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AT Voyager and JMI MicroSlew

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#1 David P

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 01:00 PM

Anyone have experience with using JMI's MicroSlew alt/az motors on the Voyager?

#2 paul hart

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 01:44 AM

No, but I just got my Voyager and was wondering about some type of motor drive.

#3 Luigi

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 09:09 AM

I had been looking at the Voyager but got a Celstron 60SLT for $270, tossed the OTA and kept the mount for my 6+lb OTA. It is a full featured go-to alt-az mount and works very well. The tripod is a bit wobbly but is reasonable if not extended. I think it'd be fine witha 10 lb OTA. I plan to put together better legs for it. For the price, it can't be beat.

#4 Fred1

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 10:46 AM

No, but I just got my Voyager and was wondering about some type of motor drive.


As you may know, the JMI Micro-Slew is not a motor drive for tracking. It's a "push a button and hold it down" hand held motorized control for the manual slow motion knobs. A nice idea for $189.

To bring up another point, Argo Navis has a mount encoder kit for the AT Voyager, but it, also, is not a tracking "motor drive." It's around $340 delivered.
http://www.wildcard-...c_describe.html

#5 David P

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 07:39 PM

Well, I'll let you know how they work. I have a Voyager, 8" extension tube and MicroSlew's coming Tues or Wed. I hope the tripod for the Voyager is the later model with the proper threads for the extension tube. Didn't read the whole page on the Astronomics website before order the extension tube. One can only hope that distributers are only selling the new model tripod.

#6 dvb

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 07:58 PM

I can't imagine a micro slew being useful for the Voyager, which has nice slo-mos, but to each his own.

But, JMI does have a DSC set for the Voyager, which I may be interested in, once I upgrade the tripod.

#7 David P

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 09:32 PM

Well, ain't that the idea. To take advantage of the nice slo-mos without having to touch the mount, eliminating vibrations and such.

#8 dvb

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:48 AM

Enjoy your purchase. We'll look forward to your report.

#9 David P

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:16 PM

Received all the packages yesterday; mount from High Point Scientific, ext tube from Astronomics and MicroSlew's from JMI.

Thankfully, the tripod collar was threaded, so the ext tube mounted without problems. The Voyager went together well despite the lack of any instructions. Found out later they are available on the Astronomic website.

The alt head is missing the three recessed set screws that secure the adapter to the slow motion assembly. E-mail to AstroTech and they are on the way. The MicroSlew motors mount very nicely to the slow motion controls. Controller has 3 position switch for different speeds. On the two slow settings the motor starts in the slow speed and then kicks into a faster speed after a few seconds. Of course, slow and fast are a very relative thing. Even on fast speed it takes 20+ seconds to make one complete revolution. So keeping your chosen target in the eyepiece at high magnification should not be an issue.

Last issue is that the TeleVue dovetail mounting plate that I ordered with the mount turned out to be a Rigel Quik Finder. Apparently the boxes look very similar to the shipping boys. At any rate, no testing with the Pronto till next week when the correct part arrives. Dave at High Point was very helpful with correcting the situation, I must say.

All and all I am pleased with the quality of the mount. The height of the mount is excellent with the ext tube. Will have to see how it works with scope attached, next week.

- David

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:59 PM

Sounds promising, let us know how the motors work out David. I'm considering either a set of these or a GEM for use in high-power lunar/planetary work. Also, can you safely use the manual slow-motion controls with the motors attached, or do you have to disconnect the motors first to prevent burnout?

#11 David P

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 04:41 PM

I'll let you know how it goes. The only item I am waiting on is the TeleVue dovetail plate, which should arrive this afternoon (just in time for stormy weather, go figure over a week of zero clouds and low humidity). Anyway, may get to try it out this evening before the clouds get too heavy.

In answer to your question on the slow-motion controls, once the motors are attached you cannot turn the slow-mo knobs at all (too stiff due to resistence from motors). However, they do not interfere with the clutch disengage function of the mount so that the scope is still able to be pushed by hand to obtain general positioning before fine tuning using the motors. Motors attach to slow-mo spindle via allen head set screw, so that would have to be loosened in order to use slow-mo knobs. I will attach a picture of the whole thing this evening after the dovetail plate comes.

- David

#12 ................

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 05:31 PM

Thanks David. I sent an email to JMI also and waiting to hear from them, perhaps they'll suggest a setup w/ thumbscrews instead of allens, or another quick release setup.

#13 David P

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:51 PM

I've attached a picture of the new setup with scope attached. I was able to get a few minutes under the stars before they completely hazed over tonight. Also some moon time with the Nagler zoom.

It took a little time getting used to the function of the hand controller, but I can definitely say that it makes a big difference in comfort not to having to reach out with both arms to reach the slow-motion knobs. One had resting on your leg with the hand controller making all the directional changes. With a little practice, using your thumb to toggle the switch back and forth controlling the altitude and azimuth adjustments. Very smooth, even at 160x. I know $200 is a lot for the MicroSlew setup, but it is definitely an aid to comfortable viewing. Controller runs on one 9v battery, so it is very self-contained. I used some velcro dots in several locations on the mount for attachment points for the hand controller.

- David

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#14 David P

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:55 PM

Here is another picture.

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#15 ................

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 11:21 PM

Thanks David, that sure is a nice setup you have there.

#16 David P

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:08 AM

I hope they work well for you. I like that the motor for the az motion does not stick out so far as to hinder the scope from reaching zenith. You might find out that you like the motors all the time as you can push the scope to roughly the right location and then motor from there. That is one thing that attracted me to the Voyager, no locks to loosen before being able to move the scope. I have a older GEM with manual controls and I always had to unlock the motion before manually slewing to new location, then work to find the slow-mo controls in the dark. On the otherhand, I didn't want to have to deal with AC or a portable battery supply, which is a nice thing about this setup, everything is self contained in the hand controller. Only thing I don't know yet is how long the battery will last under normal use. Plus, if something going wrong while observing, just a couple of turns with an allen wrench or two and you can put the slow-mo controls back in operation. I was considering the Mini-Tower at the same time as the Voyager, but a malfunction with the hand controller or the head unit and you are dead in the water. No manual override.

- David

#17 David P

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 12:48 PM

Steve, let me know if you do as far as motors or not. Interested to hear if you devise any mods. Looks like we've got rain here in So. Cal thru tomorrow and then again on Sunday night and Monday. So it looks to be a while before I can do some more testing of the set-up. Last weekend I poured a 9'x9' pad of concrete in the backyard for my semi-permanent observatory. Basically, I created a blind using 8'x10' tarps suspended by metal tubing. Blocks out all direct lighting from the house and neighbors yards. Had a temporary set-up with 4 panels using PVC pipe and tarps, but storing and setting up got to be a bit much, so this will be more permanent. Will just take down the tarp when not using for a period of time.

#18 ................

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 04:48 PM

Well, I decided not to order the motors David. After talkng on the phone with JMI, I was told it wouldn't work unless I could find the right size thumbscrew and still have enough clearance. Well, I didn't want to spend money on this unknown; I'd rather either save my money or put it to an AS-GT for when I want an automated setup if I decide I really want one.

#19 mischief

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 07:22 PM

David, thanks for your posts. After much soul-searching and review searching, I finally ordered a AT Voyager from Astronomics. It is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, Sat 7 Feb. I didn't know about the motors from JMI. I don't think I can afford them right now after buying the Voyager but it is nice to know about them. Please keep us posted on how you like them. Thanks,
Dorothy :jump:

#20 David P

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:35 PM

Congratulations on your purchase. I think that you will enjoy it.

My mount was missing the instructions. If you find the same situation you can download them off of the Astronomics website (look on the left side of their mainpage for a box titled "Information Library". Select the link "Instruction Manuals" then the hyperlink for "Astro-Tech Manuals").

My Voyager was missing three set screws in the altitude mechanism (see photo). Sent an e-mail to Astro-Tech and they mailed the missing screws.

I would strongly recommend the extension tube sold by Astronomics (do a search "ATVEXT", which is the part# on their site). It raises the scope to a more comfortable height. The short(ish) tripod is one of the most common complaints about the voyager.

- David

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#21 Psyire

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 10:37 PM

Have any idea what those set screws actually do?

#22 StargazerBill

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 08:31 AM

I would strongly recommend the extension tube sold by Astronomics (do a search "ATVEXT", which is the part# on their site). It raises the scope to a more comfortable height. The short(ish) tripod is one of the most common complaints about the voyager.

- David


David,

First, thanks for all the "hands on" info regarding the Voyager. After a frustrating sequence of events regarding the Orion SVP AltAz mount (see various other threads in the "mounts" forum) last night I ordered the AT Voyager. The JMI MicroSlew may come later, not sure on that yet. I do have a question regarding the extension though. It would be nice to get the scope higher but Ive had a bad experience with such an extension. I had an extension for my SVP EQ mount last year and it introduced a lot of vibration to the setup. Without the extension the mount is near rock solid with my SV102ED attached. Vibrations dampen in about 1 second at worst. When I added the extension vibrations took 2.5 to 3 seconds to dissipate. It was acting like a "tuning fork". I'd love to know that the Voyager with extension does not have this problem. Of course, using a short scope like the TV76 stability is probably not a real problem. But have you tried the mount without and with the extension? If so, any difference that you can discern?

Bill

#23 David P

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:43 PM

Hi Bill (love the Mini icon by the way), I have not tried the mount without the extension. To be honest, by the time I got all the parts to be able to mount the Pronto, the clouds and rain arrived and continue. So other than about 20 minutes on Wednesday night, I have not been able to do any observing. I was able to view the moon at 160x on Wed night but did not record the dampening time. Was mostly getting used to the operation of the Micro-Slew. I enjoy double stars, so will let you know how it goes once the skies clear.

- David

#24 David P

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:59 PM

Psyire, I learned from a previous post on CN (posted on 11/26/08 by swsantos) that those three set screws keep the alt head attached to the assembly. The instructions indicate that these should remain tight at all time (they are not the screws that Patrick incorrectly indicates in the same post as voiding the warranty, those are located on the end of the assembly attaching the black cap with the Astro Tech logo on it, opposite the dovetail bracket).

- David

#25 Psyire

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 08:22 PM

Thanks David, that's exactly what I wanted to know.






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