Cable management

People who have been into the showroom in Mitcham will know just how fast I am to demonstrate a DSLR hanging off any scope. At the first hint of photography I'm off to grab a t-ring and my trusty Pentax.

This week I've got a saxon 127 Maksutov at home to try to get some photos of Jupiter, so (of course) it's out with the DSLR again. This time I'm using an intervalometer so I don't have to touch the scope when taking photos.

But aarghh! Don't you hate this? Cables!

Cables cause so many problems - they wave in the breeze (like the intervalometer on the 127 Mak here), they catch on the tripod adjustment screws and they flop around while slewing or tracking.

But worst of all - my Labrador's tail gets caught in them every time. She's so waggy. As you can see in the photo, it's amazing she hasn't knocked the whole tripod over - yet.

No matter what your setup, from beginner to experienced imager, you'll have this problem. It's unavoidable. If you've got a motorised mount or even any equipment on your telescope it's going to have a battery or a communication cable somewhere.

It only gets worse. You start off with a shutter release for your DSLR or a motor drive for your manual mount, and before long you've got dew heaters, astronomical cameras, guide cameras, electric focusers, filter wheels, camera chillers... the list goes on until you realise:

That's not a telescope, it's a plate of spaghetti!

You can start by cutting down the number of cables supplying electricity to your stuff. A power distribution box up on the mount will mean only one 12 volt cable needs to go up the tripod.

If you've got any stuff on the mount that connects to a computer, a powered USB hub can also cut the number of communications cables that come down the tripod.

Ultimately, you have to tie your cables up so they don't get in the way. I use bread ties. But make sure you can slew the mount or focus the scope without running out of slack in the cable!

Take it from me, it never ends!