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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: neilson]
      #5405933 - 09/06/12 01:29 AM Attachment (41 downloads)

Hi everyone,
Here is an attempt at the swan nebula M17 yesterday. I cropped a section so you can see all the dots in each star trail. Its a 36 seconds exposure ISO 3200. I dont know why its doing that. most of my recent images are like this on the star trails. Maybe it has something to do with the RA and DEC tracking together.

neilson


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: neilson]
      #5405969 - 09/06/12 02:18 AM

Gday Neilson

Quote:

Then I did a one star alignment. Wow, you are right Andrew. Now my drifts were only in RA. No more inverted "v" trails.




Hmm, this doesnt make sense again
As far as i can tell, if you got the " < 5' from pole" message
then it should behave the same as a simple polar one star.
Perhaps there is something else in the code i havent seen
but my bench testing so far confirms my understanding of the code.
I need to run some longer duration tests and log what happens.
Maybe its semi random and i just haven't been logging when it happens.

Andrew


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5405999 - 09/06/12 03:39 AM

Andrew
Yea but at least it stopped when I switched to the one star alignment. When I used the easy 2 star with less than 5' from the pole not all the images had DEC movement that I noticed. Maybe its just every once in a while. I really have no idea.
Now how about the RA tracking problem thats left. How can I get rid of it.

Every mount that I owned had little problems. But I just made minor adjustments and modifications and they all produced great long unguided images and better guided ones. But even an 11 sec. and a 19 sec. image I tried on this mount were horrible. Is this something in the firmware or motorcards or design that Meades going to have to address or is it mechanical. I am willing to make modifications if that's what it's going to take. Tomorrow I am going to either tighten the spring the last little bit left or try to find a stronger one. Because it's bouncing real bad. even without an ota I can move the slop in RA with one finger. I almost suspect some mounts either have stronger springs or the owners just accept it. If their are better wormblocks on some models then, Meade please send me one. Enough is enough.

neilson


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: neilson]
      #5406081 - 09/06/12 06:48 AM

Gday Neilson

Quote:

Now how about the RA tracking problem thats left. How can I get rid of it.




Not sure yet. One other user has been doing some PE tests and his data is not very consistent, and ( at first blush ) indicates a lot of the PE is coming from the geartrain. As this doesnt repeat each rev of the worm, its not something PEC can overcome, tho guiding should help.
I'm still not happy with how the polar tracking is now done, but i still need to collect more data on if "funny stuff" happens at random times.

Quote:

Is this something in the firmware or motorcards or design that Meades going to have to address or is it mechanical.




My current gut feel is a lot is mechanical, esp after seeing piccies of the worms tooth form, and the need for massive spring pressure to keep it from springing out. The more pressure used, the higher the friction forces, and hence the more random the tracking will be as bits stick then free up.
Still want to see some really good macro piccies of the worms tooth form.

Quote:

If their are better wormblocks on some models then, Meade please send me one.




Currently ( and based on a sample of one ), i think its more the worm itself than the wormblock. Need more info tho to confirm that.

Andrew


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Why me? new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5406281 - 09/06/12 10:16 AM

Really, just return the thing and be done with it. This isn't going to magically straighten out and work.

You could get a CG-5 for less money and be in a better photography posture.

Life is too short to waste it on non-functioning equipment.

-Rich

Edited by David Pavlich (09/06/12 01:43 PM)


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: Why me? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5406545 - 09/06/12 01:19 PM

Hi Starhawk...

Your flustration with this mount is well documented, and well understood.

Really, i thought an engineer type would have enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on, and how to fix it.


Edited by David Pavlich (09/06/12 01:49 PM)


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blueman
Photon Catcher
*****

Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: Why me? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5406547 - 09/06/12 01:20 PM

I think you should consider returning the mount, while there is still a possibility of you getting a refund.
Blueman


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austin.grant
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/18/10

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: Why me? new [Re: blueman]
      #5406589 - 09/06/12 01:43 PM

Neilson,

I may have missed it somewhere along the way, but how were your astrophography experiences prior to this mount? I assure you I'm not pointing any fingers, just trying to establish if this is your first attempt at AP or if you've been doing this awhile.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Why me? new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5406746 - 09/06/12 03:17 PM

Hi DmDouglass,

I draw a line between what might be fun for me to play with and having fun seeing someone else be frustrated by. The point where it's getting to be pretty clear really major surgery is going to be needed is the point where even I have to ask what makes more sense to do.

But just as a quick summary,

This fellow has torn the mount down
fixed parts
replaced the mount
torn down the new mount
greased dry bearings
repaired parts
conducted large numbers of tests
replaced the telescope OTA with a separately purchased one
performed new series of tests

And largest of all: Posted this whole saga to CN.

So, at the end of that, there is still a long way to go to useful performance, while at the same time this really isn't a good story. I'll explain:

There is a bit of a feeling on CN the worst thing we can do is beat up on vendors or beat up on each other. However, this isn't really the case. The worst we can do is let the hobby get beat up.

45 pages into this thread, the story is one of being able to spend thousands on gear, not getting a functional system, and even if you have some incrediby sharp folks on your side, you may still be looking at an objet d'art instead of a functioning telescope and mount. What are the much larger numbers of folks who visit and read CN to make of this when it goes on this far? I've had a hard time getting folks to understand where I'm coing from on this.

-Rich

Quote:

Hi Starhawk...

Your flustration with this mount is well documented, and well understood.

Really, i thought an engineer type would have enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on, and how to fix it.





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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: Why me? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5406812 - 09/06/12 03:50 PM

Hi again Starhawk..

Your comment: "I've had a hard time getting folks to understand where I'm coing from on this. -Rich"

Its very true.

Neilson has made some adjustments again today, and is going out tonight. Now that he knows to do only a "single star polar alignment" follwed by Iteractive adjustments, and is adjusting the RA and DEC tensions to avoid "loose" connectivity, I think he "might" have a better evening.

I am hoping he does. He has certainly worked to get there. I have my fingers crossed for him, and am anxious to see his results either tonight or in the morning.


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5406854 - 09/06/12 04:18 PM

Dave, as I "attempt" to passively read this thread I have considered that this space requires filling. That is to say, a mount at this price range and capacity. While it seems the Alt/Az objective may have been met, the Polar is not going so well. I think the point many have tried to make is that it's very hard (in some cases) to do AP and fighting a mount can be extremely frustrating.

As much of a "potential" benefit this mount could have been, it could actual have the opposite affect and drive some away from the hobby or AP. I think the ease with which something can be used is a valid concern/question. This isn't being sold as a fixer upper. Not so sure that everyone making the purchase is willing to buy into this level of frustration and stick-to-it-iv-ness.

Last, the question asked regarding the users prior AP ability is valid. I've taken some of the finest gear available and made an absolute mess of things with it. It's just a point that could aid in adding some context to how things are progressing.

Best,

Joe


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: Why me? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5406869 - 09/06/12 04:30 PM

Rich,

I guess I don't understand... if David and Neilson want to work at this 12 hours a day and let the rest of us sit back and read the results, why would anyone criticize them for the effort and urge grown men that can make up their own mind to "send it back".

I have a mout on order and plan to use it for visual work, mostly in AltAz mode. It appears to be a very good mount for that. Even in polar mode for visual it looks good. I may try AP but that's not what I'm buying the mount for. But, I'm very interested in the results of those in this thread that are providing. I'm not interested in reading why they shouldn't be making the effort. Take out all the "don't do it", "send it back" statements and the 45 page thread would be more like 25.

With all the problems and lack of success reported here by those trying their best to make this mount work should be a clue to those new to the hobby as to the fitness of the mount without all the negative comments

The LX80 still looks like a great mount for what I want!


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TFiebig
member


Reged: 07/29/09

Loc: Gamma Quadrant, Sector 4
Re: Why me? new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5406892 - 09/06/12 04:51 PM

I have one of these on order, and according to the vendor, it should ship in about 1.5 wks. I'm a newbie. Should I cancel my order and perhaps look at a different mount? I must admit that this thread has me a bit spooked about this mount.

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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: Why me? new [Re: TFiebig]
      #5406945 - 09/06/12 05:28 PM

Thomas,

Welcome to CN. Even with a bit of bickering, I think you will find this forum a valuable sorce of information.

I think that what you want to use the mount for should help you decide if it is the mount for you. Personally, I don't mind being in the leading (bleeding) edge of technology. I plan to use the mount primarily for visual work. I may try Astrophotography at some point an it would be great if this was a low end AP mount. I like the fact that you can mount 2 scopes at one time. There are, in my opinion, a lot of features that make this a good mount for me.

To get a better mount for AP you will need to double or triple (at least) the cost of the LX80. That kind of cost is not an option for me.

What do you want it for? How big a telescope(s) do you plan to use with it?

A Celestron CG5 ASGT would be a good alternative if you do not want an AltAz mount. It is an equatorial mount only. There are good, less expensive AltAz mounts out there but the only one available that has altaz and equatorial capabiilities now with goto that I know of is the LX80.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Why me? new [Re: austin.grant]
      #5406956 - 09/06/12 05:38 PM

Hi Austin,
lol. After seeing my recent images I can understand you asking that question. Your not the only one who thinks I just started. I have been imaging for about 4+ years. I have around 450 images and that doesn't count when I take 20 or 30+ of one thing for stacking. I started with a cheap generic DSI type camera for 3 months. Then with a DSI Pro taking LRGB images for a while. Then I switched to a DSI IIc. Then I bought a Canon rebel xt 350D. I liked DSLR alot so I bought a Canon T1i 500D. Thats what I use mostly and the DSI IIc sometimes. I use the Pro or IIc for guiding. I don't think I will do LRGB again, too much processing for me. Below is a list of my telescopes that I still own.

I use to do some A-focal Film with a Canon A-1 in the mid 80's. I bought a JVC video camera that had an adapter for Canon lenses. So I used two 2x doubler's and attached it to my small yellow Newtonian and made a great VHS video of Halley's Comet. My ex wife took it from me because it was something I treasured.
I don't post my images on line. I rarely post anything in any of the 10+ groups I am in, until now,and thats because of so many problems with this mount. But they are slowly getting fixed.

Hi Rich,
Yes this has gone on way too long. Normally I would of made modifications way before this to get it done. Today I located a larger stronger spring but its still not good enough so I am using both springs. I hoped for better results so I also adjusted it tighter and it now looks promising. I am also using the one star alignment to prevent DEC from tracking. Dec tracking in polar is something new I have never seen, and I am glad Andrew found that doing the one star instead of the easy alignment stops Dec from tracking.

Hi David,
Thanks for the words of encouragement. As others mention I should be returning it by now but I keep thinking this next change will resolve the issues. Well here I am with another change and I will post my results tonight. Its hard to give up after all this. Especially when there is one mount that has successfully imaged, yours.

neilson

LX80 Celestron 9.25 Edge ota
LX200ACF 10"
LXD75 and SN10" ota
LX3 2120 with 10"ota
Explore Scientific AR152mm refractor
celestron 60AZ, and 70AZ refractors
Canon T1i 500D, Canon rebel XT 350D, 18-55mm zoom 800mm lense 650-1,300mm lense DSI IIC, DSI PRO
meade 2"flip mirror, 2-meade 99%ref. 2" diag. celestron 99%2" diag. many meade accessaries many meade, celestron, televue eyepieces 1.25 and 2".


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Why me? new [Re: neilson]
      #5406994 - 09/06/12 06:04 PM

Neilson,

If you're going to go on, take the mount and do a single star alignment, then do a star trail. This is where you purposely do a poor polar alignment so the stars will drift in the DEC direction while tracking, and take a 30 minute exposure near the zenith.

What I suspect you will find is the tracking algorithm is using a set of rates, none of which are the true speed, but they averae out over 10 minutes or so to make it appear like true tracking.

Others,

I'm not criticizing Neilson or Andrew for trying. I'm frustrated because I'd like to see what they would be producing with a working setup.

-Rich


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Why me? new [Re: TFiebig]
      #5406997 - 09/06/12 06:08 PM

Thomas,

I would be spooked too. I will give a slightly counter POV from above.

If you read all of Neilson's posts, the POV that this mount is fine for visual use in polar mode is not true, Neilson is very clear on this. The POV that this mount is fine in polar mode so long as you put less than half the rated weight on it is also in doubt.

The only thing that everyone can agree on is this mount does seem to work fine in Alt/Az mode. Unless you are OK with a mount that ONLY does that, then I would cancel. If you plan to stick any OTA that is over 20lb or 8" or larger on this mount you are likely in for a disappointment.

If you enjoy tinkering with brand new equipment, rebuilding mounts that are still under factory warranty with the support and direction of the manufacture, then this is the mount for you.

In a sense, I canceled my order, before I even made it. I have not regretted my decision at all.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: Why me? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5407006 - 09/06/12 06:15 PM

ur7x,

What mount did you get instead of the LX80?


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: Why me? new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5407084 - 09/06/12 07:06 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Well, I really did not want to add “fuel to the fire”…. But I think I will jump in here, and go over a couple of items. Have you wondered why I have not been posting any pictures lately? I did say that I had acquired a guide OTA for the 6”( Orion Mini 50mm Guide Scope), which is nice and light, and seems to work well with the DSI-2. So then, where might the images be?

As you might recall, I was heading to the Oregon Star Party (OSP). That was a week of very little viewing. Oregon was covered (more like buried) in SMOKE from fires. LOTS of fires. But during the week, I was set up, and was trying to get things going. I noticed some severe pointing problems, and was concentrating on that. Remember the collapsed tripod? The one with the LX80 on top when it collapsed? Long story short, it is confirmed that I suffered some damage to the DEC motor assembly. I have tried to make repairs, but not good enough. After the OSP, we were in travel status for a couple of weeks, in places that were either smoke filled, or generally not good viewing conditions. I had the mount packed away in the motorhome, and decided I would wait until my return to Arizona to figure out what to do.

Long story short, Meade is shipping me a replacement DEC motor and gear assembly. I should have it by early next week. I am home in Arizona now. One of my very good friends, and fellow Astronomy Club member (EVAC) is Ed Thomas. Ed is the owner/operator of Deep Space Products. He is well known on the CN threads as a very qualified mount/ota mechanic, who performs aftermarket tune-ups on several of the more popular mounts. No…. this is not an advertisement for him. I am simply saying he is a very good friend, and a qualified mount technician. Ed and I are going to be making the repair of this mount, and Ed will be going through the entire mount assembly, as we both try and learn “what is going on in there”.

Sometime next week, if all goes well, my mount should be ready to return to service. And…. There will be some serious astro-photography work going on in Tempe, Arizona.

A few points I would like to make. Many were wondering if Meade would “step up to the plate” if something other than the tripod was broken. They have! They were actually seriously discussing replacing the entire mount. However, we would have had to wait another 3-4 weeks for a new shipment to arrive. Their repair facility is a little busy now with the LX800 thing (understandable). Thus, since we have proven our ability to handle the maintenance issues, they have agreed to send the needed parts, and instructions. That certainly is NOT their normal mode of operation. But Meade too would like to see this thread produce some good results, and are working with us to get those results on display. Meade is definitely going “the extra mile” as far as I am concerned. They have great faith in this mount, and I do too. Heck, it was working perfectly before the fall! And it will again, soon.

I have also discussed this “DC current setting” issue with them. It was because of this that I was able to talk with Neilson, and suggest that his settings were indicating that the gears were not engaged as they should be. Neilson has sort of agreed, and today made the adjustments, which hopefully, will produce better results. Meade is saying that they want the current (at max speed turning [aka “9”]) to be at or below .5 Amps. Excess of .5 amps says that there is too much load (worm against the main gear too tight), and much less than .5 Amps, and the gears are “too loose”, which could and probably would cause slippage. They really want a figure of .470 to .490 amps, and not above .5 amps at the “high spot” of the main gear. That is for both RA and DEC (individually).

Although I have been “sort of” quiet on this thread lately, there has been a lot of background emails. Andrew, myself, and Ed have been talking things over at length. One of the areas that is being discussed is the actual “worm” that Meade is using. It seems to be the same “worm” for both RA and DEC. (No… not one worm, but two worms that are the same). The issue is the “pitch” of the worm gear. This may be the issue that is causing some of the RA motion that we are seeing, and hearing about, if the tension between the “worm” and “main gear” is not “just right”. Time will tell. Andrew sent me a very interesting picture of various “worms” used by Meade. It sort of shows the issue. I am including that image here (below).

Neilson is expecting some high winds tonight. I hope he holds off if that is the case. We really don’t need an external factor to worry about. We have time here. Waiting for a calm evening would be an excellent choice. But I understand the anxiety of “wanting to know if it works”. Patience Neilson. We need some good results.


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: Why me? [Re: Starhawk]
      #5407125 - 09/06/12 07:30 PM

Gday Rich

Quote:

What I suspect you will find is the tracking algorithm is using a set of rates, none of which are the true speed, but they averae out over 10 minutes or so to make it appear like true tracking.




I have mentioned this before, but again.
The new method being used by Meade calculates and resends a speed
to the motors every 2 seconds.
In standard firmware ( prior to the RA tracking slow bug ), the Polar tracking rate is a hardcoded sidereal rate ( adjusted for tracking rate and PEC ).

Quote:

I'm not criticizing Neilson or Andrew for trying.




Im not trying to get a scope working, just trying to see whats going on.

Andrew


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