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Meade LX850 silence

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#201 Pak

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 09:30 AM

Anyway, it looks like we'll have to wait for regular production mounts to get into the hands of serious imagers to answer this.

-Rich


"Serious" imagers already have mounts. It isn't likely that users of premium gear are going to downgrade just to experiment any time soon, which is why it's great that Jason was supplied with one. I am fairly sure that I am the first to switch to an LX850 from a Tak NJP (I did it specifically because I wanted to evaluate the new mount). I haven't, however, relocated. Nor have I retired, which means that my opportunities under clear, dark skies have been limited. I can't do much on a weeknight if it doesn't get dark until 11:00 - and I'm in the center of the city, surrounded by concrete, asphalt, and brick so the seeing doesn't settle down until MUCH later. I'm still waiting for weekend opportunities to do the things I want to do to evaluate the mount. After that, if I become sufficiently bored, I may perform some of the specific tests folks are demanding. That will become far more likely if the demands are replaced by requests.

I used to do commissioned evaluations of astro gear. When something was sent to me for tests, I did whatever they requested and made it a priority to get them done as quickly as possible so I could return the gear. Even then, it always took longer than I wanted it to because of time and weather limitations. Nobody supplied this mount to me so I'm on my own dime and my own schedule.



Thank you for posting. I see you have a blog and after taking a look I see the following:

"I used the PEC editor to look at the PEC data stored in the mount. It’s a little disappointing; looks like maybe 16 p-p arcseconds uncorrected PE. I’ll call Meade about that at some point. PPEC and Starlock seem to be managing that pretty well, though."


If we exclude Jason, which is what I am going to do, then we have Andrew at 8 and John at 16.



#202 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 09:42 AM

Pak,

One thing to consider in your poll is which mounts are fixed "recall" units, and which are the fresh, new mounts (or whatever they are called).

I know some differences include areas anodized, and the new mounts have a built in level/compass. I don't know about other changes, nor am I prepared to dismantle and compare the guts my telescope with other LX850s. ;)

I owe you the second half of my response, but have been uber busy. My analysis/results will be interesting (I have done a bit). AND I head back to New Mexico tomorrow night. It looks like I might have at least 2 days to work with (HOPEFULLY). Crossing my fingers on the weather...

#203 Starhawk

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 12:41 PM

What this has been about is breaking through the puffery into data.

I won't speculate on why jrcrilly posted a chewing out in response to me about how obnoxius it was to ask what people are seeing iinstead of posting data he had in hand.

I'll just mention the reason I decided to pick on the CGEM for my analogy is because it actually does have an issue. I'm familiar with it since I own one of them. And I'm not afraid to mention it for fear it may affect resale value or get people torked at Celestron. I'll tell anyone who asks what data I have, even if a product I have liked seems lesser in some eyes as a result. It is was it is.

Strangely enough, I have discovered it is very important to me to maintain personal integrity as a scientist and engineer with complete strangers on the internet, even as I have to use a pseudonym for identity theft reasons.

-Rich

#204 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 01:16 PM

What this has been about is breaking through the puffery into data.

I won't speculate on why jrcrilly posted a chewing out in response to me about how obnoxius it was to ask what people are seeing iinstead of posting data he had in hand.

I'll just mention the reason I decided to pick on the CGEM for my analogy is because it actually does have an issue. I'm familiar with it since I own one of them. And I'm not afraid to mention it for fear it may affect resale value or get people torked at Celestron. I'll tell anyone who asks what data I have, even if a product I have liked seems lesser in some eyes as a result. It is was it is.

Strangely enough, I have discovered it is very important to me to maintain personal integrity as a scientist and engineer with complete strangers on the internet, even as I have to use a pseudonym for identity theft reasons.

-Rich


Rich,

I will comment/complain/etc. if I have a problem or serious failing, and other LX owners seem to have done this in the past. I think 6 months ago I got a bad diagonal and commented/requested help on the CN boards. Meade did promptly replace the unit (at first I thought the loose barrel was a normal thing to adjust; turns out it was not).

If I had gotten the original LX800 and experienced all that drama you certainly would have heard something from me.

Trust me...now take a drink!

In the mean time, I should be home soon and will be able to play Astronomer with my telescope (not to be confused with playing doctor with my, er...that is another topic...).

Now keep the peace folks...

#205 bigj

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 11:42 PM

Pak works for ap

#206 Pak

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:20 AM

Pak works for ap


:john:

#207 orlyandico

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:54 AM

give it up Pak what sort of payola are you getting? AP1600 with encoders? :D

#208 Starhawk

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:25 AM

Heh- there are only 18 people working at AP. I've met them. Pak isn't one of them.

And no one needs payola from AP, Bigj. Seriously, do a little research. You're starting to sound like the kid who bought a camaro and is surprised by someone mentioning something he's never heard of before called a "Ferrari" and claiming it has better performance, so he starts questioning if Ferraris really have good performance and questioning the motives of anyone who mentioned it.

-Rich

#209 ahopp

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:38 PM

I think he was kidding.

Tony

#210 Qwickdraw

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 03:02 PM

Heh- there are only 18 people working at AP. I've met them. Pak isn't one of them.

-Rich


Just out of curiosity how could you be sure?
Do you know or have you met Pak other than chatting on CN?

#211 dawziecat

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 03:35 PM

Heh- there are only 18 people working at AP. I've met them.
-Rich


Well that certainly explains why I don't have my AP1100 yet! :mad: :mad:

#212 Starhawk

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:55 PM

No, the reason you can't get your AP 1100 is there is one (1) guy who assembles them; Wally. I've met him- he's a serious astrophotographer. What he does is assemble the mount and then run it on the master encoder to verify it is within spec. If it fails, it gets taken apart and a new worm goes in. Once everything is as it should be, he then runs it for a 3-turn PEC correction calibration. So, it's no accident the thing works when it shows up.

Emphasis being on when it shows up.

-Rich

#213 WesC

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:06 AM

I went ahead and signed up for the notification list for the AP1100... Now I've just gotta pull together the funds. I think that's going to be my forever mount. :grin:

#214 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:09 AM

I went ahead and signed up for the notification list for the AP1100... Now I've just gotta pull together the funds. I think that's going to be my forever mount. :grin:


I think the LX850 price range also makes that my forever mount. But I will purchase more goodies of course.

Back in New Mexico, weather not cooperating...of course! I hope to have some fun with it tomorrow.

#215 Starhawk

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:24 AM

Have fun, then.

Personally I'm a bit demoralized over finding one of our red hats here has been obviously intentionally suppressing information and bullying the regular members to try to draw attention away from it.

If that's going to be the way things are done here, what's the point of CN?

-Rich

#216 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:43 PM

about time someone else figured that out..

#217 WesC

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:01 PM

Back in New Mexico, weather not cooperating...of course! I hope to have some fun with it tomorrow.


The universal problem. :p

#218 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:52 PM

Hello y'all!

I FINALLY have a weather window to play with the LX850 for the next 2 days. And then I am on travel for another 20 days, grrrrr!

So I will be playing with the LX850, but not doing all the tests on my uber test list - a guy has got to have fun! But I will post some goodies to keep the Coyotes at bay. Note, I will be back in NM most of July and THEN I can do the testing.

Some observations today to reduce the LX850 silence:
* Issue about the Microfocuser . Pak indicated the focuser attachment screws will mar up things like the diagonal, hence lessening its value and making the focuser more of a problem than a help. Turns out this is wrong and need not be an issue. There is a "screw on" type attachment with the Microfocuser. You then either screw the camera onto this OR screw on the adaptor for the diagonal. Hence, no marring. Not bad, eh!
* Internally run cables. I am posting elsewhere on this, however this feature of the LX850 should not be ignored. Today, I ran the USB Cables and MallinCam cables internally through the mount. This really minimizes the cable clutter and feeds the cables to one location, the laptop. Cables are nicely contained on the side of the mount via "Commander Cord Bundlers".
* Oh, the vibration pads seem to be quite sturdy. They are putting up with the New Mexican desert and Sun quite well. No sign of deterioration at all. The only issue I have- the dog still pees on one of them!

Besides the items noted, here is where I am at with the LX850:
* I can be set up very quickly now (under 30 minutes) WHEN I have one of my kids help me with the OTA.
* Polar alignment is VERY easy with this scope, and also done quickly. Once parked for a several day run? No need to re-polar align at all.
* Works great with SkyFi/Sky Safari - total and accurate control of the telescope with a touch of the finger with via the iPad wirelessly. No need for ASCOM drivers there. I think I will need to use those once I have the new dome to control it.
* PEC Training and update is very easy. Thank you Starlock! Mount PP PE is around 6.5 arcseconds unguided.
* High Precision Pointing. All automatic courtesy of Starlock (again) - and works with SkySafari!
* So far tested loads of around 70 lbs. No problems whatsoever.
* Visually the views are simply amazing!

Tonight I will be playing with Drift Alignment and God willing take a few pictures (winds are wild and gusty right now, but it should calm down by midnight).

Also, when I get a chance I will comment more in detail on the dual observer arrangement of the Starlock System. It is NOT the same as adding two guiding cameras on another telescope. Near as I can tell, in the latter arrangement you can use one for guiding and one for taking pictures. Correct me if I am wrong, there seems to be nothing out there that integrates two "observers" into a single control algorithm which handles not only guiding, but also training, HPP and polar alignment. The implications of this are enormous.

#219 Hilmi

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 12:22 AM

Correct me if I am wrong, there seems to be nothing out there that integrates two "observers" into a single control algorithm which handles not only guiding, but also training, HPP and polar alignment. The implications of this are enormous.


Celestron is about to release a camera that does the same function as the wide angle camera for the star lock. The Celestron camera can be added to many of their existing mounts. Altough I believe it does not handle drift alignment, but it does help with another mechanism of polar alignment which Celestron uses. While not perfect. This little camera handles pointing and model building.

It is my belief that with an 80mm guide scope using the Nextguide and this little Celestron upgrade that is soon to be released, most Celestron owners should be able to add 80% to 90% of the Starlock functionality (electronics wise) to their already existing mounts.

#220 orlyandico

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 12:26 AM

not so sure about the nexguide... that little stand-alone guider doesn't do subpixel guiding. big problem if you're guiding a long FL OTA.

#221 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 12:36 AM

Gday Hilmi

It is my belief that with an 80mm guide scope using the Nextguide and this little Celestron upgrade that is soon to be released, most Celestron owners should be able to add 80% to 90% of the Starlock functionality (electronics wise) to their already existing mounts.



I doubt it, unless the Hbx firmware is also massively upgraded.
One thing i can clearly see in the Starlock concept is how tightly integrated it is into the code, in a "bi directional" manner.
Ie it is not just a dumb widefield/narrowfield camera with a few ST4 commands, the scope and Starlock can conduct "intelligent" conversations about what and when do do things.
That said, i can still see ( what i see as ) bugs in the implementation,
and the Starlock "off" code appears to have even more bugs, esp PEC related.
I would still like to see some RAW PEC data from an LX850 to confirm some of this,
( and by raw, i mean the raw data stored in the scope, not the manipulated presentations given by PEC tool etc )

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

#222 Hilmi

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 01:23 AM

Don't get me wrong, the concept of the LX850 is great. I would have gone for one had I not already had my set of equipment in place. My comment is that you can build your own stand alone solution with similar if not completely identical functionality. The only difference is that you would need to collect items from different vendors which some people don't like to do.

And what exactly is the benefit of this two way communication from the users point of view? I can see how during target acquisition (i.e. pointing at target) this could be of use, but from what I understood about the new Celestron accessory, it does that.

As for the sub-pixel guiding, there are other stand alone guiders out there. I even came across one that would control you'r Canon camera.

#223 orlyandico

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 01:26 AM

Hilmi, that would be the Lacerta MGEN. Also the SBIG SG4. These aren't cheap stand-alone guiders though.

#224 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 04:20 AM

Gday Hilmi

My comment is that you can build your own stand alone solution with similar if not completely identical functionality.



I dont think so.

Looking at the Starlock code, it has a far broader spread of functionality than to just guide.

And what exactly is the benefit of this two way communication from the users point of view?



Think of a third party guider just sending guide commands.
Its just a dumb lump that sends commands at a set frequency.
If you want to drift align, you need a secondary system to do it.
To do a high precision automated slew you need a mechanism to do that.
To do PEC you need another system.

With StarLock, the scope can disable guiding when it needs to, without user intervention, then reenable it when required. It can ask StarLock to do a DEC drift error measurement for a set time period and then act upon it without user interention.
It can do a HiPrecision slew to a bright star, auto centre and synch then slew to target.
It can ( or appears to be able to log ) PE over a set period of time, and when asked to, return the data to the scope, all in a controlled manner.

Nothing else i have seen so far can do all of this without human intervention.

I still see it has bugs in its implementation, but it appears to be streets ahead of any other system for what it can do, as a single standalone package, without third party software/intervention.
That said, i still have concerns how the firmware works if it is turned Off.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

#225 WadeH237

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 08:52 AM

Hi Andrew,

Which part of that list can other solutions not do? Unless I am misunderstanding those items, my system built from selected components and software can do all of this and much more.

-Wade


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