How can I make it easier?

For manual focus, the best thing is a speed reducer – a small knob on a 2-speed focuser that takes 6-10 turns to turn the big focuser knob (and focuser shaft) one turn.  With a speed reducer, the is magnified to comfortable 6°-10° rotation and the torque required to turn the focuser shaft is reduced 6-10 times.   For the fast imaging Newt (f-4), the miniscule ±0.3° becomes a perceptable ±3.0°.

Still you're turning turning the focus knob by hand so there's a good chance the telescope is still shaking and the star’s image is vibrating and blurring.  Most likely You’re still stopping every so often to let the vibrations damp out so you can check the star's focus, then turning the focus knob some more (hoping that you’ve turned it the right way and by the right amount), stopping and checking again, try to figure out if it’s better or worse, go the other way to check and so on.

And there's a mechanical drawback for speed reducers as they use ball bearings, instead of gears, which can slip under heavy load especially when the focuser tension knob is tightened to lift the load without slipping.

How can I make it even easier and more reliable?

Motorize your focuser. A motorized focuser won’t shake the telescope while your focusing, and the motor can make very small rotations of the focus knob more reliably and precisely than you can by hand. If you select a focus motor that attaches to the single speed knob, you won't have focuser slippage as with a speed reducer. But pick the right focus motor.




Auto Focus Hardware
DC Focus Motors & Controllers

Motorize your focuser with a powerful 12V DC motor driven by our nFOCUS controller for fine focusing without vibration more...

STEPPER Focus Motors & Controllers

For computer controlled auto focus, motorize your focuser with our 0.10 degree resolution stepper motor and usb_nSTEP computerized interface more...

Focusing & Imaging Software
Autofocusing requires 3 suites of software, although some vendors combine these and other observatory functions.


A consortium of software developers and hardware manufacturers devoted to vendor-independent plug-and-play more...

ASCOM Yahoo Group

Autofocus Software

FocusMax aids astronomers in the difficult task of focusing CCD-based telescopes more...

FocusMax Yahoo Group

Imaging Software

Sequence Generator Pro
Sequence Generator Pro is a powerful image capture application that supports SBIG, QSI, Canon EOS and ASCOM cameras more...

Sequence Generator Pro Yahoo Group

Nebulosity is designed to be a powerful, but simple to use capture and processing application for Windows and MAC OS X. A huge array of cameras are supported for image capture and processing more...

Nebulosity Yahoo Group

MaxIm DL
Complete observatory integration. Controls your camera, autoguider, filter wheels, focusers, camera rotator, telescope mount, and dome. ASCOM compliant more...

MaxIm DL Yahoo Group