Using the setup mode, verify each encoder's sign and the
number of tics-per-revolution (or ratios on older systems). Don't be confused if
the guide mode sends you in the wrong direction in right ascension when the actual error
is in the sign for the declination axis. The reason for this is too complicated to
explain here. Just remember that any incorrect settings will show up in the encoder
test. (See the MAX Operator's Guide for a complete explanation of the
Review the alignment procedure in your MAX Computer Operator's Guide
making sure you understand each step.
An incorrect starting point when the systems asks you to
"SET DEC=0," or set the scope "VERTICAL" or
"LEVEL," will directly correlate to a bad warp factor. If
you suspect the initial position to be incorrect, try moving a little in one
direction and starting over. If the warp factor is worse, try a
starting point that is a little bit in the other direction. If you are
unsure about where to start you can find more information in JMI's documents
titled The Importance
of the Initial NGC Alignment and Star Alignments with a German Equatorial Mount.
If your mount does not show a zero Declination point, you can try one of two methods to
find that position. The first method is to use a carpenter square to find 90°. With the second method you sight an object at approximately
90° Declination and make necessary adjustments in order to
make sure the object stays centered while rotating in Right Ascension. Once you have
verified the position, be sure to set your mechanical setting circles or mark the position
so you can easily return to that point.
When using higher resolution encoders
or smaller telescopes there is a higher probability of moving too fast.
If this happens your MAX will signal the problem by displaying "encoder
error" or flashing an asterisk. At that point your alignment will
be lost and you will have to restart the alignment procedure.
Sometimes it actually happens that people are sighting on the wrong stars.
Try different stars or verify the star names using a star map.
If you are having trouble with a one-star alignment (intended for mounts that
are perfectly polar aligned), make sure you first understand and can successfully complete
a two-star alignment. This often uncovers problems that are not easily diagnosed
with a one-star procedure.
A low battery will cause the computer to do strange things. Check the
battery by replacing it with a new one. Always use an alkaline battery.
If the display acts erratic, check for cable problems as discussed in the
Encoder and Cable Problems section above.
While malfunctions in the MAX Computer itself are rare, it does
happen. In that case, the only practical solutions are to replace the chip(s)
or replace the whole unit.