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Meade DS-2000 mount... what is it good for?

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#1 Falcon-

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:41 PM

A couple of years ago before I got into astrophotography I was given a Meade 4.5" newt on a DS-2000 series mount.

Alas I found that the tripod was *terrible* and turned out the beat up 35 year old Tasco newt had better optics at least as good so it got used only a few times and sits now in a box all neglected and lonely.

What I wonder is if that DS2000 mount might be repurposed for something else. For example can a home-made Wedge be added to make it into an EQ tracking platform for very-wide imaging with 50mm and 28mm camera lenses? What about an automated daylight platform for things like panning time-lapse, I see some people have turned other alt-az mounts into that type of thing... Any other ideas are welcome, including using the parts for X or Y project.

My only other idea is to try and sell it on astromart or here in the classifieds...

#2 jason_milani

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:26 AM

Sell it. I hated those mounts. Of course your mileage may vary.

#3 Trev

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:48 AM

I've never used the DS-2000 but if its anything like the Nexstar SLT some people have made wedges for them with good results.
After seeing what you can get out of an EQ-2 I'm sure you could make the DS-2000 work!

#4 imjeffp

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

Very popular with the time-lapse folks.

I have pretty good results using it with the ETX-90 and an electric focuser. Definitely got my $15 worth that I paid for it. Would probably work very well with the little ZS66.

#5 jgraham

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:39 PM

I started imaging with an Orion StarBlast on a DS-2000 mount and I had a great time with it. Of course it took a lot of patience and a little luck, but I learned a lot that served me well. I ended up buying another DS-2000 as a mount for my PST. The trick to getting good service from this mount is to use an external power source (I used a jumpstart battery with mine), calibrating the motors and training the drives. You also want to keep the load light and balanced. I actually tried to use it with a wedge once, but the clutches couldn't handle the over-hung load.

#6 JAT Observatory

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:39 PM

I have seen them used asna mount for the small solar scopes.

#7 bardo

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:17 PM

lots of folks use the drive system for dobs and eq mounts.

#8 avarakin

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:01 PM

Time lapse photogs call this mount milapse and they are sold for big bucks on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/...=item415688e3e2

If you have 497 controller, then you are lucky, controller alone can be sold for ~100, also it has support for EQ mode.

On yahoo there is a groop called roboscope which is dedicated to fitting electronics of this mount to dobs and other scopes.

Another option is just get a better scope, there is a seller on ebay who regularly sells 90mmx800mm Meade refractor OTAs for around 50, this could be a good match for this mount.

Alex

#9 Falcon-

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:55 AM

Alas my mount came with the Autostar 494 *NOT* the 497. :(

The "milapse" name helped me find info about people using these mounts. Very cool stuff and exactly what I was hoping for, but alas as far as I can tell they all require the 497 controller. The only reference I saw to using the 494 involved putting a clamp on the controller button to keep it depressed. Not exactly what I would call sophisticated motion control. :p I would be very glad to be corrected if there is something more sophisticated then the button-clamp method for the 494 equipped DS-2000!

Alex: your comment about the 497 supporting EQ mode, does that mean the 494 will *NOT* support EQ mode? If so then even using the motors for some other DIY EQ project sounds like a no-go.... am I correct?

John: You said you tried a DS2000 in EQ mode... was it *only* the altitude clutch that caused a problem? I would be using it with just a small camera lens and DSLR body so it would be a lot less strain then you would have with a telescope OTA.

Regarding suggestions of getting a new scope, I already do have a good mount (Celestron CG5 ASGT) and I am not really looking to add any further small scopes to my collection, especially not *JUST* to make this spare mount useful.

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:08 AM

I can confirm the 494 will not work on EQ mounts. It will work on a fork mount in EQ mode, however these little alt-az mounts don't work too well in EQ mode.

Or maybe it's just me.. I tried to use my ETX-60 in polar mode at 14* latitude.. clutches couldn't handle it.

#11 imjeffp

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

I added a 497 controller for not too much via eBay.

#12 Falcon-

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:55 PM

I can confirm the 494 will not work on EQ mounts. It will work on a fork mount in EQ mode



Ok, so fork with wedge *will* work with 494. :)

however these little alt-az mounts don't work too well in EQ mode.

Or maybe it's just me.. I tried to use my ETX-60 in polar mode at 14* latitude.. clutches couldn't handle it.


14deg - so in your case the problem was with the azimuth (becomes RA) motors rather then the altitude (becomes DEC) motors?

I am way up at 49deg latitude so there will be *less* strain. Perhaps with giving a try in any case. Just need to construct a wedge out of a block of wood or something to test it with. Of course the ETX and DS mounts are physically/mechanically different so I guess I should put too much hope on your experiences with the ETX.

I added a 497 controller for not too much via eBay.



My budget is just about zero so it would have to be very cheap indeed alas. Experimenting with milapse type stuff would be fun though.

#13 Falcon-

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 10:28 PM

hmm... getting back to this same thing again:

I can confirm the 494 will not work on EQ mounts. It will work on a fork mount in EQ mode


I can see the 494 not being designed to interface with meade's other production GEM mounts, but if it works on a wedge mounted fork like the ETX or DS mounts why would it not work on a manual EQ converted with the DS-2000's motors? It seems to me that as far as the controller is concerned operation of a wedge mounted fork is functionally the same as a GEM EQ mount. In both cases one motor drives RA and the other drives DEC, the only difference is how the GEM mechanically handles the telescope load (counterweight on DEC).

Am I wrong? :question:

#14 avarakin

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 10:53 PM

Falcon,
I got the same mount about a year back and was also thinking about the same thing for a while but could not figure out how to use it for EQ and in the end came to conclusion that it would be more trouble than it worth.
On the other hand, based on your signature, you already got 2 EQ mounts with tracking. At the same time, you dont have a nice big dob. So how about this - get a used 8-10" dob (they are cheap) and fit this motor to dob. Since dob is AZ kind of a mount, this drive should work just fine, you will just have to program gear ratios into 494.
roboscope group on yahoo has plenty of examples of exactly this conversion.

Re: milapse - my understanding was that the only way to go about it without a clamp is to use PC connection which is available with 497 only. To me it sounds not very practical, I'd rather use a low-tech clamp as opposed to lagging a laptop.

Alex

#15 Falcon-

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 02:15 AM

Alex: alas "inexpensive" dobs are in fact out of my price range just now... and I would rather spend any spare money on something for my imaging rig like an H-Alpha filter or a wide-field scope such as the AT72ED

Re: milapse - my understanding was that the only way to go about it without a clamp is to use PC connection which is available with 497 only. To me it sounds not very practical, I'd rather use a low-tech clamp as opposed to lagging a laptop.


Not me! I already lug laptop out for all sorts of things with astrophotography. I have no problem doing that type of thing for milapse control if that gives me the flexibility/control to do more then just sit and spin. ;)

#16 avarakin

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:14 PM

How about starting some planetary imaging? ;)
Then a motorized dob would be the best fit.

Alex

#17 doway1609

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 05:21 PM

I have the Ds-2000 2G mount myself and it has served me VERY well after a year and a half of ownership. I used it with 3 refractors from 80mm F/11 to my latest 102mm F/7.8! Now I will push it further to astrophoto projects with my new DSI Pro CCD camera. Since the software has the field De-rotation feature i can still take great shots of Deep space objects on this DS-2000 mount without me having to burn extra money on a EQ go-to mount. The tracking on the Ds-2000 2G is a LOT better than the older DS-2000 version, the only thing that it needs a sturdier tripod. It should be possible to construct a wedge for it, then it would be a perfect fit!

#18 orlyandico

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:00 PM

hi Falcon

I had a bunch of questions around the 494 on a GEM before.

Here's the pertinent post:

http://tech.dir.grou...e/message/12665

Bottom line, the telescope selection menu in the 494 is missing any sort of GEM option unless you get the 494 that is specifically for the Meade 4504 which is a GEM. The 494 for the DS-2000, ETX-60/70 doesn't allow you to select any GEM.

#19 Falcon-

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:35 PM

Doway1609: Glad to hear you have had such good success with your DS-2000 2nd gen. :) Alas what I have is the older generation.

orlyandico: Thanks for that info. Not what I wanted to hear, but good to know clearly what is correct.






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