Hello from UK

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GuLinux
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Hello from UK

Post by GuLinux » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:36 am

Hello!

My name's Marco (italian, but living in the UK).
I'm a long time developer on various languages, including c++, but I got into MCU programming only recently, so on some aspects I'm still a bit of a newbie :)

I'm an amateur astronomer, so many of my projects are/will be related to this.
I'm currently working on a bluetooth/usb adapter for my telescope, including a GPS module for automatically setting coordinates and time.
This is the project repo: https://github.com/GuLinux/NexstarRemotePlus.

A few other project I'm planning to do include a SQM meter (dark sky measurement), a focuser, and a remote display module to log activity and status during astronomical imaging.

Cheers,
Marco

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RogerClark
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by RogerClark » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:07 am

Welcome Marco

I have an old Celestron Nextstar telescope (I think its a 4 inch reflector, about 10 years old), but the light pollution in metropolitan Melbourne is terrible, so I've not used it for years.

I recall connecting it to the PC control program, several years ago, but I'm not sure what I've done with the cable :-(

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GuLinux
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by GuLinux » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:15 am

Hey,
Well, I quite envy you! Light pollution in London is probably not better than Melbourne, but you have very dark skies within reach, much better than I might hope in here :P

My scope is a 5 inches, with these small scopes you can't really do much in term of deep sky, but you might get cracking shots of moon and planets (with pretty much no influence from light pollution), so you might want to get it up and running again :P

I will probably publish all the wiring together with the project, it's nothing too fancy, the cable should be a simple 4 poles RJ10, you can find it quite cheap, some older versions do have an RS232 port instead.

The only complication is that the Nexstar uses RS232 levels (-12v/+12v) instead of TTL(+5v/0v), so between the cable and the MCU you have to use a level shifter (MAX3232)

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RogerClark
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by RogerClark » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:40 am

Hi Marco

Yes. I think its better here than in London, as it is possible to drive away from the light a bit, and there are some places in Australia which have very little light pollution.

One holiday we stayed a night at a cattle station in outback Queensland

(Somewhere near here https://www.google.com.au/maps/search/b ... 0867,15.5z )

And because it must have been a moonless night, night sky was amazing. I've never seen anything like it, before or since.

Re: Voltage Levels.

I'll try to find the cable I used. Suspect I connected it to an old laptop which had full RS232 (12v)


However wouldn't one option be to open the control unit and connect inside (though its probably 5V not 3.3V)

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GuLinux
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by GuLinux » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:34 am

RogerClark wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:40 am
Hi Marco

Yes. I think its better here than in London, as it is possible to drive away from the light a bit, and there are some places in Australia which have very little light pollution.

One holiday we stayed a night at a cattle station in outback Queensland

(Somewhere near here https://www.google.com.au/maps/search/b ... 0867,15.5z )

And because it must have been a moonless night, night sky was amazing. I've never seen anything like it, before or since.
Again, total envy :D
It's in my plans to go and visit Australia, some day... or even relocate, who knows? :)
Re: Voltage Levels.

I'll try to find the cable I used. Suspect I connected it to an old laptop which had full RS232 (12v)


However wouldn't one option be to open the control unit and connect inside (though its probably 5V not 3.3V)
Yup, I thought of that too, and I found some instructions somewhere even stating which pin on the Nexstar controller should be used:
https://hackaday.io/project/21088/instructions

However that's way beyond my soldering skills (and equipment), as the chip pins are very tiny, and I was quite afraid of breaking something (they sell the nexstar controller for over a hundred pounds, so that's not cheap...)

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RogerClark
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by RogerClark » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:56 pm

I agree.. Use a Max232, it’s much safer.

Re: Australia

I think light pollution is bad in all the major cities, and it would take several hours to drive away from the light.

Unfortunately the jobs are in the same places as the light pollution, unless perhaps you can get a job at an observatory location e.g Parkes NSW
( Actually I don’t know if they still have an optical telescope at Parkes), however it would be quite dark

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ahull
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by ahull » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:12 am

The darkness of the sky is slightly better in Scotland, away from the central belt. Generally the further north and west you go in Scotland, the better. We do see the aurora round where I live, from time to time too.

These links may be of interest.

http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/
http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest- ... dark-skies
- Andy Hull -

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mrburnette
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by mrburnette » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:03 am

ahull wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:12 am
The darkness of the sky is slightly better in Scotland, away from the central belt. Generally the further north and west you go in Scotland, the better. We do see the aurora round where I live, from time to time too.
<...>
Andy, you are such a show off :mrgreen:

But, just 3 hours from Atlanta:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sky_Observatory

Ray

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ahull
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by ahull » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:25 am

mrburnette wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:03 am
ahull wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:12 am
The darkness of the sky is slightly better in Scotland, away from the central belt. Generally the further north and west you go in Scotland, the better. We do see the aurora round where I live, from time to time too.
<...>
Andy, you are such a show off :mrgreen:
True... but since I'm currently sitting in India, surrounded by haze, I'm not getting the benefit of the Scottish clear skies. :P
But, just 3 hours from Atlanta:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sky_Observatory

Ray
Its only about 3hrs... by SR-71 from the OP too, allowing for a couple of stops at the gas station. :lol:
- Andy Hull -

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RogerClark
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Re: Hello from UK

Post by RogerClark » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:20 am

Andy,

You're possible closer to me than you are to the UK, but it depends where in India you are

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