite planetarium program to get a tracking cursor display.
If your computer only has a USB connector, we also stock USB Serial Adapters.

As mentioned, Argo Navis on its own provides a PUSHTO system.
However, it can also be interfaced to a ServoCAT servo motor controller
and this combination provides for full motorized slew and track capability.
A single cable interfaces between the Argo Navis and the ServoCAT "black box".
Dial up an object on the Argo Navis front panel, press the GOTO button on the
ServoCAT handpad and the scope then slews to the target and when it reaches
it, starts tracking. Argo Navis performs all of the object offset and tracking rate
calculations on behalf of the ServoCAT.

Whereas Argo Navis is designed and manufactured here in Sydney by Wildcard
Innovations, the ServoCAT is designed and manufactured by StellarCAT in
Texas. We have a close working relationship with them.

The ServoCAT itself has a pair of cables that goes to each of the two servo
motors and a second pair of cables that interface to each of the servo feedback
loop encoders on the motors shafts.

One beauty of the system is that you can disengage the motors if you so choose,
push the scope manually and Argo Navis still knows where the scope is pointing.
Re-engage the motors again later and your alignment is still good.

Argo Navis comes with a mounting cradle that allows you to mount it in
a variety of ways. You can slip the unit out of the cradle and hold it in
your hand if you so choose. Some users mount their units on top of a stalk
at about waist height. Because the stalk rides around with the rocker box,
it is always in the same place with respect the eyepiece and in that regard,
never gets in the way.

The Argo Navis User's Manual is available online from here -
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com....mentation.html

Thanks again for the post and I am sure you will have more questions so
please don't hesitate to telephone me during business hours on 02 9457 9049
or drop me an email at sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au and I would be
more than happy to answer them.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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  #400  
Old 12-07-2013, 09:30 PM
moonunit (Joe)
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Thanks for the prompt reply Gary, much appreciated.
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