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I've just been looking at goto skyliner 250px flex tube at almost a grand. Then I came across a celestron starsense explorer 70LT (£135 new) and wondered if I could somehow remove the clever phone part and attached it to a none goto 250 tube. Has anybody tried this? I've seen both secondhand and there's a fair saving over a new goto. 

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The starsense explorers aren't goto either, are they? It's push-to.

My understanding is that it's a phone holder with some kind of mirror arrangement so that the phone can run a plate-solving app while aligned with the scope, and give directions to push to a given target.

I imaging that if one could somehow fix the 'phone holder' to the dob and align in correctly, it would work. Don;t know if anyone has had a go with this yet, though.

There's a good demo if it here:

 

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Yeah watched I couple of videos which is what got me thinking. If you could align it properly there wouldn't be a need for the goto function and a huge saving to boot. I was looking at the 70 LT in particular as it appears that the plate solving bit is attached to the scope (not sure if that would make a differance) and it's the cheapest model. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Have read about people making their own Starsense Exolorer setup using a mirror and a few other bits then using the Starsense app.

Here’s one example.

https://theskysearchers.com/viewtopic.php?t=9724

Hmmmm........smartphone holder and a cheap mirror diagonal, them mount to a Synta type finder bracket. 🤔

Edited by johninderby

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Posted (edited)

Just tried a cheap plastic diagonal with a basic snartphone holder and an old smartphone and think if the diagonal had the front opened up and the eyepiece holder shortened it could work. 🤔

314CD550-DDF0-4032-98E5-FBBFE157D64D.jpeg

6D8EBAF2-32AA-4C7D-AC6E-17BBB1AFB876.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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makes me wonder if a prism out of an old spare parts bino might work also, suitably light shielded. May have a play with that at some stage.

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You know what I'm thinking...

 

IMG_20200621_021755049 (1).jpg

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Posted (edited)

Been through my spare parts box and found everything I need for my DIY Starsense Explorer. 👍🏻

Telrad 2” riser, phone holder clamp from an old smartphone holder and the plastic 1.25” mirror diagonal will just fit inside the Telrad riser when the eyepiece holder is cut off. 🙂

 

Edited by johninderby

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Now to see if works. 😁

Cheap diagonal modded by opening up front and cutting off eyepiece holder then screwing onto Telrad base. Just cut a bit out of the front of the base. Smartphone clamp mounted by somply drilling a few holes in the middle of the riser to allow for moving the holder from side to side. Just need a new thumbscrew as the old one isn’t long enough.🙁

Downloaded the Starsense Explorer app from Google play. Straightforward install. 🙂

Now once the new thumbscrew arrives will be able to give it try, weather permitting. 🙄

05D09EA6-7697-4E91-A1FB-607EA59BC64E.jpeg

BC964837-4336-4994-AE9F-E8F112786E19.jpeg

E8DDC996-B593-4209-8665-15C837A3C1BE.jpeg

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This is very interesting. Can't wait to see if it works. Fingers crossed.

 

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Posted (edited)

There is the option to use it without the unlock code. Will have to see if it is fully functional without the code. 🤔

ADCF7DE7-6DBE-498C-A28F-039F0C0376A4.png

F0C94E59-74F5-4811-8929-03B041E02AEF.jpeg

Edited by johninderby

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Posted (edited)

After checking it looks like the app is just a planetarium app without the unlock code. Very nice planetarium app though. 

Oh well didn’t cost anything. 🙁

Edited by johninderby

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That's a pity.

@gary756 if you buy it, don't forget to get the unlock code! Hopefully it's transferable!

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Posted (edited)

From the link I posted earlier someone had transfered it to their dob where it worked fine.

 

Edited by johninderby

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8 hours ago, gary756 said:

Yeah watched I couple of videos which is what got me thinking. If you could align it properly there wouldn't be a need for the goto function and a huge saving to boot. I was looking at the 70 LT in particular as it appears that the plate solving bit is attached to the scope (not sure if that would make a differance) and it's the cheapest model. 

 

 

You could even justmount the 70LT scope onto the dob as a big finder! 

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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

After checking it looks like the app is just a planetarium app without the unlock code. Very nice planetarium app though. 

Oh well didn’t cost anything. 🙁

seems without the unlock code you can't use the camera from that thread, makes sense from the manufacturer's PoV in that you can take a look at the app and may lead to a sale. Who knows they may even end up marketing a generic cradle only with a code for those of us that might be interested in adding it to our existing scopes. At the right price point it could be a good seller.

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Second hand Starsense  Explorer scopes could be popular? 🤔

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had the same thought, tho that 114 is a bird jones so maybe best avoided unless you just want the bracket and code and bin the rest. the 70/80 frac might be worth it tho

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4 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

had the same thought, tho that 114 is a bird jones so maybe best avoided unless you just want the bracket and code and bin the rest. the 70/80 frac might be worth it tho

Allmost worth buying the 70LT and then selling it on. 🤔

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Harrison optics have them listed new for £135. Says stk due now (ish).  Like the idea of a huge finder scope though. 

 

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19 minutes ago, gary756 said:

Harrison optics have them listed new for £135. Says stk due now (ish).  Like the idea of a huge finder scope though. 

 

if the bracket can be made easily remountable (captive bolts or similar) then it'd maybe make a handy grab n go and could be popped onto whichever scope you fancied using that night, maybe. I was almost thinking something like a manfroto PL200 type QR system to allow it to be quickly swapped over if a regular finder shoe arrangement can't be used. 

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On 30/08/2020 at 10:42, gary756 said:

I've just been looking at goto skyliner 250px flex tube at almost a grand. Then I came across a celestron starsense explorer 70LT (£135 new) and wondered if I could somehow remove the clever phone part and attached it to a none goto 250 tube. Has anybody tried this? I've seen both secondhand and there's a fair saving over a new goto. 

I have tried using an app called Skeye (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lavadip.skeye&hl=en_GB) which has this push-to functionality. It works quite well provided the phone is not sensitive to the metal parts being too close to it.

It doesnt use the platesolving technology of celestron but takes a more simplistic approach of getting a few alignment stars to orient itself.

Edited by AstroMuni

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After seeing @johninderby’s post in what the postman brought thread and having never seen this before it looks very interesting. The idea of having fairly accurate push-to location of objects without all the paraphernalia of encoders/dsc or actual setting circles appeals and it would be very useful under my poor skies but I had a quick flick through the CN thread on this and one jumped out at me:

”The past 3 nights the seeing was so bad where I live that the camera could not find enough stars to plate solve but I'll keep trying. I'm afraid that the poor seeing will limit the benefit this system is to me but, only time will tell.”

Obvious really but it kinda renders it a bit pointless for me unfortunately as if I can see the stars I can better find things by star hopping and where it might have been useful it will suffer the same problem i have- not being able to see the stars to navigate by! Oh well- was quite excited by it initially

Interested to hear how others get in with it though. I wonder if it can use long exposures?

Edited by markse68

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