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Learnings from Using Hotech Laser Collimator with EdgeHD Scope

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#76 Benni123456

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 03:22 PM

I personally noted that it helps aligning the centers of the ota and target if I remove the secondary and bring the crosses at the visual back and the 2 reflected crosses at the target into alignment.

 

Without removing the secondary, i found that with just one cross at the target, it would be too imprecise to align the system.

 

It is not sufficient to just align the target to the primary. The visual back also has to look into the same direction as the primary . And because of the size of the laser reflections and their short lightpath, using just the reflections of the primary would be a bit imprecise for aligning the target plate..

 

Fortunately, after you have removed the secondary, the cross that is reflected from the visual back to the target has a longer light path and therefore it shows misalignment of the target much better (to me with sufficient precision). Since your imaging train is not perfect, use a tilting adapter at the visual back and the screws of the hotech target plate holder to bring the crosses at the target plate into alignment. Try to do this such that the transmitted cross at the visual back is also centered as best as possible.

 

In contrast to the two reflected crosses at the target plate, the transmitted cross that can be seen behind the visual back must not be algned very precisely.

You can adjust for slight off centering of the visual back by moving the corrector plate once the secondary is inserted. 

 

After the alignment of the target and the tilt of the visual back, it is important to align the 3 dots at the visual back and the target plate, once the secondary is re-inserted. For this one has to center the corrector and to use the collimation screws at the secondary, and the tilting adapter at the visual back.

 

Moving the corrector mostly moves the dots at the visual back.

Tilting the visual back mostly moves the dots at the target plate.

 

Moving the secondary collimation screws moves both the dots at the visual back and the target plate.


Edited by Benni123456, 03 January 2021 - 03:29 PM.


#77 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 12:27 PM

Curtis:

 

Did you ever find an acceptable solution to aligning the centers of the OTA and target ?  

 

john

Nick -  I saw your PM and decided to respond here.  Short answer is that I had to set that aside before I got a setup I liked.  Your question has me thinking I should finish that project and this thread gives me some new ideas.  But here is where I left off.

 

My approach is similar to Laura's above using Al box tubing to position the Hotech plate at the correct distance and roughly centered on the OTA optical axis.  I first tried 1" Al tubing to keep the weight down, but that had too much wiggle with the weight of the Hotech plate.  1.5" wasn't enough either so I ended up with 2" Al box tubing which is plenty rigid.  I attached this to an ADM rail on the top of my OTA using long bolts and nylon spacers to roughly center the Hotech plate on the OTA optical axis.  The concern here is added flex but it seems rigid enough.

 

Next was the question of the distance from the front of the OTA.  As the Hotech instructions indicate and has been mentioned by Gary, the distance depends upon the aperture and focal length.  In my case I am using a C11 Edge.  Also as the instructions say, the further the distance the greater the accuracy so I was setting it up at ~36" from the front edge of the OTA metal tube.

 

The next issue was fine adjustment of the position of the Hotech plate relative to the OTA.  I started with one of the adjustable rails for side to side adjustment same as Rheinhold has in post 24.  But I found that I needed adjustment closer and further from the OTA as well and bought a second one of these.  One does not actually need this adjustment but if you want to line up the circular rings on the rings on the Hotech plate I think this is necessary.  Lining up on the rings on the Hotech plate makes it a lot easier to detect offsets and confirm final collimation.  That is where I had difficulties getting everything attached to the end of the Al tube.  I think the dual axis focusing rails that Sanjeev used is better than trying to combine two separate ones.  I may order one of those and give it a try.

 

 

That device will make operation a bit smoother. I used something similar when I tried to get rid of the tripod (sorry, image is a bit dark):

Laura - would you mind posting some pictures in daylight of your fixtures?  I realize that you may not have it set up on the scope, but that doesn't really matter.  Some close ups of the jigs would be especially useful.  And the whole apparatus even if it is not attached to the OTA.  I would like to see the jig you used to attach the Hotech fine adjuster before I order the focusing rails that Sanjeev used.

 

Hopefully I can finish this off and give you a proper answer.



#78 SanjeevJoshi

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 02:11 PM

In my case, I just parked the Hotech collimation project.   It is still intriguing and I plan to pick it up some day when I get an external focuser.   Until then, I don’t have the skills and perhaps the tools to use Hotech on my 8 inch systems.  I don’t do much planetary and recently my interests have shifted to EAA.  I feel I can get dangerously close with a Duncan mask plus Tribahtinov  mask plus airy disk stacking in Sharpcap with IR pass filter on a small pixel camera.

 

this is the one true drawback I feel about the Hotech.   It’s all or nothing.  There is not sufficient repeatability of intermediate grade results.   It works when you set up the components in a specific order, getting them perfect one by one.   If you can’t get a component perfect, there is no repeatability to the subsequent steps as I found.

 

Where as, all other methods get you closer and closer, and they are repeatable at any level of imprecision.



#79 LauraMS

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 05:36 PM

Hi Curtis,

 

here are some images by daylight as you requested. Sorry for the delay, i haven't been very active on CN recently.

 

The total setup (sorry for the colors which came from significant file compression):

 

LauraMS Hotech overall.jpg

 

The saddle plate mounting (as you requested in PM):

 

LauraMS Hotech Saddle.jpg

 

And here is the detail you are probably most interested:

 

Hotech descirption.jpg

 

The Hotch part uses a Newer four-way adjuster and an Andoerr quick release plate with Arca Swiss quick release plate to connect to the Hotech base plate. The quick release plate can be shifted and gives an additional degree of freedom to get everything on axis. This setup has - in total, including the Hotech adjuster - enough degrees of freedom to adjust accorindg to the whole procedure from the Hotech manual in such a way that I was able to get the Hotech on the optical axis of the OTA, and do all adjustments. I had to find out however, how to use which adjustment - this is different if the whole Hotech setup moves and rotates rather than when it is on a fixed tripod on the ground.

 

Everything is far from professional, it is made with minimal tools and without a workshop beeing available. I tried to buy as much prebuilt and put everything together. From the somewhat awkward design you can see that I struggled a bit before I got optimal centering of the OTA with the Hotech, and also with getting all distances and axes right.

 

Overall the setup is far from professional but much better than the tripod solution suggested by Hotech. And it is reasonably stable to work with it.

 

Hope this info is of some inspiration!

 

Best wishes,

Laura


Edited by LauraMS, 14 January 2021 - 05:38 PM.


#80 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:15 PM

Laura

 

Thank you very much for the added pictures.  They are very clear.

 

Looks like you used 2" Al square tubing. I started with 1" x 0.125" Al square tube but decided there was too much flex since I wanted to work at the distance of ~36" from the front of the OTA.  Next I tried 1.5" x 0.125" Al tube and, while this has less flex than the 1", it is also too heavy for my taste.  Finally, I settled on 2" x 0.625" Al tubing which is the same weight as the 1" x 0.125" but has 1/4 the deflection.  The 2" is surprisingly light and strong.

 

I tried using the single axis adjuster than David Ho suggested but I found I needed to make adjustments on a second axis as well.  So I tried two of these like Sanjeev but wasn't really happy with that approach.  Searching for a 2 axis adjuster I found the Neewer X-Y adjuster which is the same shown in your picture.   For anyone interested you can find the Neewer with quick releases here on Amazon.  It is a solid design without play and with very smooth adjustments.  Seems much better to me that combining the two single axis adjusters but a little bit heavier.

 

While trying to figure out the best way to mount the Neewer X-Y adjuster to the Al tube I noticed your picture and realized that my approach is almost identical to yours.  I decided to try mounting the Neewer with a small section of Al tube like you did as I think that will work best.  I just got the extra piece to do this today.  

 

If I have time I may be able to do the assembly this weekend and check the fit on my C11.  I will post pictures once I do.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#81 LauraMS

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 01:26 AM

Curtis,

 

one definitely needs the x- and y-adjustments of the Newer, and for those trying to rebuild this make sure you have sufficiently long travel otherwise getting the Hotech center and Ota optical axis aligned may get really hard. For mounting the Newer to the AL tube one needs rigidity - my solution appeard to me to be the most stable and simple one I could come up with. I think the AL tubing dimension was 30mm. Can't remember wall thickness but the shop only had one thickness anyway.

 

Hardest thing was to find long enough screws with proper threading to the Newer baseplate. Almost impossible here in Germany but Amazon was my friend .

 

Good luck for your setup! Just make sure you get the center laser of your Hotech aligned with the optical axis of the Ota. I struggled a bit with this, had to redo some milling before it fitted.

 

Looking forward to seeing your setup!

 

Laura


Edited by LauraMS, 15 January 2021 - 01:28 AM.


#82 ncwolfie

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Posted 30 August 2021 - 01:59 PM

Some welcome tips in this thread, but I'm seeking some additional advice.

So like most here I have read all the info and watched every video I could get my hands on before receiving my Hotech Collimator for the Edge HD14 with Hyperstar. Prepared myself to have a battle achieving co-alignment. I spent most of the day doing just that. Pretty frustrating with a tripod so the jig looks interesting. I am trying to determine my next step here. As you can see in the two attached images, I think I had a good co-alignment.

I collimated the hyperstar with the laser dots being on the same ring of the target plate. However when I look back at the target cap on the hyperstar, the laser cross hairs are off center. I would have thought this would be centered once collimated. Trying to understand what I need to do here. I would also add that even after co-aligning about 5 times, the collimation always seemed to be off every time which doesn't seem right. I suspect I am now farther out of collimation than when I started. Seems I need to sort out the issue with the target cap not being centered with the laser first?

 

Thanks

Randy

 

hotech1
hotech2

 



#83 Alfredo Beltran

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Posted 30 August 2021 - 06:49 PM

Hi Randy

 

After a few times working with the Hotech advanced laser collimator I found that perhaps the most key aspect is to have the focuser aligned in the back.

 

I don’t have a Crayford for my C9.25 EdgeHD but, instead, the visual back that came with the telescope, so I had to align it by changing the pressure of its bolts over the reflector mirror in the back (1.25”). Worked very well.

 

Once you have it properly aligned, with the cross in the middle (secondary mirror not on the telescope as in 5:07 in the video), the other steps are straight forward and I could achieve proper collimation.

Regards,

 

Alfredo



#84 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 30 August 2021 - 07:08 PM

I think the idea is to collimate your sct to the nth degree under the stars, THEN use the Hotech!



#85 Noah4x4

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 01:26 AM

I think the idea is to collimate your sct to the nth degree under the stars, THEN use the Hotech!


What? Simply to check your traditional collimation is correct? I can agree with that!

I wasted half a year trying to use the Hotech to centre the dots etc, and concluded that the alignment of my primary mirror, corrector plate, Fastar secondary mirror holder (therefore and/or secondary mirror or Hyperstar) was so inaccurate when originally received from Celestron I was never going to fix this using DIY. It didnt help that my Fastar holder had come loose and rotated when I tightened it from the outside. Hence, I twice drove a round trip of 600 miles to high quality telescope manufacturers Orion Optics UK near Stoke on Trent, England. For £120, they serviced my OTA, refitted my Fastar holder adding a rubber gasket I had obtained from Starizona (a wise precaution!). Then "factory realigned" and collimated my 8" SCT, all for £120. They will service any make of OTA and prices are on their website (Aperture dependent).
.

I then used the Hotech Advanced Collimator to check that with Hyperstar fully screwed down FLUSH (as suggested by Dean at Starizona) it was fine, and seperately with secondary mirror, and it confirmed collimation was as close as its wobbly, shaking target on tripod and the human eye is likely to judge. Yes, I do think you need a more stable "jig" to succeed. Crudely moving a tripod is VERY difficult. I then packed away the Hotech having simply used it as a confirmation and have never used it again in the year+ since.

My conclusion is it is a pile of junk if your OTA originally arrives from the factory with problems and you need to re-seat (say) your corrector plate. Frankly, you need a star or artificial star at least 50M distant. I would never have succeeded DIY, so thanks OODUK. Best £120 I have spent (probably double that with fuel). Traditional collimation has since been easy using the regular three Allen keys bolts that OODUK inserted to replace the original Phillips screws. I regret ever buying loose, wobbly, Bob's Knobs! Allen Key bolts are so much more precise.

My twice only used (e.g., effectively) Hotech Advanced Collimator has been useful to check an ORIGINAL factory set OTA was pants, and was then good to confirm that a professional had remedied it (but from my imaging the improved results were obvious!), but it proved useless as a DIY tool as remedying my OTA (corrector plate etc) was far beyond my skills. It now just sits there in its box, ready to check the factory alignment of my next OTA purchase (if ever). It will certainly prove the old saying, you can't make a silk purse from a pigs ear. If your factory calibrated OTA is wildly out on delivery, DIY will be near impossible. If your corrector plate and secondary mirror holder are properly (factory) aligned then tradition collimation is easy (with Allen bolts). Then a FLUSH Hyperstar works out if the box.

Edited by Noah4x4, 31 August 2021 - 01:37 AM.

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#86 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 04:08 AM

I have also been in contact with Orion Optics UK over SCT servicing  smiley-char145.gif   very reasonable pricing in my opinion PLUS they have the experience and equipment to get the best out of it.

 

I too have tried the hotech mounted on a tripod and it was worse than useless.

 

Taken years of frustration, post that debacle, to get it pretty much spot on after both severe maladjustment and severe lack of knowledge.

 

Which is why I recommend

 

51YStsqzh La
 
to everyone!!
 
Knowledge is King.


#87 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 04:22 AM

I personally noted that it helps aligning the centers of the ota and target if I remove the secondary and bring the crosses at the visual back and the 2 reflected crosses at the target into alignment.

 

Without removing the secondary, i found that with just one cross at the target, it would be too imprecise to align the system.

 

It is not sufficient to just align the target to the primary. The visual back also has to look into the same direction as the primary . And because of the size of the laser reflections and their short lightpath, using just the reflections of the primary would be a bit imprecise for aligning the target plate..

 

Fortunately, after you have removed the secondary, the cross that is reflected from the visual back to the target has a longer light path and therefore it shows misalignment of the target much better (to me with sufficient precision). Since your imaging train is not perfect, use a tilting adapter at the visual back and the screws of the hotech target plate holder to bring the crosses at the target plate into alignment. Try to do this such that the transmitted cross at the visual back is also centered as best as possible.

 

In contrast to the two reflected crosses at the target plate, the transmitted cross that can be seen behind the visual back must not be algned very precisely.

You can adjust for slight off centering of the visual back by moving the corrector plate once the secondary is inserted. 

 

After the alignment of the target and the tilt of the visual back, it is important to align the 3 dots at the visual back and the target plate, once the secondary is re-inserted. For this one has to center the corrector and to use the collimation screws at the secondary, and the tilting adapter at the visual back.

 

Moving the corrector mostly moves the dots at the visual back.

Tilting the visual back mostly moves the dots at the target plate.

 

Moving the secondary collimation screws moves both the dots at the visual back and the target plate.

Interesting Benni thanks for posting.

 

How does it check that the visual back is correctly mechanically aligned?



#88 scoale

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 03:38 PM

Newbie here.

 

Do I correctly interpret that I cannot get a precise collimation on an EDGE  SCT w/ a diagonal and focal reducer without going through the expense and tribulation of using a Hotech Laser Collimator?



#89 Noah4x4

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 05:03 PM

Newbie here.
 
Do I correctly interpret that I cannot get a precise collimation on an EDGE  SCT w/ a diagonal and focal reducer without going through the expense and tribulation of using a Hotech Laser Collimator?


No. It is a tool that (IMHO) only works well if your OTA is (already) precisely adjusted (e.g., Corrector Plate factory accurately aligned, Secondary Mirror centred). If not, it will drive you nuts. But if your OTA is well set up, then collimation using a star is easy, and made easier if your Phillips bolts have been replaced by Allen Key bolts. It ìs good for checking all optics, but if the OTA isn't sound, then it probably needs a factory recalibration. Collimation us the final (and easy) last step.

#90 choward94002

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 05:06 PM

Newbie here.

 

Do I correctly interpret that I cannot get a precise collimation on an EDGE  SCT w/ a diagonal and focal reducer without going through the expense and tribulation of using a Hotech Laser Collimator?

First, you should not be doing any collimation with a diagonal, a focal reducer or anything going into the focuser than the collimation tool (and if you can use just the visual back you're even better off)

 

Second, the Hotech (which I have two of and use them constantly) is a very high precision tool ... you're essentially asking ".. can I get a precise fit of parts without the expense and tribulation of using a micrometer?" and the answer is yes, you absolutely can get a precise fit of parts without using a micrometer ... it just takes a lot of patience to do so.  Same with a Hotech; it takes time to set up (and that includes the mount for the OTA, I have a repurposed engine stand that I mounted a saddle on for that purpose) and time to calibrate (I recalibrate my Hotech every year or so) as well as time to set up the target (I use a micrometer X-Y-Z optical mount mounted onto a jig similar to post #79) ... 

 

But once that's all done then the Hotech will let you get your optical train dead on, which will let you take pictures of dots and not dust bunnies ...


Edited by choward94002, 01 September 2021 - 09:49 AM.

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#91 ncwolfie

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 09:41 AM

So my question was (and remember I am using a hypersta with a zwo camera in place of the secondary, so no focusing tube required as visual back doesn't come into play),  in the second image I attached, the center laser crosshair is off in the target cap. Is this an indication that the corrector plate needs to be centered even thought the other image shows the mirror as collimated?

 

Thanks

Randy



#92 choward94002

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 09:54 AM

From your second photo you are indeed off center ... I would first ensure that your HyperStar is centered on the corrector plate by using a micrometer to measure from the sides and adjust the shims on the sides of the tubes accordingly (and you may have already done that)

 

Next, there might be some mirror flop happening there since your OTA is lying on it's side, which unless you're imaging your neighbor's tree isn't the way you're going to use it in the field.  Post #79 has a good jig that's similar to what I use, more importantly it lets you collimate as you'll use the OTA which for me is about 20deg off of vertical.  Using the focuser as "North" see what it looks like with the OTA oriented with "North" down, then "South", then "East", then "West".  What you're trying to do is to determine if there is some baffle tube play that is letting the primary mirror tilt; not by much, but this is a game of microns.  Mirror flop is a big enough issue throwing off collimation for me that I mark the tubes with the vertical aspect of the collimation and will only image on that side of the meridian

 

Once you've done those two things then hopefully you've got more info and it's time to start adjusting the HyperStar tilt assembly to get the crosshairs centered; once that's done then follow the rest of the collimation procedure and you're ready for some tilt adjustments with CCD Inspector ...


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#93 ncwolfie

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 11:48 AM

From your second photo you are indeed off center ... I would first ensure that your HyperStar is centered on the corrector plate by using a micrometer to measure from the sides and adjust the shims on the sides of the tubes accordingly (and you may have already done that)

 

Next, there might be some mirror flop happening there since your OTA is lying on it's side, which unless you're imaging your neighbor's tree isn't the way you're going to use it in the field.  Post #79 has a good jig that's similar to what I use, more importantly it lets you collimate as you'll use the OTA which for me is about 20deg off of vertical.  Using the focuser as "North" see what it looks like with the OTA oriented with "North" down, then "South", then "East", then "West".  What you're trying to do is to determine if there is some baffle tube play that is letting the primary mirror tilt; not by much, but this is a game of microns.  Mirror flop is a big enough issue throwing off collimation for me that I mark the tubes with the vertical aspect of the collimation and will only image on that side of the meridian

 

Once you've done those two things then hopefully you've got more info and it's time to start adjusting the HyperStar tilt assembly to get the crosshairs centered; once that's done then follow the rest of the collimation procedure and you're ready for some tilt adjustments with CCD Inspector ...

Thank you for that info. That confirms much of what I was unsure of.

 

Thanks

Randy



#94 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 12:53 PM

Newbie here.

 

Do I correctly interpret that I cannot get a precise collimation on an EDGE  SCT w/ a diagonal and focal reducer without going through the expense and tribulation of using a Hotech Laser Collimator?

Apologies scoale if I misled you with my sarcasm.



#95 Noah4x4

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 12:23 AM

Adjusting corrector plate (etc) requires expert (factory) precision. DIY is obviously (in theory) possible, but you could make it worse. If the Hotech has confirmed a problem with your light path, I suggest you seek help under warranty, or if not under warranty, from a Celestron authorised repairer. The latter might be a bit difficult if in the UK (is David Hines still trading?), but Orion Optics UK offer an independent service for any make of telescope. When my OTA came back from OOUK, it was in awesome condition and my imaging improved. Don't risk DIY unless certain you know what you are doing. In the USA, you do have a return directly to Celestron option. Did you keep your shipping packaging? .

Edited by Noah4x4, 02 September 2021 - 12:25 AM.


#96 ncwolfie

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 02:35 PM

Constructed a jig almost identical to LauraMS's design above. Not having much luck so far. Will be fine tuning it and if that doesn't work, I'll try something detachable from my roll off roof or a wall. A tripod just isn't going to cut it on a wooden floor. Honestly I'm not real impressed with Hotech.

 

Randy




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