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XAGYL Motorised Filter Wheels - AstroShop

 

A Truly Excellent Easy-To-Use Motorised Filter Wheel

If you are looking for a great low-cost solution for your remotely operated observatory or even if you're attending the telescope, this beautifully made, slim, low weight filter wheel selector is definitely something you should consider. Ultra slim motorized filter wheel - only 0.7 inches or rather 17.7mm thick!

My review here is a pretty quick hack (jump into the deep end testing after receiving our first sample order shipment) based on my own experience with this new and highly affordable ASCOM compliant electronic filter wheel product straight out of the box. From build to performance I simply was not disappointed at all.

 

Above: The Xagyl 5 position electronic filter wheel mated with a ProStar C-mount male to T2 (M42) low-profile female adaptor directly to the wheel. The wheel itself is fitted with the supplied T-2 to 1.25 inch nosepiece locked directly into the classic Vixex R130Sf F/5 Newtonian telescope which is riding on a Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro Goto German equatorial mount.
 
SPECIFICATIONS for 5 Way model
Dimensions: 4.5" x 4.75" x 0.7"
Filters: 31.7mm (1.25 inch)
Positions: 5
Drivers 32 & 64 bit Click Here
ASCOM: Comliant YES (online) Click here
Manual: YES (online) Click here
Back Focus: 19mm (minimum)
Camera attachment:

 

Standard M42 T-thread

 

Includes:

 

 

 

T - thread adapter
C - thread adapter
2 inch barrel adapter
3 metre mini USB interface cable
Dark frame filter 1.25 inch for unattended use

 


 

The filter carousel is threaded for standard M28.5 x 0.6 filters. The maximum filter cell height which can be accommodated is 10mm, having thread length of no more than 6mm. What it doesn't include although I am a little old school is a CD or printed manual but in these times that's well understandable in order to keep cost low, save a few trees etc.. after all, we jsut about all have a computer these days and using the links in this review or a search on the internet will take you to where those magical drivers etc live.
 


Installation

I think what impressed me the most was how easy it was to install the drivers even on my observatory Windows XP (service Pack 3 machine). Yes, I know... bit old school but for me, when it works it works. But the XAGYL filter wheel drivers also install easily on WIN7 platforms etc. I basically downloaded the ASCOM, filter wheel drivers and manual in minutes and had them installed in the obs computer within 10 minutes.

Shortly after that and having fitted my ProStar 1.25 inch LRGBC filter set I was testing the ASCOM compliant interface and watching the filter positions changing quietly from one to another according to the filter selection placements I had programmed into the Xagyl filter position interface. The manual is very good and explains well how to install drivers in various operating platform circumstances. It also covers commands for operational command to the filter wheels for ambitious software programmers.

UP & RUNNING

Using my little 130mm Vixen R130Sf on HEQ5 Pro Go To mount connected using only PC direct mode with SynScan 3 controller and Cartes du Ciel planetarium software I was slewing the sky for a few basic objects as the clouds started roll in so had to settle for something obviously bright to do some quick filter wheel capture testing.
 

I fitted the 5 X 1.25 inch - FW5125V3 with supplied 3 metre mini USB cable coupled to a 5 metre USB amplifier cable in order to reach my scope outside. Using the GSTAR-EX2 camera at prime focus and using our own GSTAR-EX PC com control cable to manage the camera exposures. Controlled remote Sky-Watcher motorised focuser using EQ MOD focus Pal ASCOM driver. So I was up and running now able to slew the scope remotely, control the focusing and camera remotely as well as the lovely little light-weight Xagyl 5 position electronic filter wheel.

The image here is comprised of 50 captured frames in RGB filter only using the GSTAR-EX2 camera with ProStar 1.25 inch RGB filters. The camera was set to X128 Sense Up to penetrate the thin moonlit clouds as best as possible without burning out the core of the nebula too much. A dark frame was taken using the Xagyl filter wheel supplied 1.25 inch dark frame filter at position 5 which worked really well and no light leakage was detected as far as I could tell.

Adjusted slightly in post-processing, the image colours are not quite correct given I omitted using the
ProStar 1.25 inch UV-IR cut filter fitted to the nosepiece of the filter wheel but it certainly gives some idea of what can be achieved using a remotely controlled filter wheel with a remotely controlled camera, mount and focuser from the peaceful, warmth of you home.


CURRENT MODELS AVAILABLE

There are currently three models currently available from AstroShop Australia

5 X 1.25 inch - FW5125V3 - perfect for LRGB monochrome lunar, planetary & deep-sky imaging with 5th position for unattended dark frame capture

8 X 1.25 inch - FW8125
- perfect for lunar, planetary & Ha, LRGB OIII & SII monochrome deep-sky imaging with 8th position for unattended dark frame capture. For planetary, you can use alternate filter combinations in say deep IR or Ultra-Violet etc.

7 X D36mm - FW736V1 - where unmounted filters 36mm are required for full coverage of the cameras image sensor. Perfect for Ha, LRGB OIII & SII monochrome deep-sky imaging.

5 X 2 inch - FW5200
- perfect for LRGB monochrome lunar, planetary & deep-sky imaging with 5th position for unattended dark frame capture. Use also for UVBRI photometry use etc..

We will add more information to this article as more testing, customer feedback etc comes to hand.

 


BUY IT NOW from AstroShop Australia  and ensure full protected authorised distributor warranty & support.

Note: AstroShop reviews are only intended to provide prospective purchasers our own first hand impressions of performance and build as has been our long time policy.

 

Copyright 2015:  AstroShop - Binary Systems P/L

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