Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mach1 GTO from Astro-Physics - Cabling

One of the main reasons why I bought the Mach1 mount is the ability to move all the cabling inside the mount. And have no dangling cables on the side or such. In total, I need 8(!) cables to run through the mount:
  • 3 USB (filter wheel, ccd, guider)
  • 1 power (ccd)
  • 1 serial (Robofocus)
  • 1 Autoguider (guider)
  • 2 dew shield (main scope, guidescope)
That's a lot of cables - especially considering that they will run through both axis, i.e. partially block the polar alignment scope.

First, I ordered 2 tray holders to put the 4 boxes on: Robofocus, USB hub, Dew Shield Controller, Power distributor. After a little bit of fiddling around, I found a page from astro physics that shows the different possibilities to mount the holder to the pier.

I ended up mounting the dew controller and Robofocus controller on the pier and the power distributor and USB hub on the leg next to it. Routing the cable through the mount wasn't too hard. It's just awesome having them completely out of the way! But they are now in the way of the polar alignment scope! Hmmmm, couldn't really figure out how to avoid that and asked at the ap-gto mailing list. Two good ideas:
  1. Fit a PVC tube around the polar alignment scope to go all the way through the mount
  2. Press the cables to the outside with a sheet of plastic that I roll and then put inside the housing.
First, I needed to find flat USB cables:
  • 1 Mini USB cable - 6 ft
  • 2 A/B USB cable - 5 ft
  • 1 Anderson power cable - 5 ft
And I found them on eBay (A/B, Mini). With some tape, I made sure that all cables are flat next to each other:

Then I took some plastic sheet, rolled it up and moved it inside the polar scope housing:

You can see the cables in the upper left side of the housing.

And with that, I can easily insert the RAPAS and have a completely unobstructed view! Awesome!