Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Last Night's Astrophotography Went Poorly

Perhaps the attempts to switch to a non-battery pack power source caused it; the Crossbow stopped tracking.  I spent some this morning debugging the system with Crossbow's owner by phone.  The circuit board is bad and is headed home for repair.

To get that far, I had to remove the scope from the Crossbow.  Because the scope weighs 80 pounds, I had some neighbors help me remove it. The good news is that allowed me to take one step that I have been dreading.  The entire assembly sits on a platform with four 3" locking casters.  They roll okay, but going up and over the ramp into the shed is clumsy.  Since I had everything off the platform, I replaced those with 5" casters.  An inch higher to the eyepiece but much easier going over the lip of the ramp and small rocks that dashing doggies often scatter onto the concrete.

Crossbow's owner says that as a temporary measure, a 5VDC power supply directly to the motor will give at least approximately right tracking, so I ordered a 12VDC->5VDC converter as an expedient solution.  At 5V this is about 2% slow.  I might not even notice that except at very high power.

My guess is that the actual device will be slightly above 5V just to be within acceptable tolerances and may work so well that I may not notice the problem. 

Let me make another positive remark about the Crossbow.  The guy who owns the company spent time helping me debug the electrical problem and gave me an adequate temporary fix.  If you buy a Dobsonian telescope buy a Crossbow for tracking.

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