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Focuser Hardware Completed

After some months spent waiting to acquire various parts, and not being able to work on things due to work commitments, I have finally managed to complete the focuser hardware and have mounted the control circuit boards in a neat plastic box on the mounting bracket. The engineering required to get all of the circuitry into such a small box was fairly challenging, with a double decker stacked circuit board arrangement. However, the final result is quite pleasing. I'll try to post an image when I've got it fully attached to the telescope.

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Algorithm Testing

Today I implemented most of the algorithms I pointed out in my last post and found that they worked pretty well... - ...with focused stars. If they are let loose on an image with out of focus stars some of them will need a bit of tweaking. Things like the centroid finder and HFD computation seem to work ok regardless, but the algorithm to actually find stars doesn't work properly when they are out of focus. This is because it checks the pixels around the star to make sure they roughly follow a nice looking Point Spread Function.

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FocusMac Algorithms

The past couple of days I have spent researching algorithms for use in FocusMac. The basis for the implementation comes from here:

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New Project - FocusMac

Recently I started building myself a motorized focuser based on the ideas generated by the SGL Observatory Automation group. I'm part-way through the build, although I still have the circuitry attached to a breadboard and I am writing my own firmware to drive the focuser. I could have just used the SGL firmware, but as a developer, I wanted to have the fun of doing this bit myself. In the process, I think I will be able to implement some improvements, such as allowing the focuser motor to move while the firmware remains responsive to the serial command protocol.

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