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CEM60-6 Months, 2 Mounts and some observations

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#76 TimP

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 07:50 PM

I rarely use my c11 HD at f10 . I usually use a focal reducer and run at about f5. I am new to the CEM60 . I just moved over from a CGEM DX. I was not one of the lucky ones that received a trouble free CGEM and I finally threw in the towel . I am not looking to do a lot of long exposure imaging although I may give it a shot someday. I mostly just do video astronomy with my Mallincam for now. I also have an iEQ45 Pro that I use with a C8 HD SCT and a Lunt 60 mm DS. Both of these mounts have not seen first light due to the weather. I think I may have caused a disturbance in the force with 2 new mounts. Sorry about the weather guys. In a couple of weeks I will be going to a star party called ECVAR (East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous) in Galax, Virginia for a week with my friends from nightskiesnetwork.com  . We will be broadcasting from there. I hope to get any bugs worked out on these mounts at that time.

 

Tim Patton


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#77 neptun2

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:24 PM

Well except for the 130mm APO that x6gas have tested did anybody try large APO triplet on cem-60? Will it be able to handle APOs up to 150mm with focal length around 1000mm at scale of around 0.9 to 1 arcsec per pixel and guide well enough to achieve 10 minute exposures with round stars? 



#78 Astronewb

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 09:34 PM



Well except for the 130mm APO that x6gas have tested did anybody try large APO triplet on cem-60? Will it be able to handle APOs up to 150mm with focal length around 1000mm at scale of around 0.9 to 1 arcsec per pixel and guide well enough to achieve 10 minute exposures with round stars? 

Here's some results at 10 minutes with a AR152mm, 988/F6.5 guided, it's not a triplet but the basic parameters are the same.  Mount was a CEM60EC, not a CEM60.

 

14847434495_b1f37c9b59_c.jpgIC59_AR152/Baader Fringe Killer by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

 

Regards...Paul


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#79 neptun2

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:00 PM

This looks encouraging. Focal length and resolution are very similar. The doublet is nearly 4 kg lighter but this are some good news anyway. Thanks.  



#80 racunniff

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 12:26 AM

My CEM-60 (classic) arrived today.  Unusually for astronomy equipment unboxing day, it was only partly cloudy this evening.  I therefore got to do a mini observing session.  I spent an hour or so inside assembling and playing with knobs and adjustments before going outside.  I used the iOptron iPhone app which shows a nice picture of where Polaris should be in the illuminated polar scope, and did a quick polar alignment followed by a one-star align on Vega.  From there I hopped to the Moon.  It hit the moon, but was probably about 15 arcminutes away from centered (not too surprising given only a one-star align).  I then headed over to M57 before the clouds rolled in.

 

Some thoughts:

  1. The polar scope reticle could use an option for a less bright setting - the dimmest setting was pretty darn bright still.
  2. The altitude and azimuth adjustments work very well.  Much nicer than messing around with the equatorial wedge I had on my LX90 mount.
  3. I had no troubles at all with the magnetic RA & DEC locks.  No extra play, no nasty noises.
  4. The mount is extremely quiet in operation - by far the least noisy of my three mounts (the other two being the LX90 and iOptron MiniTower Pro)
  5. With my 8" LX90 OTA on it, vibration was minimal with the rap test, and damping occurred within 1-2 seconds.
  6. I'm going to need a lighter counterweight when I mount my Orion ED80T-CF on it.

I'm very happy after the first evening.  This weekend it's supposed to be clearer (although the moon is getting brighter).  I'll try to get a read on alignment and tracking then.


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#81 racunniff

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 12:16 AM

One other quick note on the CEM-60 (classic).  To the best of my Mark I eyeball's measuring capabilities, it took 5.5 turns of the altitude knob to move it 10 degrees.  So, each turn of the knob is about 1.8 degrees in altitude.  In azimuth, the adjustment pegs look to be 65mm from the center (giving a circumference of about 408mm), and the adjustment knobs are M8 bolts.   Standard M8 bolts have 1.25 mm thread pitch, so one full turn of the bolt moves the azimuth 1.25 / 408 of a circle, or about 1.1 degrees.

 

In short, 1.8 degrees per turn in altitude, 1.1 degrees per turn in azimuth.  Alternately, 108 arcminutes per turn in altitude, 66 arcminutes per turn in azimuth.

 

Note that the altitude knob is marked "0 - 27 - 54 - 81" (and therefore "108" back at zero) which supports my eyeball measurements.

 

It would be nice if the manual mentioned these little tidbits...


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#82 timtrice

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 01:31 AM

It would be nice if the manual mentioned these little tidbits...


No joke, thanks for this! I'm finding it doesn't take much at all to move this thing

#83 racunniff

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 12:03 AM

Grr.  Well, everything was kind of happy, but no longer.  I noticed that it randomly stopped tracking for no apparent reason, so I went to iOptron's web site and found that there was a firmware upgrade that claimed to fix that very problem.  Looking at my mount, I had pretty old firmware:

 

HC: 140329

Main: 140410

RA: 140410

Dec: 140410

 

I downloaded the latest (20140825) and started the upgrade.  The hand controller seemed to go fine.  But when I went to upgrade the mainboard it keeps telling me "connection failed."  I verified that I'm plugging into the mount, not the hand controller and that I have the latest drivers for my USB->RS232 dongle.  I also tried a different dongle.  No luck.  And now when I plug the handbox in and turn the mount on, the handbox says, "Connection Error: Main Board".

 

I'm wondering if I have an old main board and/or RA&Dec boards?  Unfortunately, iOptron does not seem to keep archives of old firmware versions for me to test.  I've sent an email to iOptron support - but does anybody have any thoughts here?



#84 racunniff

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 12:22 AM

Addendum, in case it matters: my mainboard version is "V1348".



#85 timtrice

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 06:04 AM

racunniff,  you have to be careful to follow instructions closely here (and apologies if you are). I made the same mistake and thought it was an error with my cable.

 

When upgrading the main board, you do not turn the mount on until after you hit the upgrade button. So load your firmware, port then click ugrade and then turn your mount on.



#86 racunniff

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 08:27 AM

I downloaded the latest (20140825) and started the upgrade.  The hand controller seemed to go fine.  But when I went to upgrade the mainboard it keeps telling me "connection failed."  I verified that I'm plugging into the mount, not the hand controller and that I have the latest drivers for my USB->RS232 dongle.  I also tried a different dongle.  No luck.  And now when I plug the handbox in and turn the mount on, the handbox says, "Connection Error: Main Board".

 

Well, a few hours of sleep later - I got it working.  Plug the serial port into the "RS232" socket, not the "PORT" socket.  Ahem.  Everything seems to be up and running with the new firmware now.  I'll see how it works tonight...



#87 timtrice

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 08:29 PM

How hard do you guys try to tighten the azimuth adjustment bolts? I don't mean the lock down screws but the adjusters

#88 racunniff

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 09:49 PM

How hard do you guys try to tighten the azimuth adjustment bolts? I don't mean the lock down screws but the adjusters

 

If the lock-down screws are sufficently torqued, you should not have to tighten the adjusters excessively.  If they are both snug against the pegs, that should be sufficient.



#89 racunniff

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 01:46 AM

 

I downloaded the latest (20140825) and started the upgrade.  The hand controller seemed to go fine.  But when I went to upgrade the mainboard it keeps telling me "connection failed."  I verified that I'm plugging into the mount, not the hand controller and that I have the latest drivers for my USB->RS232 dongle.  I also tried a different dongle.  No luck.  And now when I plug the handbox in and turn the mount on, the handbox says, "Connection Error: Main Board".

 

Well, a few hours of sleep later - I got it working.  Plug the serial port into the "RS232" socket, not the "PORT" socket.  Ahem.  Everything seems to be up and running with the new firmware now.  I'll see how it works tonight...

 

 

It works, after some tweaking.  It kept wanting to point at some random place in the sky or at the ground.  I verified the time, date, GPS, location, etc.  Finally, I reset the "zero position" and it fixed things.  I'm guessing one of the major updates changed where some variables were stored in non-volatile memory and they had trash.  I'll let it track the moon at a lunar tracking rate for half an hour or so to see how well it is doing.



#90 neptun2

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 02:07 PM

Did somebody test the usb hub with several devices? I know that it is not powered and i plan to use it for qhy9 camera, lodestar x2 guider and filter wheel powered by usb. The qhy 9 camera has it's own power and uses the usb bus only for data transfer so it should not be a problem. I read that powering guide camera from the hub is ok in one of the threads for cem-60 so my only concern is if adding the filter wheel will be too much for the usb port of the PC. If someone have tested 2 devices powered from the hub in cem-60 i will be glad to hear what is the result. Filter wheel is brightstar/quantum 7x2" one.



#91 timtrice

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 02:53 PM

I have and it worked very well all things considered. My dog inadvertently yanked a cord from the hub; I posted that here: http://www.cloudynig...0-non-standard/

 

However, Friday night I was able to run all night with my DSLR, ASI 120MM and the mount plugged into the USB hub. I worked it hard too using PHD, BYEOS, Cartes du Ciel and Sky Tools 3 and saw no issues. All worked well until late in the session when I started getting nasty trails. The next evening nothing worked but I plugged into another hub I had and it worked fine so played Saturday night no issues. I replaced the hub yesterday and hope to try today but I see no reason for any issues. This time I'll be running a 20' extension (previously my laptop was right next to the mount) so we'll see how it goes...



#92 neptun2

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 03:10 PM

Thanks for the info. So maybe filter wheel + guide camera powered from the usb should be ok. 








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