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New Skywatcher AZ GTi goto wifi mount

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1740 replies to this topic

#1601 dr.who

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:46 PM

It doesn't work like that.

 

The reality is that the quality varies too much. To some other industries we wouldn't be so forgiving. I was voting with my wallet and am sticking with the little mount. I wouldn't mind paying triple for such a small mount that is accurate 100% of the time. This one isn't and we shouldn't be playing it down by managing our expectations.

 

It's not that the mount isn't for some of us. It's exactly what some of us need. Small, light-weight go-to alt az mount. Is it really too much to expect it to be accurate for visual?

Based on your own postings here it is clearly not the mount for you. You can't get what you want from it over multiple samples. And by your own statement above the quality varies too much. 

 

There is no such thing as 100% of the time. And the whole playing it down/managing expectations is a canard. You want close to but not at 100% accuracy? Buy the forthcoming Astro Physics Mach2 with Renishaw encoders. 

 

Bottom line: By your own statements and complaints here it is not working for you. So why are you here still complaining about the mount? Why don't you get something else that works for you? Maybe a used Takahashi PM-1 if you can find one. That may do it for you. It's more than that magic 3x the cost 100% perfection level you seem to be demanding of the AZ-GTi and it is an EQ mount but it will be a higher caliber QA and manufacturing level at a similar weight and compactness...



#1602 dr.who

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:57 PM

I am not sure how you compare a Losmandy GM to the AZ-GTI. And if you'd red the complaint post, you'd see that the main complain is that there is a wide variety of reliability. Some people have a great one, others have horrible one. Some had the entire spectrum.

So, if I happen to think that it has a lot of backlash and very inaccurate goto with proper polar alignment, I think it is my prerogative to do so. I don't remember any of us barking on you guys because you happen to like and it works for you.

This thread started with talking and sharing experiences with this particular mount, even the negative ones.

You are absolutely correct regarding you statement of it being your prerogative. My apologies if I gave you the impression that it was not the case.

 

What is personally frustrating to me is that people are trying to use it for something it is not designed nor advertised to do i.e. AP then complaining when it doesn't do what it isn't made to do but can do because someone decided to try it and got good results with their sample and in some cases demanding that the manufacturer either support the untested/unsupported application or demand that the manufacturer replace it with one that will do that unsupported not designed to do thing. Especially for its price. 

 

If one is defective, as in not performing alt/az goto with consistent performance within specifications that is one thing. And Skywatcher should support that. Demanding that they fix it so it will do AP well or for that matter at all is just wrong. Ditto with opening it up, which voids the warranty just like if I opened up my CGX, then demanding they fix a performance problem. 



#1603 organge

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:23 PM

Based on your own postings here it is clearly not the mount for you. You can't get what you want from it over multiple samples. And by your own statement above the quality varies too much. 

 

There is no such thing as 100% of the time. And the whole playing it down/managing expectations is a canard. You want close to but not at 100% accuracy? Buy the forthcoming Astro Physics Mach2 with Renishaw encoders. 

 

Bottom line: By your own statements and complaints here it is not working for you. So why are you here still complaining about the mount? Why don't you get something else that works for you? Maybe a used Takahashi PM-1 if you can find one. That may do it for you. It's more than that magic 3x the cost 100% perfection level you seem to be demanding of the AZ-GTi and it is an EQ mount but it will be a higher caliber QA and manufacturing level at a similar weight and compactness...

On the contrary. This mount is for me and I use it all the time and even recommend it to others. While it is not accurate you can still live with it somehow and it's not the best thing out there, it's the only thing out there with that functionality and form. I didn't go through 4 of these because I was looking for the holy grail. They came with different scopes I tried and one was bought for second house.

 

I didn't complain. I stated my experience and opinion. And why shouldn't we expect the mount to work as advertised?

 

Of course there is 100% of the time. Level the tripod, level the mount above, align and observe. I understand that your frustration is when people talk about AP but this is not it. It's visual in alt-az. And the hard truth is that this mount is not really accurate. SLT and SE for example are much more consistent with go-to (although they too have their issues).

 

You sent me down the shop to get mounts that can't really compare in functionality and physique. Not sure where you are going with all this really.



#1604 dr.who

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:28 PM

OK. My mistake. I thought you were in the off label AP camp. My apologies. And I started a new thread for talking about the mount and any problems or questions about it in its intended configuration. That being alt/az lightweight G&G. This thread has gotten pretty cumbersome with over 1,600 posts in it...


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#1605 Bagwell

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:40 PM

It may be worth mentioning that many rechargeable AA batteries are 1.2v where regular Alkaline batteries are 1.5v    Many devices do not like the lower voltage of rechargeable batteries.  I use regular Alkaline disposable batteries in my AZ-Gti or a big 12v battery bank in a Harbor Freight ammo box with an adapter when I want extended run time for my AZ-Gti .   Just FYI on powering your AZ-Gti mount properly.  

 

Vaughn


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#1606 dr.who

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:47 PM

That would be a good test Vaughn. At least it will eliminate one possibility...



#1607 Bagwell

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:46 PM

I would think just using Alkaline batteries with 1.5v listed on the battery in the mount if that is how you usually power it thru the onboard battery pack.  If you use a big battery just make sure its putting out a total of 12v dc.   I have used a 120v ac to 12v dc power supply and it was actually putting out more than the maximum voltage which I cant remember at the moment.  I think it was 12.5 or 12.8 or something.  the AZ-Gti did not like this extra voltage and didnt operate properly.  I know some of you are seeing other issues than just not working but I have not experimented with lower voltage but I know the mount doesnt like it too low either.  I have tested my batteries with a multimeter to see how fresh or worn out they are and you can also use the multimeter to see what the final voltage is at the plug if you use a big battery pack of some kind.  The manual shows the minimum and maximum voltage acceptable .  

 

Good luck, 
Vaughn


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#1608 kel123

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:05 PM

It may be worth mentioning that many rechargeable AA batteries are 1.2v where regular Alkaline batteries are 1.5v Many devices do not like the lower voltage of rechargeable batteries. I use regular Alkaline disposable batteries in my AZ-Gti or a big 12v battery bank in a Harbor Freight ammo box with an adapter when I want extended run time for my AZ-Gti . Just FYI on powering your AZ-Gti mount properly.

Vaughn

I was actually trying to say in an earlier post that I was advised to use standard alkaline non rechargeable batteries by the vendor when I power it through the onboard battery compartment but I can see that I ommited "non" , giving the statement another meaning.

We are advised that a lot of the eratic issues with this mount as it is intended to function is due to inadequate juice. It is a Synta mount after all.

I wonder if a buck boost regulator will be helpful for constant 12v from a battery bank from the DC input

Edited by kel123, 23 July 2019 - 08:07 PM.

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#1609 starryhtx

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:29 PM

Looks like a lot of problems with this mount, I was considering it but looks like I'll pass.



#1610 Astrodave

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:34 PM

Mine is powered by a talent cell 11000mah battery. I have a cig plug voltage display wired in that shows me how many volts I am getting. The night it flipped its wig it was reading 12.0v. That’s not the first time it’s flipped out on me. It was doing well with gotos for a while but the tracking that night was atrocious. It couldn’t even keep Polaris in the center of the eyepiece and it doesn’t even have to track that much to do that. Vega, etc all moving slowly out of the center of the reticle even after compensating for backlash with right and up. Then all of a sudden nothing was in the FOV after a goto and then when I returned to home position it had somehow moved a good 20 degrees west of north from when I first aligned it. Everything appeared to be tight on the extension too. I really have covered all the bases I feel. 


Edited by Astrodave, 23 July 2019 - 09:38 PM.

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#1611 Alexdz57

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 01:30 PM

I was actually trying to say in an earlier post that I was advised to use standard alkaline non rechargeable batteries by the vendor when I power it through the onboard battery compartment but I can see that I ommited "non" , giving the statement another meaning.

We are advised that a lot of the eratic issues with this mount as it is intended to function is due to inadequate juice. It is a Synta mount after all.

I wonder if a buck boost regulator will be helpful for constant 12v from a battery bank from the DC input

A couple of years ago I found online someone who did a great test of batteries with goto telescopes in mind but have never been able to find the article again. Bottom line, batteries only produce their stated voltage when they're full. So the 1.5V "requirement" is not accurate, it's just a specification for the compatible alkaline batteries. This person's testing demonstrated that used in situations similar to goto telescope systems--i.e., periodic use of motors--a pack of alkaline batteries drops below 1V relatively quickly, whereas the NiMH batteries tend to remain at higher levels and therefore usable for much longer.

 

My own comparison on my Nexstar 8se (which doesn't have occasional "headache" issues like the AZ-GTi) over a few years shows that I can get about 1.5 hours of use on alkalines. The same telescope with NiMH AA batteries (Eneloop Pro) will run for at least 5 hours. The NiMH start at 1.2V like other rechargeables. I've seen both situations multiple times and typically my activity involves a fair bit of goto-ing.

 

I'm no expert on this but my personal experience is consistent with what I remember from that article. And while again I'm no expert I have known for a long time that stated battery voltages are only applicable when they are fully charged, that's not the voltage you're getting while using them. Despite all that I realize most people remain fixated on the 1.5 vs 1.2 starting voltage thing, including recommendations from vendors who should probably know better.


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#1612 l_stoian79

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 02:52 PM

I use NiMh rechargeable Tronic accu (Lidl brand) when i need to be very light . I used them for 6h max, after that i went to sleep so i don't know how much more they would have resisted. When weight is not an issue, i have a 10Ah 12V motorcycle accu in my "astrobox" . That accu is used for both AZEQ5 or AZGTi, never reached the bottom of the accu. I have used it in m a ny weekends, 2 nights in a row (6-8h) and there was stil juice in it. Comming back, AZGTi with 8 1.2V NiMh accus work great for me.


Edited by l_stoian79, 25 July 2019 - 02:53 PM.


#1613 Bowlerhat

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:30 PM

You can't even use it for AP straight away because you'll need to replace the knob in the skywatcher wedge. No polar alignment tools either. If anything using it for AP is pushing it to its limits.

 

I've read improper voltage causes backlash too in movement. So Far I've been using either a 12v plug or the 8 battery pack. But I haven't used it for AP though.



#1614 kel123

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 09:34 AM

A couple of years ago I found online someone who did a great test of batteries with goto telescopes in mind but have never been able to find the article again. Bottom line, batteries only produce their stated voltage when they're full. So the 1.5V "requirement" is not accurate, it's just a specification for the compatible alkaline batteries. This person's testing demonstrated that used in situations similar to goto telescope systems--i.e., periodic use of motors--a pack of alkaline batteries drops below 1V relatively quickly, whereas the NiMH batteries tend to remain at higher levels and therefore usable for much longer.

My own comparison on my Nexstar 8se (which doesn't have occasional "headache" issues like the AZ-GTi) over a few years shows that I can get about 1.5 hours of use on alkalines. The same telescope with NiMH AA batteries (Eneloop Pro) will run for at least 5 hours. The NiMH start at 1.2V like other rechargeables. I've seen both situations multiple times and typically my activity involves a fair bit of goto-ing.

I'm no expert on this but my personal experience is consistent with what I remember from that article. And while again I'm no expert I have known for a long time that stated battery voltages are only applicable when they are fully charged, that's not the voltage you're getting while using them. Despite all that I realize most people remain fixated on the 1.5 vs 1.2 starting voltage thing, including recommendations from vendors who should probably know better.


Methinks (yes, I used that word), the problem lies with the way the circuits in some of these mounts are designed.

While some of them can tolerate a wider swing in voltage changes, others can only manage a very narrow range. Users of EQ6 R-Pro mounts can probably relate to this.

Most of these circuits may actually be designed with mains power supply input in mind. And we know that an AC to DC adaptor meets every requirement of a narrow range in voltage.

Hence, it depends on the specifications of the particular mount.

Yet, due to quality control issues or errors in data sheet, some circuits are still found wanting within the range they are rated for.

#1615 davidparks

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 01:43 PM

From the AZ-GTi user manual:

 


Output Voltage: DC 7.5V (minimum) to DC 14V (maximum). Voltage not in this range might cause permanent damage to the motor controller or the hand controller.

Output Plug: Barrel type with 2.0mm I.D and 5.5mm O.D. Must be central positive.

Output Current: At least 750mA.

Do not use an unregulated AC-to-DC adapter. When choosing an AC adapter, a switching power supply with 12V output voltage and minimum 750mA output current is recommended.

If the power voltage is too high, the motor controller will stop the motors automatically.



#1616 Jon2070

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:32 AM

I'm considering getting one of these mounts for AP abroad (as well as home use) in EQ mode to go with my ZWO 1600MM-Pro and a Samyang 135mm/WO Redcat. I haven't read all 65 pages of this thread but the last few pages don't paint it in a great light for AP, but then there seem to be some people that are happy with it. I would put it on my Sirui carbon fibre tripod.

 

I already own a Star Adventurer which I have been pleased with, but would like a portable mount where I can dither in both RA and Dec. Also being able to plate solve would be a plus.

 

I have seen on youtube that the QHY polemaster can be mounted to it which I would do in order to make PA quicker/easier, I found aligning the SA in the southern hemisphere time consuming and very tricky.

 

Another consideration is power, what do people use to power the mount and their cameras with such a setup? I thought a Celestron Power Tank, but you would need two, one for the mount and one for the camera right? Also what about powering a laptop for extended periods? My imaging abroad has so far being with DSLRs and I powered the SA with an Anker Powerbank, no laptop connected up, but would need that to run the ZWO (and the mount for guiding/dithering). It would be great to hear from others that have a similar setup.


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#1617 mxcoppell

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:03 PM

Hello Jon. Exactly as I am planning. I might be able to answer some of your questions. I came from Star Adventurer as well. The biggest challenge of SA is GOTO. It's too hard to get to the proper framing without bring errors into the established polar alignment.

 

At 135mm, I still plan to use guiding on this little mount but I don't think it's necessary. Even without guiding, the tracking performance should be on par with or better than SA. From my initial test result, this mount is definitely guide-able. 

 

For Polar Alignment, I use Pole Master w/ ADM saddle. So I could temporarily attach the Pole Master for the PA process and detach it when it's done. 

 

One critical piece is the EQ base. I am still looking for a better one. I think any decent tripod will handle the weight. But on the other hand, since this is still a light setup, not sure how 135mm performs in the wind. 

 

The power consumption of this mount, comparing to the camera, is minimum. For other equipment, such as laptop, camera cooling and dew strap, yes, you do need a larger capacity battery or external power.  


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#1618 Astrodave

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:46 PM

This is a decent little visual mount if you can accept its GOTO accuracy shortcomings and other annoying little quirks. It is not suitable imo for any level of AP though. As an alt/az mount, mine will not keep a star in the FOV of a 600mm refractor at 120x for more than a minute at most which makes it entirely unusable for AP with that level of drift. I have never polar aligned it and tried the tracking accuracy that way but I don't feel that it would be any better and most likely worse since getting this thing accurately polar aligned would be difficult without rigging up some kind of solution like you mentioned which costs more money and requires other hardware. Not to mention getting a reliable and accurate wedge that in my research is maybe one or two on the market would provide the level of craftsmanship needed and they are not cheap. There are some guys here that are doing AP successfully with this thing and were lucky to get a jewel of a mount but they are definitely the exception and not the rule.


Edited by Astrodave, 09 August 2019 - 12:49 PM.


#1619 Mike McShan

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 02:13 PM

 A suggestion that was made on Cloudy Nights was to program in a custom user object for "AZ home" (Axis 1 = 0, Axis 2 = 0, which would be north and level).  I have found that when the GOTO is really off, it is helpful to tell the mount to goto "AZ home" and see what it thinks north-level is.  Recently, when my mount was misbehaving, it was off considerably, pointing -20 degrees below the horizon.  I loosened the clutch and leveled the scope.  Afterwards, the GOTO accuracy was reasonably good.

 

One more thing to consider....

 

Clear skies, Mike



#1620 mxcoppell

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 02:22 PM

There are many factors that might contribute to the "Go-To" error. For AP (using SGP as example), normally I just point the mount to an open sky and perform "Solve & Sync" to let the mount know precisely where it is pointing. Then everything starts from there. No star alignment trouble. But this is only for the AP case. 

 

Different tools for different scenarios. 

 

Of course this little thing has its limitation - meridian flip for example, I never get the 'side of pier' part figured out. But hey, you can get a milky way pano shot all automated with a cooled camera. Nothing beats that in my opinion. 



#1621 davidparks

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:20 PM

Platesolve, dither, and guiding in both axis is easily accomplished via PHD2 and/or other software such as Sharpcap, SGP, and my current favorite, N.I.N.A.  (N.I.N.A is also appears to be handling meridian flips quite well).  ASCOM connection is accomplished via the Windows version of Synscan Pro, and operates extremely reliably via wireless, or wired via FTDI EQDIR Cable.

 

For an EQ Base, I recommend the iOptron Base over Skywatchers, as it doesn’t suffer from azimuth stability when adjusting the altitude (it has a shorter, thicker altitude fork).

 

I use Sharpcap for Polar Alignment, however, Synscan Pro offers a Polar Alignment routine that will work with most any bright star, when the pole region isn’t visible. There are many other methods that you might consider to achieve polar alignment, DIY polar scope mounting, Polemaster, iPolar, and good ole’ drift alignment to name a few.

 

The only caution I would give for EQ Mode AP with this mount is to mind the weight limit, and balance your gear as best you can.  You can find other threads detailing counterweight shafts that are compatible.

 

I run 11lbs on top including the 73mm refractor, pyxis rotator, flattener, filterwheel, ASI294, sesto senso, 50mm guidescope, and ASI290.  I then hang a 5lbs (6lbs with shaft) counterweight on the bottom, so I am definitely overweight and out of balance.  Although I would not recommend this, I do have reliable, consistent, every-time success with this mount.  Goto’s, tracking, guiding, etc.  I easily accomplish hours of guided sequences without issue, generally using 1 and 2 minute subs (for my level of light pollution), but I’ve done 20 minute exposure as well.  You will find others that have had as much success, and others who’ve had nothing but frustration with this mount.

 

I would also recommend an external power source over using the internal 8xAA batteries.  The mount draws very little power   .5amp at 12volt when slewing if I recall, even less when when merely tracking/guiding.  You can use a single power source, such as a Celestron Power Tank, and power multiple items, including the mount, via 5.5x2.1 splitter cables.

I use a Suaoki Lithium source to power the mount, sesto senso, rotator, both cameras, filterwheel and 2 dew straps.  It will last 2 nights.

 

I would recommend you split your power needs into two solutions, one for your 12volt Astro gear, and one for your laptop.  Many laptops require 15, 19, or more volts, so it is often easier to find the right solution for your laptop separately.  I use a Microsoft Surface Pro, which happens to run very happily on 12-volt, and 5.5x2.1-to-Surface connectors are readily available, so I can just plug that into my Suaoki as well, however I will then only get one night’s use out of it before needing to recharge.


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#1622 mxcoppell

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:56 PM

Platesolve, dither, and guiding in both axis is easily accomplished via PHD2 and/or other software such as Sharpcap, SGP, and my current favorite, N.I.N.A.  (N.I.N.A is also appears to be handling meridian flips quite well).  ASCOM connection is accomplished via the Windows version of Synscan Pro, and operates extremely reliably via wireless, or wired via FTDI EQDIR Cable.

David,

 

Any special settings to make in N.I.N.A. to make the meridian flip work for AZ-GTi? Also, what's version of N.I.N.A you are using for the AZ-GTi?

I can't find a way to configure the OpenWeatherMap API Key either. The change log says OpenWeatherClient that I couldn't find one. :(

 

Thanks!


Edited by mxcoppell, 09 August 2019 - 11:53 PM.


#1623 davidparks

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:47 PM

I believe the latest I have installed is 1.9beta007.   I didn’t make any special settings, other than maybe 20 minutes before/after meridian (I’ll have to check and get back with you).  Also I noticed “Side of Pier” is checked off, I’ve never changed it.


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#1624 Astrodave

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 06:32 AM

Had a very unusual night with the mount last night. Everything, and I mean everything was in the FOV after a goto. The mount has never behaved in such a fashion before. It worked fantastic the way it should. I used Jupiter and Polaris this time which I’ve never used before which are on exact opposites of the sky and every goto object anywhere in the sky was in the bottom right of the FOV every time. This is what bothers me so much about this mount is that it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get. Even tracking was excellent last night. Very frustrating this off and on behavior. Maybe the mount requires a north and south alignment object instead of a north and east object like I have been using? Sure would be nice to get a definitive answer because last night’s performance is what I expect of this mount. 


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#1625 Jon2070

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 11:23 AM

Thank you for the help, gives me a bit to think about!




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