Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

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Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:22 pm

Traditionally after purchasing astronomy equipment, there is (for no apparent reason) a delivery of clouds (lack of sunshine...) - or so it seems! I received my Baader cool ceramic Herschel wedge and a Baader Polarising filter late this afternoon (almost after a lovely sunset) :cat.

I have also ordered a Daystar Quark and an Astronomik L1 UV/IR cut filter for delivery tomorrow. I was in two minds to order a Quark as the feedback from this and other forums aren't always quite what you want to hear. I ordered it from the Widescreen Centre, UK. I was asking Simon Bennett what his experience of receiving Daystar products was. He said that it was like most astronomy products and 95% will be (mostly) OK, with the two biggest issues being adequate power delivery (the cable) and a suitable blocking UV/IR filter.

I was all set to purchase a 2" UV/IR Baader filter to go on the front of my diagonal (as recommended for my SW 100mm refractor which he also supplied), but he recommended using one of the Astronomik filters (an unfamiliar brand to me) and specifically the L1. I did look at the spectrum transmission graphs and I can see that L1 is the widest and L3 the least bandpass, so (perhaps) a slightly odd recommendation as "wide" also means "least effective" as an ERF solution, but I went with it and got the L1 version. Most users seem happy enough with a Baader one and they would have been a lot cheaper - perhaps I was (again) "duped" :geek: .

My initial plan is to use both WL and h-alpha for visual use and only later use them for imaging. I'm not too familiar with how to use lucky imaging, FireCapture, and other programs to compile a representative image. Would it be wrong to try to reach a conclusion solely on the basis of individual images? I will remember to collect .avi or .ser too. No point in trying to collect more than 8 bits of data?

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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by Montana » Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:31 am

Simon, if it helps this is a comment from another vendor (Astrograph) about the Astronomik UV/IR filter vs the Baader, you were not duped viewtopic.php?f=10&t=22453&p=206107&hil ... ik#p206107

The Sun will come, patience is a virtue :) :) :)

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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by Alto » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:20 am

The Sun is always there, just not where you are! Happy viewing when you get the chance :-D


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by DeepSolar64 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:09 pm

New equipment ALWAYS draws clouds!!


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:02 pm

Montana wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:31 am
Simon, if it helps this is a comment from another vendor (Astrograph) about the Astronomik UV/IR filter vs the Baader, you were not duped viewtopic.php?f=10&t=22453&p=206107&hil ... ik#p206107
I also don't think I was duped by getting the Astronomik L1 filter and it is good to be trying another brand (Baader can't have their way all the time) too. I did find other references that the L1 behaves as if the filter wasn't there (ideal behavior for image quality). As my dealer is suggesting it, and also the use of the UV/IR as an effective ERF for my SW scope, then I'm not about to try something else.

My Quark Chronosphere arrived today and yes there has been a stream of clouds all day! The only tests I could do were to confirm that the EP is OK to use with my 2" SW diagonal (and probably a Baader one too) and to power it up, and see how long it takes for the LED to go green. To reach temperature (inside the house) was about 8 minutes and to move through each of the bands, just under six minutes.

I was surprised that interrupting the supply only for a short time also resulted in a wait of about six minutes, I wasn't anticipating that it wouldn't recover so slowly. I tried an Anker Power Brick with a short power lead (I do need to order some longer high current cables for my setup) which worked as expected and also for each of the filter 0.1 variance settings, using the supplied PSU. I was also surprised that going from +5 to zero to -5 takes as long as one step up or down and so not be proportional.

I didn't have any issues with the supplied PSU, but I did notice that it does introduce a slight buzz when holding the red control section. The PSU is double earthed e.g. not earthed and you definitely can feel something (I measured 85v AC relative to earthed equipment ( a toaster) with a high impedance multimeter).

At first, I thought it might have been a mechanical effect, but using clingfilm I can stop the buzz. This effect is one that I notice when using laptops that are powered with a mains adapter where there are metal surfaces e.g. some Apple products. Other people don't seem to notice or are susceptible to it. I emailed Simon at Widescreen (today, 12.01.2021) to check that both the PSU and/or the Quark are operating "normally".

Next stop, will be a cloud-free period to try out the WL and also h-alpha when I have some free time. This will be my first transition to daytime Astro activities :cool: so I'm pretty excited.

FWIW, the "buzz" is an electrical "effect" that I'm sensitive to. It is caused by equipment that doesn't have an earthing pin and where the product has a metal outside that is connected to the internal "ground" and where the product is double-insulated. Even a "good" product will sometimes show the effect. Almost all mains powered equipment at my nearest Apple Store shows this effect too (with me).

Simon
Last edited by SimonM on Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:39 pm

Congrats on the new purchases Simon! Hope you have lots of enjoyment from them. Saturday for me, here in the Midlands, is forecast to be clear, hope it is where you are.
SimonM wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:22 pm
I was asking Simon Bennett what his experience of receiving Daystar products was. He said that it was like most astronomy products and 95% will be (mostly) OK, with the two biggest issues being adequate power delivery (the cable) and a suitable blocking UV/IR filter.
I also have a lot of time for Simon and the Widescreen Centre, I am a regular customer too, however I do not agree with his 2 big issues with a quark. For me, the big issues with quarks is their poor field illumination and ability not to actually get on band at all, at times, in certain units. I hope yours is a 'good one' and had none of these issues, but I would implore you to test it thoroughly - use your IMX174 camera to get some images (don't rely on the subjective mark one eyeball) as everything 'looks' good when it is a fresh purchase. Post pictures here, you will get genuine and honest feedback as to whether it is a keeper or a return.

Mark


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm

marktownley wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:39 pm
I also have a lot of time for Simon and the Widescreen Centre, I am a regular customer too, however I do not agree with his 2 big issues with a quark. For me, the big issues with quarks is their poor field illumination and ability not to actually get on band at all, at times, in certain units. I hope yours is a 'good one' and had none of these issues, but I would implore you to test it thoroughly - use your IMX174 camera to get some images (don't rely on the subjective mark one eyeball) as everything 'looks' good when it is a fresh purchase. Post pictures here, you will get genuine and honest feedback as to whether it is a keeper or a return.
Thanks Mark.

I will be testing it thoroughly. I have a QHY5III178M camera which is normally used for guiding. The 1/1.8-inch sensor is smaller than an IMX174 and is 2.4 micron x 3072 x 2048 e.g. about 7.2mm x 4.9mm. That might be an issue for checking for poor field illumination?

I also have colour camera (also) with only an AR coating but with a much bigger sensor. I do realise that a colour sensor isn't ideal (low sensitivity and spatial resolution) but it will provide a bigger sensor area. My ASI294MC is 4.63 micron x 4144 x 2822 e.g. about 19.1mm x 13.0mm, so about 2.5x bigger and I should be able to see any "banding" issues. I also have an unmodified DSLR which has a bigger sensor but may only offer borderline sensitivity.

The Quark manual (page 3) has two interesting points:

"The Quark is designed for use on F/4 to F/9 refractors. Combined with an integrated 4.3x telecentric barlow, this results in a F/17 to F/38 final image respectively, to provide the best performance from your filter".

"Any other USB power source you wish to use must be rated for at least 1.5 amps at 5 volts. Computer USB ports and cell phone chargers do not normally support this much power.does warn off using not be particularly sensitive".

So they are not saying that it has to be f/30 - probably best the scope is closer to f/30 than f/17. Also it suggests that not all PSU are suitable. I actually go further and say that it's the cables that are plugged into the PSU that have the issues...

Simon Bennett, at Widefield Centre said that I should try it with f/5.5 100mm scope (that's about f/24) before assuming that it needs to be stopped down to f/30. He reckoned the extra aperture (100mm vs 75mm stopped down) would produce a better result. We will see, manual suggests f/27 - f/32 is best - so not too far off their recommendation.

He may also have a point about using an inadequate PSU. I have an Anker PowerCore 5v "'brick" which I was intending to use. I ordered a 1.8m Anker Micro USB cable which promises "High Speed Sync and Charging Cable". I didn't find it worked very well with the Quark - so for now I'm stuck with using the supplied PSU (the cable is a bit short). With the Quark PSU, the unit heats up and the light moves from yellow to green without issues. With the Anker cable and a "brick" it also changes from yellow to green but with issues. The Quark LED pulsates (flickers) about once second and the Quark makes an (unhappy) noise - like a flash unit "charging". Whilst it could turn green, I also had the LED go off, so I won't be using the new cable.

The Anker cable is the issue and the conductors are probably too thin for the task, so it is going back to Amazon. I also tried the 5v "brick" with the 0.3m "certified" Anker cable that is supplied and used to charge it - the Quark heats up OK, but the cable is too short to be useful. My intention was to be able to carry the quark and PSU outside whilst it was powered up and the LED staying green, with the PSU on the ground (nowhere to fall) and so not tug the "fragile" connector on the Quark. I have to rethink this and use the supplied PSU - some users have a bag to hang it off the scope - my experience is that anything that is put on the little shelf under a tripod can (and usually) will fall off.

The Mark ONE eyeball - is that unique to Mark Townley, or can I substitute my own eyeball? :band

There is probably a learning curve to using the Quark for visual and getting the best out of it? Even so, I would have thought that I might be able to distinguish poor field illumination e.g. not flat performance across the FOV and/or banding, with my tired (old) eyes?

Using one or both of my cameras, I will take a "video" aiming for short exposures e.g. 1/10 - 1/100 second and not attempt to process the result to a single image or provide a warm colour "look" - to post a link here. I'm not sure I know how to setup and use a stacking program to do anything more at this stage.

No chance to try the WL or Quark out yesterday, as I was 300 miles away in Durham. Today its cloudy - described as "sunny, but partially cloudy". In my book that's 100% cloud cover and all day without a single let-up.

Is there any value in using an EP dew heater to provide some background warmth? I was thinking 25% or 50% of a 4W Dew Heater might just counteract the low temperatures our temperate (or otherwise) climate gives us. Alternatively does insulation help e.g. pipe insulation in the cold?

Simon



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by RodAstro » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:11 pm

Hi Simon

Firstly I don't think the colour camera will be that good at showing field illumination. The field illumination becomes apparent when you start stacking many images, just like the image increases in resolution so does the illumination. If your QHY shows bad illumination with its small chip then that's not good.
All the quarks I have used show this problem (3) one of these is supposed to be an excellent quark. The illumination can be corrected in software by selecting the bright areas and darkening and selecting the dark areas and brightening until you get even illumination, a bit laborious at first but after a few images you get quick at it and it takes no longer than stacking. One thing to note it is not always a regular pattern, not sure why.
I have found that only by knowing the bad illumination is there can I just make it out visually, so as Mark says don't rely on your eye to decide weather it is a good quark for imaging.

Secondly yes a eyepiece heater wrapped around the base of the quark really helps in this cold weather, I just wish I could get one to fit my bino head two eyepieces is twice as cold.

I bought a 2" Baader 35nm as a ERF for my 6" scope I never use it as it absorbs so much light I just use a UV/IR.

Hope this is useful Rod



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:52 pm

RodAstro wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:11 pm
Firstly I don't think the colour camera will be that good at showing field illumination. The field illumination becomes apparent when you start stacking many images, just like the image increases in resolution so does the illumination. If your QHY shows bad illumination with its small chip then that's not good.

All the quarks I have used show this problem (3) one of these is supposed to be an excellent quark. The illumination can be corrected in software by selecting the bright areas and darkening and selecting the dark areas and brightening until you get even illumination, a bit laborious at first but after a few images you get quick at it and it takes no longer than stacking. One thing to note it is not always a regular pattern, not sure why.
I'm still waiting for some sunshine to test both the Baader Wedge for WL and the Quark for h-alpha, so everything is yet to be determined :bow2 .

The effect you describe of bright and dark areas would be similar to problems with a scope that doesn't evenly illuminate the field because of vignetting? Except that instead of an approximately circular polar plot, dark corners etc., it is band caused by the way the Etalon uses (abuses) Mica to achieve its operation?

So the solution would appear to be to use a "flat" to divide the image by the flat and create a level output. I haven't so far used the AutoStakkert program, but I have seen YouTubers applying a flat and constructing a flat using a front-mounted "filter" (the lining of a cereal packet was mentioned) to defuse the sunlight sufficiently to create a sufficiently bright source to get 20 or so "flats" and create a master flat to use with their process stack. Programs like SharpCap can apply "flats" in real-time too?

It is always mentioned that new flats have to be created if the equipment is changed - I assume that rotation of the Quark and/or the camera counts as an equipment change? It would be worrying if the Quark heater control also affected the operation or if the effect changed over time.

Simon



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:09 pm

SimonM wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm

I will be testing it thoroughly. I have a QHY5III178M camera which is normally used for guiding. The 1/1.8-inch sensor is smaller than an IMX174 and is 2.4 micron x 3072 x 2048 e.g. about 7.2mm x 4.9mm. That might be an issue for checking for poor field illumination?

I also have colour camera (also) with only an AR coating but with a much bigger sensor. I do realise that a colour sensor isn't ideal (low sensitivity and spatial resolution) but it will provide a bigger sensor area. My ASI294MC is 4.63 micron x 4144 x 2822 e.g. about 19.1mm x 13.0mm, so about 2.5x bigger and I should be able to see any "banding" issues. I also have an unmodified DSLR which has a bigger sensor but may only offer borderline sensitivity.
Chip size won't be an issue in identifying poor illumination / variation in CWL over the fov.

Use the mono cam binned, don't use either colour cam, seriously get the colour cam idea out of your head :)
SimonM wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm

The Quark manual (page 3) has two interesting points:

"The Quark is designed for use on F/4 to F/9 refractors. Combined with an integrated 4.3x telecentric barlow, this results in a F/17 to F/38 final image respectively, to provide the best performance from your filter".

"Any other USB power source you wish to use must be rated for at least 1.5 amps at 5 volts. Computer USB ports and cell phone chargers do not normally support this much power.does warn off using not be particularly sensitive".

So they are not saying that it has to be f/30 - probably best the scope is closer to f/30 than f/17. Also it suggests that not all PSU are suitable. I actually go further and say that it's the cables that are plugged into the PSU that have the issues...

Simon Bennett, at Widefield Centre said that I should try it with f/5.5 100mm scope (that's about f/24) before assuming that it needs to be stopped down to f/30. He reckoned the extra aperture (100mm vs 75mm stopped down) would produce a better result. We will see, manual suggests f/27 - f/32 is best - so not too far off their recommendation.
The lower the focal ratio the quark is used at the lower the contrast and hence detail that will be seen.
SimonM wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm
He may also have a point about using an inadequate PSU. I have an Anker PowerCore 5v "'brick" which I was intending to use. I ordered a 1.8m Anker Micro USB cable which promises "High Speed Sync and Charging Cable". I didn't find it worked very well with the Quark - so for now I'm stuck with using the supplied PSU (the cable is a bit short). With the Quark PSU, the unit heats up and the light moves from yellow to green without issues. With the Anker cable and a "brick" it also changes from yellow to green but with issues. The Quark LED pulsates (flickers) about once second and the Quark makes an (unhappy) noise - like a flash unit "charging". Whilst it could turn green, I also had the LED go off, so I won't be using the new cable.

The Anker cable is the issue and the conductors are probably too thin for the task, so it is going back to Amazon. I also tried the 5v "brick" with the 0.3m "certified" Anker cable that is supplied and used to charge it - the Quark heats up OK, but the cable is too short to be useful. My intention was to be able to carry the quark and PSU outside whilst it was powered up and the LED staying green, with the PSU on the ground (nowhere to fall) and so not tug the "fragile" connector on the Quark. I have to rethink this and use the supplied PSU - some users have a bag to hang it off the scope - my experience is that anything that is put on the little shelf under a tripod can (and usually) will fall off.
I've had a few cables that don't work, it's just a case of finding one that does.

I've never heard of a Quark making a noise. Have you contacted Simon about this? I would. Big alarm bells ringing with me on this!
SimonM wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm
The Mark ONE eyeball - is that unique to Mark Townley, or can I substitute my own eyeball? :band

There is probably a learning curve to using the Quark for visual and getting the best out of it? Even so, I would have thought that I might be able to distinguish poor field illumination e.g. not flat performance across the FOV and/or banding, with my tired (old) eyes?
If you can see it with your eye you really do have a duff Quark!
SimonM wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:37 pm
Is there any value in using an EP dew heater to provide some background warmth? I was thinking 25% or 50% of a 4W Dew Heater might just counteract the low temperatures our temperate (or otherwise) climate gives us. Alternatively does insulation help e.g. pipe insulation in the cold?
If you are having to do this you have a duff Quark - send it back if that's the case. How are you going to regulate the temperature with a dew heater?

Your wedge will be absolutely fine, focus your time and efforts in testing the Quark! If it is a duffer and you can't get it back in time you have a £1k paperweight.

Mark


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by RodAstro » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:45 pm

Hi Simon

Talking about the dew heater, Quarks working spec is from +5 degree C to +38 degree C and as Mark says you should not need to heat the Quark, that is if you stay within these specs.

Last week I was observing in my observatory at -2 Degree C with my very large telescope and as usual the quark takes time to come on band and change to higher temperatures, it is just very slow. Until now I have just used a hairdryer to heat the external of the quark to speed it up at these temperatures. this year I bought a camera lens dew heater, this has three settings using PWM and I run it off a 5V Li battery so it is very stable.
I just have it wrapped around the telecentric barlow black part of the quark and it works well on my scope in very low ambient.

Maybe you wont need one as most normal people wont be observing the sun at these low temperatures and will keep the quark in its operating range.
Also my big problem is my telescope, it weights in at 1 ton and my focuser is heavier than my 10" SCT (See pic) so all this mass soon absorbs any heat near by.
I am using the quark in an unusual situation to most people but the dew heater does work for me.

Cheers Rod
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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:39 pm

Simon, how goes the Quark checking?


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:56 pm

RodAstro wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:45 pm
Talking about the dew heater, Quarks working spec is from +5 degree C to +38 degree C and as Mark says you should not need to heat the Quark, that is if you stay within these specs.

Last week I was observing in my observatory at -2 Degree C with my very large telescope and as usual the quark takes time to come on band and change to higher temperatures, it is just very slow.
Thanks Rod!

The spec I have shows 40-100 F in the US (about 5 - 38 C for most of the rest of the world) so there shouldn't be too much to worry about - I hadn't seen that. I can see that in a very warm climate there can be issues with starting from too hot a starting point as the operating temperature is somewhere in the range of 100-150 F. Using a dew heater would warm things up if it was cold but is unlikely to be needed.

A fixed amount of heat going in would be balanced by an amount being lost so the dew heater wouldn't continue to raise the temperature indefinitely e.g. if it raised the temperature from the surroundings by 5-15 C then that could be a big help. Using a temporary heater e.g. a hair drier would provide immediate relief that would fall away. So I won't be needing a dew heater.

Simon



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:38 pm

marktownley wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:39 pm
Simon, how goes the Quark checking?
Hi Mark - things have been going slowly.

I have my mount only roughly polar aligned and then tracking the sun (when it is available, which is not often). I have used the technique often quoted of minimising the shadow of the scope and then centring the back of the Herschel wedge image. With the wedge, you can see the sun without an EP and this works very well. I have seen a sunspot at about 7 o'clock position.

My scope brings the wedge to focus with typically only about 5mm on the focuser scale 0 - 8 cm. I have EP that fit into a 1.25" adapter that fits in a 2" diagonal. WL is good for getting set up and makes it easier to switch over to h-alpha. I cover the tracking scope and swap to an SW 2" diagonal and UV/IR cut filter.

The quark has a number of issues:

I asked Simon at the WideScreen Centre about the PSU supplied. It doesn't want to work with UK voltages and I get a "buzz" holding it. I sent him some readings I took with my multimeter and there is 85V AC on the outside of the Quark. I did measure the current to ground and measured 0.02 mA (I hope it wasn't 0.02 A). He is checking with DayStar to determine what is wrong. I'm not sure the UK adapter for plugging it in is wired correctly. I do have an Anker 5V "brick" and I bought a 1.8m Anker cable. The Quark doesn't like the combination - the yellow light flickers and there is a charging sound like a flashgun. So I have discontinued the "brick". The cable was sent back to Amazon as I need something better.

With the scope correctly aligned and switched over to using the Quark, I can see the image of the sun on the back of the etalon. Since there is a 4.2x Barlow lens it is from the central area of the sun. Things started to cloud over on two occasions so I have not had a chance to experiment with the different blue/red band settings.

If the PSU issue was not bad enough, I do have a second issue. Looking into the etalon when it is "on the sun" shows a deep red image. Across this, there is a vertical line - as if someone has deliberately scored the etalon to divide it in half. I'm sure this isn't as intended. I don't know the criteria for selecting which hardware is acceptable but this seems a bit too far. I have emailed Simon about the issue.

I did get to try an EP and compared to WL the image is much fainter - you can see prominences at the edge of the sun. The edge is also quite useful for determining focus. There is still a bit of guesswork in getting focus. Things should brighten up later this week if the forecast holds up.

Simon
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This is the result of using an AC/DC clamp multimeter in No Contact Voltage (NCV) mode. The display goes orange and the multimeter beeps when the voltage is over 90V - no contact is required. The meter is a bit sensitive because it is "only" 85V. The "buzz" is greater outside too, I had thought the telescope mount would be good earth but this doesn't seem to be the case and I become better earthed standing on damp ground. If you can feel a tingle with a hand, a cheek is even more sensitive.

If you have ever studied switch mode PSU, they have a "hot" side and a "cold" side separated by a transformer. To prevent the cold side from acting as an antenna, they link the two sides - you may have seen a special "blue" capacitor in a PSU. These connect the two sides and cause the RFI to be dissipated. The PSU used doesn't seem to be well configured - perhaps they didn't test it for 230V UK operation or the Quark has a fault and the internals are not isolated from the case. Either way, I don't think it is acceptable.

The clamp multimeter has an everyday use of warning someone not to connect (or work on) live circuits. The thresholds chosen are there to ensure that above a certain point you don't go near the circuit. Turning orange ordinarily means a circuit cannot be considered safe to touch. I'm not too impressed that the Quark uses a 5v PSU input that is very sensitive to voltage. The "brick" has to supply about 1.5A through a cable and not drop too much voltage to cause issues. It makes choosing a "brick" and lead combination that works more difficult e.g. short high current leads may be the only option that works.



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:46 am

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Please send this back to Simon as a matter of urgency if you've not already.

This is not right at all.

Suggest a refund or replace...


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:56 pm

marktownley wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:46 am
Please send this back to Simon as a matter of urgency if you've not already.
This is not right at all.
Suggest a refund or replace...
Hi Mark

I talked to Simon today. He was chasing DayStar for an update.

I had considered what to do next - so perhaps an "expert" can offer guidance:

1. Ask Simon to replace both the PSU and the Quark;
2. Replace it with something else e.g. a Lunt scope;
3. Ask for a refund.

1. The electric "buzz" isn't normal for a PSU to have or for a unit to transmit it. I'm not so happy that there is a line in the EP e.g. when the sun illuminates the whole disc, there is a vertical line in the middle - doesn't seem right.

2. I had considered a dedicated solar scope e.g. a Lunt 60 pressure-tuned with 1200 blocking filter. It is difficult to know what will give a good (and reliable) result - what you pay quickly escalates e.g. a double stack unit would be nice but not exactly budget-friendly. I get the impression that there is no "fail-safe" option here e.g. Quarks are (perhaps) a bit variable and the quality is not (always) there, but pressure-tuned Lunts have issues e.g. most are operating near fully closed and the blue filters rust or turn opaque? Or they are best used with double stacked or not at all? Does the (simpler) tilt version not work?

3. I do get white light and enjoy it - but there really isn't too much to see at the moment hence my interest in h-alpha. So not having either a Quark or a Lunt would be a setback.

So I'm sort of hoping that the first option works out.

I did try using an Anker "brick" - with a (supposed) high current quality 1.8m Anker lead. The voltage drop was too much for the Quark.

Simon
Last edited by SimonM on Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:11 pm

Hi Simon.

Quarks are shockingly (electrically too now it seems!) variable. If you get a good one keep it, if not, get a refund.

Apart from the obviously not right electrical issue, my alarm bells are ringing even louder about this 'line' across the fov.

Don't be drawn in by the retailer to 'hold on' to the Quark while they sort the buzzing power supply, get the whole package back to them, it is their issue to deal with as a retailer. Get a full refund and work out your next move.

Mark


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:38 pm

I agree with what you say. As a whole, it should work and be safe. The PSU introduces the "problem" but the Quark should also protect a user from a "faulty" PSU too. Initially, I thought there was a scratch (scored material) on the etalon, but it only becomes visible when it is illuminated from behind. Again, doesn't seem right.

How do you compare the performance of a Quark on a 100mm scope with a dedicated solar scope - what you can see/image, reliability, or longevity? If I take Lunt as an example, there is an array of choices from 50mm and up, small blocking/bigger blocking filters, tilt/PT, single/double stack, focuser types, and aperture etc. so it is hard to know how to compare. For me, the Quark will always show detail and not the whole, which I can see is the attraction if it works.

Simon



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:40 pm

Hello Simon,
I know little or nothing about the Quirk systems, but I know much about all sorts of power-supplies.

Judging by the comments you've made in your last posts, immediately stop using that power-supply - assuming that it is the same as:-

https://www.astroshop.eu/power-supplies ... r_1_select

as that unit is not earthed in any way, even though would normally be used for both 110 and/or 230V A.C.mains input for a 5V D.C. output.
Absolutely no mains-hum should be transferred from its' DC-output...

Therefore if you are getting any A.C. voltage on the side or centre pin of the 5Volt DC plug, a fault is on the inside of the "Switch-Mode Power Supply unit - which will not be user serviceable or indeed professional-repairable.

These types of power-supplies have a few electronic-components inside - all in close-proximity to the supply voltage - on a PCB...

Also any other electronic equipment attached to the Quirk, Scope, Computer etc., could also be damaged/destroyed - if in direct electrical contact...

Request for a replacement supply should be necessary which are not even expensive (usually).

I cannot confirm whether the Quirk or any other electronic-equipment could have been damage by a high A.C. voltage being applied...

Also I could never recommend using a switch-mode type power-supply of any output (voltage/current) being used outdoors, unless totally enclosed in a totally water-proof casing - including any mains power-line and plug and socket. Even damp-air can cause a shortage between the higher mains voltage and the lower 12 or 5 volt etc., output...

Best Wishes for sorting out that problem
Terry



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:49 pm

Can I add Simon, that your last email says "The PSU introduces the "problem" but the Quark should also protect a user from a "faulty" PSU too. "

That is not entirely correct, as the power-supplies often supplied with all sorts of items for typically 3.5 / 5 / 12volts outputs for all sort of purposes are rarely (if ever) made by the items they are meant to power or charge.

One of the biggest manufacturers are China and it is not uncommon for their quality control (QC) to be anywhere good enough - for its' purpose.
But of course the price to manufacture such items there - is the main reason that millions are sold to other manufacturers and sometimes even condemned by importation-authorities before they even reach their destination to such other manufacturers...

Terry



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:21 pm

I agree - the PSU price is all-important when you buy lots of them!

Very cheap PSU have no RFI filtering. Any UL or CE type markings are "cosmetic" at best.

Simon



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:21 pm

Unfortunately Simon, unlike the older types of power-supplies which utilised large transformers to lower the input-voltages to a more manageable
lower AC voltage with Bridge or rectifier-diodes for a DC voltage and a simple voltage-stabilised output circuit, different circuitry is used for the much-cheaper to manufacture plug-in-the-wall "Switch-Mode" units.

Where the transformers would normally take up much more room and weight than the more modern Switch-Mode types of power supplies, the latter types are manufactured in a small-confined space, where the chances of a short-circuit could occur more easily - if not quality-controlled.

I have and have also made numerous older transformer-types, with either variable output voltages and some with up to 50Amps outputs at typically 12 to 13.8V outputs and higher too, which are constantly in use here for various purposes. I favour these to the more modern "Switch Mode" types as if ever they need a very-rare repair, I can usually deal with those. Whereas the odd Plug-in-the-wall S/M types usually now used in TV's and many other devices for charging etc., are never repairable as so often in sealed cases. Unlike the older types, S/M types rarely (if ever) earthed through their mains plugs and therefore may not trigger an Earth-Leak type mains safety-device...

Some maybe reliable over long periods and even save mains-electricity costs compared to the older types, but that is as long as they are designed and manufactured to the highest standards and in any case should not cost more for that higher-safety-standard.

Some may even have the manufacturers/suppliers name printed on these power-supplies - but are very rarely manufactured by the same firms who manufacture items to which they are meant to power.

As Mark T., has already advised you, simply get the supplier to either send you a new power-supply - which must be tested prior to re-supply to you
and/or return the complete package for a new/exchange product or cash-back via a card-system.

In the U.K. the supplier (not the manufacturer) is your first guarantee back-up system and I would suggest that they would prefer to correct the situation rather than get the name for poor or worse service...

Terry



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by marktownley » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:43 am

Get the Quark sent back and get a refund. Don't even both getting replacement power supply, it's just going to show visually,or through imaging, that line across the fov. This quark is a paperweight, get rid!!!!

Have you read this discussion we've been having recently on choice of power supply for cameras Terry? viewtopic.php?f=10&t=30290 Given what you've just said I think you will relate...


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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:25 pm

Indeed Mark, yes I have now just read through (with difficulty) that original post and have also replied there about my use of NON-switch-mode power-supplies for various purposes here at home and in the observatory.

Obviously the types of units that I use are quite expensive at today's prices (if available), but I have had a very good liaison with one of the countries largest radio-suppliers - only two miles from home and since the 1970's to around two-years ago when they have moved to join-up with the now largest supplier in the UK., so have been fortunate to gather these large units for next to nothing in price, where just cosmetic damage was the reason for my acquiring them.

In the case of Simon's +85V.A.C. buzzing is certainly a likely-cause of the other problem and likely damage too. In fact that voltage could even be higher if a direct connection to a true earth-point (not a tripod), so as you have well said, a return to the supplier is the first and only step - without any hesitation...

As I'm having difficulty reading the large pc-screen at the moment, I will probably look again this evening to see if anything need be added.

Cheers Mark
Terry



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Re: Delivery of clouds and WL wedge (h-alpha inbound)

Post by SimonM » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:22 pm

We had some sunshine this morning - out with the WL wedge to get my scope aligned to the sun. There was a group of sunspots are clearly visible. Capped scope and then switched over to the Quark. I realize that the WL wedge is close to the focuser being all the way in, but the Quark is exactly in the middle for focusing (4cm of 0 - 8 cm). I found it best to focus on the sun's edge and then look for detail on the surface. At the edge, there are prominences that are easy to see. I didn't find it so easy to find the same point for the sunspots when I looked around. It's a pity that the whole sun's disk isn't shown as it makes "navigating" more difficult. With WL I'm using a 5mm EP (smallest I have) and with h-alpha, it's a 40mm EP (the biggest I have). So the Barlow separates my smallest to biggest EPs.

I did briefly switch over to using my 178 mono camera. The results were not as clear as I had hoped for but the seeing conditions with some light cloud made that difficult. There is a pattern - which may be Newton's Rings on one side but the rest was not comparable to looking visually. The camera takes only a small section and spreads it across the screen - so it's very seeing dependent, which is constantly changing. WL is very crisp in comparison to h-alpha - it's probably a learned thing!

My two issues with the Quark are the PSU buzz that feeds through to the Quark (and your hand or cheek) and the mark looking in. For the latter, I did try to capture the view looking into the Quark EP. There is a scratch/line that is seen once the sun is shining through. It's off-putting because it covers half the diameter of the etalon from top to bottom (with controls uppermost) but right across the middle area. I'm looking to get it replaced or refunded.

I've looked at the front and back and there is no marking, so it is somewhere in the middle. I couldn't get my DSLR macro lens to cooperate and so reverted to my phone camera. The camera can be made to focus on the red but the screen immediately burns out and goes white - it may be reacting to infrared light - so nothing much was achieved there.

Simon



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