Friday, April 15, 2011

NEAF Blogorama: FLI

The guys from FLI were at NEAIC, and their newest, coolest product is the CenterLine color filter wheel. We grabbed a shot of this top-of-the-line filter wheel with a Proline camera one one side (shown below) and an Atlas auto-focuser on the other side (no, not the red thing...that's Greg Terrance's laptop). With the camera attached to the very center of the CenterLine, the weight is beautifully distributed.

I was surprised by how big the CenterLine is, but when I looked at the interior, I could see why an imager would love the flexibility the double filter wheel provides. The two wheels can hold a total of ten 50mm square filters. Run LRGB in one wheel and UVBRI in another, or load a light pollution filter on one side and overlap it with other filters.

Here's another cool feature: The filter windows are masked on both sides to reduce internal reflections; a problem that is common with square filters.

While the filter wheel we saw is a prototype, the mechanical features look as they will in final production models. It is the electronics that are still in development.

Here is a bit more information on this new filter wheel...we should start seeing thee on our shelves this summer.

The FLI CenterLine color filter wheel features a centrally located aperture that presents a symmetrical mass distribution and eliminates the offset weight problems associated with virtually every other color filter wheel on the market. It is also ideal for prime focus installations where a zero or symmetric shading of the primary mirror is critical. The CL1-10 CFW presents an easier load to handle vs. a normal color filter wheel and it will not change a telescope’s balance as it tracks across the sky. The FLI CenterLine also allows for combining filters which is not possible with traditional style filter wheels. The FLI CenterLine model CL1-10 holds up to ten 50mm x 50mm square filters in two independently operated wheels. It is powered by two internally mounted stepper motors and two TruMotion synchronous belts. The internal wheels are supported by radial ball bearings that provide a smooth, quiet and repeatable operation.

• Number of Filter Wheels: 2
• Filter Positions: Eight + Two Open Positions
• Filter Size: 50 mm square
• Filter Thickness: 3mm - 5 mm
• Body Thickness: 1.1"
• Camera Coupling Pocket: Zero-tilt Adapter
• Filter Cup: 2" Square
• Telescope Coupling: Zero-tilt Adapter
• Internal Wheel Material: Aluminum
• Interface: USB
• Power: 12v
• Weight: ~ 4.5 lbs

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