Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Equipment

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | >> (show all)
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Degree Circles
      #937949 - 05/02/06 01:34 PM Attachment (5592 downloads)

Thru the kindness of a fellow CN'r who made the degree circles for me, I now have the complete setup for $12. I had the degree circles laminated on both sides (Staples-$2)
Bought an inclinometer (Home Depot $10). Had an old wall clock that I removed the hands from for pointers.
The Altitude Degree was affixed with dbl-stick tape. I siliconed the clock hand between 2 thin washers, & installed it first, against the scope, on the "spring" bolt.
Then, with the inclinometer, I adjusted the clock-hand pointer, until they agreed, all thru the scale.
On the base, again I used dbl-stick tape to affix degree circle. I drilled a small hole in the side of the lower base, using a stainless steel screw, mounted the other clock hand (hour). I then bent it to clear edge of other base & forward to point to scale. I think the set-up looks great; I don't need the inclinometer now that the pointer has been coordinated. Of course, now a front has moved in with total overcast, so I cannot try out the new "Go-To" $12 system!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #938005 - 05/02/06 01:58 PM Attachment (3878 downloads)

Another

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #938007 - 05/02/06 01:59 PM Attachment (3156 downloads)

Last picture.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #938045 - 05/02/06 02:12 PM

Carol,

Looks great, nice job.

Regarding the inclinometer versus altitude scale. The advantage of the inclinometer is that it reads the true angle of the tube regardless of the angle of the base. A base that is even just sightly off from perfect level can introduce errors into your altitude readings, and at least in my case, my eyepiece's widest field at just 1 degree leaves me little room for level induced errors.

You can certainly keep the scale, but I would take great care in leveling the base, and if it were me, I would leave the inclinometer in place during observing as a way to confirm the scale's readings.

Good Luck with the system, I'm cheering for you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #938057 - 05/02/06 02:19 PM

Rod: Thanks for bringing that to my attention! I will definitely use the inclinometer. Soon I am getting the digital one you have, I have the base all ready for it.
Also thanks for all your help & encouragement, so I can have a "Go-To" scope!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dgs©
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 03/29/04

Loc: West Monroe, Louisiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #938066 - 05/02/06 02:25 PM

Looks real snazzy... kind of like the scope should have come with them as original equipment.
The clock hands are a good idea.

Make sure your base is very level whenever you set it up, otherwise your Alt scale could be off a little.
I assume you are using a compass to align your Azimuth scale with true North? If so, keep in mind that magnetic North and True (celestial) North don't always agree. Furthermore, magnetic North wanders around, noticeably over the course of a few years.
Here is a good NOAA site for determining what your magnetic declination is.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SkyArcher
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: 9545' in Colorado
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: dgs©]
      #938080 - 05/02/06 02:35 PM

Carol, That looks great! You did a nice job!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #938088 - 05/02/06 02:37 PM

Thanks to "Honey's" master!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: dgs©]
      #938098 - 05/02/06 02:44 PM

Thanks David: It was suggested to me that I point the scope to Polaris, then rotate base to "0". I will try both this, & a compass if & when the "curse" lifts the clouds, to see which is easier for me & most accurate.
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Hillbilly_Gazer
Court Jester
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: dgs©]
      #938114 - 05/02/06 02:51 PM

Quote:

Looks real snazzy... kind of like the scope should have come with them as original equipment.




That was my exact thought. Nice work!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
typhus
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/06/04

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Hillbilly_Gazer]
      #938218 - 05/02/06 04:00 PM

Those are nice Carol. Using the degree circles sounds like it would be more fun observe than DSC. Let us know how they work out for you.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: typhus]
      #939034 - 05/03/06 12:46 AM

Good luck Carol. When I did the same thing to my dob, it opened up a whole new world for me! What program are you using to find the objects?? I use Planetarium on my Palm. I also play around with PleiadAtlas. It is an easier interface than Planetarium, but I don't think it is quite as accurate, but still gets you pretty close.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Curt B]
      #939404 - 05/03/06 09:55 AM

I haven't decided on a program yet; do you have a website for PleiadAtlas? The easier, the better for me! Also, did you use a compass on the base, or put scope on Polaris, & turn the base to "0"?
Thanks!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #939533 - 05/03/06 11:36 AM

Carol,

When you get tired of hearing from me, just say so.

With regards to aligning the base, I have a cheap $4 compass permanently installed in the base of my scope that helps me get somewhat close to north when I set up the scope.

Then, to "calibrate" I use any known object, many times a star or planet visible well before Polaris is visible. Center that object in the field and adjust the dial to match. My approach was to build it about 20 degrees of adjustability on the dial. That approach allows you to adjust without disturbing the position of the scope, nice if you have spent any time carefully leveling the base.

Remember that each time you move the scope base to adjust your calibration, you will likely move the scope enough to loose the calibration object and will have to reacquire the target and check the reading and repeat. Might be a bit tedious.

An approach I have seen in a set up like yours with a non-adustable scale is to make the pointer movable. One way to do that is a pointer mounted on a magnet that attaches to a steel plate along the edge of the scale. Once centered on an object, You simply move the pointer to match the appropriate reading, again leaving your scope undisturbed, still level and centered on your calibration target.

Hope this helps.

Rod

Edited by rnabholz (05/03/06 11:43 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #939565 - 05/03/06 11:56 AM

Rod: I won't live long enough to get tired of you trying to help me get set up! Can you explain a little more about the steel plate along the edge of the scale? This idea sounds great, as I know it will be very difficut for me to move the base (full weight of scope!).
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #939587 - 05/03/06 12:19 PM

Carol,

Imagine a piece of thin steel - the steel strapping used on lumber or pallets would work great. You simply attach, say, 6 inches of that to the edge of your groundboard with a couple of screws.

Then attach your pointer to a small magnet, and stick it to the center of the steel strip.

When you need to tweak your calibration you simply slide the pointer along this strip of steel strapping until it matches the computer's azimuth setting and you are good to go.

Let me know if that is clear as mud and I will try again.

Rod


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #939628 - 05/03/06 12:52 PM

Rod: something else that may work is magnetic stripping. I called the local hdwre store, & they have it (used for holding screwdrivers, etc.) It's flexible, so I thought I'd screw it around the edge of the base, then mount my clock-hand pointer on a small magnet. What do you think of this?

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #939645 - 05/03/06 01:06 PM

My only thought on that might be that you could have a situation where the polarities of the strip and small magnet would clash and not let you place the pointer precisely where you would like. Take the small magnet to the store and try it out.

If you live anywhere near a lumberyard or home improvement center, they would likely let you take all the steel strapping you wanted for nothing. Most of the time the yard is littered with the stuff and some poor soul (like me on my summer job as a kid) has to schlep around and pick it up and toss it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #939676 - 05/03/06 01:26 PM

After thinking about it, I agree, the strapping would be better (and the price? PRICELESS!) Besides, the cost will still be $12, + 1 small magnet, & a few s.steel screws! How much better can it get? Off to the lumber yard, I go!
Now, all that will be left? Overcast, go away!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SkyArcher
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: 9545' in Colorado
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #939785 - 05/03/06 02:40 PM

Carol, I use Pocket Stars on my PDA (Dell Axim) and Cartes du Ciel on my laptop to give me the coordinates that I need to find stuff. CdC is free but Pocket Stars is $19. CdC shows the comets and lets you update the database. Pocket Stars does not show comets but if I look up the comets on CdC then I can pick it out from the Pocket Stars.

The PDA is definately easier to use out in the field than the laptop.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fireball
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/24/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #940000 - 05/03/06 05:21 PM

Quote:

Carol,

Imagine a piece of thin steel - the steel strapping used on lumber or pallets would work great. You simply attach, say, 6 inches of that to the edge of your groundboard with a couple of screws.

Then attach your pointer to a small magnet, and stick it to the center of the steel strip.

When you need to tweak your calibration you simply slide the pointer along this strip of steel strapping until it matches the computer's azimuth setting and you are good to go.

Let me know if that is clear as mud and I will try again.

Rod




Sounds interesting and simple.
Is it possible to show a picture of this set-up ?
That would make everything very clear.
Thanks !


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Fireball]
      #940013 - 05/03/06 05:37 PM

Fireball: Go to top of this post, my first picture.
On the outer side edge of the lower circular base, the metal strip will be affixed there, completely around the base; then where the pointer is,(screwed in), I now will have the pointer glued to a small magnet that I can now move anywhere on the degree circle, to get set up.
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #940019 - 05/03/06 05:43 PM

Ron: Just downloaded trial PC version, & am ordering PC & PDA version. This is a great program, just what I was looking for. Now, I'm going to try to find a good price on the Axim. Again, thanks for all your help, couldn't have done it without your kindness & expertise!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #940116 - 05/03/06 06:52 PM

Here is the link for Pleiadatlas

http://astro.isi.edu/pleiadatlas/

and Planetarium

http://www.aho.ch/pilotplanets/

Edited by Curt B (05/03/06 06:53 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #940389 - 05/03/06 09:59 PM

Carol,

Of course the call is yours to make, but if it were me, I wouldn't bother to make the strip go all the way around.

6-12" of strapping would give you around 30 to 45 degrees of adjustment, plenty for even a casual initial polar alignment.

Just another two cents - making my total to date $3.08.............Sorry.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #940401 - 05/03/06 10:19 PM

Rod: Again, thanks! Didn't realize this. It will save me a lot of work. Can tell I'm an amateur at this, huh? I've got the "0" degree mark on the left side, so a short strip running each way of this would be good?
Carol (p.s. you have a credit of many thousands of $, so I can pick your brain a lot, at 2cents a question, I'm gonna keep you verrrry busy!)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #940454 - 05/03/06 11:07 PM

Exactly, just a few inches on both sides of zero will do the trick.

Glad to help.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AtLarge
super member


Reged: 08/22/05

Loc: 868 Ft. Above Sea Level
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #943553 - 05/06/06 12:51 AM

Quote:

Exactly, just a few inches on both sides of zero will do the trick.

Glad to help.




This is very informative but let me make sure I have this straight.

The pointer is on the bottom base.
The pointer is aligned with Polaris and the base leveled.
The steel band with magnet on pointer allow for adjustments so you can tweak that alignment by moving the pointer after you test on some known objects. (without having to keep moving the entire bottom base)

If the markings are on the top board and are stationary with the OTA where do you set the gradients to begin with? The zero / zero goes directly below the center of the OTA at the front of the scope? That way you always begin with the scope pointed at the Polar North.

You then match the Azm:159 and Alt:+38 as per your favorite program (my settings at the moment for Jupiter) and your on target or at least in the neighborhood.

Am I keeping up here or did I miss something?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: AtLarge]
      #943758 - 05/06/06 07:55 AM Attachment (731 downloads)

You have it.

In Carol's pictures you can see that she set zero at 90 degrees from the tube, but it really doesn't matter that the scale match the actual azimuth direction, only that the scale and pointer indicate properly. Her approach makes it convenient to see when at the eyepiece when the scope is pointed north.

Using the approach where the scale is attached to the rocker means that you will have to leave the eyepiece position at times to line up the pointer. The approach I used is to put the scale on the groundboard and build some adjustability into the scale rather than the pointer. That allows the pointer, attached to the rocker, to be visible from the eyepiece at all times, a little handier set up, but a little more complicated build.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Clear Skies


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #943900 - 05/06/06 10:17 AM

See my new post here "my $12 Go-To" test drive
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SkyArcher
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: 9545' in Colorado
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #944499 - 05/06/06 07:52 PM Attachment (1583 downloads)

In case any wants it, I've attached the pdf of the file I used to make the degree circle. You can take the pdf to your local "Kinkos" copy center and have them print it out on 24x36 paper. Also while you're there, have them laminate the degree circles.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Relativist
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/11/03

Loc: OC, CA, USA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #944714 - 05/06/06 11:08 PM

Just out of curiosity, how good is that home depot inclinometer? Could we maybe make our own that was a bit better?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Relativist]
      #944767 - 05/07/06 12:10 AM

It's about 4-3/4" high (circular), with magnetic base. As Rod Nabholtz said, using the inclinometer, it's independent of the base, so no leveling is required.The scale is quite small & a little difficult to read at night, but works. During my viewing session, My Altitude degree scale matched the inclinometer with each change. The ideal one is what Rod has now; MD SmartTool digital level. It runs $100 though. I'm quite happy with my setup & accuracy.
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Relativist
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/11/03

Loc: OC, CA, USA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #947707 - 05/09/06 02:40 AM

Ok, so let me ask this, could you use the inclinometer to "calibrate" the Altitude scale, bypassing the need to level the base? The idea would be to move the arrow as is done with the Azimuth scale.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
THESKY
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/16/06

Loc: SOCAL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Relativist]
      #947728 - 05/09/06 03:31 AM

Boy this is such a good thread . . . thank you for all . . . especially Carol who initiate this thread. Also to Rob and SkyArcher who make the Alt/Az degree circle work.

I also plan to do the same since it is doable.
My question will be when you have a tracking platform how do you calibrate the level. When you just start tracking you will have the platform swing to the east side and then it will end as it swing all the way to the west for 60 - 80 minutes.

I guess one solution will be searching for the object while the rocker base is level and after the object is in the FOV - turn on the tracking device.

Ridwan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Relativist]
      #947818 - 05/09/06 06:47 AM

Curtis,

Using a scale without a level base is problematic because while you can always set the scale to match an inclinometer determined setting, when you turn the rocker on the base, the scale reading will be off immediately and will not be exactly accurate until you return it to the same azimuth you set it at.

Now, depending in the degree of deviation from level, this error could be small, but it could also be very large and make finding things in a one degree or so field of view very difficult.

The inclinometer takes away the possibility of this error, and so makes it the choice for me. The analog inclinometer mentioned in this thread is about $10, a cheap efficient solution.

Of course leveling the scope is another option, and actually, I do both to make things as accurate as possible.

Edited by rnabholz (05/09/06 10:39 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #947869 - 05/09/06 08:08 AM

Ridwan,

I have given the tracking platform issue some thought, as I am conisidering building one for my scope.

I think the only approach that will work is stopping and returning the platform to level during the object acquisition process and then turning the motors on.

You would sacrifice 50% of your tracking period, but depending on the platform you would likely have 20 to 30 minutes of travel left. That would generally be enough for my purposes.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
THESKY
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/16/06

Loc: SOCAL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #948148 - 05/09/06 11:37 AM

Rod,

That is what I thought . . . having the dob level - align to the object (Alt/Az) - then turn on the tracking. Thank you for that confirmation.

Or another idea would be . . . calculating the difference between a leveled platform and a maximum swing platform. Then we can use this different to a Alt/Az value from the pocket star.

What do you think about that one?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #948202 - 05/09/06 12:12 PM

Quote:


Or another idea would be . . . calculating the difference between a leveled platform and a maximum swing platform. Then we can use this different to a Alt/Az value from the pocket star.

What do you think about that one?




Well, here is what I have come up with as I have pondered using a platform.

Remember that if you adopt my strongly preferred approach for altitude - an inclinometer, not a scale, the tube reading is always read independent of the base. So even on a platform the altitude reading will be accurate.

It is the azimuth that is vexing. Visualizing the base and the azimuth scale and the different possible orientations of that scale to the tilt of the platform, it seems to me that you would have an infinitely variable factor to consider.

For example, consider the scope pointing precisely perpendicular to the axis of platform rotation or pointing precisely parallel to the axis of rotation. In these cases, your azimuth is likely to be pretty accurate.

Now consider the scope pointing in between those points. It seems to me that depending on the degree of the platform tilt, you would compromise the accuracy of the scale because you have in effect compressed the spacing of the degree marks by tilting the scale.

If my visualizations are correct (and PLEASE, anybody who sees this differently please let me know your thoughts) you would have a very difficult time quantifying the deviation and therefore could probably not easily adjust for it.

Edited by rnabholz (05/09/06 12:28 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SkyArcher
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: 9545' in Colorado
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #948402 - 05/09/06 02:33 PM

Rob, I'm just having a little brain fart here, but I'm thinking that if you're using a tracking platform, wouldn't it be better to use the other set of coordinates (RA-DEC) and set up a different set of degree circles. I confess that I don't know what Ra-Dec coordinates are other than they are used on EQ mounts.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #948457 - 05/09/06 03:26 PM

Quote:

Rob, I'm just having a little brain fart here, but I'm thinking that if you're using a tracking platform, wouldn't it be better to use the other set of coordinates (RA-DEC) and set up a different set of degree circles. I confess that I don't know what Ra-Dec coordinates are other than they are used on EQ mounts.




I suppose that you could develop a way to put RA-Dec circles on a platform mounted dob, I have never seen that done, so I can't say that I understand the possible pitfalls.

I guess my way of thinking about this approach is that there may be times when I would use the scope without the platform so the alt/az circles are useful in both settings.

Setting the platform back to level to use the circles can be a quick and simple process on the non-tangent drive platforms, so it seems like a simple solution.

Of course, one could simply get a Equatorial Mount and skin the cat that way if tracking was a requirement.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
THESKY
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/16/06

Loc: SOCAL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #948607 - 05/09/06 05:35 PM

I just did some calculation on delta between leveled and full swing platform. It does not work. Because the delta is not a consistant number. The object closer to Polaris for example will have a different delta from an object away from Polaris.

In regard to your inclinometer, I assume when you mount the inclinometer on the tube - it has to be vertical in order to get an accurate reading of the altitude. But . . . when you have a platform swings all the way . . . the inclinometer is not necessarily vertical anymore.
So even using an adjustable mounting, there should be a way to compensate vertical axis.

The RA and Dec method is even more complicated because dobsonian has only two UN-adjustable plane (vertical and horizontal) With RA and Dec, you need to have a 3rd axis in order to make the 2 planes coincide with the true North (Polaris) . . . like the the equatorial mount. . . . Unless I am wrong . . .

Have fun tinkering . . . I am going to sleep on it again . . .

Ridwan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #949041 - 05/09/06 10:44 PM

Quote:

I just did some calculation on delta between leveled and full swing platform. It does not work. Because the delta is not a consistant number. The object closer to Polaris for example will have a different delta from an object away from Polaris.




I am curious, as I suggested in the earlier post, I suspect that as you move toward one of the multiples of 90 degrees - 0 - 90 - 180 -270- 360 you reduce the error. Stated another way, at 0 degrees no error - increasing error to 45 degrees - then decreasing error to 90 where it is minimal, or even eliminated. Continuing the same way every 90 degrees all the way around.

Does this make sense to anyone but me?

Quote:

In regard to your inclinometer, I assume when you mount the inclinometer on the tube - it has to be vertical in order to get an accurate reading of the altitude. But . . . when you have a platform swings all the way . . . the inclinometer is not necessarily vertical anymore.
So even using an adjustable mounting, there should be a way to compensate vertical axis.

The RA and Dec method is even more complicated because dobsonian has only two UN-adjustable plane (vertical and horizontal) With RA and Dec, you need to have a 3rd axis in order to make the 2 planes coincide with the true North (Polaris) . . . like the the equatorial mount. . . . Unless I am wrong . . .

Have fun tinkering . . . I am going to sleep on it again . . .

Ridwan




Regarding the inclinometer, the analog unit would be susceptible to mechanical error- the indicator would rub on the housing. I am not sure about my electronic unit, I haven't tried it in anything but a normal attitude.

Have to give that a try.

Interesting to think about. Thanks


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
THESKY
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/16/06

Loc: SOCAL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #950829 - 05/11/06 03:10 AM

Hey Rod,
Just got back from a few hours of observing. The platform and the inclinometer worked very well. I bought the digital one (smarttool - Craftsman) and mount
using a magnetic strip - the program I use Equinox (for Macs) and the platform I use Tom Osypowski's.

I swing the platform all the way - then look for Jupiter - both the program and inclinometer agrees in the altitude with about 0.25 degrees of error.
Then I turned on the tracking and let it track for about 45 minutes or so and again the inclinometer agrees with the program. It is really cool!

I have not installed the azimuth yet since Kinko messed up the enlargement.
Skyarcher make a 19" degrees circle but my DSH base is 25" (I have a 12" DSH) So I have to calculate the percentage of enlargement. Anyway it is almost done.

Thanks again for sharing the idea . . . now I got a goto system fairly affordable. The smart tool $80 was well worth it. Total was still under $100.

Ridwan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #951035 - 05/11/06 09:52 AM

Hi Ridwan,

You got out and tested the SmartTool before I had a chance to. I am pleased to hear that it works properly even if tilted slightly off axis. I had suspected it would, but nothing beats a true field test.

$80 is a great buy on the level. I knew Sears carried them, but at the time I bought mine, their price was higher by $20. My guess is given a year, this tool will be in the $50 range.

The device is quite accurate, my experience matches yours, the error is very small, a quarter of a degree makes this part of the system well within acceptable tolerance. Add that to the resolution possible with a 20" azimuth dial and you have a system that works very well as you and those who have implemented it have discovered.

The whole thing can be done for about $100 to $125. Moving to additional scopes your cost is just that of the azimuth scale and a mount for the level ~$20 or so.

One other advantage this system has over traditional DSC is its ability to work with a scope that is not perfectly orthagonal. Any deviation from perfect orthagonality of the axis on a dob will cause a DSC to not perform up to its capabilities. This system is immune to that issue.

I am very interested to hear of your results with the total system on the platform. Please be sure and post your observations when you have the azimuth dial in place.

Thanks


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #951132 - 05/11/06 11:16 AM

Thanks for letting us know Sears sells the "SmartTool".
My local hardware store & lumber had only the 24"level w/smart tool for $139! Couldn't order just the module; Sears, it is!
Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
THESKY
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/16/06

Loc: SOCAL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #951316 - 05/11/06 01:37 PM

Oh yeah . . . forgot to include the price of the program (Equinox). It is $50.
I haven't bought it yet though - still using trial version. I like to try the planetarium with Palm pilot before purchasing. I know that the Palm is much smaller and easier to carry/store. But I like the big screen on my laptop -12". I can set to see the whole sky (180 degrees) or part of it (up to 5 degrees). I can also see both coordinates in RA/DEC and Alt/Az. One other advantage of Equinox over Planetarium is that I am able to use the program for tracking What it is invloved - I don't know yet. Oh yeah . . . one more thing MACs hardly crash . . . he he he . . .

So all in all the price for this HYBRID degrees setting is around $150.
Still way cheaper than a DSC which will cost me around $700 (the unit and the mounting kit)

(I use hybrid since the smartTool is digital for the Alt. But for the Az is analog)

Happy Tinkering people.

Ridwan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: THESKY]
      #1055054 - 07/22/06 06:08 AM

SkyArcher, what program did you use to create the great looking degree circle with? I need one for my scope, but my base is slightly larger than the 19" one you have in your PDF file. My base is 22" outside diameter and the width of the circle needs to be 3/4". Any thoughts on how I can make one of these?

Thanks,


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SkyArcher
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: 9545' in Colorado
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1055130 - 07/22/06 08:29 AM

Hi Tom, I used AutoCad.

An easy way for you to do this is take the file to Kinkos
and have them enlarge the file by 115%. That will give you a 22" circle. Then while you're there, have them laminate it on both sides.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1055183 - 07/22/06 09:27 AM

Thanks, I guess since I work on a high end graphics sytem (CATIA V5) that I will just import that PDF file, plot it out at 115% scale (as you suggested) and I'll be all set!! I will have it laminated.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Clif
member


Reged: 07/19/06

Loc: Perrineville New Jersey
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1055323 - 07/22/06 11:32 AM Attachment (578 downloads)

Similar approach: I discovered that the plotting accuracy of today's ink jet printers is quite impressive (on a Mac at least, don't know how well it works on a windows system) and the drafting ability of many drawing programs (MacDraw, ClarisDraw, Canvas, probably the CAD packages too) is just as good. Combining these, I have found that one can make setting circles which are very servicable by just drawing them on the computer, printing them out on the ink jet printer and laminating them to plywood circles using liquid epoxy. They are at least as accurate as 0.1 degrees which is about as good as you can read a circle anyway. I have even made verniers for the circles this way. If anyone wants details, I can expand on the technique. Attached is a picture of a 24" RA circle I made this way. The small divisions are one minute of RA in size. The circle is for a big reverse fork mount I am working on.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Astraforce Paul
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/05/05

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Clif]
      #1064589 - 07/28/06 11:20 AM

Clif, yes, please describe more about what you did. Do any of those programs automatically put the circle number in? I presume so. Is there a freebie program or demo program for the Mac that one could test this with? Anyone besides Cliff who knows please chime in, too!

I'm interested in rolling my own template (I like your BIG numbers--easier to read) with my own degree markings (e.g., longer 5 degree line, no outer checkerboard, etc.).

How did you handle the overlapping? I've found that my inkjet does NOT print to the border so that there is a white, unprinted border. It's a bit tricky overlapping the sheets.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Clif
member


Reged: 07/19/06

Loc: Perrineville New Jersey
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Astraforce Paul]
      #1129368 - 09/03/06 10:22 AM

No, everything is put in by hand, but it was not very difficult. The tic marks are really lines going all the way across that were put into final position by copying, rotating, grouping, copying, rotating, etc. The numbers had to be rotated also and individually placed. Masking white opaque circles with black borders were plotted on top of the maze of crossed lines to leave the tic marks sprouting from the edge of the circle. I used MacDraw Pro which is just the grown up version of MacDraw that used to be given away free with all Macs. ClarisDraw, Kalaidadraw and Canvas would probably have enough tools to let you do it, PC or Mac.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Digital all the way? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1131690 - 09/04/06 02:33 PM

How about using the smarttool w/ well-designed mount (a la Rod's) for altitude ($80 at sears), and a digital compass for azimuth (see also at sears, for example, $20), total price $100 plus tax.

I don't know how accurate the compass is. It only reads out to the nearest degree. However, Rod points out that by calibrating the smarttool mount onsite, one can get the altitude spot-on every time. This reduces the searching to just azimuth, and a search on only one axis is trivial.

The other problem w/ the compass is the magnetic declination, as pointed out above. However, one can look this up ahead of time (it appears to be 10 degrees 45' west for my location near DC), and compensate onsite.

Does this sound reasonable to anyone? Anyone have experience w/ digital compasses and have an idea how precise they are?

Cheers,
pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1133696 - 09/05/06 07:23 PM

I use Planetarium on my Palm to look for my objects. There is an option for magnetic azimuth on it, so it should solve the problem of knowing what true north is. My only concern is will the metal OTA interfere with the compass?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: Curt B]
      #1134694 - 09/06/06 09:52 AM

Quote:

I use Planetarium on my Palm to look for my objects. There is an option for magnetic azimuth on it, so it should solve the problem of knowing what true north is. My only concern is will the metal OTA interfere with the compass?




Good question. I ordered the cheap wayfinder from amazon ($17) and will try it this weekend. I don't have a big tube, but do have four long aluminum poles (2" diameter), so it would probably be similar. However, it's supposed to work inside a car or truck, w/ an indicator when bothered by interference from metal, so we'll see.

pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1135648 - 09/06/06 07:33 PM

Looking forward to hearing about your results chmee....please keep us posted!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1137639 - 09/07/06 08:23 PM

Quote:


Good question. I ordered the cheap wayfinder from amazon ($17) and will try it this weekend. I don't have a big tube, but do have four long aluminum poles (2" diameter), so it would probably be similar. However, it's supposed to work inside a car or truck, w/ an indicator when bothered by interference from metal, so we'll see.

pete




No go, it only registers in increments of 5 degrees, and even that might be overstating its accuracy. My sense is that this is representative of other cheap digital compasses as well.

Oh well, at least it works quite well for its intended purpose, i.e. in the car.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1139412 - 09/08/06 07:53 PM

Sorry to hear that....was looking forward to hearing about your results...

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: Curt B]
      #1139541 - 09/08/06 09:17 PM

I picked up the wayfinder v7000 for 50 bucks from overstock.com it's supposed to be accurate to 1 degree and I can set to true or magnetic north. I'll let you folks know how it works out. I don't really need it but I think it may be a cool looking gizmo to add on that also gives me the weather and some other neat tricks.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1143802 - 09/11/06 10:57 PM

Update: Received and installed the Wayfinder v7000. IMHO, it does an excellent job (accurate to 1 degree + true or magnetic North settings). With the $9 Home Depot inclinometer and the Wayfinder 7000 digital compass ($50 refurbished from Overstock.com) the total system is about $60. If the digital SmartTool price drops enough maybe I'll get that too. Not a bad overall price for the results. It also works and I find it a bit easier to use. The down side - it costs more and defeats the purpose of doing this on a budget.

In any case, I will keep the setting circles on the scope just in case I'm ever observing in a location w/ strong magnetic interference. I can't thank you folks enough for the threads on this subject - it makes life a whole lot easier AND saves money!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Curt B
sage
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Loc: Regina, Canada
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1145445 - 09/12/06 07:46 PM

Thanks for the update....i just might get one too!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1145739 - 09/12/06 11:01 PM

Quote:

Update: Received and installed the Wayfinder v7000. IMHO, it does an excellent job (accurate to 1 degree + true or magnetic North settings). With the $9 Home Depot inclinometer and the Wayfinder 7000 digital compass ($50 refurbished from Overstock.com) the total system is about $60.




Wow, this I really didn't expect. Did you really give the compass a workout? I realize that it reads out in 1 degree increments, but does it repeatedly give the same value for the same orientation (place it against a wall, read, spin it a bit and place it back against the wall, read again)?

What about the backlight, can you keep the display on and backlight off for more than a minute or so?

I've already ordered the smartttool ($90 at amazon w/ an automatic discount) w/ the intent of replicating Rod Nabholz's setup. If this really works, I'd order it in a minute.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1145879 - 09/13/06 01:37 AM

When I started using the compass tonight it was a little off. I had to recalibrate (takes about 30 seconds). This entails pressing the menu button once, pressing enter, spinning the base of the scope one full revolution, then repressing menu. I took off the suction cups of the compass and drilled it into the base to make it nice and tight. I also tightened the adjustment screw on swivel/tilt so that it basically can't move out of it's horizontal position. This also allows me to press the buttons without fear of knocking the compass out of it's holder. Your supposed to keep the compass (made for your car) in the same place w/in your car, thus I want to keep it in the same position on my scope.

Which brings me to one of the questions above: Did I
Quote:

place it against a wall, read, spin it a bit and place it back against the wall, read again


... the answer is no.

Again, I screwed the plastic compass holder into the base (the compass itself can be removed from the holder but I don't move it). On the contrary, I keep it nice and tight on the holder at a horizontal position with the base for most accuracy.

Before viewing I simply calibratrate, make sure magnetic declination is set, and then generally keep the bottom base in place as I slew the scope. I do occassionally move the entire telescope unit around the house from one window to another) and it doesn't seem to affect results. How it works outside I don't know yet. Maybe I'll test it this weekend if the weather permits. For now it seems to be working in my home. I'm finding things very quickly.

Generally the target objects (using starry night & skycharts software) are found within the FOV of my 32mm eyepiece. Once in a while they are slightly off and it takes a nudge on the AZ setting to get it in the FOV. Usually this happens because the AZ coordinate lies almost directly between two 1 degree increments (e.g. 87.467 degrees) - add that to the rounded off declination and you may be off about 1.5 degree total at times. All in all I can live with that. I'm happy with it thus far. I'll keep you posted and report any problems.

FYI - the backlight can stay on up to 3 minutes and when the backlight goes off, the unit stays on a bit longer before the auto shut off kicks in. The compass is plastic. I think this little unit is ideal for my situation because I don't have to fuss w/ Polaris or anything -which is good for me since I can't see it from my window.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Gigatron
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: Staten Island, N.Y.
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1146255 - 09/13/06 10:15 AM

Hey Jeff,

Got a couple of questions for ya.

1) do you think the v700 would work well in place of the v7000? The difference seems to be the thermometer and barometer. I don't think I really need those to see a star, as long as the compass is just as accurate.

2) how did you mount it to your scope? any pictures?

3) have a part number on that inclinometer?

Thanks,
Fred


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: Gigatron]
      #1146311 - 09/13/06 10:46 AM

Jeff,

Are you able to set north to Polaris? How do you calibrate it to correspond with computer generated azimuth coordinates? It all sound good.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1147030 - 09/13/06 07:52 PM

Fred
1)The v700 gives the read-out in 5 degree increments. IMHO, this is not enough. I believe the v7000 unit has both critical components, namely the ability to correct for magnetic declination, as well as, giving read-outs in one (1) degree increments. There could be other units out there that have those same capabilites without the other bells and whistles for cheaper - I'm not sure.

2)I don't have the ability to post pictures right now.

Basically I screwed the compass into the swivel base board (toward the rear-end of the scope and directly opposite the front of the scope with the handle). If you can imagine placing the degree circle on the base board with zero (0) in the front - the compass would be screwed into EXACTLY where the 180 degree mark would be in the back. The compass should be screwed in tightly to the base. According to the instructions you can tilt the unit up or down within it's swivel bracket a maximum of 20 degrees but I found that not having a tilt at all is most accurate. Whatever angle you select for the tilt, the compass must stay that way (otherwise you'll have to recalibrate), thus I also tightened the side adjustment screw for the angle of the tilt so it doesn't accidently get bumped out of it's bracket.

3)The inclinometer was purchased at Home Depot (you won't find it on their website). It is an "EMPIRE magnetic polycast protractor" that can be purchased for a little less than $9.

Tom
I do not need to set North to Polaris - North is set magnetically by the compass and adjusted for magnetic declination. Once I turn on the compass and calibrate it (by pressing a button and spinning it in place one full revolution), I'm set to slew the scope to the coordinates I get from my planetarium software.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Gigatron
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: Staten Island, N.Y.
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1147654 - 09/14/06 10:05 AM

Thanks for the answers, Jeff. Just one more quick question, is there a particular reason that you mounted the compass where you did, or can it be put anywhere?

I mean, I have no problem mounting it at the rear, I'm just wondering if there's a reason.

Thanks,
Fred


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: Gigatron]
      #1148571 - 09/14/06 08:19 PM

I could be wrong, but I thought it would give me the most accurate reading -esp. when I'm trying to get down to 1 degree. Its placement mimics the finderscope placement - kind of like splitting the primary and seconday. When you step behind to read the display, its like you would in your car, i.e. looking at the compass display which gives the reading of the direction directly in front of you as you drive.

I guess it may be more convenient to place it to the left of the scope so I can just look down and take a quick read before peeking into the eyepiece but intuitively I'm thinking that wouldn't work. I guess you could try that out and test with a sky object. If it were not accurate, you might then readjust the declination to compensate. I'm not sure.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Gigatron
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: Staten Island, N.Y.
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1149325 - 09/15/06 09:43 AM

Well, here's my thinking on this; as long as the compass is facing forward (i.e. same direction scope is pointing), the readings should be just as accurate. 87* is 87* either under, above or along side the scope.

The only time I can see there being a problem, regardless of where the compass is placed, is when the object is at zenith.

When I get one, I'll mount it temporarily and see what happens if it's mounted along side the scope.

-Fred


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1150189 - 09/15/06 08:33 PM

Jeff.

I think the only real question is whether the compass will give precise, repeatable directions. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing your experience. Around here (DC), at least, we're going to get the first decent night in weeks tomorrow. Hope you have it as well.

I was thinking about the backlight. This is probably not a problem, as the screen could be covered by a red film.

pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1174324 - 09/30/06 07:48 PM

Update2: Believe it or not, I haven't yet had the opportunity to test the digital compass outside (Floyd Bennett Field is where I would go). The opportunity to step outside has been elusive and to be honest - it's nice and comfy inside and I've been learning a lot from the comfort of my own home. So, thus far I've had about 4 or 5 nights of testing indoors.

When I turn on the compass at the beginning of my viewing session, sometimes it puts an object in the FOV or sometimes it's accurate to about 1 or 2 degrees and requires some nudging to find the object. Thus far it has always been in the ballpark (under 5 degrees).

However, if I do a lot of moving around, which I usually do because of obstructions in the home and the limitation of window angles, it may eventually throw off accuracy by 5 degrees. Unfortunately, I've seen it get as bad as 8 degrees. I end up resetting the compass about 3 times a full night (i.e. 9pm - 5am). I also have a lot of electronic equipment around so I think it may contribute to throwing the thing off. In any case, even when it's off, I know I'm basically looking on the azimuth plane only so nudging is usually over quick.

So... I'm able to live with this non-precise degree of accuracy because it's tough for me sometimes to see Polaris (i.e. girlfriend won't give up the bedroom for the night!), and thus calibrating with other stars takes even longer for me. I would ideally need to test outside. When I'm at my outdoor spot, I'm basically planted in one area and just turn the scope's tube - I'm pretty sure it will work better in that scenario.

Until then, I'm not convinced this is the rock solid digital solution most are looking for. Perhaps there are better digital solutions out there that won't break the bank. It does happen to have a time advantage on the azimuth for me right now. This makes me appreciate that very accurate Home Depot inclinometer that much more. Also, I finally got my Telrad so the combo of finder-scope, Telrad, and this budget 'push-to' system seems to work well enough for me. Again - my humble thanks to the folks who started this thread and have therefore saved me time and money. Oh, and my apologies for folks who ran out and purchased a Wayfinder 7000 and may not be thrilled about it


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1178379 - 10/02/06 10:14 PM

Quote:

Oh, and my apologies for folks who ran out and purchased a Wayfinder 7000 and may not be thrilled about it




Too late!

I had the smart tool for altitude, so decided to try the compass for azimuth. I was hoping for 2 or 3 degrees max, figured it was only $40 if not. I did not quite expect 8 degrees.

At any rate, given both devices, I mounted them on my scope last night and took it out to the driveway. I had more confidence w/ the inclinometer (smart tool), as others have used it successfully. W/ the wayfinder I had several concerns: 1) accuracy, 2) backlight, and 3) directionality.

For accuracy, concerns were justified. I calibrated the wayfinder and then used the magnetic declination setting to zero on polaris. I then tried to use the two to find things, with mixed success. My first attempt, M31, was off by 3 degrees of azimuth. M76 was found in the eyepiece (40mm, about 1.5 degrees). M92 two degrees off. Several stars were within a couple degrees azimuth, but two were four degrees off, and one was eight.

Interestingly, when I finally rotated all the way around, polaris was only one degree off. I'm speculating that the "map" of the surroundings the wayfinder makes during calibration is off. Perhaps this was because I didn't do it evenly enough or some such.

Another interesting point that didn't occur to me until afterwards was that I think the error was always in the same direction (of azimuth). If so, this would significantly ease the process. After all, searching in one dimension is much easier than searching in two.

As far as the smart tool, it was always within two or three tenths, at most.

My second concern was the wayfinder's backlight. Turns out this is not bright, is easily disabled, and actually somewhat useful. The wayfinder has to be mounted down on the rocker base, so it's a bit hard to see from up near the eyepiece. Situation might be different when I get to a dark site.

My last concern was directionality, by which I mean that the wayfinder is designed to be mounted on a dashboard, facing forward. Facing the compass in the directy my mount is facing would mean mounting in on the "back", i.e., I'd have to get off the chair and walk around the scope to read it. I put the wayfinder on the side of the scope, meaning that it's 90 degrees off, PLUS the magnetic declination. The wayfinder's magnetic declination can be set up to 99 degrees, which would seem to be enough. However, it didn't seem that way, I seemed to need more like 105. So I left it at 95, meaning that I have to add 10 to each azimuth I look up on the computer. No big deal.

Overall, it's good enough that I'm willing to spend another couple of evenings trying to work out the kinks. If I can't, I'll mount the wayfinder in my car and add a printed azimuth circle to the base (which will be a bit of a pain).

Cheers,
pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
YankeeJeff
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1178468 - 10/02/06 10:47 PM

*Gosh, dang dibbity dag nabbit* - sorry Pete. That first night it was only off max 1.5 degrees. It was w/ the longer nights that I saw how bad it could get at times. Now that I think about it, I was limited to a smaller part of the sky. Maybe your right about the direction of error and its not the 'moving around' that causes the errors as I thought it might be. I've got to check that out some more myself. Hope you work out the kinks.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chmee
super member


Reged: 05/11/05

Loc: Takoma Park, MD
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: YankeeJeff]
      #1179502 - 10/03/06 02:42 PM

Quote:

*Gosh, dang dibbity dag nabbit* - sorry Pete. That first night it was only off max 1.5 degrees.




Don't worry, I'm just messing w/ you. I'm a gadget freak and had to try it out. Might still work. Unfortunately, weather doesn't look promising here, plus the moon situation, so it might be a couple weeks.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kingjamez
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Washington D.C.
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: chmee]
      #1216751 - 10/25/06 05:37 PM

First, thanks to all the contributors to this great idea. This is the best thing that has happened to me since I got started in astronomy.
Here's my question. I just got the system setup with skyarchers circle and an inclinometer (I found the Harbor Freight one the best). I'm using Planetarium for Palm. When I set Planetarium to AzM for Azimuth taking into account the earths magnetic offset, and then use a compass to calibrate the scope, it is always off. However if I use a compass to calibrate north and then turn the magnetic offset off, it works fine?
I'm not complaining since the system works, just curious if anybody knows why this is happening.

I live in Washington D.C. and the Magnetic Offset according to every place I've seen is about 11 degrees.

-Jim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: kingjamez]
      #1216955 - 10/25/06 07:47 PM

Jim: What I do is center Polaris, then move the "needle" (magnet on metal strip) to zero. From then on, it is extremely accurate. I don't use a compass at all. But if you have yours working, it doesn't matter how, just so it does work for you to benefit from the ease in which to find those elusive targets, especially when there are no bright stars nearby for placement. Have fun!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kingjamez
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Washington D.C.
Re: Digital all the way? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1217249 - 10/25/06 10:28 PM

Ok, I figured it out. I had the time on my PDA set 1 hour ahead, which for the sun was about the same as the magnetic north offset. When I took it out tonight, I found the error and fixed it.


Wow... I have street lights all around me, I live in a townhouse with neighbors who don't turn off their patio lights. I can't even see polaris. However with the $12.00 "push-to" I was able to find things I've never found from my house before. In less than an hour with NO finderscope (including setup and discovery of the time error) I found:
M31
M32
M34
M27
M13
M92

All of these were either in my field of view or very close to it (using a truly Dobson 7x50 binocular eyepiece from a broken pawnshop pair). I could have hit more very quickly, but LOST was coming on.
I can now really stargaze from my backyard...even though I can't see polaris becuase of the light pollution!

Thank you Carol, Rod, and SkyArcher!!!

Edited by kingjamez (10/25/06 10:52 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Laramie
member


Reged: 09/03/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1289137 - 12/06/06 11:07 PM

Carol Can you please tell me who did the circles for you. I like the set up and would love to do the same on my dob.

Thanks in advance
Becky


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Laramie]
      #1289252 - 12/07/06 12:10 AM

For anyone interested in the pdf file from SkyArcher for the degree circles; here is the file:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/attachments/944499-Alt-AZ_Setting_Circle.pdf


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1289358 - 12/07/06 01:25 AM

Someone kindly sent me a 24" one for my 12" lightbridge

http://www.copestake.org/24DialWhite.pdf for those interested in making setting circles for a 12" lightbridge


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Stefan Rostyne
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/19/04

Loc: Assenede, Belgium
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1289567 - 12/07/06 07:32 AM

thx, Gordon!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1289726 - 12/07/06 10:18 AM

Gordon: Thanks so much for posting the pdf for a 12" LightBridge; now if someone would post one for a 10" base, it would help those with that size.

Again, thanks for your kind addition!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1289749 - 12/07/06 10:37 AM

Carol,

As was mentioned earlier in this post, all one would have to do is to figure out what scale factor they would need to make it to the appropriate size that they would need for their particular base size.

However, I had so much trouble trying to get the original PDF file (that SkyArcher made) to the right scale, that I designed my own for my 12 DSO. The problem WAS NOT with SkyArcher's file; the problem was with Kinkos getting it done for me. They tried numerous times and NEVER got it right. That was when I decided to do it myself. I made the circle to the exact size that I wanted for my scope. That is the PDF file that Gordon posted.

I was reading the post that Gordon had posted in regards to his new 12" Lightbridge, he mentioned that he needed a circle that would fit his base, I thought, well, I have one that I made that worked for me, why not pass it on.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1289769 - 12/07/06 10:54 AM

Tom: Thank You!! There are many 12" Dob owners out there that will love you for this great addition to this link!
Again, my friend, many, many thanks for your contributions!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1289781 - 12/07/06 11:03 AM

Thanks Carol,

The circle that I made was designed to be placed on the bottom board (numbers in a clockwise direction). This requires that a small notch (I made mine 2 X 5) to be made at the edge of the top board to view the circle thru. However, if anyone wants (or needs) one made to be places on the top board (numbers in a counter clockwise direction - 24" diameter), let me know, I will gladly make it for them.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1289792 - 12/07/06 11:08 AM



Tom: Again, thanks for your contributions, you rock!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1289811 - 12/07/06 11:20 AM

i wasn't sure if you wanted to be named Tom, but once again, thanks for the circle! Very much appreciated!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1289814 - 12/07/06 11:23 AM

You are very welcome, Gordon. I'm just glad that I could help.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1292054 - 12/08/06 01:25 PM

Carol - I finally got around to reading your Degree Circles thread (due to lack of time, not desire) and from my initial read-through, what a great idea for the $12 "Push-To".
It seems like this would be an absolute "must have" for anyone with a Dob.
I have extra some vacation time I've accumulated which I'm taking off between Christmas and New Years, so that will give me time to tinker with it.
Unfortunately, we don't have a Kinkos or such nearby, so I'll be printing the plans separately on a 11- by 17-inch paper printer (which I'll have to figure out how to do it "piece-meal" by overlap). Luckily, I have a large laminator here at work.
I also plan to print out the thread and read it over closely, but I suspect you'll be hearing from me as I move along the process (I'm certainly not an engineer, but I have a knack for figuring things out - albeit sometimes slowly ).

John


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: darklighteditor]
      #1292071 - 12/08/06 01:36 PM

John: Thank you! It is such a wonderful, very inexpensive method. The best part, you can do it yourself. I've had a great time with it.

When you get ready, just fire away, & we will get you thru setting it up.

I've enjoyed so much, reading the posts from others that have employed this idea. That's what it's all about, sharing & helping!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1292104 - 12/08/06 01:50 PM

Thanks Carol!
I'm sure you'll be hearing from me.
And looking at my continously white CSC, I may be getting to that quicker than expected. Ya know, this weather has been something else this fall (and now heading into winter). Since I've received the 8-inch Dob from DBA exactly one month ago today, I've had a total of six nights viewing - that's 24 cloudy nights in a 30-day span. Percentage wise, it can't get any worse, can it??? I think this "Curse" has outlived its usefulness on my end. On the bright side, perhaps I'm simply getting the worse weather out of the way early...

John


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: darklighteditor]
      #1292143 - 12/08/06 02:28 PM

John, I agree about the weather; ordinarily, here we have many more clear skies than cloudy, but this Fall, up to now, it's been about 90% cloudy, 10% clear.

Perhaps we should all hide our scopes, & then sneak them out before the evil clouds see us!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1292147 - 12/08/06 02:29 PM

You should come live in england hehe, it's 10% clear and 90% cloudy ALL the time!

And just to rub it in all our kit costs TWICE as much as yours hehe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1292151 - 12/08/06 02:31 PM

Plus you have that Damp cold!!!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
nitroexpress
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/16/06

Loc: Hemet, calif
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1309177 - 12/18/06 12:17 AM

Carol:....
Thank you for your posts on the degree circles. Best thing since the invention of sliced bread......it made my 10" z10 into a push-to great scope.....i am using HNSKY for the computer ( laptop).....works well........thanks again for the best idea on the net....and to skyarcher for the degree wheel..................gary


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: nitroexpress]
      #1309556 - 12/18/06 10:11 AM Attachment (327 downloads)

Gary: A very Warm Welcome to Cloudy Nights! You have joined a great group here.

I'm so glad you are enjoying the setup. It's so simple, I'm sure many feel "No way can it work accurately"; but that's the great thing, simplicity equals accuracy!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, we love answering questions, because that is how we learn also.

Again, Welcome aboard, & a very big thank you for taking the time to let me know about your success with the degree circles!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1315539 - 12/21/06 10:35 AM Attachment (321 downloads)

The simplest ideas often work the best! I have followed this thread with interest having first come across this idea in Rod's web pages.
Electronic digilevels I looked at but were far too expensive for me. So while trying to find a placky inclinometer I was browsing Lidl's pages at the same time and spotted a digital spirit level. OK. the downside is that it is almost two feet in length, but the good thing is the digital unit screws out of the level itself! (Just as soon as I find my Allen keys!)Beeps every 10 degrees and has soft blue backlight that can be turned off. On the first very rough test I tried (holding the level gingerly along Dob tube!) it seemed pretty accurate. Just got to get the circle for the base printed off now.
All for a grand ... 29.99 euros! Lidl do their offers on a rotation basis each year so no doubt it will pop up again in the near future, for anyone wanting to track the unit down. FYI its got Paget Trading UK on it. Lidl are great for things like that, if you can manage to get there before all the retired people! (No offence intended!)
Anyway great job folks ... I just wanted to say thanks for telling us all about such a great simple idea.

(Today here in Athens, Lidl have Meade ETX70 GOTO, with backpack (which I saw for 55 pounds alone!), for 199 euros ... but I am being very good and keeping my hands in my pockets!)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Terry1229
super member
*****

Reged: 04/16/06

Loc: North, Idaho
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1315719 - 12/21/06 12:15 PM Attachment (352 downloads)

I printed mine from a program i got of of this thread. It printed on to about 6 sheets of paper, then I glued them to some foamboard and cut it out. I am still in the process of finishing. I need to put a clear coat over the top.

Edited by Terry1229 (12/21/06 01:57 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Terry1229]
      #1315776 - 12/21/06 12:41 PM

they sell those digital levels on ebay. Not as cheap as lidl but still pretty good.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Terry1229]
      #1315869 - 12/21/06 01:20 PM

Terry, it's looking great!

Let us know when you try it out!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mike Moffatt
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/13/05

Loc: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1316411 - 12/21/06 07:15 PM

Quote:

Beeps every 10 degrees and has soft blue backlight that can be turned off.




Make a small red filter cover for it just like we all do for our laptops.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Mike Moffatt]
      #1317104 - 12/22/06 03:44 AM

Will do!
I assume this sort of gadget isn't affected if it gets a magnetic strip stuck on it so I can clip it to my scope tube? I know Rod's is held on magnetically ... I have no idea how these actually work or if anything in it can be affected by magnets. I only know there is so much metal in our building I cannot use a compass to line up so will have to go by visual sighting -hopefully using Polaris- to align everything.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1318608 - 12/22/06 10:12 PM

Quote:

Will do!
I assume this sort of gadget isn't affected if it gets a magnetic strip stuck on it so I can clip it to my scope tube? I know Rod's is held on magnetically ... I have no idea how these actually work or if anything in it can be affected by magnets. I only know there is so much metal in our building I cannot use a compass to line up so will have to go by visual sighting -hopefully using Polaris- to align everything.




Just by way of clarification, my digital level is held on its mounting bracket by velcro. It was the original analog inclinometer that was magnetically mounted.

Clear skies.....

Edited by rnabholz (12/22/06 10:13 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Roger51
member


Reged: 09/05/06

Loc: Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1322783 - 12/26/06 06:22 AM

Interesting thread. Could someone point me to the PDF file, I don't see it?

Thanks

RS


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Roger51
member


Reged: 09/05/06

Loc: Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Roger51]
      #1322963 - 12/26/06 10:10 AM

Never mind found them...thx

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Roger51]
      #1323012 - 12/26/06 10:42 AM

Roger: Welcome, sorry I didn't see you post in time to get you to the pdf file, glad you found it.

Any questions, just ask, we love to help!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Heads Up - Lidl UK - Digimeter new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1341481 - 01/05/07 05:56 AM

UK residents looking for cheap digital meter - Lidl has one coming up for sale from 11/1 for 24.99 UK pounds.
Having got Allen keys as a Christmas present (how sad?!) I have now released meter from the level!!
Thanks for the correction Rod. I played with the magnets around the meter and it didnt appear to affect it but I may have to use velcro anyway since I hid my magnets away so toddler wouldn't find them - now can't remember where they are!
Now waiting for some clear skies!
Happy New Year to all - let's hope we see some great things this year!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Heads Up - Lidl UK - Digimeter new [Re: drzeus]
      #1342705 - 01/05/07 05:52 PM

D:rzeus: Happy New Year to you! Well, Allen keys, hmmm, they did let you release the meter from the level, didn't they?

Let us know how your "push-to" system goes.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1344001 - 01/06/07 11:24 AM Attachment (351 downloads)

Carol - Your $12 "Push-To" is right on the mark - That's exactly what I paid for mine! Although I must say working I for a newspaper did some some advantages.
While I gathered all of the needed materials during my week's vacation between Christmas and New Year, I wasn't able to complete the project until last night (too many "honey-do" projects around the house!).
First, I printed the degree circles at work. We don't have a printer quite large enough to print the entire 19-inch circle, so I ended up doing it "piece meal" in thirds. We have an old light table (from our old "hot wax" days of pasting up the newspaper prior to pagination) so I was able to carefully align the three pieces. Luckily, we also have a double-sided laminator.
I affixed the circle to the base with double-sided duct tape (yes, duct tape - it's a guy thing!)
We also had some strapping steel laying around at work so I used about eight inches of that on the front of the bottom base board attached with three stainless steel screws. I've had no luck in finding clock hands up here, so for the time being I found a package with four thin rectangular-shaped magnets ($1) to point the degrees and align with Polaris.
Now for the inclinometer. I has hoping to find a digital one, but again, living "Up North", no luck. After going to three stores, I finally found a Mayes level and angle finder used to deterine roof slopes and grades ($11). It's magnetic and is attached to the top of the scope (I wonder if the company knows these can be used as a "telescope accessory" ).
I'll use my old Boy Scout compass to determine north and I have a very small level to check the base. Plus the Stellarium program on my laptop gives Alt/Az coordinates.
Now all I need is for these clouds to clear out so I can give the new system a trial run (of course it's cloudy, I'm also waiting on delivery of two nebula filters I've ordered)!!
Thanks again for the great post and I'm looking forward to trying this out (it looks like I may have an opening tonight).


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1344010 - 01/06/07 11:26 AM Attachment (402 downloads)

Here's another pic of the entire system.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: darklighteditor]
      #1344020 - 01/06/07 11:31 AM

Being in the UK i plan on purchasing the lidl level for use with my system. I'm currently using a dial inclinometer but hopefully the digital one will be much more acurate

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: darklighteditor]
      #1344081 - 01/06/07 12:07 PM

John: Congratulations! I'm so glad you found the post useful; you will be amazed at the accuracy of this simple addition.

Please let us know how your first night viewing with the $12 Push-to System works.

We better not let the inclinometer manufacturers know it's an Astronomy accessory, or the price will sky rocket!

Thanks for the kind words, also!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1344471 - 01/06/07 03:36 PM

John,

Nice job! You'll find that this system will make a BIG difference in how you find objects in the night sky. Using this system along with a good planning software package, will certainly make viewing the night sky more enjoyable. Good luck and let us know how it works for you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1344537 - 01/06/07 04:08 PM Attachment (435 downloads)

Here is a pic of the dial that I made for my 12" DBA base.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1344705 - 01/06/07 05:48 PM

Tom: Beautiful job! How did you cut the indentation out so nicely? I also like the red on the pointer, shows up more.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1344917 - 01/06/07 07:41 PM

Tom - that looks great!
Is that a small head nail painted orange? And I agree with Carol, nice job!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: darklighteditor]
      #1345162 - 01/06/07 10:05 PM

Thanks Carol and John for the kind words!

Woodworking is just one of my favorite past times, as well as astronomy. I have a second base that I got from a freind, so what I did was to cut the notch out of the side of the top board, and covered the cut surface with a piece of the "edging" from one of the spear pieces that I had. I made it look as if it was made that way from the manufacturer of the base.

Yes John, that is a small "finish" nail that I bent and placed between (2) small magnets, one on each side of the nail. They are held together with epoxy glue and finished with black and red enamal paint. It works really well. I am able to see it in the dark to adjust it as need be. I did exactly the same thing on my 8" Dob as well.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
spudrick
member


Reged: 10/22/06

Loc: Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Au...
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1353895 - 01/11/07 03:27 AM Attachment (406 downloads)

Well after quite a while and contacting Carol for some information i have finally finished my version of the Push-To. As i had a 12" GSO scope i already decided to replace the ordinary chipboard base by using it as a template and making it from plywood. So i had the circles printed/laminated and constructed the base, i also put full circle laminex (formica) under the top circle and new Teflon bearings, changed the plastic handle to Aluminium and inserted a bubble level into the base. I made adjustable screw feet to help with leveling and added side braces to help with stability. All up a pretty steep learning curve for me as i had no previous experience especially with a router and large circles. The mount is not perfect and there are quite a few mistakes but noted and in future i will have learned and improved (i Hope)
I also tracked down a digital inclinometer and have fitted it to a timber dovetail i made to take the place of the finderscope i can buy a new foot plate and fit it to the tube later so i can replace the finderscope.
There are so many innovations and really professional quality work shown on this project and i just wanted to show my version and say a big thanks to Carol (and others for contributions)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1353946 - 01/11/07 05:21 AM

Nice Job!!

Glad to see that it works for you!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1353963 - 01/11/07 05:46 AM

OK - I just got me one of the lidl meters.
It's works great!
I just want to ask what is the best way to mount it to my scope? It's a skywatcher 8".
I want to make usre that when it's set on it, it is reading correctly, otherwise all my readings will be a degree or 2 off.

Thanks

Edited by marxy (01/11/07 05:17 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1355085 - 01/11/07 06:38 PM

Spudrick: Beautiful job! That's really a nice looking base.

Thanks for letting us know how it turned out for you, it is much appreciated!

You will really enjoy this system. Fitting the digital inclinometer on a dovetail is a great idea, not to mention the bubble level inserted into the base.

Very well done!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1355091 - 01/11/07 06:42 PM

Doesn't the Lidl meter have a magnetic base? If not, at a craft store they sell packages of magnet sheets, that can be cut easily with sissors. You could glue a strip of this to the bottom, & then it will stay on the tube. It really doesn't matter where you mount it, I have mine about midway on the top of the tube (when horizontal).

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1356156 - 01/12/07 08:29 AM

My Lidl meter safely released and not so safely attached to tube with double-sided sticky tape (aka ord tape folded back on itself!)- nope doesn't have magnetic strip (and I have not found my magnets or my velcro!).

I just eye-aligned up on the tube. accuracy appears to be .2-.4 degrees of where it should be but this is still only by rough comparison with the altitude data on my Palm software (which may need long/lat tweaking). Doing a full turn on the base will let you know if anything is out of alignment because theoretically if all is levelled correctly you should get the same reading all round a full rotation. Found I don't need to use its blue backlight anyway because our streetlights are so bright (even on 3rd floor) I can pretty well read the digits straight off! (Time to purchase an air-rife to shoot said lamps off!)[Does that trick i read about of shining bright torch on sensor actually work?]

This is a brill thread - thanks to all out there for helping us all get going on this!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1356381 - 01/12/07 10:55 AM



Definitely make sure your Palm is setup with the correct information; otherwise you will always be off in locating objects.

If your viewing area is that bright, I would suggest you put up something to block the stray light, otherwise your viewing will suffer greatly. There are many ways to block light. light block screens

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
spudrick
member


Reged: 10/22/06

Loc: Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Au...
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1357928 - 01/12/07 10:41 PM Attachment (401 downloads)

Hello Just to show the Inclinometer fitted to the finderscope dovetail and the bubble level inserted into the base board. I also have a 10" Dob i am seriously thinking about making a new plywood base for it as well it was fun making this one
Terry


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1358117 - 01/13/07 01:08 AM

Terry: You did a great job mounting the inclinometer! Your base is as professional looking as anything I've seen! It's absolutely beautiful!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1358320 - 01/13/07 06:04 AM

Terry,

Nice job!!!!!!!!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1358322 - 01/13/07 06:05 AM

Great setup Terry, I like the idea of using the inclinometer on the finder dovetail!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1358730 - 01/13/07 12:28 PM

Carol thanks for the screen link - I have seen various ones about here but not that one. It is rather tricky because I am balcony based and that restricts my viewing angles already, but I do tend to use my rotary airer and a sheet to screen the lamps from up the road! (I won't attach any pics! ) But it is slowly getting worse - thank heavens Christmas is over and all the festive lights have gone at least (and I no longer have to listen to the constant repetitive jingly music they play either!). The sour cherry on the cake came when the local council came to fix one lamp and it now shines seemingly straight at my balcony which it never used to . So now I have no vision towards NNW-NNE. My view to NNE-SSE is totally blocked by our building and McNaught has been currently sat behind a tree in the evenings! Oh the astronmer's woes!
We are planning to move house but I have a tough time convincing hubby to include the criterion for telescope use in the house hunting!
Terry the meter looks excellent placed there and neat idea with the level - I must do something like that.
Keep all the great ideas coming folks - how much better can it get?!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1358955 - 01/13/07 02:45 PM

Is there a chance of contacting the utility company & asking them to put a shield on the light, blinding your balcony? About the worse that can happen, is for them to say no. It's definitely worth a try!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1358986 - 01/13/07 03:02 PM

Hey Carol,

I think that very subject came up in another thread a while ago and someone said that they actually did ask the electric company, and they did put up a shield.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1359150 - 01/13/07 04:32 PM

Yes Tom, someone did have luck, & a shield was placed on the offending light. As I said, it sure doesn't hurt to ask Nicely!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1360164 - 01/14/07 06:16 AM

I think the final (I know, never say final) upgrade for my scope will be digital inclinometer. I have been putting it off because of the price (nearly $100), but I think it will be a good investment in the long run.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1360707 - 01/14/07 12:26 PM

Tom: I know, that's really steep, (I don't have one!); maybe advertise for one?

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GordonCopestake
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/02/06

Loc: Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1360716 - 01/14/07 12:28 PM

Have a look on ebay, here in the UK they go for 30 ($60) I would have thought there would be something similar for cheaper than $100 available

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1360838 - 01/14/07 01:11 PM

Thank you! That will give Tom a start; I haven't seen any other digitals than the $100.

carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1363137 - 01/15/07 04:02 PM

Carol and Tom I will give them a ring and see. I have to say I don't hold out much hope tho - this is Greece, and while it is my permanent home, these sort of things are a bit laughable. Unless of course I happen across a fellow star fan perhaps. But I will try, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Also, can I ask a really dumb question?
viz the degree circle printout. Terry I see you took a piecemeal approach to printing - was that using the startrack program on hre? I have hunted about for a printers nearby to printout the pdf, but have had no luck tho a local place offeredto laminate my A4 printouts patched together. I can do the printout myself I reckon. My printer prints very crisply and it should be straightforward to do. But can someone explain how? From Adobe I can't get it to print anything other than odd sections. My printer will do poster print (ie multiple stick together pages) banners, reductions, enlargments etc but I can't figure out how to get this printed out. I have Photoshop and other software.

Also Carol (and others) I see your circles are under the tube support side panels, as opposed to being on the ground board. Was it easy to keep the circle well in place when the panels got screwed back in place? (with my electric screwdriver Santa brought me that should be easier than when I put it together!). Any tips gratefully accepted!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1363455 - 01/15/07 06:58 PM

Also Carol (and others) I see your circles are under the tube support side panels, as opposed to being on the ground board. Was it easy to keep the circle well in place when the panels got screwed back in place? (with my electric screwdriver Santa brought me that should be easier than when I put it together!). Any tips gratefully accepted (Quote)

My degree circle slid right under the ground board, I didn't have to loosen it al all. I will get ahold of another member to walk you thru the printing of the pdf file. He should pop on soon. Thanks for being so patient!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1364164 - 01/16/07 03:53 AM

OK now I am confused (doesn't take much!)
Carol, you mean that your degree circles weren't actually full printed circles, just the outer inch or so with the scale on? Was that one complete piece itself? Sorry if that sounds dumb, I am just trying to visualise it all - I had the impression it was one whole circle stuck to one whole circular base. I guess it is pretty easy to make sure it is properly aligned all the way round? I am just thinking of ways error can creep in here - but as long as you follow the base perimeter everything should be aligned as well as that itself is.
I can just picture the faces when I go to get something like that laminated! Well, being a foreigner here I can get away with seeming eccentric. My neighbours have at least stopped peering at me suspiciously whenever I am out on the balcony with binocs or scope! I shall look even more daft when I try to see McNaught after midday today
Thanks for the quick response.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1364530 - 01/16/07 10:42 AM

Drzeus: My degree circle was printed out on one large sheet of paper; the Altitude scale was in the middle. I had the entire sheet laminated at Staples, front & back for $2.

Then, I simply cut out the Altitude scale, affixed it w/ double-stick tape. Then I cut the Azimuth circle out (just cut the center portion up to the degrees), & again used double-stick tape to hold it in place. If you have the correct size for your base; there is no concern about error, when placing it.

I hope this helps you a little! Just keep asking questions, believe me, I asked so many questions with this project, that it almost was embarrassing!

I admire you for going ahead with this project, you will certainly gain much benefit when complete!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1365144 - 01/16/07 04:15 PM

Brill thanks Carol, much as I thought. It will certainly be easier doing it that way than unscrewing everything.

I have a few improvements I want to make to my Skywatcher but I had to wait so so long to own a telescope I am really hesitant to get in there and get dirty in (unlike how I usually approach everything else!) in case something doesn't go right.

This is going to be so good ! Thanks for all the encouragement - it's great when you read about things that can be done and, hey, other people are doing them why not me?!

Now ... if only we had Staples here!

Edited by drzeus (01/16/07 04:18 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1365411 - 01/16/07 06:08 PM

I'm like you, I don't want to mess with things, in case I can't get them back the way they should be

What you end up with is a "ring" with the center cut out; much easier!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
spudrick
member


Reged: 10/22/06

Loc: Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Au...
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1374259 - 01/21/07 07:13 AM Attachment (387 downloads)

Update: trying the circles made me realize that without a light it is not too good to see the scale during the night. So after a bit of playing around with LEDs and how to mount it i decided to use the original plastic handle supplied with the scope. This has a natural 45 degree edge so i drilled a hole from the backside of the handle and threaded a LED through to where the handle bolt connects then drilled a smaller hole parallel to the bolt hole and threaded the wires though to the inside of the base, connected a 12V DC plug and as you can see from the photo lights up and right on target!.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1374335 - 01/21/07 08:56 AM

That's a great idea!!! I'm going to look into that for my scopes. Thanks for shearing your idea and photos!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1374947 - 01/21/07 02:46 PM

What a fantastic idea! I always have to use my red flashlight; Don't know anything about wiring, but am going to try this!

Thanks so much, great photo!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1375000 - 01/21/07 03:13 PM

Oh this thread is great! Spudrick that is so cool. I have seen a couple of people use led's like this - great idea.
I mananged to print my circles out on several A4 sheets ... bit floppy so i tracked down a printers that did it in one piece: even tho it was 52x52 cm he initially printed it out 58cm! (My print was much better quality too tho ). I have since realised a slight problem in that I have got into the habit of moving my base around a fair bit whilst viewing (due to being on a balcony I have to get in close to the railings to go high and go back from the railings to go low), which will mean realigning frequently. So I may have to go the metal strip + indicator way. Plus I definitely need a bubble level for the base. (Goody, a trip to a hardware store !!!!!)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
spudrick
member


Reged: 10/22/06

Loc: Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Au...
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1375111 - 01/21/07 04:12 PM Attachment (343 downloads)

Thanks guys just to show a bit of how i wanted it to look neat the drawing shows how i drilled through the handle and put the LED at the angle then threaded the wires through to the base at the back

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1375122 - 01/21/07 04:19 PM

That's nicely done!! I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for shearing the drawing with us!!!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1375348 - 01/21/07 06:01 PM

Spudrick: You definitely are not a newbie, in my eyes!

Great idea, & exceptional drawing!

Thank you, for adding to this thread.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
darklighteditor
Theatre King
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: Sparty Nation
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1376138 - 01/22/07 12:52 AM

Spudrick - What a fantastic idea!

I knew that handle on the front of the Dob base was good for something.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1398768 - 02/02/07 10:17 AM

Here is a new link to a digital inclinometer that our member Doug found & used, when he installed his degree circles system. It is much less expensive than the Sears model:

Wixey digital inclinometer

Thanks all for keeping up all the contributions to this thread!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1398829 - 02/02/07 10:55 AM

Carol,

Thanks for the link! I have been considering the Smarttools (Sears) inclinometer, but it is just too expensive for me. This one from Wixey sounds like it will work great for what I need it for. I have seen a few other ones, some are geared toward the auto industry. But this one by Wixey is the least expensive one that I have seen so far. It looks very basic and easy to use!!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jayscheuerle
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: S. Philadelphia, PA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1398874 - 02/02/07 11:16 AM

Also note that it retains its "zero" setting when off, so that once you zero it to horizontal, you're good to go. This isn't mentioned in the specs, but I got the info from Barry Wixey himself.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: jayscheuerle]
      #1398883 - 02/02/07 11:20 AM

Jay,

Thanks, I was wondering if you had to "zero" it out every time you turned it on.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: jayscheuerle]
      #1398906 - 02/02/07 11:26 AM

Jay: It's a win/win tool! I like the more compact size also, not to mention the compact price!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1399223 - 02/02/07 02:12 PM

I just ordered a digital angle gauge from Wixey at 12:35 PM via their website. I got an email confirmation of shipment by priority mail at 2:07 PM!! They said I should have it by Tuesday the latest.

Wow, now thats customer service!!!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1399231 - 02/02/07 02:15 PM

Wow! Good going!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Terry1229
super member
*****

Reged: 04/16/06

Loc: North, Idaho
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1399597 - 02/02/07 05:47 PM

Me too!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Terry1229]
      #1399664 - 02/02/07 06:26 PM



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1403569 - 02/04/07 04:36 PM

What a neat little unit, with magnets too and at an amazing price. Well found!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Terry1229
super member
*****

Reged: 04/16/06

Loc: North, Idaho
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1405567 - 02/05/07 03:55 PM

I have degree circles all mounted and ready, but the sky sucks. So I need to ask a question.
I have been trying to calibrate the setting circles, and there is something I have missed. When you set the Alt scale, is 0 sit when the scope is pointing at Polaris?
And is tha AZ 0 set to magnetic north , or off set


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kwalker
sage


Reged: 08/22/06

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Terry1229]
      #1405588 - 02/05/07 04:08 PM

Yes, align your scope to polaris and then move your pointer on the magnet to Zero and your set. Are you using an inclinometer with your setup also?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kwalker]
      #1406999 - 02/06/07 05:25 AM

Well,

I ordered my Wixey angle gauge on Friday afternoon and it arrived yesterday (Monday)!! Wow, that was fast!! This is a nice little devise, it is only 2" x 2" x 1". All you have to do is set the "zero" and you are ready to go. Once the "zero" is set, you never have to do it again, just turn it on and go. Oh ya, it has a magnetic base!
It does take a about a second to stabilize, but I don't see that being a problem at all. I really like this gauge, it does exactly what I need it to do, plus the price is right, $40 (with free shipping). I was considering the more expensive Smarttools gauge, but I kept putting it off because of the price. Im glad I did, because now I have a gauge that is not only smaller, but it is less then half the price. If you have the extra $40 for this gauge, I think it is well worth the money.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1407316 - 02/06/07 10:07 AM

Tom: Great deal! No holding you back with the $12 push-to now!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1407324 - 02/06/07 10:12 AM

All I need know are clear skies and the temp to rise a little!!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: spudrick]
      #1418093 - 02/11/07 02:45 PM

Where did you find that inclinometer Spudrick?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Mr Magoo]
      #1418130 - 02/11/07 03:03 PM

Don't know if this is the one you are mentioning: It's much cheaper than the SmartTool, & accomplishes the same thing; it's also much more compact!

Digital inclinometer

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: GordonCopestake]
      #1418177 - 02/11/07 03:26 PM

Quote:

Have a look on ebay, here in the UK they go for 30 ($60) I would have thought there would be something similar for cheaper than $100 available




Gordon, do you have a link for a UK store that sells these... i've just started out on the idea of degree circles for my Dob and want to be sure i'm getting the right equipment - i'm not too DIY savvy you see!

So the inclinometer will give a reading showing the altitude at which the telescope is pointed?

And all credit to Carol for starting this thread!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1418234 - 02/11/07 03:50 PM

So the inclinometer will give a reading showing the altitude at which the telescope is pointed? (Quote)

Yes, then when you want to find an object, you look up their location; Azimuth & Altitude, from any astro program, put your base & tube to these readings, & there it is! (Be sure to first center Polaris, then put the Azimuth dial to zero).





And all credit to Carol for starting this thread! (Quote)

Thank you for the kind words! I'm very glad so many have installed this easy & economical system to make their viewing more pleasurable!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1418301 - 02/11/07 04:22 PM

Quote:

Yes, then when you want to find an object, you look up their location; Azimuth & Altitude, from any astro program, put your base & tube to these readings, & there it is! (Be sure to first center Polaris, then put the Azimuth dial to zero).




Thanks, Carol! For the inclinometer do i just need to put the Dob tube exactly vertical and set the inclinometer to zero or zero it after I've centred Polaris?

If i used software like Stellarium (which i can quickly and easily access on my PC from my viewing location) would it simply be a matter of entering my exact location by way of latitude and longitude and then looking up an object's position? Is Stellarium accurate enough for something like this?

Of course, i still have the Azimuth circle to worry about, but one step at a time... i'm still reading the posts in the thread.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1418880 - 02/11/07 09:11 PM

The azimuth circle is actually quite easy to make if you have AutoCad or some other drawing program. I drew one today in a very short time. I have been thinking about drawing up a whole bunch of different diameter ones for people to use and posting the files here. One thing I'm not sure how to do is how to convert the AutoCad files into PDF files that folks can easily work with. I'm sure it is something very easy to do. I only have Adobe Reader so that may be a problem. Can the copying centers such as Kinkos print from a dwg file?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1418913 - 02/11/07 09:28 PM

I saw the link for that one Carol. That is a great deal and I will be ordering one of those. Spudnik has a different one on his that looks good too. I've also been considering putting on DSC's using David Ek's plans and a Palm Pilot.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1419463 - 02/12/07 07:39 AM

Quote:

For anyone interested in the pdf file from SkyArcher for the degree circles; here is the file:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/attachments/944499-Alt-AZ_Setting_Circle.pdf




Very useful. That gives a 19" circle... i don't have the measurements to hand for my Dob base but i suspect it is a little bigger than 19" in diameter. If i just enlarged the image in that PDF file proportionately would that be OK?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1420007 - 02/12/07 01:37 PM

There's a post somewhere, in this thread, on how much to enlarge the pdf file for different size bases; can't put my finger on it right now, but it is there.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1420264 - 02/12/07 03:40 PM

^ That's OK... got Photoshop to do it.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kingjamez
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Washington D.C.
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1420271 - 02/12/07 03:42 PM

To print the PDF in the correct size in tiles:
All you need to do is (using windows) click on print then select the "current view" option. The preview window will change and display the percentage scale of the document. Change your view percent scale until the print percent scale is the correct percentage of 19" to fit your base.

-Jim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kingjamez]
      #1420289 - 02/12/07 03:50 PM

Jim: Thanks for helping the other member out!

It's appreciated.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jayscheuerle
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: S. Philadelphia, PA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1421481 - 02/13/07 07:32 AM Attachment (355 downloads)

Finally got mine done. Along with the Wixey Angle gauge up top, my azimuth circle rotates fully independently of the scope. I can set the scope up, point it at Polaris, and then move the circle with one finger until the arrow (which is on the side of the scope) points to 0.

It's been a month since the scopes been out, but I can't wait to use it (along with all the other mods I've done....)

Great idea! - j


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: jayscheuerle]
      #1421790 - 02/13/07 10:58 AM

Jay: Great job, looks like a professional job!

Thanks for posting the pic.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1421805 - 02/13/07 11:04 AM

Nice work Jay, looks great!!!!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: jayscheuerle]
      #1422699 - 02/13/07 07:51 PM

Jay,
That looks fantastic! Looks like it was made to be there when the scope was new. Why in the world don't the manufactures offer this? Seems like it would be a simple no brainer to add during production. A few questions Jay. What is the scale printed on? Do you have a way to lock the scale in once it is aligned?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Onslowe
member


Reged: 01/28/07

Loc: North East England
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1423556 - 02/14/07 09:57 AM

Neoweb, i have just got the Wixey gauge in the UK for 33.90 inc delivery from a company that advertises on ebay "The Wi-Fi Antenna shop", it arrived 2 days after ordering. It needs setting to zero before you use it, I used a bubble level and managed to get it dead level (turn the Wixey gauge the opposite way to check for same reading to ensure correct 0.0 reading, thanks to Stargazers Lounge forum for that tip). I levelled my scope horizontally by eye and checked it, got 0.1 on the gauge not bad ! As far as I know you do not need to check with Polaris, I tried it between the clouds on Castor, Rigel etc and using Stellarium I was within 0.3 of a Degree and the stars were quite central in my 25mm eyepiece Not bad, so thanks to everybody on this thread for their advice. I have fitted the degree circle to the base but have not had chance to try it yet but so far so good.
Cheers,
Onslowe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jayscheuerle
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: S. Philadelphia, PA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Onslowe]
      #1423607 - 02/14/07 10:31 AM

Ken, the scale was just printed at Staples on their large format printer. After roughing a sheet of clear acrylic with sandpaper, I spray-mounted the scale on (after I had trimmed it out into a circular ring). I put several coats of polyurethane on it, routed the shape out, hand-sanded the edges smooth, and then painted the exposed acrylic with satin-black enamel on the top and outer edge.

There's no need to lock the scale. It has no contact with the scope itself as it sits outside the diameter of the roller bearings by a couple inches. It's a ring and I have a triangular arrangement of 3mm cylindrical stops that the inner edge of the scale rides against. My routing must have been off a little as it doesn't rotate perfectly smooth (like butter), but "catches" in areas and there's a little more friction. I suppose I could make the stops abrasive and they'd wear down the high spots over time...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Onslowe]
      #1423608 - 02/14/07 10:31 AM

I'm glad to hear the the Wixey gauge works for you. I too am using one of their gauges and it is great!!! The size is just perfect!!! Once you set the "zero", you never have to set it agian!!!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Terry1229
super member
*****

Reged: 04/16/06

Loc: North, Idaho
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1423817 - 02/14/07 12:22 PM


Do you set it on a level surface to calibrate, or point the scope to polaris then zero it?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Onslowe
member


Reged: 01/28/07

Loc: North East England
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Terry1229]
      #1423920 - 02/14/07 01:10 PM

Set it on a level surface as far as I am aware, though I have just got the gauge and due to cloudy skies I have not had chance to try it out properly.
Onslowe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Onslowe]
      #1423929 - 02/14/07 01:15 PM

Just place the gauge on a level surface, turn it on, and select the "zero" button and you are all set!! Once you do this, you never have to set the "zero" again. Next time you use the gauge, just place it on your scope and turn it on, that's it!! It remembers that you have already set the "zero". Good luck!!!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Onslowe
member


Reged: 01/28/07

Loc: North East England
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1424387 - 02/14/07 05:09 PM

Well the clouds broke and I gave it a try (no Azimuth circles working yet). In my Mag 4.5 skies using the 9x50 finder and Wixey angle gauge I easily found M78, m35,m36,m37,m38 and M1 !! The angle gauge was spot on every time, no messing about leveling the base of the Dob, justset the Alt and moved the Azimuth slowly around until the object came into view in my 25mm eyepiece (not the best eyepiece as it came with the scope). About 10 years ago I spent 400 on didgital setting circles for an Eq Vixen GP mount, loads more hassle with not much better performance compared to the 33 Wixey gauge. You know it makes sense to get one.
Cheers,
Onslowe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Onslowe]
      #1425382 - 02/15/07 07:59 AM

Quote:

Neoweb, i have just got the Wixey gauge in the UK for 33.90 inc delivery from a company that advertises on ebay "The Wi-Fi Antenna shop"...




Many thanks, just ordered one! ... now back to the degree circles.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
spudrick
member


Reged: 10/22/06

Loc: Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Au...
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Mr Magoo]
      #1430807 - 02/18/07 12:52 AM

Hello Sorry for not answering have been away. I found the inclinometer from searching the internet for chinese manufacturer http://www.gemred.com/en/product.asp
i see they have updated the product list with what looks suspiciously like the Wixley model.
as i am always over there on business i got a friend to get a "Sample" for me cost US$40. Here in Australia the only one i could find was built into a laser level and was pretty expensive.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1431492 - 02/18/07 12:07 PM

Hi all... well, I'm getting there slowly but surely. I've attached an azimuth scale to the Dob's ground board. Now I need to cut out a small section from the top board through which I can sight the scale. Some questions if i may:-

1. Should this cut-out be made at the very front of the top board directly below the centre of the OTA?

2. To align for azimuth, do I centre Polaris through the eyepiece and, whilst keeping the OTA where it is, turn the ground board independently until the zero/zero point appears at the front?

3. I've ordered this digital inclinometer which should be arriving shortly

4. I plan to use Stellarium to get the alt/az readings as I can access it on a PC close by the scope.

Thanks in advance for any help.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1431535 - 02/18/07 12:40 PM

I cut the notch in my top board on the same side as the eyepiece, that way it is easier to see and make any adjustments.

The digital angle gauge that you ordered is the same one that I have, and it sure works great!! All you have to do is to set it on a level surface, turn it on, and press the "zero" button to set it to 0. That is it, you never have to set the "zero" again, just turn it on and go!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
neoweb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/10/06

Loc: UK
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1431559 - 02/18/07 12:53 PM

^ Thanks, Tom. So cut the notch on the same side as the eyepiece, then for alignment centre Polaris in the eyepiece and, whilst keeping the OTA where it is, turn the ground board independently until the zero/zero point appears at the notch?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1431653 - 02/18/07 01:34 PM Attachment (282 downloads)

Here is how I resolved the initial az setup problem..
The ring with the azimuth protractor turns independently from ground board and az bearing....

So, the procedure is
1. Level scope
2. Aim Polaris (or any other object)
3 Adjust az protractor until desired number is under the ponter

This is much more convenient that trying to keep the tube aimed at an object while adjusting the base..


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Beri]
      #1431830 - 02/18/07 02:58 PM Attachment (299 downloads)

Cut the notch and take a piece of metal strapping about 2-3" long and attach it to the inside surface of the surface that you just cut. This way, you can use a magnetic pointer for the fine-tuned adjustment to 0 for polaris.

In the picture below, I am able to adjust the pointer from about 74 to about 87. This is only an example of the amount of adjustment I have built into my scope.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1433006 - 02/19/07 02:08 AM

I like that magnetic pointer idea, seen that somewhere before
Here is another variation :

More about this scope

And, the "grandpa" of my "push to" scopes , my old white 8" dob:


Azimuth circle with magnetic pointer


Altitude protractor, it doesn't get any cheaper



The computer, a vintage HP DOS palmtop PC.
Main advantage : LCD screeen with no backlight, so it doesn't mess up your dark adaptation, clearly readable with dimm red light.It runs on 2 AA batteries for months.
Software :

Its free, and can be downloaded here


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1433311 - 02/19/07 09:38 AM Attachment (247 downloads)

Quote:

Hi all... well, I'm getting there slowly but surely. I've attached an azimuth scale to the Dob's ground board. Now I need to cut out a small section from the top board through which I can sight the scale. Some questions if i may:-

1. Should this cut-out be made at the very front of the top board directly below the centre of the OTA?

2. To align for azimuth, do I centre Polaris through the eyepiece and, whilst keeping the OTA where it is, turn the ground board independently until the zero/zero point appears at the front.......





I placed the notch in the base on the eyepiece side, just a lot more convenient to not have to move from the observing position to line up the pointer.

As Tom and Beri have mentioned, having some way to adjust the scale or the pointer is important. It is impractical to have to move the base to calibrate the azimuth reading.

On my scope, I built about 20 degrees or so of adjustability in the azimuth scale. The entire scale can be turned to match the appropriate reading.

Good Luck with your system.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
lerock
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: Arizona Coast
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1433727 - 02/19/07 01:29 PM

I wished the digital compass had worked better, it would solve many problems. I may try a hand held digital compass that sells for about $60 & claims 1 degree accuricy.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
lerock
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: Arizona Coast
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: lerock]
      #1433819 - 02/19/07 02:19 PM

Well, the more I read the specs, it's accually only +/- 2* accuracy. By the way, the compass tried earlier in this thread has a +/- 5* accuracy....

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: lerock]
      #1433860 - 02/19/07 02:36 PM

The digital compass (in my opinion) is not accurate enough to be used for astronomical targeting. I still rely on my manual setting circles with my Wixey digital angle finder. This seems to be a pretty good match.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: lerock]
      #1433909 - 02/19/07 02:54 PM

Mike: Why is the magnetic compass important to you? Once you center Polaris, adjust your Azimuth scale needle to zero, you are ready to go! If using the digital inclinometer, I don't even have to level the scope. Rarely, is an object completely out of the view, & when it is, it's because I got sloppy on setting the degree needle.

It sounds difficult, & yet it sounds so simple that one thinks, no way can this work; but it does, indeed work beautifully.

I appreciate everyone's input to this thread, it's been a great help to all!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: kestrel0222]
      #1433940 - 02/19/07 03:06 PM Attachment (297 downloads)

I have to agree with Tom, it is pretty hard to beat the accuracy of a 20" dial that you can buy for about $10 - no batteries, no magnetic interference from metal scope parts, no worries about magnetic declination.

Tom's Wixey inclinometer at $40 is a great value too, less than half the cost of the SmartTool that I used.

A $50 system with electronic altitude accurate to .1 and azimuth accurate to (conservatively) a half degree is a very cheap and precise set up- less than half the cost of encoders alone for a DSC system!

Rod


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
lerock
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: Arizona Coast
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1433969 - 02/19/07 03:15 PM

I too have the Wixey & setting circles. but with a compass you would not have to worry about finding north, you could just drop it & go, much like you do with the Wixey. I'm very lazy, I'm always looking for the easest way to do something. But, at least for cheap money, the compasses arn't their yet. I'll break down & buy the Tech 2000 drive system, it motorizes the dob & the motors have built in encoders for about $700, but that is not what this thread is all about. Thank you Carol, this is a very good thread...

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1434048 - 02/19/07 03:55 PM

Quote:

If using the digital inclinometer, I don't even have to level the scope.





Well, this is not completely true. Depending on the relations of the aim of the scope (or to be precise, the inclinometer), and the inclination of the base, errors are larger as you get near zenith..

For example, the scope is pointed due North, and the base is tilted, low on the east, high on west.
When the tube is horizontal, the error is 0. But as you rise the tube, since the axis of the altitude bearings is tilted, the scope will point a few degrees to the NE, allthough both the azimuth and altitude scale tell you that the scope is pointed at Polaris...

Same situation, the scope pointed due east or due west, you will not get any error when using a inclinometer, because the altitude axis is parallel with the ground

When I carefully level the scope, I always get the desired object inside a 1 field, using both az and alt scales printed on paper...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Beri]
      #1434113 - 02/19/07 04:28 PM

Using a scale without a level base is problematic because while you can always set the scale to match an inclinometer determined setting, when you turn the rocker on the base, the scale reading will be off immediately and will not be exactly accurate until you return it to the same azimuth you set it at.

Now, depending in the degree of deviation from level, this error could be small, but it could also be very large and make finding things in a one degree or so field of view very difficult.

The inclinometer takes away the possibility of this error, and so makes it the choice for me. The analog inclinometer mentioned in this thread is about $10, a cheap efficient solution.

Of course leveling the scope is another option, and actually, I do both to make things as accurate as possible.

--------------------
Rod Nabholz (Quote)

I've been told that the inclinometer reads true angle of the tube, regardless of the base angle. It certainly doesn't hurt to level the base, but I never have, & have very good results.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1434128 - 02/19/07 04:39 PM

Quote:


I've been told that the inclinometer reads true angle of the tube, regardless of the base angle. It certainly doesn't hurt to level the base, but I never have, & have very good results.

Carol




Yes, your altitude is always correct (or to be precise, its just a small fraction of a degree off, presuming a perfect inclinometer) when the base is tilted
But azimuth is not, the error is more prominent as the tube points higher, easily 3 or even 5 depending how uneven the ground is..
To get rid of it, you need to level the base.

Edited by Beri (02/19/07 04:41 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Beri]
      #1434156 - 02/19/07 04:52 PM

Ahh, I see what you mean! Thanks for clarifying it!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Beri]
      #1434157 - 02/19/07 04:52 PM Attachment (332 downloads)

Maybe this will help you understand the problem

In red, there is obvious drift in azimuth, when the base is tilted, althoug both the azimuth scale and the inclinometer show correct values. As you can see, the error in altitude is small, negligble, but azimuth is serious


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Beri
sage


Reged: 06/29/05

Loc: Croatia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1434160 - 02/19/07 04:53 PM

Quote:

Ahh, I see what you mean! Thanks for clarifying it!

Carol




Well I guess I was too slow drafting this up


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Beri]
      #1440789 - 02/22/07 02:53 PM

Hey all.
I will be picking up my 8" dob on tuesday next week, and have already prepared all I need (hopefully).

I want to know how people have attached te diital inclinometer?
I have removed mine from it's holer, but how can I attatch it to the OTA?

Thanks alot - this thread has been a great help


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1440900 - 02/22/07 03:54 PM

Which Inclinometer did you buy and what kind of scope, (Truss vs Tube, tube material, etc.)?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1440928 - 02/22/07 04:12 PM

It is the lidl one from england - I can't find a webpage for it.
it isaccurate to +/- 0.3 degrees and has a metal finish to it.

It is to mounted on a skywatcher 8" - solid tube (I think it is metal)

Thanks


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1441498 - 02/22/07 09:04 PM

Marxy: Does it have a magnetic strip on the base? If not, I would glue a magnetic strip on the base, & then it will just "stick" wherever you want it on the tube.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1441974 - 02/23/07 03:57 AM

csa/montana - It doesn't have anything magnetic on it (nothing a quick trip to the hardware store won't fix though), so I'll stick on a magnetic strip.

Thething is, are all OTAs magnetic?
I tried it once by puttg a fridge magnet onto my antares refractor and it didn't hold at all!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kestrel0222
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/21/06

Loc: Milford, Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1441999 - 02/23/07 05:17 AM

My refractor is aluminum, not steel.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1442317 - 02/23/07 10:09 AM Attachment (226 downloads)

Velcro is another option for non magnetic surfaces. The industrial strength stuff will hold it just fine.

Is there any chance magnets will interfere with the mechanism in the unit? I admit that I don't know how they work. Anybody know for sure, or anybody using magnets and getting along OK?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1443746 - 02/23/07 10:48 PM

If a fridge magnet won't adhere, then as Rod suggests, velcro would work fine.
You will enjoy this system so much!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1444843 - 02/24/07 02:14 PM

Won't the velcro mean that the measurer isn't aligned completely with the tube (since it sticks up slightly) and will give a sligtly 'false' reading?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1446328 - 02/25/07 10:06 AM

Quote:

Won't the velcro mean that the measurer isn't aligned completely with the tube (since it sticks up slightly) and will give a sligtly 'false' reading?




If you mounted the velcro on the bottom of the level, there is some possibility you could introduce some small error. In practice, I believe it would likely be very small and could probably be avoided with careful attachment of the level to the velcro.

Another approach would be to bolt a short piece of angle aluminum directly to the tube and then place the velcro on the upright of the aluminum and the back of the level. You place the level on the base of the aluminum and slide it back into the velcro. Doing it that way you can assure that the level will match the angle of the tube.

If you want the next level of accuracy, you could take the approach that I used (as pictured above) and build a mount that allows you to adjust the level to match the readings of the computer.

You could always start the simple way - velcro to the tube- and see if you see a problem with errors. If you do, it would be easy to take it off and go to the next step.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
marxy
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1446387 - 02/25/07 10:43 AM

Thanks a lot for all te advice - at least I've got plenty of cloudy nights to fiddle with this

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: marxy]
      #1449811 - 02/26/07 10:50 PM

Sears has their digital levels on sale right now or at least they do in my area. If you are a member of the Craftsman club, there is an additional discount. They have a 10" model and a 24" model. The 10" was $35.00 ($15.00 off regular price)and the 24" was $45.00 ($25.00 off regular price).

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Mr Magoo]
      #1449872 - 02/26/07 11:25 PM

Steve R. (Conus) was very kind to give this link for degree circles. This would be of help for those having trouble getting the circles enlarged & laminated.

degree circles/manufactured.

My thanks to Steve R. (Conus)!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drzeus
super member


Reged: 01/11/05

Loc: Athens, Greece
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1463847 - 03/05/07 04:53 PM

I always wondered what that part of your gear was for! Now I know. Neat idea.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
danner
super member


Reged: 02/27/07

Loc: Bay Area, Cali
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: drzeus]
      #1490818 - 03/18/07 11:52 PM

What is a good, relatively inexpensive Palm to use with this degree circle system?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: danner]
      #1491330 - 03/19/07 10:45 AM

Danner, go down the forums to Computers, & at the top of that forum I believe they list quite a few programs for the Palm. I myself, have a Dell Axim, using Pocket Stars.

Thanks for looking at this thread!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
hansolo
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: lebanon,pa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1515670 - 03/30/07 05:55 PM

can someone tell me if instead of using degree circles if you could use the angle meter mounted on scope and a gps mounted on scope set to digital compass if this would work just as well

thanks


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: hansolo]
      #1516098 - 03/30/07 10:16 PM

My understanding is that most GPS units must be in motion to provide an accurate bearing. Mounted to a relatively stationary scope would cause the unit to provide what I would think would be relatively unreliable data, at least data that would likely fall outside a usable range for this purpose.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BradC
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/31/07

Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1516323 - 03/31/07 12:25 AM

In addition, there has already been some discussion here about how most digital compasses is really not terribly accurate.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
hansolo
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: lebanon,pa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: BradC]
      #1516546 - 03/31/07 07:46 AM

ok now that that is answered i have look through the threadbut can not find a link unless i missed it where to print the circles so can someone send me a link or file to print out the circles themselves this just seems like i have to do this project on monday or tues when im off

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: neoweb]
      #1516721 - 03/31/07 10:11 AM

Quote:

Quote:

For anyone interested in the pdf file from SkyArcher for the degree circles; here is the file:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/attachments/944499-Alt-AZ_Setting_Circle.pdf




Here is the link


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
hansolo
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/10/05

Loc: lebanon,pa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1517244 - 03/31/07 04:53 PM

thanks

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1545788 - 04/15/07 01:15 PM

I used my Craftsman Inclinometer last night and at 34 degrees the LCD display started to fade. I put it in my coat pocket in between uses and kept it warm enough to work properly. I'll have to get some of those lithium batteries that Rod was talking about.

I spotted objects last night with my 10x60 binos (due to extreme light pollution), used the level to take the alt reading, then transferred the level to both my scopes, set the alt reading and had the objects in my field of view using a 32mm eyepiece. The level worked great!

I got my az dial printed/laminated yesterday at Staples (same price as Kinko's) but didn't have time to install it on the scope; maybe today.

My "Push-To" system will have cost ~ $40.00 (the Sears inclinometer costing $30.00) and seems as though it will work as well as the "GoTo" systems albeit, manually. I can handle $40.00 vs. $500. for the DSC's!

Thanks to everyone that contributed to Carol's thread on "Push-To" systems and thanks Carol for getting it started.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1545862 - 04/15/07 01:57 PM

Tom: You are most welcome! The credit goes to all the other members that have also contributed to make this a great, informative thread, such as you!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
martini man
member


Reged: 12/07/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1547526 - 04/16/07 12:05 PM

I have revied this thread and was wondering if anyone has a template for the groundbox of a 10" DSO scope. I noted that some have said that you can adjust the scale (of the 8" or 12" I assume) to make the right size. How do I do that?

Thanks and clear skies -

MM


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: martini man]
      #1547587 - 04/16/07 12:33 PM

MM: If you take the measurement of your base & the PDF file to Kinkos, Staples, etc. they should be able to adjust the size for your base.

I went thru the whole thread, I thought someone had posted it for the 10", but alas, I didn't find anything.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BradC
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/31/07

Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1547705 - 04/16/07 01:33 PM

Carol mentioned her "first light" thread, but I didn't see a link. I've posted the link so it doesn't get buried too deep, and because it has some nice additional pictures and good discussion:

My $12 Go-To test drive

Edited by BradC (04/16/07 02:23 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: BradC]
      #1547741 - 04/16/07 01:46 PM

Brad: Thanks for your kindness in posting the link!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
sleepwalker
member


Reged: 04/16/07

Loc: Australia
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1549171 - 04/17/07 06:57 AM

I feel its appropriate that I should use my first post to add my voice of appreciation for those responsible for the 'How to', photos and PDF file in this thread.
Truly one of the most useful I've ever come across. And thanks to it, my Father and myself down here in Oz now have nice push to systems on our 10 & 12" scopes (we went with the Wixey gauges).


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: sleepwalker]
      #1549392 - 04/17/07 09:55 AM

Sleepwalker: a very Warm Welcome to Cloudy Nights! We are most happy to share the forums with you & your father!

Please don't be hesitant to post your experience with this, you can start a thread, describing your first time out with the "push-to", or add it right here.

That's the beauty of Cloudy Nights, everyone is eager to share their ideas, & help with the members. We all, at one time or another, started out as a total beginer, & I know from my own experience, I have the knowledge today, because of other members that reached out a hand to help & encourage me along the way.

So again, Welcome to the greatest Astronomy website, CN!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1554103 - 04/19/07 02:25 PM Attachment (399 downloads)

Here's my version of the azimuth setting circle. It's not as professional looking as the other versions posted here but a much more simple setup and just as functional. It allows easy adjustment of the dial once aligned on an object. I had Staples print out/laminate the dial then attached it to foamboard (the hobby store had foamboard with its own adhesive which made the process very easy). Staples cost $6.00 and the foamboard was $6.00.

I borrowed this version from the man I bought my 8" dob from back in 1992. He had installed the same design on that scope.

I'm posting several pictures to show how it goes together. For the altitude reading I'm using the Craftsman digital level (inclinometer - $30.00).

Thanks again to all on this forum for their help with special gratitude to Rod (rnabholz) and Carol (csa/montana) for their extended help.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554107 - 04/19/07 02:28 PM Attachment (763 downloads)

Picture 2

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554109 - 04/19/07 02:29 PM

And a special thanks to you also, Tom. It's all the great input from all the members that posted here, that has made this thread a nice addition, to help others utilize this system.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554112 - 04/19/07 02:30 PM Attachment (313 downloads)

Picture 3

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554119 - 04/19/07 02:32 PM Attachment (281 downloads)

Picture 4

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554123 - 04/19/07 02:34 PM Attachment (281 downloads)

Picture 5

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554137 - 04/19/07 02:40 PM Attachment (283 downloads)

Picture 6

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1554211 - 04/19/07 03:25 PM

Tom,

You are welcome - glad to help.

Nice install on your scope, looks like an easy job, and one that is easily reversible without damage to the original finish. Well done.

Clear Skies,


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Sader762
member


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: East Texas
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1555254 - 04/20/07 01:48 AM

Quote:

MM: If you take the measurement of your base & the PDF file to Kinkos, Staples, etc. they should be able to adjust the size for your base.

I went thru the whole thread, I thought someone had posted it for the 10", but alas, I didn't find anything.

Carol





10" Dob w/ a 22" base - 19" pdf file scaled to 115% gives you a 22" printout. It's somewhere around pages 5 or 6.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Sader762]
      #1555649 - 04/20/07 09:36 AM

Thanks for your help!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BradC
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/31/07

Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1555855 - 04/20/07 11:13 AM

Tom-

Looks good, and easy!

So I take it the dial stays fixed in the center, and the base rotates around it? Is it easy to read from the eyepiece, or do you have to contort around to see where you are at?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
martini man
member


Reged: 12/07/06

Re: Degree Circles new [Re: BradC]
      #1555913 - 04/20/07 11:41 AM

19" pdf scaled to 115% - What is the method for this? Printer settings, set to free scale, and up the percentage?

I love being computer literate!

Clear Skies -

MM


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: BradC]
      #1556393 - 04/20/07 03:25 PM

Quote:

So I take it the dial stays fixed in the center, and the base rotates around it? Is it easy to read from the eyepiece, or do you have to contort around to see where you are at?




Brad,

The dial stays fixed to the ground board bolt and the box spins around it (as you said).

It is not readable from the eyepiece - that is a definite drawback to this design. Looking at the picture, the focuser is on the left side so I set my "0" alignment at the left back corner. So it's just a step or two back and forth. I'm still playing with options, I may try using the front left corner. Carol and Rod's setup is definitely more user-friendly. I'm real okay with mine because at this time I'm using a laptop computer which is set up a few steps away from the scope. I have to walk to it to get coordinates so as I walk back to the scope I stop at the back to set the azimuth first then the altitude. I'm in the market for a PDA and will Velcro it to the scope next to the inclinometer. At that point I may wish I had a different set up but I'll deal with that if/when it happens.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: martini man]
      #1556423 - 04/20/07 03:37 PM

MM,

In my case, I just took the pdf file to Staples on a flash drive. They had a chart to figure out exactly the percentage based on the size you want. I needed 17.25" and it came out exactly that. The equation that Sader used is the same used at Staples only they have it printed out on a chart. That was my experience.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Sader762
member


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: East Texas
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: martini man]
      #1557113 - 04/20/07 10:00 PM

Quote:

19" pdf scaled to 115% - What is the method for this? Printer settings, set to free scale, and up the percentage?

I love being computer literate!

Clear Skies -

MM




I just did mine at Kinko's tonight - $14. You take the size you need and divide it by the 19" drawing/pdf file that is listed in this thread, that gives you your factor scale.

Example:
22" base (10" dob) needed
19" pdf file drawing

22/19 = 1.158 or 115.8% scaled up

17-1/4" base
19" pdf drawing

17.25/19 = 0.908 or a scaled down facor of 90.8%

You can go into setup in the printer screen and usually tell it to scale up or down a drawing. I wanted the clean look and had mine plotted out at Kinko's, I then cut it out there and had them laminate it. Hopefully I'll have it together in a few weeks.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
HockeyRulesX4
member
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: Batavia, IL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Sader762]
      #1571471 - 04/27/07 10:40 PM Attachment (277 downloads)

Another satisfied Wixey Angle Gauge customer , seen here on my Z10.

I originally ordered from Wixey, but they sent out an email saying it was out of stock until early May . I couldn't wait that long, so I ordered it from Woodcraft (had to pay shipping ) and got it today.

I ran a couple tests this evening before the clouds rolled in. Used some easy to find targets to check - Moon, Venus, Saturn and the beehive cluster. Every one of them was right where Stellarium and the Wixey said they would be. Now for the next challenge - the dreaded azimuth scale!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1571523 - 04/27/07 11:16 PM

Looks great! Nice scope, you will really enjoy the system!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom in FLA
sage
*****

Reged: 04/08/07

Loc: SpaceCoast, FL.
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1572100 - 04/28/07 10:43 AM

Hey Dave what did you use to mount your gauge to the Z10? Let us know when you do your azimuth scale, it looks a little tricky with the Z10 base.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
HockeyRulesX4
member
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: Batavia, IL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom in FLA]
      #1572877 - 04/28/07 07:20 PM

That's the beauty of the Wixey gauge - it's got 3 magnets on the bottom of it so it just sticks to the Z10 tube. My only wish for this gauge would be some form of backlight.

I've been pondering the azimuth scale too. I keep going back and forth between the way Carol did it (top side of the bottom base board) or the way some others have done with attaching it to the ground board and notching the bottom base board.

Does anyone think either approach is better than the other?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1572952 - 04/28/07 08:13 PM

Dave: I think it looks better to notch the top board; I had no way of doing that, so I took the easy way.

Either way gets the same result; Satisfaction! I like the link that the poster added a tiny red light to view at the notch.

Thanks for posting! Let us know how it goes.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom in FLA
sage
*****

Reged: 04/08/07

Loc: SpaceCoast, FL.
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1572989 - 04/28/07 08:36 PM

I realize the Wixey has magnets but for some reason I thought Dave's picture looked like he had a bracket on his, I guess not. I'm leaning towards notching the top base board myself.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BobW
sage


Reged: 12/29/06

Loc: Mebane,North Carolina
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1573080 - 04/28/07 09:23 PM

I got my Wixey angle gauge on Monday. Maybe I got the last one:)

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rnabholz
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/25/04

Loc: Iowa
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1576318 - 04/30/07 01:05 PM

Quote:



I've been pondering the azimuth scale too. I keep going back and forth between the way Carol did it (top side of the bottom base board) or the way some others have done with attaching it to the ground board and notching the bottom base board.

Does anyone think either approach is better than the other?




For convenience, I think that notching the top board and placing the scale bewteen the top and ground board has one significant advantage.

By doing it that way, you can place the pointer in a position that rotates with the focuser - the natural position for the observer to be in while at the scope. You can always see the pointer without moving around the scope.

By placing the pointer on the ground board, there will be times when you have to walk around the scope to see the pointer and then return to the eyepiece. Not quite as convenient.

Having said that, both systems will work, and nobody should let this issue prevent them from putting this system in use on their scope. Just do it in whatever manner fits your idea of convenience, your skills or your whatever other preference you might have.

Good Luck


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: rnabholz]
      #1576501 - 04/30/07 02:35 PM

By doing it that way, you can place the pointer in a position that rotates with the focuser - the natural position for the observer to be in while at the scope. You can always see the pointer without moving around the scope. (QUOTE)

Absolutely! I wish I could have notched my board. I have to get up each time to see where the pointer is on the scale. Good exercise, but frustrating!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
HockeyRulesX4
member
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: Batavia, IL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: csa/montana]
      #1577047 - 04/30/07 06:32 PM

Thanks! I wanted a couple opinions before I got out the trusty jig saw. Stopped by Kinko's today and got the 22" azimuth scale. $9.82 printed and laminated.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
HockeyRulesX4
member
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: Batavia, IL
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1579185 - 05/01/07 02:34 PM Attachment (307 downloads)

I think I'm all set

Thanks to Carol and everyone else for leading the way!

Edited by HockeyRulesX4 (05/01/07 02:35 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: HockeyRulesX4]
      #1579232 - 05/01/07 02:49 PM

Dave: Beautiful job! Looks very professional. Now all you have to do, is get out under the night skies & enjoy it!

Thanks for posting your picture!

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Andrews
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/25/07

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1585379 - 05/04/07 01:34 PM Attachment (325 downloads)

Here's a picture of my current az setting setup. I used an aluminum tent stake that I cut off to fit. The clip-on light my wife found at CompUSA at the check out stand. It has two LED's, uses a small lithium battery (replacable), is totally flexible and extremely lightweight. I used a red permenant marker to color the lens. It works so well I bought another to clip on my astronomy equipment toolbox.

This setup works very well though I don't like the less-than-professional look. I'll be experimenting with various other ideas in time.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Tom Andrews]
      #1585479 - 05/04/07 02:28 PM

Tom: Quite an ingenious way to light the "pointer"! I like it!

Thanks for sharing the photo with us.

Carol


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Philip Levine
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: near Boston, MA
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: SkyArcher]
      #1587711 - 05/05/07 08:21 PM

SkyArcher,
Thanks very much for the pdf file of degree circles.
Phil


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Roger51
member


Reged: 09/05/06

Loc: Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Philip Levine]
      #1596965 - 05/10/07 05:16 PM

I just purchased a 16 Lightbridge. Does anyone know what the degree circle size is for this scope? I would like to have everything ready so when I assemble for the first time I can add the degree circle as I put it together.

Thanks,

Roger


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rob Willett
Vendor (Degree Circles)


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: London, UK.
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Roger51]
      #1597021 - 05/10/07 05:35 PM

Just in case it helps, this thread has a link on how to generate setting circles of any size. The size is only limited by your printer.

Cloudy Nights Setting Circles


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Roger51
member


Reged: 09/05/06

Loc: Michigan
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Rob Willett]
      #1597205 - 05/10/07 07:20 PM

Thanks Rob I was going to use the formula provided above (size of base/ 19) However, I don't know off-hand the size of the 16" Lightbridge base? I was hoping someone who has the scope would be able to give me the dimension.

Roger


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rob Willett
Vendor (Degree Circles)


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: London, UK.
Re: Degree Circles new [Re: Roger51]
      #1597789 - 05/11/07 01:08 AM

I've got no idea about the size of the base I'm afraid. The setting circles program will work to any size, if you have access to a large plotter, it could handle A0.

Shout if you need a hand to get it worki