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SynScan EQ5 Woes


Chris E
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God, where to start :-( I used my Synscan GOTO for the 1st time last night (Saturday 14th) and all seemed to be going well, I had the scope with the tripod leg pointing north as indicated by the "N" on the leg, I turned the scope through 90 degrees removed the plastic cap from the front of the mount and ligned up Polaris (through the polaris axis view point ) with a few twists and turns of the front and rear Latitude adjusters and also the Azimuth adjusters. I thought I was really clever getting Polaris in the tiny circle and tightned everything up. As far as I can remember I returned the scope to its position facing south (down the rear garden) While leaving the Tripod North..weights down and set at 52 ish degrees (in Parked position)...Here's the fun bit. Turned on the Synscan and set the following as per instructions. date (in MM/DD/YY, time (24hour), co-ords, daylight saving "YES", then went to 3 star align and alignment..My 1st star was "Arcturus" which it was very close to and a little left/right adjustment on the hand control centered it and clicked "enter", then the second star was "vega", this was a way out but after 2-3 mins of left/right up/down found it and centered it and clicked "enter", the 3rd Star I couldn't find "Pollux" because I didn't know what i was looking for (Newbie) so the alignment failed.

I was really hacked off, so I thought I'll just look at the moon then, atleast I know where the moon is, but when I sent the Synscan to locate it the whole telescope near enough turned upside down and near parallel to the ground with the eyepieces facing the ground !!!, and thought this can't be right ?? By this time I'd really had enough so I parked the scope and switched it off. The scope/mount and SynScan very nearly ended up in the wheelie bin (and its all less than one week old) to say I'm disheartened is an understatment..I'm a newbie, with no idea what to do know..One strange thing though, when I lined up Polaris, the diagram in the back of the eyepiece (through the axis view point) the Plough/big dipper was on the right hand side of the lens (3 o'clock position), and "Cassiopeia" was on the left, but when I took my eye away from the eyepiece and pysically looked at the Plough, The plough was direct over head but to my left (west)..I haven't touched the R.A setting circle or DEC setting circle, I didn't know whether you had to if you're using a Synscan.So from one upset hacked off newbie, Can anyone pls help or my set up is going on Ebay lol ;)

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God, where to start :-( I used my Synscan GOTO for the 1st time last night (Saturday 14th) and all seemed to be going well, I had the scope with the tripod leg pointing north as indicated by the "N" on the leg, I turned the scope through 90 degrees removed the plastic cap from the front of the mount and ligned up Polaris (through the polaris axis view point ) with a few twists and turns of the front and rear Latitude adjusters and also the Azimuth adjusters. I thought I was really clever getting Polaris in the tiny circle and tightned everything up. As far as I can remember I returned the scope to its position facing south (down the rear garden) While leaving the Tripod North..weights down and set at 52 ish degrees (in Parked position)...Here's the fun bit. Turned on the Synscan and set the following as per instructions. date (in MM/DD/YY, time (24hour), co-ords, daylight saving "YES", then went to 3 star align and alignment..My 1st star was "Arcturus" which it was very close to and a little left/right adjustment on the hand control centered it and clicked "enter", then the second star was "vega", this was a way out but after 2-3 mins of left/right up/down found it and centered it and clicked "enter", the 3rd Star I couldn't find "Pollux" because I didn't know what i was looking for (Newbie) so the alignment failed.

I was really hacked off, so I thought I'll just look at the moon then, atleast I know where the moon is, but when I sent the Synscan to locate it the whole telescope near enough turned upside down and near parallel to the ground with the eyepieces facing the ground !!!, and thought this can't be right ?? By this time I'd really had enough so I parked the scope and switched it off. The scope/mount and SynScan very nearly ended up in the wheelie bin (and its all less than one week old) to say I'm disheartened is an understatment..I'm a newbie, with no idea what to do know..One strange thing though, when I lined up Polaris, the diagram in the back of the eyepiece (through the axis view point) the Plough/big dipper was on the right hand side of the lens (3 o'clock position), and "Cassiopeia" was on the left, but when I took my eye away from the eyepiece and pysically looked at the Plough, The plough was direct over head but to my left (west)..I haven't touched the R.A setting circle or DEC setting circle, I didn't know whether you had to if you're using a Synscan.So from one upset hacked off newbie, Can anyone pls help or my set up is going on Ebay lol ;)

The telescope should be facing North ie pointing towards the North Celestial Pole for the home postion.

To polar align the mount, which is best done before adding the telescope and counterweights to avoid putting any undue load on the latitude bolts, observe where Ursa major and Casseopeia are in the sky, then unlock the RA clutch and rotate the mount on its RA axis until the asterisms in the polefinder scope match the postions of the two constellations. Lock the RA clutch and then adjust the azimuth and latitude bolts to get Polaris into the small circle.

Return the mount to its normal postion and add the telescope and weights and balance the telescope.

Peter

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I'm afraid you need a LOT of patience for this game! I have tried several times to do a polar align with my new HEQ6 Pro SynScan mount. Sitting or standing outside with an icy cold wind whistling round my neck/head with lots of warm clothes on, my stamina was not at it's best! Fumbling around in the dark, the elastic bands on my headlamp coming undone, etc. etc. whilst crawling around on the damp grass trying to get my eye to the polarscope eyepiece without catching my headlamp body on the mount... I have decided to finish building my pier and observatory before trying such contortions again. Unless we get some calmer and less cold nights, without cloud.

You need patience, stamina, dedication and plenty of "blumming mindedness" for this hobby/pastime. But the sense of achievement when things do eventually go well is great though and you then realise why you put all that effort into getting there. I started off with a small Newtonian scope with simple CG-3 mount and saw Saturn's rings for myself for the very first time - that was exciting. Imaging Saturn was hardly successful though. A blob with two fuzzy bits sticking out! But having had a couple of months playing with a very basic setup, I've learnt where the deficiencies lie and am setting about remedying them.

I think going for anything complicated is probably not the best place to start. Point your scope at things and just look. Get used to where things are in the sky and where all the controls are on your scope when fumbling about in the dark. Lights will spoil your dark-adapted vision. Worry about polar aligning and star aligning until you are completely familiar with your scope and used to the dark environment etc.

Anyway, that's my thoughts and I wish you good luck and many happy hours star and planet gazing ;)

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Just get some observing time under your belt....don't worry too much about GOTO.

Just align the polar axis as best you can and then just slew to various objects. This will give you a better understanding of how the mount works and tracks; it will also give you the satisfaction of actually observing and enjoying objects.

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You lot are brilliant thank you, I'll give it a go...But anymore tips would be great, as I say I'm a frustrated newbie so pls feel free to talk to me like a 3 year old.

Which is the R.A clutch ??? (the black lever) ???

Ps, Do I have to adjust the R.A setting circle at the back of the mount to local time/date even though I'm using a SynScan ??

Edited by Chris E
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Return the mount to its normal postion and add the telescope and weights and balance the telescope.

Peter

Can I hijack this thread with a question.

After a polar align do you then have to keep the mount facing north and in the same position? So could i after the align then move the mount away from its current position without needing to align it again ?

Thanks

Andy

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Some great advice above.

If you follow that Im sure it will all fall into place.

The key things are to make sure the polar scope reticule is aligned and centred within the mount. It also needs calibrating so when you set up, you are aligning polaris in the correct place for the time and date you want to observe.

Hope you get is sussed soon.

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Andy,

if you mean physical move the mount/ tripod then the answer is yes you have to re-align the polar axis. Similarly if you change/ re-set/ adjust the azimuth/ altitude screws....

After alignment movement in RA and Dec is OK.

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Andy,

if you mean physical move the mount/ tripod then the answer is yes you have to re-align the polar axis. Similarly if you change/ re-set/ adjust the azimuth/ altitude screws....

After alignment movement in RA and Dec is OK.

Ahh ok ;)

that is what I thought but needed to be sure..

Again sorry for hijacking the thread.

Andy

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With all the threads on this forum on Polar alignment, I'm stunned at why so many people have issues doing rough alignment, especially with goto mounts which give you the clock position of Polaris as an aid.

* Set the angle of the mount to approximately the latitude of your observing location

* With the N on the tripod facing North place the mount with the weight bar pointing to the ground in parallel with the tri-pod leg that should also be facing North.

* Turn the mount so that the telescope is also pointing North. This arrangement is the default home position

* Now power up and turn on the Synscan unit. Enter the date, time etc, and just before it goes to the option to do alignment it will give you the position of Polaris as a clock time, eg 07:30

* Now turn off the Synscan unit, release the clutches and rotate the telescope so that you can see through the polar scope and lock the DEC axis

* Rotate the RA axis to position the bubble on the circle in the polar scope is at approx the time given by the handset as if it was the hour hand on a clock, eg in this example midway between 7 and 8 O'Clock

* Lock the RA axis and now use the adjustment bolts on the mount to place Polaris in the bubble.

* Once you've done that, release the clutches and place the scope back into the home position and lock the RA and DEC axis

Turn on the Synscan unit and run through the set up once again and then do a two star alignment

This should be fine for visual and short exposure work.

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The telescope should be facing North ie pointing towards the North Celestial Pole for the home postion.

To polar align the mount, which is best done before adding the telescope and counterweights to avoid putting any undue load on the latitude bolts, observe where Ursa major and Casseopeia are in the sky, then unlock the RA clutch and rotate the mount on its RA axis until the asterisms in the polefinder scope match the postions of the two constellations. Lock the RA clutch and then adjust the azimuth and latitude bolts to get Polaris into the small circle.

Return the mount to its normal postion and add the telescope and weights and balance the telescope.

Peter

Hi Peter, sorry for being thick, When I have locked the RA clutch and adjusted the azimuth and latitude bolts (after lining up the asterisms), you say return the mount to its normal position, will this "A" not move the constellations out of the asterism, and "B" do you mean park it north and leave it north, then when I want to search planets, constellations the scope should spin around about 180 degrees to look for things, (most of the things here in lincs are in the south lol)

ps, does Polaris have to be in the tiny circle, or will the big one do ???

Chris

Edited by Chris E
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With all the threads on this forum on Polar alignment, I'm stunned at why so many people have issues doing rough alignment, especially with goto mounts which give you the clock position of Polaris as an aid.

* Set the angle of the mount to approximately the latitude of your observing location

* With the N on the tripod facing North place the mount with the weight bar pointing to the ground in parallel with the tri-pod leg that should also be facing North.

* Turn the mount so that the telescope is also pointing North. This arrangement is the default home position

* Now power up and turn on the Synscan unit. Enter the date, time etc, and just before it goes to the option to do alignment it will give you the position of Polaris as a clock time, eg 07:30

* Now turn off the Synscan unit, release the clutches and rotate the telescope so that you can see through the polar scope and lock the DEC axis

* Rotate the RA axis to position the bubble on the circle in the polar scope is at approx the time given by the handset as if it was the hour hand on a clock, eg in this example midway between 7 and 8 O'Clock

* Lock the RA axis and now use the adjustment bolts on the mount to place Polaris in the bubble.

* Once you've done that, release the clutches and place the scope back into the home position and lock the RA and DEC axis

Turn on the Synscan unit and run through the set up once again and then do a two star alignment

This should be fine for visual and short exposure work.

Cheers Malc, Do I need to adjust the RA setting circle though to local time, or just rotate the mount till it reaches the time set by the Synscan...god this is embarassing, I feel so stupid ((

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Cheers Malc, Do I need to adjust the RA setting circle though to local time, or just rotate the mount till it reaches the time set by the Synscan...god this is embarassing, I feel so stupid ((

Don't feel stupid. A stupid question is one not asked!!!!

The RA setting circle needs to be calibrated. That is for a given polaris transit you need to have the RA setting circle matching.

IIRC if you rotate the RA axis until polaris is at the 6 o'clock position within the polar scope and then unlock and rotate the setting circle so that 12 o'clock faces the marker. Remember to use the top figures for the Northern Hemisphere.

HTH

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because I didn't know what i was looking for (Newbie) so the alignment failed.

I was really hacked off, so I thought I'll just look at the moon then, atleast I know where the moon is, but when I sent the Synscan to locate it

When you say Sent the Synscan to locate it, do you mean you used the handset and basically said Goto Moon?

If so then no chance, you have already said the alignment failed. The Synscan would therefore have no idea where it is pointing and so no idea where it has to go to. Alignment failure probably means delete the/any calculated data.

Does Synscan ask for the timezone you are in?

The default may be West coast USA, should be 00.

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Hi Peter, sorry for being thick, When I have locked the RA clutch and adjusted the azimuth and latitude bolts (after lining up the asterisms), you say return the mount to its normal position, will this "A" not move the constellations out of the asterism, and "B" do you mean park it north and leave it north, then when I want to search planets, constellations the scope should spin around about 180 degrees to look for things, (most of the things here in lincs are in the south lol)

ps, does Polaris have to be in the tiny circle, or will the big one do ???

Chris

After the mount has been polar aligned unlock the RA clutch and bring the mount back to the normal start position ie counterweight shaft pointing down, the mount is now aligned to the NCP. After you have added the telescope and counterweights and balanced the telescope on the mount you can then start the star alignment procedure. Make sure that you relock both clutch levers after balancing and returning the mount to the start position (cw shaft down, telescope pointing at the NCP) The asterisms in the polefinder are there to get the small circle into the correct orientation so that the RA axis of the mount is aligned to the NCP.

Ideally you should be as accurate as possible with your polar alignment to avoid errors in star alignment and tracking.

Peter

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Cheers Malc, Do I need to adjust the RA setting circle though to local time, or just rotate the mount till it reaches the time set by the Synscan...god this is embarassing, I feel so stupid ((

Don't be embarrassed, and these are not stupid questions. To be honest I don't bother with the settings circles... Why would you when you are relying on the goto computer to find the object and display it's position.

I simply follow the above procedure, then align on two stars. I do find you get better accuracy if once found you centre the alignment star using higher magnification before confirming the step in the alignment process. It also works best if you align on two stars in the similar area of the sky, so say for example you were going to view, draw or photograph the Orion nebular, I would use Sirus and Aldebaran, which would then pin point anything in that area of the sky. If I then slewed round to say M31 it would often be on the edge of the field of view in a low power eyepiece, but not centred if using a med to high power. Three star alignment is better, but if your polar alignment isn't spot on I find it gives an error.

The drawback of using this method, is that it's easy to rotate the RA to get that bubble in when the current position for Polaris is say 5pm, etc, but trying to approximate 5:22pm as an hour hand is open for error. This is where the system of setting the mount up so that you place it in the position for the time that Polaris is in transit (at the top of it's orbit around the NCP) has it's advantages because it's easy to place the bubble at the bottom when viewed through the polar scope

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With all the threads on this forum on Polar alignment, I'm stunned at why so many people have issues doing rough alignment, especially with goto mounts which give you the clock position of Polaris as an aid.

* Set the angle of the mount to approximately the latitude of your observing location

* With the N on the tripod facing North place the mount with the weight bar pointing to the ground in parallel with the tri-pod leg that should also be facing North.

* Turn the mount so that the telescope is also pointing North. This arrangement is the default home position

* Now power up and turn on the Synscan unit. Enter the date, time etc, and just before it goes to the option to do alignment it will give you the position of Polaris as a clock time, eg 07:30

* Now turn off the Synscan unit, release the clutches and rotate the telescope so that you can see through the polar scope and lock the DEC axis

* Rotate the RA axis to position the bubble on the circle in the polar scope is at approx the time given by the handset as if it was the hour hand on a clock, eg in this example midway between 7 and 8 O'Clock

* Lock the RA axis and now use the adjustment bolts on the mount to place Polaris in the bubble.

* Once you've done that, release the clutches and place the scope back into the home position and lock the RA and DEC axis

Turn on the Synscan unit and run through the set up once again and then do a two star alignment

This should be fine for visual and short exposure work.

Sorry Malc, I did say I was a newbie ((, its hard work at the min fella :eek:

Edited by Chris E
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