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bginaz
sage


Reged: 12/15/04

Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: southmike]
      #724863 - 12/11/05 07:25 AM

SouthMike

I bought the rail and pancake weights from Scopestuff, and a
4" threaded shaft and double female threaded connector to attach the longer shaft to the rail car from Ace hardware.


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southmike
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/22/04

Loc: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: bginaz]
      #725391 - 12/11/05 02:30 PM

ahh, nice work...looks sharp performs well and costs less what more could you ask for.

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In_the_Islands
super member


Reged: 11/10/05

Loc: St. Thomas, USVI 18.27N 65.0...
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: S MD Star Gazer]
      #727548 - 12/12/05 10:27 PM Attachment (482 downloads)

Yes, that is Charlotte Amalie as seen from my house on the mountain on the way to mountaintop. I am about 1/2mile above Sibs bar. I grew up in St. Thomas and purchased the house there from my parents in 86. I retired from my IT career in 2002 and have been spending much of my time back in the islands. I sent all my astronomy gear down there about 5 years ago. The skies are still dark, even with the lights of the waterfront on. Lot's of good meteor activity, especially during the showers. Up the hill from me is an observatory operated by UVI. It was originally donated by my Uncle back in the 60's.

If you make it back down, let me know....Don


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S MD Star Gazer
member


Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Southern Maryland
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: In_the_Islands]
      #730744 - 12/15/05 04:07 AM

I will definitely let you know. Thanks!

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Mr. Mac
super member


Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Henrico Co., Va.
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: S MD Star Gazer]
      #776770 - 01/14/06 03:04 AM

here it is.....
in the backyard....
30 minutes before the rain....


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Mr. Mac
super member


Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Henrico Co., Va.
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Mr. Mac]
      #776771 - 01/14/06 03:06 AM Attachment (477 downloads)

oops.....

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Sky Captain
Metal Whisperer
*****

Reged: 11/07/04

Loc: Loc: Loc:
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Mr. Mac]
      #778083 - 01/15/06 02:11 AM

That looks nice Mac, have you tried the f6.3 FR yet with the binoviewers?

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CRSEREDA
sage


Reged: 01/07/06

Loc: Davie Florida USA
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Sky Captain]
      #782705 - 01/18/06 01:13 AM

Hey In_The_Islands thats an awsome pic. hope you get some great deep sky images and post them. Good luck. Wish ing Everyone Clear Sky's.

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GeorgeDuke
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/24/03

Loc: PARADISE! (So.Florida)
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: CRSEREDA]
      #789181 - 01/22/06 09:47 AM Attachment (537 downloads)

Might as well add my setup. It has worked perfectly since it first arrived from Meade about three years ago.
It deserves a pat on the back for the immense pleasure it provides. It is an 8in LX200GPS and she carries a short tube 80mm for companionship.
George

Edited by GeorgeDuke (01/22/06 09:49 AM)


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NeoDinian
Experienced Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/05

Loc: Rockford Illinois
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: GeorgeDuke]
      #789408 - 01/22/06 01:00 PM

Nice...

The perspective of the Pic with you in it makes that scope look like a MONSTER 20" or bigger!


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Joel
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/08/04

Loc: Merrimack, NH
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: NeoDinian]
      #789502 - 01/22/06 01:56 PM

I thought the same thing! That guy in the background must be really small then.

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NeoDinian
Experienced Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/05

Loc: Rockford Illinois
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Joel]
      #789645 - 01/22/06 03:19 PM

You can fit your arm in that Eyepiece!

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Sky Captain
Metal Whisperer
*****

Reged: 11/07/04

Loc: Loc: Loc:
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: GeorgeDuke]
      #790118 - 01/22/06 09:04 PM

Real nice looking scope George.
It's amazing how much fun can be packed into those scopes.


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Steven
sage
*****

Reged: 01/06/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Sky Captain]
      #794803 - 01/25/06 10:39 PM Attachment (437 downloads)

I wish this will be mine someday

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Snaproll
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/20/04

Loc: Green Bay
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: john]
      #807504 - 02/02/06 11:22 PM Attachment (476 downloads)

Here's my setup.

It's a 10" LX200GPS on a modified superwedge. I have a home made guide mount for an Orion ST80 and a home made dual-axis counterweight system. I'm using a Flexi-heat dew shield on the main scope and a heated dew belt on the ST80, both of which feed into a home made controller. For polar alignment I have a JMI EZ-Align on the right fork. I'm currently using a cordless autostar as well.

The imaging system is a Hutech modified Rebel 300D, usually going through a 6.3 reducer and Lumicon Deep Sky Filter. The camera also has the 90 degree viewer. For planets I image with an LPI

For guiding I use an SBIG STV, and built an insulated box that can fit either the STV or a computer inside. I normally run the STV head with a 1.25 inch Lumicon Deep Sky filter as well, to improve contrast and protect the chip from dust.

Not shown in the photo is a portable observatory that was made out of a deer hunting blind.

Image too large

Edited by Grizz (02/03/06 07:09 AM)


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NeoDinian
Experienced Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/05

Loc: Rockford Illinois
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Snaproll]
      #807593 - 02/03/06 12:36 AM

Nice! (Big, but nice!)

I thought the JMI EZ-Align didn't fit the new GPS models? How did you modify it?


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Grizz
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/24/03

Loc: Waldwick,New Jersey USA
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: NeoDinian]
      #807739 - 02/03/06 07:10 AM

Quote:

Nice! (Big, but nice!)




Not any more!


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Snaproll
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/20/04

Loc: Green Bay
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: NeoDinian]
      #807924 - 02/03/06 10:40 AM

Hi Neo,

Yes, it's true the JMI was made for the older scopes that had hollow forks. What I did was open up the battery compartment and file grooves in the plastic cover plate so the screws would clear. Not the battery cover, but the whole plastic cover that covers the entire side of the fork. To tighten the JMI I remover the battery compartment cover, slide in the JMI, tighten the allen screws and replace the battery cover. The JMI id really a nice tool and if it's aligned well can get me pretty close polar alignment with minimum drift correcting (a snap using the STV).

The cables were always a problem (especially in cold weather), millions of cables if I use everything. Two for the STV, one to the head the other to the guider port, a USB for the camera or LPI if I'm using that, one for the remote camera shutter, one for the video cable (so I can see the STV output when focusing a guide star in the ST80), one for the autostar telescope control if I'm using that. Talk about a trip hazard in the dark! I went to the hardware store and got a 10 foot piece of split plastic tubing and bundled all the wires in that, it's affectionately called the "umbilical". I mounted a canvas zipper case on the back side of the insulated box for the electronics and ran the umbilical through that. It makes setting up a snap. All I have to do is unzipper the case, unroll the umbilical and hook up the cables at the scope end. They are all nice and neat, and I usually spread a piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting under the tripod and run the umbilical under it. To protect the exposed cable ends and STV head, I use a plastic bag attached at both ends of the umbilical. So it makes cabling setup pretty easy.

If it's really cold or dewy I also have a deer blind I put over the electronics and insulated box, (in addition to the one for the scope that serves as a portable observatory). I put in a portable chair and table and if it's cold, a small LP heater that can put out 18,000 btu. That becomes "mission control" where I can control the scope and imaging devices in the comfort of a heated area. If I get really lazy, I run a video output from the STV into the house, go watch Stargate and monitor the guider output on the TVs PIP while the camera timer controls a series of shots.

At home I power the Rebel and STV with house current and the rest with one mega-deepcycle battery. In the field I use two deepcycles, one at the scope and one by the STV.

The cordless autostar is also great too, because if I'm not using the autostar software on the laptop, I can control the scope and focus from "mission control" without actually having to actually be near the scope.

Packing the whole mess up and taking it to a nice dark site is a feat. It fills my entire Colorado truck to the gills.

I think it's a really great setup and pulling it together has been half the fun. Now... if we only had some CLEAR NIGHTS!!!

Thanksgiving was the last time I had a nice night for photos (and it was -4F out). Since then, one moon filled night to do a PEC and two crummy moon-filled or windy nights for photos. Three times I've pulled the whole thing out, set up, chilled down, got ready to go and it overcasted or got way too windy even for the dome. I'm starting to think the weather gods must hate me.

Some night, sometime in the future, it's GOT to clear up at least once!!!

Edited by Snaproll (02/03/06 10:56 AM)


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NeoDinian
Experienced Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/05

Loc: Rockford Illinois
Re: Show off your LX200 setup new [Re: Snaproll]
      #808073 - 02/03/06 12:23 PM

Jim:

Nice deal with the JMI... I'll have to look into that. Was it easy to align? I'm guessing that the new LX frame is shaped a bit different than the old ones.

As for cord tangle, I'm already planning some LX200 surgery to solve part of this with my Dew Controller. My idea is to mount the controller to the right fork (Velcro, like it is now), but shorten the power cord to like 6 inches with a standard mini-plug... What I would then do is feed a power wire THROUGH the LX200... I would mount a mini-plug in the base, and another on the fork... Just plug the controller into that plug, and the "Cigarete" plug cord will have that connector on one end with the same type of mini plug the LX200 uses for the plug in the base...

Does that make sense? I can do it in pictures..


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Snaproll
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/20/04

Loc: Green Bay
Re: Show off your LX200 setup [Re: NeoDinian]
      #808201 - 02/03/06 02:08 PM

Hey Jeff,

The wiring sounds like a good idea. I pretty much have everything under control except for the dew heaters. I'll have to give some thought to your idea, I like it. Maybe what I will think about for mine is running the cables under the guidescope and counterweight platforms.

The EZ-Align is a good tool, but it is somewhat tricky if not in working order. Here's how it works...

Basically it's a small telescope with a circular etched glass plate in the optical path. There are marks on the glass and you move the wedge to line up polaris and another star on those marks and you're aligned. Since the sky 'rotates' means that the whole JMI scope needs to rotate in it's housing.

When I bought the unit the guy that sold it to me said he never had much luck with it, sold it to me cheap (hundred bucks or so). The problem was that the circular etched glass was mounted in a circular ring and held in place by the world's smallest allen screws... THAT WERE LOOSE!!! In other words the glass plate would flop around in the retaining ring! No wonder the guy had poor experiences with it! Remember you have to rotate the JMI scope to align with the two stars. This means that as the scope rotates in its housing, that glass plate can't flop around, but also MUST BE dead center in respect to the rotation. Once I got the glass plate aligned and tightened down dead center on the JMI's rotational axis, it's been great.

Well, there was one other thing that's annoying. The JMI scope is held in it's housing by three cheap finderscope type nylon thumb screws. The front of the scope just goes through a hole in the front of the housing. Lots of slop at both ends. You NEED to rotate the JMI scope tube for alignment. That means loosening one of the thumb screws, rotating the tube and tightening it, and hoping that you used just the right pressure so it is still aligned. The rotational movement was also 'sticky'. So I did the best I could to clean it up. I put in strips of teflon that the thumb screws would ride on. At the front I added O-rings to help keep the front of the JMI scope centered in the hole.

When using it I center up the OTA on Polaris then verify that the JMI is pointing to Polaris as well, (making sure it hasn't gotten bumped or moved). On that etched plate it also shows a couple of constellations, and you rotate the JMI scope tube to align where they are to the real stars. That gets the tube rotation close. Then I check to make sure Polaris is still aligned between the JMI and main OTA and move the wedge, tweak the JMI scope rotation and align the stars. Still, it takes a little practice loosening and retightening the thumb screws "perfectly" so the JMI scope alignment isn't thrown off. I really think they could have come up with something better, some kind of track or bearing system than those thumb screws. Also some kind of custom bushing to align the front. Still, the accuracy when it works is almost "right on" every time.

I've had pretty good luck with it once I got the bugs worked out. The mount snugged right up on the LX200 once I made the mods to the plastic fork cover. The JMI is also illuminated but that is a little hokie too. You hit a button, it brightly illuminates the etched glass plate and then slowly fades. Why not just an on-off switch? I can't tell you how many times I was "close" to getting the tube rotation and wedge all adjusted while the light was fading, and then it would go out, I'd have to take my eye away, hit the stupid light button again, and then get back to aligning. Still these issues aside, I don't think there is anything better.

After using the JMI, I drift correct with the STV. Usually it's almost right on, or at least close enough that I just have to tweak a little bit. Between the JMI and STV I'm aligned and ready to image in about 15 minutes. Like five minutes to square the OTA to the forks, then verify the JMI is lined up, five minutes to move the wedge and rotate the JMI to the NCP. Five minutes to find a star on the equator and assess the drift with the STV. Maybe another five or 10 minutes if I really want to tweak the alignment.

The JMI and STV have probably shaved off at least 40 minutes of "manual" alignment and drift correcting. That means I can start earlier and shoot more for the same time.

The JMI is a good tool, but not perfect.


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