New tracking tabletop mount from Orion
Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:50 AM
Orion Starblast Autotracker
Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:00 PM
Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:07 AM
The user reviews on the Japanese sites I have read are mixed. It appears that the mount will track well in some areas of the sky (some objects will stay in the FOV for 20-30 minutes, others will stay there only for 2-3 minutes).
Here is one user discussion between users I read which does not bode well (approximate translation from Japanese by me):
Concerning the automatic tracking, it seems that whether it is on or off doesn't really impact how long a given object stays in the FOV.
For example if I point the scope at the North Celestial Pole (35 degrees latitude) and then turn the scope due south 180 degrees, the objects in that area would have an apparent movement of around 5 degrees in 20 minutes, but my own mount would barely move.
I checked with the manufacturer, and was told that this was the way it was supposed to behave and a limitation of the system. Given that shortcoming, I am very doubtful about their claim of automatic tracking.
How about you all?
For me, the performance is spotty. Starting with the same celestial north pole setting, there are times when the mount will not track at all. There are times when the object will stay in the FOV for 10s of minutes, and times where it will leave the FOV in 2-3 minutes.
Some other reviews on Amazon jp:
It is indeed difficult to align the mount on the celestial pole [...]. It is a great telescope to use on the balcony of my apartment to enjoy the night sky with no worries.
I bought it just to try it because it was very cheap, but I honestly have to say that turning the tracking on does not really change from having it off. I looked it up, and found a blog with a user reporting the same issue. That user had asked the manufacturer, and been told that " at this price range this is the best that can be done".
The tracking feature cannot be precisely aligned. Do not expect too much from it.
Tracking at a focal length of 1250mm can really backfire. Unless you do many manual adjustments, it is just as well to leave it off.
The tracking feature requires careful alignment which will be difficult for beginners [...]. However once done the results are not that bad.
Globally everyone likes the price of the set, and like the actual telescopes and the fact that the mount can be controlled electronically. But the tracking feature has very few proponents.
That is of course assuming this is the same mount (it looks exactly the same).
Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:26 AM
Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:04 AM
Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:15 PM
I stumbled across it on Orion's website. I decided to get the setup with the 4.5" StarBlast reflector, red dot finder and eyepieces. The price for the added stuff was only $80 higher than just the mount. Seemed like a no brainer to me.
So far, mine is tracking fine. The first night I had it, I took it to an outreach event. I set it on a picnic table, aligned it based on the instructions, pointed it at the moon and left it alone, sometimes for extended times. I was running a big dob for the folks. The kids loved it. Tracking was not perfect, but the moon stayed in the eyepiece in some cases for 30 minutes or longer.
I also own an Atlas G. The website said the AutoTracker mount could be used as a GoTo mount with a SynScan hand controller. I upgraded the flash on my hand controller and created a cable from pinout instructions I found on the web.
Last night, I used it as a GoTo mount. Setup and alignment was easy, far easier than any other GoTo I have used. I haven't used it extensively yet, but my take last night was that the GoTo function got you close but not dead on the selected object. When I've had more time to work with it, I'll post a review.
My first reaction is that, for the price, it's a fun toy. For anyone who has a SynScan hand controller and needs a camera mount or light scope for trips, it's almost a no brainer.
I took some decent images of the blue moon last night with a Samsung SDC-435 security camera. I also imaged the ring nebula through a sky glow filter, but the results were marginal. The issue was the full moon and filter selection, not the telescope. Next time, I'll use a Mallincam and narrow band filter.
By the way, the payload according to Orion's website is 7 lbs. The motors seemed quite adequate to accommodate the 4 lb optical tube, red dot finder and camera.
Here is the Blue Moon shot I took.
Posted 24 August 2013 - 09:10 PM
The mount tracked and performed very well as a full goto mount for 2 hours. Then the tracking stopped holding. I think I could have turned it off and restarted and aligned it, but I was out of time.
This may turn out to be a great little outreach mount, including video astronomy.
M8 Lagoon Nebula in almost full moon conditions.
Posted 24 August 2013 - 09:13 PM