Saturday, August 4, 2012

Image stabilizer for binoculars ala Alan MacRoberts




I'm an amateur astronomer since I know about.
 I got my first binoculars  only 13 years ago in the summer of 1999 at Methuselah's age of 45.
This was a  10x50mm Tasco binocular of doubtful quality which  shortly after was replaced by a 7x50mm  Fujinon Mariner binocular of excellent quality .
Since then I always had at least a pair of binoculars. And now I have four binoculars.
For the amateur astronomer who begins to observe the sky with the naked eyes, binoculars are  great tools because they extends in a great way the innate vision.
You just take your binoculars  looking for a corner away from artificial lighting. The simple gesture of rising your binoculars up to the starry sky, seems to be a sign of recognition, or a  very powerful secret password entered in the  ancient mechanism of the world.Suddenly the cover of the daily cellar disappears and the panorama of the Universe  unfolds before your eyes.You feel the heavenly scent of Queen of Night flowers, you hear in your ears the distant barking of dogs , but your look has already took you over there. At the same time you here  and beyond .
But  the  mobility of  binoculars is followed by their largest, maybe the only, disadvantage: shaking images induced by the weakness of our body.
By 2007 or 2008, I found on the site of  ''SkyandTelescope''  magazine an article which presents the solution found by  Alan M. MacRoberts to stabilize the binoculars.His image stabilization device is simple and inexpensive, is made of wood and some screws and using hand tools within everyone's reach.

You find the entire article at this link:


http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/diy/Image-Stabilize-Your-Binoculars.html?pageSize=0

 I become interested and started thinking about the little project of building such a device.


The first amateur convinced by this  idea was my friend Csillag Attila from Arad, whose version of a stabilization device is shown below.




MacRoberts image stabilizer with a ''Sakura'' 9x60mm binocular, built by Csillag Attila in Arad



Soon,Serban ,a student in Deva , built a device that belongs to this category, even if it failed to ensure all degrees of freedom of the  MacRoberts's  image stabilizing device.



Image stabilizer built by Serban ,student in Deva

Dan Vasiliu in Bucharest made a collapsible version of the  MacRoberts device, using components from a discarded tripod . Dan's collapsible version  is very suitable for  amateur astronomers living in big cities and who have to travel a distance to their place of observation.


Moreover,''the  shoulder mount for binoculars'' of Dan Vasiliu is part of a kit called ''the  minimum setup for observations''  which includes: binoculars, shoulder mount, a compass, a star map and a flashlight with red light.
Shoulder mount for binoculars, built by Dan Vasiliu, Bucharest 





Dan Vasiliu testing his shoulder mount for binoculars


''Minimum  Setup for Observations'' according to Dan Vasiliu: binoculars, shoulder mount collapsed, compass, star map and flashlight with the red light


A beautiful version of the MacRoberts device was made by Dan  Nicolcioiu aka ZENDOW 




The MacRoberts device nicknamed Li-zooka, built by ZENDOW  in Targu-Jiu, wearing his Revue 10x50mm binoculars 
Tavi Blagoi aka Erwin is my friend and felow member   on ''60mmtelescopeclub''.
Next day I posted this article ,Tavi let us know about his version of a MacRoberts image stabilizer made of Aluminium profiles.The counterweight is a piece of door frame filled with sand.
Tavi's device have shoulder cushions and is a work under development,in the future he intend to add a swivel.


Aluminium image stabilizer built by  Erwin / Tavi in Timisoara




10x50mm binocular on Tavi's Aluminium device ,notice the shoulder cushions




Sand filled counterweight of Tavi's device

Below I present some pictures of my MacRoberts  image stabilizer ,nicknamed Bizooka ,on which I can mount three of my binoculars.


Myself,my MacRoberts image stabilizer holding the 7x50mm Fujinon Mariner binocular
My  10x50mm  Baigish binocular mounted on the device
Details of the Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm binocular  on the ''Bizooka'' device
9x60mm Sakura Binocular  mounted on the   MacRoberts device
Overal dimensions of the frame of my device are: 40x230mmx1060mm.
Sides are made of laminated plywood  12.7 mm thick and the two spacers at the ends are made 30x40mm solid wood.
Pivot plate of solid wood has dimensions of :30x150x205mm.
The arm supporting the  binoculars is 3mm thick , made of a sandwich of two layers of 1.5mm steel sheet.
The hole for the 1/4 inch screw holding the binoculars to the steel arm at their hinge, is located at a heigh of 225mm from the bottom of the frame.
The handle of the swivel plate is made of 12.7 mm plywood.


Here are the results of the  testing of my ''Bizooka''/MacRoberts  device  on May 13, 2011:

,, Last night until from 23:30 to 1:00 I  tested the functionality of my MacRoberts image stabilizing device.

On average each binocular was used approx. half an hour.I observed in the same order, with each pair of binoculars, star fields of Gemini, Leo,Virgo, Ursa Major, Coma Berenice but also the Moon,Saturn, Lyra , Cygnus and Scorpio, Libra and Serpens  Caput.Of the  Deep-Sky objects  I observed Mel111 , M13, M92, M57 and Stock1.
 The order of using the binoculars was: Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm,  Sakura 9x60mm and  Baighish 10x50mm.
The device performed well with all three binoculars.The Sakura 9x60mm binocular is just the weight limit for objects near the horizon,  probably I have to add a few hefty screws  to the counterweight to compensate for this configuration / situation.

After more than an hour and a half of varied observations  with  binoculars mounted on the device, I returned to normal observation with handheld instruments: horror!

It is as if you swap the first class armchair on a high speed ''Intercity'' train for a ride on the buffers of the same train.


Great surprise, and actually a double one,  came from observing the double stars .Last year, when I managed to resolve in binoculars the double stars 16 - 17 Dragon and   Nu Dragon , Zeta Lyrae, 61 Cygni or Albireo,I had to sit on a chair, and, except the first two mentioned stars of Draco, all the rest of stars to be near the  meridian.During this testing of my  MacRoberts device, although Lyra and Cygnus were at 30-50 degrees altitude, all the stars like Zeta Lyrae,61 Cyg or Beta Cyg have been resolved in all binoculars. Wider  stars like Alcor-Mizar, Epsilon Lyrae or Zubenelgenubi in Libra can not even be put here. ''




If you access the original article by Alan MacRoberts on the ''SkyandTelescope'' site and you take the time to read the comments, you will find my comment in which I proposed the nick-name of  "bizooka'' for this device.
The equation is:           Binocular + Bazooka = Bizooka

I 'm sure  after you build such a device, you will join me saying: '' Thank you Alan MacRoberts'' !


                                                   BIZOOKA FOR EVER!


Mircea                    
                           

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this, Very Efficient and Economical. Great Idea! for Image stabilizing.

    ReplyDelete