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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up
      #5961521 - 07/09/13 12:36 AM

My write up, time lapse, and annotation on rebuilding my CGEM DX mount.

I put it all together on my blog since it was easier to format and source images and my time lapse. Hope this helps.

PLEASE ask anything about this topic if you want clarity added to any part of it. This was my 4th mount rebuild, 3 of which were Celestron mounts. If you're considering rebuilding yours for similar reasons, by all means, ask anything and I'll do my best to explain.

The time lapse portion of the video is more to show the time and effort investment in doing a full overhaul, the segment after with the notations is more practical, along with the still images on the blog and attached gallery.

Feedback appreciated. I put a lot into capturing this as best as I could, including what I used, what I did, why I did it.

Time lapse was 4000+ exposures.


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Laz
member


Reged: 10/18/12

Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5961529 - 07/09/13 12:52 AM

absolutely fantastic video, so much for quality control, wonder what the Chinese workers make per hour building these. Reason I am keeping my old super polaris mount !

Edited by Laz (07/09/13 12:55 AM)


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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: Laz]
      #5961574 - 07/09/13 01:29 AM

great job Josh, makes me want to do the same to my CG-5

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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: frito]
      #5961604 - 07/09/13 02:15 AM

Great work there Josh soup to nuts! Interesting design used, better QA and assembly specs would make a huge difference it seems. thanks very much for this great documentary.

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InIt4TheImaging
member


Reged: 02/20/12

Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5961658 - 07/09/13 04:02 AM

Very nice Josh.
Im sure it will be alot of help for others in your situation.
...and Ill bet the guys at Celestron are thrilled too


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terry59
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Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5961730 - 07/09/13 06:01 AM

That is an excellent capture of the process Josh. I have to wonder about all of the Chinese mounts!

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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5961751 - 07/09/13 06:44 AM

Great write up! Looking forward to the test run!

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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5962004 - 07/09/13 11:09 AM

Wow. Someone really botched the first go around.

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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: Madratter]
      #5962035 - 07/09/13 11:40 AM

A lot of your issues sound familiar with my mount. Sporadic declination drift, lots of play in the gears, random jumps while guiding. I'll have to read through your writeup a few more times before I get brave enough to work on mine. I'm not very mechanically inclined at all.

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shawnhar
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5962089 - 07/09/13 12:20 PM

WOW, that's dedication! Mine would never work again were I to dismantle it like that!

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DaemonGPF
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Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5962113 - 07/09/13 12:35 PM

Thanks guys. I think this is definitely going to be a great discussion for several.

Let me say this much - I really do like features in Celestron mounts, so I'm not trying to make this a bashing session in any way. All Star Polar Alignment is fantastic for those who set up and tear down every night. The hand controller is very intuitive. They carry aesthetically pleasing looks (not that it's really important).

However, I fought with my CG-5 for months due to the same reasons and had to gut it and overhaul it. My Nexstar 8 GPS was the same. After reworking them, they behaved as they should. I had one regular CGEM that I didn't have to do a thing to. Wishing I had kept that one now. Point to this is that in each case there were clear signs of QA problems, and "drive through" servicing apparent by the markings inside on various components. Granted, the CG-5 is a $500ish mount new, and a DX on the upper end of the aforementioned is $2000ish - none of which are what I would call "high end" gear by any stretch of the imagination. But, one can't sit and advertise these things at their given capacities and mark them as astrophoto capable and keep an honest smile. It's sad in my humble opinion because the issues I keep seeing are minor things that could easily be remedied with just some QA improvement and modest adjustment to manufacturing.

If anyone starting out in AP wonders why people spend $5,000-$50,000 on mounts - it's usually to avoid these types of problems. Granted not all of us have that kind of disposable income(my wife would kill me if I tried to blow $10K on a mount), thus this bracket of the market exists. However, one should not expect magic straight out of the box. If you're serious but on a budget, you may want to consider the fact that you might have to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. Think of it like building a tuner/project car. You can get your money out of one of these mounts. If you look in my image galleries over the years you can see I ultimately ended up with equipment that would track just fine within their capacity limitations. By that I mean focal length as well as actual weight.

I could have easily ignored what I saw on this DX mount and simply shot widefield at 400mm and less and probably be quite content. However, I want to shoot at longer focal lengths occasionally and this was not remotely going to happen with the existing state of the mount. They sell this thing with a C14 as astrophoto capable! I'm trying with a C8 at under half the weight and half the native focal length and couldn't get it done at first. That's just not right.

I think after I get my first light results post-hypertune, I might write up my findings a bit more formally and shoot this over to Celestron. Might not make a difference, but at least I can say I tried.

I guess it's safe to say my warranty is gone on this. Was it worth it? Yep. Definitely.


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terry59
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962193 - 07/09/13 01:25 PM

Josh - You hit on a few things that just resonated with me big time. These (and I dont just mean Celestron) are touted as AP mounts yet can have serious deficiencies that occur during manufacturing. Returning it to the distributor is a gamble and it will not be serviced the way you did or someone like Ed would, but doing that voids the warranty.

Sounds like a "mad as hell and not going to take it any more" scenario to me


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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5962203 - 07/09/13 01:34 PM

Yeah,the DX is the first and only mount I've ever purchased. Given the pricetag and advertisements, I knew I wasn't getting the top of the line, but figured I would at least get something that worked with no major issues out of the box.

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Madratter
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Reged: 01/14/13

Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962204 - 07/09/13 01:34 PM

What is surprising to me is that I get the impression my CG-5 (which I decided was not good enough for AP with a C-8) was better than your CGEM-DX at least with a C-8 on it. There is something seriously not right about that situation.

I have to admit that I love the Celestron hand controller, and Nexremote was a good thing. But when it came time to upgrade, all the bad press about DEC cogging and such steered me well clear of Celestron. I know it ultimately does not hit them in the pocketbook since I went with an Atlas which is also Synta. With EQMOD I don't miss the hand controller either.


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BlackBirdCD
member


Reged: 08/19/12

Loc: Pacific Northwest
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: Madratter]
      #5962247 - 07/09/13 01:58 PM

Great article and thank you for sharing. As someone who is looking to get serious about AP, I find this sort of material extremely helpful. And I don't mind rolling up my sleeves to get things in proper order.

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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5962321 - 07/09/13 02:46 PM

Quote:

Yeah,the DX is the first and only mount I've ever purchased. Given the pricetag and advertisements, I knew I wasn't getting the top of the line, but figured I would at least get something that worked with no major issues out of the box.




I think my rationalizing was that I had such good success with my original CGEM that I assumed maybe Celestron finally got it right, and the DX was enhancement on an already good thing.

However, like Madratter suggested - mine was acting more like my CG-5 did out of the box. If that's what I could expect, I'd rather lift a CG-5 any day over this DX - it's a cumbersome mount for sure. For four times the cost though, it should do significantly more, as advertised. Lots of great results out there from people using the DX, but I have to wonder about the others who aren't having as much luck. I suspect this will be a fantastic mount now that it's cleaned up and properly assembled. Just wish it arrived that way out of the box.


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DaemonGPF
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Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: BlackBirdCD]
      #5962326 - 07/09/13 02:48 PM

Quote:

Great article and thank you for sharing. As someone who is looking to get serious about AP, I find this sort of material extremely helpful. And I don't mind rolling up my sleeves to get things in proper order.




Thanks. I'm glad to hear this was helpful. Sometimes a little elbow grease can go a long way as I've found with all of my various mounts. Further than the stock grease Celestron uses..


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CounterWeight
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962404 - 07/09/13 03:44 PM

I too really like the ASPA and all other hand controller firmware and menu structure! Of all I've tried it is my favorite. Something like that on my mach1 would be best of all worlds. Tradeoffs everywhere. In a way it's like with the old days of cars, some were more a 'mechanics car' that were fantastic if you were good at timing and synchronizers, new how to play with a suspension, and could play with the valves and manifolds and block, etc. I'm really interested in this mount - but not the issues. If that is what Ed does to these to make them work better I think that is coin well spent!

Looking forward to some 'after the tune-up' images and happiness!


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5962763 - 07/09/13 06:46 PM

Wow, that is impressive! I have a CGEM and haven't tried AP yet (scared to frankly) but I have noticed a few times that the mount seems to struggle and makes odd sounds. Very good balancing helps a lot, but I can't help wonder what it looks like in there and it I should ship it to DSP for Hypertuning. I just have a fundamental issue with spending more money to fix something that should work right to begin with. In my case it may be better to just sell it and buy a Mach 1, used AP900 or if I can swing it, an AP1100.

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Madratter
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Reged: 01/14/13

Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: WesC]
      #5962875 - 07/09/13 08:02 PM

Quote:

haven't tried AP yet (scared to frankly)




Do you want to be enabled or should we tell you the truth about what this hobby costs?

Actually, it sounds like you have a pretty good idea.


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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: Madratter]
      #5962905 - 07/09/13 08:21 PM

Maybe he's the smart one.


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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962932 - 07/09/13 08:40 PM

Nice NES collection too, btw.

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Madratter
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962933 - 07/09/13 08:40 PM

Let's just say that with I'm running about 110$ a picture with expense this year/# of pictures taken this year. Ouch!



Would I do it over again. Yup!

Edited by Madratter (07/09/13 08:42 PM)


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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5962945 - 07/09/13 08:45 PM

Quote:

Nice NES collection too, btw.




Thanks! I collect game consoles. I have everything in working order, back to the Atari 2600 with the exception of the Intellivision, and up to everything current. Could probably sell that collection and swing a nice AP mount. Hmm...


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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5962976 - 07/09/13 09:01 PM

There should be a way to combine the hobbies. Enter in the Konami code on the hand controller and get 30 extra subs.

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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5963014 - 07/09/13 09:22 PM

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, START = 30 extra clear nights a year. That would be golden.

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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5963030 - 07/09/13 09:34 PM

You have to get a Game Genie for that many clear nights!

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ghataa
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/20/11

Loc: Central, NJ
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5963148 - 07/09/13 10:46 PM

Great work Josh. Must admit that I am leaning towards the Atlas as my CG5 replacement.

Best,

George

PS. My console collection from the 1970's onward.

Atari 2600, Intellivision I and II, NES, SMS, Genesis, TG16 with CDROM, TurboDuo, SNES, N64, 3DO, Dreamcast, GameCube, PS1,2,3, Xbox, Xbox360.


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DaemonGPF
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Reged: 03/22/08

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: ghataa]
      #5963190 - 07/09/13 11:06 PM

I think they're quite comparable in many respects. You should call Ed sometime and ask him about trends he sees in regards to Atlas mounts. I can't say, I never owned one.

Not a bad console collection there!


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Madratter
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5963310 - 07/10/13 12:10 AM

Quote:

I think they're quite comparable in many respects. You should call Ed sometime and ask him about trends he sees in regards to Atlas mounts. I can't say, I never owned one.





That is a great idea.

I will say that I have been very happy with my Atlas.


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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: Madratter]
      #5964843 - 07/10/13 10:22 PM

I believe it's time to breathe life back into this beast. The clouds are going to possibly break. Let's see what happens.

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terry59
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5964899 - 07/10/13 10:48 PM

Quote:

I believe it's time to breathe life back into this beast. The clouds are going to possibly break. Let's see what happens.




Good luck Josh.


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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5965534 - 07/11/13 11:22 AM

It was a short lived dream...

Before I had posted I was going to set up, I had been outside on my deck for half an hour, enjoying the cool temps, gentle breeze, and clearing skies. I swear the weather saw me post this comment. The minute I started to set up we were hit by high winds. Little rogue cells were pushing over the front range and working their way across. We didn't see a drop of rain but did glimpse some lightning in the distance. The storm fronts kicked up some wicked winds. Unfortunately the high wind didn't diminish through most of the night...

Terrible forecasting up here near Denver. Their "clear night" was bogus. I'll try again this evening since it's forecasted yet again to be "clear and calm".....


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terry59
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5965558 - 07/11/13 11:38 AM

Bummer Josh. We had a similar forecast and I started to set up the Sirius but it was cloudy. Finally the clouds broke to the north and I started a polar alignment only to have it start raining. I got everything inside or covered before it came down hard though. Clear and sunny at the moment....

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BlackBirdCD
member


Reged: 08/19/12

Loc: Pacific Northwest
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5965725 - 07/11/13 01:45 PM

I was targeting the CGEM DX package with the EdgeHD 11 (which would guarantee cloudy nights here in Seattle too). Now this has me on "edge" so to speak. Perhaps a better option would be to go down to the 9.25HD on the CGEM DX and be prepared to open up the mount as you've suggested - just to be sure.

And yes, this is an expensive hobby. Much more so than my other hobbies (building scale model spacecraft). Still, any new hobby has a minimum price of $1K just to get in (my own opinion). And of course you can throw as much money as you have into any hobby. But for AP it really challenges you to be frugal and get good results. Not that I won't try, mind you.


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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: BlackBirdCD]
      #5965853 - 07/11/13 02:57 PM

Despite my complaints, I have been happy with the Edge11 and the DX, I just think it could be better. Visually it's awesome, but for AP, I always use a .6 focal reducer or Hyperstar so I'm not even using the full focal length of the scope.

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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5966121 - 07/11/13 05:45 PM

My goal for the DX was to throw a C11 on it when we move again permanently in a few more months where I can put the mount on a pier and not have to fiddle with it. That's why I'm using a C8 right now while I have a rental house and have to setup and tear down each session. But, there's just no way my DX would have handled a C11 in its original condition, not for imaging, and not anywhere near native focal length.

I am convinced this mount will do great things after being straightened out. I still think it's tremendous bang for the buck. In stock form I know a C11 is really pushing the widely accepted "50%" rule, but tuned up I don't see why it would be an issue to push that number somewhat. I wouldn't try giving it a total 50 lbs and long focal length to shoot at, but I don't see it struggling to do 30+ lbs at all. I'm at roughly 26 lbs now with everything I've bolted onto the C8. They don't even sell this mount with a C8 option which drives me to a few conclusions that go against the commonly accepted rules. It won't even tip a single counterweight at the top of the counterweight bar with just a C8 OTA, which tells me it's meant to handle more than the given 50% capacity.


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BlackBirdCD
member


Reged: 08/19/12

Loc: Pacific Northwest
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5968092 - 07/12/13 09:02 PM

Depending on how bad my aperture fever is, I'll probably choose poorly the day I pull the trigger. But I'll have a blast either way. I got used to the sights from the borrowed 10" Dobsonian, courtesy my local Astronomy Club. The visual aspect of the C11 makes it tempting alone, even if I have to tweak things for AP.

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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: BlackBirdCD]
      #5968251 - 07/12/13 10:49 PM

I started AP with a monster 10" F/5 dob on a CG-5. It sure sucked for AP but man did it provide awesome visual. I'm itching for a C11 to get the best of both worlds on the new mount.

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zerro1
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Reged: 08/02/09

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: BlackBirdCD]
      #5968344 - 07/13/13 12:05 AM

Quote:

I was targeting the CGEM DX package with the EdgeHD 11 (which would guarantee cloudy nights here in Seattle too)




Hey now... Wait till October 13th for your purchase so we can continue to bask in this nice weather(here in the NW) until the official beginning of the rainy season


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BlackBirdCD
member


Reged: 08/19/12

Loc: Pacific Northwest
Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: zerro1]
      #5968465 - 07/13/13 02:20 AM

No kidding! I swear today's clouds were here to celebrate my last night with the borrowed Dob!

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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: BlackBirdCD]
      #5968708 - 07/13/13 09:23 AM

We had plenty of clear nights until I finished my rebuild... sucky part is they keep calling for clear evenings, yet, we've had storms every evening since. Oh I no doubt it will clear up near full moon.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5968761 - 07/13/13 10:15 AM

Great video Josh, really shows what's involved in getting these mounts down to the nuts and bolts. Thanks for posting it.

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terry59
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Reged: 07/18/11

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5968764 - 07/13/13 10:19 AM

Quote:

We had plenty of clear nights until I finished my rebuild... sucky part is they keep calling for clear evenings, yet, we've had storms every evening since. Oh I no doubt it will clear up near full moon.





Can you do NB yet?


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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5970293 - 07/14/13 12:11 PM

Not yet. Not planning to drop another dime until I verify I straightened out the mount situation. So far the daily/nightly flooding and lightning sessions are making sure I don't get that far.


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terry59
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5970366 - 07/14/13 01:05 PM

It's the same down here. I know you must be champing at the bit!

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DaemonGPF
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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5971056 - 07/14/13 07:31 PM

It's killing me, Terry. I've been working on this new setup since May and have yet to actually take an image out of it. Truly annoying.

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5971118 - 07/14/13 08:05 PM

I know this doesn't help right now but fall is normally extremely good for imaging. The temperatures are cooler and the skies are clear and smooth

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Re: CGEM DX Hypertune Time lapse & Full write up new [Re: terry59]
      #5971160 - 07/14/13 08:42 PM

That's sort of what I figured.. It's the same in NM. Right now is monsoon season there. September through March is nearly perfectly dry and clear without exception. It's all good. My favorite targets are up in in the fall and winter and that's when I usually do my best work.

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