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Posts posted by BrendanC

  1. Sorry to bump this thread but I have a chance to get a cut-price 130PDS, but I really must know the answers to these questions first, if ANYONE out there can help:

    * Can I put the 130PDS (ie dovetail fitting and weight) on the mount for this: https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watcher-explorer-130p-synscan-az-goto-telescope-528-p.asp
    * Is the PDS OTA good for observing too, as well as imaging?
    * Does the Skywatcher auto focuser work with its focuser?


  2. Sorry, should have mentioned: I don't have a lens for the DSLR. I just bought the body thinking, foolishly, that I could achieve prime focus with the scope. Nice idea though, and it's kind of why I'd like to hang on to the DSLR ideally, because it does open other possibilities of much wider field images (also, it's a modded DSLR with the IR filter removed). In future I could get a nifty fifty or a 135 f2 for other imaging. But right now I need to decide on what the best way forward is, with a PDS or a new camera. To decide this, I just need to know the answer to my four questions above!

  3. Which I think would be almost exactly the same weight as the current setup ie a 130P plus DSLR plus motor focusser, which is a shade over 4kg which my current mount can handle ok.

    Still don't know definitely if the motor focusser will work with it though, as in physically connect to it given it's a different kind of focuser. I think it will, but don't know.

    Still don't know definitely if the dovetail for the PDS will work with my mount. I think it will, but don't know. Apparently the PDS has a vixen dovetail fitting, but I don't know if that's the same as for the 130P.

    Still don't know definitely if the viewing is compromised with the PDS compared to the P. I think it isn't, but don't know.

    Still don't know what the chances would be of selling the 130P OTA on its own. At all.

    So many unknowns! If I can confirm these questions then I'm getting a PDS. If not, then I'll probably be taking the other route ie ditch the DSLR and get an astrocam.

  4. This is my full kit: https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watcher-explorer-130p-synscan-az-goto-telescope-528-p.asp

    Yes, I know, very basic, better for visual than for photography, etc etc etc

    I'm fully aware that I'm not going to get the results as per the 130PDS thread, but I do want to take a next step towards that as an aspiration, and the PDS could just be what I need.

    I just need to know if the mount will handle the PDS. I figure they're similar in weight (around 4kg - yes, I actually just weighed mine to check) so it should be fine weight-wise, just not sure of the dovetail and whether the auto-focuser, which I have, will work with it because I'd quite like to keep it.

    Totally appreciate that a strong EQ mount is called for, but there's absolutely no way I'm going to spend £999 on one, not until/unless I'm very confident indeed that this is something I want to pursue. 

  5. On 'another astro forum' which shall remain nameless! (I don't want to get involved in a bunfight!)

    Gist is that someone tried to use a ZWO120 cam but couldn't get focus even with the focuser all the way out, had to use adapters to make up the extra few mm. I get that the camera is more for planetary use, and for that you probably would insert a Barlow anyway, but it just gave me the willies, that's all.

    The 130PDS thread is truly amazing, and it's pretty much made up my mind. Now, if I could just get my local supplier actually to respond to the emails I've sent asking a couple of questions about it, I'd be sorted. Actually, I may as well copy them here in case anyone can help! These are they:

    * Can the mount for the 130P handle the PDS (ie dovetail fitting and weight)?
    * Is the PDS OTA good for observing too, as well as imaging?
    * Does the Skywatcher auto focuser work with its focuser?
    * Finally, what are the chances of being able to sell just the 130P OTA to make up towards the cost of the 130PDS? I've seen loads of ads for the PDS, none for the P.

    I just want to make sure I'm not making another mistake. I'm doing this on a budget and can't afford mistakes.

    Thanks again, all the responses on this forum have been terrifically useful.

  6. Hi again, so I've heard tell that the PDS isn't great for prime focus for dedicated astro cameras. This surprises me greatly.

    Any comments on this? I was virtually about to buy a PDS but this concerns me. I'm confident from what I've found out that it'll work with the DSLR, but if I ever want to invest in an astro camera, I'll be wanting to achieve prime focus with that too.

  7. @alacant That's one of the mods I've come across before but it scares the bejeezus out of me. The photo is useful but do you have any more specific instructions? You say you use M5 bolts because you have a 250, so what manner of bolt would I need for a 130? Is there such a thing as an M3 bolt? I have no idea. I've found the other threads knocking about regarding modding Skywatcher 130Ps, but the photo links are broken. Also, how does this affect collimation? And how does this affect viewing - presumably you need a longer eyepiece holder to compensate?

    @daemon Yup, the PDS is a cool scope and I wish I had one of them now! Apart from the focuser, the crucial difference is indeed the length of the tube, which makes prime focus a doddle. That's another avenue I'm considering, exchanging the 130P OTA for a PDS.

    Thanks for the suggestions. The mod is definitely a contender and would enable me to keep all my gear, but I'm just, well, scared, you know, like that first time you climbed the gym rope at school?

  8. Hi,

    After much research and head-scratching, I'm starting to realise that basically, a Skywatcher 130P , DSLR camera and prime focus don't get along well together.

    There are mods I could do (scary), new OTAs I could consider (pricey), new lenses I could buy (ditto, plus I want to use my scope, not buy new lenses).

    So, I'm considering selling the DSLR, and trying a dedicated astro camera instead. I already have the Bresser Mikrokular which is a joy to use but pretty limited. I'm after better planetary and moon shots, and the possibility of at least starting to delve deeper into the brighter DSOs, nebulae and galaxies and suchlike. 

    However, I don't want the same palaver I've had with the DSLR re achieving prime focus. I want something like the Bresser - pop it in the eyepiece holder, off you go. Looks to me like the best candidates are those with 224 and 290 sensors, from Bresser, Altair and ZWO.

    Which brings me to my question: if I go for one of these, will I be able to achieve prime focus ie remove the Barlow, in goes the camera, get focus? If it's just not possible with a 130P then I'll accept it, maybe have a little cry to myself in the corner, and then just crack on with what I've got ie good observing, sort of ok imaging.

    I'd just hate to take delivery, get all excited, remove the Barlow, pop it in, then realise that I just cannot get prime because it's not possible with my scope.

    I'm not after specific recommendations for cameras, but I really would like owners of Skywatcher 130P scopes (not PDS, because that works, apparently, darn it) to tell me their experiences.

    Thanks, Brendan

  9. OK, so I now have a name to my pain.

    The t-ring adaptor I bought didn't have the internal screw fitting! It was just the ring, which fits to the camera fine, and then three tiny screws with nothing inside. I assumed the screws were to hold the two-inch eyepiece adaptor for prime focus - which is correct - but I had NO IDEA that it was also supposed to have an internal ring, which is also held in place with the screws, which in turn has a thread for attaching the 1.25 eyepiece! I realised it after poring through many photos and videos such as the one above, observing how other people seemed to screw their cameras into their adapters, and suddenly noticing the distinct absence of thread in which to screw anything on mine.

    So, I bought another one and assembled the lot in, what, a minute?

    So, what I was trying to do, which I considered impossible, was actually impossible.

    On the one hand I'm slightly narked that I bought an incomplete item. However, rather than send it back, I'm thinking that actually it might come in handy. I can just buy another two-inch eyepiece adaptor and attach it permanently to the incomplete T-ring adapter, which will make swapping between prime focus and non-prime much quicker and easier.

    This probably makes no sense at all, but the main thing is, it's fixed, mainly because it's now fixable. Thanks for the help along the way!

  10. Thanks for the replies.

    @Cornelius Varley - this is what I keep finding: people say it's possible, but having unscrewed everything and tried to put it all back together in just about every single possible combination, I just cannot get from the camera with T-ring adaptor at one end, and the scope at the other, with the Barlow in between.

    Do you know of any pages that actually describe this ie this bit, which you'll find here, goes there, etc? 

  11. Hi all,

    I know, I know, this has been discussed before but having been through a bazillion threads, here and on other forums, I'm still clueless as to what I need to do here.

    I've got a Skywatcher 130p AZ GOTO scope and mount, and recently got a Canon 1000D, astro modded. I've managed to connect the camera to the scope using Skywatcher's clever eyepiece adapter plus a T-ring adapter for the camera. All good.

    However, I cannot focus on the moon. At all. I know this is because reflectors have limited in-focus range, and it seems to be that it's about to get into focus as the focuser goes in, then stops. So, not enough travel.

    I understand the problem, and I know plenty other folk have had this in the past, and I think the answer is eyepiece projection or inserting a Barlow. I've played around with every bit of kit that came with the scope and cannot figure out for the life of me how I'd get the Barlow inserted. So, I either need an adapter of some sort for eyepiece projection , or to get the Barlow into the optical path.

    Can someone please tell me exactly what I need here? An actual link to an actual product would be most appreciated. I totally understand that really, the camera plus scope combo would be better for deeper sky objects, and I'm not trying to get 'the whole moon' in the image (happy with mosaics). I just want to be able to focus on the moon.

    Any/all advice appreciated. As I said, I'm sure the knowledgeable around here will be rolling their eyes because this must have been asked plenty of times before, but despite reading up on this I just do not know what I should be buying to get around the problem.



  12. Thought I would tie this one off - I finally sorted it.

    I noticed that Sharpcap recognised my mount via the Ascom drivers, so I can control it exactly as I want from within Sharpcap. Get aligned manually, centre the image on the viewfinder, then I can fine-tune and centre on the computer screen.

    All controls work fine, only bugbear is that if I turn tracking off, it turns it back on a few seconds later for some reason.

    So, out with alternative drivers, EQMOD and even the ASCOMPAD, it really is just a case of installing the ASCOM platform and the ASCOM Skywatcher drivers. Which it should have been to begin with, but wasn't.


  13. Hi all,

    So, when I first bought my scope (Sky-Watcher Explorer 130P SynScan AZ GOTO) the nice lady in the shop told me that, to align it, I should choose two-star alignment.

    Several months later I'm all fine with that. I often find that daytime alignment with Saturn or Jupiter just as it's going dark tends to be sufficient for quick viewing, but I have used two-star and it all works well.

    However, polar alignment has always bothered me. I keep coming across it. It isn't available as an option in my Synscan. I've read plenty about it, but really, just do not understand why it's necessary. Sorry, I'm sure this has been asked before many, many times, but it's just not making sense to me.

    So my two questions are:

    1. Why is polar alignment necessary if, say, you can align yourself with two (or even three) stars? If someone could answer this in, say, fewer than 50 simple words that would be great.

    2. Furthermore, even if it's necessary for a manual mount., it is necessary if you're using a mount that tracks automagically like mine?

    That's all. Again, apologies if this is numbingly familiar to you all but it's something that bothers me, a bit like vague toothache that you know you should do something about sooner or later.

    Thanks, Brendan.

  14. Thanks, I'm using v6.0.6262.15273, which seems to be the latest on https://skywatcher.com/download/software/ascom-driver/ and https://ascom-standards.org/Downloads/ScopeDrivers.htm

    I downloaded and installed your drivers and selected NexStar 5I. I can connect it in CdC  but the software hand control does not appear at all.

    Another new discovery: if I just switch on the mount and don't go through alignment, up/down works perfectly, even with tracking turned on in CdC. If I do set it up, I'm back to the weird up/down thing again. This could tally with the idea that there's some sort of conflict between the scope being locked onto something, and the manual up/down setting.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, really appreciate it. I might play around with other drivers to see if I get anywhere.

  15. ... and after more fiddling, this is the situation:

    * ASCOMPAD open only (ie no astro software): west/east software hand control works, north/south does the strange crawling thing. Click Stop on ASCOMPAD's keypad, and north/south work fine. Is this an ASCOM conflict?

    * In CdC: if I open ASCOMPAD before connecting in CdC, north/south behaves exactly as above on the software hand control. If I then close ASCOMPAD and connect in CdC, north/south don't work unless I turn off tracking. They then work, but tracking is immediately switched on again! Is this a tracking conflict?

    * In Stellarium, while the scope is connected, ASCOMPAD is grayed out, which strongly implies Stellarium controls the scope while ASCOM cannot. If I disconnect it, ASCOMPAD behaves as above.

    So there seems to be something conflicting with the north/south software hand control which might be due to ASCOM, or might be something to do with tracking.

    If anyone has experienced anything like this it would be great if you could let me know your thoughts. I realise this has been a bit of a whine and I've been posting while investigating, so no worries if not. I think I'll give up for a bit, have a cup of tea and cherry tart, then think about this some more later. Main thing is, it seems I did have things set up properly first time around because after an entire morning with this, and after being careful to try and understand what I'm doing, I'm back to where I started!

  16. OK, bit more diagnostic/fiddling/scratching of head.

    Situation is this:

    * In CdC, the software handset control (ie as distinct from the Synscan hardware unit) lets me go west and east full pelt

    * HOWEVER, when I click north or south, I just discovered, it IS actually slewing the mount - but always very very slowly, always down, always for about five seconds then stops. 

    * I installed ASCOMPAD to see if I could get back to where I was before. I can: if I run ASCOMPAD, none of the controls on ASCOMPAD work. However, when I click 'Stop' in the middle of ASCOMPAD's keypad, the other software handset control works perfectly.

    * If I then go back into CdC and reconnect the scope, the north/south works once or maybe twice, then goes back to the strange crawling-south-for-five-seconds mode.

    I should add that this is completely replicated with both my USB/serial converters ie the cheapo one I first bought, then the SkyWatcher official one that cost about five times as much in the hope this would fix it, which it hasn't.

    So I don't know why north/south is doing this on the software handset control when in CdC. Any ideas? Any/all suggestions welcome.

  17. Thanks, that's exactly the point I'm up to. The small handset control is appearing, and it controls the mount when I click west and east, but not north and south.

    Also, whereas CdC shows where the scope is pointing, if I select a target object and click Slew, it doesn't slew.

    I've run the ASCOM diagnostics, it says there are some fails but I do not understand the log files.

    I'm going to try Stellarium again but I have a strong feeling I'll be back where I started ie with the small ASCOM handset working with west/east but not north/south.



  18. So I figured out why I got an error message when registering the mount with EQMOD - I had to run the toolbox with admin rights in Windows 10.

    So I'm back to how I was before. I'm running Cartes du Ciel this time, because it seems to loom large in most people's instructions, have connected up the scope, and the funky little hand control is back. I can go east/west, and for a few seconds just now the north/south worked too, but it's stopped again.

    If this worked, it would be exactly what I want. I'm starting to wonder whether there's a problem with my scope. The handset controls work fine, but north/south does not work on the hand control.

    Any ideas?

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