iExos-100 PMC-8 and ExploreStars: Questions/Suggestions/Problems after first use. #iEXOS-100


Joe Izen
 

1) Thanks to a recent discussion in this group, I wasn't flummoxed by the non-working Internet warning.  (I can't say the same for a physics PhD student friend who reported to me that the departmental scope's WiFi wasn't working.  Amazing that there is no warning about this message in the manual as few of us have experience with local access points.

2) I was surprised that balancing by EDT80 CF scope is unexpectedly difficult. A camera or a diagonal+low power 3" eyepiece weight a significant fraction of the scope itself.  Changing eyepieces or a camera upsets the balance easily.  This must be a generic problem for all small equatorials.  How tolerant is the mount to weight imbalances? Swapping between eyepiece and DSLR camera is a major balance shifter.

3) What was the thinking behind forcing users to turn the scope to zero declination to see Polaris through the polar shaft? It seems far more convenient to align with the scope in the park position.

4) Why isn't the polar alignment shaft interior painted flat black?  I find the internal reflections of Polaris when I'm trying to center the star confusing and distracting. Hint for those trying to find Polaris. Use both eyes, on which looks through the shaft while the other looks at the open sky.

5) Why are motion buttons labeled up/down/left/right?  I would prefer the option to replace with a N/S/E/W label.  The mount knows to which side of the meridian it points to, so this should be straightforward to do.

6) I found no easy way to place the scope in park position. I have a level, but there aren't flat surfaces on the  mount to use with a level. I had to work by eye.  Does anyone have a better idea?

7) Which orientation of the saddle clamps is the home position?  The documentation is inadequate on this issue.

8) The manual description of the 2/3 star alignment procedure is inadequate. I shouldn't have to guess that ExploreStars wants me to use the "sync" button after I've centered the alignment star.

9) I am not please with  the precision of the tracking after a two star alignment. Even though I saw Polaris through the axis shaft, I had no tools other than drift alignments to fix the polar axis.  I lament the absence of a proper polar alignment as is built into most hand roller. These days, controllers/program without polar alignments are passé.

10) A fuller description of synching locally is needed.  Can one synch on a planet?

The next bug reports  refer to ExploreStar on my FireOS HD8 (2017) tablet.

11) Alignment hangs on 3-star alignment, and never furnishes the 3rd star. The documentation is unenlightening as to the advantages of 2 vs 3 star alignments.

12) The "right" software button on my HD8 is "sticky" Sometimes I have to hit the left button to stop the scope from slewing as if a mechanical switch were being used.


Best,
Joe 


brian skinner
 

Hi Joe, just on your point 12.... I too have a sticky right soft button, which could benefit from a fix please Jerry. All the other buttons are fine. Kind regards, Brian 


On Mon, 15 Jul 2019 06:36 Joe Izen, <joe@...> wrote:
1) Thanks to a recent discussion in this group, I wasn't flummoxed by the non-working Internet warning.  (I can't say the same for a physics PhD student friend who reported to me that the departmental scope's WiFi wasn't working.  Amazing that there is no warning about this message in the manual as few of us have experience with local access points.

2) I was surprised that balancing by EDT80 CF scope is unexpectedly difficult. A camera or a diagonal+low power 3" eyepiece weight a significant fraction of the scope itself.  Changing eyepieces or a camera upsets the balance easily.  This must be a generic problem for all small equatorials.  How tolerant is the mount to weight imbalances? Swapping between eyepiece and DSLR camera is a major balance shifter.

3) What was the thinking behind forcing users to turn the scope to zero declination to see Polaris through the polar shaft? It seems far more convenient to align with the scope in the park position.

4) Why isn't the polar alignment shaft interior painted flat black?  I find the internal reflections of Polaris when I'm trying to center the star confusing and distracting. Hint for those trying to find Polaris. Use both eyes, on which looks through the shaft while the other looks at the open sky.

5) Why are motion buttons labeled up/down/left/right?  I would prefer the option to replace with a N/S/E/W label.  The mount knows to which side of the meridian it points to, so this should be straightforward to do.

6) I found no easy way to place the scope in park position. I have a level, but there aren't flat surfaces on the  mount to use with a level. I had to work by eye.  Does anyone have a better idea?

7) Which orientation of the saddle clamps is the home position?  The documentation is inadequate on this issue.

8) The manual description of the 2/3 star alignment procedure is inadequate. I shouldn't have to guess that ExploreStars wants me to use the "sync" button after I've centered the alignment star.

9) I am not please with  the precision of the tracking after a two star alignment. Even though I saw Polaris through the axis shaft, I had no tools other than drift alignments to fix the polar axis.  I lament the absence of a proper polar alignment as is built into most hand roller. These days, controllers/program without polar alignments are passé.

10) A fuller description of synching locally is needed.  Can one synch on a planet?

The next bug reports  refer to ExploreStar on my FireOS HD8 (2017) tablet.

11) Alignment hangs on 3-star alignment, and never furnishes the 3rd star. The documentation is unenlightening as to the advantages of 2 vs 3 star alignments.

12) The "right" software button on my HD8 is "sticky" Sometimes I have to hit the left button to stop the scope from slewing as if a mechanical switch were being used.


Best,
Joe 


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

This is the first time it has been reported.  I will forward it on. What version of ExploreStars are you using?
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe:

A few thoughts for you.  Numbering relative to your points.

1.  Documentation never is complete.  Perhaps you can write up some information for the Knowledge Base.  The Forum is there for us, and others are in fact network engineers.  Post questions, someone will help you.

2.  Balance is as balance does.  Get use to it.  I put electrical tape on my balance bar to denote where weights go with different load configurations.  It is just the nature of the beast.  The mount has some capability to overcome out of balance situations, most of us deliberately make it a bit out of balance as that can serve to remove backlash and enhance guiding (lift the weights and camera end heavy).  You can try running your loads with a balance point of the weight such that it is out of balance in all cases, but less in each than if it was balanced in one and not the other.  Stalling the thing makes a hell of a racket but is not harmful, so a short test can tell you.  Another thing you might try is to purchase a smaller "trim" weight.  Use it with the large weight together.  You would run the mount with the large weight further up the bar than when it is alone, and use the smaller weight to trim balance when you change configurations.  The smaller weight is easier to manipulate.

3.  Many equatorial mounts have the property that you have to swing the DEC to 0 to see through the shaft.  Can't say why, but there is probably a reason not obvious to the non-designer.  I agree things would be easier if it was in home.  If this is a big issue for you, you can add an H mount to the scope.  This has the property of re-aligning home to the old DEC=0 position (it rotates the DEC 90 degrees).  Understand the home position is what you make it -- that is there are no encoders on the mount.  The controller assumes, when it is initialized, that the mount is in the home position and works from there.  Thus you can add that H mount and operate normally.  On the Exos2 the H mount also changes when the motor boxes collide and thus improves tracking past meridian I think, but I would have to check that one.  Not sure on the iexos what the net would be.  I think Chris T on the forum has one though.  Perhaps others can chime in.

4.  I don't own an iexos and when I do, I will never use the peep-hole.  Understand I never use the polar scope on the Exos2 either.  Rather I employ a Polemaster to obtain 30 arc sec or better polar alignments in 5 minutes.  You can find information about that somewhere in the forum and other places on the internet.  Mike Leemhius has designed a part you can 3D print that hold a polemaster in a jig that clamps into the mount saddle.  Using that jig it is possible to use the Polemaster with the iexos even though the mount itself does not have the standard CGEM port on the polar axis frame.  If you need to use the peep-hole, try painting it black yourself.  This hobby is one where customization is a full up sport.

5.  I would prefer to receive a check for $5000 a week for life.  Oh well.

6.  Finding Park is one of those silly old things.  There is a procedure I wrote (it's on the forum in a post) that will mostly do it, but it requires level.  Level is not particularly important if you do a polar alignment or a 2 or 3 star alignment.  I don't use the 2 or 3 star alignments, because I do a polar alignment with a polemaster, after which the scope does not need a 2 or 3 star.  IFF the scope is polar aligned (and pretty level), home is easily found by performing a GOTO, then breaking the clutches and manually centering the star in a crosshair reticle eyepiece, and then retightening the clutches.  A subsequent PARK will place the scope in the precise home position (for that "level" condition).  One could at that point mark the axis with a marker which can be subsequently used as a pretty good home position.  But understand it will be different to the degree the scope is not level each time it is set up.  Sorry, that is the way it is.  Others who have the iexos might comment how they do this.  I use I find the factory marks on the Exos2 to be nearly right after the above with the scope leveled using the built in bubble level.  But there is variation because....the level aint the same every time.  By the way, with the scope polar aligned, using the SYNC button after fine tuning the centering of a star basically removes the home error anyhow (until you move the mount).

7.  Assuming you do not have an H mount, this should be obvious.  The saddle clamp must grip the vixen bar when the scope is pointing over the weight bar with the RA axis pointing to polaris.  Can't see what your complaint is.  A person completely unfamiliar with things, as I once was, can see a countably infinite number of videos on how to set up an equatorial mount on the internet (of which I watched a few).  Astronomy Shed videos on YouTube are one place to get excruciatingly detailed instructions.

8.  Hmm.  Well I have to confess to never having read the manual, so what the heck (that's not really true, I have referred to the Programmers Reference Manual many times)?  There are many posts on the forum about the use of the SYNC button, its lack on Android, and its dual use, one in the context of alignment and another in the context of pointing.  It might be a subject of a Knowledge Base article already.  I believe Jerry has stated the knowledge base is where most of this stuff is.  Try searching there first.

9.  I also have had mixed results using the 2 star.  But with the EXos2 at least when a good polar is achieved the mount points very nicely.  Also, during astrophotography, plate solving removes all worry about GOTO accuracy.  And I might add guiding pretty much removes the periodic error.  These mounts are really inexpensive but perform amazingly well for the $$ invested.  This is especially apparent when closed loop control via guiding is employed, matched with plate solving.  Which Is of course the beauty of closed loop systems...a few great components can make the rest of the apparatus unimportant to the overall performance.  But, you can buy your way out of needing to guide or plate solve (sort of).  I ain't got that kinda dough though.  People are getting 2-2.5 arc second guiding out of the iexos and sub 2 arc sec from the exos2 -- enough for some pretty cool picture taking.

10.  Jerry should answer this one.  I can tell you in Meade Autostar implementations the planetary locations are approximate, owing to the complexities of the computations and their limited processing capabilities.  Thus we never use those to perform a SYNC.  Explorestars calculations should be far better and thus the computed RA/DEC values should be right on.  Since SYNC sets the PMC8 motor step count equal exactly to the RA/DEC at SYNC, if the planet is centered in the eyepiece it should be fine.  

11.  3 star seems to complete on my Android Samsung Tab A.  So can't say.  A few others are using the FireHD, or at least tried to use it.  Perhaps they can chime in.  In theory the 2 star solves for the polar alignment error.  Jerry has stated the 3 star strives to remove the telescope cone angle error from the pointing.  One of these days I'm going to perform a sensitivity study on all this.  Maybe.  If I don't die first.

12.  This happens to me also.  I believe it is associated with your finger overlapping the right edge of the button.  This seems to hit outside the margin of the app screen and the button sticks.  If you make a center strike it wont stick.  Easy to miss a bit to the right though.  ES sells physical buttons that attach to the screen via suction.  I have not used them but they would likely obviate this and provide a no-look tactile feel to those buttons for use when looking through the eyepiece.  Why don't you get some and report back?  

One final comment though.  If you want to make these mounts play Mozart, connect them to a Windows Tablet, run ASCOM, and all the great stuff that connects through that.  It makes guiding, photography, and planetarium driven astronomy a breeze.  And get a Polemaster and Mikes jig to get the thing in polar alignment.  Then you can have some hassle free(ish) fun.

So that's about all I know on these topics.  

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


brian skinner
 

Hi Jerry, unless you have recently updated it I believe it is the current version. Thinking about it I think the previous version was the same. You stop the right button response by either operating another button or releasing the right one and then hit it again....
Hope that helps! Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 15 Jul 2019 06:36 Joe Izen, <joe@...> wrote:
1) Thanks to a recent discussion in this group, I wasn't flummoxed by the non-working Internet warning.  (I can't say the same for a physics PhD student friend who reported to me that the departmental scope's WiFi wasn't working.  Amazing that there is no warning about this message in the manual as few of us have experience with local access points.

2) I was surprised that balancing by EDT80 CF scope is unexpectedly difficult. A camera or a diagonal+low power 3" eyepiece weight a significant fraction of the scope itself.  Changing eyepieces or a camera upsets the balance easily.  This must be a generic problem for all small equatorials.  How tolerant is the mount to weight imbalances? Swapping between eyepiece and DSLR camera is a major balance shifter.

3) What was the thinking behind forcing users to turn the scope to zero declination to see Polaris through the polar shaft? It seems far more convenient to align with the scope in the park position.

4) Why isn't the polar alignment shaft interior painted flat black?  I find the internal reflections of Polaris when I'm trying to center the star confusing and distracting. Hint for those trying to find Polaris. Use both eyes, on which looks through the shaft while the other looks at the open sky.

5) Why are motion buttons labeled up/down/left/right?  I would prefer the option to replace with a N/S/E/W label.  The mount knows to which side of the meridian it points to, so this should be straightforward to do.

6) I found no easy way to place the scope in park position. I have a level, but there aren't flat surfaces on the  mount to use with a level. I had to work by eye.  Does anyone have a better idea?

7) Which orientation of the saddle clamps is the home position?  The documentation is inadequate on this issue.

8) The manual description of the 2/3 star alignment procedure is inadequate. I shouldn't have to guess that ExploreStars wants me to use the "sync" button after I've centered the alignment star.

9) I am not please with  the precision of the tracking after a two star alignment. Even though I saw Polaris through the axis shaft, I had no tools other than drift alignments to fix the polar axis.  I lament the absence of a proper polar alignment as is built into most hand roller. These days, controllers/program without polar alignments are passé.

10) A fuller description of synching locally is needed.  Can one synch on a planet?

The next bug reports  refer to ExploreStar on my FireOS HD8 (2017) tablet.

11) Alignment hangs on 3-star alignment, and never furnishes the 3rd star. The documentation is unenlightening as to the advantages of 2 vs 3 star alignments.

12) The "right" software button on my HD8 is "sticky" Sometimes I have to hit the left button to stop the scope from slewing as if a mechanical switch were being used.


Best,
Joe 


Harry
 


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


Joe Izen
 

Jerry,

On Jul 15, 2019, at 7:07 AM, Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering <jrh@...> wrote:

This is the first time it has been reported.  I will forward it on. What version of ExploreStars are you using?


ExploreStars 1.3.19108.375 (85643) on FireOS.

Like Brian, I did figure out that pushing another button cause the right button to unstick, but it is a nuisance.

Please don’t forget to report the bug that causes the 3-star alignment to hang.

I think I understand why my tracking experience was so poor. Despite my using a reticle eyepiece with the two=star alignment, the goto wasn’t precise enough to put objects on my ASI224MC sensor.  I had to nudge, which forced the mount intos racking mode, so I was seeing drift in declination. I watched through a newbie video (I couldn’t during my first run because I was in the Rockies beyond mobile phone range), and see that I could have written the OTA coordinates from the main screen onto a sheet of paper (in the dark), switched to the coordinate screen, copied the coordinates from the paper and submitted them.  

I am flabbergasted by the crudeness of the design.  ExploreStars needs a button on the home screen that flips ExploreStars into pointing mode using the current OTA coordinates that ExploreStars reports. Even better would be if ExploreStars switched itself back to Pointing mode automatically after a few seconds of no manual position adjustments.

If the object I wish to observe in Point mode is the Sun or the Moon, but I have manually tweaked the position so I am in track mode, how do I get switch back to Point mode with the appropriate tracking rate?

Thanks,
Joe 


Harry
 

Hi Joe, I also use a Fire HD8, and just received an ES ED 80CF. I have been using the
HD8 with my ES AR102, and IEXOS 100 for some time. I use ExploreStars with both the HD8 and IPad. 
 
I agree the 80CF has been a challenge to balance. Using eyepieces of 26mm and smaller with one extension tube
does work. However, with my Nikon D600 it is challenging. I’m still working on that.

I do not use the Polar Finder tube. I visually center Polaris in the scope itself with a 20mm illuminated reticle eyepiece. I then perform a 1 or 2 star alignment. I use the manual slewing method to pick alignment stars. I do
not use the 3 star alignment. Usually there are few to no stars available and I don’t find it necessary.

Slewing. When I need to slew the mount using ExploreStars, to center alignment stars, or subsequent targets,
I use the “Compass Rose” When my target is visible in the finder or main scope, I tap once in the compass
center. This positions the red “target ball” in the center of the rose. I then place a finger in the center of the rose and slowly move it in any direction. The further you move, the faster it slews. I like this better than the Up/Down/L/R buttons, because you never have to look up, find a different button direction, and move it. You keep your finger on the rose, and while looking thru scope, adjust in any direction. It does take a little practice. When its where you want, release it. The red ball will spring back to the center of the rose for another adjustment. I never have had any “stickyness “ using this. Also, you do not need to select any slewing speed.

Levelling. I use the bubble level and compass in the Polar Scope Align Pro app to level the  tripod BEFORE I 
attach the IExos mount head. I just lay the iphone on top of the tripod and adjust. After the scope is mounted, I check the alt with the surface angle , and True North in the app 

One last thing, and Jerry can verify this. The “Sync” button only appears now when using alignment stars. It no longer appears to locally sync a target after alignment. It used to, but the latest app update appears to have removed this from both Android and IOS versions of ExploreStars.

I am using Fire OS 6.3.0.1 and ExploreStars ver. 1.319 (also called 1.3.2) on the HD8.

Hope this might help.

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


Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe and Harry

It is true the Android version Explorestars lacks the SYNC button during normal pointing.  That is being worked on.  Hopefully it will be added soon.

Pretty slick way to level, if you don't mind removing the head.  The PS ALign Pro is a slick app.  It also can get you in pretty good rough polar alignment when you use the polemaster mounting part of another Tray design that Mike Leemius has out on Thingverse.  I use PS Align pro each time I setup my mount prior to Polemaster polar alignment.  It is subject to compass drift on your phone though.

I haven't been able to get the hang of that compass rose movement ball, but it seems like a great way to go.

When I use my ETX90 (deforked) on the Exos2, I have to go to a small counterweight.  for me it has to weigh about the same as 3 D cells placed near the bottom of the bar.  I think I use a 2kg weight, cant remember.  It was made for an Ioptron but has the same center bore.  I posted about it on the forum.  I'm guessing the ETX rings in as heavier than the 80.  But with camera added I'm not so sure the smaller counter weight alone would be enough.  Maybe one could use two smaller weights with one used as a "trim" weight.  YMMV.

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


Joe Izen
 

Harry, I did the same as you to level the tripod head before attaching the mount, just as I level my HDX-110 pedestal before attaching its mount and a C14. My issue is figuring out how to use a level to establish the Park position with the shaft straight down. The iExos-100 has no flat surfaces like the sides of the HDX-110. Wes, I looked for your Park instructions on the forum without success. I’d appreciate it if you could post a direct URL. I may end up setting park as you suggested, 1) leveling, 2) doing a GOTO to a bright star, 3) cracking the clutches and centering the star manually, 4) Parking the scope 5) doing a 2/3 star alignment. It’s a bit of a nuisance, so I hope you’ve figured out a better way.

I really don’t mind doing 2/3 star alignments, and the graphics interface showing the constellation and target star is so much more convenient than a Synscan paddle. I can’t see buy a pole master for an iExos-100. The polemaster costs almost as much as the mount!

I do have a finder being shipped to me this week, but I wonder whether I'll end up using it. My 80mm F/7.5 apo with an ES long focal, wide FOV eye piece is almost a finder by itself. If I do use the finder, I’m either going to need another counterweight or a shaft extender. What is the thread size for the safety knob at the bottom of the shaft? I’m guessing that an extension shaft would be easier on the driver motor+power train because the weight is lower, but the longer shaft would catch more wind. Has anyone compared a third counterweight vs an extended shaft??

Joe


Chris Tardif
 

Plate-solving has been mana from heaven...Since figuring out plate-solving I have not needed to bother with star alignment and I only roughly polar align.  I make sure the mount is level, aim it towards polaris and just plate-solve.  So much easier.

 

Chris

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Joe Izen
Sent: July 15, 2019 12:24 PM
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iExos-100 PMC-8 and ExploreStars: Questions/Suggestions/Problems after first use. #iexos-100

 

Harry, I did the same as you to level the tripod head before attaching the mount, just as I level my HDX-110 pedestal before attaching its mount and a C14. My issue is figuring out how to use a level to establish the Park position with the shaft straight down.  The iExos-100 has no flat surfaces like the sides of the HDX-110. Wes, I looked for your Park instructions on the forum without success. I’d appreciate it if you could post a direct URL. I may end up setting park as you suggested, 1) leveling, 2) doing a GOTO to a bright star, 3) cracking the clutches and centering the star manually, 4) Parking the scope 5) doing a 2/3 star alignment.  It’s a bit of a nuisance, so I hope you’ve figured out a better way.

 

I really don’t mind doing 2/3 star alignments, and the graphics interface showing the constellation and target star is so much more convenient than a Synscan paddle.  I can’t see buy a pole master for an iExos-100.  The polemaster costs almost as much as the mount!

 

I do have a finder being shipped to me this week, but I wonder whether I'll end up using it.  My 80mm F/7.5 apo with an ES long focal, wide FOV eye piece is almost a finder by itself. If I do use the finder, I’m either going to need another counterweight or a shaft extender.  What is the thread size for the safety knob at the bottom of the shaft?  I’m guessing that an extension shaft would be easier on the driver motor+power train because the weight is lower, but the longer shaft would catch more wind.  Has anyone compared a third counterweight vs an extended shaft??

 

Joe

 

 

 

 

 


Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe

I just posted the procedure to the files section of the mounts sub group.  I think it will work pretty well, but you must perform it when the mount is level.  ALso, the marks won't be correct if the mount is not level in use.  So if you can establish level, this will do it, I think.

I would not extend the bar, but I am not familiar with how much weight you were supplied with.  As the weight gets further away from the mount on the bar you get more bending moments and disturbances, so as a rule more weight closer to the hub is better..Not sure why the 80mm would be so danged heavy that you could not balance it with the provided bar and weight.  But you have the thing so it must.  Get another weight, it's a better idea I think.  

I agree the Polemaster is expensive, but no more so than great glass in an eyepiece.  Not sure you can compare its cost to the mont, but I get your point, 75% of the mount cost for one stinking accessory?  Actually that speaks  more to the Great Deal the iEXOS is than to the price of the Polemaster.  This hobby is just a nice sink for cash.  When you get your camera setup going you can use SharpCap to do the same thing.  It is virtually free (I think you buy a one year license for $10).  But man after hours of twiddling I was glad to not have to do polar alignment with a polar scope (or for heaven's sake a peep-hole).  And when you figure in the time savings over many uses, Polemaster looks pretty good.  Also, you can transport the Polemaster to any mount you wish.  Polar align the neighborhood.  Look like a god.

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


Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe:

Here is the link.  The procedure is at the top of the thread.  Note the warning about various things that will mess you up.


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


Harry
 
Edited

Joe, Regarding the “Home” position on iExos 100. After I have leveled the tripod, attached the mount, that is the only leveling I do. I have the weight bar pointing down and aligned over the True North oriented tripod leg. I then polar align using the reticle eyepiece, and adjust the azimuth by loosening the mounting knob under the mount, and rotating the entire head carefully, then tighten. I adjust the alt using the latitude knob. 

Only then do I open ExploreStars, (check the green light is on) and either Load GPS Coordinates, or enter the Lat and Long data from another source. Check remaining data in the System Settings, and push “Reset Alignment “
I now consider the scope in the Home position. Then I perform a 2 star alignment. Perhaps I am wrong in my
technique, and am very open to learning. After observing for some time, and before I shut down, I push the “Park” button, and the mount returns to where I started. I then compare the RA and Dec between OTA Data, and target data. It generally is very close, and most times Polaris is centered in the eyepiece.

On counterweights. I have the 2 black 1kg weights that came with the iExos 100, and another 1 kg white counterweight I purchased from ES. I needed more so I bought a 2.5 lb round dumbbell weight from Walmart. It cost @ $4 dollars. It is 5 3/8 in diameter, and has a one inch hole. I used pvc and friction tape to reduce the hole. It has no set screw, so I keep it on the bottom and use a 1kg weight to hold it in place. Other 1kg weights are above this if necessary. It works well for my AR 102. With that  scope  I do shorten the tripod legs. Otherwise lots of weight options, and is very steady. See attached pics.

Harry 

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


Wes Mcdonald
 

Here is what I bought for a light weight but heavier weight.

Ioptron 8605.  It weighs in at 3# (1.35kg)  Black, and fits perfectly.

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


brian skinner
 

Sorry if this sounds naive chaps, but don't you just make sure the mount is level by using the inbuilt bubble level????
Kind regards, Brian 

On Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:28 Chris Tardif, <christardif@...> wrote:

Plate-solving has been mana from heaven...Since figuring out plate-solving I have not needed to bother with star alignment and I only roughly polar align.  I make sure the mount is level, aim it towards polaris and just plate-solve.  So much easier.

 

Chris

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Joe Izen
Sent: July 15, 2019 12:24 PM
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] iExos-100 PMC-8 and ExploreStars: Questions/Suggestions/Problems after first use. #iexos-100

 

Harry, I did the same as you to level the tripod head before attaching the mount, just as I level my HDX-110 pedestal before attaching its mount and a C14. My issue is figuring out how to use a level to establish the Park position with the shaft straight down.  The iExos-100 has no flat surfaces like the sides of the HDX-110. Wes, I looked for your Park instructions on the forum without success. I’d appreciate it if you could post a direct URL. I may end up setting park as you suggested, 1) leveling, 2) doing a GOTO to a bright star, 3) cracking the clutches and centering the star manually, 4) Parking the scope 5) doing a 2/3 star alignment.  It’s a bit of a nuisance, so I hope you’ve figured out a better way.

 

I really don’t mind doing 2/3 star alignments, and the graphics interface showing the constellation and target star is so much more convenient than a Synscan paddle.  I can’t see buy a pole master for an iExos-100.  The polemaster costs almost as much as the mount!

 

I do have a finder being shipped to me this week, but I wonder whether I'll end up using it.  My 80mm F/7.5 apo with an ES long focal, wide FOV eye piece is almost a finder by itself. If I do use the finder, I’m either going to need another counterweight or a shaft extender.  What is the thread size for the safety knob at the bottom of the shaft?  I’m guessing that an extension shaft would be easier on the driver motor+power train because the weight is lower, but the longer shaft would catch more wind.  Has anyone compared a third counterweight vs an extended shaft??

 

Joe

 

 

 

 

 


Joe Izen
 

Brian,
Of course, I use both the built in bubble level and and easier read external level, but all they do is just level the top of the tripod. But that has no bearing on whether the declination shaft is pointing straight down. In a world with a perfectly symmetric telescope, gravity might be sufficient. Finder scopes and their shoes, and eyepiece in diagonals break the symmetry, so something more sophisticated is needed.

Best,
Joe

On Jul 16, 2019, at 1:58 AM, brian skinner <brianjimskinner@gmail.com> wrote:

Sorry if this sounds naive chaps, but don't you just make sure the mount is level by using the inbuilt bubble level????
Kind regards, Brian


Joe Izen
 

Wes,

Your idea to set the scope/mount to a position where the scope or weight/bar is horizontal so a level can be used is clever.

A way to check the alignment after your procedure would be to use PS Align to determine where the pole should be, and using a low poer eyepiece, perhaps with a reticle and slew in RA to see that Polaris orbits around the point at the center of the field.

For those of us doing unguided DSO photography, it would help if the ExploreStars software were better designed.  I’ve already posted why the procedure to copy/paste coordinates from/to ExploreStars to return to pointing mode is clunky, so I won’t repeat it here.  For Amazon Fire tablet users, the 3-star alignment in ExploreStars appears to be broken, but even if it weren’t, having  a misaligned polar axis will eventually cause field rotation, even with perfect tracking. My opinion remains that ExploreStars should include a Polar Alignment akin to SynScan controllers and those of other manufacturers. I suppose ASCOM is an alternative, but I would lose the simplicity and elegance of the ExploreStar app which, despite my belly-aching, I do appreciate.

Joe 

On Jul 15, 2019, at 3:12 PM, Wes Mcdonald <wesmcd6@...> wrote:

Joe:

Here is the link.  The procedure is at the top of the thread.  Note the warning about various things that will mess you up.


Wes.


Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe

I can't claim ownership.  It's kinda obvious but perhaps not widely thought of so I wrote it up.  The primary purpose of the procedure is to find home but it can be used to find level once home is known and markedl0

I think the goal is to make the point mode trackmode indicator a button to switch back and forth.  Remember the point mode adjusts Dec and Ra which is helpful when there is a mount model resultant from the 2 star alignment.  But the scope basically sits still for 200ms between updates.  In track mode the scope tracks only in Ra at the sideral rate, but tracks smoothly.  This is what you want of course for photography.  But this won't be much good if you are not pretty good polar aligned.  

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


Kent Marts- Explore Scientific Customer Service
 

Regarding Joe's Issue No 3 -- What was the thinking behind forcing users to turn the scope to zero declination to see Polaris through the polar shaft? It seems far more convenient to align with the scope in the park position.

The answer, thanks to ES engineer Alex Sanchez, is this: If the telescope is in the home position (pointing at Polaris) when you try to align using the polar scope/tunnel, and your tube assembly is longish, the telescope is DIRECTLY above your head. That makes it
a) difficult to get your head in position to see through the polar scope
b) possible to damage your focuser/draw tube/diagonal when you stand up and hit it
3) possible to knock the scope and tripod over when you stand up.

Long ago, "they" figured out that by turning the telescope 90 degrees, that problem is solved.

Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific