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Posts Made By: Robert Lautner

May 26, 2003 06:40 AM Forum: Religion

Re: Maybe this belongs in the Mind Twister Forum

Posted By Robert Lautner

Hello James.

While I am no authority on Blaise Pascal I find it difficult to believe that he would make the statement you paraphrased. Now, having said that, I must say I have been surprised before. Could you please give us a reference for your quote?

I offer the following quote from “Mind on Fire” from the works of Blaise Pascal, page 167:

“Instead of always complaining that God has hidden himself, you should give him thanks for revealing as much as he has of himself. You will also thank him for not revealing himself to wise men who are full of pride and unworthy of knowing so holy a God.
There are two sorts of people who know God. There are those who are humble of heart and who love their lowliness, whatever degree of intelligence high or low they may have. And there are those who are intelligent enough to see the truth, however much they may be opposed to it.”

Also from page 173:

“All Jesus did was to teach men that they loved themselves, that they were slaves, blind, sick, miserable, and sinful, and that he had come to deliver, to enlighten, to sanctify, and to heal them. This would be achieved by those who hated themselves and followed Jesus through his misery and his death upon the cross.”

Blaise Pascal as you can see would not be amenable to the modern psychobabble, feel good, self-esteem movement of our day. Pascal was truly a very humble man.

Concerning your quote; I do not think that Pascal would consider faith/trust/belief in Christ a mere insurance policy against possible eternal separation from our creator. I think Pascal would agree: that we should believe and trust in Christ because what Christ did and said about Himself was true, not because we might get something out of it. Pascal was a deep thinker. Thanks for bringing his name up. I think I will reread “Mind on Fire.”

Bob Lautner

June 20, 2003 11:01 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Meade Superwedge alignment tab?

Posted By Robert Lautner

Hello Lori;

The alignment tab/pointer that is apparently missing from your Superwedge is not critical or even necessary for you to use the wedge. The pointer, if it was on your wedge, would not be accurate enough to be of much help in polar aligning your scope. You may notice that there is a threaded hole that the pointer is supposed to attach to. That hole can be used as a rough gage for initial set up to your latitude. For accurate latitude setting you will need a torpedo level and a leveling protractor that can be purchased from a hardware store for about $10 total for both items. I do not have the time to go into all of the nuances of polar alignment, but all of the information you need is right here on the Internet. Do a Google search on polar alignment and start reading/studying. I would also suggest you join a Yahoo LX200 or 200GPS group and pose your question there. There are a lot of folks with the time and knowledge to give you a hand at the Yahoo sites.


Bob Lautner

June 21, 2003 06:11 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Meade Superwedge alignment tab?

Posted By Robert Lautner

Hello again Lori;

I had to leave earlier to make a presentation at the Highland Road Observatory, so I did not have time to search for the link that I thought might give you a hand. I hope the following link with photographs helps you get set up.


Bob Lautner

July 24, 2003 10:58 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

ToUcam Pro as opposed to the QuickCam Pro4000?

Posted By Robert Lautner

Hello to all of the CCD folks.

A little background information may help before I pose my question. You all may be able to make some suggestions in areas I hadn’t contemplated. I have been following the posts here for a few months. I have been doing some homework/research on the net trying to figure out where to start in the imaging game with out spending too much money before I really jump in. I have an 8” LX200GPS with all of the usual problems that come with them. I have got most of them ironed out. I am thinking to start out imaging the moon and Mars with an unmodified web cam.

My question; is there any difference in the ToUcam Pro and the QuickCam Pro4000? Supposedly the CCD chips are the same. I bought the QuickCam Pro4000 from Office Depot for $100-a $20 discount coupon. The QCPro4K is easier to find and I can return it if not satisfied (no mods of course). Is there something about the ToUcam Pro that I do not know about that makes it more attractive besides the readily available information for modifying the TouCam Pro for sorta deep sky photos? When and if I get to the deep sky phase I will definitely get one of the commercial CCDs.

Thanks for any help you all may provide. BTW as you all know this (Astromart forums) is a fantastic resource and I very much appreciate that fact.

Bob L

November 4, 2002 06:35 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

December 30, 2002 04:13 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Meade EP delivery

Posted By Robert Lautner

Back in August it was running about 2-3 weeks. Approaching December it was running about 3-4 weeks. Just before Christmas, Meade was estimating 4-6 weeks. The eyepiece offer has become very popular and Meade cannot keep up. From what I have been able to deduce, folks that think their order has been lost, do eventually get their eye pieces.

January 19, 2003 09:46 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Diagonal for StarMax127 M-C

Posted By Robert Lautner

The StarMax127 will only take 1 ¼” accessories.

January 20, 2003 05:23 AM Forum: Meade

Updating software on LX200GPS

Posted By Robert Lautner

It is worth updating your soft ware to v1.4g. The number of problems that the later version solves are too numerous to describe here. The latest version has some bugs but none are as catastrophic as the earlier versions, like unexplained runaways into the hard stops etc. If you continue to use the older version do not set up the scope and go inside or even get out of arms reach of the power switch. As a mater of fact I wouldn’t leave the scope alone during a set up even with the later versions. Join the Yahoo LX200GPS user group. Go to the files section and get the firmware download-upload checklist. Also read all of the back messages that you can stand. It may take about 30-40 hours depending on the speed of your connection. I know, I read almost all of them and lurked for months. After a little while you will get the hang of who knows what they are talking about. Doc Clay is one. Those are the folks whose posts you want to read. Believe me if you have a question, some one has already asked it. Doc Clay of the Arkansas Sky Observatory does a lot of good work at the Yahoo site. He also has a great web site with all kinds of helpful info for the LX200GPS scopes AND MUCH MORE. Also go to the MAPUG web site and read every thing that remotely looks interesting. Do a google search to find them. The information is out there but it takes a ton of reading. The three sites I have given you will save you a lot of searching.
Hang in there!

February 14, 2003 08:02 PM Forum: Meade

Piggyback capacity of 8" LX200 GPS

Posted By Robert Lautner

No one “knows” how much weight the 8”LX200GPS will carry not even Meade. To test my statement, call Meade several different times and ask several different customer service persons your question. They will probably each give you a different weight or say they do not know. If two out of three give you the same weight which do you believe? The weight carrying capacity of the GPS series of scopes is not published anywhere that I know of.

Now having said the above do you know that the mechanicals of the 8”, 10” and 12” scopes are the same? Same motors, same drive train, same bearings. The frame/forks are smaller and lighter for each of the scopes smaller than the 12”. It could be argued that the 8” scope can carry more payload than the 12” since the weight of the 8” OTA is itself lighter than the 12” and so the total gross weight that the drive train and bearings must support is less stressed than on the 12”. It is possible that you may get more frame flexure in the smaller scopes than the 12” but I suspect not if the weights are kept within “reason.” What is reasonable? Beats me. But if I were to put 20# of payload on my 8”GPS then I would definitely reduce the slew speeds to a midrange or lower speed, and I would watch how things perform real closely the first few times I ran it with that much weight on board. Personally I would be most concerned about the load on the drive train ie. gears and bearings. The way the software handles the ramp up speed is currently not well done in my opinion. The whole thing boils down to how long do you want your scope’s mechanical systems to last? The more weight you add to the system the shorter the life of the various components. It is that simple.

Bob Lautner

April 16, 2003 03:51 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Mirror lock down on 8" GPS LX200

Posted By Robert Lautner

Concerning the focus lock: Turning the focus lock to the right until it stops, unlocks it. Turn it to the right until you feel a positive stop. I suppose you could force it to keep turning, (which would damage it) but you should feel a definite stop. To lock the focus you turn it to the left until you feel an increase in friction. There is no definite stop on locking, just a gradual increase in resistance to turning. The number of turns to the left required to lock varies GREATLY from scope to scope. Some scopes require 5 turns; some require 10 to 20 turns to lock. Meade quality control and the variation in tolerances from scope to scope vary widely. Any how, you will not feel a definite stop as you do in the unlocking mode. Do not over tighten the lock or it WILL break or bend the mechanism and a trip back to Meade will be required. Unless you are imaging you do not need to use the focus lock and since inadvertently focusing with the lock on can damage the focusing mechanism I strongly advise against using the lock on a routine basis. Practically none of the above information is in the manual.

The electronic focus travel is only ½ inch, so you must coarse focus manually, and then fine focus electrically. As you activate the electric focuser you will see the tube at the rear of the focuser move in and out slowly, unless it is bottomed out in one direction or the other. If you don’t see any movement then try the other direction. Once you see movement then run it in that direction until it stops. Then run it in the opposite direction for about ¼ inch and stop so it will be in the middle of its operation range. Now you are set up to coarse focus manually and then fine focus electrically. Some of the above information is in the manual.

Anthony, I strongly advise you join the Yahoo, Meade LX200GPS forum. The Meade instruction manual sucks. Not only is it poorly written it is just plain lacking basic need to know LX200GPS specific information. The old Classic LX200 manual is several orders of magnitude better. Apparently Meade is thinking every one that buys a LX200GPS is upgrading ???? from a classic LX200, or maybe they just screwed up and wrote a lousy manual for the GPS model. Personaly I think they were in a big hurry. Who knows? At any rate you need to join the Yahoo group. You can thank your lucky stars that the Yahoo LX200GPS group is one of the best groups going, with some really experienced hands and apparently lots of time to help out the poor schmucks that find themselves Beta testing Meade’s new scope.

If you got a good working scope you will really enjoy it.

By the way all of the above information is just my opinion and is worth every cent that it cost you ;o)

Have fun!

Bob Lautner