Date   

Re: Counterweight carriers?

Eric Baumgartner
 

Hi, Morgan:

I carry three counterweights for my AP900/AP1200 in a Bucket Boss GateMouth
tool bag:

<http://tinyurl.com/669zru>

I cut a piece of 1/8-in. Masonite to firm up and support the bag's floor,
added a sheet of open-cell foam to pad the floor, and cut arched-top pieces
of foam for interleaves between the three counterweights. Works like a
charm. The tool bag has very strong handles, and opens wide to easily remove
the weights.

The only improvement that I can see would be to use closed-cell Ethafoam
instead of open-cell foam, but I had a ready supply of the latter on hand.

If you're coming to NEAF next weekend and the weather is decent, I will have
my scope set up in the courtyard for the Solar Star Party, so you could have
a look at my counterweight bag.

Eric Baumgartner
Redding, CT USA

On 04/18/08 9:01 AM, "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@...> wrote:

I need a simple but effective way to carry my counterweights for the
600E, since I'll take it up to a dark sky site several times this
summer and I'll have to walk at least 200 yards to the observing site
from where I'll park (don't worry, I've started working out...). Any
good suggestions appreciated - usually carrying three weights, 2 9lbs,
one 6 lb.
I'll be at NEAF - do you think i might see something there that would
be useful for this purpose?
Thanks,
Morgan


Re: Counterweight carriers?

Bryon Schwartz <bryonnmissy@...>
 

How about a small camera bag that has moveable dividers. I just bought
a nice cheapy at Sam's Club for a new camera and the first thing I
thought of when I opened it up was, "hey, this will be great for
counterweights." I guess I'm making another trip back to Sam's. You
can use the side pockets for all of your wires and filters.

Bryon

--- In ap-gto@..., "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@...> wrote:

I need a simple but effective way to carry my counterweights for the
600E, since I'll take it up to a dark sky site several times this
summer and I'll have to walk at least 200 yards to the observing site
from where I'll park (don't worry, I've started working out...). Any
good suggestions appreciated - usually carrying three weights, 2 9lbs,
one 6 lb.
I'll be at NEAF - do you think i might see something there that would
be useful for this purpose?
Thanks,
Morgan


Re: CP's focuser port

Dale Ghent
 

Rick, please excuse my naiveté with AP mounts as I'm only now
receiving my first one, so my question wasn't at all intended to touch
a nerve and fluster those with years of experience.

My reasoning was this - Seeing as how JMI offers both a USB- and RS232-
controller box[1] with ASCOM driver[2] for their Motofocus, I just
wanted to know if the GTOCP3 could be co-opted in place of one of
those interface boxes concurrent with driving the mount itself -
saving money and another thing to feed power to in one fell swoop. I
figured that since the GTOCP3 has not only one but two RS232 ports and
a DC output port explicitly for driving a Motofocus... I thought it
would be worth a shot to at least ask.

John kindly points out that such a configuration works for him, so
I'll give it a go. If it doesn't end up working, I don't lose
anything... I'd just need to bite the bullet and get one of JMI's
motofocus USB/serial interface boxes.

/dale

[1] http://www.jimsmobile.com/buy_motor_controls.htm
[2] http://www.jimsmobile.com/software_pcfc.htm

On Apr 19, 2008, at 1:48 AM, Rick K wrote:

Did you perhaps read through the entire message and the rest of the
messages pertaining to this issue? I even described the commands to
control a DC motor driven focuser (JMI style) in one of those messages
where one serial port connection could both control the mount and
drive a DC motor driven focuser such as a JMI but not a servomotor or
stepper driven set-up such as a Robofocus or FeatherTouch system.

Now unless something drastic has changed I CANNOT hook up my ASCOM
driver on my computer through the ONE serial port on it, connect it to
one of the RS232 ports on the GTOCPx, run a planetarium program
connected to that serial port and expect to contol a Robofocus,
Feathertouch or other RS232 enabled focuser connected to the other
RS232 port on the GTOCPx.

If there were USB connections and a hub on the GTOCPx, that COULD
make that scenario possible. As it stands right now, in order to
control a Robofocus or other RS232 serial port connected focuser, it
must be connected directly to the computer with the control software
running on it, either through a direct serial port or, in most cases
lately, with a USB to serial port converter of some sort since most
newer computers no longer have serial ports. If you want to run a
planetarium program such as TheSky6 or StarryNight and connect it to
the GTOCPx it will require a serial cable. If you want to control a
Robofocus, FeatherTouch or other RS232 enabled focuser, you will need
another serial port for real time control. If you want to run
Pulseguide, you will need yet another serial port as, at this time, it
is not ASCOM compliant. If you want to run a camera platform rotator
it will require yet another serial port.
If you have a JMI DC motor driven focuser there apparently is an
ASCOM driver available for it. I have no idea if or how well it works.
It is supposed to be available on the Jim's Mobile website here:
http://www.jimsmobile.com/top_software.htm



--- In ap-gto@..., "John Winfield" <winfij@...> wrote:

That's not what he's asking - he's asking if he can control his JMI
from a PC connected to a serial port.
That certainly is possible.

You also don't need to connect to a different serial port to control
the focuser - the ASCOM driver can control both the mount and the
focuser over a single serial link - that's how I use the mount.

John


--- In ap-gto@..., "Rick K" <JunkMailGoesHere@> wrote:

In the context of the complete response, it cannot. I cannot hook up
my Feathertouch or Robofocus to one of the serial ports of the AP
GTOCPx controller and expect to control it from software running
on an
computer connected to the other serial port.


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

In a message dated 4/18/2008 1:35:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
JunkMailGoesHere@ writes:


The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports.
Yes it can.

Rolando


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


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Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

Did you perhaps read through the entire message and the rest of the
messages pertaining to this issue? I even described the commands to
control a DC motor driven focuser (JMI style) in one of those messages
where one serial port connection could both control the mount and
drive a DC motor driven focuser such as a JMI but not a servomotor or
stepper driven set-up such as a Robofocus or FeatherTouch system.

Now unless something drastic has changed I CANNOT hook up my ASCOM
driver on my computer through the ONE serial port on it, connect it to
one of the RS232 ports on the GTOCPx, run a planetarium program
connected to that serial port and expect to contol a Robofocus,
Feathertouch or other RS232 enabled focuser connected to the other
RS232 port on the GTOCPx.

If there were USB connections and a hub on the GTOCPx, that COULD
make that scenario possible. As it stands right now, in order to
control a Robofocus or other RS232 serial port connected focuser, it
must be connected directly to the computer with the control software
running on it, either through a direct serial port or, in most cases
lately, with a USB to serial port converter of some sort since most
newer computers no longer have serial ports. If you want to run a
planetarium program such as TheSky6 or StarryNight and connect it to
the GTOCPx it will require a serial cable. If you want to control a
Robofocus, FeatherTouch or other RS232 enabled focuser, you will need
another serial port for real time control. If you want to run
Pulseguide, you will need yet another serial port as, at this time, it
is not ASCOM compliant. If you want to run a camera platform rotator
it will require yet another serial port.
If you have a JMI DC motor driven focuser there apparently is an
ASCOM driver available for it. I have no idea if or how well it works.
It is supposed to be available on the Jim's Mobile website here:
http://www.jimsmobile.com/top_software.htm

--- In ap-gto@..., "John Winfield" <winfij@...> wrote:

That's not what he's asking - he's asking if he can control his JMI
from a PC connected to a serial port.
That certainly is possible.

You also don't need to connect to a different serial port to control
the focuser - the ASCOM driver can control both the mount and the
focuser over a single serial link - that's how I use the mount.

John


--- In ap-gto@..., "Rick K" <JunkMailGoesHere@> wrote:

In the context of the complete response, it cannot. I cannot hook up
my Feathertouch or Robofocus to one of the serial ports of the AP
GTOCPx controller and expect to control it from software running on an
computer connected to the other serial port.


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

In a message dated 4/18/2008 1:35:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
JunkMailGoesHere@ writes:


The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports.
Yes it can.

Rolando


**************
Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S.
used car listings at AOL Autos.

(http://autos.aol.com/used?NCID=aolcmp00300000002851)




Re: CP's focuser port

John Winfield
 

That's not what he's asking - he's asking if he can control his JMI
from a PC connected to a serial port.
That certainly is possible.

You also don't need to connect to a different serial port to control
the focuser - the ASCOM driver can control both the mount and the
focuser over a single serial link - that's how I use the mount.

John

--- In ap-gto@..., "Rick K" <JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

In the context of the complete response, it cannot. I cannot hook up
my Feathertouch or Robofocus to one of the serial ports of the AP
GTOCPx controller and expect to control it from software running on an
computer connected to the other serial port.


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

In a message dated 4/18/2008 1:35:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
JunkMailGoesHere@ writes:


The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports.
Yes it can.

Rolando


**************
Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S.
used car listings at AOL Autos.

(http://autos.aol.com/used?NCID=aolcmp00300000002851)


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


Re: Counterweight carriers?

Dean S
 

I use a couple of those soft sided 6 pack coolers for my weights. Works ok
but make sure the straps are strong enough.

Dean

----- Original Message -----
From: "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 9:01 AM
Subject: [ap-gto] Counterweight carriers?


I need a simple but effective way to carry my counterweights for the
600E, since I'll take it up to a dark sky site several times this
summer and I'll have to walk at least 200 yards to the observing site
from where I'll park (don't worry, I've started working out...). Any
good suggestions appreciated - usually carrying three weights, 2 9lbs,
one 6 lb.
I'll be at NEAF - do you think i might see something there that would
be useful for this purpose?
Thanks,
Morgan



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Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

In the context of the complete response, it cannot. I cannot hook up
my Feathertouch or Robofocus to one of the serial ports of the AP
GTOCPx controller and expect to control it from software running on an
computer connected to the other serial port.

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

In a message dated 4/18/2008 1:35:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
JunkMailGoesHere@... writes:


The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports.
Yes it can.

Rolando


**************
Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S.
used car listings at AOL Autos.

(http://autos.aol.com/used?NCID=aolcmp00300000002851)




Compact Precision Telescope (CPT) 12.5 F4 on a 900GTO?

mvkalex
 

Hello,

I am new to this forum, and I was wondering if anybody has experience
or have seen other folks using a 12.5 F4 CPT on a 900GTO mount. I
found a thread of somebody using a 1200 with an 18 CPT, so it may be
doable for a 12.5 to be mounted on a 900. My scope has a solid strut
that can be used for mounting. The total weight of the scope + camera
will probably be around 45lbs. Per specs, the 900GTO should not have
any problems with it.

At this point, I am trying to decide if I should purchase the 900GTO
or place myself in the list for a Mach1 and possibly buy a small apo
for astrophotography.

Thanks for your help,

Alex


Re: Counterweight carriers?

Morgan Spangle <msfainc@...>
 

Thanks for the idea about the counterweights.
The FT is humming right along, now on my Borg 76ED...liked it so much
I bought another one for my C14.
Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Bruce Reuben" <kroral@...> wrote:

Hi Morgan: I use a soft rounded tool bag sold at hardware stores for
about $5. It is about 8" diameter. I then cut 2 rounded pices of heavy
rubber excercise mat and put one on the bottom, a weight on top of it,
then another piece of the rubber mat, and finally the last weight. Like
a sandwich. It has drawstrings at the top and takes up no room at all.
You may want to add some crazy glue to the handle seams for strength.
Have used it for 3 years without any problems. By the way- how is the
feather-touch focuser you purchased from me on astromart?


Re: CP's focuser port

Dale Ghent
 

On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:51 PM, chris1011@... wrote:

The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports.
Yes it can.
Alright then... would a setup such as the following be kosher?

http://elektronkind.org/outbox/GTOwiring.png

Thanks for the guidance, all
/dale


Re: RA Axis Stiffness (talking 900s as well)

Woodwind
 

Rolando,

Is there no merit at all in keeping some continuous tension on one side or other of the mount for smother tracking ? I run a 900 and have always tried to keep a few pounds on the counterbalance.

Perhaps it's just being a former tank gunner where you were taught to "end your lay in elevation" to take up the slack in the system before you took the shot.

Murray



chris1011@... wrote: In a message dated 4/17/2008 1:49:56 PM Central Daylight Time,
hewholooks@... writes:

> I noticed this on my new Mach1 as well. I had all the clutches
> loose, and the axes moved smoothly, but had enough resistance that I
> couldn't really be precise about the balance. Like you, I have had
> no trouble with movenemt or guiding, however.
>

The Mach1 will be stiff with the clutches loose. We have always had that as a
"feature" because I believe in not allowing the axes of a GEM to swing
freely. It has to do with internal damping and resistance to wind load.

It is absolutely not necessary to perfectly balance any of our mounts. They
do not care one way or another which way you have balanced. I pay very little
attention to perfect balance, even on my permanently mounted setups. It is not
necessary. The motors are strong enough to pull an unbalanced load. It will
NOT affect guiding or tracking, contrary to popular belief.

Rolando

**************
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Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

If you are connecting a DC motor controlled JMI focuser to the GTOCP3
focuser output then yes, the focuser can be controlled from external
software communicating with the mount through the serial interface.
All this is in the Keypad manual as well and the pertinent commands
all start with :F

Whether the software you have uses and sends these commands is a
different issue.

--- In ap-gto@..., Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:

On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:00 PM, Rick K wrote:

The RS232 ports on the mount are for the servo to communicate with the
outside world.
That's what I thought - I just wanted to be clear on whether the
focuser could also be controlled over the serial ports, not just the
mount servos.

ASCOM control of the focuser would be a nice feature to roll in,
though. One less box to have velcro'd to the pier.

/dale


Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

The focuser can NOT be controlled by the GTOCP3 serial ports. Both
these ports are pretty much receive only except for specific commands
which are requests for a response. They also do not 'daisy chain'
commands which are sent to one port and out the other. If you have a
serial controlled focuser it MUST be controlled from a serial port on
an external computer.

--- In ap-gto@..., Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:

On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:00 PM, Rick K wrote:

The RS232 ports on the mount are for the servo to communicate with the
outside world.
That's what I thought - I just wanted to be clear on whether the
focuser could also be controlled over the serial ports, not just the
mount servos.

ASCOM control of the focuser would be a nice feature to roll in,
though. One less box to have velcro'd to the pier.

/dale


Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

Yes, focuser control will work using a focuser connected to the GTOCPx
port on a supported focuser (JMI or DC motor compatible only) that
responds to pulsed voltages. Any other RS232 controlled or stepper
motor controlled focuser will not work connected to the serial or
focuser ports on the GTOCPx controller. If you are using ASCOM to
control an RS232 controlled focuser you will require a dedicated
serial port on your computer for it. In addition, each instance of a
serial controlled device being controlled via the ASCOM interface will
require its own serial port. This is why most people try to get a USB
to multi-port serial device. One port connects to and runs the
focuser. Two ports are connect to the AP mount. PulseGuide gets one
which replaces the hand controller and the other gets slaved to the
Planetarium control program (ONE of TheSky6 or StarryNight or others)
through ASCOM or directly. The final port of 4 can be used for a CCD
rotator.

Rick.

--- In ap-gto@..., Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


I should qualify this further - I know that an attached focuser could
then be controlled via the keypad.. but how about from an external
source over a serial connection (ie, ASCOM) ?

/dale

On Apr 18, 2008, at 1:46 PM, Dale Ghent wrote:

Here's a question about the GTO CP's focuser port...

I know it's designed for the JMI microfocus, but I'd like some clarity
on its capabilities vis a vis focuser control.

It's not just there to provide power, correct? Could an attached JMI
focuser be controlled via the second RS232 port (say, if the mount
itself was controlled via RS232 port 1 and the focuser via RS232 port
2) Do I have this right?

/dale

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Re: CP's focuser port

Dale Ghent
 

On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:00 PM, Rick K wrote:

The RS232 ports on the mount are for the servo to communicate with the
outside world.
That's what I thought - I just wanted to be clear on whether the focuser could also be controlled over the serial ports, not just the mount servos.

ASCOM control of the focuser would be a nice feature to roll in, though. One less box to have velcro'd to the pier.

/dale


Re: CP's focuser port

observe_m13
 

It is just there to provide a variable level of power depending on the
keypad settings - no more and no less.

The RS232 ports on the mount are for the servo to communicate with the
outside world. I am almost certain they cannot be used to communicate
with a focuser. They are there to talk to mount control software such
as Pulseguide and the ASCOM interface which can be used by various
other pieces of software.

All this is detailed in the Keypad v4.12 or later (v4.15 if it is
available online) documentation.

--- In ap-gto@..., Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


Here's a question about the GTO CP's focuser port...

I know it's designed for the JMI microfocus, but I'd like some clarity
on its capabilities vis a vis focuser control.

It's not just there to provide power, correct? Could an attached JMI
focuser be controlled via the second RS232 port (say, if the mount
itself was controlled via RS232 port 1 and the focuser via RS232 port
2) Do I have this right?

/dale


Re: CP's focuser port

Dale Ghent
 

I should qualify this further - I know that an attached focuser could then be controlled via the keypad.. but how about from an external source over a serial connection (ie, ASCOM) ?

/dale

On Apr 18, 2008, at 1:46 PM, Dale Ghent wrote:

Here's a question about the GTO CP's focuser port...

I know it's designed for the JMI microfocus, but I'd like some clarity
on its capabilities vis a vis focuser control.

It's not just there to provide power, correct? Could an attached JMI
focuser be controlled via the second RS232 port (say, if the mount
itself was controlled via RS232 port 1 and the focuser via RS232 port
2) Do I have this right?

/dale

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CP's focuser port

Dale Ghent
 

Here's a question about the GTO CP's focuser port...

I know it's designed for the JMI microfocus, but I'd like some clarity on its capabilities vis a vis focuser control.

It's not just there to provide power, correct? Could an attached JMI focuser be controlled via the second RS232 port (say, if the mount itself was controlled via RS232 port 1 and the focuser via RS232 port 2) Do I have this right?

/dale


Re: CP's focuser port

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 4/18/2008 4:01:29 PM Central Daylight Time,
daleg@... writes:


Alright then... would a setup such as the following be kosher?

http://elektronkind.org/outbox/GTOwiring.png
Probably, assuming this ASCOM has the necessary focus commands in it.

Rolando


**************
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used car listings at AOL Autos.

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Re: Counterweight carriers?

Bruce Reuben
 

Hi Morgan: I use a soft rounded tool bag sold at hardware stores for
about $5. It is about 8" diameter. I then cut 2 rounded pices of heavy
rubber excercise mat and put one on the bottom, a weight on top of it,
then another piece of the rubber mat, and finally the last weight. Like
a sandwich. It has drawstrings at the top and takes up no room at all.
You may want to add some crazy glue to the handle seams for strength.
Have used it for 3 years without any problems. By the way- how is the
feather-touch focuser you purchased from me on astromart?