Posted 07 August 2007 - 11:22 AM
I just purchased an Orion Teletrack and noticed that there wasn't much info here on CN about this mount. I'll run it through its paces and let you folks know how it works. I think it has real potential as a motorized grab-n-go setup for small scopes and maybe some basic astrophotography.
The reason I got the mount is that my grab-n-go is just on a photo tripod, and I was trying to do some planetary viewing. I'm just too ham-handed to adjust the tripiod head and keep the planet in the eyepiece, so I wanted to get an electric unit that let me do hands-off adjustments.
I had read that it has a 60-degree altitude limitation, but this may only be for the auto-tracking. I inverted the l-bracket, and was able to get the unit to point at Zeinith and still clear the base of the mount. I'm thinking about rigging up a counterweight to allow the scope to be balanced with the L-bracket on top.
All alt-az motor guide units have a hole near zeinith where they can't track. However, I'm going to try manual tracking and see how well that works.
I've also got a Canon 300D, so I'll try some astrophotograhy too with short exposures stacked to compensate for rotation.
Posted 07 August 2007 - 12:27 PM
I feel with you inverting the L bracket and planning on adding counterweights to the mount it will provide you with a great grab-N-go mount.
And since you have the self tracking scenerio under control, there should be no trouble with using this mount for astro-photography.
I wish you much luck in getting everything with this mount set-up and performing to your specifications.And Please keep us informed about your modifications and adjustments.
Posted 08 August 2007 - 12:29 PM
Posted 08 August 2007 - 03:25 PM
Thanks Todd - now I'm just waiting for the clouds to clear ,
I look forward to the time that your clouds do clear, Michael.
Just make sure to keep us informed as to how well your improvements have helped. I really believe with what you have done, that you have turned the Tele-Track into a very good Astronomical Mount.
I look forward to your first report.
Posted 13 August 2007 - 01:57 PM
I bought the floor model at the local dealer (bigbangastro.com), but there had been a battery in the compartment that leaked, so they had to order me a new unit which should be here this week.
I got a new dovetail bracket and mounting bar from Orion for my Celestron 102mm refractor, and have mounted it on the teletrack. It looks pretty spiffy, and is relatively light, so I'm waiting for the new teletrack to get down to business.
Clouds must be on the way,
Posted 14 August 2007 - 08:01 PM
I also like Big Bang Astro.I can get there in about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the normally bad traffic in that area.
I also like SouthEastern Skies.They are a little closer to me,and they have been willing to match any other price I show them,if they carry the item in stock.
I am looking forward to seeing what type of performance you will get with your scope mounted to a Brand New Tele-Track.
Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:49 AM
I didn't know about SouthEastern Skies. Their web site map shows them in the warehouse district of Atlantic Ave. - is that correct? Do you know if they're retail and open on Saturday? I may have to check them out, but it's dangerously close to Harbor Freight and Tiger Direct .
I'm cooking up some mods to the teletracker. I'm thinking of puting Astronomist on my pocketpc, and mounting a 360 degree compass for azimuth (since it already has an altitude scale). That way I can do a poor man's goto using the alt/az from Astronomist. I'm also thinking about putting my Takahashi teegull polar scope on it so I can get a good polar alignment for wide angle astrophotos. One of the Astronomist routines generates a Tak style polar scope calculation.
So the anticipated grab-n-go configuration:
1) scope on teletrack and tripod in one hand
2) pocketpc in pocket
3) possibly eyepiece case in other hand.
Voila! No fuss astronomy,
Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:10 AM
They were opened on Saturday the last time I had been there,so I am sure they probably will still be. They carry Tele Vue,Meade,Celestron,Orion,Bushnell and have a very extensive stock of scopes and eyepieces.
And yes, it is somewhat close to Harbor Frieght(at Starmount shopping Center) and Tiger Direct there off of Capital Blvd. very close to Harbour Frieght.
So I hope your plan for the Tele-Trak Continues to move smoothly.I really look forward to seeing your entire plan move into fruition.
Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:49 AM
I stopped by Southeastern Camera on Saturday. However, they are rennovating, and won't have the telescopes back on display for two weeks - my luck. I did take a run back out to Bigbang Astro however. I picked up the Teletrack tripod (which I didn't know came with the unit), and bought an Orion electric focuser attachment. The electric focuser fit perfectly on my Celestron 102mm f/5.
So, I decided to take the scope and mount for a test drive. I managed to run through the alignment procedure and got a glimpse of Jupiter before it went behind the trees. Not very impressive sinking into the haze, but the Teletrack did a good job of tracking. So, it meets my expectations about being used for visual tracking.
The next thing I tried was mounting my Canon 300D on the Teletrack. I was hoping that I could use the Teletrack to do some quick widefield astrophotography with short duration frames that could be derotated in Astroart and stacked. It worked better than I was expecting, and here are the results:
Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:51 AM
Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:53 AM
ASA 1600, 30 seconds each exposure, 5 light frames and 2 darks
Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:21 PM
The last telescopes they had on display that had me drueling were the Celestron CPC-800(8 inch SCT)and a Meade LXD-75 AR-5(5inch achromatic refractor on a Meade EQ GOTO Mount).
They are good about trade-ins at SouthEastern. I traded in my Celestron C5+ that was 13 years old and got a new Celestron NexStar 102SLT and a lot of accessories in the deal.
Though my Celestron C5+ was in perfect condition and included the Hard Case that held the single arm fork mount and Optical Tube.I also had the Piggyback attachment,it tracked extremely well in RA with a very large gear.
And I did through in a 2nd generation TeleVue 7.4mm Plossl(smoothside with winged eyeguard)and a Meade Series 4000 18mm SWA that had the original box and bolt case. And lastly I included a Celestron LPR 1.25 inch in its original labeled foam lined case.
The TeleVue and Celestron LPR as well as the scope,wedge,tripod,and case came from Pocono Mountain Optics(I really miss that store).
The Meade came from Adorama.All were purchased new in 1993.
I have got to make time and go to BigBang Astro here soon. Especially if they plan on keeping a New Orion Mars Filter in stock.
The pics you took with the TeleTrack turned out very well. It really looks as if you have got everything running like you were hopeing for.
I hope you get a chance to get some good runs in with the Tele Track and get to know all of the ins and outs of this set-up.
I am certainly impressed with the progress the you have achieved so far. I look forward to seeing and hearing about some more results.
I wish you many star filled nights,Michael. And I certainly appreciate the chance to get to chat with you on this thread.
Posted 22 August 2007 - 04:45 PM
And he was curious(and so was I)how sturdy and heavy the Tele Track Tripod is, in comparison to the Meade Mount. If you arent familiar with the Meade DS Tripod just use whatever tripod you could compare it to, or at least how sturdy and solid it is in supporting your scope and camera.
Posted 23 August 2007 - 11:08 AM
Is the DS mount available without a telescope? Regardless, I think the Teletrack has a higher load since it's cast aluminum (I think it's about 8.5 pounds). The Teletrack is not a GOTO, and the DS mounts are. In addition I think it's possible to upgrade from the DS from the Autostar 494 controller to the Autostar 497 controller which would also allow equatorial use with a wedge (if you like to tinker).
The Teletrack has a built in camera mount, and a cable for use with the Canon Digital Rebel cameras, and, as you can see above, that works fine. In addition, the camera mount can be removed, and a standard dovetail mounted telescope (or whatever) can be mounted on the Teletrack. I don't think the DS mounts are universal in their telescope mounting.
I've actually got a Meade "492 Kit" which can be used to motorize a mount. In addition, I'm a home machinist and could make my own altaz grab-n-go, but I just don't have the time for the next few months, and I wanted something to do quickies with. You can see my mount homebuilding link here:
Hope that helps some,
Posted 24 August 2007 - 09:27 AM
Whoops - this is what I get for not reading carefully. The tripod for the Teletrack is a very good medium grade tripod. It's actually steadier than my Bogen tripod that I used before, and probably much more steady/sturdy than the Meade tripod.
Posted 24 August 2007 - 01:15 PM
Here's a web page with pictures of Big Bang's showroom. You can't see the 16-inchers they've got on display (one used and a Lightbridge). It was hard to find the Teletrack at the back of all this telescope abundance:
Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:09 AM
New news for John. I went to Bigbangastro yesterday and looked at the DS scopes. The tripods are cheap, wobbly plastic. The Teletrack mount is much sturdier.
Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:17 AM
I got the new Teletrack yesterday from Bigbangastro. I'll post pictures here since the loaner unit had a bit of showroom floor wear.
I tried my setup on the Moon last night, and it tracked pretty well considering that we just ballbarked North.
So far, I'm pretty pleased with it. The new tripod isn't quite as good as the floor model from a year ago, it has more plastic in it. However, it's still very usable for the weight range I've got.
Posted 25 August 2007 - 06:39 PM
Thanks for going and looking at the DS mount and comparing it to your Tele Track. It looks as if the Tele Track is rather sturdy for imaging use.
I cant wait till you get everthing on the TeleTrack set-up to what you are looking for. Thanks for helping John out in comparing the Tele Track and DS Mount in person.
I wish you much success in being the Master of the TeleTrack.
Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:06 PM
I finaly took a couple of pictures of my rig so far. In the first one, you can see the 102mm Celestron with the Orion dovetail and rings. I've also got the Orion electric focuser installed, and it works great. The controller on the left is for the focuser, and the controller on the right is for the Teletrack. You can also see the clear plastic draftsman 360 degree protractor mocked up in place. I'm going to make an adjustable holder for the protractor so I and zero it to North when I'm setting up the scope. More on that soon.
Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:08 PM
Posted 27 August 2007 - 11:01 AM
Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:41 PM
The tele-track looks much sturdier and more capable then they appear in that one picture in the Orion Catalog.
I love the set-up with the 4 inch scope.It looks as if that was what the Tele-Track was made to carry.
I could try to build a mental picture of your set up from your description. However your pictures are far beyond any idea I even remotely had of how well you have transformed this mount.
Congratulations,Michael.You have done an exceptional job on taking this mount and making it an even better performer then I could ever dream.