RoboFocus

RoboFocus
RoboFocus mounted on our JMI NGF-S

RoboFocus is manufactured by Technical Innovations.  It can be manually driven from it's own driver screen or, since its driver is ASCOM compliant, it integrates seamlessly into Maxim DL giving you an automated focusing solution.  Many users use FocusMax, a freeware focusing utility, between Maxim DL and RoboFocus to achieve a sharp focus, but so far I have had excellent results just running it through Maxim DL.

There is built in temperature compensation in the control box, I have not tried using it yet, it supposedly works well if you have the controller mounted in a good location and proper orientation.  A hand paddle is offered if you can't easily use the buttons on  the control module and there is a remote power option (four 120v outlets) so you can remotely control the power to various observatory items, i.e., cameras, lights, mounts, etc.

The biggest suggestion I have for this critter is to READ THE MANUALS!  My first attempt to auto focus was a big failure.  Maxim DL requires some parameters (focal length, 1/2 flux dia., step size) to be set so it knows how to move the focuser.   I had the step size set to 1, and then kept trying different step sizes all evening and got nowhere.  The next night I read the Maxim DL instructions for setting the focuser up, it has worked flawlessly ever since.

The RoboFocus setup replaces the JMI stepper motor and focus shaft.  It took a little work with the Dremel to get it to mate to the focuser without binding.  Technical Innovations recommends using the SCT's focus instead of an external focuser, but I had the JMI focuser, and the Meade 10" has HORRIBLE mirror shift and I didn't even want to mess with trying to fine focus with it. 

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