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iOptron SmartStar goto

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#26 Mick Simon

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for the input, Allan, but I've already returned it for a refund. I'm glad you've been able to get yours to work. Like I said, I think they've got a great concept, I just think they need to raise the bar a little before I'll try them again. An inexpensive, lightweight grab-n-go mount goto is a perfect match for a small refractor. I'm anxious to continue hearing how it performs and how it holds up.

#27 jason_milani

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 09:07 PM

I agree, the alt axis bolt must be tightened as far as possible. If not, this will lead to a lot of unwanted slop in the alt axis. Also, the same applies to the azimuth axis, but the mount must be taken apart to access that bolt.

#28 allan

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 07:25 AM

I guess tonight I had the best with this new mount. I took great pains to level the mount and to have it pointing South. Then did a two star align and gotos were within a 20mm eyepiece. The went to M42 and started tracking. I was using a 90mm Mak which has a very short tube and ideally suited to the mount. Tracked with M42 in center of eyepiece for over 30 min til I got bored and went to other objects.
If setup is done properly then this mount is fine with alignments and goto as well as tracking. I have found no slop in my axis and I'm very happy so far.

#29 Talstarone

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:34 AM

It is a shame that the mount is working for some and for others it is nothing but a cause of frustration.

Perhaps,if the manufacturer iOptron, would makesure each and every mount left their hands working well,they would find a situation where they would sale many more mounts,and best of all not hear from dissappointed observers who are having to ship their mounts back.

#30 Dwight Rahl

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 01:58 PM

Hi,

I just received a "Cube" GOTO with an 80mm refractor. If interested, you can read the write-up I just put together.

http://www.dwightrah...oto-review.html

Dwight

#31 Talstarone

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 02:33 PM

I would like to extend a Very Warm Welcome to Cloudy Nights Dwight.Its always a pleasure to see another North Carolinian around the Forum.

Your link lead to an extremely well written and easy to understand review you wrote.Your writing skills are very good in capturing the reader and making him feel as if he were there with you when you used the scope and mount.

I am thrilled that the GOTO's of your New Cube are almost spot on.It looks as if you do have to make sure a couple of details are done, and the Mount is a bargain for its price.

Thank You Again Dwight.I am glad to see another member of the Forum get good performance from this New iOptron GOTO Mount.And I also like the fact the scope performed well for the price,another iOptron bargain.

And I hope you find Cloudy Nights to be your Home away from Home.

#32 ngc6475

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:13 PM

Thanks for the link to your excellent report, Dwight, and welcome to Cloudy Nights. Your appearance here is doubly appreciated with the bonus of a fine review on your first post! :waytogo:

#33 john D

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:31 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights Dwight and a very good review on the cube! :bow:

#34 Dwight Rahl

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:55 PM

Thank you all for the kind words of welcome. I hope you found my review useful - I've been lurking for a while, and I'm happy to offer something of value to the community!

#35 NorthCoast

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:02 PM

Dwight,

Thnaks for the insights. I know this is the Mount Forum" and not the Refractor Forum, but, could you comment a little more on the 'scope included with the package?

:)

#36 gordianknot

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:29 PM

I think the included scopes are the Orion/Synta ones. Orion calls the refractor the "Short-Tube 80", the Newtonian the "Starblast" and the Mak-Cass the "Apex 90". They look identical (other than paint job) and have identical specifications

#37 NorthCoast

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:49 PM

I think the included scopes are the Orion/Synta ones. Orion calls the refractor the "Short-Tube 80", the Newtonian the "Starblast" and the Mak-Cass the "Apex 90". They look identical (other than paint job) and have identical specifications


The ad specifications tab from the iOptron SmartStarâ„¢-E-R80 Website reads "Apochromat Refractor" which has me curious... :question:

#38 gordianknot

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 05:31 AM

Humm, that is odd, I didn't notice that before. I don't know of any 80mm f/5 apos. The telescope on the mount in the picture looks identical to the ST80, down to the screw position, but they claim it's a fluorite APO. According to Orion the ST80 is crown and flint.

I believe that "crown" doesn't technically rule out fluorite (fluoro-crown glasses), but usually people say fluorite explictly for obvious reasons. Someone who's more knowledgable about glasses (refractors forum?) could probably provide better guidance on this point.

#39 allan

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 06:28 AM

Dwight
Thanks for your review and I'm glad that the cube and scope are working well for you. I was beginning to feel like the odd fish out with good goto's and tracking from my mount. You made a good choice to get the small refractor as that is what is best suited for the mount and not a heavy large scope which sets up vibrations. I agree that leveling and pointing South is the secret to good goto's. Best of luck and I hope you enjoy your mount and scope
Allan

#40 Dwight Rahl

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:36 PM

Dwight,

Thnaks for the insights. I know this is the Mount Forum" and not the Refractor Forum, but, could you comment a little more on the 'scope included with the package?

:)


Hi Mark,

I really don't know where to begin with regard to giving more insight about the 80mm OTA. It is the first refractor I've owned, so I don't have any basis for comparison.

I did use it to look at Venus, Mars and Saturn and was underwhelmed with what I saw. Venus just looked like a bright star - I couldn't make out the shape of a disk or crescent. Mars was also just a bright yellowish star. Saturn was only faintly recognizable as a ringed planet. I used the 12.5mm Plossl that came with the scope. But, the Orion Nenbula looked quite nice with the 80mm scope - of these 4 targets, the Orion nebula certainly looked the best; and it is the only one of the 4 that I haven't seen with my 6" Dynascope yet. That may have something to do with my degree of satisfaction with the 80mm...

The clarity of individual stars and nebulae is quite good with the 80mm (to my novice eye, anyway). Nebulae in particular look nearly as good in the 80mm as they do in my 6" Dynascope - the Dynascope produces a somewhat brighter and much larger image, naturally; but the clarity isn't all that much different between the two scopes.

The focuser on the 80mm has slightly finer gearing than that of my Dynascope - but not really all that different.

The finder scope that came with the 80mm leaves much to be desired. It is by far the "cheapest" feeling element that came with the set - next to the lightweight Barlow, that is. I was not able to get the finder aligned too accurately with just the three knurled adjustment screws. Also, adjusting the focus of the finder is challenging.

Hope this helps a little - feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll be happy to try to answer them!

Dwight

#41 tjugo

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 08:08 PM

Hi, please excuse my English skills but I am not a native English speaker.

Last weekend I have extensively tested this mount under the stars. Well as you already described aesthetically the mount looks like a plastic toy. I used to have an ETX-70 that I considered to be a bad quality scope but definitely ioptron's cube mount has showed me how good the ETX was.

For the testing I mounted a C6, Celestron 6" Schmidt-Cassegrain f/10, with a 1.25" diagonal, 30mm finderscope, a 25mm eyepiece and CG-5 dovetail. The whole setup weighted 11lb, maybe little bit more. The mount was plugged to the AC.

My mount does not have any play on any axis.

Labeling the mount is a pain because of the *BLEEP* tripod.

After performing a 1 star alignment (well actually I used the moon instead of a star) The goto accuracy was acceptable. I can find the selected object in the 30mm finder every time. I tested the goto selecting +30 stars and deep space objects. My list included Comet Holmes (I manually entered the coordinates), M42, M31, M1, Antares, Mirfak, Aldebaran Polaris and Mars.

After that I parked the scope and power cycle the mount and performed a 2 start alignment. I selected Mirfak and Antares. The alignment was very easy because the telescope was parked from a 1 star alignment so both alignment stars were in the FOV of the finderscope. One nice feature of the controller is that it keeps the current time even after unplugged from the AC power.

After performing a 2 star alignment the mount performed very nice. Selected objects appeared all the time in the FOV of the 25mm eyepiece. Fair enough for $199. Tracking is excellent.

Another nice feature of the controller is that when you are browsing the objects' database it displays the object's current coordinates, so you can decide beforehand if the object is high enough in the sky to slew to it.

One thing that I don't like is that the mount is very shaky. It is hard to focus.

Another thing that I don't like (and it is very easy to fix in software) is that the mount will wrap the AC cable around the tripod. I guess the mount always follows the shortest path to an object but you need to keep an eye on your cord.

I think that I am getting exactly what I paid for.

By the way my ioptron order number was 35.

Cheers,

Jose

#42 Dwight Rahl

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 09:02 PM

Hi Jose,

I hope my comment regarding non-native English speakers was not taken by you the wrong way - I meant only to comment on the "readability" and word usage in the directions. I certainly did not mean it to be taken as a disparaging remark.

I'm glad to hear that you also seem to have gotten a good-working Cube! Although I am a bit envious that yours has no play as compared to the small amount of play in the "altitude" axis on mine. Not bad enough to cause any problems that I have found so far - but still, I like to see equipment that was both well designed and stoutly constructed.

How long is your OTA? I am sorely tempted to try my 6" Newtonian Dynascope on the Cube, but I am afraid that it would be too much for the little guy. The OTA weighs in at about 10 1/2 lbs and is about 52" long. If I was to mount the Cube on the top of a post cemented into the ground, I would not have to be concerned about the tripod legs interfering with the OTA. But still, I don't know that the Cube would be up to the task.

I had wondered if there was anything built into the software to contend with cord wrapping - I guess I have my answer now! So far, I have only run mine on batteries for just that reason.

Despite any shortcomings in the mount or the 80mm scope I got with mine, I agree that there is a great deal of value in this equipment at this price point.

Best regards,

Dwight

#43 tjugo

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 10:42 AM

No problem,

The tube length is 16".

Cheers,

Jose

#44 Talstarone

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 12:33 PM

Hi Jose.I would like to wish you a Very Warm Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

Thank You for letting us know how well your iOptron mount performed.Your review was well written and supplied a good deal of information.

It looks more and more like some mounts just plain work better then others do. Thank Yo Again,Jose.

#45 Pedestal

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 01:02 PM

Jose, try tightning up the screws that hold the legs on. Make them very tight (but not tight enough to break something!). I have found that makes a big difference in the "shakeness". Doesn't eliminate it, though.
Hubert

#46 gordianknot

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 04:01 PM

More generally, find every screw and bolt on it and tighten it. It helps, but doesn't entirely rectify the shakiness.

#47 Dave Hederich

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 04:59 PM

I wonder how this compares with the Celestron NexStar SLT goto mount? Currently you can buy a NexStar 60 SLT for $279.95 minus a $50 rebate for a total of $229.95 -- only $30 more than the iOptron. The 60mm Celestron refractor could easily be replaced with a small, high-quality scope.

#48 Chuck Gulker

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 06:06 PM

I think 'The Cube' has some real potential down the road. But as a first generation, I'm not sure it's all that great....even with the low price.

#49 Talstarone

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 07:21 PM

Dave I believe you have the right idea.I used to own a Celestron NexStar 102 SLT and it performed very well.The main advantage I see,other then the fact they have been around long enough to eliminate most of the bugs the mount may used to have.Also with the SLT Mounts you do not have to worry if you get a good mount or not.As the mounts are really good(with a bad mount showing up very rarely.

#50 tjugo

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:14 PM

I agree with you Todd,

Celestron's mounts reuse software and mature production practices.

I decided to buy the ioptron because it is advertised as capable of driving a 8" SCT (which I doubt it).

I have 2 questions:

1) Does the SLT portfolio share the same mount and tripod?

2) Any idea of the load capacity of the SLT mounts?

Cheers,

Jose






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