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Hi all - some of you may have seen my posts about my new goto eq3 150p recently and issues I was having with polar alignment. Well, I have managed to sort this thanks to some people here and Sunday night I was able to 3 star align and take my family on a wonderful tour.

Last night was a different kettle of fish. I set up about two feet left of the nighy before, powered up and started with Deneb. The scope went and pointed well below the horizon. I tried altair, the scope ended up with the weights higher than the tube! In the wrong direction. Capella was pointing again below the horizon. Confused I factory reset but got the same results.

Today talking with an astronomy friend at work he asked what time I had entered into the synscan? I had put 22:30:00 but it had flashed up 10:30:00 which I assumed was correct - cant remember if am/pm was there but must have been. He said it probably thought it was 10:30am. Any thoughts?

Thanks

Frank

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On my handset it will flash up '10.30PM' so you might of still been right. However, if its pointing below the horizon, it does sound as if it thought it was 10.30AM.

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Did you have it set to Northern or Southern hemisphere? It can go all Antipodean on you, if it is set to Southern.

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Sure you got all the data correct?

Tend to suspect timezone and DST, although if you gave the wrong answer to DST I think Capella would been higher up not lower..

Does the software sense the mount or do you tell it EQ or Alt/Az, if it needs telling it may default to Alt/Az, and that really is fun.

Your friend is likely right and the AM/PM aspect was lost, sounds like the handset goes to 12 hour clock mode from what you said. However I would have thought that a scope equally defaulted to PM not AM - just my way of thinking.

Really it is sitting down and double checking everything. One day they will have a screen and an ini file that you set, like most other stuff has had for the last 15-20 years.

Do wonder why scopes are not moderately up to date on the software and computing side.

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Also, make sure you have it in the correct home or park position before you start the alignment procedure. Last night (I was very tired!) I went into the observatory and tried to do a 2 star alignment on my mount and it was doing what you said your mount did - pointing below the horizon, everywhere but where I expected when I was trying to do the alingment. Eventually it dawned on me that I had not thought to put the scope in the correct position before attempting the alignment - easy when you're tired! When I started again, with the scope in the correct starting position (pointing toward Polaris for my mount) it worked fine.

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Check if the date format is US (MM/DD/YYYY) and also if it wants Lat or Long first. I still sometimes put this in wrong after I upgrade firmware, mine asks for Long/Lat rather than the more common Lat/Long you get from GPS and Websites.

Also, are you running it on batteries? It can go a bit off if you use 1.2v rechargeable batteries rather than 1.5v, especially if they start to run down.

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@Matt - I'll have to check to see what is flashed up tonight.

@SouthernDiver - I'm not sure, how would you tell? Then again the night before all was perfect and I changed nothing in my set up the next evening.

@ronin - I'm having difficulty translating gps on the phone/lang lat coordinates via a web site to the hand controller. I think I was a couple of degrees off W (We live very close to the Meridian).

@paulastro - ahh now this sounds like something that could have happened. At the end of my session on sunday, I found a manual controller starting to wrap itself in one of the goto wires and I simply switched off the telescope to extract the cable... so are you saying I should first polar align the mount then use fast slewing to get the scope itself pointing at Polaris? I think this is the issue but any extra detail would be great.

@m37 - that did catch me out on my first try; The controller does reject any "impossible" data, such as gps and date format data - yesterday was 08/26/2013 and it accepted it. I'm running off 12v mains - the scope oddly didn't come with a power pack, it just came with a 12v car socket adaptor.

cheers

frank

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If you moved the mount from your previous location then you need to polar align again. Once you have polar aligned the mount ( not the scope ) you can switch on the handset, make sure the indexes are in the correct position, enter the date and position details and do your 3 star alignment.

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I'm still new to this whole GOTO scope thing. I've got a 150PL on the same mount as you.

Don't know if this will cure your problem but if you move your tripod/mount position from your previous position then try resetting the PAE data in the Utility Functions menu before you start alignment.

If you'd been using the PAE function previously to refine alignments the system remembers the data when you switch it off I believe. So if you move your mount to a different position you may need to reset it. It's worked for me but I might be wrong and I'm sure you'll get other more knowledgeable replies.

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@paulastro - ahh now this sounds like something that could have happened. At the end of my session on sunday, I found a manual controller starting to wrap itself in one of the goto wires and I simply switched off the telescope to extract the cable... so are you saying I should first polar align the mount then use fast slewing to get the scope itself pointing at Polaris? I think this is the issue but any extra detail would be great.

When you end a session, the controller will ask if you want to "Park" the scope. If you select "yes" it will return the scope to park and remember that location. When you return to it the following night and switch it on, it will still ask for time/date/location and then ask "Do you want to start from park position" If you select "yes", there is no need to do a 3 star alignement as it remembers it from the previous session, however, this is reliant on you not moving the mount inbetween sessions. If you have moved the mount, then reply "No" to "Do want to start from park position" and you will have to do a 3 star alignement

Polar aligning the mount has nothing to do with the scope. I think Paul is referring to having the scope in the Park Position, counterweights down and scope pointing towards Polaris but not aligned to it. This is the usual Park Position on an EQ mount, so the scope ends up where the mount and the software wants it, if you know what I mean

Edited by Jiggy 67

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Surely the point is he moved the mount 2 feet to the left and didn't redo the polar alignment!

As long as the mount was pointing North, it wouldn't make that much difference to finding objects as long as star alignement was done.

is a link to how to get the perfect home position

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As long as the mount was pointing North, it wouldn't make that much difference to finding objects as long as star alignement was done.

is a link to how to get the perfect home position

It can make a huge difference to your alignment. If he has moved the mount at all it needs to be polar aligned again. From the OP's post he has moved the mount and I assume is trying to do another 3 Star alignment which could be miles out. If he is just trying to locate objects from the home position then the fact he hs moved the mount will have knocked everything out of alignment.

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And to clarify, yes I did polar align after moving the scope a couple of feet left :) I put Polaris into view just to ensure pointed north; as I wasn't planning any photography. I would like to clear everything from memory and start again. So I may reset the PAE data. Hmm I can't wait to get my astro-shed as lumping it in and outdoors through the house and kitchen and reassembling in the garden is becoming a pain! lol.

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It can make a huge difference to your alignment. If he has moved the mount at all it needs to be polar aligned again. From the OP's post he has moved the mount and I assume is trying to do another 3 Star alignment which could be miles out. If he is just trying to locate objects from the home position then the fact he hs moved the mount will have knocked everything out of alignment.

Thats the point I'm making when I said this

When you end a session, the controller will ask if you want to "Park" the scope. If you select "yes" it will return the scope to park and remember that location. When you return to it the following night and switch it on, it will still ask for time/date/location and then ask "Do you want to start from park position" If you select "yes", there is no need to do a 3 star alignement as it remembers it from the previous session, however, this is reliant on you not moving the mount inbetween sessions. If you have moved the mount, then reply "No" to "Do want to start from park position" and you will have to do a 3 star alignement

Polar aligning the mount has nothing to do with the scope. I think Paul is referring to having the scope in the Park Position, counterweights down and scope pointing towards Polaris but not aligned to it. This is the usual Park Position on an EQ mount, so the scope ends up where the mount and the software wants it, if you know what I mean

I'm assuming he has moved the scope and then returned to it and continued as if he didn't. I accept the point your making about having to polar align again aswell

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Well the OP has said that he did redo the Polar alignment so it's not that. In that case i would certainly check all the data inputs are correct. If that fails you can do a factory reset on the handset. That usually fixes it.

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Ok, well it's a starry sky over Horsham right now so I'm going to start breaking down the scope and prepare to go outside in a bit.

First thing I'll do is polar align (using the polar scope I'll get Polaris just into the view).

Then I'll start the scope and reset to factory settings (will this reset the PAE data too?).

Then I'll enter my time and location data - any ideas of where to get good location data?

Then do a 3 star alignment.

Good idea?

frank

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Sounds good to me.......if you have an IPhone, try Scope Tools from the app store, always found it to give a really good location in the correct format. I always use my IPhone for the time aswell, because it will be exactly right

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And you may want to download PolarFinder which is a free programme for your pc. It will tell you exactly where to place Polaris in your polar scope from your location and time.

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Data can be a pain on these, and so easy to get a small bit wrong. Know what you mean about being close to the meridian, I am -0.2 and where I often observe from is 0.05. I never like entering 0 as a value. Too many years doing software and avoiding the divide by zero possibility.

Seems you are due South of me.

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Well thanks one and all as I sorted it out completely! After polar aligning (I nudged one of the legs 'down' a bit more to centre polaris a bit more) and setting the correct coordinates, 3 start align was simple! Checked out M31, two binaries and Arcturus. Perfect! Now just to figure out photography!

thanks

frank

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Glad you got it all sorted. Did you figure out what was wrong first time round, so you know not to do it again? Or just one of things where you do it exactly the same way and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt lol.

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It's easier still if you can;

Drill out or mark 3 tripod holes, so that you can just set up , if you're using the same place.

Use 2 star align for visual use.

Try and get into a routine, tripod level ( ish ), connect power,polar align, replace polarscope caps, put on ota weights, balance ota, set ota and mount to home position, mark this on the mount , switch on and enter.

Nick.

Edited by cotterless45

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