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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6355485 - 02/04/14 12:51 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For some reason 10Micron has chosen a very different route than e.g. SB, AP and ASA. They are spending a lot of money and resources developing well functioning and reliable software to their mounts and customers. Maybe Per can explain why...




That is simply not true. That statement assumes that everything about a mount should be done in a personal computer, or similar, running Microsoft Windows. 10Micron has a different approach.

First of all, I think 10Micron were kind of caught by surprise at what kind of response and attention their product got. Therefore, they were a bit slow at the onset of things.

Second, you have to consider that they DID develop their own software for modelling the sky and all the other factors that Autoslew, TPoint Protrack and what have you do in the PC. The difference is that they put it into the mount, in the process making it self-contained and PC independent. It's all there, right in the firmware, available from the hand control or your computer, be it Mac, Linux, VMS, Windows or DECSystem-20/Tops-20.

They also had the good taste of putting an Ethernet port on the mount so that you do not have to use a serial connection to talk to it, making it RS232- and USB-free. That's on par with sugar-free soda, Chlorofluorocarbon-free refrigerators and duty-free booze.

So, the only thing lacking from the manufacturer is an automated slew-click-solve-sync software. The rest is there - in the mount.

I started on Model Maker quite some time ago without having seen anything like that in action. Jonas Grinde (another 10Micron owner in Sweden) and I figured it would be cool to PC-automate it, so we formed the ideas, figured on some approaches. I wrote the code, we both tested and gave feedback to the process, and came up with new features along the way. Since I am still alive and in good health, I respond quickly to issues and try to fix them fast. Usually much faster than you can expect from a larger company. So, there are many things to consider, not just the size of the company supporting the product. Should I, one day, decide not to go on supporting or developing Model Maker, I will simply send the manila envelope that very day and Baader Planetarium can go on developing it. I might even get a few bucks for it

All the best,

Per

p.s. I will make a movie of Model Maker for you to watch when I get a clear sky and some time




So with a 10Micron, the benefit is that all of the advanced logic to keep it tracking as precisely as possible is encapsulated within the mount itself. Plug it into a network via ethernet, polar align, model your skies with Model Maker and update the mount...and from that point on, all you really need is observatory control software. No guiding, no TPoint. You could basically get away with just SkyX on your computer at home and nothing else.

I have to admit, it sounds very convenient! Simplicity is always a good thing.

Well, I think it'll come down to 10Micron and Paramount in the end. I like the quality of AP's offerings, but it sounds like they've been working on things like absolute encoders and APCC for a good long while, and it hasn't really fully arrived yet in a complete, cohesive and hopefully fully encapsulated package. (Really sounds like 10Micron has the most cohesive and encapsulated package available.) Maybe within a couple years when I'm finally ready to build an observatory they will have ironed out all the details and have a complete package available.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: GIR]
      #6355499 - 02/04/14 12:58 PM

I fail to see the incentive for a company that manufacturers mounts to make software that is already available off the shelf commercially or even for free unless the software itself can be sold as a stand alone product with its own profit. There are plenty of companies out there with plate solving software that will work with an ASCOM compliant mount just as there are plenty of companies that product observatory automation software and hardware. Are more programs needed, particularly if there are already some excellent software packages available? Why compete in that area if it is not really part of your business and particularly if it requires the use of equipment (like cameras) that are definitely not part of your business.

Business decisions are made on the basis of competition and profit potential. If all you can do is make the exact same thing that someone else is making, why bother unless there is some specific reason that you can make it better and make money on it. Yes, there is a company that, by themselves, makes and entire package, but they are a software company that makes mounts, not a mount company that makes software. All the others currently rely on other companies software for plate solving or have someone from the outside write the program for them. That is strictly a business decision that has nothing to do with the quality or the functionality of the product they produce themselves. In addition, while it might be nice to have an additional piece of software to go with a piece of equipment a company sells, thinking that it would just be added in for free when it cost the company money to produce is wishful thinking. Everything that is included with a piece of equipment has a cost to the consumer at some level if a company wants to make money and survive. We all benefit from the work of people like Per who develop software like his an provide it for little or no money. If Per wanted to, I'm sure that he could sell his software as is to Baader or expand it to cover other mounts and sell it for more.


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Tonk
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/19/04

Loc: Leeds, UK, 54N
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: EFT]
      #6355639 - 02/04/14 02:03 PM

Quote:

I have to admit, it sounds very convenient! Simplicity is always a good thing.




Yes - which is exactly why I wound up with a 10 Micron. Its uber simple. Note - I've yet to use the ethernet port. I'm still using it as a total stand-a-lone system and liking it that way.

In fact my only planned use for ethernet port is to upload firmware upgrades.

Quote:

I fail to see the incentive for a company that manufacturers mounts to make software that is already available off the shelf commercially or even for free unless the software itself can be sold as a stand alone product with its own profit.




Hear hear! +1

Like Per I'm 55 and run my own software company and grew up on VAX/VMS. I'm abolutely certain at some point I'll be creating some additional and useful software to do something with my 10Micron. But until I find an serious itch that only I want to scratch I will be using all that great software out there thats already been written if and when I find it would be useful to me . Right now I'm enjoying the 10Micron "stand-a-lone"


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6355696 - 02/04/14 02:34 PM

Quote:

Well, I think it'll come down to 10Micron and Paramount in the end.




This is interesting. In my head, I put these two strategies at complete opposite ends of the premium mount spectrum.

10Micron is at the one end, with everything integrated into the mount controller. It would make a great portable setup.

Paramount is as far away from this as you can get, where the mount offers extremely basic operation through a hand controller, but requires a complex, vertically integrated stack of software running on a computer in order for it to provide any real functionality. It distances itself from the others in permanent - and remote - observatories.

I think that they are both great mounts (as are the others often mentioned on this thread). I guess that I just don't understand your goals well enough to lead me to the same conclusion.


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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6355740 - 02/04/14 02:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Well, I think it'll come down to 10Micron and Paramount in the end.




This is interesting. In my head, I put these two strategies at complete opposite ends of the premium mount spectrum.

10Micron is at the one end, with everything integrated into the mount controller. It would make a great portable setup.

Paramount is as far away from this as you can get, where the mount offers extremely basic operation through a hand controller, but requires a complex, vertically integrated stack of software running on a computer in order for it to provide any real functionality. It distances itself from the others in permanent - and remote - observatories.

I think that they are both great mounts (as are the others often mentioned on this thread). I guess that I just don't understand your goals well enough to lead me to the same conclusion.




Well, I guess that's why I've narrowed it to those two options. To me, between AP and 10Micron, I do honestly feel 10Micron is currently the better offering. I see AP trying to get there, but it doesn't seem as though they have yet. The 10Micron HPS mounts seem very complete, thoroughly covering all the bases in an integrated device. In that respect, it seems very modern.

On the flip side, there is Paramount. It's the alternative approach, exactly as you've said...simple mount, allowing software to control it. I see some advantages in that...since software controls the mount, technically speaking, you have an easier path to enhancing functionality and adding to it as new things are discovered. All it takes is a quick update to your software, and you could suddenly have more functionality at your fingertips, especially if that functionality requires a certain amount of available clock cycles and horse power to operate correctly (you might even have a GPU available for advanced computations on a PC, where as a mount is likely going to be limited in processing power).

Having not used either mount yet, it seems logical to me to put the contest between two ends of the spectrum. I like what 10Micron offers, but I'm not sure if it is as flexible. I like the potential software flexibility of Bisque's TPoint ProTrack technology (maybe that's just because I'm a software developer, I understand that realm better), and I like what appears to be a long reputation among remote observatory owners, but it is more complicated.

If I whittled it down to 10Micron and Astro-Physics...they kind of seem like the same thing in terms of what they offer, and I'm already a little partial to 10Micron as it seems to be a more complete and refined product. (Knowing that Per provides Model Maker as donationware is an added bonus for 10Micron, too.) So basically, if those were my only options, the choice is already made...10Micron.


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6355827 - 02/04/14 03:40 PM

It seems like you are looking at this from a technology point of view. In that light, I can understand what you are saying.

My point is that, from a workflow and setup point of view, they really don't compare that closely to each other. If you stop and consider what a typical night of imaging looks like, it might make the choice more clear.

For example, are you going to be using a portable setup or observatory. How much scope are you planning on mounting? If portable, can you leave it set up for many nights, or do you need to do a complete setup/teardown each night? If an observatory, are you planning to be out in the observatory for the entire session? Are you planning on doing a manual setup and then let the mount take images unattended? Are you planning on full automation so that you can do the entire session unattended?

Also, it seem like you are attracted to the idea of unguided imaging. My own point of view on this (and I'm certain that many others on this thread have a different view...that's ok), is that the technology to do unguided imaging is advancing rapidly, but I still think that it's in the early adopter stage (disclosure, I am working on getting reliable unguided imaging myself). I feel like the current, dependable state of the art is with OAG guiding and a very lightweight, high sensitivity guide camera (ie. Lodestar, QHY5L-ii, etc.) While guiding many seem more complicated, it is a well established system and is simple and reliable to do. I leave my OAG and guide camera permanently attached to my main camera. It's a matter of attaching it to the scope, plugging in a couple of cables and going (my automation automatically calibrates the guider with a single click).

I don't think that you could go wrong with any of the options you are considering. But I am guessing that if you started with a more entry level mount (which I know you are considering), it might help you to learn how you want to work, which would make the choice clearer.

Anyway, that's just my two cents,
-Wade


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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6355934 - 02/04/14 04:48 PM

Quote:

It seems like you are looking at this from a technology point of view. In that light, I can understand what you are saying.

My point is that, from a workflow and setup point of view, they really don't compare that closely to each other. If you stop and consider what a typical night of imaging looks like, it might make the choice more clear.

For example, are you going to be using a portable setup or observatory. How much scope are you planning on mounting? If portable, can you leave it set up for many nights, or do you need to do a complete setup/teardown each night? If an observatory, are you planning to be out in the observatory for the entire session? Are you planning on doing a manual setup and then let the mount take images unattended? Are you planning on full automation so that you can do the entire session unattended?

Also, it seem like you are attracted to the idea of unguided imaging. My own point of view on this (and I'm certain that many others on this thread have a different view...that's ok), is that the technology to do unguided imaging is advancing rapidly, but I still think that it's in the early adopter stage (disclosure, I am working on getting reliable unguided imaging myself). I feel like the current, dependable state of the art is with OAG guiding and a very lightweight, high sensitivity guide camera (ie. Lodestar, QHY5L-ii, etc.) While guiding many seem more complicated, it is a well established system and is simple and reliable to do. I leave my OAG and guide camera permanently attached to my main camera. It's a matter of attaching it to the scope, plugging in a couple of cables and going (my automation automatically calibrates the guider with a single click).

I don't think that you could go wrong with any of the options you are considering. But I am guessing that if you started with a more entry level mount (which I know you are considering), it might help you to learn how you want to work, which would make the choice clearer.

Anyway, that's just my two cents,
-Wade




Thanks for taking the time to offer your thoughts. I do appreciate it.

First, starting with an entry level mount is guaranteed. I really do want to learn the specifics before I poor tens of thousands of dollars into this. I have basic skill at the moment, only with untracked stuff and solar system stuff. I have a moderate amount of post-processing technique. I need a LOT more time with longer exposures to explore all the options at this level.

I do have a general idea of what I want to do over the long term, though. I very much like the idea of automation to some degree, maybe full automation (I think spending time with a telescope and doing some astrophotography will give me a better idea of exactly how for to take it.) I'm working on starting a business (web design & development as well as web site and service hosting), and I expect it to consume the majority of my time in the long run, so unattended imaging to some degree is probably going to be necessary if I really want to do AP over the long term.

Hence the thoughts about an automated observatory a couple/few years down the road. I need high speed internet and potentially close access to a data center, so living in the city is probably a given for the foreseeable future. That means I'll need to put an observatory off-site under dark skies with remote control if I really want to do AP on a regular basis. When it comes to an observatory, I don't want to have to drive out to it, wherever it is, once it's up and running if I can avoid it. So a mount that can recover from momentary issues is kind of where Paramount came into play. (I didn't really know 10Micron offered the same kind of modeling as TPoint & ProTrack until today, and it's absolute encoders are even better.)

If there is an option that will give me largely unattended control of a remote observatory, offer good guided performance up to 10 minutes at least, 20 minutes preferable, and not require me to drive out to it on a regular basis to deal with potential issues, I'd love to hear about it. Even though I have big plans, spending $20,000 on a mount is still a daunting proposition (spending $13,000 on a photography lens was pretty daunting, and I spent a year renting and evaluating Canon supertele L-series lenses before I finally made a decision.) If there is a middle ground option that will serve my goals, I want to hear about it.

As far as an observatory itself goes, I think I'd like to build one here in Colorado. Plenty of good dark sky sites. I've heard of New Mexico Skies, but I don't know much of anything about them, what it costs, etc. I have some options here in Colorado where it could be relatively cheap to build my own observatory on some family land. I may also be able to buy some land in the same general area, and the skies there are very dark, darker than rural. (Worst part about colorado is seeing, lot of jetstream activity here, but SBIG adaptive optics might help take care of that.)

I do understand the capabilities of guiding an OAG today. The STT-8300m with the guider/filter wheel is one of the things on my list for future evaluation. Sounds like one the best devices for the job, although I am still discovering the players in the Astro CCD market. I actually figure I'll probably set up the scope with both an OAG and a guider on a separate guidescope to cover all bases.

One of Moonlight's beautiful Crayford focusers is also on my list for focus automation.

As far as OTAs go, I think an Astro-Tech 16" RC Truss is probably it. I'd love a PlaneWave CDK, but their 14" is $15k and the 17" is $22k, so I dunno. Seems less likely, as much as I love how their IQ sounds, I think the cost/benefit curve is a little too steep for an amateur like myself. With Astro-Tech bringing cost-effective RC truss scopes to the market, something in the 20" range may even be very viable.

Long term plan in terms of actual AP is to do it all...plain visual light, LRGB, Ha+RGB, and narrow band imaging.


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6356370 - 02/04/14 08:55 PM

Since you rented lenses why not rent a scope. iTelescopes.net is where I rented. It will give you an idea of how a premium mount works. And they're an all Paramount shop.

I will admit once I rented, I began seriously questioning why I had all this equipment. Certainly $50 an hour ain't cheap. But that's at dark skies with very good seeing. If I look at how much imaging time I put into my ($15k odd worth of) gear, the rental actually comes cheap.

if you rent and THEN buy a low end mount... you will immediately get *BLEEP* off. Then you'll understand why we're all recommending premium mounts.


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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6356471 - 02/04/14 09:30 PM

Quote:

Since you rented lenses why not rent a scope. iTelescopes.net is where I rented. It will give you an idea of how a premium mount works. And they're an all Paramount shop.

I will admit once I rented, I began seriously questioning why I had all this equipment. Certainly $50 an hour ain't cheap. But that's at dark skies with very good seeing. If I look at how much imaging time I put into my ($15k odd worth of) gear, the rental actually comes cheap.

if you rent and THEN buy a low end mount... you will immediately get *BLEEP* off. Then you'll understand why we're all recommending premium mounts.




I've considered renting. But, you pretty much nailed it on the head...I don't really want to get spoiled until I'm closer to the time when I'll actually be able to furnish myself with some good gear.

And, $50/hr is pretty darn expensive...that would be at least $400 for one full night... Also, if you rent telescope time (which is what I assume iTelescopes.net is...at the moment, that site isn't loading, and when I disable my ad-blocker, it seems to be a dead domain), your really just using a remote scope, and not really getting the hands-on kind of experience I'd prefer. (If iTelescopes actually rents the equipment *out* to you, that's another story...but if that was the case, I'd be very worried that once I rented, the sky would inevitably be cloudy that night! )

With photography gear, I was lucky. I spent around $400-$600 for a whole WEEKS worth of time with the lenses I tried out, which included the EF 300mm f/2.8 II, EF 500mm f/4 II, and EF 600mm f/4 II. For lower end lenses like the EF 300 f/4 L and EF 70-200 f/2.8 L II, it was around $100 for a weeks rental. A lot more cost effective. In one case, I had actually won a photo contest, and the cost of the rental for two weeks was entirely covered as a reward.


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6356816 - 02/05/14 12:48 AM

1) it's iTelescope.net

2) the $50/hour is for imaging time, time spent slewing, plate-solving, and focusing aren't included. In my experience, the equivalent of 3 hours of rent time, is an entire night if you set up yourself.

Still, I agree, spending $150 in one night is daunting. this is why I still have my gear.

but consider: if you go to a dark sky site 2 nights a month (new moon weekend) and spend a total of 10 hours (5x2) imaging. You do this for 8 months a year (you can't image when it's raining or snowing). That's 80 hours a year, or $4000/year.

if you bought comparable gear (at least $20k to $25k) your break-even point would be around 6 years.

Now me.. I don't even get out once a month. more like once a year. I do spend maybe 5 nights a month doing balcony imaging - but that doesn't compare to being under dark skies.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6357236 - 02/05/14 09:19 AM

This started as Arnie Rosner's rent-a-scope run by New Mexico Skies- all the remote stuff, SB paramounts and really good seeing with a staff to look after any crashes. They actually started as a bed and breakfast with observing on the side, and the observing business just grew. Now, they've shut down the bed and breakfast except to long time visitors and are fully a remote observatory.

What I would not recommend is Slooh. It claims to be something similar, and the software is pretty nice, but in practice there is just very limited capability.

But yes, this is a lot like the airstream conundrum: the price of an airstream trailer and trailer parking fees pays for an awful lot of nights in hotels with none of the hassles of an RV, even in four star hotels. You've really got to be using it a lot for the rental not to be cheaper.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (02/05/14 09:21 AM)


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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6358680 - 02/05/14 10:51 PM

Quote:

That's 80 hours a year, or $4000/year.

if you bought comparable gear (at least $20k to $25k) your break-even point would be around 6 years.





True. However, when you amortize the cost of the equipment over a period of decades, rather than a mere 6 years, and purchasing it becomes the far more cost effective option. If I start AP now, I have at least 40 years or more to invest my time in it. At a cost of $30,000, that's roughly $5000 a year for 6 years, but only $750 a year for 40 years.

Quote:


Now me.. I don't even get out once a month. more like once a year. I do spend maybe 5 nights a month doing balcony imaging - but that doesn't compare to being under dark skies.




That's a bummer, to get so little time outside.

I do expect to be able to spend at least one night a week under dark skies, and I also intend to use a light pollution reduction filter at home for imaging there on a far more frequent basis. Winter is a tough time, lot of weather. Summers here in Colorado can be pretty devoid of weather...other than a dry heat and the rather infrequent afternoon thunderstorms that usually clear up and move on before the sun has even set...so it's actually a pretty good time to do imaging. If I have the time, I could spend almost every night of the week imaging something in the months from May through October, there are probably around 140 nights to image. Winter's a tossup, but November and December, while cold, tend to be clearer than January through April. Possibly as much as another 50 nights, or partial nights, throughout those days. I'm not too concerned about being able to get good use out of my own equipment.

All that would really matter is spending the time to actually do it, however with an automated setup, that would certainly make it a hell of a lot easier to try.


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6358899 - 02/06/14 01:30 AM

Backyard astrophotography is quite doable. I use my balcony and have a metal pier on it with the GM1000HPS and a 190MN, a scope which I took down last night in order to be able to try out the new 130 f/5.2 refractor that arrives today.

I live 16 km from the very center of Stockholm, a city of 880,000 (city, 1.4M urban area). The community is in the direction towards the ocean, as far as you can get before taking a bath, and has the advantage of a large forest between it and the city. So light polluted it is, but not that bad.

Having a fixed pier and the equipment under a properly fixed canvas bag is definitely a workable solution. It survives even the harshest weather, especially if you leave the things with power on.

Being a remote guy, I have the computer out on the balcony and network connection to the cabinet and the mount. I use CCD Autopilot on that rig because of its relative simplicity; there is no need for ACP since I have to remove the canvas bag each night anyway and can't automate that.

If clouds persist for more than 20 minutes during an imaging night, an alarm sounds in the bedroom and I, or my wife if I am away, can get up and bag the rig. This kind of setup can be applied to a backyard scenario as well.

Going to a remote site is, in my opinion, a hassle as it involves a lot of fiddling. Should I choose to go for a remote trip I would go somewhere that has a bed and use the same principle, i.e. run it automated with a a cloud alarm. Read "sleep" into that

What I want to say with all this is that it is perfectly feasible to image under semi-urban skies, and that you do not have to pack your stuff into the house every night. And you do not have to stay up and ruin the day after! Besides, if you go narrow band you are more or less immune to light pollution.

Some people get a total chock when I show how my gear is kept, but I can assure you that if the mount and computer are powered up, the stuff stays alive. The canvas bag has to be water tight on the outside, soft on the inside, and attached in such a way that air circulation at the bottom is at least not totally restricted. I have yet to see moisture on the mount or scope when taking the bag off; never happened. The bag was sown from a barbecue grill cover

Here's a nice winter shot from winter before last:



Under the bag is the following:

10Micron GM2000HPS
Takahashi FSQ-106 EDX III
SBIG ST-8300M

Under the blue (temporary) cover is an isolated case with all electronics and the computer.


So, the basic message is:

Make your garden or balcony a fixed observatory with a "manual roof" and maximize your imaging time.



And finally, an M101, shot from the balcony sing an unguided GM1000HPS, a Skywatcher 190MN and a QSI 683 (filters from Astrodon). Just to show that it can be done from near-city locations





All the best,

Per


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6358916 - 02/06/14 01:50 AM

I gotta get me one of those bags... B-)

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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6358947 - 02/06/14 02:13 AM

Haha, yes, Orly, they do work. Buy a zipper, a BBQ cover and go at it

/per


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6358960 - 02/06/14 02:22 AM

I'd be more worried about someone stealing or damaging my equipment while I'm at work than weather... But that is mighty convenient. Glad it works for you.

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6358961 - 02/06/14 02:22 AM

Cheaper than the telegizmos cover.

So is your camera also powered up under that cover?


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6358984 - 02/06/14 02:59 AM

A comment to everyone on the covers. I went with the BBQ cover, but it did not afford the best protection in my opinion. I went with the Telegizmos 365 cover and my LX850 has been outdoors since mid-October with no problems. When I am on travel I remove the OTA. When in town I have the OTA and sometimes the cameras hooked up. So before sunset I just remove the cover, hook up the laptop, turn on the LX850 and I am ready for an evening of observing and/or picture taking. If it is cold out, I just remotely control from my office inside.

Now I hope to start work on a roll off roof or a PODMax this fall.

Security - there is almost always someone at home, though the LX850 is not necessarily a grab and go for thieves.


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6358996 - 02/06/14 03:13 AM

The BBQ worked fine here. I had some help from the little wife

The camera is powered off during observatory shutdown tasks. The dew heater is left on as is the mount. Obviously, the computer runs 24/7.

Mount power is good to have on as it keeps the mechanics a little warmer than ambient. You do not want the grease to go cold on you. Later versions of 10Micron firmware supports pre-heating of the system, so then no movement is initiated until the motors have heated up the mount a bit. Haven't tried it yet, though.

/per


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Jon Rista
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6359162 - 02/06/14 07:36 AM

Thanks for the post, Per! First...I have to say, that's a healthy amount of snow you got there! I haven't seen that kind of snow since 2011 (although it's definitely been colder since.)

I like your idea, a makeshift backyard observatory with remote control. The zipper cover makes it quite convenient. Out of curiosity, what is the power draw when the whole setup is in "standby"? The computer and the dew heater? (Colorado is so arid I don't know that I need a dew heater on all the time...humidity here is usually around 16%, and at the "worst" of times it might get up to 60%.)

I do plan to do some backyard imaging, but my hard is relatively small, and surrounded by trees, so I have a relatively narrow view of the sky...from maybe 75° up from the east, to maybe 50° up from the west at best. I have houses all around me, so maybe 65° from the southern horizon and then again maybe 75° up from the northern horizon. That's my view of the sky from my backyard (and the front yard is plagues with multiple sodium street lamps.) That does cover the best part of the sky directly overhead, and I guess if I need to I can image over multiple nights. There is also a state park nearby (only about 5 minutes away) where I can take the scope if I need more visibility across a wider region of sky.

I do have one question about your setup, with that protective bag (love the idea). How does wind affect it? When your imaging off the balcony like that, is there much wind? If there is, does the 10Micron mount with its encoders compensate? My property is smack in the middle of a fairly strong wind channel. I've actually had to repair my fence a couple times. A couple years ago 60mph sustained wind speeds with 75mph gusting actually blew my entire fence down...snapped off all the posts right at the base! :\ I guess wind is my biggest concern about going down the "protective bag" route. Unless I actually bolt the mount directly to my deck, and even then, with high winds the stresses on such a setup would be fairly considerable. Maybe some kind of makeshift little observatory built out of a small pre-made shed or something like that...


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