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Omegon Mini Track LX2 Review

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#1 project nightflight

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 09:32 AM

The Mini Track LX2 is a small camera tracker that provides 60 minutes of tracking time. It was developed by Italian astrophotographer Christian Fattinnanzi and is distributed by Omegon. The device stands out among the other available sky trackers, since it is driven by a mechanical clock that needs no electrical power source. Besides that, it brings another innovation: To compensate for the camera weight, it features a spring mechanism that helps to stabilize the tracking rate.

Click here to view the article

#2 Astroman007

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:36 PM

Wow! What a fascinating device! A completely mechanical, non-electronic, electric, or motorized, clockwork-driven tracker; something that I had no idea (until reading this article) is still being made.

That is certainly something I would like to have!



#3 project nightflight

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 10:29 AM

Update on the Cons we mentioned in the summary of our review:

 

- a new version of the tracker has been released that also works on the southern hemisphere
- a carrying bag for the Mini Track has been announced



#4 soldevilla

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 04:43 PM

I bought a unit. I saw a ripple in the stellar images and I understood where the problem was, because I have seen it before. I disassembled the unit and carefully polished the teeth of the stainless steel plate. Polishing the output gear of the watch movement is more complicated and there is a danger of destroying the Mini Track. But I have been successful and now I can take 2 minute shots with a 250mm telephoto lens with my Canon 1200D. My deep sky image processing skills are very basic, I'm sorry.

 

52461598_1238175523004478_49865893156487


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#5 bbcah39

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 03:32 PM

I bought the tracker and really like it! I even made a couple of videos showing it. https://youtu.be/yu9LCvuVXOE

Orion & Rosette Portrait

Edited by bbcah39, 27 February 2019 - 04:30 PM.

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#6 project nightflight

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:57 AM

Update: Finderscope Adapter
For those who want to enjoy the convenience of an optical polar finder Omegon released a finderscope adapter. The adapter gets screwed onto the tracker body, replaces the polar sighting pipe and provides a clamp that holds any finderscope with a diameter around 23mm. We tested the adapter with a typical 6x24 crosshair finderscope. These small scopes are low-cost, widely available from numerous telescope dealers and fit nicely into the adapter. We found out that although the achievable polar alignment precision is not increased very much, the procedure of polar alignment becomes easier. Polaris is much better visible in the finderscope and can be centered more easily than with the sighting pipe that comes with the tracker. As we pointed out in our review, for the recommended exposure times in minutes of 100/f[mm] the polar alignment is accurate enough when simply aiming at Polaris, with or without a finderscope.

The photo below shows the finderscope adapter out of the box (bottom right), attached to the tracker (bottom left) and with a 6x24 finderscope inserted (top):

 

Mini Track LX2 finderscope adapter

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#7 project nightflight

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:59 AM

Update: Carrying Bag
In the meantime, a small carrying bag for the Mini Track LX2 has also been released. When the guys at Omegon read our initial report, they contacted us and sent us one of these bags for free, asking to take a look at it. Holding the bag in our hands it was immediately clear that this is the accessory we recommended and asked for in our review. The bag is of high quality, softly padded and fits the tracker perfectly. The Mini Track even goes into the bag with the polar scope adapter attached and there is room for a small finderscope, too. We highly recommend this accessory since the tracker has some very sharp edges. With the Mini Track kept in the bag for transportation, other photographic equipment in your camera backpack is sufficiently protected, as well as the tracker itself.

 

The photo below shows the bag with the Mini Track LX2 with the attached polar scope adapter and a 6x24 finderscope:

 

Mini Track LX2 carrying Bag

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#8 soldevilla

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 01:02 PM

I am using a small finder like that you show, but I have modified it with a prism. This allows me to use the tripod in its lowest position and to be much more stable.

 

And another tip laugh.gif. I have installed an app on my smartphone that counts "hits per minute". After some tests I know that if I have (in my case) 173 signals per minute then the tracking is correct. It's my low cost frequency variator


Edited by soldevilla, 06 March 2019 - 01:07 PM.

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#9 TonyTitch

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 04:06 PM

I have bought the version for the Southern Hemisphere for a planned trip to Australia This consists of the version for the northern hemisphere plus an adapter.   The Omegon instructions only cover the northern hemisphere version, and it was necessary to go to Youtube to find out how to fit this adapter.  It is a toothed plate that bolts on to the body of the device, but places the teeth on the bottom side of the cog at the centre of the clock mechanism, thus reversing the direction in which it moves.   The next issue is polar alignment, given that there is no easy equivalent to Polaris.   I decided to try and fit a laser pointer, to aim it at an estimated point in Octans between Crux and Centaurus.  I bought the finderscope adapter from Omegon, but wished to fit a pointer that was 14mm in diameter, which seems to be fairly standard at the basic end of the range.  For this an adapter was necessary.  I bought a bag of 15mm central heating pipe holders, the type used to attach the pipe to a wall, took out the central cylinder of the finderscope holder, cut notches in either side of two pipe holders with a mini drill grinding wheel and slid them in.   To give the laser pointer a tight fit a couple of layers of insulating tape did the job.   Looks perfect.   All I've got to do now is get to Australia.   Bear in mind that laser pointers above 1Mw are generally illegal there, unless you can demonstrate that you are off to an astronomy event of some kind.. Do your homework on that one.



#10 TonyTitch

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 02:25 AM

To correct what I said above, I believe that it is normally illegal to point lasers upwards at night if they are above 1Mw, not using them for other purposes, e.g in lectures..Advice on this from someone in Australia would be appreciated



#11 project nightflight

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 04:56 AM

And another tip laugh.gif. I have installed an app on my smartphone that counts "hits per minute". After some tests I know that if I have (in my case) 173 signals per minute then the tracking is correct. It's my low cost frequency variator

Absolutely great idea!
Can you let us know which app you are referring to?



#12 calypsob

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:43 PM

It seems like it is a functional tool but I question its longevity. At the price point of $150 with no alt az adjuster I dont think they will sell well.



#13 project nightflight

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 02:24 PM

Our above review of the Mini Track LX2 was re-published in the UK magazine Amateur Astrophotography. You can read the current issue for free.



#14 sryu

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 05:29 AM

I bought a unit. I saw a ripple in the stellar images and I understood where the problem was, because I have seen it before. I disassembled the unit and carefully polished the teeth of the stainless steel plate. Polishing the output gear of the watch movement is more complicated and there is a danger of destroying the Mini Track. But I have been successful and now I can take 2 minute shots with a 250mm telephoto lens with my Canon 1200D. My deep sky image processing skills are very basic, I'm sorry.

 

52461598_1238175523004478_49865893156487

 

Sound very intriguing. I'll be very appreciate if you can share your experience for the people like me. Good job !


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#15 project nightflight

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 11:18 AM

Here is another sample made with the Mini Track LX2. We shot this image of the Hyades and Pleiades clusters on Nov 3, 2018, on La Palma Island with a Canon 1100Da. The tracked exposures were done around local midnight and included 26 two-minute subframes at f/4 and ISO 3200 with a 50mm lens and a Hutech LPS-P2 light pollution suppression filter. We added four shots with a diffuser filter to enhance the star colors.

 

Mini Track LX2 hyades pleiades

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#16 jonalmada

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 01:00 AM

I just ordered one and will come back with what I think of it. I plan to do a variety of shoots in the Sierras where I live and get some amazing shots if the weather and circumstances are in my favor ;>)



#17 jonalmada

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 01:15 AM

Update: Carrying Bag
In the meantime, a small carrying bag for the Mini Track LX2 has also been released. When the guys at Omegon read our initial report, they contacted us and sent us one of these bags for free, asking to take a look at it. Holding the bag in our hands it was immediately clear that this is the accessory we recommended and asked for in our review. The bag is of high quality, softly padded and fits the tracker perfectly. The Mini Track even goes into the bag with the polar scope adapter attached and there is room for a small finderscope, too. We highly recommend this accessory since the tracker has some very sharp edges. With the Mini Track kept in the bag for transportation, other photographic equipment in your camera backpack is sufficiently protected, as well as the tracker itself.

 

The photo below shows the bag with the Mini Track LX2 with the attached polar scope adapter and a 6x24 finderscope:

 

I just ordered the LX2 - Is the bag an optional purchase or does it come with the tracker as standard gear now?



#18 project nightflight

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 08:10 AM

I just ordered the LX2 - Is the bag an optional purchase or does it come with the tracker as standard gear now?

For information on your specific order we recommend asking your vendor.



#19 soldevilla

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 09:51 AM

9jZPN8V.jpg

 

This is my final configuration, or so I think at the moment. I used things that I already had in my garage.

Speaking about the smartphone app, I have not found what I'm looking for yet. I look for an app that listens to the ticking of the clock and indicates how many ticks per minute the clock makes. At the moment I am trying the apps but I must synchronize taps with the finger on the screen with the clock's rhythm. It's easy, but it would be smarter if the smartphone can hear the clock.

 

The small counterweight is not used as a counterweight (although it also helps) but as a "frequency variator" to adjust the speed.


Edited by soldevilla, 28 March 2019 - 09:54 AM.


#20 soldevilla

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:16 AM

Absolutely great idea!
Can you let us know which app you are referring to?

Finally I have found an app that works to adjust the tics per second. It's called Clock Tuner and "listens" to the clock ticks.

Doing some test, I have found that any modification in the Mini Track (change of the position of the spring, displacement of counterweight, change of objective ...) needs at least a minute to stabilize the speed. Now I know why in my tests the first image was always bad ...

 

These upgrade tests are always very fun and I will like to read test results made by other forum members.



#21 BigEye

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 12:02 AM

Saw the Omegon booth at NEAF Saturday.  They were showing a new version, the Mini Track LX3 that they were releasing.  The LX3 has a 3 kg capacity compared to the 2kg capacity of the LX2 with pricing slighly higher.  Could not find any mention of the LX3 on Omegon's site yet and did not find it for sale at any of the other vendors at NEAF.


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#22 ericthemantis

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:11 PM

As a mechanical engineer, this thing looks AWESOME! Added to my Amazon wishlist smile.gif



#23 Cristian Fattinnanzi

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 05:01 PM

Lift Off: The LX3 version was made in just a few pieces as prototypes right in time for NEAF, around July you can preorder it for a few weeks later.

The first to pre-order will receive the first pieces.

 

Sputnik: The correct timer frequency is 135 beats per minute. The tolerances to have a precise tracking as the formula does calculate, is 5% more or less. Qunidi the tracking will be ok, respecting the time of the formula, for beats between 128 and 142 bpm.

PS: The background music of the promotional video of the Minitrack LX2 was also chosen because it had a frequency of 135 beats per minute, listening to it you can "learn" to listen to the right speed of the Minitrack timer!

Video: https://www.youtube....h?v=S4u4KAD3Aqo

 

Ciao!



#24 c0ntact0

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 08:38 AM

Lift Off: The LX3 version was made in just a few pieces as prototypes right in time for NEAF, around July you can preorder it for a few weeks later.

The first to pre-order will receive the first pieces.

 

Sputnik: The correct timer frequency is 135 beats per minute. The tolerances to have a precise tracking as the formula does calculate, is 5% more or less. Qunidi the tracking will be ok, respecting the time of the formula, for beats between 128 and 142 bpm.

PS: The background music of the promotional video of the Minitrack LX2 was also chosen because it had a frequency of 135 beats per minute, listening to it you can "learn" to listen to the right speed of the Minitrack timer!

Video: https://www.youtube....h?v=S4u4KAD3Aqo

 

Ciao!

Hello Cristian, I have buy a LX3 and the current BPM without load it’s about 130 BPM. I tested with a Canon 550D and a 50mm lens and seems to work ok for 2min exposures. The recommended 135 BPM for LX2 are valid to the LX3 too? Apart that, the spring location does not seems to be the same as the manual ilustrations. The spring does not rest in the “0” position, it rests in the position “-1”. If I engage the position “-1”, the spring jump out the hook. This is normal behaviour?


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#25 Deadman21

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:04 PM

Hello Cristian, I have buy a LX3 and the current BPM without load it’s about 130 BPM. I tested with a Canon 550D and a 50mm lens and seems to work ok for 2min exposures. The recommended 135 BPM for LX2 are valid to the LX3 too? Apart that, the spring location does not seems to be the same as the manual ilustrations. The spring does not rest in the “0” position, it rests in the position “-1”. If I engage the position “-1”, the spring jump out the hook. This is normal behaviour?

 

I have the LX2 version and mine also came in that configuration. I removed the hex screw and set the spring so that it worked like the manual. Resting in the 0 position. Since I did that it has tracked as it should. Not sure why it was like that. I’m in the northern hemisphere. So far I have been able to get 50 sec subs at 200mm on a mft camera shooting into the east. 


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