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M Astronomy

Imaging with a Star Adventurer

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Hi all

I'm impressed with the images posted here. I have an SA but it's been in dry dock for quite a while (I bought it over 2 years ago). That's because I could never get it to track correctly. I got it out last night to have another go (though I wasn't expecting it to self-repair!). I attached a canon 1100d with a 200mm Super Takumar lens via the counterbalance bar. Made sure it was balanced. Of course, I put brand new batteries in :). But tracking is still way off. I can get 5s but anything longer gives streaks in RA which obviously get worse with longer exposures. I suppose it is tracking too slowly in RA with the '*' setting. I'm wondering if anyone knows about any possible adjustments I could make - either electronic or mechanical? 

Thanks for any replies

Louise

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15 hours ago, wsg said:

One question I  have is what is everyone's experience in max exposure time with the Star Adventurer and a 200mm-400mm lens like mine?

Hiya, 

Lovely M42 and good news on the extended exposure time you've achieved :-) :-)

Don't have anything as good or fast as your 200-400mm f/4 lens at those FL's but my rather standard 75-300mm, which is a probably lot lighter I'll grant has allowed me to take 180 second exposures at ISO 400 f/5.6 at 300mm. That is without any guiding. I've found that when polar aligning with the SA mount to complete alignment when the SAM app shows Polaris just on a division (or half way between divisions), that way you get as accurate a polar alignment as possible. You will probably need to use the bracket and counterweight to improve balance with your camera and lens. My camera and the 75-300mm lens combined weigh in at 1,164g.

Good luck with your imaging!

Cheers,
Steve

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2 hours ago, Thalestris24 said:

I'm wondering if anyone knows about any possible adjustments I could make - either electronic or mechanical? 

Really sorry to hear of your problem with the SA mount, and that it is out of warranty too.

My first thought was whether the clutch mechanism was not working properly. A locked over tightened clutch is a known issue (which I have had) and you might experience the RA just moving and not being held by the clutch properly. How to free the clutch is in this video from SkyWatcher-

 

 

As you need to re-position the polar reticle with the 6 o'clock at the bottom of the reticle view before each night's imaging I am now very careful to tighten but not over tighten the clutch to avoid the binding problem. I've gone to the length of placing a sticker on my mount so I remember which way to loosen the clutch-doh!

I have also come across this site which might prove interesting-http://astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/project-star-adventurer-repair/project-star-adventurer-repair.html

There are a number of degreasing/regreasing actions you can take and adjustments to the gearing.

Anything on the Internet discussing a similar issue?

Also, https://www.darkframeoptics.com/page/tuning do a repair/tuning service at cost. You could enquire as to the likely issue in case they have come across this before.

I hope one of these ideas helps you to overcome the problem so you can use your mount.

Best Regards,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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29 minutes ago, SteveNickolls said:

Really sorry to hear of your problem with the SA mount, and that it is out of warranty too.

My first thought was whether the clutch mechanism was not working properly. A locked over tightened clutch is a known issue (which I have had) and you might experience the RA just moving and not being held by the clutch properly. How to free the clutch is in this video from SkyWatcher-

As you need to re-position the polar reticle with the 6 o'clock at the bottom of the reticle view before each night's imaging I am now very careful to tighten but not over tighten the clutch to avoid the binding problem. I've gone to the length of placing a sticker on my mount so I remember which way to loosen the clutch-doh!

I have also come across this site which might prove interesting-http://astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/project-star-adventurer-repair/project-star-adventurer-repair.html

There are a number of degreasing/regreasing actions you can take and adjustments to the gearing.

Anything on the Internet discussing a similar issue?

Also, https://www.darkframeoptics.com/page/tuning do a repair/tuning service at cost. You could enquire as to the likely issue in case they have come across this before.

I hope one of these ideas helps you to overcome the problem so you can use your mount.

Best Regards,
Steve

Hi Steve

Thanks for your response. I think there's probably not much I can do with it that I haven't previously tried. The Darkframe tuning looks quite good but it's practically the price of a new SA! Maybe I'll just get another one though I wish there was something a bit better! An EQ3 Pro is only £200 more than an SA and is perhaps a bit more versatile...

Louise

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1 minute ago, Thalestris24 said:

Hi Steve

Thanks for your response. I think there's probably not much I can do with it that I haven't previously tried. The Darkframe tuning looks quite good but it's practically the price of a new SA! Maybe I'll just get another one though I wish there was something a bit better! An EQ3 Pro is only £200 more than an SA and is perhaps a bit more versatile...

Louise

There was an SA for sale on astroboot for £145. If that's any use??

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Bobby1970 said:

There was an SA for sale on astroboot for £145. If that's any use??

 

 

Thanks but a new one is only £199...

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18 minutes ago, Thalestris24 said:

Thanks but a new one is only £199...

This one is new, and it's been reduced 

Screenshot_20171215-165036.thumb.png.d467b59b98ec548ea8d95d076fb328f7.png

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3 minutes ago, Bobby1970 said:

This one is new, and it's been reduced 

Screenshot_20171215-165036.thumb.png.d467b59b98ec548ea8d95d076fb328f7.png

Tempting! But knowing my luck it would be another duff one! Once bitten etc. I see you have an eq1300 gt - can I ask how you find it? I know they don't have a computer interface but maybe they are quite portable and better than a star adventurer? Do you know what the difference is between the eq1300 gt and the Bresser Exos-2 which looks like it's the same but is more expensive?

Thanks

Louise

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1 hour ago, Thalestris24 said:

Tempting! But knowing my luck it would be another duff one! Once bitten etc. I see you have an eq1300 gt - can I ask how you find it? I know they don't have a computer interface but maybe they are quite portable and better than a star adventurer? Do you know what the difference is between the eq1300 gt and the Bresser Exos-2 which looks like it's the same but is more expensive?

Thanks

Louise

As far as I know they are the same mount. Not sure what you mean by "no computer interface". It has GOTO and as far as I know can be guided. It's more of an EQ5 class mount I think so nothing like as portable as the SA. 

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3 minutes ago, Bobby1970 said:

As far as I know they are the same mount. Not sure what you mean by "no computer interface". It has GOTO and as far as I know can be guided. It's more of an EQ5 class mount I think so nothing like as portable as the SA. 

Hi

It doesn't allow control via laptop/planetarium software does lt? How do you find it? Is it quite portable i.e. easy to carry around?

Thanks

Louise

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1 minute ago, Thalestris24 said:

Hi

It doesn't allow control via laptop/planetarium software does lt? How do you find it? Is it quite portable i.e. easy to carry around?

Thanks

Louise

You are correct in saying it cant be linked to a laptop and controlled via something like stellarium for example. 

Personally I wouldn't really class it as portable. Lol. Maybe it's just me. Imho portability is where a bit Star Adventurer comes in. Just my 2p worth. :-)

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6 hours ago, Thalestris24 said:

Hi all

I'm impressed with the images posted here. I have an SA but it's been in dry dock for quite a while (I bought it over 2 years ago). That's because I could never get it to track correctly. I got it out last night to have another go (though I wasn't expecting it to self-repair!). I attached a canon 1100d with a 200mm Super Takumar lens via the counterbalance bar. Made sure it was balanced. Of course, I put brand new batteries in :). But tracking is still way off. I can get 5s but anything longer gives streaks in RA which obviously get worse with longer exposures. I suppose it is tracking too slowly in RA with the '*' setting. I'm wondering if anyone knows about any possible adjustments I could make - either electronic or mechanical? 

Thanks for any replies

Louise

That is the identical problem I had with the fist SA that I got, replaced by FLO, the replacement can track perfectly for hours, I suspect it was more an electrical rather than mechanical problem.

Dave

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16 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

That is the identical problem I had with the fist SA that I got, replaced by FLO, the replacement can track perfectly for hours, I suspect it was more an electrical rather than mechanical problem.

Dave

Yeah, thinking about it, it's probably to do with the servo control. I suppose I might as well trash it... :(

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19 hours ago, wsg said:

Hello all.  Steve I took your advise and posted again.  I managed to get my exposure time with the Star Adventurer up to 120 seconds and shot 160 images of M42.  This is the result.5a3309e204aaf_ORIONNEBULAV.thumb.jpg.29dcf9c18976e2580b1e6fb2370b8c3a.jpg

stock Canon 7D;  160 @80seconds  ISO 1600;  No flats, darks etc..

William Optics Zenith 61;  Star Adventurer

DSS Adobe Camera Raw; Photoshop CC

I think I pushed the brightness up a bit too much and added some noise.   But it was worth it for the nebulosity detail!!   One question I  have is what is everyone's experience in max exposure time with the Star Adventurer and a 200mm-400mm lens like mine?

 

 

 

 

 

Really great image 

I am thinking about getting a small frac for my SA did you use a flattner on you WO 61 and what else did you need to put your camera on 

I have being looked at a Altair Astro light wave 66 ed-r or the star wave 70 ed

neil

 

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5 minutes ago, Thalestris24 said:

Yeah, thinking about it, it's probably to do with the servo control. I suppose I might as well trash it... :(

I'm sure there's a site when a chap stripped and fixed their's. You're very clever with stuff why not treat it as a project to fix and sometimes astroboot have just circuit boards in for various mounts.

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6 hours ago, Thalestris24 said:

Hi all

I'm impressed with the images posted here. I have an SA but it's been in dry dock for quite a while (I bought it over 2 years ago). That's because I could never get it to track correctly. I got it out last night to have another go (though I wasn't expecting it to self-repair!). I attached a canon 1100d with a 200mm Super Takumar lens via the counterbalance bar. Made sure it was balanced. Of course, I put brand new batteries in :). But tracking is still way off. I can get 5s but anything longer gives streaks in RA which obviously get worse with longer exposures. I suppose it is tracking too slowly in RA with the '*' setting. I'm wondering if anyone knows about any possible adjustments I could make - either electronic or mechanical? 

Thanks for any replies

Louise

Im sorry to hear a bad experience from you.

Just to ask- did you know that thr SA polar scope is 180° rotated?

If polris is at 11:30 for expample..you will have to set i to 5:30

Maybe it can help 

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1 minute ago, happy-kat said:

I'm sure there's a site when a chap stripped and fixed their's. You're very clever with stuff why not treat it as a project to fix and sometimes astroboot have just circuit boards in for various mounts.

Ha ha - I take that as a complement! Board swap would be the only option, I think.

Louise

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6 minutes ago, serbiadarksky said:

Im sorry to hear a bad experience from you.

Just to ask- did you know that thr SA polar scope is 180° rotated?

If polris is at 11:30 for expample..you will have to set i to 5:30

Maybe it can help 

Hi

Thanks but I've not used the polar scope. As I said, it's not tracking fast enough in RA so board swap is likely to be the only option. But probably not worth messing around with. Maybe I'll get a replacement in the New Year - I'll see.

Louise

Edited by Thalestris24

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19 hours ago, wsg said:

Hello all.  Steve I took your advise and posted again.  I managed to get my exposure time with the Star Adventurer up to 120 seconds and shot 160 images of M42.  This is the result.5a3309e204aaf_ORIONNEBULAV.thumb.jpg.29dcf9c18976e2580b1e6fb2370b8c3a.jpg

stock Canon 7D;  160 @80seconds  ISO 1600;  No flats, darks etc..

William Optics Zenith 61;  Star Adventurer

DSS Adobe Camera Raw; Photoshop CC

I think I pushed the brightness up a bit too much and added some noise.   But it was worth it for the nebulosity detail!!   One question I  have is what is everyone's experience in max exposure time with the Star Adventurer and a 200mm-400mm lens like mine?

 

 

 

 

 

Really great image 

I am thinking about getting a small frac for my SA did you use a flattner on you WO 61 and what else did you need to put your camera on 

I have being looked at a Altair Astro light wave 66 ed-r or the star wave 70 ed

neil

 

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23 minutes ago, Thalestris24 said:

Hi

Thanks but I've not used the polar scope. As I said, it's not tracking fast enough in RA so board swap is likely to be the only option. But probably not worth messing around with. Maybe I'll get a replacement in the New Year - I'll see.

Louise

Louise,

I think you can give it a go with the polar scope, than how did you aligned it?

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2 minutes ago, serbiadarksky said:

Louise,

I think you can give it a go with the polar scope, than how did you aligned it?

It's not a polar alignment problem, it's a speed control issue.

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41 minutes ago, serbiadarksky said:

Try 1.5x speed 

Hi

Um, I don't have a 1.5x option - was that a firmware upgrade thing?

Interestingly, I had it apart earlier and since trying again it was behaving a bit better. Unfortunately, most attempts were still a failure. Things might be complicated by me imaging in the east, fairly low down. I've always thought it would perform better pointing high up. The Takumar lens is quite weighty and might cause a dynamic imbalance. Oh well, have had enough for one night.

Louise

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1 hour ago, Thalestris24 said:

Yeah, thinking about it, it's probably to do with the servo control. I suppose I might as well trash it... :(

Hi Louise,

Please don't do that :sad: surely it must be worth salvaging 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, JemC said:

Hi Louise,

Please don't do that :sad: surely it must be worth salvaging 

 

 

Aww... it's been gathering dust for 2 years already! I might fiddle with it a bit more over Christmas :)

Louise

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