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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5547899 - 11/30/12 09:17 PM

Eq platforms for Dobs are a really good solution. They can keep an object in the eyepiece for about an hour, and if you're handy and have time, you can build one for less than $100. You can buy one already built starting at around $400. They are simple to use... just point North, find what you want to track, and turn it on. Really good quality ones set up very carefully can even be used for photography.

A look through the ATM forum can put you on the path for building one. I think there is a sticky thread about home made mounts, and a number of the posts in there are links to home made platforms.

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 04/22/12

Loc: Lake Mary, Fl.
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5547906 - 11/30/12 09:24 PM

Tracking rocks! Great to have with kids too. The only hard part for me is the alignment because I don't know the names of the stars yet and I can't see hardly and naked eye because of light pollution. Makes it tough to align.

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Carpal Tunnel

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: Billytk]
      #5547992 - 11/30/12 10:37 PM

billy..get a way to know the bright stars for alignment.

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 05/17/11

Loc: East Texas
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5548025 - 11/30/12 11:16 PM

I'm glad I could afford the luxury of auto-tracking. It's really nice to have, but if the cost would make a big difference in the biggest aperture you can afford, skip it. Manual tracking is not that hard to do, especially not at lower powers, which you'll use more than higher powers anyway.

Auto-tracking is more convenient to use and share, but more aperture gives better views. Spend your money for what you want most, or spend more for both.

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Tony Flanders

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: JLovell]
      #5548360 - 12/01/12 07:25 AM


Eq platforms for Dobs are a really good solution.

EQ platforms are great, but they also have many drawbacks. They're big and heavy -- a major addition to your transportation and setup needs. They need to be reset periodically. And a major issue for big Dobs is that they raise the eyepiece height quite a lot, often changing a feet-on-the-ground scope to a needs-ladder scope.

For purely visual work, alt-azimuth drive seems clearly superior.

I have observed through plenty of driven Dobs and far more undriven Dobs. Although tracking is certainly nice, it's not all that huge a deal for me. On a Dob with good motions, hand-tracking up to 300X just isn't a terribly big deal. And as a deep-sky observer, I spend most of my time at 227X or lower. I've rarely been tempted to add tracking to my 12.5-inch Dob.

I also don't find the lack of tracking to be a huge deal at star parties, though it does often push me to use lower magnifications than I might otherwise do.

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Reged: 09/02/09

Loc: Central CT
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: Kildar13x]
      #5548451 - 12/01/12 09:13 AM

It's very much a personal preference.

I have an 11" motorized SCT and a 12" manual dob, and I would have a hard time giving up either one. I enjoy the connection between observer, scope and sky that I get with the dob - there is a purity about it that is very appealing to me. But other nights I want to use my video cameras on the planets and DSOs, where the technological side of astronomy satisfies my inner geek, and the SCT shines here.
One thing I found was that as my scope setup became more complex (computer, power supply, camera, etc) it became less and less enjoyable to lug everything up from the basement for a viewing session, and my observing time tailed off. The old saw "the scope you use the most is the best" is all too true.
So which is best? Do you spend hours sketching Jupiter at 300x? Then tracking is essential. Do you like the freedom to jump across the sky to the next object that catches your attention? The dob's responses are instantaneous - no waiting for the motors to wind the OTA to your target. It all comes down to your own personal preferences.

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: YetAnotherHobby]
      #5555962 - 12/05/12 04:40 PM

I first bought an Orion XT12i. The views were good, but moving the scope for myself was bothersome, but for my 5 yr old son and my wife it became like mission impossible. "You will lose the view of Jupiter in 5....4....3....2....1 Go go go!"

I now have a C11 and it's great because I can crank up the magnification and both my wife and son can view without any worries.

If I was going the big dob route, I'd definitely get a XX10g or so. Tracking and goto are great for my situation. (Nearly bought an XX16g, but it's huge and right now I don't have $4k to spend!).

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Reged: 07/06/11

Loc: Maine
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5555985 - 12/05/12 04:53 PM

I'm kind of hoping my girlfriend will get me an Orion xx14i for christmas But probably not I will probably look into either an xt10g or xt12g. I figure if i just save a little more and get a goto then I just wont have to worry about it at all.

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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Motorized Dobsonian or Not? [Re: Kildar13x]
      #5556112 - 12/05/12 06:13 PM

I use mostly GoTo scopes...BUT still use both of my refractors Manually on Gem mounts.. BUTH these have sl-mo controls...

BUT a few weeks ago I used my observation buddies 10 inch dob for a few hours and after 3 minutes I completely forgot about having to nudge the scope just was second nature and done without any thinking..

IF and ONLY IF you can chew gum and walk at the same time a Manuel Dob will present no problem even at high magnification..

Bob G.

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