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luminova11

Skywatcher Star Adventurer

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On 11/15/2016 at 12:25, brantuk said:

Fabulous image - one of the few where you can see the whole extent of M42 - right the way round it's perimeter. Nice one Slynxx. :)

Thanks. This is probably the best image i've taken so far (started properly june 2016). Before I owned an Alt Az mount & couldn't do what I intended to do as in AP. Wish I'd known that when I bought the setup. I'll keep plugging away & see what result i can get. Clear Skies :) 

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Hi guys!

What do you guys think about this setup: Star adventurer on top of AZ4 aluminium tripod and SW star travel 102/500mm with canon 500D. Weight vice everything should work (about 4kg) but how about tracking? Is 500mm too much for long exposure shots? Could I use for example lifecam studio and RACI finder as a tracking scope?

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I got the Star Adventurer (SA), and it looks great. I’m just familiarising in the house before use; the dials look a bit daunting but I suppose it can be at first until I know what does what.  I actually decided on a First Horizon 8115 tripod (sorry to the recommendation of the DV tripod but I wanted the orders unsplit and I got a good price on the tripod), which has pan and tilt and a quick release plate with a 1/4" slot head bolt. I have a few questions/comments if anyone has a view.

There are several mounting options. I'm first attempting to use the mount on tripod with Wedge to mount Canon 1100d camera with 70-300mm Tamron zoom lens. [I’m not using the pan and tilt of the tripod to adjust altitude. I may as well take advantage of the Wedge).  But I fixed and tightened the pan and tilt to stabilise the quick release plate as horizontal as possible - by eye only (the tripod has a bubble level).  There was a 3/8 to 1/4" converter plug in the bottom of the SA.  As instructed, I removed it and screwed it into the base of the Wedge. Then I screwed the 1/4" bolt pushing up through the bottom of the tripod’s quick release plate into the converter plug.  That made the Wedge sit on the tripod and is easy to quickly remove by undoing the quick release plate from the tripod.  The SA then slides onto and clamps on top of the Wedge, secured by the SW base plate that has the 3/8” slotted bolt.

I noticed that the 3/8” to 1/4” converter plug can screw deeper than flush in to the Wedge base. That is, I can screw it further inside which means it’s too far inside. OK, so I thought, well it must have to be flush with the Wedge base surface, so I did that.  The 1/4 “ bolt from the tripod quick release plate screwed into the converter plug. Initially it wouldn’t screw because there’s a spring stud on the quick release base plate (which I don’t know what it does, but think it’s for a video camera). But I pressed the plate hard up against the Wedge base, then screwed in the 1/4 “ bolt (that has a big slot head that I used a 20p coin to tighten it with).  It seemed to pull in tight. I tightened until I couldn’t turn the SW plate sideways.

Does it matter that the little converter plug is loose when screwed into the base of the Wedge so that it is flush?  It’s not screwed up to anything so it can turn of its own free will (whilst no bolt is screwed into it).

How can the converter plug go from loose to tight when a bolt is screwed into it?  Is seems to be being pulled up against the quick release plate base by the action of tightening the quick release plate bolt.

But it’s the tightening mechanism that I don’t understand. A converter plug that screws in clockwise till flush, then a quick release plate bolt that also screws in clockwise with the base plate in between. How does that tighten? OK, maybe that’s how it works, the mechanism of physics, I don’t know.

My biggest worry was, the slot head 1/4 “ bolt from the tripod quick release plate only has a few threads that go into the converter plug.  I can’t remember how many without taking it to bits again, but possibly 3-4 threads worth and possibly (by eye, about 4-5 mm’s worth of bolt).  Now if that were to strip the thread/fail at some point, the Wedge carrying the SA and camera (on ball head), would fall off. 

Now, that said.  But because I said earlier that the 3/8 to 1/4 “ converter plug can screw further inside the base of the Wedge, it means the hole depth could afford to take a longer 1/4“ bolt.  But can it? Would a longer 1/4" bolt make any difference at all, if the tightening function is that the threaded converter has to be flush with the Wedge base surface?

I suppose a longer bolt could still fail where it snapped at the surface of the Wedge base surface, leaving a snapped bolt inside the hole and difficult to remove.

There’s a lot of expensive kit sitting on one 1/4” bolt which is only screwed in by a few threads.  Is there an engineering guide to what is regarded as suitable and sufficiently acceptable? That way and compliance with that means I should have no worries.

But as said, getting a longer 1/4 “ bolt for the tripod quick release plate would require some tweaking around with the plate itself.  I’m not sure if that is fiddly.

Also, thinking about this as I go along, a longer 1/4 “ bolt is not actually screwing into anything other than the 3/8 to 1/4 “ converter plug, so it wouldn’t be threading into the thread of the hole because the hole is 3/8” threaded.

So my conclusion could be, if the shortness of the 1/4 “ bolt is not compliant with accepted guidance, then I need a quick release plate with a 3/8” bolt, which is longer, so it goes deeper into the Wedge base hole but shorter than the hole depth [and to NOT use the 3/8 to 1/4 “ converter plug]. Is this a better idea? Where can I get a quick release plate with a 3/8” slot head bolt? [I haven’t looked to see if the tripod maker supplies them because I’ve just concluded this idea by writing this post now].

Note. The reason a ball head is used to mount the camera, is I’m just following the SA instruction booklet, but there were some other mounting options with a plate and counter weight, but they were for telescope or two cameras and I’ve not got there yet (I thought I’d start off with one thing at a time).  The Fotomate H28 ball head itself has a 3/8 “ threaded hole, but comes with a slotted 3/8-1/4 converter plug that looks the same as the Skywatcher one.  But the Skywatcher photo bundle kit also comes with a 3/8 to 1/4 “ adapter plate that accepts the ball head (3/8 to 1/4 converter plug removed).  The 3/8” bolt is about 7 mm long with 5 or 6 threads and looks more substantial and longer than the 1/4 “ bolt, but its purpose is to fit a ball head onto the SA.  The camera fits onto the other end of the ball head by the ball head’s 1/4" bolt – which ironically also looks shortish, 4 threads visible above the cork plate.  Now that is a ball head made for cameras, so, although the 1/4" bolt seems shortish (to me without engineering judgement), presumably it is enough to accept a camera with a long lens. If so, then the shortish 1/4" bolt on the tripod quick release plate that screws into the Wedge base (with 3/8 – 1/4 converter plug in place), might actually be sufficient (to take the SA plus ball head plus camera with long lens). 

But me being belt and braces, I just felt that the tripod quick release plate 1/4” bolt seemed too short, and from a risk assessment, is the only connection.  If it failed, there would be nothing else to stop the SA and camera (or even guide telescope) falling off.

 

I did a run of the SA with nothing mounted, in the house for 3 hours at 12x speed, and 1 hr at 1x (sidereal) speed, then the two R and L LED’s started flashing.  I measured the voltage across the 4 AA batteries in the SA and it was about 4.2 V (individual cells were 1.27V each; strangely, V1+V2+V3+V4 didn’t total exactly the voltage across the SA whilst switched off and still not under operating load).  I assumed the flashing lights was just the fresh set of batteries had become spent – 12x speed for 3 hours.  I assume the batteries will last more than 3 hrs at sidereal rate.  I installed a fresh set and the voltage across the 4 cells was about 4.6V, and individually, each cell was 1.6V (not sure why it wasn’t 4 x 1.6V mind, with cells being in series).

There is a clutch on the SA.  It can be loose, or tightened.  I’m not sure how it should be, but on the test runs with no ball head/camera combo attached, I left it as it was when it arrived (loose).

On the test run, I rotated one end (not the freely loose clutch plate) whilst looking through the eyepiece of the polar scope.  I could see the etched clock rotate, so I rotated it so that zero was at top as best as vertical as I could.  On the dial side, I rotated the dial so the zero matched up with the zero hour on the fixed 0-23 hour dial.  I was just familiarising myself.  I saw the etched clock slowly rotate over time.  On sidereal rate in one hour of real time, I could see the dial had moved 1/24 th, which sounds about right.

When I load the ball head and camera, do I need to tighten up the clutch plate, or keep it loose?

The SA really does look a nice piece of equipment and I’m looking forward to using it. With that alone, it will let me get longer exposures from a simple camera, because of the tracking (I know it has a guider facility as well, which may come in with longer focal length camera lens of 300mm but may be not needed for the exposures I would aim for of 90s or less).  I’ve been able to get to 12-13th magnitude stars with unguided shots with 300mm lens at ISO 6400 at 10-20s exposure (trails obviously), but tracked would be even better.

At a later stage, I may use my Altair Astro 60mm finder guider (with QHY5Lii CC) as guidescope for longer exposures (if light pollution is acceptable).

20161126_171222.jpg

20161126_180341.jpg

20161126_180401.jpg

Edited by derekorion
Attaching 3 photos (drag didn't work, so chose files)

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The general idea is to remove the pan / tilt head and screw the wedge directly to the tripod.

Dave

DSCF0557.png

Edited by Davey-T
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I almost forgot to ask...

When I ordered my Star Adventurer, I ordered the bundle package.

There was this little thing included, which I am unable to identify:

IMG_20161204_130851.jpg

It looks the same size as the polar reticle light, I thought it must be some accessory for the polar finderscope, but I still cannot figure out its purpose.

 

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Mmh, no, it doesn't seem to be an adapter...

My illuminator already fits by itself.

Beside, this round "thing" doesn't fit perfectly neither the polar scope, neither the illuminator...

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May be to fit the illuminator to the dovetail slot.

Dave

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I meant what Dave said 

3 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

May be to fit the illuminator to the dovetail slot.

Dave

 

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Oh.. ok, yes.. that's it.

I have to say, it doesn't exactly fit well, but hey, it could still come in handy!

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It will a lot. At first you had to remove the l bracket to use polar illuminator now you have the adapter 

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Wasn't a great night as seeing was poor. Managed to get this image of M31 with the same setup as the Orion Nebula image.

Andromeda Nov 2016 - Trial 1 PNG.png

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This is my attempt (20/10/2016, Lefkada Island, Greece) with Star Adventurer, Canon 650D, Sigma 70-300, DeepSkyStacker, PS. 13 photos 180sec each, ISO 800. Darks, flats, Bias. What do you think ?

0Ch9oKb.jpg

Edited by SdA
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You shot it at 300mm? Great image! Stars look good also. You should have taken more subs but of 2mins.my opinion I may not be the best :)

Clear skies 

 

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Yes, also I think so. Better 30-50 photos 120sec. I use two setups.

1. Canon 650D, Sigma 70-300 (300) 1:4-5.6

2. Canon 650D prime focus, Vixen ED80Sf (heavy for this setup but at the limit) with 1 Kg diy weight

 

QZfL3Uk.jpg

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Hi SdA and welcome to the forum, nice Star Adventurer image, I've used mine with 300mm lens and it does 90/ 1200 sec's no problem.

Also used it well over max' load for solar imaging with extra counter weight.

Look forward to more

Dave

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Thank you Davey-T.

Star Adventurer is very good for the cost. But we have to do like this:   Polar Scope Reticule Centering   

Also we can use this method to find the nebulae:

 

 

Edited by SdA
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What a cracking little mount the Star Adventurer (SA) is.

I bought mine from FLO back in April (the astronomy bundle) and despite the weather have managed a few nights out under the stars. I found the mount well made but haven’t got on with the wedge preferring instead to have the SA on top of an old Celestron heavy duty alt-az tripod (set at 53 degrees for Nottingham) which makes polar alignment very quick and accurate using the manual adjustment controls. I found the wedge RA and DEC knobs very stiff to operate out the box and they needed silicone to smooth their working. I also obtained a right angled accessory to put on the eye end of the polar scope to make the alignment process a lot easier on the knees. The illuminated polar accessory is a fiddly beast to operate in the dark but I’m getting there. Also found that the SA/wedge will fit nicely on top of an old CG-5 tripod.

I began taking exposures with my Canon 600D DSLR/35mm lens combination controlling through BYEOS and have been able to get 5 minute exposures with no star trailing. When I have left the cursor over a star when taking successive 5 minute exposures hardly any movement is seen after 10 minutes.

Really looking forward to using the SA with longer FL lenses and counterweight in the new imaging season and on holiday.

Cheers,
Steve

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Mine is finally on order with FLO now they have stock again, gone for the astro photo bundle. Looking forwards to it, but I apologise for any cloud it produces

 

Huw

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Hi newbie on here ...

I have purchased one of these and as of yet I havent had any success with it ... I wondered if there were any users in the  w yorks / n yorks area that could point / help me setup / polar align properly ... 

There has to be something fundamental I am doing wrong ... 

Think I am polar aligning right ???

Bryan 

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On 14/08/2017 at 14:01, Star searcher said:

Hi newbie on here ...

I have purchased one of these and as of yet I havent had any success with it ... I wondered if there were any users in the  w yorks / n yorks area that could point / help me setup / polar align properly ... 

There has to be something fundamental I am doing wrong ... 

Think I am polar aligning right ???

Bryan 

When you say no success what is the problem exactly ? polar aligning is pretty easy, just level it and aim it north, set the polar scope with 6 at the bottom and use one of the many polar apps to see where Polaris needs to be on the clock face or use Stellarium and put it diametrically opposite to the position shown in Stellarium.

You can check it when imaging to make sure it's following the circle and tweak it if necessary. 

What are you imaging with ?

Dave

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I think my tripod is too light ... as I have star trailing at 1 min ... using 5DMk3 and 20 -40 mm Sigma 2.8 (24 -70 canon f4 , 70 - 200 canon f2.8)

 Have read that wind can also affect setup too ...

 

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3 hours ago, Star searcher said:

I think my tripod is too light ... as I have star trailing at 1 min ... using 5DMk3 and 20 -40 mm Sigma 2.8 (24 -70 canon f4 , 70 - 200 canon f2.8)

 Have read that wind can also affect setup too ...

 

How are you mounting / balancing it ?

The first SWSA I received was running slow, producing star trails in short exposures, you can test for this indoors by mounting a laser pointer on it and marking the starting point on the wall, leaving it running for 24 hours and it should end up pretty much in the same spot.

Dave

I used a laser level

SW-SA-Test-2.jpg.02e76320f2255a76b61f0c0acfadc55b.jpg

SS-SA-Test-1.thumb.jpg.73daf06c777c13014bf098ec243471e5.jpg

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I have ordered a skywatcher tripod ... from them (binstore).. and will run the 24hr test ... 

I am mounting using a ball head with short lens .. and L bar and ball head for long lens with tripod mount on it ... helps distribute weight ... havent used the counterwieght yet ... 

Thanks for this by the way ...

Bryan 

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Starsearcher. When I first had my SA I thought my alignment was wrong. It turned out that there was a small amount of grease to lubricate the ball head and that induced some slippage. Worked some meths around the ball and now the ball head stays on track. HughP.

 

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