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On this page you will find the list and and some thumbnails of my equipment.

Click on the link or the thumbnail  for a larger image

i will add to the list as more equipment is obtained

MEAD LX200

 I own a Mead LX200 8" f10 SCT an instrument with superb optics. Although many people complain of the short comings of the LX200 it is after all a mass produced consumer telescope. With care and patience it is quite capable of  producing some spectacular images.

The joy of owning such an instrument is the fun of learning. When I first took delivery it was a simple Alt-Az scope on a standard tripod. Not long after I found the Mead Telescope User Group MAPUG with the help of the members there from all over the world I have slowly developed my equipment into what I hope is an excellent imaging tool

MEAD ETX90EC

One year after my dear wife bought me the LX200 she wisely invested in an ETX90EC which is mainly used when we are away at weekends or holidays. It's a cool piece of kit that only takes a few minutes to set up

 

MEAD Autostar

Along with the ETX90EC she also bought the Autostar. I find this controller less intuitive than the LX200 handset but that could be because the LX was the first hand controller I had ever used.

Mead 8-24mm Zoom EP

Not a brilliant piece of equipment but fun for surfing the skies I will eventually have a full set of EP's but for now for visual work this will suffice along with the other EP's in my collection

I also own the standard 26mm EP that came with the LX and a Mead 32mmm series 4000 plossl, along with a Mead short 2 X Barlow and a Mead 12mm cordless Astrometric EP

 Mead Off Axis Guider

I purchased the Mead off axis guider before I really understood astrophotography and all it's idiosyncrasies  I have not yet mastered this piece of equipment but I will not be beaten. Although I could be persuaded to give up if I was to be given a Taurus tracker, I can dream cant I.

Mead Variable Camera Adapter

This has been an excellent investment I have only used it so far to take pictures of the moon with a 26mm EP and a 2 X Barlow which gives some serious f ratio's most of the pictures taken so far have been let down by poor focus.

Hartman Mask

This is a home made item manufactured from 6mm MDF the black strip in the middle is a small piece of Velcro the other piece of Velcro is on the central obstruction on the scope. Just enough grip to keep it in place with out falling on the floor

Palm IIIx PDA

The Palm IIIx was my Wife's PDA but has been retired due to a systems upgrade. At about the time this unit was being consigned to the family technology museum a thread appeared on MAPUG which discussed the merits of a shareware program for the Palm PDA's that can control the LX called Planetarium for PalmOS which can be downloaded from http://www.aho.ch/pilotplanets/
Well you just got to try these things.  My son who is a network engineer made up the connecting lead once the travel sync lead had arrived from Palm 19.00. And boy is this one cool piece of software it also works  with the ETX as long as you remember to connect via the ETX Autostar controller.

100mm Maksutov Camera Lens

I acquired this lens some time ago it is a Russian made Maksutov Camera lens with a fixed mirror. Focus is achieved by turning the focus ring which moves the corrector lens, it has a lens piece at the rear of the unit which I think acts like a Barlow. It has a focal length of about 1000mm with an f ratio of about 10. The great thing about this lens is that it has infinity marked on the focus ring, which makes setting up a lot easier. The little gismo on the back is something I made, as I am hoping to use it with an autoguider. The detail on the gizmo is on my Do-it-Yourself page

Minolta X 370s 35mm Manual Camera

Up until Christmas 2001 I was learning the craft of astrophotography with a Minolta Dynax 505si super a great 35mm automatic camera with the facility to go to full manual mode but the screen was too dark. Although it took some good shots, focusing was a chore. So for Christmas I received a Minolta X370s, at the time of writing I have only shot one roll of film and that was destroyed by the developer, so I cant say if my technique has improved or not. What I do know, is that focusing was a lot easier. As the cost of this camera is well under 100 body only, I may get a second one and along with a ronchi screen make a focuser, either that or buy a focuser from STI.

Fuji FinePix 4900Zoom

We own a Fuji Finepix 4900Zoom Digital Camera which I have been trying to use to capture pictures of the moon and the major planets through afocal photography. I am still learning the limitations of this camera but I should be able to manage something, as it has a full manual mode and a shutter that can stay open for up to 3 seconds. If I can get some reasonable results I may invest in a digital camera adapter from Scopetronics. But in the mean time I will carry on using the ingenious fully adjustable Parfocal Camera Support (see below)

CCTV Security Camera

I salvaged this unit from a skip when they were ripping out an old office block it has a low resolution around 370 TV lines but I have managed to get some good video of the Sun, Moon, Jupiter & Saturn I have also used my Sony Hi8 video camcorder which has managed some great shots of Jupiter. Unfortunately I currently do not have the technology to frame grab any of the video to post on the web. the camera is mounted on the LX using the Parfocal Camera Support. I also use a Video Enhancer from GTH Electronics www.gthelectronics.com

ACE Video Enhancer

The ACE Enhancer from GTH Electronics  www.gthelectronics.com who are based in Ipswich Suffolk is a great piece of kit with a number of features that help to improve the image obtained via the CCTV or Camcorder attached to the LX. It can Colour Correct, Perform Standards Conversion and Format Conversion along with Copy Enhancement. It can also invert the video image and do some cool digital effects as well as a number of fade routines so it's great for editing the footage and dubbing some appropriate music to the tape and all for 299.95 check out there site for the full specification it has won a number of awards from the Video magazine world.

Parfocal Camera Support

This accessory has the unique benefit of allowing the attachment of any fixed lens cameras to the LX.  The unit is fitted to the mounting screws at the rear of the tube assembly and makes no contact with the EP.  It can be used for a wide range of equipment including heavier camcorders you can also attach a camera in standard piggy back so you can shoot still and video at the same time great for eclipse watching. although a counter balance kit is essential

Home Made Counter Balance

   

I couldn't believe the cost the cost of a counter balance system when I first investigated them. I mean it is a simple piece of equipment and I could not justify spending over 100 when there were other things to buy. Searching through the MAPUG archives I cam across a number of people who had made there own in everything from hardwood to aluminium. so I set about making my own the detail of which can be found on my Do-it-Yourself Page

Mead Deluxe 10" Wedge

My first wedge was the Mead 10" Deluxe with a compass and latitude adjuster I have made no modifications to this piece of equipment except for the insertion of an AOL CD and some moly grease between the wedge and the tripod head. overall I have found the wedge adequate for taking astrophoto's as long as it is locked down really tight after adjustment. I have achieved a no star drift for 8 minutes with drift alignment with this wedge, which I am assured will allow exposures up to one hour. the trouble is it can take up to an hour before you are ready to take a picture hence the installation of the permanent pier. I'm going to make an adapter so that I can use the tripod & wedge for the ETX90EC in polar mode.

 

 

 

 

 

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