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About awasen

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    Stockholm, Sweden
  1. It's been constant cloud coverage here in Stockholm since beginning of October (when it is getting dark enough for astrophoto again after the summer). I have gotten enough starlight only to play around with the rig and get to know my new refractor but not been able to do any photo. I did test to use the PoleMaster on AT polar arm vs. on the head RA (mounted with the adaptor I made) some and there is much more misalignment when on the arm. I'd say that about one third of the times the PM is on the arm I didn't get a good polar-alignment while when mounted on the head I got about three out of four that was really good. The arm does seem to make it a bit unreliable... Please note that even the not-so-good PA I got with PM on the arm is way better than what I'd get using the polar scope!!!
  2. Cool, Nebula! That was even better results than I'd have expected! Looking forward to the autumn now as it is getting too light here in Stockholm for any serious astrophoto...
  3. Ok, so modification is complete! As I said I also drilled the corresponding holes in the big "washer-nut" so I can use it as a "quick connect" without having to fumble with the small M3 screws and instead just simply screw/unscrew the PoleMaster if I need to pack the head. If I am at home I can attach the PoleMaster directly to the head with the three screws to get a tighter fit although there is NO wobble with the "quick connect" either. I drilled and threaded a M6 into the side of the head instead of the original knob that was on the top. Regards, Anders
  4. Well, come to think about it it doesn't really matter what the thread is in the current knob as I will drill a new hole in the side of the head and make it M6 and buy a M6 clamping handle. The original round clamping knob pretty much sucks anyway... Figured to just drill holes and add three M3 screws in the top to keep the washer in place and screw the PoleMaster into that. I noticed there are some small brass(?) inlays in the holes so I will add those back so the new screw is not pushing directly against the shaft.
  5. I looked into mounting the PoleMaster on the AstroTrac head and that would be very easy as the big "washer nut" fits perfectly on the top of the AT head. Just drilling three holes and thread them for M3 and fasten the washer so I can screw the PoleMaster AstroTrac mount into the "washer nut" would work perfectly. The problem lies in that i would then have to move the locking knob for the DEC to the side of the AstroTrac head. Not a huge undertaking but drilling a 5 mm hole straight in would require tools I don't have... Also it would seem the original locking screw on top of the head is not standard mm thread (can someone confirm that?). I would most likely aim for buying a clamping handle instead of the original "dial knob" and place it on the opposite side of the DEC handle and thread it to standard M6.
  6. Ok, so I finally got the chance to test out the PoleMaster on my AstroTrac! It's been overcast, cloudy and raing for the past few weeks so when I finally got a clear sky I got in a hurry! There was some haze coming in so I rushed out just after sunset and set my AstroTrac Pier up and prepared everything as far as I could. The haze was holding off until dark and I had no problem at all to get Polaris into view in the PoleMaster software. The English in the software is much better in the latest version and I had no issues at all with the driver installation. I have to say that not having to bend down and try to find Polaris through the Polar Scope is a HUGE relief! Only that made the $198 worth it! I had the PoleMaster mounted in the Polar finder arm with the supplied adapter for AstroTrac. I started with the polar arm in the lowest right position (seen from the "front") as I know the right side on my AstroTrac is much more attuned to the RA axis than the left side. I started with it at about 5 o'clock (closest to the AstroTrac arm) and then rotated it up to 3 o'clock and finally to 12 o'clock for the alignment. I tested some more and at 11 o'clock I could clearly see that it drifted off in setting from the axis. At 9 o'clock position it was horribly off axis so I would concur with Jim from previous e-mails here that if you are running the AstroTrac Head (which I am) you would really benefit from getting the PoleMaster on the head axis directly! The whole process of aligning is SO simple and quick though. I had not looked at the software or the manual before going out and in less than 10 minutes the first try I had it aligned! I'd do it in about 3-5 minutes without the experimenting would be my guess... I removed the PoleMaster carefully from the Polar arm and inserted the AstroTrac polar scope and it showed a bit off NCP so with the AstroTrac polar scope I would have adjusted somewhat on the "DEC" axis (sideways) but I decided to trust the PoleMaster. I put the PoleMaster back again and verified the alignment and could see it was a little off again so I fine tuned it. With the PoleMaster in place I could conclude that the lever for locking the height adjustment on the wedge pushes the alignment off quite a bit. The three sideways knobs did not affect the alignment at all but I am always very careful when tightening them. The height locking screw is a problem though, I had to redo it four times before I managed to get it spot on in the PoleMaster software with all knobs fully tightened. I then mounted my camera with my Tamron 150-600 mm lens and could se that it was a whole bit of shaking in the PoleMaster but after it had settled down (which took much longer than I had expected) I started a 3 minute exposure at 300 mm and got nice and round stars. I then tried 400 mm for 3 minutes, perfect again! Unfortunately the haze and clouds came pouring in fast so my 5 minute test never run complete before the clouds messed it up... I have never gotten 3 minutes at 400 mm before so clearly I got a much better alignment than ever before! And I didn't have to neither kneel nor break my neck to get it done! I also can conclude that a lot of my previous issues must have been from misaligning when tightening the height locking knob on the wedge. I have not waited long enough for the mount to settle down after framing or mounting accessories so the first frame has been "fuzzed" up a bit. I have NEVER realized just how much the mount is moved around (and becoming misaligned) when moving, framing an focusing! I now selected a frame so I could keep the PoleMaster mounted in the Polar arm all the time but being able to mount the PoleMaster on the head RA axis directly would mean that I can keep it there running and re-align whenever I see it trading off the NCP. I am very, very satisfied with the PoleMaster and now I only need to find a workshop that can help me with getting it mounted on the AstroTrac head... Anyone have any suggestions for the RA locking knob? Take care! Regards, Anders Stockholm, Sweden
  7. True, most would not have the AT head... Didn't really consider that... As for the rotating of the Pole Master when aligning, wouldn't rotate the actual Pole Master in the adapter do instead of moving the whole arm?
  8. Attached picture to clarify my concern...
  9. I am looking into the Pole Master to use with my AstroTrac Pier/Wedge/Head. I have gotten a promise by the Pole Master people that they will create an adapter for the AstroTrac Polar Arm. So, the question being since the Polar Arm is not in center of the polar axis of the AstroTrac head would that cause problems? The Pole Master is designed to sit in the RA/Polar axis but with the AstroTrac it will be about 20 cm (8") to the side of the axis... Thoughts?
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