Jump to content



  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Vox45

  1. 8 minutes ago, saac said:

    We will also fuss over tracking accuracy comparing phd plots and and periodic error correction graphs without really considering the most obvious limit factor of all , seeing!

    I couldn't agree more :) 

    • Like 2
  2. 5 minutes ago, inFINNity Deck said:

    Those four bolts (six in my pier) are also referred to as a "rat-cage" (or "rat-box" as you called it yourself) of which is said that it would ruin the stability of your set-up. My rat-cage is very low, but friends of mine have 'decent' rat-cages and no issues at all. As long as the bolts are thick enough and the set-up properly balanced, the rat-cages are fine (IMHO that is).


    OMG you've unhearthed a thread I've totally forgotten about ! That's almost 8 years ago :)  time flies. I've learned a lot by reading my own thread ! lol

    Back then I was in the process of planing the build but I had to move to the city and never got the chance to go through with it... Now I am back at it :) 

    • Like 1
  3. 5 minutes ago, saac said:

    I never paid any real attention to leveling my pier beyond a cursory care while laying the pier base.  I have never had difficulty in either polar alignment, go to precision or tracking. Levelling is more relevant when using an alt az mount but irrelevant largely when using a GEM mount.  However some people like to fuss over the smallest detail and for them that is part of the enjoyment - hence the legend of the requirement for a 1 cubic metre concrete pier base. Go figure. 


    I've read somewhere that the 1 cubic meter requirement came from the 1st DYI pier base that were mostly done in colder region in the US where the frost line can be quite deep, so footings needed to be placed below this line to prevent them from heaving or shifting due to the freeze-thaw cycle. It then became "a standard" even in countries where it never really gets cold in the winter. Not sure if it's true but it would explain the overkill ;)

  4. 50 minutes ago, inFINNity Deck said:

    So, for convenience, it is good to have the base level, but that is all there is to it.


    The drawback of a leveling platform is that you rest your whole setup on 4 bolts but I've seen some people argue that those for bolts are rock solid... I agree with your point, I don't think I would be able to see the difference with my light setup and the seeing I usually get any vibration would be drowned anyway.  So, I'll go with the one that I think would be more convenient for me, the Pulsar with the Owl nest ;) 

  5. I am looking for a pier for my permanent observatory build. I found these 2 piers that fit my needs but they have a different design:

    Altair Skyshed 8 inch Observatory Pier (Heavy Duty w anti-vibration fins) designed with a leveling plate



    Pulsar Anti-Vibration Observatory Pier v2 without a leveling plate


    I've heard over the years that your mount doesn't have to be perfectly leveled as it will mechanically be leveled when doing the polar alignements.

    here's what Pulsar is saying about the leveling plate: 

    The adjustable platform myth : This myth began, we suspect, because early DIY pier designs were based on a poured concrete or wooden pillar, requiring an adjustable platform.  An all-welded pier does not.  These DIY designs spread via social media to such an extent that today even some commercially available piers unwittingly include the same adjustable platform! 
    The myth is that astronomy piers need an adjustable platform to achieve a perfect level.  It is not true because a GEQ mount's RA axis is polar aligned, so it is independent of the pier's top plate.  This is fortunate because fitting a mount to an adjustable platform, which is in turn fitted to some stud bolts, defeats the purpose of having a solid all-welded pier.  But what about Azimuth rotation?  This isn't necessary either because astronomy mounts have integrated azimuth adjustment (it is necessary to know where North is when fitting a pier to its concrete base, but that isn't difficult).

    But here's what Altair is saying about this:

    Levelling and rotation is important for good GOTO and easier, more accurate polar alignment:  All major mount manufacturers recommend setting up an Equatorial or Alt Azimuth mount as level as possible, and aligned to the North/South axis. Without accurate levelling Equatorial Mounts are difficult to polar align The only way to ensure your mount is perfectly level is with the four 16mm thick steel threaded adjustment rods, which allow small incremental adjustments with a spanner once your scope is mounted. Don't fall for cheaper designs which don't allow rotation or rely on "shims" (basically washers) for accurate levelling. When you get that dream rolloff observatory or dome built, or make your own, this is the only solution to get 100% right designed by astronomers. We have replaced many piers from 3rd parties which have suffered various problems from corrosion, to a frustrating inability to level or rotate them in Azimuth.

    What are your thoughts on these 2 opposite take on the leveling issue ? Is it purely a marketing strategy and it won't make any difference to the average astronomer ? I find that Altair "only way" and "only solution" (emphaisis mine) is a bit arrogant tbh.

    I like the Pulsar one because of the "Owls Nest" and cable access holes. 

    I suspect that with the material that I use and the poor seeing, I would never see the effect caused by vibrations, especially since I won't be standing anywhere near the mount and the base will be isolated from the observatory.


    • Like 1
  6. On 13/01/2024 at 21:41, Bugdozer said:

    Quite a few things seem to have been found by Guillaume Le Gentil (which I think translates as "William the Polite", doesn't it? Olly?) 

    That would be "William The Nice Guy" in today's term. But in that period "Gentil" (from the Latin "Gentillis") would translate to "noble", "social elite"; Gentilhomme (Gentleman)

    • Like 1
  7. 4 hours ago, Shimrod said:

    5th Surprise  -the original focuser will fetch around £80 if you sell on here or ebay - I had put mine to one side thinking it was not really worth anything

    I also had a 6th surprise - the screws holding the orignal focuser where so tight I stripped the heads and had to drill them out - not an uncommon problem.

    It's amazing how quickly a £250 focuser becomes a £350 focuser - but I wouldn't swap mine back.

    Interesting, I too thought that it was worth next to nothing :) I will try and sell it then.

    I did not have any issues with the screws, I was lucky I guess. The price did add up, but the focuser is such a beauty, I can feel the difference in the smoothness of the movement. I do not regret, and it was a xmas gift ;)

  8. Ho that is nice to know. I was a bit disappointed to lose the ability to rotate the focuser !

    -> I took the thumbscrew (with a nylon tip) from the original ring and removed a grub screw on the adapter.


    -> I was able to fit the thumbscrew and now I can rotate the focuser as it use to do.



    I would still buy the clicklock anyway for its ease of use when swapping/installing my camera so I don't feel bad spending money on it (I sold the old one so the extra cost was minimal) but I feel better knowing I can also rotate the focuser :) 

    Thanks for your input guys ! 


    Hello all,

    I've decided to document the upgrade of my stock focuser to a Baader Diamond  SteelTrack as I ran into some issues and surprises and this might help others avoiding them.


     1st surprise : The Baader Diamond  SteelTrack does not fit a SW 80ED without an adapter.

    2nd surprise: You need to remove one grub screw on the adapter and replace it with the thumbscrew from the original focuser ring to keep the ability to rotate the focuser

    3rd surprise: there are no screws supplied with the dovetail shoe (the focuser does not have a dovetail shoe built in, you need to buy one separately)

    4th surpriseI already had a clicklock screwd on the 80ED stock focuser. IT WILL NOT FIT on the Baader SteelTrack. You need to buy a different model


    What you will need to buy along with the focuser




    1x adapter to mount



    1x Dovetail shoe (optional)



    1x Baader clicklock (optional) I already had a clicklock installed on the 80ED stock focuser. IT WILL NOT FIT on the Baader SteelTrack. You need to buy a different model.



    Step 1 Remove the stock focuser




    Step 2 Align the adapter with the OTA holes



    Step 3 Remove the rotation ring on the Baader Diamond SteelTrack focuser




    Step 4 Fit the Baader focuser into the adapter ring and secure with the grub screws.

    Be very careful as I applied almost no pressure and still managed to damage the screws. They are quite soft.




    Step 5 (optional) Install the Dovetail shoe

    surprise! There are no screws provided with the dovetail shoe. I will need to find the reference and buy some.




    I am quite happy with the result. There is no comparison between the stock focuser and the Baader Diamond Steeltrack.



    • Like 1
  10. ok so I see what happened there. 

    The ClickLock I own is not in fact the Baader ClickLock 2956258 but the SW Baader ClickLock M56i 2956256... 



    Unfortunately on many vendors site, the picture shown of the 2956258 look a heck of a lot like the 2956256...


    One website showed it upside down as well ... So I could tell from the picture that I had not, in fact, the correct clamp ... 



    Ho well, live and learn ... I just bought from FLO the correct clamp that had 10£ off due to a customer return ;)

    • Like 1
  11. Hello All,

    I just received my Baader Steeltrack to replace my stock focuser on my SW ED80. I already own a 2" Baader ClickLock clamp (S58) and it was supposed to be a fit for this focuser.

    The problem is that once I remove the stock clamp to replace it, the threads are on the inside like so:

    1. I loosened the grub screws



    2. I can see the threads on the inside


    3. Here is my Clicklock ... no way to connect it to the Focuser


    4. I tried separating the stock clamp from the bottom piece thinking that I might need it but, either it is stuck or it's not supposed to be separated :)


    Anyone has had this problem ?


  12. I have to admit that I was a bit put off by a picture I saw of a Cassegrain with an extremely long focuser due to the fact that you need to add multiple extensions like so:


    On this picture there is almost no more dovetail left ! It looks like it is a nightmare to balance ;) 

    But still, I would love to have the chance to look into one as, like you said, the magnification can be much higher in a Cassegrain and it must kill on planets and the moon :) 

  13. 17 minutes ago, johninderby said:

     the early black one had an oddball size that no one makes an adaptor for

    That's what I am afraid of. fortunately I have an SCT focuser on my MAK150 so I will bring it with me when I will meet the vendor to see if it fits... Hopefully it will as it is a 2 hours drive ;) 

    I was also looking at the classical Cassegrain but I don't see a lot of them second hand. I hear they are pretty good and the main advantage is that there is no dewing and it adjust to the temperature quickly since it is an open tube, but how would you compare the view with the Mak180 ?  do you see a big improvement ?

  14. I have the opportunity to buy a SkyWatcher Maksutov 180/2700 to replace my gold maksutov 150mm

    I see that a new SkyWatcher Maksutov 180/2700 has "Skymax" on the tube and the one I am considering buying does not. Does anyone know if there is a difference or is it just a branding name difference depending of the country ? Here is a picture of the Mak I am looking at:


    I remember seeing somewhere that if I want to replace the visual back with an SCT focuser there was a need to buy an adapter, but the newer Mak did not need that adapter ? Could it be the difference between this one and the skymax below ?




  15. Hello ! 

    I did not find you delivery to be problematic. In fact I found the pace, tone and presentation quite enjoyable so I would not worry about this as you will get even better with experience.

    - I did cringe a little when you said M32 instead of M31 for Andromeda

    - I know this might seem trivial and I do not want to be brutal but since I will be looking close up at your hands, make sure they are well "manicured" I would guess that you work in some kind of mechanical or manual work and I do not want to shame you (I admire people who know how to use their hands!) but it can be a put off .. sorry to be brutal about this.

    - be careful with the sound, buying a small mic that you can attach to your shirt is good practice to make easy-to-listen-to videos.

    I hope I did not offend you by being too honest and I really enjoyed the 3 videos and I think you are providing useful content that will help a lot of people. I hope you keep it up and I will be visiting your channel often.

    Here is a nice link to start on a small budget and greatly improve you video. 



  16. for me it's EKOS on an RPI4.

    I use Stellarmate. It's a pre-installed and pre-configured image with all the software included, so you just need to put it on an microSD card and you are done. I started with BYEOS but soon wanted to have everything run at the mount so I switched to an RPI and INDI/EKOS to replace all my windows software and ASCOM/EQMOD. I've never looked back since. 

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.