Another evening in the observatory playing with the backlash on the homemade telescope mount. All these long evenings are dreadful for astronomy, but give you lots of time to tweak the equipment.

During the night time test the other weekend, I discovered huge backlash in the gears - both in the RA (right ascension, i.e. left and right) and the DEC (declination) directions. The backlash in the DEC was making it impossible to autoguide the telescope properly.

On measuring the values the other day, I found the DEC backlash was a huge 362 and the RA was at 169. Terrible.

homemade telescope mount

However, after some tweaks, I seem to have improved it.

Setting the backlash is a bit of a phaff, you have to sight the telescope on a distant object. Such things are in short supply in my garden, so I have to find a chimney pot behind a tree. You then have to move the telescope around a bit under computer control until its little brain has learn the backlash in the gears.

Anyhow, DEC backlash now measures 27 and the RA 52... so greatly improved. In a month or so we might see some stars to try it out on!