Use VIXEN AGA-1 auto-guider with Losmandy
The simple system - switches electrically at controller
Basically, Dual Axis Electronics are very good system with free stop at Losmandy GM-8 or G11. However, PEC setting is little bit painful because have to patient 8 minutes with keep looking guide star on reticle eyepiece. One day, one of my acquaintance suggested to me "maybe possible to use the AGA-1 which you already have". Then I started to think about it. Because, yes I have AGA-1 and it already dead stock because not using VIXEN GP mount with DD-1. It was not perfect because Orion UK 300mm f4 reflector is little bit overweight for GP mount. If I can use AGA-1 on Losmandy GM-8, then it will be realize the automatic PEC input.
So I started to think about it but, no information are available to do it. I have no idea how to make it change at first. One of the web site shown pinpoints for connect Vixen SkySensor2000 and SBIG ST-4. Losmandy is ready to use with ST-4 then I felt possibly works as this and tried to do. But not. Thing are not so easy.
Kept thinking about it a couple of days. Finally, I felt "why Vixen requires modify the DD-1 controller box?" and opened up the DD-1. Cables are solder to the each control button's solder points (photo above left). Might be same way works. So I decided to try to solder the wires at inside Losmandy's control box as same as this.
Losmandy controller connected by RJ-12 (RJ-11 phone plug is 4 pins and 12 has 6 pins) which uses for ISDN at Western world (different with Japanese ISDN). To do this modify, you need modular jack tool with wire stripper. At my case, one of the friend of mine has it then I could borrow. Have to have a good friend.
Peel the wire both side out then set the modular jack at one side. Solder
the other side at inside control box. Losmandy's control box has cable hole
large enough to out two cables then not necessary to make wire hole larger.
AGA-1's pinpoints shown right and where each wire sold up is shown as
picture below. (If you do not get this, do not do it by yourself. I do not
take any responsibility about all of your problem.)
It Worked!! It's a time to think about guide scope, now.
The time like this, we had typhoon in Japan next and next then bad weather continued. So I could not test the result. Finally, one of the night comes. Put WAT-100N video camera to the Orion's focuser. Settled with AGA-1 and started PEC setting. It working!!! I made sure Modified Losmandy worked very fine with AGA-1 not only setting the PEC but also follow the star as a auto-guider. Just one point how to use is, set Losmandy's speed 2 positions of slower which works after PEC settled. Because it moves too fast by AGA-1's signal.
Now it is a time to think about guide scope. I have to make it as light as possible. I already have BORG76ED and BORG's new product miniBorg makes it lighter because use miniBorg's unit instead it's heavy focusing helicoids unit with slits. I've got unit and adapter of miniBorg50 additionally. This gives me minimum investment to get maximum result.
To mount the scope on Orion, used Mizar's Video-astro-plate's VX86 ring because I already had this too and it is very light weight more than any guide scope mount. Also it is stable fitting because two legs.
After done several things, no hesitate to drill the telescope tube. To fitting the flat bottom of the VX86 ring on tube, rubber spacer works very fine. After tighten them up by bolt and nut, paint the bolt head as flat black at inside tube. It looks good, isn't it? (photo left)
So, system is ready to use but not used yet because still bad weather
continues. But, if good weather continues, maybe I do not had time to done
this modify, right? This work was so great to smash my time under the cloudy
Digression - the tuff part of auto guiding
Needless to say, the tuff part of the auto guiding is "bring guide star into scope". The answers are...
but these are so far to me. Because I have so bright night at Kobe City. Just "anyway look for the star near by then bring them in to the guide scope" is everything what I can do. I've tried to the image-shifter (by BORG) or stir mount but nothing perfect. I think VX ring is a kind of best idea at this moment.
AGA-1 make things easier to use without side-by-side computer. It is very comfortable to me. If want to be perfect, all items comes more heavier and system requires larger mount. Not only cost me like endless sky but also heavy stuff makes me hesitate to set it up each night again and again. However, make observatory on my property is nonsense because too bright night in the City. I'd like to keep my stuff lighter.
Daisuke Tomiyasu (Sept. 3, 2004)
* I take no responsibility about modify your system. You try to do the same thing by your own risk.
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