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slim mole

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  1. Finally at home and a cloudless (ish) night, so had another stab at guiding. Replaced the hand controller with an HiTec Astro EQDIR, and put in an ST4 cable. Found a suitable star and within a few minutes, I was guiding.... sort of. The star was essentially circling the cross hairs, but after 30 minutes the telescope was still guiding (previously it would have lost the star in about a minute), so progress. This was with a 9x50 finder, so decided to move the guide camera to my St80. The thinking being that with better light capturing I would decrease the update rate on PHD and maybe get more adjustments per second...... Unfortunately, by the time I got everything set up, the sky had clouded up (it took me 5 minutes to notice as I assumed something was up with PHD as I was getting very low signal to noise rations, should have just looked up !) Will try the ST80 again on the next cloudless night
  2. Thanks for all of the advice. I had a good session last night and eliminated as many causes for error as I could (good Polar alignment, nice collection of suitable stars). I rolled back all the changes I had made to my system over the past few months and checked guiding. Still getting the same problem, the guide software was unable to make any changes to the RA on my mount. The handset and EQMOD both RA and DEC, so assuming that the issue is in pulse only. So with little else I could do I sat in the garden with a few beers and watched the Perseids. It was only this morning that I realised my guide camera has an ST4 port, so I could have tried that to see if the issue is with the mount or the hand set ..... Doh !
  3. Reply #7 - Essentially when I was getting ready to pick a star to guide on there was a slight drift east-west, but after starting to guide, the same start would then drift approximately north - south. As I had only pointed my mount to the pole (rather than a full alignment) I was expecting some drift, but assumed that the guiding system would correct for that (my previous attempts had been carried out in the same way, and worked well) I never got to the point of visually using the main telescope while trying to set up the guiding, so not sure how static any object would have been. If pretty sure the RA drives are working ok, as I was able to manually (ie through the synscan hand set) point the telescope at M31 and keep it there through the slew controls. Will test your other suggestions, hopefully tonight if the weather gods (specifically the evil one that looks after clouds) smile on me ! Thanks
  4. I tried various areas of the sky and a couple of nice big stars (Vega, Deneb, Atlair) as my targets, all had the same issue. When/If we get another clear night I think I will roll back all the changes in my setup since my last successful attempt at guiding (new PC, ST80, etc) and see if I can get it working again, then add the new stuff back in one change at a time.... see where things go Pete Tong
  5. Without the sidereal tracking on in EQMOD I couldn't even click on a star to select it for guiding, more like little thin worms crawling across the screen ! Thanks for the post though, confirms that it needs to be on, rather than off...... something I have always assumed and never known.
  6. Err, well, lets say I made a cursory nod in the general direction of polar aligning. I could understand if I got a few degrees of error with my setup, but not 90 (89.9). With just Sidereal tracking on my mount I was getting a small amount of drift , but at 90 degrees to the drift I was getting when trying to set up guiding
  7. Thanks for the reply Michael. I never got any star to track at all, always seemed to drift away from the cross hairs in one direction during calibration. And in normal tracking I would also the star drifting off in the same direction. This was working ok on my old 50mm guide scope. I upgraded to the ST80 to help with picking a suitable star to guide on (which has significantly improved) but now I have loads of stars I can see but the tracking has gone to pot
  8. The first clear dark (ish) night and I have dusted down my 'scope with the intention of trying to get to grips with guiding. I have a sw200 pds, with an st80 as a guide scope all sitting atop an eq5. Found a suitable star in PHD and asked it to calibrate. After a few minutes I got a warning about my RA and Dec having a suspicious calibration, a button on the warning lead me to the attached detail. I have no idea what it means by the Orthogonality Error, but I dont like the fact that its nearly 90 degrees adrift. From the graph it looks like my RA driver is making the same changes to my direction as the Dec, but that doesn't seem to make any sense. As my own sanity check I was able to find M31 using the slew buttons ok the SynScan hand set, so I think my goto is working (at least its move the telescope when I ask it too). Any advice on what I am doing wrong would be greatly appreciated Thanks In Addvance Moley
  9. Might be a dumb question, but have you set the mounts hand controller to allow remote control from a PC ? I spent a few days tearing my hair out with a similar problem, all looked ok but my software refused to admit there was a mount to control, until I put the hand controller into remote PC mode
  10. Thanks for that. I will try setting up the handset the next time the clouds grant me vision of something other than drizzle ! I'm amazed that I managed to get it to find anything considering my lack of any proper preparation. I suppose the bottom line, as with most things is RTFM !
  11. I have a simple question regarding using the Skywatcher Synscan when in PC link mode. Do I need to go through the complete setup on the Synscan (location, time etc) and then do an alignment, or can I simply find a star in stellarium, Starry Night etc slew the telescope to the selected star, then make sure its in the centre of my eyepiece ? I tried this tonight on Vega and all was well, but when I asked it to slew to the moon it was about 10 deg out, but slewed back to Vega perfectly. I'm sure I'm missing something fundamental, and any guidance would be much appreciated Thanks Moley
  12. Thanks for the advice, I'm happy its not just me that has managed to do this, always get worried when I do something that seems stupid. I will take more care when unscrewing things in the future Looking into getting it fixed professionally, I cant see myself getting it clean and back together . . . . one or the other, not both !
  13. After a few weeks away, last night was my first session out for a while. I decided to have a go at photographing Jupiter. With the camera straight into the focuser I could see Jupiter and some moons, but obviously just dots, so I though I would try the afocal feature of my new Baader eyepieces. So suitable adaptor was screwed onto the eyepiece and the Camera bolted to the adaptor. With the 24mm eyepiece it was much better, Jupiter now a distinct circle and its moons very obvious.... great. So next step was to use the 10mm Baader, so I started to unscrew the camera from the eyepiece, only for the eyepiece to come apart with half the elements spilled onto the floor .... Doh ! I hadn't realised that the eyepiece would unscrew quite as easily and from now on will be making sure the right bit is un-screwing. My question is, is it possible to get the eyepiece repaired ? I have all the bits and only one element actually hit the ground (very tiny chip in it). The main issue is I have no idea in what order they go in (other that guessing by size), they are now covered in finger prints and possibly any coating is now messed up. Any ideas appreciated
  14. Mrs Mole gave me a SW 200p-ds, and managed to get a couple of Baader eyepieces and a coma corrector in my Christmas box from work. Set it all up last night, had good views of Venus, Jupiter and M42. Not that happy with the finderscope, so cannibalised the telrad off my old 150, much better with that on. I suppose its what you are used to rather than any inherent issue with the finder. I would have stayed out longer and tried to tick off a few interesting doubles, but everything started to get dew on the optics, so looking for some heaters next. Never had a problem like that with the 150 and 1.25" lenses, not sure if it was a weather related issue or are the larger masses of glass more prone to this.
  15. I have been making good progress with my 130P, now able to find most things pretty quickly and without too much frustration. However one thing that is driving me to distraction is the total inability to get decent focus. It seems that even the slightest movement of the focus adjustment will cause a huge difference in what I am seeing. Take Jupiter for example. I can find it (no prizes for that) and with a 25mm eyepiece I can clearly make out its shape and some of its moons, but if I want to see its bands or even attempt to see the red spot in goes my 10mm eyepiece and now focussing is very hot and miss. Sometimes I can get good focus while my had is on the control but the action of taking my fingers off it causes it to go out of focus. Also simply touching the focus wheel causes the object to move up/down in the eyepiece . . . . So my questions, 1. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong ? 2. Is there a way to fix thins ? 3. Would one of the hight/low speed focusers help (hopefully my default 130P fucuser would be considered High Speed) 4. Does somebody produce a better focuser for the 130P (I note that most of the ones I have seen are for 150mm tubes) 5. And finally, how dificult is it to remove my existing focuser and replace it with a new one) My longer term aim is to get a 200 or 250PDS, which I hope will come with a better focussing system. Thanks in advance
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