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HEQ5 Synscan


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This arrived today, along with the 200 f/5 Skywatcher Newt. As it hasn't got dark yet you will have to wait until I get something to point it at.

OK on to my first impressions of the mount.

This is my first Astro mount so I have nothing to compare it with, other than photgraphic tripods that I own. It is big and heavy so it ought to be very stable.

The synscan bit comes as a DIY add-on, which I didn't expect. It has straightforward insructions and the process, although fiddly, went painlessly. Both drive motors, drive gears, the main PCB and control box assembly get changed. These "spare" bits are now in storage.

I was very surprised to find how much stuff yuo get in the package. I had been shopping for the little necessary items like a power lead to connect to a cigarette lighter socket and one of those portable power packs. These came in the package! I now have spares of these too, might be letting them go unless I need two power packs for the mount, edw heaters, electric socks etc.

I am now waitinig for the power pack to charge (the one with the kit) so that i can do the setup and check the operation of the beast.

Will let you know how it goes.

Captain Chaos

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Cheers mate. Looking like I might get a go tonight judging by Met office IR sattelite pics. At least visually. The thing came with an SLR adapter that takes a T adapter - that means that the webcam monstrosity AND the Nikon DSLR could be bolted on easily. Lots of playing options now!

(trots off to look at the charge level)

Will boot it up when its charged.

C ya

Captain Chaos

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Well I got to have a bash tonight but it was a little disappointing and very enlightening. Hung the Newt. on it and switched it on.

The first thing the Synscan asks for when it's switched on is alignment. Well it asked me to point it at stars that a) I don't know and b)I couldn't see for the clouds. So I skipped this and guess what? It wouldn't find anything.

So now I know that it's not as easy as I thought, because I have to learn what the stars are called. Not quite the same as the GPS systems I've read about. I'd read the manual before ordering it and assumed that the stars would be close enough to be unmistakeable i.e. easy to zero in on. This was not the case. My best guess is that I'd polar aligned on something other than Polaris, which would [removed word] it up a bit, or I hadn't got the tripod level accurately enough.

The next bit was better, manually pointing it at Saturn to check the telescope. The tracking was spot on, except for the wind blowing the 'scope about.

As this was my first go with ANY telescope I can't offer a comparison, that will come when I have a go with the other toy.

Hopefully tomorrow the clouds will have gone (yeah right!!), i'll be nice and warm (ditto) and I'll know all the names of the stars.

Still, I had a good time out in the cold with my new toys and once the bugs are ironed out, we're off!

PS I did take some snaps, but they were all rubbish because of the wind.

Much more to come, watch this space.

Captain Chaos

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You must a least have found Polaris if Saturn was tracking well.

GPS doesn't solve everything. The NS8 GPS will in theory work out level find north and then in GPS alignment mode will slew to 2 appropriate stars. You still have to centre them to improve the alignment. Not good if they are covered by cloud. For good alignment you also need the stars to be well apart from each other, preferably 90deg. It wouldn't be very good using sirius and procyon for instance. I don't think you need to know that many stars fortunately. Anyone would have struggled to use goto last night I think.

Martin

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The main reason I got it was because I don't know where stuff is. Down to earth with a bump there.

After cogitating last night, it occurred to me that there is no feedback from either axis for the goto to reference. It has to go by dead reckoning, so unless its aligned it won't find anything.

Maybe tonight.

The telescope was amazing. Wherever it was pointed at a hole in the clouds there were LOTS of stars. Found Andromeda and had a look at that - easily visible, though the GEM was wierd to wrestle with. Oh and everything is the wrong way round!

As was pointed out, last night was dreadful cloud wise so I am thanking my lucky stars that I found anything at all.

Much more to come

Captain Chaos

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Hi CC,

You can keep scrolling through the list of stars until you get something familiar. At the moment it should give you the option of Pollux and Betelguese as two alignment stars.

Although i skip the initial alignment stage and go onto inputing location, date and time. Then do the 2 star alignment.

You're right, it's not as easy as a GPS based system but once you've done it a few times it becomes an easy task.

It's a good system CC. Don't get too disappointed.

Regards

Russ

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That's the problem, scrolling down until I find something familiar. "come on you beep, i know where Polaris is, pick THAT one" etc.

I'm not familiar, or even casually aquainted with the stars, so it's like this:-

1)Wait for a star to be suggested

2)Trot off into the light with the printout from Starry night

3)Locate star (or not) on map

4)Back out to 'scope

5)Try to locate target

6)Swear at tree

7)Scroll down again

8)Repeat

More to come later as it's work time so i put a new pic. on the website

http://www.gas.uk.net/pics/M42.jpg

This is with the Newt +2x Barlow 30 Secs @1600iso single frame test.

It seems like it's a bit wobbly with the Barlow, or the stepper motor steps are too big. Need to try STUFF.

As I said, nore to come.

Captain Chaos

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I think I am about 2 weeks ahead of you CC. These are pretty easy - Mizar (Ursa Major), Capella (Auriga), Betelgeuse + Rigel(orion), Sirius (Canis major), Procyon(canis minor) and Regulus (leo). Early evening add Vega and Deneb to the NW. I am trying to remember a couple of stars in Cassiopia but have forgotten them now!!! These give you a good spread and are easy to spot.

Get that star chart out CC :lol:

Martin

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CC, I have some Synscan stuff i've downloaded from around the web. Including star finder charts for the alignment process and a guide on using the mount with an autoguider.

I've heat sealed the maps....they are very handy!

Let me know if you are interested and I'll email you everything I have.

Regards

Russ

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Hi Martin,

Did you click on the link? Only that won't work. Copy and paste the link into the address bar of IE and click Go. Should work hopefully. I've just tried it from work and it seems okay.

Many regards

Russ

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That's the problem, scrolling down until I find something familiar. "come on you beep, i know where Polaris is, pick THAT one" etc.

I'm not familiar, or even casually aquainted with the stars, so it's like this:-

1)Wait for a star to be suggested

2)Trot off into the light with the printout from Starry night

3)Locate star (or not) on map

4)Back out to 'scope

5)Try to locate target

6)Swear at tree

7)Scroll down again

8)Repeat

More to come later as it's work time so i put a new pic. on the website

http://www.gas.uk.net/pics/M42.jpg

This is with the Newt +2x Barlow 30 Secs @1600iso single frame test.

It seems like it's a bit wobbly with the Barlow, or the stepper motor steps are too big. Need to try STUFF.

As I said, nore to come.

Captain Chaos

rolao  I can see you are getting on  famously with your new gear,  cc its a fantastic hobbie ain't it?Where else can you be suprised then shocked followed by  highly delighted then totaly bemused only to become more and more dedicated to it ?

And thats all in one nights session with the gear

a planishere would help you no doubt.We will have to put you forward in the competition section  for most amusing reports :lol::p :p :D :shock: :? 8) :p :x :( :(

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