Date   

Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Craig Bobchin <cbobchin@...>
 

Hi Brian,

Yeah, I figured that out after about an hour of fooling around with the app/Mount. Not the most inutiive app is it? Do you know how to sync on an object not during hte alingment? For example, I have M3 centered and I want to Sync on it to refine the model, how do I do that?


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

brian skinner
 

Hi Richard, yes sorry I should have said autoslew. I'm running android and the catalogue page allows me to scroll through the stars and select any of my choice. I'm not sure why you seem not to be able to do the same with IOS.....
Kind regards, Brian 

On Tue, 7 May 2019 14:00 Richard Kirsch <Kirsch41@... wrote:
Hi Brian,

I also have limited sky view and, for the most part, am only able to do a rough polar alignment.  However, I have not found where you can turn off “AutoAlign”.  I am using ExploreStars for iOS.  In “Setting”, I have “Autoslew” turned off but, if I chose 2 or 3 star alignment, it just suggests a star.  I can click on “Next” and on and on.  But I don’t see a way to go to the “Catalogue”, chose “Alignment Stars” and pick 2 or 3 from that list.

Suggestions?

Richard

Sent from my pocket. 

On May 7, 2019, at 2:14 AM, brian skinner <brianjimskinner@...> wrote:

Hi Craig, if you have a limited sky view like me, turn autoalign off, select 2 or 3 star alignment and then go to the catalogue page when you will be invited to select the first alignment star of your choice. When aligned go back to the catalogue page and select your next star and then your good to go....
Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 6 May 2019 21:17 Craig Bobchin <cbobchin@... wrote:
All,

I've received my IEXOS-100 last week and had a chance to test it on Sat. Night for a couple of hours, and I've got a few thoughts and complaints about the mount.

As background, I'm no newbie to EQ mounts, or imaging as I've had a Losmandy G-11 for about 15 years now and have done quite a bit of imaging through it. My purpose in getting the IEXOS-100 is as a portable mount to take to dark sites to do (hopefully unguided) dslr imaging with a FF camera and variety of DSLR lenses (zooms and primes).

A few months ago I picked up a Skywatcher AZ-Gti to hopefully allow this, but I was unable to get even 30 second exposures  with a 100mm lens unguided without getting trailing. The mount works fine for visual work with an 80mm f/6.5 APO in both Alt-Az and EQ mode, but for unguided imaging it's useless. Hence the IEXOS-100.

So un-boxing and set up went well, and the mount is a lot heavier than I expected.  The Az-GTi is 10lbs complete (Head, Tripod/Wedge, and counterweight.) the IEXOS-100 head is almost that heavy. I'm not sure how far I could hike with this and the camera gear, not to mention how I'd pack it all into a camera backpack. It might not meet my portability requirements, but I'm still considering that aspect separately.

I noticed after the mount was attached to the tripod that it still rotated within the tripod mounting no matter how much I tightened the bolt on the bottom. This is my first concern, in that it won't be steady enough for imaging. I might put some felt or something to give a bit of friction there.

My biggest complaint is that I had to purchase a tablet to use the mount as I intend to. I plan on taking this to the field where I will have limited power and don't want to haul a laptop etc.. If there was a phone version of the ExploreStars app that would be ideal, but the app won't work with either my LG V10 (which I use for the Skywatcher mount) or my LG V30. This is an additional cost that I wasn't anticipating and am not thrilled about.

Alignment: First off the polar alignment bore tunnel is less than useless for my 55 year old eyes. perhaps a younger set would enable me to see Polaris through it, but I don't know. I tried shining a green laser through it, but there was no way of ensuring the laser was actually square to the tube. In the end I simply put Polaris in the center of my 16x magnified live view on the camera's LCD screen. Not ideal, but it kind of worked. Just a side note, the Az-GTi suffers the same problem of trying to get polar alignment in EQ mode, and it doesn't even have a polar bore tunnel. This mount just begs for a PA scope in the bore tunnel, as I'd be out in the field with no laptop using the Polemaster is not an option for me (I've got the Polemaster for my G-11 and believe it or not, I get better PA with the Losmandy polar scope than the Polemaster.). Another option is some form of Polar alignment correction/drift alignment tool in the app (Skywatcher has this in the Synscan app.).

The ES app is okay, once you get used to it, but could stand a lot of improvement from a UI/UX perspective. It took me a lot of hunting around to figure out how to select my own alignment stars as I have an obstructed view from my light polluted back yard. One thing I couldn't find is a way to sync on an object that is not part of the alignment process. Is there such an animal in the app? If so where? It would also be nice to be able to use SkySafari to control the mount. 

Now on to the actual experience of using the mount once it was as aligned as I could get it. I was able to balance my Pentax K-1 and FA* 300mm f/4.5 using the two counterweights and a bunch of steel washers sandwiched between them.  My system for this test was about 2kg (4.75 lbs) in weight  For a mount that has a capacity of 15lbs, 2kg is not enough to balance the camera/lens combo and more counterweights are necessary, and I'm not sure where to get them. Considering I want to use a Camera/Lens combo that weighs in at 7.5lbs (3.5kg) that's a fair amount of counterweights.

The mount has a very pleasant hum when slewing and put the alignment stars pretty close to center of the F.O.V. of the unmagnified live view. A slight adjustment to center them at 16x was all that was needed. Strangely enough, this off-center alignment did not seem to improve as I added more alignment stars (I used three stars for alignment Dubhe, Mizar/Alcor, and Arcturus). I slewed to M3 as my target to try and image it. At one minute I had some trailing, at 30 sec none was visible in a 300mm lens. This was leaps and bounds above the AZ-GTi, which can't track a 30 sec image with a 3lb (1.3kg) payload (Pentax K-1 and 100mm f/2.8 lens).

If I can get a better polar alignment, I light be able to realize my dream of a portable mount that can do 2 min unguided subs. 


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Richard Kirsch <Kirsch41@...>
 

Harry,

Tried it and it worked.  Thanks again,

Richard

Sent from my pocket. 

On May 7, 2019, at 12:49 PM, Harry via Groups.Io <flykai1@...> wrote:

Richard, I did a test this morning at home to simulate 
the procedure. You don’t have to be connected to the mount. Just use ExplooreStars and enter commands as if you were outside. The app behaved just as if a scope was
connected. Saves time and frustration when it’s dark!
Harry
--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, IPAD & Fire HD8, Oberwerk 5000 Tripod
Binos: Oberwerk 15x70, 8x40


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Harry
 

Richard, I did a test this morning at home to simulate 
the procedure. You don’t have to be connected to the mount. Just use ExplooreStars and enter commands as if you were outside. The app behaved just as if a scope was
connected. Saves time and frustration when it’s dark!
Harry
--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, IPAD & Fire HD8, Oberwerk 5000 Tripod
Binos: Oberwerk 15x70, 8x40


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Richard Kirsch <Kirsch41@...>
 

Hi Harry,

Thanks for this.  I’ll give it a shot at the next clear night.  It’s been miserable here lately (Wisconsin).  We’ve had about three good nights in the last month.  Quite frustrating.

Richard

Sent from my pocket. 

On May 7, 2019, at 10:11 AM, Harry via Groups.Io <flykai1@...> wrote:

Hi Richard, Like you I sometimes can not see Polaris. I use both the IOS and Android versions of ExploreStars.
First, in IOS its uses the term “Auto Slew”. Android uses “Auto Align”. They are the same thing.
I am showing IOS version 1.1.1 as the latest. The following applies to IOS since that is what you are using. I have had good results with mine. Here are my steps using 2 or 3 star alignments. Here are my steps.

Select Auto Slew Off
Load GPS coordinates 
Reset Alignment 
2 Star Alignment, Note do not select Next (If you already have an idea of what star you want for alignment.)
Select Menu, Catalog, (second item), Alignment, Choose your star,  Slew to object, Center the star in
scope if necessary, Sync.
It will then say”Align to Second Star, then press Sync.”
Repeat the above, again do not press Next, unless you want it to choose for you. I make my own choice.
After the above, you should be aligned.
Note: I have found that if you choose 3 Star Alignment, your choice of the third star will be minimal, if any
at all are available.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.


Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, IPAD & Fire HD8, Oberwerk 5000 Tripod
Binos: Oberwerk 15x70, 8x40


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Harry
 

Hi Richard, Like you I sometimes can not see Polaris. I use both the IOS and Android versions of ExploreStars.
First, in IOS its uses the term “Auto Slew”. Android uses “Auto Align”. They are the same thing.
I am showing IOS version 1.1.1 as the latest. The following applies to IOS since that is what you are using. I have had good results with mine. Here are my steps using 2 or 3 star alignments. Here are my steps.

Select Auto Slew Off
Load GPS coordinates 
Reset Alignment 
2 Star Alignment, Note do not select Next (If you already have an idea of what star you want for alignment.)
Select Menu, Catalog, (second item), Alignment, Choose your star,  Slew to object, Center the star in
scope if necessary, Sync.
It will then say”Align to Second Star, then press Sync.”
Repeat the above, again do not press Next, unless you want it to choose for you. I make my own choice.
After the above, you should be aligned.
Note: I have found that if you choose 3 Star Alignment, your choice of the third star will be minimal, if any
at all are available.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.


Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, IPAD & Fire HD8, Oberwerk 5000 Tripod
Binos: Oberwerk 15x70, 8x40


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Richard Kirsch <Kirsch41@...>
 

Hi Brian,

I also have limited sky view and, for the most part, am only able to do a rough polar alignment.  However, I have not found where you can turn off “AutoAlign”.  I am using ExploreStars for iOS.  In “Setting”, I have “Autoslew” turned off but, if I chose 2 or 3 star alignment, it just suggests a star.  I can click on “Next” and on and on.  But I don’t see a way to go to the “Catalogue”, chose “Alignment Stars” and pick 2 or 3 from that list.

Suggestions?

Richard

Sent from my pocket. 

On May 7, 2019, at 2:14 AM, brian skinner <brianjimskinner@...> wrote:

Hi Craig, if you have a limited sky view like me, turn autoalign off, select 2 or 3 star alignment and then go to the catalogue page when you will be invited to select the first alignment star of your choice. When aligned go back to the catalogue page and select your next star and then your good to go....
Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 6 May 2019 21:17 Craig Bobchin <cbobchin@... wrote:
All,

I've received my IEXOS-100 last week and had a chance to test it on Sat. Night for a couple of hours, and I've got a few thoughts and complaints about the mount.

As background, I'm no newbie to EQ mounts, or imaging as I've had a Losmandy G-11 for about 15 years now and have done quite a bit of imaging through it. My purpose in getting the IEXOS-100 is as a portable mount to take to dark sites to do (hopefully unguided) dslr imaging with a FF camera and variety of DSLR lenses (zooms and primes).

A few months ago I picked up a Skywatcher AZ-Gti to hopefully allow this, but I was unable to get even 30 second exposures  with a 100mm lens unguided without getting trailing. The mount works fine for visual work with an 80mm f/6.5 APO in both Alt-Az and EQ mode, but for unguided imaging it's useless. Hence the IEXOS-100.

So un-boxing and set up went well, and the mount is a lot heavier than I expected.  The Az-GTi is 10lbs complete (Head, Tripod/Wedge, and counterweight.) the IEXOS-100 head is almost that heavy. I'm not sure how far I could hike with this and the camera gear, not to mention how I'd pack it all into a camera backpack. It might not meet my portability requirements, but I'm still considering that aspect separately.

I noticed after the mount was attached to the tripod that it still rotated within the tripod mounting no matter how much I tightened the bolt on the bottom. This is my first concern, in that it won't be steady enough for imaging. I might put some felt or something to give a bit of friction there.

My biggest complaint is that I had to purchase a tablet to use the mount as I intend to. I plan on taking this to the field where I will have limited power and don't want to haul a laptop etc.. If there was a phone version of the ExploreStars app that would be ideal, but the app won't work with either my LG V10 (which I use for the Skywatcher mount) or my LG V30. This is an additional cost that I wasn't anticipating and am not thrilled about.

Alignment: First off the polar alignment bore tunnel is less than useless for my 55 year old eyes. perhaps a younger set would enable me to see Polaris through it, but I don't know. I tried shining a green laser through it, but there was no way of ensuring the laser was actually square to the tube. In the end I simply put Polaris in the center of my 16x magnified live view on the camera's LCD screen. Not ideal, but it kind of worked. Just a side note, the Az-GTi suffers the same problem of trying to get polar alignment in EQ mode, and it doesn't even have a polar bore tunnel. This mount just begs for a PA scope in the bore tunnel, as I'd be out in the field with no laptop using the Polemaster is not an option for me (I've got the Polemaster for my G-11 and believe it or not, I get better PA with the Losmandy polar scope than the Polemaster.). Another option is some form of Polar alignment correction/drift alignment tool in the app (Skywatcher has this in the Synscan app.).

The ES app is okay, once you get used to it, but could stand a lot of improvement from a UI/UX perspective. It took me a lot of hunting around to figure out how to select my own alignment stars as I have an obstructed view from my light polluted back yard. One thing I couldn't find is a way to sync on an object that is not part of the alignment process. Is there such an animal in the app? If so where? It would also be nice to be able to use SkySafari to control the mount. 

Now on to the actual experience of using the mount once it was as aligned as I could get it. I was able to balance my Pentax K-1 and FA* 300mm f/4.5 using the two counterweights and a bunch of steel washers sandwiched between them.  My system for this test was about 2kg (4.75 lbs) in weight  For a mount that has a capacity of 15lbs, 2kg is not enough to balance the camera/lens combo and more counterweights are necessary, and I'm not sure where to get them. Considering I want to use a Camera/Lens combo that weighs in at 7.5lbs (3.5kg) that's a fair amount of counterweights.

The mount has a very pleasant hum when slewing and put the alignment stars pretty close to center of the F.O.V. of the unmagnified live view. A slight adjustment to center them at 16x was all that was needed. Strangely enough, this off-center alignment did not seem to improve as I added more alignment stars (I used three stars for alignment Dubhe, Mizar/Alcor, and Arcturus). I slewed to M3 as my target to try and image it. At one minute I had some trailing, at 30 sec none was visible in a 300mm lens. This was leaps and bounds above the AZ-GTi, which can't track a 30 sec image with a 3lb (1.3kg) payload (Pentax K-1 and 100mm f/2.8 lens).

If I can get a better polar alignment, I light be able to realize my dream of a portable mount that can do 2 min unguided subs. 


EXOS-II Southern Hemisphere

Rodrigo Zelada
 

Hello everyone, this past weekend I tried the update of Explore Star APP for Android (April 8) with the EXOS-2 PMC -Eight and my Vixen ED80SF. At first everything is going well, after doing the first alignment with two Stars I noticed that something is not right. When aligned with Stars that are located from the meridian to the West the Star is very close to the center of the visual field of Telescope, searches with Goto also take me very close to the center of the visual field. On the other hand, whee I use Stars to align from the meridian to the East, the mount does not arrive well, although the star is within the visual field of the finderscope, they do not appear in the field of the telescope. When searching with Goto in Stars of the meridian to the East this pattern is repeated. With Stars is east and west of the meridian in the alignment, the Stars to the West are well centered and to the East displaced, the same in the Goto. note I made a fairly accurate alignment with the polar Finder  to Sigma Octant. In the northern hemisphere, have you observed the similar one? Thank you


Re: iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

jrichard333 <jrichard333@hotmail.com>
 

Good day Brian,

 

During the time, I could not see Polaris, which I too believe is a critical 1st step in any alignment.  As for star-alignment, those stars were below the horizon at the time I was imaging planets; which was between 5:00AM and 6:30AM.   As long as I my planets were track-drifting (new term) through my frame in 3-minute intervals, I was happy.  Previously I had about 24-seconds of useable footage to image using my ballhead and  tripod.

 

For imaging planets, my workflow software is as follows:

1.        PIPP:  Convert, center, histogram, and cropping MOV files and converting them to an uncompressed AVI

2.       Castrator:  another centering program to filter and move bad data to the end

3.       Autostacker:  works well, but still going through the menu and experimenting with various settings

4.       Registax 6:  Currently analyzing/ dissecting the software.

 

For stars, before the tracker:

1.        Sequator:   Straight forward and easy to use interface, I love the light pollution/ gradient tools. 

 

I am still learning and figuring things out which I enjoy.  I am more focused  on repeatability and centering objects within my frame.  If I can take 2 to 3-minute vs .5-second-frames with a 600mm lens, I will be more than overjoyed.  However, for now, I will continue to play and share my discoveries with the group.

 

JR

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io [mailto:MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io] On Behalf Of brian skinner
Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 2:07 AM
To: MAIN@espmc-eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

 

Hi Richard, I'm not at the same stage of development of knowledge as you just yet. The only suggestion I think I can usefully make is that accurate tracking of any object is dependant on at least the two star alignment being done first.

I'm sure the other more experienced guys will confirm this.

Also when you have started using a stacker package I'd be interested in your thoughts on the subject.

Kind regards, Brian 

 

On Mon, 6 May 2019 17:07 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day Brian,

 

You are welcome.  The series is mostly for novices like myself, sharing my discoveries.

 

The only astrophotography I have done, if you can call it that J , is taking pictures of the moon.  I like imaging  planets.  I am currently working on Jupiter and Saturn and learning how to use various software packages:  Autostacker, PIPP, Castrator, WinJupos, Registax 6, and a host of Android apps (further examined in part 2).   I am learning/ improving, which is a good thing. 

 

The iEXOS-100 has allowed me to hold planets in my frame for about 2 to 3 minutes using a focal length of 3500mm with a digital zoom of 10 while slowly drifting out of frame.  One time I got lucky setting up the mount, couldn’t see Polaris, Saturn was steady for 5-minutes, it would have been longer, but I was tired and it was cold.  I did not do any star alignment.  My main goal is repeatability.  For that to take place, my setup must be consistent….RA, AZ, and Dec alignments; once I can assure myself the mount is aligned, then I can proceed to the next step.

 

One day, I will experiment with guide scopes and etc., but for now, I am developing a baseline for future expansion.  Hopefully, by that time, Ascom and all of its many faucets will interface better with other pieces of software and/ or hardware.  For now, it is entirely too involved and complicated for my limited understanding.  Thinking too much hurts my brain J

 

It reminds me of the old days when people chose to pay $69.00 dollars for Netscape Navigator Gold.  When Windows heard the peoples’ cry, they introduced Internet explorer which brought automation/ integration into the game J.  I view iEXOS-100 mount connecting by apps in the same light.  No hand controllers or GPS dongles. 

 

A couple of things I would like to see with the iEXOS-100 is the following:

1.       More marketing through social media outlets.  Comparison/ contrast of other products

2.       Having in-depth reviews by known astro-photographers who are popular on YouTube.

3.       A polar alignment scope which can be added to the current mount; no interest in polemaster.

4.       Alignment markers for the next generation of iEXOS-100 mounts for RA, DEC, and Azimuth.

 

Well, that is about it on this end.

 

JR

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io [mailto:MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io] On Behalf Of brian skinner
Sent: Monday, May 6, 2019 2:40 AM
To: MAIN@espmc-eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

 

Hi Richard, all good information thankyou. As I only intend (at this stage at least) to do photography I have not bothered with a finder scope. I find my DSLR live view screen to be fine for alignment. With a wide angle lens and bright stars as a target I have little trouble aligning and tracking my intended viewing object.

Kind regards, Brian 

 

On Sun, 5 May 2019 20:05 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day all,

 

My experience with the iEXOS-100 

 

Portable power (possible suggestions):

Before I purchase anything, I always have to determine if the cost is justified.

 

Four possible options:

1.       Orion Power Bank:   expensive ($169.00)

2.       Celestron Power Bank:  expensive and bulky ($65.00 to $119.00)

3.       TalentCell Power Bank:  cost effective/ lightweight ($33.00)

4.       8-C cell batteries:  ($12.30) not cost effective long term

 

I chose the “TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh/5V 12000mAh DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack.”  I bought it on Amazon about a week ago.  I am still in the testing phaseJ.  What I like so far:

1.        Lightweight/ portable

2.        95% charge…12,45 VDC

3.        5-hour run…11.50 VDC

4.       (1) USB port

5.       Y-cable is long enough to go from the battery to the  iEXO-100 mount; when installed in the battery holder

 

Mounting options for Celestron C90 and Sigma 150-600mm lens:

1.      Astromania Deluxe Dovetail Plate Dovetail Rail with 228 mm Length  purchased on Amazon.  Perfect fit for the iEXOS-100 mount:

 

Tunnel Scope:

Does not work for me for the following reasons:

1.        I can’t see Polaris with the naked eye

2.       The tunnel has too many reflections

a)      Finder scope (8X21) vs Tunnel scope:  the finder scope wins.

b)      Smartphone used to capture images:

Error! Filename not specified.

 

Error! Filename not specified.

 

I can’t see Polaris: Update to follow in part II

1.       Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t either.

2.       What I could see with the naked eye was Sirius, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut to name a few, but not Polaris.

 

JR

 

 


Re: IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

brian skinner
 

Hi Craig, if you have a limited sky view like me, turn autoalign off, select 2 or 3 star alignment and then go to the catalogue page when you will be invited to select the first alignment star of your choice. When aligned go back to the catalogue page and select your next star and then your good to go....
Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 6 May 2019 21:17 Craig Bobchin <cbobchin@... wrote:
All,

I've received my IEXOS-100 last week and had a chance to test it on Sat. Night for a couple of hours, and I've got a few thoughts and complaints about the mount.

As background, I'm no newbie to EQ mounts, or imaging as I've had a Losmandy G-11 for about 15 years now and have done quite a bit of imaging through it. My purpose in getting the IEXOS-100 is as a portable mount to take to dark sites to do (hopefully unguided) dslr imaging with a FF camera and variety of DSLR lenses (zooms and primes).

A few months ago I picked up a Skywatcher AZ-Gti to hopefully allow this, but I was unable to get even 30 second exposures  with a 100mm lens unguided without getting trailing. The mount works fine for visual work with an 80mm f/6.5 APO in both Alt-Az and EQ mode, but for unguided imaging it's useless. Hence the IEXOS-100.

So un-boxing and set up went well, and the mount is a lot heavier than I expected.  The Az-GTi is 10lbs complete (Head, Tripod/Wedge, and counterweight.) the IEXOS-100 head is almost that heavy. I'm not sure how far I could hike with this and the camera gear, not to mention how I'd pack it all into a camera backpack. It might not meet my portability requirements, but I'm still considering that aspect separately.

I noticed after the mount was attached to the tripod that it still rotated within the tripod mounting no matter how much I tightened the bolt on the bottom. This is my first concern, in that it won't be steady enough for imaging. I might put some felt or something to give a bit of friction there.

My biggest complaint is that I had to purchase a tablet to use the mount as I intend to. I plan on taking this to the field where I will have limited power and don't want to haul a laptop etc.. If there was a phone version of the ExploreStars app that would be ideal, but the app won't work with either my LG V10 (which I use for the Skywatcher mount) or my LG V30. This is an additional cost that I wasn't anticipating and am not thrilled about.

Alignment: First off the polar alignment bore tunnel is less than useless for my 55 year old eyes. perhaps a younger set would enable me to see Polaris through it, but I don't know. I tried shining a green laser through it, but there was no way of ensuring the laser was actually square to the tube. In the end I simply put Polaris in the center of my 16x magnified live view on the camera's LCD screen. Not ideal, but it kind of worked. Just a side note, the Az-GTi suffers the same problem of trying to get polar alignment in EQ mode, and it doesn't even have a polar bore tunnel. This mount just begs for a PA scope in the bore tunnel, as I'd be out in the field with no laptop using the Polemaster is not an option for me (I've got the Polemaster for my G-11 and believe it or not, I get better PA with the Losmandy polar scope than the Polemaster.). Another option is some form of Polar alignment correction/drift alignment tool in the app (Skywatcher has this in the Synscan app.).

The ES app is okay, once you get used to it, but could stand a lot of improvement from a UI/UX perspective. It took me a lot of hunting around to figure out how to select my own alignment stars as I have an obstructed view from my light polluted back yard. One thing I couldn't find is a way to sync on an object that is not part of the alignment process. Is there such an animal in the app? If so where? It would also be nice to be able to use SkySafari to control the mount. 

Now on to the actual experience of using the mount once it was as aligned as I could get it. I was able to balance my Pentax K-1 and FA* 300mm f/4.5 using the two counterweights and a bunch of steel washers sandwiched between them.  My system for this test was about 2kg (4.75 lbs) in weight  For a mount that has a capacity of 15lbs, 2kg is not enough to balance the camera/lens combo and more counterweights are necessary, and I'm not sure where to get them. Considering I want to use a Camera/Lens combo that weighs in at 7.5lbs (3.5kg) that's a fair amount of counterweights.

The mount has a very pleasant hum when slewing and put the alignment stars pretty close to center of the F.O.V. of the unmagnified live view. A slight adjustment to center them at 16x was all that was needed. Strangely enough, this off-center alignment did not seem to improve as I added more alignment stars (I used three stars for alignment Dubhe, Mizar/Alcor, and Arcturus). I slewed to M3 as my target to try and image it. At one minute I had some trailing, at 30 sec none was visible in a 300mm lens. This was leaps and bounds above the AZ-GTi, which can't track a 30 sec image with a 3lb (1.3kg) payload (Pentax K-1 and 100mm f/2.8 lens).

If I can get a better polar alignment, I light be able to realize my dream of a portable mount that can do 2 min unguided subs. 


Re: iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

brian skinner
 

Hi Richard, I'm not at the same stage of development of knowledge as you just yet. The only suggestion I think I can usefully make is that accurate tracking of any object is dependant on at least the two star alignment being done first.
I'm sure the other more experienced guys will confirm this.
Also when you have started using a stacker package I'd be interested in your thoughts on the subject.
Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 6 May 2019 17:07 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day Brian,

 

You are welcome.  The series is mostly for novices like myself, sharing my discoveries.

 

The only astrophotography I have done, if you can call it that J , is taking pictures of the moon.  I like imaging  planets.  I am currently working on Jupiter and Saturn and learning how to use various software packages:  Autostacker, PIPP, Castrator, WinJupos, Registax 6, and a host of Android apps (further examined in part 2).   I am learning/ improving, which is a good thing. 

 

The iEXOS-100 has allowed me to hold planets in my frame for about 2 to 3 minutes using a focal length of 3500mm with a digital zoom of 10 while slowly drifting out of frame.  One time I got lucky setting up the mount, couldn’t see Polaris, Saturn was steady for 5-minutes, it would have been longer, but I was tired and it was cold.  I did not do any star alignment.  My main goal is repeatability.  For that to take place, my setup must be consistent….RA, AZ, and Dec alignments; once I can assure myself the mount is aligned, then I can proceed to the next step.

 

One day, I will experiment with guide scopes and etc., but for now, I am developing a baseline for future expansion.  Hopefully, by that time, Ascom and all of its many faucets will interface better with other pieces of software and/ or hardware.  For now, it is entirely too involved and complicated for my limited understanding.  Thinking too much hurts my brain J

 

It reminds me of the old days when people chose to pay $69.00 dollars for Netscape Navigator Gold.  When Windows heard the peoples’ cry, they introduced Internet explorer which brought automation/ integration into the game J.  I view iEXOS-100 mount connecting by apps in the same light.  No hand controllers or GPS dongles. 

 

A couple of things I would like to see with the iEXOS-100 is the following:

1.       More marketing through social media outlets.  Comparison/ contrast of other products

2.       Having in-depth reviews by known astro-photographers who are popular on YouTube.

3.       A polar alignment scope which can be added to the current mount; no interest in polemaster.

4.       Alignment markers for the next generation of iEXOS-100 mounts for RA, DEC, and Azimuth.

 

Well, that is about it on this end.

 

JR

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io [mailto:MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io] On Behalf Of brian skinner
Sent: Monday, May 6, 2019 2:40 AM
To: MAIN@espmc-eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

 

Hi Richard, all good information thankyou. As I only intend (at this stage at least) to do photography I have not bothered with a finder scope. I find my DSLR live view screen to be fine for alignment. With a wide angle lens and bright stars as a target I have little trouble aligning and tracking my intended viewing object.

Kind regards, Brian 

 

On Sun, 5 May 2019 20:05 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day all,

 

My experience with the iEXOS-100 

 

Portable power (possible suggestions):

Before I purchase anything, I always have to determine if the cost is justified.

 

Four possible options:

1.       Orion Power Bank:   expensive ($169.00)

2.       Celestron Power Bank:  expensive and bulky ($65.00 to $119.00)

3.       TalentCell Power Bank:  cost effective/ lightweight ($33.00)

4.       8-C cell batteries:  ($12.30) not cost effective long term

 

I chose the “TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh/5V 12000mAh DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack.”  I bought it on Amazon about a week ago.  I am still in the testing phaseJ.  What I like so far:

1.        Lightweight/ portable

2.        95% charge…12,45 VDC

3.        5-hour run…11.50 VDC

4.       (1) USB port

5.       Y-cable is long enough to go from the battery to the  iEXO-100 mount; when installed in the battery holder

 

Mounting options for Celestron C90 and Sigma 150-600mm lens:

1.      Astromania Deluxe Dovetail Plate Dovetail Rail with 228 mm Length  purchased on Amazon.  Perfect fit for the iEXOS-100 mount:

 

Tunnel Scope:

Does not work for me for the following reasons:

1.        I can’t see Polaris with the naked eye

2.       The tunnel has too many reflections

a)      Finder scope (8X21) vs Tunnel scope:  the finder scope wins.

b)      Smartphone used to capture images:

 

 

I can’t see Polaris: Update to follow in part II

1.       Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t either.

2.       What I could see with the naked eye was Sirius, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut to name a few, but not Polaris.

 

JR

 

 


Sky Safari and the PMC8

Steve Siedentop
 

Bill Tschumy has indicated that they have PMC8 integration on their radar.

https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360009291573-When-Can-We-Expect-Sky-Safari-To-Interface-With-Explore-Scientific-PMC-8-Mounts-
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 G11, Skywatcher NEQ-6, Celestron AVX
Scopes: ES ED127CF FCD100, Celestron C6, Stellarvue SV80ED, Coronado Solarmax 40

-Steve
Cameras:  CentralDS CDS-600, Canon T3i, Orion Starshoot SSAG
Msc: Moonlite Focusers, Astrozap Dew Straps, Pegasus Ultimate PowerBox
Software: PixInsight, Cartes du Ciel, BackyardEOS, Stellarmate/INDI/K-Stars/EKOS, Astro IIDC, SkySafari


IEXOS-100 First Light report and a few thoughts/complaints #iEXOS-100

Craig Bobchin <cbobchin@...>
 

All,

I've received my IEXOS-100 last week and had a chance to test it on Sat. Night for a couple of hours, and I've got a few thoughts and complaints about the mount.

As background, I'm no newbie to EQ mounts, or imaging as I've had a Losmandy G-11 for about 15 years now and have done quite a bit of imaging through it. My purpose in getting the IEXOS-100 is as a portable mount to take to dark sites to do (hopefully unguided) dslr imaging with a FF camera and variety of DSLR lenses (zooms and primes).

A few months ago I picked up a Skywatcher AZ-Gti to hopefully allow this, but I was unable to get even 30 second exposures  with a 100mm lens unguided without getting trailing. The mount works fine for visual work with an 80mm f/6.5 APO in both Alt-Az and EQ mode, but for unguided imaging it's useless. Hence the IEXOS-100.

So un-boxing and set up went well, and the mount is a lot heavier than I expected.  The Az-GTi is 10lbs complete (Head, Tripod/Wedge, and counterweight.) the IEXOS-100 head is almost that heavy. I'm not sure how far I could hike with this and the camera gear, not to mention how I'd pack it all into a camera backpack. It might not meet my portability requirements, but I'm still considering that aspect separately.

I noticed after the mount was attached to the tripod that it still rotated within the tripod mounting no matter how much I tightened the bolt on the bottom. This is my first concern, in that it won't be steady enough for imaging. I might put some felt or something to give a bit of friction there.

My biggest complaint is that I had to purchase a tablet to use the mount as I intend to. I plan on taking this to the field where I will have limited power and don't want to haul a laptop etc.. If there was a phone version of the ExploreStars app that would be ideal, but the app won't work with either my LG V10 (which I use for the Skywatcher mount) or my LG V30. This is an additional cost that I wasn't anticipating and am not thrilled about.

Alignment: First off the polar alignment bore tunnel is less than useless for my 55 year old eyes. perhaps a younger set would enable me to see Polaris through it, but I don't know. I tried shining a green laser through it, but there was no way of ensuring the laser was actually square to the tube. In the end I simply put Polaris in the center of my 16x magnified live view on the camera's LCD screen. Not ideal, but it kind of worked. Just a side note, the Az-GTi suffers the same problem of trying to get polar alignment in EQ mode, and it doesn't even have a polar bore tunnel. This mount just begs for a PA scope in the bore tunnel, as I'd be out in the field with no laptop using the Polemaster is not an option for me (I've got the Polemaster for my G-11 and believe it or not, I get better PA with the Losmandy polar scope than the Polemaster.). Another option is some form of Polar alignment correction/drift alignment tool in the app (Skywatcher has this in the Synscan app.).

The ES app is okay, once you get used to it, but could stand a lot of improvement from a UI/UX perspective. It took me a lot of hunting around to figure out how to select my own alignment stars as I have an obstructed view from my light polluted back yard. One thing I couldn't find is a way to sync on an object that is not part of the alignment process. Is there such an animal in the app? If so where? It would also be nice to be able to use SkySafari to control the mount. 

Now on to the actual experience of using the mount once it was as aligned as I could get it. I was able to balance my Pentax K-1 and FA* 300mm f/4.5 using the two counterweights and a bunch of steel washers sandwiched between them.  My system for this test was about 2kg (4.75 lbs) in weight  For a mount that has a capacity of 15lbs, 2kg is not enough to balance the camera/lens combo and more counterweights are necessary, and I'm not sure where to get them. Considering I want to use a Camera/Lens combo that weighs in at 7.5lbs (3.5kg) that's a fair amount of counterweights.

The mount has a very pleasant hum when slewing and put the alignment stars pretty close to center of the F.O.V. of the unmagnified live view. A slight adjustment to center them at 16x was all that was needed. Strangely enough, this off-center alignment did not seem to improve as I added more alignment stars (I used three stars for alignment Dubhe, Mizar/Alcor, and Arcturus). I slewed to M3 as my target to try and image it. At one minute I had some trailing, at 30 sec none was visible in a 300mm lens. This was leaps and bounds above the AZ-GTi, which can't track a 30 sec image with a 3lb (1.3kg) payload (Pentax K-1 and 100mm f/2.8 lens).

If I can get a better polar alignment, I light be able to realize my dream of a portable mount that can do 2 min unguided subs. 


Re: ES-G11-PMC8 power options

Taavo Lukats
 

My numbers base upon my iexos-100 mount while operating, measured by ammeter in line with input power. Dont remember was it still on wifi or serial connection, operating wifi might draw more. 
You can get 6-8 cell common four port usb power banks for driving camera and heaters. I'm doing it like this, those two banks fit nicely together into the tripod battery holder that it came with.


Re: iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

jrichard333 <jrichard333@hotmail.com>
 

Good day Brian,

 

You are welcome.  The series is mostly for novices like myself, sharing my discoveries.

 

The only astrophotography I have done, if you can call it that J , is taking pictures of the moon.  I like imaging  planets.  I am currently working on Jupiter and Saturn and learning how to use various software packages:  Autostacker, PIPP, Castrator, WinJupos, Registax 6, and a host of Android apps (further examined in part 2).   I am learning/ improving, which is a good thing. 

 

The iEXOS-100 has allowed me to hold planets in my frame for about 2 to 3 minutes using a focal length of 3500mm with a digital zoom of 10 while slowly drifting out of frame.  One time I got lucky setting up the mount, couldn’t see Polaris, Saturn was steady for 5-minutes, it would have been longer, but I was tired and it was cold.  I did not do any star alignment.  My main goal is repeatability.  For that to take place, my setup must be consistent….RA, AZ, and Dec alignments; once I can assure myself the mount is aligned, then I can proceed to the next step.

 

One day, I will experiment with guide scopes and etc., but for now, I am developing a baseline for future expansion.  Hopefully, by that time, Ascom and all of its many faucets will interface better with other pieces of software and/ or hardware.  For now, it is entirely too involved and complicated for my limited understanding.  Thinking too much hurts my brain J

 

It reminds me of the old days when people chose to pay $69.00 dollars for Netscape Navigator Gold.  When Windows heard the peoples’ cry, they introduced Internet explorer which brought automation/ integration into the game J.  I view iEXOS-100 mount connecting by apps in the same light.  No hand controllers or GPS dongles. 

 

A couple of things I would like to see with the iEXOS-100 is the following:

1.       More marketing through social media outlets.  Comparison/ contrast of other products

2.       Having in-depth reviews by known astro-photographers who are popular on YouTube.

3.       A polar alignment scope which can be added to the current mount; no interest in polemaster.

4.       Alignment markers for the next generation of iEXOS-100 mounts for RA, DEC, and Azimuth.

 

Well, that is about it on this end.

 

JR

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io [mailto:MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io] On Behalf Of brian skinner
Sent: Monday, May 6, 2019 2:40 AM
To: MAIN@espmc-eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

 

Hi Richard, all good information thankyou. As I only intend (at this stage at least) to do photography I have not bothered with a finder scope. I find my DSLR live view screen to be fine for alignment. With a wide angle lens and bright stars as a target I have little trouble aligning and tracking my intended viewing object.

Kind regards, Brian 

 

On Sun, 5 May 2019 20:05 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day all,

 

My experience with the iEXOS-100 

 

Portable power (possible suggestions):

Before I purchase anything, I always have to determine if the cost is justified.

 

Four possible options:

1.       Orion Power Bank:   expensive ($169.00)

2.       Celestron Power Bank:  expensive and bulky ($65.00 to $119.00)

3.       TalentCell Power Bank:  cost effective/ lightweight ($33.00)

4.       8-C cell batteries:  ($12.30) not cost effective long term

 

I chose the “TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh/5V 12000mAh DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack.”  I bought it on Amazon about a week ago.  I am still in the testing phaseJ.  What I like so far:

1.        Lightweight/ portable

2.        95% charge…12,45 VDC

3.        5-hour run…11.50 VDC

4.       (1) USB port

5.       Y-cable is long enough to go from the battery to the  iEXO-100 mount; when installed in the battery holder

 

Mounting options for Celestron C90 and Sigma 150-600mm lens:

1.      Astromania Deluxe Dovetail Plate Dovetail Rail with 228 mm Length  purchased on Amazon.  Perfect fit for the iEXOS-100 mount:

 

Tunnel Scope:

Does not work for me for the following reasons:

1.        I can’t see Polaris with the naked eye

2.       The tunnel has too many reflections

a)      Finder scope (8X21) vs Tunnel scope:  the finder scope wins.

b)      Smartphone used to capture images:

 

 

I can’t see Polaris: Update to follow in part II

1.       Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t either.

2.       What I could see with the naked eye was Sirius, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut to name a few, but not Polaris.

 

JR

 

 


Re: iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

brian skinner
 

Hi Richard, all good information thankyou. As I only intend (at this stage at least) to do photography I have not bothered with a finder scope. I find my DSLR live view screen to be fine for alignment. With a wide angle lens and bright stars as a target I have little trouble aligning and tracking my intended viewing object.
Kind regards, Brian 

On Sun, 5 May 2019 20:05 jrichard333 <jrichard333@...> <jrichard333@... wrote:

Good day all,

 

My experience with the iEXOS-100 

 

Portable power (possible suggestions):

Before I purchase anything, I always have to determine if the cost is justified.

 

Four possible options:

1.       Orion Power Bank:   expensive ($169.00)

2.       Celestron Power Bank:  expensive and bulky ($65.00 to $119.00)

3.       TalentCell Power Bank:  cost effective/ lightweight ($33.00)

4.       8-C cell batteries:  ($12.30) not cost effective long term

 

I chose the “TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh/5V 12000mAh DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack.”  I bought it on Amazon about a week ago.  I am still in the testing phaseJ.  What I like so far:

1.        Lightweight/ portable

2.        95% charge…12,45 VDC

3.        5-hour run…11.50 VDC

4.       (1) USB port

5.       Y-cable is long enough to go from the battery to the  iEXO-100 mount; when installed in the battery holder

 

Mounting options for Celestron C90 and Sigma 150-600mm lens:

1.      Astromania Deluxe Dovetail Plate Dovetail Rail with 228 mm Length  purchased on Amazon.  Perfect fit for the iEXOS-100 mount:

 

Tunnel Scope:

Does not work for me for the following reasons:

1.        I can’t see Polaris with the naked eye

2.       The tunnel has too many reflections

a)      Finder scope (8X21) vs Tunnel scope:  the finder scope wins.

b)      Smartphone used to capture images:

 

 

I can’t see Polaris: Update to follow in part II

1.       Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t either.

2.       What I could see with the naked eye was Sirius, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut to name a few, but not Polaris.

 

JR

 

 


iEXOS-100 1st ever tracking mount Part 1

jrichard333 <jrichard333@hotmail.com>
 

Good day all,

 

My experience with the iEXOS-100 

 

Portable power (possible suggestions):

Before I purchase anything, I always have to determine if the cost is justified.

 

Four possible options:

1.       Orion Power Bank:   expensive ($169.00)

2.       Celestron Power Bank:  expensive and bulky ($65.00 to $119.00)

3.       TalentCell Power Bank:  cost effective/ lightweight ($33.00)

4.       8-C cell batteries:  ($12.30) not cost effective long term

 

I chose the “TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 6000mAh/5V 12000mAh DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack.”  I bought it on Amazon about a week ago.  I am still in the testing phaseJ.  What I like so far:

1.        Lightweight/ portable

2.        95% charge…12,45 VDC

3.        5-hour run…11.50 VDC

4.       (1) USB port

5.       Y-cable is long enough to go from the battery to the  iEXO-100 mount; when installed in the battery holder

 

Mounting options for Celestron C90 and Sigma 150-600mm lens:

1.      Astromania Deluxe Dovetail Plate Dovetail Rail with 228 mm Length  purchased on Amazon.  Perfect fit for the iEXOS-100 mount:

 

Tunnel Scope:

Does not work for me for the following reasons:

1.        I can’t see Polaris with the naked eye

2.       The tunnel has too many reflections

a)      Finder scope (8X21) vs Tunnel scope:  the finder scope wins.

b)      Smartphone used to capture images:

 

 

I can’t see Polaris: Update to follow in part II

1.       Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t either.

2.       What I could see with the naked eye was Sirius, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut to name a few, but not Polaris.

 

JR

 

 


Re: ES-G11-PMC8 power options

Wes Mcdonald
 

I know the PMC8 draws .5A at 12V.  Motors add something, but don't remember how much.  Not much while tracking.  So figure 6Wh per hour of use in your calculations, or 500mA hr/hr.  This of course does not include dew heaters.  

Wes.


--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: ES-G11-PMC8 power options

Taavo Lukats
 

Here's something similar, with 6 cells - https://www.ebay.com/itm/262383020778
And if i remember correct, the mount was drawing about 320mA when tracking at 12v and something around 450mA when slewing. Listing claims this bank able to do 600mA at 12v.
So lets say mount uses 350mA at 12v average, 12x0.35 = 4.2wh per hour. 
Okay worst case, 450mA all the time, swinging like a madman - 5.4wh per hour
One 18650 lipo cell rated 3000mAh contains nominal 11wh of energy.
So if you populate this with 6x3000mah cells, you should have atleast 12 hours of mount action, and you can get 3500mAh cells too.

And charge it easily with random usb cellphone charger.


Re: ES-G11-PMC8 power options

Taavo Lukats
 
Edited

I'm running with  one of the these. Put it to 13v and runs for many hours. 
https://www.qoo10.sg/item/TT-HOME-5-13V-LCD-DISPLAY-USB-POWER-BANK-18650-BATTERY-CHARGER/442547718
I have it for years and could not find it on ebay-aliexpress atm, but that is nice and small and easy to recharge from usb. I believe there are 6 cell versions too.

Here's a video review about it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1KBccrNYHE

But having hard time finding the alternatives too.. all from that company being discontinued..

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