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RainbowAstro RST-135 Review - The ideal imaging mount?

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#801 w7ay

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 04:57 PM

The new base azimuth lock lever, comparing to old one, was very tight that i had no way to loose or lock it. Not sure it is designed this way or this particular one is over tightened.

The azimuth lock in my new RST-135 was *very* tight too (don't know about the new base for my old RST-135 -- I haven't opened the box yet).   When the new RST-135 arrived, it appeared to be stuck at just perhaps 20 to 30 degrees from one end.

 

If your lever is not completely all the way on one end, you should be able to loosen it too.  Just remember to turn it in the correct direction (:-) or you will be tightening it even more!

 

When you look at the mount assembly from above, you turn the azimuth lock lever counterclockwise to loosen it.  A photo with an arrow to show the unlock position appears I believe in the original RST-135 manual.

 

I had to sort of lightly tap the azimuth tightening lever with a screwdriver handle plus copious amount of rags to provide more protective padding to get mine to loosen up.  I am too weak to just push with my thumbs.  Again, be sure to tap in the correct direction! :-)

 

Chen


Edited by w7ay, 24 May 2020 - 05:10 PM.


#802 BCNGreyCat

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 05:19 PM

The azimuth lever is set to unlocked position. I could not push it to the lock position without using full body position. In that sense it will completely ruin the polar alignment. So I left it at the unlock position.

To drill out the stripped screw, use a high quality 7/64 or 5/64 drill bit, left handed one.

#803 deepanshu29

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 05:44 PM

Because of COVID-19, my new base is still under my home quarantine.  I place new packages unopened in a sunny corner of the house for 4 to 6 days; scrubbed my hands like crazy too afterwards; but I am over 70 years old and have learned patience a long time ago).  

 

I took the shortcut and wiped the base down with clorox wipes couple of times laugh.gif


Edited by deepanshu29, 24 May 2020 - 05:46 PM.

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#804 xuranus

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 01:37 AM

I guess that I was lucky that I only had one screw head’s hex key stripped off. I had to use a drill bit to drill it out. Check the removed screws, they seem to use thread lock on them.

The new base azimuth lock lever, comparing to old one, was very tight that i had no way to loose or lock it. Not sure it is designed this way or this particular one is over tightened.

The new one definitely feels much better than old design. But the Rainbow Astro customer service, I would say just so so. Sent them emails regarding the stripped screws, never replied.

We are sorry for not providing satisfactory customer service.
However, I responded to all emails. Please check your spam mailbox.

We often get our mail treated as spam.

Thanks.



#805 astronomia

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 06:56 AM

Sorry to say, I had a similar non-response to email regarding an issue with the mount in the past and I check spam before deleting! Never received a reply to email I sent.



#806 w7ay

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 01:33 PM

Sorry to say, I had a similar non-response to email regarding an issue with the mount in the past and I check spam before deleting! Never received a reply to email I sent.

I had the same problem when I submitted a question through their Contact Us web page (I think that is what it was called -- it is a web submission form, in any case).  No answer for a couple of weeks.  Seemed to have fallen into Sagittarius A.

 

I then wised up.  I found and used xuranus's email address and got a reply within a couple of hours.  And that route has been good for every email exchanges since then, too.  I don't think Mr. Jeong sleeps :-).

 

I assume you can use RainbowAstro's Facebook page too.  But I personally won't touch Facebook with a ten foot pole.

 

Chen


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#807 trentfysty

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 11:05 AM

I received my base upgrade at the beginning of the week and installed it. I didn't have any issues with the bearing screws being too tight. All of them came out just fine without stripping. I agree with what the others have said, this is much more robust and much more finely tuned. I'm looking forward to trying it out, but of course, it's been cloudy. I think Cloud Break Optics did a great job handling the upgrade and Rainbow Astro made the right type of improvements.


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#808 w7ay

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 02:02 PM

I received my base upgrade at the beginning of the week and installed it. I didn't have any issues with the bearing screws being too tight. All of them came out just fine without stripping. I agree with what the others have said, this is much more robust and much more finely tuned. I'm looking forward to trying it out, but of course, it's been cloudy. I think Cloud Break Optics did a great job handling the upgrade and Rainbow Astro made the right type of improvements.

I just took my new base from quarantine.  

 

The eight altitude bearing hex screws on the original mount came off nicely by just using the 2mm hex wrench that came with the kit.  I had a whole arsenal of hex wrenches and bolt extractors ready, but never had to use them :-).

 

Cloud Break Optics sent mine right after receiving it on Thursday May 21, and UPS Ground delivered it to me the next morning.

 

Chen


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#809 Blue_Orca

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 03:12 PM

I received my base upgrade at the beginning of the week and installed it. I didn't have any issues with the bearing screws being too tight. All of them came out just fine without stripping. I agree with what the others have said, this is much more robust and much more finely tuned. I'm looking forward to trying it out, but of course, it's been cloudy. I think Cloud Break Optics did a great job handling the upgrade and Rainbow Astro made the right type of improvements.

Same here. I received mine on May 18 from a different vendor.  Installed it the following day and it went smoothly without any issues or stuck screws.  New design definitely a huge improvement over the original version.


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#810 Lead_Weight

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 07:07 PM

Is there any sort of polar alignment routine built into the mount? 



#811 w7ay

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Posted 31 May 2020 - 10:41 AM

Speaking of the need for short auto-guiding exposures, has any of you tried to auto-guide by using multiple stars (for example, DONUTS in INDIGO, MaximDL, Lacerta MGEN-3, etc) so that you can keep using short exposures even when "seeing" is poor?

 

I use the PHD2-based ASIAIR for autoguiding, which don't have the multi-star functionality.  But it occurred to me that multi-star auto-guiding may be a good solution for the RST-135.

 

Chen



#812 Blue_Orca

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Posted 31 May 2020 - 12:04 PM

I believe from prior correspondence, the Rainbow Astro team uses MaximDL. They may be able to share with you their experiences and recommendations.

OTOH I am evaluating MetaGuide at the moment, as it is free and supported in SGP. Hopefully with a completely different approach in calculating the centroid and being more aggressive in guiding, it can outperform PHD2 in poor seeing conditions.


Edited by Blue_Orca, 31 May 2020 - 12:19 PM.

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#813 Lead_Weight

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 08:06 AM

I'm receiving my RST-135 today from Tolga. I have a few questions. 

 

Any recommendations on A/C adapters? Will any 12v 5a adapter work? Or should the voltage be higher?

 

Is there any polar align routine in the mount yet? I have no view of Polaris from where I typically image.

 

My scopes range from very light to mid capacity with the AT60ED, Celestron C5 (visual), ES 102 Carbon (14lbs), and will probably replace the ES with an FSQ-106 soon. Should I get a counterweight bar for the larger scopes? I'll have the RT90C tripod if it ever gets here...65 days shipping?!? I have a lighter weight tripod to use in the meantime with the smaller scopes.

 

I'll eventually get a battery, as I intend on taking this thing everywhere. Bought it to replace an AVX, an iOptron Cube Pro, and Star Adventurer. Thought this was an awesome solution to replace all three.


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#814 Jared

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 01:12 PM

I run the RST-135 with my 105mm refractor and guide scope without counterweights with no problems (aside from the large periodic error requiring very short guide exposures),  Total mass is about 8.5 kg. It’s a fairly short OTA so moment arm isn’t too bad. I don’t know what an FSQ with guide scope will run, but I’d be comfortable saying you are fine up to 10 kg.  Not sure after that. Maybe there is enough headroom, but I can’t say from experience.


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#815 deepanshu29

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 05:43 PM

I am using RST-135 with FSQ106, 645 Reducer and QHY367c Camera. This 645 reducer is heavy, I think 1.5kg or so. I have 60mm f/4 guidescope, guidecam, Intel NUC, Pegasus Astro UPB all on the scope, total weight is probably around 11kg. I am using counter weight primarily to ensure that tripod does not tip over. My tripod is Gitzo5 with RA half pier. 

 

Power comes from a 50Ah bioenno LiFePO4 battery. 


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#816 tkottary

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 07:51 PM

There is no polar alignment routine afaik.

 

I'm receiving my RST-135 today from Tolga. I have a few questions. 

 

Any recommendations on A/C adapters? Will any 12v 5a adapter work? Or should the voltage be higher?

 

Is there any polar align routine in the mount yet? I have no view of Polaris from where I typically image.

 

My scopes range from very light to mid capacity with the AT60ED, Celestron C5 (visual), ES 102 Carbon (14lbs), and will probably replace the ES with an FSQ-106 soon. Should I get a counterweight bar for the larger scopes? I'll have the RT90C tripod if it ever gets here...65 days shipping?!? I have a lighter weight tripod to use in the meantime with the smaller scopes.

 

I'll eventually get a battery, as I intend on taking this thing everywhere. Bought it to replace an AVX, an iOptron Cube Pro, and Star Adventurer. Thought this was an awesome solution to replace all three.


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#817 w7ay

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 09:31 PM

There is no polar alignment routine afaik.

No polar alignment routine, but after a 5-star alignment (and also turning on drift correction) tracking error is sent to both RA and DEC axes.

 

That being said, I always run with drift correction off, do no star alignment, and use ASIAIR to do my polar alignment.  I don't see how the drift correction in RST-135 can solve the field rotation problem, so it may only be useful for visual.

 

To OP: can you at least see two patches of sky (patch size is FOV of your OTA) that are less than 15 degrees in DEC from the pole?  The two patches need to be 4 hours (60 degrees) apart in hour angle.  

 

If so, you can use the ASIAIR Polar Alignment tool.  You can be up to 30 degrees away in DEC from the pole, but my tests show reduced accuracy (but still good enough for short focal lengths).

 

Basically, you start by pointing to the sky within 30 degrees in declination from the pole.  ASIAIR will take an image and plate solve.  The ASIAIR then automatically slew the RA west by 60 degrees and do another plate solve there; it calculates the center of rotation and reports how much you need to adjust the altitude and azimuth bolts (in degrees, arc minutes, arc second).  You keep asking it to plate solve at that second location until you have the polar alignment error dialed in sufficiently.

 

It is similar to SharpCap's polar alignment.  With SharpCap, you need to be within 5 degrees of the pole, and you need to manually slew the RA axis by 90 degrees -- but that too may be good enough, without having to resort to drift alignment.

 

Just make sure that at the second location, you have enough space for your fingers to tighten the altitude locking bolts :-).

 

Chen


Edited by w7ay, 08 June 2020 - 09:33 PM.

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#818 Lead_Weight

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 11:24 PM

horizon.jpg

 

This is my horizon. I might have enough space to the right of the meridian. But the horizon in my image might be off slightly and more of the right is possibly covered. The Cats Eye is about 30 deg off the pole, so I should be able to use the align tool. 

 

My saddle didn't arrive today, so I wasn't able to set up. Hopefully tomorrow.

 

I don't have an ASIAIR, but do have a StellarMate, and I would assume the polar alignment routine is similar since they're based on the same software. I've never run it before, since my other mounts can align without Polaris.

 

Since this mount doesn't have any polar align routine. Do you star align, use some tool like ASIAir or Polemaster to polar align, then redo the star align? What's the basic procedure?

 

I'll mess around with it and see how it goes.

 

By the way, this thing is built like a tank. It was way heavier than I thought it would be. It weights about $4,000. lol.gif


Edited by Lead_Weight, 08 June 2020 - 11:29 PM.

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#819 w7ay

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 01:03 AM

Hi Andrew,

 

Wow, you missed the NCP "by that much." 

 

I have never used Ekos for polar alignment; so I have no idea if it is similar to ASIAIR.  The only similarity between StellarMate and ASIAIR is that ASIAIR uses some of the INDI library.  Otherwise, completely different paradigm.

 

For polar alignment, I went from polar scopes on the mounts to the PoleMaster; then switched to SharpCap the day polar alignment became available on SharpCap, and finally migrated to using ASIAIR.

 

I had used StellarMate for a time, but couldn't stand the user interface, and stopped using it when I found the ASIAIR.  By the time I bought the RST-135, I was already exclusively using the ASIAIR and was grateful that the RST-135 is supported by ASIAIR -- the folks at ZWO has an RST-150h on loan.

 

The good news is that you seem to have decent swaths of clearing both on the east of NCP and west of NCP.    You should be able to let the OTA swing between two clear areas with the NCP as the center of rotation (at least for ASIAIR) by just backing off from DEC = +90º until the OTA swings between two clear FOVs.

 

You'll need to check what the Ekos (StellarMate) requirements are.

 

>> Do you star align, use some tool like ASIAir or PoleMaster to polar align, then redo the star align? What's the basic procedure?

 

I start with the home (west horizon) position, let the ASIAIR GOTO take me to some bright star (which can be quite a bit off if not yet polar aligned), plate solve and get the star into the scope's FOV.  Then carefully focus.  After that, move close to the NCP to polar align.  And just use plate solves to refine any GOTO for the rest of the night.  No star alignment needed whatsoever.  You mileage may vary if you don't have plate solve capability.

 

>>  By the way, this thing is built like a tank. It was way heavier than I thought it would be. It weights about $4,000.

 

It just seems heavy because it is so tiny.  Don't forget that the $4,000 chunk does not even include any counterweight.   They don't tell you this: the mount actually really cost $2,000.   They charge you an extra $2,000 by *not* shipping the counterweight :-).  

 

Joking aside, the lack of need of a counterweight is worth the extra $2,000 to me.

 

Chen


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#820 Lead_Weight

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 04:20 PM

My initial setup, is just going to be visual to play around and test things.

 

I've been able to go in, set the time, location, etc, but for some reason I cannot save the ALT/AZ configuration in the mount setup. It defaults to Equatorial. I'm able to go into the menu, and select 1 for Alt/Az, press the enter button, and it appears saved. But as soon as I back out of the menu, it reverts to Mode 0 Equatorial. 

 

The manual does say you need to restart the mount, and I've tried that, but it just boots up in Equatorial. Anyone know how to get this setting to stick?

 

Thanks.

 

IMG_1624.jpeg


Edited by Lead_Weight, 09 June 2020 - 04:27 PM.

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#821 Lead_Weight

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 07:42 PM

After getting it back indoors, and getting a response through the Facebook forum, I'm set to Alt/Az mode! Excited to give it a spin at dark.


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#822 w7ay

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 05:32 PM

This is my horizon. I might have enough space to the right of the meridian. 

Andrew,

 

Doesn't look bad at all for ASIAIR polar alignment.

 

sweep.png

 

Notice the drawn sweep from the NCP is right around Epsilon UMi, which has a DEC of 82º, so there should be decent polar alignment accuracy.  So, you can start at Home and do a GOTO DEC=+80º and HA at 6 hour east.  After the 60 degree RA slew, the OTA ends up 30 degrees east from top dead center.  Depending on your plate scale, that might give you a clear enough FOV for both starting and ending points.  Also, with the OTA at 30º from top dead center, the altitude locking pots should also be clear enough for you to tighten.

 

Even if you have to pull the DEC further back so the arc crosses the DEC of Zeta UMi, the DEC is still a comfortable +78º.  I think the accuracy is still fine as far as Gamma UMi is away from NCP (+72º DEC).

 

ASIAIR will let you polar align with DEC as far as 30º from the pole (that is how far Dubhe is from the pole!), but accuracy appears to suffer a bit.

 

Chen


Edited by w7ay, 10 June 2020 - 05:33 PM.


#823 Lead_Weight

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 06:37 PM

Andrew,

 

Doesn't look bad at all for ASIAIR polar alignment.

 

attachicon.gifsweep.png

 

Notice the drawn sweep from the NCP is right around Epsilon UMi, which has a DEC of 82º, so there should be decent polar alignment accuracy.  So, you can start at Home and do a GOTO DEC=+80º and HA at 6 hour east.  After the 60 degree RA slew, the OTA ends up 30 degrees east from top dead center.  Depending on your plate scale, that might give you a clear enough FOV for both starting and ending points.  Also, with the OTA at 30º from top dead center, the altitude locking pots should also be clear enough for you to tighten.

 

Even if you have to pull the DEC further back so the arc crosses the DEC of Zeta UMi, the DEC is still a comfortable +78º.  I think the accuracy is still fine as far as Gamma UMi is away from NCP (+72º DEC).

 

ASIAIR will let you polar align with DEC as far as 30º from the pole (that is how far Dubhe is from the pole!), but accuracy appears to suffer a bit.

 

Chen

I'll have to consider getting an ASIAir to do this. Which would mean, my Moonlite focuser doesn't work for it, so I would have to get a ZWO focuser. I wish they would add other focusers to ASIAir.

 

I watched the polar alignment routine for StellarMate, and it appears you have to see Polaris, so that doesn't work either. I would really like to see a polar alignment feature added to the mount. Every mount I've owned has had a feature that can do this without seeing Polaris. They're all able to measure the amount of error after a multi-star align, and can go to an additional star ⭐️ to use your manual controls to center and remove polar error.


Edited by Lead_Weight, 10 June 2020 - 06:43 PM.


#824 w7ay

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 01:44 AM

Every mount I've owned has had a feature that can do this without seeing Polaris. They're all able to measure the amount of error after a multi-star align, and can go to an additional star ⭐️ to use your manual controls to center and remove polar error.

The RST-135 has multi-star alignment ("multi" >= 5) too.   You should have already seen that in the manuals.

 

After aligning and confirming 5 stars, the mount will track in both the RA and DEC axes (i.e., it tracks a star properly even when the RA axis is not parallel with the pole), but I don't believe the star alignment compensates for field rotation.

 

The mount also writes the computed az and alt errors into the hand controller.  However, the Hubo-i manual and RST-135 manual are mute on what those numbers mean, and whether you have to iterate through more stars after adjusting the alt-az bolts.  If you can get information from RainbowAstro, it might be sufficient to adjust the alt-az bolts by counting turns of the bolts.

 

Personally, I have plate solving, and I can see a region close to the pole, so I don't waste my time with the 5-star alignment.  Plate solving lets me zero in to a coordinate after a GOTO, and even a rough 1 arc-minute polar alignment gets my field rotation to a small enough value -- I no longer use CCD cameras with large read noise, so I no longer use very long exposures in my borderline Bortle 5-6.

 

That being said, I think that the point-and-click GOTO in the current beta ASIAIR might let you center a star much faster than using visual and manual adjustments (or having to select the same star in ASIAIR as the hand controller to do the GOTO), so the time to execute a 5-star alignment may no longer be an issue.  

 

In any case, in this day and age, one really should not need to do a *star* alignment when you have a camera, one should just need to do a plate-solved coordinate alignment -- you should not need the coordinates of "bright alignment stars" anymore -- just go to a coordinate where the sky is clear and use plate solving to align to that coordinate.

 

Chen


Edited by w7ay, 11 June 2020 - 10:53 AM.

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#825 Lead_Weight

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 10:20 AM

Had a great first night out doing visual with this mount. I'm just using an inexpensive aluminum camera tripod until the RTC90 carbon tripod comes in. Took me a few minutes to figure out how to get going, and get alignment down. It was quick and painless once I figured out the method required. Initially I thought the scope had to be pointing west, but it was the mount in home position that needed to point west. GOTOs were pretty spot on after 4-5 stars.

 

Question...In EQ mode, with the mount in homing position, do you then aim the mount North instead of West? I didn't see anything specific about this in the manual. Hope to try imaging with it after I get the new tripod.

 

Thanks,

Andrew




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