|THE PS ONE (INTERACT) UNIT
These three images were taken as a part of a new equipment configuration "shake-down" flight. A 5"Takahashi FS128F was used with a Nikon
CP995 direct-coupled to a 31mm Nagler Type 5 eyepiece. This close arrangement allowed the camera to be used even at 1X (no zoom) without
vignetting. Although my 17mm Type 4 could also capture the full disk of the moon in a single frame with this setup, I was also testing the
effectiveness of a 5" Interact LCD panel as a focusing tool, and wanted maximum image brightness (this instantly displays any changes in
Well, the 31mm T5 provided such a bright image that it overwhelmed the Interact, partially saturating the display... hence the first image is not
focused too well. A three-holed Hartman mask was used for the second and third shots, so focus is somewhat crisper.
The main thrust of this night was to ensure the display and coupling were usable, and their performance limitations. Each surpassed my
expectations, and I look forward to a moonless night to determine the low-light level performance of this setup... it will get a "boost" too by riding
on my "Big-Mak" (8" Mak-Newt).
The Interact unit is designed to be used with the Sony PS One (Playstation), but can easily be
pressed into service as an auxilary real-time focusing screen for most digital cameras. Its
large screen and sensitivity should make precise focusing easier, as well as more readily
displaying stars of lower magnitude than on-camera displays. They are available from
CompUSA or on-line for under $125, and can be used as-is out-of-the-box, although a
mounting bracket keeps things tidier.
The components include the PS One (Interact) panel and its power adapter, a rubber
dew-cap (red) to protect the DC pass-thru connector, an adapter plate (fabricated from 1-3/8"
x 1/8" aluminum stock), and a 1/4-20 mounting knob.
A 30cm gauge is shown for scale.
Shown mounted on the scope's dovetail plate, the assemble may be quickly installed/removed or relocated to the opposite side via the
attachement knob (shown in the center picture and below right).
By mounting the display on the dovetail plate, it moves with the scope as a single unit. It may also be articulted to accomadate any conceivable
viewing position. Here it is shown in a typical "normal" viewing position (on the left) and with a down-ward tilt to protect it from dew. During actual
use a minute amount of heat is present, perhaps enough to stave off the dew.
These shots show the unit mounted on an MN86 Mak-Newt.As with the previous installation, the display moves with the scope and is easily
adjusted to any angle to accomodate comfortable viewing. The mounting plate length was calculated to allow for proper clearance on both
scopes, while not being so long as to be susceptible to excessive vibration or getting the way of the user.
The unit is somewhat power-hungry, and portable power users will perhaps find it is best to turn it off when not in use.
This info was quickly cobbled together (as was the unit and testing), but will be updated as time (and my lazy inclinations :o) permits.