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Celestron Advanced VX Computerized Mount
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- Integer gear ratios and permanently programmable Periodic Error Correction
- New motors offer improved tracking performance
- Viewing or imaging across the meridian without interference
- Improved latitude range - can be used between 7-77 degrees latitude
- NexStar hand control featuring All-Star Polar alignment
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Quick Overview Integer gear ratios and permanently programmable Periodic Error Correction eliminates recurring track errors from the worm gear. New motors offer improved tracking performance & provide more power to overcome load imbalances Updated industrial design offers more rigidity, less flexure and improved aesthetics New design allows viewing or imaging across the meridian without interference from the motors housings Improved latitude range. Can be used between 7 – 77 degrees latitude. Improved electronics with increased memory for future expansion NexStar+ hand control offers multiple language programming (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish)
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The Nexstar 6SE OTA was able to fit on this mount just fine. Since he 6SE has a vixen style dovetail mount, it was able to fit on the VX Mount. The 12 lb counter weight that came with the mount was able to balance the OTA fine. At first I was worried I was worried that the OTA might not balance, but as soon as I attached it to the mount, it was fine.
The tracking and GoTo on the VX Mount is very good. If you align it properly, it will center any object in the sky perfectly. If you have really good polar alignment, you could get over 1 min subs for astrophotos. I usually get 40 sec subs (at 1500mm focal length) with the built in All Star Polar Alignment.
Procedure for Aligning the VX Mount
1- Select 2 Star Alignment
2- Add 4 calibration stars
3- Slew to bright star near the south, not to high or low
4- Select Polar Align
5- POLAR ALIGNMENT 1- Center star using hand control 2- Center star using control knobs
6- Turn off mount
7- Repeat 2 Star Alignment (steps 1/2)
User Friendliness: 7/10
Overall, this is a good mount if you are getting in to astrophotography or just need to upgrade your old mount. It is well worth the price.
For images taken with this mount/ other images of mine, visit http://www.astrobin.com/users/Nebula10/
I bought my first serious telescope at the age of 37 in 1990 – the Celestron Powerstar III C8. It was in November while living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and I spent many nights at Blue Canyon, CA getting to know that scope. I was still working then, so I took the gear up to BC 2 or 3 times per month. I didn’t find my first DSO until April (winter at 5,000’ limited visits in Dec-Feb). My setup routine, once I became familiar with the scope was to level the tripod, then use the Celestron Polaris setting plate to position Polaris in the correct position of my 8x50 finder reticle. After that I would sight in a couple of prominent stars to dial up the RA setting circle and then use the drift method to accurately align. That would all take me 45 minutes or so, once I was “good” at it. Back then, I built an 11” x 17” light box with Velcro strips in the bottom, to which I would attach small, batter-operated fluorescent lights, with clear Plexiglas over top. Prior to starting an observing session, I’d get out my Wil Tirion Sky Atlas 2000 and turn the page of the chart to be used back over the light box, use a compass to draw circles matching both my finder and my eyepiece FOV and then trace the star patterns inside each circle, all to match the mirror-image of what I would see in the FOV. If I wanted some background info about the objects for viewing, I’d either get out Burnham’s Celestial Handbook (all 3 vols), or my Amateur Astronomer’s Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing (by Tom Lorenzin with Tim Sechler) and make my notes for the observing.
I gave all of that detail because you need to understand what the purchase of Celestron’s Advanced VX GEM mount has meant to me. The VX was delivered in March, 2014 and I’m now 60 yrs old. Thanks to “Uncle Rod’s” blog for how to de-fork a C-8, my conversion over to the GEM went without a hitch. My first night out with it, I levelled the tripod and roughly got it facing north, then used two stars to align and one add’l calibration star. Then I used the Sky Tour feature on the VX to see how it worked. As each object was slewed in place, they weren’t quite centered in the finder, so if they were faint, I couldn’t see them. So my second night out, I dialed up the two alignment stars, plus 4 calibration stars and WA-LA! Each object was dead-centered, IN THE EYEPIECE! Last night (3rd night out) I used a kitchen timer to see how long the alignment/calibration process took and are you ready for this? Nine minutes, 51 seconds!! I was aligned, every object centered in the eyepiece and if I wanted object info, I simply pressed the Object Info button on the hand control. Instead of spending several hours of research/plotting data prior to an observing session and then another 45 min to an hour of setup time, I was observing in less than 10 minutes!
I can’t say enough positive about this Celestron Advanced VX mount, but if you’re like me and it’s getting cumbersome to manually get set up and difficult to quickly find viewing objects, get this mount – you won’t be sorry! I purchased it from a retailer that provided free shipping to my door. The only issue I had was that Celestron had over-tightened the Declination axis, to the point that it would not move in declination at first. I found the four Allen bolts to loosen it up and all was fine. What I didn’t mention was that in 1997, an Air Force base closure forced us to leave CA to spend 5 ½ yrs in GA and then 9 yrs in UT. The mosquitoes in GA and then the long, cold winters in UT, along with the long setup time caused me to lose interest to some degree and the scope didn’t come out much. This new VX mount has rekindled my interest and enthusiasm that bit me in 1990 and now being retired near Tucson, AZ, I plan to have many, many nights of fun with my old C8. I wish all of you clear skies!
Had some problems with the electronic controls the 2nd time out. I had a Boot loader invalid pkg error 0020. The manual was no help!!. There were many articles on the internet to solve the problem that could have been prevented by Celestron in the first place. The unit was shipped with an out of date hand controller software. Downloading and installing the software was no easy task. Need to download a zip file from Celestron and ensure you have the latest Java installed on your computer. Can't do this with an XP computer either and you need a serial to USB adapter which is not supplied.
The unit comes with a 11lb, 5" diameter counter weight. Too much and too big. Two smaller weights would have been better. I ordered an Orion 7384 7.5lb counter weight to solve this problem.
No GPS built in. Not a problem so far.
Be careful when screwing in the power cable. The adapter on the scope will spin. Just spin it a few turns to keep it from falling off, but not tight.
Now that I've had a chance to use it, I was surprised by how well it tracked with just a two star alignment. I've done polar alignment in the past and saw a section on it in the manual and assumed it was the same-old-thing. Celestron has a polar alignment called ALL STAR. That made polar alignment a easy as it can be. AWESOME!! Read the section "Polar Alignment using the hand control" in the manual a couple of times. You'll wonder why this wasn't done before with go-to mounts.