FAQs & Technical Support

TT320X-AG

How do I assemble the TT320X-AG, PS-01 Polar Scope and TW-3100 Wedge?


The TW3100 Wedge ships with three M4x12 mm socket head cap screws and a suitable hex key. The three screws go through the TW3100 Wedge top plate and into the back of the AG. The three screws give three possible mounting angles for the AG - at approximately 10, 2 & 6 o'clock. Typically you setup the AstroTrac with the arms in the 2/6 o'clock position (depending on viewpoint!) or facing up and to the East. The TW3100 Wedge mounts to the tripod by means of the central standard 3/8" screw hole (or by three metric M8 screws to an adapter plate. A Castor Head attaches either via the 3/8" screw hole to the 3/8" screw on top of the AG, or by means of three M4x12 mm socket head cap screws through the base. To attach through the base, it's necessary to remove the circular camera mounting plate from the head of the AG by removing the three small hex screws. You then need to carefully remove the base of the Castor Head from the body by loosening the RA friction lever (watch out you don't loose the small round brass friction disc which may drop out!). Then attach to the head of the AG with the three M4 screws.




How do I mount a lens to an AstroTrac TH3010 or Berlebach Castor Head?


You can achieve this with a Vixen style dovetail clamp attached directly to the Castor Head with 2 x M6 screws and a Vixen style dovetail bar attached to a lens mount (clamped to the lens).




After I turn on my AstroTrac, it's noisy and seems like it's jamming. It's driving to the start position or is slow and nontracking.


This is very likely due to a low voltage power supply. In 75% of these cases, the AA batteries need to be replaced or the power supply needs to be changed to 12V. Unfortunately, it can be misleading because the unit still beeps and flashes when the power is low but the unit won’t run for long. If you're running from batteries, it's worth checking to make sure you've got a healthy 12 V when connected to the AstroTrac. If you're getting a continuous buzzing noise and the screw isn't turning, then the motor is stalling. You can give the drive arm a gentle push to see if it will move. If not, it's best not to force it. With luck, the drive arm will move and you can clean the screw with a toothpick or toothbrush. Don't use any lubricant or WD40 as it will attract dirt. If the above fails, request a RMA# to return your equipment to our UK factory. Please do not try to disassemble it yourself, as the 1-year limited warranty will become void.




What do I do at the end of the TT320X-AG's tracking duration?


Once the AstroTrac has reached the end of it's two hour tracking duration, you need to rewind it, and re-aim your camera as it will also 'rewind' approximately 2 hours in RA. If you're careful not to nudge your setup, you shouldn't need to re-polar align, but it's a good idea to check it, just in case.




What is the cable that's shipped with the TT320X-AG?


The cable is for something called "Autoguiding." You fix a smaller camera to your set-up and use the smaller camera to track a single star and, via some software, control your AstroTrac. It's a more advanced level of guidance that allows you to take more detailed "deeper" photos. Not all AstroTrac users will want to use the autoguiding feature but we ship the cable with the kit regardless. More details can be found on Wikipedia




Is there a pause function for the TT320X-AG?


No. However, you can return the unit to the home position at any time; it is not necessary to leave the unit running for 2 hours at a time.




My unit is not powering on.


It could be a power supply issue. If you're using a 12 V supply, try an alternate supply. If you're using batteries, try fresh batteries. If it's still not resolved, check the battery holder with a multimeter, if possible. If the above fails, request a RMA# to return your equipment to our UK factory. Please do not try to disassemble it yourself, as the 1-year limited warranty will become void.




My unit doesn't beep.


First, check the volume settings by gently pressing the volume button repeatedly. If you don't hear a beep each time you press the button and the LED doesn't change colour, check if it happens in both the North & South tracking directions. Then try a small adjustment to the "stop" screws either side of the motor chassis tightening or loosening them 1/2 a turn at a time.




The unit beeps and the LED turns green, then red again.


Adjust "stop" screws either side of motor chassis. Screws will need to be loosened until LED stays green and the unit will run fowards and backwards.




The tracker won't open.


This may happen if you shut the unit before the drives arms fully returned to the home/stow position, possibly bending one of the sensor pins. Hold the unit up to a bright light and look closely at the unit from the side - you should be able to see three small pins in the gap between the upper drive arm and clear plastic guard. If any of the pins appear bent, request a RMA# to send the unit back to our UK factory for assessment and repair.





TW3100 WEDGE

I've misplaced the TW3100 Wedge screws. What size are they?


You will need three M4 x 12 mm Socket Head Screws to fix the TT320X-AG to the TW3100 Wedge.




On the TW3100 Wedge, there is a black knob with red button. What is it for?


The black knob is known as the "latitude locking lever" and correct use is described on page 5 of the manual at the end of the section "Setting your latitude" - it just needs to be tightened gently after setting latitude.




How do I assemble the TT320X-AG to the TW-3100 Wedge?


The TW3100 Wedge ships with three M4x12 mm socket head cap screws and a suitable hex key. The three screws go through the TW3100 Wedge top plate and into the back of the TT320X-AG. The three screws give three possible mounting angles for the TT320X-AG - at approximately 10, 2 & 6 o'clock. Typically you setup the AstroTrac with the arms in the 2/6 o'clock position (depending on viewpoint!) or facing up and to the East. The TW3100 Wedge mounts to the tripod by means of the central standard 3/8" screw hole (or by three metric M8 screws to an adapter plate). The TH3010 Head attaches to the TT320X-AG either via the 3/8" screw hole to the 3/8" screw on top of the TT320X-AG, or by means of three M4x12 mm socket head cap screws through the base. To attach through the base, it's necessary to remove the circular camera mounting plate from the head of the TT320X-AG by removing the three small hex screws. You then need to carefully remove the base of the TH3010 Head from the body by loosening the RA friction lever (watch out you don't loose the small round brass friction disc which may drop out!). Then attach to the head of the TT320X-AG with the three M4 screws. Please see the downloadable product manuals in the support section for more detail.





PS-01 POLAR SCOPE

How do I collimate the Polar Scope?


1. Mount the TT320X-AG so that the polar scope cross hairs are centered on a distant point or preferably a star. 2. Without moving the polar scope arm, rotate the polar scope through 360 degrees and check to see if the cross hairs remain centered on the point. 3. If the cross hairs orbit the point as you rotate the polar scope, you’ll need to adjust the reticle centering. 4. Unscrew the polar scope illuminator from the polar scope barrel. Looking into the threaded illuminator hole in the polar scope barrel you should be able to see the edge of the reticle cell and a small slot for the LED light to shine. You need to make sure the slot stays roughly in position as you complete the following procedure as it is possible for the reticle cell to rotate during centering so the led and slot no longer line up. This will prevent the reticle illuminating properly. 5. There are three small set screws in the polar scope barrel spaced at 120 degrees. To avoid rotation of the reticle cell, make sure you make adjustments in small steps. 6. Decide which way you need to move the reticle and loosen the set screws which you want to move the reticle towards by half a turn and tighten the set screws on the opposite side by the same amount. 7. Repeat steps 3 – 6 until the reticle is centered. 8. Be careful not to overtighten the set screws or you may damage the reticle cell or reticle glass. To focus the image of the star on the reticle, first screw the eyepiece in/out until the reticle is in focus. Next, loosen the single set screw in the front of the polar scope body which grips the long plastic objective lens tube. You can then screw the long plastic objective lens tube until the star is in focus. Gently tighten the single set screw once focused.




My illuminator isn't working.


If the scope is a few years old, try replacing the batteries (1.5v LR41 button batteries). If it's a recent purchase, try cleaning threads in the illuminator.




The tube thread is stripped and the polar scope is full of black debris.


This may happen if you try to unscrew the tube without first removing the set screw. You can try to wrap the tube with PTFE plumber's tape found in your local hardware shop. In some cases, this damage may not be repairable.





ASTROTRAC 360


GENERAL

Can I use grease or lubrication on my equipment?


The stainless steel screw runs in a brass nut/carriage, so this combination is to a degree self lubricating. We don't recommend additional lubrication in the form of oil, grease or synthetics as it attracts dust and dirt which can jam the screw.




How should I store my equipment?


Avoid extremes of temperature and humidity if possible. Protect the unit from fine particles such as sand and dust, and fluff/hair from clothing. The screw thread is lightly greased and very fine so it can attract these objects which can affect the tracking speed or stop tracking altogether.




I'm new to AstroTrac. What setup will get me started?


You will be able to get some great astro shots with an AstroTrac, your DSLR and a fast lens (f/4 or better). For widefield shots, you can simply mount the AstroTrac on your tripod and your camera on a ballhead on top of the AstroTrac. For longer focal lengths (greater than around 200 mm f/l), you will need extra rigidity. You can achieve this by mounting the AstroTrac on your tripod using our Wedge.

If you use a small telescope, you can achieve extra rigidity by mounting the scope on a Castor Head on top of the AstroTrac with a counterweight system.

To summarise, you can get started with 2-3 min widefield tracked exposures using an AstroTrac TT320X-AG and Polar Scope in conjunction with a tripod and camera.




Can I travel on an airplane with your equipment?


Yes! The TT320X-AG's unique folding design makes it easy to carry in the aircraft hold or overhead luggage. The TT320X-AG looks rather unusual in an x-ray, so you may find it useful to print out the manual to show staff as you pass through security checks prior to boarding the aircraft.




Can I use the AstroTrac at low latitudes?


Yes! Like any other portable equatorial mount used at the equator, polar alignment is challenging and the polar scope is of no use. Other than that, the AstroTrac works fine at all latitudes.
You can use a compass to find North and an inclinometer to set the latitude (the TW3100 had a built in level and scale for this). For longer f/l work, you will need to drift align the mount.
If you are just using a camera and small to medium focal length < 200 mm f/l, you should be fine with a ball head mounted on the AstroTrac. For long focal lengths, we recommend using a Castor Head and counterweight system.





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