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How cold is too cold

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#1 denjo

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:35 AM

When does your mount start getting unhappy with the cold?

#2 John J

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:52 AM

My EQ 6 began to stall when slewing at 4 Deg F. It would track well though. It was completely covered in frost. I was an idiot to be out in that cold of weather, but the skies were pristine.
JJ

#3 coopfore1

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 01:25 AM

anyone have an idea on how to keep mounts warm?

#4 Smo

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:40 AM

I dont know but the AP mounts have videos of being at -73 degree celcius at the south pole and working fine. Check the video on the AP site.

#5 coopfore1

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:43 AM

Smo So how cold has your mount been???

#6 Smo

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:53 AM

just got it...and I live on the coast.

Here in Vancouver it usually doesn't drop below freezing...so around 1-2 degrees Celsius.

what 35 degree F?

#7 coopfore1

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 03:52 AM

Smo I saw you were in Canada. I thought you might have been in some colder weather than here in Illinois. Its -10 f here right now and my mount is not happy about it. I wanted to do some web cams of Mars, tonight, but its not going to happen....

#8 coopfore1

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 03:56 AM

Anyone else having problems ?

#9 Kaizu

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:39 AM

No problems with G11. Just "warm started" from -23C (-10F) and worked properly.

Kaizu

#10 Lane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 06:25 AM

On my celestron CGEM - At 21 degrees F the object information messages that scroll sideways across the hand controller screen are blurred. The words blur together because the previous word on the screen takes a full second to fade out. So you have 2 or sometimes 3 letters on top of each other. Almost impossible to read.

#11 Arbacia

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:00 AM

Lane, search for mods for heating the screen of the Nexstar hand control. It is necesary to keep warm enough the screen.

Alternatively, put the hand control inside of a warm pocket of your jacket (should be a good idea to use then a telephone extension cable 6p6C)or attach with a rubber band a hand warmer sac to the back of the nexstar Hand control.

Patricio

#12 galacticphoto

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 09:53 AM

Never a problem w/ the MI-250 (uses the Gemini electronics as w/ Losmandy), but the Celestron HCs do have some problems (especially the display) if the temp is below 20 deg or so. Use the Laptop for control, and all is ok, since the mount still works fine.

Robert

#13 noah way

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:05 PM

I run out of cold tolerance long before the mount does.

#14 bseltzer

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:20 PM

I run out of cold tolerance long before the mount does.


Amen, brother!

-Bert

#15 Telescopeman54

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:21 PM

We were out last night in 0F temps with a 10 - 15 mph breeze. Finally caved in after 5-1/2 hours. The sky was quite clear but the seeing was horrible!

The Mini Towers and MT Pro which we were testing all worked well. They held up much better than we did even though we were wearing snow mobile suits and had heaters in our boots! I'm still trying to thaw out!

Steve

#16 rmollise

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:29 PM

anyone have an idea on how to keep mounts warm?


Most often, it's not the mount you have to keep warm, it's the battery and hand controller. Most mounts begin to have trouble in the cold not because they are freezing up, but because cold puts an awful strain on batteries--voltage drops and the mount begins to have trouble. Hand controllers? Main problem is LCD displays, which start gettin' sluggish at about 32F.

#17 coopfore1

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:52 PM

Thanks Rod, It was about -10 last night so it was pretty cold. The battery was showing full charge. Everytime I moved the scope in ra it would keep moving until power was shut down. Would this be consistant with power problem or motor sticking. The hand control was unreadable at one point. So I warmed it,but ra still would not work properly. Any ideas

#18 rmollise

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:44 PM

Thanks Rod, It was about -10 last night so it was pretty cold. The battery was showing full charge. Everytime I moved the scope in ra it would keep moving until power was shut down. Would this be consistant with power problem or motor sticking. The hand control was unreadable at one point. So I warmed it,but ra still would not work properly. Any ideas


Yep, sounds like a power issue...and...yes...cold is hell on batteries.

#19 gnowellsct

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 09:34 PM

http://groups.yahoo....xtremeastronomy

#20 coopfore1

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:24 AM

Thanks everyone. Well I powered the mount with a 4 amp power supply, instead of the battery. I am using a cigar lighter plug maybe thats the problem? I still have ra problem. I think I will wait for the temp to warm up before i mess with it any longer. Maybe Some moisture got into the connections, motor or hc...Thanks

#21 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:16 AM

... I am using a cigar lighter plug maybe thats the problem? I still have ra problem.....


Cigar lighter plugs don't make great contact even in the best of times. If you examine one, you'll find that areas of contact are small, the springs that pressure the metal contacts are weak, and any bit of corrosion on the contact points will interfere with the flow of current.
On any new piece of equipment that I get, I remove the cigar lighter connectors and replace them with connectors that make solid connections.

dan

#22 mich_al

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:16 PM

My CGEM has been well behaved so far down to 4deg F. Only the scrolling display on the hand controller has been a problem. It's only used to show info on an object. I've got a dew strip on its back but I may need more.

#23 coopfore1

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:17 PM

My cgem is working once again. I took off the front polar cap. Then directed some warm heat from a hair dryer on low setting onto the mount housing for a few minutes. now the mount seems to work ok. It is about 30 degrees warmer here today. So I still really do not know what the problem was. Connectors,cold hc,moisture in the motor,uneven power,cigar plug??? I am thinking Rod was probably correct it was aweful cold so my battery was not working properly. Anyhow Thank You to everyone who helped with suggestions. Gary

#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:41 PM

A common problem is that the worm gear begins to bind at cold temperatures. It may need to be adjusted for a looser setting on a go-to mount. If the worm gear is binding you may get stalling which might look like a power problem.

Heating the hand controller is critical. I'm sure the circuit boards work but the LCD display will not, and if the LCD display is not working than nothing else is.

The AP mounts that are used at -75 F are not "out of the box." They have been adjusted and special lubricants are used.

One of the reasons why I prefer my two stepper mounts to go-to is that they are so nearly as I can tell impervious to cold, and demand no adjustments whatsoever from summer time to dead of winter. The coldest I go out is about -10F after that it ceases to be fun.

regards
Greg N

#25 Lane

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:08 AM

Another thing I noticed is that the focusing on my C9.25 is really sluggish at 21 degrees. I think the grease must get sticky or something because when I stop turning the focus knob the mirror is still slowly moving for a second or two afterwards. Makes it very hard to find exact focus.






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