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Sky Commander on a dobsonian ?

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Dakota1

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:15 PM

How does the Sky Commander work on a say 10 or 12 inch dob? Are they accurate with a good alignment? I am going to get most likely a 10" Aperture dobsonian  in the near future I would like the 12 but it might be to much to handle with my back problems and age (77). I have had several dobs before XXi Orions. with the hand controller push to. They were pretty accurate as long as you had a good 3 star alignment. Looking at the Sky Commander it has a much larger catalog to choose from and also an internal heater. I wish it had a red display and not green but I can live with that. Looking for feedback on how it performs over all and is it worth the money.

Thanks

 

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#2 tvoydan

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:34 PM

Mine worker out well on an old DSH 10" dob. Found it to be quite accurate.

 

I had to replace the azimuth center pivot bolt (ground board) with a modded blot to accept the encoded wheel and also modded the altitude bolt for the same reason. Eventually I sold the DSC setup as I found I used my telrad and star charts just as easily (for me).

 

I'll try to find pics of my mods.



#3 Taosmath

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:35 PM

Mine worker out well on an old DSH 10" dob. Found it to be quite accurate.

.

 

I'll try to find pics of my mods.

Please do post them you can find them - i'd like to see them too.



#4 havasman

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:45 PM

Check out the Nexus DSC before buying a Sky Commander. The Nexus unit is much, much better in every way. I've had both. SC is clunky to use. Nexus has > a million objects and direct keypad entry with best in class accuracy. No conrest really.


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#5 tvoydan

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:46 PM

I replaced the center bolt going thru the base with a new bolt that had the middle drilled out to accept the encoder shaft. Then I drilled and tapped and hole thru the side of the bolt head laterally so I could tighten a nylon screw down on the shaft.

 

Looks like astrosystems sells one pre-made in 2 sizes. Should give you the idea.

 

https://www.astrosystems.biz/pivot.htm

 

 

The pivot bolt is pre-drilled with lock screw for digital setting circle encoder.

 

The altitude bearing was modded more or less the same way. But a little more difficult since it had to attach to the side bearing with the retention spring. Looking at the apertura dobs, not sure it will work for you.


Edited by tvoydan, 14 November 2017 - 04:09 PM.


#6 Dakota1

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:56 PM

havasman; Believe me I would like to have the Nexus DCS BUT the price is out of my price range I know from being at several star partys and seeing them in use they really are a great DSC system. Being on a fixed income it is out of range. Thanks for the feedback

 

Bill


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#7 junomike

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:09 PM

Sky Commander is IMO excellent and provides accurate Push-To's.  Using aa Tablet + SkySafari is a blast as you watch the screen move towards your target.



#8 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:33 PM

Until I acquired my Nexus DSC last year, I used Sky Commanders on various dobs since the 1990's and I loved them. Yeah, it's a bigger pain to get to catalogs in the SC than it is in the Nexus but, until I tried a Nexus myself, I was blissfully unaware that there was a simpler method. The Sky Commander is compact, accurate and easy to use, IMO. FWIW, some people don't like the yellow/green screen, but it never bothered me when turned to its lowest setting and I don't have access to truly dark skies anyway.

 

You will need to run the Sky Commander on 12v in order for the screen heater to work.



#9 TomK1

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:56 PM

Very Accurate using 2 star alignment.  I do alignment with 6 mm eyepiece (240x) when using my 280mm manual dob.   I'll usually do a slight tweak by going to a known object below 60degree, scroll to realignment and hit enter.  If you observe in weather below 50F, you will need a 12V powersonic battery and modified standard power jack to connect to the battery ( if observing away from an electrical outlet) or buy the adapter on the sky commander web site.  Below 50F and with the 9V battery, the screen is blank because the internal heater won't function.

 

After two years, I still don't use 80% of the features ( I'm not hard core and my scope and skies limit what I can see. Currently Messier, ngc, hic, IC and doubles are all I really use).    It's sort of like a new car infotainment system.  When driving on the road I only need am/fm radio and cd,  the rest is useless expensive crap.  I'm not saying these astronomy computers and software are crap, but they contain way too many features which I'll probably never use.   Maybe if I had a an 18 inch mirror and viewed from very dark skies, I would think differently.  

 

The old crude sky commander works just fine for me.   The only thing which would make it better ( other than being controlled telepathically)  is if it had great big knobs and switches so I could operate controls while wearing heavy winter gloves.  Fingers get a tad cold after 4 hours when temp is below 35F.   I must be showing my age.


Edited by TomK1, 14 November 2017 - 05:05 PM.


#10 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:40 PM

See my CN avatar picture. This scope is a 16" Dobsonian using a Sky Commander. The unit is 1990's technology, so if you are used to more modern GOTO mounts, the Sky Commander might take some time to learn. I get frustrated sometimes when the Sky Commander gets into a dead-end loop that requires restarting the unit.

 

Another problem is the on-off button. It sticks out of the bottom, and can be accidentally hit when you are using the Sky Commander, shutting it off inadvertently. Now that it is cold outside, a gloved hand can do this without you knowing it. This is a real pain, having to go through the start-up and alignment again. The problem can be worked around if you fashion a collar out of balsa wood or something and glue it around the on-off button.

 

If you go to the auto parts store, you can get some red filter material that you can cut to size and place over the green display.


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#11 havasman

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:13 PM

havasman; Believe me I would like to have the Nexus DCS BUT the price is out of my price range I know from being at several star partys and seeing them in use they really are a great DSC system. Being on a fixed income it is out of range. Thanks for the feedback

 

Bill

Then the Sky Commander should be right up your alley. It does work well on a Dob and it is an economical alternative that you may even be able to find in the secondary market. Happy freedom from hunting!



#12 bartine

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 11:22 PM

Big second here on Sky Commander and Sky Safari on a tablet - that is a great way to go.  I also used it with ASCOM driver and Stellarium - you can create multiple syncs and build a really solid alignment.

 

I honestly found it easy to use in normal use, and quite accurate.  



#13 Jason D

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 01:49 AM

Another vote for Sky Commander. I have been happy with my unit. I do not use the libraries that come with the unit. I use my custom software that I developed to link Stellarium to the Sky Commander unit via Bluetooth (built my own bluetooth module for Sky Commander).

 

Here is a list of videos I prepared long time ago:

https://youtu.be/WK9gnnyr-oA
https://youtu.be/_DrGxWBmnZo
https://youtu.be/YdTodL1U31A

 

My plan was to complete the set of videos and release my software tool as a freeware. This has been my plan for the past 2.5 years; unfortunately, my interest and energy to complete the videos and to release my software as a freeware waned some time ago.

 

Jason

 



#14 Pinbout

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 05:57 AM

 

I would like the 12 but it might be to much to handle with my back problems and age (77).

guess even bending over to pick up a ul would be not so good a lot...

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=O8EKNknHjG8



#15 WilburTWildcat

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:36 PM

 I wish it had a red display and not green but I can live with that.

I find that the screen dims enough that it doesn't even come close to perceptibly impacting my night vision.



#16 charotarguy

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:15 AM

Worked fine for me as well. Have moved to Nexus now though.



#17 bvillebob

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:01 PM

For the OP, depending on your preferences, don't forget that Nexus makes cheaper versions without the built in display that use your phone or tablet for a display.  Much less expensive than the top end model.




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