Last updated: 11 November 2005
Subject: A new amateur astronomer is born with video to prove it! Sent: Wednesday, November 9, 2005 19:04:53 From: Brandon Warhurst (email@example.com) A colleague at work turned me on to your website. He goes to it for anything astronomy. Especially for the ETX. I don't have an ETX. Instead, thanks to your website and him showing me the meadefactoryoutlet sale on E-bay, I have an DSX-125. And MAN is it great. It was a good time to get one too because I spent the last half of the month looking at mars. I've also spent some time looking at Saturn. Anyway, that isn't what I wanted to write about. What I did want to write about was the DSX 125. I know there are probably people that have them lurking around the site somewhere, but there isn't nearly the useful info on the DSX as there is on the ETX. I do understand why. While I enjoy my telescope immensely, it has several problems. The first is that it can't be polar aligned. At least not without some different engineering to build a wedge for the tripod. The DSX 125 comes with a tripod that has a "cup" for the base. In addition, the connection to the L-bracket, while solid, might cause problems as well as the fact that the base only has one bolt connecting it to the tripod. Finally, the Autostar, when you select DSX-125, will not give you options to allow polar alignment. As I'm sure many regulars to your website use polar alignment exclusively, it kind of keeps the DSX 125 out of their minds altogether. The second thing about the DSX is that it has no external plugin. I modified mine by cutting a minute notch in the battery compartment cover to bring the connection outside. Which brings me to the third thing. It has a 9V connector for a power input. With the batteries, the DSX runs for a while, but you can hear almost every time you turn it on the motors slowing down... Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I've gotten some extended use this past month. In addition, though, the 9V power connector isn't verry useful. I might change it sometime to something that I can just plug in. This connector is also not good for take-down. As I said, the DSX 125 comes with an 8-AA battery holder which works fine with it, but I decided to go for something a little more substantial. I bought a Suprex Emergency Jumpstart Mobile Power Supply from Target for $29.99. There is nothing sweeter about the DSX than to hear those motors hum with the correct power! To do this I modified an RCA jack extender cable. Basically, I had on hand (if you have other parts this probably works a little better, but after spending $29.99 on a power supply, and with the cables I have, I wasn't going to buy another cable) an RCA-to-car adapter. I don't know what I have that for anymore, but I decide, since that cable was short, I'd use that cable as a whole and just extend the RCA plug to the 9V. I cut one end off the cable (I needed the female end). These cables come with two "wires". One is in the form of shielding. If you carefully twist it together and solder it, you can make a nice regular "wire" from the shielding. The other wire is insulated again, so I carefully stripped this. I soldered a 9V connector to it, red side to shielding in my case to get the correct polarity, heat-shrinked the joints, and applied heat-shrink to the 9V connector wire to stiffen it a little. Works GREAT. I'll have to switch to a 1.5A fuse though as I have a 3A fuse now (Well, technically, my first attempt I wasn't careful so the wire shorted. Plugged the thing into the battery and blew the fuse. Didn't have another, didn't check the wire closely, and ended up soldering the ends of the fuse until I can get a new one. Boy did the wire get warm! But the jumpstarter was fine! (Note to self: always use your meter first!) After I fixed the short, everything was fine.). While the DSX 125 has these faults, it has one more. The DSX base has a nasty habit of being shipped "broken". The problem lies with a slipring. The SR is supposed to hold the clutch tight. However, it sometimes slides down the knob rob. When it does, it causes the scope not to elevate. It is a simple matter to fix, I found instructions on the web, followed them with no problem (I think it was at www.cloudynights.com), and it was fixed. But it amazes me that I ended up with two DSX bases, and both had the same problem. So now I have 2 working bases. All I need now is another OTA ;) . Once this problem was fixed however, I've gotten several hours of enjoyment from the DSX 125, even without using the Goto part (now that I have the power, I'm going to be using that more often!). Anyway, I can't wait to set it up for my second time with the Autostar (since I've only had AA power until a few days ago I didn't bother because I've read here that regular battery power requires constant retraining of the drives because the power keeps fluctuating. So I decided to hold off until I fixed that problem.). It has been cloudy the past two nights, but I'm looking forward to it. Also wanted to relate one other piece of info regarding Astrophotography. I bought one of the mead 320x200 Meade electronic eyepieces from scopehed1 on e-bay (Scopetronix). It was only about $30 so I figured why not. I was going to use some of my video xmitter equiptment, but turned out that it didn't work (not with the eyepiece, but at all). Anyway, I finally hit on the idea of using it with my Sony Handycam. I'm sure others have done it also. The Handycam has a nice RCA video out, but it can also use that as video IN. You have to select it from one of the menus. Anyway, it takes a simple RCA-RCA cable and bingo, I could see my eyepiece output. It had the additional benefit of being able to record everything as a video. What I thought I would try is taking the images from the video and stacking them. Now I know that most folks are interested in still photos. When I get a good night and get my scope all lined up and tracking, I'm going to try it and stack those photos. For now, attached is the (probably out of focus) moon shot I started with. It is one of those pictures that doesn't even quite put the "amateur" in amateur astronomy. I have *NO* filters yet. That is next on my list of acquires for the telescope. A decent set of filters. I'll probably look around for some more recommendations when I go to get them (I already looked at some). Especially an LPR. I don't have too much light pollution, but I do have neighbors, and they do have lights. Anyway, Mike, you have a terrific (has anyone used that adjective yet... I see nothing but good things ;) ) web site. Not all the credit goes to you though. I have to thank Tom, my colleague, for telling about Jupiter's moons last year (as well as for pointing me to your website and my new DSX 125). I broke out my old DS-60 telescope (my wife got me that because I'd always wanted a telescope) and looked at Jupiter for the first time. I saw the 4 moons all lined up and Jupiter beside them. If I'd only had the DSX 125 then!
-- Life is a Xerox copy. Quick someone add more toner!
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