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Dobsonian tracking systems

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#1 Ray Congelosi

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:22 AM

Hi everyone, 

I've been looking to get a tracking system for my 10" dob for a while now, but I'm not so skilled with DIY projects. I've been trying to find a tracking system or a tracking mount that I can buy already assembled. Does anyone have any ideas on where I can get one? Or do you know of any tracking systems that are easy to assemble? 



#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:40 AM

Hi everyone, 

I've been looking to get a tracking system for my 10" dob for a while now, but I'm not so skilled with DIY projects. I've been trying to find a tracking system or a tracking mount that I can buy already assembled. Does anyone have any ideas on where I can get one? Or do you know of any tracking systems that are easy to assemble? 

 

Ray:  

 

Hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights.. 

 

There are a number of choices that provide tracking for a Dob.  The simplest is the Equatorial Platform.  Conceptually it's a section of a cone that is aligned with the north pole and it provides tracking for an hour or more. At that point it must be reset, with mine that takes about 5 seconds.  

 

The beauty of the Equatorial Platform is that it retains the simplicity of the Dob but adds tracking.  The platform adds 5 or 6 inches to the height but otherwise it is transparent to the observer.  One drawback to the equatorial platform is that it should be designed for your latitude.  

 

There are a number of manufacturers, all relatively small.  There is a thread in the reflectors forum, List of Active EQ Platform Manufacturers that would be worth a look.  

 

I was very fortunate and lucked into a top of the line EQ platform at a very good price but if I didn't have one, I would ask Ed Jones to build one for me.  Everything I have heard about them has been good.  "Optical Ed" is a quiet legend who is an excellent optician and creative designer of various telescopes.  (If you talk to him on the phone, don't mention the word Chief  :)  )..

 

Optical Ed's Equatorial Platforms

 

This is what mine looks like with a 10 inch Dob.  

 

jon

6287012-10 inch Dob on EQ platform.jpg


#3 jtsenghas

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:41 AM

If your scope will remain on an alt-az dob mount, your choices are limited to either placing the entire scope on an equatorial platform, or adding a GOTO system with servo controls. 

 

Each have their advantages and disadvantages.  Constructing such a platform--which must be done for a given latitude (although a range of adjustment could be integrated) is not a trivial matter for a DIYer without moderate to advanced woodworking or or machining skills, but many of us have succeeded including myself.  The platform should have the polar axis pass close to the center of gravity of your scope to minimize torque on the driving motors, so it is best designed for both a particular scope and a latitude. A purchased platform designed for your particular scope and location is a cinch to employ, however, since you would simply place your scope on top of it and align to the celestial north pole. No actual change would have to made to your scope. Being an actual equatorial mount, albeit one that can run for only about an hour before being reset, eliminates field rotation and can make astrophotography possible.

 

Adding a GOTO system with drive motors and controls varies in complexity depending on whether you develop an entire system on your own, or use an existing system. Others may advise you better on these possibilities.

 

EDIT-- I see that Jon posted as I was replying to your opening post. Yeah....what he said.


Edited by jtsenghas, 11 January 2017 - 10:43 AM.

  • Jon Isaacs likes this


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