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14" SCT setup/teardown concerns

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#1 Qwickdraw

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:11 AM

I am planning on making a purchase of either the Celestron 14" edge HD or Meade 14" LX-850 (if there is one by then) in a little over a year. I do not have an observatory and would need to take it in and out of the house each use. Is this something that can be done reasonably safe (for me and the equipment) each time? I am not exactly a young man anymore and in my early 50's and I would have no help. I would need to negotiate about 4 or 5 steps on our porch each time. I know that probably nobody has experience setting up the LX-850 so most likely nobody can tell me if one make would have an advantage over the other as far as ease of setup. Are these scopes too big/bulky for me to handle solo? Should I consider something smaller?

#2 bilgebay

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:14 AM

YES!

#3 Qwickdraw

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:34 AM

Sedat, I read your post on downsizing your 11" and it prompted me to finally post my question which has been on my mind for a while now as a consideration in my purchase.
Is it the fixing of the OTA to the mount that I should be most concerned with? If so, I wonder if there is any harware that can be devised or modified to hold the OTA in place while attaching it such as a simple "cherry picker"
as shown here

#4 bilgebay

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:40 AM

Nope, this is the easy part actually :)

You should watch this.

#5 bilgebay

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:51 AM

However, when it takes a while to set up or when it is difficult to do so, you start to think about it twice. This means, your scope will sit on the shelf unused if you have other scopes to use. In the beginning, you don't care about this but over the time this is what happens.

If I had had a permanent setup, I would have gone for a C14 or even for a C18 (if Celestron had made this available :) )

I am noticing that my hand automatically goes to my FSQ106 when I am picking a scope for imaging. However, after getting used to the Hyperstar speed, FSQ is very slow indeed. I am not hapy with FSQ's performance in that respect, especially when doing narrow band. It may be a great scope for full frame chips but for me, 90 % of the light it is collecting is being wasted.

#6 mdowns

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:52 AM

I dont know of any cherry picker arrangement but I am in a similar sistuation. I have a c11 mounted on a G11. At my age I cant break it down and reassemble as i would have when young. For me,the telegizmo 365 works great. I assembled the scope once.Its been outside here in sw florida for 4 months with zero problems. I simply remove the cover and its ready to go. Perhaps this would work for you as well.

#7 m2k

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:25 AM

Sedat is exactly right when he says you won't use the scope after once or twice struggling with it. If you can put it (and keep it) on wheely bar or scope buggy, then maybe. Otherwise no. (I have mine on wheely or I would not own one...)
Best wishes,
Mike

#8 Mirzam

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

Would it be possible to have a small garden shed that would allow keeping the scope assembled on a wheely bar at ground level? Then you could just roll it out of the shed.

My friend has a C-14 and is a very dedicated amateur. It takes him a good 45 minutes to set up and nearly as much time to tear down. You need to carry separately: tripod, mount head, weights, batteries (for dew control), OTA, accessories (eyepieces, computers, cameras etc). And put it all together.

JimC

#9 LouHalikman

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:12 AM

Think smaller!!

Consider a smaller scope with a Mallincam to enhance the visual experience.

A C 8 with a Mallincam will outperform a C 14 any day. I have an observatory mounted C 14; I hope I never have to move it again. Lou

#10 hottr6

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:15 AM

Watch this vid of a large 'scope and GEM on a scopebuggy:
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Xp2gWQe9XlE
3 mins and you are done (except for eyepieces, chair, table).

Without the scopebuggy, the rig would go unused.

#11 WadeH237

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

I'm almost 50, and I can setup/teardown my CGE-1400 without any concerns for safety.

The other comments about how often you will *want* to do this are spot on. I have quite a few scopes and the C14 is the last one I reach for when I want to observe from home, even though it is the best for viewing.

I make several week-long trips to dark sky site star parties over the summer. Since I'm set up for a week or more at a time, my C14 is a workhorse there and I love it.

#12 Qwickdraw

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:45 AM

Sedat is exactly right when he says you won't use the scope after once or twice struggling with it. If you can put it (and keep it) on wheely bar or scope buggy, then maybe. Otherwise no. (I have mine on wheely or I would not own one...)
Best wishes,
Mike


Wow is that discouraging to think after one or two uses I will not want to use it again. Right now my way of thinking is even if it takes an hour to set up and another hour to tear down I will still enjoy it. So basically what I am hearing is that physically it is not too much weight or awkwardness but it is more the task as a whole that will be a problem. I do have a moderately sized shed about of about 10'X 18' that I could keep it in. It is currently unheated and I would be afraid of the extreme temperature variations effecting it in adverse ways. I know it can go from over 100 deg to 60 routinely during the summer. If that is not a problem I am sure I could move the snow blower and a few other things over to make room.

#13 Mirzam

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

People leave scopes like this set up in unconditioned observatories all the time. You should take some precautions but the shed is definitely the way to go IMO.

I use a large cassegrain and alternately a large astrograph in my roll-of-roof observatory. There are occasional dewing issues to deal with. One nice thing about an SCT is that the tube can be tightly closed with a desiccant inside. The front corrector can be protected from dewing with a dew heater.

JimC

#14 Bruce FitzGerald

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

Whether you consider a smaller scope or not is up to you. My C-14 was difficult to set up on it's tripod so I went a different route, a telescoping pedestal. When raised to the highest position all that is required is lift the OTA onto a 24 in tall kitchen step stool, rotate the RA axis so it is parallel with the ground then adjust the DEC axis so the saddle on the mount is vertical pointing down. Slide the OTA up against the saddle, tighten the mounting screws then raise the pedestal to clear the stool and rotate the scope up into the "home position". Do your alignment and off you go.

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#15 Steve Cobb

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

It can be done. I have a C-14 CGEM-DX. I am nearly 70 and essentially put the fifty pound OTA on the mount each time by myself. That is the only really hard part although the tripod and the mount are both separate, heavy pieces. Something I find very helpful is to have a step ladder or other high chair type apparatus so you can lift the OTA from the ground to a step 3 or more feet off the ground, pause for a moment, and then lift it onto the mount. That works for me easier than going from ground to mount in one movement. The type of mounting bar on the scope and mount interface are quite unhelpful since it is difficult to just set the OTA into the mount. It needs to be slid in rather than placed directly in unless you really loosen the mount until the device which holds the OTA is so loose it almost falls off. That is how I do it since holding up the heavy OTA and wiggling it until it slides in is too hard. With regard to whether you will use it; I do not take it if it is a city star party where we don't have dark skies. Otherwise I do although it does take the better part of am hour to set it up. Add another hour if the finder scope is not calibrated with the OTA and you have to try to remedy that by pointing the OTA. Taking it down is no problem.

#16 Qwickdraw

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

It can be done. I have a C-14 CGEM-DX. I am nearly 70 and essentially put the fifty pound OTA on the mount each time by myself. That is the only really hard part although the tripod and the mount are both separate, heavy pieces. Something I find very helpful is to have a step ladder or other high chair type apparatus so you can lift the OTA from the ground to a step 3 or more feet off the ground, pause for a moment, and then lift it onto the mount. That works for me easier than going from ground to mount in one movement. The type of mounting bar on the scope and mount interface are quite unhelpful since it is difficult to just set the OTA into the mount. It needs to be slid in rather than placed directly in unless you really loosen the mount until the device which holds the OTA is so loose it almost falls off. That is how I do it since holding up the heavy OTA and wiggling it until it slides in is too hard. With regard to whether you will use it; I do not take it if it is a city star party where we don't have dark skies. Otherwise I do although it does take the better part of am hour to set it up. Add another hour if the finder scope is not calibrated with the OTA and you have to try to remedy that by pointing the OTA. Taking it down is no problem.


Steve, You are an inspiration. Is your c14 on a fork mount?
The video posted earlier shows a real easy way to connect it to a GEM which is basically the same thing I have been doing with newt already. You basically convinced me to go ahead and get the 14" instead of something smaller. BTW, you are not a former Mr. America or something right?

#17 Jim Davenport

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:13 PM

Nope, this is the easy part actually :)

You should watch this.


The method in this video works great.
My scope is only a “C-11”, but I use this method.
I’m in my late sixties. When I went to our dark sight, I always needed help the C-11 on and off of My Atlas EQ-6. This is pretty much effortless.
I bet it would work just as easily with the C-14.

#18 t.r.

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

Where there is a will, there is a way! Only YOU can determine how much you will set-up and use such a scope. One persons ease is anothers pain-in-the-asympotote! ;) But something can be said for getting a larger scope, when age begins to narrow your eyes pupil diameter, the extra aperture can do great things in the visibility of objects.

#19 aa6ww

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

Once you have something as potent as a C14, everything smaller is jist a subsitute till you can get that beast back up and use it. The ota is much lighter than the meade 14. I haul mine around in a cart i got from northen tool company, i call it the astro cart. You dont have to loft the scope on the mount to install it. Just make yourself a small strong table you can sit your C14 on face down beside your mount and swing your mount around without counterweights to line up with your dovetail then attach your scope to the mount, then attach the counterweights. Its agreat idea. I put a moving blanket on a tavle to protect the beautiful finish of the scope. The ota isnt that heavy but youd have a high lift on the cge pro, so its something to consider. Ive been doing this for 10+ years. Good luck..
..... Ralph

#20 bilgebay

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

As I said earlier, setting up the mount and mounting the scope on the mount is not difficult at all... but....after a while, you don't want to do it... maybe it's me, I dunno....

In the following photos, you can see me setting up an AP1200 mount and a C14 Edge for the first light in addition to my own mount and C11 Edge. It is easily doable, no problem.

In this first photo, my Vixen New Atlux mount is seen on the pier in the foreground. In the background, we are preparing my friend, Ozzy's AP1200 mount and C14 Edge Scope for the first light.

Posted Image

Click here for hires photo

Mounting C14 on the AP1200 is very easy, using Greg's method.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Click here for hires photo

My C11 Edge is also mounted now. Ready for the evening.
Posted Image

Click here for hires photo

Edge Bros at work :)

Posted Image

Clear skies

#21 Steve Cobb

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:44 PM

Nope. Not Mr. Anything although I do think about running for Governor of California from time to time. The CGEM-DX is the 50 pound payload version of the CGEM German Equatorial Mount. Because it breaks down into heavy but doable pieces it is possible for one person and especially for one person with someone else there to be sure you don't push the tripod and mount over, etc. There is no way I could even lift a C-14 on an attached fork mount that didn't totally disassemble. Curling C-14s keeps you in shape but there are limits.

#22 spongebob@55

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:20 PM

It can be done. I have a C-14 CGEM-DX. I am nearly 70 and essentially put the fifty pound OTA on the mount each time by myself. That is the only really hard part although the tripod and the mount are both separate, heavy pieces. Something I find very helpful is to have a step ladder or other high chair type apparatus so you can lift the OTA from the ground to a step 3 or more feet off the ground, pause for a moment, and then lift it onto the mount. That works for me easier than going from ground to mount in one movement. The type of mounting bar on the scope and mount interface are quite unhelpful since it is difficult to just set the OTA into the mount. It needs to be slid in rather than placed directly in unless you really loosen the mount until the device which holds the OTA is so loose it almost falls off. That is how I do it since holding up the heavy OTA and wiggling it until it slides in is too hard. With regard to whether you will use it; I do not take it if it is a city star party where we don't have dark skies. Otherwise I do although it does take the better part of am hour to set it up. Add another hour if the finder scope is not calibrated with the OTA and you have to try to remedy that by pointing the OTA. Taking it down is no problem.


RIGHT ON! :bow: :bow: I know I have at least another 13 years to do the same for my C14 and CGE PRO. Yee Ha!
Bob

#23 Rick Woods

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:05 AM

My 14" is permanently mounted, and on a fork; so I have no direct experience.

BUT: If this were me, I'd go the scope buggy route. A max of 100 degrees in your shed should be OK; just have a box fan or two running all the time in there when it's hot and you're not using it. It gets a lot hotter here, so I had to put in a window A/C unit.

Also, I suggest mounting rings instead of the dove-tail mount. Less flexure, and easier to mount and secure the OTA. I watched a friend mounting his C11 on a dovetail, and he almost crashed and burned a couple of times. Rings would be easy. (This is just based on what seems reasonable to me; in real life, maybe I'm wrong).

I do know that the bloom will be off the rose fairly soon if you have to set up and tear down that monster every time.

#24 EFT

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:53 PM

I really can't recommend the C14 for anything but permanetly mounting. You should certainly not buy one until you have a chance to see one and lift/mount it in person. This is really the key to deciding whether or not to get one. They really are immense and photos and numbers simply don't do them justice. There are definitely ways to handle this size OTA that work, but as others have mentioned, you are likely to find it simply too combersome and end up not using it. The C11 is a much more manageable size, but it is by no means small an light either. If you are unable to see and lift one in person, then I would definitely not buy anything bigger than the C11.

#25 Wil2010

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

Greetings.

When I took the leap, I had no concerns that I could set up and tare down the C14 and CGE Mount with ease. After only a few times I sadly realized that the C14 set up was a bit to big to do it often. The OTA is the size of a small trash can and manipulating it in the dark is a feat that has you on pins and needles. The OTA doesn't exactly weigh too much, about 50 lbs, but the large awkward size is what makes it difficult. I finally came to the realization that I just wasn't using this amazing equipment all that much, so sadly I am selling it off. I will most likely buy a smaller set up that will allow me to use it more. This is just my 2 cents worth but the C14 is a pretty darn big OTA Good Luck with whatever you choose to do. Clear Skies WiL

PS. The C11 is a wonderful size OTA. ... OTA is 28lbs or so, but that darn aperture fever set in and I sold it off to purchase the C14 LOL darn it! Will I ever learn??






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