Manage Cables Which Plate to Use for Top Mount Hardware?


Alex
 

Hello,

I'm waiting to receive my 130GTX scope (Several weeks) and I currently own a 1100GTO mount. Once I receive my scope, my goal is to mount all of my hardware for connections on top of the OTA. Basically, run two wires (One power, one USB) up through the mount and then have all of my connections to cameras, focus controller, Kendrick dew heater, etc. managed through a powered USB hub and a RigRunner mounted on top of my OTA. My question to others who have setup their systems in such a fashion is; what plate did you use on top of your OTA to mount the hardware too? As a side note, I own a small Tormach CNC milling machine I can use to tap holes in the plate for mounting purposes. My thoughts were to use threaded connectors to attach the hardware to the plate if applicable? 

Thanks in advance for your advice,
Alex


Bruce Donzanti
 

Hi Alex

I attached a Losmandy plate on top of my C11" where all of the equipment is on.  I have one cable running from the main power supply up through the 1100GTO to the OTA where a LINX Power Panel is attached that allows power to be made available for all of the accessories like my Kendrick dew heater, including to a USB hub.   The USB hub cable then runs back down the mount to my laptop.  So, complete cable management through the mount.  The scope is on a pier 8ft above the observatory floor and this setup has worked fine for 2 years.  I think this is what you are talking about.

Bruce

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 3:36 PM <alex@...> wrote:
Hello,

I'm waiting to receive my 130GTX scope (Several weeks) and I currently own a 1100GTO mount. Once I receive my scope, my goal is to mount all of my hardware for connections on top of the OTA. Basically, run two wires (One power, one USB) up through the mount and then have all of my connections to cameras, focus controller, Kendrick dew heater, etc. managed through a powered USB hub and a RigRunner mounted on top of my OTA. My question to others who have setup their systems in such a fashion is; what plate did you use on top of your OTA to mount the hardware too? As a side note, I own a small Tormach CNC milling machine I can use to tap holes in the plate for mounting purposes. My thoughts were to use threaded connectors to attach the hardware to the plate if applicable? 

Thanks in advance for your advice,
Alex


Alex
 

Hi Bruce,

Yes, this is very close to what I had envisioned. I could mount the Losmandy plate on top of the scope rings and then mount my hardware to it.

Also, thanks for the pictures. They are very helpful. Looks like a 7 port USB hub? I'm trying to manage with 5 ports but not sure yet.

I like your observatory system. Someday, I plan on doing the same.

Best,
Alex


 

Alex if you are doing a  telescope-top plate with all your accessories, you might consider something like a pegsus astro Ultimate powerbox, which includes port-managed USB, power outputs, etc. very handy and compact box


Brian

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 2:24 PM <alex@...> wrote:
Hi Bruce,

Yes, this is very close to what I had envisioned. I could mount the Losmandy plate on top of the scope rings and then mount my hardware to it.

Also, thanks for the pictures. They are very helpful. Looks like a 7 port USB hub? I'm trying to manage with 5 ports but not sure yet.

I like your observatory system. Someday, I plan on doing the same.

Best,
Alex



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Dale Ghent
 

I use a 14" Losmandy D plate on top of the rings, mounted inverted (keystone up), on top of my 130GTX. I did the same thing as you plan to - powerpole and USB hub, dew controller, a homemake temperhum-like device, and focuser controller mounted on that plate and everything wired to it, with only a single power and USB3 data cable coming off the scope and down through my mount (a Mach1GTO). I affixed those individual boxes to the D plate using 3M Dual-Lock that I trimmed to size for each component. I prefer Dual-Lock over Velcro because it's a tighter fit, doesn't collect garbage like the hook side of velcro does, and it's the same on both sides - you don't need to decide which side gets hook and which side gets loop.

This arrangement worked well, but I didn't particularly care for the mess and weight and cables between all those little boxes and wanted an even cleaner solution. So I got a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box v2 and collapsed all 5 of those boxes into a single box that's a quarter of the weight and far fewer cables. The USB3 data and 12V power go to it. It opened enough space on the top so that I could mount a 2nd OSC camera+lens for widefield shots of what the 130GTX is imaging.

Before:
https://imgur.com/TIhi45v

After:
https://imgur.com/IMmjlLO

After, with 2nd cam:
https://imgur.com/FLtLRo3

The UPBv2 handles the traffic from the QHY600M, QHY294C, and ASI290MM-Mini guide cam all running concurrently just fine.

If you don't need/want the weight of an aluminum plate on the top and just want a simple mounting surface for lightweight components, check out Joel's 3D printed stuff at https://buckeyestargazer.net/Shop.php

/dale

On Nov 5, 2020, at 3:09 PM, alex@mlcompute.com wrote:

Hello,

I'm waiting to receive my 130GTX scope (Several weeks) and I currently own a 1100GTO mount. Once I receive my scope, my goal is to mount all of my hardware for connections on top of the OTA. Basically, run two wires (One power, one USB) up through the mount and then have all of my connections to cameras, focus controller, Kendrick dew heater, etc. managed through a powered USB hub and a RigRunner mounted on top of my OTA. My question to others who have setup their systems in such a fashion is; what plate did you use on top of your OTA to mount the hardware too? As a side note, I own a small Tormach CNC milling machine I can use to tap holes in the plate for mounting purposes. My thoughts were to use threaded connectors to attach the hardware to the plate if applicable?

Thanks in advance for your advice,
Alex


Terri Zittritsch
 

On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 01:37 AM, Dale Ghent wrote:

This arrangement worked well, but I didn't particularly care for the mess and weight and cables between all those little boxes and wanted an even cleaner solution. So I got a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box v2 and collapsed all 5 of those boxes into a single box that's a quarter of the weight and far fewer cables. The USB3 data and 12V power go to it. It opened enough space on the top so that I could mount a 2nd OSC camera+lens for widefield shots of what the 130GTX is imaging.
Hi Dale, do you feel you've lost any functionality with the Pegasus?  I am forever looking for a better solution.   

Hi Alex, I built up a aluminum plate with MDS dovetail connectors that I move from scope to scope, it's clean and contains power distribution, USB hub, dew control (dew buster) and focuser control(feathertouch) .. in all it weighs around 3 pounds.  I use the MDS because it's light and fits on the smallest scopes and what I use for my guide scope.    It's really not a lot of weight but I've put it to one side of the dovetail and it causes a bit of imbalance.  The mach2 handles this easily.       Thanks to Dale for pointer to printed stuff.    Can share a pic if interested.    

Terri


Bruce Donzanti
 

Hi Alex

Glad the pictures helped.  I forgot to include the most important picture - that of the Linx Power Panel.  Without this nothing works.  

Bruce


Dale Ghent
 

On Nov 6, 2020, at 8:12 AM, Terri Zittritsch <theresamarie11@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Dale, do you feel you've lost any functionality with the Pegasus? I am forever looking for a better solution.
When I decided to go for the UPBv2, the one thing I was ultra hesitant about was using its built-in stepper motor controller to drive the Starlight/Optec HSM35 motor instead of the rather substantial FocusBoss controller, and I also just really like the Optec ASCOM driver for their focusers and moving things to the UPBv2 would mean not using those anymore. All the other changes - going from a 8x powerpole hub to the 4x coaxial power connectors, a fantastic Starlink USB3 hub to the one built into the UPBv2 when I have a QHY600 spewing 120MB frames over the wire... those things worked and adapting my powerpole cables would be simple. But it was that focuser controller that I was wary about.

The focuser controller on the UPBv2 can drive any number of stepper-based systems and the setup of it in the app has presets for some popular ones, including the HSM and PosiDrive series from Starlight/Optec. The only thing is that you need a cable to convert from the UPBv2's pinouts in its 8-pin modular jack (aka RJ45) to the pinouts of the RJ45 connector on the HSM motor. You can buy a ready-made cable from Pegasus, or make your own with the pinout diagrams provided by Pegasus. Since I wired my house with cat6 ethernet a few years ago and I still have an ungodly amount of cable left over from that project, I opted to make my own and it works fine and the Pegsus ASCOM driver for focusers implements what I need, so I'm not missing the Optec one either.

When I set up now, I just slide the 130GTX into the DOVEV10 on my Mach1, connect single USB and power cables to the UPBv2, remote desktop in to my mount-side miniPC and turn on the auto-dew feature of the UPBv2. It will monitor the dewpoint and start ramping up the heater straps as ambient temperature and dewpoint converge. When it's dark enough I tweak my polar alignment in SharpCap and get on with my imaging once it turns astro-dark. Breakdown in the morning is just as simple.

All in all, I'm very happy with it. I subsequently bought a Pocket Powerbox Advanced from Pegasus, which is basically a mini version of the UPBv2, to go on my airline-portable setup (CFF 92 f/6, RST-135 mount) so that I can elide the separate USB and powerpole hubs from that rig and add a dewpoint-controlled dew heater in the same motion.

/dale


 

Dale

Just to clarify, you *did* switch to their stepper motor driver from the Optec?

I have the UPBv2 but i haven't used that part of it. i haven't even considered switching to that because - like you - i really like the Optec driver and it's been error-free performance for years



On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 7:49 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:

> On Nov 6, 2020, at 8:12 AM, Terri Zittritsch <theresamarie11@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Dale, do you feel you've lost any functionality with the Pegasus?  I am forever looking for a better solution.   

When I decided to go for the UPBv2, the one thing I was ultra hesitant about was using its built-in stepper motor controller to drive the Starlight/Optec HSM35 motor instead of the rather substantial FocusBoss controller, and I also just really like the Optec ASCOM driver for their focusers and moving things to the UPBv2 would mean not using those anymore. All the other changes - going from a 8x  powerpole hub to the 4x coaxial power connectors, a fantastic Starlink USB3 hub to the one built into the UPBv2 when I have a QHY600 spewing 120MB frames over the wire... those things worked and adapting my powerpole cables would be simple. But it was that focuser controller that I was wary about.

The focuser controller on the UPBv2 can drive any number of stepper-based systems and the setup of it in the app has presets for some popular ones, including the HSM and PosiDrive series from Starlight/Optec. The only thing is that you need a cable to convert from the UPBv2's pinouts in its 8-pin modular jack (aka RJ45) to the pinouts of the RJ45 connector on the HSM motor. You can buy a ready-made cable from Pegasus, or make your own with the pinout diagrams provided by Pegasus. Since I wired my house with cat6 ethernet a few years ago and I still have an ungodly amount of cable left over from that project, I opted to make my own and it works fine and the Pegsus ASCOM driver for focusers implements what I need, so I'm not missing the Optec one either.

When I set up now, I just slide the 130GTX into the DOVEV10 on my Mach1, connect single USB and power cables to the UPBv2, remote desktop in to my mount-side miniPC and turn on the auto-dew feature of the UPBv2. It will monitor the dewpoint and start ramping up the heater straps as ambient temperature and dewpoint converge. When it's dark enough I tweak my polar alignment in SharpCap and get on with my imaging once it turns astro-dark. Breakdown in the morning is just as simple.

All in all, I'm very happy with it. I subsequently bought a Pocket Powerbox Advanced from Pegasus, which is basically a mini version of the UPBv2, to go on my airline-portable setup (CFF 92 f/6, RST-135 mount) so that I can elide the separate USB and powerpole hubs from that rig and add a dewpoint-controlled dew heater in the same motion.

/dale






--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Dale Ghent
 

On Nov 6, 2020, at 10:52 AM, Brian Valente <bvalente@gmail.com> wrote:

Dale

Just to clarify, you *did* switch to their stepper motor driver from the Optec?

I have the UPBv2 but i haven't used that part of it. i haven't even considered switching to that because - like you - i really like the Optec driver and it's been error-free performance for years
Yep, I did the switch. The FocusBoss controller, as nice as it is, is no longer used. The UPBv2 drives the HSM35 motor now using a cable I made based on the pinouts provided by Pegasus. It works like a champ. I did not use the thermal compensation feature of the FocsusBoss controller and its ASCOM driver. If you do, you would have to give that up to use the UPBv2 to drive the motor. Since I have NINA trigger an automatic autofocus operation if the HFR has trended more than 10% from the previous AF operation, I never had a use for the temperature compensation feature of the FocusBoss anyway.

/dale


Ron Kramer
 

I buy the large Celestron plate off Amazon.  Best price/value I've found. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KMFO14/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1


On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 11:03 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


> On Nov 6, 2020, at 10:52 AM, Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
>
> Dale
>
> Just to clarify, you *did* switch to their stepper motor driver from the Optec?
>
> I have the UPBv2 but i haven't used that part of it. i haven't even considered switching to that because - like you - i really like the Optec driver and it's been error-free performance for years

Yep, I did the switch. The FocusBoss controller, as nice as it is, is no longer used. The UPBv2 drives the HSM35 motor now using a cable I made based on the pinouts provided by Pegasus. It works like a champ. I did not use the thermal compensation feature of the FocsusBoss controller and its ASCOM driver. If you do, you would have to give that up to use the UPBv2 to drive the motor. Since I have NINA trigger an automatic autofocus operation if the HFR has trended more than 10% from the previous AF operation, I never had a use for the temperature compensation feature of the FocusBoss anyway.

/dale







Alex
 

Hi Brian,

This is a impressive unit. I like the brackets for a Losmandy plate and the software interface, plus it can control my starlight focuser. My only issue is I already have some hardware I plan on using in my system like a USB hub, starlight boss II, rigrunner, etc. If I had seen this first, I might have gone for it. I might still, if I run into problems.

Thanks again,
Alex


Alex
 

Hi Dale,

Like Brian, I was wondering about how well the built focus controller works versus the Boss II unit. It appears to work fine, which is making me seriously consider this path to minimize clutter.

Thanks for all of the info!

Alex 


Alex
 

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the link to the Celestron plate on Amazon. Right now, the link leads to a Amazon page with the Celestron Universal Mounting plate but it mentions the plate is currently unavailable. Later, I will check out the Celestron store on Amazon and see if I can locate something similar that is in stock. 


Thanks,
Alex


Alex
 

Hi Terri,

Thanks for the info! I will also take a look at the printed stuff Dale pointed out.

To answer your question, yes, please enclose a pic if it is not too much trouble?

The pics from Dale and Bruce were very helpful.

Best,
Alex


William L
 

Why don’t you buy one from ADM Accessories (admaccessories.com)? He makes them himself, are high quality, and I think he’s got lots of stock (if not, he can make more)


William L
 
Edited

Hah! I used 3M VHB (very high bonding)! That suckah ain’t going nowhere! After all, that’s what they use to attach architectural panels to the outside of skyscrapers!

 VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes are commonly used in architectural panel applications. It reliably bonds a variety of materials with strength and speed for permanent applications. 3M™ VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes utilize multi-purpose acrylic adhesive on both sides of a conformable, foam core.”
— 3M


Alex
 

Hi William,

I'm going to check out VHB.

Also, I ended up buying a a 3D plate from Joel. He had one in stock with the right hole locations. The plate it is light, strong enough to support my gear and highly affordable ($18). In addition, he sells thumb screws 1/4-20 for $2 to secure the plate to your rings.

Now, I just need to see when I can afford a UPBv2?

Best,
Alex


Terri Zittritsch
 

On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 04:49 PM, <alex@...> wrote:
Hi Terri,

Thanks for the info! I will also take a look at the printed stuff Dale pointed out.

To answer your question, yes, please enclose a pic if it is not too much trouble?

The pics from Dale and Bruce were very helpful.

Best,
Alex
Hi Axel, you should be able to see it here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jQXRltbI9mJDYR5YmSh3fTPXKPKJgC7X/view?usp=drivesdk

I've had the MDS dovetail on the top of all of my scopes for years, it's light and it allows me to add my larger guide scope, with MDS clamps, to any scope.   With the advent of smaller guidescopes and small pixel guide cameras, I use a small, focuser mounted,  60mm guidescope for many of the smaller scopes now, but still have a need for the larger guide scope, which keeps me from implementing a general solution of all top mounted accessories.  I really want '1' thing I can move from scope to scope.
This plate uses MDS clamps bolted to a piece of aluminum (1/8") which is overkill and adds about 15 ounces.    The bend in the plate is limited to my  largest diameter scope which is what it's on now, an 11" Edge.   On the plate are an 8 position powerpole strip, a focus boss ii (rugged but heavy), a reliable usb hub and a dew buster controller.     After reading Dale's post, I may take the plunge and give Pegasus a try.   Being an EE and 'tinkerer', it's kind of in my DNA.    The current setup is very reliable for me.. so reliability is important.    With the through mount cabling on the Mach2, the cables on the tele don't bother me so much.    This setup with the 11" is for planetary imaging and not deep sky imaging.. so nothing is really tied down very neatly right now and as long as it doesn't drag, i don't worry because I change scopes pretty often.



Terri


Terri Zittritsch
 

Dale, thank you for the detailed and thoughtful response and information... like you, the focuser is my biggest concern, second is dew control.    I like the Dew Busters capability and will have to take a look at the manual for the Pegasus.

best,
Terri