Date   

Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

sroberts84
 

Great, thanks for confirming, Dale! 

---
We've got fifteen minutes, Freddo, it's worse than I thought!


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Dale Ghent <daleg@...>
Sent: 12 April 2021 09:31
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes
 

Yes, that's the one.

> On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:29, sroberts84 <ap-gto-group-io@...> wrote:
>
> Nice write up, Dale..,
> Is this the extractor you referred to that eventually worked well?
>
> https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FRYOBI-No-1-Spiral-Screw-Extractor-A96SE61%2F205469313&amp;data=04%7C01%7C%7Cab2491b97602465306ef08d8fdd06f39%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637538418959926485%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=sKG%2B9jM1QnUrluUjO%2FR%2F1zr5HoC882myypI5DC0qo28%3D&amp;reserved=0
>
> RYOBI No.1 Spiral Screw Extractor-A96SE61 - The Home Depot
> RYOBI introduces the No.1 Spiral Screw Extractor. The RYOBI No. 1 Steel Spiral Screw Extractor features steel construction and black oxide thread for lasting performance. Use this extractor to remove screws and bolts from 1/8 in. - 1/4 in. for your convenience.
> https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2F&amp;data=04%7C01%7C%7Cab2491b97602465306ef08d8fdd06f39%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637538418959936479%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=0mufXoIrQ4YpVGiwpbGzSMfZOXtPPcrB9FUPRG6A21s%3D&amp;reserved=0
> Thanks..,
>  S Roberts
> ---
> We've got fifteen minutes, Freddo, it's worse than I thought!
>
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Dale Ghent <daleg@...>
> Sent: 12 April 2021 09:10
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes
>
>
> No drilling. Just a few light taps on the extractor using a finishing nail hammer to seat the extractor bit tip into the plug's center hole, and some initial moderate downward force on the tap wrench during the first few turns to make sure it fully bit into the plug. Not hard at all.
>
> I will note that design of the extractor bit did seem to matter. I have two #1's, one from a "Warrior" set from Harbor Freight, and another from Home Depot/Ryobi. The Ryobi bit seemed to dig in and get a bite more reliably than the Harbor Freight one. I used a Starrett 91A tap wrench.
>
> /dale
>
>
> > On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:04, George <george@...> wrote:
> >
> > Dale,
> >
> > So you found that the #1 extractor worked well?    Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > George
> >
> > George Whitney
> > Astro-Physics, Inc.
> > Phone:  815-222-6538 (direct line)
> > Phone:  815-282-1513 (office)
> > Email:  george@...
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
> > Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
> > To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> > Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes
> >
> > I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.
> >
> > The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.
> >
> > The servicing tasks to be done:
> >
> > 1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount
> >
> > In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:
> >
> > 1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4
> >
> > (1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.
> >
> > (2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.
> >
> > Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.
> >
> > Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.
> >
> > Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.
> >
> > When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.
> >
> > Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.
> >
> > I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:
> >
> > https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimgur.com%2Fa%2FiDp4Qor&amp;data=04%7C01%7C%7Cab2491b97602465306ef08d8fdd06f39%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637538418959936479%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=YP7Kd7eFA%2FDfHcKIjdYitpPR2u%2FYxgyLNNJJswVPgU0%3D&amp;reserved=0
> >
> > /dale
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>







Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

Dale Ghent
 

Yes, that's the one.

On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:29, sroberts84 <ap-gto-group-io@outlook.com> wrote:

Nice write up, Dale..,
Is this the extractor you referred to that eventually worked well?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-No-1-Spiral-Screw-Extractor-A96SE61/205469313

RYOBI No.1 Spiral Screw Extractor-A96SE61 - The Home Depot
RYOBI introduces the No.1 Spiral Screw Extractor. The RYOBI No. 1 Steel Spiral Screw Extractor features steel construction and black oxide thread for lasting performance. Use this extractor to remove screws and bolts from 1/8 in. - 1/4 in. for your convenience.
www.homedepot.com
Thanks..,
S Roberts
---
We've got fifteen minutes, Freddo, it's worse than I thought!

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org>
Sent: 12 April 2021 09:10
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes


No drilling. Just a few light taps on the extractor using a finishing nail hammer to seat the extractor bit tip into the plug's center hole, and some initial moderate downward force on the tap wrench during the first few turns to make sure it fully bit into the plug. Not hard at all.

I will note that design of the extractor bit did seem to matter. I have two #1's, one from a "Warrior" set from Harbor Freight, and another from Home Depot/Ryobi. The Ryobi bit seemed to dig in and get a bite more reliably than the Harbor Freight one. I used a Starrett 91A tap wrench.

/dale


On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:04, George <george@astro-physics.com> wrote:

Dale,

So you found that the #1 extractor worked well? Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?

Regards,

George

George Whitney
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone: 815-222-6538 (direct line)
Phone: 815-282-1513 (office)
Email: george@astro-physics.com

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes

I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimgur.com%2Fa%2FiDp4Qor&;data=04%7C01%7C%7C8db9fa17e35747a6776308d8fdcd91df%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637538406636189309%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=EmbWgTXbB0DlgOvgZuCFi%2BmwURQMgPqifP0oikAGmxo%3D&amp;reserved=0

/dale














Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

sroberts84
 

Nice write up, Dale.., 
Is this the extractor you referred to that eventually worked well? 

RYOBI introduces the No.1 Spiral Screw Extractor. The RYOBI No. 1 Steel Spiral Screw Extractor features steel construction and black oxide thread for lasting performance. Use this extractor to remove screws and bolts from 1/8 in. - 1/4 in. for your convenience.
www.homedepot.com
Thanks.., 
 S Roberts 
---
We've got fifteen minutes, Freddo, it's worse than I thought!


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Dale Ghent <daleg@...>
Sent: 12 April 2021 09:10
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes
 

No drilling. Just a few light taps on the extractor using a finishing nail hammer to seat the extractor bit tip into the plug's center hole, and some initial moderate downward force on the tap wrench during the first few turns to make sure it fully bit into the plug. Not hard at all.

I will note that design of the extractor bit did seem to matter. I have two #1's, one from a "Warrior" set from Harbor Freight, and another from Home Depot/Ryobi. The Ryobi bit seemed to dig in and get a bite more reliably than the Harbor Freight one. I used a Starrett 91A tap wrench.

/dale


> On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:04, George <george@...> wrote:
>
> Dale,
>
> So you found that the #1 extractor worked well?    Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?
>
> Regards,
>
> George
>
> George Whitney
> Astro-Physics, Inc.
> Phone:  815-222-6538 (direct line)
> Phone:  815-282-1513 (office)
> Email:  george@...
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
> Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes
>
> I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.
>
> The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.
>
> The servicing tasks to be done:
>
> 1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount
>
> In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:
>
> 1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4
>
> (1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.
>
> (2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.
>
> Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.
>
> Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.
>
> Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.
>
> When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.
>
> Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.
>
> I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:
>
> https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimgur.com%2Fa%2FiDp4Qor&amp;data=04%7C01%7C%7C8db9fa17e35747a6776308d8fdcd91df%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637538406636189309%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=EmbWgTXbB0DlgOvgZuCFi%2BmwURQMgPqifP0oikAGmxo%3D&amp;reserved=0
>
> /dale
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>







Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

 

thanks Dale - great info


On Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 8:58 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:
I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces
2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears
3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs
4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty)
5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1
2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2
3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://imgur.com/a/iDp4Qor

/dale






--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

George
 

Dale,

Good info...thank you!

Regards,

George

George Whitney
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone:  815-222-6538 (direct line)
Phone:  815-282-1513 (office)
Email:  george@astro-physics.com

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 11:11 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes


No drilling. Just a few light taps on the extractor using a finishing nail hammer to seat the extractor bit tip into the plug's center hole, and some initial moderate downward force on the tap wrench during the first few turns to make sure it fully bit into the plug. Not hard at all.

I will note that design of the extractor bit did seem to matter. I have two #1's, one from a "Warrior" set from Harbor Freight, and another from Home Depot/Ryobi. The Ryobi bit seemed to dig in and get a bite more reliably than the Harbor Freight one. I used a Starrett 91A tap wrench.

/dale


On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:04, George <george@astro-physics.com> wrote:

Dale,

So you found that the #1 extractor worked well? Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?

Regards,

George

George Whitney
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone: 815-222-6538 (direct line)
Phone: 815-282-1513 (office)
Email: george@astro-physics.com

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes

I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://imgur.com/a/iDp4Qor

/dale









Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

Dale Ghent
 

No drilling. Just a few light taps on the extractor using a finishing nail hammer to seat the extractor bit tip into the plug's center hole, and some initial moderate downward force on the tap wrench during the first few turns to make sure it fully bit into the plug. Not hard at all.

I will note that design of the extractor bit did seem to matter. I have two #1's, one from a "Warrior" set from Harbor Freight, and another from Home Depot/Ryobi. The Ryobi bit seemed to dig in and get a bite more reliably than the Harbor Freight one. I used a Starrett 91A tap wrench.

/dale

On Apr 12, 2021, at 12:04, George <george@astro-physics.com> wrote:

Dale,

So you found that the #1 extractor worked well? Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?

Regards,

George

George Whitney
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone: 815-222-6538 (direct line)
Phone: 815-282-1513 (office)
Email: george@astro-physics.com

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes

I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://imgur.com/a/iDp4Qor

/dale









Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

dan kowall
 

A well-done and informative pictorial, Dale.
Thanks,

dan kowall
photonhunter.com


On Monday, April 12, 2021, 11:58:33 AM EDT, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence [sic] on the mount, scope, and dome.





Re: 1200GTO servicing project notes

George
 

Dale,

So you found that the #1 extractor worked well? Did you have to do anything other than use the extractor, itself...no drilling?

Regards,

George

George Whitney
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone:  815-222-6538 (direct line)
Phone:  815-282-1513 (office)
Email:  george@astro-physics.com

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] 1200GTO servicing project notes

I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces 2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears 3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs 4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty) 5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1 2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2 3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://imgur.com/a/iDp4Qor

/dale


1200GTO servicing project notes

Dale Ghent
 

I recently took over as Observatory Director for my club's observatory and outreach center. With COVID putting a halt on the in-person outreach events that we have done on a monthly basis (and hope to return to once conditions allow), I figured now was the time to do heavy maintainence on the mount, scope, and dome.

The observatory's 1200GTO is a fairly early example and, from what we've been able to determine, has not been heavily serviced during its lifetime which is approaching 20 years old. Yep! It probably still had the original grease! Nonetheless, it has been operating fine for the most part, but it has developed some notable backlash in both axes and could use some attention so it can soldier on into the future with better performance.

The servicing tasks to be done:

1. Dismantle the mount and clean its external surfaces
2. Clean and regrease the RA and dec worm, worm wheel, and motor spur gears
3. Replace RA and Dec clutch delrin plugs
4. Polish out rust spots on CW shaft and weights and give them a nice shine (ooh pretty)
5. General inspection of mount

In addition to servicing the mount, I also wanted to install some upgrades into it for improved operation. It already had a CP4, so that only needed a firmware update. The following upgrades were chosen:

1. 1200 R.A. Motor Bracket with Spring-Loaded Action (12SLBR), Qty. 1
2. Replacement for 900/1200 Dovetail Knob (DOVEKREP), Qty. 2
3. Modified R.A. Clutch Set Screw for 1200 Mount, all models (M12668), Qty. 4

(1) was chosen to replace the original RA motor mounting bracket design with a newer version that addresses backlash better. The new bracket keeps the RA worm meshed better with the worm wheel. From what I undertand this improved bracket was standard on later 1200GTO serial numbers. It would appear that I snagged the last of this bracket at A-P, as it is now listed as out of stock and discontinued.

(2) and (3) were chosen to replace the four RA clutch knobs and two Declination axis dovetail knobs, respectively, with set screws. The 1200GTO's design predates the through-mount cabling feature found on current mount models, so any wiring coming off the scope and down the side of the mount can run the risk of snagging on one of these knobs. I've witnessed this briefly happen with ours, with the power and USB coming off the telescope getting picked up and carried briefly by one of these knobs, but the cable would free itself each time. I don't have to watch for this situation with my finger hovering over the STOP! button with these set screw replacements as the dec axis now lacks such protrusions.

Breakdown of the mount went fine save for unscrewing 1 of 5 screws that fastened the RA motor to the RA motor bracket. Despite all efforts and even a few tries with a #1 and then #2 screw extractor, the screw just would not turn. I decided that the folks at Astro-Pysics would be the best people to deal with this, so I detached the bracket from the mount body and sent the bracket+motor combination to them. Dave and their machinist went to work on it and eventually freed the screw. Upon its return, the RA motor was cleaned, greased up, and mounted on the upgraded bracket with no further issues.

Cleaning the gearing and regreasing using the Astro-Physics grease kit was easy and familiar to me, having done the same with my own Mach1 prior to this. I use flat toothpicks to gently press paper towel into the worm wheel and gear teeth which allows me gently scrape out the gummy black old grease. Cleaning the external surface of the mount was done with microfiber cloths, first with a diluted solution of citrus degreaser to get areas caked-on oil/dirt off of, then a final wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. A little bit of elbow work got dirt and grime out of the setting circle engravings, returning the numbering and marks to their original white. We don't use them, but it makes the mount look nicer.

Replacing the delrin clutch plugs was a quick and easy. My method for extracting the old ones was to remove the clutch knob and gently tap a #1 screw extractor into the center hole of the old delrin plug, attach a tap wrench, and unscrew it out. The new delrin plugs dropped right back in to the hole.

When all the service and upgrade items were done, the mount was reassembled and the (also cleaned) TOA-150B went back on top of it. The smooth action of the unclutched axes during balancing was great, a clear difference from the sticky balky motion caused by the old delrin clutch plugs that would not fully disengage. With everything balanced and locked in, it was really nice to be greeted with a soft hum of the motors with no backlash. I now await a clear night to re-do the polar alignment using SharpCap Pro. Eventually, I want to get the club to spring for APPC Pro so we can run this with pointing and tracking models.

Throughout this project, I talked quite a bit with George, Dave, and Daleen at Astro-Physics. I can't stress how awesome they are to work with, not just on a person-to-person basis but certainly with Astro-Physics as a company. It's a rare level of service in this hobby/industry these days where things can seem kind of impersonal and faceless, and I shudder to think about what I would have to go through to get a similar level of attention with vendors of cheaper mounts, or if it would even be possible in that reality. I really want to thank them and it's why I've never hesitated in recommening their products.

I have a chronologically-ordered gallery of images from this maintenance. There's a lot of photos, so you may need to click the "Load 22 more images" button once you scroll to the bottom:

https://imgur.com/a/iDp4Qor

/dale


Re: COM Errors w/APCC

Steve Reilly
 

Thanks Ray, I'll follow up.

-Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 10:20 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Steve,

Guess I'll need to ask the SRO crew a few more questions.....
You might ask SRO if there was any residual soot or smoke particles on any
of the computers from the fires. If so, the computer may need to be
replaced. If you do a web search on "computer smoke damage" you can see
there may be cause for concern.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf
Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 6:38 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Thanks Ray,

Biggest problem with remote imaging is not "seeing/touching" the
systems. As far as I know the cable to the mount (CP4) from the switch
was replaced, the switch itself (or at least requested) but nothing
was said about the cable from their switch to their network switch. I
haven't seen any sign of the computer cycling on/off as would be
possible if the heat sync/fan was dirty (over heated).

Guess I'll need to ask the SRO crew a few more questions.....

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray
Gralak
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 8:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Steve,

Looking at your logs, it is probably a network issue but that may be
difficult to pin down. Since you replaced the switch and cable(s), it
could be the Ethernet port on the computer, the Ethernet driver, or a
Windows operation causing a delay in responses.
It could also be the computer has issues, especially if it was left
out in a potentially hazardous environment (e.g. cold weather, and
smoke from fires that approached SRO last year).

BTW, you said *the* CAT5e cable was replaced, but there should be at
least two cables: computer to switch, and switch to mount. Were both
replaced?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf
Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 4:19 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

I looked at APCC while running remotely at SRO this morning and saw
93 COM errors. While the system is imaging successfully these errors
are concerning. I have had many errors over the past few months and
have had the CAT5e cable replaced, power cycled the switch, replaced
the switch, and the behavior continues. I'm used to having COM
errors when it 1st starts and have delays in the startup script to
try to minimize the errors but these are going on throughout the
night and aren't just startup issues. At this point I'm not sure
what needs to be done. I use TCP LAN as the primary connection and
COM3 as my backup. In the time since starting this message and
after clearing those errors I
already have an additional 7 COM errors. APCC just switched from TCP
to COM
3 while looking at the log file for this morning. The log files can be
found here
<https://www.dropbox.com/s/uvj2ky00emjhncr/ApccZip-David_Weiner-2021-0
4-12-0 41125.zip?dl=0> . This is an up to date CP4 on an AP3600GTO as
well as ASCOM driver and APCC Pro being up to date.



Any suggestions would be very welcomed.



-Steve











Re: pulseguide option in SkyX #ASCOM_V2_Driver

arenslo@...
 

Perfect.  Thanks Howard


Re: pulseguide option in SkyX #ASCOM_V2_Driver

Howard Hedlund
 

Use the pulseguide option.  That way, the guide pulse is sent as a timed move command - i.e. move west for 30 mSec - which is handled by the GTOCP3.  There are no timing issues because the timing is in the command, and does not depend on perfectly timed move and stop instructions to the relays.

Howard


Re: COM Errors w/APCC

Ray Gralak
 

Steve,

Guess I'll need to ask the SRO crew a few more questions.....
You might ask SRO if there was any residual soot or smoke particles on any of the computers from the fires. If so, the computer may
need to be replaced. If you do a web search on "computer smoke damage" you can see there may be cause for concern.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 6:38 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Thanks Ray,

Biggest problem with remote imaging is not "seeing/touching" the systems. As
far as I know the cable to the mount (CP4) from the switch was replaced, the
switch itself (or at least requested) but nothing was said about the cable
from their switch to their network switch. I haven't seen any sign of the
computer cycling on/off as would be possible if the heat sync/fan was dirty
(over heated).

Guess I'll need to ask the SRO crew a few more questions.....

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 8:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Steve,

Looking at your logs, it is probably a network issue but that may be
difficult to pin down. Since you replaced the switch and cable(s), it could
be the Ethernet port on the computer, the Ethernet driver, or a Windows
operation causing a delay in responses.
It could also be the computer has issues, especially if it was left out in a
potentially hazardous environment (e.g. cold weather, and smoke from fires
that approached SRO last year).

BTW, you said *the* CAT5e cable was replaced, but there should be at least
two cables: computer to switch, and switch to mount. Were both replaced?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf
Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 4:19 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

I looked at APCC while running remotely at SRO this morning and saw 93
COM errors. While the system is imaging successfully these errors are
concerning. I have had many errors over the past few months and have
had the CAT5e cable replaced, power cycled the switch, replaced the
switch, and the behavior continues. I'm used to having COM errors when
it 1st starts and have delays in the startup script to try to minimize
the errors but these are going on throughout the night and aren't just
startup issues. At this point I'm not sure what needs to be done. I
use TCP LAN as the primary connection and COM3 as my backup. In the
time since starting this message and after clearing those errors I
already have an additional 7 COM errors. APCC just switched from TCP to COM
3 while looking at the log file for this morning. The log files can be found
here
<https://www.dropbox.com/s/uvj2ky00emjhncr/ApccZip-David_Weiner-2021-04-12-0
41125.zip?dl=0> . This is an up to date CP4 on an AP3600GTO as well as ASCOM
driver and APCC Pro being up to date.



Any suggestions would be very welcomed.



-Steve











Re: COM Errors w/APCC

Steve Reilly
 

Thanks Ray,

Biggest problem with remote imaging is not "seeing/touching" the systems. As
far as I know the cable to the mount (CP4) from the switch was replaced, the
switch itself (or at least requested) but nothing was said about the cable
from their switch to their network switch. I haven't seen any sign of the
computer cycling on/off as would be possible if the heat sync/fan was dirty
(over heated).

Guess I'll need to ask the SRO crew a few more questions.....

-Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 8:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

Steve,

Looking at your logs, it is probably a network issue but that may be
difficult to pin down. Since you replaced the switch and cable(s), it could
be the Ethernet port on the computer, the Ethernet driver, or a Windows
operation causing a delay in responses.
It could also be the computer has issues, especially if it was left out in a
potentially hazardous environment (e.g. cold weather, and smoke from fires
that approached SRO last year).

BTW, you said *the* CAT5e cable was replaced, but there should be at least
two cables: computer to switch, and switch to mount. Were both replaced?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf
Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 4:19 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

I looked at APCC while running remotely at SRO this morning and saw 93
COM errors. While the system is imaging successfully these errors are
concerning. I have had many errors over the past few months and have
had the CAT5e cable replaced, power cycled the switch, replaced the
switch, and the behavior continues. I'm used to having COM errors when
it 1st starts and have delays in the startup script to try to minimize
the errors but these are going on throughout the night and aren't just
startup issues. At this point I'm not sure what needs to be done. I
use TCP LAN as the primary connection and COM3 as my backup. In the
time since starting this message and after clearing those errors I
already have an additional 7 COM errors. APCC just switched from TCP to COM
3 while looking at the log file for this morning. The log files can be found
here
<https://www.dropbox.com/s/uvj2ky00emjhncr/ApccZip-David_Weiner-2021-04-12-0
41125.zip?dl=0> . This is an up to date CP4 on an AP3600GTO as well as ASCOM
driver and APCC Pro being up to date.



Any suggestions would be very welcomed.



-Steve




Re: COM Errors w/APCC

Ray Gralak
 

Steve,

Looking at your logs, it is probably a network issue but that may be difficult to pin down. Since you replaced the switch and
cable(s), it could be the Ethernet port on the computer, the Ethernet driver, or a Windows operation causing a delay in responses.
It could also be the computer has issues, especially if it was left out in a potentially hazardous environment (e.g. cold weather,
and smoke from fires that approached SRO last year).

BTW, you said *the* CAT5e cable was replaced, but there should be at least two cables: computer to switch, and switch to mount. Were
both replaced?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve Reilly
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2021 4:19 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] COM Errors w/APCC

I looked at APCC while running remotely at SRO this morning and saw 93 COM errors. While the system is imaging
successfully these errors are concerning. I have had many errors over the past few months and have had the
CAT5e cable replaced, power cycled the switch, replaced the switch, and the behavior continues. I'm used to
having COM errors when it 1st starts and have delays in the startup script to try to minimize the errors but these are
going on throughout the night and aren't just startup issues. At this point I'm not sure what needs to be done. I use
TCP LAN as the primary connection and COM3 as my backup. In the time since starting this message and after
clearing those errors I already have an additional 7 COM errors. APCC just switched from TCP to COM 3 while
looking at the log file for this morning. The log files can be found here
<https://www.dropbox.com/s/uvj2ky00emjhncr/ApccZip-David_Weiner-2021-04-12-041125.zip?dl=0> . This is an up
to date CP4 on an AP3600GTO as well as ASCOM driver and APCC Pro being up to date.



Any suggestions would be very welcomed.



-Steve




Re: APPM model how many points portable?

Dale Ghent
 

Yes, there is currently no direct cooperation between NINA and APPM at this moment, but that can come in the future and I've worked with Ray to get a proof of concept of APPM->NINA working.

One APPM can utilize ASTAP directly as a solver instead of through a surrogate app, things will be much more straight-forward and lightweight. Currently, I do my APPM run during twilight with it utilizing the camera ASCOM driver (QHY in my case) and TSX as the plate solving provider. Once that's done, I shut all that down and then run my standard NINA stack for imaging through the night. While TSX is fine and functionally does the job of solving what APPM throws at it, it's still a bit slow and the ability to use ASTAP would let me uninstall the TSX monster from my imaging mini PC.

On Apr 11, 2021, at 22:04, ap@CaptivePhotons.com wrote:

My hope was to use NINA as a sequencer. Which I doubt is callable for plate solving from APPM.

I hear that ASTAP will be supported, but is not now. I hope to get mine in June, am I going to need Pinpoint, or show ASTAP work by then (I won’t be offended by the standard answer of most software which is “no promises of future dates” but if one has been announced… ).

While I have TSX now I do not plan to use it with the AP1100.


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Jeffc via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2021 7:55 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APPM model how many points portable?

I use SGP and ASTAP. A 90 point model takes about a half hour

I didn’t think astap was supported in the AP software; or is this coming ASTAP -> SGP -> AP?
I have also been thinking about using SGP and ASTAP.
Fwiw: I have been assuming APPM (?) uses SGP to capture and plate solve, and SGP in turn uses ASTAP to do the plate solve.
... but I'm far from knowledgeable on this, tho I would like to confirm this works or not without burning too many cycles ... But I'll probably just try it sometime soon.

Also fwiw I'm still on the SGP learning curve, along with a new camera. Was using maxim-dl, but I don't have full pinpoint. (And I've been avoiding TSX from a bad experience with it in the past, which is likely resolved.) I am almost 100% open at this point for image acquisition apps as long as they don't break the bank or my brain. e.g. Voyager has been noted in other forums, however it seems to me SGP is more intuitive, and maybe is more supported... and afaik APPM does not work with Voyager.

Point is: there seems to be many variations/options for software these days, which might have varying performance and capability levels. It would be good to know what works well (at this point in time).
I also am realizing "what works well" may depend on the imaging hardware one is using - whether ascom-only or natively supported.
E.g. I'm currently moving to an Ascom-only camera (at least I believe there isn't native QHY driver integration with with Maxim or SGP).
The upside is the new camera seems to have blazing download speed compared to the ST-8300M I was previously using.

thx .. this is a timely thread for me, btw.

-jeff


COM Errors w/APCC

Steve Reilly
 

I looked at APCC while running remotely at SRO this morning and saw 93 COM errors. While the system is imaging successfully these errors are concerning. I have had many errors over the past few months and have had the CAT5e cable replaced, power cycled the switch, replaced the switch, and the behavior continues. I’m used to having COM errors when it 1st starts and have delays in the startup script to try to minimize the errors but these are going on throughout the night and aren’t just startup issues. At this point I’m not sure what needs to be done. I use TCP LAN as the primary connection and COM3 as my backup. In the time since starting this message  and after clearing those errors I already have an additional 7 COM errors. APCC just switched from TCP to COM 3 while looking at the log file for this morning. The log files can be found here. This is an up to date CP4 on an AP3600GTO as well as ASCOM driver and APCC Pro being up to date.

 

Any suggestions would be very welcomed.

 

-Steve

 


Re: Mach2 thru-mount USB when using USB 3.0 ? (and an M51)

Jeffc
 

Thx everyone for the suggestions.   I've ordered a handful of super short USB-3 Male A -> Male A cables for testing.
I do feel the mount -> computer cable is a bit long.   It might be 10 feet (which is the shortest I had on hand).
(Fwiw, i'm also using USB for the Computer -> CP5 connection... on a separate port on the computer.)

I've resisted the Pegasus powerbox, but it might be time to upgrade the Dew Buster anyhow... sure would be convenient to have remote control for the dew heater.
Right now, I feel like the UltimatePB v2 is overkill, but it seems the Advance does not have a "managed" USB hub.  Plus, i could use the power (current) monitoring on a per port basis, especially when there are dew heaters involved.
The Eagle seems super clean, and flexible, but I'm just not ready to spend the $$ there.

If anyone knows of a good-bang-for-the-buck USB powered hub for the Computer -> Mount path let me know.  (Preferably fetchable from amazon.)   

E.g.  Dominique - what is the "HUB USB3" box in your schematic?   Is that basically the Active 16 meter cable?

-jeff


On Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:06 AM Dominique <d.h.durand@...> wrote:
Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Re: APPM model how many points portable?

Greg Vaughn
 

Hi Roger,

 

I started off with platesolve2 and SGP to support APPM and found it VERY SLOW.   When I switched to ASTAP as my plate solver in SGP, it sped things up tremendously.  Yes you can use ASTAP in SGP in conjunction with APPM.

 

I had some difficulties recently with APPM that turned out to have nothing to do with the software.   When I used APPM on a larger/longer refractor my 12V power cable on the back of the CMOS cooled camera was catching on something when it got to a certain geometry in the mapping sequence and then the camera failed to take an image because the 12V power was interrupted (12V power is no longer used just for cooling on some of the newer CMOS cameras) – I just couldn’t understand what was happening, 35-45 good solves (I tried varying the number of points in the mapping, thinking that would help) and then it hung.   The break was only at a certain cable angle and then the power would return when it was back in the APPM starting position.  I was in the kitchen working remotely and I couldn’t see the problem that reappeared four times.)  It took another night of troubleshooting a couple weeks later to figure the power problem out.  In the meantime I followed the suggestions from forum participants for my full frame, high MP camera of doing only a ‘½ by ½ center’ frame capture to speed the download – this is selectable in APPM under ‘camera setting’ – which would make sure my downloads weren’t falling behind and creating a problem.  I was already doing Bin 2 platesolves which also seemed to speed the process.  (The other recommendation, which I followed, was to download the 64 bit Beta version of SGP.)  My last two times out with my primary optical train and this configuration (and a new 12V power cable), everything went very quickly and successfully.

 

I don’t know your setup, but you may be interested to know that when I first started with APPM, I was using a Nikon DSLR with SGP.   The instructions from Ray are to set the recording in SGP from the DSLR to FITS images.  My initial attempts to try ‘FITS + RAW’ (thinking that was even better) were unsuccessful.  Choosing ‘FITS’ as instructed  was the cure.

 

A final lesson learned.  I went back to my Nikon DSLR to try a different image train and mount last weekend.   I had difficulties with SGP (64bit) downloading images from the Nikon – even though it showed being properly connected and powered on.  In fact I could download JPEG images for the frame and focus module, but couldn’t download or record any FITS files during an otherwise smoothly running SGP sequence or for APPM.  I received an error from SGP that it couldn’t download the frames and a dialog box saying that some files could not be found and might be restored if I re-installed the software.   I incorrectly thought the reinstallation recommendation was for SGP and I reloaded it without any effect and before giving up.   It turned out to be the ASCOM platform that had the files and needed to be reloaded.   So I went ahead and updated from 6.4 to 6.5SP1 and everything worked well after that (although at that point I was troubleshooting in my basement the following day!).  I setup and ran through a sequence (without guiding) and it worked fine and downloaded images without protest.

 

In general, to get things off to a good start and make sure I have all the right settings, I do the following (regardless of which camera or AP mount):

 

-Focus routine in SGP with Lum filter (or OSC/DSLR)

-Run a ‘Solve and Sync’ in SGP with Lum filter (or OSC/DSLR) to confirm all is well on the SGP end (platesolves using Bin2)

-Open APPM, show points, connect ‘scope’ and ‘camera’ (through SGP)

-Run about a 68-85 point model to cover the partial sky that I can image in (2-3 points per minute, depending on mount and slew speed)

-Accept the model and disconnect the ‘scope’ and ‘camera’ (SGP) from APPM

-Start my sequence

 

This results in excellent pointing and good guiding.  (Guiding improves even more with a good polar alignment.)

 

Hope this helps.  One amateur’s approach.

 

Cheers and clear skies.

 

Greg

 

p.s. I know you asked about how many points for a portable setup – I didn’t answer that and I am interested in that answer as well because right now I have the luxury of 120VAC and will want to use APPM at dark sites as well and not unnecessarily deplete my battery. 

 

Greg Vaughn

Alexandria, VA

 


Virus-free. www.avast.com


pulseguide option in SkyX #ASCOM_V2_Driver

arenslo@...
 

Hi All,

I'm using the AP V2 ASCOM driver with SkyX to control a 900 GTOCP3 mount on a windows 10 machine.  Does the AP driver support the 'pulseguide' option on the 'guide using' pulldown in the SkyX autoguider tab?  If so, does the group recommend using pulseguide rather than the relays and thus ditch the extra cable?
  
Thanks, Adam

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