Cheers. I didn't bother using a dowel because I have been slammed with work and life events. And it is now actually moot. I got first light last night.
I put the scope up on my Mach1 with the Losmandy pier extension on top of my Berlebach Planet tripod. A very stable combination but it put the scope so high up (I am just shy of 2 meters or 6'6" tall) that I had to lift the scope up above my head to put it on the mount. With the rings and everything it turned out to be heavier than I thought it would be. And promptly banished any thoughts of getting a Celestron EdgeHD 14" or Meade 16"!
I usually use my mount in that configuration because I have the AP 155 on it and don't want to lay down to view at zenith. It gives enough height that from 45* to 90* I can be comfortably seated and view through the scope.
I needed four (4) 9 lbs counterweights to balance it on the Mach1. The weights were at the end of the CW bar. The very surprising thing was the balance point. I was using a 17mm Ethos and a Tele Vue 2" diagonal. So some decent weight on the back end on top of the mirror. I figured the balance point would be somewhere about where the green paint started on the back end of the mount to even further back towards the EP. I was badly wrong. It was actually just in front of the ring that is touching the green painted part in the above photo!
I liked the fans. I was mostly ambivalent with a touch of hatred towards the motorized focuser. So I am moving off from the I positively *HATE* the thing at this point. It focused acceptably though I had to go inside and outside of focus to tell if things were focused properly. Something I am not used to with my "regular" focusers. It still frustrates me that the focuser is a major single point of failure that could render the scope useless. That is just bad engineering in my book.
What was especially frustrating last night was that I had the unit plugged into a 110-120v plug on my 12v battery pack and the plug kept coming loose from the controller. Also with all the cables (power for the mount, the hand controller for the mount, and the controller for the scope) things got a bit tangled which was a frustration point. For sure I will be putting the 9v battery in there if I use the bloody thing. I found that if I had the plug come loose then plugged it back in the scope would unfocus itself by a decent bit. No idea why it does this. Anyone know?
Next step will be fitting the Feathertouch focuser to it and seeing if I can abandon the motorized focuser completely. That will be a joy. I hope.
No binoviewers used this time. I am in a barely red mostly white LP zone which sucks for me but it is what it is. No dark sky first light.
The only EP used was the 17mm Ethos which gave me 147x magnification on targets. Speaking of which the targets in order were:
SAO 113271 Betelgeuse
NGC 1976 Orion Nebula
NGC 224 Andromeda galaxy
NGC 752 Open cluster in Andromeda
NGC 457 Dragonfly cluster
Betelgeuse - Bright, big, a bit soft, and a bit woolly. And diffraction spikes which don't bother me. It was shortly after the fans were on so the scope was no where near TE and that's fine. It was better than what I would get in my SCT's out of the box and even about 15-20 minutes in with TEMPest fans.
Orion Nebula - Also a bit soft but clear nebulosity and the A-C stars clearly visible. Again too close to startup to provide a good view. Sadly when I used my TEC 140 (also first light) later on in the evening I got the A-D stars with hints of E & F. I do love my refractors. And with it being open cluster season it is really a better time for them.
Andromeda galaxy - It was there. There was some hints of structure which was nice.
Uranus - Wow! A bright light blue ball! That was nice! And even through it was poorish seeing I believe I could have pushed up to 250x with a 10mm Ethos and caught a good bit of detail. I didn't but I fully expect this scope to shine on the Moon and other planets.
Open cluster in Andromeda - Good number of stars in the field but couldn't get the whole cluster in the FOV. Saw some faint stuff in there. Caught what looked like a mag 8 and 9 or so double star in the cluster. Likely not a true double but they were close enough together for me to call it as such.
Dragonfly cluster - One of my personal favorites. Nice to see it again.
Coming up: A Binoviewer test. A report on the installation of the FT focuser (there is a trick to it). A test of things without the motorized focuser. A BV test with the FT on the scope. A shootout between the 210 and the 250.