Charlie Grillo's pages Page Loaded: Saturday 31 Oct 2020 9:35 PM

My Setup

I managed to get the planning permission quickly... no - not from the council ...from the wife

Whenever the great British weather permits me - I try and get into my observatory - aka my bottle bank!
Unfortunately it's not clear as often as I'd like!

Just Started Just Started

I have everything I need to be able to freeze my bits off for many nights (when it's clear)


Meade LX200 Classic 10" SCT - Telescope.
MoonLite Focuser with stepper motor. (This is one nice piece of kit)
Meade ETX90-RA OTA: for use as a guidescope and solar telescope (with solar filter).

CCD cameras.

Starlight Xpress SXVF-M25C - Colour CCD Camera.
Starlight Xpress SXV-H9 - Monochrome CCD Camera.
Starlight Xpress SXV-M7C - Colour CCD Camera.
Starlight Xpress Lodestar - CCD Guiding Camera
Opticstar PL-131C - colour planetary and fast video camera.

Other hardware.

Shoestring GPUSB - guiding interface as I can't get the Lodestar to guide by itself correctly (user error)
Astro Engineering AC282 pier - for mounting the scope.
Astro Engineering AC400 wedge - for polar aligning the scope.
Dell Alienware 17" laptop running Windows 8 - for the image capture and auto guiding.

I have also upgraded the LX200 Classic with an

Autostar Upgrade Kit for LX200 Classics.
This gives me back the Autostar functionality that I had with my old 8" LXD55.
The Classic handbox is ok - but the Autostar is better - worth the additional $545 + UK customs charges?...

Yes, the kit is professionally made and the installation instructions made it so easy to install.
Having the Autostar functionality available is also great and far more usable than the old Classic Handbox..

The initial purchase of the observatory from Pulsar Observatories was easy and pain free.

When I came to upgrade to the LX200 from my LXD55, I wanted to purchase the wedge and the marry plate to fit the AC282 pier (from Scopes and Skies / Astro Engineering).. oh boy was this painful.
They were unable to answer my questions on the phone and then did not call me back with answers. They also ignored all emails!
Did they not want to sell these items? - it's not as though they were cheap items either!

In the end, I had to drive 125 miles to Scopes and Skies on a Saturday morning to see if they had the items in stock..
If anyone else had sold the Wedge and Marry Plate - I would have gone to them - even if the items were more expensive.
Customer service like that in this day and age, especially when we are in recession, is criminal.

I certainly would not recommend them for upgrades / accessories.

In addition to the telescope, I'm always on the lookout for Aurora (Northern lights), and do enjoy looking out for the ISS and Iridium flares.
Living in Swindon (latitude 51 degrees) - It's quite rare to get a glimpse of Aurora, plus you have to find somewhere dark! -

as I did in Nov 2004

A selection of my latest pics are here..