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Posts posted by SteveA

  1. Good to finally report some progress on this old thread. I really never expected to take quite so long to get this sorted, but very nearly three years on, I have.

    To be honest I had pretty much given up on the whole idea as I couldn't find anywhere that could supply these and I didn't really know where to start getting some bespoke ones fabricated. But just a few weeks back now I found that Parallax Instruments in the USA do a massive range of tube rings including their 11.3" rings which are the exact size for the SW 250 OTA. 

    Parallax Instruments, Inc. - Telescope Mounting Rings, Rotating Telescope Rings, and Tube Rings

    I emailed Joe at Parallax and got a quote for the rings and shipping. Unfortunately they were quite pricey! The initial $310 dollars for the rings worked out to around £220 with the exchange rate, then there was an additional £50 for shipping. Parallax also quoted me for the cost of an ADM DUP15 dovetail, which I had intended to source in the UK, however this worked out marginally cheaper route, though I don't really think that with the shipping and duty I really saved anything on this to be honest.  All together I was looking at around £330, I mulled it over and almost pulled the plug as it did seem a lot to pay for tube rings, but in the end I obviously went ahead! 

    Parallax use UPS for shipping. I've never really had any issues with UPS before, but on this occasion it was a bit of a mess. There was an eye watering £87 of import duty to pay, I knew there would be some duty to pay but I hadn't really banked on it being this much and to be honest I probably wouldn't have gone ahead if I had known how much this was going to be. This is where things got messy! I attempted to pay the duty online at the UPS site using PayPal, for some reason the transaction failed and I then attempted payment a second time using a credit card, but this failed as well and I got a message on the UPS site that the duty had already been paid? I double checked both my PayPal account and credit card transactions, but neither showed any activity. The UPS "Virtual Assistant on their website is worse than useless and so I resorted to contacting UPS by phone. My explanation of failed online payment transactions completely flummoxed them for some reason and all they wanted to do was take payment using my card on the phone. This in itself wasn't particularly problematic and I got an authorisation code that thankfully I kept a record of. The parcel took around a week to arrive in the UK and I watched its progress on line, worryingly though the tracking tool continued to show that the £87 import duty was still to be paid and I knew I was going to have problems. UPS do not give you any kind of time slot for delivery and I inevitably missed the UPS delivery as I was at work. Very weird stuff began happening at this point. I got a status update from UPS by email saying that I had refused delivery and didn't want the goods! When I got home I found the missed delivery card through the door which suggested they would try again the next day, but also showed £87 duty to pay. I tried entering the code off the card on the UPS site, but this was unrecognised. By this stage the status of the goods was "being held at UPS facility awaiting instructions and agreement".  So, I called UPS, and clearly again had to deal with operators in the USA, I explained the whole thing twice to two different people. In the end UPS did accept that payment had been taken and promised to update this. I also got them to change the delivery address to my workplace to avoid missing the delivery a second time. I got several status updates from UPS by email and it did seem that they hade actually managed to change the delivery address... but again the UPS site still showed that there was duty to pay. I had been keeping Joe at Parallax updated with all of this and he was quite surprised to hear of these issues. Later that evening however he mailed me to say that the "US government had called him, saying that my address and phone number were wrong and asked for my email address". A mild sense of panic ensued and I had visions of being deported to the states for some major infringement of US law, okay possibly a slight exaggeration, but at this stage I doubted I was ever going to get the damn tube rings at all! Quite what was going on was beyond me, it all seemed a real screw up.

    The next day however, UPS turned up at work with the package. Of course they wanted the £87 again! However I had a copy of my credit card statement and a note of the authorisation code I had been issued with. The very reasonable driver accepted this and I am now the proud owner of a new set of tube rings.

    The rings themselves are nicely made and finished. They are cast aluminium with a dark grey paint finish and felt lined. I've attached the ADM plate and the scope is now attached to my mount. I've a small issue with the vixen plate on the top of the OTA I use for power bar and USB hub, but that will require and additional hole for bolting to the top of the rings. 

    I'm pretty pleased with these rings, they are rock solid on the mount with the bigger dove tail. Despite the cost I'm hoping they will be a good investment, though I could have done with out the UPS problems!

    I've attached a few pics below..





  2. You might be just on the edge of binding between the worm and the gear on which ever axis you are getting this noise on.

    If this is the cause of the knocking noise, probably the best first step is to slacken off the the worm end float adjuster a bit, if you have the mesh well adjusted giving the worm a little extra room can alleviate possible binding. If that doesn't help you may need to adjust the worm/gear mesh.


  3. 32 minutes ago, Bukko said:

    But please don't be jealous, this is the end of a long working career of stress and pressure culminating with the obligatory heart attack!! (Now much better)

    Sorry to hear that work took such a toll. I quit the rat race 5 years ago now and haven't looked back despite a lack of spare time now that I'm running a small business with my wife.

    again...good luck with this ambitious and extremely interesting project and I'm sure the results will definitely impress.


    ps. I'm still jealous😬


    • Like 1
  4. I'm not sure that my comments here are particularly relevant in your case, but I ran into a problem a few weeks ago with com ports in EQMOD, so it may be worth taking note.

    I dare say I'm fairly typical in that I have connected a fair number of different pieces of kit to my laptop (Windows 7) over the years and it hadn't really struck me until recently that Windows remembers that a com port has been assigned previously, so any new hardware gets assigned successively higher com port numbers. I think in my case using 3 or 4 different cameras, filter wheels, focusers etc.  and then  trialling several USB hubs, took the com port assignments up to COM16. Where things went pear shaped for me was the setting the COM port for EQMOD after making some changes. The last COM port that the EQMOD setup routine can address is actually COM16 and my EQDIR (the mount) was assigned to COM17.  It was then necessary to essentially clear out the unused COM ports by editing the registry. I'm now back to single digit com ports for the time being at least. 

    As I say ...not sure if this helps you at all...but worth bearing in mind!



  5. I've lost count of the number of times I've jumped into a problem and ignored the basics in favour of a complicated reason behind a problem, so just a question here....

    Have you checked the batteries are good and/or are making proper contact within the battery compartment? I could imagine a possible stop-start of the drive might produce some fairly erratic movements in this mount. 


  6. You should be able to do it, though of course depends on the individual components you have. I managed it with a similar setup and although there isn't much space to play with, it can be done.  You will need a fairly low profile OAG, the one I have is only 16mm thick and the coma corrector will need to be inserted into the focus tube. 




    spacing diagram 2.jpg

    • Thanks 1
  7. 3 minutes ago, Xplode said:
    6 minutes ago, Xplode said:

    iOptron themselves have a pier plate available.
     Ah...very interesting!!

    So I take it that the central bolt that normally screws into the base of the EQ6 goes into the base of this adaptor? 



    Oh yes! Now that would be really handy.......

  8. 1 minute ago, Xplode said:

    The EQ8 is not an upgrade over the NEQ6 except for the payload.
    It might have less periodic error, but it has a lot of backlash, it's so bad that of all the people i know buying mounts in in the first couple of years after release has sold their EQ8 or just stopped using it for imaging.
    I've had 2 EQ8's myself, sent the first one back because of backlash and the new one was just as bad. I ended up selling it. A friend sold his EQ8 because of the same reason.

    I had heard some poor reports on the EQ8, but I thought that these issues had been addressed to some degree. Sounds like you have had a really bad time with it though. I have heard other people and a few on here who rate this mount quite highly. Of course this is the conundrum  with Skywatcher  with what is  essentially a mass produced mount and clearly inconsistent  quality control...basically its a gamble...you  either get a good one or not.  I 'm not sure where iOptron sit in this respect, though at the price point of this mount I suspect they may suffer similarly.


  9. If you go the CEM60 route, how are you going to mount it? I only ask, as I have a home built pier, with a pier adaptor specifically engineered for the EQ6 and IF (big IF that is),  I went the same route would need some kind of adaptor to convert to the iOptron format. I've been looking and I'm not sure there is anything available off the shelf?


  10. I'm not sure there really is any extra payload capacity with the EQ6-R and not much in the weight either, so certainly not enough to warrant ditching what sounds like a decent NEQ6. All you would gain here is a carrying handle and the belt drive and if you want a belt drive you can modify the NEQ6 yourself. The CEM60 seems like a step up and does appear to a have a genuine payload capacity and weight advantage over what you already have. The ability to get a decent balance with the CEM60 sounds like a great advantage to me, even if it can be tricky. I've always struggled with my own EQ6 with overly tight axis affecting the ability to balance properly and to me this at least sounds like a big plus. Factor in some of the claims for tracking performance and this mount starts looking very attractive, at least in my book.

    I personally would be considering either the CEM60 or even the EQ8, particularly from a payload perspective, but then the the EQ8 is at a price point higher then the standard CEM60 and of course it is a much heavier beast. Again, at a higher price point is the CGX, but I have to admit I don't really know too much about that mount.


    I've probably been no help at all.....but will be interested to see which way you eventually jump.?




    • Like 1
  11. The prospect of eliminating the play in my RA axis makes me very tempted to order this, though I think I may wait and see how any early adopters get on with this before taking the plunge.  I couldn't see any documentation on the site dealing with installation and adjustment which I think would be a useful read prior to ordering.



  12. Assuming you have't unlocked the clutches and manually moved the scope during a session, then parking should take the mount back to the initial starting or "home"position. Normally you would power up the mount, initialising the handset with the mount in the home position, ie. scope parallel to the RA axis, pointing North and counter weights down. Any power loss or manual adjustments you make post this initialisation will affect the park/home position. However the fact that you are getting an error message points to some kind of issue. I would start simple and check that your battery or power source is okay before anything else.


  13. I've been using a wireless Xbox controller for some while now, and it works pretty well. It does seem to get through the batteries pretty fast though and when they start running down it can produce some erratic results. Generally though it's been     a very useful bit of kit... I seem to remember it wasn't cheap though??


    • Thanks 1
  14. Well...finally I gave in!

    Under extreme pressure from Mrs A, demanding ideas for this year's Christmas present I've opted for the Sesto Senso.

    I would have liked to have at least had the opportunity to view the Baader offering, but it's been a year now since they talked about re-engineering their product and still nothing to look at. Unfortunately a potential  lost sale Mr Baader !!

    Money is unfortunately an object around here and although I can think of plenty of pieces of kit I would dearly love,  I do need to be reasonable. Luckily the price of this sat nicely in the annual Christmas pressie budget. As has been the case in previous years, Mrs A passed me the heady responsibility of ordering my own pressie this year. 

    Ordered on Saturday...delivered today (Thursday), all the way from Italia....super efficient and faultless service, though one wonders how Brexit will mess us all  up in the future ? (Opps..sorry for the political point of view...but what the hell)

    Slightly unimpressed however...Mrs A has put her foot down!

    No looking touching etc... etc. until  Dec 25th....damn  it!   ???










    • Like 1
  15. Astronomy is such a vast topic and in reality actually observing objects through a telescope is only a very tiny part of the science. Your average professional astronomer for instance is unlikely ever to go anywhere near a telescope with most of his/her work done from the comfort of an office chair and a computer. So don't for one moment think you can't still enjoy the subject.

    There have already been some great suggestions, but you might also like to consider taking your interest to a higher level by taking a distance learning course or even maybe take this on to a degree in astronomy. The internet gives you access to some wonderful institutions that offer these sort of courses. They are great fun, you learn loads and the spin off is you get a qualification as well....and of course all you need is a computer and some spare time.


  16. On 03/11/2018 at 19:49, Pompey Monkey said:

    There are usually 3 or 4 copies on the shelf in the WHSmith in Fareham, Hants. I pick one up on the way to my favourite cafe on the weekends :)

    Have you tried requesting that they reserve you a copy?

    That is interesting....I had assumed that WH Smith had ceased stocking this across the country, which is clearly not the case. I will pop in later and see if I can get them to reserve me a copy. Thanks for the info?


    • Like 1
  17. I have to agree with you about Sky and Telescope, it was always my favourite publication. I've never had a subscription to it though as until a few years ago it was readily available on the magazine racks at my local WH Smith store. I stopped buying paper magazines a few years back as I was running out of space to store them and I started with a digital subscription to AN. I do still prefer a paper magazine though and I have actually reverted to picking up a copy of AN on a monthly basis. I was slightly surprised that WH Smith no longer seem to carry the magazine, but if they did I would definitely be buying it.


    • Like 1
  18. Not sure I have the answer here...but I'll be very interested to hear what the responses are!

    I fear and feel just ever so slightly embaresed to admit that I have been working under the mis-apprehension that using a powered hub would in fact increase the distance over which USB can operate, experience now makes me think this isn't the case. Having concluded that an active cable might be the solution to my issues (USB3 at 5 meters), I'm about to order one.


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