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HEQ5 polar alignment and the rest...

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Please forgive me in advance for my newbie and potentially frustrating question here! 

I have got an HEQ5 mount for my skymax 180 that I was given for Christmas. We have tried following many YouTube videos and reading what we can to get this set up and polar aligned and feel like we are missing something fundamental as when we go to then star align with the GOTO remote, it points at the floor instead of the moon or the star we are trying to align to. So far we have used 5 freezing nights of trying to do these things to no avail and it is rather frustrating and extremely disappointing!

So I am wondering please, what is the best way for me to actually set this thing up so we can finally enjoy using the scope? Do I need to have Home position sorted before I've aligned so once we have (hopefully) done that then we can navigate everything easier? Is that potentially what we are missing? 

With lockdown i dont have a handy shop to visit or anyone else that knows how to do this and while I am sure patience is a virtue, I feel so overwhelmed by it all! Any advice or recommendations on what to watch or do to help us are gratefully received!

Again, I am sorry for being such a newb, I am hopeful once we crack this it will become second nature over time! Thank you!


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Sounds like a time or location problem, they do have confusing ways of entering the date etc.

You do have the dovetail pointing the right way presumably ?


PS: You can do it in the daylight if you just aim it north is good enough and GoTo a star even if you can't see it.

Edited by Davey-T
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Setting up home position see here

Make sure you enter date (us format MM/DD not DD/MM) and time correct, note we are GMT at the moment so no to DST.

Download  Stellarium, Kstars or Cartes du Ciel (or something similar) then you can have a play indoors getting the setup approximately correct.

Power up the mount pointing roughly north, start at home position at select a target from what you've seen in Stellarium.  Use the handset to goto that atrget and check it's pointing the right way 🙂 No need to load any scopes or cameras.

You could also get a phone app which would roughly point at where the target should be instead of the star chart programs above.


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Brilliant, thank you so much for these, I have now properly set up the home position according to these instructions and it is definitely going the right way when slewing now and pointing at where the stars claim to be on Stellarium so hopefully we will get something a bit more when clearer skies are upon us!

We are a step closer! Thank you! 


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One little trick I carried out when I first got mine was to set the telescope and mount up during the day in the shed. Then using an app found the location of polaris and a few stars that were in the sky at that time and marked their position on the shed ceiling. If you are inside your house, maybe use a piece of tape stuck on the ceiling. You can then carry out practicing polar alignment and goto in the warm and at any time.  

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Next thing you can do to practise and make setup outside quicker, still indoors when it's cloudy is....

Get the scope/camera setup balanced.

Guiding needs the setup to be fairly well balanced.  If you put the scope, imaging camera and guide on the mount and carefully release the clutches you will find it drops down one end. A bit like a seesaw you move the scope in the saddle until you have a balance that can be moved easily but does not drop down fast. Once that is done you do the next axis this time you are balancing the scopes at one end and the weights at the other end of the 'seesaw'.

This is so the motors are not stressed in any rotation direction.

Once you have this sorted you can use tape or felt tips  to mark the dovetail and weights positions (not mandatory if you don't want to mark your gear). So when you setup again you have a rough balance point. Even so a quick check each session to make sure it's still balanced is needed.





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