Thursday, September 07, 2017

site description, Pt 7 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

I got to Mina/NV, pulled into dirt road. Camped out (slept in car), got morning pics of sunrise. Left, got to Bishop/CA. As I left Carl's Jr (fast food), my voltmeter indicated my charging system FAILED! (didn't read 14v). OMG WTF? I used voltmeter to check the Alternator AC windings -- ZILCH! ALternator FAILED.

Luckily, there was NAPA auto-parts 2 blocks away. Bought new alternator, did the install

I figured out the front-suspension vibration was due to "road surface roughness" on hwys in N. California & Nevada & Oregon. The highways near LA -- NO vibration. The damn Jeep DW (Death Wobble) is a harmonic vibration condition, due to THIN track-bar tab (passenger side). The circular hole gets "ovalized", leading to "play". Lesson in Physics -- oscillation.

The long drive in hot conditions, apparently caused the Alternator failure. Another lesson in Physics -- Heat.

^^^ eclipse-trip was an ass-kicker!! Ambitious eclipse-program, exacerbated by some issues with car.

site description, Pt 6 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

I know how to work on cars, & brought my tools. I limped back to Caldwell/Idaho (60 mi away), with non-working charger. My battery was nearly dead, as I returned the 2 rental cameras at the UPS store.

The Walmart mechanic told me

"DO NOT try to limp back to Los Angeles (900 mi drive) thru the desert (on 2 batteries)-- you WON'T MAKE IT"

I ended up find a website on my (dying) smartphone, about a charging system fix -- using external voltage regulator. I went to local NAPA auto-parts, got the parts & did the install. It worked..see pic

I hung around at Wendy's & McDonalds surfing web (checking out eclipse coverage, FB, etc), to eat/cleanup/chill out. I spent 4 days in desert

I headed back to LA, the next morning

site description, Pt 5 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

3 guys from Oakland/CA came to my site at 2am on E-day, they were nice enough to charge my battery with their running car (using jumper cables). Also gave me 1 gallon water & Powerade -- I was RUNNING OUT of water (brought 4 gallons). Strange for me, since I always bring more than enough

Another guy (Bob Lawrence, auto-mechanic from nearby Ontario/Oregon) came by, after seeing my "open hood". See below pic.

I got his business-card, I ended up calling him after I got back home. Super nice guy, he was going to let me stay at his home, & help me get the charging system fixed. His son & daughter work at NAPA auto parts

1 of the things that came out of my eclipse trip, were the super nice people I met. Country folk in Oregon & Idaho, plus the 3 guys from Oakland/CA. I've been in touch with the latter, they are all college-educated

site description, Pt 4 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

Notice the hood is up (see pic, previous blog post) -- I had car-charging problems!!

My trip to eclipse-site was EXACERBATED by 2 major car problems :

1) vibrating front suspension 
infamous Jeep DW = Death Wobble

2) FAILING charging system
started offroading to site with DEAD battery -- Jeep wouldn't start! I had bought a spare marine-battery in Caldwell/Idaho.

^^^^ I had to do major "battery management" for both my car AND eclipse-equipment!! I couldn't charge the

1) 2 Macbook Pro laptops

2) camera batteries

for fear of draining my already weak car battery! I was down to battery = 1 bar, for GH5 4K video-camera .. 30 min before Totality!! I almost didn't get below 4K video:

I actually ran out of batteries, as I did the 4th contact video!!

2017 solar eclipse, 4K video [ Eldorado Mine, East Oregon ] from Bob Yen on Vimeo.

site description, Pt 3 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

The pic (see previous blog post)

only shows the 3 sun-tracking mounts, there were 8 other tripods ( & digital, video-cameras).

I'm still working thru all the footage. Did the videos (rectilinear, 360 VR, time-lapse), then 4K video.

WASTED 1 week dealing with the 4K video 

[ Lumix GH5 was a rental (very high-end), requiring the latest codecs for Mac. Had to download latest Mac OS (El Capitan)..then Final Cut Pro X. IMovie would NOT work..spent 4 days "head butting" over this!! ]

before that WASTED 4 days doing the 360 VR

[ still getting stitching seams using stock stitcher. Now getting assistance from a Pro using an industrial stitcher (Mistika) ]

Need to get 4 rolls of film developed:

14mm, 20mm, 7.5mm (circular fisheye), 16mm full-frame fisheye

get 36 frames scanned for each (using a 23 yr old Mac 8500 + film-scanner!!), registered, converted to time-lapse

My main sun-tracking mount #1 (in middle) -- the 2 corona cameras & 1 narrow-angle camera didn't FIRE !!

[ glitch in automated controller SEM (Solar Eclipse Maestro) on Macbook Pro. 30 min before Totality, all 3 cameras were detected & did test "fire". Then, it went on "Simulated Time" (!!??), I changed back to "Actual Time". The Macbook Pro had startup GLITCH..took like 5 min to bootup. I.E., "spinning beachball" indicating some sort of problem ]

The sun-tracking mount #2 (also controlled by 2nd Macbook Pro running SEM), worked. However, 1 of the corona cameras (on 600mm f5.6)was out-of-focus!! (the images are somewhat salvageable). The other camera (on 800mm f8) were fine

I.E., only 1 out of 5 corona cameras was dead-on..!!!?? MAJOR BUMMER!

Below pic is equipment being broken down, placed into cases/bags, about to be loaded into Jeep.

site description, Pt 2 [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

I also had FOUR 360 VR cameras running (2 video, 1 time-lapse, 1 still). The still 360 cam (Canon DSLR + fisheye lens) is in above pic, which produced below 360 panorama:

[ sound is enabled, you can hear 3 guys (car-pooled from Oakland/CA) observing 100 yds away on a hill. All 3 were highly educated, we exchanged contact info

They gave me water & Powerade, I was RUNNING OUT! (strange for me, since I usually bring MORE than I need. Plus, helped charge my car-battery, I had MAJOR car problems on the 880 mi drive to Oregon -- vibrating front suspension & FAILING car charging system! I started offroading this site on DEAD battery -- car wouldn't start!! ]

Below picture taken by Justin Nash (leader of 3-person group from Oakland/CA)

site description, Pt 1 [ '16 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

Dr Oh (KAIST group) & myself had similar eclipse photo/video strategy.

We were both using Panasonic 4k video cam

[ KAIST = Lumix GX85, me = Lumix GH5 ]

on high-end APO refractors

[ KAIST= Borg 125mm f6.4 & me = Astrophysics 105mm f6 ]

The above narrow-angle video is with a SECOND 4K video-setup -- Takahashi Mewlon 180 f12 (7" Cassegrain, 2160mm FL) on Lumix GX85. It's the big scope on right side of pic (see previous blog post)

We both used DSLR on Takahashi 4" f8 fluorite APO refractor

[ KAIST = Takahashi TSA102 800mm f8, me = (older) Takahashi FC100 800mm f8 ]

They were using state-of-art harmonic drive sun-tracking mounts, I was using old-fashioned GEM (German Equatorial Mount)

My "parallel" setup at Eldorado Mine (East Oregon)

3 sun-tracking mounts (1 video, 2 photo)

is in below pic.

1) video
(American made) Astrophysics 4.1" f6 (624mm FL) + Panasonic Lumix GH5 (4K video cam, 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording)

2) photo 1
Takahashi FC100 (800mm f8) + Nikon D810 (36M pixel)

3) photo 2
2 corona cameras (800mm f8 & 360mm/2.8), 1 narrow-angle (1040mm f8)

above pic taken by Justin Nash (leader of 3-person group from Oakland/CA)

KAIST group (Dr Oh) in Warm Springs/OR [ '17 Solar Eclipse, Oregon ]

This was setup (Dr Oh/KAIST's group) at Warm Springs/Oregon, via Jeong ByoungJun

There were using similar strategy/setup as me:

1) 4K video (Panasonic Lumix)
APO refrator & Cassegrain telescope

2) Takahashi 4" f8 APO
digital SLR

all on sun-tracking mounts