Previously I posted about astrophotography cable management and I outlined the top three reasons why you need a cable management strategy. The simplest solution was to place a USB hub on the mount or the telescope somehow and keep as many cables as possible from hanging from the mount. This solution will reduce the dynamic mass that can throw off the balance, reduce cable drag, and possibly even stop cable snags from happening. Continuing with this theme, it’s time to start implementing the solution.
Astrophotography Cable Management: Centralizing The Equipment
I use a second dovetail plate and some angle brackets to create an equipment plate for everything to connect to. This equipment plate is the central point by which my astrophotography cable management solution revolves around. It addresses several needs, and provides additional stability for all of my astrophotography equipment. I can create a nice area to tuck all of my cables into because I use 1 inch steel spacers to create a space between the telescope and the equipment plate. As a result, I benefit from the many advantages of this cable management strategy.
1) The cable mass is no longer dynamic
No more massive bundles of cables hanging from the mount! Now, all the cable mass is tucked into one space, and does not move as the telescope slews. Consequently, this provides a massive improvement to the stability of cable mass on the mount.
2) Extra rigidity
The use of a dovetail adds additional stiffness our cable management system. Also your equipment can be secured to a flat surface as opposed to a curved telescope tube. A more rigid mating surface for all of your equipment should be the result.
3) Setup only once
Your cameras and other equipment need to be setup only once! You won’t have to try to remember what USB ports are for what peripheral camera or focuser. They stay plugged all the time. That’s right! No more digging through your computers settings to try to find out what com port your autoguider is on for PHD to work.
Equipment you will need
You’re going to need some basic materials for the astrophotography cable management equipment plate. Remember, that this is going to be the literal foundation of everything.
- A D-Style dovetail
- Industrial strength Velcro
- L-shaped brackets
- Bolts, washers, and nylon locking nuts