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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
G-11 tracking issues
      #6137555 - 10/14/13 05:48 PM

Hello all. I'm having a tracking problem with my Losmandy G-11 mount and I need your help. I bought the mount in 1997 and shot fairly successfully with film for several years. In 2000 I bought a Starlight express HX516 and managed to get one fairly decent shot with it. Lately I've tried some long exposure experiments with my Imaging Source DMK 41AU02.AS. Here's some shots I did with it:
http://www.astronomycameras.com/blog/archive/20120612/venus-black-drop-effect/

The issue I'm having is the stars on long exposure ccd images the stars are in groups of two (doubled). Without going into too much history I'll outline the fixes I've tried so far:
1. Had the RA drive stepper replaced about a year ago.
2. Bought the Ovision worm upgrade for the RA.
3. Got a new polar reticule for the polar scope, cleaned and reinstalled.
4. New cables for the Celestron drive RA and Dec
5. Cleaned out the mount bearings, relubed both axis.
6. Installed new clutch pads both axis.

Last night I spent several hours trying different balance points. First I tried fully balanced, then East heavy, then West heavy. I gave the Ovision worm a little more play, thinking it might be binding. (I had set it up according to the instructions for about 1mm play over a 30" swing). I'm still getting oblong stars at every turn, not sure what to try next. I know some folks have beaten the curse of the oblong stars, hoping for an inexpensive fix. Anyone have any ideas to try?


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6137570 - 10/14/13 05:53 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

Here's a shot of M31 I made with the G-11 mount using film back around 2001. Three exposures, Hypered Pro 400 in a Pentax 6x7 camera.

Edited by APshooter (10/14/13 05:55 PM)


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6137737 - 10/14/13 07:52 PM

I'm having similar problems with my 20-year-old G11. I frequently get double stars and elongated stars, even now that I'm finally autoguiding the thing. I haven't yet gone to the expense of an Ovision worm, and I'm disappointed that it hasn't fixed your problem. Makes me think I might be wasting my money to try that or a Losmandy one-piece worm block. I have tried some of the other things you've tried. At this point I'm at a loss. The PHD graphs I see, with an RMS value commonly around 0.50, do not inspire confidence.

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #6138068 - 10/14/13 11:15 PM

When I tested the Ovision mod the first night, it was with a canon EOS attached to the saddle with a ball mount. The stars looked very round, even after five minutes of unguided exposure. Now that there is a real load onboard, I'm still at a loss to explain the double stars. Forums talk suggests the worm is sticking to the drive gear, causing jumps that cause the errors. One thing I have not done is swap the drive gear from the Dec to the RA, so see if it makes any difference...
I have tried various guiding times with my ST-4, from 1 sec to 10 sec, to see if guiding was causing it. Doesn't seem to be.

Edited by APshooter (10/14/13 11:16 PM)


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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6138157 - 10/15/13 12:12 AM

Are the double stars oriented East-West or North-South?
If you have too much DEC play in the worm, it can rock back and forth if balance is very close. The DEC reverses direction where the RA does not, so it is prone to this problem.
The other possibility would be binding or grit in the grease of the worm.
If you were guiding then even a double star as a guide star can cause this.
So you see it is not that easy to give you an answer, especially without an image to see the problem.
Blueman


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6138265 - 10/15/13 02:18 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

Here are two typical shots from last night.

Edited by APshooter (10/15/13 02:20 AM)


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6138268 - 10/15/13 02:21 AM Attachment (26 downloads)

And the second shot: It's hard to tell from these images, but when looking closely at the computer monitor, every star appear as double, with a fainter companion next to each bright star.

Edited by APshooter (10/15/13 02:24 AM)


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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6138273 - 10/15/13 02:38 AM

I will guess from the photo that the elongation is East/West, based on the M-27 position.
So, this is the direction of the elongation and that would look just like flexure to me.

You have not stated what your imaging scope is, if it is an SCT or reflector, then it could be mirror shift.

If you are using a refractor, then differential flexure would be my best guess. This could be either the guide scope, guide scope mounting or the main scope focuser sagging.

Of course this is mostly a guess, but having dealt with flexure myself over the years, it sure looks like it.
Blueman


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6138464 - 10/15/13 07:51 AM

The problem I started having with my older G11 was the oldham coupler was loose, causing double stars. The set screws had backed out.

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: D_talley]
      #6138969 - 10/15/13 12:43 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

Great tips guys, I will look into both of these possibilities! As for what I'm shooting with:
Astrophysics 130mm F6 Starfire refractor in a double set of rings. Televue 90mm guidescope. St-4 autoguilder. G-11 mount. Imaging source camera (temp camera for now).

Edited by APshooter (10/15/13 12:46 PM)


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tomcody
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6139121 - 10/15/13 01:53 PM

Try switching the two stepper motors out Dec and Ra, the new RA motor may have a problem with one of its windings that is causing uneven stepping.
Or
You could have a bad driver chip on the digital Drive board causing the same effect.
Why did you change out the RA motor?
Rex

Edited by tomcody (10/15/13 01:58 PM)


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: tomcody]
      #6140067 - 10/15/13 11:41 PM

The RA motor wasn't performing correctly...it was stalling and reversing directions when using the hand controller. So, hit left, and the motor would go right instead, or sometimes left...totally at random. I can swap out the motors easily enough. I'll also try and see what flexure issues I can eliminate.

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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6140085 - 10/15/13 11:54 PM

A friend was just having this problem and he changed out the hand controller cable and it stopped.

I am talking about the reverse direction when pressing a button. It happened mostly if he did a quick movement.
Blueman
Quote:

The RA motor wasn't performing correctly...it was stalling and reversing directions when using the hand controller. So, hit left, and the motor would go right instead, or sometimes left...totally at random. I can swap out the motors easily enough. I'll also try and see what flexure issues I can eliminate.




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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6142100 - 10/17/13 12:05 AM

The inadvertent direction flipping only occurred on the RA drive. The Dec always responded correctly. I'm currently on my 3rd hand controller . Losmandy rebuilt the drive after I sent it in...seems to work fine. I will try all the checks and tips tonight to see what flexure I can eliminate.

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dragonslayer1
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Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6142881 - 10/17/13 12:43 PM

can I just ask a question sense seem to have Losmandy brain trust here; If you cant access polaris does the Losmandy offer a similar option like all Star Polar Align? Am looking for a larger mount and weighing options, thank you, Kasey

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6142971 - 10/17/13 01:36 PM

Not that I'm aware of. I use a JMI NGC Max to locate objects. It has a polar align feature that will help dial in Polaris accurately, although I have never used that function. I have found that the polar scope works quite well once it's set up. I recently put in the new reticle, good til 2030.

On a side note, I have corrected and tweaked everything on the mount and am ready for a good night under the stars to test the tracking. Awaiting better weather...

Edited by APshooter (10/17/13 01:54 PM)


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dragonslayer1
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Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6143013 - 10/17/13 01:54 PM

Thank you AP. It looks like tha NGC is an Gemini/ or Gemini 2 GOTO for earlier models? thank you,
Kasey


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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6143247 - 10/17/13 04:07 PM

IF you can get fairly aligned, then you can use one of two things in Gemini.
Polar Align Assist
Polar Axis Correction
Check the manual for how to do it.
Blueman


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6144004 - 10/17/13 11:51 PM

My G-11 is from 1997, so I have no goto capability. Here's the link to the NGC max:
http://www.jmitelescopes.com/buy_ngc.htm#NGC-MAX%20Computer%20Only

It is only a pointing aid and not associated with Losmandy.

Edited by APshooter (10/17/13 11:54 PM)


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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6145019 - 10/18/13 02:40 PM

IF you have a Gemini, then you should have Polar Axis Correction and Polar Alignment Assist, but only with Gemini.
If you do not have Gemini, then you will pretty much have to drift align.
Blueman


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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6145205 - 10/18/13 04:37 PM

It looks like the G-2 is the latest and greatest.. Do even the owners w/o Gemini upgrade to the servo motors anyway? I also saw where it is suggested to get the worm block upgrade? Kasey

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tomcody
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6145271 - 10/18/13 05:19 PM

Quote:

It looks like the G-2 is the latest and greatest.. Do even the owners w/o Gemini upgrade to the servo motors anyway? I also saw where it is suggested to get the worm block upgrade? Kasey



The servo motors are only for Gemini users, the digital drive uses stepper motors.
The one piece block is usually only needed for imagers (who need as low a PE [periodic error] as they can get) and only to make the worm adjustments easier to do and maintain.
Rex


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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: tomcody]
      #6145283 - 10/18/13 05:29 PM

Thank you Rex,, the Losmandy seems to be in a class all by itself. Is it just the older ones that require tinkering? I also copied a statement about the motor difference, from what I got its saying the servo is an improvement?
""Servo motors run with a continuous smooth rotation, rather than discreet steps as with stepper motors.
They also have very high torque, even at high slewing speeds""
The one piece worm block would be for someone wanting what,, mabey 2-3 hour tracking? It seems that the mount can do 1-2 minute unguided pretty well? thank you,
Kasey


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6145328 - 10/18/13 06:00 PM

If you are pulse guiding or driving the servo via pulse ie. CGEM/DX than the statement of the difference between servo and stepper does not apply.

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tomcody
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6145724 - 10/18/13 10:23 PM

Real quick:
The older G11's did not have as accurate worm gears as the newer ones and combine that with two piece worm blocks ( which have six axis of possible movement compared with two possible axis on the one piece blocks ) and you have more tinkering.
Stepper motors have a single torque out put and turn in discrete moves or steps, compared to servos which have a continous drive current and a variable current with relationship with position. This makes servos smoother for long fl imaging and able to handle positioning changes like a wind load on the ota ( when the wind moves the ota, the servo senses the position change and puts out more torque ( depending on the servo drive design) to move back to position.
Rex


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6145871 - 10/19/13 12:00 AM

Correct. My mount was made before Gemini, it's the standard G-11 mount. I'm waiting out the clouds in hopes of testing under the stars before it gets too cold here.

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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6145907 - 10/19/13 12:35 AM

A few days ago I examined my G11 to try to figure out why I was getting such bizarre guiding results. I made a few changes:

Added more lube to the RA worm

I found that the coupler was not correctly seated on the flat part of the stepper motor output shaft for some reason. Fixed that.

I noticed that this shaft could slide in and out of the motor gearbox a little bit. I arranged the coupler so that can't happen any more.

I loosened the RA setting circle so it can turn more freely.

Well, one or more of those things made a big difference. Tonight I set up beneath the full moon solely to try things out. Guiding was much better. The PHD graph was much gentler, with an RMS around 0.20 or slightly better. Stars are still a tiny bit elongated E-W…not sure why. Could be an issue with the PHD settings.


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #6146692 - 10/19/13 01:19 PM

Interesting. Good to hear things are improving. I did not check my couplers to see if they were seated on the flats. I did tighten them however. Still raining here, weatherman says clearing by Sunday night! I'll try a shot or two then to see if the changes took, I'll post the results either way.

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powerstroke01
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6147025 - 10/19/13 04:51 PM

Well after going through double stars and elongated stars for about a year I finally sent the mount off to have it hypertuned. It came back looking brand new. After some careful balancing it now performs on par with much more expencive mounts.

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #6147671 - 10/19/13 11:53 PM

Your gallery of shots using the G-11 are impressive to say the least. I hope I can get mine up to speed soon.

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6150867 - 10/21/13 11:45 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

As promised, I have some shots from the previous night. These are quick and dirty without very much processing, but you can see the results of the tweaks. 5 subs stacked, 588 secs each. No flats or dark frames. Imaging source DMK 41AU02.AS camera.

Edited by APshooter (10/21/13 11:58 PM)


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6150871 - 10/21/13 11:47 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

And another shot:

Edited by APshooter (10/21/13 11:48 PM)


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6150906 - 10/22/13 12:08 AM

Many thanks to all who contributed info to help beat back the gremlins! I'm pleased with the results from a mechanical standpoint...it looks like the Ovision worm is a success, as were all the tweaks:
1. Swapped the Dec motor with the RA drive.
2. Readjusted the backlash on the Ovision worm.
3. Checked and tightened the Oldham couplers.
4. Put three thumbscrews in the guidescope tailpiece instead of one to hold the ST-4.
5. Balanced the mount east heavy.

Surprisingly, the biggest change came when I started shooting. I had set the backlash compensation setting in the ST-4 to 5; reducing it to 0 made the stars round. The ST-4 may have been over guiding out what was really only a small error to begin with. In any event, I'm sure the other tweaks helped the situation as well. I'm hoping to reproduce these results the next clear night. If that works I may have to start saving up for another camera


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6150976 - 10/22/13 01:32 AM

how much backlash do you have on step #2? i assume you tested it by turing the worm gear with your fingers?

thanks

rob


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: pfile]
      #6151010 - 10/22/13 02:22 AM

2mm side to side as measured at the end of the counterweight shaft. I used two .050 allen wrenches to act as spacers between the block and the RA housing. That gave me the recommended amount of backlash.

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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6151036 - 10/22/13 03:05 AM

2mm! surely i have more than that based on the worm play somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of a turn.

its a story for another thread but apparently the worm was too close to the wheel. i can't believe this.

rob


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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: pfile]
      #6151350 - 10/22/13 09:58 AM

Rob I'm really sorry about your trials. It's important to check the full motion under load when you adjust your worm mesh. Otherwise, what you describe does happen.

Have you thought about a hyper tube from Ed? I think it might behoove you to get it adjusted professionally.


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: Raginar]
      #6151439 - 10/22/13 10:42 AM

I think I'm just going to sell it for parts if the RA motor is burned out. this particular mount has seen too much trauma.

I was afraid to test under load thinking that the worm could be damaged. i did run it through a pretty wide range of angles and figured that the wheel should be mostly centered and in-round, but lesson learned for sure.

rob


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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: pfile]
      #6151550 - 10/22/13 11:54 AM

I have a post on getting a heavier mount (favoring the CGEM or DX) and was looking at G-11. A couple posted there that really look into the G-11 before leap,, I don't know if was a control issue or bad material batch. One specifically pointed to the 2011/2012 batch I think... Hope this helps, Kasey

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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6151592 - 10/22/13 12:19 PM

it is possible that there was a bad run, because my experience does not match at all what i read prior to purchasing. i like to think that i researched everything and concluded that the value was there for the money, but i may have succumbed to magical thinking. i've had a lot of trouble with this mount, but i take responsibility for all my problems. i think i overestimated my ability to handle mechanical problems.

the firmware problems i've had with the G2 are another story, however

i think the bottom line is that if you own one of these and intend to use it for imaging, you need to be comfortable becoming a G11 mechanic. at the very least most people want the one-piece worm block or the ovision one-piece block. what i just learned is that you better run the worm wheel through 360 degrees of travel after replacing the worm, because there might be some high spots. to be fair we're probably talking about a tiny difference between "meshes great" and "locks up".

rob


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Tonk
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Reged: 08/19/04

Loc: Leeds, UK, 54N
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: pfile]
      #6151729 - 10/22/13 01:32 PM

Quote:

you need to be comfortable becoming a G11 mechanic




Same for the GM-8.

I've had a good run for 10 years with mine, but eventually the annual mechanics sessions got too much. One season I could have superb performance which gradually degraded over a year or so, so a strip down and rebuild was required. Sometimes this excercise would yield nothing but frustration for weeks trying to get the mount to track accurately again.

I suspect it was due to a build up of grit in the grease on the worms, and my comparative lack of good skills in realigning the worm block afterwards.

Once I had the mount in the hall while building work (and a lot of dust) was going on elsewhere in the house and it took a number of stripdowns and relubing and worm block reseting to get the performance back. Its never really got back to the top unguided performance I got 2005 - 2008.

My new mount is sealed and does not allow user mechanics to be done! (has "void if broken" stickers on it!). And it does not require servicing for 10 years (heres hoping this turns out true - only time will tell).

Losmandy mounts are good but do require considerable fettling IMHO


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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: pfile]
      #6152824 - 10/23/13 12:59 AM

Rob:
I totally agree with the statement about becoming a G-11 mechanic. Those who have followed me since I got the mount in '97 know I've fought with flexure and tracking issues for many years. I have tinkered with my mount since day one. Some of the fixes came right out of forums like this one, others I kind of made up as i went along. For instance, I took the nylon friction clutches out years ago and replaced them with automotive head gasket material, because the nylon ones slipped in the cold, no matter how hard I tightened the clutches. I modded the mount to have power taps mounted on a steel plate bolted on the bottom of the tripod base. I've had problems with broken hand controllers and faulty drive boards. All fixable, but at the cost of hair pulling and lost time under the stars. As a visual mount it performs just fine, it's imaging that really pushes it to the limit. Thank goodness the Ovision mod worked for me. It's a shame that they stayed with that two block assembly for so many years. It would have been a whole different ballgame if they kept modding and improving the mount for imaging over the years.


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blueman
Photon Catcher
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6152865 - 10/23/13 02:02 AM

I used the G-11 for quite a while. I was the first to put McLennan gear boxes in one and one of the first to get the OVision for the RA.
I had it working pretty well, but then sometimes it would just get touchy and need a tweak. I sold it and got an MI-250 and it was a step above, but it still was not exactly without issues.
Finally I bought an AP900 and it is very nice. Perfect? No, but it is easy to operate and is much more stable.
Imaging is tough no matter what you do. But the mount is the heart of the whole operation and if the heart is not strong the rest of the system is weak too.
Blueman


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APshooter
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Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: blueman]
      #6152889 - 10/23/13 02:44 AM

So true.

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APshooter
super member


Reged: 10/14/13

Loc: Camby, In.
Re: G-11 tracking issues new [Re: APshooter]
      #6162206 - 10/28/13 10:34 AM Attachment (5 downloads)

Just an updated M27 shot from the mount last night.

Edited by APshooter (10/28/13 10:35 AM)


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