Starizona FeatherTouch autofocuser first light

I had a two-hour, cloud-free slot last night between 11.00 p.m. and 1.00 a.m.  Bound to be clear with a blazing (full?) Moon trundling along the southern horizon.  O.K. so not a good night for imaging, but it did give me my first chance at firing up the Starizona autofocusing setup for the FeatherTouch focuser.  Learn from my experience.

I fired up the Starizona autofocuser software together with FocusMax and left the Wizard to set everything up.  Clearly the automatic setup routine was having problems and it wasn’t zeroing in on a focus even going all the way from zero to 60,000 steps – even though I started it off in reasonably good focus.  My brain doesn’t operate too well at just gone midnight, but I took the stepper motor off the Feathertouch focuser to check everything was working o.k.  The stepper cog was being driven fine, and the cog on the FeatherTouch was firmly locked and not slipping.  So I put the stepper unit back on the FeatherTouch, but did not move it as far forward this time leaving perhaps 1 mm of shiny FeatherTouch showing beyond the end of the stepper unit.

On firing up the software, everything now worked perfectly and the Wizard got a good focus (1.3 FWHM!!!) in a few minutes.  Clearly, on my unit at least, if you push the stepper up onto the FeatherTouch as far as it will go the two cogs will disengage and you won’t drive the focuser!  Still, lesson learned, I ran a few more “V” curves just to check the numbers all looked alright and the unit (and software) all ran perfectly.

 Satisifed that my system is now up and ready for some really serious imaging I called time at 1.00 a.m. just as the clouds started to roll in.

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