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GOTO for DOB - DIY


tom33pr
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Hi there,

I'm going to spend some time on researching dobs.

I'm after a 10" one. Don't want a bigger one because it will be a nightmare to transport.

I'm also after a solid tube (am I correct assuming that it will stay collimated for longer?).

Since I cannot afford a GOTO 10" DOB I will go for a basic one and give it a shot for some time, but I may want to install a GOTO on it so I would appreciate any suggestions regarding DOB GOTO DIY.

Have you any experience with it? What system did you use? How much was it? Where did you buy it, etc? Have you experience with several different ones? If so, which one was better.

Thanks in advance.

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There are encoder kits that allow you to have a "push-to" system (no motorized movement), but the computer tells you which way to move and how far to go.

These are a lot cheaper (and simpler!) than goto systems. All that is involved is a pair of optical encoders, an onboard computer, and that's it. www.jmitelescopes.com has encoder / computer kits in the States, dunno about in the UK, but others here can help with that.

I understand the conversion is relatively simple.

Dan

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Thanks guys.

So what sort of kit/decoders do I use?

Ad Astra - thanks, I looked up that web... is it the Train and Track Motor Drive you meant? (It looks like it is designed solely for Meade ones, though).

Phil, what kit do you have installed on your Intelliscope? How much was it if you don't mind me asking? Could you please point me to a source(link) I could read on that?

Thanks again.

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Lol, I've seen this scope many times and always thought that it was just Orion's version of GOTO... fair enough... So in this case it is just buying the 10" intelli which I cannot afford :D

I still would like to know what and how to put on my future (say) First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian since I can't afford one with the pre-installed system.

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The more I look into the Orion's 'Push To' solution the more I like it... :D

...So none of you have really installed either GO-TO or Push-To on their dobs???

No suggestions at all?

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Decent Digital Setting Circles (DSCs) aren't that cheap. However they can be installed on any dob easily enough.

The Sky-Commander XP4 will be nearly £400.00 but isn't available form any UK stockist and wil have to be imported from the US. The Argo Navis unit is also excellent, but will set you back nearly £700.00 and again isn't available from any UK stockist but can be ordered directly from the manufacturer in Australia.

There are a couple of dob drive systems available. Search for Dob Driver, not the best but comparatively cheap. StellarCAT is the best but expect to part with over £1,000.00 or so and you'll still need the DSCs as well if you want full GOTO.

As an alternative an EQ platform can be built yourself if you're handy at DIY and will be a fraction of the cost although it will be tracking only and will have to be re-set every hour.

Here's a pic of my OO 14" dob with StellarCAT and Sky-Commander.

John

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+1 For the Orion intelliscope system. Push to so no batts needed and no noise or waiting for motors to turn the scope. Also very very accurate. Excellent system imho

Edited by mylatestwhim
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Thanks guys.

So what sort of kit/decoders do I use?

Ad Astra - thanks, I looked up that web... is it the Train and Track Motor Drive you meant? (It looks like it is designed solely for Meade ones, though).

Phil, what kit do you have installed on your Intelliscope? How much was it if you don't mind me asking? Could you please point me to a source(link) I could read on that?

Thanks again.

Hi Tom,

The JMI products can be adapted for any scope. Call them and tell them what scope you have and what you want to do - they are very helpful!

Dan

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There is the Alt-Az method to locate objects, which is probably the cheapest. You would need to mark the Azimuth bearing of your dob with 360 degrees. There are plans somewhere on the internet to produce your own. Then use a digital angle finder on the OTA. Then an object`s current Alt Az must be known so that the scope can be pointed to the object. That is all I know I am afraid but I am sure someone on the forum puts that method to good use.

The push to and Alt Az method are getting away from your original problem of producing goto but at least it would help to find objects quickly, especially from light polluted skies.

Edited by Phil Fargaze
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I think there is a part on the lazy Susan (center pivot) that cannot be removed with out causing problems. Someone was selling an Intelliscope kit on UKB&S but because this part could not be removed it was sold incomplete (spares & repairs). I have noticed it's difficult to get spares for Chinese scopes so you may find you have a long wait for the part needed to complete the set.

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yea... seems a lot of hassle...

Never used 'pushed to' but i like this idea a lot! Just wondering how accurate it is... Phil (above) mentioned this system has been working flawlessly for 5 years on his Orion...

I wonder though what's the tracking like on the objects? If there's no motor - means it will point you to the object but then you will have to keep the track manually...

And secondly - the motorised part is usually pretty resistant, so it's fine on a windy night - I mean it keeps the track fine and doesn't go all over the place, whereby the manual dobs tend to slew with the wind. I'm sure there are ways of addressing it and i could live with it...

I think more and more of getting Orion 10" Intelli instead of the SkyWatcher...

Please stop me before I've made a horrible mistake ;)

Do you know of any legit retailers that sell Orions in the UK?

I've sent an inquiry to SCS Astro - Astronomical Telescopes & CCD Cameras | Celestron Telescope | Skywatcher Telescope but no replay for two days...

thanks.

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The Widescreen Centre in London stock Orion scopes as well. You might have noticed that Orion telescopes are more expensive than Skywatcher, just something to consider. I don`t think you will be making a mistake, it`s a matter of personal choice.

Once the object is found and centred you do have to nudge the scope like a regular dob which is only a bother to me at high mags.

The Orion XX14i intelliscope is next on my wish list!

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The Widescreen Centre in London stock Orion scopes as well. You might have noticed that Orion telescopes are more expensive than Skywatcher, just something to consider. I don`t think you will be making a mistake, it`s a matter of personal choice.

Once the object is found and centred you do have to nudge the scope like a regular dob which is only a bother to me at high mags.

The Orion XX14i intelliscope is next on my wish list!

Orion scopes are imported from the far east via the USA which puts the price up a fair bit compared to SkyWatcher scopes that are imported directly from the far east.

John

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You may well find that after learning your way around you may want no more of an upgrade than printer setting circles a wixey angle gauge and a star chart ( or planetarium software). Me, I now don't even use the wixey very often, just planetarium software and star hopping and find it more fun than my goto scope was.

If you buy a manual one second hand you could sell it at not much depreciation and buy a goto instead later....saves all the agonising about which upgrade to buy

http://stargazerslounge.com/heads-up/141976-10inch-dob.html

Edited by WayBig
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There is this but it's not GOTO or Tracking in anyway so I'm not sure it's what your looking for but it is an option to consider? http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/118838-dobs-direction-finder.html Despite having this on my dob I have yet had the need to use it but you may be able to contact others in the thread to see how they got on with it.

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