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Fozzie

Turning a Vixen GP into a goto

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Afternoon all,

I'm curious.. I have a very nice Vixen GP mount, with duel motors and a DD3 handset with ST4 port for auto guiding...

Is there anyway (other handset etc.) I can turn this into some kind of go to mount?

I'd considered a synscan handset, but I am fairly sure the MT1 motors have a different connector to the one on the sky watcher synscan handset unit..

All thoughts are welcome,

Ta

Fozzie

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I've fitted a set of dual axis (non goto) Skywatcher EQ5 drives onto my Vixen GP DX mount - they fitted straight on without modification.

I would expect that the Skywatcher EQ5 GOTO system would fit onto the Vixen GP to replace the Vixen drives that you have fitted. The Vixen ones have a "tip negative" power connector I think which is the opposite to the Skywatcher system. The Vixen motors use a 8 pin DIN type connector.

I believe that the Meade LXD55 motors and handset (which are GOTO) will fit and work with the Vixen GP mounts.

There maybe other options that I'm not aware of.

 

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22 minutes ago, John said:

I've fitted a set of dual axis (non goto) Skywatcher EQ5 drives onto my Vixen GP DX mount - they fitted straight on without modification.

I would expect that the Skywatcher EQ5 GOTO system would fit onto the Vixen GP to replace the Vixen drives that you have fitted. The Vixen ones have a "tip negative" power connector I think which is the opposite to the Skywatcher system. The Vixen motors use a 8 pin DIN type connector.

I guess i'm ultimately hoping not to have to swap out the motors.. kind of seems a bit unnecessarily unnecessary (if that make sense) as they work very well indeed.... Your right on the tip negative, i had fun trying to get a battery to work with the DD3.. had to get a special cable and then cross the polarity  for it to work, which was fun..

 

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1 hour ago, Fozzie said:

I guess i'm ultimately hoping not to have to swap out the motors.. kind of seems a bit unnecessarily unnecessary (if that make sense) as they work very well indeed.... Your right on the tip negative, i had fun trying to get a battery to work with the DD3.. had to get a special cable and then cross the polarity  for it to work, which was fun..

 

I'm afraid if you want any kind of useable goto you will need to switch out the motors. I believe one (or some) of the earlier Skysensor controllers will give goto functionality with the MT1s but the slewing speed is so slow that it is not really something which is likely to be practical.

John's option is probably the simplest and cheapest. I found a GP-DX mount with Skysensor 2000PC and MT4 motors and that works very well. I do like the fact that it is original kit, and the controller is quite sophisticated for its time, and probably still now.

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The Skysensor 2k was launched over 20 years ago and was a great piece of kit. Vastly superior to the lethargic SS3D which preceded it and which I also had.

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I used to have the 1984 Skysensor - now that was a "brick" !

 

bresseruranus.jpg

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I've seen posts of people using the synscan upgrade to add Goto to their Vixen GP mounts, but of course you'll have to replace the motors.

You could use AstroEQ with your current motors but they will likely have a very slow slewing speed.

https://www.astroeq.co.uk/tutorials.php

When I had a Vixen GP I used AstroEQ with two Stepper motors I bought off eBay for about 16 quid each. 

 

Edited by cuivenion
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Mmmmmm thanks for the replies gents..

I might have to think of another route if I want go to.. The GP has been quite happy for many years tracking along without a care in the world, I feel I might be foolish to meddle with the motors for fear of it upsetting and stopping working.. Id rather leave it than swap it all out, as simple an action as that may be..

I had thought about astro EQ, but then I don't want the hassle of a laptop and further power supplies..

Best brush up on my star hopping then...

Thanks again gents..

Ta

Fozzie

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I can vouch for the Skysensor 2000. Its still considered one of the best GOTOs ever made. What system lets you input Comet data into it to track comets? I`m a Vixen freak, i love the stuff. The build quality is superb.

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On 12/10/2018 at 08:16, Fozzie said:

Mmmmmm thanks for the replies gents..

I might have to think of another route if I want go to.. The GP has been quite happy for many years tracking along without a care in the world, I feel I might be foolish to meddle with the motors for fear of it upsetting and stopping working.. Id rather leave it than swap it all out, as simple an action as that may be..

I had thought about astro EQ, but then I don't want the hassle of a laptop and further power supplies..

Best brush up on my star hopping then...

Thanks again gents..

Ta

Fozzie

Why were you tempted to go with GO-TO Fozzie out of interest?

Also have you stopped using the Skytee in favour of the GP now?

Questions, questions.....

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On 04/01/2019 at 14:34, Alan White said:

Why were you tempted to go with GO-TO Fozzie out of interest?

Also have you stopped using the Skytee in favour of the GP now?

Questions, questions.....

I think the go-to appeals for a number of reasons, mainly after planning a session it would be nice to "dial it in" as opposed to star hopping.. sometimes I find if I'm not 100% sure i can spend too long "searching" as opposed to observing.. my PA is quite good from home so it seemed a logical step from a tracking mount.

I dont mind star hopping but on an off night it can be quite frustrating i find, if your not finding things..

 

I've not used the skytee2 for some time now, the vixen GP is my preference with my singular scope, just ease of use, which is odd as I sold a non driven eq5 for the skytee2 as I didn't get on with the eq5.. the skytee2 is more for future use now after I sold the 200p..(when i get a bigger scope) ill use the sky tea 1 in 20 maybe if its easier to throw alt-az down, usually if I do any observing from work where I don't have my North marks on the ground.

 

I have recently being contemplating selling it on, not sure the returns are worth it..

Ta

Fozzie

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Fully understand that reasoning and agree.

Some nights not finding takes over from finding and observing and then the fun evaporates.

I think you should fit the SW Goto kit for the EQ5 to your mount, it will be a sensible move forward, 

you don’t remove any of the main mechanical parts so should not change the mounts good behaviour.

I am tempted to get a GP or similar and do the EQ5 Goto kit fit myself, but ......

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Or the onstep system or a instep board, or a little-foot...

The steppers on the mt1 are up to the job, you need to put 18 or 24 volts across them with ballast and current control to get better speeds out of them.

The Heq5 are the closest to a drop in.

I did the goto4all MOD from etx motors onto an old Sx mount, followed by building an SS2K control onto a larger vintage mount. Working on assembling a instep for my horseshoe mount now. 

 

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AFAIK there is no solution for using the MT-1 motors with a 3rd party goto controller. The Vixen goto solutions used a variety of different motor types but none were MT-1.

We point people to the EQ5 Synscan option since the iOptron GOTO Nova disappeared.

HTH

Pete

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Hi All,

sorry to dig out this slightly old thread. There is in fact a workable GOTO solution with the MT-1 motors!

It uses a Boxdoerfer MTS-3SDI controller, the skywire cable and an iphone/ipad with Skysafari. Maximum speed is however limited to 32x (for 12v power) or 64x (for 24v). This seems slow compared to most modern units, but it is actually very usable! You can simply push the mount manually to a near bright star, press align in skysafari and then use the graphical interface in skysafari to choose your object and goto...

The beauty of this solution is its simplicity. No requirement for inputting date/time or multiple star alignments. just make sure your mount is Adequately polar aligned - which is a 2min job with a vixen mount.

I have used this solution for a while and it has transformed my 30year old SP-DX.

Best Regards

Frank

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Hi Frank,

ard those controllers still available? A used synscan upgrade for EQ5 can be had for cheap and gives you all the options. Including controlling via PC or App and omitting the dreaded controller completely. 😄

Of course, there's always the teen-astro project and.

 

Sven

 

Edited by freiform

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Hi Sven,

it depends on where you live. Mr Boxdoerfer does not sell his controllers into EU countries anymore. I believe this is because European manufacturers have an obligation to take back and recycle their products at the end of life. As he is a one-man band its is difficult for him to do that. There are some used ones around though. These controllers are virtually indestructible. Made of metal with industrial grade push buttons and cable connections, at the same time they are extremely compact. You can also connect an autoguider and a pc via the adapter cable...

one other advantage of this solution is that the motors slew extremely quietly at 32/64x.

Best Regards

Frank

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On 12/10/2019 at 23:39, Froeng said:

Hi All,

sorry to dig out this slightly old thread. There is in fact a workable GOTO solution with the MT-1 motors!

It uses a Boxdoerfer MTS-3SDI controller, the skywire cable and an iphone/ipad with Skysafari. Maximum speed is however limited to 32x (for 12v power) or 64x (for 24v). This seems slow compared to most modern units, but it is actually very usable! You can simply push the mount manually to a near bright star, press align in skysafari and then use the graphical interface in skysafari to choose your object and goto...

The beauty of this solution is its simplicity. No requirement for inputting date/time or multiple star alignments. just make sure your mount is Adequately polar aligned - which is a 2min job with a vixen mount.

I have used this solution for a while and it has transformed my 30year old SP-DX.

Best Regards

Frank

Hi Frank,

This is very interesting! I own a GPDX mount and a MTS-3SDI controller, and would love to upgrade to GoTo.

But how do you connect the Skywire cable to the MTS-3?

I can't remember that there is a connector that there is a DB9 connector on the controller (it is stored at my cabin, so I can't check right away). But if I remember correctly there is a flat-cable connector on the back of the controller that has a RS232 interface.  So maybe a little bit of soldering is required?

Best regards,

Odd

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Hi Odd,

if you have the flat adapter cable to connect the MTS3 to a PC (serial connector), you can just plug the Skywire into the end of that same cable. Then choose the LX200 protocol in SkySafari and connect - that’s it!

No soldering needed!

Best Regards

Frank

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Hi I have the meade lxd75 mount and autostar hand controller. Itook the motors everything out to install just dual axis drives. Only cause being in hobby since 93 I can star hop and just align faster the alignment process. 

Anyway I know it works on any the cg5 or eq5 mounts as I done it before. It's the same procedure as putting dual axis drives.

Let me know if your interest 

Joejaguar 

Edited by joe aguiar

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There is a thing called Onstep which is a DIY controller kit that is intended to add goto to many mounts. One of those is the GP.

I have the PCBs and connectors that I bought to replace the Skysensor 2000 on my GPDX. Although the charges to import this from the USA was almost as much as I paid for the parts and shipping.
https://baheyeldin.com/astronomy/onstep-full-featured-open-telescope-controller.html

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20 hours ago, Froeng said:

Hi Odd,

if you have the flat adapter cable to connect the MTS3 to a PC (serial connector), you can just plug the Skywire into the end of that same cable. Then choose the LX200 protocol in SkySafari and connect - that’s it!

No soldering needed!

Best Regards

Frank

Thanks Frank!

Since I am using Android I think I would have to use the "SkyBT BlueTooth Telescope Controller for SkySafari on Android".

However, I also plan to use AsiAir to control everything. So then AsiAir needs to connect to the mount. I don't see how that could be done via Sky Safari, so probably the SkyWathcer EQ5 motor upgrade kit is the safest way forward. A bit sad, since the Boxdorfer MTS3 is really top quality equipment.

Best regards,

Odd

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