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  1. Hello all. Thank you for taking a moment to read this & offer your suggestions/ advice. I'm sure my basic question has been asked many times: "In your opinion or experience, what are the first, most important, necessary accessories I should add in order to maximize the the use and ease of a newly acquired Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT ? I have a power supply adapter, 9mm,10mm, 25mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow and 90 degree diagonal mirror adaptor. With a modest budget and a 2 week deadline, I've researched numerous reviews and narrowed some choices to additional Plossl eyepieces, an assortment of filters or a dew shield. All of and these can probably be purchased within my budget but I'm even willing to take the plunge on an upgrade to a better mount, which I have no idea where to start. Any and all suggestions, advice and opinions are gladly appreciated. Thank you all, from across the pond in northeastern US.
  2. Hi there, wondering if someone can help me with stiction problems I'm currently experiencing with my new Sabre mount. First light for the mount on Friday night proved most frustrating, almost impossible to accurately frame an object in the field of view. I believe that I've got the setup as balanced as it is ever going to be until I can improve the fluidity of the motions. Pic of setup attached. All up weight for the SCT with dew shield, Nagler 22mm, Baader Steeltrack Focuser, Baader click stop diagonal, laser pointer and finder is about 9.5kg. The counter weight is 3.7kg.
  3. Hi there, in an effort to simplify the setup procedure of my field observatory I spent a couple of hours yesterday researching solutions for a Power and Comms distribution box. I eventually settled on a very simple solution based around a cheap IP54 rated outdoor enclosure sourced from a local DIY store (UK readers will recognise the name B&Q). My power in the field is supplied by two 10ah Tracer LiPo batteries, which have served me well now for the past two years. In addition to the batteries the solution needed to accommodate a dinky little TPLink router, which provides me with WIFI control of my SXW mount via SkySafari from my iPhone. I'm pretty pleased with the net result. Had some concerns initially that the proximity of the batteries to the router in the enclosure might cause some interference with the comms, but completely unfounded, it all works like a charm. IMG_0215.MOV
  4. FLO sent me this beast of a mount for review, and after a few months use I've finished said review. If you don't want to read, then scroll to the bottom to see the video. If not, let's go. From the top, the dual type Vixen/Losemandy type puck, and at the back of mine it had 3 5521 type power ports for powering equipment, and 3 USB ports (2 powered) for connecting to the internal USB hub network. Whilst I didn't exactly use this network, it's still very handy to use, especially being on the puck - it means you don't have to worry about any slack on your cables and they won't pull. A handy feature. The power ports seem to be of a different type to 99% other astronomy hardware though, which means you'd need to get different connectors, a major inconvenience which still will make itself known later. The mount includes an iPolar system, which is absolutely awesome. Sure the UI looks like it's straight out of Microsoft Paint but it's certainly function over form as it's quick and uses plate solving to align. This means you can polar align even with a semi-obstructed view to the pole. It's powered by a USB2-B port at the back of the mount with no need for external power. There is no manual polar scope on the mount so a computer is a must for polar alignment. The carry capacity of 31.8kg is a hefty amount, though it's advised to not exceed 21kg for astrophotography. I never loaded it up with this much equipment however the sheer build quality and performance of this mount leads me to have no concerns whatsoever about using that much weight, or even all the weight. It's always advised to use underneath the stated maximum capacity anyway. The altitude adjustment knob is a hefty coarse worm gear style affair. Embossed with the iOptron logo. It's a nice way of adjusting, especially when coming from GEM mounts where you have to undo/do up two individual bolts. However on my mount it was let down by an abhorrent squeak it made when raising it whilst the mount was loaded up. When going down in altitude sometimes the gear would jump a bit and let the mount down even further than I wanted. Azimuth adjustment was fluid and great. The control panel includes its power port, power switch, hand controller port, ST-4 port and the USB port. The USB port can be used to control the mount via computers, and is also the other end of the internal USB network. It is USB2-B. A major issue I found was the power port. It wasn't the standard type DC centre-positive tip style that all my other astro equipment used. IT's also a standard female type port, whereas I would've liked to have seen a screw type connector for this price point. But yes, the biggest gripe was the different style port, which meant I couldn't power it using my power box (without getting more cables), and had to use the supplied plug. The carry case is a substantial and very sturdy box. It's foam cutout and very tight in holding the equipment. All but the counterweight goes into this box and I believe it could really survive quite a harsh fall. It's very well built. Slewing with the CEM70 was quick and fluid, it was also quieter than I was anticipating for such a large bit of machinery. Using its own dedicated software through the laptop was intuitive and there was little to no learning curve. The axis clutches, whilst using a small switch, feel solid and substantial with a nice meaty clunk when engaged. One lock position is the EQ Home position which makes life a lot easier. When guiding, I was regularly getting values of 0.4-0.6" total error. This enabled me to take extremely long exposures if I so desired, though I mainly did 5 minutes, I was able to do 10 under testing. Unguided (just sidereal tracking) I was only able to achieve 2 minutes before trailing was found with my Evostar 80ED (reduced to 510mm) and ASI 071mc Pro. Now in full admittance the mount was unbalanced as the Evostar package was too light for the mount. The counterweight, if moved too high up the bar, will strike the body. So you would need to buy a lighter weight if you wanted to balance a lighter load on the CEM70. Also when attaching it to a tripod or a tri-pier, you do need to bolt down 2 spring loaded bolts down with the supplied allen key. Now this is a bit fiddly and adds several minutes to the setup and tear down times. Though I suspect iOptron made this mount with a permanent setup in mind so if you're putting this into an observatory then this won't be a problem. For me, who setup and torn down the rig each night when using it, became a bit of a chore. Overall I found the CEM70 to be an extremely capable mount with a lot of features. Whilst there are niggles that detracted from the user experience; the altitude gear squeak and the non standard power ports. Other features improved the quality of life and user experience enough to vastly outweigh the drawbacks. The iPolar system is particularly capable and excellent, the carry capacity, build quality also and guided performance, as well as the internal USB hub. I think this would be a nice investment if you were looking to mount larger scopes on, or decking out an observatory. I can't afford one but if I was making my own permanent setup I would severely consider buying one. If you're interested you can find more information at the links below (if you did buy through these links, I'd earn a few pennies to help support these reviews). iOptron CEM70 w/o iGuider: https://bit.ly/CEM70 iOptron CEM70 w/ iGuider: https://bit.ly/CEM70iGuide iOptron Tri-Pier: https://bit.ly/CEM-Tripier Thanks for reading everyone. What are your thoughts about this mount? I hope my review has been helpful for you clear skies all, keep looking up and keep them cameras clicking.
  5. Hey all, I'm considering and tempted by an iOptron CEM25P. Just wondering if there's any owners (current or former - for any reason) who can share their experiences with this? I intend on buying it new, so a substantial wedge to drop. Many thanks
  6. Hi there I currently control my Sphinx SXW from SkySafari, and in general the user interface from SS is much more intuitive than the Starbook controller, however one aspect that I haven't quite mastered is slew control when zeroing in on an object either close to, or in the field of view. With the Starbook controller the slew speed is contolled by the zoom level in effect at the time. On SS the same principle applies, however I've found that it doesn't seem to provide the same granularity of fine control as that of the Starbook, even after adjusting the speed using the slider in SS. Would be interested in hearing from fellow Sphinx owners who have introduced SS into their observing platform. Is your experience the same as mine, or am I missing something fundamental in my approach? All contributions welcomed :-) Kind Regards Paul J.
  7. Hello! So I have been an amateur astronomer since last few years and now I see that so many people have asking me about general telescope suggestions. (Guess the next step will be helping to set up small observatories...Ah dreams!) We don't have many telescope brands available. The major brands that are available here are Meade, orion, celestron and skywatcher. The confusion starts to rise when the other party is interested in little larger scopes like 8 inch sct or 12 inch reflector with eq mount or dobsonian mount. Would like to know overall experience that you guys have had with these brands like optical tubes, mount, eyepiece etc. Sort of like "this is good, this is not so good" type. For e.g. I have used celestron 6 inch sct, 12 inch (sort of) sct and 102mm short tube refractor. Although I love their optics, I haven't had good experience with their mounts. Meade : Used their 8 inch sct with fork mount (and liked it). Used their 90 mm refractor and didn't like it much. Skywatcher has given balanced performance overall. Decent mount, decent optics, decent supplied eyepiece etc. Also, on the same topic, I am quite confused with how much importance does having a good telescope dealer has. As in we do have many dealers here, but many times I have experienced things like overpriced scopes, no decent guidance etc. If I suggest just one dealer with whom I hadam good experience then it looks like biased opinion.
  8. Hello new to this forum i have a CEM-120 mount and Ipolar camera i have it polar aligned but the it wont go to objects only a few i think its the UTC what is the correct UTC for Dublin Ireland is it the same as England UTC +60 i miss the simple All-Star Alignment from Celestron only thing i dislike about my mount is Ioptron software
  9. Hi there everyone, I’m interested in getting peoples take on where they think mount control technology will go in the years to come. I currently control my Sphinx SXW remotely and almost entirely from SS on my iOS devices. Although this works a treat, it still employs a technique that is a mish-mash of separate components rather than an integrated wireless solution, along the lines for example of TV wireless integration. As far as I am aware none of the major players in the amateur astro mount market have yet addressed this in the form of a complete integrated solution, I may however be wrong? Using current technology, I can see a future product whereby the mount hardware arrives via conventional delivery, you receive as part of the package a code for pre-paid access to an app from an online App Store, which you can then download and install on your remote control device, be this Apple or Android. You then power up the mount which will hook into an available wireless network. At this point the mount just sits and waits for connectivity from the control application. You start up the control app, connect to the mount then have complete control of the mount from the remote app. All contributions appreciated, let’s innovate?? Paul.
  10. I have recently bought an iOptron GEM45 (from FLO) and I am a bit mystified by the Zero Position. The hand control gives you the options of "Goto Zero Position" and also "Search Zero Position", but they appear to do the same thing! Does the mount have sensors like the Home position of a Paramount, which sets the axes to an exact hardware position, or is it something else? I guess this is the same for other iOptron EQ mounts so maybe a skilled user can enligten me. Many thanks Chris
  11. It looks as though the Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT and Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G are identical mounts (except color) but the Skywatcher is $2,500 and the Orion is $1,900. Are they really identical mounts sold under different brands at different prices?
  12. Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on the pro's and con's of the different types of mounts out there? Do Dobsonian mounts have issues on non-flat surfaces (like a garden) or can Equatorial mounts ever have issues getting out of line too easily?
  13. Hi I have 6" Helios refractor which I very rarely use because it's too heavy and cumbersome. So I have decided that I want a scope and goto mount which would be a setup that I can put in my car when going on holiday, or possibly take on a plane. Perhaps taking a second small mount on a plane rather than a motorised one. I have been looking at Takahashi because I don't want to buy another telescope after a few years, so it would be my once and for all scope. At present I don't do astro photography, maybe in the future I might use a dlsr camera. The reason for a goto mount is because I don't starhop and I would like to have the object tracked in the eyepice. I have seen that a people are buying extra equipment to add to their Takahashi, I have one good eyepiece but what else would I need to buy? I live in SE Kent so sometimes we get decent seeing, but like most of the UK we have light pollution and lots of clouds. Does anyone have some advice or recommendations?
  14. Hello i a wondering if my telescope that has an Eq2 mount, fit on a Eq5 mount Lucas
  15. Hello everyone! I'm looking for what kind of battery to buy to power two equitorial mounts. I first thought of buying a car battery with about 40ah. But after a little more research I realized that deep cycle boat batteries were preferred because they were designed to discharge more than car batteries and over a longer period of time. I have also heard of lithium ion and gel batteries but have not found much information on them. What type of battery would be best for my needs? Thanks in advance, Have a nice day
  16. Hi, I was wondering how much can an EQ-2 mount carry because have found a good telescope and i wieghts 4.54Kg but i am wondering if my mount can hold that much weight, Lucas
  17. Anyone have any idea where I can get a replacement counterweight bar/shaft for my EQ5 mount?
  18. I recently moved back to Ireland, having been in the USA a long time, and I had to leave my 8 inch Dob behind. What i did bring was two OTA, a 80 mm Orion Goscope refractor, and an Explore Scientific 100mm Mak. Now i do has a basic alt az mount for these but i have a longing for a very basic GoTo system like the iOptron cube-e. Would that work ok? P.S. sorry if this shouldnt be a beginner question
  19. Hi all, I have what might be a silly question regarding alignment of the start adventurer: Are you able to align the mount without being in sight of Polaris? I'm weighing up my mount options and was curious if this is possible. Most of my AP will be done from my balcony and unfortunately the North star isn't visible at all from this point. S.
  20. After a very sturdy tripod and 'head/mount?' for general photography at the current moment but to also use for a Sky guider when I get one in the future My questions are; Which tripod do I need to handle a small scope and or camera with a big lens attached to sky guider, Tripod budget less than £100 Which sky guider should I go for to image the milkyway and nebula? probably 6-8 lbs payload? Budget less than, £400 Do sky guiders come with their own mount? I heard something about a ball head, mount budget less than £50 Is there anything else I may need with what I have mentioned, power, adaptors, filters etc. Much appreciated, I am new here so I hope this is ok to ask. I currently own a NEQ6 with two small telescopes which I have problems with that I will discus in another topic, so I know how to image that way, but I fancy something small and less stressful in the meantime.
  21. Well, after a year of starting out and viewing/photographing everything I can see from my light polluted haven, it's time to upgrade. I have learned a lot, mostly from reading all the posts here and Cloudy Nights, practicing with SharpCap, PHD, DSS etc. and basically learning everything I can with my CG4 and motor drives, iOptron Skyguider Pro kit and 6" Newtonian and DSLR gear. No GOTO as yet, but that is what this post is about. I just ordered a new Astro Tech 72mm Version II scope for my adventures in astrophotography, along with a ZWO 174MM-C but I might end up getting a cooled camera later next year if it doesn't work out. Now, what I would like is some advice on the mount. I know there are lots of opinions and varied views but essentially it's boiling down to Celestron or Skywatcher. CGEM II or EQ6-R maybe. I've used the Atlas, although it was troublesome at times, likely due to the 10" Newtonian it was carrying. Anyway, I've saved all my beer money for a new mount, and was wondering if I could get some constructive advice, outright criticism, friendly pointers and some polite suggestions as to what I should buy specifically for astrophotography and guiding. I'm picking up a 60mm guidescope and either a ZWO 120MM or QHY for guiding, not much difference between the two I hear, except maybe a small price difference. I have all my DSLR gear plus other bits and pieces needed, computers etc. Just the big one, the mount, is needed to move forward. Fire away......
  22. Can anyone advise me if it's possible to remove the AZ4 mount from the steel legged tripod and replace it with an EQ5 mount that I could later add motors to or is it simpler and easier just to buy the EQ5 straight away. I am trying to get a tracking mount for my Mak 150 but may want to upgrade again in the future for a11 inch SCT. Thanks for reading
  23. Hi there Everyone, I experienced an issue with my Sphinx SXW Mount this past weekend at a dark skies event I was attending. When I came to set up the mount I noted that the declination axis rotation was obstructed, basically you could rotate about 90 degrees and then it would suddenly come to hard stop, knowing this was just not right, I immediately halted my setup and packed the mount away, with a plan to carry out some diagnostics today once I got home. Once home, I set the mount up, and discovered the following 1/. The declination axis was now freed up..., most puzzling. With the RA clamp disengaged I rotated the mount in RA, and thought I heard something rattling inside the central housing. Further movement through 360 in both directions confirmed this. 2/. I then decided to see if the mount electronics would still engage, so connected up the power and Starbook controller. Everything seemed to operate as normal. Carried out a couple of Gotos and manual slews successfully and tracking seems to be fine, though unable to confirm due to cloud filled skies at the moment. However I did notice that the declination clamp, although in theory engaged, seemed loose. A little more experimentation showed that although engaged, the clamp moved independently by a couple of millimetres in either direction, it seemed that all that was keeping the clamp from moving was the shaft of the declination clamp itself. I can’t be sure, but I seem to remember in previous use, that the entire unit was locked when the clamp was engaged. I have attached a couple of videos showing the behaviour detailed above. Hopefully somebody can provide some insight into these issues, and if necessary a way forward to resolution. I was unable to replicate the behaviour described at the dark site. Paul J. BC647DD2-9F6F-403C-BA7E-C8ECCD573327.MOV 9806B180-9E50-4594-B8F6-96695B30FE72.MOV
  24. My Az GTi mount had been working well, apart from occasional Wi-Fi drop-outs, until yesterday, when the batteries ran low. I'd left it running unattended for a while, and when I came back found it had stopped tracking and the red LED was continuously rapidly flashing. This isn't described in the users manual, but I presumed it was a low power indication. I plugged in an external battery pack, that I know to be good as it has been used before and has 8 of the same batteries as the internal battery pack, but now when I switch it on the LED flashes a couple of times and then stays steady on. The manual says that this indicates that the internal Wi-Fi is off and, sure enough its SSID is now never broadcast. There is no explanation in the manual as to why the Wi-Fi should be off, nor how to switch it back on, which is a shame, as the mount is now effectively "bricked", as I don't have a Synscan handset or Wi-Fi dongle to try. I've put new batteries in the internal battery pack and tried that, but get the same result. Has anyone else had this experience, or better, know of a solution? Is there a secret internal factory reset button that can be accessed by removing the cover? - or will I have to return it for repair? The Az Gti firmware is the latest Equatorial compatible version. Thanks! Pete
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