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Sky Watcher Star Adventurer first light

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#1 orlyandico

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 01:06 AM

I purchased one of these a few days ago from The Widescreen Centre in London. The counterweight and shaft haven't shipped yet. What I got was the astrophotography kit which is the basic mount, equatorial wedge, and declination L bracket with worm drive slow motion.

I use it on a wholly inadequate Benro A350EX tripod which is way too small. Payload is a Canon 40D with 70-200 2.8 zoom lens.

I'll cut to the chase: 2 minutes is possible at 200mm with careful polar alignment using the polar scope.

With that out of the way, it is fairly well built. Very compact. Pointing the camera is tough because the compression clutches in RA and DEC get quite tight, and loosening them throws off the polar alignment. I ended up polar aligning again after moving the camera to final position. The polar scope makes this easier but you cannot use the illuminator if the L bracket is in place, so I had to strain to see the reticle.

The EQ wedge is nicely made. In another post I mentioned it's Mach1 like features such as the altitude locking bolt ratchet and the worm and sector drive for adjusting altitude. After use thought the worm and sector drive has a huge amount of backlash. And loosening the altitude locking bolt causes the wedge to wobble side to side in a most un-AP-like fashion.

Still, it does the job. I'll post my Pelican once I get it off the camera as I'm travelling and don't have a CF card reader.

If I ever go to Gran Canaria this is the kit I'll bring. The Mach1 will stay at home.

#2 orlyandico

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 09:35 PM

This is a 100% crop of the area around Deneb, 2 minutes with a 200mm lens.

The non-round stars is due to polar mis-alignment in RA (the DEC drift is much less), so this image doesn't really show how good or bad the PE is. I just used the polar scope and the "Polar Finder" Android app.

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I'll have better images when I've set the thing up on a proper tripod and have polar-aligned it well (via drift - I'm back in Singapore now and the polar scope is once again useless).

#3 bersonic

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 10:26 PM

Awesome! Anyone have any idea where to buy it from if we live in the US? Any announcements on selling it in the US?

#4 orlyandico

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 10:43 PM

I'd assume Orion will eventually carry it, since it is a Sky Watcher product...

I've got some more photos here:

https://picasaweb.go.../StarAdventurer

As an aside, I mounted my SV80ED on it (and with no counterweights). I haven't tested the tracking performance but that size and weight of scope is probably the most I'd consider putting on such a mount. Something smaller like an FS60 would probably be preferable.

#5 orlyandico

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:16 PM

I have just measured the guiding and unguided performance of the Star Adventurer with a Stellarvue SV80ED (and no counterweight! so tremendously unbalanced). Note that I'm using the aluminum tripod from my Vixen Polaris, I attached the Sky Watcher wedge to it with a 3/8" SHCS.

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Guided performance is about 2" RMS in RA, not great but about what I was getting with my CGEM before. Considering that the payload is tremendously unbalanced (no counterweight!) this is a more than acceptable result.

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Unguided.. periodic error is about 23" p-p with a 15-minute period, with harmonics at 7.5 minutes and 4 minutes (so roughly at 2X and 4X the fundamental). The worm wheel probably has 100 teeth.

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#6 bersonic

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 06:49 PM

Any idea where I can buy it if I'm in the US?

#7 SunBlack

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 07:01 PM

@orlyandico: let us know your guided and unguided results when you will get the counterweight...

#8 Hilmi

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 11:37 AM

I am impressed that a mount at this price range supports auto-guiding. I can imagine an efinder style guider doing wonders with this kind of kit.

#9 orlyandico

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 09:52 PM

someone has already opened it up...

http://stargazerslou...tar-adventurer/

Looks like there is no provision for a PEC indexer, so PEC is out.

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 10:24 AM

I DIY'ed a counterweight shaft from an old EQ1 counterweight shaft. It works fine, but guided performance didn't really improve. My local sky conditions are pretty terrible though (I can't even get sub-1" RMS with my Mach1 most of the time).

http://orlygoingthir...turer-part-i...

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I did get a better polar alignment with the Star Adventurer, and surprisingly the polar scope came from the factory fairly well aligned. Not perfect, but good enough that I'm not going to futz with it. My PASILL3 actually has worse alignment of the reticle.

And the worm wheel has 144 teeth (not 100). I got better PE data with a longer capturing period and more samples. Fundamental PE is about 30" p-p although the graph seems to indicate it's about 24".

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#11 Darren Bly

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 11:57 AM

Awesome! Anyone have any idea where to buy it from if we live in the US? Any announcements on selling it in the US?


Due out in the USA this winter and looks to be sold by Skywatcher.

#12 Groo

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 12:23 PM

All-Star Telescope in Canada has it for sale and I believe they ship to the USA. Not sure what there shipping costs are:

https://www.all-startelescope.com/

#13 peter_familystar

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 07:02 PM

Star Adventurer only 1 axis , no goto function .
I hope skywatcher can add goto

#14 orlyandico

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 07:34 PM

You can't have goto with a drive in only one axis. This thing competes with the Vixen Polarie and IOptron sky tracker.

If you want goto get an IOptron zeq25...

#15 skyward_eyes

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:38 PM

It will be available through Sky-Watcher USA in the coming months. You should start seeing information about it soon. Just working out the last few details.

Star Adventurer is designed to be an ultra portable EQ/camera tracker.

#16 orlyandico

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:52 PM

It had better come with the counterweight and shaft.. the UK dealers still don't have it so I had to jury-rig mine.

I don't know how heavy the stock weight is, but if it's 2lb, that's insufficient to balance say an 80mm refractor (which I believe is the maximum one should put on this mount).

#17 skyward_eyes

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 08:20 AM

Sky-Watcher USA will not advertise a product until it is in stock. This is why you have not seen anything in the US. Once they are in stock we will advertise as we do not want any delay for our customers. This also includes the accessories. I can weigh the weight once I get into the office.

#18 orlyandico

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 02:55 PM

Well.. I have tried out the Star Adventurer at 2.45"/pixel (SV80ED + TRF2008 + SBIG 8300M, about 454mm focal length). This does not balance well due to the overly small EQ1 weight I'm using.

The short and the skinny: 2/5 subs are round at 1 minute unguided. Same seems to be the case at 2 minutes.

It looks like there is a rough spot on the worm which causes "doubled" stars every now and then. I am fairly sure better balancing will not fix that.

So.. it's a decent mount for short focal lengths (under 200mm). At 200mm I expect 1-2 minute shots would still have round stars.

Am I disappointed? well I had some delusions of 2-minute shots with the SV80ED having consistently round stars. But that is not the case, unless it is guided. And at $500, it's not too far off from the price of a Celestron AVX. But here you are paying for the portability..

#19 orlyandico

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:11 PM

Posted Image

I botched cleaning the cover glass on my ST8300, hence the scratches even after applying a flat (I'll need to buy a replacement cover glass, since flats aren't effective enough).

This is a stack of 2/5 @ 1 minute and 3/5 @ 2 minutes.

#20 SunBlack

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:38 AM

@orlyandico: any new unguided test carried to show us? i.e. 3-4m @ 200mm on apsc sensor at zero declination?


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#21 orlyandico

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:12 AM

sorry, am traveling and weather not good... maybe this coming weekend.



#22 SunBlack

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 02:41 PM

@orlyandico: any new unguided test carried to show us? i.e. 3-4m @ 200mm on apsc sensor at zero declination?

#23 SunBlack

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 04:47 AM

UP...

 

@orlyandico: any new unguided test carried to show us? i.e. 3-4m @ 200mm on apsc sensor at zero declination?



#24 orlyandico

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:33 AM

Sorry I haven't had a chance.  I also need a better tripod for the Star Adventurer.  I ordered a used Gitzo G1340 for it. Once I get that maybe I can bring the mount on one of my trips and actually try for longer shots.



#25 SunBlack

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 11:11 AM

ok, let me know.








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