IntelliScope Computer Object Locator Parts

BoxesAs you can see all the parts are nicely wrapped, and it comes complete with the COL, a PP3 9v battery, the cables and the Altitude Sensor (the Azimuth sensor will be found later in the main telescope box).

 

 

 

 

 

Shorty Plus 3 Element 2xBarlowHere are the parts removed from the box and laid out. Working clockwise from the top:-

  • The black curly cable is the one that connects the COL to the Dobsonian base via the connector port (see additional photo below).
  • The next two black cables are used to connect the digital sensors to the COL.
  • PP3 9v battery.
  • The IntelliScope computer.
  • Bag of plastic cable clips (adhesive backed), to hold the sensor cables tidy against the base. The bag also contains some hook-and-loop strips (Velcro) for attaching the COL somewhere convenient on the base if you have not purchased the metal Holster.
  • The Altitude Digital Encoder.
  • At left is the 47-page manual.

 

 

 

Instruction Manual

The manual details all parts, installation with several black & white photos, initial vertical alignment, one-time vertical stop adjustment, and basic two-star alignment.

More detailed sections then describe;

  • The controller pushbuttons,
  • Using the guide arrows,
  • Locating Planets,
  • Locating deep-sky objects (Messier, NGC and Index catalogs),
  • Locating DSO's by type (Nebulas, Star Clusters, Galaxies),
  • Locating stars (Named, Double/Multiple stars, Variable and ST Catalog stars),
  • Monthly Tours,
  • The Identify function (point at an object and discover what it is),
  • Adding User Defined functions
  • The Function button (R.A. and Dec. coordinates)
  • The Realignment function,
  • Hidden functions (Alt and Azimuth Test, Encoder Test, Download software upgrades, Checksum, Rewrite and Clock)
  • Technical Specifications
  • Appendix A: troubleshooting
  • Appendix B: Alignment Star Finder Charts for Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter (so you know which stars you can use for alignment)
  • Appendix C: Constellation Abbreviations used by the COL.
  • Appendix D: ST Catalog
  • Warranty

Rear Sockets

Back SocketsThere are two sockets on the top of the Computer Object Locator. The larger socket is used for the connection to the encoder output port in the side of the dobsonian base (as in the photo above).

The second, smaller port is for an optional serial port cable used for connecting the COL to a laptop or PC. The Orion XT Dobsonians are push-to telescopes - there are no motors, so they cannot be remotely positioned by astronomy software. However the output from the digital encoders in the base can be routed via the COL, out of the serial port to a laptop where astronomy software can be used to monitor and hence "show" what the scope is pointing at. This is a great feature and really helps you see what other interesting objects may be in the vicinity to the stars you first started observing, and because astronomy software usually superimposes the size of your eyepieces over the skymap, you can tell which stars should be included in the field of view.

 

 

Altitude Sensor

Altitude SensorThe Altitude Sensor gets fitted to one of the upright support sides of the dobsonian base. The circuit board contains the "hall-effect" digital encoder sensors which interact with the circular magnetic disc. The disc is screwed tight against the altitude axis so that it rotates in relation to the circuit board.

 

 

 

Altitude SensorThis side view gives a better impression of the Altitude Sensor.

 

 

 

Alt Sensor GapAnd this view shows the two hall-effect sensors and the critical gap between them and the magnetic disc required for them to operate correctly. The distance is maintained simply by the construction of the unit.

The Azimuth Sensor likewise has a similar required gap, but due to the way you can put the base together, and the washers used it is possible to affect the gap distance which can stop the sensor working accurately (this will be discussed in detail later on). It's not a major problem but just something to be aware of.

 

 

 

Next section: Inside the Dobsonian Base Box

Other Topics in the Assembly section: