A couple more mods and a finished hand controller for the focuser

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A couple more mods and a finished hand controller for the focuser

Postby reggie » Wed May 28, 2008 1:13 pm

Hi all, I had another day of modding stuff yesterday, 2 mods and I finished the handcontroller for my electric focuser. Little warning notice, all of these mods were performed by me, a complete and total n00b when it comes to modifying hardware. The details are not intended to be completely full and accurate descriptions of all the steps I took, if you perform any of these yourself and you manage to break something it's down I will not be held responsible.

1st mod of the day was a simple adaptation of a mobile phone/pda in car holder, you know the sort of thing with a flexible arm and suction base on it, the reason for this mod was to provide me with a back of scope facing holder for the celestron hand controller that didn't cost me £35 for a bit of injection molded plastic.

There are a couple of options for fixing the holder to the scope, mine was removeable from the flexible arm, so a little velcro on the back and it can be secured directly to the mount base. Alternatively a small piece of wood to provide enough packing will keep the flexible arm secure in the recess in the HC controller 'mount'. Another option would be to get something smooth to allow the suction cup to stick to it, this can then be slid into the HC mount to hold the flexible arm securely.

Total cost of mod: £1 (Huzzah for poundland) total saving on mod: £34

2nd job of the day was to complete the hand controller for my focuser, I went for a simple on-off-on locking dpdt switch for direction and a momentary push to make button for movement, I chose the push to make button as the movement button because it's more senstive than a toggle switch. I chose an on off on dpdt switch for direction because it allows me switch the unit off completely when not in use, no chance of the unit being put upside down and running the battery flat because of weight on the button :) It was a simple question of wiring it all up correctly and putting it into a reasonable box. I decided on something that would fit in the hand comfortably, a nice little project box about 30mm x100mm x30mm (roughly). It all worked first time, as it should really as its a simple circuit :) If anyone would like pictures or some diagrams, give me a shout and I'll sort something out.

Total cost of handcontroller : £5 total cost of completed mod: £5

Last mod of the day was a canon EOS remote cable, following [url=http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/dslr/CanonRelease.html]Micheal Covingtons excellent tutorial[/url] Its a very simple cable to make, I butchered an old null modem cable as it was a nice substantial cable, I took the red and the black wires as tip and ring, and the sleeve was the silver ground/shield wire. A simple spdt toggle switch was used for exposure, and another momentary push to make button was used as the focus button. For a nice housing I used a 25p plastic pot that I picked up from asda a few weeks back, they are ideal for putting celestron plossls in and now they are good for eos remote cables too [;)] If you are worried that your cable might blow up your camera then use a multimeter (after learning how to use it, right PBilly?) to test it.

Total cost of mod: £3.54, total saving for this mod: ~£10

So, as you can see I've definitely got the bug for DIY electronics and modding, next up on the list are:

PC to EOS remote cable
Parallel to Serial adapter for SC1 modified webcam (spc900nc)
Parallel stepper motor controller (I'm Going to look into refining my focuser for accurate PC control, possibly even looking at ascom for control, I'm currently on the scavange for stepper motors)

As previously mentioned I am a n00b when it comes to modding stuff, so any comments on any of the above are always welcome :) If you see any blatant flaws in anything I have said or done please feel free to shout :)
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