Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

StarSense Dock

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 lsintampa

lsintampa

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2019
  • Loc: Tampa, Fl

Posted 24 October 2020 - 02:23 PM

Has anyone removed the Celestron StarSense Dock and had any success mounting it onto another telescope?

 

I have the 114mm StarSense and the push to works ok, but the scope is a joke.  Was wondering if it would be possible to remove the dock and use it on my 150 Mak or some other decent scope.

 

 



#2 junomike

junomike

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 20,122
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Ontario

Posted 24 October 2020 - 02:37 PM

If possible it wouldn't be easy as the smaller Starsense Explorer OTA's have the mounting affixed to the OTA.

The larger Starsense Explorers look to have it attached to the Mount and the Saddle is a standard vixen which should hold any compatible OTA



#3 spereira

spereira

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4,158
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 24 October 2020 - 04:01 PM

Moving to Celestron Computerized Telescopes.

 

smp



#4 lsintampa

lsintampa

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2019
  • Loc: Tampa, Fl

Posted 25 October 2020 - 10:38 AM

If possible it wouldn't be easy as the smaller Starsense Explorer OTA's have the mounting affixed to the OTA.

The larger Starsense Explorers look to have it attached to the Mount and the Saddle is a standard vixen which should hold any compatible OTA

 

Exactly, that's what I'm asking.  Has anyone done this, remove from OTA and put dock onto another OTA???



#5 Second Time Around

Second Time Around

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 385
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2019
  • Loc: Rural Kent, UK

Posted 25 October 2020 - 03:14 PM

Yes, several of us have here in the UK.  But here's a bit of background first.

 

Two of my grandkids have just got hooked on astronomy so I've just bought them a telescope.  They live under light pollution in London where there are few naked eye stars, so a Starsense Explorer was an ideal choice.  Additionally, their father has got to carry the scope a fair way up the hill to an open space as their garden is almost surrounded by high trees.  Light weight is therefore important, so the obvious choice was the 70mm refractor.  The eyepieces and diagonal are very basic so I've upgraded these.

 

I tried the scope out myself here in the country and was extremely impressed indeed with the technology.  So much so in fact that I've bought myself the same scope just to get the Starsense Explorer.  The idea was to adapt it to my own scopes - a refractor and two Dobs - and to be able to swap between them using finder shoes.

 

The biggest problem I have is that my hands don't work properly, and so fabricating any parts is a non-starter.  I therefore needed to construct something that needed no more than a screwdriver or a hex key.

 

The trick is to connect the Starsense Explorer to a dovetail with a slot(s) rather than just holes.  The slot means that a screw can be used almost anywhere rather than just at a fixed position(s).  This is important as it seems as if Celestron is using an unnecessarily complex mount for the Starsense Explorer that I can only guess was done to make it as difficult as possible to use on other scopes!

 

Luckily, I'd already sourced such slotted dovetails and used them for finders made out of camera lenses that needed different and varying gaps between the two finder rings.  These slotted dovetails to fit standard Synta finder shoes were almost impossible to find.  However, after much searching worldwide I finally located just one model on an AliExpress store.  The store is called StarPal and the item goes by the long title of "StarPal mini small dovetail plate for guider scope finder bracket tail plate dovetail star pen standard plate"!  These dovetails are available in several sizes (called colors!), and I'd already bought 3 in the 100mm size and 1 in the 40mm size. 

 

I then saw John Inderby's excellent idea on Stargazer's Lounge of incorporating a mini ballhead so that the Starsense Explorer is always upright - thanks John!  So I duly bought the same one from Amazon (Andoer Camera Monitor Holder Mini Ball Head with Cold Shoe Adapter for LED Video Light Monitor).  It's tiny, and as John said this model is preferable as it locks tightly with the supplied hex key. 

 

This ball head isn't needed though if your finder shoe is at the top of the tube, as it can be on my rotating tube Dobs.  However one then loses the option of the tube rotation.  Also neither finder shoes on my refractor are at the top of the tube, so the ball head is needed anyway for this scope.  So I incorporated John's mini ball head into my own design.

 

John fabricated a part to fit the ball head to the Starsense Explorer.  As I mentioned earlier though my hands won't allow me to do this.   However, incorporating a second StarPal slotted dovetail solved that problem nicely.

 

The complete arrangement is dead easy to make and seems to work very well on both my Dobs and my refractor.  I did a field test a few nights ago and it works brilliantly.  Every object I looked at was in the 1.2 degree FOV of a 7-21 zoom eyepiece.

 

 

StarPal 100mm slotted dovetail with screw Cloudy Nights.jpg

 

 

Starsense Explorer on Dob.jpg

 

 

Starsense Explorer on refractor.jpg

 

 

I'm going to be keeping the 70mm refractor as on its mount it weighs just 7lbs, and there are some nights when my disability means that I can't lift anything heavier.  So it'll mean more nights I'm able to observe.

 

I'd like to record my thanks to Celestron for coming up with Starsense Explorer.  The idea is brilliant, and the software has been very well thought out.  Many beginners drop out of astronomy because of the frustration of finding objects.  Starsense Explorer makes this extremely easy and at low cost.

 

The only downside is that the deep sky catalog is limited to just Messier and Caldwell objects, that even beginners will soon exhaust.  Celestron could make some extra profit here by offering upgrades, especially as I gather the software is linked to the basic version of Sky Safari that has 2 more expensive versions available.

 

 


Edited by Second Time Around, 26 October 2020 - 08:50 AM.


#6 lsintampa

lsintampa

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2019
  • Loc: Tampa, Fl

Posted 25 October 2020 - 03:43 PM

Yes, several of us have here in the UK.  But here's a bit of background first.

 

Two of my grandkids have just got hooked on astronomy so I've just bought them a telescope.  They live under light pollution in London where there are few naked eye stars, so a Starsense Explorer was an ideal choice.  Additionally, their father has got to carry the scope a fair way up the hill to an open space as their garden is almost surrounded by high trees.  Light weight is therefore important, so the obvious choice was the 70mm refractor.  The eyepieces and diagonal are very basic so I've upgraded these.

 

I tried the scope out myself here in the country and was extremely impressed indeed with the technology.  So much so in fact that I've bought myself the same scope just to get the Starsense Explorer.  The idea was to adapt it to my own scopes - a refractor and two Dobs - and to be able to swap between them using finder shoes.

 

The biggest problem I have is that my hands don't work properly, and so fabricating any parts is a non-starter.  I therefore needed to construct something that needed no more than a screwdriver or a hex key.

 

The key is to connect the Starsense Explorer to a dovetail with a slot(s) rather than just holes.  The slot means that a screw can be used almost anywhere rather than just at a fixed position(s).  This is important as it seems as if Celestron is using an unnecessarily complex mount for the Starsense Explorer that I can only guess was done to make it as difficult as possible to use on other scopes!

 

Luckily, I'd already sourced such slotted dovetails and used them for finders made out of camera lenses that needed different and varying gaps between the two finder rings.  These slotted dovetails to fit standard Synta finder shoes were almost impossible to find.  However, after much searching worldwide I finally located just one model on an AliExpress store.  The store is called StarPal and the item goes by the long title of "StarPal mini small dovetail plate for guider scope finder bracket tail plate dovetail star pen standard plate"!  These dovetails are available in several sizes (called colors!), and I'd already bought 3 in the 100mm size and 1 in the 40mm size. 

 

I then saw John Inderby's excellent idea on Stargazer's Lounge of incorporating a mini ballhead so that the Starsense Explorer is always upright - thanks John!  So I duly bought the same one from Amazon (Andoer Camera Monitor Holder Mini Ball Head with Cold Shoe Adapter for LED Video Light Monitor).  It's tiny, and as John said this model is preferable as it locks tightly with the supplied hex key. 

 

This ball head isn't needed though if your finder shoe is at the top of the tube, as it can be on my rotating tube Dobs.  However one then loses the option of the tube rotation.  Also neither finder shoes on my refractor are at the top of the tube, so the ball head is needed anyway for this scope.  So I incorporated John's mini ball head into my own design.

 

John fabricated a part to fit the ball head to the Starsense Explorer.  As I mentioned earlier though my hands won't allow me to do this.   However, incorporating a second StarPal slotted dovetail solved that problem nicely.

 

The complete arrangement is dead easy to make and seems to work very well on both my Dobs and my refractor.  I did a field test a few nights ago and it works brilliantly.  Every object I looked at was in the 1.2 degree FOV of a 7-21 zoom eyepiece.

 

 

attachicon.gifStarPal 100mm slotted dovetail with screw Cloudy Nights.jpg

 

 

attachicon.gifStarsense Explorer on Dob.jpg

 

 

attachicon.gifStarsense Explorer on refractor.jpg

 

 

I'm going to be keeping the 70mm refractor as on its mount it weighs just 7lbs, and there are some nights when my disability means that I can't lift anything heavier.  So it'll mean more nights I'm able to observe.

 

I'd like to record my thanks to Celestron for coming up with Starsense Explorer.  The idea is brilliant, and the software has been very well thought out.  Many beginners drop out of astronomy because of the frustration of finding objects.  Starsense Explorer makes this extremely easy and at low cost.

 

The only downside is that the deep sky catalog is limited to just Messier and Caldwell objects, that even beginners will soon exhaust.  Celestron could make some extra profit here by offering upgrades, especially as I gather the software is linked to the basic version of Sky Safari that has 2 more expensive versions available.

OK, thanks.

 

I think I follow but I don't understand how the dock is attached to the dovetail?  It is plastic and sort of an odd shape on the end that slides into the base on the celestron telescope.  How does that connect to a dovetail?

 

Appreciate the input!  Good stuff. 

 

Exactly why I bought one.  I want to migrate the technology to other scopes. 



#7 Second Time Around

Second Time Around

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 385
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2019
  • Loc: Rural Kent, UK

Posted 26 October 2020 - 07:32 AM

OK, thanks.

 

I think I follow but I don't understand how the dock is attached to the dovetail?  It is plastic and sort of an odd shape on the end that slides into the base on the celestron telescope.  How does that connect to a dovetail?

 

Appreciate the input!  Good stuff. 

 

Exactly why I bought one.  I want to migrate the technology to other scopes. 

 

1) The dock mount comes attached to the telescope tube and is in 2 pieces that need to be separated.  This can be done only by taking it off the tube.  The lower part can then be reattached to the tube.

 

2) On the underside of the top part of the disassembled dock mount you'll see 3 holes as in the left hand picture below.   The slotted dovetail is then screwed into the large lower hole.  This is deeply countersunk so you'll need a long bolt plus a nut and washer.

 

3) The mini ball head is then attached to the middle threaded hole on the dovetail.  These have the same thread.

 

4) The second slotted dovetail is then attached to the mini ball head as seen in the middle lower part of the photo.

 

I've read conflicting comments on whether the phone has to be level for the Starsense Explorer to work.  If it doesn't the ball head may not be needed.  However, it does make it easier to use in practice and so mine is staying.

 

Starsense Explorer assembly.jpg


Edited by Second Time Around, 26 October 2020 - 08:55 AM.

  • lsintampa likes this

#8 lsintampa

lsintampa

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2019
  • Loc: Tampa, Fl

Posted 26 October 2020 - 08:00 AM

Thanks Ranger, that addressed my question exactly.

 

Not sure the phone needs to be level as it really isn't level when mounted on the scope it came with and I don't recall anything about leveling the phone in the manual..   

 

I would think though that it must be aligned with the scopes axis though.

 

Thanks for this.  Good stuff.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics