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Hubble Optics 14 inch Dobsonian - Part 2: The SiTech GoTo system

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#1 Chris Westland

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 11:21 AM

This is the second in the set of reviews about my Hubble Optics 14” Dobsonian, where I relate the performance of the installed GoTo system. I completed adding the Hubble Optics / SiTech GoTo system to my Hubble Optics 14” f/4.6 dob, but did encounter a bit of a learning curve on this, one which I’d like to share with anyone planning on upgrading any Dob to full GoTo.

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#2 Bill Geertsen

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 08:15 PM

Great review!

I have an almost identical ystem on a smaller scale. SiTech GoTo system driving a Losmandy AZ8 altazimuth mount (belt drive). The planetarium software is Cartes Du Ciel (the price was right). When I turn it on, everything works.  

 

BG


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#3 Ron359

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Posted 04 February 2022 - 07:38 PM

Nice write-up and for me, update on SiTech drive system and the various planetarium programs.   I used Sitech system on my observatories, ATM GEM for a few years.   When I originally decided to buy it,  Sky Safari for Mac OS was 'advertised' as working with SiTech.   I also tried Starry Night Pro 6 (the v. at the time).   SNP6 would never connect, and Sky Safari drove the RA backwards!   It took 2 years of 'bugging' SS creators to even acknowledge it was a real problem.  Turned out HO had the same problem apparently.  They were involved in attempted 'fix.'  But it never happened.  I went to using The Sky 6 on an old PC and it worked fine with the SiTech system.  So its interesting to read it no longer works with SiTech system.  I wonder how it could not work now, since its been unsupported and unchanged, and unavailable for many years from Software Bisque.  

 

 I wondered if HO ever got their same problems solved with Sky Safari. I guess not, since its not in your compatible list.   After several years of use,  I had problems with the mount drives and decided after a couple decades it was time to upgrade to modern drives and controls.  I'm now using Kstars to run my 'new' mount drives and it has many many more capabilities than SiTech and is compatible across all platforms, including Mac OS,  not to mention, free and has its own planetarium program 'built in'.  SiTech is still a great option for any ATM built or modified vintage mount, Alt, Az or GEM.


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#4 Chris Westland

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Posted 06 February 2022 - 02:56 PM

Ron359, great suggestions!  I wasn't aware of Kstars, but I see it works on Linux (Ubuntu is my main platform).   I have tried to stick to ASCOM drivers, Windows software that can use them, and Cartes Du Ciel which is both free and seems bulletproof, but I need to give Kstars a try on Windows. 



#5 Ron359

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Posted 06 February 2022 - 07:27 PM

Ron359, great suggestions!  I wasn't aware of Kstars, but I see it works on Linux (Ubuntu is my main platform).   I have tried to stick to ASCOM drivers, Windows software that can use them, and Cartes Du Ciel which is both free and seems bulletproof, but I need to give Kstars a try on Windows. 

Thanks..  If it wasn't clear I'm now using an Orion version of the EQ-8 mount, so it uses Synscan mount drivers, EQMOD on the Mac Kstars version.   

 

For Win.,  Since INDI-EKOS are not Win native, I think you need to run it through either a Stellarmate or a Raspberry Pi and the Stellarmate OS.  It should all work fine on Linux.   I don't know if the motor drivers in the EKOS-INDI parts work with  SiTech servo motors.  Worth checking out though.   Indilib.org is the Indi support site along with 'community' forum for posting questions, etc.  


Edited by Ron359, 06 February 2022 - 07:28 PM.

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#6 Bob S.

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Posted 06 February 2022 - 08:59 PM

Since Gary Myers of StellarCAT has announced to some folks that he will no longer be supplying new systems going forward, SiTech has been around for quite some time and will offer some telescope makers a workable solution for new GOTO systems. I had an opportunity many years ago to hang out one night with Dan Gray, the inventor of the system along with Tom Osypowski of Equatorial Platforms fame and Howard Banich (a super creative scope designer and hardcore astronomer) at the GSSP and was amazed at how fast and precise Dan's very large and interesting looking scope would move with his drive system. Thanks to the OP for this recent update. It comes at a very important time for folks looking for drive solutions for their telescopes.


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#7 Ron359

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Posted 06 February 2022 - 10:06 PM

Since Gary Myers of StellarCAT has announced to some folks that he will no longer be supplying new systems going forward, SiTech has been around for quite some time and will offer some telescope makers a workable solution for new GOTO systems. I had an opportunity many years ago to hang out one night with Dan Gray, the inventor of the system along with Tom Osypowski of Equatorial Platforms fame and Howard Banich (a super creative scope designer and hardcore astronomer) at the GSSP and was amazed at how fast and precise Dan's very large and interesting looking scope would move with his drive system. Thanks to the OP for this recent update. It comes at a very important time for folks looking for drive solutions for their telescopes.

I agree...  I've always wondered why SiTech gets so little notice in CNs ATM or mount users.  I found barely a mention over the years.  


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#8 Chris Westland

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Posted 07 February 2022 - 03:14 PM

Since INDI-EKOS are not Win native, I think you need to run it through either a Stellarmate or a Raspberry Pi and the Stellarmate OS.  It should all work fine on Linux.   I don't know if the motor drivers in the EKOS-INDI parts work with  SiTech servo motors.  Worth checking out though.   Indilib.org is the Indi support site along with 'community' forum for posting questions, etc.  

I've looked into the INDI drivers, as well as the Linux version of Carte du Ciel.   I think there is something there, but I feel more secure with the Win-ASCOM ecosystem, which is more developed, and the one the SiTech people use.  I think my next step would be to learn to program ASCOM drivers, whic the ASCOM site promises is easy, but some of the CN forum discussions suggest is tricky.   I'm comfortable with programming, but not so much with hardware interfaces which are a pandora's box of trials. 


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#9 Chris Westland

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Posted 07 February 2022 - 03:17 PM

Since Gary Myers of StellarCAT has announced to some folks that he will no longer be supplying new systems going forward, SiTech has been around for quite some time and will offer some telescope makers a workable solution for new GOTO systems. I had an opportunity many years ago to hang out one night with Dan Gray, the inventor of the system along with Tom Osypowski of Equatorial Platforms fame and Howard Banich (a super creative scope designer and hardcore astronomer) at the GSSP and was amazed at how fast and precise Dan's very large and interesting looking scope would move with his drive system. Thanks to the OP for this recent update. It comes at a very important time for folks looking for drive solutions for their telescopes.

I didn't realize that StellarCAT's days may be limited.  But I think Dan Gray is a great guy (I've only talked to him on the telephone, but he is generous with his time and knowledge) and I think he has the more extensive and developed ecosystem.   I I will vouch for the speed of slewing / tracking.  This thing can be made to go fast (at least with the motors HO provided).



#10 sam9148

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Posted 08 February 2022 - 12:09 PM

Great review Criss

I have been using Sitech controller for many years, with Pittman motors gm8224 series ,which I also bought from Siderial Technology(Sitech producer).

I can attest that this system works flawlessly. 

As far as I know,these motors are no longer produced.

I wonder what kind of motors and gear you are using in your system ?

Thanks

Sam 


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#11 Chris Westland

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Posted 09 February 2022 - 01:27 PM

I wonder what kind of motors and gear you are using in your system ?

Thanks

Sam 

I'll take a look and let you know next time I'm in Phoenix.  I believe these are exactly the same as the ServoCat motors.



#12 mpupeza

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Posted 23 February 2022 - 04:56 PM

While my 10" dob has a much simpler system, be aware that NO COMPUTER is actually needed to run the Telescope. An Argo Navis or Sky Commander handheld, or mounted, Digital Setting Circles unit interfaces to the SciTech Controller if desired. I have been using an Argo Navis for many years with my Servo 1 Controller and it works great, making a very compact stand alone system. I offer this info in  case some were unaware of this capability. Some pictures have been posted on the SciTech site from Winter Star Parties of a few years ago.

<https://groups.io/g/...lbum?id=100077>

Mike Pupeza.....>


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#13 gdjsky01

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 08:28 PM

Great read!

 

You said the ServoCat is closed loop... I thought that means when you move the scope manually it still knows its position. I know on the UC-22, when not mechanically failing, the servocat loses its alignment if unclutched. 

 

 

IMO experience with a UC-22, Obsession's quality control is terrible. Sure, they assemble the drive. One that then does not work. I could have done that! laugh.gif And their follow up was even worse, as in none. Should have gotten a 20 classic like you. 

 

Again thanks for the great readr


Edited by gdjsky01, 10 May 2022 - 08:28 PM.

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#14 Chris Westland

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Posted 20 June 2022 - 12:28 AM

Great read!

 

You said the ServoCat is closed loop... I thought that means when you move the scope manually it still knows its position. I know on the UC-22, when not mechanically failing, the servocat loses its alignment if unclutched. 

 

 

IMO experience with a UC-22, Obsession's quality control is terrible. Sure, they assemble the drive. One that then does not work. I could have done that! laugh.gif And their follow up was even worse, as in none. Should have gotten a 20 classic like you. 

 

Again thanks for the great readr

Thank you for sharing.   I owned a 20" classic Obsession (no drives) one time and was very pleased.   I'd heard from others that Obsession UCs have some of the same issues that I mentioned here, so maybe that just comes with the territory.   

 

I don't know about the ServoCat as I've never used one; I had just read that their system was closed loop.  With a closed loop system, if you unclutch, this would cut the feedback, so that it would lose position (or more correctly, not update its position).



#15 Dr. Wm

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Posted 10 September 2022 - 01:51 PM

At the start of your fine review here, you mention that you also have a Hubble Optics 10" CDK  telescope. I'm curious to know, first, what does CDK signify? and second, how the performance of that smaller scope compares to their 14" model?  It must be easier to transport.  Is it also easier to use?  Thanks so much!!




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