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cardigan wearer

Out with the old. In with the new

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After 15 years of service, a couple weeks ago the old Meade ETX 125 and everything with it was sold off on ebay. Obviously this meant that clear skies and excellent viewing would happen for most night while I was scopeless.

etx.jpg

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Choice for my retirement purchase was going to be a large aperture, on a modular mount so I can upgrade in the future. Mostly for visual with some AP as my experience increases. The pension money cleared and I ordered my new setup on Friday 20th Jan.  Monday 23rd a text warned me I had a delivery coming later that day. I was out at an appointment most of the day when I arrived home to this!

 

20170123_135143.jpg

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Thats quite a pile of boxes !

Hope to see pics of whats inside soon :icon_biggrin:

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Expecting a localised tornado to dominate the weather for the next few weeks I was pleasantly surprised at a clear forecast and after unpacking and playing with bits I set it all up on the decking that backs off my living room. Waiting for darkness I had an early supper so no interruptions when it was time to play.

My wife is chronically ill and we get lots of nurses, carers and health people visiting daily, by the time the third one said "boys and their toys" when they saw the scope I was getting agitated. The retort is now a standard reply "actually it is a scientific instrument needed for my, astronomy and inter planetary science degree".

 

sct 1100.jpg

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Mount Celestron AVX

OTA Celestron XLT C11 with fastar

Celestron Starsense

Baader Diamond 2 Inch Steeltrack SCT Focuser

Baader ClickLock 2" DiElectric Star Diagonal

Baader Planetarium Hyperion Aspheric Modular 36mm Eyepiece

Baader Planetarium Hyperion Eyepieces Starter Set

ZWO ASI120MC Colour 1/3" CMOS USB2.0 Camera with Autoguider Port

Lots of bits and pieces various filters and stuff.

 

 

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Its a LOT bigger than it looks in the pictures on the websites when your choosing what to buy! The tripod is very well made and solid, I thought setting up on my decking would be a bad place long term as the old Meade wobbled like anything when I moved on the raised decking. Not this one it is heavy. Same with the Advanced mount, I wasnt sure if to go for this or the way more expensive CGEM II but this seem more than adequate for my needs it looks and feels very well built. The C11 tube is like a dustbin it is way way bigger than I though, I had toyed with the idea of the 9.25 but I know my cruel mind would play games and taunt me for ever saying you should have got the bigger one.

The Badder Planetarium optics look and feel like they should cost more, and the few bits I have used so far are very pleasing indeed.

Taken my time setting up getting the feel of balancing and the handset software aligning and stuff. Had a quick look at Venus and it tracks lovely keeping the centre of view while I went in had tea and biscuits and came back out still bang in the middle. I could see a nice crescent using the 36mm EP. A slew to the left an Orion Nebulae, wow. So I took a quick snap with my phone held afocal over the EP.

 

orion.jpg

Edited by cardigan wearer
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To help with a faster setup I have drilled three location holes in the decking so the tripod will sit back in the same spot, I can see Polaris just above the ridge of my house from here, and it is spot on level. Now I have done a polar align I dont need to alter the Dec so that should also go back into a close enough setting (until I get serious with AP). To quickly get a pretty close RA I have made a small clamp for a laser pointer. This I hope should fit in the mount in the same place each time, and I turn the RA on the mount screws until the pointer hits a marker on the house wall. In the picture you should see the green spot on the wall.

Second night and this setup seemed to work pretty well and I just did a star align and go. Lots to do and try, get the starsense working next. Then a play with the Zwo camera and camera software when the weather keeps me indoors. Also got some filters coming for some solar photography so at least I can use my investment when its day light and warm (can justify the expense if I say investment). Where to build my observatory?

 

laser.jpg

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Hello. And you seem very pleased with your purchase☺. And so you should a C11 on an AVX mount is a potent combination. Nice big aperture with great mount. I think you did the right thing going for the C11 over the C9.25 otherwise you would of have the nagging"what if factor". Smart idea putting a few holes in the decking also to mark the spot to allow a quicker set up time.

Lovely piece of kit and capable also. I hope you enjoy your retirement and your new purchase, I am sure it will give you many years of enjoyment exploring this great universe we are all part of. Have fun☺ 

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Hello Cardigan Wearer - congrats on your new setup!  I have wondered how well the AVX works with a C11 at higher power.  What's the damp down time and is it all jitters while focusing?  Or does the mount hold up ok?  Congrats again!

 

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Looks like it's going to be fun... you need now to change your equipment details in your message footer?

 

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I've been using an AVX with my 130mm F/9 refractor. It's pretty good with that scope at high magnfications. A C11 is a different proposition though - compact tube but over 3 metres of focal length.

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That is a lovely set up. Enjoy your retirement, it's the best thing I ever did.

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45 minutes ago, laudropb said:

That is a lovely set up. Enjoy your retirement, it's the best thing I ever did.

Same here.  Started to learn how to play a keyboard now.

@ least my scope gets used now :thumbsup: as well.

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On 27/01/2017 at 05:42, Moon Watcher said:

Hello Cardigan Wearer - congrats on your new setup!  I have wondered how well the AVX works with a C11 at higher power.  What's the damp down time and is it all jitters while focusing?  Or does the mount hold up ok?  Congrats again!

 

Still "playing" with setups so not even tried high magnification yet. I was worried that the C11 will be at the very top end of the mounts weight capability, I need not have been concerned it is rock solid. I am only using my decking as a temporary viewing area as its easy access straight out of my living room, will be set up on concrete pad in the lower garden eventually. I am using the Baader focuser for fine focus and it settles down after a few seconds. Even with an Astrozap dew shield which effectively doubles the tube length and it was pretty windy Thursday night.

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Thank you all for your nice comments. I am very happy with my purchase and having time to finally pursue my passion and interest.

I tried to setup Starsense and encountered an error on the hand controller. I read lots of comments about this in this and other forums the conculsion was to use CFM to reflash the firmware. This is where things when form worse to worser!!

Celestron really need to update their website as te connection picture shows the hand controller with rj11 connector, my controller was mini usb? Ok it sort of all connects the same, but lots of conflicting posts, some say even with the usb type connector on the newer hand controllers you still need the correct driver on the laptop etc.

I managed to corrupt the software in the mount as well as it loaded 2 and a half bits of 6 updates then stopped.

Not wanting to damage anything it was off to Tring Astro in the morning. A 470 mile round trip, rising from my warm bed at 5am. Tring Astro were absolutely fantastic. Very welcoming and a tea after the 4 hour drive was spot on. Neil tested the mount handsets and starsense, showing me what he was doing and explaining everything. Upshot is he replaced everything that might be in question so new mount, hand controller, cables, starsense complete new box, power supplies. Then he opened all the boxes connected everything up and checked it worked so I did nt drive home and possible get the same thing again. Then he showed me how to connect up to re flash all the firmware using CFM. And re flashed every thing with latest versions. His wife (Jane?) demonstrated some dew heater systems with good recommendations, and the lovely new lithium power tank. Both of which are on my wish list for next birthday.

Some more Tea and lots of chat with other customers, a play with a vast range of scopes, and a few new bits to buy (£200) and the long drive home. Thank you Neil and co.

Very impressed with the family run Tring Astro, I know this site is sponsored by FLO who I have also brought lots of accessories from, so I hope I am allowed to mention another supplier on here.

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Next clear night I will be using Starsense, next cloudy evening I will be assembling the mount inside and having a learning session (no longer called play!) with the WiFi dongle.

Question, experience please in how to connect either bluetooth or wifi or USB to the LAN. I want to use my ZWO camera with the scope controlled from laptop or tablet (can do that bit) but I want the ZWO image on my widescreen TV (smart TV) with android box, which is in my wifes specialist adapted room, she is now very disabled. But wants to share my interest and also view the magnificent sights this setup can deliver.

To be able to remotely slew the scope over WiFi and view the image remotely would be a dream come true for her, also gives me a reason (excuse?) to build an observatory.

 

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After 2 weeks of rain, I finally got to try star sense, and the replaced items. Star sense works its magic while I go inside for a tea. Come back out to the scope select GoTo "moon" and she slews round perfectly, and again with Venus was in view with the 36mm EP. Starsense then calibrated and a new auto align. Accurate enough without putting ref points in as I was keen to do some viewing. Already learning that I need stronger ND filter as the moon was blindingly bright, in fact put your hand above the EP about 6" away and the projection onto your hand is like a torch light.

Also managed to try the WiFi using my phone, that functions very well. I had read do not use the hand controller and the App together use one or the other, I had no problems and could easily use either. This will allow me to set up outside get the camera working then come in and control over WiFi. I might buy an Amazon Fire Tablet to use solely with the scope, anybody with experience of that combination love to hear your views

Put the illuminated reticule in and centered on a carter, 5 mins later and it was still centered in the cross hairs so the mount is tracking lovely. clouds started building so I snapped a few pictures with a Samsung Galaxy hand held over the 36mm Hyperion EP. Second picture is using the 10mm Hyperion. Moon was nearly straight above me and seeing was pretty good.

Not long after this I packed up as the sea mist started to roll in.

 

moon 1.jpg

moon 2.jpg

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No post processing with these images! so I cant wait now until I get another viewing session to try out the Zwo camera, Then try my hand at taking subs and stacking and some post processing, its raining again though!

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Beautiful!

Very sorry to hear of your wife.

Best wishes for a long and Happy Retirement!

I'm retired, too.

I was tired yesterday. And I'm retired today. (Been retired since 2010)

And it sounds like you have climbed the learning curve well.

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Just printed out the first of the moon pictures above, on glossy photo paper in best quality hard to believe looking at it that a phone with its tiny lens can give so much quality the black around the moon is stunning.

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8 hours ago, cardigan wearer said:

Just printed out the first of the moon pictures above, on glossy photo paper in best quality hard to believe looking at it that a phone with its tiny lens can give so much quality the black around the moon is stunning.

I am of the opinion that cell phone cameras are going to surpass other cameras. Most of us have one, and they are so much more than a mere phone. It's a pocket computer. And we can text a picture to Friends or Family.

Be careful or you can run out of ink.... :cussing: (Don't ask how I know that... :icon_biggrin: )

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