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Old 04-01-2013, 01:37 AM
DJT (David)
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Guidance on Auto Focussing - New Territory

So am now at the point where i have started checking the focus far more regularly than when I started out. I am also keen to look at Planetary imaging and will go with mono so need something a bit cleverer than manual for dealing with filters and refocussing.

But just how far can you go in defining auto focus? Would I be able to link to software and have it check the focus for each frame based on certain parameters? Or is "Auto Focus" about having a little handset to fine focus at the flick of a switch or through say some eqmod software.?

So my question is probably 3 fold

1) How far can you go with this? Unattended auto focusing?
2) What recommends for hardware , eg moonlight focuser? and step motors?
3) What software would you recommend for managing this process.


Thanks for any guidance in advance
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:50 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Yes unattended focusing is possible.

I prefer the Optec temperature compensating focusers:
http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/ca...f/tcf_main.htm

As for software, take a look at Focus Max as a first port of call.

http://www.focusmax.org/
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:41 PM
DJT (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poita View Post
Yes unattended focusing is possible.

I prefer the Optec temperature compensating focusers:
http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/ca...f/tcf_main.htm

As for software, take a look at Focus Max as a first port of call.

http://www.focusmax.org/
Hi Peter
Thanks very much for providing this info. Will look into it

regards
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:45 AM
TheDecepticon
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Also see Robofocus, Moonlite, Feathertouch and Atlas to name a few more.

Focusmax only works with CCDSoft or MaxIm as far as I know.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:41 AM
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wasyoungonce (Brendan)
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David If your looking for a cheap full stepper focuser controller and motor that is fully ASCOM (also EQMOD) compatible then the sharpsky kit might be a good first choice.

It's motor kit is ideal for the skywatcher focusers (was originally devolved for this but will also run other motor systems like mine on a moonlite focuser.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:20 AM
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I'm a fan of FocusMax too. I use it with a FLI Atlas focuser. The Yahoo group is another good source of information: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/FMaxUG/
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:01 PM
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Let me how you go with FocusMax. I've tried to use it in the past but found something didn't work as it was supposed to. It wasn't that needed at the time so I didn't pursue it. Its the software you hear most often used. I'd like to give it another go.

Greg.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:19 PM
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I had very little trouble getting FocusMax going, Greg, but some people do run into difficulties. There are a lot of parameters to tweak and it's hard to figure out what to do if the first light wizard fails. The author, Steve Brady, hangs out on the Yahoo group so it is a good place to go if you have problems.

It is magic once it works, especially with a scope like the FSQ-106ED which is so sensitive to temperature changes.

Cheers,
Rick.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:52 PM
DJT (David)
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All good advice. Looks like there are quite a few options here. One of the drivers is the little tak fs60 which I have noticed reacts to temperature change during sessions so I would be looking for options I can use on either the sw or the tak. Looking at the moonlight series, do they tend to be linked to specific scopes? There seem too be a lot of varying options.

Ideally if I have 2 scopes, both with 2" tubes do I get just one setup and interchange as needed?
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:06 PM
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If you want complete control of focuser, camera etc try sequence generator pro by MainSequence software. The best software around. Temp compensation etc, focus re-do after filter change .
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:50 PM
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PRejto (Peter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJT View Post
So am now at the point where i have started checking the focus far more regularly than when I started out. I am also keen to look at Planetary imaging and will go with mono so need something a bit cleverer than manual advance
Nobody has yet commented on the planetary aspects. I am not totally sure but I doubt that you can use Focusmax, or similar, to autofocus on a planet. I think you would be required to slew away to a star and then slew back....all of which would take too much time between filters. I could be wrong, but I think most planet photographers just focus on the computer screen. Sometimes that can be rather difficult. Also, the planet cameras are video cameras and the focusing programs seem to need a series of frames taken at very specific exposure settings. Again, I am not totally sure, but I think using these cameras might be difficult at best to auto focus with.

Peter

Last edited by PRejto; 13-01-2013 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 13-01-2013, 10:28 AM
DJT (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRejto View Post
Nobody has yet commented on the planetary aspects. I am not totally sure but I doubt that you can use Focusmax, or similar, to autofocus on a planet. I think you would be required to slew away to a star and then slew back....all of which would take too much time between filters. I could be wrong, but I think most planet photographers just focus on the computer screen. Sometimes that can be rather difficult. Also, the planet cameras are video cameras and the focusing programs seem to need a series of frames taken at very specific exposure settings. Again, I am not totally sure, but I think using these cameras might be difficult at best.

Peter
Aah..so sounds like I would be using a hand held control widget as well for the planetary work, reviewing on screen and going down the software pay to drive focussing routines for dso.

In the same vane, If you were buying filters that were allegedly parfocal, which would be the best ones?Baader? Astrodon? In best I mean meets claims in terms of being parfocal. Any recommends?

Thanks again
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