Jump to content


Photo

EdgeHD 11 Notes from a Large Aperture Newbie

  • Please log in to reply
76 replies to this topic

#51 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 11 August 2014 - 04:25 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 ....

 

 

I was surprised to see that the Edge won too! But this is just one comparison, and in the worst of circumstances for the Portaball. I'm still getting the hang of fine tuning collimation, and the cooling was way off. I think having the shroud in place hobbled cool down big time.

 

The Edge does well when the seeing is good (like last night), and when the temperature delta is (I'd guess) less than 10F. Last night that would be close to what it had to contend with. Even then a defocused star at around midnight showed heat plumes. So it could have been better yet.

 

But outside of summer, the deltas here are surprisingly large (coastal California). My scope would be mid- 70s in its case inside, and then outside to mid-50s is very common. Just too much to deal with. Also the Edge being up on a tripod is presumably in a better position to cool down. But this is the location I use most. I typically go out there for a couple hours each night after work if the skies permit (my dark site is a 25 minute drive). The 11 Edge gives these kinds of views only rarely--the sky and temperatures have to really cooperate. So I do wonder whether I would get more good nights out of an 8 inch.

 

I have to agree on the views through binoviewers (I have the Denk with powerswitch). Breath taking. Even with a poor angle, I was able to start resolving craters in Plato. I've never tried before, but in the fleeting moments I believe I caught 5, or possibly 6. The PB was merely giving hints at 1 or 2.



#52 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:50 AM

I was surprised to see that the Edge won too! But this is just one comparison, and in the worst of circumstances for the Portaball. I'm still getting the hang of fine tuning collimation, and the cooling was way off. I think having the shroud in place hobbled cool down big time.

 

The Edge does well when the seeing is good (like last night), and when the temperature delta is (I'd guess) less than 10F. Last night that would be close to what it had to contend with. Even then a defocused star at around midnight showed heat plumes. So it could have been better yet.

 

But outside of summer, the deltas here are surprisingly large (coastal California). My scope would be mid- 70s in its case inside, and then outside to mid-50s is very common. Just too much to deal with. Also the Edge being up on a tripod is presumably in a better position to cool down. But this is the location I use most. I typically go out there for a couple hours each night after work if the skies permit (my dark site is a 25 minute drive). The 11 Edge gives these kinds of views only rarely--the sky and temperatures have to really cooperate. So I do wonder whether I would get more good nights out of an 8 inch.

Thanks again for the comparo with your new Portaball. I imagine you will have more interesting results as you begin to understand the behavior of the PB and how to work it into your observing habits and environments. I am doing the same with the EdgeHD 11, the primary consideration being that it is clearly a bit much for my back the way I'm currently manipulating the OTA. I just spent a nice weekend at the Cape (away from all telescopes) and my back felt great until I returned last night and lifted the EdgeHD 11 into position. But I expect to lick this particular issue because there are too many reasons not to drop back to the smaller SCTs -- starting with the severe aperture reduction of the 8" and 9.25" versions.

 

Summer is long past now and evenings/mornings here in Boston are getting cool -- temp differentials between indoor and out are now definitively over 10F. Last Thursday my EdgeHD 11 finally dewed over so I have to get started with my Reflectix dewshield plans. The dropping temps are also finally bringing heat plumes sharply into focus, and your comments on the EdgeHD 11's cooldown -- even with Tempest fans -- are beginning to become very relevent. Slightly defocused stars show very obvious "broiling" patterns ... but here I made an interesting observation.

 

I had wanted the EdgeHD 11's large aperture not so much for its greater planetary resolution -- stymied by both NE seeing as well as cooldown issues -- but for its ability to dig into globulars and provide greater image scale (and brightness) for other DSOs such as nebulas. Neither of these targets are as greatly affected by poor seeing or heat plumes as planetary work, whereas the >2x increase in diameter over my 123mm completely outweighs those factors with its combination of resolution and greater exit pupils.

 

Perhaps it is the bliss of the ignorant because I haven't experienced the dual joy of a fully-cooldowned EdgeHD 11 (which I experienced the first week of ownership when it was still warm out) and transparent/clear skies (these past few days), but I'm beginning to feel that my intended purpose for the big scope is completely independent of cooldown issues. I guess the first time I try to use the big scope to look at Saturn or Jupiter I may sing a very different song!

 

This is a long way of coming to my question: in what way was the Portaball's lack of cooldown affecting the view as compared to the EdgeHD 11? Was it mostly affecting the planetary view or just everything across the board?



#53 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:55 PM

KJ, sounds like your back is on the mend. Good to hear.

 

On this particular night, the Portaball was showing big heat plumes much longer than I thought it would. It has a fan built into the cell, which is obviously inside of the fiberglass sphere. I think getting a mirror cooled in this situation is actually pretty difficult (the sphere does have holes for this reason). The result was that when I turned to the moon, I got better resolution out of the Edge11, and by quite an obvious margin. The moon views in the Edgehd with Denks (and ES 24mm/68s) were fantastic.

 

When I turned the PB to the double cluster, however, WOW, the view was far better than I have experienced in the Edgehd. The bigger field of view helped, but the real factor was a palpable sense of a direct view to the stars. More detailed than the Edge? No idea. But aesthetically I found it much better, even with the coma. The view in the edge is comparatively 'flat' for want of a better word (I'm fairly sure someone reading this will point to brightness with exit pupils and so on. I have been using the Edge for a couple of years with a range of eyepieces, and I don't recall once having a better view of the double cluster).

 

With the Portaball at my dark(ish) site a couple of times now, I am finding that it will be able to do good planetary views when the planets are high. The views of Saturn at dusk were excellent for fleeting moments. Still, not better than I routinely get in the edgehd. The planets are my favorite targets, and I have read (and re-read) the excellent thread started by Daniel Mounsey on how great planetary views are in a well cooled and calibrated dob. I'm hoping to ultimately be able to get close to the kinds of performance described there. My impression is that the Edge is unlikely to have the nth degree of performance to get there (my other reason is that the PB is an easier scope to lug to a dark site).

 

On the whole, however, I think you have the right idea for the balcony situation. I find that my edgehd is good maybe 2/10 nights for planetary views, but good for DSOs 8/10 times. When the conditions are poor (like last night actually), then taking the power down low still gives good views of DSOs. I'd be inclined to get a 41mm pan for that situation (I have a 30mm ES/82 which can be a touch too much power for those nights; and my 55mm TV plossl makes the sky too grey).

 

All being told, I think that if your back allows, I'd be strongly inclined to keep your edgehd. It's a perfect compliment in the balcony situation to your refractor. I imagine the only possible improvement would be an open tube design CAT that you can be sure cools more readily than the Edge, and even then I'd be surprised if it's bested for quality of views.

 

The major take-away I got from comparing my Edge to my Portaball is that all this talk about SCT central obstruction, system Strehl, dodgy Chinese factory tolerances . . . what a load of malarky. My Edge is an excellent scope that compares very favorably to a PB (with a 98.7 Strehl and 17% central obstruction!). The major variables are temperature control and skies. This has me now wondering whether I should use my edge as dedicated balcony scope, or whether I should down size. I'm really torn.



#54 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:55 AM

Now we're getting into cooler nights the importance of a mirror close to equilibrium as ambient becomes all the more noticeable. For the Edge HD, I can't recommend the TEMPest fans highly enough. It's only since I've had them that I feel my scope has really gotten into its stride - although without data to back this up, it could be coincidence with a bunch of better nights :grin:



#55 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:09 AM

For the Edge HD, I can't recommend the TEMPest fans highly enough. It's only since I've had them that I feel my scope has really gotten into its stride - although without data to back this up, it could be coincidence with a bunch of better nights :grin:

Ain't that the truth! Still, I think I've at least got a handle on what cooldown looks like on the scopes I've owned. In the C6 SCT it was a slow, flume-y, warping of the view. (Of course, I can see the cone of the heat plume as a wedge in the out-of-focus donut pattern, but we're talking in-focus here). In the 123mm LZOS triplet during very extreme cooldown (40F+ swings) there was a tiny bit of CA combined with the sort of momentary obstruction an eye floater imposes as it floats by my FOV. I am very sensitive to CA however and of course the 5" LZOS has none, normally, so even a sliver of it becomes quite noticeable especially in comparison to the C6 which practically has none 100% of the time. That is why I actually preferred the C6's view during cooldown: it also helps that it has noticeably more light grasp than the refractor so images are even easier to view, even if they are being distorted by the primary's heat plume.

 

In contrast, atmospheric disturbances are much higher in frequency and much lower in distortion. It's like a less extreme version of those long-distance safari videos you see on Nat Geo where the image is constantly shimmering.

 

Although I've only had the EdgeHD 11 a couple weeks it seems that it behaves the same way: in the first half hour or so (< 10F temp swing) the view is a bit swim-y, but an hour in all that is left is that sheet of shimmer. The change was particularly obvious on the moon.

 

Thanks for the TEMPest fan recommendation. Looks like no one has anything bad to say about them!



#56 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:22 AM

So I've some bad news: I spent a weekend on the Cape with nothing but my Canon 10x42IS binos so by the time of my return to Boston my back felt great. Then I brought the EdgeHD 11 out onto the deck and almost instantly my back got sore again.

 

Drat. Drat drat drat. Sedat's downgrade to the EdgeHD 8 is starting to look more and more like the path for me, or possibly Jim's decision to go with the EdgeHD 9.25 instead. I can't believe my not-so-old body is failing me like this!

 

Nevertheless, Greg's C14 video has given me many ideas on how to reduce the load on my back, and now I'm beginning to think it's the big latissimus dorsi that's actually gotten weak, despite my years of swimming. It's possible that my back doesn't enjoy pulling up the OTA from a fully extended position, so maybe if I make sure I pick up the OTA already close to the body -- with my back muscles already retracted -- and just use my legs and torso to lift and manipulate the scope I'd be better off. I'll try that this week and see how I get on.

 

I don't want to give up the views I'm getting now! I've got a beauty of a setup with the EdgeHD 11 on the FTX, between the Gitzo tripod for a backpackable mount and the T-POD 130 for at-home use. But a wise man once said: you have nothing if not your health. I'm getting tired of my back being uncomfortable even during the day at the office. And I have to admit: I'm probably still going to be happy with 8" of aperture, even if it's getting alarmingly close to my 123mm LZOS. Right? Right???



#57 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:34 AM

Don't give up! It took my body a little while to adjust to mine  :lol:  but it's all about posture and holding it correctly. Keep it close to your chest. I store mine on a shelf at chest height and hug it (never letting go of the rear handle) all the way to the puck.

 

The 9.25 is not a solution...it's a little lighter but hardly any smaller. The C8 is vastly different from both, but it's a big step down from a C11  :shocked:



#58 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:39 AM

Don't give up! It took my body a little while to adjust to mine  :lol:  but it's all about posture and holding it correctly. Keep it close to your chest. I store mine on a shelf at chest height and hug it (never letting go of the rear handle) all the way to the puck.

 

The 9.25 is not a solution...it's a little lighter but hardly any smaller. The C8 is vastly different from both, but it's a big step down from a C11  :shocked:

Thanks for the encouragement! I had already planned to store the OTA on a short IKEA Expedit shelf in my office, away from my toddler's curious fingers. I'll start clearing room on the shelf now to make room for the EdgeHD 11.

 

My chiropractor points out that our backs would be much worse off if we didn't exercise them regularly, which seems like wise advice. And it's not like I've actually "thrown out" my lower back which is a much more serious injury, and ironically usually incurred by the mundane action of opening a dresser drawer or picking up a sheet of paper.



#59 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:50 AM

That's what I figured too, my desk job hadn't been exercising my back properly for years....then along comes a little C11  :shocked:  I also had a tendency to lean into or over it too, which is the worst thing to do when you're carrying a payload. Never again  :(  But the C11 stayed and my back gets regular exercise! Obviously, this is my personal experience only, I'm not a medical professional and you should seek further professional advice should pain present. But...before giving up take time to exercise the appropriate areas. Not saying the 8 isn't a great scope, but it's almost 2x difference of light gathering so with city lights you need all the help you can get!


Edited by Dunkstar, 19 August 2014 - 07:52 AM.


#60 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 20 August 2014 - 01:52 AM

. . . and just felt like I'd share my latest experiences trying to decide to keep the Edge 11 or move to a smaller OTA. . .  My situation is a good bit different than KJ, but this might be entertaining at least.

 

I took my Edge and cgem dx set up to my dark site (about 25 minutes from home). I've only pottered about with the go-to before, much preferring manual alt az. In fact, I threw the thing in a case and bought a manual alt-az and lighter weight tripod all of a couple weeks after buying it. Now that I actually know where alignment stars are without having to consult my laptop, I thought I might change my opinion by trying it out again. Not so much.

 

First off, all of the equipment is way more of a chore to move than even my 16" Dob (a lightbridge with an upgraded Dobstuff base). It took two hand cart trips to load my car (live in a condo and make my way to the underground car park via elevator). So much stuff! OTA in Pelican case, mount in old suit case, monster-tripod, eyepieces in pelican case, dew shield, powertank, small bag with odds and sods, and counterweight.

 

Second, set up: Lugging the gear into place without having a good routine was not exactly efficient. My first go at set up had me putting the OTA on the mount backwards, and that was after a major faff getting the dovetail into the clamp. Obviously that would improve with experience. Having said that, I have to admit to using a few words that aren't going to make it into the CN forums.

 

Third--polar alignment. Surprisingly easy, after doing a couple of calibration stars. Accuracy wasn't brilliant, but each target made it into the FOV. I took a look at Neptune for the first time. Pretty cool--very obviously pale blue and spherical! Using the tracking to follow Saturn was also very nice. After 10 minutes I re-centered in the eyepiece (at 300ish x), but it was very easy and pleasant to use. Definitely preferable to tracking manually.

 

Fourth--the dew! But then I experienced the worst dew I've ever seen in Santa Barbara. I've never needed more than a dew shield before, but after about 45 minutes after getting to my site, everything was covered in dew and I had to call it a night after all of about 20 minutes observing. Then back to dismantling everything, loading back up, and heading straight for the hairdryer on my return. Yee--expletive--ha.

 

The whole time I couldn't avoid thinking about how much easier my 12.5 inch dob is to move around. Dew is hardly an issue (it even has a built in dew heater on the secondary). I'm now decided . . . I think!! Surely it's time for a smaller CAT and mount! My original thinking was that I'd use this in the future for photography with hyperstar and all that cool stuff. Instead, I think I'll look into photography with an 8 inch, and stick with my dobs for most visual (my 16 now has skycommander push to; or at least it will once I figure out how to set it up properly!). I think an 8 inch will also be a better fit for my group of OTAs (80 and 101 mm apos; 12.5" and 16" dobs; and a c6 for airline travel). Two of each animal (be careful, they breed).

 

Anyway, this is obviously not the slightest bit of use for KJ, but I thought it might serve as useful thoughts for others considering using a heavier CAT when visual is the primary focus. Obviously YMMV if you are big on photography, don't need to travel further than your balcony or backyard, or have a stronger preference for tracking and go-to than me.

 

I still don't know if I'll be able to bring myself to sell my Edge set up. I really love the scope. The only reason I can think to keep it is as a "balcony bruiser" for those 20 (maybe 30?) nights each year where I view the moon and planets from my balcony after work. 

 

Yep.

 

Scott



#61 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:47 AM

Hey Scott that's the definition of dedication!

 

CGEM DX is far from the definition of grab and go, which is why many of us have a smaller scope, SCT, refractor or other  ;)



#62 astroricardo

astroricardo

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 263
  • Joined: 14 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Marietta, GA

Posted 20 August 2014 - 07:22 AM

 

 

Third--polar alignment. Surprisingly easy, after doing a couple of calibration stars. Accuracy wasn't brilliant, but each target made it into the FOV. I took a look at Neptune for the first time. Pretty cool--very obviously pale blue and spherical! Using the tracking to follow Saturn was also very nice. After 10 minutes I re-centered in the eyepiece (at 300ish x), but it was very easy and pleasant to use. Definitely preferable to tracking manually.

 

 

I still don't know if I'll be able to bring myself to sell my Edge set up. I really love the scope. The only reason I can think to keep it is as a "balcony bruiser" for those 20 (maybe 30?) nights each year where I view the moon and planets from my balcony after work. 

 

Yep.

 

Scott

 

Polar alignment does not affect Go To's - only your initial alignment does.  If you're not doing deep space photography, it probably is not worth doing polar alignment. 

 

I usually do a Two star and add at least one calibration star.  I also learned over time that you really do not need to know the stars.  I will sight polaris in the polar scope bore when positioning the tripod.  There are only so many (less than 100 I think) stars used for alignment so it will usually always be the closest bright star to where the scope slewed to.  The only time my Go To's have been off is when I put the date or time in wrong.

 

I keep mine assembled on a Scope Buggy and just roll it out when I can.  If I had to carry out everything and assemble it each time I would have got rid of it a long time ago.



#63 Gil V

Gil V

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 619
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2012

Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:18 PM

This is an excellent thread. It gives a really accurate representation of the pros and cons of using this instrument.

Thank you so much for taking the time.

#64 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:54 PM

. . . and just felt like I'd share my latest experiences trying to decide to keep the Edge 11 or move to a smaller OTA. . .  My situation is a good bit different than KJ, but this might be entertaining at least.

 

I took my Edge and cgem dx set up to my dark site (about 25 minutes from home). I've only pottered about with the go-to before, much preferring manual alt az. In fact, I threw the thing in a case and bought a manual alt-az and lighter weight tripod all of a couple weeks after buying it. Now that I actually know where alignment stars are without having to consult my laptop, I thought I might change my opinion by trying it out again. Not so much.

 

...

 

Fourth--the dew! But then I experienced the worst dew I've ever seen in Santa Barbara. I've never needed more than a dew shield before, but after about 45 minutes after getting to my site, everything was covered in dew and I had to call it a night after all of about 20 minutes observing. Then back to dismantling everything, loading back up, and heading straight for the hairdryer on my return. Yee--expletive--ha.

 

 

I keep mine assembled on a Scope Buggy and just roll it out when I can.  If I had to carry out everything and assemble it each time I would have got rid of it a long time ago.

 

Thanks to both of you for relating your experiences. It is actually very helpful to me to be reminded of the GEM side of observing. I definitely won't be giving up my quick-setup FTX alt-az mount any time soon, especially not with the limited amount of viewing time I get nowadays.

 

Prior to getting my EdgeHD 11, I had a backpack-transportable setup with my 123mm f/6 triplet mounted on the Gitzo/FTX. The latter I had carried by hand but subsequently I realized they could all fit into another backpack (Bataflae 32L), so with a 1-lb camp stool I really have an all-backpackable viewing setup. I even clip a Thermacell to the outside of the backpack to ward off the mosquitos!

 

This setup proved its worth when I had a similarly disappointing evening to Scott's on a recent visit to Lake Placid. Normally, Lake Placid has decently dark and clear skies -- especially in comparison to Boston -- but that evening the humidity and seeing were really awful thanks to a brewing thunderstorm (that I didn't know about) that broke the next day. I set up on a nearby golf course and within fiften minutes of observing I admitted defeat, as the viewing was exactly as good/bad as back home. At that moment I counted my lucky stars that my setup was so portable and readily packable. I single out in particular the FTX which allows a safe, stable setup with a tripod as compact as the Gitzo GT5562LTS.

 

Interestingly, since the EdgeHD 11 is so big, I leave the diagonal and EP in so the scope is basically ready-to-go at a moment's notice. As well, it's long focal length means that I don't need to keep around as many EPs, since Boston seeing pretty well limits the planetary magnification to 300x (and that only at the best of times). So the EdgeHD 11 setup is even faster than the refractor's: the Gitzo/FTX goes in the backpack, a few EPs go in a shoulder bag, and the EdgeHD 11 goes in my arms. I just have to get my observing chair in a separate trip.

 

But ....

 

I'm now just a few days away from my return period for the EdgeHD 11 and to be brutally honest I think I'm going to have to give it back. Not a single viewing has passed where I didn't wake up the next morning with a mild backache, despite my trying lots of different ways to approach the scope.

 

So I've picked up RAKing's EdgeHD 9.25 and it will arrive in a couple days. I've gotten drunk on the EdgeHD 11's optics and superb accommodation for really long visual trains though, so I'm preparing for a bumpy ride.

 

In the meantime, I'm focusing on better ways to manipulate the OTA for side-mounting. Scott: any tips on how do you mount your EdgeHD 11 on your SkyTee? Do you hold the OTA with one hand under the scope, or do you cradle it? I've got a couple days left on the return and want to give the EdgeHD 11 one last go. It was my dream scope: help me save it!

 

P.S. High Point Scientific just gave me a couple more weeks to try working with the EdgeHD 11 a bit more. Not like everyone doesn't already know, but these guys are the best (thanks Dave!).



#65 Bill Barlow

Bill Barlow

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2290
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Overland Park KS

Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

I also am in the process of downsizing a bit from a 50 pound C14 to a 39 pound Meade 12 ACF.  Probably my next step down the road will be a C11 at 28 pounds.  I hated to sell the C14 given the views it has given me at the eyepiece, but my lower back aches for a few days after having to carry the scope, mount it, dismount it and carry it some more.  I am now looking for a nice 8" SCT for a much lighter package when I do not want to take out the Meade 12.  Good luck with the C9.25 Edge.  I previously owned a C9.25 three or four years ago and it had great optics and was fairly easy to manage.

 

Bill



#66 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 27 August 2014 - 02:58 AM

I'm glad to hear that you keep soldiering on with keeping your 11".

 

When I first got it, set up on the sky tee seemed tough, but with a little practice I now find it really easy. My guess is that this set up is probably easier than your more elegant but lighter hitch.

 

The key is that the skytee requires getting the big ADM saddle to replace the puny little vixen saddle that came with the mount.

 

I set up by keeping my right arm under the OTA with the corrector towards the elbow of my right arm. My left is holding the handle on the base of the OTA. 

 

Then I angle in the bottom of the dovetail bar into the saddle, and then push the OTA up to flush inside the saddle. Holding in place with my right arm (and my body is pressing against the OTA), I then tighten the saddle down by screwing each screw on turn each in alternating pattern. Done.

 

Removing is the same, but in reverse.



#67 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:13 AM

I'm glad to hear that you keep soldiering on with keeping your 11".

 

When I first got it, set up on the sky tee seemed tough, but with a little practice I now find it really easy. My guess is that this set up is probably easier than your more elegant but lighter hitch.

 

The key is that the skytee requires getting the big ADM saddle to replace the puny little vixen saddle that came with the mount.

 

I set up by keeping my right arm under the OTA with the corrector towards the elbow of my right arm. My left is holding the handle on the base of the OTA. 

 

Then I angle in the bottom of the dovetail bar into the saddle, and then push the OTA up to flush inside the saddle. Holding in place with my right arm (and my body is pressing against the OTA), I then tighten the saddle down by screwing each screw on turn each in alternating pattern. Done.

 

Removing is the same, but in reverse.

Thanks for the description. I've got a few clarifying questions, if I may:

 

1. I neglected to ask this because I assumed from your SkyTee photo that you were mounting the same direction as with my FTX, namely with the OTA on the left and the saddle on the right (if you stand behind the scope). Is your focuser on the bottom or on the top after mounting? Or more specifically, is your C11HD's handle on the same side as the SkyTee's saddle, or on the opposite?

 

2. Just before mounting the scope, is the OTA is pointed with the corrector plate off to your right? This is the part I'm most confused about since it appears from your SkyTee photo that this is the wrong way around.

 

3. I understand your left hand is holding the C11HD's handle. Where is your right hand: is it directly underneath the OTA, or is your whole right arm cradling the tube as if on (half of) a forklift?

 

The last question in particular may be the key to my back pain. After carefully reviewing gnowellsct and swsantos' videos, I realized that I may simply have been holding the OTA incorrectly. Until now I had assumed that the most stable and strong position to be in was to cradle the tube in my arms while mounting in the FTX's saddle. I believe this was my mistake.

 

I had known that when you are picking up heavy objects you should: #1 Keep your back straight and use your legs, and consequently; #2 Hold the object as close to your body as possible. I had mistakenly assumed that just because the OTA was touching my chest I was in the clear. No! If your arms are still "way out there" you are still not satisfying the true meaning of #2.

 

In my case, with my arms holding up the C11HD's tube (horizontally-positioned) as if resting in a forklift, my arms ended up quite far from my torso: specifically, twelve inches away and almost 19 inches in circumferential length. It's now looking increasingly likely that this amount of reach is why the spine in my upper back got tweaked every time I mounted the scope.

 

So last night, despite my back still feeling quite uncomfortable, I mimed the above videos and -- with my right hand on the handle, knuckles pointing to the right off the back of the scope -- I supported the OTA with my left hand directly underneath the OTA. This halved the distance of my left hand to my body and kept the left elbow at 90 degrees. As well, my right hand was now right by my chest with the arm in a very strong, fully-retracted position.

 

Of course this puts a lot more onus on my left bicep -- in fact, momentarily almost all of the C11HD's ~30 lbs, until I tilt the scope into the FTX's saddle -- but arm strength I have plenty of! Here's the crucial result: my back was FAR less stressed. In fact, quite the opposite: after repeating this mounting procedure three times, my back felt like it got a good stretch instead, probably because I was standing that bit straighter.

 

In the morning, I got a big surprise: there was almost no upper spine pain left. There was some new muscle soreness in my arms and back, but it just felt like I got a good upper arm/back workout and not like my vertebrae were crunching into each other like before. Today I find I don't have to perch on the edge of my office chair to keep my spine straight: it can slouch a little and still feel comfortable. My arms feel stronger -- in particular the left one -- but that is actually a positive. ;)

 

I know, it was just one night, and I had Doom on in the background so maybe psychologically I was all pumped-up-Marine (hey, the game was my generation, OK?). But I still think things are definitely looking up for the EdgeHD 11!

 

Sorry, that was really long post (again), but hope it helps someone. Aside from the weight and bulk, the EdgeHD 11 is excellent and so accommodating of long visual trains, and it would be a real shame if a small positional problem prevented people from enjoying the scope. With a strong and light mount like the FTX, there's every reason to consider the big SCT as a daily hoist-and-go scope for quick views.



#68 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 27 August 2014 - 01:29 PM

 

I'm glad to hear that you keep soldiering on with keeping your 11".

 

When I first got it, set up on the sky tee seemed tough, but with a little practice I now find it really easy. My guess is that this set up is probably easier than your more elegant but lighter hitch.

 

The key is that the skytee requires getting the big ADM saddle to replace the puny little vixen saddle that came with the mount.

 

I set up by keeping my right arm under the OTA with the corrector towards the elbow of my right arm. My left is holding the handle on the base of the OTA. 

 

Then I angle in the bottom of the dovetail bar into the saddle, and then push the OTA up to flush inside the saddle. Holding in place with my right arm (and my body is pressing against the OTA), I then tighten the saddle down by screwing each screw on turn each in alternating pattern. Done.

 

Removing is the same, but in reverse.

Thanks for the description. I've got a few clarifying questions, if I may:

 

1. I neglected to ask this because I assumed from your SkyTee photo that you were mounting the same direction as with my FTX, namely with the OTA on the left and the saddle on the right (if you stand behind the scope). Is your focuser on the bottom or on the top after mounting? Or more specifically, is your C11HD's handle on the same side as the SkyTee's saddle, or on the opposite?

 

2. Just before mounting the scope, is the OTA is pointed with the corrector plate off to your right? This is the part I'm most confused about since it appears from your SkyTee photo that this is the wrong way around.

 

3. I understand your left hand is holding the C11HD's handle. Where is your right hand: is it directly underneath the OTA, or is your whole right arm cradling the tube as if on (half of) a forklift?

 

The last question in particular may be the key to my back pain. After carefully reviewing gnowellsct and swsantos' videos, I realized that I may simply have been holding the OTA incorrectly. Until now I had assumed that the most stable and strong position to be in was to cradle the tube in my arms while mounting in the FTX's saddle. I believe this was my mistake.

 

I had known that when you are picking up heavy objects you should: #1 Keep your back straight and use your legs, and consequently; #2 Hold the object as close to your body as possible. I had mistakenly assumed that just because the OTA was touching my chest I was in the clear. No! If your arms are still "way out there" you are still not satisfying the true meaning of #2.

 

In my case, with my arms holding up the C11HD's tube (horizontally-positioned) as if resting in a forklift, my arms ended up quite far from my torso: specifically, twelve inches away and almost 19 inches in circumferential length. It's now looking increasingly likely that this amount of reach is why the spine in my upper back got tweaked every time I mounted the scope.

 

So last night, despite my back still feeling quite uncomfortable, I mimed the above videos and -- with my right hand on the handle, knuckles pointing to the right off the back of the scope -- I supported the OTA with my left hand directly underneath the OTA. This halved the distance of my left hand to my body and kept the left elbow at 90 degrees. As well, my right hand was now right by my chest with the arm in a very strong, fully-retracted position.

 

Of course this puts a lot more onus on my left bicep -- in fact, momentarily almost all of the C11HD's ~30 lbs, until I tilt the scope into the FTX's saddle -- but arm strength I have plenty of! Here's the crucial result: my back was FAR less stressed. In fact, quite the opposite: after repeating this mounting procedure three times, my back felt like it got a good stretch instead, probably because I was standing that bit straighter.

 

In the morning, I got a big surprise: there was almost no upper spine pain left. There was some new muscle soreness in my arms and back, but it just felt like I got a good upper arm/back workout and not like my vertebrae were crunching into each other like before. Today I find I don't have to perch on the edge of my office chair to keep my spine straight: it can slouch a little and still feel comfortable. My arms feel stronger -- in particular the left one -- but that is actually a positive. ;)

 

I know, it was just one night, and I had Doom on in the background so maybe psychologically I was all pumped-up-Marine (hey, the game was my generation, OK?). But I still think things are definitely looking up for the EdgeHD 11!

 

Sorry, that was really long post (again), but hope it helps someone. Aside from the weight and bulk, the EdgeHD 11 is excellent and so accommodating of long visual trains, and it would be a real shame if a small positional problem prevented people from enjoying the scope. With a strong and light mount like the FTX, there's every reason to consider the big SCT as a daily hoist-and-go scope for quick views.

 

 

 

Ah, and yes, I sometimes mount the other way round in the picture I posted--it gives me about an extra 20 minutes to half hour of viewing planets (my balcony faces east, so this angle is better for viewing time. Though ergonomically, I like to mount the other way 90% of the time)

 

"Normally" oriented the focuser is on the bottom of the OTA. Mounting in the way in the photo is a problem b/c the diagonal with binoviewers will hit the focuser. I have to pull the diagonal out almost an inch to make the clearance. 

 

As for holding the OTA, left arm on handle, and right arm under the OTA while keeping the load as close to my body as possible. I'm (predominaltly) left handed, so fine guiding is done with my left and carrying with my right. Your description above is very close to what I do and I don't have any problems.

 

Trying to mount on my cgem dx, well that's another story!



#69 WesC

WesC

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2003
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2013
  • Loc: La Crescenta, CA

Posted 27 August 2014 - 02:17 PM

So last night, despite my back still feeling quite uncomfortable, I mimed the above videos and -- with my right hand on the handle, knuckles pointing to the right off the back of the scope -- I supported the OTA with my left hand directly underneath the OTA. This halved the distance of my left hand to my body and kept the left elbow at 90 degrees. As well, my right hand was now right by my chest with the arm in a very strong, fully-retracted position.

 

 

Yes, this is exactly how I carry and mount my C11 Edge onto my mount, and I have no back or shoulder issues from doing this for the past 1 1/2 years. And I'm even lifting the OTA UP into the saddle of my CGEM. Its all about centralizing the weight and letting your muscles do the work, not your spine. ;)



#70 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 28 August 2014 - 07:18 AM

Glad to hear some positive news KJL  :cool:

 

The 9.25 isn't really a solution...physically it's not much smaller but you lose significant light grasp.



#71 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:34 PM

So ... well the honeymoon's over, and the OTA has gone back to the dealer. Thanks again to High Point Scientific for extending the return period so that I could take a final whack at getting my body to work with the scope. Not that I wasn't already a loyal customer before, but that showed some real class IMHO.

 

Since it may help others I'll explain the reasoning behind the madness.

 

I was traveling in Cali last week which gave my back ample time to bounce back to normal. There was a moment's weakness in a spa where I realized that my luggage was the right size and weight as the EdgeHD 11, so I "air maneuvered" into horizontal position at chest height -- and a few seconds later my back started feeling twisted again. Fortunately, that was nothing that a weekend at Santa Cruz beaches didn't resolve.

 

Nevertheless, the night I returned to Boston I tried again lifting the EdgeHD 11 into position. Yep, no dice: middle back in particular immediately felt a touch strained and twisted. After the little experiment at the spa, I realized that I had spent an entire week lifting heavy car seats and luggage up into airplane overhead compartments and in and out of car trunks, with no pain at all. It is the just act of holding it at chest height and keeping it there that causes the little muscles in and around the spine to get tweaked. Passing through that chest position is OK with my back: stabilizing it there is what does me in.

 

The next morning -- the last day I could send the scope back to the dealer -- I sat in my home office in utter misery refusing to believe that I may have to box the thing up. What made it slightly easier was that I was fortunate enough to grab RAKing's minty-fresh EdgeHD 9.25 before I left for the trip and it sat there next to the 11-incher as living proof that just 7 lbs can make a difference. But I knew that I would be missing the EdgeHD 11's remarkable flexibility -- especially in regards to near-immunity from aperture reduction with binoviewers -- and of course its much greater aperture. I felt like crying.

 

The fact of the matter is that, with another baby coming at the end of November and much work still to be done on the house before then, I've simply run out of time to work further on the EdgeHD 11. I shouldn't mess with my physical health for the same reason. Wiser, more experienced members here -- e.g. those who I contacted off-line (thanks Ron, Sedat, Charles, et al) -- would have long known what to do, and for once I finally took their advice. And as a final confirmation of the validity of my decision, I spent a rather uncomfortable afternoon and evening nursing a rather achy back after I packed up the EdgeHD 11 and wheeled it over to FedEx.

 

My experiences with the EdgeHD 11 has been otherwise an absolute delight. Optically there was nothing to fault: I got the big aperture views I was expecting and the optics were far and a way good enough not to detract from the SCT's basic design limitations. Fortunately, these SCTs are not rare like my 123mm f/6 LZOS: as commodity items I will always be able to try another EdgeHD 11 in the future. Also with my chiropractor's help I will begin working on strengthening those little back muscles as part of general health improvement. Perhaps some day in the not-so-distant future I will be ready again to swing this bad boy up onto a mount and point it at the night sky.

 

In the meantime, there's this EdgeHD 9.25 beckoning to be tried out. I have every expectation that I will not be able to use the Power/Filter Switch diagonal with it, nor use binoviewers without my Baader prism diagonals. I also have every hope that the views will not disappoint too terribly vs the C11HD. But one thing is for sure: my back feels a lot better after lifting the smaller OTA. I know there are many people who have advised that the difference in weight and bulk to the C11 is not big at all. In my case, I strongly disagree: it is the difference between having back pain and not having back pain. Those who have personally experienced it will understand what a world of difference that can make.

 

I hope this thread has helped others expand their knowledge of what is possible with the EdgeHD 11 and alt-az mounts. Certainly I expect the EdgeHD 9.25 to be a trivial load for the FTX, and probably the Gitzo will become the most-used tripod (again). Thanks to everyone for relating their own experiences and for your advice. It has been a fun ride!



#72 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 537
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 11 September 2014 - 01:32 PM

Well it has been an interesting ride. I'm glad to hear that you are figuring out the best set up. And, thanks for providing the details of your experiences; it'll be helpful for a lot of people.

 

Despite getting the idea that I would replace my 11 Edge with a Portaball (and down size to an 8" Edge) . . . I just can't do it. I'm keeping both scopes despite their closeness in size. We have had excellent seeing here in Santa Barbara the past two nights. Last night I put the Edge on the moon and for the hell of it, I put my 4.7 Ethos in there. Wouldn't you know it, in the steadiest moments, going north of 600x the views were excellent. I was able to see fine details that I couldn't at my usual highest power (300 ish with a 9mm). A real surprise.

 

Then just to be insane about it, I 2x barlowed the 4.7 Ethos. This really was pushing the limits, and I can't say now that it allowed me to see more fine details, but the views held up in those brief moments of perfect seeing. 

 

I've read these accounts of uber-magnification before and took them with a grain of salt. And those are usually reports from people with massive, premium dobs whose aperture allows those magnifications. I'm happy to have discovered that my Edgehd (at least on the moon), is really only limited by the sky and cooling. The optics are outstanding. I'm also glad that this confirms that excellent collimation can be had in the 11" by simply using a star. 

 

Anyway, I hope you will continue this thread or start a new one when you are settling on your 'final' set up.



#73 Dunkstar

Dunkstar

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 240
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Under the sky

Posted 11 September 2014 - 08:14 PM

Sorry to hear your sad decision mate, but keep working at it and revisit the situation another time, although natch I hope you find comfort in the views of the 9.25. In my experience, visually the 9.25 appears more like the 8 than the 11, but you've got to go with what works  :waytogo:



#74 Patrick

Patrick

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11264
  • Joined: 15 May 2003
  • Loc: Franklin, Ohio

Posted 11 September 2014 - 08:45 PM

I think I'd have a hard time moving from an 11" to an 8".  The 11" can have such great views.

 

Patrick



#75 KJL

KJL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 237
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Boston, MA

Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:52 AM

Sorry to hear your sad decision mate, but keep working at it and revisit the situation another time, although natch I hope you find comfort in the views of the 9.25. In my experience, visually the 9.25 appears more like the 8 than the 11, but you've got to go with what works  :waytogo:

 

I think I'd have a hard time moving from an 11" to an 8".  The 11" can have such great views.

 

Patrick

Thanks guys for your encouragement. ;) Truthfully, this was entirely a decision based on my physical well-being. I know know KNOW what I will be giving up visually as well as in viewing convenience. In particular for the latter, it'll be back to the extremely irritating world of shortening path length to avoid aperture reduction. I probably won't be able to use the Power/Filter Switch diagonal, which would be a MAJOR bummer, and certainly not with my Maxbrights. So in the end I will probably have to pack another T2 prism, use a GPC in the Maxbright, etc etc etc. My previously tiny EP case will need to expand to accommodate the prism, barlows, etc: another irritation.

 

But after a few lifts of the C9.25HD my back hasn't felt tweaked at all. I'm crossing my fingers this will remain the case in the long-term. You should've seen my discomfort all day yesterday at work, a full 24 hours after packing the EdgeHD 11: I was shifting all over my office chair for want of a comfortable position, which sadly didn't exist. Only today do the muscles in my back feel a bit of relief, and I even tried picking up the EdgeHD 9.25 this morning as well.

 

Also, it occurred to me after packing up the EdgeHD 11 that its weight was the reason I never brought the scope down four flights of stairs to the sidewalk to catch Saturn while it was still visible from that location. I realized then that I kept putting it off because I didn't relish the resulting back pain. Also the bulk of the scope meant that I didn't want to carry the FTX/Gitzo down at the same time, even though they fit nicely into the Bataflae 32L backpack. The C9.25HD is just light enough that I can hold it in my arms and comfortably carry the Bataflae 32L backpack at the same time, and walk the entire setup up and down stairs all day long without pain.

 

Well, I won't have the opportunity for first light on the C9.25HD until next week at the earliest. That's when I will find out how I get along with the scope, especially in regards to aperture reduction.








Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics