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Thread: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

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    Default Autostar and SmartFinder Questions



    I picked up a used Meade DS-2114-ATS-LNT recently. Two questions regarding the Autostar and SmartFinder. Regrding the Autostar, do I have to set High Precision every time I use the scope? It doesn't remember that I set it on last time? And the SmartFinder-I set it for a continuous red dot. But after a while the dot's not there. After Easy Alignment, I was using the Tonight's Best mode, and the dot wasn't there. Do I have to reset this every time I use the scope also? And what happened to the dot?
    Thanks, Dave

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Not sure whether you have an option to remember your settings with the Autostar but leaving the red dot on will eat the battery fast.
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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Those things are not meant to be used continuously, so they turn off. There is no need for the finder after the alignment process, and if that process was done accurately, the goto is accurate and the "High Precision" isn't needed either. If you are relying on the "High Precision" setting to get your target in the field of view of a low power EP, then your goto accuracy isn't very good. Are you using a reticle EP for aligning?

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    No option to remember the settings as far as I know. Have read the manual a few times.

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    I respectfully disagree Ozman. There is always a need for the finder. This is not a multi thousand dollar unit, it is a cheap scope with cheap gears and Meade knows that. When slewing from one part of the sky to the other, there is no way this unit will zero in on the object exactly. That is why they have the High Precision feature. If it was perfect, it would not be needed. And if the object is not in my field of vision, it would be a great help to use the SmartFinder to move the scope closer to the object. Are you trying to tell me that the SmartFinder is only for the alignment? I think not. But with no red dot, the SmartFinder is useless. And again, for a cheap scope like this, the goto accuracy is never very good, just good. The High Precision and red dot would greatly speed up my viewing. With no High Precision and no red dot, if the object is not in my field of view, what would I do then? And no, I don't use a reticle EP for aligning, just the 26mm lens that came with the scope.

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    I'm not saying having the finder available wouldn't be useful. I'm saying it turns off by design and the reasons I give are why it was designed that way.

    Most mounts (that come with a red dot) will remind you to turn off the red dot finder after the alignment process, this one does it for you.

    I find my cheap goto mounts with plastic gears to be quite accurate and place my target in the field of view without the need for the "High Precision" setting. If you will adjust your backlash settings and use a reticle EP (or at least a high power EP and defocus the alignment star to an easily centered doughnut) then your goto accuracy is liable to improve greatly. You may also think about getting a RACI finder for the scope, that would be much, much easier to use for target acquisition than a red dot.

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Thank you for the constructive ideas, especially the defocusing one. What is a backlash setting? And what are EP and RACI short for? Thank you

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by who4ever View Post
    Thank you for the constructive ideas, especially the defocusing one. What is a backlash setting? And what are EP and RACI short for? Thank you
    Backlash is when the mount gears do not mesh well and there is some slippage. If you push a button on your hand control to slew the scope and it takes a moment before the scope starts to move, that is backlash. If you are slewing in one direction and then change direction (especially back the other way) and it takes time for the scope to start moving in the new direction, that is backlash. The motor turns but the scope doesn't go that way immediately and the goto accuracy is BAD. There is a way to adjust this in the menu of your hand control.

    EP=eyepiece

    RACI=right angle correct image It is an optical finder (small scope) that shows the sky as you see it with your eyes (correct image) and has a 90 degree angle (right angle) to make viewing more comfortable. This is opposed to the straight through type known as the PITA finder (pain in the...Astronomer).

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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by who4ever View Post
    I picked up a used Meade DS-2114-ATS-LNT recently. Two questions regarding the Autostar and SmartFinder. Regrding the Autostar, do I have to set High Precision every time I use the scope? It doesn't remember that I set it on last time? And the SmartFinder-I set it for a continuous red dot. But after a while the dot's not there. After Easy Alignment, I was using the Tonight's Best mode, and the dot wasn't there. Do I have to reset this every time I use the scope also? And what happened to the dot?
    Thanks, Dave
    "High Precision: If High Precision is turned on, when looking for a faint celestial object (i.e.,
    a nebula or galaxy), AutoStar first slews to a nearby bright star and displays “ENTER to
    Sync”. Center the star in the eyepiece, then press ENTER. At that point the telescope has
    a high precision alignment to that part of the sky and it then slews to the object that was
    originally requested."

    So High precision does not make the goto system more accurate but will force you to sync regularly. I never enable it but when I am star hopping I sync every time I am on a object of which identity I am sure of by pressing "enter" : you cannot expect the system to stay accurate the whole night from one two-star aliment. To improve accuracy you need to calibrate your drives and train them regularly, be very sure that your scope is level by checking that the OTA is level in all directions : don't trust the level on the tripod ! A not so accurate North reading would be solved then syncing on the first aliment star, but a not so level tripod will haunt you the whole night!
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    Default Re: Autostar and SmartFinder Questions

    Piet, doesn't the alignment compensate for the tripod being not level? Let's face it, it's difficult enough to get a tripod leveled inside a house, let alone outside in the dark.

 

 
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