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I'm not sure this is the right forum to post this but I can't see where else to post it so here it goes (quite long but given the awful weather)...
I used to do a lot of astro-imaging in the past, years ago. As such I had a number of mounts collected in 20 years of activity. Be it because of intense use, be it because they used to sit outside in all (foul and otherwise) over the years the started to show sign of aging and some started to act up more times than not. As I retired from the astro-turf, so to speak, for the past few years (let's say 😎 I left the stacked away in the shed. Last year I decided to pick up astronomy once again, just to feel if I still got the bug. One the mount that I tended to use most often for small instrument and for forays to dark locations was my trusty Vixen GP-DX. Over nearly 20 years of service it became increasingly difficult to operate (for a number of reasons too boring to enumerate here). Bottom line is that either I got myself a new portable mount capable of proper guiding and good enough for imaging at 1.5"/px with a lightweight imaging kit or I tried to resurrect the trusty GP-DX.
Not trusting myself enough with the DIY required I enquired (googled) if anyone would service the mount and stumbled upon the DarkFrame website that offered what seemed to what I was looking for; on the 14th of August 2019 I sent an email to the owner enquiring if they offered that king of service for my Vixen and asking for a quote. After a little while I got a replay In the positive and a quote suitably followed. I find the price a bit steep (£350 plus shipping) but hey, either that of at least 3x times for another mount of similar capabilities. Besides, I really liked the GP-DX. I decided to go for it and duly paid the £195 deposit (on the 29th of August) and waited for the shipping box to arrive. Few days later it did appear at the door. To say I was unimpressed by the box would be an understatement as I was expecting a proper heavy-duty shipping BOX rather than some sort of recycled crisp cardboard box with a lot of odds and ends as fillers to be used as packaging material. Yet I had the proper return label and the mount plus controller were light enough anyway. Bit disappointed but the money was already gone so I might as well bite the bullet and risk leaving it to the tender mercies of the courier. Nagging doubts notwithstanding, the 4th of September I was advised by the customer manager that the mount arrived at destination on good order.
I was lead to believe, by the conversations with the DarkFrame owner, that the lead time was in the order of 4 weeks, so I was properly impressed when one month later I was advised by the customer manager that the mount was in the final testing phase after being repaired and to pay up the outstanding dues, which I duly did (via Paypal) the day after. I was also expecting to receive the results of the stripping, repairing and fixing but that didn't happen. Enquiring about it with them I was told that the mount was running over the weekend as per the following quote from them:
"We photograph every stage of a mount rebuild (especially on older mounts), so as promised will be sending some before and after shots. I’m letting her run in over the weekend, then will take an RA track test on our rig. I’ve also started on the Starbook so that should be much better too."
So I was in my right to expect to receive something for all the money I paid, but, alas nothing was forthcoming. Nearly 3 weeks after being told that my mount was "about" to be shipped I email them to ask about my mount status re shipment and such and received exactly no answer. After few other days I called them directly and the customer manager (or whatever) told me that someone or other was on holiday (nearly 1 month after they said the mount was ready to be shipped! ) but the mount was to go out at the end of that same week or next Monday at latest (that would have been Monday the 28th of October).
The 4th of November I send another email asking what the heck was going on. No replay. No answer to my calls either. I got better things to do in my life than chasing after some xxxxxxxx. As the Paypal buyers' protection was due to elapse the 25th of November I decided to pull the plug on them and initiated a claim procedure (on the 20th) that was duly ruled in my favour. By the 25th of November, as they were forced by Paypal to refund, non unexpectedly they chose to contact me by email offer a reduction of costs (waiving the shipping back cost) as long as I paid the monies!
As I had not trust left I counter-offered to pay it all upon receipt of confirmed shipment. Nothing was ever heard of them nor of my mount to this date, 4 months after the facts. I could write it off as lost cause or simply as a lost mount and consider myself lucky I didn't send my way more expensive mount to them to be "retuned". They are too far away from me to drive to their place, assuming that it still exists and besides, with current lock-down not something I can do anyway. In all my dealings (going back 20 years+) with dealers in the "astro" business I was never let down so badly so much.
As they say: buyers beware!
I have a nexstar 6se and I love it. I've only had it about a year and it's my first proper telescope. Every opportunity I'm out in the garden both looking through it and attaching my dslr to the back for fainter objects.
I'm noticing I'm getting movement in the longer exposure photos and after a bit of googling I think it's the mount.
So I'm looking to upgrade. I'm thinking something a little future proof but I'm not made of money so decent, reliable, cheaper end but good enough for astrophotography and with the possibility I might continue to add bits and pieces.
What do I need and how much am I looking? Help thanks in advance.
By Geordie mc
Hi. Just starting to use autofocus with the Celestron motor focus and SGP. Can anyone give me some starting points for step size, backlash etc. I’m getting there but wasting a lot of imaging time just trying to get this to work accurately. I’m currently trying a step size of 75 and a backlash of 50. Any tips most appreciated.
I'm having a bit of a clearout to make way for a new project. For sale here are a couple of items that have seen very litle use:
1) Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM Mount + Tripod - £125 *** SOLD ***
This is in generally very good condition. There are a few marks, and scuffs consistent with normal use. There are also a couple of minor (small) patches of surface rust on a few of the bolts and steel legs. It has seen very litle use, and has been in storage for the past few years so it is time to find it a good home. The small rubber tips that go on the very end of the feet have perished, so these won't be included.
It includes tubular steel tripod, 2 counterweights, built in polar scope, built in bubble level and slow motion controls.
Due to size and weight, collection would be preferred from the RG27 area. If you are reasonably local, I would also consider delivering.
Price: £125, but I am open to offers. Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection
2) ***SOLD*** Celestron Omni XLT 127mm Telescope ***SOLD ***
Again this is in very good condition, and has been in storage for the past few years and has had very little overall use. A few marks on the dovetail as is to be expected.
It includes a small finderscope, diagonal and a 25mm eyepiece
Can be collected from the RG27 area, I could deliver if you are reasonably local, or can be posted for an additional £8.
Price: £110, but am open to offers. Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection *** NOW SOLD ***
Any questions please do let me know.
I popped this topic on CN too but noone seems to know anything.
I came by an old Celestron Ultima 8 pre-PEC. I really like the scope and the mount it may be that I have read too much of Uncle Rod's and other's praise that I feel this scope has some intangible personality and charm.
Circuitry in the base seems to work fine even though the batteries don't hold charge but drive the Ra axis . I have 2 replacement on its way to me.
Now my issue: It didn't come with a hand controller. I know it is not needed for tracking, and I don't have a Dec motor but I find it would be useful for centering in RA and D.A.R.V. method drift alignment.
I was on the verge of making a crude controller out of veroboard and 4 momentary switches that I thought to be correct from the info on various sites, but then I came across an Ultima 8 project that clearly showed the hand controller for my scope.
The pic attached is the one.
I am looking for help on how the dial and buttons are wired in and/or photos of the innards of the hand controller or if anyone knows what else is inside the handbox.
The sources I was going on so far is a combination of the following 3 links:
These of course don't include drive rate rotary switch in the middle and if I could I would really like to to restore the full ability of this mount without spending too much on electronics. Plus I don't want to spend time and effort on wiring something that doesn't work.
Oh and lastly I have no background or experience in electronics just own a soldering station and a whole lot of determination.
Thanks in advance