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Breakintheclouds

How to polar align with HEQ5 and EQ6 mounts, and SynScan 3.11+

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I'm using the Starmap pro app on the iPhone and under date/time setting there is the local sidereal time on it. Hit the > and an exact copy of the SW polarscope ret is displayed with the current angular adjustment required for Polaris at your location. For my use this is more than accurate enough. It's a handy app to have in your pocket, assuming you have an iPhone.

Edited by Photosbykev

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This sounds interesting, but I have one question - in step 3 the instructions refer to the use of the bottom numbers on the RA scale for the northern hemisphere. My manual (for the NEQ6) claims that the top numbers are for the northern hemisphere, not the bottom ones. Can anyone clarify?

Roy

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This sounds interesting, but I have one question - in step 3 the instructions refer to the use of the bottom numbers on the RA scale for the northern hemisphere. My manual (for the NEQ6) claims that the top numbers are for the northern hemisphere, not the bottom ones. Can anyone clarify?

Roy

Yes.

If you're using the Polar Scope as designed, then you use the top row of numbers, since you're aligning R.A. against a stationary scale (you locked it down with the thumbscrew.) If you're following the instructions on this post, the scale is rotating along with R.A. and you're reading it against a fixed mark on the mount - therefore you use the bottom numbers.

Either way, the direction and amount of the R.A. offset is the same if you think about it.

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Great tutorial, thanks. Is there any chance of a pictorial guide to this procedure?

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I use this method, but on my EQ6, I have to use to top row, not the bottom. I can see Polaris, so I must be in the Northern Hemisphere...

Geoff

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Thanks Jeremy,

That explains what I thought might be a mistake. At the moment I'm waiting for a SW 200PDS OTA to appear and trying to get some practice setting up the mount. The manual is very poor, its only recently that I have discovered through another thread that I can adjust the brightness of the polar scope reticule.

Roy

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This is a great video of the procedure for setting up your HEQ 5 / 6

and it also includes the use of the sysncan handset for polar alignment!

Enjoy!

Ste. :D

Edited by swlloyd3

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I also use the top numbers when using this method, seems to work well for me.

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Thats a brillaint set of instructions BreakInTheClouds. I found the instruction booklet OK up to a point but the date dial just rotates and is not fixed to anything, so I could not see how that would work, and got confused being told to set it to 10th October!!! Why???

Your method works a treat except it has to be the numbers at the top not the bottom as previous people have stated (and as the instruction book states). If I use the bottom numbers then the polaris ring ends up at 4.23 instead of 7.37.

Thanks

Carole

Edited by carastro

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i use the swag method, i linr the scope up to polaris as close as i can , then select sirius and send it to locate it once the scope says it found it , i check the elinment. if its off i un lock thelocking nuts and move it un til sirus is in the centre of the eye piece and lock the scope up, and thats it normally done, the swag method....sientific wild arsed guess....works everytime

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I must try this with my EQ5 mount next time I'm out with the scope - seems so simple compared to fuffing around with trying to align date and time marks in the dark ! - only to find you've used the wrong set of dials and it's all out of alignment and you need to do it all over again !

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Been trying to polar align my EQ6 Pro SynScan this evening following the instruction leaflet. I could see Ursa Major and Polaris by eye but all I could see in the polarscope was one bright star within the centre circle and one fainter one about 7 o'clock near the edge. (I had set the altitude by the scale and got the mount pointing roughly north previously.) I gather you're supposed to see Ursa Major, Polaris and Casseopia all laid out in the polarscope. Agreed it isn't the clearest of nights and I could see only a few dozen stars rather than hundreds on a really clear night but I though I'd see more in the polarscope.

The red light is decidedly bright and no doubt masking the fainter stars. There's no mention of altering it in the instructions and I couldn't find it in the menus on the handset. I have seen the DIY mod to adjust the brightness but I'd prefer not to invalidate my guarantee.

What appeared at first to be a great piece of kit (as expected at the price) is seeming to be as "run of the mill" as everything else nowadays! Out of date manuals, adjustment screws that may bend, and inadequate controls. I hope once I get the thing set up (when) it will give me more confidence in it and prove the worthwhile investment I'm hoping for.

Edit... I'll study this thread more tomorrow and see if I can sort out a plan. I'm tired and confused tonight.

Edited by Gina

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Gina, all you will see is what you are seeing, Ursa Major and Casseopia are only shown to give you a vague idea that the alignment is in the ballpark, they won't be in the polarscope. Don't worry about it, just get Polaris in that little circle

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Hi Gina,

As above, just a rough indication of where in the star those two are, but you won't see them in your polarscope.

As to the LED brightness, you should have the same mount as I do, with version 3.27 of the software. LED brightness in the polar scope is there I promise. Took me a while to find it and was also not in my manual. If you are still stuck drop me a PM and I'll walk through my handset in the morning then talk you through it.

Cheers

Ian

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Hi Gina,

As said above Ursa Major and Cassiopeia are not intended to be seen through the polar scope, they are there as a guide. I only bought my NEQ6 two weeks ago so am in the same position as you. I find the above method works very well. What I do is I position polaris in the polarscope so I can see it without the power on, so the LED light is not on, then once I have it vaguely in the middle I switch the power on so I can then see to move it to the polaris ring. This is so much easier than my previous mount which had no lit polar axis reticle.

I also purchased the stronger latitude and altitude screws as I had heard so many people say the ones supplied are likely to bend and I did find them stiff. The new bolts are so much easier to turn so all in all a much easier polar alignment procedure.

As you may have read on another post, I do have an observatory and pier, but I also go to Sky camps so also have to do it the hard way as well.

Lucky you in Devon with all those dark skies.

Carole

Edited by carastro

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The red light is decidedly bright and no doubt masking the fainter stars. There's no mention of altering it in the instructions and I couldn't find it in the menus on the handset.

Setup key > Handset Setting menu option > PolarScope LED

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Thank you for your replies everyone :D And offers of help. I understand now :)

Yes, Carole, it is the good location that has helped revive my interest in astronomy. On a clear night I look up and see many hundreds of stars with the naked eye - and even more with binoculars. I thought it a waste to have this good location and not make the best of it. I have to say I really love living here - I've been to the West Country on holiday many times but didn't think then I'd come here to live in later life. I have my OH to thank for that :D

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Setup key > Handset Setting menu option > PolarScope LED
Thank you Nick :D

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Polaris disappeared from view behind cloud as I was trying to polar align tonight, but I did find and adjust the brightness of the solarscope LED. I set it to 30% brightness which seemed quite sufficient to see the graticule. So that's another small step in the right direction :D

I found that although it had held the settings it doesn't appear to have a battery backed clock. The date was yesterday's and the time was over 2 hours slow. Does the power need to be kept on for the system to maintain the date/time or does the date/time need setting every time the system is used? Having set up the date and time yesterday, I expected to see the correct date and time this evening. After all, systems have been doing this (maintaining clock function when turned off) for many years now.

BTW My version number is 3.27.

Edited by Gina

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Hi Gina,

The date displayed will always be the last time the unit was used. The time always defaults to 20:00 hrs. It is an annoying thing that once you've set the controller up, it would be really nice if it retained that info as default rather than expect the user to have to re-enter it everytime they want to use the scope

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I see - no real time clock :D So I'll need a radio controlled digital clock to set up the mount every time. Oh well...

Just been outside and powered up. Left it for a while to get past the warning message and the went through the menus on the handset. Well, most of them.

Setup Mode

Date

Time

Obsrv. Site

Daylight Saving

Alignment

- 1 Star

- 2 stars

- 3 Stars

Alignment Stars

- Auto Select

- Sort by

Backlash

Tracking

Auto Guide Speed

Handset Setting

- LCD Contrast

- PolarScope LED

- Beep Volume

Utility Func.

Show Position

Show Information

- Time

- Version

- Temperature

- Power Voltage

- Polaris Pos.

Park Scope

- HOME position

- Current position

- Custom position

PAE

Clear PAE data

PEC Training

GPS

PC Direct Mode

Guided Tour

Object Catalog

Named Star

Solar System

NGC Catalog

IC Catalog

Messier Catalog

Caldwell Catalog

SAO Catalog

Double Star

Variable Star

User Objects

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I see - no real time clock :) So I'll need a radio controlled digital clock to set up the mount every time. Oh well...

Glad you are getting there Gina :D

Do you have one of those new fangled mobile phones? If so and you have an Android or iPhone, you can get apps that will use the built in GPS on these phones to give you very accurate date/time and position.

On Android I use an app called "GPS Status" that not only gives you an accurate GPS fix, which then gives you date/time and position but also gives you a compass heading for initial mount setup (before you can see Polaris).

Cheers

Ian

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No problem - just ordered a digital RC clock with red variable intensity display from Amazon. No new-fangled mobile phone!

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