Stark Labs Affordable, Powerful, and Easy to Use Astrophotography Software

Focuser Control on the Mac

ShoeString Astronomy sells a nice adapter to let you control motorized focusers via your Windows PC. This adapter, the FCUSB (and it's cousins, the FCUSB2, JMI PC Focus Control, and TeleVue FocusMaster) control a wide range of motorized focusers that use simple DC motors and give you fine control over your motorized focuser. Or at least they do if you have a PC. If you have a Mac, you're out of luck. Likewise, Starizona sells a nice stepper-motor controller called the MicroTouch. Again, they've got nice software to control this on a Windows PC, but if you're on a Mac, you're out of luck. Same goes for Rigel Systems and their usb-NFocus.

Each of these companies support Windows on their end, but not Macs. Each of them, though, has helped by loaning hardware and describing protocols enough for me to get control of their focus motors up and going on Macs. ShoeString Focus, MicroTouch Focus, and Rigel Focus fill this void by giving you the same functionality as basic focus control programs supplied for Windows. ShoeString Focus will control the FCUSB, FCUSB2, JMI, and Televue adapters. For the Televue FocusMaster, the position indicated by the digital caliper is shown as well. Similarly, MicroTouch Focus will give you basic control (step, medium, fast in/out, goto a position, and control over the step size) over the MicroTouch controller. Rigel Focus controls their usb-nFocus servo controller. All require 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later, but there are old versions available that run under 10.4 (PPC/Intel) and 10.5.

ShoeString Focus, MicroTouch Focus, and Rigel Focus are freeware and available in the Downloads section. If you use and enjoy them and wish to make a donation to help support them, their development, and the development of similar products, you can use the button below. All donations are greatly appreciated.