Re: AP900 GTO Died


Sep 9, 2001

 


----------------------------

#3433 Sep 9, 2001

Last night (Sat) was one of those nights. Hot, humid and absolutely

still to the point of suffocating. And superb seeing for planetary

observing. The last time we had such a night was two summers ago when

I had the best views of Jup and Sat of my life; tonight was better

and I have a much better planetary scope. My expectations were high.



Unfortunately, my 900 GTO mount was dead in the water. When I plugged

in the power cord, one of the motors (RA I think, but I wasn't

looking at it so I'm not sure) came on for a second and then stopped.

I went into the setup to change to Daylight savings time and correct

the time (haven't used the mount in a few months). Under Location, I

could step through all the selections and change the Daylight savings

to 1, but then the keypad locked up. I pulled the plug and powered up

again, checked the time and it had updated just fine.



When I power up, pick Startup, Choose Location, I get the menu with

the three locations but the keypad no longer responds to any input.

If I power up, pick Setup, then Calibration menu, pick two star

calibration, page through available calibration stars, select the

first star and press GoTo, the keypad locks again and ceases to

respond.



The N-E-S-W directional buttons are never functional in any menu. The

mount doesn't track. I've checked all plugs, etc. I know I need to

call AP Monday, but I am posting here in case I've missed something

obvious that would get me up and running for tonight.



If the RA motor blew, would that cause the keypad to behave this way?



The Tak owner present found this all very funny, and gleefully rubbed

my nose in it. To make matters worse, he's a Washington fan, and my

Michigan Wolverines managed to give away two TD's yesterday just as

they were putting the game away. :-(



Gus



----------------------------

#3438 Sep 9, 2001

Perhaps one of the wires on your DEC cable broke. The DEC cable can become

stressed if, while the scope slews, the cable is caught under a clutch knob.

This happened to me and I had to resolder one of the wires at the point it

used to be attached to the connector.





From: Paul Gustafson > Last night (Sat) was one of those nights. Hot, humid and absolutely

> still to the point of suffocating. And superb seeing for planetary

> observing. The last time we had such a night was two summers ago when

> I had the best views of Jup and Sat of my life; tonight was better

> and I have a much better planetary scope. My expectations were high.

[snip]



----------------------------

#3445 Sep 9, 2001

Hi,



I had similar problems with my 900GTO one night, until I changed to a

different battery. Seems I had been charging the battery through a

"coaxial battery connector" (similar to what's on the 900 but without

the screw-down ring) and gone off without monitoring what the

charging meter was saying. After the trouble with low voltage, I

looked more closely and found the connector I was charging through

was intermittent, and even though the charging current showed good

when I plugged it in, it deteriorated as time passed, and ultimately

failed to charge the battery at all. Obviously I don't use that

method of connecting up a charger any more.



Chuck

--- In ap-gto@y..., "Paul Gustafson" laservet@h...> wrote:

snip

> I am posting here in case I've missed something

> obvious that would get me up and running for tonight.

>

> If the RA motor blew, would that cause the keypad to behave this

way?

>

snip

>

> Gus



----------------------------

#3452 Sep 10, 2001

In a message dated 9/9/2001 3:11:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time,

laservet@... writes:



> The N-E-S-W directional buttons are never functional in any menu. The

> mount doesn't track. I've checked all plugs, etc. I know I need to

> call AP Monday, but I am posting here in case I've missed something

> obvious that would get me up and running for tonight.

>

> If the RA motor blew, would that cause the keypad to behave this way?

>



Check the cable to the RA motor. Chances are that the motor is fine. If the

servo senses that the RA motor (or the dec motor) is not getting power, it

will go into a standby mode and will not communicate with the mount. If your

RA cable is ok, then plug it into the dec motor connector, and check to see

if the servo will drive that motor. Press the E-W buttons to see if the dec

motor responds. If it does not, chances are that your cable has a bad

connection. If your dec motor does work with the RA connection, but the RA

motor does not work with the RA connection, then the trouble might be in the

RA motor. This would be a rare occurrance.



Roland Christen





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#3454 Sep 10, 2001

Thanks to all who replied, and thanks to Roland for discussing it on

the phone today with me. My battery charger indicated 13v from the

battery. A mutimeter indicated 11v. Better battery ---> mount works

fine.



Since I need a new battery (and a new charger, it seems), how heavy

are those Optima batteries? I have been using this (relatively)

lightweight 32 ah gel cell wheelchair battery for several years now,

and I guess it's finally bitten the dust. I bought it to replace my

117 ah deep cycle marine battery that was just too hard on my back to

carry it.



Thanks again to all,

Gus







----------------------------

#3458 Sep 10, 2001

Hi Paul, To help you here, I beleive the Optimas weigh 42-43 lbs. Definitely no lightweight battery, but they do have many benefits. (Leakproof even if shot, mountable in any position, very low resistance to charging, very slow to discharge without being tended to). Perhaps others will have good recommendations also for alternatives.



I had bad luck with my last battery (Wheelchair Gel-Cell), as it went Kaput quite prematurely (Not the Battery's fault) as I was using a run of the mill charger that was not properly designed for these Gel-Cells. A sure telltale sign, is that the battery was warm/hot when being charged. Amperage was dropping, but Voltage was going up literally cooking the plates inside.



The right charger for the application is a must to get the proper charge without damaging the battery, and to ensure that the battery is fully charged.



I had considered the Kendrick 33ah before buying the Optima. It is a very attractive package, with everything included. (Charger, v-meter, Cordura carrying case w/strap, and receptacles. Mark



----------------------------

#3465 Sep 10, 2001

www.sportsmansguide.com still sells Item no. WXO 50659 (Electri-PacT by

Century). This DC power system, which is nicely packaged, is rated at 34

amp hours. It also has a built in 110V inverter. I use one for my 1200GTO

and another for all other applications (fans, Kendricks, etc.).



I bought one (including a charger) for $99. I believe I recently received a

paper copy of the Sportsman's Guide catalog and that the system was priced

for under $75 (the web price tonight is about $99).



----------------------------

#3466 Sep 10, 2001

www.sportsmansguide.com still sells Item no. WXO 50659 (Electri-PacT by

> Century). This DC power system, which is nicely packaged, is rated at 34

> amp hours. It also has a built in 110V inverter. I use one for my 1200GTO

> and another for all other applications (fans, Kendricks, etc.).

>

> I bought one (including a charger) for $99. I believe I recently received a

> paper copy of the Sportsman's Guide catalog and that the system was priced

> for under $75 (the web price tonight is about $99).



Curiously, their web site lists (apparently) the same item under

two part numbers for $79.97 and $99.97. I've got the same unit that

I bought at Walmart a couple of years ago, and it's great. I paid

somewhat more than $99 though..



These are wonderful units, and nicely packaged, too. I wish I could

come up with a reason to buy another one, but I just got a 110AH

deep-cycle battery for long star party to augment the "Electi-Pac"

unit.



louie



----------------------------

#4960 May 26, 2002

I set up my 900 GTO Sat night (Control box 1, new chip, latest

software) and the keypad locked up upon plugging in power. Battery

is OK, every connection was snug, but the keypad just

showed "AstroPhysics" on the display and was unresponsive to any key

input. Unplugging and replugging the power gave the same result.



It worked fine the last time I used it, and it has been sitting

quietly in its case in the meantime. The only thing I can think of

that I may have done is I inadvertently used the power cable for the

10" Mak cooling fans instead of the regular mount power cable

(looked the same to me in the dark). If that cable has polarity

reversed from the mount cable, that might explain it. Switching to

the mount cable afterwards didn't help.



Other than the obvious call to AP on Tuesday, any suggestions?



On a brighter note, my Elite Edition Bug Shirt and bug pants from

www.bugshirt.com was 100% effective in thwarting the hungry

mosquitos. Where has this been all my life?



Paul Gustafson



----------------------------

#4965 May 26, 2002

imnnmldr wrote:

> On a brighter note, my Elite Edition Bug Shirt and bug pants from

> www.bugshirt.com was 100% effective in thwarting the hungry

> mosquitos. Where has this been all my life?





Working under the premise that bats have ravenous appetites for

mosquitos, I was about to try a nature-friendly control method.

Perhaps Bug Shirts and Bug Pants are a better option to consider

though, as rubbing guano all over my body may make my focusing

fingers slippery! :o)



Hi Paul! Spare yourself the angst and resist the urge to tinker until

you can call AP. Although it may be a simple quick-fix item, a few

days of R&R during the holiday isn't necessarily a bad thing...

process that stack of images that you've been meaning to get to!





Paul H.



----------------------------

#4966 May 26, 2002

Paul,

I've used the same power cable for the 900GTO and the fans on the 10"

Maksutov-Cassegrain. I believe they are the same cable.



When you powered down did you wait at least ten seconds before powering up

again? Some computer chips take a while to completely clear.



The bug clothing sounds interesting. Thanks for the info.



Regards,

Robin



Astro Accessories by Robin Casady

Stainless Steel Weights & Dovetail Saddles

www.CarmelCoast.com/Astro/sales.html



Casady & Greene, Inc.

www.casadyg.com





On 05/26/02 12:12 AM imnnmldr wrote:



> I set up my 900 GTO Sat night (Control box 1, new chip, latest

> software) and the keypad locked up upon plugging in power. Battery

> is OK, every connection was snug, but the keypad just

> showed "AstroPhysics" on the display and was unresponsive to any key

> input. Unplugging and replugging the power gave the same result.

>

> It worked fine the last time I used it, and it has been sitting

> quietly in its case in the meantime. The only thing I can think of

> that I may have done is I inadvertently used the power cable for the

> 10" Mak cooling fans instead of the regular mount power cable

> (looked the same to me in the dark). If that cable has polarity

> reversed from the mount cable, that might explain it. Switching to

> the mount cable afterwards didn't help.

>

> Other than the obvious call to AP on Tuesday, any suggestions?

>

> On a brighter note, my Elite Edition Bug Shirt and bug pants from

> www.bugshirt.com was 100% effective in thwarting the hungry

> mosquitos. Where has this been all my life?

>

> Paul Gustafson

>

>

> To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list

> see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto

>

> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

>

>







----------------------------

#4967 May 27, 2002

In addition to waiting the 10 seconds minimum to make sure the

computer resets I would wait at least a minute. You say you checked the

battery and it read? If its a fully charged a 12 volt battery its going to

read something like 13.2 to 13.8 Volts I would recharge if its indicates 12.1

or lower. Finally the cable for the 10 inch Mak fans and the battery cable

for the mount are the same and you can power up the mount with that cable

too. I did it last week in fact. I still have yet to use the fans on my 10

inch Mak. Good Luck and Oh yeah thanks for the tip about the bug clothes.



Clear Skies

Dwight L Bogan



> > I set up my 900 GTO Sat night (Control box 1, new chip, latest

> >software) and the keypad locked up upon plugging in power. Battery

> >is OK, every connection was snug, but the keypad just

> >showed "AstroPhysics" on the display and was unresponsive to any key

> >input. Unplugging and replugging the power gave the same result.



>Paul,

>I've used the same power cable for the 900GTO and the fans on the 10"

>Maksutov-Cassegrain. I believe they are the same cable.



>When you powered down did you wait at least ten seconds before powering up

>again? Some computer chips take a while to completely clear.



----------------------------

#4973 May 27, 2002

Thanks for all the advice, guys. The Optima battery reads 12.84v on

a Fluke digital multimeter. I set the mount up on the kitchen table

today and it boots up just fine. :-/ I had counted to 20 sec when

rebooting it the other night, and assumed I had given it even longer

when I went to the car for the other power cable, but I guess it

just wasn't long enough. I'd still like to know what circumstance

causes the locked hand controller, maybe AP can shed some light on

it tomorrow.



I am very skeptical about anti-bug product claims, since insects can

be incredibly resourceful. I recall back in college on a summer job

as a park ranger for the Army Corp of Engineers in Texas when I

bought an electronic mosquito repeller for $20 that actually seemed

to attract them instead. My roommate ribbed me about getting ripped

off until he purchased a "guaranteed" cockroach killer (now, if you

haven't been to Texas, they have MONSTER roaches there, 2-3" long,

and they can fly when you try to smack them). When his kit arrived,

it consisted of two small blocks of wood with instructions to place

the roach on one of the blocks and squish it with the other. :-) He

was so angry he called the office of the state attorney general;

when they stopped laughing, they told him they could do nothing

since the product worked as advertised if the directions were

followed correctly.



However, the Elite bug shirt and pants did work as advertised. They

recommended the microfiber cloth over the cotton since it would be

cooler (summer observing here is often at 95+ degrees F and 95+ %

relative humidity), and the Elite shirt because the dual-zipper face

mesh allows you to open it just enough at either side to fit the

eyepiece through or in the center for binoviewer use.



Paul Gustafson



----------------------------

#4974 May 28, 2002

In a message dated 5/26/2002 2:13:45 AM Central Daylight Time,

laservet@... writes:



> I set up my 900 GTO Sat night (Control box 1, new chip, latest

> software) and the keypad locked up upon plugging in power. Battery

> is OK, every connection was snug, but the keypad just

> showed "AstroPhysics" on the display and was unresponsive to any key

> input. Unplugging and replugging the power gave the same result.

>



It might mean your RA motor is not turning. Remove the motor cover and look

to see if the motor shaft is turning. If not, check the connector going to

the motor box. If you can't find anything wrong with the wiring, try plugging

the RA cord into the Dec motor box. If this motor turns, and the RA does not,

try to turn the RA worm by hand.



Roland Christen





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#7892 Jun 21, 2003

Last night during a 600x slew, the cable to my ccdc camera got hung

up and strained against the mount as it slewed. By the time I got out

there, the motor was straining against the cable tension but DSVoice

indicated that the object was acquired and the mount stopped. I

immediately released the tension but found that the mount no longer

responds. The keypad lights up with "Astro-Physics" message but

that's it, no other functions work, no menus. DSVoice gives error

message that no mount is found when link is attempted. The mount has

power (110V pyramid source), LED is on (red) and cables are all ok.

Tried powering down and up multiple times with no success. Didn't

see any info in manuals re resetting the system or what to do about

this. Anyone with suggestions or similar experience?



----------------------------

#7897 Jun 21, 2003

In a message dated 6/21/2003 2:51:07 AM Central Daylight Time, EbyT7@...

writes:



> . Didn't

> see any info in manuals re resetting the system or what to do about

> this. Anyone with suggestions or similar experience?

>

>



In cases like this, it is always better to call AP directly and talk with

either myself or Wally. We can run you through some tests on the telephone that

can quickly pinpoint the problem and maybe even get you up and running again on

the spot.



Roland Christen





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







----------------------------

#7898 Jun 21, 2003

OK, Roland, thanks for the reply; I'll be in touch on Monday.



Tom

> In cases like this, it is always better to call AP directly and

talk with > either myself or Wally. We can run you through some tests on the

telephone that > can quickly pinpoint the problem and maybe even get you up and

running again on > the spot.

>

> Roland Christen

>

>

> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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