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What is your quick set up?

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#1 wxcloud


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Posted 25 May 2020 - 09:53 PM

So, having one of those nights where I would like to do some imaging, I just don't really want to go through the routine and haul out the main large rig, the computer, mount, a bunch of wires and so forth and hope things actually work. Ever have those nights?

Also not helping I'm a bit on the long end on the focal length side (one reason I'm looking for a shorter apo triplet).

Do you have a smaller set up for the nights you don't want to drag your main rig out? I do have a modified DSLR and star adventurer, but need better tripod for it. Might give it another whirl tonight. Bit of a bummer too, probably last clear ish night before the moon starts to get really bright.

#2 sunnyday



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Posted 25 May 2020 - 10:18 PM

my equipment grab n go 1.
mount versago 3 and a telescope of my signature.
if it's worth taking out my cg-4 and one of my telescope from my signature.

#3 jerahian



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Posted 25 May 2020 - 10:34 PM

On nights like the one you are describing, you just have to stop thinking about all the reasons why you shouldn't "go through the routine" and just do it.  Seriously, just get up as if someone else is forcing you to do so, and go start your routine.


That said, if you don't make it easy for the scopes you have, you'll hardly ever use them.  Having gone through this myself, I minimized my setup to hauling only 4 items, regardless of which scope I plan to use:

  1. Mount with tripod (I leave these connected all the time)
  2. Counterweights
  3. Mini-table with my electronics "box" and imaging computer
  4. OTA (includes imaging train already connected)

It's always these 4 items in this order.  The biggest time savings was building the electronics "box" (e-box).  This is a cheap plastic ammo box from Harbor Freight Tools.  I cut out a few notches on the inside lip to have my cables run out without getting pinched.  Inside the box, I have my power strip, AF controller, StarTech 4-port USB hub, wifi access point, and a couple of cigarette lighter adapters.  I have 1 power cable to my power strip to plugin to my extension cord to bring everything to life.  Four cables come out of my box to my scope:

  • USB 3 for my camera (from the hub)
  • Power for my ZWO cooled camera
  • Power for my dew heater
  • Serial cable for my focuser (from the controller)

I have 3 others cables coming out the other side of my e-box for my imaging PC (which does not attach to my mount or scope).  These are:

  • Power for my PC
  • Ethernet cable to my PC
  • USB to my PC (from the hub)

I can go from "decision to image" to walking back in to fire up the software remotely in about 20 minutes.  I may have to go out and adjust my polar alignment, but this is largely mitigated by the fact I have staked 3x 18" bolts into my yard with capped nuts on which my tripod legs sit.  It gets me to at least "Good" polar alignment (as determined by Sharpcap) without actually having to polar align.  I used to PA every time, but since it was always at least good, I stopped bothering with it.  Every once in a while, I check to make sure all is still OK since the ground shifts between frosts.


I don't use a Pegasus power box or an ASIAir type computer on my scope, as these would require me to have a different power box and computer for each scope.  Since I have one imaging PC, my routine is almost exactly the same for all my scopes.  The only thing redundant on my scopes is the dew heater controller and straps.


So, to answer your question, I have made all of mine "quick setups" :)



#4 Alex McConahay

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 12:28 AM

If you are talking about travelling, yeah, my travelling rig is  a  lot smaller and lighter than my other rigs. Just fits in the truck or  RV better. 


If you are talking about imaging in your backyard,a key is to somehow set up and just keep it set up. You don't need an observatory to do this. A pier is nice. Cover it with a storm cover, a roling outhouse, or whatever. Or, put your complete setup on a rolling platform that can be repositioned from the garage to the observing area easily. Mark the ground where the tripod needs to be to facilitate polar alignment. 


And modularize things. For instance, you should not have lots of wires and cables. YOu should have one or two,  bundles of wires and cables. They connect and disconnect to their various devices and ports, and then stay together in one bundle. Another example,  your camera, OAG, and even the tube can be packed together so they need not be assembled. 


Really, there is a difference in the weight of things and their portability. But it takes just about as long to plug your big rig together as it does a small one.So, the idea is to think throught the routines and such to minimize the hassle. 



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#5 Ballyhoo


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Posted 26 May 2020 - 01:18 AM

Eaa may be the option for quick setup. But ir takes me 45 minutes w my newer mono rig and that includes taking flats, calibration of Phd2, PA, focus, which is all subsequent to physical setup. Every one has different tolerance for time expenditures. But I don't mind setting up, it's part of it.

#6 dan_hm


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Posted 26 May 2020 - 11:45 AM

I have my whole rig set up on top of a dolly, stored in my garage. Although I have a 365 cover I'm not comfortable leaving the rig outside all the time. When I want to image I remove the OTA (camera, filter wheel, etc. all attached) and roll the mount into the backyard, remove the tripod from the dolly, and reattach the OTA. It doesn't take long to set up from that point. Maybe 15 minutes at most. It's still somewhat of a pain as the mount is a CGEM and quite heavy, but this will soon not be a problem as I've bought an Avalon M-Zero. I expect this process to be even easier once I have the M-Zero set up.


As Alex said, cable management is really key. You should not have to reconnect more than 2 or 3 cables every time you set up. That's why I have almost everything I need attached to the top of a long Losmandy dovetail on top of my refractor. Anderson power poles will help with this a lot, if you don't use them already.

#7 the Elf

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 12:51 PM

Setting up my full rig takes less then 30 minutes including the first sub. This is virtually real time:


Not using the auto guider would save another 5 minutes and works for 1 min shots with the refractor shown. If 25 minutes is still to much you can keep the mount outside with a weather proof cover provided it is not stolen. Many do. Hard ground provided you can start from a parking position and skip star alignment.


If I have one of these nights I grab my binos, watch the stars for a while and go back in.

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