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Old 8" Ultima 2000

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#1 grsnovi

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 04:02 PM

First post here on CN.

 

I have 2 scopes in the garage that haven't been powered up to track in years. I believe the 8" Celestron scope would be great if only I knew to where the hand control has vanished.

 

Does it make sense to remount this scope on a new mount and if so what should I be looking at?

 

 

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#2 gstrumol

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 04:13 PM

Uuh ... isn't it right there? grin.gif


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#3 Migwan

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 05:07 PM

welcome.gif

 

You might try a want add for a hand control in Cats and Casses &/or Mounts and Accessories within the Classifieds.    You never know til you try.


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#4 Daveatvt01

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 06:23 PM

Hi and welcome!
Yes, you could place a wanted ad for a controller and see if one pops up, but you do have to wait 30 days to so.
Plenty of people have deforked older scts, that’s an option too. What kind of mount would you be interested in? GEM, alt/az? Goto or manual? If you do defork it, don’t toss out the mount! I’m sure someone here could use it, for parts if nothing else.


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#5 grsnovi

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:32 PM

Plenty of people have de-forked older scts, that’s an option too. What kind of mount would you be interested in? 

Thanks Dave! That's the question, at this time I don't really know what might be available. I have no objection to what it's currently on except for the fact that: a) I don't have the control and b) I have no idea what shape the motors and other electronics are in. My thought was that putting it on a new GoTo mount (new motors, new computer) would be the easiest but I have no idea where to even look.

 

Gary



#6 grsnovi

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:35 PM

Isn't it right there? grin.gif

Hi Gary,

 

I'm assuming you're suggesting that your article includes an obvious answer?

 

Having read your article that discusses fabrication of a custom plate that allows a dual scope mount, it wasn't clear if you were suggesting what specifically I ought to use to replace the fork/motors/computer from the Ultima 2000.

 

Perhaps I'm just dense.

 

(Just another) Gary



#7 gstrumol

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:58 PM

Hi Gary,

 

I'm assuming you're suggesting that your article includes an obvious answer?

 

Having read your article that discusses fabrication of a custom plate that allows a dual scope mount, it wasn't clear if you were suggesting what specifically I ought to use to replace the fork/motors/computer from the Ultima 2000.

 

Perhaps I'm just dense.

 

(Just another) Gary

No, I was dense. I thought that was a picture of YOUR scope, not a stock photo, where the hand controller was visible! crazy.gif


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#8 Michael Covington

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 10:16 PM

This may be of considerable interest as a collector's item, since it was (IIRC) the first widely used computerized amateur telescope.  See who responds.



#9 Jamski99

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 10:34 PM

I had an old Ultima 2000 and wanted to update. Celestron does not support(nor does anyone) the old Ultima 2000 fork and suggested that I de-forked the OTA and put it on a suitable mount. That is what I did. I got a used AVX mount, added a StarSense, 2 inch visual back, Celestron wifi module, dew heater, and a red dot finder. I can now run this goto rig with SkySafari 7 Pro. StarSense makes the setup super easy and can and nails goto any objects every time. The optic on the Utlima OTA are great. As with any old OTA, I would recommend a collimation (https://www.celestro...llimation-guide). .. Well worth the cost and effort.


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#10 grsnovi

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Posted 24 March 2023 - 01:20 AM

This may be of considerable interest as a collector's item

That may be however from what I understand it was a pretty good scope hence my interest in continuing its useful life.

 

@Jamski99 seems to have done what I'd like to do. 



#11 grsnovi

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Posted 24 March 2023 - 01:29 AM

I had an old Ultima 2000 and wanted to update. Celestron does not support(nor does anyone) the old Ultima 2000 fork and suggested that I de-forked the OTA and put it on a suitable mount. That is what I did. I got a used AVX mount, added a StarSense, 2 inch visual back, Celestron wifi module, dew heater, and a red dot finder. I can now run this goto rig with SkySafari 7 Pro. StarSense makes the setup super easy and can and nails goto any objects every time. The optic on the Utlima OTA are great. As with any old OTA, I would recommend a collimation (https://www.celestro...llimation-guide). .. Well worth the cost and effort.

Thanks Jamski99, that sounds like a path forward!

 

How long ago did you remount yours?

 

Where does one go to find a working used mount? eBay? Is the AVX this Celestron mount? Looks like there are a couple in the Classifieds for $700 or so.

 

Since I've been out of the telescope world for a while can you expand the "OTA" acronym for me?

 

What is driving all of this is my interest in doing some astrophotography. I recently picked up a new camera that has a STARRY SKY Auto-Focus capability. My previous attempts at doing skyscapes were always foiled by poor focus. So while I'm going to try to get some Milky Way shots with my local mountain in the foreground I also own a Meade 90mm scope that's been following me around for 30 years or so and the 8" Celestron belongs to my wife of the previous 17 years. Since we had both put astronomy on the so-called "back burner" I feel like it may be time to do something we both enjoy (besides visiting observatories when we travel).

 

BTW - I have a copy of the DEEP-SKY IMAGING PRIMER on the way so I should hopefully be better educated in a day or two.

 

Thanks!

 

- Gary


Edited by grsnovi, 24 March 2023 - 01:59 AM.


#12 Daveatvt01

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Posted 24 March 2023 - 02:20 AM

Yes, that is Celestron’s AVX mount. “OTA” stands for optical tube assembly- which is just the telescope without the mount.
Good luck with the Milky Way photography! I like to do that too sometimes. Here’s one from a couple years ago:

Milky Way over Ironwood National Monument
Are you going to try to image with the C8 too, or will it be just for visual?

 



#13 grsnovi

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Posted 24 March 2023 - 11:36 AM

 

Yes, that is Celestron’s AVX mount. “OTA” stands for optical tube assembly- which is just the telescope without the mount.
Good luck with the Milky Way photography! I like to do that too sometimes. Here’s one from a couple years ago:

 
Are you going to try to image with the C8 too, or will it be just for visual?

 

Hi Dave,

 

Thanks for clarifying "OTA". My understanding is that Celestron's 8" OTA has pretty good optics. Your Milky Way shot is pretty cool!

 

I haven't made any decisions re: imaging with either the 90mm ETX or the 8" Celestron. I'll likely watch more YT vids and read through the DEEP-SKY IMAGING PRIMER once it arrives.

 

I use Affinity Photo for developing my photos and recently watched a video describing an extensive set of macros used to enhance deep-sky images. I have a lot to wrap my head around. Visual is pretty easy and doing some reading I agree that manually finding things is half the fun however I suspect for imaging having a GoTo mount will get a night's session started sooner. 

 

- Gary



#14 Daveatvt01

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Posted 24 March 2023 - 03:38 PM

Yes, a goto/computerized mount certainly makes astrophotography easier. I only dabble, and have no direct experience with the avx mount. So take this advice with a grain of salt, but the Avx/c8 combo will make starting astrophotography more difficult. It would be good for visual, or for a camera and lens for Milky Way though. 
Even with a better mount, most recommendations you get for starting out in deep sky will be to begin with a small refractor. It’s easier in every way. Wider FOV (field of view) means easier tracking/guiding, and they can be faster than sct’s or maks. 
The Mak is optically slow and so is the sct, though a reducer/corrector will speed up the sct.


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#15 Jamski99

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Posted 27 March 2023 - 11:03 PM

Gary,

 

I rebuilt my rig about a 1 years ago. It took me a few months to get the bits together. The AVX mount is considered a good entry level Astrophotography mount. The good news is with the mount, you can mount your Ultima 2000 (C8) or a refractor on the basic dovetail rail. As mentioned above, I would also recommend F6.3  focal reducer for both astrophotography and visual(i recently added one to my rig) 

 

Here is a picture of my rig.

 https://www.cloudyni...22693_24055.jpg

 

Finally, I have found the classified here on Cloudy Night to be a great source of used equipment.

 

Good luck and let us know what you ultimately decide.


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#16 dnrmilspec

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 12:44 AM

I have one of these and it is a great scope.  If you can get the mount to work by adding the hand controller it has one particularly nice feature.  It has encoders.  Let me explain what that means.

 

On most GOTO telescopes, you lock the mount when you align it and then control its movements by the hand controller either entering a target or using the arrows.  If you move the scope "by hand" or bump it, you lose your alignment and the GOTO does not work until you realign the scope.  

 

With the Ultima 2000, once you align the scope, you can loosen the clutches and move it by hand.  Then by just snugging up the clutches again, use the hand controller to find an object as if you had never moved it.  It remembers where it is so to speak.  I can't stress enough what a great feature this is.  The Ultima 2000 also is very quiet when slewing which is a nice feature as well.  It is prepared for Hyperstar which, if you want to do astrophotography makes the scope very fast and easy to use.  Mine is optically very nice.  As good as I have seen in an SCT.

 

If you want to get it running again I suggest you  go easy on the motors at first.  The original lube is like glue.  You can open it up and do it manually to get it going or just balance the tube carefully and move it carefully at first.  Why not tinker?  Get a hand controller and all you are out is that and you can resell it easily. 

 

You can defork it if you want but that mount is particularly good if you can get it going.  And its a whale of a lot easier for visual than an EQ mount of any kind.  For AP you can get a wedge if you want to go there.  Nothing wrong with saving $1000.00 plus while you are at it. 

 

Good luck!  I'm sure it is a very nice scope.


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#17 Michael Covington

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 09:05 AM

Yes... To be precise, it has encoders that are not tied to the motors, and thus measure its motion whether or not the motors are moving it.  (All computerized mounts have encoders somewhere.)  When I was learning about early computerized telescopes, that struck me as a very good idea and I don't know why nobody else does it that way.

(Nice Latin tag line!)


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#18 mlord

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 07:02 PM

Some SkyWatcher mounts (eg. the AZ-GTi and AZ-EQ5 models) also have the encoders separate from the motor drives.


Edited by mlord, 28 March 2023 - 07:04 PM.

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#19 grsnovi

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Posted 08 April 2023 - 02:49 PM

I believe the 8" Celestron scope would be great if only I knew to where the hand control has vanished.

Good news! I found the hand control. Rather than spend money on a new mount I think I'll power this one up and at least collimate it and drag it around this summer for some visual observing.

 

I know there was a "Y2K" problem with the GoTo s/w does anyone know if there was ever a patch? I'm guessing there wasn't.

 

So, since I don't have a wedge I'm assuming that I'll still need to manually tweak my position in RA


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#20 Daveatvt01

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 12:26 AM

Hooray! And it should work just fine without a wedge.



#21 grsnovi

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 01:23 PM

Hooray! And it should work just fine without a wedge.

I haven't put batteries in it yet but I'm guessing that if Celestron did indeed have a Y2K problem in their GoTo s/w the unit will no longer correctly GoTo anything (but at least it will track and I can manually find things).



#22 Michael Covington

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 04:01 PM

I haven't put batteries in it yet but I'm guessing that if Celestron did indeed have a Y2K problem in their GoTo s/w the unit will no longer correctly GoTo anything (but at least it will track and I can manually find things).

Probably only the sun, moon, and planets will be affected.  Their RA and declination have to be computed for the date.

Other objects keep the same R.A. and dec. permanently, except for precession, which is slow, and sky-wide.  There has been a fraction of a degree of precession since 2000.0, and I don't know if a telescope made for use very close to the year 2000 will even take precession into account, versus just using a J2000.0 catalog without adjustment.  Hopefully they do correct for precession.  In that case, a Y2K problem might reduce its accuracy.

Even if they don't take precession into account, their system might well pick it up when you align on stars and treat it as mount positioning error, which would be fortunate for you -- it would be corrected automatically even if the software doesn't know what it's correcting.

I don't know the nature of the claimed Y2K problem, but I'd like to know more about it.



#23 mlord

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 04:15 PM

Note that most (all?) Celestron mounts that have a place to insert batteries, generally work poorly when run from those batteries.  So plug it into mains if at all possible.  Or get a beefier rechargeable external battery pack for it.



#24 grsnovi

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 05:05 PM

I don't know the nature of the claimed Y2K problem, but I'd like to know more about it.

I don't either Michael. If anyone in the forum knows anything I'd love to hear from you. Otherwise I'm just planning to go ahead and giver her a try.

 

It would seem that if I orient the scope where I want it on the sun (I have a full 8" sun filter) or moon and then drop it into the specific tracking mode - it ought to track. It just wouldn't locate via GoTo. Possibly the same with the planets: I ought to be able to manually locate Mars, Jupiter or Saturn (Venus too but why bother) and then pop into Sidereal tracking.

 

Note that most (all?) Celestron mounts that have a place to insert batteries, generally work poorly when run from those batteries.  So plug it into mains if at all possible.  Or get a beefier rechargeable external battery pack for it.

Thanks m'lord...  smile.gif  I suspect it ought to be easy enough to power off the wall on the back deck but getting a powertank for dragging it around makes sense (although even here I'd need a cord that would connect to 120vac and probably convert to 12vdc - I'll have to read the manual before I screw anything up).

 

Thanks for your replies!


Edited by grsnovi, 09 April 2023 - 05:05 PM.

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#25 dnrmilspec

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 07:15 PM

Some of the Ultimas were compatible and some were not.  If the scope was make 1999 or later it is likely Y2k compatible. 

 

Here is what to do:

 

Open up the hand controller and locate the ROM chip.  If it is version 15.4 or earlier it is not Y2K compatible and planets will be an issue.    If it is 15.5 or later it should be good to go. 

 

There were upgrade kits available "back in the day" and, who knows, you may even find one.  Or a newer controller.  You could call Celestron but IIR someone told me they did not have the chips.  It is worth asking anyway.

 

Let us know what you find out.  (Mine works fine.) 




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