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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Raginar]
      #5711599 - 03/03/13 10:05 PM

Quote:

Lakeorion,

I'm really thinking about getting one of these as a portable rig too. They seem 'perfect' as a grab and go. I think you grabbed a great picture.



Thanks but I won't be happy until I can see all there is there to see - Barnard's Loop, flame, horsehead, running man...
I think at 35mm focal length this is the appropriate mount overkill I'll need.
In about a week the kit parts will be complete, then I'll post some pictures.
Then, I just have to get it out under the sky and practice.


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5714069 - 03/05/13 09:52 AM

GoTo's are still insane. I try to do a one star align, pick Sirius, and the camera points to my neighbors porch with Sirius no where in sight. With a 35mm lens that's a fairly wide target to go to, is this normal?

Polar alignment is fair - I tried 40 x 1 minute exposures and DSS says there's a max 2.55 pixel drift (DSLR picture size 4256x2848 pixels) - sounds close to me.

A second question, why do you not have to put altitude in as part of your location? Or have I completely missed that?


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5714299 - 03/05/13 11:59 AM

Quote:

GoTo's are still insane. I try to do a one star align, pick Sirius, and the camera points to my neighbors porch with Sirius no where in sight. With a 35mm lens that's a fairly wide target to go to, is this normal?




Nope, not normal. It sounds like what my SmartEQ did when the handset battery went low and the time and date didn't hold.

When you power up the mount..check the date especially..you might be pointing to Sirius in 2001...?

Altitude is not necessary on most hand controllers..the lat and long entry will get you on target with a level mount and a good polar align. It's included with planetarium programs for the most exact location readouts short of plate solving.

Best,

Paul


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5715371 - 03/05/13 09:11 PM

Time is spot on and GPS is what I entered. GPS coords from handheld Tom-Tom and double checked on internet.

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5715571 - 03/05/13 11:03 PM

Quote:

Time is spot on and GPS is what I entered. GPS coords from handheld Tom-Tom and double checked on internet.




Okay, but it's what you're not telling us that's the most important data is...what year? If the year is 2013..and not 2012 or 2010, then the only thing that can cause a go-to that far off is a mount that doesn't have a correct 'zero position set'.

At the least, after leveling the mount...pointed north..place Polaris in the correct latitude ring and at the correct time.

Then, with all the mount alignment marks (lines) lined up, shut the mount off, and back on again..that sets the initial zero point.

Then do a one-star align to a bright visible star..if it still slews to a neighbors porch, check the firmware version of the HC and RA and DEC boards and forward that info to iOptron tech support. A firmware update may be in order?

Good luck and clear skies,

Paul


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5716573 - 03/06/13 02:42 PM

I'm pretty sure I set the zero position corrrectly. The year is 2013.

I'll contact iOptron.

Thanks.


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S.Boerner
sage


Reged: 04/29/10

Loc: Eastern Missouri
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5716956 - 03/06/13 05:55 PM

iOptron alt/az user here so take this with a grain of salt.

After your first goto fails with one star, do you need to use the hand controller to center the object and then do a sync?

Do you have any better luck with gotos after you do a two star alignment?


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: S.Boerner]
      #5722884 - 03/09/13 07:41 PM

To be honest - I've never had a scope on it. Until today I haven't had enough counterweight to try out my 127 Mak. The only thing I've had on it is my camera. I try to do the one star alignment and it ends up about 40° off in Declination. I use the buttons to get back on target (with a 35mm prime lens) - then try to slew to something else and it's way off again. The thing that concerns me is that when I'm done and tell it to return to the zero position - again it's off about 40° in Declination.

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5722893 - 03/09/13 07:50 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

That said - the rest of the pieces arrived in the mailbox today...

Here's the basic setup:
Surveyor tripod, fiberglass /wood legs,
mount attaches to said tripod using a Feisol PB-70 Panning Base, a large washer and the mounts Azimuth lock,
in the saddle is a Scopesuff 7" dovetail bar holding the finder base and a Redged RTH-1 Tilt Head (for rotating camera for composition),
the finder is an Antares 50mm RACI,
the camera is a Fujifilm IS Pro, currently mounted with a Nikon 35mm f1.8 prime.


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5722895 - 03/09/13 07:50 PM Attachment (52 downloads)

A closer look.

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5722896 - 03/09/13 07:51 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

And closer

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5722897 - 03/09/13 07:52 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

And the traveling version on the uber compact Benro fold flat tripod...

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danderson246
super member


Reged: 04/19/10

Loc: Florida
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5723580 - 03/10/13 09:54 AM

I am really interested in your progress with the mount.Considering one of these for a craigslist C5+ that I picked for a song. Good luck, and keep us posted.

Dave


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leveye
member


Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: Oregon Coast
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: danderson246]
      #5725135 - 03/11/13 02:42 AM

So all that's holding it in place after it screwed together is the thumbscrew of the Feisol? Any play to it at all? I like the idea of using my other tripod that folds up nice.

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: leveye]
      #5725336 - 03/11/13 08:11 AM

Yes. The Feisol is a nice little piece. It doesn't really need to hold a lot of torque, if the tripod is level the only torque on it is when you move the mount.
It takes two hands to steady the motion when polar aligning, but it locks down with less motion than the stock tripod, and holds well after that.
I've only had it out one night so I can't say anything about durability - but it's 1st night performance was just right.


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5733094 - 03/14/13 10:01 PM

Time is correct, GPS is correct, polar scope is aligned, Polaris is in the right spot in the scope.

I have a 50mm finder next to the camera to complete a 2 star align - I have to do a lot of slewing to get back to the target stars, Capella and Dubhe.

Then it tells me my RA axis is 24° off.

I select return to zero position and it ends up 20° off in Dec. It doesn't even know where it is or where it's going.

Had it! iOptron Support e-mailed.

We'll see what they do. At this point I'm ready to send it back.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5733934 - 03/15/13 11:24 AM

Quote:

I have a 50mm finder next to the camera to complete a 2 star align - I have to do a lot of slewing to get back to the target stars, Capella and Dubhe.

Then it tells me my RA axis is 24° off.

I select return to zero position and it ends up 20° off in Dec. It doesn't even know where it is or where it's going.




That's a lot of error. Typically, with an accurate polar alignment, my first 2-star alignment slew is within 5 arc-minutes in either axis.

Of course, I don't have my camera or finder offset several degrees to the side of the mount axis like you do either.

Suggestion, just mount the finder normally in the mount saddle. Ie; on the Vixen dovetail and in line with the mount axis.

Then, using the polar scope, center Polaris in the inner 4 arc minute circle. Now center Polaris in the finder EP side to side by using the HC < > buttons. Now shut the mount off and back on.

At this point you have minimized cone error. Now place Polaris in the correct position based on the HC readout, or the iOptron iPad Polar Position app, and do a One Star align.

Return to the zero position after the One Star align, and start your 2 star align..doing the One Star align first makes this much easier.

Perform the Two Star align, centering the stars in your crosshairs of your finder EP...and check the final result.
I think you will find, that if your initial polar align is correct..your polar offset will be under 10 arc minutes in both directions. It is easily adjusted (using the mount lat and az adjusters) to almost 00-00 from there.

Basically, I think your offset setup is adding to your frustrations. If you get a decent offset with the finder in the normal position..it's time to think about how you're going to deal with it. At the very least, with Polaris centered in the polar scope...you should have your camera and finder EP centered on Polaris as well.

Good luck and clear skies,

Paul


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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5734091 - 03/15/13 12:56 PM

I put Polaris in the polar scope center and centered both finder and camera on polaris with mount off.
Then turned it on and put Polaris where the controller said it should be - turned it off again.
Then turned on and tried a two star align.

I don't see how the offset setup can hurt - if it does then how does any finder work? It's offset from the center of the OTA also.

iOptron replied and I'm getting an RMA. They want to examine it for the Dec issues.

Thanks again for your help.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5734233 - 03/15/13 02:31 PM

I put Polaris in the polar scope center and centered both finder and camera on polaris with mount off.

Ah...okay, that's the info I didn't know, you were spot on with the procedure. Surprising how many people don't know about pointing and cone errors...

Good luck with the RMA...looking forward to seeing how the new unit works for you.

Cheers,

Paul


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Bob Moore
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/07/06

Loc: New York
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5736842 - 03/16/13 06:30 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

i'm glade i came across this post. My daughter has the very first Ioptron Smart EQ Pro, The mount was hand carried from China by the owner of Ioptron and presented to Caroline at NEAF last year. You may ask why? well here is part of the answer, http://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=newsdesc&nid=78c3edd4-a79b-4f62-a...
Caroline then donated the Smart EQ to her school project

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4896352/page...

but now it's time to give this little baby a go. Thanks for posting the setup info and idiosyncrasy's.I'm planing to give it a go at Imaging with an FLI8050 and a canon 70-300mm camera lens. Has anyone tried imaging with the Smart EQ? if so do you have anything you can post? Here are a few pix.


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