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  #1  
Old 21-07-2010, 07:58 AM
Grunt (Grant)
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Converting Skywatcher auto track to "go to"

I've just purchased a Skywatcher 10" Dob with auto tracking. I have heard this can be made to a full "go to" when connecting a synscan hand controller in place of the auto tracking hand controller. Can anyone confirm if this is the case and if so, anyone know where a synscan hand controller can be purchased separate from a mount or upgrade kit?

Cheers

Grant
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  #2  
Old 21-07-2010, 11:21 AM
Andy Walters (Andy)
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I have the same Dob, I phoned Andrews this morning, and Luke said he was still looking round for a spare controller for me.
Any Skywatcher dealer should eventually get some extra hand-controllers.
Make sure you get AZ version, and EQ, tho' apparently you flash them to upgrade/change.
Andy
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  #3  
Old 21-07-2010, 11:52 AM
Grunt (Grant)
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Thanks Andy. Might chase up some skywatcher dealers and see how I go

Cheers
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  #4  
Old 30-07-2010, 06:14 PM
grantboxer (Grant)
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I would be keen also to hear how you go. I also have a Skywatcher 10" dob auto-tracking.
Cheers Grant (also)
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  #5  
Old 31-07-2010, 02:41 PM
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Hi Grunt & Andy;

I'm also very interested to hear how things progress. I'm thinking of taking the plunge along the same lines as you guys.
Did you guys get hold of your controllers yet ?

Cheers
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2010, 04:15 AM
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Visionoz (Bill)
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Heard previously that Ron of Sirius Optics in QLD was the first one to have done this for his customers for a few months now

HTH
Cheers
Bill
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2010, 08:31 AM
rob288 (Robert)
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GOTO Skywather Dobs

This dealer http://www.nztelescopes.co.nz has been selling the auto tracking dobs with the AZ GOTO hand set for over a year now, I have one and it works well, using Frmware 3.07 at present.

The only issue is some back slash in the RA gear, no matter how much you tighten the clutch, apparently some people have fixed it withTeflon bushes, but have not been able to find any direct info.
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2010, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob288 View Post
This dealer http://www.nztelescopes.co.nz has been selling the auto tracking dobs with the AZ GOTO hand set for over a year now, I have one and it works well, using Frmware 3.07 at present.

The only issue is some back slash in the RA gear, no matter how much you tighten the clutch, apparently some people have fixed it withTeflon bushes, but have not been able to find any direct info.
Rob;
Hmmm..
Interesting .. how do you find the power consumption over say a typical night's viewing ? Do you use a separate portable battery supply (or mains)?

Also, I read thru the manual for the alignment procedures etc and there seems to be lots about using Polaris (for everything eg: alignment, error correction, etc). Does 3.07 provide enough Southern Hemisphere objects to do this stuff with ? Is it easy to do these things ?

Do you have the solid tube or the collapsible ?

Thanks for the feedback.
Cheers
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2010, 01:11 PM
rob288 (Robert)
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Craig,

I have the truss tube collasible design. Aligning is not a problem , I generally use the brightest star hemisphere option.
I power mine from a 19ah jump start pack, It will last at least two nights solid use, probally more. The latter models of the Skywatcher truss tubes apparently have improved optics over the earlier versions, I am certainly impressed with the sharpnes of the 12 inch mirror I have.
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2010, 01:55 PM
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Rob;

Thanks for the reply.
Seems like the only issue I can point to (pre-sales) is it seems to be difficult to find any SkyWatcher Agents/Sales staff who will stand behind the complete system and commit to the story that the AZ SkyScan handset will actually work with the autotracking dob (provided you upgrade to the latest software version).

I'm not real keen on having to piece it all together myself (ie: from the Warranty perspective).

I'm not sure why the Oz suppliers are behaving this way. (Perhaps fear of the unknown ?)

Anyway thanks for the feedback. Good stuff.

Cheers
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2010, 02:17 PM
Grunt (Grant)
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Controller available in UK

For those that are interested I've just ordered a V3 handset from a UK supplier called Opticstar (see link)

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astrono...=0_10_5_2_0_35

The handset and cable can be purchased from them for around $194 pounds which converts to around $340 aussie dollars at the current rate. They can be emailed at info@opticstar.com for details and payment options. Can't use their website for payment as it's for UK resident only.
I only did this after speaking to Andrews who couldn't say with any commitment when (or if) they are getting the handsets in and with a price thought to be around $400-$450.

$340 delivered and insured from the UK seems a better deal. All I hope now is that it actually works

Will let you know the result in about two weeks when it arrives

Cheers

Grant
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  #12  
Old 06-08-2010, 02:56 PM
DRCORTEX (Lance)
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Interesting Indeed

This is very interesting. I actually started a new thread about this and this thread seems more apt.

Could you tell me your experiences ?

a) How good is the tracking - say Jupiter with a 12mm - how long does it
stay centred.
b) How does it connect a DSLR directly as stated in that NZ site ?
c) Does the addition of the AZ handset work for GOTO - I've heard
horror stories.
d) back focus, does it suffer from the dreaded focus problems most Newts have with DSLR's ?

If I can get good visual, and snap a few shots now and then with my DSLR, perfect!

I'd rather not spend all my time setting up a large Newtonian on an EQ6 or better, and to tell you the truth, now that I have finally mastered how to collimate a Newt, I don't want to go through it all again with another type of scope!

Just want to lug it out to the backyard on weekends, view, snap a pic or two, and then go back inside. I'm no dedicated astronomer

Too many hobbies, not enough time.

Lance
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  #13  
Old 06-08-2010, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grunt View Post
For those that are interested I've just ordered a V3 handset from a UK supplier called Opticstar (see link)

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astrono...=0_10_5_2_0_35

The handset and cable can be purchased from them for around $194 pounds which converts to around $340 aussie dollars at the current rate. They can be emailed at info@opticstar.com for details and payment options. Can't use their website for payment as it's for UK resident only.
I only did this after speaking to Andrews who couldn't say with any commitment when (or if) they are getting the handsets in and with a price thought to be around $400-$450.

$340 delivered and insured from the UK seems a better deal. All I hope now is that it actually works

Will let you know the result in about two weeks when it arrives

Cheers

Grant
Hey Grant;

That's great news .. sounds like a good deal, also. I'm interested in hearing about the outcome. With the clutch tightening mod mentioned by rob288's post (which may not be needed for a while?) sounds like the outcome will be good.
Cheers
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2010, 04:43 AM
Grunt (Grant)
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The UK dealer has got back to me and stated the hand controller are for the EQ mounts not the altazimuth mounts. Does anyone know for sure if the EQ hand controllers can be reflashed to change them to altazimuth?
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:13 AM
DRCORTEX (Lance)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grunt View Post
The UK dealer has got back to me and stated the hand controller are for the EQ mounts not the altazimuth mounts. Does anyone know for sure if the EQ hand controllers can be reflashed to change them to altazimuth?
There seem to be some conflicting stories re this. Some say it can, some not, some say it works a treat, others say the pointing accuracy is terrible, which is why they were discontinued when they first arrived on the scene a few years back.

The Andrew page shows the full GOTO version is arriving soon. Does this include auto tracking ? If so, I will go for that. Looking at the 12"
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  #16  
Old 10-08-2010, 11:26 AM
grantboxer (Grant)
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Hi All,

I have been talking to Don Whiteman at Bintel and they apparently stock an Atlas Controller which can run the scope as a got to.

Cheers
Grant
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  #17  
Old 29-08-2010, 03:49 PM
grantboxer (Grant)
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AutoTracking to GoTo Dob

Hi All,

I have tried the Atlas controller but the plug is the wrong one and does not fit the handcontroller socket for the 10: Skywatcher AutoTracking Dob.

Cheers Grant
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2010, 10:06 PM
noswonky (Peter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRCORTEX View Post
This is very interesting. I actually started a new thread about this and this thread seems more apt.

Could you tell me your experiences ?

a) How good is the tracking - say Jupiter with a 12mm - how long does it
stay centred.
Actually I was viewing Jupiter just last night with my 12" auto-tracking SW so I can answer this.

I centered it with a 25mm eyepiece. Then a big cloud drifted across hiding the planet. So I left it tracking and came back 30 minutes later when the cloud had passed. Jupiter was still in the FOV - although it had drifted about half way to the edge of the field.

So the tracking is pretty good for visual use, but it depends on how accurately you level and align it. I level the base using a dual-axis spirit level that a got from Bunnings for a few dollars. Some wooden blocks under the legs for coarse adjustments and then I do the fine adjustment with some wedge-shaped rubber doorstops.

You have to then point the scope North (yes, even in the southern hemisphere) and at the horizon to give it a reference point. You can use the altitude scale on the scope to get it pointing at the horizon. To point it north I just do it roughly by sight. For example: Find the SCP using the southern cross and then point the scope the opposite way as near as I can by sight. It's good enough to track pretty well even if you're a few degrees out.

I would expect that any alignment error would have more adverse affects near the celestial poles than near the equator. Hence it tracks planets very well even with only a rough alignment.
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  #19  
Old 30-12-2010, 07:14 PM
noswonky (Peter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grunt View Post
The UK dealer has got back to me and stated the hand controller are for the EQ mounts not the altazimuth mounts. Does anyone know for sure if the EQ hand controllers can be reflashed to change them to altazimuth?
Yes, it works!

I have the 12" auto-tracking model and I've just purchased the SynScan hand controller to upgrade it to GOTO. The hand controller came with the EQ software, so I had to reflash it to the AZ software. It was very easy, with the caveat that you need a computer with a serial port. I had to dig out an old unused laptop which had a serial port as my current computer only has USB.

Also, when you order the controller, make sure to also get the correct cable for the dob. It's different from the cable that normally comes with the hand controller. The plug on the scope end is a different size. So mine came with two cables, the regular one (which I can't use), and the one for the dob.

The goto works well enough to put objects in the finder, but not necessarily in the FOV of the main scope. I think this may be due to the backlash in the azimuth gears. There is a 'Backlash' setting in the hand controller software to compensate for this, but I have not tried this yet. I hope it will improve the goto accuracy.

The other small problem is that the Synscan controller doesn't fit in the holder on the side of the mount (which was made for the smaller auto-tracking hand controller).

Last edited by noswonky; 30-12-2010 at 07:53 PM.
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