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Friday, January 31, 2014

It's over, I cant do my loved astronomical imaging anymore

Sad news, my old Meade LX200 GPS 12" telescope gave up and died.

Two nights ago, when I was imaging, my telescope stopped tracking and gave an error message "Motor Stalled".
It turned to be a fatal problem, the control board of Ra motor was fried. There is no way to fix it myself, the board has several layers and lots of microscopic components. This is a very old scope and it has been under a heavy usage in a very extreme weather conditions. Replacement parts are very hard to find, since this telescope is not manufactured any more. Even if I managed to have needed parts, it'll take the rest of the season to put all up and running again.

This instrument has been way below my level as an astronomical photographer for a years. Lots of desperate looking DIY solutions was used to make this old scope work as a some kind of imaging platform. I really need a new mount and a better optics. 

I can't afford to buy any new instruments, it looks like my days are over now. I'm not going to buy any second rate stuff, I'll rather be without, than start fighting against constant malfunctions ones again. I have spent countless hours outside, soldering some bad connectors, in a freezing wind and a bellow -20 centigrade temperatures to fix my scope, not any more. 

The only way to solve this is trying to find a sponsor. It won't be easy and it might never happen. 

An update, February 02. 2014

After a careful study of damages in my scope, I found out, that not only the Ra motor controller card was toasted. Also the motherboard, Ra motor and its encoder are burned and partly smelted too. This means, that the whole system is beyond repair, least with any reasonable costs. 

Images, taken with this deceased scope can be seen HERE.

A collection of images with the Meade LX200 GPS 12" telescope, Baader narrowband filters and the QHY9 astronomical camera
(Be sure to click the image to see it in full scale)


Anonymous said...

Very bad news. If you come to set any crowd funding attempt, please post it so we can try to help.

Thank you very much for all of these years of great images. Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

J-P Metsavainio said...

Thanks for the support and the idea of crowdfunding. I'm somehow skeptic, if it's possible to collect needed money by this way. People usually expect to have something back, if they invest some money.

Peter Cox said...

JP - I funded a landscape photography book this way. I think you have just the thing to offer people in prints of your images.

I wrote an article about my experience here - you may find it useful.

Francois said...

This could actually be a good idea: you ask for sponsorship and in return you may provide some fine prints. Banks or insurance company may be interested in having that kind of pictures in their waiting room or offices... In any case it does not harm to ask.

Best of luck!

Tanio said...

Here's another follower interested if you decide to go with crowd-funding!

J-P Metsavainio said...

Thanks for your support!

Unfortunately crowd-funding is illegal in Finland due to some very strict money raising laws.
We have had couple of sad examples about that, in a past year or so.


jrista said...

Hey J-P, truly sorry to hear about your telescope misshap! I started following your work late last year, and I find it to be TRULY WONDERFUL.

I think it would be a great loss to the amateur astrophotography community to lose your examples and your talent...I get a lot of inspiration from you personally (and I've just barely started recently.) I've been reading forward from the end of your blog, hence the reason I only found this post now.

I hope you find some way of getting some funding to replace your equipment. I look forward to the day you return!