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First Light!

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#1 roemmelt



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Posted 21 September 2015 - 07:45 AM

Bought my LS 8" from Astronomics to replace my 11 year old LX200 GPS Mak - Cass.  I love the LX-200, but the 75 pound wieght was just too much for my back issues.  Astronomics customer service was awesome.  You all know the drill, the scope is manuafactured in China, assembled (and I assume tested) in California, shipped to Norman OK then shipped to me in Virginia)


Working on the old learning curve.  Lessons...


First light - 9-18-2-15


ALWAYS use a 110 to 12vDC power source - Scope failed to align while the plug was inadvertantly unplugged, in spite of fresh batteries.  When plugged in again perfect alighnemnt and spot on with each target!  Great night at our obesrvatory Bull Run Mountain 40 miles west of DC.  Above average seeing and transparancy with no cloud cover.  I also learned that the SD chip needs to be OUT to start alignment.


Second light - 9-19-2015


First lesson, make sure you know your scope prior to unveiling it at a public open house.  Could not get alignment again so just did some manual stuff and the first time I got Saturn - just wow!  Conditions did not allow pushing a high power eyepiece. Late in the night I was showing the scope to a fellow member at the observatory and explained my issues when he asked "...should this power plug be plugged in?"  Ok let's do that...  Then just for grins I was showing him the Eclipse and explaining the CCD/alignment linkage when I felt the lens and found the lens cap was still on!!!  Took it off and perfect alignment in 8 minutes! 


Ok it was second light , but what a rookie mistake!  So once aligned, took the attached afocal shot of the Moon with an iPhone.  Seeing was average, and transparancy was below average.  About 10% cloud cover.  PROGRESS.


I plan to used my Meade DSI Pro in the future for some better images.  Also considering kludging a polar mount with my LX-200 standard as the tripod, but that's down the road (we're probably going to mount the Mak - Cass on a pier)


Since I'm a Mac guy I had to install Parallels so I could run Windows 7 to update objects/firmware and use the Meade Eclipse software to capture/stack images. 


I also used my iPhone to run SkySafari Pro with perfect communication to Orion Wi-Fi connection object selection and GoTo.


The only other additions are a Starlight Feather Touch Micro FTM-M8 Coarse/fine manual micro focuser (easy 5 minutes install and great upgrade), and I'm probably going to install my Meade 6.3 Focal Reducer.


Issues so far

  • Me ;-)  I really need to figure out a power plug securing fix for the 12 V plug (any of you all have the plug specs so I can buy a few more "Y" connectors?)
  • Speaker seems to crackle once in a while with some kind ofinterference
  • Tripod is weak

My overall impression...

I'm already in love with this scope!!!



Attached Thumbnails

  • 9-2015.jpg

#2 MistrBadgr


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Posted 21 September 2015 - 07:59 AM

Welcome to the forum!

The LS 8 really is a nice scope. The tripod is a bit light for some things, but it needs to be light for the portability it is supposed to have. You will find it does have a few quirks, but all scopes do as do humans!

I found I could put an f/6.3 focal reducer on mine, then use an extension piece to get the equivalent of f/5.0 (I think). With a UWA, I actually made a 2 degree field of view and it looked pretty nice!

The thing to remember is to not hook up all the extra stuff before alignment. If it sticks out too far, it will hit the bottom of the mount.

I hope you have as much fun with your scope as I had with mine!

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#3 gfamily


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Posted 26 September 2015 - 05:24 PM

As well as MistrBadgr's advice about aligning it before hooking up the extra optical stuff, I can add a caveat that if you're considering controlling it through Stellarium or similar sky charting software - DON'T connect the USB cable until you've got the alignment confirmed.  I connected it while it was part way through the align process - it slewed to a position it should never be seen at, and gave very nasty noises that I'm sure are not recommended. I dived for the power button and physically jolted the OTA back into a 'normal' position. 


Fortunately, the second restart seems to have gone OK (the first one gave a 'level sensor defect') and I think it's back to being OK now. 



It is a lovely scope though, and when it's properly aligned its GOTO really is spot on. 

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