What telescope owner can look at Mel
Bartels' page on Computerizing a telescope
without dreaming of doing the same with his own instrument? As
I found myself returning to Mel's page time and again it became
obvious that I would have to give it a try.
Rick Singmaster of Starmaster
Telescopes offers his own computerized
system and I have thought long and hard about going with it.
However, I believe I can put together one of Mel's systems for
under $300. (Well, it was an optimistic figure. I will be going
over the $300 mark shortly!) This figure is based on the fact
that I already own an old Compaq LTE 5100 laptop. If it were
necessary to buy a computer, Mel says his system will run on
a very basic 386 and these can be found for just a few dollars
on E-Bay or other auction sites.
So many of the project scopes are magnificent
pieces of ATM art. On these pages, you are going to see what
can be done (or, quite possibly, NOT be done) by a guy who is
all thumbs and whose most sophisticated power tool is an electric
drill. I will be requesting help from Harry Gelblat, an amateur
astronomer and construction type guy who does have most of the
contractor type electric tools, but will try to keep this help
to a minimum. I expect the most used tool will be a DeWalt bench
mount table saw that is available from Harbor Freight for around
- To provide acquisition and tracking
suitable for visual observing;
- To keep the telescope as "stock"
- To maintain the portability of the
- To keep the cost (at least for the
first version) as low as possible.
This is a work in progress. Whether
it will turn into a functional computer driven scope remains
to be seen. If you have any comments or questions, please send them along.