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Everything posted by Celerondon

  1. Those do look interesting. I have always 3D printed slide-on Bahtinov masks for my telescope OTAs but this is the first time that I’ve seen these clip-in masks. I used the Bahtinov Mask Generator at the Astrojargon website and Fusion 360 (now Fusion) to create my mask designs. Now I see that the online mask generator has been replaced with a standalone Windows program. Don
  2. This is an ancient post but I think the USB 2 port on your ASIAIR Plus would be more appropriate. According to ZWO, the USB 3 ports are best suited to main camera and memory solutions. Don
  3. Nice, it seems to be a step up from the typical entry level astrophotography mount. Clear Skies! Don
  4. Nice link, Guy! The automatic translation feature helped me to understand most of what author was saying. This should be an interesting video for anyone who is curious about the innards of an AM5 Don
  5. How are you connecting the CPC 800 to CPWI and the auto focuser? Is each one connected to some port on the mount panel or are you perhaps using the SkyPortal WiFi module? Don
  6. I’m the same! A DVOM is my goto diagnostic tool. One even travels with us on road trips or visits to our daughters’ families. However, this hobby has upgraded my approach to using electricity. Now, that inline meter is always part of my power supply system. Although it is only occasionally useful for diagnosing problems the meter enables me to monitor multiple factors as my system functions. In addition to realtime voltage and current readings, that meter automatically tracks peaks and cumulative power usage. My DVOM can also perform these functions if a user knows where to place the leads, which buttons to push, and how to adjust the dial. But the combination of scrolling and constant display sections on this inline meter tell me everything all of the time! A massive 100Ah LiFePO4 battery has my mobile power requirements covered for the foreseeable future. However, as soon as I started using this beast I realized the need for some sort of fuel gauge that would enable me to track my power usage and battery state of charge. This sort of meter allows us to accomplish these goals without using much math or memory. Don
  7. Did you clean and lubricate both axes or only the RA? Thick grease or tight adjustments might cause this sort of problem. I like this current draw idea, David. If the OP can determine how hard the motors are working then this information could provide useful clues about the stalling issue. A few months ago I purchased an inline power meter. Now, my constant monitoring of current usage and system voltage enable me to track battery state of charge and diagnose problems with ease. Don
  8. The NexStar 5SE is a fine scope for beginners but as such, it is limited in many ways. This is not necessarily a bad thing because all telescope setups will carry some limitations. No one has endorsed the 5SE yet because we astronomers tend to recommend telescopes that we would like to have, even for others. A good beginner’s telescope with modest capabilities is not as exciting to us as the 10” Dobsonian that davhei just recommended. Even though I don’t currently own one I think that an 8” or 10” Dobsonian would be a great starter telescope for you on your farm. As davhei said, it could end up being a lifetime scope for you as well. I have one piece of advice regarding astrophotography. The bewildering array of options and ideas that we blast you with may make astrophotography seem expensive and endlessly complex. (Trust us, it can be!) But you can also get involved with nothing more than your cell phone. In fact, it is possible to produce impressive results with an 8” or larger Dobsonian, an eyepiece, and this inexpensive cell phone adapter. I just purchased this new Move Shoot Move product last week and I was impressed by the all metal construction and ease of use. I was surprised to find that the MSM Tridapter costs less (in the USA) than the plastic Celestron NexYZ adapter that I bought several years ago.
  9. Which kit are you considering? The kit in your picture does not include a USB Type-A to USB Type-B (printer) cable but many of them do. You will also need a power cable that has a male DC5521 connector on one end to supply 12 volts to your control unit. The other end of your power cable will connect to your power supply. I used the more expensive EQStarProEQ5 kit to upgrade my Vixen GP. It came with a USB cable and a simple hand control, but I still had to purchase a power cable. I spent the extra money for the refined AstroGadget kit that includes a user manual and technical support. However, the Onstep kits seem like a great bargain if you are willing to do some research and provide your own technical support. My EQStarProEQ5 kit is INDI, EQMOD, and ASCOM compatible. The controller appears to be a SynScan compatible telescope mount to my software. I used a mobile app to connect to the built-in Wi-Fi so that I could control my mount with SkySafari and Stellarium. It also connects to my PC and ASIAIR with no problem. If your documentation for that Onstep controller says that it is INDI, EQMOD, and ASCOM compatible, then you should share the same capabilities as my AstroGadget kit. Don
  10. For some reason, I cannot see the image that pipnina posted anymore. However, I want to ask a question. It appears to me that this mount slewed itself into that position. Does anyone see how it could have tracked its way down there? Don
  11. I see why you are confused because this story is as confusing as that picture. From your account, I can’t understand how the mount did anything after you parked it. It is also hard to figure out how a GEM in the northern hemisphere tracked itself into the position shown in this picture. is there any way that someone or something could have slewed your HEQ5 into this unnatural position? Doesn’t your mount park itself while pointed at the north celestial pole? A tracking mount should rotate in the other direction and I don’t get why your dec axis isn’t aimed at the pole. Kids, or cats, perhaps? Don
  12. Oh right, these strain wave mounts are sometimes faithful copies of each other but other times there are significant differences. This particular design is remarkably similar to the ZWO mounts but there might not be many interchangeable parts, if any. Don
  13. How so? The layout seems similar to the AM5, at first glance.
  14. It took me a moment but I think that that the center left view is the mounting flange for the dual (Type V & D) dovetail. I have not pulled my mount out to confirm this theory but it seems to make sense. Counting clockwise from the top left diagram they appear to show an AM5 that is in AltAz mode and aimed at the zenith from the: south west below east above dovetail flange The north view which would have shown the back side of the wedge and the counterweight plug/toe saver is not shown. Don I think that ZWO provides the flange diagram to show that it is easily possible to rotate the dovetail mount 90°. (This rotation enables side by side telescope mounting) Compare the 38mm bolt spacings in position 1 and position 6 to see how this works.
  15. The AM5 is a deceptively compact mount. If attaching the base of the mount directly to your pier isn’t practical or if the arrangement leaves things too cramped, you could always use a pier extension as a pier adapter and retain the convenience that the PE200 provides. Because the PE200 is a three part assembly with a standard ZWO adapter puck on its base, you could use the top of the pier extension or a combination of the three main components to create a custom pier adapter that fits your AM5 like a glove. Here is a diagram that shows the dimensions of the PE200. It is difficult (impossible?) to secure an AM5 directly to a platform without access from below. But one of the features of the PE200 is a lever actuated quick release system that is simple and secure. Here is a diagram that shows the dimensions of the PE200. If you compare these measurements with your pier platform you may see a way to simplify the process of securing the mount to the pier without needing access from below. Don
  16. This piece is an 85mm aluminum puck that is similar to the kind that come with the TC40 and PE200. The difference is that this part includes the alignment post that Vixen family mounts use as an azimuth anchor. These pucks are designed to slide into the top of the tripod so that they can be secured. Mating the adapter to the mount is accomplished by slightly different methods depending upon whether you use the PE200 or not. When you use a plain TC40, the mount and puck assembly is secured by the tripod spreader bolt and a single locking lever. With the PE200 installed, you simply use a trio of locking levers to secure the mount and puck assembly. I am curious about the procedure for azimuth adjustments with the PE200. The Vixen mounts and their clones have a moderately fussy process for fine azimuth adjustments. Because the axial mounting bolt also supplies the clamping force that locks the azimuth, you must loosen it before the adjustment screws will function. Similarly, the bolt must be tightened after azimuth adjustment is done. However, the axial mounting bolt does not appear to be accessible when the mount and adapter assembly is clamped atop a PE200 pier adapter. Don
  17. Could this adapter be your solution? It should be compatible with the PE200 pier extension as well. With both, your setup would become a quick affair with a trio of levers to flip instead of a screw to center and thread. I store and transport my TC40 with the PE200 attached. The assembled components are still compact and easy to handle. I noticed several similar adapters on the page that I linked. Please let us know if this part works for you. Don
  18. My AM5 does visual duty sometimes because I am done with carrying counterweights if I can help it. Functionally, there should be hardly any difference between an AM3 and an AM5. I have been experimenting with different polar alignment systems and plate solve enhanced GoTo. So far, the Polar Scope Align Pro utility for Daytime Polar Alignment is the quickest way to get my setup close to polar aligned. This has been my experience for daytime and nighttime use. When rough polar alignment is adequate, it may be enough. Otherwise, I use my ASIAIR and guide scope/guide camera combination to get perfect centering, every time. Between software assisted polar alignment and plate solve refined GoTo targeting, it may be worth it to install the ASIAIR and camera for nighttime visual use. The images down below show the aiming screen for Polar Scope Align Pro and the 3D printed bracket that I use to attach my iPhone to my mount. Asides from holding the cell phone securely, the main purpose of the bracket is to get the sensitive compass away from the metal and magnetism of the mount. Don
  19. That is another difference between those two CF tripods. At first glance they seem similar but the TC40 is a single angle two section tripod with a leg spreader while the RT90C has three angles and four leg sections. Of course, just as a pier extension or extended center column will degrade stability those flatter leg angles should degrade carrying capacity. In particular, that 9° leg angle looks like it might be a good way to turn a fundamentally rigid tripod into a carbon fiber trampoline. Don
  20. I also like to use my larger tripods fully collapsed. However, the TC40 and compact photo tripods like the RT90C have such short leg sections that the tripod footprint gets disturbingly small when you don’t extend the second section of the legs. Tripod stability is enhanced by footprint and mass and hampered by height. I generally use my weighted TC40 at its maximum height. Does it seem like a weighted TC40 would provide adequate support without extending that second leg section?
  21. Grinding is an option if you only need to remove a small amount of material but there is another way. My Planet had a basic head with a flat profile so I decided to purchase the Berlebach head that was designed for the AM5. The Berlebach website has a menu system tha that allows customers to select heads, adapters, and other accessories for their various tripod lines. Now the PE200 seats firmly on my Planet and I am tempted to use this spare tripod head casting as the basis for a first-rate DIY tripod. Don
  22. I agree that the two tripods are fairly similar but I think that the two section legs of the TC40 are both a bug and a feature in this case. Their disadvantage is that a TC40 will need a pier extension to reach a marginally usable height for visual use. The corresponding advantage is that the RT90C is definitely weaker when you extend those additional leg sections for more height. So, with a built in spreader, the TC40 is slightly more robust but the RT90C is certainly more versatile. Don
  23. Did British Airways change their battery capacity specifications? This page states a 2 X 160Wh limitation. I am like you. My power connections are fairly simple. I use a circuit breaker/switch assembly, an online power meter, and a 100Wh LiFePO4 beast that was much less expensive than the Celestron Lithium Powertank Pro. Everything is connected with Powerpole connectors, and this setup could hardly be easier to manage. I am interested in building a box like Adam's, but I haven't yet decided which features it will have. USB and DC5521 ports are a given but inverters give me pause. Will the effort, expense, and bulk required to include one be worth the trouble? The vendors love selling inverter equipped power stations and solar generators to the public, but I am not a big user of wall warts. Don
  24. I don't want to highjack this thread into a regulatory rabbit hole, but things will depend on which airline you fly with. The 160Wh limit is specified by CAA. But, depending on which airline you use you can either carry two 160Wh batteries, one 100Wh battery, or perhaps something in between. The relevant CAA regulations were linked earlier in this thread and the FAA regulations are easy to find but both authorities say that different airlines such as British Airways have final say so about batteries over the 100Wh capacity threshold. At first, I thought that British Airways might follow the lower limit but then I found this page. So, it seems as if most major carriers allow two 160Wh batteries and according to the British Airways guidance and other sources, you "do NOT need to contact the airline or inform staff at the airport that you are carrying this item." Don
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