Digital, temperature compensating focusing untis by OPTEC
For many years Optec has been committing itself to the automation and motorization of telescopes as well as to the production of mechanical adapters and optical accessories.
Optec is a US-based company which designs and manufactures intelligent accessories for amateur astronomy since 1979. In collaboration with Starlight Instruments, digital temperature compensating focusing units and accessories / software have been developed to meet all the requirements of the latest technology and precision. A wireless software control is available via apps for tablet and smartphone. The focusers are fully ASCOM compatible.
We have been offering Optec products for a couple of years to expand our own product range. Furthermore we have successfully installed and tested a new series of Optec motor focusers in various remote observatories under adverse climatic conditions with temperatures between -40° and +50°C over the past few years.
There are three types available:
- Retrofit modules for manual Feather Touch focusers
- Retrofit module for TEC 3.5" and Takahashi FSQ dual-speed MEF focuser and
- TCF-Lynx, fully autonomous focuser in 2 "and 3"
FocusLynx FT QuickSync System for retrofitting manual Feather Touch focusing units
The big advantage of these add-on motors is that they retains the capability of manual focusing with the 1:10 reduction of the Feather Touch focuser. The usual disadvantage of normal focusing motors is that the adjustment paths are minimal and thus virtually useless for visual observation with changing between accessories with different focal positions. Being able to focus both manually and via the stepper motor, Optec's FocusLynx system is ideal for amateur astronomers who sometimes like to observe visually but are also interested in perfect photographic results. The coupling or uncoupling of the motor is done by a simple rotation of the unit. By a 10° rotation of the housing, the motor can be safely coupled or disconnected. Thus, the operation by hand with or without 1:10 reduction is possible at any time without cumbersome dismantling and reassembling.
This short video shows the simple coupling and uncoupling of the FocusLynx FT systems for the Feather Touch focuser and the control via a smartphone app:
When using the FocusLynx FT QuickSync systems nothing is left to be desired. It is possible to control the motors via WiFi, Ethernet USB / serial and ASCOM via software. Only high-quality materials are used, even for the intermediate gears, no plastic elements are used.
The Optec motorfocuser consists of a control unit and a motor unit, which is attached sideways to the focuser in place of one of the hand wheels. An optional keypad and further accessories are additionally available.The compact motor unit is attached permanently to the focuser. The required connecting components are enclosed.
Additionally, a built-in temperature sensor sends its data directly to the control unit, thus enabling temperature compensation. The FocusLynx FT's and TEC with DirectSync temperature sensor is integrated into the motor housing.
The motor unit is connected to the control unit via the included CAT6 cable, which supplies the power (PoE) as well as the control signal.
- Motor unit FT20: suitable for Feather Touch 2" focuser – FTM C8, C9.25, C11, C14 (Feather Touch) and Celestron RASA telescope (#1317515)
- Motor unit FT30: suitable for Astro Physics 2.7" focuser with Feather Touch micro focuser and Feather Touch 2.5", 2.7", 3" focusers (#1317520)
- Motor unit FT40: suitable for Astro Physics 3.5" and 4" focuser with Feather Touch micro focuser and TEC Telescope with 3.5" Feather Touch focuser - Feather Touch 3.5" focuser (#1317525)
The Optec FocusLynx Controller Hub is necessary for operating.
FocusLynx was presented with a Star Products award for Astronomy Magazine's fifth annual event in 2014.
"Advanced astrophotographers appreciate the precise focusing control offered by the FocusLynx Focuser Hub. With this product in place, you can adjust up to two Optec or Starlight focusers simultaneously and independently via a computer, smartphone, or optional hand controller."
The controller hub is shipped with one motor input plus RS232/USB adapter, so that it can be connected to the computer by LAN as well as RS232. There is also an input for the optional hand control unit. The hand control unit itself can be purchased separately. The control unit is powered with 12V by the provided power supply. The motor focuser can be controlled via PC by the Optec software. Installation of the current ASCOM platform is essential. Of course, the connected motor units can also be controlled directly over ASCOM and therefore other software like Maxim DL or Focus Max can be applied as well.
Two further separate retrofit accessories can be purchased to be built into the housing:
- Second motor input
Provides the option to connect a second Optec motor unit
- Wi-Fi module
Allows wireless connection between control unit and PC, smartphone or tablet PC over Wi-Fi. Appropriate apps for Android and iOS can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s web page.
NEW: Motor Unit for Celestron RASA Astrographs
The RASA motor unit can be used on all Celestron SC telescopes, which are equipped with a 1:10 focus reduction by Feathertouch. Especially for the HyperStar systems, this retrofit is highly recommended, because the focus is much more sensitive and the temperature compensation useful.
The Motorfocuser by OPTEC is available as complete set including the motor unit FT20 and FocusLynx Controller hub, fit for Celestron RASA telescopes. The scope of delivery includes a manual, cable and power supply.
This set is used for remote control of the main mirror focuser system of the CELESTRON RASA/HyperStar. The temperature sensor is mounted ready-to-use inside of the motor housing and lets you compensate the temperature-shift of the focus position. Communication with the control computer is done via Ethernet, RS232 or USB and ASCOM via Software.
FocusLynx TEC with DirectSync – Retrofit module for TEC 3.5" focuser
The FocusLynx DirectSync TEC system is a retrofit module for the TEC 3.5" Large Focuser and includes the new DirectSync digital motor with built-in temperature sensor.
This motor unit allows both manual and motorized focusing of your TEC telescope. The focuser and motor allow loading with accessories up to a maximum of 12 kg (for example CCD cameras with filter wheel). The motor can be powered via WiFi, Ethernet, USB / Serial e.g. with the software TheSky x, CCDSoft, FocusMax and / or the ASCOM platform.
Add-on motor for Takahashi FSQ Dual-Speed MEF focusers
The QuickSync FSQ motor with built-in clutch mechanism and temperature sensor allows both manual and motorized control with a simple twist of the motor housing.
Designed especially for the Takahashi MEF Dual-Speed focusers, the QuickSync FSQ features simple installation and an elegant design. The QuickSync motors are fully compatiblity with the FocusLynx Control Hub making QuickSync the very best choice for motorizing any Takahashi telescope with the dual-speed MEF (Micro-Edge Focuser).
Focusing units TCF-Lynx in 2"and in 3"
Why an automatic temperature control of the focus position?
Changes in the ambient temperature (falling or rising) cause a shift in the optimum focus position via the optics of the recording telescope. An image, which was optimally focused at the start of a long-term exposure, can ultimately be completely ruined by a temperature change causing defocusing, and valuable observation time is wasted.
The solution is a temperature probe built into the TCF series focusers - and this is a combination of Optec's time tested and proven TCF focuser with the FocusLynx Controller Hub. Thus, the user can record a curve of the temperature-induced focus drift, save and this is automatically retrieved during a slow exposure and the focus drift is automatically compensated.
These focusing units are fully automatic, temperature compensating Crayford focuser, for which many different adaptations to various telescopes are available. The available adaptations can be found on the original Optec website. They are delivered as complete units, external temperature sensors are optional available.
These two focusers are best suited for fixed telescopes on which a DSLR or CCD camera is adapted to the eyepiece. So, for example for remote operated telescope systems. Manual focusing is not possible with these focusing units. For a non-software controlled focusing the Optec hand control is mandatory
Optec Pyxis Intrument Rotator
The Pyxis 3-inch has a full 3 inches of clear aperture and is designed to hold large instrument packages without flexure or wobble. A 6-inch bronze worm gear and stainless worm rotate the center tube with a resolution of 0.01875 degree per step from the stepper motor.
This model is large and heavy and is intended for larger telescopes on observatory caliber mountings. The 2.4-inch thickness warrants telescopes that can accommodate this increase in the back-focus distance. It uses the same telescope mounts and camera side adapters as the TCF-S3. ptec's new 3-inch temperature compensating focuser. Any telescope mount or camera side adapter has to be ordered separately.
Gemini Focusing Rotator with temperature probe for automatc temperature compensation
Optec engineers have developed a completely new concept for combining telescope focus and camera rotation functions into a single robust, yet compact package. Rather than simply adding a rotator onto the end of a focuser drawtube, Gemini was designed from inception with a rotating drawtube providing superior strength and rigidity for heavy camera payloads. (LINK ZUM PRODUKT).
Optec Perseus 4 Port Instrument Changer
Optec's 4-port Instrument Selector allows the remote observatory user the ability to remotely select any of four instrument packages attached to their telescope. There are four instrument ports - three 2-inch ports and one 3-inch port available with the Perseus.
The photo shows a top view of the selector with two different CCD cameras, a single channel SSP photometer, and a separate TCF-S focuser and eyepiece.
All Optec products at a glance: