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Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions

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#26 lakeorion

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:42 PM

I'm pretty sure I set the zero position corrrectly. The year is 2013.

I'll contact iOptron.

Thanks.

#27 S.Boerner

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 05:55 PM

iOptron alt/az user here so take this with a grain of salt.

After your first goto fails with one star, do you need to use the hand controller to center the object and then do a sync?

Do you have any better luck with gotos after you do a two star alignment?

#28 lakeorion

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:41 PM

To be honest - I've never had a scope on it. Until today I haven't had enough counterweight to try out my 127 Mak. The only thing I've had on it is my camera. I try to do the one star alignment and it ends up about 40° off in Declination. I use the buttons to get back on target (with a 35mm prime lens) - then try to slew to something else and it's way off again. The thing that concerns me is that when I'm done and tell it to return to the zero position - again it's off about 40° in Declination.

#29 lakeorion

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

That said - the rest of the pieces arrived in the mailbox today...

Here's the basic setup:
Surveyor tripod, fiberglass /wood legs,
mount attaches to said tripod using a Feisol PB-70 Panning Base, a large washer and the mounts Azimuth lock,
in the saddle is a Scopesuff 7" dovetail bar holding the finder base and a Redged RTH-1 Tilt Head (for rotating camera for composition),
the finder is an Antares 50mm RACI,
the camera is a Fujifilm IS Pro, currently mounted with a Nikon 35mm f1.8 prime.

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#30 lakeorion

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

A closer look.

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#31 lakeorion

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:51 PM

And closer

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#32 lakeorion

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

And the traveling version on the uber compact Benro fold flat tripod...

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#33 danderson246

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:54 AM

I am really interested in your progress with the mount.Considering one of these for a craigslist C5+ that I picked for a song. Good luck, and keep us posted.

Dave

#34 leveye

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:42 AM

So all that's holding it in place after it screwed together is the thumbscrew of the Feisol? Any play to it at all? I like the idea of using my other tripod that folds up nice.

#35 lakeorion

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:11 AM

Yes. The Feisol is a nice little piece. It doesn't really need to hold a lot of torque, if the tripod is level the only torque on it is when you move the mount.
It takes two hands to steady the motion when polar aligning, but it locks down with less motion than the stock tripod, and holds well after that.
I've only had it out one night so I can't say anything about durability - but it's 1st night performance was just right.

#36 lakeorion

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

Time is correct, GPS is correct, polar scope is aligned, Polaris is in the right spot in the scope.

I have a 50mm finder next to the camera to complete a 2 star align - I have to do a lot of slewing to get back to the target stars, Capella and Dubhe.

Then it tells me my RA axis is 24° off.

I select return to zero position and it ends up 20° off in Dec. It doesn't even know where it is or where it's going.

Had it! iOptron Support e-mailed.

We'll see what they do. At this point I'm ready to send it back.

#37 Astronewb

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:24 AM

I have a 50mm finder next to the camera to complete a 2 star align - I have to do a lot of slewing to get back to the target stars, Capella and Dubhe.

Then it tells me my RA axis is 24° off.

I select return to zero position and it ends up 20° off in Dec. It doesn't even know where it is or where it's going.


That's a lot of error. Typically, with an accurate polar alignment, my first 2-star alignment slew is within 5 arc-minutes in either axis.

Of course, I don't have my camera or finder offset several degrees to the side of the mount axis like you do either.

Suggestion, just mount the finder normally in the mount saddle. Ie; on the Vixen dovetail and in line with the mount axis.

Then, using the polar scope, center Polaris in the inner 4 arc minute circle. Now center Polaris in the finder EP side to side by using the HC < > buttons. Now shut the mount off and back on.

At this point you have minimized cone error. Now place Polaris in the correct position based on the HC readout, or the iOptron iPad Polar Position app, and do a One Star align.

Return to the zero position after the One Star align, and start your 2 star align..doing the One Star align first makes this much easier.

Perform the Two Star align, centering the stars in your crosshairs of your finder EP...and check the final result.
I think you will find, that if your initial polar align is correct..your polar offset will be under 10 arc minutes in both directions. It is easily adjusted (using the mount lat and az adjusters) to almost 00-00 from there.

Basically, I think your offset setup is adding to your frustrations. If you get a decent offset with the finder in the normal position..it's time to think about how you're going to deal with it. At the very least, with Polaris centered in the polar scope...you should have your camera and finder EP centered on Polaris as well.

Good luck and clear skies,

Paul

#38 lakeorion

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:56 AM

I put Polaris in the polar scope center and centered both finder and camera on polaris with mount off.
Then turned it on and put Polaris where the controller said it should be - turned it off again.
Then turned on and tried a two star align.

I don't see how the offset setup can hurt - if it does then how does any finder work? It's offset from the center of the OTA also.

iOptron replied and I'm getting an RMA. They want to examine it for the Dec issues.

Thanks again for your help.

#39 Astronewb

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:31 PM

I put Polaris in the polar scope center and centered both finder and camera on polaris with mount off.

Ah...okay, that's the info I didn't know, you were spot on with the procedure. Surprising how many people don't know about pointing and cone errors...

Good luck with the RMA...looking forward to seeing how the new unit works for you.

Cheers,

Paul

#40 Bob Moore

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:30 PM

i'm glade i came across this post. My daughter has the very first Ioptron Smart EQ Pro, The mount was hand carried from China by the owner of Ioptron and presented to Caroline at NEAF last year. You may ask why? well here is part of the answer, http://www.ioptron.c...-a79b-4f62-a...
Caroline then donated the Smart EQ to her school project

http://www.cloudynig...4896352/page...

but now it's time to give this little baby a go. Thanks for posting the setup info and idiosyncrasy's.I'm planing to give it a go at Imaging with an FLI8050 and a canon 70-300mm camera lens. Has anyone tried imaging with the Smart EQ? if so do you have anything you can post? Here are a few pix.

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#41 Bob Moore

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:31 PM

one more

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#42 lakeorion

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 10:56 PM

Paul, I took your explanations to heart and have added them into the 'ritual'. I understand I have a slightly unusual setup. But the results I was getting did not make any sense and I wanted confirmation that what I was seeing was wrong. I'm new in the GEM field. All my astronomy experience so far has been up-down / left-right.

Bob, Imaging works fine. My mount can align and track - but I spent (what I consider) extra to be able to GOTO things I can't see in the DSLR viewfinder and attempt to image those things. I could have purchased a Vixen Polarie and accomplished the same with a 35mm focal length.
Full Size

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#43 lakeorion

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:23 PM

Wow. Read the article and wish my son would be as interested in the sky as that. He's come out to the club scope a few times but I'm afraid my photo bug has ruined him. He looks at things in the scope and then looks at my pictures and likes them more.

#44 Bob Moore

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 01:48 AM

Just google her and add the words " supernova " after her name, she is a great kid... Young lady I should say! she still gives talks to all sorts go groups and may be giving one in VA/DC. Soon. She is not studying AP or astronomy at collage, her hart is in other places.

Hats a nice image, I tried the same thing the other night but I was using a photo tripod ( no tracking ) 20 10sec

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#45 lakeorion

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:01 PM

Is it unreasonable of me to ask they they pay for the shipping to return the head and controller?

I received an RMA number and directions to ship it back to them.

#46 Astronewb

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

Is it unreasonable of me to ask they they pay for the shipping to return the head and controller?

Hmnn...a 6 pound package? That will ship priority mail, medium box anywhere in the USA for under $10.

None of the manufacturers I've dealt with cover shipping, only the parts are warranteed, so I'd say that's reasonable.

Imho,

Paul

#47 ghataa

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:55 PM

Anyone going to NEAF? I'd love a walkthrough on how folks are setting up and aligning their Pro at the iOptron booth.

George

#48 Astronewb

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:50 PM

Anyone going to NEAF? I'd love a walkthrough on how folks are setting up and aligning their Pro at the iOptron booth.

George


I'll be at NEAF George, hopefully with a visitor from France also, who is eager to see all the equipment offerings during his visit. PM me a few days before and I'll see if I can meet you while you're there.

Regards,

Paul

#49 ghataa

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 07:08 PM

Sounds great Paul. Will do! Maybe I'll win another T-shirt this year too. :)

Best,

George

#50 Bob Moore

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:46 AM

So tonight the weather CH. said it was going to be clear, Even knowing that we are just about a full moon I set up the Smart EQ with the FLI MicroLine 8050 OSC with a 70-300 mm APO lens set at 70mm. Loaded Maxim, told the mound to head over to M42 and started shooting 240sec X 30. I came back to check on how things were going after about 6min. And the clouds were back, in 6 min I went from 100% clear to 100% cloudy. The good news is I got 6min of what I think is good data. The mount tracked well but as the clouds moved in the wind picked up a little. Here is what i got after 3min of setting up the mount and camera setup and an alignment. ... Oh yea in only took 2min to get everything back in the house.

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