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So I followed the advice...

astrophotography beginner equipment mount tripod
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#1 Corwinmageoin

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:34 AM

...of getting the best mount you can afford.  My first mount is the iOptron CEM120 EC2.  It is a beast.  Arriving in 3 large boxes all of them heavy.  I will be starting my new gym regime tomorrow.  I bought the Tri-pier heavy duty but after setting it up realized this is the biggest chore of all.  I will be receiving my Panther TTS160JA from Denmark in about 5 weeks. SKB got the nod with military spec cases and a Goal Zero Yeti for powering this monster. My guiding scope and most of the software are loaded on my laptop and I am still trying to figure out the Wifi plan of action.  In area's with no internet access this is not an issue but with no static IP capcacity I will have to figure out a work around or use a cable for the Ethernet.  I would be happy to hear your solutions for this mount as well as choices for plate solving/image acquisition. OTA and camera will have to wait for a bit more budget but I have plenty of learning in the mean time.  I want to get it out and see how it guides as soon as I get the battery and various cables finished up.

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#2 iwannabswiss

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:49 AM

You followed some very good advice, but we didn't mean that mount you chose.  LOL, just joking lol.gif

Congratulations on your purchase.


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#3 BobT

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 07:08 AM

Congratulation! 

 

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. I had to rig an electric hoist just to get  my CEM120-EC onto the pier smile.gif .

 

I use Sequence Generator Pro for control, which integrates Planewave's PlateSolve2, for mount/camera control.  It works well for me.  My system is in a fixed observatory and the computer is mounted on the pier (lower left in the photo) in order to keep my USB cables as short as possible.  The interface between the mount and computer is Ethernet but I have briefly tried the built-in mount WiFi with SkySafari and it worked fine.  You are going to love the cable management system in the CEM120.

 

CEM120-EC CableMgmt.JPG

 

Have fun with your new toy,

 

BobT


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#4 lynnelkriver

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 09:52 AM

Congrats on your new mount!  Scott


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#5 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 10:58 AM

That portable pier looks amazing!


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#6 Erik30

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 11:03 PM

Very nice mount!   Congrats! 


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#7 rgsalinger

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 12:07 AM

I really see no point in accessing this mount wirelessly or using an ethernet cable. Instead, I have a small computer at the base of my pier (refurbished - cost me 300 USD). The mount provides 5 USB connections, one is USB3 and 4 USB2. The mount also provides, using the aux cable, 10 amps of 12 volt power and a bit more using the mount powered ports. So, I just have two USB cables going from my computer one to the mount and one to the USB 2.0 hub. I used to have a third USB3 cable, but I don't need it right now. It all works perfectly and the mount will celebrate it's first birthday in a month.

 

Then I use a second computer to access the computer at the mount. I've been doing this (one way or another) for about 8 years now. This topology works locally when there is a router. (I have a tiny 30 dollar wireless only router for that use case.) It also works over the internet when I image from home to either of my  observatory systems. When I'm local I use windows remote desktop and when I'm remote I use Google Chrome Desktop or sometimes Team Viewer.

 

Guiding is perfect - around .3 arc seconds in both axes unless there's an environment problem. I remember the first night I had guiding "trouble". I started a run and went to sleep. I woke up around 3AM and looked at my guide graph and it was about twice with I normally see. I spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out what was wrong until I realized that I was trying to image an object about 15 degrees above the western horizon (where the San Diego light cone is easily discerned as well). A quick slew to the zenith verified that my guiding was as good as new. Lesson learned.

 

Rgrds-Ross 


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#8 Corwinmageoin

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 03:54 AM

Thanks all I am excited about getting started.  I ordered a few cables and a bracket that arrived smashed tonight so all things being equal I should be ready to give her a run by Thursday. 

 

Ross- Thanks I understand now having read that a couple of times what you mean by router.  Sometimes KISS escapes me.  My ex was a tech editor for CISCO systems so the word has a lot of meanings to me.  I am hoping once I start trying to figure out cabling that should all be in order I think the Power supply has a powered USB hub and the laptop a couple of them.  I really should have unpacked that guy at work and plugged it in to charge.  I think it takes like 25 hours to fully charge until the second ac adapter shows up. 

 

The 600mm lens and Canon 7D mark ii will have to be my scope for now but between that and some of the other lens I have there will be plenty to keep me busy until Texas Star Party.


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#9 Waldemar

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 08:04 AM

Several options besides a long USB cable or second laptop are available:

Icron Ranger has a nice but expensive solution and the Silex DS600 is not expensive and works well with USB2 as well as USB3 two seperate ports, which both can handle a hub with 4 ports and only one ethernet cable of max. 100 metres to your computer. For batteries I would think about a LiFePO4 battery:  Light weight, 12,8 Volts. long life, high temperature range and a very nice discharge curve.


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#10 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 02:19 PM

Several options besides a long USB cable or second laptop are available:

Icron Ranger has a nice but expensive solution and the Silex DS600 is not expensive and works well with USB2 as well as USB3 two seperate ports, which both can handle a hub with 4 ports and only one ethernet cable of max. 100 metres to your computer. For batteries I would think about a LiFePO4 battery:  Light weight, 12,8 Volts. long life, high temperature range and a very nice discharge curve.

I have the Icron Ranger 2304 and it works great.  I have never heard of the Silex until now.  I went to look at it. Looks promising especially if it can handle high speed usb 3.0 cameras like those from ASI which the Icron can not. 

 

Looks like they are difficult to find. 

 

Edit:  You can also use a small mini windows 10 computer and remote into it via Teamviewer (which is free).    The little computer is light enough to mount on top of your optical tube and should cost less than USB over Ethernet solutions mentioned.

 

I have a Minix system and it works ok if a bit sluggish so I typically stick with my Icron and do everything on my main gaming pc.


Edited by Whichwayisnorth, 19 February 2019 - 02:24 PM.

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#11 Corwinmageoin

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 06:36 PM

I will probably leave the USB for Camera traffic with all the talk about dropped frames.  Not sure how robust USB is compared to Ethernet for dealing with heavy traffic.  I suspect a basic router and a couple of patch cables should handle the hardware.  WiFi seems fine at home but a star party might become a nightmare.  Keeping various communications separate should also simplify any problem solving that may occur in the initial setup.

 

Today I made sure I had the latest version of Backyard EOS installed and added AstroTortilla with at least a 50% chance of it being done correctly.  We will see as soon as plate solving is possible.  3 of the 5 equipment cases came in today and something that looks suspiciously like a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 power box.



#12 emflocater

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 06:36 PM

Is that mount for your 60 mm Jason 311 Refractor?

Cheers

Don



#13 rgsalinger

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:12 PM

Just to be clear. You will not get dropped frames by using USB 2.0 unless you are doing some form of high speed lucky imaging. I've had my ASI1600 for almost 4 years now and NEVER had a dropped frame due to a USB 2.0 problem. Not one, not once. Also, if you want to plate solve, it will be much easier to use PlateSolve 2. I'm not familiar with Backyard EOS, though so maybe it requires AT. Good luck with that.

Rgrds-Ross


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#14 Corwinmageoin

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 05:39 PM

The mount also provides, using the aux cable, 10 amps of 12 volt power and a bit more using the mount powered ports.

 

Rgrds-Ross 

So after looking for the aux cable I found instructions for making one.  So the cable is DIY? 



#15 Corwinmageoin

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 04:40 PM

So in keeping with advice I received my short(ish) refractor in the mail today.  It is a CFF 92mm f/6 oil spaced triplet.  Now if I can get my eyepieces and diagonal in I might be ready for first light.

Cff 92


#16 otis4411

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 05:24 PM

It must be nice. Congratulations!

#17 Erik30

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 05:29 PM

So in keeping with advice I received my short(ish) refractor in the mail today.  It is a CFF 92mm f/6 oil spaced triplet.  Now if I can get my eyepieces and diagonal in I might be ready for first light.

 

Very nice scope.  Will be looking forward to the images you get with this.  




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