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buzz

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Everything posted by buzz

  1. That is really interesting - does it end in a T-thread or a 48mm one? It looks like they have changed the aluminium adaptor and upgraded the nylon fasteners to brass. On my one, you have to screw in a 48-mm to T-thread adaptor - and the focus position only requires a 5mm extension. It would be interesting to see if they have slimmed down the adaptor, which would then require more focus extension and the option to insert filters in front of the camera with focus extension to spare.
  2. I found out the trick - once you color balance the entire image, you remove the pure green pixels - it is like a selective color removal. (Not the same as deleting the color channel) You then get the hues of green but not pure green dominating as before. The blues start to appear and can be enhanced. I have now got the color balance about right and once I have more image data, should be able to follow the same path quite easily. I might also play around with some PixelMath equations to emphasize image differences between the channels too. Just wish I could get another night to complete the acquisition.
  3. Patience! It is mapped using the HST palette and needs some work. I'm looking at the astroanarchy website and wondering how the heck he got that blue in the middle!
  4. I'm a bit stuck with the weather - I need another 5 hours of OII and an hour each of RGB for the stars - however, the performance of this scope is clear. I quickly knocked together this image. It is NOT fully processed - just stacked and stretched - no deconvolution, color balance, background neutralization etc. In this way it does not hide any issues and shows the stars up as they are. I'm really impressed. I tightened up the top adjuster on the focuser a little and the tilt in the image improved to about 1", (as reported by CCD inspector.) Once I get everything together I'll post the final result after I have PixInsighted it. In terms of cropping - I only cropped a tiny slither off each side
  5. You are right - I should have been clearer, the subscription for Maxim and TSX is if you want updates and bug fixes (not upgrades) after a year. Software Bisque's fee is about 20% of the full price. Both continue to function if you choose not to. In a year TSX has a lot more updates than Maxim. You can read that both ways but I noticed several well documented bugs that were not fixed in Maxim DL 5.
  6. Olly - that is kinda what I'm going to do. I already use an 11" ADM plate and as forward as the tube ring fixings will allow. I have a spare short Lozmandy plate and I'll attach a steel weight to its end. This will insert from the top end of the Paramount's Versaplate. I need quite a bit more weight as far forward as possible. The little Star 71 continues to deliver. Although the hood is short, I didn't notice any flare on 20 min subs from a local streetlamp.
  7. Adrian - like Maxim, TSX, which is bundled with a Paramount, has an annual subscription anyway. TSX has regular updates and rapid responses to issues and although I'm not yet at the point of having to pay a license fee again, don't feel I'm being robbed. I have the software loaded on two machines and in two operating systems. I'm not sure why one would need more. I guess on the mount side, philisophically, as people lay out more cash, their expectations rise on equipment performance. What some may have shrugged their shoulders on with a £500 mount becomes a major issue with a £6K+ mount. Performance is one thing, consistent and robust product design is another. The evaluation of a mount should consider both aspects and a trawl through the forums to gauge the degree of variability, issues and customer support with a product. No product is without issues and the good companies react positively to issues rather than blame you and everything else. Some certainly have more consistent performance and better software quality.
  8. That is excellent news. I think my mount came with 2.9.x and my problems began when I updated it. 2.11.x was my nemesis. You will have to check with the forum but there were other reasons why 2.10.x was quickly superceded by 2.11.x. Other users may want to chime in but I recall that they were to do with post slew wobble. As you are using CDC then I assume you are manually aligning. That would take care of that. ModelMaker results were being impaired at one point by occasional wobble after a slew for over 5 secs or so, causing plate solve errors. If you take a look at the forum, you should be able to piece the story together. Out of interest, using Maxim DL, that FW version ( and its predecessor) slowed a PC to crawling pace. ( the exposure countdown would be erratic and mouse commands would be ignored) Do you notice anything in SGP? I'm really pleased its working for you.
  9. The forecast is favorable tonight for 2nd light. I think the mount might be a teeny weeny bit overkill but no wind is going to budge this one! If I can get a little more weight up front, I will be able to slide the scope back a bit and the camera will be able to rotate without hitting the Losmandy plate.
  10. These things are always a moving target, so best to keep options open up to the purchase point. The mechanicals of the 10 Micron are very sophisticated and I don't think they were the source of any of my issues. A new firmware version could emerge tomorrow and with its optical encoder, one can imagine a guider response that is sublime, with no stiction or backlash. It is worth checking their forum to see if there have been any updates since I parted company with mine. Philosophically, I think the 10 Micron mounts really shine in a fixed obsy. With a more robust autoguider response than the one I experienced, it would be reliable in portable setup too, after a simple three point plate solve to set the Alt/Az adjustments. For me the key word is reliability. Some users regularly enthuse about theirs and clearly have no issues with its performance in their setup, which is just as well as it is in a remote site. One of my friends on the 10U forum guides once every 100 seconds (I assume he uses a tracking model at the same time) to remove any residual drift. I don't think he dithers though. Another friend has the GM2000. He had a firmware update that went wrong ( I cannot repeat the actual words he used) and after many months he had his mount replaced. His replacement is delivering long unguided subs in his observatory. He is very exacting and the attention to detail in the alignment and the model creation are now rewarding his patience. I think he would be shocked at how mine goes together in a matter of minutes, I use preset fixtures and PokeYoke devices and auto guide to fix the rest.
  11. Give me a few weeks to get enough narrowband exposures in the bag and I'll post a lovely heart to the forum.
  12. Gav - there is no separate reducer - this is the 5-element Astrograph released in 2014, not to be confused with the ZS71 (2013) which has a separate reducer. One thing to note, with a camera with a standard 55mm flange to sensor distance, the focus tube only needs to move out 5 mm. The QSI is set up for the standard T-thread distance and I have the 48-T-thread adaptor fitted to the rear 48mm thread of the scope. The block on the front of the losmandy plate is a steel rod, fastened with velcro to balance the assembly. I need more and will get a machine shop to make me up a proper power-coated weight which I can bolt on. I will also make a black lens shield extension. I suspect a gutter down pipe may be ideal.
  13. Some pics of the scope and a single frame. (QSI683 with 1.25" Ha filter - does slightly vignette extreme corners) Pixel scale is about 3"/pixel Heart_1200sec_1x1_HA_frame7.fit
  14. I had first light with mine last night. I fitted it with a QSI683 wsg, with Lodestar (OAG). I fitted a Lakeside focus motor to it and autofocused with SGP I had it on the Paramount MX. Seriously over mounted! So far I have done 20 min subs in Ha and the result is extremely good. CCDInspector says the image are perfectly flat with a small amount of tilt. (There is some play in the focus tube which I think I can mostly tune out. If I go too far with the adjusters, the stepper motor stalls) I had some 20mm spacer blocks made up and sandwiched these inbetween the supplied tube rings and a long Lozmandy plate. Looking at the images at 400%, I have no complaints. A wider aperture would have just caused more severe vignetting on the QSI (it uses 1.25" filters with the KAF8300 sensor) I can post unprocessed images if anyone is interested.
  15. Adrian - I had always assumed I would need to guide any mount in a portable situation. Over many many hours, I found that the GM1000HPS firmware versions released 3Q 2013 and the beta versions in early 2014 did not guide very well. Me and several users had oscillations on both axis, even with gentle guiding, using Maxim or PHD software. There was clearly an interaction between the guider input and the closed loop control of the mount. After several attempts by 10Micron, the guider response in my opinion, was borderline. For steady state guiding it was flatline (as above) and the oscillations were controlled. I dither between exposures though and the over damped response took ages to settle. I simply lost my confidence the company and for such an expensive mount the support and communication from the company was severely lacking and that is the main reason I changed over. Olly is right, we don't NEED optical encoders but they have great appeal. Most of us image a single target on a night and pointing accuracy is kind of irrelevant, especially when any software can plate solve and sync in under a minute. With Per and others reporting excellent unguided results with their GM's I went down the road of trying to develop better models to render autoguiding unnecessary, with extreme emphasis on timing accuracy, weather conditions and obsessive attention to flexure. I didn't succeed and continued to have strange drift behavior on both axis with dual tracking. That behavior disappeared when I kept the same tripod and refractor assembly and just swapped over the mount. I had 2 GM1000HPS and I guess I was unlucky in both cases. Other users (mostly in Obsy environments) have better performance. The autoguider response is excellent on the MX and I have similar RMS tracking errors between 0.3 and 0.4" as the lucky Steve is getting, over 20 minute subs. Steve - if it is performing that well - don't bother with a model, especially at high altitude where the refraction effect is less! Maybe that is where I went wrong - trying to be too clever.
  16. As you can tell I have had the Paramount and 10 micron. The weight difference is small, especially when you take into account there's no separate electronics handbag with the MX. The MX though is physically bigger but my MX has carry handles in the housing. The size does mean I do not get leg clashes though on my tripod. It also has no clutch, which is a big bonus. The gears are either fully engaged, free or the mount is locked into a safe transport park position. I use my MX in a portable setup. I'm imaging within 15 mins now. To get the most out of the 10 micron, you need to spend time doing a model, align the mount and repeat the model. I averaged about 20 minutes on top of the setup time. That model was not sufficiently reliable to image without an autoguider. The MX polar scope gets me within 2' in no time at all and the mount autoguides painlessly. It is delivering the smallest HFD's and aspect ratio that I have ever achieved. It also handles a whopping 41kg payload. 40 lbs is a bit close to the 25kg payload of the 10 micron. On top, the power consumption is 2/3 that of the 10 micron. At first, I missed the handset. After a few nights, I did not miss it at all and realised that I never really used it anyway because the computer and its software did everything I needed and was always connected. The encoder in the MX sets an absolute position within an arc second, allowing for repeated use without calibration. The software will always do an automatic plate solve and centre if the initial slew is off. In summary, the MX is a fantastic instrument, perfectly at home in a mobile environment. Its biggest drawback is its physical size. I had a padded bag made up for mine by a UK company and it sits on the rear seat with a seat belt around it. Then there is the through mount cabling and the red color and the engraved alt/az........ Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Regards Chris
  17. I need to update this thread. I have made a lot of other changes to my hardware and software at the same time and I have had more hours of uninterrupted imaging in the last month than in the last year. I sold the Trius and bought a bigger chip, the QSI683 (I previously owned a SXVR H18 and missed the bigger sensor size). With my initial system I was getting random dropouts of the filter wheel, Trius CCD and Lodestar too. Things improved slightly by bypassing the Trius Hub. I cannot be sure where the issue lay exactly but the hardware played its part. Certainly Maxim DL would lock up when a USB connection faltered. The KAF8300 chip is noisier than the Trius 694 without a doubt but the QSI693, compared to the SXVR H18 is also a world apart. The shutter is outside the sensor housing so even if dust is disturbed by its action, it is easy to clean it without resorting to a dissassembly. The sensor has just one isolated dust spot in the corner. Other noticeable improvements are the OAG is rock solid and the filter wheel is very quick acting, (as is the shutter). In the summer, it was cooling the chip by 40C at 90% power. Overall, these were the system changes: Before: 10Micron mount (Ethernet adaptor on USB hub), Maxim DL 5.24. USB connectivity: USB extender over Cat 5 - Trius - Lodestar and filterwheel connected to Trius Hub After: Paramount MX, Sequence Generator Pro. USB Connectivity: USB extender over Cat 5 into Paramount's USB hub. QSI683 (integrated filter wheel) and Lodestar X2 connected to Paramount USB hub on Versaplate. Maxim DL5 is definitely better behaved with the QSI and Paramount MX but I still had some issues. I decided to give SGP a go for the first time. After a few hours, I had worked out the interface and was imaging. In general reliability and automation performance, I can really recommend Sequence Generator Pro. It is even doing automatic meridian flips and resuming autoguiding (using PHD2). I was grinning from ear to ear. After a few nights watching over it like a worried parent, it just did its stuff. Now, once I set a sequence going, I walk away and leave it to carry on until I pack up for the night. Autofocusing, error recovery and sequencing is intelligently and effectively designed. If you have banged your head against the wall with the gold standard, SGP is a breath of fresh air and keenly priced too. I believe a beta version is being tested which has observatory control and weatherstation interfacing, though this is not as important for my temporary installation.
  18. You can do either and both. Coils on their own can create problems on the output as they increase the inductance of the load and hence switching transients. I combined mine with capacitors in a PI network on the input that reduce high frequency power supply modulation. (Filtering analog and switching circuits is slightly different, coils do not like being switched on and off and generate spikes ( like coils for generating spark plug sparks). Best approach is always prevention rather than cure when it comes to interference control. You can always do a quick test by placing an AM radio next to the circuit and leads and see if it is picking up interference and compare the two approaches.
  19. Hi A G - Lakeside is now making a coupler for their focus motor. The one thing I have learned with these scopes is they demand the highest focus accuracy. When I get some images I will analyze them with CCDInspector and post some results back here. I got some precision 20mm spacers made up to fit in-between the tube rings and a longish Losmandy plate. That gives me clearance between the QSI and the back end of the Versaplate. I got john@jtech to make them up. I have to say, this scope looks ridiculous sitting on top of a Paramount MX. It won't move in the wind though. spacer.pdf
  20. I took mine apart yesterday to see how it was constructed and to align the focuser. It is very straightforward. The optical tube unscrews from the focuser body. All the optics are in one tube and have a fixed relationship to each other. The lens is constructed like a classical manual focus SLR lens. All the focuser does is space the camera from the lens. The exact spacing from the camera adaptor to its sensor is irrelevant so long as you can achieve focus. There is no normal flat-field spacing to worry about. The rear optics are in a cone-like protrusion that inserts into the focuser body, There should be no danger of pinching optics on the rear cell as they are suspended inside and not in contact with the outer body. The front optics are within the lens hood area, away from the straight tube and "should" be relatively immune from clamp ring pinching. This is how I tuned my focuser: I did this at my own risk, but having rebuilt a damaged Feathertouch system, I just took things carefully. The tube slides on three teflon pads, aka feather touch, with two brass screws adjusting tension. I removed the worm assembly by loosening the tension adjust and lock bolt and removing the two bolts. Without the worm in place, the brass screw are adjusted so the tube moves smoothly without play. The worm assembly has four set screws and two fasteners. The set screws hold the assembly off the pinion but are not needed and in mine they were retracted within the focuser body. Even retracted, the worm and pinion are not fully engaged (with the grub screw and bolt loose). (In my feathertouch, I used the four set screws to accurately position the worm over the pinion so there was 'just' no play without using the tensioner to engage the worm.) Tightening the two worm block fasteners, one tests for play in focusing direction. The grub screw mostly adjusts friction, it is applied to the shaft quite close to a bearing and has a compliant material as a friction device. The long screw bends a brass ‘plunger’ to in effect bend the worm shaft and offer up the worm to the pinion, reducing play. So - if the factory set it correctly, you shouldn't need the long screw - but this is provided as a customer adjustment to gear play, rather than fiddle with the set screws (which are redundant on my one.) My focuser is pretty good now, no play and slightly tighter fully-in, but that is down to tolerances in the focuser tube dimensions. My feathertouch does the same but not quite to the same degree. Just need my T-adaptor and I can test the optics. The four silver screws and the little black nylon screws are not functional and are for attaching finders. hope this helps
  21. That is a fantastic image - I'm going to use mine with a QSI683wsg so as long as the 48-T adaptor has that spacing in mind, I should be ok on the filter front. Good point about the tube rings, I have mine moved out already so that I can mount it on a big Losmandy plate. If I extend the plate out forwards, it helps with the balance too. I'm just getting Peter at Lakeside to make up an adaptor for the focuser and I should be there. The dew shield is obviously designed for compactness. I think I will simply make up an extender and mount it to the protruding Losmandy plate. Still much cheaper than the Tak 85
  22. I have found one of them. The two brass screws on the top stop the focus tube slopping about. Mine were loose. As soon as I put the slightest tension on them, the tube was rigid. They are very free though and I think Loctite is in order. I have got some spacers made up to mount it onto a long Losmandy plate, and give back end clearance. The bolt system has changed to metric and once I have longer M6 bolts, I can post assembly pictures. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Regards Chris
  23. Every hub in a USB daisy chain adds delay. There is a max limit for the USB response. I had filter wheel dropouts which improved with direct connection. It all depends on your system. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Regards Chris
  24. AG what are the silly points - are they serious enough for me to cancel an order?
  25. My ZS71 was good optically but the mounting arrangment with the foot was not really man enough to take the weight of QSI camera on the back without flexure. I noticed that William optics updated the ZS71 again, this time into a 5-element astrograph. I took the plunge, sold the ZS71 (2013) and have the new one on order from IKI. It has a short throw R&P focuser, threaded mount and tube rings - which should give me better mounting stability. Although the ZS71 was harmonous with my Paramount, both being a nice shade of red, the Versaplate was longer than the scope itself and it looked faintly ridiculous! I will assess it as soon as I get it and the obligatory month of cloud has passed. I'm wondering, at 350mm FL, whether this will work well on an Astrotrac for the holidays.
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