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Hi all

Can any body in the forum give me some advice regarding autoguiders?? Are they any good and which model would you recommend?

I have been looking at the LVI Smartguider 2, but it is serious money at £445?

Your thoughts on this subject would be most welcome.

Thanks

Paul :rolleyes:

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hi paul ,can you give us all some more info on what mount and kit you are using , this will help us give you the information you seek

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Hi

Thanks for your reply. I will be using the auto guider in conjunction with, perhaps a Altair Astro guide scope or a cheaper 80 mm scope, mounted onto a HEQ5 mount. My imaging scope will be a Televue 101.

If you could steer me in the right direction regarding the correct setup, I would be very grateful

Thanks

Paul

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Hi Paul,

I'm not hugely experienced in the guiding field, but I do own a MK I version of the LVI guider, and I use it quite frequently. I got it second hand at around half the price, and I will make a few observations from my experiences with it so far:

There are some cons...

Firstly this is not the most sensitive camera in the world! I use mine with an ST80, and I had no end of trouble getting the thing to locate a suitable star. I have since purchased a SW guidescope mount, which helps enormously, but was still another hundred quid. If I'd paid full whack for the LVI that would be 550 total, and I would be seriously questioning my sanity! I am sure with a good set of guidescope rings you would also be perfectly ok, I just find them a bit fiddly.

Focus for the guidestar is achieved through the use of a 6mm parfocal eyepiece (supplied). This eyepiece has a moveable (?!) plastic ring around the barrel. If this ring moves - and it is quite hard to do inadvertantly, I will grant you - you have to readjust it, which as you cannot see the cameras' view is very difficult - basically find a bright star, use the handheld box to focus the camera as best you can (there is an on screen indicator), lock the focuser, then put in the eyepiece and play with the ring until the star is properly in focus. A right faff that took me 2 hours to get right. To be fair though, this is not something you will do very often unless you assemble your kit with a hammer, but it is a pain if/when you do.

But there are also some pros too...

It does remove the need for a laptop, and this is another piece of kit which I really did not want to have to take to a dark site, only to have the battery run out after 4 or so hours. The LVI and my EQ6 run all night in winter from a small 12v battery. And if like me you frequently have to travel then this is a good solution.

When you have it all set up, and a suitable guidestar in view, it works very well indeed. And once you get used to it's needs you can be up and running within 5 minutes or so. It is pretty accurate even at 1/3 of the imaging scopes F/L too, I have managed some perfectly good 6 minute subs regularly.

In summary, if I never had to leave home, I would have got something like a QHY5 and connected it to the laptop. But I do have to travel mostly, and getting one second hand, even adding the price of the guidescope mount, still would be a tempting purchase if I had to start from scratch.

Not very scientific I know, but I hope it helps a little.

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For my money, I'd buy a normal autoguiding camera and take a laptop outside with me. If you cannot/don't want to do this then your options are limited and the LVI or Sky-Watcher SynGuider are the obvious choices. I have tried the Orion version of the LVI (Mk I) and the SynGuider and both worked well for me but the additional flexibility of a sensitive guide camera with a PC and guiding software represents a better solution. Heck, you could probably get a cheap netbook and a guide camera for that money!

It is, though, a 'horses for courses' thing.

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Hi all

Thanks for all of your input. I think, after reflection i am going to go with the last poster's advice and get a guide camera (QHY5) and a cheap second hand netbook. All this can be easily found for less than the LVI 2's new price. The majority of my guiding will take place at home so there is really no need to pay extra for portability.

Thanks guy's, for all your valuable input.

Kind regards

:rolleyes: Paul

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