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Bruce N
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Reged: 04/01/13

Green Laser Pointer
      #6040317 - 08/22/13 03:09 PM

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?

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SteveG
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Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Bruce N]
      #6040393 - 08/22/13 03:57 PM

Positives:
Easier to use than conventional finders (no head twisting)
Intuitive (draws a line to where the scope is pointing)
Light weight (no special balancing or CW's)
Quickly doubles as a pointer (for showing people stars, constellations, etc)

Negatives:
Not welcomed where others are imaging
Not welcome by some other astronomers
May reduce night vision
Doesn't work as well in twilight, or with a bright moon
Doesn't work as well below freezing (depending on make/model)

Others will chime in, many will say they're dangerous to aircraft but I don't agree, when used for astronomy.


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Jarad
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: SteveG]
      #6040395 - 08/22/13 04:01 PM

Quote:

Others will chime in, many will say they're dangerous to aircraft but I don't agree, when used for astronomy.




So long as they are used properly, there is no problem. If you use one as a finder, turn it off when you are not actively using it, and don't aim it toward an aircraft.

One advantage not listed - you can put one laser finder on one scope, and use it to guide multiple nearby scopes to the same target. I know one guy who bought a cheap goto scope, threw away the OTA and put a GLP on it to use to help aim his Portaball (which can't use DSC's).

Jarad


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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6040429 - 08/22/13 04:26 PM

"One advantage not listed - you can put one laser finder on one scope, and use it to guide multiple nearby scopes to the same target."

EXACTLY! Often I put a C90 or C5 OTA on a Nexstar 6/8 SE mount with an Orion GLP finder bracket and shoe in place of the stock finder shoe and finder, and use that scope, via Sky Safari/Sky Fi to direct several nearby non-GOTO and non-Push-To scopes (Dobs and alt-az mounted smaller scopes) to different targets on the observing list. It's great fun, really. One could pick up a Nexstar 6SE OTA and mount, plus a premium GLP and the Orion bracket and shoe for about the same price as it would cost to add dedicated DSCs to another mount or scope. The Nexstar 6SE is such a great value in its own right, to me it makes way more sense than investing in and and DIY installing DSCs. The C6 on the Nexstar mount also fills the Grab & Go slot nicely with a lot of punch in a tiny package.

Regards,

Jim


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6040434 - 08/22/13 04:30 PM

I bought the Orion GLP a couple of weeks ago which is a 5mw version and love it. I replaced my finder with it which IMO is so much easier to align the scope than using a finder. No more contortionist maneuvers. The only thing I will say is I wish it was brighter by some percentage. If you are too far off to the side (5-8 feet)you really cannot see it. Without breaking any CN rules I will just say try to be satisfied with what you purchase the first time.

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Qwickdraw
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Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6040440 - 08/22/13 04:33 PM

Hey Jim, did you ever get your Sky Safari Bluetooth connection working? Mine is 100% operational on a Galaxy note 8/LX200 combination. No glitches at all and I love it.

The Galaxy seems the perfect form factor for SS. Just the right size for me.


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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6040595 - 08/22/13 06:20 PM

I did. For some reason the first bluetooth adapter I tried didn't work, so I chose a different model and now it works. I still prefer the iOS version, though, having used both now for awhile. Pinch-zoom works much better on the iPad 2 than on my Galaxy Tab 2 7, and the panning and other functions are much, much faster and smoother. It's also a much better built device (metal rather than plastic). So I picked up some Griffin armor for the iPad 2 and am using it almost exclusively in the field. The Galaxy now lives in the truck with its native wi fi hotspot for checking e-mail and making dinner and lodging reservations while on the road. Yeah, I could do those things with a smart phone, but the Galaxy has a much bigger screen and is easier to read.

- Jim


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Reged: 08/27/11

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6040664 - 08/22/13 07:07 PM

The green laser, red dot finder, telrad, or any other finders that project onto the sky have an advantage over the mini-telescope finders. I didn't realize this until I bought a 9x50 RACI. When you point your telescope at a star and then align it with the RACI you can't always be sure your RACI and your telescope are looking at the same star you see with your eyes. The first thing I do to align my NexStar telescope is to point it at Polaris. I think I have picked a different star thinking it was Polaris and this messes up the alignment and you have to start over.

The green laser won't work if the air is dry and not polluted. It has a wider field of view than the 9x50 finder but it is only 1x instead of 9x so ultimately you won't get the same amount of accuracy. I only noticed this to be a problem when trying to find a planet with the tiny field of view you get with a webcam. I now think the best deal is to have both a red dot finder and a RACI finder.


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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6040686 - 08/22/13 07:27 PM

Not all 5mW GLPs are created equally. Many 5mW GLPs ship with misaligned optics, and that borks the brightness to well below the advertised 5mW output. Certain sellers test and tune the lasers before shipping them, to ensure that the full rated 5mW power is close to what you experience in actual use. Z-Bolt is one example of such a seller.

- Jim


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Mike B
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Reged: 04/06/05

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6040831 - 08/22/13 09:34 PM

Yeah- "Z-Bolt" rocks!


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JayinUT
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Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Mike B]
      #6040859 - 08/22/13 09:47 PM

Post Deleted.

Edited by JayinUT (08/22/13 10:29 PM)


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Wmacky
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Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: JayinUT]
      #6040971 - 08/22/13 11:09 PM

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?

Edited by Wmacky (08/22/13 11:09 PM)


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6041026 - 08/22/13 11:52 PM

Awful. I bought one. Cost a fortune comparatively. Stopped working after two days. Never again.

I don't think the quality of consumer grade lasers other than red and green is very high, and the other flavors do cost a lot more. I'd stick with green. Easier to see, too.

- Jim


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Bill Weir
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6041034 - 08/22/13 11:58 PM

Not allowed at many/most star parties, especially the big ones so if you are planning to attend one you will need a backup plan.

Bill


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Wmacky
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Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6041041 - 08/23/13 12:01 AM

Quote:

Awful. I bought one. Cost a fortune comparatively. Stopped working after two days. Never again.

I don't think the quality of consumer grade lasers other than red and green is very high, and the other flavors do cost a lot more. I'd stick with green. Easier to see, too.

- Jim




I see, that's out. So z-bolt would be one of the best choices for s GLP?


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Reged: 08/27/11

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6041043 - 08/23/13 12:01 AM

Quote:

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?




I found a violet one for something like $5 somewhere. The green is way better at lighting up the air particles than red or purple lasers.


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mountain monk
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Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #6041044 - 08/23/13 12:02 AM

Blue laser: Worthless. Then I had to figure how to get rid of it; I was inclined to throw it in the trash.

Dark skies.

Jack


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starrancher
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6041091 - 08/23/13 12:47 AM

I can't remember if it was Z-Bolt or Wicked Lasers that used to have a really cool kit that included the laser , a mounting bracket , a thumb pressure cord for remote off -on and the option of a battery charger . These kits offered a variety of different lasers . Some larger in diameter than the common type seen and advertised for cold weather performance etc.
I just checked both companies web sites and it sure seems that both companies have downsized their sites and no longer offer these cool astronomy kits . What happened to these ?


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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6041106 - 08/23/13 01:10 AM

Quote:

The green laser won't work if the air is dry and not polluted.





Hmmm. Mine works fine in northern Arizona, where 100+ miles visibility and dry air is the norm.

I'm using the Howie Glatter 5mw model on my 16", there is no other finder. All I need is two short bursts for ServoCAT alignment.


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george golitzin
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Reged: 02/24/06

Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Bruce N]
      #6041207 - 08/23/13 03:43 AM

Quote:

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?




They're all negatives if you ask me. Laser users are throwing light at the sky, however focused or narrow: it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You're getting in other people's faces with LIGHT at a dark site--I just don't get how someone in this hobby would think that's okay. About the only situation where I can imagine it would be acceptable would be if you were running a star party for a group and wanted to teach them about the sky--except that then you'd be giving newbies the impression that it's okay to shine brilliant lights in the direction of the sky. Or possibly it would be acceptable if you're all by yourself in a lonely place where you're sure that you're not disturbing someone else's appreciation of the night sky...but that's hard to know for sure, since it's dark out, and you might not know who else is in the neighborhood, looking up. I've been very disturbed at dark sites by people who thought they were on their own, shooting that ugly green light into the sky all over the place. It's utterly reprehensible, particularly coming from people in this hobby.

Sorry for the rant, but lasers should not be used as finders. It's just not necessary, and it's really vexing to others.


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brianb11213
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Reged: 02/25/09

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: george golitzin]
      #6041256 - 08/23/13 05:31 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?




They're all negatives if you ask me. Laser users are throwing light at the sky, however focused or narrow: it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You're getting in other people's faces with LIGHT at a dark site--I just don't get how someone in this hobby would think that's okay. About the only situation where I can imagine it would be acceptable would be if you were running a star party for a group and wanted to teach them about the sky--except that then you'd be giving newbies the impression that it's okay to shine brilliant lights in the direction of the sky. Or possibly it would be acceptable if you're all by yourself in a lonely place where you're sure that you're not disturbing someone else's appreciation of the night sky...but that's hard to know for sure, since it's dark out, and you might not know who else is in the neighborhood, looking up. I've been very disturbed at dark sites by people who thought they were on their own, shooting that ugly green light into the sky all over the place. It's utterly reprehensible, particularly coming from people in this hobby.

Sorry for the rant, but lasers should not be used as finders. It's just not necessary, and it's really vexing to others.



Agree entirely. Laser pointers in a planetarium are fine. Outdoors, no need, bad example.


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nicknacknock
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/20/12

Loc: In a galaxy far far away...
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6041290 - 08/23/13 06:30 AM

I use mine only for outreach events and very carefully, checking first for air planes and that it is even pointed the right side up (accidents can happen).

For star hopping purposes, a Telrad or RDF is the "polite" way to go when observing in the presence of others.

However as pointed out above, if the astro club rules permit it, then the club should also have rules as to its use when it organises events.

So, they do have their usefulness, people should be both careful and considerate when using them and always follow the rules of the astro club.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6041296 - 08/23/13 06:36 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?




I found a violet one for something like $5 somewhere. The green is way better at lighting up the air particles than red or purple lasers.




I believe you will pay a premium for anything other than red or green. Sometimes a large premium. Green with its wavelength is also one of the easiest to see.


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: starrancher]
      #6041300 - 08/23/13 06:39 AM

Quote:

I can't remember if it was Z-Bolt or Wicked Lasers that used to have a really cool kit that included the laser , a mounting bracket , a thumb pressure cord for remote off -on and the option of a battery charger . These kits offered a variety of different lasers . Some larger in diameter than the common type seen and advertised for cold weather performance etc.
I just checked both companies web sites and it sure seems that both companies have downsized their sites and no longer offer these cool astronomy kits . What happened to these ?




You may be thinking of this one from hotech


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6041302 - 08/23/13 06:42 AM

Whatever you do, do not order from laserpointerpro.com

Its a Chinese scam site with totally inferior and misrepresented product.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: george golitzin]
      #6041320 - 08/23/13 07:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?




They're all negatives if you ask me. Laser users are throwing light at the sky, however focused or narrow: it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You're getting in other people's faces with LIGHT at a dark site--I just don't get how someone in this hobby would think that's okay. About the only situation where I can imagine it would be acceptable would be if you were running a star party for a group and wanted to teach them about the sky--except that then you'd be giving newbies the impression that it's okay to shine brilliant lights in the direction of the sky. Or possibly it would be acceptable if you're all by yourself in a lonely place where you're sure that you're not disturbing someone else's appreciation of the night sky...but that's hard to know for sure, since it's dark out, and you might not know who else is in the neighborhood, looking up. I've been very disturbed at dark sites by people who thought they were on their own, shooting that ugly green light into the sky all over the place. It's utterly reprehensible, particularly coming from people in this hobby.

Sorry for the rant, but lasers should not be used as finders. It's just not necessary, and it's really vexing to others.




George,

They have cut my alignment time in half. Maybe you have a permanent observatory setup or something but I don't. The laser has alleviated the need to peek through a finder back and forth until first your scope is aligned with your finder and then secondly for a two star alignment procedure.

As far as throwing light up into the sky, it is only 5MW which is roughly equivalent to 4 fireflies ! and you typically cannot even see the beam unless you are more or less in the line of site. Unless you are using a overpowered laser, nobody outside of your yard is going to see anything.


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hottr6
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Bruce N]
      #6041418 - 08/23/13 08:39 AM Attachment (6 downloads)

It must be summer time. Lots of threads about GLPs. Ever notice the utter lack of GLP threads in the winter? Yup, the damned things are as useless as [..... insert own expletive here.....].

It does not matter what brand you use... premium such as Z-Bolt or Jasper, or cheap. GLPs are terrific, but they quit when the going gets cold.... about 55F with Li-ion battery chemistries. If you keep them warm in your pocket, you'll have no problems. Mount them on your OTA, they'll quit. I have a resistive ladder wrapped around mine that keeps it running even when the temperature falls below freezing.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6041421 - 08/23/13 08:41 AM

Quote:

George,

They have cut my alignment time in half. Maybe you have a permanent observatory setup or something but I don't. The laser has alleviated the need to peek through a finder back and forth until first your scope is aligned with your finder and then secondly for a two star alignment procedure.

As far as throwing light up into the sky, it is only 5MW which is roughly equivalent to 4 fireflies ! and you typically cannot even see the beam unless you are more or less in the line of site. Unless you are using a overpowered laser, nobody outside of your yard is going to see anything.




I have no permanent observatory. In fact, a green laser might save me several trips up and down the ladder over the the course of an evening but that is a small price to pay for keeping the sky free of that bright beam.. (BTW: Firefly's do not produce coherent light)

Maybe if the skies are seriously light polluted already... but for dark, clear skies... a green laser is a door slamming unnecessarily in the pristine silence of a dark night.

I prefer to close the door gently so as not to disturb the moment.

Jon


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6041480 - 08/23/13 09:20 AM

Well jon, it is obvious lasers disturb some more than others. Mine is on for maybe 5 min or so during initial alignment and then gets turned off. I would never use it at a star party or if it disturbed somebody else so really, it is just a personal preference.

I don't observe the pristine silence of a dark night. So really 5mw for 5 minutes isn't going to amount anything in my red/yellow zone.


yes, I was able to determine the equivalent MW of fireflies so it would be safe to assume I know a fireflies' light is not coherent. It is possible that 4 fireflies can have a higher value of luminous flux than a 5mw green laser.

In any event, ill stick with my green laser but I appreciate and will always be cognizant of my fellow astronomers concerns as well.


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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6041482 - 08/23/13 09:22 AM

Everyone is entitled to their personal preferences.

Also, keep in mind that having the right to do something doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do.

GLP's have a place in astronomy. They are fantastic outreach tools. They can be used as finders, but if you do that you should do it in a manner that is considerate of your fellow observers, especially imagers. Yes, you may technically have the right to point it at any part of the sky that is free from planes, but if it is annoying your observing buddies they have the right to exclude you from their property (star parties), or from being invited next time they go out if they are using public property. Having the right to do something doesn't mean it is free from consequences.

There is room for those who want to use them to do it responsibly and considerately. Those who want to do otherwise will find themselves unwelcome in many settings, including CN.

Jarad


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Qwickdraw
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Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6041500 - 08/23/13 09:34 AM

I agree 100% jarad, there is no reason to condemn others responsible use and preferences to use them and by the same token I can fully respect ones choice to not pollute an otherwise pristine sky with a green beam. Mine happens to save me time and gives me more time at the EP. That is important to me. Besides, its way cool

edit: For the record, I don't believe any condemnation was expressed by anybody, just personal preferences.


Edited by Qwickdraw (08/23/13 09:45 AM)


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REC
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Reged: 10/20/10

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6041513 - 08/23/13 09:45 AM

Well, I see that Orion just came out with a dual dovetail mount for finders. I think I may get one and mount the 8x50 on one side and the laser on the other.

I'm thinking that for a fast point to the general target area with the laser and then follow up tweaking the object in the 8x50 cross hairs would be pretty good?

Am I missing anything with this finder solution for my Dob?


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6041516 - 08/23/13 09:48 AM

Quote:

It must be summer time. Lots of threads about GLPs. Ever notice the utter lack of GLP threads in the winter? Yup, the damned things are as useless as [..... insert own expletive here.....].

It does not matter what brand you use... premium such as Z-Bolt or Jasper, or cheap. GLPs are terrific, but they quit when the going gets cold.... about 55F with Li-ion battery chemistries. If you keep them warm in your pocket, you'll have no problems. Mount them on your OTA, they'll quit. I have a resistive ladder wrapped around mine that keeps it running even when the temperature falls below freezing.




I have read that but have not had experience with them in the winter. I mostly don't observe in the cold Michigan winters anyways unless there is an unusual astronomical event. Would a EP dew heater run along the length of the laser work well to resolve this issue?


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: REC]
      #6041522 - 08/23/13 09:50 AM

Quote:

Well, I see that Orion just came out with a dual dovetail mount for finders. I think I may get one and mount the 8x50 on one side and the laser on the other.

I'm thinking that for a fast point to the general target area with the laser and then follow up tweaking the object in the 8x50 cross hairs would be pretty good?

Am I missing anything with this finder solution for my Dob?




I don't know, I am thinking maybe you are just creating twice as much work for the same outcome. I would suggest going with one or the other.

Of course if you still plan on doing any star hoping, the finder is pretty much essential and the way to go.


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #6041567 - 08/23/13 10:15 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Well, I see that Orion just came out with a dual dovetail mount for finders. I think I may get one and mount the 8x50 on one side and the laser on the other.

I'm thinking that for a fast point to the general target area with the laser and then follow up tweaking the object in the 8x50 cross hairs would be pretty good?

Am I missing anything with this finder solution for my Dob?




I don't know, I am thinking maybe you are just creating twice as much work for the same outcome. I would suggest going with one or the other.

Of course if you still plan on doing any star hoping, the finder is pretty much essential and the way to go.




I have used the GLP for over a year now and am ready to give it up. If you use the GLP it would be nice to have a backup for when the GLP won't work. The GLP won't work when it gets cold. It also won't work when the air is dry, there is no pollution, AND you have street lights all around you keeping your pupils small. You just can't see the beam. So if it gets cold you would have NO FINDER unless you had a backup. I can't align my telescope without a finder.

The GLP, red dot finder, or Telrad should be accurate enough for most applications so you won't need the 8x50 finder. I have a 9x50 finder that I must use for finding planets with my webcam which has a very small field of view but otherwise the red dot finder has always worked for me.

The main thing I will miss about the GLP is when I do all star polar align. In that procedure I need to move my EQ mount in alt and az to point my telescope at a star. It is really nice not to have to hold my eye up to the finder scope when doing this.

The frustration of having the GLP stop when it gets cold is enough for me to stop using it. Having no finder is not cool or sexy. The GLP is most cool when there is lots of fog.


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Jim Romanski
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Bruce N]
      #6041609 - 08/23/13 10:39 AM

One negative that I don't see mentioned that applies to the green laser and red dot finders. They rely on batteries. If your batteries die and you don't have replacements you have no finder.

I use a green laser but I also have an small optical finder. Another advantage for the optical finder is that you can see dim stars that you won't see naked eye. You'll need this capability for finding some objects in the sky that are not near brighter stars.


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jim Romanski]
      #6041621 - 08/23/13 10:44 AM

Quote:

One negative that I don't see mentioned that applies to the green laser and red dot finders. They rely on batteries. If your batteries die and you don't have replacements you have no finder.

I use a green laser but I also have an small optical finder. Another advantage for the optical finder is that you can see dim stars that you won't see naked eye. You'll need this capability for finding some objects in the sky that are not near brighter stars.




This is a good point. I should also mention that I use a goto scope and don't do star hopping. I mainly use the finder for initial alignment which involves finding stars like Vega.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6041769 - 08/23/13 12:08 PM

Quote:

Quote:

One negative that I don't see mentioned that applies to the green laser and red dot finders. They rely on batteries. If your batteries die and you don't have replacements you have no finder.

I use a green laser but I also have an small optical finder. Another advantage for the optical finder is that you can see dim stars that you won't see naked eye. You'll need this capability for finding some objects in the sky that are not near brighter stars.




This is a good point. I should also mention that I use a goto scope and don't do star hopping. I mainly use the finder for initial alignment which involves finding stars like Vega.




Same here Steve, no star hopping these days as my eyes just are not up to the task anymore. The closest thing I do to star hopping these days is pick out what is what in my FOV compared to my Sky Safari map on a Galaxy note 8. I just don't see it as essential anymore.
The laser is used for initial alignment to get two stars centered in my EP and that is it, shut off the rest of the night.


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SteveG
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6041839 - 08/23/13 12:53 PM

Quote:

It must be summer time. Lots of threads about GLPs. Ever notice the utter lack of GLP threads in the winter? Yup, the damned things are as useless as [..... insert own expletive here.....].

It does not matter what brand you use... premium such as Z-Bolt or Jasper, or cheap. GLPs are terrific, but they quit when the going gets cold.... about 55F with Li-ion battery chemistries. If you keep them warm in your pocket, you'll have no problems. Mount them on your OTA, they'll quit. I have a resistive ladder wrapped around mine that keeps it running even when the temperature falls below freezing.




My Jasper Always works excellent in winter, going on about 4 years now. I've replaced the battery once. Mine throws a visible beam down to freezing (below that and I don't observe), and I leave it in the Orion bracket. YMMV


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jerwin
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6041898 - 08/23/13 01:30 PM

Quote:

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?




I absolutely love my blue laser. Not everyones eyes can see the blue, but cold weather does not effect mine at all. I have a little $10 cheap one I found on amazon mounted in a mount I got from scopestuff.

http://scopestuff.com/ss_sfind.htm

Actually I have it on a telrad bracket, so when I remove it during travel my alignment is near spot on.

I've done some testing with someone that images and from 15 to 20 feet away he couldn't detect the blue light, but the green easily ruined one of his images.

The blue in general is fainter than the green, but if it's mounted to a dob and your within a few feet of the dob it's bright enough I can see the line.

But again, I'll say that some peoples eyes can't see the beam, so for them it's useless, for me it's priceless.

Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: george golitzin]
      #6041909 - 08/23/13 01:40 PM

As a counterpoint, when sharing the sky with the general populace rather than a group of fellow crotchety curmudgeon astronomers, I'd say the GLP is the most significant tool in the last two decades to be introduced into the hobby. I think it comes down to context and purpose. GLP finders are far less destructive of a dark sky experience than the light generated by a laptop or two, yet I don't see vehemence directed at imagers.

- Jim


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Mike B
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: SteveG]
      #6041914 - 08/23/13 01:45 PM

Quote:

As far as throwing light up into the sky, it is only 5MW which is roughly equivalent to 4 fireflies ! and you typically cannot even see the beam unless you are more or less in the line of site. Unless you are using a overpowered laser, nobody outside of your yard is going to see anything.



Well stated. So it's merely an issue of responsible & sensitive use.

Far more intrusive, IMHO, is *sound* trespass, where folks play their music so it's audible all over the place... or jabber away in loud voice like they're on-stage! Unlike a laser, which is invisible from anywhere a few feet off-axis, sound permeates & travels EVERYwhere, indiscriminately! This a matter far more worthy of general ire.

Plus the fact that "green" is so totally cool, but some types of music are annoying.

As for temps- this may vary quite a bit by quality of build & type? My Z-Bolt works quite well down into the 40's F... gettin' weak if below that. My handheld, if kept in the case or a pocket, is fine for "cold". Mine are still on their original battery, tho i pack spares, so juice is not really a concern... at least hasn't been for me & mine.

When i'm with a small group, i'll usually inquire about GLP use before lasing the sky, or if A/P friends are present, will ask if they're shooting at the moment, and/or *where*. They always tell me "don't worry 'bout it", as they'll easily edit out stray stuff- like aircraft, lasers, UFO's.

This strikes me as a non-issue, mostly, where reasonable responsibility is employed. Like a Meade mount "coffee-grinding" its way to the next target, some will chuckle, some will grumble, some will ignore it. In the final analysis, it's just personal choice of hardware.


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John Bordelon
newbie


Reged: 08/31/11

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6041921 - 08/23/13 01:49 PM

For those interested in getting a GLP, they stop working on cool nights unless of higher quality. I tried a pair of them that I purchased cheaply at a computer store. They were great until winter arrived. So I got one that had electronic regulation, and that solved the problem. As an aid to pointing a scope, it is really easy to boresight the GLP with scope. Just look through the scope and adjust till the green beam ends in the center of the field of view. They may spook the neighbors, of course. Wonderful for teaching children about objects in the sky.

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starrancher
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6041922 - 08/23/13 01:50 PM

Quote:

As a counterpoint, when sharing the sky with the general populace rather than a group of fellow crotchety curmudgeon astronomers, I'd say the GLP is the most significant tool in the last two decades to be introduced into the hobby. I think it comes down to context and purpose. GLP finders are far less destructive of a dark sky experience than the light generated by a laptop or two, yet I don't see vehemence directed at imagers.

- Jim




That's where the star party "Hierarchy" comes in . And why I don't bother with that function any longer .
I've never been able to understand why someone who wants to do serious imaging , would want to do it at a star party .
Have star parties now become an activity where rules are set in place to favor only one aspect of the hobby ?
The hierarchy that looks down their noses at the hobbiests whom enjoy the simplicity of the visual aspect and another example of "do as I say , not as I do " .


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6041923 - 08/23/13 01:52 PM

Quote:

It also won't work when the air is dry, there is no pollution, AND you have street lights all around you keeping your pupils small. You just can't see the beam. So if it gets cold you would have NO FINDER unless you had a backup. I can't align my telescope without a finder.




Do think that if you keep repeating this dry air/no pollution nonsense long enough it will somehow become true?

You are flat out wrong, my GLP works fine from 7500' MSL mountain tops in northern Arizona. You'd have to go to Antarctica to find cleaner and drier air! I'm sure that there are many other GLP owners west of the Rockies getting usable results.

Quote:

The frustration of having the GLP stop when it gets cold is enough for me to stop using it. Having no finder is not cool or sexy. The GLP is most cool when there is lots of fog.




I haven't crossed the cold weather bridge yet, but I do have several dew straps that have been looking for work since I left the humid midwest. Perhaps I'm the one wrong this time but I am not seeing this as an insurmountable issue.

Cool or sexy is in the eye of the beholder. The appeal for me was eliminating 12-20 ounces of weight in the upper end of a truss tube scope, the worst place to have excess weight. And like you, I have a reliable GOTO system so the finder is useless dead weight. After two star alignment the GLP becomes the back-up system - one I hope to never need.


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6041931 - 08/23/13 01:56 PM

Quote:

GLP finders are far less destructive of a dark sky experience than the light generated by a laptop or two, yet I don't see vehemence directed at imagers.

- Jim





And they bring along enough screens and electrical generators to run a small television station


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6041933 - 08/23/13 01:57 PM

Quote:

The green laser won't work if the air is dry and not polluted.




The air here is very dry, and little, if any pollution, unless there are wildfires around (which halts all viewing). My 5mW works flawlessly in these conditions.


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wags1
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: starrancher]
      #6041939 - 08/23/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

Quote:

As a counterpoint, when sharing the sky with the general populace rather than a group of fellow crotchety curmudgeon astronomers, I'd say the GLP is the most significant tool in the last two decades to be introduced into the hobby. I think it comes down to context and purpose. GLP finders are far less destructive of a dark sky experience than the light generated by a laptop or two, yet I don't see vehemence directed at imagers.

- Jim




That's where the star party "Hierarchy" comes in . And why I don't bother with that function any longer .
I've never been able to understand why someone who wants to do serious imaging , would want to do it at a star party .
Have star parties now become an activity where rules are set in place to favor only one aspect of the hobby ?
The hierarchy that looks down their noses at the hobbiests whom enjoy the simplicity of the visual aspect and another example of "do as I say , not as I do " .




That's why I stopped going to larger public star parties. For some reason they seem to attract the wanabe dictator types. So now my "star parties" involve getting together with some of my friends. Ends up being a much more enjoyable event.


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Mike B
Starstruck
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6041971 - 08/23/13 02:27 PM

Yeah, hadn't considered the light thrown up by laptop screens. Good point!

Quote:

And they bring along enough screens and electrical generators to run a small television station




Yeah, this last trip out my A/P buddies brought, in addition to their "lappies" & power-hungry rigs, a gas-engine "jenny". So the latter could be added to the sound-trespass list. Fortunately it ran for limited times, and then not for long durations. And having some juice handy isn't all bad, either.

Live-and-let-live.


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6041989 - 08/23/13 02:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It also won't work when the air is dry, there is no pollution, AND you have street lights all around you keeping your pupils small. You just can't see the beam. So if it gets cold you would have NO FINDER unless you had a backup. I can't align my telescope without a finder.




Do think that if you keep repeating this dry air/no pollution nonsense long enough it will somehow become true?

You are flat out wrong, my GLP works fine from 7500' MSL mountain tops in northern Arizona. You'd have to go to Antarctica to find cleaner and drier air! I'm sure that there are many other GLP owners west of the Rockies getting usable results.




I took what you said earlier into consideration and that is why I added "AND you have street lights all around you keeping your pupils small." Obviously we don't see the light as it travels past us. We only see the parts of it that reflect off of particles in the air (moisture, dust, etc.) If there are fewer particles then there will be less light available for us to see. The beam really shows up when you're in the fog. It won't be as bright when the air is dry and clear. I remember not being able to see the laser when it was dry and clear. After reading your comment that you can still see the beam in very dry conditions I accepted that. I thought back to my experience and realized it was in my driveway. I now hope that we can both agree on this:

  1. Humidity will make the beam brighter.
  2. We can see the beam in very dry and clear conditions if we are dark adapted at a dark site.
  3. It is possible that you won't see the beam in very dry/clear conditions if you have street lights all around.


The question then becomes a matter of how dark it must be.


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BSJ
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6042016 - 08/23/13 02:56 PM

Does FL ever have "dry" air? I mean like in the teens or lower...

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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: BSJ]
      #6042020 - 08/23/13 02:59 PM

Quote:

Does FL ever have "dry" air? I mean like in the teens or lower...




It happened once, and it caused the Space Shuttle to blow up.


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BSJ
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6042044 - 08/23/13 03:09 PM

That was cold temps. Not precent of humidity...

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nevy
professor emeritus
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Loc: UK
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: BSJ]
      #6042052 - 08/23/13 03:18 PM

Mine works below freezing, you can stick mine in a freeza for 30 minutes and it still works , the beam is a bit spread out for a second or two but once the ice crystals are burnt off of the laser outer lense it's back to to normall thin beam , you gets what ya pay for.

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WarmWeatherGuy
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Reged: 08/27/11

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: BSJ]
      #6042058 - 08/23/13 03:20 PM

Quote:

That was cold temps. Not precent of humidity...




Ah, you're right. I saw the word teens and thought you were talking temps (I thought YOU had confused the two when it was ME). Humidity is usually 99 to 100% here. On an extremely dry day it might go down to 50%, usually in the Winter. If it ever goes below 50% then Florida catches on fire.

I lived in Las Vegas for a few years. I bought a cheap "leather" strap to wrap around my steering wheel in my car that had no air conditioning. Over the years I guess it had absorbed a lot of palm sweat. I drove my car to St. Pete. to visit my parents and my steering wheel covering instantly turned to putty and had to be thrown away.

It really sucks here in Florida as far as astronomy is concerned. I am working on moving to Arizona or New Mexico.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: starrancher]
      #6042184 - 08/23/13 04:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

As a counterpoint, when sharing the sky with the general populace rather than a group of fellow crotchety curmudgeon astronomers, I'd say the GLP is the most significant tool in the last two decades to be introduced into the hobby. I think it comes down to context and purpose. GLP finders are far less destructive of a dark sky experience than the light generated by a laptop or two, yet I don't see vehemence directed at imagers.

- Jim




That's where the star party "Hierarchy" comes in . And why I don't bother with that function any longer .
I've never been able to understand why someone who wants to do serious imaging , would want to do it at a star party .
Have star parties now become an activity where rules are set in place to favor only one aspect of the hobby ?
The hierarchy that looks down their noses at the hobbiests whom enjoy the simplicity of the visual aspect and another example of "do as I say , not as I do " .




I don't know that it is necessarily that as much as having dozens of people around all waving lasers is a recipe for an accident.


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Mike B
Starstruck
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6042236 - 08/23/13 04:59 PM

Yes, lasers certainly "light-up" notably more in foggy/dusty conditions, for the reasons stated, but the ones i've had the pleasure to use still work just fine in dry, clear air.

Quote:

I thought back to my experience and realized it was in my driveway.



Moonlight will also make the laser's beam hard to see- especially when aimed near Luna. 'Tis an interesting exercise, to be sure- using a GLP as your scope's primary pointer, and then trying to guide it to the Moon! You almost have to "leap" that last 15 degrees, by intuition.


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Wmacky
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6042636 - 08/23/13 10:45 PM

Quote:

Mine works below freezing, you can stick mine in a freeza for 30 minutes and it still works , the beam is a bit spread out for a second or two but once the ice crystals are burnt off of the laser outer lense it's back to to normall thin beam , you gets what ya pay for.




Which brand / model is that?


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nevy
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6043253 - 08/24/13 09:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Mine works below freezing, you can stick mine in a freeza for 30 minutes and it still works , the beam is a bit spread out for a second or two but once the ice crystals are burnt off of the laser outer lense it's back to to normall thin beam , you gets what ya pay for.




Which brand / model is that?




I bought them from howie glatter.


Edited by nevy (08/24/13 09:52 AM)


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hottr6
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6043331 - 08/24/13 10:40 AM Attachment (5 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Mine works below freezing, you can stick mine in a freeza for 30 minutes and it still works , the beam is a bit spread out for a second or two but once the ice crystals are burnt off of the laser outer lense it's back to to normall thin beam , you gets what ya pay for.




Which brand / model is that?




I bought them from howie glatter.




That's interesting. If this is Glatter's "SkyPointer", it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F). Are you referring to another unit? I'd like to know what powers it, because even Li-ion chemistries fail when water starts to thicken.

The other explanation is that many British refrigerators are made by Lucas, "Prince of Darkness", inventor of the 3-position switch (on, off and flicker), so it is unlikely that your freezer works.


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hottr6
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Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6043361 - 08/24/13 10:54 AM

Quote:

...my GLP works fine from 7500' MSL mountain tops in northern Arizona. You'd have to go to Antarctica to find cleaner and drier air!



My GLP works fine at 7,500' in NM (except when it gets cold). I'm 2,500' lower than MRO (2 miles from me), and 1,000' higher than VLA (20 miles away), and those locations were chosen for their low humidity.

I've tried GLPs in Antarctica. Even when kept in a pocket they don't work, but I would not expect their consumer-grade Li-ion batteries to work at sub -20F.

For our dark and cold stations that operate through the year, we use Lithium Thionyl Chloride batteries with hybrid layer capacitors (HLCs) to provide power during high current (mA, that's high for our gear!) demands. Even then we have to derate the batteries by 400%. We'll bury a ton of batteries in the ice to run the equivalent of a 5w bulb through the winter.

Remember that the "temperature" of a battery used in manufacturer's data sheets is the average temperature of the battery in the previous 24 hours.


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Howie Glatter
Vendor


Reged: 07/04/06

Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6043851 - 08/24/13 04:00 PM

"If this is Glatter's "SkyPointer", it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F)."

www.energizer.com :
The recommended operating temperature range for alkaline batteries is -18° C to 55° C. . . The Alkaline-Manganese Dioxide cell can operate at temperatures as low as –20oC however this performance will be significantly lower. ."

Most of my pointers are highly cold resistant. I usually test them at 1 degree C.


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nevy
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6044036 - 08/24/13 06:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Mine works below freezing, you can stick mine in a freeza for 30 minutes and it still works , the beam is a bit spread out for a second or two but once the ice crystals are burnt off of the laser outer lense it's back to to normall thin beam , you gets what ya pay for.




Which brand / model is that?




I bought them from howie glatter.




That's interesting. If this is Glatter's "SkyPointer", it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F). Are you referring to another unit? I'd like to know what powers it, because even Li-ion chemistries fail when water starts to thicken.

The other explanation is that many British refrigerators are made by Lucas, "Prince of Darkness", inventor of the 3-position switch (on, off and flicker), so it is unlikely that your freezer works.




Trust me , it works in the cold, if it didn't then I wouldn't say so.
So everyone needs to stop using their telrad in the cold because they use AAA batteries because “ it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F)."

Edited by nevy (08/24/13 06:44 PM)


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nevy
professor emeritus
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Loc: UK
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6044039 - 08/24/13 06:22 PM

And my freeza works just fine too ;-)

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Robert Cook
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Reged: 07/23/09

Loc: San Diego County, California
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6044134 - 08/24/13 07:45 PM

Quote:

That's interesting. If this is Glatter's "SkyPointer", it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F). Are you referring to another unit? I'd like to know what powers it, because even Li-ion chemistries fail when water starts to thicken.




Not to pile on, but here is a fairly convincing "torture test" (of a flashlight and its battery):
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?321619-Zebralight-Torture-...

That's a standard 3V (nominal) Li-MnO2 cell, but in practice I've found 1.5V (nominal) Lithium AA and AAA cells using Li-FeS2 chemistry to be at least as robust (and probably even more so). Quality NiMH AAA cells (e.g. Eneloop) can also take a real beating and continue to function--50°F would be no problem for them.

Now, alkaline batteries (Zn-MnO2) aren't nearly as tough and can begin to sag (in voltage) and fail under adverse conditions, but well-designed circuits should be able to draw enough current from them to continue to function under most conditions that we'd be willing to subject ourselves to (without a parka). Devices that require a certain narrow voltage range and flawless battery performance may fail with alkalines when temperatures get chilly, however.


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hottr6
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Reged: 06/28/09

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Howie Glatter]
      #6044990 - 08/25/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

www.energizer.com :
The recommended operating temperature range for alkaline batteries is -18° C to 55° C. . . The Alkaline-Manganese Dioxide cell can operate at temperatures as low as –20oC however this performance will be significantly lower. ."




I've tried 3 different sets from different production runs of this very same battery and they fold at 50F in my Z-Bolt. That's my experience.


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nevy
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/07/12

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6045243 - 08/25/13 01:51 PM

I use duracell , I've not had any problems with failure in the cold

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Howie Glatter
Vendor


Reged: 07/04/06

Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6045439 - 08/25/13 03:53 PM

Hi Shane,

" . . they fold at 50F in my Z-Bolt. That's my experience."

Have you measured the current draw ? This is easy to do if you have a multi-meter current function with low series voltage drop (0.2V or less). Just remove the battery cap and put the meter probes to the battery and case.
Many sellers boost the drive current to get reasonable output from low-efficiency crystals and optics, but high current will disproportionately reduce alkaline cell
low-temperature performance (as well as give short infra-red laser diode lifetime).
If your current is 350 or more milliamps, that might cause the batteries to suffer in the cold. I run my pointers at around 260 ma.
I believe that variation in the quality of the optically active crystals with respect to energy conversion efficiency over temperature, is the biggest factor that kills low temp. performance.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6046100 - 08/25/13 10:11 PM

Use lithiums.

- Jim


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MikeCMP
super member


Reged: 07/12/11

Loc: Chardon OH
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6046223 - 08/25/13 11:57 PM

Are there any GLP that run off of AA instead of AA? AA last way longer.

I think the reason the GLP's fail in the cold is most of the cheap ones are IR pumped. They need the heat in order or function. The best way for one to work in the cold would be for you to get a GLP with a diode,min stead of IR pumping. But, I think the green diodes are pretty expensive.

Mike


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hottr6
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Howie Glatter]
      #6049066 - 08/27/13 03:14 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

Good tip Howie, I'll try that. Thanks.

I disappeared for a couple of days, but before I left, I popped my lasers into the fridge. I took two photos, one when I placed them in the fridge, and the other, 2 hours later.
The first photo on the left showed all three beams glowing brightly. After 2 hours, when the GLPs were turned on, they were momentarily bright for, I guess, half a second before going dim. The RLP was unaffected.

Then I popped them into the freezer for 30 minutes. The Z-Bolt did not light at all, and the Jasper was fainter still. The RLP remained unaffected.

Batteries: In the Z-Bolt, AAA Energizer "Ultimate Lithium" Li/FeS2. In the Jasper, CR123A Li/MnO2, and the RLP (actually, a collimator) AA Rayovac alkaline-manganese.

Hardly a scientific experiment, but this is typical of the tests I have done with different battery chemistries in these lasers, and all with the same results. The dimming after a brief time indicates something in the circuitry that is responsible.


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nevy
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6049460 - 08/27/13 07:01 PM

I don't think it's your batteries that are not working in the cold , I think it's the actual laser.

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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6049591 - 08/27/13 08:16 PM

Yes its the IR laser diode that is pumping your GLP suffering ^

I just set mine to kill and she likes it! lol


Edited by MessiToM (08/27/13 08:17 PM)


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hottr6
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Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6050778 - 08/28/13 02:10 PM

Quote:

I don't think it's your batteries that are not working in the cold , I think it's the actual laser.



I'm thinking it is a combo of both. What I *think* may be happening (I'm no engineer!) is that the cold does effect the initial transient of current coming from the battery, which fools the circuitry into doing something different. I don't see the moderate cold effecting the laser circuitry because most consumer electronics is rated to near freezing, so I infer that my observations are due to how a battery reacts to rapid changes in load at different temperatures (there is a lot of quantitative evidence to back this up). Bottom line: The battery and laser circuitry are not well-matched.

I would wager that if I used a high-quality linear DC power supply we would not see GLP dimming with cold.


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hottr6
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: MessiToM]
      #6050911 - 08/28/13 03:32 PM

Quote:

Yes its the IR laser diode that is pumping your GLP suffering ^



Is there anything a mere-mortal can do to fix this? Is there a pot that can be adjusted?


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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: hottr6]
      #6051763 - 08/29/13 12:42 AM

Yup ^ build a Direct drive diode laser rather than IR Pumping one

{link to 15mW diode deleted by moderator}

Edited by Jarad (08/29/13 09:48 AM)


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schwimmair
super member
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Reged: 09/13/10

Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: MessiToM]
      #6052160 - 08/29/13 09:25 AM

I have a cheap GLP (eBay special $6) and use a chemical hand warmer that I wrap around the battery compartment in the winter. Works like a charm and keeps your hand warm while in use. I like the hand warmers because they are non-toxic and cheap. You can get a 3 pack (6 hand warmers) at Wally World for $2.11. If you observe a lot you can also get a 20 pack (40 hand warmers) for $6.00.

Schwimm


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: nevy]
      #6052184 - 08/29/13 09:46 AM

Quote:

So everyone needs to stop using their telrad in the cold because they use AAA batteries because “ it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F)."




Hmmm, my Telrad is powered by 2 AA batteries.


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Jarad
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: MessiToM]
      #6052190 - 08/29/13 09:49 AM

Quote:

Yup ^ build a Direct drive diode laser rather than IR Pumping one

{link to 15mW diode deleted by moderator}




Direct drive is fine, but you still need to keep it under 5mW.

Jarad


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Widespread
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6052206 - 08/29/13 10:02 AM

MessiTom,

What the heck is that unit????

David


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Jarad
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/03

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Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Widespread]
      #6052250 - 08/29/13 10:26 AM

David -

We are not going to allow links to or discussion of lasers over 5mW. Don't ask, because I'll just have to delete his answer.

Thanks,

Jarad


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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Widespread]
      #6052259 - 08/29/13 10:31 AM

Sorry. Being a laser enthusiast/builder, I forget about the strict laser rules here.

Widespread, It was a 520nm (rather than 532nm, both still green) diode laser rather than a dpss one.


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izar187
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/06

Loc: 43N
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6052389 - 08/29/13 11:49 AM

Quote:

Everyone is entitled to their personal preferences.

Also, keep in mind that having the right to do something doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do.

GLP's have a place in astronomy. They are fantastic outreach tools. They can be used as finders, but if you do that you should do it in a manner that is considerate of your fellow observers, especially imagers. Yes, you may technically have the right to point it at any part of the sky that is free from planes, but if it is annoying your observing buddies they have the right to exclude you from their property (star parties), or from being invited next time they go out if they are using public property. Having the right to do something doesn't mean it is free from consequences.

There is room for those who want to use them to do it responsibly and considerately. Those who want to do otherwise will find themselves unwelcome in many settings, including CN.

Jarad





Well said sir.

I do however respectfully disagree about their renown for outreach. I've done outreach for 35 years. The foremost lesson learned by guests and newbies during a demonstration of where stuff is in the night sky, by those of us using laser pointers for outreach, is that the night sky is for shining lasers up into. It's cool, looks really neat, and that lasers are astronomy gear that folks should go out and buy. So they do, as they're taught to.


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Jarad
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: izar187]
      #6052408 - 08/29/13 12:00 PM

Well, I guess that depends on both the teachers and the audience.

I have been doing star parties for my daughters' school every year since they were in kindergarten (they are in 5th and 7th grade now). I know of 4 or 5 families who have since bought telescopes, and brought them to the next year's school star party. I don't know of any who have bought green laser pointers.

Granted, I always set up several scopes (usually the Portaball, the ETX, and the Borg), have each on a different object, and give a little talk describing what they are going to see as they stand in line. When someone asks where it is in the sky, I use the laser to point it out, and also usually outline the constellation it is in. The laser is on in short bursts, and is not the center of the show. But it lets me point out the object to everyone in the line in 2 seconds, as opposed to having to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to each kid so they can see where my finger is pointing. I simply can't do that by myself while managing 3 scopes for 50+ kids. With the laser, I can.

The point isn't to make it a laser show, but to use it as one tool of many. The centerpiece of the show is usually the view of either the moon or Saturn or Jupiter, with a smaller percentage being interested by things like M13 or M31 or M42. Local light pollution is too bad for anything much fainter (maybe M81 and M82 on a good night).

Jarad


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nevy
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6052413 - 08/29/13 12:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

So everyone needs to stop using their telrad in the cold because they use AAA batteries because “ it is powered by AAA batteries and no way will AAA deliver electrons when it gets cold (below 50F)."




Hmmm, my Telrad is powered by 2 AA batteries.




Mine too , but it works in the cold & it will still work after being in the freeza for 1/2 an hour.


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WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28° N, 81° W
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6052437 - 08/29/13 12:16 PM

Quote:

The point isn't to make it a laser show, but to use it as one tool of many. The centerpiece of the show is usually the view of either the moon or Saturn or Jupiter, with a smaller percentage being interested by things like M13 or M31 or M42. Local light pollution is too bad for anything much fainter (maybe M81 and M82 on a good night).

Jarad




I have used one to help people find stuff in binoculars. I hold the pointer on M42 while they try to find M42 with the binoculars. It is way faster and less frustrating with GLP. They just look for where the green line stops.


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Chuck Hards
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/03/10

Loc: The Great Basin
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Jarad]
      #6052446 - 08/29/13 12:20 PM

Quote:

David -

We are not going to allow links to or discussion of lasers over 5mW. Don't ask, because I'll just have to delete his answer.

Thanks,

Jarad




Will the rule be changed if states start adopting the 1mW limit?
At what point does the GLP become useless for astronomy under typical compromised skies?


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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6052460 - 08/29/13 12:30 PM

What most people dont know is that most of these labeled less than 5mw lasers actually put out well over 5mw. If I was allowed Id link you to a site comparing laser power meter results with various pens and modules labeled less than 5mw outputting 2 or 3 times that much.

Its dangerous in the fact that people think because the label read 5mw that it is and is "safe" to be careless with. Also these being DPSS lasers some put out dangerous amounts of invisible IR light.

Id say if you were in a very dark place TRUE 1mw 532nm green may be visible

Edited by MessiToM (08/29/13 12:31 PM)


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Jarad
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6052536 - 08/29/13 01:12 PM

Quote:

Will the rule be changed if states start adopting the 1mW limit?




I doubt we will change it if it is a single state. If it becomes many states, then we will have to review the rule. We intend to promote compliance with the law. Doing anything else would open us to significant liability.

Jarad


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Chuck Hards
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Reged: 05/03/10

Loc: The Great Basin
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: MessiToM]
      #6052744 - 08/29/13 02:59 PM

Quote:

What most people dont know is that most of these labeled less than 5mw lasers actually put out well over 5mw.




Everyone in my club is aware of that. There is also the possibility that you'll get one that is below 5mW (it's happened here). It's a double-edged sword.

A 1mW limit would effectively be the end of the GLP as a useful outreach tool or finder option. As it is, at 5mW, it's marginal under compromised skies.


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axle01
super member
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Reged: 01/26/13

Loc: Townsville Nth Qld Australia
Re: Green Laser Pointer new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6053470 - 08/29/13 10:34 PM

I mounted a 5mw laser module in a ebay laser mount and bolted it firmly but not tight to a dovetail clamp that I just clamp it to the Vixen dovetail bar.
Because it is firm I can move it up or down and sideways to align it.
Added a 3cell AA battery pack with a on/off switch and Bobs ya uncle.
http://i44.tinypic.com/2akigqe.jpg

2nd photo

http://i40.tinypic.com/20qmc2f.jpg


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