I usually have a few pet projects in various levels of completion.  Some are bought and upgraded and some are built from scratch.   Here are some of them.......


1.  wireless cam mounted in an eyepiece barrel

2.  power distribution box for scope and accesories. 

3.  Solar power supply

4.  All angle camera mount

5.  Bino stabilizer frame.   Original idea from Alan M. MacRobert.   See URL on top bino project image.

6.  Battery Box from a plastic tool box


this wireless  security cam has been remodelled into a wireless eyepiece. 

 This is the type of camera I used.  This one from Jaycar has a rechargable battery on the backend,  where as mine doesn't.  the only work on mine was to remove the stand and the bracket holding the camera.  I removed the camera lens after installing the camera in the EP barrel.






I used an old eyepiece barrel and after wrapping two layers of insulating tape around the camera,  pushed it into the barrel.  I used white craft glue to just hold it in place.  To make sure it was straight,  I put the barrel lens end down on a steel plate and pushed the camera down inside so it was on the plate as well. I will know if this worked after I try it out....... white craft glue is easy to dig out  :)


whats wrong with this picture? 


Yes,  I put the camera into the barrel around the wrong way......

white craft glue is easy to dig out  :)



 The camera runs on a 9 volt battery.  So after removing Clifford  the crickets life support power pack I double sided taped it to the backside of the 90 degree eyepiece holder.  Soldered on a suitable plug,  and plugged in the battery.

Don't worry,  Clifford is alive and well and now is dark activated and solar powered.  He lives under the eaves outside my sons bedroom window and driving him nuts at night time.

  it's the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure.....


Very neat and compact.  I wont know how well it performs untill it gets added to a scope.  It's resolution is 640x480 and works at .1lux so should be at least good for lunar and planetary work. 



 here it is mounted in my ETX70 with wirecable focuser extension also in place.  Red dot finder is also now attached.








Here's a couple of images of my new power distribution box.  Power from the battery comes in at the side and is then directed through 4  switches which are fused to mono audio plug outlets.  The reason I used these style of plugs is to match the solar panel array I use to recharge all my batteries when established at my viewing site.   Pretty self explanatory.  It's a variation on a theme I got from a friend.

BEWARE!!! the switch I used to divert from the plugs to the recharger actually works backwards.  This was found after I finished it all and was testing for shorts.  Also,  the two air holes are where the plugs wouldn't fit inside because of the lock down screws in the corners.   Old saying  " measure twice, cut once"

I used auto fuses as it's a nice neat sealed compartment and I can change the fuses to suit the need.

Ignore the black lines in the open box view. The actual wiring follows the red +  and green -  .




last year I bought a compact solar power supply from Kmart for $199.  It comes in a case and has a built in SLA battery. It has two hinged solar panels and a couple of 5w 12v energy saver flouro lights.  It's well made and works extremely well. On our last dark sky site trip it supplied  lighting and accessory power for the 4 days away.  Combined with the above distribution box ,  it should also supply any extra needed for the scope mount. 



No not the very technically complicated clothes peg switch for my laser finder.... works bloody great  :)

The other little project that came from an accident with my ED80.  I attahed the camera mount to a piggyback ring then put the ring around the ED80 .   The ring wasn't tight enough and slid down around the scope.  It was then I realised that you could set the main scope into its prime tracking position and using the ring and adjustments with the mount as well,  you could point the piggy backed camera to any area of the sky.  Including that awfully difficult celestial pole area while the guiding main scope is pointed 180 degrees the other way.  In the case of using the camera in this config,  I would remove the ED80 and replace it with a piece of PVC pipe.  Weight is reduced greatly and I've noticed no flexure while tracking. 

The camera goes on top...DERRR!!!!

and section "A" can rotate 360 degrees, and lay down to 200 degrees if layed into the cut out section.  Section "B" also rotates 360 degrees.  The mounting ring can be slid around the PVC pipe to also better framing of your image.



I found this great DIY project for a stabilizing frame for using binoculars.

I decided to have a go and adapted it to my style and the following is the result.....


                                        I'm  using a set of Milo 16X50 binos which are very good.  Later I'll get a slightly bigger pair....... I never realised aperture fever was contagious while using binoculars :) 


I put the vertical handle down so as to hold it without going over the top.  Instead of the small occy straps I used some no skid matting on a flat board on top of the movable section with a 3cm wide piece of exercise floor rubber for the binos to sit on and remain steady.  It works like a charm and without holding the binos I can look almost to the zenith.  All thats needed to keep the binos in place after that is one finger with a light touch.  

As it is now and with the rear just touching the house wall for that little extra stability,  I can see the gap between Saturn and her rings and the Trapezium in M42. Can't quite split the stars there yet but give me time.   

 I need to fine tune the position of the bino platform,  slightly further forward and maybe a tad of counterweight to the rear for optimum stability.  My son wants to put a gyro in there some where,  but I haven't totally ruled that out ......yet :)



I needed a portable power supply for my scopes.  I went and checked out some versions on the different groups and after picking some brains,  went to Bunnings and bought a $13 plastic tool box. It's got small cliplock  boxes incorporated into the outer lid to hold fuses etc,  and with the addition of a solar panel, cigarette lighter power plug and switch I ended up with ........

The solar panel fits inside the top of the box and when the battery is not in use during the day,  it will trickle charge the battery.  The cables I need to connect up the scopes fit inside down next to the battery.  Everything neat and tidy.