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New Skywatcher AZ GTi goto wifi mount

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#51 DaveBAstro9

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:41 AM

Just come across this mount and its soooo close to my perfect imaging mount for travel. Just needs a guide port and a decent wedge (I have an  Astrotrac wedge which would be ideal i guess.) plus camera control like the star adventurer mini...

Any chance of adding a guide port and selling an imaging version with a wedge and app camera control? 

Id be biting your hands off even though i already own a Star Advenrurer and a mini. 


Edited by DaveBAstro9, 22 October 2017 - 10:41 AM.

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#52 BinoGuy

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 11:33 AM

Right there with you DaveBAstro9.  Watched a couple of videos and it looks good, but I can't find it for sale in the US.  I'm still waiting on my wedge from the U.K. so I'd rather get it in the states.  Anyone have a lead?



#53 Rob2160

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:42 PM

 

 

Is there anyway to check the correct Date (day, year)?

I have tried it with the App using the auto location feature and it only seems to have problems with the Moon position. 

 

I also connected a Synscan controller from my Star Discovery mount and this works find on the AZ-GTi but again there is a problem with the Moon - it works fine on other planets and the Sun but when you select the Moon it does not show the coordinates and the font showing the location of the Moon is garbled in the Synscan controller.

 

Definitely a bug in this mount (mine at least) - I will send the information to Sky Watcher 

 

Can anyone else try it with the hand controller and see if they can select the Moon? 

 

Rob, I have tried this app on both my  Ipad and Android device. I have tried changing time and date settings on the devices.The appears to be a glitch in the software the moon location in the app is around 2 hours behind local time.,I am waiting to see if Saturn shows up in the app in about 2 hours when it rises in Brisbane.. I have ordered my AZ-GTi so should get it next week. I also have an 8" GOTO dob so I'll see if the glitch is in the handset as I do not have it connected to Wi Fi yet.

 

Martin

 

Hi Martin,  Thanks and just to follow up I have been in touch with SkyWatcher about this bug with the Moon and they have confirmed it also.  They will fix it in the next release. 

 

They have also given me a beta version of the Synscan Pro app which is much nicer.  The Moon bug is already fixed and it has additional alignment options,  1 Star, 3 Star etc plus many extra features.   I suggested an option to align it as an EQ mount on a wedge and they might add that too.  

 

The mount is working perfectly with the Pro app and I also bought the new Wifi adapter for the Star Discovery mount and that is working well too with the same app.  


Edited by Rob2160, 23 October 2017 - 09:43 PM.


#54 echobeach

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 06:06 AM

 

 

 

Is there anyway to check the correct Date (day, year)?

I have tried it with the App using the auto location feature and it only seems to have problems with the Moon position. 

 

I also connected a Synscan controller from my Star Discovery mount and this works find on the AZ-GTi but again there is a problem with the Moon - it works fine on other planets and the Sun but when you select the Moon it does not show the coordinates and the font showing the location of the Moon is garbled in the Synscan controller.

 

Definitely a bug in this mount (mine at least) - I will send the information to Sky Watcher 

 

Can anyone else try it with the hand controller and see if they can select the Moon? 

 

Rob, I have tried this app on both my  Ipad and Android device. I have tried changing time and date settings on the devices.The appears to be a glitch in the software the moon location in the app is around 2 hours behind local time.,I am waiting to see if Saturn shows up in the app in about 2 hours when it rises in Brisbane.. I have ordered my AZ-GTi so should get it next week. I also have an 8" GOTO dob so I'll see if the glitch is in the handset as I do not have it connected to Wi Fi yet.

 

Martin

 

Hi Martin,  Thanks and just to follow up I have been in touch with SkyWatcher about this bug with the Moon and they have confirmed it also.  They will fix it in the next release. 

 

They have also given me a beta version of the Synscan Pro app which is much nicer.  The Moon bug is already fixed and it has additional alignment options,  1 Star, 3 Star etc plus many extra features.   I suggested an option to align it as an EQ mount on a wedge and they might add that too.  

 

The mount is working perfectly with the Pro app and I also bought the new Wifi adapter for the Star Discovery mount and that is working well too with the same app.  

 

Hi Rob,I also contacted Skywatcher and they also gave me the Beta version . Please let us know how you wifi adapter performs ,as I would like to try it on my GOTO. 

 

I now have my mount and will be taking it to Norfolk Island in December with my 4" Mak



#55 lordg

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 02:52 PM

Has anyone tested the mount in astrophotography? Is the allignment with the Pro-version of the app with an eq wedge possible?

#56 Randy Dodge

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 09:37 PM

I've come across a new SW mount/scope called a SolarQuest on Youtube. Looks to be based on the AZ-GTI, with a GPS and sun finder  added - you just turn it on and it finds and tracks the Sun.

 

Anyone seen one of these? I'd be looking for just the mount, don't need the solar scope. SW USA doesn't mention it but I have a price from a Canadian dealer. 


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#57 BinoGuy

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 09:35 AM

Yep, that does sure look like the GTI form factor and that is certainly the tripod and post that comes with the GTI.   Also appears to have a sun finder camera on the motor side.  Oddly I cannot find either the GTI or the SolarQuest on their US or CA websites.

 

I found one dealer site listing the SolarQuest.  It did have a price listed but zero product information (weight, load capacity, WiFi ability, etc.) and it is a couple of hundred dollars MORE than the GTI.  I'm willing to pay a little more if it has a solar tracking camera but it is, quite honestly, probably a single-task mount which reduces the value proposition somewhat (at least to the Finance Committee).  As a single-tasker just for solar, and somewhat limiited carrying capacity, I'd be willing to pay... $150?  At that price I could get a couple of them for my ever-growing stable of wavelengths.

 

Like Mr. Randy Dodge I am looking for any additional information from the community.



#58 BinoGuy

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 11:36 AM

Thank you!  Looking forward to NEAF and I will definately swing by your booth.

 

 

EDIT - Skyware Eyes  Hey, that LAOT is awesome.  Will donate when I get home.


Edited by BinoGuy, 07 November 2017 - 11:38 AM.


#59 skyward_eyes

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 11:50 AM

Thank you!  Looking forward to NEAF and I will definately swing by your booth.

 

 

EDIT - Skyware Eyes  Hey, that LAOT is awesome.  Will donate when I get home.

 

I am hoping we will have a couple new things to show by then, mostly depending on how well sample testing goes upon their arrival. 

 

Thanks for the support on the LAOT, much appreciated. 


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#60 junomike

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 01:37 PM

Looks like this SolarQuest can be ordered from Canada.  Cost is apprix $700 CDN/$550 USD for those interested.

 

SolarQuest



#61 BinoGuy

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 07:02 PM

Pulled the trigger on the GTI today.  Even with shipping it was faaaaar less than the dedicated solar mount.  Looking forward to it.



#62 junomike

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 07:34 PM

Pulled the trigger on the GTI today.  Even with shipping it was faaaaar less than the dedicated solar mount.  Looking forward to it.

Where did you order from?



#63 BinoGuy

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 06:13 PM

365Astro in the U.K.  Small operation but my Herscel wedge arrived well-packed and when expected, which is really all I ask for.  Would be nice for the U.S. distributors to get this.  If the prices on the dedicated solar mount drop by half I'll probably pick one up at NEAF.  Will post a detailed review of the GTi when I've had it for a few days; since I don't see that one has been done yet.

 

edit  I did check OntarioTelescope too, since I see you hail from the Provence next to me.


Edited by BinoGuy, 09 November 2017 - 06:15 PM.


#64 junomike

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 06:21 PM

OK thanks.  It wouldn't work for me anyhow as I'm pure BT which AFAIK requires a HC Alignment beforehand and this doesn't include the HC.

I was wondering how they could offer ti so cheap when the Synscan HC's are ridiculously over-priced. Then I read the mount includes Android/iOS software.

Makes sense for those that can utilize it.



#65 BinoGuy

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 07:37 PM

Yeah, I wondered about the price differential too.  Surely you could get an older phone for the control.  Without the need for a cellular account I'm just going to use one of my old devices but many of my coworkers would be part with an old phone, or get an android tablet for a few bucks.

 

Anyway, I'm just happy to get away from the thrice-dammed hand controller.



#66 dwmedic

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 01:56 PM

Looks like Orion is going to be carrying the solar version. They are calling it the solar starseeker and it's listed for $379.00


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#67 NebulousLogic

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:25 PM

Looks like Orion is going to be carrying the solar version. They are calling it the solar starseeker and it's listed for $379.00

Nice find.   It's interesting that the Orion Solar version lists the weight capacity as 6lbs, whereas the regular AZ-GTi weigh capacity is listed as 11lbs.  That seems like big difference even accounting for the built in solar-specific features.  

 

Anyhow, I for one am pretty excited for when the AZ-GTi becomes available for purchase via a USA vendor.



#68 BinoGuy

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 07:37 AM

Update for the gang.  Skywatcher GTI arrived very late on Monday thanks to all of the Black Friday items sent with 2-day shipping.  So far I've had 10 minutes solar (with a Herschal wedge on my refractor), 2 minutes last night to look at the moon (clouds rolled in), and a half hour this morning on stars.  I'll post a review once I get more familiar with everything but I can say that I am Very Happy so far. 

 

Bottom Line

At this price point (and even with overseas shipping to get it here for the holidays) I think this is a definite Must Buy for everyone except hard-core APers (and they might put out a software update that allows you to use a EQ wedge).  But again, at this price and with the ability to control it wirelessly why not buy it as a second mount for visual?  I also hope to have a chance to test it with the new Revolution Imager R2; with the GTI's WiFi I might be able to sit inside during the cold Michigan winters and still get in some Big Sky Hunting.

 

Details

<> I can say that the packaging is top-notch.  There are many bits and pieces but everything stayed where it was supposed to. 

<> The fit and finish of all of the components is very good. 

<> A couple of people have wondered about the weight limit, given the small size of the mount.  I have no concerns about hanging my scopes off of it although the connection to the top of the stand tube uses three set screws instead of a more beefy 3/8 bolt.  We'll have to see if this causes problems down the road.

<> The WiFi and associated iPhone app is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!  Best advancement in the industry in years.  It grabbed Lat/Long from the phone with no problem.  The app controls worked quite well, it is very easy to change slew speeds, and finding objects in the list is so much easier than using a hand controller.  The WiFi range was also perfectly acceptable outside.  I'll test going through walls in the near future.

<> With my limited testing I found the tracking, in sidereal, SOLAR! and lunar to be acceptable.  There was some drift in solar but it is way better than no tracking, and again my testing was limited and I had only roughly balanced my long Vixen 70mm scope. 

<> The tripod is very sturdy and I am impressed.  It will certainly support the 11lb (edit, not kg) and I was able to hang my long 70mm off of it with no problem.  I also stuck a 100mm Mak on it and slewed it around with no problem.

<> The motors are nice and quiet, with anything below speed 5 being almost silent (at least to my ears, warmly inside my parka hood).  This is a happy change from the C-company's grindy noisy marble-chewing gears.

 

Other thoughts

<> Compatibility with my wooden Oberwerk tripod is only good due to an Oberwerk design feature.  The included stand tube has a wider base and fits on top of the depression in the tripod baseplate better than the GTI does.  The GTI itself isn't quite wide enough to straddle the depression so I bought a large-radius washer that should let me match height.

<> The only minor problem I noticed is that a couple of metal flakes came out of the 3/8-16 bolt holes and the tripod legs the first time I took things apart, but this is really just an awareness item and really not unexpected at this price-point.  Just dry-fit everything in the garage or outside, but not on the carpet or near your optics.

<> I am also still figuring out how much to finger-tighten the Alt and Az set screws after leveling.  I feel like I've had them maybe a quarter turn too tight and the motor sounded unhappy.  This is probably just a familiarity thing.

<> I bought the package that included a 102mm Mak.  I am pleased with the views (especially the moon, wow!) and the included EPs are acceptable at this price point.  The green mini-Vixen dovetail has three indentations for the set screw, which is a nice touch.

 

Edit - after reading comments about AP in the GTI thread on SGL and the fact that the camera position is offset from the center of rotation I realized that one can attach an L bracket to the GTI 'upside down and flipped' such that the L extends over the top of the GTI.  This would allow the camera to be positioned directly above the center of rotation.

 

Finally, thanks to 365Astronomy for shipping it so promptly.  This review used a mount and scope purchased at market price.

 

Edit - fixed kg / lb mixup.

Edit - added a thought about mounting the L bracket for AP


Edited by BinoGuy, 29 November 2017 - 11:17 AM.

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#69 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:32 AM

Update for the gang.  Skywatcher GTI arrived very late on Monday thanks to all of the Black Friday items sent with 2-day shipping.  So far I've had 10 minutes solar (with a Herschal wedge on my refractor), 2 minutes last night to look at the moon (clouds rolled in), and a half hour this morning on stars.  I'll post a review once I get more familiar with everything but I can say that I am Very Happy so far. 

 

Bottom Line

At this price point (and even with overseas shipping to get it here for the holidays) I think this is a definite Must Buy for everyone except hard-core APers (and they might put out a software update that allows you to use a EQ wedge).  But again, at this price and with the ability to control it wirelessly why not buy it as a second mount for visual?  I also hope to have a chance to test it with the new Revolution Imager R2; with the GTI's WiFi I might be able to sit inside during the cold Michigan winters and still get in some Big Sky Hunting.

 

Details

<> I can say that the packaging is top-notch.  There are many bits and pieces but everything stayed where it was supposed to. 

<> The fit and finish of all of the components is very good. 

<> A couple of people have wondered about the weight limit, given the small size of the mount.  I have no concerns about hanging my scopes off of it although the connection to the top of the stand tube uses three set screws instead of a more beefy 3/8 bolt.  We'll have to see if this causes problems down the road.

<> The WiFi and associated iPhone app is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!  Best advancement in the industry in years.  It grabbed Lat/Long from the phone with no problem.  The app controls worked quite well, it is very easy to change slew speeds, and finding objects in the list is so much easier than using a hand controller.  The WiFi range was also perfectly acceptable outside.  I'll test going through walls in the near future.

<> With my limited testing I found the tracking, in sidereal, SOLAR! and lunar to be acceptable.  There was some drift in solar but it is way better than no tracking, and again my testing was limited and I had only roughly balanced my long Vixen 70mm scope. 

<> The tripod is very sturdy and I am impressed.  It will certainly support the 11lb (edit, not kg) and I was able to hang my long 70mm off of it with no problem.  I also stuck a 100mm Mak on it and slewed it around with no problem.

<> The motors are nice and quiet, with anything below speed 5 being almost silent (at least to my ears, warmly inside my parka hood).  This is a happy change from the C-company's grindy noisy marble-chewing gears.

 

Other thoughts

<> Compatibility with my wooden Oberwerk tripod is only good due to an Oberwerk design feature.  The included stand tube has a wider base and fits on top of the depression in the tripod baseplate better than the GTI does.  The GTI itself isn't quite wide enough to straddle the depression so I bought a large-radius washer that should let me match height.

<> The only minor problem I noticed is that a couple of metal flakes came out of the 3/8-16 bolt holes and the tripod legs the first time I took things apart, but this is really just an awareness item and really not unexpected at this price-point.  Just dry-fit everything in the garage or outside, but not on the carpet or near your optics.

<> I am also still figuring out how much to finger-tighten the Alt and Az set screws after leveling.  I feel like I've had them maybe a quarter turn too tight and the motor sounded unhappy.  This is probably just a familiarity thing.

<> I bought the package that included a 102mm Mak.  I am pleased with the views (especially the moon, wow!) and the included EPs are acceptable at this price point.  The green mini-Vixen dovetail has three indentations for the set screw, which is a nice touch.

 

Edit - after reading comments about AP in the GTI thread on SGL and the fact that the camera position is offset from the center of rotation I realized that one can attach an L bracket to the GTI 'upside down and flipped' such that the L extends over the top of the GTI.  This would allow the camera to be positioned directly above the center of rotation.

 

Finally, thanks to 365Astronomy for shipping it so promptly.  This review used a mount and scope purchased at market price.

 

Edit - fixed kg / lb mixup.

Edit - added a thought about mounting the L bracket for AP

 

Another nice write up about this mount. Thanks to you and Dr. Who, I finally gave in and ordered the same kit that you did; the Skymax 102 AZ GTi. I ordered from First Light Optics in GB, who had it in stock but did not indicate how long it would take to get here, other than that it will ship in the next 1-2 days.

 

I plan to use it mainly for my AT72EDII, but the little Mak might be fun as well.


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#70 dr.who

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:48 AM

I wish I had ordered mine with the 102mm Mak...

#71 skyward_eyes

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:58 AM

Our samples have arrived here in the US. We will be evaluating them over the next few weeks. 


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#72 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:08 PM

I wish I had ordered mine with the 102mm Mak...

 

While I initially only wanted the mount, paying another $130 for an OTA that sells separately for $225 seemed like a good deal.


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#73 BinoGuy

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:49 PM

Almost no noise when it is tracking.  Push To works fine, even when I manually pushed to the Mūn and then asked it to find something and then return to the Mūn.

 

i had a chance to spend a couple of hours with it last night.  Did the north-level + two stars and it was great.  Split Albireo and Zeta Lyr and FINALLY saw Uranus and Neptune for sure (it was always a crapshoot on the larger unguided Newt in a light polluted suburb).  Seemed like the more stars I centered the better (smaller adjustments needed) on future targets.


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#74 BinoGuy

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:20 AM

Continuing my mini-review (and getting my thoughts on paper) - Let's Talk Tracking! 

 

I am still loving the little GTI and it is a gigantic improvement over my manual Newtonian on a base envisioned by Mr. John Dobson*.  Spent a good 4 hours on the sun this weekend and another 2 hours at night for the wow-that's-a-bright-moon.  The overall results were acceptable**.  Given that it is provided precise GPS coordinates from the phone I would have expected slightly better results but maybe my expectations are out of whack or I'm doing something wrong***.  All tests to determine drift were done with moderate and high magnification.  For the sun there was about 20% black around all edges, for the moon I tested with about 20% black around the edges as well as super close-up on some craters.

 

After a two-star alignment and no specific tracking mode enabled I could tell there was some movement, especially on high mag.  With a two-star alignment and Lunar Tracking selected the moon mostly stayed put, although it required tweaking every 10 minutes or so to keep the full disk in the frame; the crater test evidenced some drift but nothing obnoxious.

 

Just pointing it at the sun and telling it to use Solar tracking yielded similar results.  However, the Point and Track seems to do a respectable job of tracking.  It required Alt tweaking every 10 minutes at high power but Az was solid and never drifted at all.  This could be related to the ongoing learning process related to how tight the two thumbscrews need to be.  It it knew that I was pointing at the Sun (which was nice).

 

I wasn't able to test the Alignment + Hibernate feature.  To meaningfully test I think I'd want to let it sit for at least a half hour but it was too chilly to sit outside without looking through the EP and I was set up in my front yard so it wasn't an option to leave it alone while I went inside.

 

 

On to the 'controller' (application) - The Identify feature is nice and worked well-enough.  I wish it wasn't buried in the Utility menu with all other other cool still, like Tonight's Best and Point and Go.  They should move these three items out to the main menu, especially when the keypad is minimized.

 

I notice delay sometimes when pressing the virtual directional buttons on the keypad.  Occasionally the commands appeared to get queued up, such that when they were transmitted the mount slewed much farther than I wished due to my button mashing.  In Point and Track mode sometimes the button presses seemed to be ignored.  I have a LifeCase on my phone and it was also fairly cold (42f / 5.5c) out so it is absolutely possible these factors affected performance (the phone certainly was annoyed at the cold).  I plan to set the mount up in the house and do some further testing.  I should add here that I did find myself having to look down at the keypad quite frequently due to the lack of tactile response; which is one area where a hand controller is preferable.  On the flip side, being in the garage and telling it to start slewing to a new object while I walked back to the scope is pretty cool.

 

 

Finally, I have had a couple of problems tightening the 3/8-16 bolt.  If you don't tighten it enough the mount is able to rotate itself a bit (I saw someone else note this same problem recently).  Again, this is probably something that will go away as I become more familiar with it.

 

 

The 102mm Mak is a joy - inky black and pinpoint stars.  The starfield/glitter looks slick, too!  My only gripe so far is the placement of the focus knob.  When near zenith (like for Saturday's moon) it is tricky to get your hands in there, especially when wearing gloves.  I wish it were another 3 inches longer, or placed differently.  Of course, getting parfocal EPs would mitigate some of that bother.

 

 

 

* I read that he did not care for the term 'Dobsonian' so I try to honor his wishes (when I remember).

 

** And yes, I cede that AltAz has a limitation over GEM but let's set that discussion aside.

*** I might, for example, have had the friction thumbscrews too tight sometimes or not tight enough, or not tightened at all (happened once during alignment, motor started running and the tube stayed level because there was zero friction).


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#75 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:19 AM

Sounds good. Mine is supposed to arrive tomorrow, along with a cold front (translated as clouds/rain) that is going to park over us for a few days. I look forward to trying it out once it clears up again. I have already been trying to familiarize myself with the Synscan Pro app as best I can without it being connected to anything. Seems pretty straightforward.

 

I was glad to see in the Help section that it should be able to work along with SkySafari 5 Pro, which I also have. They include the instructions for inputting the correct IP address and port number.


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