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Fordos Moon

Disastrous First Night with HEQ5 Pro Synscan

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Thankfully I have a lot of patience and I will never give up although I am struggling badly!

The clouds cleared for the first time and so at last I can set up my new mount and ED80. I had checked the reticule alignment yesterday so needed to align the

polarscope with Polaris and set up the Synscan. Seemed straight forward from Astro Babys guide.

Problem 1. Could not really be sure the star I could just make out in the polarscope was Polaris despite it being where my app said it was it was yellowish and not that bright?

Problem 2. I dropped the little black date ring screw in the dark and despite being on my knees for 20 mins couldnt find it. Can i get a spare?!

Problem 3. When I plugged in the synscan and turned on the power the red light flashed slowly indicating not much power despite me charging Maplins jumpstarter for about 3 days!

Problem 4. Striving on in desperation with 3 star alignment I loved how the mount moved so smoothly but it was miles out locating stars, even Mirach under my feet when I could see it up in front of me!

Dont get me wrong I will succeed as I am loving the new hobby but if there are words of encouragement and advice out there or an on-call expert in the Salisbury area I would be forever grateful!

ps - was glad to have my 200P dob to at least see some things when i put the new stuff away!

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Ps when first setting up the synscan why does it ask for the East West before the North South? Just curious!

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A few tips...

1. for visual polar alignment isn't that critical - generally when looking through the polar scope I can only every see one star... I think it's a safe bet that it was Polaris.

2. Forget about it - I've NEVER used the setting circles (EVER).

3. Replace the power lead, they are not the best leads and generally every problem I've ever come across with the PRO mounts are power or power lea related.

4. I've never done a three star alignment. OK I'm an imager so tend to stick to one object a night. I usually do a one star alignment on a bright star near my target.

OK here's my tips to get you started.

1. During daylight align your finder - this has caused me more problems that I care to admit.

2. To start with polar align so that polaris is roughly where you thing it should be (great bit of software from here ==> http://myastroimages.com/Polar_FinderScope_by_Jason_Dale/)

3. Turn on mount and enter details (remembering the american format for the date), and summertime is no.

4. Pick an easy target, then slew to a near star (Suggest slewing to Betelgeuse and aligning and then gotoing to M42)

I strongly think that most of your issues will be power based... but hopefully the above will help in some way.

cheers

Ant

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Hi

1) First time I had trouble actually knowing it was polaris, and if you find it hard to see you should be able to change the polars cope light level.

2) Always operate on a large bright piece of tarp. Makes finding stuff so much easier.

3) No idea there, sorry. Check cables. How was the temperature? Cold weather makes my power tank drop, only to increase again inside. Also try to get the mount working inside just in case, and try to hook it up to your car see if its different.

4) 3 star is usually overkill, 2 works for me, even took 2 minutes of unguided with it. Did you start from home position pointing towards the pole? Doublecheck every setting in the handset.

5) Not sure if it asks for latiude or longitude first. It never was confusing to me. Got the scope stowed away now so no way of checking for me. I think there is a part on the way you enter stuff in the astronomy shed complete setup video guide on youtube.

Hope you get it sorted asap! Good luck!

Edited by VigdisVZ
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I was in exactly the same boat as you with the same kit. After a few more goes you will get the hang of it all. It took me about 5 to start to really get the hang of it.

1) I level the mount and point as accurately as I can north. I have a go at polar aligning but not usually with much luck. I now use the polar re-align feature to confirm or tweak.

2) ask the supplier if they can help?

3) the mount does need a stable power source. I run from mains and its always fine. Is this feasible for you? Someone else may know something about the jump starter.

4) this happens to me when I put the date in UK format. It needs to be mm/dd/yyyy.

Not sure if any of this is any help but persevere and it all will become easier.

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i know trhe feelings your having totally, it was much the same for me when i got my mount, i had to rely on others to set it up for me,

but here are a few tips.

Polaris is not a very bright star, indeed i have trouble getting it into the polar scope even now, you have aligned the polar scope to start with which is good, Polaris is easy to find, look at the Plough, shaped like a saucepan, then follow the hanble down and round to the end otf the bowl as it were and then follow an imaginary line from there to the next star along, and thats Polaris.

get stellarium and put in your location and it`ll give you Polaris altitude and set that the altitude of the mount, there`s a circle and a pointer on the side of the mount, this won`t be bang on as the settings are not 1`00% correct, they just seem to slap them on at the factory but it`ll be close.

also use polar scope, another free bit of software that`ll show you where polaris needs to be in the polar scope.

do a goolge search for your correct longtitude and latitude settings, be carefull as some are not the correct numbers that need to be put into the handset. than once all this has been done and the correct data added to the handset including the american format for the date, then i do a two star alignment not three, i get lots of unsuccessfull alignments when i do three.

throw away the maplins power charger, they lose power so quickly and it`s amazing what the mount will do when the power is low,

nice liesure or gell battery much better

i wrote to FLO about a losed screw i had and ther guys got on to the importers and got me a new one, top chaps.

failing all that get a netbook and eqmod, so much simpler i found, i haven`t used my handset for over a year now since having eqmod.

don`t lose heart it`s a big learning curve and it took me ages to get the hang of it, when i had it sorted i would forget what i did the next time i went out which was sometimes weeks later.

.

Edited by red dwalf
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One thing that I've noticed with my scope, although it's a Celestron and not a Skywatcher but I've notice that the quicker I go through the alignment procedure the better it is at finding stuff so mabye you need to be quicker with the alignment stars. I decide before hand which stars I'm going to use, and also use a high power eyepiece and defocus the star so I can be more certain of getting the star in the center of the eyepiece.

If you have a smartphone then there is a free app called Get Altitude, it not only gives you your altitude but you will also have your latitude and longitude at your fingertips.

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Those power packs should be banned!

Waste of money and just cause all sorts of frustration and problems.

Invest in a couple of good 20Ah gel cell batteries and a good electronic (triple stage) charger.

They will work much better, for much longer - or I'll give you your money back!

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Some nights are like that ! One bad event tumbles into the next one ! Some nights are sweet.

2 star alignment is spot on for visual. If you keep both eyes open when hitting Polaris and line it up with the side of the mount, it'll be there. If you set your latitude correctly, the only star in the area near the centre will be Polaris.

If you drill out 3 small holes in the patio, your tripod legs will drop easily into them, after getting the snow out !

Nick.

Look after your power, cold will zap power. I'd get a leisure battery in an insulated box, neat.

Edited by cotterless45
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My top tip would don't ever get rid of your dob! :smiley: My second top tip would be get a basic alt mount to use your 80ed as a great grab and go which will be tremendously valuable with our climate!

Good luck though, lots of advice on here, I'm sure you'll soon get the hang of the new mount - and you'll get a lot of satisfaction when all is sorted.

andrew

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Guys thanks very much for all your tips which are rekindling some hope for tonight. Some follow up points:

1. In my polar scope the circle to put Polaris in is at the 9 oclock position not 6 oclock as per some instructions, is this just for asthetic purposes?

2. I think its either I am aligning with Polaris wrongly and/or the red light flashing on the mount is telling me something. The mount slewed beautifully smoothly and the handset went through it's paces (implying power was sufficient) I was just shocked a bit when the scope pointed under my feet :-)

3. I am definately going to use that bit of software tonight Ant to see if that helps! I will also check the tutorial thanks Steve.

4. I never had a chance for 3 star alignment despite starting it the mount got nowhere close to the first star alignment :-(

5. The jumpstarter was recommended by others on here I wont take it back til ive given it another go tonight because I dont have the adaptor to plug the mount in to the mains yet and after tonight there may not be a clear night for a week or so, but will take it back later this week and get money back. Does anyone have a link to one of these leisure/gel batteries

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I'm half tempted to invest in the Skywatcher Power unit from FLO, its not cheap but everything I get from them doesnt disappoint!

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I so feel your pain. I got exactly the same set up as you and my first night out (Friday) was an interesting experience much like yours.

In the end my problem was the lead supplied between handset and mount (cat5e?) it just didn't fit, handset kept losing connection etc. I got myself a replacement so looking forward to trying it out if we get some clear sky tonight.

Also, and I'm sure you have already done this but... The long/lats are critical and I found this video really helped me with getting the right location in the right format ...

I look forward to seeing how you get on.

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Guys thanks very much for all your tips which are rekindling some hope for tonight. Some follow up points:

1. In my polar scope the circle to put Polaris in is at the 9 oclock position not 6 oclock as per some instructions, is this just for asthetic purposes?

2. I think its either I am aligning with Polaris wrongly and/or the red light flashing on the mount is telling me something. The mount slewed beautifully smoothly and the handset went through it's paces (implying power was sufficient) I was just shocked a bit when the scope pointed under my feet :-)

3. I am definately going to use that bit of software tonight Ant to see if that helps! I will also check the tutorial thanks Steve.

4. I never had a chance for 3 star alignment despite starting it the mount got nowhere close to the first star alignment :-(

5. The jumpstarter was recommended by others on here I wont take it back til ive given it another go tonight because I dont have the adaptor to plug the mount in to the mains yet and after tonight there may not be a clear night for a week or so, but will take it back later this week and get money back. Does anyone have a link to one of these leisure/gel batteries

Hi again.

1) How the polar scope is twisted inside the mount is not important here, the important thing is that you turn the whole piece of the scope so that the polaris reticle is aligned to polaris alignenment towards the pole. According to polaris transit or a piece of software that tracks this. Atleast I think that's the case here. Tell me if you think I misunderstood the question.

2) No idea there. I just got it to work first time, but I've heard about people missing some detail in the handset and not going from home position.

3) Lot of great software to be had. I use the mount clocks and the polaris transit from the handset, and then verify the rotation of the polar scope with both the constellation marks in the scope and PolarAlign for iPhone.

The other questions I can't really answer. The power tank from FLO is nice but overpriced. Should be able to run the mount from a multitude of other cheaper sources.

Again, the complete mount setup guide answer a lot about the polar align questions and setup, so sorry about me going on about that, but it really describes everything better than I hope to be able to.

And if all else fails, seek out your local astronomical society, they should be very happy to help you set up and get started. If you lived in sweden I'd have invited you over to my club asap.

Again best of luck!

Edited by VigdisVZ

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Richie it's a nightmare isn't it?! (Cant see video link attached?)

The sheer excitement of a clear sky and a shed load of new kit only to be outfoxed by technical issues! The Stargazers Lounge should have a hit squad dotted around the country that can come and do set ups for people for a small fee / case of beer!

Let me know how you progress!

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Hey Carl and thanks for coming back! I assume the "home" position is with the north leg of the tripod pointing north and the polar scope looking at Polaris?

I have heard rumours of a Salisbury Astro Society but so far I have been unable to find it!

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Hey Carl and thanks for coming back! I assume the "home" position is with the north leg of the tripod pointing north and the polar scope looking at Polaris?

I have heard rumours of a Salisbury Astro Society but so far I have been unable to find it!

Home position has nothing to do with polar alignment, except that the mount needs to be polar algined (atleast roughly) for everything to work as intended.

When I mount my scope I do that with the scope angled at 90 degrees so that the bolts holding the dovetail point north and the scope looks towards the left. After that I release the clutch of the dec axis and point the scope towards polaris. So now the polar axis and the scope is pointing towards polaris. This is "home position" in my head. And from this point I do a 2 star alignment with Capella and Dubhe, those two always have been readily available for me this fall/winter. I was never more than a half a finderscope away from target.

Keep looking for an astro society, its probably the best thing you can do. The friendlyness of this forum is a mirror image of the good spirits in most societies.

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Thanks fellas.

On the subject of position to enter on to the Synscan my app says I am 51.0806 N and 1.8249 W. So on the screen itself I am rounding and inputting 1.82W and 51.08 N, Im not getting that wrong am I?!

I will now attempt to find my local club!

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whoa, all that sounds way too complicated for me lol! at least i have my skyscout to give me a rough idea of where certain objects are in the sky xx

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whoa, all that sounds way too complicated for me lol! at least i have my skyscout to give me a rough idea of where certain objects are in the sky xx

Im sure Im doing something wrong. I HOPE Im doing something wrong!

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