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buzz

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Everything posted by buzz

  1. Hi Per - to note my 10 micron setup time above also included the assembly and hookup for the entire system. Like you, on a good day and as I reported earlier on this thread I have aligned the mount and made a reliable model in about 15 minutes. Before I established a fixed tripod system though I would sometimes get one of the three plate solves to fail and I would have to start over. When I looked at Sam's GM2000 the azimuth bolts and base plate are better designed than that on the GM1000. Even operating with great care and with small markers to allow you to move the bolts in fractional turns, I found that the verifying polar alignment routine reported you had not moved the mount enough. (With both AZ bolts tight and the four clamping bolts loosened, I could swivel the mount slightly on its baseplate) I actually shimmed my base plate with self adhesive aluminum tape and this improved things. On the dropout front, it is obviously a system thing, that includes the software at both ends as well as the hardware. I'm with you, USB is normally the problem. I think in this case, it is not the LAN itself but the software. I think some of the mount responses were slow and Maxim didn't like it. If you recall, many 10 micron users reported snail-like computer response when the mount connected, especially with Maxim. Later firmware updates improved this but in my case not sufficiently for Maxim to be truly reliable, or if the remote keypad was being used at the same time as another command. There were knock on consequences to other devices that timed out too even on a Dual Core I5 Laptop with SSD and running lean. I saw a post that indicated Cyanogen acknowledge that Maxim DL5's Achilles heel was its intolerant behavior and they changed their device management in DL6 to address it. I have used Maxim DL5 with the MX and it has worked so far without a hitch, with no sign of the same computer slowing down. Now that I have started using PixInsight for processing though, an upgrade to DL6 looks less like good value and since switching to Sequence Generator Pro and PHD2, I cannot stop grinning. It might not offer the full control required by a remote Obsy as you have in France but it is pitched very well for the end of the garden system when you want to get some shuteye and not worry about meridian flips. The focusing routine is especially clever, taking multiple HFD measurements from one image. The engineer in me would love to know what the root cause of these issues were with my two GM1000HPS's *and the half dozen other customers'). The more I think about it, the more I wonder about those small clutch knobs. In a temporary setup I was cool that unguided operation was a bit unlikely with a modest model. If the guider response had been better, I wouldn't have swapped. clear skies
  2. I eventually threw in the towel with my GM1000HPS and changed to a Paramount MX. The contrast between the approach of the mounts is very interesting. In the UK, they are very similar prices and the thread should read Mach 1 vs. GM1000 vs MX. I think it is valuable to share these experiences. Looking back on months of head scratching, in my temporary setup the 1000HPS was not able to consistently deliver unguided subs, even after running a 40 point model. Every aspect of the mechanical and software setup was carefully checked. The dual tracking for some reason just would not deliver - often with drift in RA but not in DEC. After several firmware changes, the autoguiding response was stable but took a long time to settle after a dither command. The users with permanent setups seem to fare better. In my particular case, a lot of doubt was cast on the other parts of the system as the cause of the issues. With so-so guiding, each night was a gamble and not an experience I was looking forward to for an outlay of over £6k. Reluctantly I changed to the MX on my dealer's recommendation. I ordered it with the Polarscope and got an adaptor made up for the same tripod I used for the 10Micron. Although this mount is targetted for an obsy, it works in a temporary setup too. It is about the same weight as the 10micron, especially when you take into account it has the electronics built in. It is quite a bit larger though and is less friendly to transport. Setup time: From the moment I open the back door to assemble the MX in the garden, to turning on the power and starting an imaging sequence is now 15 minutes. The polar scope is consistently aligning within 2 arcminutes, in under a minute. (The 10micron has no polarscope and required several 3-point pointing models and adjustments to get that close). The Azimuth adjustment on the MX base and the base itself is very precise with little play. It re-positions on the tripod within an arcminute. On the 1000 HPS there is a small gap between concentric ledges on the 10micron base assembly and the azimuth adjustment does not always deliver the full adjustment you expect, requiring several iterations of the alignment model. In my temporary setup, the 1000HPS would take about an hour on average to start imaging, especially if I was doing a tracking model. To run the model also required close scrutiny of clock accuracy, pressure, temperature and altitude, requiring internet connections and a mobile weather station. Periodic Error: 10 Micron's strong suit is its PE control, essential for unguided exposures. It was well within +/-0.5" in practice. Out of the box, my MX had +/-2 arcsecond pk-pk and after PEC, +/-0.9 . For that reason, in my temporary setup I use an off axis guider. The MX mount guides extremely well, with no overshoot, backlash or slugged response. In other words, it moves in a predictable manner, with my range of focal lengths from 300-900 mm . Tracking Performance: After my previous concerns with the 10micron tracking performance, I hesitantingly repeated the guider experiments on the MX with the ST4 cable unplugged. With the same tripod, scope, guider and focuser, the MX does not show any appreciable drift in RA or DEC (polar error was under 1'). To my mind, the simple substitution of the 10 micron for the MX fixed my prior tracking issues. With the MX - in a temporary setup, I don't bother with a pointing model. Sequence generator pro reduces any target pointing error to 1 pixel within 1 iteration. Reliability. As far as mount communication dropouts are concerned, it was not uncommon to have a crash with the 10Micron over its LAN line during a night's imaging. I mount re-boot would cure it. The MX is more robust on its USB cable - sharing the USB with camera, guider and filterwheel. The USB is extended 20 metres using a USB over Cat5 extender. Conclusion Both mounts are about the same price but approach the same problem from a very different angle. I think the 10micron mount deserves a permanent setup with an extensive pointing and tracking model so that it can run unguided. It needs the ultimate in rigidity and flexure of the system components for it to thrive. To my mind it's design, such as it was in the spring of this year, is not optimised for guiding but that could change with further firmware improvements. In a temporary setup it necessitates model building to establish polar alignment that takes up precious imaging time. The clutch system on the 10micron is notoriously tricky to do up tight and may have been the cause of my tracking issues for all I know. (A plastic tool for tightening is now available). The MX is a red beast and surprised me with its accurate polar alignment using the polar scope. The cable management is excellent, is quick to balance and has positive engagement of the gears as well as a transport setting. It does not use a clutch system that can introduce slippage. The TSX supporting software works on Mac and PC and now works with ASCOM. Although the MX is an obsy class device, it is surprisingly easy to use in the field too. My PEC is effective but not yet effective enough for unguided operation. As it guides well, the remaining PE is not an issue. My small gripe is its connector system. The connectors are OK but at high latitudes, tricky to get connector access as the strain reliefs foul the AZ adjuster. My first MX imaging experience was also a first light experience with Sequence Generator Pro. I ran it for three nights in a week, using SGP's automatic meridian flip feature and PHD2. Stars had a 5-9% aspect ratio in 20 minute exposures. Overall though, in my temporary setup, three words sum it up. It just works. I can now focus on taking pictures.
  3. Don't get me wrong - good luck to him and I hope he is chuffed to bits. I'm only thinking he will be annoyed if the portrayal by the paper makes him appear anything less than genuine. I know I would be annoyed. If papers cannot do simple things like quote people correctly, what is to stop them using images and editorial that do not stand scrutiny.
  4. Maybe it should have been more appropriate in the Daily Star !
  5. Spikes look like real ones - there are chromatics in them too. The focusers are also not motorized. He probably has two rigs.
  6. Recently changed my setup - the EQ6 was replaced by the 10Micron 1000HPS, which went back to the maker after guider and tracking issues remained unresolved. In the end it was a Paramount MX. Custom adaptor plate for the tripod and an all-in interface box with all the electronics within (power conversion, dew heater, focuser and USB over ethernet extension). Tripod rests on 0.5m spikes driven into the garden. If I don't collapse the tripod, the repeatability of the whole setup is better than 1 arc minute. This is now a really tidy layout, the only two dangling cables are the dew heater ones, which I decided to route outside the mount to reduce interference with the power and camera.
  7. Final pictures inside and out. The dew controller is in the corner, with a ferrite on its power input. When calibrating the dew heater effect, the temperature probe needed to be in contact with the telescope under the heater tape but insulated from the heater. If you don't do this, you simply read the dew heater temperature. I checked my calibration by sticking the Dewbuster probe under the heater tape too and recording at what temperature setting it started to flash. The two correlated very nicely. The labels on the box were made from inkjet prints that were laminated and stuck on.
  8. I had another think about Gina's mail on using ferrite cores to suppress interference. I elected not to put one on the dew heater output - this increases the load inductance and when the PWM switches off, causes more back EMF and interference. Instead I put them on the power feed to the PWM controller and onto the power lines into the camera and mount. I fully calibrated my PWM and now have a little dial! PWM dial-2.pdf
  9. I changed my X1-Pro for the X-T1 with the battery grip. The tiltable display is very useful. I bought a JJC intervalometer from ebay which has a removable short lead and replaced it with a standard 1m 2.5mm jack to jack. The only challenge left is focusing. I tried the wifi remote idea on the iPad but there is no way to zoom in or do the kind of live view you get with EOS. I tried the bahtinov mask again and repeated manual focusing trials and noted the step position on the focuser on each attempt. I was getting within 10 steps (40 microns) each time.
  10. Hi Ian - the project box is a pre-punched audio box. I used Velcro to fix the items to the base, so I did not have to use a drill or file at all on the metalwork. I got it from eBay: If you do an ebay search for 10.5 inc (266mm) 2U it will show the auctions for the box (top, base and sides) and the choices for front and back panel. You can get different numbers of punchouts or blank panels. I ordered some plastic blanking plates for some of the connectors and only had to drill a simple hole in them for the dew heater control, outputs and a simple square hole for the power supply switches. I used XLR's for power but as the paramount is 48V, bought a unique Neutrik Powerconn connector to prevent accident connections.You can also get Neutrik RJ45, 9 Pin DIN and USB chassis sockets that just fit the punchouts. This box fits on the tray of my Berlebach planet tripod with 5mm to spare! I scratched the top just after taking this picture and I sprayed it a nice metallic red that just happens to match the Paramount hope that helps.
  11. I finished my master electronics box and calibrated the PWM. This box houses the 48V supply for the Paramount, USB over Cat 5 extender, focuser and dew control and distributes power to the mount and cameras. It certainly tidies things up, just two leads to power sources, 3 leads into the mount, two to the dew heaters and one to the PC. I put a 6" Dewnot heater around my refractor and measured the steady state temperature difference between under the heater and ambient. At full power it was +10C and half power is close to 5C. This ties in well with the DewBuster - whose maximum is 20F. The scale on the Dewbuster is linear and my quick evaluation is close to linear too. I just need to find a better knob with a pointer and make a dial.
  12. Hi Gina - I just tested the one that came in the post. It is operating at 10KHz and has clamping diodes and a chunky RC network across the output. I couldn't get it to interfere with an AM radio and the AC content of the power lines was minimal. Strangely, the manufacturer ground off the chip identification...so I could not identify the circuit and fiddle with it. I'm running my power lines, focuser cable and USB through the Paramount but I'm going to keep the dew heater cables outside. I am building my electronics (power supplies, USB extender, focuser and dew heater) inside a steel box and was going to put caps across the output connectors and do the same as you do with a ferrite inside the box. (When I took my LX200 apart, it was full of the things!) I have a DewBuster too - so I can use its temperature sensor circuit to calibrate the potentiometer on my system The PWM I am using has a lot of components on it and it seems to be well designed. That is probably why they wiped the ID off the chip, so nobody can copy it.. you can see it in the Amazon picture too! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Motor-Speed-Controller-Module-Potentiometer/dp/B00H57UR7C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401828792&sr=8-2&keywords=80w+pwm
  13. Lee B - are you imaging? - there is no imaging equipment on your equipment list. It is the interference with cameras that is my main concern. There is also something else - the Maplin one referred to earlier can be bought elsewhere - if you find an advert with a full specification, it clearly states the wires must be shorter than 20cm to meet EMC regulations.
  14. Hey folks, I had an idea - the PWM motor controllers look like a really good idea and much cheaper, but they switch at a few KHz. I have ordered an 80W version from Amazon, which seems to include some suppression components (big resistor and diode in the image). Once I have identified the chip, I should be able to reverse engineer it, exchange the RC network for values that give 0.5 to 1Hz and put some filtering on the FET control, to soften the switching. Once I house it in a metal box, it should be good to go. I'll let you know how I get on and put some pictures on the forum. I will test it with a scope and an AM radio.
  15. Picking up on this admittedly old thread - I already have a DewBuster but would like to encapsulate a controller into a big box with all my power supplies and hubs and such. One thing of concern with the myriad PWM style controllers is the possibility of interference and sudden load switches caused by the inductance in the heater load. That could cause CCD imaging issues, even if it is on a separate supply. Did the Maplin PWM cause interference at all? If it did, has anyone come across a proven a design with suppression built into it? Either through output filtering or soft switching the power transistor/FET? I like the idea of the PWM controller module .... and I guess it may be an excellent starting point for a few filtering mods.... regards Chris
  16. I finished my GM1000 drift tests over the weekend and rather than hijack this thread, for an issue that may/may not affect GM2000 owners, I have posted the results of my drift analysis in the 10 Micron forum. It confirms there is a problem, probably in the firmware. This has been present in the two mounts I have owned and at least 3 others users'. http://forum.10micron.eu
  17. The camera is fine. I had to make a jig similar to that shown on the SX website and align the sensor. My frames are very flat now. The hub may not be as useful as you might think, especially if you already have other hubs in your system. Each hub adds a delay to the USB response time and in my situation, I do not use the hub for filter wheel or Lodestar.
  18. I understand that the review is of the GM2000 but the firmware release is common to both mounts. So is the attitude and response of the supplier to a normal customer, which is relevant to any review of a piece of technology. Like you I'm committed to the mount and believe the software quirks will be ironed out. It is easy to forget about the good bits, like minuscule PE and effortless polar alignment. In comparing the two mount types, I beg to differ on the assertion that it is only the GM1000 that has guiding issues: If you have never auto guided the GM2000....how do you know if it works? The same applies to the dither response issues. I have had face to face discussions with other GM2000 users and they have auto guiding issues that match the GM1000 user's experience. As you say - it is a sophisticated mount and it is difficult to nail issues down. Right now about 6 users have a drift issue which comes and goes. When it comes, we have found our drift rates are the same within a few percent. It could be a coincidence but statistically that does not tally with user and setup variables. We are starting with basics: Our reasoning is if this issue is not apparent in a basic mount mode (polar aligned, nothing fancy) and only occurs when we apply dual tracking, models and refraction, then the issue is probably software.
  19. I'm slightly wondering about this GM2000 review and why it does not mention any of the recent issues with 10 Micron or the GM1000 / GM2000 mounts, of which the OP is aware and involved. Choosing a mount of this expense is a big deal. I do not feel comfortable with Per's review and think it is important that a account is required that includes the full user experience. There are always issues with every product for sure. For those of you who are not 10 Micron users, a group of about a dozen of us all over Europe have been struggling with tracking and guiding issues that affect GM1000 and GM2000 HPS mounts. The mount's ethos is certainly one that is best suited in a permanent setup, where lavish care and attention may deliver fantastic unguided performance. In my view, it still has some way to go in less than perfect conditions, that is, portable setups. Apart from the clutch knobs on the GM1000, which require Herculean strength to get a good grip, the mechanicals are generally very well executed. The external electronics in a handbag as Per says, is an accident waiting to happen. Achieving great results certainly requires extremely good stability. Even when you have that, success is not guaranteed. The firmware has some 'growing pains', especially in the guiding department. These are not rants. We're a bunch of 80:20 guys. We expect this mount, with a little care delivers low PE and 80% of the tracking accuracy. We can mop up the 20% with autoguiding, or spend more time on building models and hope to go unguided. Either way, a group of us have spent most of the winter testing successive beta versions to find a happy medium between guiding oscillations of several arc seconds and a guiding response that is so laid back it causes a Maxim dither command to take 2 minutes to move 2 arc seconds. These issues occur on regular setups, pier or tripod and with users challenging each other to ensure everything is just so. 10Micron are not alone in the 'there is nothing wrong with our product, it must be something you are doing' camp but their support has considerable room for improvement. Their lack of openness means that the customers are left guessing on best practices, what has been fixed and when remaining items will be addressed etc. You are never quite certain if your problem is being taken seriously. Check out the free PHD2 webpage. They do a better job at keeping you in the picture. This is not a rant. The other users realize that although these are very technically advanced mounts, they are not turnkey solutions and invest considerable attention on their setups and providing support to each other. The latest beta release is usable for guiding and dither but has not yet been publicly released. A number of users are experiencing and investigating intermittent tracking errors that have the look and feel of another software related issue. Since we feel that were are not believed, we are collaborating in a number of experiments to isolate the issue and present it to 10 Micron. There are some users that consistently report excellent results, Per being one. Admittedly, forums are often places of complaint but Per is outnumbered. Our collective complaints have got 10 Micron moving but I cannot tell you when 10 Micron are going to release a new firmware or if they take our remaining issues seriously, as they simply keep their customers in the dark. We're told that things are changing, so these sentiments may change in the future...
  20. I think the sensor is a derivative of one I used in my darkroom meters. It is a light to frequency converter. TSL237
  21. A short update. I just bought one of the new USB Lakeside focusers for the Zenithstar 71. The dedicated 'spacer' is just a t-extension tube of 13.5mm long, so I also tried a 15mm and a 12mm tube (10mm with two Baader delving rings) to compare the performance in 1.5mm increments. I autofocused a starlight Trius and filterwheel. CCD inspector showed very good flat field at the 13.5mm distance. I got the characteristic bump in the middle in one direction and progressive curvature in the other. Stars were nice and round all the way to the corners at the right spacing. I think the scope will do well for a few years until I can afford a Tak FSQ85. The trick is to get everything rigid and square. I swapped the plastic grubscrew on the 2" eyepiece clamp with the main scope rotator lock. I tightened all the plastic grubs on the scope to prevent any movement on the rotator and assembled the camera to the spacer and flattener and then onto the scope, with the scope resting on its lens cap. I tighten all three knobs to ensure a firm and square assembly of the scope to the field flattener/spacer/camera assembly. Voila.
  22. Hi Harry, it completely fixed the issue. My bias frames are now just random noise without any obvious pattern. I now have to redo my entire cal library. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Regards Chris
  23. When 7-timer website went down, a friend suggested Scope Nights. I have been very pleased with it and in the UK, it links to the Met Office. It's pretty accurate but doesn't report seeing or transparency. It is working in the background and gives you notifications of good weather ahead. The app has a basic feature set which can be augmented by further paid additions. I added the Astronomer's weather pack and the UK Weather pack and I still think it is good value. Between that, the weather channel and 7-timer - I have get a majority verdict! I also bought a small weatherstation for the barometric pressure reading for refraction models - it is surprisingly useful too. If the clouds continue as they do this year, I might as well take up meterology.
  24. I had some interesting feedback from the pixinsight team regarding the quality of my bias frames. The bias frames from my camera had pale vertical stripes of two pixels wide and when I discussed this on Starlight express forum, Terry sent me some new firmware for the Trius h694 that modifies the clocking waveform , which hopefully will address the issue. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Regards Chris
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