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Synscan GOTO advice


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Hi Guys

I need some advice, I've started to get totally frustrated spending hours at the scope manually swinging it about trying to find DSOs and not finding anything, so I'm looking to go GOTO soon but don't want to rush things, so I would like some of your expert advice first.

As my sig says I currently have an EQ5 with motors, so first question is, is it worth just getting the Synscan PRO GOTO upgrade for £290 from FLOs or would it be a better option and get the HEQ5 PRO Synscan for £747.

I don't want to just get the upgrade and then find that it isn't as good as it could have been. I know the HEQ5 is a far superior mount so would it just be a better bet to just fork out the extra cash on that rather than "wasting" money on the upgrade.

I can always try and sell my EQ5 to recoup some of the money, still the wife is gonna kill me. I don't want to get bored of not viewing objects and just give up as that would be even more of a waste of money if the scope then sits collection dust.

Thanx for any advice.

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Wife is going to kill you… J I was in exactly same situation last year and this is why I went for upgrade only instead of HEQ5. And to be honest I don’t regret. I am not professional astrophotographer, haven’t got a lot of time to spare on my hobby and even if I do, weather is not always good enough to go out with scope. So from my point of view I think spending so much money would be waste.

It also depends what you would like to do (advanced photography or not) and what kind of scope you have got.

Brg

adam

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GOTO is not the be all and end all that it's made out to be. Instead of getting frustrated not finding objects manually you'll get frustrated setting up the GOTO and still not finding objects!

I have a HEQ6pro and have only used to GOTO a couple of times - just to see if it worked. 99% of the time I use either Tirions Sky Altas or the Cartes du Ciel mapping program to help me "star hop" to the object I want to look at. A good finder may be a better interim investment....

just my 0.02 euro

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Recently upgraded my EQ5 to GOTO.

Best thing I have done......:(

Instead of spending all night trying to find 10 objects,

I can now find 10 objects in 10 minutes!!!

Just purchased a Synscan to Serial port cable from FLO for Stellarium scope control.

Now I just click on a onscreen object,press Ctrl & 1 and watch the scope slew to the target...:)

Wayne

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Thanks for the comments guys, after much thought I have decided to get the HEQ5 Pro as the extra weight it can handle will be a plus as I primerily will be doing imaging.

@pritc I like the idea of Stellarium control, will definatley be looking into that. My laptop doesn't have a serial port so would a serial to USB converter cable work?

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Yes a USB/Serial cable will but you need to make sure you have the correct one, there are a few threads on this subject on the forum. Just to give you an idea, I have two GoTo mounts and each has a USB/Serial cable but they have different drivers, I use both at the same time in Stellarium without any problems.

As previously said by Wayne, he can see loads of objects in a quicker time, for me it helps me to see where objects are in relation to each other and learn the sky at the same time in a shorter time. :)

Jim

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I'd side with Merlin66. I'm having much more fun since I ditched the goto. I too dont have masses of time - most of my observing sessions are over by 11pm (tough at this time of year), but I find it more rewarding to not use goto. If I cant find an object by star hopping, at least I understand why...either my star hopping is duff or it's too dim for my location.

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to GOTO or Not to GOTO is always a matter of personal choice.

It can make you rush through viewing too many objects in one night and therefore not taking the time to tease out the finer detail. But equally if you can't see the object because your skies are just too poor then you could spend all night staring at it and not know.

For imaging it is good to know that a good setup and the object will be on the chip somewhere, you may still need to nudge it around to frame it better before guiding though!

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GOTO is not the be all and end all that it's made out to be. Instead of getting frustrated not finding objects manually you'll get frustrated setting up the GOTO and still not finding objects!

Seems rather a harsh conclusion given you've only ever used it a "couple of times". Goto setup, like all aspects of astronomy, needs a little practice and perseverance initially. Most folks seem to master it once they've grasped the basics.

Chris.

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Thanks for the comments guys, after much thought I have decided to get the HEQ5 Pro as the extra weight it can handle will be a plus as I primerily will be doing imaging.
If it's financially do-able, and divorce is not the result, why not? :)

Still messing with my HEQ5 and EQmod <Groan> - Albeit NOT full-time and completely seriously. Wicked Aside: My Ioptron worked "out of the box". This last (Or indeed the EQ5!) is IMO a real option for scopes around 12lb (MAK150) etc. But, if your heart is set on imaging, the HEQ5 might indeed be the way to go... :(

Edited by Macavity
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The concern I have is the amount of time and effort spent by members getting the polar alignment "just right" then setting up the GOTO then finding the objects are not centred etc etc

Life's too short to waste it.

Yes, I've used the GOTO to help me speed up star aquisition for the spectroscope, but honestly I find after 40 years that I can get to the target easier (and sometimes quicker) than fiddle farting around with the GOTO set-up.

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The concern I have is the amount of time and effort spent by members getting the polar alignment "just right" then setting up the GOTO then finding the objects are not centred etc etc

Life's too short to waste it.

Yes, I've used the GOTO to help me speed up star aquisition for the spectroscope, but honestly I find after 40 years that I can get to the target easier (and sometimes quicker) than fiddle farting around with the GOTO set-up.

Now there is the thing, after 40 years, for a new comer to the hobby I think being able to jump from object to object the thing that will ensure I don't lose interest, as I said in my original post getting frustrated at not being able to find stuff surely using the available technology to "in theory" make it easier is well worth the money.

Again thanks for all the comments and suggestions, much appreciated.

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I will add though that when the GoTo does go wrong it does so big time, loss of power being the biggest problem. Restarting the mount in a position other than "home" causes problems and realignment is necessary when "home" position has been achieved, well in my case anyway.

Jim

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The "life is too short / fiddle farting around " argument cuts both ways depending on the skills and equipment you happen to have at your disposal. I suspect that many members here do not have your level of experience to draw upon and for them at least GOTOs may well prove a more time effective solution.

To get to a single target all a GOTO system typically needs is a single nearby alignment point (we shouldn't compare the setup of a GOTO system intended to deliver accurate gotos all over the sky with a star hopping method that only gets you to one specific target). Accurate Polar alignment is not a prerequisite for GOTO, the GOTO alignment model will compensate for any polar alignment errors. Accurate Polar alignment is only necessary for accurate tracking and long exposure imaging.

Chris.

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The concern I have is the amount of time and effort spent by members getting the polar alignment "just right" then setting up the GOTO then finding the objects are not centred etc etc

Life's too short to waste it.

with the Synscan the polar alignment should not be so critical, as the system can correct it automatically with the 3 stars alignment.

What really has to be perfect is the time/cohordinates set-up, then the whole process doesnt take more than a couple of minutes.

j|!

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j,

I tend to agree with you, but you just have to count the number of threads on the forum from frustrated members desperately trying to come to terms with polar alignment and subsequent GOTO poor performance. It seems to indicate, at least to me, that a lot of time and effort is being expended.......

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yes, shure... but I guess that the ones having problems aligning with Synscan, would maybe have problems locating anything, anyway.

I once tried to help a fellow on an italian forum, and what I first noticed was he didnt read properly the manual (or misunderstood it). That's not the GoTo's fault, it is just unexperienced people thinking that every GoTo can align by itself!

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j,

I tend to agree with you, but you just have to count the number of threads on the forum from frustrated members desperately trying to come to terms with polar alignment and subsequent GOTO poor performance. It seems to indicate, at least to me, that a lot of time and effort is being expended.......

It's really no surprise that folks post to a forum when they are struggling and needing help. However, I reckon if you could compare the number of "I've got a goto problem" threads to the number of SGL members actively using goto you'd find that the vast majority are coping just fine (thankfully, they don't start new threads to tell us each time their gotos works).

Lets not forget this thread is about helping a member who, without goto, is already expending a lot of time and effort and struggling to locate objects manually.

Chris.

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Why not just use the setting circles on the mount to find objects - they work if polar alignment is OK - or at least at the same level of accuracy required for good gotos? Why not use the freeware RTGUI Real-Time PC Software for Astronomical Observers by Robert Sheaffer for coordinates? This can also be used to control a goto telescope if you end up going that route.

cheers

Gary

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I think PART of the problem is the default accessibility of Skywatcher (HEQ5) adjustments. The altitude adjustment either requires a "hernia", or endangers the bolts from shearing off. With an EQ3-2, I think I just "cracked" off the plastic covers and loosened the centre bolt? In addition, if you use a SW pillar, you have *no* access to tighten the azimuth - An "Owl Box" etc., is almost a requisite? That plus the Syntrek's tomato-soup-like (max. intensity) polar scope view. :icon_eek:

But hey, "Faint heart never won fair lady"? With a permanent (observatory) installation, no doubt I'll get there in the end. I do contrast the EASE of set up of e.g. the Alt-Az Ioptron - Just a digital level to set it to 0.1 deg horizontal! But then there are other (different) potential issues... Load capacity, notleast. :rolleyes:

Good to know (Chris S et al.) that probably [teasing] Polar Alignment is not quite so critical for Equatorial "GoTo". Despite my imperfect Polar Alignment, EQMod's "Artificial Intelligence" certainly seems to improve GoTo as one "synchs" around the sky. Now to get the bloomin' eyepiece in a vaguely convenient position... :)

Edited by Macavity
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