Friday, July 01, 2011

readied gear for evening

I took a few more peaks at the Sun through the TV101 and C14 before beginning the tear-down.

There were a few opportunities left over the next few days to see the International Space Station flyover in the evening. I was keen to video-record a pass!

At 6:01 PM, I started setting up the Centre's MallinCam Hyper Color. For my first attempt, I wanted to stick to known-good. I attached the MCHC to the Tele Vue 101 refractor.

At 6:10 PM, I started to wonder if we had a bad camera connector. I found the S-video signal to the large LCD monitor was not working. I knew the camera was OK generally as I was getting a signal to the computer via the composite line. But it was inconclusive, my quick tests, if it was a wobbly cable or bad port! I hoped it wasn't the camera. That would mean opening 'er up...

I did however find that if I flexed the cable back on itself and secured it to the camera, I got a good, steady S-video feed. I jury-rigged it in place with two of my Velcro quick wraps.

I focused with Mercury and Vega.

I threw a medium-power eyepiece, the TV Panoptic 27mm, in the Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain 14" big-gun, for people to use visually.


While preparing the AVerMedia video software on the computer, I stumbled across a setting to choose the video format. All right! I switched from MPEG to AVI! That would hopefully make stacking easier.


I remembered to set up dew shields on the 'scopes in the GBO. I installed the punched plastic shield to the C14 and extended the TV101 integrated metal tube.


After a fantastic CDD (Canada Day Dinner) by Lora, we headed outside to play.

I coached Kiron on how to set up my telescope. He was a little distracted setting up his computer, software, and binoculars.

Gave him a quick tutorial on the locks, the motor clutch, changing the angle of the eyepiece, using the finder scope.

We'd check the polar alignment when it got dark.


I discovered a problem with my mount. The counterweight shaft was not threading properly into the Vixen Super Polaris head. I looked closely at the beefy threads and could see some damage. It was then I remembered that the LowePro bag had fallen at some point. I couldn't remember when or where. My garage? I remembered the fall, more the sound of it, the shaft hitting the ground.

Damn. This was not good! The shaft was not smoothly turning in. About half-way, it froze up. Wouldn't go any further. Uh boy. It needed to be repaired with a die. But I've never seen such a large die. I knew we didn't have any at all here at the CAO. I resigned myself to inserting it as much as possible and affecting a repair later. Fortunately, the bolt went in about 5 or 6 mm. Enough to securely hold the shaft and weights.

Whew. That could have ended the evening pretty quickly...


A concern crystallised. Is the MallinCam really suited to regular connections and disconnections of the cables? Perhaps the connectors and circuit board(s) are not robust enough for how we're using it. A solution might be to permanently connect short cables as jumpers...

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