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Old 16-09-2014, 09:09 AM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Question RoboFocus or FT MicroTouch fot Tak, advice please

Hi all,
I'm thinking of automating focus on my Tak TSA-120 and I'm after some advice.

My Tak has the FeatherTouch upgrade on it already so I could either get the FT motor and a controller (thinking Mount Hub Pro if I go with the FT) or the Robofocus. A quick glance at prices looks like the RoboFocus (including controller) would be a couple of hundred cheaper than the FT plus a MHP. The FT controllers seem quite expensive and more than I need hence why I'm looking at the MHP.

If I got the RF I think I would have to put the original Tak focuser bits back on which is no big deal. Also I should mention that I don't need to have a controller with buttons to change focus as I'd always be controlling it through my lappy and software.

Software wise I was planning to use CCDSoft with Focusmax. TBH I don't really want to spend ~$500 on MaxIm or TSX as, other than focusing, I'm happy with the way my software setup is working ATM.

I've been reading a few old posts here on IIS and I've seen a few times where people have had issues with FocusMax and have ended up just focusing with a baht mask. This seems crazy to me to spend all the money for a motorised setup and then focus manually as I can't see that being too much more accurate than the way I do it now.

I'd be keen to hear any experience from people who have done this sort of thing on Taks with R&P focusers.

Thanks
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:21 AM
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I am and have been using on both my taks RF with focusmax and maxim for a couple of years. I don't both using a MHP except to power the RF gear and my rotator. RF on a tak R&P setup works fine and is reliable. The FT gear is good but not really necessary for autofocus.
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:55 AM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Thanks for the info Paul.
Does the RF handle the weight of your camera+FW+OAG etc. without issue?
I think your setup would be similar weight to mine? (maybe a little less as I've got the AO too?)
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Old 16-09-2014, 01:58 PM
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The RF is only lifting the QSIWSG-8. However I know that the RF can lift an STL easily. So I would think it could work with the larger cameras.
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Old 16-09-2014, 02:36 PM
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Thanks Paul.
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Old 16-09-2014, 02:43 PM
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In my opinion either the RF or FT motor can handle it. What it will come down to is the capability of the focuser. My RF on FSQ could handle PL16803 + FW5-7 + MOAG +Sti.

Regards
Raki


Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto View Post
Hi all,
I'm thinking of automating focus on my Tak TSA-120 and I'm after some advice.

My Tak has the FeatherTouch upgrade on it already so I could either get the FT motor and a controller (thinking Mount Hub Pro if I go with the FT) or the Robofocus. A quick glance at prices looks like the RoboFocus (including controller) would be a couple of hundred cheaper than the FT plus a MHP. The FT controllers seem quite expensive and more than I need hence why I'm looking at the MHP.

If I got the RF I think I would have to put the original Tak focuser bits back on which is no big deal. Also I should mention that I don't need to have a controller with buttons to change focus as I'd always be controlling it through my lappy and software.

Software wise I was planning to use CCDSoft with Focusmax. TBH I don't really want to spend ~$500 on MaxIm or TSX as, other than focusing, I'm happy with the way my software setup is working ATM.

I've been reading a few old posts here on IIS and I've seen a few times where people have had issues with FocusMax and have ended up just focusing with a baht mask. This seems crazy to me to spend all the money for a motorised setup and then focus manually as I can't see that being too much more accurate than the way I do it now.

I'd be keen to hear any experience from people who have done this sort of thing on Taks with R&P focusers.

Thanks
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  #7  
Old 17-09-2014, 08:16 PM
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Logieberra (Logan)
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Hugh

I've just ordered the Optec FocusLynx system.

http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/ca...lynx/index.htm
http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/ca...lynx/19690.htm

Capable of dual motor control (optional).

I also got the wifi board (optional).

Heaps of other upgrades available.

Can even controll over Android app: "FocusLynx Web Controller"
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ptec.focuslynx

Can drive the major focus motors - Starlight, Robofocus etc. Very flexible.
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Old 17-09-2014, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niharika View Post
In my opinion either the RF or FT motor can handle it. What it will come down to is the capability of the focuser. My RF on FSQ could handle PL16803 + FW5-7 + MOAG +Sti.

Regards
Raki
Thanks for the info Raki.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Logieberra View Post
Hugh

I've just ordered the Optec FocusLynx system.

http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/ca...lynx/index.htm

Capable of dual motor control (optional).

I got the wifi board (optional).

Can even controll over Android app: "FocusLynx Web Controller"
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ptec.focuslynx

Can drive the major focus motors - Starlight, Robofocus etc. Very flexible.
Interesting Logan Thanks.
I hadn't looked at the Optec, I'll have a read up.

I've emailed Technical Innovations about purchasing the RF, haven't heard back yet...
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Old 17-09-2014, 08:25 PM
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P.s. I will be using Robofocus motors with it, driving a Tak focuser (FSQ) secured by the Robofocus RF3 Tak Bracket:

http://www.robofocus.com/store/product_category_2.htm

Hope that helps.
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  #10  
Old 17-09-2014, 08:31 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logieberra View Post
P.s. I will be using Robofocus motors with it, driving a Tak focuser (FSQ) secured by the Robofocus RF3 Tak Bracket:

http://www.robofocus.com/store/product_category_2.htm

Hope that helps.
It all helps!
Thanks Logan
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  #11  
Old 21-09-2014, 06:36 PM
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Just a quick follow up for future reference.
I'm conversing with Technical Innovations via email and I'm going to buy the RF but I just thought I'd mention that I asked about the load that the RF can handle and they told me that they re-geared their motors a couple of years ago and that they will move 22-24 pounds of camera gear.
So no worries moving my setup!
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Old 19-10-2014, 02:33 PM
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Another quick follow up for people from the future (I hate it when I find a thread that discusses exactly what I'm looking for but contains no resolution!).

I got the Robofocus installed on my TSA-120 last night, it was pretty straightforward. I just bent the bracket by hand and attached it under my finder quick release plate.

I installed the Robofocus software, and the ASCOM RF drivers, plus I installed Focusmax. It all worked fine though one thing to note was that I had to run Focusmax as Admin otherwise it wouldn't find CCDSoft, but that could just be a Win 8.1 weirdness.

It had no trouble lifting my camera with FW and AO at zenith.
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Old 20-10-2014, 01:46 AM
dawziecat (Terry)
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Pluto states his TAK already has a FT motor. That being the case, I fail to see why anyone would choose anything other than Starlight's Focus Boss II with Handymotor. http://starlightinstruments.com/stor...product_id=305

No fussy bracket to deal with. Very elegant.

I tried this sytem with the original 4" Tak focuser and ran into problems which led me to return it with great reluctance. The issue I faced is irrelevant with a FT focuser though.

I was using it with an STL-11000(internal wheel) and MMOAG. Ability to hold focus without slipping was not an issue.
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Old 20-10-2014, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawziecat View Post
Pluto states his TAK already has a FT motor. That being the case, I fail to see why anyone would choose anything other than Starlight's Focus Boss II with Handymotor.
My Tak didn't have a FT motor, it had the FT 10:1 retrofit, this one.

I did look into the setup you linked to but it came down to cost. The Focuser Boss kit was about 30-40% more than the equivalent Robofocus package.
Plus I'll probably sell my FT retrofit package soon and that will bring the overall cost down to probably at least half that of the Focuser Boss setup.

Obviously cost is irrelevant if it doesn't work properly but mine got through it's first light night flawlessly. What problems did you have with yours? Anything I should watch out for?

Aesthetically you might be right But for me if the scope is working well then that's a beautiful thing
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Old 21-10-2014, 05:08 AM
dawziecat (Terry)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto View Post
What problems did you have with yours? Anything I should watch out for?
Hi Hugh:

My problem was that the Handymotor, supposedly designed specifically for 4" stock TAK focusers just would not reliably move the focuser. Motor ran. Focuser shaft turned . . . but focuser never moved. This was both on a TOA-150 with the older 4" focuser and an FSQ106EDXIII with the new 4" focuser.

I was informed it came down to the stock TAK focusers not taking gracefully to being "side loaded" with an off-center spur gear driving the shaft.

I tried with three motors for a couple of months before giving up on this system. During that time, it worked perhaps two nights. It was a beautiful thing for those two nights but, after three motors, on two TAK focusers, I had to let it go as a bad deal.

I am still focusing manually with a B. mask but an FLI should arrive soon, bypassing the TAK focuser problem completely. While the FLI is not cheap, I plan on one for an iDK anyway. Might as well use it on the TAKs too.
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Old 21-10-2014, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawziecat View Post
Pluto states his TAK already has a FT motor. That being the case, I fail to see why anyone would choose anything other than Starlight's Focus Boss II with Handymotor. http://starlightinstruments.com/stor...product_id=305

No fussy bracket to deal with. Very elegant.

I tried this sytem with the original 4" Tak focuser and ran into problems which led me to return it with great reluctance. The issue I faced is irrelevant with a FT focuser though.

I was using it with an STL-11000(internal wheel) and MMOAG. Ability to hold focus without slipping was not an issue.
Starlight's Focuser Boss 2 (not too fond of the name...) is 100% the same hardware as the Optec Focus Lynx, as I mentioned earlier in this thread.
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Old 21-10-2014, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawziecat View Post
Hi Hugh:

My problem was that the Handymotor, supposedly designed specifically for 4" stock TAK focusers just would not reliably move the focuser. Motor ran. Focuser shaft turned . . . but focuser never moved. This was both on a TOA-150 with the older 4" focuser and an FSQ106EDXIII with the new 4" focuser.

I was informed it came down to the stock TAK focusers not taking gracefully to being "side loaded" with an off-center spur gear driving the shaft.

I tried with three motors for a couple of months before giving up on this system. During that time, it worked perhaps two nights. It was a beautiful thing for those two nights but, after three motors, on two TAK focusers, I had to let it go as a bad deal.

I am still focusing manually with a B. mask but an FLI should arrive soon, bypassing the TAK focuser problem completely. While the FLI is not cheap, I plan on one for an iDK anyway. Might as well use it on the TAKs too.
I wondered about those fancy click lock motors. Having come from Robofocus to FocusLynx, the option of continuing to run the chunky Hurst motors (Robofocus just paints theirs black) was very attractive, and for my two scope/focuser setup, more economical to run 1 x Optec system with dual motor control vs 2 x Robofocus units.
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Old 28-07-2016, 09:35 AM
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Are there more updates on this topic? Trying to decide between robofocus, optec fastsync, starizona micro touch, or the focus boss for a fsq85. The options are doing my head in and not much in terms of their relative merits. Incline to go with robo focus as it seems most common and compatible with my Rigel controller so save cost, but look a bit argricultural if you know what I mean and think it will disable manual focusing. Thanks
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Old 28-07-2016, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryNZ View Post
Are there more updates on this topic? Trying to decide between robofocus, optec fastsync, starizona micro touch, or the focus boss for a fsq85. The options are doing my head in and not much in terms of their relative merits. Incline to go with robo focus as it seems most common and compatible with my Rigel controller so save cost, but look a bit argricultural if you know what I mean and think it will disable manual focusing. Thanks
I'm not familiar with those other systems but here's a quick update on my Robofocus.

Basically it ran flawlessly for about a year with FocusMax then one night it started clicking and slipping. Strangely though it still works completely fine when just making manual adjustments with the RF software or using the hand controller. As I only have to refocus once or twice a night I really haven't spent much time trying to work out why it's not playing nicely with FocusMax and I just focus with a bahtinov mask.

TLDR: It still works well but not with FocusMax.
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