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ShawnD
member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Central Texas
Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new
      #5729507 - 03/13/13 01:21 AM

Hi everyone, I just got a nice 8" LX200R about two weeks ago and I have been using it in the back yard getting aquainted with it and the accessories. I have came across some issues I cannot resolve.

First, I purchased a Parallax USB/Serial converter. I am using Win XP and the Autostar program loaded up fine. The problem I am having is how to connect this to my computer. Do I connect the Autostar II handbox to my computer or do I use a RS 232 port on my scope base after I open the Autostar program?

Second, I dont fully understand what the Mirror Lock knob is for. I usually just leave it snug and dont mess with it at all. I assume it has something to do with this Mirror Flop I read on here occurs, but again, I dont know what exactly that means.

Third, is issues with my alignment. I have not yet been able to truly align the scope and use the GO TO feature yet. I am still familiarizing myself with the stars so I dont quite know if I am on the exact star or not. I use the Space Junk program on my iPhone 5 to assist in locating the correct stars but it isnt working out to well for me. Example, I did the auto align, allowed it to find home and do its automatic settings. When it went to the first star I found the closest one and slewed to it, I did the same with the second star and it showed auto align success. But when I tell it to go to Jupiter, which is pretty much right above me, the scope will slew in the general direction of Jupiter, but will pass it up and finally stop way off course. I usually have to put the scope at medium speed and slew clock wise for about 1-3 seconds to get it in the view finder. The up and down is usually really close.

Regards,
Shawn


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Mike7Mak
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: ShawnD]
      #5729636 - 03/13/13 03:05 AM

First...you connect the computer directly to the mount rs232 port, in the planetarium program menu select 'Telescope > Protocol > AutoStar via serial port. You may have to configure com port settings but I'm not sure about that, it's been a long time since I set mine up.

Second...ALWAYS unlock the mirror (clockwise) before focusing, you could damage the focusing mechanism otherwise. The mirror is mounted on a tube that slides over the central baffle tube. At the end of that sliding tube is a collet assembly that 'clamps' the mirror tube to the central baffle to prevent the mirror from shifting. It's really only necessary to lock the mirror when taking images.

Third...The Autostar go-to is notoriously bad at finding the planets and the moon. It may not be bad alignment. To check tell it to go-to another bright star or dso.


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tommax
super member
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5729644 - 03/13/13 03:12 AM

I had some of the same issue's.

Here is a tip if you are unsure about the stars, once you have let the scope "find" the 2 stars and you have it slew to an object you know (like Jupiter or a star you know) once it stops get the object centered then press and hold enter for a second, the controller will beep, press enter again and the scope will sync to the object. This is not good enough for taking images of DSO's but for visual observing or planetary imaging with a webcam the scope usually tracks pretty well at that point and will be pretty close when you slew to other objects.


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Mike7Mak
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: tommax]
      #5729665 - 03/13/13 04:10 AM

I would not recommend 'syncing' on the planets or the moon, only on known stars.

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tommax
super member
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5729672 - 03/13/13 04:34 AM

Mike,
Why not on planets? The moon I get but on the LX200's I have owned syncing Jupiter or Saturn center eye piece has always seems to help it keep it in the eyepiece for longer period's (this is alt/az though).


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Mike7Mak
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: tommax]
      #5730525 - 03/13/13 03:10 PM

It has to do with the algorithms used to calculate the positions of solar system objects, the limited processing power of the scope's cpu, AND verified bugs in the software.

I can't give the full technical explanation but here's a piece of it concerning 'syncing on the moon' from Dick Seymour on the LX200gps Yahoo group. I hope it's ok to do this...

.......................................

"> The calculations for the orbital bodies are *approximations*
> The Lunar calcs will drift +/- at least a half degree over the course of a
month. Heck, it can drift a half degree over the course of a single night,
since i don't think they do topocentric calculations, only geocentric (we're
close enough to the moon for your location on the planet to make a difference in
the moon's apparent RA/DEC... and between moonrise and moonset, you are
laterally shifting 8000 miles (the earth's diameter).
> If you SYNC on the moon, you're shifting "the rest of the sky" by that error.
>
> have fun
> --dick

........................................

There are other explanations if you search around in that group. Apparently the latest patches from Dick and Andrew address some of the planetary inaccuracies.

Why syncing on Jupiter keeps it in the eyepiece I won't guess, but I would bet doing so ruins the go-to accuracy for other non orbiting objects.


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ShawnD
member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5730849 - 03/13/13 06:26 PM

Thank you all for clearing these issues up for me. When I get off work today I will see if I can update the software.

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cavefrog
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/11/08

Loc: loozyanna
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: ShawnD]
      #5744173 - 03/19/13 10:40 PM

"The Autostar go-to is notoriously bad at finding the planets and the moon"

HUH?

the ONLY time any of my 4-5 Autostars would not get a planet in a 26mm EP,is when there was pilot error! I even have a 60mm ETX with a 494 controller, that when properly set up will find the planets that are visable.

Theo


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StarmanDan
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/27/07

Loc: Deep in the heart of Texas
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions [Re: cavefrog]
      #5744978 - 03/20/13 11:57 AM

With my LX200GPS the first alignment star can be up to 10-15 degrees off for some reason so make sure you are using the correct star for the first star. Once synced on the first star, the second is usually within the FOV of the finder. After syncing on the second star my gotos are typically spot on to the point were I can use my "poor man's Mallincam" and get objects on the imaging chip even going from one part of the sky to the opposite side.

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dg152
journeyman
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Reged: 11/01/10

Loc: Christiana, TN
Re: Brand New to the Hobby so Very Basic Questions new [Re: StarmanDan]
      #5752317 - 03/23/13 05:09 PM

I've also got an 8" LX200. Being new to the hobby, I don't have a clue whether or not the scope is aligning on the correct star or not. In the past I went through the motions of alignment then did what tommax did with some success. However, Mike7 is correct. This isn't the most effective method. In order to ensure I'm on the alignment star, I'm goint to use my smartphone and one of the astronomy apps.

By the way, be sure you have the correct time and date entered into AutoStar as well as your correct location. Even a small difference in time will throw your alignment off.


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