Wednesday, March 25, 2015

long exposure check

Quick upload of one of the best shots from last night. Orion and Lepus region. From Bayview Village Park.


Canon 40D, 18-55mm lens at 55, intervalometer, bulb, 121 seconds, ISO 100, f/5.6, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused. Tripod mount, custom barn door tracker, Sinui ball head.

Minor processing in DPP. Tungsten, contrast bump, shadow -1, sharpess +1.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

updated packing list

Applied a bunch of updates to my palmtop packing list... New things. And a gaggle of things that were... just, well, missing!
  • CLA extension cord
  • CLA adapter power cord for netbook
  • mini booster battery
  • barn door tracker and control unit!
  • ball head
  • finder scope!
  • focusing mask!
  • UV LED flash light
  • the brand new expanded scale voltmeter!
Been a while... Also accommodated for the new cases, box alpha prime and box alpha secondus.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

calibrated the ESV

Heard back from Peter. He thanked me for pointing out the typo. He also assured me that TIP wouldn't get hot to touch (warm, perhaps) so agreed my configuration looked OK.

I retested with the charged NOCO battery. Now it was putting out 12.3v. I recalibrated the maximum, reading pin 6. Then I tested with my marine gel battery "B". The new upper limit: 12.73v. Marine "A" was 12.66v, marine "C", 12.68v, and marine "D", 12.69v. Good stuff. A good range. Then I connected the trusty old Century booster. Wow! 12.7v. Finally, I tested with Nicole's small SLA from her old booster: 12.1v. Realised, suddenly, I did not need make a variable power supply.

Cranked the brightness.

Cut the leads. And then considered what I'd need to mount it in my red project box.

Friday, March 20, 2015

built the ESV

Finally got 'round to building Peter Hiscocks's Expanded Scale Voltmeter for accurately measuring lead acid batteries. Followed the instructions in the October RASC Journal.


Verified I had all the parts. Laid out everything on the pre-printed circuit board. At first I was a little confused by some of the resistors. The photograph on page 198 was a little blurry (admittedly, I download the low-rez version of the JRASC) and the colour bands looked different than what I was expecting. But then I pressed further into the article and found the parts table. Ah. Maybe his photo was old, an early version perhaps?


Tested the LEDs. Worked for the centre outward. Soldering went fine. Very well, in fact. Mounted the integrated circuits. Ha! I haven't used that tool for a long time (a chip inserter with pin straightener)!

Careful of the polarity, I connected the new teenie weenie lithium-ion booster battery and tested the circuit. Everything looked OK! Did some calibration but decided to complete it tomorrow by varying the input voltage. The NOCO GB30 was only putting out 11.75 volts! Plugged it in...

Messaged Peter to share the good news. Promised to return all the extra bits and bobs.

Also noted that I thought I found a typographical error...
Adjust the Minimum potentiometer R7 so that pin 4 of the LM3914 is at half the minimum indicated voltage. For example, if the minimum displayed voltage is 11 V, pin 6 should be at 5.5 V.
I believed the reference to pin 6 was incorrect; it should be pin 4. I made that assumption anyway.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

not heading north

Thomas saw that the weather was looking poor over the weekend. He really wanted to image Orion from the CAO. No chance of that this weekend. Unfortunately, that meant I lost my ride. Really wanted to assist Tony with repairs and upgrades. Said I could rent some wheels. Grace and Tony said not to worry. Iosef might help.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Queen St parts run

Headed to Active Surplus (on Queen) via streetcar to pick up some bits and bobs. Primarily for the portable dew heater power source. Fairly successful run this time. Found large "eyelet" or ring connectors (for stereo applications), multi-pin locking connectors (although given the small gauge, I'm not sure they'll work), and some nice 10 gauge wire, red and black! Also tagged a stereo 1/8" extension for John Charles external speakers. Nice.

saw the old Moon (Etobicoke)

Old Moon this morning over the public school roof. Very thin (less than 2 days to new). Was surprised how high it actually was. Very clear sky. Chilly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

in 3D course!

Was that suppposed to happen?! I just thought I'd venture into the registration screens to get more information. I was expected to get turfed with a note as to when registration would open... But it let me proceed. Suddenly I had a confirmed booking for the TPL Intro to 3D Design at the Fort York Digital Innovation Hub on 2 Apr 2015. OK. Thanks!

These courses appear to be very popular. I missed out the last time. This time I was hoping to get in.

I'm looking forward to learning about 3D printing. The key thing I'm interested in is making custom project boxes for my various electronic projects. In particular, I'd like to build a really compact deep red flashlight.

Monday, March 16, 2015

inspected RASC artwork

Jason apparently recovered some RASC data. He emailed a business card Photoshop file with "final" in the name. He also sent a ZIP file. Four AI logo files embedded. A logo PSD file. EPS files for logos and wordmarks. A bunch of TIFFs, PNGs, and JPGs.

He sent the files to Gilles, Karen, Diane, and Grace. I know Grace doesn't have Photoshop or Illustrator. I don't know if any of the others do... Doubt it.

Grace forwarded the files to me.

I inspected the various items.
 Opened the business card PSD. No Type 1 and TrueType fonts included. Where's Futura? Or Geometric Slab? Font missing errors reported on opening the files. This will blow up down the road. Why did Jason not provide these required files? Any pro designer knows that fonts are critical for edited and reproduction.

I don't see AIs or PSDs for other materials, such as the banners, or the clinic artwork. Why did he not provide everything?

No support documentation. Why did he not describe particulars? This will make for more work and assumptions for the designer who takes this over.

We're still screwed.

Friday, March 13, 2015

how far?

Interesting question... Risa said one of her students asked "how far can you see" with your telescope. I examined my life lists and log notes in SkyTools and it looks like Messier 77 at 70 million light years is the furthest object I've seen in an 8-inch telescope.

Quasar 3C 273 in Virgo is magnitude 12.8. Easy in C8... Best viewed in May.

I've gone much further with bigger instruments... of course. The C14 at the CAO and Ian's 20" Dob. 140 million light years to 9 billion light years!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Moon near Saturn (Etobicoke)

Spotted the gibbous Moon about one degree from beige Saturn. Nice.

They were relatively close to orange Antares. The planet was quite close to β (beta) Scorpii aka Graffias. I could easily see δ (delta) aka Dschubba.

Finally found the third below, π (pi) Sco while waiting for my bus. A bit tough.