New iOptron Mini-Tower First Light
Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:38 AM
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.
Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:24 AM
Posted 09 June 2009 - 07:52 AM
Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:56 PM
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.
Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:40 PM
Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:51 PM
Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:55 PM
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.
Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:51 PM
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! 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.