Accessories and Changes
While the Celestron Celestar Deluxe does come pretty well equiped there are obvious changes to be made. First off for me was the addition of remote power. I found an excellent inexpensive and safe method of power. The porta power packs/car boosters are available at most automotive stores as well as most discount stores such as K-mart or wally world. I suggest getting the largest one available unless you have other plans in mind. The porta pak I selected came from a Pep Boys store. I chose it for it's tighter fitting 12-vdc external connector ( some brands won't hold a plug in them, beware of this). While the LED power level lights are adequit, I opted for a power monitor purchased for other reasons. The power meter fits nicely in one of the three DC power jacks mounted firmly to the tripod with velcro strapping. Two power distribution jacks are left over for the CCD camera unit and laptop computer. Hey, I am a technoid, what can I say. . . While it is not shown, the Celestron hand controller is conviently attached to the north tripod leg with a 3 x 3/4 inch strip of double sided velcro tape. This mounting safely protects it and is too easy to use.
The Celestron supplied 20 ft DC power cord can be coiled up and anchored to the tripod to provide power for the computer and motors of the SCT. I expect to later add a heavy duty deep cycle battery when using the CCD unit and laptop in the field. At present my laptop only goes out during focus and I use a Pentium 200mhz MMX system for capture. This works for now as I setup the SCT on my deck outside my apartment. I built a flat parallel extender cable to pass through the doorway for hooking the Pixcel 237's computer unit to the parallel port of the P.C. While this might be overkill for some, the laptop is networked to the tower computer to allow inspecting images as they come into the tower. I run the CCD Ops DOS version software for focusing and capture as it is faster than the windows version. The windows version is excellent for image tweaking and combining. While SBIG has done an excellent job with the DOS version, I feel the Windows version of CCDOPS (now v 4.05) has a way to go for actually controlling the camera. For a look at the Pixcel CCD camera SBIG manufactures for Celestron click here to visit SBIG .
My Spring 1998 control center for home based astro-photography .
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