Date   

1200GTO portable to permanent pier

Ron Frisk
 

I will be receiving my 1200 in January and I'm in the market for a pier
to support it along with a 10" RC, guide scope and camera(s). Since it
will be 12-18 months before I build an observatory, I would prefer to
use the same pier for the portable and permanent solution. I reviewed
all the threads here I could find and they were very informative. One
thing troubles me and I could use some help. I'm looking at the Pier-
Tech Tri-Pier 1 Portable telescope pier (48") which I can make
permanent with the addition of an optional base plate. Since I've
never seen one personally, it's hard to get a sense for its stability
and "robustness". My issue is that I'm concerned that the rigidity of
the open aluminum frame will not compete with a 10" pier pipe. I would
appreciate any comments.

Thanks.

Ron


Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

tucstargzr
 

You use the force of one finger to push the motor into the gear
(after loosening the screws) instead of tapping with a mallot. It's
AP "gentler" New Year's Resolution ;-)

Tom
--- In ap-gto@..., "Roy Uyematsu" <roystarman@...> wrote:

Changing your RA mesh will change your Periodic error. So you may
have to
redo that as well. What is the one finger method?

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On
Behalf Of
Robert Gillette
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 10:05 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Rolando,

Thanks. I haven't detected any play in the RA axis, but will try
the "new"
one-finger method to improve gear mesh. No backlash is currently
dialed in,
but I'll see what a small amount does for me.

In defense of the previous owner, he treated the mount as well or
better
than his dogs and sold it only to upgrade to a 1200 :)

Bob

--- In ap-gto@..., "uncarollo2" <chris1011@> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@..., "Robert Gillette" <tekic545@>
wrote:

Well,in fact I did correct an earlier Dec gear mesh problem
with
the
prescribed rubber mallet, following a nasty cable snag that
seemed to
have unmeshed the gears. (I did buy the mount used, but it was
handed
off, not shipped.)

Perhaps the onset of cold weather has caused some additional
contraction in the RA mesh. But if so, why would this rear its
head
so consistently when using the MaxIm "nudge" buttons and so
rarely
with the keypad?

Bob
Well, it was probably there all along, and that's why the last
person
sold it (since he probably never understood what was happening).
The
reason the keypad didn't do it is because it probably has some
RA
backlash dialed in, which compensates when you use the keypad,
but
Maxim is not that smart.

Lastly, don't use a mallet. Simply loosen the screws that hold
the
motor assembly, push gently into mesh using one finger pressure,
tighten the screws and check by gently pressing back and forth on
the
end of the counterweight shaft. this is something you can do
occasionally - it is not difficult, and yes, we need to revise
the
website to get rid of the rubber mallet method. Howard, please
note ;^))

Just because the mount was handed to you, it does not mean that
it
did
not get some harsh treatment before your time. Cold weather has
no
effect on worm mesh. Everything expands and contracts together
since
everything is made from the same material - aluminum.

Rolando


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Re: AP 3600 tripod system

rpyh77
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "jjbadal2003" <jbadal21169@...> wrote:

I think some 3600's are shipping soon, most I guess are destined for
pier mounting in observatories. I am looking for tripod options for
portable use. I see there is an ATS offering. I believe PWT made a
few
12 inch pinnacles,that could handle this mount. Meades tripod for
their "Max" looked pretty robust (85lbs./wt.-$3000?!), but would
require fabricating a mounting plate.Are their other options, or am I
the only one seeing this mount as portable? Joe
I use the ATS with my AP1200 and also plan to use an ATS with my
AP3600. They are awesome in both form and function.

RP


Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Roy Uyematsu <roystarman@...>
 

Changing your RA mesh will change your Periodic error. So you may have to
redo that as well. What is the one finger method?

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of
Robert Gillette
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 10:05 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Rolando,

Thanks. I haven't detected any play in the RA axis, but will try the "new"
one-finger method to improve gear mesh. No backlash is currently dialed in,
but I'll see what a small amount does for me.

In defense of the previous owner, he treated the mount as well or better
than his dogs and sold it only to upgrade to a 1200 :)

Bob

--- In ap-gto@..., "uncarollo2" <chris1011@...> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@..., "Robert Gillette" <tekic545@> wrote:

Well,in fact I did correct an earlier Dec gear mesh problem with
the
prescribed rubber mallet, following a nasty cable snag that
seemed to
have unmeshed the gears. (I did buy the mount used, but it was
handed
off, not shipped.)

Perhaps the onset of cold weather has caused some additional
contraction in the RA mesh. But if so, why would this rear its
head
so consistently when using the MaxIm "nudge" buttons and so
rarely
with the keypad?

Bob
Well, it was probably there all along, and that's why the last
person
sold it (since he probably never understood what was happening).
The
reason the keypad didn't do it is because it probably has some RA
backlash dialed in, which compensates when you use the keypad, but
Maxim is not that smart.

Lastly, don't use a mallet. Simply loosen the screws that hold the
motor assembly, push gently into mesh using one finger pressure,
tighten the screws and check by gently pressing back and forth on
the
end of the counterweight shaft. this is something you can do
occasionally - it is not difficult, and yes, we need to revise the
website to get rid of the rubber mallet method. Howard, please
note ;^))

Just because the mount was handed to you, it does not mean that it
did
not get some harsh treatment before your time. Cold weather has no
effect on worm mesh. Everything expands and contracts together
since
everything is made from the same material - aluminum.

Rolando


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Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Bob Gillette
 

Rolando,

Thanks. I haven't detected any play in the RA axis, but will try
the "new" one-finger method to improve gear mesh. No backlash is
currently dialed in, but I'll see what a small amount does for me.

In defense of the previous owner, he treated the mount as well or
better than his dogs and sold it only to upgrade to a 1200 :)

Bob

--- In ap-gto@..., "uncarollo2" <chris1011@...> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@..., "Robert Gillette" <tekic545@> wrote:

Well,in fact I did correct an earlier Dec gear mesh problem with
the
prescribed rubber mallet, following a nasty cable snag that
seemed to
have unmeshed the gears. (I did buy the mount used, but it was
handed
off, not shipped.)

Perhaps the onset of cold weather has caused some additional
contraction in the RA mesh. But if so, why would this rear its
head
so consistently when using the MaxIm "nudge" buttons and so
rarely
with the keypad?

Bob
Well, it was probably there all along, and that's why the last
person
sold it (since he probably never understood what was happening).
The
reason the keypad didn't do it is because it probably has some RA
backlash dialed in, which compensates when you use the keypad, but
Maxim is not that smart.

Lastly, don't use a mallet. Simply loosen the screws that hold the
motor assembly, push gently into mesh using one finger pressure,
tighten the screws and check by gently pressing back and forth on
the
end of the counterweight shaft. this is something you can do
occasionally - it is not difficult, and yes, we need to revise the
website to get rid of the rubber mallet method. Howard, please
note ;^))

Just because the mount was handed to you, it does not mean that it
did
not get some harsh treatment before your time. Cold weather has no
effect on worm mesh. Everything expands and contracts together
since
everything is made from the same material - aluminum.

Rolando


Re: Moon, Venus, Jupiter from Hawaii

Jeff Young <jey@...>
 

Santa's cloud mustache in that second shot is great. He's got a bit of a beard as well....

-- Jeff.


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of uncarollo2
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 8:45 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Moon, Venus, Jupiter from Hawaii


Hi All,

Just had to post a couple of pictures of this conjunction. The first
one was shot during sunset, with the cloudes presenting some really
wimsical images. The second one occured later in the evening, and I
swear that it looked like Santa peering down on us.
http://www.astromart.com/common/image_popup.asp?
image=/images/forums/638000-638999/638582.jpg
http://www.astromart.com/common/image_popup.asp?
image=/images/forums/638000-638999/638583.jpg

Aloha,
Rolando


Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Roland Christen
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Robert Gillette" <tekic545@...> wrote:

Well,in fact I did correct an earlier Dec gear mesh problem with the
prescribed rubber mallet, following a nasty cable snag that seemed to
have unmeshed the gears. (I did buy the mount used, but it was handed
off, not shipped.)

Perhaps the onset of cold weather has caused some additional
contraction in the RA mesh. But if so, why would this rear its head
so consistently when using the MaxIm "nudge" buttons and so rarely
with the keypad?

Bob
Well, it was probably there all along, and that's why the last person
sold it (since he probably never understood what was happening). The
reason the keypad didn't do it is because it probably has some RA
backlash dialed in, which compensates when you use the keypad, but
Maxim is not that smart.

Lastly, don't use a mallet. Simply loosen the screws that hold the
motor assembly, push gently into mesh using one finger pressure,
tighten the screws and check by gently pressing back and forth on the
end of the counterweight shaft. this is something you can do
occasionally - it is not difficult, and yes, we need to revise the
website to get rid of the rubber mallet method. Howard, please note ;^))

Just because the mount was handed to you, it does not mean that it did
not get some harsh treatment before your time. Cold weather has no
effect on worm mesh. Everything expands and contracts together since
everything is made from the same material - aluminum.

Rolando


Moon, Venus, Jupiter from Hawaii

Roland Christen
 

Hi All,

Just had to post a couple of pictures of this conjunction. The first
one was shot during sunset, with the cloudes presenting some really
wimsical images. The second one occured later in the evening, and I
swear that it looked like Santa peering down on us.
http://www.astromart.com/common/image_popup.asp?
image=/images/forums/638000-638999/638582.jpg
http://www.astromart.com/common/image_popup.asp?
image=/images/forums/638000-638999/638583.jpg

Aloha,
Rolando


Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Bob Gillette
 

Well,in fact I did correct an earlier Dec gear mesh problem with the
prescribed rubber mallet, following a nasty cable snag that seemed to
have unmeshed the gears. (I did buy the mount used, but it was handed
off, not shipped.)

Perhaps the onset of cold weather has caused some additional
contraction in the RA mesh. But if so, why would this rear its head
so consistently when using the MaxIm "nudge" buttons and so rarely
with the keypad?

Bob

--- In ap-gto@..., chris1011@... wrote:




About once a month, when using the NSEW keypad buttons to center a
star, the mount takes off on a slow excursion in RA after I release
a
button. The excursion stops and tracking resumes when I press a
button in the opposite direction of the excursion.


This is a very common occurence, and it is caused by?lack of?worm
mesh (let me guess, you bought this mount used from someone and he
shipped it to you). What happens is that the mount stops tracking
when you command it to go east (it must switch from sidereal to a
higher speed centering mode and the motor + gearbox gears +?worm/worm
wheel?must reverse) The reversal occurs very rapidly because you are
at 12x or 64x or at one of the higher slewing speeds. Therefore you
don't notice any delay in that direction. However, once you let go of
the East button, the servo goes immediately back into sidereal
tracking mode, which is the slow east-to-west motion that follows the
stars. However, if your driving worm is backed off the worm wheel,
there can be a delay?before the?driving worm has fully engaged the
worm wheel teeth and begins drivign nthe mount in the western
direction. During this time the mount is standing still, even though
the motor is turning and all the little gears are turning. This, of
course means that during this delay time the stars are slowly
drifting west until the worm has re-established contact with the
leading edge of the worm wheel teeth and begins to actually turn the
axis again.?When the worm teeth are fully in mesh, the delay is?mush
less than 1 second, so you don't notice any westward drift of the
star during reversal. However, it is quite common to have the worm
not in mesh (normally happens when a mount is sold to a new owner,
and the original owner does not know how to pack it properly, and the
resultant?pounding the mount gets during shipping causes the worm?to
back off the worm wheel). Therefore I recommend that you read the
section on meshing the worm in the technical section of the website.

By the way, when you npress the opposite button, the slow drift
stops because you are rewinding the gears and taking up the gear mesh
slack at 12 or 64 times the sidereal speed. You can set your keypad
to do that automatically by setting the RA Backlash to a number
between 1 and 10 (10 being a large amount).?Read your manual.

Rolando



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: AP 900 Movement Excursions

Roland Christen
 

About once a month, when using the NSEW keypad buttons to center a
star, the mount takes off on a slow excursion in RA after I release a
button. The excursion stops and tracking resumes when I press a
button in the opposite direction of the excursion.


This is a very common occurence, and it is caused by?lack of?worm mesh (let me guess, you bought this mount used from someone and he shipped it to you). What happens is that the mount stops tracking when you command it to go east (it must switch from sidereal to a higher speed centering mode and the motor + gearbox gears +?worm/worm wheel?must reverse) The reversal occurs very rapidly because you are at 12x or 64x or at one of the higher slewing speeds. Therefore you don't notice any delay in that direction. However, once you let go of the East button, the servo goes immediately back into sidereal tracking mode, which is the slow east-to-west motion that follows the stars. However, if your driving worm is backed off the worm wheel, there can be a delay?before the?driving worm has fully engaged the worm wheel teeth and begins drivign nthe mount in the western direction. During this time the mount is standing still, even though the motor is turning and all the little gears are turning. This, of course means that during this delay time the stars are slowly drifting west until the worm has re-established contact with the leading edge of the worm wheel teeth and begins to actually turn the axis again.?When the worm teeth are fully in mesh, the delay is?mush less than 1 second, so you don't notice any westward drift of the star during reversal. However, it is quite common to have the worm not in mesh (normally happens when a mount is sold to a new owner, and the original owner does not know how to pack it properly, and the resultant?pounding the mount gets during shipping causes the worm?to back off the worm wheel). Therefore I recommend that you read the section on meshing the worm in the technical section of the website.

By the way, when you npress the opposite button, the slow drift stops because you are rewinding the gears and taking up the gear mesh slack at 12 or 64 times the sidereal speed. You can set your keypad to do that automatically by setting the RA Backlash to a number between 1 and 10 (10 being a large amount).?Read your manual.

Rolando


AP 900 Movement Excursions

Bob Gillette
 

Hello, I'm not sure if this is a mount problem or a software problem,
but it sure is a problem.

About once a month, when using the NSEW keypad buttons to center a
star, the mount takes off on a slow excursion in RA after I release a
button. The excursion stops and tracking resumes when I press a
button in the opposite direction of the excursion.

That's an occasional, transient irritation that I wrote off, maybe
wrongly, to dirt in the keypad buttons.

But now that I'm trying to wean myself from the keypad by using
the "nudge" buttons in MaxIm's Telescope Control menu (so I can move
indoors), I find a nudge either way in RA often continues as one of
these excursions, and pressing another on-screen Nudge button doesn't
stop it. Only pressing one of the keypad buttons seems to wake up
the mount and tell it to revert to tracking speed.

(The keypad is set to EXT so the mount communicates with MaxIm and
Sky 6.)

This can't be a dirty button. Anyone have a diagnosis? Better yet, a
solution? It's getting cold outside these days in New Hampshire.

Bob Gillette


Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Dick,

I did the same as Drew.

I have my AP-900 mounted on a Losmandy G11 tripod using the AP adapter for it. Since I needed a "repeatable setup spot" in the middle of my nice backyard lawn, I decide to survey the best spot. I tightened down the tripod extension legs to a precisely set height for the scope (so I can reach up to saddle it without back spasms). Then, I bought 3 of those do-it-yourself garden wall interlocking edge, concrete blocks (10" cubes), and after testing and marking the foot positions on the spot after polar alignment one night, I dug the three small cubic holes and levelled those blocks into the lawn, at the "grass root" level.

The lawn looks great in summer, can't see the blocks from an angle and they are below mower level. For winter, I am planning on using 3 ten inch ABS plastic flower pots to keep the snow off these blocks.

With the tripod leg positions marked in with a felt pen on each block, the entire setup and alignment takes only a few minutes.

So, the bricks down in the lawn, might be acceptable, even to SWMBO. The only down side is the lawn gets trampled down a bit overnight, at the new regular observing spot.

If you have trees, however, and have to have several such spots, this approach may require further "negotiations" :-)

Good luck,
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: <kgkirkley@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:53 AM
Subject: [Bulk] Re: [ap-gto] Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?


For any soft surface; ie. grass and dirt, I would suggest placing the pier
legs on something to spread out their weight like thin bricks or stepping
stones. You could also dig the bricks down into the surface to level the pier.
I've done that many times at remote sites.

Kent Kirkley


In a message dated 11/26/2008 10:07:16 A.M. Central Standard Time,
dtlnew@... writes:

Thanks, I do that too, but a couple of the places I set up at are on
grass and very uneven.

**************Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try the NEW
AOL.com.
(http://www.aol.com/?optin=new-dp&icid=aolcom40vanity&ncid=emlcntaolcom00000002)




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Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

Dick Locke
 

That's good... Except for one site is essentially the yard in front
of a cabin and digging up their lawn may not be appreciated ;-).

-Dick


--- In ap-gto@..., kgkirkley@... wrote:

For any soft surface; ie. grass and dirt, I would suggest placing
the pier
legs on something to spread out their weight like thin bricks or
stepping
stones. You could also dig the bricks down into the surface to level
the pier.
I've done that many times at remote sites.

Kent Kirkley


In a message dated 11/26/2008 10:07:16 A.M. Central Standard Time,
dtlnew@... writes:

Thanks, I do that too, but a couple of the places I set up at are on
grass and very uneven.

**************Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try
the NEW
AOL.com.
(http://www.aol.com/?optin=new-dp&icid=aolcom40vanity&ncid=emlcntaolcom00000002)


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

Dick Locke
 

Thanks, I do that too, but a couple of the places I set up at are on
grass and very uneven.

-Dick Locke

--- In ap-gto@..., "William R. Mattil" <wrmattil@...> wrote:

dtlnew wrote:
Has anyone found a commercial product that can be used or easily
adapted to help level an AP pier on an uneven surface? I'm
specifically referring to the AP portable pier, as used with a 900GTO
in this case.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

Hi Dick,

I use a very inexpensive small level purchased at a hardware store. I
lay that across the Rotating Pier Adapter while tightening up the
turnbuckles for minor adjustments, or manipulating the ground for
larger
adjustments.


Regards

Bill


Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

William R. Mattil <wrmattil@...>
 

dtlnew wrote:
Has anyone found a commercial product that can be used or easily
adapted to help level an AP pier on an uneven surface? I'm
specifically referring to the AP portable pier, as used with a 900GTO
in this case.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

Hi Dick,

I use a very inexpensive small level purchased at a hardware store. I lay that across the Rotating Pier Adapter while tightening up the turnbuckles for minor adjustments, or manipulating the ground for larger adjustments.


Regards

Bill


Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

Kent Kirkley
 

Has anyone found a commercial product that can be used or easily
adapted to help level an AP pier on an uneven surface? I'm
specifically referring to the AP portable pier, as used with a 900GTO
in this case.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.




Not that I know of.
You can drill a hole through each leg just before the 'loop' out almost to end and insert and weld a threaded 'connector' with a 1/2 inch bolt inside.
Spot welding this in place with the bolt inside will prevent the connector from warping too much.
Lubricate the threads and then you can screw the bolt up and down on each leg to level it.

Personally, I don't know why AP doesn't have leg levelers in the first place.
It would add little to the cost of the portable piers.

Kent Kirkley

-----Original Message-----
From: dtlnew <dtlnew@...>
To: ap-gto@...
Sent: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 9:33 am
Subject: [ap-gto] AP portable pier leveling solution?










Has anyone found a commercial product that can be used or easily
adapted to help level an AP pier on an uneven surface? I'm
specifically referring to the AP portable pier, as used with a 900GTO
in this case.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

-Dick Locke



------------------------------------

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AP portable pier leveling solution?

Dick Locke
 

Has anyone found a commercial product that can be used or easily
adapted to help level an AP pier on an uneven surface? I'm
specifically referring to the AP portable pier, as used with a 900GTO
in this case.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

-Dick Locke


Re: AP portable pier leveling solution?

Kent Kirkley
 

For any soft surface; ie. grass and dirt, I would suggest placing the pier
legs on something to spread out their weight like thin bricks or stepping
stones. You could also dig the bricks down into the surface to level the pier.
I've done that many times at remote sites.

Kent Kirkley

In a message dated 11/26/2008 10:07:16 A.M. Central Standard Time,
dtlnew@... writes:

Thanks, I do that too, but a couple of the places I set up at are on
grass and very uneven.

**************Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try the NEW
AOL.com.
(http://www.aol.com/?optin=new-dp&icid=aolcom40vanity&ncid=emlcntaolcom00000002)


Re: AP 3600 tripod system

jjbadal2003
 

--- In ap-gto@..., chris1011@... wrote:
I like ATS products. Are they making a F.I.A.? This would be a
desireable accessory. Joe



In a message dated 11/25/2008 5:14:34 PM Central Standard Time,
jbadal21169@... writes:


I think some 3600's are shipping soon, most I guess are destined
for
pier mounting in observatories. I am looking for tripod options
for
portable use. I see there is an ATS offering. I believe PWT made
a few
12 inch pinnacles,that could handle this mount. Meades tripod
for
their "Max" looked pretty robust (85lbs./wt.-$3000?!), but would
require fabricating a mounting plate.Are their other options, or
am I
the only one seeing this mount as portable? Joe
The ATS is superb. There is no other close competitor.

Rolando


**************
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=new-dp%26icid=aolcom40vanity%26ncid=emlcntaolcom00000001)




Re: AP 3600 tripod system

georgeh630
 

LOL!! People laugh when I tell them my AP1200 is portable setup.
You can never have overkill on a mount I say! Guess you do too.
Good luck.
George H


--- In ap-gto@..., "jjbadal2003" <jbadal21169@...> wrote:

I think some 3600's are shipping soon, most I guess are destined for
pier mounting in observatories. I am looking for tripod options for
portable use. I see there is an ATS offering. I believe PWT made a
few
12 inch pinnacles,that could handle this mount. Meades tripod for
their "Max" looked pretty robust (85lbs./wt.-$3000?!), but would
require fabricating a mounting plate.Are their other options, or am I
the only one seeing this mount as portable? Joe