Lakeside Motor Focuser Kit
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Lakeside Motor Focuser KitLakeside Motor Focuser KitLakeside Motor Focuser Kit

Lakeside Motor Focuser Kit

£299.00
  (5 Reviews)
✓ 2 year warranty

:  

1x in stock shipped 1-2 working days

About this product

Model:  lakeside_focuser_kit

LakesideAstro Motor Focus System - Dependable, reliable and accurate auto focusing

BoxThe motorised focuser from LakesideAstro has been designed and built in the UK. It is a stepper motor focusing system (shown here attached to a Moonlite Crayford focuser) which is fully compliant with ASCOM and can be used with all the usual programs such as MaxIm, CCDSoft, FocusMax and many more.

It has an integral 16 character x 2 line LCD display which shows the position of the focuser and provides on screen access to the calibration routine, setup routines, precise manual control and other user functions.

The motorised focuser can also be controlled by using the push button switches to provide manual focusing. The unit is provided with a all necessary cables, installation CD and suitable bracket and coupler to connect the stepper motor to the telescope. For a full description of the system see other pages on this site.

X2 Plugins now available for TheSkyX Pro!

Overview

The LakesideAstro motorised focuser system is designed as an add on for your existing telescope system. The stepper motor will be provided with a customised bracket to connect the motor to the telescope and a shaft coupler that will replace one of the focusing knobs of your existing focuser. It is ideal for use with most of the popular Rack & Pinion and Crayford focusers.

Customised brackets are available for a wide range of telescopes and commonly used focusers. We are continually adding new brackets and are able to provide custom solutions if required.

There are two main components of the system, i.e. the control unit and the stepper motor assembly.

Important: We no longer include a 2m power lead as people often needed something longer or with different connectors so instead we have reduced the price and recommend you buy a suitable power lead for your needs, the unit uses a 2.1mm 12v DC connection, these Lynx Astro cables are a good match: Lynx Astro Silicone Power Cable 2.1mm DC Jack to 2.1mm DC Jack or Lynx Astro Silicone Power Cable for Sky-Watcher Mounts.

Control Unit:

BoxThe control unit is fitted with a 16 character by 2 line LCD display and three push buttons. The unit is fully ASCOM compliant for use with programs such as MaxIm DL and FocusMax etc., and has been tested with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

The unit has a professionally made high quality printed circuit with full silk screen and solder mask for long term reliabilty.PCB

The display has a variety of uses which can be accessed via the three push buttons. The centre button is used to select the various modes whilst the outer two buttons are used for manual control or for setting the parameters of the system. The modes available are AUTO, MANUAL, PRESETS, SETUP and TEMP.

The default mode is AUTO which is used for autofocus using any suitable ASCOM compliant programs such as MaxIm DL, CCDSoft and FocusMax etc. The focuser position is shown on the LCD display in this mode.

When in MANUAL mode the motor can be driven using the buttons on the unit. When a move IN/OUT button is pressed the motor speed starts at a low rate to enable precise positioning and ramps up to maximum speed if the button is held down. The LCD display shows the focuser position at all times. When in manual mode it is possible to set a backlash value.

The PRESETS mode allows you either save up to three positions or goto one of the previously saved positions. This could be useful if you are using the unit in manual and swapping eyepieces or imaging equipment which have different focus positions.

Also provided is a special routine for 'parking' the focuser which could be useful if you are using a mobile setup. This will allow you to move the focuser to a preset position, e.g. with the tube fully closed for packing away the telescope. Whenever the 'park' command is initiated it automatically saves the original position so that on subsequent use the focuser can be returned to that position using the 'unpark' command.

The SETUP mode provides on screen access to routines to allow you to calibrate the system or to select step size, direction of movement and the backlash for manual use.

The TEMP mode will display the temperature from either the internal or optional external digital temperature sensor. The temperature will also be displayed in programs such as MaxIm and FocusMax.

Temperature tracking is now provided which will work with all the usual programs such as MaxIm DL and Focusmax to automatically adjust the focus position to compensate for temperature changes. The temperature sensor is now mounted externally close to the motor as standard to provide more accurate temperature readings.

Stepper Motor Assembly:

FTThe motor assembly consists of a stepper motor and gearbox with a custom bracket and shaft coupler to suit the users telescope or focuser, shown here attached to a 3.5" FeatherTouch Focuser.

A selection of standard brackets and couplers are offered to fit a variety of telescopes and new brackets are always being added to the range. We would be happy to provide non standard items on request.

 

 

Moonlite Focuser:

3.5" Feathertouch Focuser:

Williams Optics:

What's in the box

Kit Includes

  • Control Unit
  • Stepper Motor
  • Stepper Motor Control Cable
  • Bracket
  • Motor Coupling
  • Bracket Screws / Fixings

Specifications

System components:

  • Control unit with 16x2 LCD display and push buttons for manual use etc.
  • Stepper motor and gearbox with 4000 steps per revolution
  • Remote temperature sensor mounted on the motor connector
  • Bracket to connect stepper motor assembly to the telescope
  • Shaft coupler
  • Stepper motor cable (2 metres long)
  • Required screws etc. for fitting

Requirements for autofocus:

  • PC running Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • ASCOM V5 or above
  • Microsoft .NET V2 or above
  • Suitable ASCOM compliant programs such as MaxIm DL, CCDSoft and FocusMax
  • USB port
  • 12v DC power supply rated at 1 amp or better

Downloads / Manuals

LakesideAstro Drivers:

Driver Updated April 2020:

The LakeSide Astro V2 driver has been updated to fix compatibility issues with Voyager automation software and to improve multi driver usage for people using multiple controllers at once.

You can download the latest LakesideAstro Driver V2.0.x.x installation disk here. This file contains the drivers, manual and Lakeside Utility program.

You can download the V2.2.x.x manual here. (Also on the installation disk)

Note: When upgrading make sure that you uninstall any previous installations of the driver before installing the new one.

Legacy Drivers:

You can download the LakesideAstro driver V1.0.x here.

You can download the LakesideAstro driver V1.1.x here.

For dual focuser users using V1.1.x get the second driver here.

You can download the V1.1.x manual here.

You can download the LakesideAstro Driver V2.0.x.x installation disk here.

You can download the V2.2.x.x manual here. (Also on the installation disk)

View the version history file here.

Note: When upgrading make sure that you uninstall any previous installations of the driver before installing the new one.

LakesideAstro X2 Plugins for TheSkyX Pro are now available!

Download the Windows X2 Plugin V1.0 here
Download the Mac OSX X2 Plugin V1.0 here
Download the RPI-3 X2 Plugin V1.0 here
Download the Linux Ubuntu Plugin V1.0 here

The plugins are available with thanks to Colin McGill for writing the plugins and to Rodolphe Pineau for compling them on multiple architectures. The plugins are also available on Rodolphe's site: https://rti-zone.org/macosx_x2focuser_plugins.php

FocusMax:

Go to FocusMax website home page here.

Go to the FocusMax downloads page here where you can get the latest release and beta versions of FocusMax.

Go to the FocusMax documentation page here where you can get the help files and tutorials.

 

Customer reviews

Average Rating (5 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating (max 5):  
Excellent focuser system, let down by fitting brackets
Saturday, 19 June 2021  | 

The Lakeside system works a treat and is an ideal way to get fully automated... using it with the autofocus routine in Nina helped be get better focus that I ever could by eye or with a Bhat.

The handset is rather large but seems very well made. The only real niggle is the fitting brackets, I've had two so far one for a moonlite and one for a steeltrack and both wouldn't fit the respective focuser without modification. Otherwise I'm very happy with my Lakeside.


Rating (max 5):  
Works very well but should be easier to install
Thursday, 1 April 2021  | 

The good news. With this installed on an Esprit 80ed focusing is a joy and spot on. It works very well with the SkyX and its own focus software, @focus3. You need to be quite close to focus to begin with but it's then a matter of seconds to get an accuracy of one motor step out of about 6500 full in to out, confirmed by the star sizes and lack of any doughnuts even at extreme magnification in actual images.

Getting the device installed is a different matter. The instructions are generic. First take off your focus knob - you are on your own (it's not under the rubber covering, but is held in place by a grub screw visible as you turn the focus knob on the Esprit 80). Have a good supply of Allen keys, ball ended which work at an angle are best. The coupling bush has a hole drilled at each end, of different diameter. Which end goes on the shaft? I chose the smaller diameter, which even so isn't the near friction fit of the original knob. The tapping for the locking grub screw (fit to bush before offering up) is only partially visible when fully pushed in on the shaft. There's a second hole that can be used but then there's less length to prevent movement of the bush. The Esprit shaft has a flat and the shaft needs to be turned before rightening the grub screw. In my case this left the motor shaft at an inaccessible position to fasten the grub screw at that end. I had already fitted the bracket (not anodised) - obvious but makes sure it is the right way up. No diagrams to help. Fixing the serial port to a hole in the bracket with nuts and and tiny bolts is a fiddle. The end of over long screws have to fit through holes in the plug and serve no real purpose in so doing. There is no way to lock the serial plug as is usual with screws into welded on nuts. Fitting the socket on the inside of the bracket angle allows you to remove the plug and cable to avoid any problems with the mount slewing. The plug cable is a flat ribbon and probably will be possible to fit through the mount if you have that facility, but not ideal. The bracket fits with two screws removed from the focuser pinion block, that work in conjunction with grub screws on a push pull basis (they are not dust caps as widely reported on the web) and hold the pinion gear level and with a slight gap to prevent binding. This is a very firm fixing and better than on offer with other makes. It is important to double check the focuser is turning smoothly before making the final connection by grub screw to the motor shaft. If not, it may be necessary to adjust the four screws and grub screws holding the pinion block in place.

Then the drivers. No, they didn't download automatically as per the manual. Windows drivers do not work when you find those even though they do load. You have to identify which virtual COM port the device is using to get it to connect, (as well as remember the device only connects when in Auto mode) and when it doesn't work you think it's that. You need proprietary CDM serial usb conversion drivers, found on various web sites for printers and 3d printers. Should be on the Lakeside site. The control unit is bulky and without any provision for fixing to the mount. It uses three rather wobbly and delicate push buttons. Calibration is easy using the instructions and off you go.

Heath Robinson but it looks a lot better than I expected. Functionality vastly over form and fitting but highly recommended. The motor has no problem lifting a field flattener and ZWO cooled camera in a vertical position, and holding it at focus position. Note that the motor is heavy and on the side of the scope. Balancing is only partly possible without some compensating weight but this has not caused me any problems.


Rating (max 5):  
More Automation
Wednesday, 27 January 2021  | 

I struggle to achieve good focus and I put this down to my age, my eye sight and not much patience. I have watched YouTube videos of more expensive focusing units being used with Sequence Generator Pro and thought "this is for me", only to be put off by the high cost of the fuciser. I then stumbled across a vlog showing how to use the Lakeside Motor Focuser with SGP and this encouraged me to investigate. I was surprised to find that one revolution of the focusing motor takes 4000 steps. The only thing extra needed is a 12 volt power supply. This unit is suitable for ASCOM compliant programs and comes with all the fixings needed to fit to the scope of your choice, mine is a Skywatcher 72ED. The fitting, calibration and initial testing went well and took about 75 minutes in total, mainly due to large fingers! I download a copy of the instructions from Lakeside and fired things up and it all worked first time, which is unusual for me. The instructions are clear and accurate making calibration a breeze and i tested the focuser using the weather vane on my local church. I think the price is good value but clear skies would be nice to put the unit through its paces. Now to hook up to SGP.


Rating (max 5):  
Works like a charm
Saturday, 19 September 2020  | 

I had held off ordering a motor focusser for a while as my Moonlite CR2 is quite old and I was concerned about how to attach the bracket. I need not have worried - everything fitted together really easily and the whole process of imaging just got a lot slicker. I use SGPro and NINA, and as long as the overshoot method is selected, the focusing routine works perfectly in both - that had been another worry, there seemed to be a lot of people having problems with autofocussing. I must have led a very good life or have been very lucky (probably the latter), but either way, I'm delighted with this Lakeside unit. Now, if I could only find an autofocusser for my RedCat.


Rating (max 5):  
Motor Focus Purchase.
Wednesday, 26 February 2020  | 

I ordered the Lakeside Focuser Kit from Flo, and as per usual It arrived by Courier
in very quick time.
A brief check of the contents indicated the power cable was absent, but I
was wrong, as Lakeside no longer supply that part. I missed reading that in the write up on the device.
The USB cable was also not supplied, but Flo rectified that once they were aware it had not been picked from their shelf.
My Steel track is now wearing a Lakeside Focuser, and it will be a huge asset to me.

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