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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions
      #5690636 - 02/20/13 11:01 AM

The UPS truck dropped off a box yesterday - in the middle of a 100 yard visibility snow squall...

So my first questions are about the Declination axis. With the clutch screws loosened it does not turn nearly as easily as the RA axis.

Is this normal? Balancing in this axis is nearly impossible.

Next, it appears that there are two redundant Declination clutch screws, mine has another screw at the front of the dovetail (directly above the polar scope hole in the zero position). This second screw does not appear in the manual.

I'm sure more questions will follow, but for now thanks for your experience and help, and sorry for causing the cloudy weather in SE Michigan...


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PGW Steve
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Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5690703 - 02/20/13 11:44 AM

I've got one of these and have made some changes to it. The best way to balance DEC is to loosen off the two screws and remove the dovetail head completely. Next place your scope/camera/whatever combo into the clamp. Set the whole assembly into a round dowel or something with the dowel through the centerline of the DEC shaft. Balance it static like a teeter totter, then place it back on the shaft and tighten the screws.

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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: PGW Steve]
      #5692325 - 02/21/13 08:12 AM

Thanks. I didn't realize I could pull the entire head off. Now that I have - I see that it's not a miracle of finish machining so no wonder it doesn't rotate easily.

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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]
      #5692328 - 02/21/13 08:16 AM

Next simple question:
When entering the current time into the controller, do I enter Local Time or UT?

The manual's section title is 'Local Time Set' but it makes more sense to me to enter UT, minutes behind/ahead, and GPS Lat/Long. That should be enough to fix things. And for that matter why does the controller need the minutes behind/ahead UT? Seems redundant with location known.


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5692603 - 02/21/13 11:59 AM

Hi,

Enter your local time, but in 24 hr format, ie; 2:00pm = 1400.

The controller is set to UT time, if you don't enter your offset (in time) from the UT basic, your star positions will aways be off by several degrees.

As far as the Dec balance, due to the design of the mount, with most of the weight concentrated in the head, dec balance is not critical. Find the balance point of your ota by placing it on a pencil on a hard surface. Put that balance point in the middle of the saddle and you'll be fine.

The little screw on the front of the saddle is to take the vertical 'slop' out of the dec axis, I found that out when I received one of the first mounts, which had no small screw..:( It was drilled and tapped for one, but not supplied. All current mounts have the small knob now.

Have fun with the little mount.

Clear skies,

Paul


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5692784 - 02/21/13 01:39 PM

Oh..while you're at it...have a look here for some easy mods on the SmartEQs:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/astronewb2011/sets/72157632518747500/

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]
      #5693614 - 02/21/13 09:38 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

Thanks for the mod tips - but with a few more kit pieces - that whole tripod is due to be replaced by 'Old Yeller'

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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5694385 - 02/22/13 10:25 AM

Quote:

Thanks for the mod tips - but with a few more kit pieces - that whole tripod is due to be replaced by 'Old Yeller'




Very nice, and very solid, good choice. I would do the same, but the mount modded is very stable, I can do 4 minutes unguided with it, and the complete mount on the tripod fits nicely in a Hakube 37" tripod bag. I just don't want to compromise the supreme portability of the mount.

Good luck..

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: PGW Steve]
      #5695640 - 02/22/13 09:06 PM

Quote:

I've got one of these and have made some changes to it. The best way to balance DEC is to loosen off the two screws and remove the dovetail head completely. Next place your scope/camera/whatever combo into the clamp. Set the whole assembly into a round dowel or something with the dowel through the centerline of the DEC shaft. Balance it static like a teeter totter, then place it back on the shaft and tighten the screws.




Good idea. I fashioned a Dec balance unit out of a deep well socket and a piece of plywood.

But I like your modded head even more! Wish I had the ability to do something like that. I'm envisioning eventually a side-by-side DSLR and 50 mm finderscope.


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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]
      #5699622 - 02/25/13 10:49 AM

So last night was my first attempt at actually using the mount. (1st uncloudy night – but of course with a full moon…)

I dutifully checked the collimation of the polar scope. Way off. After an unreasonable time of attempting to get it lined up I pulled it out and took it apart. The reticle wasn’t being held by the three screws, it was crooked by about 20°. That explained why pushing and pulling on the three screws was not having any positive effect…

So I got the polar scope in reasonable alignment, put Polaris where it should be, locked Altitude/Azimuth, verified local time, time after UT, daylight savings time, GPS, balance.

Then I told the mount to go to zero position, then unlocked RA and Dec clutches then realigned the marks, then locked RA and Dec clutches.

Then I tried to do a one star alignment. I chose Altinak (third star on the left – right over there) and the scope started slewing. It didn’t stop until it was pointed about 10° down to the ground.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance for your experience and help.


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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]
      #5699627 - 02/25/13 10:53 AM

Also, am I alone in thinking that the polar scope illuminator is more of a 'washout-inator' than anything else? Is it possible to tone it down a bit? The lowest setting is still too much.

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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]
      #5700739 - 02/25/13 10:56 PM

Quote:

Then I tried to do a one star alignment. I chose Altinak (third star on the left – right over there) and the scope started slewing. It didn’t stop until it was pointed about 10° down to the ground.




And that's where you went wrong. Level the mount as best you can with the bubble level. Line up the RA and DEC marks on the mount and lock it down (not too tight..just snug up the RA lock very lightly.)

Find Polaris in the fov of the polar scope...and center it in the 4 arc minute circle in the center, using your lat and az adjusters. Now go to your OTA and center Polaris side to side in your FOV of your EP (or camera live view). You have now reduced cone error as much as you can without an adjustable saddle.

Now for the fun, get the Polaris readout from the hand controller and using the lat and az adjusters, position Polaris at the correct time and radius (ie; for me it's about 42 degrees) Basically just put Polaris where the HC picture shows it's supposed to be.

Now, shut the mount off...and then power it back on...you have just established your 'zero position'.

Now do a One Star Align to a bright star, when prompted, center the star in your ota FOV. Hit enter and then 'return to zero'.

This will put most targets on both sides of the meridian in the FOV of a camera sensor or 30mm EP, first try, every time.

To fine tune for better pointing accuracy, or for imaging, after returning to the zero position, do a couple of iterations of the 2 star align, adjusting the polar offset as directed by the HC after the 2d star has been centered.

If you can get to 01-03 in either axes..you can take unguided images for 4 minutes (done it).

I have been using the iOtpron Polar Scope app from iTunes with the iPad/iPhone as well...it's great, auto loads your time/location/etc from the iPad gps and puts a nice Green x in the polar scope gui so you know exactly where to put Polaris. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ioptron-polar-scope/id564078961?mt=8
Quote:


the polar scope illuminator is more of a 'washout-inator'




Lol..yep. Take off the front cover and the 4 screws holding the board down...at that point, you can apply several coats of your wife's fingernail polish on the led to dim it down (pinks are nice) or simply flip the led over by removing the 2 screws holding it on the board so it shines outward.

Hope you find this helpful..have a ton 'a fun while you're at it.

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]
      #5701028 - 02/26/13 05:31 AM Attachment (109 downloads)

4 minutes may not be realistic around my house. Below is a one minute test shot.

FujiFilm IS Pro - Nikon 35mm f1.8 prime @ f3.5, 60 sec, ISO 800, Hutech IDAS UV/IR blocking filter. Full moon looking south into a white zone.

If you look close in the glare, a popular constellation is hidden...


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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]
      #5701030 - 02/26/13 05:32 AM

I'll give your procedure a try the next time it's clear outside (probably next full moon) - weather forecast is not looking happy for the next few days.

Thanks.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5701823 - 02/26/13 02:49 PM

Lol..that's a great daytime shot...too bad it was taken at night. The Orion Nebula looks great way out there in the distance!

Oh, you may have problems getting that gradient out of your final....:) Take a whole bunch of flats, and add two more LP filters, and you might get close...?

Clear outside...what's that?

Regards,

Paul

PS: It's okay to post your first name at the end of your posts........:)


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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]
      #5703219 - 02/27/13 10:36 AM

I'm just in training so I'll know what to do when I'm in the real dark and not waste the moment. Future plan is to add a Hutech IDAS LPS and/or Lumicon Night Sky Hydrogen - Alpha. Both are available in sizes to fit over the front of a group of camera lenses I intend to get proficient with. My goal is to master 35mm - 300 mm focal lengths before upgrading everything to handle a 'real' scope. Or maybe I won't, there's a ton of interesting and beautiful things to image in those FOV's.

But the CFA holds it down to $100 a month - the current plan goes out two years before things get expensive...

Thanks again for the advice,

Dana

P.S. I was tempted to just put "your first name"


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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]
      #5709825 - 03/03/13 01:19 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

Actually, there was a little salvageable stuff there. Shame I only took three frames.
Full moon - looking back into a white zone (there's a shopping mall 1 mile in that direction) - no filters - three subs - not knowing how to run the mount? I'll take it.


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5710063 - 03/03/13 07:52 AM

no filters - three subs - not knowing how to run the mount? I'll take it.

Under those conditions, me too. The more you use it, skies permitting, the more you're going to appreciate the quick setups ease of transporting the mount. Nicely done...

Regards,

Paul


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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5710406 - 03/03/13 11:08 AM

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.


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ghataa
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Reged: 06/20/11

Loc: Central, NJ
Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Raginar]
      #5710429 - 03/03/13 11:16 AM

I have one, just need some time under the stars to play with it. I became overly obsessed with balance when adding an autoguider like the SSAG.

George


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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
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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
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Reged: 09/19/11

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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
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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
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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
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [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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Bob Moore
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Bob Moore]
      #5736848 - 03/16/13 06:31 PM Attachment (64 downloads)

one more

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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Bob Moore]
      #5737722 - 03/16/13 11:56 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

Paul, I took your explanations to heart and have added them into the 'ritual'. I understand I have a slightly unusual setup. But the results I was getting did not make any sense and I wanted confirmation that what I was seeing was wrong. I'm new in the GEM field. All my astronomy experience so far has been up-down / left-right.

Bob, Imaging works fine. My mount can align and track - but I spent (what I consider) extra to be able to GOTO things I can't see in the DSLR viewfinder and attempt to image those things. I could have purchased a Vixen Polarie and accomplished the same with a 35mm focal length.
Full Size

Edited by lakeorion (03/17/13 12:12 AM)


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5737778 - 03/17/13 12:23 AM

Wow. Read the article and wish my son would be as interested in the sky as that. He's come out to the club scope a few times but I'm afraid my photo bug has ruined him. He looks at things in the scope and then looks at my pictures and likes them more.

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Bob Moore
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5737953 - 03/17/13 02:48 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

Just google her and add the words " supernova " after her name, she is a great kid... Young lady I should say! she still gives talks to all sorts go groups and may be giving one in VA/DC. Soon. She is not studying AP or astronomy at collage, her hart is in other places.

Hats a nice image, I tried the same thing the other night but I was using a photo tripod ( no tracking ) 20 10sec

Edited by Bob Moore (03/17/13 02:49 AM)


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Bob Moore]
      #5739120 - 03/17/13 05:01 PM

Is it unreasonable of me to ask they they pay for the shipping to return the head and controller?

I received an RMA number and directions to ship it back to them.


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Astronewb
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5739169 - 03/17/13 05:21 PM

Is it unreasonable of me to ask they they pay for the shipping to return the head and controller?

Hmnn...a 6 pound package? That will ship priority mail, medium box anywhere in the USA for under $10.

None of the manufacturers I've dealt with cover shipping, only the parts are warranteed, so I'd say that's reasonable.

Imho,

Paul


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ghataa
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5739257 - 03/17/13 05:55 PM

Anyone going to NEAF? I'd love a walkthrough on how folks are setting up and aligning their Pro at the iOptron booth.

George


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Astronewb
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: ghataa]
      #5739518 - 03/17/13 07:50 PM

Quote:

Anyone going to NEAF? I'd love a walkthrough on how folks are setting up and aligning their Pro at the iOptron booth.

George




I'll be at NEAF George, hopefully with a visitor from France also, who is eager to see all the equipment offerings during his visit. PM me a few days before and I'll see if I can meet you while you're there.

Regards,

Paul


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ghataa
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5739548 - 03/17/13 08:08 PM

Sounds great Paul. Will do! Maybe I'll win another T-shirt this year too.

Best,

George


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Bob Moore
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Bob Moore]
      #5753211 - 03/24/13 02:46 AM Attachment (63 downloads)

So tonight the weather CH. said it was going to be clear, Even knowing that we are just about a full moon I set up the Smart EQ with the FLI MicroLine 8050 OSC with a 70-300 mm APO lens set at 70mm. Loaded Maxim, told the mound to head over to M42 and started shooting 240sec X 30. I came back to check on how things were going after about 6min. And the clouds were back, in 6 min I went from 100% clear to 100% cloudy. The good news is I got 6min of what I think is good data. The mount tracked well but as the clouds moved in the wind picked up a little. Here is what i got after 3min of setting up the mount and camera setup and an alignment. ... Oh yea in only took 2min to get everything back in the house.

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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Bob Moore]
      #5761305 - 03/27/13 09:03 PM

It came back today - with a new Dec motor.

Evidently the new-equipment-cloudy-sky curse is valid with refurbished also. I can't even see the full moon.

I'll report back after I can see Polaris.


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5766473 - 03/30/13 10:41 AM

There's something I'm just not understanding.
Last night:
I recollimated the polar scope - it's within the center circle through 180° of RA motion.
Left polar scope directly on Polaris.
Centered the 50mm finder and camera on Polaris.
Turned on mount and verified time and location.
Put Polaris a little below 3:00 on the 40° circle and ran a two star align.
It told me I was 1° high and West. I readjusted Polaris and made sure Alt and Az were locked.
Cycled mount power off and on again.
Made sure finder and camera were centered on Polaris again.
Ran through another two star align. This time the polar axis was 26 minutes off.
Slewed to Jupiter and it was barely in the 50mm finder!

At least when I tell it to return to zero position it does go back to where it should be.

It tracks fair - I was running two minute subs with my 35mm lens and getting round stars. I know a 35mm lens isn't exactly a tracking challenge - I'm trying to start simple.


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Astronewb
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5767663 - 03/30/13 09:31 PM

Quote:

Put Polaris a little below 3:00 on the 40° circle and ran a two star align.
It told me I was 1° high and West. I readjusted Polaris and made sure Alt and Az were locked.
Cycled mount power off and on again.
Made sure finder and camera were centered on Polaris again.
Ran through another two star align. This time the polar axis was 26 minutes off.
Slewed to Jupiter and it was barely in the 50mm finder!




Hmnn..sounds like a 'misque' in the alignment process somewhere?

When you start...center all your optics on Polaris, as you did.

Then position Polaris in the correct location on the polar scope reticle.

Now shut off and turn the mount on...this is your 'zero point' With the mount axis pointed at the North Central Pole. Polaris will have shifted about 41 arc- minutes away from center in your camera sensor or finder...that's ok.

Now do a One Star align, center with the HC slew buttons, and return to zero. You did that just to get the stars in the Two Star align easier to obtain.

Now do a Two Star align, after the 2d star is aligned using the HC slew buttons, it will give you the offset values.

Do not touch the HC buttons...you must adjust using the lat and az adjusters on the mount now. Estimate how much you have to move the adjusters (I use the bullseye in PHD) but you can use a finder with a graduated reticle or just use trial and error until you get a 'feel' for how much you need to move the 2d star.

Return to the zero position and rinse and repeat the 2 star align procedure until you get as close to 00-00 as you can.

You will be able to image for 2-3 minutes unguided with a offset of +/- 3 arc minutes in either axis.

Once you've run through this routine a few times it gets easier and easier until you will be able to setup and be imaging within 1-0-15 minutes.

Clear skies...looking forward to seeing some of your results in the future.

Paul


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5768302 - 03/31/13 09:32 AM Attachment (49 downloads)

It tracks. I'm just not sure it goes to.
Here's Auriga, 33 x 120 sec, Nikon 35mm prime @ f8.
FULL SIZE

Edited by lakeorion (03/31/13 09:33 AM)


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Astronewb
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5769803 - 03/31/13 10:15 PM

Wow, beautiful wide field, love the colors! Now if you can just add about 300-350mms of f/l to the shot..you'd have a splendid 405/410 image. I really like this area of the sky, especially 405 and 410, nice blends of blues and reds.

Clear skies,

Paul


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5771127 - 04/01/13 04:28 PM

I tried, but couldn't coax anything out of the red channel to hint at IC 410 or 405. The future for this setup includes LP and HA filters. Currently the white/red zone of my driveway precludes capturing such things without extremely long integration times. And my camera battery died after 33 frames.

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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5774985 - 04/03/13 09:21 AM

Trying the one star align prior to the two star align did help. I was able to 'goto' a few large 'finder' objects last night - M44, M45. Hand controller said I was within 00 deg 06 min so I got overconfident and put on the ProOptic 500mm and tried to do the Beehive. Dismal failure there. Have to figure out how to drift align to get that lens to be useful.

But the good news is I think it works. I'll just have to work on process a little more.

Thanks Paul and everyone else.


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lakeorion
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5785669 - 04/08/13 11:06 AM

Night of 04-05-13 I pulled off 5 minute subs at 300 mm focal length, unguided. So I pronounce it cured.

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lvvic
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Re: Ioptron Smart EQ Pro - my first GEM - questions new [Re: ghataa]
      #5835560 - 05/02/13 01:33 AM

anyone here willing to explain the zero position to me...I bought a Smart EQ used and can't get zero position to match Polaris...not sure if it's user error or something wrong with the mount...one star alignments are way off and a sync does not correct the error...seems to be off the same amount after telling where it is
never had trouble aligning my Meade mounts and my polar alignment is spot on
any suggestion?
tia Vic


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