Homemade Philips SPC900NC Webcam Adapter


Electrical modifications and construction of electrical accessories can be dangerous. Do not attempt such activities unless you are qualified to do them safely, without injury to yourself or your property.  Anyone not qualified for these activities should secure the help of a licensed electrician. It is always recommended to consult with the appropriate manufacturer prior to modification of any equipment, as this may void warranties and/or alter the equipments performance.

Philips SPC900NC Web Cam Adapter

Low cost astrophotography with a web cam requires some sort of adapter to attach the web cam to the telescope. Typical methods are to tape a 35 mm film can or eyepiece barrel to the webcam or purchasing a commercial adapter (typically $20-$50). I constructed a homemade adapter for the Philips SPC900NC by reusing the lens focus assembly. The entire adapter was constructed from scrap tubing and materials, making it essentially free. The following instructions are for a 0.965 inch. adapter, however the same procedure could easily be applied to constructing a 1.25 inch. adapter.

The first step in using a web cam for astrophotography is to remove the lens; the web cam lens is not needed because the telescope will function in place of the web cam lens. Photos of this procedure and a commercial webcam adapter can be found at First Look at the Philips SPC900NC Webcam.

The basic idea is to remove the lens from the plastic lens housing and reuse the empty plastic lens housing as an adaptor. Note that this procedure will destroy the glass lens and the camera can no longer be used as a webcam! I used a hammer and a small screwdriver to remove the lens. This process will most likely chip and break the small glass lens, so be sure to wear appropriate eye protection. If you plan on also using the SPC900NC in the future as a webcam, then you need to keep the plastic lens housing with the glass lens intact and instead purchase a commercial SPC900NC adaptor (about $25 on
eBay). The below photo shows the SPC900NC webcam lens housing after removal of the glass lens.

 I located several scraps of tube and an unused 0.965 inch. eyepiece barrel (below photo). 

The adapter needs to mate the eyepiece barrel (left) to the plastic lens housing (right). I did this  by finding several tubes that could be inserted inside of each other until eventually the metal eyepiece barrel could be slid over the plastic lens housing. Most parts were wrapped with electrical tape to give snug fits and also provide electrical insulation. The final assembly is shown below:

The small threaded section (top) screws into the webcamera and the metal barrel fits a 0.965 inch. draw tube. The black tape electrically insulates the adaptor and also gives a snug fit inside the webcam lens hole. The below top and bottom photos show the webcam with 0.965 inch. and 1.25 inch. adapters, respectively.