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First Night w/ ETX-80AT

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  • Mike
    I had dark skies last night, so I took my new ETX-80AT out for the evening. Fortunately I also took my Orion XT8 dob; otherwise the evening would have been a
    Message 1 of 9 , May 4 6:38 AM
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      I had dark skies last night, so I took my new ETX-80AT out for the
      evening. Fortunately I also took my Orion XT8 dob; otherwise the
      evening would have been a disaster.

      I aligned the scope with true north (Polaris) made sure the scope was
      dead level, and the tube horizontal. I then proceeded to attempt
      the "easy align" with Arcturus and Capella. Both stars were clearly
      visible, so I selected that pair. Arcturus was approx 5 degrees off,
      and I could not get the Autostar to traverse to the correct spot. Then
      Capella was off too, which figures. I am confused about a couple of
      things. First off, it seems odd to me that I can't slew the telescope
      to correct the Autostar error. Also, why doesn't it have a routine for
      polar alignment using Polaris?

      I'm probably doing something wrong, but what?

      Clear Skies,

      Mike
    • Mike Weasner
      Did you try a One Star Alignment? As to not being able to slew, did you try to change the slew speed? ... Mike Weasner Email: mweasner@aol.com iChatAV /
      Message 2 of 9 , May 4 6:57 AM
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        Did you try a One Star Alignment? As to not being able to slew, did
        you try to change the slew speed?

        On May 4, 2008, at 06:38, Mike wrote:

        > I aligned the scope with true north (Polaris) made sure the scope was
        > dead level, and the tube horizontal. I then proceeded to attempt
        > the "easy align" with Arcturus and Capella. Both stars were clearly
        > visible, so I selected that pair. Arcturus was approx 5 degrees off,
        > and I could not get the Autostar to traverse to the correct spot. Then
        > Capella was off too, which figures. I am confused about a couple of
        > things. First off, it seems odd to me that I can't slew the telescope
        > to correct the Autostar error. Also, why doesn't it have a routine for
        > polar alignment using Polaris?


        Mike Weasner
        Email: mweasner@... iChatAV / AIM: mweasner@...
        ----------------------------------------------------
        | http://www.weasner.com/etx |
        | Since 1996 - "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site" |
        | -- according to ETX users worldwide |
        ----------------------------------------------------
      • Mike Martin
        Hi Mike, I did try that but couldn t get the darn thing to line up with the star I selected. I also changed the slew speed. As a former software tester, I have
        Message 3 of 9 , May 4 7:07 AM
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          Hi Mike,
           
          I did try that but couldn't get the darn thing to line up with the star I selected. I also changed the slew speed. As a former software tester, I have to say that the Autostar software seems "clunky" to me. Why wouldn't it let me adjusted the scope to align the star? It worked OK if I just slewed it to some object after alignment.
           
          Mike
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 8:57 AM
          Subject: Re: [ETXASTRO] First Night w/ ETX-80AT

          Did you try a One Star Alignment? As to not being able to slew, did
          you try to change the slew speed?

          On May 4, 2008, at 06:38, Mike wrote:

          > I aligned the scope with true north (Polaris) made sure the scope was
          > dead level, and the tube horizontal. I then proceeded to attempt
          > the "easy align" with Arcturus and Capella. Both stars were clearly
          > visible, so I selected that pair. Arcturus was approx 5 degrees off,
          > and I could not get the Autostar to traverse to the correct spot. Then
          > Capella was off too, which figures. I am confused about a couple of
          > things. First off, it seems odd to me that I can't slew the telescope
          > to correct the Autostar error. Also, why doesn't it have a routine for
          > polar alignment using Polaris?

          Mike Weasner
          Email: mweasner@aol. com iChatAV / AIM: mweasner@mac. com
          ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ----
          | http://www.weasner. com/etx |
          | Since 1996 - "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site" |
          | -- according to ETX users worldwide |
          ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

        • Mike Weasner
          Unless there is something wrong with the keypad, you should be able to slew to center the alignment stars. As a test, try all four difficult slewing speeds,
          Message 4 of 9 , May 4 7:30 AM
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            Unless there is something wrong with the keypad, you should be able to
            slew to center the alignment stars. As a test, try all four difficult
            slewing speeds, from really slow to fast. You can do these tests
            indoors if you like.

            As to the software UI, well, as a former Mac software developer there
            is a lot I would change in the UI. Of course, Meade was limited by
            the AutoStar display and CPU processing power, and the development
            tool they used. But now that the iPhone has raised the bar on
            displays, perhaps a future AutoStar design will have a touchscreen and
            GUI. Of course, as other phone companies now know, just having a
            touchscreen and a GUI isn't enough; you have to the software that
            users can use and want to use.

            On May 4, 2008, at 07:07, Mike Martin wrote:

            > I did try that but couldn't get the darn thing to line up with the
            > star I selected. I also changed the slew speed. As a former software
            > tester, I have to say that the Autostar software seems "clunky" to
            > me. Why wouldn't it let me adjusted the scope to align the star? It
            > worked OK if I just slewed it to some object after alignment.
            >


            Mike Weasner
            Email: mweasner@... iChatAV / AIM: mweasner@...
            ----------------------------------------------------
            | http://www.weasner.com/etx |
            | Since 1996 - "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site" |
            | -- according to ETX users worldwide |
            ----------------------------------------------------
          • Mike Martin
            I ll try that. And unlike software testing, I won t mash down all four buttons at once. Developers really hate that test. As for the optics, they seem pretty
            Message 5 of 9 , May 4 7:49 AM
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              I'll try that. And unlike software testing, I won't mash down all four buttons at once. Developers really hate that test.
               
              As for the optics, they seem pretty good. I didn't see any difference in star colors between the ETX-80 and my 8" dob. Of course there was a big difference when viewing M13, but that's to be expected.
               
              Mike Martin AA9ZY
              Mt. Carroll, IL
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 9:30 AM
              Subject: Re: [ETXASTRO] First Night w/ ETX-80AT

              Unless there is something wrong with the keypad, you should be able to
              slew to center the alignment stars. As a test, try all four difficult
              slewing speeds, from really slow to fast. You can do these tests
              indoors if you like.

              As to the software UI, well, as a former Mac software developer there
              is a lot I would change in the UI. Of course, Meade was limited by
              the AutoStar display and CPU processing power, and the development
              tool they used. But now that the iPhone has raised the bar on
              displays, perhaps a future AutoStar design will have a touchscreen and
              GUI. Of course, as other phone companies now know, just having a
              touchscreen and a GUI isn't enough; you have to the software that
              users can use and want to use.

              On May 4, 2008, at 07:07, Mike Martin wrote:

              > I did try that but couldn't get the darn thing to line up with the
              > star I selected. I also changed the slew speed. As a former software
              > tester, I have to say that the Autostar software seems "clunky" to
              > me. Why wouldn't it let me adjusted the scope to align the star? It
              > worked OK if I just slewed it to some object after alignment.
              >

              Mike Weasner
              Email: mweasner@aol. com iChatAV / AIM: mweasner@mac. com
              ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ----
              | http://www.weasner. com/etx |
              | Since 1996 - "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site" |
              | -- according to ETX users worldwide |
              ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

            • autostaretx
              ... So it reflected your speed change commands on the screen? For the alignment, if it was only off in Azimuth, you -can- cheat by picking up the scope and
              Message 6 of 9 , May 4 9:08 AM
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                --- In ETXASTRO@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Martin" <aa9zy@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Mike,
                >
                > I did try that but couldn't get the darn thing to line up with
                > the star I selected. I also changed the slew speed.

                So it reflected your speed change commands on the screen?

                For the alignment, if it was only off in Azimuth, you -can- cheat
                by picking up the scope and physically rotating the whole mess
                so that it -is- pointing at the star (or close to it).
                Then the 2nd star slew should arrive near its star, too.

                > As a former software tester, I have to say that the Autostar
                > software seems "clunky" to me. Why wouldn't it let me adjusted
                > the scope to align the star?

                It should have.

                > It worked OK if I just slewed it to some object after alignment.

                So *GoTo* worked, or just slewing?

                You can play with this indoors in the daytime, too...
                start an alignment and see how/if it operates
                (i frequently spend more hours using my scope during the day,
                testing it, than i do at night (thanks to the weather))

                have fun
                --dick
              • Mike Martin
                Hello All, I played with the slewing (per Mr. Weasner) and noticed that the ota would not slew up properly. I tightened the mount and it slewed properly. I was
                Message 7 of 9 , May 4 12:17 PM
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                  Hello All,
                   
                  I played with the slewing (per Mr. Weasner) and noticed that the ota would not slew up properly. I tightened the mount and it slewed properly. I was surprised that the altitude lock has to be tightened so much. I wonder if this is a process variable or a design issue (tolerance stackup). Anyway, it seems to solve the problem. I won't know for sure until we have another clear night in nw Illinois.
                   
                  Thanks everyone,
                   
                  Mike
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 11:08 AM
                  Subject: [ETXASTRO] Re: First Night w/ ETX-80AT

                  --- In ETXASTRO@yahoogroup s.com, "Mike Martin" <aa9zy@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Mike,
                  >
                  > I did try that but couldn't get the darn thing to line up with
                  > the star I selected. I also changed the slew speed.

                  So it reflected your speed change commands on the screen?

                  For the alignment, if it was only off in Azimuth, you -can- cheat
                  by picking up the scope and physically rotating the whole mess
                  so that it -is- pointing at the star (or close to it).
                  Then the 2nd star slew should arrive near its star, too.

                  > As a former software tester, I have to say that the Autostar
                  > software seems "clunky" to me. Why wouldn't it let me adjusted
                  > the scope to align the star?

                  It should have.

                  > It worked OK if I just slewed it to some object after alignment.

                  So *GoTo* worked, or just slewing?

                  You can play with this indoors in the daytime, too...
                  start an alignment and see how/if it operates
                  (i frequently spend more hours using my scope during the day,
                  testing it, than i do at night (thanks to the weather))

                  have fun
                  --dick

                • Mike Weasner
                  Both axis locks should be locked just finger tight. Of course, what finger tight means can differ from one person to another and slightly from telescope
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 4 1:44 PM
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                    Both axis locks should be locked just "finger" tight. Of course, what
                    "finger" tight means can differ from one person to another and
                    slightly from telescope to telescope. The real answer is that the
                    lock should be tight enough to hold the OTA from moving by hand and
                    yet not so tight that the AutoStar can not move it. Overtightening
                    the lock can damage the mechanism.

                    On May 4, 2008, at 12:17, Mike Martin wrote:

                    > I played with the slewing (per Mr. Weasner) and noticed that the ota
                    > would not slew up properly. I tightened the mount and it slewed
                    > properly. I was surprised that the altitude lock has to be tightened
                    > so much. I wonder if this is a process variable or a design issue
                    > (tolerance stackup). Anyway, it seems to solve the problem. I won't
                    > know for sure until we have another clear night in nw Illinois.
                    >


                    Mike Weasner
                    Email: mweasner@... iChatAV / AIM: mweasner@...
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    | http://www.weasner.com/etx |
                    | Since 1996 - "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site" |
                    | -- according to ETX users worldwide |
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                  • jlummel
                    I had a DS2130-AT mount that had a similar problem. I took it apart and found that the locking nut used friction to lockup and the face that mated with the
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 5 6:35 PM
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                      I had a DS2130-AT mount that had a similar problem. I took it apart
                      and found that the locking nut used friction to lockup and the face
                      that mated with the mount had nubs on it from manufacturing. This was
                      why I had to crank it down to get it to work.

                      I sanded the nubs down and ensured that the face was able to fully
                      contact the opposite surface when it was tightened and it's worked
                      real nice ever since.

                      I would suspect that your ETX80 has a similar problem, though I've
                      not taken one of them apart. But the altitude lock is very likely
                      similar to the DS2000 mount and any nubs left over from the casting
                      process or machining process would cause the problems you mention.

                      James

                      --- In ETXASTRO@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Martin" <aa9zy@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hello All,
                      >
                      > I played with the slewing (per Mr. Weasner) and noticed that the
                      ota would not slew up properly. I tightened the mount and it slewed
                      properly. I was surprised that the altitude lock has to be tightened
                      so much. I wonder if this is a process variable or a design issue
                      (tolerance stackup). Anyway, it seems to solve the problem. I won't
                      know for sure until we have another clear night in nw Illinois.
                      >
                      > Thanks everyone,
                      >
                      > Mike
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