iOptron Mini Tower with Trapezium Wedge
Posted 30 June 2009 - 09:22 PM
He will also tell you that the wedge should be pointed north and that one tripod leg should be placed under it on the north.
Steve sent me an email where John Bozeman says that the MT is apparently able to autoguide with Meade Maxim DL. He's waiting for clear weather to confirm this.
According to Steve, he originally noticed that the MT was being supplied with the same controller that was included with the gotonova. He realized the potential of the combination and when he was told it wouldn't work, took it as a challenge. I'd say that he has proven his theory that it can work in both modes.
I have noticed that Steve uses his with a CG5 or Orion Atlas tripod instead of the factory one. They are taller and stronger.
As for polar alignment, after a 3 star alignment the controller provides an error report which allows one to dial in the alignment in only a few tries.
Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:32 PM
The Mini-Tower costs $800. The bearing upgrade costs $300. The wedge costs $380. So now we're at $1480 (and even more if you need to add a bigger counter-weight shaft and/or other parts). And what you have something without a polar alignment scope or any other polar alignment method, looks rather unbalanced on the tripod, has just a skinny tripod, supports 25 lbs at best, and has no manufacturer's warranty (just the store warranty).
You can buy an Orion Sirius for $1200, a Celestron CGEM for $1400, or a Losmandy GM-8 (no Gemini but with motors) for $1500. These mounts will clearly work better for imaging (e.g., auto-guider port, polar scope and/or polar alignment software), are much more stable, supports 30-40 lbs, and have a manufacturer's warranty. Why would anyone want the Mini-Tower with the wedge when you can get a real GEM mount with much better performance for the same money or less?
This Mini-Tower wedge may be interesting as a DIY hobby project, but I can't understand why anyone would buy one.
Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:42 AM
The autoguiding software Steve mentioned is Orion's Maxim DL Essentials for the StarShoot DSCI II. The only reason I recommended this is because PHD Guiding doesn't support the camera. I found that the GotoNova ASCOM driver will communicate with the mount via the USB cable, so I feel pretty certain it will autoguide. I will test this feature next time out.
I got good pictures at 90 seconds exposure unguided. Each night I had a breeze to contend with, resulting in a few tossed frames.
Here is a widefield shot of M8 & M20. This was 7X90 seconds stacked in DSS, processed in PixInsight and Photoshop 7.
Posted 01 July 2009 - 12:05 PM
Stand out in a crowd, go against the grain, follow a different drummer, turn a silk purse into a sow's ear, to prompt individuals to ask why would you do this?
Posted 01 July 2009 - 12:24 PM
When you tilt it up 20-30- or 40 degrees on its side, now you're placing a lot of side thrust on the bearings and drive train that its not normally encountering or designed for.
Comments? I've never seen inside one, so I may be way off base. Have been following the MT with great interest, though.
Posted 01 July 2009 - 12:50 PM