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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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xcy
sage


Reged: 05/15/06

Loc: Europe
Can't accurately star align CG5-GT
      #3806370 - 05/14/10 10:17 PM

With two align star W of the Meridian and two calibration E and although the procesure is finished succesfully, objects are not in the field of view of a wide angle eyepiece and sometimes the telescope is pointing way off target.

All the required information is entered correctly in the hand control and I am using the latest firmwares. I tried to perform a factory reset without much luck. I am using power from an AC source, so it is not a battery problem either.

Usually the two align stars are in the finder, but the calibration are way off. Any ideas why?

I also noticed that occasioanlly when performing star align the CG5-GT mount will not point to the align star, but under the horizon. The problem is usually solved by switching off and on the power a few times. Is this a known issue?


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3806392 - 05/14/10 10:35 PM

Quick review...mount pointed as close to North as possible? Starting counterweights down? Daylight savings time invoked?

First star fairly far off, but the second star should be at least in the finder, yes? Cal stars...first star should be in the finder, second star closer to the center, third should be there and add a 4th for good measure.

If your last 2 cal stars are on or very close to the center, your gotos should be at least in the FOV of a widefield ep.

So...are your cal stars close, especially the last 2? If so, then your gotos should be good.

David


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Fred1
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: Somewhere in the Orion Spur
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #3806455 - 05/14/10 11:20 PM

You didn't mention what scope you're using. Check its orthogonality with the mount. Is the scope pointing in the direction of Polaris when the mount is in "Home" position? If not, check your rings and be sure the dovetail is strait across where it attaches to the rings and not slightly askew.

Also, when you say, "I tried to perform a factory reset without much luck." Do you mean that the factory reset didn't take? Or that it did take but with no improvement in performance?

I just got my 2nd CG5 (I love that mount, the other CG5 is back at Celestron for repair). The new one had similar issues as you described until a few alignment set ups were done. I had at least three separate observing sessions with it before it started behaving like my older one.


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xcy
sage


Reged: 05/15/06

Loc: Europe
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Fred1]
      #3806581 - 05/15/10 02:16 AM

Calibration stars are usually outside the finder. I am using an 8" SCT. When the telescope is at the home position (indexes) and pointing at Polaris I can see the star in the finder. I performed a factory reset succesfully but it did not help.

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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3806863 - 05/15/10 09:43 AM

Quote:

Calibration stars are usually outside the finder. I am using an 8" SCT. When the telescope is at the home position (indexes) and pointing at Polaris I can see the star in the finder. I performed a factory reset succesfully but it did not help.




If the cal stars aren't at least close to the center of the finder, you will get nowhere.

Did you keep adding cal stars all the way to four?

It's (usually) best not to get creative with the alignment stars. Just accept those the mount picks unless they are blocked.

Are you sure you are centering all six stars correctly? That is, the correct stars?

Are you doing final centering with the up and right buttons only?

Are you sure your power supply is adequate?

Are you sure all data has been entered _correctly_ in the HC (triple check, referencing the manual).


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: rmollise]
      #3807225 - 05/15/10 01:50 PM

One more thing and please don't take this as some sort of insult to your knowledge base, but are you sure that the stars you've chosen are the actual stars that you're aligning with? When I align, I use as many of the familiar stars as possible. For example, in the west, Castor and Pollux are good stars and are fairly easy to pick out. In the east, you have Dubhe and Alkaid which are part of the Big Dipper. It's easy to mistake one dimmer star for another. Just a thought.

David


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #3807309 - 05/15/10 02:44 PM

I support David's opinion because i have done this mistake myself. My heq5 pro always puts first of the 3 alignment stars way off and i mean it is not even in the finderscope's field of view. If i do not carry laptop with planetarium program with me it is fairly easy to center the wrong star especially if i select dimmer one. Second and third star are much closer for me so there is no such danger with them but for the first it is definitely a possibility.

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Deetrix
super member


Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: Little Rock, AR
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: neptun2]
      #3812202 - 05/18/10 09:07 AM

Guys, also don't forget that one of those indexes is off 180 degrees. XCY, the directions are just plain WRONG. Well, the directions aren't wrong the guys at the factory who have been putting the index sticker in the wrong place are wrong. Take the OTA off, flip the DEC drive around 180 and put the OTA back on and try again. You should know if you have it right b/c that smaller support screw that holds the dovetail will be aimed in a way that it prevents the OTA's dovetail from sliding back due to gravity. I have a feeling you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3812405 - 05/18/10 10:59 AM

Quote:

When the telescope is at the home position (indexes) and pointing at Polaris I can see the star in the finder.




Do not use the index marks. They are notorius for being in the wrong position. As David said, the home position is with the counterweight shaft pointing straight down from the front, and the OTA pointing towards Polaris (make sure your altitude adjustment is set to your latitude). After you get that position, you can remove and place the index marks correctly for future reference.

EDIT: Also, what version of hand controller firmware are you using? I think the latest firmware version is 4.16, IIRC.

Patrick

Edited by Patrick (05/18/10 11:02 AM)


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mclewis1
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Patrick]
      #3812590 - 05/18/10 12:10 PM

The Index marks have no bearing on alignment accuracy (aside from providing a consistent starting point). The mount has no idea where those index marks are ... they can be removed and put anywhere with no effect. The only "index" is where the scope/mount is positioned when it's powered up.

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blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Patrick]
      #3812593 - 05/18/10 12:12 PM

Hey! I just learned that my stickers for the home position are located in the wrong position on both my Celestron mounts but they are working fine. I use the three star alignment, except what the controller picks unless I can't see the star and do not add any additional calibration stars. The object I am looking for is almost always in the field of view with a low power eyepiece. NEVER used the two star alignment. I just make sure I can see Polaris through the hole in the RA shaft and do the three star alignment, that's all. Try it. Got in the habit because the two star didn't work that well with my Meade LXD 75 mount either. I had to use a three star with it too.

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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: mclewis1]
      #3812889 - 05/18/10 02:17 PM

Quote:

The mount has no idea where those index marks are ...




The hand controller assumes the starting position is the 'home' position when it goes to it's first alignment star. I've tried this many times. When the tripod is level and the counterweight shaft is pointing straight down with the altitude set correctly (essentially with the mount polar aligned..which is the 'home' position and where the index marks SHOULD be), the first goto alignment star will be very close to being in the center of the finder scope. It's not necessarily important that the first star be that close, but I've found it helps if the mount is closer to being accurately polar aligned because the software does not have to deal with as much cone error.

Patrick


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: mclewis1]
      #3813220 - 05/18/10 04:42 PM

Quote:

The only "index" is where the scope/mount is positioned when it's powered up.




Regarding the accuracy of the slew to the first alignment star, the index is whatever position was used to begin the last few successful alignments. The mount keeps track of the correction required to center the first star and compensates on future alignments. If you always use the marks, wherever they are, they will become the best initial position (that was Celestron's intent). If you always use CW shaft down instead, or move the marks to some other arbitrary location, then eventually that will become the best position and it will be just as good as if you had used the marks in the first place but no better. If you are inconsistent, then there won't be any best initial position.


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EdTheEdge
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/10/09

Loc: Lomita, CA
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #3813236 - 05/18/10 04:51 PM

I regularly SYNCH to the objects that I am observing. That seems to help GoTos or is it just my imagination????

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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #3813823 - 05/18/10 10:00 PM

Quote:

Regarding the accuracy of the slew to the first alignment star, the index is whatever position was used to begin the last few successful alignments. The mount keeps track of the correction required to center the first star and compensates on future alignments. If you always use the marks, wherever they are, they will become the best initial position (that was Celestron's intent). If you always use CW shaft down instead, or move the marks to some other arbitrary location, then eventually that will become the best position and it will be just as good as if you had used the marks in the first place but no better. If you are inconsistent, then there won't be any best initial position.




Interesting John...I never knew the hand controller was storing that kind of data.

Patrick


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Patrick]
      #3813838 - 05/18/10 10:06 PM

Quote:

.I never knew the hand controller was toring that kind of data.

Patrick




Hi, Patrick!

I never heard of another mount doing it but it was present from the beginning of the CG5-GT model; pretty neat trick.


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Patrick]
      #3814509 - 05/19/10 07:59 AM

Quote:

Quote:

When the telescope is at the home position (indexes) and pointing at Polaris I can see the star in the finder.




Do not use the index marks. They are notorius for being in the wrong position. As David said, the home position is with the counterweight shaft pointing straight down from the front, and the OTA pointing towards Polaris (make sure your altitude adjustment is set to your latitude). After you get that position, you can remove and place the index marks correctly for future reference.

EDIT: Also, what version of hand controller firmware are you using? I think the latest firmware version is 4.16, IIRC.

Patrick




It really doesn't matter where they are. The important thing is that you start from the same position _every time_.


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3815467 - 05/19/10 03:05 PM

Sometimes these mounts have some slop in the gears.. The aligment routing is supposed to accomodate it, but I have owned several LXD-55s and CG5s, and some pointed with good consistency, while others did not.

You did not say what kind of scope you have, but if it is a C8, don't expect targets to be in the center of the field of a "Low Power" eyepiece, though they should usually be somewhere in the field. For a small refractor, they should always be in the field.

In every case where the mount did NOT point with good accuracy, the problem was resolved by removing the slop in the gears.

Lock the RA clutch, then try wiggling the bottom of the counterweigth shaft East and West. If it moves more than a little bit, your worm gear may have some slop in it. Same for the DEC axis.

Again, the alignment routine is supposed to account for this slop, but in my own case, I have owned several mounts where the play was bad enough that pointing was sloppy.

Also, check that the mount is tight. If ANYTHING is shifting because of loose screws, this will also kill your pointing.

Good luck.

Ed


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ZMass
sage


Reged: 11/07/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Eddgie]
      #3815716 - 05/19/10 04:58 PM

I didn't see mention already - scope pointing below the horizon is a tell-tale sign of power issues. If you haven't already, try a known good power supply. The mile-long cigarette lighter plug is one of the weak links.

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magnus
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/17/04

Loc: Visby, Sweden
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: ZMass]
      #3821999 - 05/22/10 03:05 PM

Rod!
Thanks for your advice: "Are you doing the final centering with up and rights buttons only?"
I had missed that detail and at last my 8"f/6 Newt find it`s targets on my CG-5GT. Had just given up hope that my Newt could work on the CG-5GT but now it sure does!

All the best,
Magnus


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: magnus]
      #3823396 - 05/23/10 09:31 AM

Quote:

Rod!
Thanks for your advice: "Are you doing the final centering with up and rights buttons only?"
I had missed that detail and at last my 8"f/6 Newt find it`s targets on my CG-5GT. Had just given up hope that my Newt could work on the CG-5GT but now it sure does!

All the best,
Magnus




The up/right bidness is Celestron's way of taking backlash into account--like Meade's Drive Training. You wouldn't think it could make much difference...but...yeah, it sure does.


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seeker372011
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/05/04

Loc: Sydney , Australia
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: rmollise]
      #3827396 - 05/25/10 06:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Rod!
Thanks for your advice: "Are you doing the final centering with up and rights buttons only?"
I had missed that detail and at last my 8"f/6 Newt find it`s targets on my CG-5GT. Had just given up hope that my Newt could work on the CG-5GT but now it sure does!

All the best,
Magnus




The up/right bidness is Celestron's way of taking backlash into account--like Meade's Drive Training. You wouldn't think it could make much difference...but...yeah, it sure does.



yes it is incredibly important-I found that you cant autoguide well unless you follow this mantra

it eventually becomes second nature-I find myself doing it even on my EQ6 now


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xcy
sage


Reged: 05/15/06

Loc: Europe
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: seeker372011]
      #3841829 - 06/01/10 11:27 PM

What is the correct procedure to add new alignment and calibration stars in case I chooce the wrong ones without having to power off and on the mount again?

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Chris Rowland
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/28/05

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3842055 - 06/02/10 03:58 AM

Select a star you wish to use.
Press the align button
Select Replace Alignment Stars or Replace Calib Stars
Follow the instructions on the screen.

It's more or less like that, this is from memory.

Chris


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Terrance
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/11/04

Loc: Near Portland Or.
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Chris Rowland]
      #3843729 - 06/02/10 10:55 PM

You select the star you want to use for a replacement, and send the scope there. then return to the top of the menu, and press the align button. If you want to replace an alignment star hit alignment stars, and you will be given an option to "replace..." with the star you selected, and then you simply center and hit enter. If you want to replace a Calibration star, select "calibration stars" instead of alignment stars, and do the same thing.

Note I have had bad luck "replacing" a solar system alignment that stared with either the moon or sun, but no difficulty with replacing a solar system alignment that began with a planet.


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xcy
sage


Reged: 05/15/06

Loc: Europe
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: Terrance]
      #3866716 - 06/15/10 04:37 PM

I finally got the chance to try the mount again tonight with a 6" f/5 Newtonian and this time I choose only two alignment stars and one calibration star. First alignment star was Regulus which was out of the field of view of the finder and second was Mizar which was inside the field of view of the finder, but not in the eyepiece. Calibration star was Vega which was way off. However, alignment was succesfull and every object I tried to locate was in the center of the field of view (except the ones I could not see, which were probably there too).

Is the first calibration star supposed to be out of the field of view of the finder and so far away?

This was also my first attempt to use the mount with a 12V 12Ah rechargeable battery. The session lasted about two hours and I did approximately 50 GOTOs with no apparent problems, but I was wondering if the use of such battery could cause a problem to the mount.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3866909 - 06/15/10 06:21 PM

Quote:

Is the first calibration star supposed to be out of the field of view of the finder and so far away?




The accuracy of the first calibration star slew is dependent on the quality of the initial polar alignment, and on the orthogonality of the mount and optical tube. If polar alignment is off, or if the mount axes aren't square to each other, or if the tube isn't square to the mount, or if the optical axis of the telescope isn't aligned with the tube, the first cal star can be way off. That's a lot of variables. That's why the cal stars exist; without them, all goto operations on one side of the meridian would be subject to those errors.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: xcy]
      #3867827 - 06/16/10 07:56 AM

Quote:



Is the first calibration star supposed to be out of the field of view of the finder and so far away?






It MAY be. For best results, I usually keep adding cal stars until a cal star is in the eyepiece field of the main scope, or at least centered in the finder, which usually happens on the third star.

If, however, you are pleased with the results you are getting with just one cal star, there's no need to worry further. Sounds like your battery is workin' jus' fine.


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k1uhf
member


Reged: 03/11/10

Loc: PA
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: magnus]
      #4437917 - 03/09/11 04:33 PM

I have a CG5-GT with a 9.25 on it. Ever since I purchased it used it has not pointed accurately. Basically it almost never puts the object in a 40mm eyepiece and sometimes not in the finder. Also it will not go back to a calibration star after slewing to another part of the sky.

I have had this problem through two firmware upgrades. I am leveling accurately, and polar aligning with a polar scope. The power is with a fully charged lawn tractor battery and short low resistance lead.

The thing that has me going on this again is that I got a Nextar 60 GoTo for $40 on Craigslist and it works great, puts every object that can be seen in a 25 mm eyepiece consistantly.

There is much less slop in the gears on the CG5 than the little Nexstar too.

I wonder if there is something I am missing with the intial setup after a firmware update or if my mount has some encoder error problem. I don't want to send it back to Celestron, they will probably want to charge more than I paid for it.

Any ideas?


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: k1uhf]
      #4438170 - 03/09/11 06:35 PM

Quote:

I have a CG5-GT with a 9.25 on it. Ever since I purchased it used it has not pointed accurately. Basically it almost never puts the object in a 40mm eyepiece and sometimes not in the finder. Also it will not go back to a calibration star after slewing to another part of the sky.

I have had this problem through two firmware upgrades. I am leveling accurately, and polar aligning with a polar scope. The power is with a fully charged lawn tractor battery and short low resistance lead.

The thing that has me going on this again is that I got a Nextar 60 GoTo for $40 on Craigslist and it works great, puts every object that can be seen in a 25 mm eyepiece consistantly.

There is much less slop in the gears on the CG5 than the little Nexstar too.

I wonder if there is something I am missing with the intial setup after a firmware update or if my mount has some encoder error problem. I don't want to send it back to Celestron, they will probably want to charge more than I paid for it.

Any ideas?




Neither leveling nor polar aligning nor firware updating will have a signicant effect on go-to accuracy. What will?

--Always do final centering of alignment stars using up and right only.

--Be sure you are centering the correct star.

--Always start out with a fully charged battery.

--If you haven't done so, try a factory reset, too.


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k1uhf
member


Reged: 03/11/10

Loc: PA
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: rmollise]
      #4439393 - 03/10/11 09:11 AM

Yes thanks, Doing all of that. I might mention that I must use stars that are more than 30 deg above the horizon due to trees.

I just wonder why the little Nextar is so much better and why the big one will not go back and forth between the last two calibration stars and even put them in the finder?

The inability for it to go back and forth between the last two calibration stars, onese that are either side of the meridian, seems to indicate some problem. Maybe I have huge mirror flop, encoder mis-reading. Just seems like it should be able to point better than the low end model I also have.

Thanks
Del


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skywolf856
sage


Reged: 01/25/08

Loc: SE Michigan
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: k1uhf]
      #4440832 - 03/10/11 07:24 PM

Also pay attention to your time entry either standard or daylight savings.
I caught myself entering this one wrong once and my alignment stars were way off in left field.

Magnus,
My 8" f7 newt works great on this mount, just don't bump it.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: k1uhf]
      #4441724 - 03/11/11 06:25 AM

Quote:

Yes thanks, Doing all of that. I might mention that I must use stars that are more than 30 deg above the horizon due to trees.

I just wonder why the little Nextar is so much better and why the big one will not go back and forth between the last two calibration stars and even put them in the finder?




It's not. My CG5 and those of my friends are better accuracy wise than the little NexStars, comparable to the CPC/GPS scopes. If you have a problem it's because there's something wrong with your particular mount or your setup technique. I'd check with your local club and see if there's someone there with a CG5 who can give you some hands on help.


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HowardK
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: rmollise]
      #4441916 - 03/11/11 09:36 AM

does anyone here know if the up and right button presses when finishing the centering of alignment stars also applies to the CGE PRO?

Howard


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mclewis1
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: HowardK]
      #4442341 - 03/11/11 01:20 PM

The HC code for all the Celestron gems (CG-5, CGEM, CGE, CGEPro) is the same so yes, if the HC code version is the same then a function on the CG-5 works the same as on the CGEPro.

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HowardK
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: mclewis1]
      #4442531 - 03/11/11 03:02 PM

Thanks......there is no mention of this in the manual that came with the CGE PRO

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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: HowardK]
      #4442668 - 03/11/11 04:16 PM

The up and right thing is essential on the single-arm forkmounts (no worm drives). It was on those that this fix was discovered. It helps on the CG5-GT (inexpensive worm drives). I've never seen it to matter on the better drives of the CGE and wouldn't expect it to matter on the Pro, either.

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HowardK
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Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4442849 - 03/11/11 06:01 PM

Oh.......so who is right?........does the up and right press matter for the CGE PRO?.......anyone tested this for sure?.......how will i know if it has any benefits next time out?

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mclewis1
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Re: Can't accurately star align CG5-GT new [Re: HowardK]
      #4442890 - 03/11/11 06:28 PM

There's no right or wrong ... the function is there. The less slop or backlash present the less valuable the function is.

Is it useful on a CGEPro? ... try it and see if your alignments are any more accurate.


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