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Converting a Shaefer mount for autoguiding

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#26 epdreher

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 09:30 PM

Chuck, I remember both you and Kim at the Anza OCA sight.  I owned a pad down on Ten Pad Alley from your area.  Nice to see you're still around, doing what we do.



#27 Chucke

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 01:19 AM

My guess would be Byers.

 

If you plan on autoguiding and want to keep the tangent arm I would suggest you replace the Dec motor with either a Hurst PC-DA or Hurst A motor if you can find one.  It looks like you have a regular PC motor.  Schaefer originally used PC motors but eventually switched over to A motors. The problem with the regular PC motors it they run on briefly after voltage is stopped.  The PC-DA motors have an electromagnetic clutch that ensures they stop instantly.  The A motors somehow manage it without the clutch while also providing more torque for less wattage.  The problem is they are both obsolete designs so you might have to do some searching to find them.  Depending on how your drive corrector is built or your electrical ability you might be able to use some sort of non servo DC motor instead.

 

You might also consider putting a couple of pins though the interface between the tab on the clutch ring and the tangent arm where they are screwed together.  Depending on how carefully it was made it could wobble a little.  I had that problem.  Drove me nuts when first trying to learn to autoguide until I figured out what the problem was.  Pins are the cheap way.  What I did was make a new tangent arm that bolted to the front of the clutch ring with 4 10-32 SHCS after cutting off the tab and milling a flat on the front of the ring.  Nice and solid with no possibility of wobble.  Also, replace the Teflon clutch lining with brass.  The plastic slips.  You can't make it not slip too much for an autoguider.  I tried.  Brass grabs nice and tight but is still smooth when needed.  Autoguiding is a lot more finicky than manual guiding.

 

From your picture it looks like you have a VanSlyke focuser.  It should perform well.  It looks like it already has screw holes and a slot to attach a bracket for a focus motor.  You will want to do that eventually.  For imaging auto focusing is way better than manually focusing.

 

If you end up in this part of AZ look me up.  If you end up in Tucson they have a big club (TAA) with a dark sky site somewhere on the other side of the mountains from here.  I think it is near Sunsites.  I'm about 2 1/2 hours from Tucson.



#28 Chucke

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 01:28 AM

epdrehr,

 

The Anza site isn't as busy as it used to be - at least when I was last there about 3 years ago.  Ten Pad Alley and Lower Pads were largely uninhabited.  Lots of observatories in the observatory area and a couple in Upper Pads now.  More observatories on Jupiter Ridge and Mars Hill.  There seemed to be a fair amount of activity in the public area.  



#29 cloudswimmer

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 01:47 PM

My guess would be Byers.

 

If you plan on autoguiding and want to keep the tangent arm I would suggest you replace the Dec motor with either a Hurst PC-DA or Hurst A motor if you can find one.  It looks like you have a regular PC motor.  Schaefer originally used PC motors but eventually switched over to A motors. The problem with the regular PC motors it they run on briefly after voltage is stopped.  The PC-DA motors have an electromagnetic clutch that ensures they stop instantly.  The A motors somehow manage it without the clutch while also providing more torque for less wattage.  The problem is they are both obsolete designs so you might have to do some searching to find them.  Depending on how your drive corrector is built or your electrical ability you might be able to use some sort of non servo DC motor instead.

 

You might also consider putting a couple of pins though the interface between the tab on the clutch ring and the tangent arm where they are screwed together.  Depending on how carefully it was made it could wobble a little.  I had that problem.  Drove me nuts when first trying to learn to autoguide until I figured out what the problem was.  Pins are the cheap way.  What I did was make a new tangent arm that bolted to the front of the clutch ring with 4 10-32 SHCS after cutting off the tab and milling a flat on the front of the ring.  Nice and solid with no possibility of wobble.  Also, replace the Teflon clutch lining with brass.  The plastic slips.  You can't make it not slip too much for an autoguider.  I tried.  Brass grabs nice and tight but is still smooth when needed.  Autoguiding is a lot more finicky than manual guiding.

 

From your picture it looks like you have a VanSlyke focuser.  It should perform well.  It looks like it already has screw holes and a slot to attach a bracket for a focus motor.  You will want to do that eventually.  For imaging auto focusing is way better than manually focusing.

 

If you end up in this part of AZ look me up.  If you end up in Tucson they have a big club (TAA) with a dark sky site somewhere on the other side of the mountains from here.  I think it is near Sunsites.  I'm about 2 1/2 hours from Tucson.

Chuck thanks for taking the time to write out your experience and advice! Yeah we used Type A motors when I was building them with Morgan .. in fact I built my self a complete 7" with Type A's while I was there which I regret selling, but the biggest difference I noticed between my old motors and newer Type A's was the noise .. the old motors would run quiet for a while, then all of a sudden start  buzzing for a while .. then run quiet again for a while .. all while doing their job just fine lol. While guiding with the old motor mount (the one in my pics) a quick tap on the paddle would always get er hidden behind the crosshairs like a champ .. but this is a whole new ball game with auto I realize, and I'm seriously going to take into consideration your advice. Problem is I've lost touch with Morgan, last time I saw him was about 12 years ago when he dropped by my place out of the blue, so I don't have a shop to do the upgrades .. heck I don't even have a working Dremel tool anymore lol. I would need a big drill press I guess to make the brass bushing, mounting up new motors I guess a mill and drill press, same thing for a new tanget arm, and also I've needed to make an azimuth adjuster for the longest time .. so mill/lathe/drillpress .. Bill didn't put one on this mount .. and kicking a pier leg when drifting in alignment was never fun (not to mention coming home with bruised toes lol) I'm hoping I can track down Dave R and employe him to help if he's willing .. or perhaps someone else here in So,Cal. with a shop will happen across this thread and reach out :) Thanks again Chuck!

 

Chris



#30 Dave Radosevich

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:51 PM

Been there- done that... converted over a dozen Schaefer’s and at least 10 Byers mounts using Si-tech. My choice for autoguiding..

dave


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#31 Calypte

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 04:45 PM

       In my last year of High School there was a night class on Telescope mirror making.  I ground and figured a 8" F8 at that class.  Just in case someone may know him the instructors name was Clifford Niman.   Once my mirror was done I took a trip to the Cave Optical Co. store in Long Beach and purchased a Mount with clock drive and most of the other parts needed for the scope including the rotating rings.

 

Just in case you may be interested in upgrading to stepper motors,  the RPM of the 120v Synchronous motors is stamped on the motor casing,  usually on the back of the motor opposite the output shaft.

 

aruckle

Just wandering around CN, this comment caught my eye.  Cliff Niman was a member of the first SDAA -- San Diego Amateur Astronomers -- in the early 1960s.  For a period of time we met in Room 5 of the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park.  Later, we met at the first Aerospace Museum, south of the Zoo, then at the second Aerospace Museum, the one that was destroyed by fire in 1978.  In those days, most telescopes were homemade, and Cliff helped some of our members.  Cliff held mirror-making classes at Room 5, and he helped my father finish an 8-inch, which worked out (purely by chance) to be about f/5.5 or so.



#32 cloudswimmer

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 05:21 PM

Just wandering around CN, this comment caught my eye.  Cliff Niman was a member of the first SDAA -- San Diego Amateur Astronomers -- in the early 1960s.  For a period of time we met in Room 5 of the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park.  Later, we met at the first Aerospace Museum, south of the Zoo, then at the second Aerospace Museum, the one that was destroyed by fire in 1978.  In those days, most telescopes were homemade, and Cliff helped some of our members.  Cliff held mirror-making classes at Room 5, and he helped my father finish an 8-inch, which worked out (purely by chance) to be about f/5.5 or so.

Hey since your down that way you ever get out to the 48" at the Manzanita Observatory that Mike Hoffert built back in the day? 



#33 aruckle

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:44 PM

So how did your mirror turn out .. good .. excellent? Obviously not bad or you wouldn't have invested in the rest smile.gif I too took a mirror making class .. with John Dobson of all people .. but I ended up dropping out of it as the drive was just too far every week from Healdsburg to San Francisco .. plus I had really started to get the hang of long exposure astrophotography and enjoyed that more than the tedious work of moving that slab of pyrex back and forth whilst circling around the 55 gallon steel drum over .. and over .. and over frown.gif lol. You were a much more patient man than I smile.gif That must have been pretty exciting once you got it all together! 

In reality I finished the Class but the mirror, I did not complete by aluminizing it.   In 1974 I took it up to Cave Optical Company and had them complete the figure, which turned out to be at least 1/8th wave.   My using the 8" regularly only lasted a couple of years because I bought a 14.25 ƒ5 full thickness mirror from Coulter Optical company, which I used most of the time thereafter.  I got out the 8" telescope about a week ago to photograph the first quarter moon.   At that time I really noticed how excellent the 8" mirror performed.  At that time I discovered the figure on the 8" was much better than the figure on the 14.25" until about 4 years ago when I had the 14.25" refigured.   Prior to refiguring the 14.25" was tested to be one 1/3rd wave, when I got it back it had been tested to be better than 1/9th wave with a fresh new enhanced coat of Aluminum.  



#34 epdreher

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 09:19 PM

Been there- done that... converted over a dozen Schaefer’s and at least 10 Byers mounts using Si-tech. My choice for autoguiding..

dave

Dave, you should recognize the mount in post #13.  You painted it in 1986. :)

 

The photo was taken in 2013 right before I sold the mount and OTA.  It held up well.



#35 cloudswimmer

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:21 PM

Update: Ok I've made tremendous progress towards converting my Schaefer mount for computer control with the help of Scott Rosen (thanks again Scottwaytogo.gif ) So I found and bought this Losmandy 492 controller, and have tracked down these Hurst stepper motors .. both of which Scott's using on his Schaefer mount. So the next step will be getting the motors properly wired up to RJ jacks so I can plug them into the 492 controller (I'm assuming they come bare wire), then I need to track down someone I can send my motors and motor mounts too .. and have them machine me up some new mounts for the new motors, and swap the gears over to the new motors shafts. Anyone here willing to take on the job, or could you point me to someone who could? Thanks to everyone who's participated in this thread so far waytogo.gif

 

Chris

 

44420083180_48f2a6b482_z_d.jpg

31298293817_cc8c6e537e_z_d.jpg



#36 orlyandico

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:39 PM

Do the Shaefer mounts have the same number of worm gear teeth as the G11? otherwise the RA tracking speed would be wrong unless you have some sort of transfer gear to adjust the speed... (doesn't really matter if the DEC speed is off as long as it's not too far off)



#37 cloudswimmer

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 10:59 PM

Do the Shaefer mounts have the same number of worm gear teeth as the G11? otherwise the RA tracking speed would be wrong unless you have some sort of transfer gear to adjust the speed... (doesn't really matter if the DEC speed is off as long as it's not too far off)

 

I don't think so, but I do know the Hurst motors in the above picture work with the 492 controller and the Buyers gearing, this is what Scott Rosen's using with his Schaefer mount which is pretty much the same identical mount. So now its just a matter of ordering the same motors and finding someone to machine up new motor mounts. Instead of just adapting my current motor mounts for these new stepper motors I'd like to machine up new ones and preserve these old ones and the old motors for nostalgia when I retire the mount for good. Getting these new motors wired up to the proper input jacks is way beyond my skill level too so thats another hurdle to jump.

 

Here are closer pics of my motor mounts with the current old motors. Each motor has three attachment points .. the new motors two. I'm hoping to be able to remove the RA and Dec motors still attached to each plate and send them off along with the new stepper motors and have someone machine duplicate mount plates, mount the new stepper motors so the shafts duplicate the position of the old ones, and take the gear off of each old motor shaft and mount it to the new motor shaft. 

 

I machined up those knurled knobs, the saddle plate, the radius blocks, and the dec mounting block/plate myself that you see here in the bottom pic when I worked at Astro-Track .. machining up the new block/plates and mounting the new stepper motors would be very easy IF I still had that shop, and wouldn't take that much time, so its really frustrating me and I'm hoping some kind sympathetic soul will have mercy on me and help out :smile:

 

32371802388_44c82b5b61_z_d.jpg

 

32371804418_03f5d6e752_z_d.jpg


Edited by cloudswimmer, 09 December 2018 - 09:41 AM.


#38 Dave Radosevich

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 11:50 PM

I have converted two Schaefer’s using the 492 Losmandy controllers. You will need a different chip in the controller due to the number of gear teeth. Scott Losmandy uses 360 tooth RA gear where Schaefer used 359 tooth gears. Losmandy no longer provides this service but you can still see if he has any chips laying around. 



#39 hjd1964

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 11:56 AM

This gets confusing... with the 492 controller from the GM8/G11 both use 150:1 reduced motors I thought?

 

A GM8 has 180 tooth worm/wheels.  Its 492 controller runs at 1/2 the G11's 492 controller rate (the G11 has 360 tooth worm/wheels.)

 

So what you have there (I guess) is a GM8's 492 controller with 75:1 motors (Hurst 3008-003) so they turn at the correct rate for a G11.  Which isn't quite right for a 359 tooth setup but with a ROM replacement that can be taken care of.

 

If you can't get the ROM from Scott there's always my OnStep.  It can be configured so you plug in the power and tracking starts so no computer or anything else needed.

 

With those Hurst motors goto should be possible but slow (guessing 0.25 or 0.5 deg/s @ 24VDC.)  The tangent arm would require you to... 1. Use guides to center Dec travel.  2. Push to and sync on a bright star near the object (within the tangent arm range.)  3. Do the goto.


Edited by hjd1964, 10 December 2018 - 12:34 PM.


#40 cloudswimmer

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:42 PM

This gets confusing... with the 492 controller from the GM8/G11 both use 150:1 reduced motors I thought?

 

A GM8 has 180 tooth worm/wheels.  It's 492 controller runs at 1/2 the G11's 492 controller rate (the G11 has 360 tooth worm/wheels.)

 

So what you have there (I guess) is a GM8's 492 controller with 75:1 motors (Hurst 3008-003) so they turn at the correct rate for a G11.  Which isn't quite right for a 359 tooth setup but with a ROM replacement that can be taken care of.

 

If you can't get the ROM from Scott there's always my OnStep.  It can be configured so you plug in the power and tracking starts so no computer or anything else needed.

 

With those Hurst motors goto should be possible but slow (guessing 0.25 or 0.5 deg/s @ 24VDC.)  The tangent arm would require you to... 1. use guides to center Dec travel.  2. Push to and sync on a bright star near the object (within the tangent arm range.)  3. Do the goto.

 

Yeah confusing is right lol. When I saw Scott Rosen's mount on his website and read he was using PHD2, dithering, etc., and that he was local here in So.Cal., I decided to reach out to him via email and see how he got his mount converted since our mounts are pretty much the same. So he said he got a 492 controller and a couple Hurst 3008-003 motors from Scott Losmandy .. and that I should be good to go doing the same. Now I'm confused again argh .. sounds like the 492 Scott sold him had the chip mod in it, the 492 I just bought I have no clue whats in it .. I just bought it from the classifieds here. Quite franky this little Skywatcher mount I just bought is working so well I'm beginning to question why even bother converting the Schaefer .. buts its turning into a challenge now lol. So I guess the next step is trying to get Scott Losmandy on the phone. Back to the drawing board smile.gif

 

Update:

Ok well I just got off the phone with the front office gal at Losmandy. She was fairly polite .. but  when I started asking technical questions .. instead of putting Scott on the phone she started relaying questions back and fourth to Scott. When I asked if I could just talk to Scott himself she said Scott wouldn't be able to help .. and it sounded like Scott didn't even want to talk to me .. which was really dissapointing as in the early 90's when I was working with Morgan at his Astro-Track shop building Schaefer mounts, Scott Losmandy would call ME every week or so and want to talk about how the buisness was doing and compare industry notes. I'd turn my mill or lathe off and stop whatever I was doing and take the time for the call even though we too were very busy at the time. It was always enjoyable conversation and at one point he invited me up to his shop for a tour, and at the end offered me a job as a machinist which I turned down as it was just too far a drive, (plus I had no idea the trouble Astro-Track was in at the time or I'd probably have accepted it and made the daily drive anyway.) Again very dissapointing not being able to talk him directly today .. but times change I guess.

 

So in the end today the gal said I could buy one of their newer Gemini systems for 1500.00 and try to adapt it. Thats more money than I paid for this whole Skywatcher mount I just bought which like I said above works great with my smaller scope on it. So I think I'm at the end here, and my Schaefer mount with the 10" on it will just continue to be a livingroom ornament on display to wow our house guest lol. Thanks to you all for participating in this thread, and Merry Christmas and happy new year. 


Edited by cloudswimmer, 10 December 2018 - 01:50 PM.


#41 hjd1964

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:35 PM

Well there's always OnStep... you would have a heck of a time spending even $200 on an OnStep controller.

 

Join the group and we'll get this working.


Edited by hjd1964, 10 December 2018 - 03:53 PM.

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#42 cloudswimmer

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 05:05 PM

Well there's always OnStep... you would have a heck of a time spending even $200 on an OnStep controller.

 

Join the group and we'll get this working.

Ok so maybe still some hope :yay: Ok so I joined the group, what would my next step be? ..... and THANKS!



#43 hjd1964

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 08:42 PM

Just post a new topic and introduce yourself and your project to the Group.



#44 photoracer18

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:00 PM

Easier way to attempting to build an auto-guiding Schaefer mount. It can all be done inside the drive corrector if you use a Vogel Digitrak II (VE300D). Unlike say the Accutrack 2118A or 4000 that use a hardwired hand control the Vogel uses a simple 4 button keypad that plugs into the box on and RJ11 connector. So its possible an ST4 compatible auto-guider could work on a split Y-cable. You might have to adjust the movement amount due to one being a worm and one being a tangent arm. Only thing to make would be a cable converter to go from the Schaefer DIN connector on the DEC drive to the 3 pin audio connector (Celestron type). Probably need opto-isolaters or relays but I have an ST-4 relay box with my ST-4. I probably won't get to it this summer since I have a number of other projects I need to do before then.



#45 cloudswimmer

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 08:28 PM

Easier way to attempting to build an auto-guiding Schaefer mount. It can all be done inside the drive corrector if you use a Vogel Digitrak II (VE300D). Unlike say the Accutrack 2118A or 4000 that use a hardwired hand control the Vogel uses a simple 4 button keypad that plugs into the box on and RJ11 connector. So its possible an ST4 compatible auto-guider could work on a split Y-cable. You might have to adjust the movement amount due to one being a worm and one being a tangent arm. Only thing to make would be a cable converter to go from the Schaefer DIN connector on the DEC drive to the 3 pin audio connector (Celestron type). Probably need opto-isolaters or relays but I have an ST-4 relay box with my ST-4. I probably won't get to it this summer since I have a number of other projects I need to do before then.

Hi, thanks for chiming in waytogo.gif So if I get the original ST-4 to wire into my hand paddle, do I have to use the SBIG camera that came with those, or could I use a modern camera like my ZWO ASI290mm mini which right now I plug into the ST-4 port on my Sky-Watcher mount? 



#46 gregj888

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 09:51 PM

Cloudswimmer, how is the conversion going?  Sitech or Onstep should both do the job, I have one of each, BTW.

 

You can also use the ASI290 but I would put in some relays in between.  You should be able to google and find a circuit.  In fact you can use a little quad relay card for the Arduino and use it.

 

OnStep or Sitech will turn the mount into a go-to, so you can automate...  SGP or EKOS etc.

 

Shout if you need help.



#47 photoracer18

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 04:18 PM

Hi, thanks for chiming in waytogo.gif So if I get the original ST-4 to wire into my hand paddle, do I have to use the SBIG camera that came with those, or could I use a modern camera like my ZWO ASI290mm mini which right now I plug into the ST-4 port on my Sky-Watcher mount?


Depends. St-4 uses 12v due to the true RS-232 (the original 15 pin connector, while the SBIG relay cable and box goes from the 15 pin to a modular jack on the other end making it compatible with 5v powered newer electronics). Some mounts can handle that without relays, like the original Losmandy mounts, pre-Gemini which have a set of relays built in. Mounts that use exclusively 5v need the relays if they don't have it themselves. However if you use a newer ST-4 compatible camera on a newer mount they are fine as both use 5v. Newer guide cameras like the NexGuide or the Orion AG use 5v and are directly compatible with newer mounts. All cameras that use the modular jack are ST-4 compatible. The ST-4 acts just like a set of 4 switches so if your hand-paddle is just 4 switches then the ST-4 compatible camera can just be plugged in. Reason I suggest a y cable is so you can use your own hand-paddle to override if needed. Otherwise you can just plug the camera into the hand-paddle jack. As long as you know before hand that the circuit is using the correct same voltage as the camera. If not then you need the relays or opto-isolaters between them. Losmandy non-goto mounts use the same jack for the hand-paddle and the ST-4

Edited by photoracer18, 25 April 2019 - 04:21 PM.


#48 photoracer18

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 05:56 PM

I talked to Chuck Burton about the Losmandy conversion some time back and he told me that depending on the load the stock motors might not have enough torque to move a big load properly on a larger Schaefer mount.

Schaefer-Losmandy.jpg

 

He told me he ended up taking them off. I don't know if he said that was with his 17.5" Newt on it or not but from the photo I think it was.

 

I checked on the site of the guys who put out the EQDrive retrofit kits and they have one for larger mounts that is supposed to handle mounts that have payloads up to 100 kg which is above the realm of the AT-9. Programmable reduction gear rates of 1:100 to 1:1300 and can be built without goto but with an ST4 port. That basic HD kit is called EQPower. Kit is relatively cheap but you have to provide the motors (steppers I am sure).

 

https://sites.google...escopes/eqpower

 

I actually have a spare Byers 7.5" Starmaster kit that was originally going to go on the custom Meade DS-16 I acquired that already has a Byers's 11.3" Starmaster and big motor plumbed in with a Byers controller with the Meade tangent arm drive coupled to it. Just would need the clutch hub bored out from 1.5" to 1.75".


Edited by photoracer18, 03 May 2019 - 06:04 PM.


#49 photoracer18

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 06:08 PM

I actually have a complete Losmandy 492 setup in a box that I was going to use to convert my G11 back from its current Gemini 1 setup.



#50 cloudswimmer

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 01:35 PM

 

 

I checked on the site of the guys who put out the EQDrive retrofit kits and they have one for larger mounts that is supposed to handle mounts that have payloads up to 100 kg which is above the realm of the AT-9. Programmable reduction gear rates of 1:100 to 1:1300 and can be built without goto but with an ST4 port. That basic HD kit is called EQPower. Kit is relatively cheap but you have to provide the motors (steppers I am sure).

 

https://sites.google...escopes/eqpower

 

Thats pretty cool. So its basically like an Onstep contoller that works with EQMOD? So all we would need then is this box and a couple new stepper motors? Did you see the picture of the Hurst 3008-003 Stepper motor at the top of this thread?, thats Scott Rosen's 7" Schaefer .. the motor is almost a direct replacement for the old Hurst Type C/A motors that Bill, Park, and we used back in the day, pretty simple swap it seems. Only trick then is figuring out what wires to run where and solder to what .. thats my biggest challenge since I've never been good with electronics other than basic soldering skills.


Edited by cloudswimmer, 04 May 2019 - 02:11 PM.



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