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How convenient, or 'grab and go', is your setup?


Mr Spock
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I was giving this some thought as previously, what had been stopping me from observing, was lugging tons of equipment around, the effect on my bad back and the number of fiddly bits. What's worse is spending all that time and effort setting up only to find after cooldown the seeing is pants, or the dreaded clouds come over. Makes you want to quit.

A small refractor is reasonably 'grab and go', but what about larger scopes?

Well, here's my 250mm dob - out in less than 30 seconds :ohmy: Then you have to add in time to plug in the mains and set the synscan date and time, but apart from that, that's it!

I do have another patio farther up the garden for better views east (the house side faces due west) which adds a couple of minutes. As convenience goes, I don't think it can get much better.

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I have aperture convenience, and tracking. Buying this is probably one of the better decisions I've made. No faff, just observing.

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My 12 inch dob (pictured below) can be out and setup in about 60 seconds. The base goes out then the optical tube on that and the finders clip on and it's ready to go at low / medium magnifications while it cools. No drives / GOTO with my scope.

The key for me is having my observing place (ie: patio !) close to where the scopes are stored. Just 2-3 metres and no steps.

My refractors take about the same time to put out, a little less time to cool fully for high power observing.

12dobwaiting.JPG.f36f7e5ec5b05ddc99ab2d230d725c0c.JPG

 

Edited by John
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My 8” f8 is probably the quickest to setup, a one piece lift down the garden. The most annoying bit is lifting it out of the garage and keeping low to stop it hitting the door; that puts a little strain on the back, but it really isn’t heavy.

Even though refractors take more trips up and down the garden, sometimes more little trips is easier to do than one big lift, particularly if tired.

On point. Grab and Go I always take to mean that you are going somewhere! In that case, a small refractor really does fit the bill better than a large solid tube dob, or even a truss to be honest. But, I get your point.

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9 hours ago, John said:

My 12 inch dob (pictured below) can be out and setup in about 60 seconds. The base goes out then the optical tube on that and the finders clip on and it's ready to go at low / medium magnifications while it cools. No drives / GOTO with my scope.

The key for me is having my observing place (ie: patio !) close to where the scopes are stored. Just 2-3 metres and no steps.

My refractors take about the same time to put out, a little less time to cool fully for high power observing.

12dobwaiting.JPG.f36f7e5ec5b05ddc99ab2d230d725c0c.JPG

 

I should know this @John, but what the the focal ratio of your 12-inch?

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I got a cutesy little Celeston 127 SLT Mak second hand a couple of years ago. I already knew the scope, my mates wife asked me to recommend a telescope for him as a present. Ok, long story short, it got used twice by me as I demonstrated its setup and use.

So now its mine, bought and paid for! :) Grab and go, thought I :) 

It's very, very portable but the SLT mount is GOTO and you can't disengage the azimuth drive. To be useful it really needs star aligning which is a bit of a bind. 

Grab and go but don't be in a rush to get going! :)

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I keep my NexStar 8 SE on the tripod in my shed, so that I do not have any cool down time. Even though I am  5' 4'' tall, and weigh 130 pounds, I find it easy to carry out the whole unit into the garden. I do have to do an easy star alignment. About 5 minutes after I go out the door of my house, I am observing with my scope at ambient temperature.

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The 8" dob was very grab and go. One trip out if feeling fit and nothing in the way to trip over that night, otherwise two trips and a minute to put together. While waiting for the scope to cool, check and adjust collimation. Easy to store upright too. Taking up less floor space than a tripod mounted telescope.

However I just didn't like using it. The sitting position caused back ache. Also to observe at lower elevations over fencing required the mount to be placed on water butt stand, making the back ache even worse.

So +++ for grab and go but it just wasn't for me.

A massive long dob on wheels would probably fit the bill but storage would be an issue until the kids decide to leave home....

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Currently using this one a lot. Zenithstar 66, RACI 50mm, TS AZT6 and artcise carbon fibre tripod. It's an easy one handed lift, but two hands means less bumps.

20210709_130629.thumb.jpg.55622db3247157f77cfc46758d03e4d8.jpg

This is my heavier setup, still an easy carry (C6, AZ-GTi, wooden tripod).

IMG-20210613-WA0009.thumb.jpeg.9e4452c9fed4b8fbb4849b0181fb762e.jpeg

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I store my 15" dob fully assembled in the house.  If I chuck it out to the garden, I have to disassemble, carry out and reassemble.  All told, takes less than 10 mins, so not too bad!

However: if I'm going to view planets for example, I'll leave it to cool for 2-3 hours.  So grab - wait- and go 😉

For comparison, my 10" 250px took maybe 2 minutes to throw outside, and I'd typically leave it 45 mins to cool.  Cooling is key to good views.

I'd only bother setting up on planets if the seeing had a fair chance of being decent.   With the choice of the 10" or the 15", I'd pick the 15" as the views and smooth movements of the scope were worth the effort for >240x observing.  If seeing isn't good enough, I just don't bother on planets.

DSOs are a different matter, but to be honest I still try to decently cool the scope for observing, even though folk will often say it's not required. 

20180325_064421.thumb.jpg.fd64bba7dff9c1df5c2d396aab001c7a.jpg

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Ugh, badly formatted, comes of posting from my 'phone after snapping the pic. *slapped wrist*

Corrected.

Edited by DaveS
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2 hours ago, tomato said:

This is my Grunt ‘n go 16” Dobsonian, about 3 mins from garage to back lawn.

What's in the well-camoflaged observatory?

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4 minutes ago, tomato said:

This, most definitely not grab and go.😊

 

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Stunning setup. When I saw this image i immediately thought of Hector from the movie Saturn 3 😀

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This was probably my most "grab and go" scope. It's a Tele Vue Ranger on a Slick Master Classic tripod. I could carry the whole thing easily with one hand:

tvranger02.JPG.17397a5aa65c3875b59f0e080c3b21ae.JPG

Edited by John
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On 01/08/2021 at 22:55, Ags said:

Currently using this one a lot. Zenithstar 66, RACI 50mm, TS AZT6 and artcise carbon fibre tripod. It's an easy one handed lift, but two hands means less bumps.

20210709_130629.thumb.jpg.55622db3247157f77cfc46758d03e4d8.jpg

This is my heavier setup, still an easy carry (C6, AZ-GTi, wooden tripod).

IMG-20210613-WA0009.thumb.jpeg.9e4452c9fed4b8fbb4849b0181fb762e.jpeg

What pier extension is that, og I may ask? Looks quite nice.

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5 minutes ago, Victor Boesen said:

What pier extension is that, og I may ask? Looks quite nice.

That's the Berlebach Uni extension, made to a custom length for me. Tonight I was actualy trying the carbon fibre extension that came with the Artcise tripod. The Berlebach is much more stable, no surprise there.

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