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About astromole

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  1. Thanks Arthur for a very helpful post. I'll definitely be dipping my toes in the imaging pond and am glad there is a range of suitable webcams Frank
  2. Given the relative scarcity of the Philips 900NC webcam, and the often ludicrous prices paid on ebay for the ones that do bubble to the surface, I was wondering if there was an acceptable alternative. I would like to have a go at lunar and planetary imaging, but don't want to remortgage the house. Does anyone have any suggestions please? Frank
  3. Well, I bit the bullet and carried out a partial disassembly/reassembly of the v. stiff RA axis....not the whole thing, just the plate which holds the worm gear against the large toothed wheel on the axis itself. A bit of careful examination and thought revealed how this bit of the apparatus works and how the 4 allen key bolts and the grub screw all work together to set the worm gear with the ideal pressure as it meshes with the RA axis gear. I can only say that after several goes I managed to achieve a compromise between stiff and sloppy which is a whole lot better than before. I know photos would help but briefly this is how I managed it: 1) Loosen the 2 allen key bolts which hold the worm gear carrying plate vertically (ie the 2 WITHOUT the grub screw) 2) Fully loosen the grub screw between the other 2 allen key bolts. Be careful it doesn't drop out and get lost on the carpet! 3) Loosen the 2 allen key bolts on either side of the grub screw until the worm carrying plate is uniformly loose. 4) The idea now would seem to be to tighten the 2 allen key bolts (on either side of the grub screw) uniformly so that the worm gear meshes at 90 degress with the main large toothed wheel on the axis, and with an appropriate pressure. 5) This is where a bit of trial and error takes place. As I see it the grub screw acts as a stop to the allen key bolts once they have been tightened and set where you want them. However, I found that tightening the grub screw also makes slight changes to the pressure applied between the worm gear and main gear on the axis. This is where the trial and error comes in. You have to balance the tightening of the allen key bolts with the action of the grub screw. (This may be just a function of the age of my mount) 6) Once you've reached a reasonable compromise between too stiff and too sloppy, you then tighten up the other 2 (vertical) allen key bolts (the ones without the grub screw. 7) Finished??? Well not quite... Carrying out 6) above also applies some changes to the settings you've achieved. The only way I resolved it was to make slight adjustments at 4), 5) and 6) again until, as I said, I reached a compromise between too stiff and too sloppy. Incidentally I also took the opportunity to inspect the condition of the gears and to apply a little lithium grease. Flushed with success I applied my new-found knowledge to the Dec axis. Now I'm not saying I've done the correct thing but I've found out a whole lot more about the mechanics of my EQ3-2 mount and the result is a definite improvement on its former performance. I still think it will be some time before I attempt a full strip and rebuild. I do wish Synta would publish a proper workshop manual, or at least an exploded diagram of their mounts' interior. Tinker on dudes!! Frank
  4. Can anyone advise me on a relatively simple way to ease the stiffness in the axes of an EQ3-2 mount. I've looked carefully at a description of a strip/regrease/rebuild of a HEQ5 mount. This seems to be a bit beyond my comfort zone, but before I fit dual motor drives I would like to ease the movement in the axes, particularly the dec axis. As always any help to this old newbie is most appreciated. Frank
  5. Thanks Steve The links were very helpful.....can't wait for 'pocket-money day'!!!!!! Regards Frank
  6. I have a Helios 120mm (f1000) refractor on what is described as a SkyScan 2001 EQ3-2 mount. I would like to fit single, or ideally double motor drives. I also have a Skywatcher 130PM on an EQ2 mount with single axis motor drive. It is clear that the Skywatcher drive will not fit the SkyScan EQ3-2 mount. Can anyone identify a set of drives for the SkyScan EQ3-2 together with a likely source? Any help will be most appreciated. Frank
  7. Now here's a thing! Although the Barlow will not fit into the 2" to 1.25" adaptor fitted to the Helios refractor, it does fit (albeit a tight fit) in the focussing tube of the Skywatcher 130PM. The barlow itself (a Meade #124) performed excellently last night, and is a considerable step up from the barlow supplied with both the Skywatcher and the Helios. Little if any false colour even with a 6mm plossl. Frank
  8. Hi red dwalf Thanks for the info. I'll hang on to the #124 Barlow for use with the 130PM. I was going to offer it in the classifieds but hopefully I can still make use of it. Frank
  9. Hi red dwalf Just wondering if the Meade #126 fitted into the focussing tube. I have the #124 which definitely does not fit into the 2" to 1.25" adaptor on my Helios (Skywatcher by another name) 120mm refractor. I am awaiting delivery of a Skywatcher 130PM reflector so am keen to find out whether the Meade Barlow is likely to fit. Thanks Frank
  10. I recently 'won' a Helios 120mm f/1000 refractor on an EQ 3-2 mount on Ebay. Really happy with the scope....brilliant views of Saturn last night! However, I have discovered 2 problems: 1) There is a missing thumbscrew holding the diagonal into the focussing assembly. It holds with 2 but is a bit wobbly. Does anyone know of a good source of thumbscrews? I'm currently using a thumbscrew from the polar scope holder to make up the set as it has the same thread and pitch. 2) The scope is fitted with a 2" focussing tube, a 2" diagonal and a 2" to 1.25" adaptor. Whereas my 1.25" Celestron and Meade eyepieces all slot neatly into the adaptor, my Meade #124 2x Telenegative Barlow lens is too big, even though it is described as 1.25" Has anyone else experienced this sort of problem? Apart from forking out for another adaptor have I missed something? Perhaps the moral of the story is: Make sure you really check over an Ebay purchase, particularly if, like me , you are new to astronomy!!! Thanks in advance for any help Frank
  11. Thanks guys I guess I'll just have to curb this aperture fever until more funds become available Frank
  12. Thanks for the advice. Is it that the tube won't physically fit on the mount or is that the whole thing will wobble and vibrate too much? Even if I were to buy a sturdier mount, would I notice a significant improvement over my 130PM? Once again thanks for your guidance Frank
  13. I am returning to astronomy after a considerable time and have a Skywatcher 130PM on an Eq2 mount. I am considering a Celestron C6-N 6" f/5 Newt OTA and was wondering whether it will fit on the skywatcher EQ2 mount. Are the fittings compatible? Are the mount & tripod robust enough for the 6" OTA? Any advice from you experienced guys would be most welcome. Thanks Mole
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