Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool) - Page 2
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 


Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Photography by Genre: Critique and Discussion > All Other Styles & Types

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-13-2011   #11
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

Things are moving right along with Project Orion. Thats what im calling it for now, so far i havent come up with a cool name for it yet. lol

So I spend a good part of yesterday writing the code for this, So far i have the opening/close sequence along with the max-open and max-closed sensors along with the start and rewing buttons working. I still have to figure out the LED lighting sequences, i built a timer into the coding i need to apply to the LEDs to give a visual indicator of approcimatly how much time is left.

Right now im doing all the coding on an arduino microcontroller but i will probably be importing it to an upgraded Texas Instruments Launchpad as the Arduino is sort of overkill for this thing. Ill have to spend a fair amount of time debugging once i get it to the Launchpad, but ill cross that bridge when i get there, i have some resources that should cause the Launchpad to behave as an Arduino.

So i basically have the coding framework setup, i could plug this into the box and have it runs its basic functions, but i have a lot of spit and polish to apply, plus, im not gonna say what it is yet, but we have something special planned for the box. It will probably be an upgrade option. But i am excited as hell about it.

here it is so far, guts with no body. wires, buttons, relays, and circuit boards.




AND here is the body. My machinist has been diligently working on the project, it is made of Plexiglass as well as Lexan. It feels burly as hell, i have NO doubt that this will move exactly as i am expecting.

This thing is bulletproof! ... LITERALLY. The Sides, top, and back will stop a .357




He said he should have it pretty much done i assume by next week, there were some issues with the spacing of the gears and such. This is just the design prototype, once we have it running it is back to the drawing board to apply any tweaks or design changes.

im expecting it to give close to 2 hours of constant tracking, and i am pretty sure im gonna nail my accuracy goals.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2011   #12
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Camel Breath
 
_Provo_'s Avatar
 
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 12,141
CamelKarma: 7324142
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

I am just as excited for you eager to the see the final end result of this project.
_Provo_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2011   #13
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

I should have the programming finished here in the next day or two, right now the programming functions as i want, except im having problems with the LED progress indicator.

the idea of the LED progress indicator is to give a visual estimate of how much time is left before it hits the end of its sequence. That way if you go out camping and you have it running 30-40 feet away you can just glance at it and know about how much time you have before it hits the end of its tracking.

so far this has proven to be a bit difficult, if i run the milisecond clock, i cant reset it. if i use a self made timer, it behaves oddly when trying to calibrate the interval/delay/blink times.

pain in the butt, im sure ill have it figured out by tonight though. just gotta do some research. I am by no means a pro when it comes to writing out code.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2011   #14
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

Spent some time at my machinists place this weekend.

We went over the current design, discussed the altitude adjustment plate, and it looks like we are going to build our own laser system for a polar alignment aid. The original plan was to use a rifle laser scope like i have on my wooden tracker, but the price is just too much. After doing some research into the subject we are fairly confidant we can implement our own laser design and have it built into the box running off the same power source. Going to order a few sample laser diodes this weekend and play around with them, im aiming for 50mw.

Next issue is the TI Launchpad as an Arduino replacement. These microcontrollers appear to be pretty versatile. But so far i have had a miserable time with the programming interface, not to mention the chips are too weak so i had to order upgraded processors. All in all they launchpad with upgraded processor is about 6 bucks, opposed to the $30 price tag of the Arduino, however they require a 3.3 v power supply, so i had to buy some voltage regulator boards which were another 6 bucks each. So im sort of leaning on the fence as to weather or not the extra work is worth saving $18.00. Im still playing with the Launchpad, so hopefully i can get it all to work out.

Last night my machinist sent me a message saying he has run into a problem with the top jaw and needs to order a new tool to get everything to work, may be 3-4 days before he gets that in.

The work this guy is doing is awesome. This is going to be a VERY stable design, the top and sides are 3/8th inch plexiglass. There are bearings mounted on top and bottom of the gear, as well as on the hinge, this thing should have very very accurate tracking as long as polar alignment is properly achieved.

Not to mention, this thing is going to look cool as hell too.

I have a few more goodies that i plan to implement on this, or possibly have as an upgrade option, but i need to do some research on a patent before i give out too much information.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2011   #15
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

Just got back from my machinists, we finally got it moving. we are already planning some heavy redesigns as we identify some problem areas. The newer body should be a bit smaller and less bulky.

The good news is that the jaw moves nice and smoothly. There are a few tweaks to put on this body, and i have a couple laser diodes coming in the mail to try out.

im hoping to have this prototype fully functional for a camping trip im taking in august.



__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2011   #16
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

Update 8/8/2011

Photos of the Prototype.







So, we have been pretty busy working on this project, the last few days i have managed to do some testing, the results are mixed. They are good, but i want much better.

We pretty much abondoned the first design, decided to keep it simple and test out how well we could re-create the tracket i currently have to see how the mechanics affect the accuracy. His CNC is capable of accuracy up to 1/1000th of an inch.

So everything is aligned dead on. We went with the same build and design as my last one.

There seems to be an issue with the threaded gear traveling up the curved rod, as the large gear spins around it has a slight off axis wobble, impossible to see at slow speeds but once you speed it up can sort of see the effect, the end result is the top plate opens as if it is being ratcheted up, so the movemet is not 100% constant.

We tried to alleviate this wobble by swapping out the threaded aluminum nut out of the large hear and replacing it with a plastic one made of acetal, which REALLY made a large difference.

The good news is i am able to track 300mm for 4 minutes (240 seconds) however, the wobble is causing a problem.

here is an example of its tracking, along with an image of untracked. The pill shape of the stars is not caused by inaccuracy of tracking, the stars stay lmost exactly in the same place in frame, the issue is the uneven speed, overall it has very even progress, as in each minute the speed behaves the same way, speeding up slowing down.



After some efforts in tuning it, i got the stars as small as can be, the tracking speed seems to be right, as you can see the stars have reached a barbell shape, and i just realized the image below says 30mm, that is incorrect, it is 300mm.

The barbell shape is because the ratcheting effect is moving the stars in the FOV, the little balls on the end are formed because the star spends more time on either end than in between.



Shortly after this was shot i fried my easydriver, it was a mistake on my end, cost me 15 bucks. I packed it in for the night.

Last night i went back out to do some wider field, with my 24-70 for 6 minutes. Once again if you zoom in you can still see the ratcheting effect

and it appears i got some dirt on my sensor. well, maybe it is on the back of the lens. i dunno, ill have to get it cleaned.

The image below is 70mm, 6 minutes of exposure.



and here is the same 70mm 6minute of exposure with tracking shut off so you can see the on/off difference




And i also ran a 24mm 6 minute expossure as well.



SO

Where are we at with this project? We have a tracker that will work almost indefinatly at lower speeds, but due to the nature of the design will not work for our purposes.

We have 2 other tracker designs we are working one, one with a worm drive on the bottom plate that pushes an arm forward lifting the top, but i think that one is about to get kicked off the island.

The other design is a much more direct drive system with gears, it will not have any tangent error and does not required the curved rod with its compressed/expanded teeth. It will probably also be much smaller too.


As for this design, i still think we can do better, going to the acetal threaded nut inside the large gear helped because it can sort of wear-in. The aluminum would not. However, is this good or bad? i dont want a nut that will strip itself clean in a few hours worth of tracking, my feas may be unbased though. We will probably try a few more variations on this as well to see if we can work out the bugs.


The tracking is superb considering i spend less than 20 seconds on the polar alignment, i can track 300mm for 4 minutes, we just have to get rid of that ratcheting effect. Just working out the bugs. If this thing was not ratcheting i think we would be hitting the goal of 800mm for 1 minute with ease, in fact, probably do 800mm for much longer than 1 min.


As long as you learn from the unsuccessful prototype, there is no such thing as failure.


Dont get me wrong though, this design is FAR FAR more accurate than my wooden tracker, it just does not cut the mustard after 100mm.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2011   #17
Bactrian
 
prohobo's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,938
CamelKarma: 26034
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

I was thinking about this not too long ago, and was stuck on the curved rod. I was thinking if you take a straight rod and set the assembly on a hinged unit, you could get the movement without having to bend the rod. Not sure if that's what your idea is, but I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in and see what happens.
prohobo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2011   #18
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

ive seen examples of that implemented, while it keeps accuracy longer than having a straight rod push straight up, it does still have some tangent error, the opening slows down the farther out it pushes.

we are looking at a direct drive geared system, but for 10rpm on the stepper we need about 14,400:1 ratio. Good times.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2011   #19
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Camel Breath
 
_Provo_'s Avatar
 
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 12,141
CamelKarma: 7324142
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

I want to know when this thing will be finalized I want to buy one already LOL.
_Provo_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2011   #20
Guanaco
 
Jack Ripper's Avatar
 
Location: Littleton Co
Posts: 277
CamelKarma: 1373
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Project Orion (Astrophotography Tool)

we are working on it. actually we are taking a week off of the tracker to think about it while we work on Project Chronos. But we will get back to it here sometime next week. this last design is awesome for wide ngle work, but i really want to be able to shoot telephoto as well.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
Nikon D7k | D70
Tokina 12-24mm| Nikkor 24-70 2.8 AF-S | 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR1 | 35mm 1.8 AF-S | 50mm 1.8 AF|
SB-900 + SB-600 (x 2)

My Astrophotography Thread
My Time Lapse Thread <-- NEW
Jack Ripper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Photography by Genre: Critique and Discussion > All Other Styles & Types »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Astrophotography question Douglas Camera Equipment Reviews 0 09-30-2010 07:55 PM
Andromeda galaxy and Orion nebula through my 75mm-300mm lens... Edsport All Other Styles & Types 11 07-06-2010 02:16 AM
Tool cursor shown as a cross hair in PS CS4 instead of correct tool stealers Image Editing 5 07-30-2009 08:10 PM