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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6376866 - 02/14/14 09:17 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

Well, that layer of high clouds just killed Polaris, and the moon popped over the horizon a little while ago. I think that's it for tonight. :\

I am still having some weird problems with the polar scope. When the mount is powered off, I can't see the diagram, and stars are still blurred and warped. When the mount is powered on, I see a bright red background with the diagram overlayed on it in black (see image). I had expected the diagram to light up red, but for the polar scope to otherwise remain transparent. I honestly cannot figure how anyone could align a star with the while field being illuminated red like this... Is this how it's supposed to look? Or was my original expectation, that the diagram would glow red and the field remain clear, correct? (BTW, there does not seem to be a function in the hand controller to reduce the brightness of the red LED...it just seems to be fixed at this very high, non-transparent brightness...)

Edited by Jon Rista (02/14/14 09:20 PM)


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terry59
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6376881 - 02/14/14 09:31 PM

I haven't used my hand controller in a long time but you can adjust the LED brightness with it. I have a small headlamp with a red light that I use. Got it at Wal-Mart. I don't understand the focus issue though

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: terry59]
      #6376928 - 02/14/14 10:03 PM

Quote:

I haven't used my hand controller in a long time but you can adjust the LED brightness with it. I have a small headlamp with a red light that I use. Got it at Wal-Mart. I don't understand the focus issue though




Any idea how you adjust the LED brightness? I've been over and over all the settings...I couldn't find anything that controlled the finder scope LED. I did find some settings that control the brightness of the hand controller backlight and keypad LEDs, but that was it.


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6377550 - 02/15/14 11:01 AM

Figured out how to dim the LED. Turns out the option was in a different area of the controller firmware than the manuals and everyone on the internet said it was. I've dimmed it to 8%, and that seems to work well.

I also believe I've figured out how to focus the polar scope. The eyepiece focuses on the reticule. To focus on the stars, you actually have to pull the scope out, unlock the objective tube, and focus that. It's a quirky trial and error process. I tried using city lights from about 5-7 miles away. I think I managed to get them focused fairly well...just hoping that is sufficient enough for collimated starlight.

Looks like 9pm Sunday is supposed to be nice and clear. The moon will still be up, but I'm hoping I can get polar alignment done and get GOTO aligned, and start playing with using the software on my tablet to control everything. I experimented with the guide scope last night with PHD2, pretty nice little device.


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tclehman1969
sage
*****

Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378412 - 02/15/14 07:45 PM

That is a "fix" I wish they would make -- have the LED light up the trace of the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia. But, you work with what you have. Glad you found how bright -- or dim -- to set the LED. I had forgotten until I read your post that was the first thing I did as it was far too bright.

It's a fun mount, though! I know on mine it sounded horrible when slewing, but a little tweaking and adjusting the gears and voila! Sounds pretty good and no binding! I've been really happy with it, it's a beast, and just feels like it is completely adequate, more so, in fact. I only put on a C8 with its stuff (finder, light accessories) and I know there will never be a question about the load. And it's totally stable and I am just starting some astrophotography work with it, too.

Can't wait to hear what your first light impressions are, keep us posted!


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6378463 - 02/15/14 08:31 PM

I can't wait to learn what my first impressions are! :P

Preliminary impressions are that it seems to be a well-built mount. It feels very solid. The tripod seems more sturdy than what I'd seen with the CGEM...I guess that extra 1/4" is worth it. It is definitely complicated. I spent a solid 30 minutes today centering the reticule in the polar finder again today, as somehow it became misaligned. I certainly hope that doesn't happen often, as centering that is not particularly easy.

I've heard of alternative approaches to aligning....an iterative polar alignment? Has anyone done that with an Atlas EQ-G? Is it easier to iteratively polar align than to use the polar scope? It sounds like an iterative polar alignment is basically what you get when using Align Master...so I'll have to give that a try.

Oh, one thing that I am a little worried about...even though I have been able to connect my computer to the mount, ASCOM is not always able to see it. I think it saw it a couple times the first day, but since then I have not been able to get anything on the computer to connect to or control the mount. That's my current troubleshooting problem...hopefully I'll have it worked out soon.


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378587 - 02/15/14 09:41 PM

You can't really do an iterative alignment. There's no real sync command. You can use the polar scope OR you can use Polar Realignment (AllStar Polar Alignment), which is built into the HC.

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Planemo
sage


Reged: 08/07/10

Loc: Alabama Gulf Coast
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378598 - 02/15/14 09:47 PM

Quote:


Preliminary impressions are that it seems to be a well-built mount. It feels very solid. The tripod seems more sturdy than what I'd seen with the CGEM...




One trick I learned on my Atlas to make the tripod more rigid is to tighten knob that holds the mount on then tighten the spreader nut, then kick the legs out with your foot gently, recheck the spreader nut and it will be loose!!! do this until it doesn't get loose after you kick the legs out, the mount will stay in position much better this way and won't settle and get out of polar alignment after a few hr's. I'm looking forward to see what that 600mm lens can do!!!


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tclehman1969
sage
*****

Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: rmollise]
      #6378693 - 02/15/14 10:50 PM

Yeah, I've had good luck with the Polar Realignment routine. You do your 1, 2 or 3 star align and after that you scroll through those and the realignment shows up. I've only used it a couple times but it has worked pretty well. Still not perfect, though.

Question for anybody who knows, has anyone ever tried the star drift procedure with these mounts?


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6378859 - 02/16/14 01:37 AM

Ok, I'm a little baffled at this point. The sky was supposed to be cloudy tonight, however it's ended up being remarkably clear. Despite the moon, a lot of stars are quite visible.

So, I polar aligned, and have been trying to 3-star align for a couple hours now. I've been trying to align on Dubhe, Mizar, and something like Algol. I haven't been able to really get started, for a couple reasons. First, aside from Dubhe and Mizar, I couldn't actually find any other stars in the alignment star list that were above the horizon and on the opposite side of the meridian...I know a decent number of stars, but most of the ones I know that were in the sky tonight were not on the list.

I decided to give Dubhe and Mizar a try. For some reason, the mount seems to be off by almost 180°, but not exactly. It slews to roughly the opposite side of Polaris from where Dubhe should be. The Dec ring shows 61° like it should only on the opposite side, and as far as I can tell RA is about 11h (rough guess). If I manually slew the scope to point at Dubhe, and center it in my camera viewfinder (I'm using the 7D's Spot AF to produce a very small square in the center of the VF, so I know when I'm totally centered), Dec is ~59° and RA is around 20h. Once I set Dubhe, Mizar clocks in almost perfectly, however then I'm stuck without any stars in the alignment list to use for the third alignment star. (There was an Algenib listed, however I believe that is for Pegasus, not the star in Perseus that is sometimes alternatively named Algenib, and when I chose that the scope definitely slewed to a point below the horizon).

I tried a 2-star alignment once, using Dubhe and Mizar, however the mount (rather appropriately, I believe) said the RA axis was off by > 45°, and alignment failed.

I've gone through and tried to reverify information:

Lat: 39° 18' 53"
Long: -104° 22' 08"
TZone: -7:00
Time: 23:15:30
Daylight Savings: No

I get a Polaris hour angle display, and a "Clock" (not really sure what the clock is). BTW, after focusing my polar scope last night on city lights, stars are PERFECT pinpoint spots, and alignment was a total breeze when using the latest PolarFinder v1.0.0. I aligned the diagram according to PolarFinder, dialed in RA to the hour and minute indicated, adjusted Alt/Az with the bolts. Polaris sits right on top of the large circle when I spin the RA axis after that. I've checked it a couple of times since, polaris is still dead on that large circle, so I think my polar alignment is solid.

Anyway...I'm really baffled by this whole opposite sky issue. It's like the mount thinks I'm roughly on the opposite side of the earth, and assumes constellations that are currently below my horizon are above the horizon on the opposite side of the sky. I assume I have something misconfigured somehow, I'm just at a loss as to what.

Thanks for any assistance!


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T1R2
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/11/13

Loc: NeverWhere, 35*N
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378890 - 02/16/14 02:13 AM

see if you Real Time Clock has the right time, if not set it, then the mount will know what time it is, look in the manual to see if it is addressed.

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tclehman1969
sage
*****

Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378900 - 02/16/14 02:29 AM

This is just my guess, but though you say you have -104, I would double check to make certain it is correct there.

This video series on YouTube was very helpful for me. He goes through everything from setup to alignment of the SkyWatcher equivalent of the Atlas EQ-G. Here's the link: Part one -- http://youtu.be/4fO6hyYtPwM. Part 2 -- http://youtu.be/PcctN4xVXnI. In Part 2 he covers polar alignment. Part 3 -- http://youtu.be/hGduG2jB9ec. Part 4 -- http://youtu.be/dDC-zct6lvY. These are good to watch on cloudy days. I watch them quite often as refreshers. Just a good thing to do for me.

And I still have more to learns on this mount!


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: T1R2]
      #6378901 - 02/16/14 02:30 AM

I got it figured out. Seems every time I turn the mount off and on again (I always park it when I turn it off), the time and time zone get reset. I had noticed the time resetting before, however the time zone reset to +7h, where as I am at -7h. I apparently have to correct that every time I power up. The clock also resets to 20:00:08 every time as well, for some odd reason, but I had noticed that before and I was setting the correct time (down to the second) each time.

Anyway, I got my polar alignment and goto alignment done. Everything seems to be pretty good, at least for a first try. I am still unable to control the mount from my PC, so I'll have to figure that one out tomorrow.

Tried a couple 30 second exposures with the Astronomik...the moon is 98% full waning gibbous, so the sky was too bright to do anything (30 seconds at ISO 800 resulted in completely blown stars and pretty bright nebulosity in Orion.) Bunch of light clouds high up, so exposures were horrid, but, everything was tracking well enough that I could make out four Trapezium stars on my DSLR's image preview. Not sure if this is what you would call first light...but, alignment is good, tracking is at a good start...next clear, dark sky, I should be good to go. (I just need to find some kind of adequate cover for my mount, so I don't have to move it.)


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T1R2
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/11/13

Loc: NeverWhere, 35*N
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378903 - 02/16/14 02:35 AM

good job, it usually is something simple like a reset and re-enter the correct data, If you get a GPS, problem will be solved, and they are worth it.

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: T1R2]
      #6378911 - 02/16/14 02:48 AM

@T1R2: Can you get a GPS for this mount? When I first bought it, I looked to see if that was an option, but it did not appear to be.

For those who asked, I used the latest PolarFinder to polar align. After getting the polar scope centered and focused properly, I was able to polar align very precisely in a matter of minutes using PolarFinder. It really is about as simple as described on this page:

http://www.polarfinder.com/alignment.html

You need to have the NCP crosshair in the reticule properly centered, which is best done during the day, but once it is, you align the RA ring on 0 with the polaris circle pointing strait down. Lock the RA ring, then rotate it so the RA arrow points at the hour and minute angle indicated in the RA diagram in PolarFinder. Then you simply use the Long. l-bolts and the Azimuth adjustment knobs to center polaris in the small circle. Slew or spin in RA to make sure that polaris stays on the big circle. That's it. Took a few minutes. Polaris tracked along that circle all night long, never left it. I think I spent less than five minutes dialing in polar alignment for the mount. I never imagined it would be that easy, but I really like it!


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T1R2
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/11/13

Loc: NeverWhere, 35*N
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6378921 - 02/16/14 03:02 AM

ooop's sorry if I mislead you, I do not know if GPS is available for that mount, I have a bad habit of assuming since we live in a age where it is possible, maybe the celestron CN16 for the CGE mounts or their smaller one for the AVSGT might be compatible or some other brand, but I'd advise to call and ask before buying one. maybe someone following this thread who knows for sure will chime in.

Edited by T1R2 (02/16/14 03:06 AM)


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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! new [Re: T1R2]
      #6379019 - 02/16/14 06:54 AM

If you have a RTC (real time clock ) with the mount, the battery may just need charged on it,,, not sure on an Orion mount,,, but check and see.. It should keep right time. Kasey,,
PS Also you don't need time correct down to the second, you can just use your cell phone for coordinates at new spots, and at home it should remember the settings?? Kasey


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terry59
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6379052 - 02/16/14 08:05 AM

Glad you are making progress Jon. Until you get the EQDIR cable you can't take advantage of EQMOD and all of the wonderful things computer assistance has to offer. If I remember correctly, Orion stopped selling GPS units a year or so ago. EQMOD will store all of your info and if you travel it is easy to plug in (and save if desired) the new location info. You won't miss SynScan.

On your "iterative alignment" statement, I have lots of trees and am limited in star pairs I can use to align with. It takes me a couple of nights to get dialed in enough for 15 minute plus subs. If that is what you mean then yes it works.

I got a small grill cover at Home Depot that works fine

I'd love to see a sub or image from that lens

Edited by terry59 (02/16/14 08:09 AM)


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! [Re: terry59]
      #6379383 - 02/16/14 12:39 PM

Thanks guys. @Terry, I can't wait to get my EQDIR, as using EQMOD on the tablet will be so much better. I did find an Orion GPS unit, but it is dependent upon the hand controller, and seems to otherwise prevent control from a PC, so not really worth it. I think EQMOD will be better all around.

Any chance you could tell me what kind of grill cover you got? Most of the ones the local Home Depot and Lowes have are the ones with a small mesh band in the front...on my grill, that sits right over the burner knobs. I'd rather not have a mesh opening in whatever cover I get for my mount.

Hopefully I'll be able to start taking some images in a week. The moon should be coming up late enough by then that I should be able to get a few exposures in before. It's supposed to be clear from 9pm to 2am tonight. I guess the moon will rise around then...I may try earlier. When the forecast says "partly cloudy" it's been pretty clear here...so maybe I'll have a chance to get guiding working and everything.


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terry59
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G just arrived! [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6379632 - 02/16/14 03:41 PM

I'm pretty sure it was this one

http://www.lowes.com/pd_83273-47981-42143_0__?productId=3305730&Ntt=grill...


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