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The Camel

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About The Camel

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    Astronomy, motorcycling (1981 Honda CX500 B), steam punk, chocolate cake, camels.
  • Location
    SW London
  1. A very big thank you to all who have responded - it has helped boost my flagging confidence and determination to get this problem sorted by a method other than metal deformation. Having had so much pleasure using my Meade - which is so easy to set up - it came as quite a shock to discover that the EQ5 required advanced yoga techniques just to get in a position to use the polarscope let alone understand it. Thanks for the info, DirkSteele, I have now asked to be added to the Baker Street newsletter although a browser glitch means I am not sure whether my request got through so have also emailed a query to clarify. Hopefully I can then drag my brain and 'scope along to a meet and maybe get some alignment advice pounded through my cranium. Quite agree malc-c : I was not looking for a house call but directions to somewhere where I might gain the wisdom needed to get this irksome piece of kit to do my bidding. It also appears I have a local Astro Soc, so will seek them out too. And indeed, Guildford is just a short hop down the road. So there may be soon be light at the end of the tunnel (or 'scope). I've seen a couple of articles about needing to check the alignment of the polarscope with the tripod first but that seems to entail either finding a radio mast or building a scaffold tower a few hundred metres tall in the back garden..... Tried using a target on an upstairs window but if the target is in focus the polarscope isn't - and vice versa - so not sure what to do about that (I'm assuming if this is out of alignment then all else is folly?). Thank you for the step by step, bobgunnis - will give it a try. I had indeed looked at Astrobaby early on but the mount is sufficiently different to the EQ5 that I simply couldn't follow how to do the same thing. Hadn't thought about whether, once I am bent double under the polarscope, I would be looking at the right star - oh dear. I will let you all know how this pans out. Thanks again.
  2. Having bought what is, after my house and car, the single most expensive item I have ever purchased - namely a Celestron 9.25" on a EQ5 PRO Synscan GOTO mount - I have spectacularly failed to understand the concept of polar alignment. After 10 weeks of banging my head on the wall (door, table - you get the picture) and lots of good advice from people here. I am no closer to figuring it out and my level of frustration and now (dare I say) loathing of this piece of kit is at truly epic proportions. I've read and re-read manuals, watched You-Tube videos etc etc and it just does not sink in. I've yet to figure out even how to align the polarscope although I suspect a sledge hammer would work. I know I am being neutron star-like (i.e. unbelievably dense) about this, but that's mental blocks for you. This thing has sat in my living room and been trundled back and forth into the garden for another abortive attempt for 10 weeks now and all it does is smirk at me. I detest it. So much so that I am at the point where I want to see it gone from my house because I don't think I'll ever grasp this concept and the debate that goes on in my head is fairly evenly divided between taking a very large hammer to it or selling it (catharsis vs. cash). Somewhat extreme - but right now it represents utterly wasted money and I simply don't want to have to look at it every day and thus feel even more frustrated and useless than I already do. I never had this problem with my Meade 105AT - it took just a couple of minutes to get it sorted and working like a dream. But the Celestron/SynScan? 10 weeks? No, I can't believe it either! So, I guess this is my last gasp on this to ask, please, if there is anyone out there who can actually show me how to get this thing working because, as of now, I have given up trying and if I can't get it working then it either needs to be sold or scrapped: its presence is seriously eroding my peace of mind and, more important, my enjoyment of the night skies.
  3. In my search to resolve the polar alignment crisis (or possibly my lack of knowledge/understanding crisis) I am having with my new (well, second hand) mount, I have been searching for a manual which deals with my mount. There appears to be none. Not that possessing one guarantees any resolution to my problems but it would be one less box to tick in my search and, well, you never know... Anyway, there are manuals on the EQ5 and some others but not for GOTO mounts as far as I can tell. The Sky-Watcher site is, to be frank, pretty poor for a technology-based site. Click on the "Customer Support" link and it tells you to go find the dealer. OK, to be fair, the FAQ has the (paraphrased) question: There was no manual with my scope, shouldn't there be one? The (paraphrased) answer is "Oops, sorry. We are currently working on more complete telescope operation manuals." There was, of course, no date on the answer... It does go on to say that new manuals will be announced on the "What's New" page. There is no such page... Pause while I bang head repeatedly on table - and so on. I felt the urge to chase Sky-Watcher but who to chase? The website has no contact information (see above) and there is little on the company itself - Pacific Telescope Corporation. An hour or more of digging around led me to discover what is probably common knowledge, that Sky-Watcher and Celestron are (as far as I can tell) both owned by the same Chinese mainland company: Suzhou Synta Optical Technology Co., Ltd. of Jiangsu, China. Celestron through a Taiwanese affiliate of the main company. Synta provides no email address although I can phone a Ms Crystal Tang apparently. There is an address given for Synta in Taiwan but, interestingly, the city (Su Zhou) and province (Jiangsu) listed are mainland China. At this point I have to admit defeat as I am more likely to be struck by a Perseid in my garden this evening than see a manual for my mount appear at any time in the foreseeable future. Still, I am tempted to write to Ms Tang - just out of curiosity. There are a lot of very good sources of information out there and I have looked at the Astronomyshed series on YouTube which has been of some help. I noticed, however that the RA clock on the mount used in the video is the reverse of what I have - the numbers immediately to the right of the zero on my RA ring has 23 on top and 1 underneath and the ring does not do what the NEQ6 ring does. Astronomyshed in reply to my query on this said "Yup, the EQ5 rings are poor" - oh joy. Does that mean I have a southern hemisphere RA clock and does that affect how I use it? (comments about standing on my head are not encouraged ). I was also interested to see that my RA ring has a 3rd set of "ghost" numbers printed on it - just to make life more interesting - almost as if by mistake. Still, I have a few more sites to look at in the attempt to figure out polar alignment. I do hate being this thick but I will - I hope - eventually "get it" (ding!).
  4. Having acquired a second hand 9.25" Celestron OTA on a SynScan EQ5 mount last week, I was eager to get it up and running. My other 'scope is a Meade ETX 105AT - very portable, reliable and easy to use. Never used an equatorial mount before so was interested to find out how the set-up worked. Oh dear. A week later, less hair, more blood pressure and still no success. Sky-Watcher manuals are clearly written by people who understand the concept and function of a German Equatorial Mount for people who understand the concept and function of a German Equatorial Mount. If you fall outside that category there is only one word I can offer - "doom". I am not a knowledgeable amateur astronomer, I dabble and enjoy the night skies immensely but, as a professional editor for 20 years I do better when it comes to understanding how to write clearly. Sorry Sky-Watcher, "null points". I digress - I have had a warm welcome from many people on this site and much encouragement and I am very grateful. Struggle as I have with this concept of polar alignment I appear to be getting nowhere, and getting there quite quickly too. A number of forum members suggested Astro Baby's site: "Polar Aligning ... for Idiots". At last, something I can get my head round. It is an excellent site but did it help? Sadly not. Read the site thoroughly, printed the pages, read them again; got out the mount and spent an hour or more struggling to get nowhere because of two problems which brought my hopes crashing down again. Astro Baby says first get the reticle aligned and this can be done on a distant object during the day, a star is not needed. Just as well: I had tried at night and could hardly see the reticle (yes, I did take off the end caps!) only the star. So, back to the day: try as I might, I found this impossible. My EQ5 "bottoms out" around 30 degrees on altitude adjustment so whatever I look at has to be humungously tall if it's a long way away. A pylon across the park doesn't even come close. There is nothing. Close up it doesn't work because if I draw a dot on a piece of paper and stick it on the top window of my house then the focus from a point in the garden which meets the 30 degree angle I am no better off - if the dot is in focus then the reticle isn't, and vice versa. Plus the focusing ring was very loose (now cured with PTFE tape). Slight movements of the eye/head cause significant movement of any object in the polarscope eyepiece so not sure how I can centre it, swing the mount through 180 degrees, and still know I'm looking in the same spot. I am probably doing something terrribly wrong but I can't figure what it is. And I still don't know if my reticle is aligned. [sigh] Second, Astro Baby has a good section on "Setting the Scales" - I sort of understood this until I read "Remember to compensate for Summer Time or Daylight Saving Time and use GMT if your (sic) in the UK". My brain melted at this point because Surrey is in the UK and it is BST at the moment. This appears flatly contradictory. Are we talking just the UK or the GMT zone and why isn't BST relevant in the UK? No, I'm hopelessly lost. If the site had said "Remember to compensate for Summer Time or Daylight Saving Time but, if you are in the GMT time zone - such as in the UK - then use GMT only and ignore Daylight Saving" - this would have been clearer. But life ain't like that so I am back to square one with a bit less hair and a great deal more stress than I had yesterday. With the Meade, I have always had to "punch in" the BST/GMT element in the hand controller for the scope to point in the right part of the sky. The EQ5 mount leaves me utterly confused, this level of stress isn't healthy at my advanced years, and an OTA which sits on the living room floor is just a waste of space (if you'll excuse the pun). Sitting here now, looking at the mount fills me with dread rather than excitement and I find this very sad. I don't work during the summer break (education-based) so I've literally spent the best part of 5 days trying to sort this out and got nowhere. When something is blindingly obvious to you it can often be very difficult understanding why it is not blindlingly obvious to everyone else - knowledge is a wonderful thing, the lack of it slightly more stressful. I am undoubtedly being denser than the typical neutron star but this mount simply defeats me. I do get the concept that it is the mount that has to be aligned and not the scope but that provides me with neither solace, nor (it would appear) ability to progress. The expectation was considerable a week ago and the looks of disappointment from my children now painful. Barring the house and car, the Celestron is the most expensive single item I've ever purchased. My late dad said the best lessons are the hardest - they also appear to be the most expensive. My apologies for any boredom induced by the inordinate length of this piece. The devil is in the detail and just writing "I have an EQ5 mount - please help!" doesn't quite capture the torment.
  5. Thank you one and all for your kind messages of welcome and encouragement. I have now switched my postings on my initial problem to the "Beginners Help and Advice" forum to avoid cluttering the welcome section with tech stuff. The thread is continued under "SW London newbie EQ problems". I have looked at and studied Astro Baby's pages and the result of my attempts are reported on the new thread. Again thank you for your welcome. The Camel
  6. Hi, and thank you all for the very kind welcome. Will have a look at the links, Lex, thanks: themcdonalds looks useful. Have just discovered another site - Astro Baby - which may help too (not sure how many times I've said that this past week). Will take the advice and communicate my problem on the other forum - I'm sure someone out there will bash it through my thick skull - heh. Looks like a clear night..........
  7. Hi to all, Been casually gazing for a few years with a Meade ETX 105AT which I've found remarkably easy to transport, set up and use. Skies not too bad in my part of London - could be better, could be a whole lot worse (used to live in Hammersmith!). Bought a second-hand 9.25" Celestron SCT on a SynScan EQ5 mount last week - it's my first experience of an equatorial mount and it's been universally awful. Whoever writes the manuals for Sky-Watcher is a classic example of: if you understand something then you can't see how not to understand it and thus how to explain it. I fit firmly in the "not understanding" category - heh. The OTA has sat on the living room floor for a week now while I continue to look for an understandable explanation of how to align the 'scope - but the more I look, the more confused I get - not sure whether my patience will last the course and getting to the point where the next "Go To" this SynScan will experience will be eBay. The Camel
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