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EdgeHD 11 Notes from a Large Aperture Newbie

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#26 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 11:56 PM


 

The edge is excellent for binoviewing, and very comfortable for viewing. On an alt-az set up it's a fast set up too. From pelican case to set up on tripod on my balcony takes me less than 2 minutes.

I would be very curious to know what your 2-minute mount setup for the EdgeHD 11 entails.

 

Sure. I have a skytee two which is typically on a (I think) Cg-5 tripod. That stays assembled in the corner of my living room. Edgehd is in its case. Carry out the mount, powertank, eyepiece case, viewing chair, and plonk the Edge on the mount.

 

Here's how it looks:

 

 

 

 

 



#27 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:07 AM

Ok, perhaps third time is the charm. . . So the two-minute set up for edgehd. This is to set up on my balcony. The tripod with mount remains set up in my living room. So I carry that out first, then the scope, then I attach the powertank to the fans, and bring out eyepieces and chair. Whole deal in approx. 1:50!

 

I am having a bugger of a time uploading a photo--at least in the correct orientation. I have cheated by rotating to a jaunty angle using paint and saved. If it doesn't work this time, turn your head to the side!

 

Attached File  photo (3).JPG   86.73KB   2 downloads

 

 



#28 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:16 AM

I just received my FTX. Its the kind of thing you buy and never get rid of, you could also just stick it in the living room as an example of functional industrial artwork.

I'm waiting for my new heavy duty photo tripod. I couldn't wait so I stuck the FTX on a lightweight Vanguard unit which while an amazing tripod it is only rated for 15 pounds.

I then attached my 4" refractor to the FTX, and waited. The scope weighs around 11 pounds. Everything seemed ok. So I went ahead and brought out the binoviewer and D21's.

My mind is telling me this is getting a little nuts but what the hell so I do a bit of daytime observing with the thing.

Its the Ferrari (V12) of alt-az mounts, no doubt about it.

I agree with you! I also think you will find with such a "small" scope that the tripod requirements are more lenient when the FTX (or any Half Hitch mount) is involved. I actually used my SVR90T (sadly departed, still hurts to think about it) on the FTX mounted on a Gitzo GT1542T, just because it was lying around. That is a 2.2-lb tripod also rated for 15 lbs. Would I travel with it that way? Hell yes, for that scope, just the way I can get by with the 6.5lb Gitzo GT5562LTS when traveling with my 5" triplet and FTX. But that is me and I can breathe carefully and put a delicate touch on the focuser for hours on end if that's what it takes to get the scope/mount/tripod to a remote dark site. Not everyone is like that so I wouldn't recommend these combinations across-the-board. But it does give you a sense of the range of FTX/tripod combinations that you could get away with.

 

I also have the nexus, ill be looking forward to getting that rigged up to the FTX. I like Charles style, I'd already paid for the mount and bought the nexus thinking I'd have

4096 step encoders. Charles then ups the encoder resolution for the thing. I get the feeling he genuinely wants people to have a great experience using the mount.

 

Serge from Astro devices sent me some easy instructions on altering things on the nexus for the increased resolution.

 

I actually sold my 1100 Edge recently, I have a Tec140 in mind.

Yeah, Serge just sent me an updated firmware with 5000 steps as the default. So in a pinch I can reset my Nexus and it will behave as-expected with my FTQ and FTX. Top guy, that Serge.

 

Interesting choice of scope swap. Out of curiosity, what variable are you optimizing by switching to the smaller refractor? I can see cooldown as a big advantage, while for me the EdgeHD 11 is probably easier to schlep around than the much longer TEC 140.



#29 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:22 AM

Shake-Enders under the tripod legs will reduce at least a little vibration isolating movement in both directions.

Sorry I had to laugh because that product name really dates you :) . (Anything to make me feel young again). But I know what you are referring to, because I also have one of the ubiquitous Celestron anti-vibration pads -- which I never use. The thing is that they are encased in a hard plastic shell and so they slip easily on smooth surfaces like my wooden deck. That puts it right out of contenion with my Gitzo photo tripods in particular which don't have leg spreaders that would keep the legs from splaying like a newborn giraffe. But even my 3x heavier T-POD 130 doesn't seem to get the same improvement out of the Celestron pads as the Sorbothane squares I'm using.

 

Also, it seems that the orange squidgy material is quite firm so I wonder whether it isn't better-suited to heavier mounts like a CGEM?

 

So I continue my search for a quick-and-easy damping pad that is better than the Sorbothane pads I'm currently using. I think I might have to a little more work and make an actual viewing pad -- Charles is brainstorming this for me (see the Yahoo group).

 

Thanks for the suggestion.



#30 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:43 AM

 


I have a C5, C6, C8 and C9.25 Edge HD currently and recently also had a C11.

When I decided to try an Edge HD scope, I went back and forth among the 8", 9.25" and 11".  The 11" is a hefty scope.  The 8" is very compact for its aperture.  So I split the difference and went with the 9.25".

 

The 9.25" is more like the 11" than the 8" in size.  It's longer relative to its girth proportionately than the other Celestron SCTs.  It's only just manageable.  I wouldn't want to travel with much bigger.

Wow, thanks for commenting Jim! I wasn't even sure if you still had your EdgeHD 9.25, given your initial disappointment that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

 

I have read many times that getting a C9.25 to save weight and bulk over a C11 is a fool's errand given how close they are especially in bulk. So your observations only add to that growing consensus. My issues with downgrading include just this consideration, that the C9.25 isn't noticeably different to maneuver (or store) compared to the C11. Also, if the EdgeHD 9.25 is anything like the C9.25, the backfocus accommodation is nearly as poor as that on the EdgeHD 8. For example, I would definitely be getting aperture reduction with my Power/Filter Switch diagonal with its extra-long path. I like the diagonal a lot since I can switch in LP and H-alpha filters for my IIE as well as the wide magnification range with my Leica ASPH zoom.

 

Also, if I go even smaller to the EdgeHD 8 I worry I begin about not having "enough" aperture for my **** skies, the point of this whole adventure in the first place. I seem to remember someone living in an adjacent neighborhood (West Roxbury, perhaps?) saying that if he had stayed there he would have upgraded his EdgeHD 8 to the 11.

 

Thanks again. Much food for thought.



#31 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:59 AM

You're 37 and having trouble with a C11?  Heck, I'm over 60 and I hoist a C14.  So, I have one word for you; Crossfit.  It might not help, but it can't hurt and besides the C11 is pretty cool.  Congratulations and thanks for the write up!

John

 

 

…Seriously, good luck with the back.  I know that can be a real problem.

I'd like to think it takes a special kind of guy in this day and age to admit physical weakness, but I just like to tell myself these things :) . Thanks for your advice and sympathies. I can only imagine what people who actually throw out their back must feel like, now I've had a taste.

 

Certainly I should work out more as a general principle, but thinking back I have admit that while I'm sure the scope was at least tangentially involved in my back pain, it may not be the direct culprit. Because I have never injured my back before -- other than some soreness during winter snow-shoveling, say -- I neglected to mention where I was hurt. Unlike most lifting injuries which involve the lower back, I actually hurt myself in the upper-middle area just below my shoulder blades.

 

The last few weeks I've been riding my race bike to work while my commuter bike was being worked on. This necessitates a much more hunched-over riding position compared to my main bike. The location where I hurt my back is pretty much where my back really bends when I ride in the drops. I've noticed that I've been sitting up (hands off handlebar) a lot more since the weekend because of the discomfort following my back injury.

 

The day my EdgeHD 11 arrived I parked my bike and immediately moved the 48lb Celestron box down into the basement. Despite the fact that even that box was an easy carry for me (really, I'm not just saying that, I'm pretty sure I can still bench my own weight), I suspect now that the combination of biking position and moving a moderately bulky box was what initially injured my back, not the subsequent manipulation of the OTA.

 

Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself that I can handle the EdgeHD 11?  :lol:  I do feel progressively better each day, even as I sacrifice sleep and sanity to go out testing every night to stay under my self-imposed one-week evaluation period. I desperately want to keep the scope: it's the right aperture for my location for sure. I hear the Boston Science Museum has this scope as well, and now I can appreciate why!

 

 



#32 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:08 AM

Ok, perhaps third time is the charm. . . So the two-minute set up for edgehd. This is to set up on my balcony. The tripod with mount remains set up in my living room. So I carry that out first, then the scope, then I attach the powertank to the fans, and bring out eyepieces and chair. Whole deal in approx. 1:50!

Thanks for posting that! I wish I had a place to have a ready-setup tripod and mount in my office, but I have to collapse everything and store the mount somewhere else. I can see how that would dramatically shorten your setup time though.

 

I wouldn't want to deal with all that weight -- the counterweight alone is quite imposing, and how heavy is the SkyTee 2? -- but for the price I can see why the SkyTee 2 is attractive. How does it behave with your EdgeHD 11?

 

BTW surely you don't need a Powertank for driving Tempest fans! Ed @ DSP has told me that my lithium battery could easily drive them for days/nights on end. That would save you even more setup time.

 

I focused so long on making my scopes backpackable I ended up throwing away valuable setup time (because I had to break apart and reassemble said scopes each session). The EdgeHD 11 just sits there on the floor or on a shelf fully set up (except for dewshield, which rests on top) and all I have to do is bring it outside and lift it into place. I feel a bit silly now for avoiding large apertures.

 

Thanks for the photo.



#33 Arizona-Ken

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:09 AM

Yeah, I'm 63 and can get the 65 pound CPC1100 onto its tripod. I have had back problems ever since my 20's. 

 

Don't give up on the EdgeHD 11 so soon. Let your back heal and spend some time working on lifting the scope to the mount and doing it properly. The 11 inch scope is a wonderful performer.

 

Arizona Ken



#34 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:18 AM

Thanks for the explanation, so the 2-star alignment just syncs the DCS to the sky, and Sky Safari follows along... its all push-to, but you can see where you are with Sky Safari... correct?

Yes exactly: you can see my iPhone 5 hooked onto one of the T-POD's 2" EP holders, and as I move the scope I can see where it is pointing on the screen, live (it updates 10 times a second, so it's pretty smooth). Sometimes I bring my iPad 3 out instead and use it simultaneously with the iPhone 5: the iPad just connects to the Nexus' wifi as another client. Unfortunately (because none of these encoders are absolute) I have to do another alignment for the iPad before it will show where the scope is pointed, but that's pretty easy because I can readily push to the alignment stars using the iPhone. Most people find using the iPad easier during public viewings, but I like to have the iPhone because it mounts so easily on the tripod.

 


I like this. It would be great for my SV105 as a grab and go setup. I use Sky Safari with my CGEM wirelessly and its fantastic. I love the idea of using it as a star-guide in a push-to scenario.

I like the concept of a goto GEM, especially now that it is so easy to hook wirelessly into SkySafari, but I find the leap from my minimalist alt-az setup too far to make. Maybe I'm being silly, but the thought of just having to store, maintain, and move a jump-start battery already turns me off, never mind the need to do a polar alignment, not being able to pan the scope manually as easily, funny EP positions, etc.

 

Charles is building a Nova Hitch Cassegrain for me and while that won't have goto it will eventually have trainable tracking. That would probably take all the wind out of the sails of my GEM ambitions.



#35 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:24 AM

Yeah, I'm 63 and can get the 65 pound CPC1100 onto its tripod. I have had back problems ever since my 20's. 

 

Don't give up on the EdgeHD 11 so soon. Let your back heal and spend some time working on lifting the scope to the mount and doing it properly. The 11 inch scope is a wonderful performer.

Love the encouragement everyone, thanks so much! Certainly the views alone make the EdgeHD 11 worth it. Today my back moved from dull pain to dull ache (like there's knot in the spine), and I can stretch it around without grimacing. Things are looking up for the big scope!



#36 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:34 AM

KJ

Hang in there...your back will heal.  I've tweaked my back a couple of times too and it can see unending; but, it will get better.  It doesn't matter what sport you are into or what you do, I've found that maintaining core strength can really help minimize the chances of pulling a muscle or injuring a tendon.  It's hard to keep at it, but working on that core fitness thing can have real long term benefit.  

 

An additional thing to consider is to come up with a system to move and mount the C11 in order to minimize lifting.  My whole telescope is mounted on wheels so I don't lift a thing to get it rolled out.  I can also move it next to a table where I can gently lower the OTA and release it from the mount without hoisting any weight.  Getting it back on the mount is a bit more challenging but it's possible to do without a lot of physical effort.  If you have room, you might even consider coming up with a sufficiently weather tight cover so that you can just leave the scope on the balcony so that you don't have to move it.

 

Have fun with it.  The C11 is a really nice telescope.

 

John



#37 Dwight J

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:35 AM

 

Shake-Enders under the tripod legs will reduce at least a little vibration isolating movement in both directions.

Sorry I had to laugh because that product name really dates you :) . (Anything to make me feel young again). But I know what you are referring to, because I also have one of the ubiquitous Celestron anti-vibration pads -- which I never use. The thing is that they are encased in a hard plastic shell and so they slip easily on smooth surfaces like my wooden deck. That puts it right out of contenion with my Gitzo photo tripods in particular which don't have leg spreaders that would keep the legs from splaying like a newborn giraffe. But even my 3x heavier T-POD 130 doesn't seem to get the same improvement out of the Celestron pads as the Sorbothane squares I'm using.

 

Also, it seems that the orange squidgy material is quite firm so I wonder whether it isn't better-suited to heavier mounts like a CGEM?

 

So I continue my search for a quick-and-easy damping pad that is better than the Sorbothane pads I'm currently using. I think I might have to a little more work and make an actual viewing pad -- Charles is brainstorming this for me (see the Yahoo group).

 

Thanks for the suggestion.

 

Dates me bigtime...ha ha.   I bought a preproduction set at a star party in the mid 80's that are unpainted aluminum.  Still got them and use them when I set up remotely.  It seems the newer iterations of this product do not work as well as older versions.



#38 WesC

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:47 AM

KJL, you have a great observing rig, there's no need for a goto GEM unless you really want to start imaging. Stick with what you've got. Its great.

 

 

BTW, I used to amateur race MTB single track back when I lived in Boston... my back injuries stem from riding, racing (and crashing) bicycles. You might want to give yourself a break for a good few months from riding, I suspect you will see an improvement in your back. My back surgery was when I was only 34 years old, younger than you are now! Sadly, to this day I still cannot ride hard tails any more, and even full suspension MTB is taxing after a while. I ride sportbikes now. :)

 

John is also onto something about lifting the C11 onto your mount from a stand or table, there's a great youtube video about how to mount/unmount a C14 from a GEM using your observing chair. There are always ways to make it work, if you really want to use it. :)



#39 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:40 PM

I used to be jealous of product reviewers for being able to play with the latest and greatest toys, but after three consecutive days with only 4-5 hours of sleep I'm beginning to understand some of the physical demands they face! I'm beginning to regret my macho goal of evaluating a scope like this in a single week .... Anyway, last night finally produced some average seeing for Boston -- that's a good thing! -- and though I did not get out early enough to enjoy Saturn before it went behind an oak tree in my front yard (my nightly nemesis) I did manage to get out to do some more EdgeHD 11/FTX testing.
 
And how did I go about enjoying the improved seeing? By throwing caution to the winds and stress-testing the combo on a photo tripod. Yeah, what was I thinking, right? But I didn't feel comfortable concluding my EdgeHD 11 tests without trying the Gitzo, even though my heart said it wasn't worth it and my brain begged me to just enjoy the scope already. And for most people, probably it wouldn't be worth it either: the Gitzo GT5562LTS six-segment tripod with RRS lever clamp and dovetail plate simply cannot be as rigid as the T-POD 130 with TQR interface.
 
And it shows: on the Gitzo tripod the EdgeHD 11/FTX took twice as long to dampen vibrations (say 1.5 seconds instead of less than a second) with -- more importantly -- a maximum deviation 2-3x as wide as with the T-POD/TQR. The latter in particular meant I really had to have a delicate touch on the focuser if I wanted to see how I was doing. There was also some "tripod backlash" where I'm guessing the Gitzo/RRS deformed a little and sprung back after each touch of the mount. And now I really hated my wooden deck which only added to the wobbling.

And yet ... I spent a very enjoyable four hours or so under the stars without the feeling that I was wasting precious time and energy dealing with the additional vibes. Sure, it was more work, and I noticed the jiggles every time I moved or refocused the scope, but I still enjoyed the EdgeHD 11's view just as much. I followed and gazed at M13 at 550x for just as long as I did when using the T-POD, and while using binoviewers on the Moon even at 125x required more care on the focuser, the extra effort did not appreciably detract from the view. With the clear skies, my IIE, and the Nexus I finally could hit up some galaxies, including M51, M81, and M101 (<- OK not the last one, obviously). The setup was just so easy to enjoy.
 
(BTW when I say "track" or "follow" I always mean in the Dobsonian sense of letting the object move through the field of view before nudging the scope. Thanks to the flat EdgeHD optics, stars are in focus throughout the field even in my crappiest wide-field EPs.)
 
A word on the optics before I forget: the Moon was shining brightly indeed, but the baffling on the EdgeHD 11 must be pretty good because M25 almost right next to it was still a cinch. I had incorrectly assumed that the scope would be similar to my C6 with its ring of fire emanating from from every bright object just outside the FOV. This is indeed a good scope, people.
 
In the end, I concluded that, for me -- and perhaps only for me! -- I would gladly shave off the extra 12-13 lbs and 19 inches of transportation length and bring the Gitzo tripod traveling with me with the EdgeHD 11 and FTX. To put that in absolute terms, the entire mount and tripod -- Gitzo GT5562LTS, RRS clamp/dovetail plate, FTX with guide handle and trim weight, Nexus DSC, and lithium battery -- weighs just under 18 lbs. And recall that the Gitzo measures just 20in with RRS clamp attached, with the FTX another 3-4in shorter with guide handle removed. It all fits into my Gura Gear Bataflae 32L backpack.

In contrast, I estimate the same mount but with the T-POD 130 + TQR at over 30 lbs, with a travel length of 38" for the T-POD. So BIG difference in carrying comfort.
 
I hasten to reiterate that I would not recommend the Gitzo tripod blindly to EdgeHD 11 users intending to use the scope with an FTX (or any other alt-az mount for that matter, since they are all much heavier and/or put the weight too far out for stability). You've got to really desire the portability because you have to make up for it with a very delicate touch on the focuser and a toleration for more "smoodging around" during pans. For most everyone the solidity of the TQR and a serious tripod like the T-POD 130 or Planet will be preferred for a more pleasant experience.
 
But here's the thing: I think until now it was utterly senseless to even imagine a C11 being mounted on a 6.5-lb tripod. Today it is doable with the FTX, if you have the need. I will be using it like this in the coming weeks to see whether I can be comfortable with it in the long term. An 18-lb tripod + mount is a very easy carry, particularly when it can all fit in a backpack.
 
And, again, since it didn't happen if you don't have the pitcha:
 
Attached File  EdgeHD 11, FTX, Gitzo (x1024).jpg   318.57KB   3 downloads
 

(Sorry the photo is too snapshot-ish for my tastes but it's all I've got and hopefully it still gives you a taste of the setup. Thanks to the reduced diameter of the Gitzo's top plate -- roughly 3" if I remember correctly -- the EdgeHD 11 can reach zenith in more positions than with the T-POD's very wide 6" top plate. But given how much more solid the T-POD is I wouldn't call this a legitimate advantage for the Gitzo: both can reach zenith and that's what is important).



#40 crow

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 01:08 PM

Kj, yeah it was a difficult decision to get rid of the Edge. I thought it was a great scope.

 

My observing is a bit like yours. I live in a town home in a coastal ski town up here in BC. As you can imagine the weather plays a big

part in everyones lives. Its mercurial to say the least. The observing seasons are strange too, very short nights in summer, long dark cloud

covered nights in winter. The late summer, autumn season just starting is the best time to observe. If I could have the Edge back for it, using it

on the FTX I'd love it. I have a large deck but its covered. I'm lucky I have dark sky sites literally within ten minutes drive (avoiding the wildlife).

 

So its guerrilla observing around here mostly. The Edge just seemed hard work in that role. Something like a Tec140 or largish Tak doublet

would be the best investment for serious observing around here. The FTX is the perfect mount for that role, especially considering it looks

like it can handle any scope I would seriously considering owning, now or in the future if things change. I think Charles was musing putting

a ten inch newt on his at one point.

 

Its rare you purchase something you are completely happy with. Looking for the scope to do it justice.

It kind of plays with your common perceptions when you realize that this thing (FTX) weighs less than half of what ONE counter weight for my old

mount (DX) used to weigh. Coupled with the nexus, and the right tripod its guerrilla observing nirvana.

 

That Gitzo tripod is something else, nice match to the mount.


Edited by crow, 08 August 2014 - 09:28 PM.


#41 WesC

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 01:31 PM

I gotta say... the Edge looks reeeeeallly sketchy on that photo tripod! :ohmy:



#42 KJL

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 01:44 PM

I gotta say... the Edge looks reeeeeallly sketchy on that photo tripod! :ohmy:

Lol, I know how you feel: you really have to think out-of-the-box on this one. Everything that came before the FTX makes you believe the CF tripod would burst a segment or something! You'll just have to trust me when I say the Gitzo is totally stable carrying this load even with one less segment drawn (total of three segments, for a tripod height of just 29in: nearly "table top"!). In that my wife tried to walk past the scope and bumped it 90 degrees -- even putting some of her own weight behind it (literally her rear end, oh god don't be reading this wifey) -- and all the OTA did was turn to let her through. The Gitzo's feet remained firmly planted on the deck.

 

I guess technically you could also do this with a DM-6 or T-REX, but you'd have to use counterweights or the scope would fall right over when turned to a position between the legs. In all you'd be at or over the Gitzo's 88-lb rated capacity. I haven't weighed the Gitzo/FTX setup precisely yet, but I estimate including the EdgeHD 11 OTA and all accessories I'm still at 60% of the Gitzo's capacity. That's within the traditional envelope for tripod capacity recommendations, right?

 

So it's not totally crazy even on paper, despite what your instinct might think just looking at a picture. Again, and I realize I should have stated this explicitly above: it's totally stable. It's not totally wobble-proof -- in fact, it's not even close to wobble-proof! -- but it will not accidentally fall over or explode. It'll only explode your mind ....



#43 elwaine

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 03:35 PM

Great write up KJ. 

 

I used to live in Souther New Hampshire - not all that far from you. My house sat under the winter jet streams. Besides cool down issues, the seeing conditions during New England winters can be quite challenging. Because of that, my 5" APO was usually a much better performer than my C11. (That's not the case here in S.E. Florida.)

 

I certainly appreciate your fondness for Alt-Az mounts. I've owned a Half Hitch, a DiscMount, and a T-Rex. I liked them all; however, in spite of my desire to want to"love" them, for me, the Alt-Az mounts were always getting in the way. With a motor driven mount, I get lost in the eyepiece. The scope disappears completely... especially with a binoviewer.

 

I know it's all a matter of personal preference. Mine is to put up with some inconvenience in setting up and taking down (and I'm a lot older than you) so that I can travel through time and space unimpeded by the near-constant need to control the mount. That said, now that I've read your wonderful write up, I'm tempted to try the FTX. After all, isn't that why we have a "Classified" section on CN, and an A-Mart?  :grin: 


Edited by elwaine, 08 August 2014 - 03:37 PM.


#44 Bill Barlow

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 06:34 PM

KJ,

 

What is the weight capacity of the FTX altaz mount you own?  I'm not familiar with it as I own UA Unistar altaz mounts.   WHere did you buy it?  Thanks..

 

Bill



#45 gnowellsct

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:54 PM

Although it is in alt-az configuration, my guess is you aren't thinking through the mounting procedure.   Check out the C14 movie in my signature for an idea as to how to adapt the technique to the C11 pm am alt-az.  The C11 is really a modestly sized instrument.

 

GN


Edited by gnowellsct, 08 August 2014 - 10:55 PM.


#46 Dunkstar

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 07:38 AM

Don't write off the C11 just yet...it'd serve you well in the suburbs for all those years until it graduates to a darker sky  :lol:

 

Great pics too, makes me want to try it. When I first got my C11, my back felt the strain but as I'm sure your wife would concur, it's all in the technique  ;)  see Greg's video above. Now I don't strain with my C11. Even considering a 14 next  :shocked:



#47 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 01:23 PM

I did a little "shoot out" on my balcony last night with my 11 Edge. Put it out with my 12.5 Portaball. The dob is just (as expected) ill suited to living on a balcony. It never got close to being cooled until after midnight, and the field of view is highly constrained. The edge with Tempest fans was putting up far better views a couple of hours earlier. Given that I am often in a similar situation to the OP, I do wonder whether I should keep the Edge 11, or down size to a 8".

 

The 8" would cool more quickly, and be great for quick views on my balcony. And obviously I keep the PB for my trips to the mountains. Decisions decisions. The views last night were awesome in my Edge11. Once cooled, they are fantastic. But then after midnight, the view of the double cluster, low in the sky and under heavy moon and light pollution was wonderful. 



#48 KJL

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 01:44 PM

I did a little "shoot out" on my balcony last night with my 11 Edge. Put it out with my 12.5 Portaball. The dob is just (as expected) ill suited to living on a balcony. It never got close to being cooled until after midnight, and the field of view is highly constrained. The edge with Tempest fans was putting up far better views a couple of hours earlier. Given that I am often in a similar situation to the OP, I do wonder whether I should keep the Edge 11, or down size to a 8".

 

The 8" would cool more quickly, and be great for quick views on my balcony. And obviously I keep the PB for my trips to the mountains. Decisions decisions. The views last night were awesome in my Edge11. Once cooled, they are fantastic. But then after midnight, the view of the double cluster, low in the sky and under heavy moon and light pollution was wonderful. 

You can tell what a big-scope newbie I am because I had somehow erroneously concluded based on your earlier comments about the EdgeHD 11 + Tempest fans that the 12.5" Portaball would have the SCT beat cold (pun intended). Glad to see the Tempest fans are doing something good after all: I will be getting some "Fire Ball" red ones in the hope they match the red of the Avalon T-POD tripod :D.

 

Roughly what was the temp difference your scopes had to handle, and do you happen to have any experience with their Fastar fan and whether it further speeds up initial cooldown?

 

Given Sedat's and others' comments, the EdgeHD 8 is a solid choice as a companion scope to your PB for sure. Still, after seeing the hyper-fine lunar detail and the wide-ranging ability to resolve M13, as compared to my 123mm f/6 LZOS triplet, I'm not sure I'd want to take even a little step back, especially not since I enjoy using my Maxbright binoviewers with the big SCT. Also, that Power/Filter Switch diagonal is truly made for the EdgeHD 11: no worries with aperture reduction due to heavy in-focus requirements, and so provides a lot of light even with binoviewers. Absolutely spine-tingling using both eyes in my Maxbrights to watch a very resolved M13 slide past the FOV, let me tell ya ....



#49 KJL

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 01:58 PM

Although it is in alt-az configuration, my guess is you aren't thinking through the mounting procedure.   Check out the C14 movie in my signature for an idea as to how to adapt the technique to the C11 pm am alt-az.  The C11 is really a modestly sized instrument.

I see XW Buddha had no trouble feeling the presence of the XW40 in the Gitzo photo, though barely recognizable to other readers. Thank you for your presence, and your thoughts.

 

I'm sure there is still a lot to be learned about how to manipulate my EdgeHD 11. Your side-mounting technique for the C14 is always at the back of my mind, never fear! I will start by at least storing the OTA on a medium shelf so that I don't even have to lean over to pick it up. That would reduce the potential back-tweaking opportunities to the moment I turn the OTA sideways, and for that I am working on my technique as well.

 

Really though I think WesC got it right: it's the biking that is causing me the most angst, and aggravating the injury. Yesterday I took a set of photos for Charles' site and subsequently didn't feel any additional pain in my back. But later that evening I set out on with my family on our bicycles (with me again on my race bike) to a local open-air concert. Despite the fact that my 5-month pregnant wife was carrying all the food, my 19-month-old toddler, and, you know, a fetus -- I have never felt more emasculated in my life -- I was the one wincing and sitting up every opportunity I could get. So this week, I'm following WesC's advice and am taking the T (subway) to work and see how I feel at the end of it. By then my commuter bike will be back from the shop and riding won't be nearly the stretch it is now.

 

Thanks again everyone for their kind encouragement and advice. Really lovely sentiments making me feel much better about a scope I already love a great deal!


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#50 KJL

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 03:14 PM

What is the weight capacity of the FTX altaz mount you own?  I'm not familiar with it as I own UA Unistar altaz mounts.   WHere did you buy it?  Thanks..

I'm so sorry for missing both your posts! Hard to answer that question exactly. In my experience the single "load capacity" rating is a pretty old-school terminology for mounts. Everyone knows to take it with a giant grain of salt for photography tripods, and that's even more the case for astronomical telescopes. I imagine the FTX probably could hold at least a 1000-lb weight if it were the size of a shot put. You could therefore say the FTX's load capacity is 1000 lbs, but that would be silly since no telescope is that small.

 

(I pulled that "1000lb" number out of my other end, but Charles recently stated that the FTX's bearings alone are rated for several thousands of pounds spinning at 1500 rpm so I actually think I'm being conservative :lol:).

 

So clearly the length and weight distribution of the telescope makes a big difference in user experience. For example, a refractor as heavy as a large SCT like my EdgeHD 11 cannot be expected to perform as well in the same mount, thanks to its long moment arm.

 

Or take for example a "serious" wood tripod like the Berlebach UNI 14 in its photography stripes and then in its astronomical colors. Exactly the same tripod, right? Yet notice how the vibration damping rating is "extremely good" for photography but only "very good" for astronomy -- yet both have exactly the same load capacity at 55kg. The reason is that camera lenses and bodies are a lot lighter and shorter than telescopes, and astronomy has far more stringent requirements for vibration control given the ultra-high magnifications telescopes can be used at.

 

So I would head to Half Hitch Telescope's website and take a look at their range of recommended scopes for the FTX. I think you will find your answer there pretty quickly. That's also where you would order the mount as well.

 

To answer your unspoken question: unfortunately I've never used a Unistar myself so I can't make a direct comparison. I very much liked the UA Dwarfstar with the SV50A but as soon as I got my FTQ I "retired" my Mini Hitch to carrying the cute little 50mm APO: the Mini Hitch is a far better mount in almost every way other than ease-of-packing :).

 

EDIT: After speaking to Charles, I'm now given to understand that my hypothetical FTX "shot put" load should be more like 300lbs. (Which I just calculated you can't achieve even with iridium or osmium, so we're clearly deep into hypothetical territory here). Apparently, if you tried mounting a thousand pounds in the shape of a shot put onto the FTX the 3/8" bolt holding the mount to the tripod will bend. So people: stick with 300-lb shot puts on the FTX! ;) And in case it's not obvious my tongue was firmly in my cheek, that is nowhere the recommended load capacity for the FTX. Again, read the website for the current range of OTAs that customers have tried successfully on the FTX. Hint: it's a very wide range of scopes.


Edited by KJL, 12 August 2014 - 09:36 AM.







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