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Looking to upgrade my CG-4 mount

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#1 lsintampa

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:11 PM

So, I have a CG-4 EQ mount and tripod - Celestron Omni mount.

 

I've added dual axis motors and a polar alignment scope to help with PA and tracking.

 

So far so good, but I'm considering upgrading to HEQ-5 pro mount, very soon.

 

That said, I'll be wanting to trade up (or sell) the CG-4 setup for the HEQ-5 and was curious what thoughts you all may have about the HEQ-5 as a decent upgrade?



#2 Augustus

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:29 PM

What are you using on it?



#3 lsintampa

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:45 PM

60mm 350 refractor and or 102mm 1000 refractor and or dslr, nothing too heavy


Edited by lsintampa, 26 February 2020 - 08:45 PM.


#4 Augustus

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:46 PM

60mm 350 refractor and or 102mm 1000 refractor and or dslr, nothing too heavy

In that case an HEQ5 is going to be an excellent choice and I'd definitely recommend one.



#5 lsintampa

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:48 PM

May eventually get a sct, but again nothing too large.



#6 SeaBee1

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 09:21 AM

I wouldn't get rid of the CG-4... it can be a good grab-n-go mount (for some people), for those times when you don't want to drag out the heavier mount. I upgraded to an AVX from my CG-4, which I kept. I keep my SW120 semi-permanently mounted on the AVX and use the CG-4 as the mount for my solar scope.

 

Just offering that as something to think about...

 

Keep looking up!

 

CB


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#7 lsintampa

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 02:13 PM

I wouldn't get rid of the CG-4... it can be a good grab-n-go mount (for some people), for those times when you don't want to drag out the heavier mount. I upgraded to an AVX from my CG-4, which I kept. I keep my SW120 semi-permanently mounted on the AVX and use the CG-4 as the mount for my solar scope.

 

Just offering that as something to think about...

 

Keep looking up!

 

CB

 

Yeah, I'm thinking that makes sense (to keep the CG-4).  Thing is that most of the goto mounts that fits into my budget all seem to have issues of one kind or another.  Most of them have backlash issues.  My CG-4 with the dual axis motors, the RA motor attaches directly to the adjustment axle - no gears, it just mounts right onto the same post as the manual control mounts on.  You remove the manual control and mount the motor in it's place, so there are no gears on the RA - so no gear backlash to speak of.

 

The times I've used the mount in tracking mode - it has been good - but I've only taken up to like 5 to 15 seconds while tracking.  Tonight looks like a decent night for me to experiment, so we'll see.

 

The main reason I was thinking about the goto - was ONLY to center targets.  I have a really difficult time finding and centering even the easiest target - like M42 as an example.  I can spend way too much time getting it into my FOV - even with a 60mm AP scope.  Now if I want to try to locate andromeda, I may as well just stick my head in a bucket.

 

FWIW, I got my first telescope only this past November, and put one leg down the AP rabbit hole almost immediately.  So I'm still very much a novice and have yet to figure out how to locate targets. I have planetarium software to help me, but aiming that EQ mount (for me) is challenging.  With M42 for example, I can't tell thru my finder scope if I'm looking at it or not.  Typically, when I think I got it, I'll snap a picture to see if it's in frame or not, then adjust mount, shoot another picture, and so on until it's where I want it to be in my camera's view.  

 

UGH, maybe I need to hone my target finding skills and leave this goto stuff alone for a bit?


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#8 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 12:37 PM

I understand your difficulty locating objects. I'm only a year into this hobby, and have faced it too. A couple things...

I'd encourage you to get the book "Turn Right at Orion." It's a good primer for the star hopping method of locating things. It doesn't come easy st first, but stick with it. Anything worthwhile takes time. After a year at it, I really enjoy the "hunt" for objects. I first use the camera set to a high ISO (25000), and about 5 second shutter speed to see if the nebula or galaxy shows up in the fov. Then, I readjust my settings and start imaging.

Also, I second others' advice to keep the CG4. The setup is simple and quick. Also, you can really help yourself to much longer exposures by getting a good polar alignment. Sharpcap is what I use. You'll need a finderscope with a small astro camera attached, and a laptop for the field. Once you've done it a few times, it's quick and easy.
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#9 lsintampa

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 03:20 PM

I understand your difficulty locating objects. I'm only a year into this hobby, and have faced it too. A couple things...

I'd encourage you to get the book "Turn Right at Orion." It's a good primer for the star hopping method of locating things. It doesn't come easy st first, but stick with it. Anything worthwhile takes time. After a year at it, I really enjoy the "hunt" for objects. I first use the camera set to a high ISO (25000), and about 5 second shutter speed to see if the nebula or galaxy shows up in the fov. Then, I readjust my settings and start imaging.

Also, I second others' advice to keep the CG4. The setup is simple and quick. Also, you can really help yourself to much longer exposures by getting a good polar alignment. Sharpcap is what I use. You'll need a finderscope with a small astro camera attached, and a laptop for the field. Once you've done it a few times, it's quick and easy.

Thanks, I'm very frustrated and discouraged.  Last night - about all I could get into my FOV was M42 ... after that I tried for Pleiades (M45) - total bust.  Need to figure this out before I lose interest.



#10 GeraldBelton

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:11 PM

 ... after that I tried for Pleiades (M45) - total bust. 

Can you find the Pleiades in the sky with your naked eye? That's the first step.

 

Then, can you find it in your finder scope? And have you checked to make sure your finder scope and your main scope are pointed at the same spot? It might be a good idea to check this, in the daytime, against a stationary object. Point your telescope at something in the distance and adjust the finder until the object in the center of your telescope view is in the center of your finder view.

 

Finally, what eyepieces are you using? Put in your widest eyepiece first, get the object centered, then change to higher power. Trying to find stuff in space with the tiny field of view of a high power eyepiece is a fool's game. Also, the Pleiades are too wide to fit in a high power eyepiece. The cluster is nearly two degrees wide, four times the size of the full moon.


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#11 lsintampa

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:58 PM

Can you find the Pleiades in the sky with your naked eye? That's the first step.

 

Then, can you find it in your finder scope? And have you checked to make sure your finder scope and your main scope are pointed at the same spot? It might be a good idea to check this, in the daytime, against a stationary object. Point your telescope at something in the distance and adjust the finder until the object in the center of your telescope view is in the center of your finder view.

 

Finally, what eyepieces are you using? Put in your widest eyepiece first, get the object centered, then change to higher power. Trying to find stuff in space with the tiny field of view of a high power eyepiece is a fool's game. Also, the Pleiades are too wide to fit in a high power eyepiece. The cluster is nearly two degrees wide, four times the size of the full moon.

 

No, I can't find Pleiades with my naked eyes.  I have an idea where it was by looking at Sky Safari 6 Pro.  But no I can't identify it.  Hence I can't really locate it with my finder scope.  Although I did scout around the area with my finder scope - but nada.  

 

Finder scope and telescope are well aligned.  

 

Finally, I wasn't doing any visual, so I only had camera mounted to the telescope.



#12 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:22 PM

This just occurred to me... Are you in a dark sky area? Many objects are hard to see if you're in or near a city. Once you get away from the lights, out in the countryside, you'll be able to see much more. Dom't give up. It's a kind of skill that once you get it, it gets much easier.

#13 GeraldBelton

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 12:35 PM

It sounds like you need to back up a couple of steps. 

 

Get a planishphere and learn your way around the naked-eye night sky. Look at some of the websites that have advice for navigating the sky, learn things like using the pointer stars in the big dipper to find Polaris, and "arc to Arcturus", etc. The three stars in Orions belt will point you to Taurus, and if you keep going you get to the Pleiades. If you can't see it, it's hard to point a telescope at it. 

 

Then take the camera off your scope and look through an eyepiece. 

 

Once you can find stuff in the sky, and can get your scope pointed at it, THEN you might want to try astrophotography. There's a reason that this forum is called "Beginners Forum (No astrophotography here - please read the forum description). What you are doing is the equivalent of taking an advanced college course without attending high school first.


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#14 zxx

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 12:05 AM

Yeah, I'm thinking that makes sense (to keep the CG-4).  Thing is that most of the goto mounts that fits into my budget all seem to have issues of one kind or another.  Most of them have backlash issues.  My CG-4 with the dual axis motors, the RA motor attaches directly to the adjustment axle - no gears, it just mounts right onto the same post as the manual control mounts on.  You remove the manual control and mount the motor in it's place, so there are no gears on the RA - so no gear backlash to speak of.

 

The times I've used the mount in tracking mode - it has been good - but I've only taken up to like 5 to 15 seconds while tracking.  Tonight looks like a decent night for me to experiment, so we'll see.

 

The main reason I was thinking about the goto - was ONLY to center targets.  I have a really difficult time finding and centering even the easiest target - like M42 as an example.  I can spend way too much time getting it into my FOV - even with a 60mm AP scope.  Now if I want to try to locate andromeda, I may as well just stick my head in a bucket.

 

FWIW, I got my first telescope only this past November, and put one leg down the AP rabbit hole almost immediately.  So I'm still very much a novice and have yet to figure out how to locate targets. I have planetarium software to help me, but aiming that EQ mount (for me) is challenging.  With M42 for example, I can't tell thru my finder scope if I'm looking at it or not.  Typically, when I think I got it, I'll snap a picture to see if it's in frame or not, then adjust mount, shoot another picture, and so on until it's where I want it to be in my camera's view.  

 

UGH, maybe I need to hone my target finding skills and leave this goto stuff alone for a bit?

Is your finder scope calibrated with your imaging scope ? I find a bright star on live view than adjust finder as the mount is tracking.

I do this every night before imaging. I added a guide port to my CG-4 HC and got great results with 240s exposures with my ED80 and a total RMS of 0.75

 

M31 done 77.jpg


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