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About johnpd

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    AZ, USA
  1. I got a chance to use it today. I set up the mount in AZ Mode, pointed the scope north and leveled it (ALT=0, AZ=0). I then chose the Sun from the Solar System objects and let the mount slew to where it was. To my surprise it ended up pretty close. I then went through the Solar System alignment process selecting the Sun to align on. It first asks you to point to the Sun but I was already close since I used the automatic slew to get to it first (it beats manually slewing to the object). I then centered the Sun in the eyepiece and finished the alignment process and received an "Alignment Succeeded" message. I should have checked what rate it had decided on then but I went to the new Utility Solar Track Mode and enabled that. It tracked very well for over an hour. So I still don't know what that new function does, but now with the Sun as an object and with the capability of aligning to it (I believe both of these were added in 3.38/4.38), Solar viewing is much easier. JohnD
  2. Has anyone determined what the new Utility function "Solar Track Mode" actually does and how it is different from the "Solar Tracking Rate"? The Release Notes say to 1) Polar align in EQ Mode or level in AZ Mode. 2) Finish the initialization, "no alignment is necessary"? Would you not want to do a solar alignment? 3) Activate the "Solar Track Mode" and center the Sun in the FOV with the HC. The Solar Track Mode does not move the mount so at some point you would need to slew to the Sun which the Solar Align would do. JohnD
  3. I have had a lot of issues with just getting accurate visual pointing with my AZ-EQ5 with a C-8 mounted on it. Getting it to balance in RA has been another issue. I had to put some small counterweights on the bottom of the C-8 to offset the finder scope. JohnD
  4. This seems to defy logic. You would think that if it was sitting on "Disable" and you pressed "Enter", it would change to "Enable". But it does not do that. It goes back to the main menu item (Auxiliary Encoders). When you go back in, it still sits on a highlighted "Disable". So is it disabled or still enabled? If you scroll down to the next option ("Enable") and press "Enter", that becomes the primary highlighted option when you enter Auxiliary Encoders. Does that then mean that they are enabled or pressing "Enter" enables them which then returns as "Enable". It is very confusing. JohnD
  5. I have a question on setting the Auxiliary Encoders for either the AZ-EQ5 or AZ-EQ6 mounts. The manual is not specific on what indicates the currently in force option. When you get to the option in the hand controller for enabling or disabling the Aux Encoders, the display says "Enable" or "Disable" with no apparent indication of what the current setting is. However, that initial option ("Enable" or "Disable") will be highlighted. Does this mean that this is the current option in force? In other words, if "Enable" comes up first and is highlighted, this means that the Aux Encoders are "enabled", and if "Disable" comes up first and is highlighted, this means that the Aux Encoders are disabled? Thanks, JohnD
  6. I am assuming you are using the counterweight extension rod with the 9.25 or C-11. The first issue I had with the mount was getting the C-8 to balance in RA. I attached the scope to the mount via an ADM Losmandy to Vixen adapter since I had a Losmandy dovetail on the scope. I also had an old Celestron Polar Alignment 8x50 Finder mounted on top of the C-8. It was virtually impossible to get the scope to balance. I could get it balanced on one side but when I rolled it over to the other, it would not stop rotating. I moved the counterweights up and down without much luck. Eventually my local dealer put some small counterweights opposite the finder and I could finally balance the scope. I use both counterweights (one on top of the other) and the bottom of the lower one is about 41mm from the end of the counterweight extension rod. I am really believing there is something wrong with this mount. JohnD
  7. I am putting in my exact Latitude and Longitude. I am having difficulty with just a 32mm Plossl which has a .8 degree FOV. Objects are all over the place and even out of the FOV. I am choosing alignment stars according to the recommendations in the Synscan Hand Controller manual. I have attached some diagrams of what I observed using Fomalhaut and Mirach as the alignment stars and, starting from Mirach, slewing to objects from east to west. As I recall, the old Celestron polar finder reticle has a 2 degree FOV. JohnD AZ_EQ5_Tests.pdf
  8. What is the heaviest instrument any one is using on a Skywatcher AZ EQ5 in ALT-AZ mode. I have been trying a C-8 and have been having pointing difficulties. Also when I touch the scope, the view in the eyepiece vibrates which makes me wonder if it can handle the weight although the specs indicate that it should. Thanks, JohnD
  9. Is there a "How to use Sharpcap" .PDF or Tutorial? I cannot find one on the website or at AstronomyShed. Thanks, JohnD
  10. The Skywatcher version will handle Alt-Az as well as equatorial. JohnD
  11. I have one on a C-8 with a Celestron CG-5 mount. The bracket base is attached to the scope and remains on it. When I am finished observing, I release the camera from the base and put it back in the box. I have done this numerous times and I still get very good pointing without even doing a polar alignment beforehand. Having a bracket base on another scope is interesting. You must do an initial alignment with the camera so the software can determine how the mount is pointing in relation to the scope/camera. As long as you don't move the bracket base, you should not need to redo this realignment. If you put the camera on another scope and the camera ends up pointing at exactly the same initial point on both scopes, it should work. I don't know how much offset difference the software will allow before you might have a problem, if you align with one scope and then use the camera on another without aligning on the second. If you use a different mount, that would really complicate matters. Hopefully someone who has done this can comment. JohnD
  12. The fact that it can affect pointing is actually stated in the user manual. JohnD
  13. Instead of manually slewing to the Sun, you can use the "User Object" option and RA/DEC values for the Sun to have the mount automatically slew there. It may not be 100% on, but you just need to then manually adjust from that short distance to the Sun. The Skywatcher AZ-EQ5/EQ6 mounts will not auto-slew to the first object when using Alt-Az mode, but you can pick the object (or star in case you are doing a two-star alignment) from a list and let it slew automatically. Then go through the alignment process. The new v4 hand controller firmware now has the Sun as a GoTo and Alignment object. JohnD
  14. I have an Optec NGM .33x Focal Reducer that I use with a C-8. The NGM has a standard C-mount back installed on it for spacing purposes. It appears that the Lodestar/Ultrastar as well as the Atik Infinity are CS-mount lens spacing cameras. I assume I would need a 5mm spacer to convert from the C-mount distance to the CS-mount distance? Any idea as to the vignetting that might occur. Thanks, JohnD
  15. I noticed you do not have the counterweights attached. Have you tried to balance the scope yet? Do you need the counterweight bar extension? JohnD
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