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  #1  
Old 13-10-2017, 07:15 PM
Boozlefoot
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Hydraulic Mount

Has anyone had experience with hydraulically driven mounts?
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  #2  
Old 14-10-2017, 11:58 PM
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billdan (Bill)
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That's an interesting concept, I can't help you but let us know if you find anything.

The only thing I know that may come close is Dann McCreary's water-drip mount, where he claims "sub-arcsec tracking for less than $200".

http://subarcsec.com/index.html

Cheers
Bill
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2017, 06:26 PM
Boozlefoot
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Still thinking about this, designing arm lengths/linkages for a semi "push-to" unit, initially with RA drive only. Using windmill pump, speed control via needle valves to allow water both in and out of cylinder to operate RA shaft over app. 150deg arc. Supply by garden hose will be heaps of torque, constant speed, vibration free......
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2017, 11:53 PM
Wavytone
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From an engineering standpoint, the clams by McCreary concerning accuracy are frankly very overstated, ie. b/s. Sure it is definitely better than no tracking, and in the era when McCreary came up with the idea, it was better than the crappy 1980's Celestron which had terrible period errors in the gear train and a pathetic RC oscillator controlling it which resulted in tracking best described as a "drunkards walk".

But seconds of arc ? Nope, no way.

It does make sense - in theory - to use a constant pressure based on a constant weight applied to a constant area on a bag full of water, with a simple needle value to achieve a constant rate of flow. But modern gears, digital electronics can do significantly better - if you buy a decent mount. Throw in closed-loop feedback - in the form of an auto guider, and you can have PERFECT tracking.

The McCReary mount assumes that while tracking:

- the force applied on the bag is constant,
- that the force is applied over a constant area.
- the viscosity of water is constant during the observing session,
- the properties of the needle valve don't change either,
- the axis of rotation is accurately aligned with the pole,
- ignores the effects of atmospheric refraction, and
- it also assumes the telescope on top does not flex as the angle of tilt changes.

However in reality all of these assumptions are not quite true:

1. the telescope tilts on the platform above. As there is no attempt to make this a balanced pendulum, this implies the pressure applied on the bag varies throughput the tracking range as degree of imbalance of the telescope is a function of tilt This means the pressure on the bag, and the flow rate through the needle valve are not constant, nor is the tracking rate as a result.

2. As the telescope tracks the angle of the plate pressing on the bag of water changes somewhat with respect to the horizontal. This matters, in respect of the pressure applied to the bag.

3. The viscosity of water changes with temperature, and this affects the flow rate through the needle valve. What this means is that as the night cools and the water temperature drips, the water flows more slowly as its viscosity increases. You can Google the Bernoulli equation for yourself.

4. No mount is perfectly aligned with the pole. For one of these , I'd be very surprised if it was aligned better than 1 degree from the pole. That means at most points in the sky it's going to drift slowly in both dec and RA, no matter how good the tracking rate.

5. Atmospheric refraction is a function of altitude above the horizon, its non-linear, and can amount to half a degree (1800 seconds of arc). That's a lot of seconds of arc. If your scope tracks perfectly at the zenith, it won't at lower altitudes, and vice versa. Given that it takes say 5 hours to g fro zenith to 15 degrees above the E or W horizon, this implies the tracking error accumulate around the order of 6 arcsec per minute. This is not inconsiderable, its non-linear and it reverses as the mount passes the zenith, to make matters worse. Hence the claims concerning accuracy are frankly rubbish.

6. Most dobsonians are frankly quite flimsy, and flex unpredictably. As for wood, it is quite flexible. For a visual dob being pushed around,, how it flexes is irrelevant. But when tracking, it does matter. In fact it matters a lot, as anyone with an equatorial mount can confirm.

Last edited by Wavytone; 11-11-2017 at 12:18 AM.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2017, 08:41 AM
Boozlefoot
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McCreary's bag system invites inaccuracy (The astronomic equivalent of an Austin 1800). My query involves a GEM mount which is already well balanced and activates only the RA, the water pressure in the system is constant, and the system meant for visual use and is only to keep the object reasonably centered in the FOV.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2017, 10:06 AM
Wavytone
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Ok thatís a fair start. A modern clepsydra. With anything water- driven it implies the moving part will move only a short distance and must be very rigid mechanically. Coupling that mechanically to the mount also implies a mechanically rigid arrangement.

Probably the most likely way is a tangent arm, or an arrangement like the barn door mounts.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2017, 01:33 PM
Boozlefoot
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Well done Wavy! Just looked up the clepsydra, but will try tangent arm style first (only because I have the "scrap" steel in stock). Failing that option, the clepsydra using the windmill pump to drive the rack in a slide, with a matching gear on the RA shaft (there are a fair few available cheaply). I don't really have to do it, but I'm bored and looking at building something with a novelty value!
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2017, 02:44 PM
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ChrisV (Chris)
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From a biased background i just can't see it working. We used to use hydraulic manipulators with microscopes - much smaller scale than a telescope but needed sub-micron accuracy. There were water ones and they were terrible - if any air got into the system or formed from water that wasn't properly degassed then you'd get this uncontrollable drift. Then there were oil ones - but again you could still get air bubbles and leaks. Funnily enough, stepper and servo motors took over in the 80s.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2017, 03:28 PM
Boozlefoot
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Curses Batman! I err on the side of caution and divert my evil, idle hands to projects better deserving! Many thanks to those replies
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