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Goto'ing a Super Polaris mount

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#1 tim53

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 10:35 AM

First, I realize that there are a lot of sources for modding info to add things like Autostar to a SP mount.

I have one of the original Skysensors, but thankfully not the first edition with the oscillations visible at planetary magnifications - mine is very solid and smooth.

But the old Skysensor can't be autoguided, and though mine works fine, it really draws a lot of power so it isn't practical for use in the field.

I thought about upgrading to a SS2K, but they were expensive when they were still available, and I worry about them becoming obsolete now that they're not.

I haven't seen an Autostar mod that looked "neat" enough to make me want to replace the old Skysensor with (sorry to those who prefer that option).

Can the Starbook S be adapted to the SP mount? (the ads say GP only). I could do some machining, if needed, and would be willing if I can make the conversion reasonably "tidy."

If not, I could just leave it alone and use an inverter from AC power to run it (have done that before). I do have a couple of Tak mounts, but it would be nice to have something I can leave at our dark sky vacation home and just haul cameras and computers back and forth.

-Tim.

#2 tim53

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 10:53 AM

Thoughts, Dudes and Dudettes?

-Tim.

#3 Telescopeman54

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 04:38 PM

I think that the GOTONOVA upgrade kit from iOptron will fit. It has autoguding features built into th HC and uses USB connections.

CS

Steve

#4 tim53

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 06:18 PM

The Gotonova looks promising. Does anyone have experience with it?

Next thing I'm going to have to finish is the adapter I'm machining to mount the SP on a Quickset Hercules I found cheap to replace the original wood tripod.

Then, it's a dovetal saddle, so i can put different tubes on it. That mount ought to be ideal for a couple of Jaegerses I have - a 6" f/5 and a 5" f/6.

-Tim.

#5 John Carruthers

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:46 AM

Have you checked out Alan's stuff at AWR? goto kits for most mounts, "....there's no mount we cannot drive" he says.
http://www.awrtech.co.uk/


#6 Telescopeman54

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:36 AM

Tim:

The GOTONOVA impressed me so much that I bought one and then later became a dealer! I have it installed on an old CG-5 and it's great. I don't do AP though, just visual.

sbf

#7 tim53

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 11:29 AM

Steve:

I would think that one of these upgrades to a SP mount ought to be great for astrophotography. A few years back, I used Astro IIDC and a firewire camera to measure the periodic error on my functioning mounts, and though the PE on the SP is around 20 arc seconds, it's very smooth and easy to correct out. I would think that PEC software would work quite happily with it.

But I still wonder... The gotonova doesn't specifically list the SP as compatible, just the GP. Which is what the Vixen specs for the Starbook S also say. I suppose if it were compatible, I might slightly prefer the Starbook - to keep it "all Vixen" and to have that cool display and not need a computer if I don't want to haul one along. But it is about twice the price, to be sure.

Do you have pix of your installation?

-Tim.

#8 tim53

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 12:05 PM

Hi John:

I went to the AWR website, and they also list the Gotonova, only at UK prices.

-Tim.

#9 Telescopeman54

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:33 PM

Tim:

The major difference between the SP and GP are the way that the OTA mounts and the method of attaching the DEC motor. I have not taken pictures of everything. However, I have taken pictures of the CG-5 installation. That is a closer match to the GP than to the SP for the above mentioned reasons. Can it be adapted to fit? Most likely. Have I personally done this to a SP? Not yet. I'm just waiting for the chance to do so.

The Star Book is cute, but, it no matter what is done to it, or any laptop, they are too bright for me to use and keep my night vision. I don't even like the brightness of the hand controllers, but, they are certainly less bright than any type of computer.

CS

Steve

#10 scope dog

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 11:39 PM

Not sure, I recall reading that the dec motor will hit the ra clutch or something. However I read were someone is using a SS2K PC ?.
I would call vixen optics and see if the starbook will fit. If it does then the owthers will.

#11 tim53

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:13 AM

I've put in an email to the Vixen info dudes, and am eagerly awaiting an answer.

I thought about upgrading to a SS2K, which I understood required no modifications, but the price was always too high. Considering the old Skysensor works fine (just sucks my battery dry, so I run it off an inverter at home), and is sufficient for planetary imaging, I didn't feel compelled to spend so much to upgrade the mount.

Also, I bought a couple of Tak mounts (an NJP and an EM-10) a few years ago. They're amazingly accurate, so the poor old SP has been sitting in my shop. I'd like to revive it, though, as it was always an easy mount to image with, and maybe I could keep it at our dark sky vacation home and not have to haul too much back and forth every trip.

-Tim.

#12 tim53

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 11:38 AM

Well, the Vixen folks say, simply, it won't fit.

I don't know whether that means the gearing isn't compatible or if it's "just" that the mounting isn't compatible (but possibly modifiable).

So, I'm really curious about whether anybody has tried to put a GotoNova on a Super Polaris mount? Because their web page says the same thing as the Starbook specs - that it's compatible with the GP mounts.

I suppose I could stick with the original Skysensor. It does work!

-Tim.

#13 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:28 PM

When I originally contacted OPT about using the GOTONOVA on my Super Polaris they contacted ioptron and were told it would work on a GP but not the SP.

Vixen makes two versions of the Star Book as I understand it. The one on the Spinx and new GEMS uses the color screen, but the ones on their less expensive mounts and the version used to retrofit the SP and GP series uses a monochrome screen. The buttons I believe are also different but the software is essentially the same. I have heard from several individuals that the software is not up to the standards it should be for a Vixen product.

I am not sure we will ever know whether the GotoNova will work on an SP until Steve Forbes get's a chance to convert one. If anyone can do it he can.

~jerry

#14 Telescopeman54

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:08 AM

Jerry:

Thank you for the compliments. If someone would care to post a few GOOD pictures os the mount in question I should be able to answer this once and for all. The major difference of which I am aware is the way in which the DEC motor is mounted. The saddles are als different, but, that's not important.

CS

Steve

#15 tim53

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 01:17 AM

Steve:

I can take pix probably tomorrow evening or Friday if you need them.

I just did a search of old Astromart ads, and though there are a number of them pictured, I don't know for sure what angle you need the most.

-Tim.

#16 Telescopeman54

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 02:29 PM

Tim:

One from the top and the side. Also one from the front would help. Once I can see where the factory motors were to be mounted I can give you a yes or no answer.

Vixen has so many different mounts that it is sometimes a bit hard to know exactly which model is which. LOL

Thanks,

Steve

#17 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:18 PM

Here are 7 photos that I took that I hope will help. First is a Super Polaris from the front straight on. Notice that on later SPs like this one the declination motor bracket is cast into the saddle (upper right).

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#18 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:20 PM

Next is the SP from the side

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#19 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:22 PM

SP from the side looking slightly up

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#20 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:23 PM

SP from the rear

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#21 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:25 PM

SP from the top

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#22 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:27 PM

This is my Super Polaris Deluxe (which has the exact same saddle as the Super Polaris)with a MT101 motor mounted on the declination bracket shown from the rear with the gear cover off.

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#23 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:30 PM

This is the last photo showing my Super Polaris Deluxe from the side and slightly from above.

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#24 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:31 PM

Steve, if you need any other photos from a different angle let me know.

~jerry

#25 tim53

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:30 PM

Okay, here are my pix. I didn't know there was a version with the motor mount bracket cast into the saddle. Mine is bolted on (but it was new in 1986)

-Tim.

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