Date   

Better images by using an AP1200 mount?

Ted Inoue <tdi1@...>
 

Taking advantage of several hours of clear skies tonight, I was
treated to my best ever views of Jupiter and Saturn using a new
AP1200 mount. Not only were the images rock steady, but the image
quality in the C-14 seemed exceptionally good. So good in fact that I
had the Teleview 5x powermate coupled with a 10mm (cheap) eyepiece.
Power was reduced by the compressor (I know, this is a weird
combination, but the compressor seems to improve the correction of
the scope...).

Anyway, at this mag, (I'd estimate about 600x), Ganymede showed a
crisp disk, with surface features glimpsed. I was astounded by the
quality of the images. I then took some shots with a 3Com web camera,
and got the best color images of Saturn that I've ever seen. Very
comparable in resolution to Maurizio's (I'll post them soon) though
the s/n isn't as good. All in all I was blown away!

In the past, I've used a Losmondy G-11, and while it tracked ok, I
never realized how much difference a great mount like the 1200 would
make! I could focus by hand, and achieve good focus much faster than
ever. 1/4 second high mag planetary images were clear. And unguided
minute long exposures showed nice, small star images. With a c-14!

I know the seeing tonite was exceptional, but I've had great seeing
before but never before has the image looked so good. So I pose the
question - could this be due to the fact that the Losmondy
generates "microvibrations" because of it's stepper motor drive while
the AP uses servos, generating a completely smooth tracking motion?

This is one impressive mount!

-Ted


Re: AP Goto Cold Weather Use

ericj <ericj@...>
 

Hi Steve:

It lives in the basement when I am not using it, where the average
temperture is around 60 degrees.

Eric

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Leikind <sleikind@...>
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2000 5:57 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: AP Goto Cold Weather Use


Thanks Eric,

Just out of curiosity, does your mount stay outside or do you keep it
indoors when not observing?

-Steve

--- In ap-gto@..., "ericj" <ericj@m...> wrote:
Hi Steve:

I was out observing a couple of weeks ago using an AP 900 when the
temperature was around 6 degrees Fahrenheit. The mount seemed to
perform
fine, and I used the slewing at 1200 X while observing different
portions of
the moon. I haven't had a chance to use the mount when the
temperture was
less then 0 degrees Fahrenheit however.

Clear Skies,

Eric

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Leikind <sleikind@v...>
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2000 12:30 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] AP Goto Cold Weather Use
I wonder if anyone has had experience using AP GOTO mounts under
really cold conditions? My AP400 stays in a dome in my backyard in
St Paul, MN were below zero temperatures (farenheit) are not
uncommon
at night. I spent about 20 minutes last night viewing Jupiter and
Saturn while the temperature was about -5 F. Movement in both axes
seemed a little stiffer than usual (no surprise here), but the
mount
seemed to track OK. I didn't try any high speed slewing. Are there
any issues/caveats about operating the mount in these temperatures?
What about slewing; is it better not to slew at 1200 X?

- Steve





cold weather and condensation

Ted Inoue <tdi1@...>
 

along the lines of the Cold weather q's just posted, I was wondering what
people suggested for condensation or if that's a problem.

During the recent temperature swings and very high humidity, I went out to
check the observatory and found the mount dripping with water from
condensation. I'm wondering if I should wrap everything in an electric
blanket and keep it at low temperature to prevent such occurrences. I've
also noticed this during the Summer.

Anybody have suggestions about what to do here?
-Ted


Re: AP Goto Cold Weather Use

ericj <ericj@...>
 

Hi Steve:

I was out observing a couple of weeks ago using an AP 900 when the
temperature was around 6 degrees Fahrenheit. The mount seemed to perform
fine, and I used the slewing at 1200 X while observing different portions of
the moon. I haven't had a chance to use the mount when the temperture was
less then 0 degrees Fahrenheit however.

Clear Skies,

Eric

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Leikind <sleikind@...>
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2000 12:30 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] AP Goto Cold Weather Use


I wonder if anyone has had experience using AP GOTO mounts under
really cold conditions? My AP400 stays in a dome in my backyard in
St Paul, MN were below zero temperatures (farenheit) are not uncommon
at night. I spent about 20 minutes last night viewing Jupiter and
Saturn while the temperature was about -5 F. Movement in both axes
seemed a little stiffer than usual (no surprise here), but the mount
seemed to track OK. I didn't try any high speed slewing. Are there
any issues/caveats about operating the mount in these temperatures?
What about slewing; is it better not to slew at 1200 X?

- Steve





Polar scopes

Vahe Sahakian <vahe@...>
 

Just wondering what happened to the new batch of polar scopes?
Marj indicated that they were being tested and that AP expected to
make them available at about the end of the summer.
Do all mounts accept the same polar scope? I have placed my name on a
waiting list for one, has anyone been notified yet?

Thanks,
Vahe


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

Thanks Roland

----- Original Message -----
From: <chris1011@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2000 10:20 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: New AP 1200 GTO


In a message dated 12/12/00 7:40:47 PM Central Standard Time,
jmarietta@... writes:

<< Will the upgrade to a V3 handcontroller be a software or hardware
upgrade?
Thanks >>

Software you will be able to download from the web site.

Roland Christen



Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Dan Azari
 

Roland, Marj, or anyone else,

Can you please tell me what range of periodic error I should expect in my
1200 mount? Also, I am experiencing some odd behavior when I use PEC. At
the end of each cycle the scope moves about 20 arc seconds in RA then moves
back to original position. This swing occurs in about a 5 second period of
time. I have trained the PEC twice: Once manually, and once with an ST4.
Same results. The mount was polar aligned with no drift at 600 x for 5 min
prior to training. Very bizarre. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar
experience.

Clear skies,
Dan Azari


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/12/00 7:40:47 PM Central Standard Time,
jmarietta@... writes:

<< Will the upgrade to a V3 handcontroller be a software or hardware upgrade?
Thanks >>

Software you will be able to download from the web site.

Roland Christen


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

Hi Roland,
Will the upgrade to a V3 handcontroller be a software or hardware upgrade?
Thanks

----- Original Message -----
From: <chris1011@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2000 8:11 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: New AP 1200 GTO


In a message dated 12/12/00 5:55:14 PM Central Standard Time,
markdambrosio@... writes:

<< would AP be supplying a small Flyer to thier customers, so we all then
know the new capabilities? >>

Marj is working on the new instructions, and that is now what is holding
up
release of V3.

Roland



Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Mark D'Ambrosio <markdambrosio@...>
 

Hi Roland, I thought this was the case, and I'm glad to hear you reconfirm my suspicions.
Like Alan French once said, "All we need now is for the mount to GOTO the Car" when we're done using it!

With the software/Handcontroller Upgrade, would AP be supplying a small Flyer to thier customers, so we all then know the new capabilities?

Would be a super idea IMO.

Thanks Roland for the reply.

I have recived my 1200 mount, but I am 1200 mi. away!!
It's a real Chinese Torture!! Mark


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/12/00 5:55:14 PM Central Standard Time,
markdambrosio@... writes:

<< would AP be supplying a small Flyer to thier customers, so we all then
know the new capabilities? >>

Marj is working on the new instructions, and that is now what is holding up
release of V3.

Roland


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/11/00 8:54:49 PM Central Standard Time,
markdambrosio@... writes:

<< Hi Doug, In referrence to the firmware upgrade, I assume you are speaking
of the upgraded eeprom chip in the Servo Control Box.

I was under the asumption that the new 1200's were shipped with the new
chip, and future upgrades would only need a software reprogramming of the
Hand-Controller.

Marj/Roland could you comment some? Mark >>

All the new mounts we are shipping now have the latest firmware. The mount
can be turned off anywhere, without formal parking, and they will remember
their positons. With version 3 of the hand controller coming out soon, you
can set it up so that no initialization is required. As soon as you power up,
you can enter object mode and begin finding objects.

Roland Christen


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/11/00 6:00:42 PM Central Standard Time,
jmarietta@... writes:

<< If you do this, will the mount still remain calibrated for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track normally?
>>

The answer to both is yes. Try it!

Roland Christen


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

thanks Larry

----- Original Message -----
From: "Larry Denmark" <kldenmark@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 9:33 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] New AP 1200 GTO


Joe Marietta asked:

Reading through the manual I had a question about parking the
mount. The manual states that after you park the mount, you can
turn off the power. Well, the only way I have figured out to turn off
the power is to pull the cigarette lighter plug out of the battery.
My question is this:

If you do this, will the mount still remain calibrated for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?
Yes. You must chose one of three park positions, wait until the mount is
parked
in the position you chose, hit Menu, and unplug the mount. Provided you
do not
move the mount again, you're all set. When you next power up, select
"resume
from park" and you are ready to go... no need to re-align, etc.

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track normally?
Yes. The mount will track your *scope* right through the meridian without
a
hitch, but there is one thing you want to avoid: you do not want the RA
axis
counterbalancing weights to cross the meridian, and if you face that
scenario
during a long photography run, you'll want to do a German flip before you
start
you imaging session.

Larry
--






Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Mark D'Ambrosio <markdambrosio@...>
 

Hi Doug, In referrence to the firmware upgrade, I assume you are speaking of the upgraded eeprom chip in the Servo Control Box.

I was under the asumption that the new 1200's were shipped with the new chip, and future upgrades would only need a software reprogramming of the Hand-Controller.

Marj/Roland could you comment some? Mark


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Larry Denmark <kldenmark@...>
 

Joe Marietta asked:

Reading through the manual I had a question about parking the
mount. The manual states that after you park the mount, you can
turn off the power. Well, the only way I have figured out to turn off
the power is to pull the cigarette lighter plug out of the battery.
My question is this:

If you do this, will the mount still remain calibrated for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?
Yes. You must chose one of three park positions, wait until the mount is parked
in the position you chose, hit Menu, and unplug the mount. Provided you do not
move the mount again, you're all set. When you next power up, select "resume
from park" and you are ready to go... no need to re-align, etc.

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track normally?
Yes. The mount will track your *scope* right through the meridian without a
hitch, but there is one thing you want to avoid: you do not want the RA axis
counterbalancing weights to cross the meridian, and if you face that scenario
during a long photography run, you'll want to do a German flip before you start
you imaging session.

Larry
--


Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

Thanks Doug,
So I can unplug the powercord from the power supply and the handcontroller
will remember?

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Wheeland" <wheeland@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 7:05 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: New AP 1200 GTO


--- In ap-gto@..., "Joe Marietta" <jmarietta@e...> wrote:
If you do this, (park mount) will the mount still remain calibrated
for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track
normally?

Thanks

Joe
Joe... the mount hand controler will be in parked mode when you power
up if indeed you parked the mount and pused the MENU button as the
last thing befor power down. of course one should not move the mount
while it is shut down. You go to setup->location->resume from park
when you power up the next time.

The new firmware will have a feature to delay the flip. I believe
our mounts do not yet have this feature.




Re: New AP 1200 GTO

Doug Wheeland <wheeland@...>
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Joe Marietta" <jmarietta@e...> wrote:
If you do this, (park mount) will the mount still remain calibrated
for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track
normally?

Thanks

Joe
Joe... the mount hand controler will be in parked mode when you power
up if indeed you parked the mount and pused the MENU button as the
last thing befor power down. of course one should not move the mount
while it is shut down. You go to setup->location->resume from park
when you power up the next time.

The new firmware will have a feature to delay the flip. I believe
our mounts do not yet have this feature.


Re: Mount Arrived

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

Hi Doug,
My mount came yesterday.... I think it is a "work of art"... looks like it
belongs in some museum or something.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Wheeland" <wheeland@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 6:37 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Mount Arrived


My AP1200 arrived on Dec 7, packed well... no shipping problems. I
set it up in the house and tested... everything works as spec'ed.
Clear sky on Sat. and not too cold so I set up outside and waited for
darkness. Clouds moved in just as I was in first iteration oc N
Polar calibrate but even with that little work Jupiter was in FOV
after goto.

I look forward to lots of time with this mount... It's too cool




New AP 1200 GTO

Joe Marietta <jmarietta@...>
 

Hi folks,
Just received my new AP mount.

Reading through the manual I had a question about parking the mount.
The manual states that after you park the mount, you can turn off the
power. Well, the only way I have figured out to turn off the power is
to pull the cigarette lighter plug out of the battery. My question is
this:

If you do this, will the mount still remain calibrated for the next
night of observing when you power up the mount?

Another question concerns passing the meridian while imaging. If I
start a 1 hour exposure, for example, and during that exposure, the
mount crosses the meridian, will the mount continue to track normally?

Thanks

Joe