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New iOptron Mini-Tower First Light

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#1 drprovi57


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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:38 AM

I decided to post from the yahoo group:

My new Mini-Tower arrived Friday and first light was Saturday night (full moon). I ordered the MT directly from ioptron on Sunday and less than a week it showed up on my door steps - very impressive.

The MT arrived in two boxes - a hardcase with MT inside and a separate box for tripod - all was very well packed with no damage.

Assembly took less than 60 min (manual needs some work - but having experience with goto mounts helped a lot). Mounting the TMB 92SS-LW was easy all seemed to work just fine. I used the additional counter weight but it is really not needed - I have a smaller one that i plan to use.

Took it out Saturday night and did a 2 star alignment - took less than 10 min and goto was right-on. Targets easily fell near the center of my 9mm TV - again, very impressed. Some notes - special attention to proper set up (GPS, time, A/A mode, etc), leveling, pointing south (i used polaris), and vertical orientation (level again) makes the two star alignment EASY!!

I looked at Saturn and with 4 mm TMB eyepiece tracking was pretty good - but there was drift and about after 5min I needed to re-center - this was better than my other A/A goto mounts. I still hope to improve it. In A/A mode it would be very hard to try AP for greater than 60 sec per image

I used the goto function on several DSO and all worked fine. Tracking was ok
(but needs some more work). Bottomline- the price/performance the MT did meet all my expectations. It handled my TMB 92SS-LW easily, I am waiting to try my TMB 130SS with MT - should handle it well.

I currently own a Paramount ME and have owned other goto mounts (CGE, MI-250, CG, etc) and used AP 1200 - I would rate the MT in A/A as a 4.5 stars out of 5 stars in its class. Lets see how it holds up over time.


#2 Bob Moore

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:39 PM

PM sent


#3 FlyingAstronomer


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Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:24 AM

Humm, I'm interested in the need to set south. I'd like a computerized (either goto or pushto, don't care) mount I can use in my back yard, which is shielded from a lot of the streetlight glare the front yard gets, but from which I cannot see Polaris. I would have to see through my house for that, as the house is also on a side hill so it towers over the northern sky from the back. Would a basic compass be good enough?

#4 Dr Benway

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 07:52 AM

I use a Magellan Xpedition GPS set to true North. I walk up to the MT from South and align it to the "needle". I align to Polaris from the "South" side at night. A magnetic compass would work, as well.


#5 Starman1


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Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:56 PM

The exactness of the pointing south may be necessary to hit the target alignment stars dead on, but it isn't necessary if you can identify the names of the brightest stars or if you have a finderscope with a 5 degree field.
Mine found the alignment stars in the field of the finder scope merely by pointing the mount approximately south.
I like the fact that you can reject a suggested alignment star by going down the list of alignment stars (after the first suggestion pops up). That makes it convenient to use if trees obscure some of the suggested alignment stars.

#6 asteroid7



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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:40 PM

My MiniTower lets you only make one alignment star in the west and one in the east on two star alignment. That's to say, no two alignment stars in the same e or w quadrant. Is this true of all the MiniTowers?

#7 deepskytraveler


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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:51 PM

Yup, that's true. Nice feature to force you to a higher accuracy setup if you have a big sky. As for me I often setup between houses or adjacent to a large tree to block unwanted light. The limited setup stars don't cut it. My standard mode of setup is select a bright object, slew to it, and then sync to target. If your MT is relatively level and you weren't too far off on your first object, you'll be good to go for the rest of the night using occasional sync to target as you change areas of the sky.


#8 Lenardo


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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:55 PM

Pretty much that is the default for all of the cube style mounts -cube cube gps cube pro & minitower one e quad one west quad- helps newbies learn stars though.

the most important for setup step is, having the mount Level per the bubble level built into the mount.

pointing south can be rough, the fine adjustment comes when centering the alignment stars- do not forget to adjust your mount speed down for fine adjustment 64x default is just too fast/much) and/or doing a sync to target function post alignment.

#9 FlyingAstronomer


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Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for the information.

That would probably work for me, or at least doing a goto then centering and synching.

I don't really need the goto and tracking so much as DSCs. Moving to metro Atlanta was a real shock once I tried to get back into astronomy. The sky looks...a lot less navigable with 2/3s of the stars gone! :shocked: But it seems a comparable quality alt/az with workable DSCs would run more money than a decent goto like this, or at least the options I've investigated so far.

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