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UPS Guy Just Left...

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#1 WadeH237

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

He dropped off these boxes from Machesney Park, IL.

More to come later...

-Wade

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#2 psandelle

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:03 PM

Not enough boxes!!

Paul

#3 andysea

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:10 PM

Oh good! new astro gear in the NW, that makes for at least another couple of weeks of cloudy weather!! :smirk:
That looks like some serious gear. Congrats!

#4 Footbag

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:27 PM

Ok. What's in the boxes? Gotta be AP, but that's a lot of boxes. And the bottom two are throwing me off. Maybe the 1600 ships in two parts. Or the portable pier ships in four boxes. I may be way off, but this is kinda fun.

More to come you say? Maybe a 180?

Either way, you're gonna be clouded in for weeks. :)

#5 WadeH237

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:24 PM

Ok, I've opened *most* of the boxes.

It's been a bit of a fun game to see if I can predict what will be in the box before I open it. There is a particular order that I'm going for here.

And oh yes, the northwest is going to be clouded out for months. There is a group of astronomy enthusiasts where I work, and they've already let me know that they are not happy that there won't be any observing until at least spring.

Anyway, back to the boxes.

First up is a long, skinny box. That one's got to be a counterweight shaft. Let's see...

Posted Image

Yup.

Next up, is a box that is square, thin and pretty heavy. I'm guessing counterweights:

Posted Image

I'm two for two. There is another box just like this one, which turns out to be more counterweights. I've got several different combinations of OTA/camera setups, so I got a variety of sizes:

Posted Image

Ok, I'm saving the best for last. Here's a box that looks like a pier:

Posted Image

My guessing accuracy is still 100%. Here's the contents of that box on the work bench:

Posted Image

Hmmm. There must be more to the pier. I'll try to find the legs next:

Posted Image

And on the work bench:

Posted Image

I'm not seeing how the legs attach to the pier. One of these boxes must be the base to the pier. Let's try this one:

Posted Image

Strange. I wouldn't expect the pier base to need packing peanuts. Digging into the box:

Posted Image

Definitely not the pier base. But it looks like there's lots of goodies in here.

Boxes within boxes:

Posted Image

A-Ha! It's the GTO control box. There's also that plastic piece on the left. It's the first thing I've unpacked that I can't identify. I suppose that I'll figure out that one later tonight.

http://www.faintfuzz...control-box.jpg

Ultimately, that box has lots of interesting stuff.

http://www.faintfuzz...gto-parts-2.jpg

http://www.faintfuzz...gto-parts-3.jpg

Ok, time to try another box for the pier base.

http://www.faintfuzz...er-base-box.jpg

Success. I've got all the parts for the pier - but I don't see any assembly instructions. Fortunately, this isn't the first time I've seen one put together:

http://www.faintfuzz...ing/15-pier.jpg

Nifty. It went together very easily. I was pretty suprised how easy it is to level. I put a bubble level on top and tried adjusting the turnbuckles. It turns out that adjustments are very precise and smooth - easier than leveling the tripod legs on my CGEs.

So that's as far as I've gotten to this point. There are still two large and heavy boxes waiting to be opened. I've been saving them for last because I was pretty sure that they contain the really good stuff.

It was 14 months ago that I put my name on the list. It's time to go open them.

#6 dmdouglass

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:21 PM

Hmmmmmmmmm.
Me thinks he is having WAY to much fun.

#7 dmdouglass

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

Hmmmmmmmmm.
Me thinks he is having WAY to much fun.

I just checked outside.... and it is ALL CLOUDY.
Checked the weather... and the entire West Coast area, clear into Arizona and beyond.... all cloudy!

He must have gotten something REALlY NICE !!
:jump: :jump: :jump:

#8 Tom and Beth

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:24 PM

No doubt your UPS driver had a few choice words for YOU :shocked:

There's nothing like getting Astro Gear for Christmas.

#9 artcarter

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:48 PM

Wade,

I'm jealous. It looks like a great setup.

I'm waiting for my C6 SGT to be delivered and the weather change LOL

Art

#10 andysea

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:55 PM

Oh my this is the worst stretch of bad weather in the 11 years that I lived in Seattle!! You guys with your astro purchases aren't helping!! LOL

Andy

#11 WadeH237

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:14 PM

Finally, everything is unboxed.

As you've figured out by now, I got a new mount.

I started imaging back in 1998 with a Celestron Ultima 2000 and ST-237 camera. I tried it with Fastar, at F/6.7 and F/10. I wasn't very good at it.

In 2003, about the time I was getting a serious case of aperture fever, Celestron released the CGE. I made the jump to a CGE-1400 and was a very happy visual camper.

When I first got the CGE, I was thinking about stepping up my imaging game. After a couple of years of visual with the C14, I got serious about it. I ripped the C8 off of the Ultima 2000, switched to a Canon 10D and went for it again. The results were really promising, but I needed to get a guiding solution. The ST-237 worked perfectly as a guide camera.

Anyway, after a couple of years of this, I ended up with a couple of CGEs (one for imaging, while the other one carried the C14 for visual) and lots of other gear.

I discovered Astro-Physics while studying what other people were using. I decided then that I wanted one. Specifically, I wanted an AP1200.

Finally, after years of saying "someday", I put my name on the notification list in October last year, around the time of AIC.

Earlier this year, Astro-Physics pulled a fast one and discontinued the AP1200. I came very close to buying an AP900, but figured that it would be better to step up than to step down.

It took AP a while to switch over from the AP1200 to the AP1600 - and they seem to have lots of projects going on right now, which isn't making things quicker.

Anyway, back to those two boxes.

I opened the "smaller" of the two boxes first:

Posted Image

Of course, this was the declination axis, shown here on the bench:

Posted Image

This is the first time that I've ever kept photos of unboxing new equipment, and I almost got it done at every step. In my excitement to get it all unboxed, I forgot to get a picture of the RA axis packed in the box. Here it is on the bench:

Posted Image

And finally, all put together on the pier:

Posted Image

Everything made perfect sense in how it goes together. I made it almost all the way without consulting the manual. I say almost because the through the mount cabling threw me a bit. The cable for the declination drive runs through the RA axis and connects inside of the dec housing. I could not figure out how to get my hand into the dec axis to plug it in.

I got a bit concerned because when I opened the manual package, it said that the AP1600 manual is not ready yet, so they included the AP1200 manual, which does not have this cable routing. They are going to email me the new manual when it's ready and follow it up by sending me a bound manual. I had a bit of a panic at this, but it turns out that they did send an addendum that covers the key differences between the AP1200 and AP1600, including the cabling. It turns out that the end of the dec housing (the part where the counterweight shaft attaches) itself unscrews, leaving a large opening into the dec housing.

I've connected everything and powered it up. I went through many of the options in the keypad, sent it on some imaginary gotos, slewed around and such. I haven't actually found the off switch yet...

In the next couple of days, I am going to get everything installed on my laptop so that I can configure my automation software to work with it.

I'm hoping to get a first light someday, but between normal Seattle weather and new mount curse, it could be a while. Actually, it would be more cruel to have good weather over the weekend. AP did not have the dovetail mount that I ordered available to ship with the rest of the stuff. It will be coming in a separate shipment on Monday.

If you made it this far, I hope that you enjoyed sharing the fun of opening new toys.

#12 WadeH237

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:17 PM

Wade,

I'm jealous. It looks like a great setup.

I'm waiting for my C6 SGT to be delivered and the weather change LOL

Art


The C6 SGT is a great setup as well. You are going to love it!

#13 rigel123

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:23 PM

That is a beauty! OK, how many of the rest of you out there scrolled to the bottom first to see what it was!! Actually I liked following the sequence!

#14 andysea

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:24 AM

Beautiful mount!! Congrats!

Andy

#15 Mike X.

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 01:14 AM

Fantastic mount and nice thread i was going on like a tv series from post to post... :lol:

#16 CJK

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:21 AM

That is just plain gorgeous! Congratulations!

-- Chris

#17 Husbyggarn

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 05:48 AM

omg...
I think my HEQ5 is massive but i can't even begin to imagine how more massive this mount must be! :bow:
Congrats on your new mount, nice post!
Alexander

#18 CounterWeight

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

Congratulations on the beautiful new 1600! Greats pics - thanks for sharing the experience. Will be looking forward to your impressions... lets see next July?! ;)

#19 Footbag

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:34 AM

Congrats! I swear I had no idea what was in there when I guessed.

#20 David Pavlich

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:39 AM

Now that's a dandy piece of hardware!

David

#21 gillmj24

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:13 PM

If you were posting pictures within your post (aside from the first one), I'm not seeing any. :nonono:

Reading your text in your long post it sounded like you were trying to embed pictures of each box opening.

Congrats anyway!

#22 WadeH237

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:30 PM

I am hosting these pictures on a server in my home. The server is beefy enough, but my bandwidth is being challenged this morning.

The pictures should load eventually.

#23 Hikari

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:47 PM

You had me guessing for a while. I though it was an AstroTrac...

#24 SteveG

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

Love those st stl counterweights!

#25 Darenwh

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

OMG, I think I just ruined the surprise. Now you can't place it under the tree for me to find in the morning... :thanx:

I was going to get one of those for myself for Christmas but decided that the paperwork my wife would have me served with was not something I wanted. Oh well...

Congrats on getting a mount that you will likely never outgrow...






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