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Homemade Refractor With ASIair Plus

Here is my Surplus Shed refractor with an ASIair Plus computer, ASI EAF focus controller, and ASI cameras. I upgraded the finder scope to a SVBONY SV106 guide scope. This entire setup is now controlled from my Samsung tablet using the ASIair App.

Homemade Refractor

This is a refractor that I made using a 127mm f/5.5 lens that I purchased through Surplus Shed. The focuser is from GSO and the finder is from Meade.

Meade LX200 Mount Modified as a Solar Observing Platform

This Meade LX200 mount is one that I purchased on eBay as a nonfunctional mount a few years ago that I had repaired for the May 20, 2012 solar eclipse. The mount's Dec motor needed some lubrication and the mother board capacitors were upgraded. The repairs were made by Astonomy-Shoppe. I made the plywood frame from hardwood plywood, and is designed to hold a couple small scopes and my Coronado solar telescope. While I wait for the next solar eclipse I will try using this set up to do some wide field 35 mm photography.

Meade LXD650 Mount

This is a mid 1990's heavy duty mount that I purchased on Astromart a number of years ago that was not working when I purchased it. The mount needed a new RA motor and a number of capacitors replaced on it. The repairs were made by Astonomy-Shoppe. I also made the adapter that clamps onto the dovetail plate of my eight inch Meade SCT.

Hydrogen-alpha Solar Telescope

Coronado 60mm Hydrogen-alpha Solar Telescope with Double Stacked Etalon. I purchased this scope from Oceanside Photo and Telescope. In this photo the solar telescope is riding on the back of my eight inch Meade SCT.

Vintage Celestron C-10 SCT

Vintage Celestron C-10 SCT from 1969. I purchased this scope on Astromart in 2011. The telescope is in need of a lot of restoration. The corrector has a crack in it that goes from the secondary out to the outer edge. I have an original C-10 replacement corrector that I will need to swap out with the cracked corrector, but that will require having the secondary mirror refigured so that the optical elements match up. The dust cover had a hole cut in it for a solar filter. The hole has had a sheet of metal glued over it by a previous owner. The leveling bolts on the pier are seized into place.

Meade LX200 12" SCT

I purchased this scope on Astromart in November 2008. I needed that six foot step ladder to reach the secondary collimation screws. This picture was taken on the first night that I had the scope outside. It certainly is a big beast.

Meade LXD55 8" SCT

I purchased this scope in November 2002.
Martin Peston published A Users Guide to the Meade LXD55 and LXD75 Telescopes in 2007, which featured four planetary images taken with this telescope.

Criterion Dynamax 8" SCT

I purchased this vintage 1970's scope in early 2005 but dropped it and broke the corrector shortly after I received it. I just replaced the corrector this weekend (Sept 3, 2009) and the scope is back in service.

Criterion Golden Pyramid Tripod and Dynamax 8" SCT

This is one of the Golden Pyramid Tripods that Criterion sold as an optional accessory for the Dynamax 8. I find that my homemade tripod is just as stable. Another thing that I noticed is that the earliest Dynamax scopes do not fit on this tripod. The base of my early Dynamax is too wide to fit.

Criterion Dynamax 8" SCT

I purchased this vintage 1970's scope in December 2005. I have been using this scope, coupled with a Watec 120N integrating video camera, for public observing events.

8" F/4 Newtonian

The OTA was assembled from parts in 1978 and mount built from scratch between 1975 and 1976.

6" F/8 Newtonian

The OTA and mount were assembled from parts purchased through University Optics and Pacific Instruments in 1975.

Bausch & Lomb 80mm F/10 Maksutov-Cassegrain

Another eBay find. This will be used as a guide scope for my Meade SCT once it is on a new mount.

Edmund 4.25 Inch F/10 Newtonian

This is a vintage Newtonian from Edmund that was made in the late 1960s. I adopted this telescope from the owner of a local winery whose father had owned the telescope and passed away. This scope is in very nice condition and I have used it for public outreach.

Imaging Computers

ASIair Plus and Samsung Tab S6 Lite Tablet

This is the latest addition to my computing lineup. I purchased the ASIair Plus for doing deepsky photography using my 5 inch Surplus Shed Refractor. The ASIair Plus is controlled wirelessly from the Samsung tablet using the ASIair App. The ASIair Plus is connected to my ASI1600MM-COOL CMOS camera and filter wheel, and it is also connected to my Meade LXD650 mount using a Clearline Technology RS232 to USB adaptor.

Dell Latitude E6410 Laptop

This is the laptop that I am currently using for my planetary imaging with my ZWO ASI178MC CMOS camera. The laptop is running Ubuntu LINUX and has 8 Gb of RAM, a 500 Gb SSD disk for the OS and a 4 Tb SSD disk for capturing planetary videos.

Dell Latitude D610 Laptop

This is the laptop that I used for planetary imaging from 2007 through 2019. The laptop runs Windows XP and it was a very reliable laptop, giving me 12 years of service. It has an 80 Gb OS disk drive, 2 Gb of RAM, and a couple of secondary drives with capacities of 160 Gb to 320 Gb, housed in cadies that reside in the DVD bay.

HP Omnbook 6000 Laptop

This was my first laptop used for planetary imaging from 2003 through 2007. The laptop started out running Windows 98 runs and was later upgraded to Windows 2000. It was not a particularly reliable laptop since it was prone to experiencing blue screens of death. It has an 80 Gb OS disk drive and 500 Mb of RAM.


Daystar Calcium-H Filter

I purchased this calcium-h filter in order to view the magnetic regions of the Sun and to supplement my Coronado telescope.

Meade 647 Flip Mirror

This is a must have for photography. I use this to frame planets in an illuminated cross hair so that I can get the planetary disks on the small chips of my web cameras.

Van Slyke 2 Inch Focuser

This is an early Van Slyke focuser. The serial number is 023 and signed by Paul Van Slyke in 1998.

JMI NGFS Electric 2 Inch Focuser

I found that this does not work very well on an eight inch SCT as it takes up a lot of the back focus.

Lumicon Cassegrain Easy Guider

Lumicon Cassegrain Easy Guider with a built in focal reducer.

University Optics Camera Adaptor

I have used this adaptor for years with my Olympus OM1 camera.

Variable Extension Tube

Orion Eyepiece Projection Variable Extension Tube. I use this when doing eyepiece projection with planets to get a larger image at the focal plane of the camera.

Illuminated Crosshair

9mm Adjustable Illuminated Crosshair. This is useful when doing manual guiding.

3 Volt Battery Pack

3 Volt Battery Pack for Illuminated Crosshairs. This is a homemade battery pack that supplies 3 volts, using rechargeable D cells, with a rheostat to control the crosshair illumination.

Antique Brass Eyepieces

A set of three brass eyepieces that I bought on eBay. The set includes a couple of unmounted long focus lenses and a nice prism.

CCD and CMOS Cameras


This CMOS camera has a 6.4-megapixel color sensor with 3096*2080 pixels. This camera has replaced my webcams for planetary photography. This camera is also able to be used for deepsky imaging. I made the switch to this modern camera since the old webcams that I was using are no longer supported by modern operating systems. For my imaging laptop I am now using a Dell Latitude E6410 with solid state drives (500Gb OS drive and a 4 TB data drive) running Ubuntu LINUX, which is far more stable than my old Dell Latitude D610 running Windows XP.

ZWO ASI1600MM-COOL CMOS Camera with a ZWO EFW Mini Filter Wheel

This CMOS camera has a 16-megapixel monochrome sensor with 4656*3520 pixels. When I attach this camera to my 5 inch Surplus Shed refractor I can capture the entire sword region of Orion.

Samsung SDC-435 Camera

Samsung SDC-435 integrating video camera (day/night security camera). This camera is a very nice low-cost alternative to the Minitron and Stellacam cameras. This camera has a lux rating of 0.0001. I purchased this camera new on eBay for only $130.

Watec 120N Camera

Watec 120N integrating video camera. This camera does a great job with deep sky objects using my LXD55 mount.

Meade Pictor 416XTE CCD Camera

Meade Pictor 416XTE CCD Camera with a Pictor 201XT autoguider. I purchased this camera off from eBay.

Meade Pictor 416XTE CCD Camera

Meade Pictor 416XT CCD Camera with a Pictor 201XT autoguider. I purchased this camera off from Astromart.

Meade Pictor 416XT CCD Camera with Meade 616 Filter Wheel

Meade Pictor 416XT CCD Camera with Meade 616 Filter Wheel. I purchased this filter wheel off from Astromart. The first time that I tried to attach the filter wheel to the 416XT one of the electrical connecting pins broke off. Fortunately, I was able to replace the pin with the aid of some of my watch maker's tools.

Imaging Source DBK 21AF04.AS CCD Camera

Imaging Source DBK 21AF04.AS CCD Camera. I purchased this camera in August 2007 after reading about the great capabilities of this camera and seeing many wonderful images taken with this line of camera. It is able to capture frames at a rate of 60 per second over a firewire interface. The camera needs at least 8 volts supplied by the firewire cable but my laptop can only provide 5 volts, so I modified a cable so that I could supply 12 volts by means of a 12 volt DC power supply.

Meade 616 Filter Wheel

Meade 616 Filter Wheel for the Pictor 216XT. I purchased this filter wheel off from Astromart in 2011.

Meade Pictor 216XT CCD Camera

Meade Pictor 216XT CCD Camera. I purchased this camera off from Astromart in 2011.

Meade Pictor 208XT CCD Camera

Meade Pictor 208XT CCD Camera. I purchased this camera shortly after the Meade 8" SCT.

Finger Lakes Instruments CM7-2E CCD Camera

Finger Lakes Instruments CM7-2E CCD Camera. I recently purchased this fine camera on Astromart. I am planning on using it with a spectrograph that I am planning to build.

SAC8 Peltier Cooled CCD camera

SAC8 Peltier Cooled CCD camera. I picked this camera up off from Astromart.

SAC7 Air Cooled CCD camera.

SAC7 Air Cooled CCD camera. I picked this camera up off from eBay for a real bargain. This camera will be used with an objective prism spectrograph that I am currently putting the finishing touches on.

Web Cameras

Here are a couple of CCD Web cameras, a Philips ToUcam Pro and a Logitech QC 4000. The Web cameras are my work horses of planetary imaging.

Vesta Pro (PCVC675K) Camera

Vesta Pro (PCVC675K) unmodified webcam.

Supercircuits CCD Camera

Supercircuits CCD Camera. Here is a Supercircuits PC-23C low light level security camera. This camera has a sensitivity of 0.04 Lux. This is almost an order of magnitude better than the webcams.

Vesta Pro (PCVC675K) SC1 Camera

Vesta Pro (PCVC675K) SC1 (long exposure) modified webcam. I purchased this camera off from Astromart.

Vesta Scan (PCVC690K) Camera

Vesta Scan (PCVC690K) unmodified webcam. I purchased this camera off from Astromart.

Philips SPC900NC Camera

Philips SPC 900NC unmodified webcam. I purchased this camera off from eBay.

Philips SPC900NC SC2 Camera

Philips SPC 900NC long exposure modified webcam. I purchased this camera off from eBay. It has SC2 modification and I am using this camera to test the web camera capture program that I am writing.

Video Capture Devices

KWorld USB Capture Device

KWorld USB capture device. This device works well with the Samsung SDC-435 camera.

Imperx PCMCIA Capture Card

Imperx PCMCIA capture card. The software that comes with this card is able to capture at a number of frame rates from 1 fps to 67 fps, depending on the video size. I use this capture card with my Watec 120N camera. At 640x480 resolution with the Watec camera I can only capture at 1 and 2 fps with this capture card.

35 mm Cameras

Olympus OM1

Olympus OM1 with 500mm Tokina lens. I purchased this camera somewhere around 1978. For 35 mm astrophotography you can't beat the OM1.

Olympus Varimagni Finder

I use this a lot for shooting H-alpha film images through my Coronado solar telescope.

Olympus 500mm f1:8 Reflex Lens

This is perhaps one of the finest 35mm catadioptric lens ever made. These lens are fairly hard to find. Olympus started making them in 1982 but they didn't make very many of them.

Olympus Astrophotography Camera

I purchased this camera off eBay. It has a leaf shutter, built in eyepiece projection and framing/focusing eyepiece. Here is a copy in PDF format of the instruction sheet that came with the camera, which provides a chart of the focal lengths of the 0.965 inch eyepieces that came with the camera.Camera Instruction Sheet

STI Knife Edge/Ronchi Focuser

This is used to achieve sharp focus with a film camera or CCD camera.

Nikon Film and Slide Scanner

I purchased this refurbished scanner to scan the film that I am using to take solar images with my hydrogen alpha telescope.

HP Flatbed Scanner

HP flatbed scanner with transparency adapter with a SCSI interface.

Shop Tools

Prusa 3D Printer

Here is a heat press that I purchased for inserting brass threaded inserts into 3D printed parts. The press allows for precision placement of the brass inserts. The soldering iron, that makes up the business end of the press, has the ability to set the temperature for different type of plastics.

Prusa 3D Printer

I purchased a Prusa 3D printer to make the parts for a spectroheliograph. I will be using the 3D printer to make parts for other projects. The Prusa printers are considered to be some of the better 3D printers available.

Atlas X-Y Table

Here is an X-Y table for my drill press that allows precision drilling.

Mini-Lathe and Mini-Mill

Every telescope maker needs a small lathe and mill to make those odd ball telescope parts.

Drill Press and Wood Lathe

These are some of the tools that belonged to my grandfather. He purchased them in the late nineteen thirties. When WWII broke out the US government passed a law that allowed factory owners to confiscate machines from private individuals as part of the war effort. Someone my grandfather knew threatened to confiscate all of his wood working tools under this new law, but my grandfather told him that he would give these machines away to people this guy would never find before he could get his hands on them, and that was the last he heard from that guy about his wood working tools.


Table Saw and Disc Sander

The table saw is a Craftsman saw that I purchased from the local Sears store back when we had one. The sander is a Delta sander that I purchased online.

Watch Maker's Lathes

These lathes can't be beat when it comes to small jobs.

Horizontal Band Saw

This saw is a must have for anyone that has a lathe or mill. The saw also works as a vertical band saw for cutting small pieces of plate.

Router Table

This is a very nice router table that I purchased from Grizzly Industries. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that Grizzly Industries didn't sell a miter gauge to fit the table so I made my own.

Tool Grinder and Hand Tapper

Tool Grinder (purchased from Harbour Freight) and Hand Tapper (purchased from Enco). The hand tapper ensures that a tap goes straight into a hole without binding or breaking.

Air Compressors

20 gallon Campbell Hausfeld and 3 gallon Craftsman air compressors. The Campbell Hausfeld compressor is a higher quality belt driven unit.