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  1. I did fiddle about with balance but usually keep it east heavy. Never checked the balance by pushing on the weight bar with my finger, though so I might as well give that a try. Thanks for the tip🙂 The mount was rebuild last month and both axis should be as tight as I can possibly get them without running into binding issues. I was thinking about readjusting the worm gear tension/engagement and belt tension while tracking a star but I'm not sure if that is advisable. There is no obvious play in the image train and I'm fairly certain that the camera is perpendicular to the scope. However I did notice that there is some play in my guide scope focuser. At least I can see some movement if I push on the guide camera itself. Is there a way I can check if any of these problems affect my guiding? The weather this weekend seems to be fairly consistent so I'll try and see if a different guide star will do the trick
  2. You got me worried there for a second. 😄 Elongation is in RA and I do leave time for the guiding to settle before taking the images.
  3. Thanks for the quick responses guys! I did apply all the recommendations and took a couple of images of Regulus to test my guiding performance. With an integration time of 2 minutes most images showed elongated stars. I did try to increase the exposure time in a pre- vious run but I did not see any major improvement that couldn't have been down to a difference in seeing. Guiding parameters were set to default prior to the guiding runs that I posted to make sure that the issues did not stem from my phd2 setup. I followed the following steps to record the PEC curve: 1. Polar Align 2. Point South near celestial equator 3. Calibrate guide camera in PHD2 4. Run guiding assistant for >5mins and apply reccomendations 5. Run auto-guiding 6. Initiate AutoPEC for 9 cycles 7. Switch to sidereal + PEC once finished and turn off auto-guiding 8. Record PPEC 9. Once finished turn off PEC The gear I used is: Telescope: Skywatcher Esprit 100 Camera: ZWO ASI 1600 MM Cool Guide Scope: Borg Guide Scope (250 mm) Guide Camera: ZWO ASI 178MM (Batman is not part of the setup) RA and Dec Rates are set to 0.5
  4. Hey guys, I had hoped to circumnavigate my ever-present guiding issues by buying an expensive mount. Corona made short work of that pipe dream and now I'm stuck with ye olde AZ-EQ 6. I decided to strip down that old hunk of junk again to make sure that everything was lubed up and ready to go once the clouds buggered off. Tonight was the night and as always I didn't take any pictures. Instead I was futzing about trying to find the source of all my woes. Polar alignment was done using polarmaster and the guiding parameters were set according to the recommandations of the guiding assistant. I used AutoPec to rerecord a PEC curve and recorded both the guided and unguided performance pre and post PEC. Here are the results: Unguided without PEC: Guided without PEC : RA: 1.12" (0.54 px) Dec: 0.60" (0.19 px) (Un)guided with PEC: RA: 1.06" (0.54 px) Dec: 0.35" (0.19 px) Guiding Assist Output pre PEC: Guiding Assist output post PEC: Can anyone help me? What am I doing wrong?
  5. I have had a number of problems with Telescope Service over the years, so I will probably never order anything from them again. However, they assured me that the mounts had never been opened before they were sent to me. Don't know if I should believe them so I cannot really tell you who is at fault here. The issue with ordering another one is that Teleskop Service are the only dealers that sell these mounts in Germany so I would have to order one directly from Avalon Instruments. With the issues I experienced I'm not sure if I want to take that chance. I would have to pay for return shipment to Italy in case anything is wrong with the thing. I have had a number of problems with SGP, but since so many people have used it successfully in conjunction with their Avalon mounts, this may have been a simple case of Pebkac. Connecting the mount to my PC was really hit or miss. I tried different USB cables, different PCS and reinstalling the USB drivers, but could never get a stable connection. When the mount did connect to my PC the RA and DEC positions were not properly synced between the StarGo App and SGP. I tried to slew to a specific target but the mount would only move a couple of decrees before aborting the operation with neither StarGo or SGP being 'on target'. However slewing back to the home position worked as expected. At this point I was so fed up with the whole experience that I sent the mount back to the seller and requested my money back. I totally forgot about Vixen. I will look into it but first I need to check with my boss and see if there is anything I can do to keep my job.
  6. The problem for me is that I no longer have the patience to deal with any teething issues. I understand that new products will always have kinks that need to be ironed out. But two dead motherboards within the first two years seems like a bit more than a kink to me - especially considering the price of the mount. I've spent the last 4 years trying to get the tracking on my Skywatcher AZ-EQ 6 up to an acceptable level - without success. I just need a mount that works right out of the box and that I don't have to keep tinkering with. There is also the somewhat more personal problem that I have incredible bad luck with everything I buy. I must have run over an old witch while driving home from work one night. I have considered both the MyT and the Mach 2, but they are outrageously expensive. It's a purchase I can't really justify since I'll probably be laid off at the end of the year. At the end of the day, I may have to sell my astronomy equipment and just give up.
  7. Apparently, longer telescopes can potentially hit the RA drive housing, preventing you from imaging parts of the sky. The guy had to install longer risers under the saddle himself to alleviate this problem. The saddle clamps also don't have enough travel to accommodate dovetail bars that may not perfectly follow the losmandy design specification. Apart from all of that, there were a lot of problems with the tracking behaviour in the RA axis that were dismissed by GTD as user/software errors. However, it turned out that the RA motorization was faulty and the whole mount had to be sent back to Italy for quite a lot of money. I know a lot of people swear by the mesu mounts and I have seen a lot of people produce stunning images with it. I just can't get past those brushed motors. I know that they don't go through a lot of revolutions during their expected lifetime but still...
  8. I did talk to someone at CN who just took delivery of an E.Fric mount and had his share of troubles with the thing and I heard plenty of worrying stories about losmandy mounts. So, after quite a lot of soul searching, I finally decided to go with a linear fast reverse mount from Avalon Instruments. I placed my order for a matt black version with telescope service last November and finally received my first premium mount in the first week of December. However, things didn't quite turn out the way I hoped or planned. I was rather smitten with the mount the first time I opened the box. I did notice quite a few very visible imperfections in the black finish that did not meet my expectations for such an expensive piece of kit. Since this is a telescope mount and not a showroom piece I didn't pay those small details to much attention and assembled my newest acquisition in my living room. Predictably the weather didn't allow for any actual testing but I wanted to see how well the mount would work with my imaging setup. Yet, while trying to balance my esprit 100 on the mount, I ran into my first big problem. The telescope could be rotated around the declination axis as long as the counterweight shaft pointed to the east. Point the cws to the west, however, and the declination axis would completely freeze up. Avalon Instruments did suggest that I disassemble the clutch for the declination axis and file it down until this problem would go away. Since this is a new mount and the problem itself, at least from my point of view, didn't seem to be related to tight tolerances in the clutch assembly, I decided to return the mount and try my luck with the standard edition. But the standard edition that I got was completely dusty, the polar scope was dirty, the clutch in the dec axis was already somewhat loose and the mount would not work with sgp at all. I am really deflated after this experience. The other two options that I have at my disposal are a mesu or astro physics mount. The mesu mount uses brushed motors which I am not really fond of and an astro physics mount costs more than I make in a year. I know that there's always the option of buying a used mount but there aren't any used mounts that I could find close to where I live.
  9. They do look nice but The internet really is a wonderful place for a pessimist like me. 😁 The reason why I'm a bit skeptical towards the Losmandy mounts is that their worm gears are not belt driven and the spring loading mechanism is only fitted to the dec axis - at least for the G11-T. They may work well if maintained and adjusted properly. However, I don't have the time to constantly fiddle around with my mount. I just want a setup that's portable and easy to maintain. How pronounced is that issue? Does a breeze already affect the tracking performance or is only a strong wind noticeable? Would a tent observatory alleviate this problem? I have not heard of either of those mounts - The Panther and E.fric mount that is. Might have to do a little digging and see whats what. I have seen a video of someone tearing down an EQ8 on youtube. That and the shoddy build quality of my AZ-EQ 6 does not give me any confidence in those high end skywatcher mounts. I don't know how useful the starbook would be fore me since I usually use a dedicated PC to control my mount/telescope. What telescope are you using with your vixen mount? I haven't heard of it until today but it does look very intriguing. Kind of like a portable Mesu 200. Do you know who that person is?
  10. I'm toying with the idea of buying a new mount in the 4k€ to 5k€. I am looking for a mount that is still portable enough for me to schlepp it to a dark site. Maintenance should be as easy as possible, setup straight forward and guiding as easy as it possibly can be. I have had major issues with a Chinese made mount so I'm trying to stick to western manufactures for now. After some research I have narrowed the list down to the following three mounts: Vixen AXJ Losmandy G-11t Avalon LFR Of the three choices I am most impressed by the G11 - I like the modular design and the imaging capacity is good enough to even support an EdgeHD 11. However, I've come across a number of bad reviews for the G11 'family'. Apparently they have problems with excessive backlash and costumer support seems to be spotty at best. There are people on CN that praise Losmandy as second only to AP, 10Micron and the like. However the bad experiences I've found are numerous enough to give me pause. What do you guys think? Is the G-11t the best option out of the bunch? Would you chose a different mount? Is captain Picard the best Star Trek captain? Help me my friends!
  11. I wasn't sure if I could set up a OAG in a timely manner, so I got my hands on a ZWO ASI 178 MM instead - just to check if a better match between my guiding/imaging setup would do the trick. Pixel scale was 1.42" and 1.98" for the imaging and guiding rig respectively. I guess this is as close as I can possibly get the two without buying a different guide scope. Unfortunately the results aren't all that encouraging. I used the standard parameters as well as the suggestions from the guiding assistant. I also gave the PPEC algorithm a go but I still have trailing stars in my images. I tried aggressive east bias balancing, fiddled about with all sorts of parameters available to me, but the results remain unsatisfying. I'm starting to wonder if I'm to stupid for this hobby. I*m seriously considering selling my gear and turning my back on astronomy. I only have a handful of nights each year that are good enough for imaging and all I'm doing is dicking around trying to fix mechanical and electrical issues that keep popping up. P.S.: Seeing and transparency were good tonight.
  12. I only saved an image of the graph once the corrections were turned off. Having unearthed the production mishap in the R.A. axis I was starting to get worried that the gears themselves were bend. I figured that the best way to visualize any worm gear problems would be to record an unguided graph. I have to be honest though, half the time I don't know what I'm doing^^. I had lowered the MinMo values without much difference to the guiding performance. I did not, however, consider the different pixel scales between the imaging and guiding scope. I guess that's what you get for buying a guiding camera that could possibly double as a planetary camera in the future. The stars in my pictures are a bit elongated due to the R.A. guiding error (see horse head picture), so I have to reduce this error somehow. Would switching to another guide camera (e.g. ZWO ASI 178 MM) be sufficient to achieve round stars or is it impossible to tell in advance? Thank you very much for your help so far! Cheers, Patrick
  13. Hi guys, I've been having a lot of issues with the R.A. guiding of my Skywatcher AZ-EQ 6 mount and I can't seem to isolate the source of the problem. This PHD2 (unguided) graph and guiding assistent was last week while I was experimenting with my mount. I have also uploaded the PHD 2 log file in case anyone is interested. And here is the equipment I am using: Equipment: Skywatcher Esprit 100 ZWO ASI 1600 MM C (imaging) ZWO EFW Mini Starizona Microtouch Focuser Borg 50mm f/5 guide scope (incl borg helical focuser) ZWO ASI 174 MM (guiding) Skywatcher AZ-EQ 6 Software: Sequence Generator Pro PHD 2 I have already tried several measures to improve the guiding performance. The R.A. and Dec axis were striped down and regreased to reduce friction. While doing so I found that a seized grub screw, securing the R.A. axis in the aluminium block, had been haphazardly sanded down - I'm guessing that the worm gear had been hammered into its socked to clear the grub screw. Said screw was properly screwed down. I have also tried adjusting the worm gear play, east heavy balancing, changing PHD2 settings - both for the hysteresis and ppec algorithm, using the PHD2 guiding assistent and its reccomendations etc. Since nothing has helped so far, I'm starting to wonder if the R.A. worm gear itself is damaged and needs replacing. Another issue I've found is that the helical focuser on my Borg Guide has a lot of play. However, I'm not sure if this is the root cause of the problem since the guiding issue is only in the R.A. axis. I was wondering if anybody here can give me any pointers and tell me why my R.A. guiding is this bad. Thank you. Patrick PHD2_GuideLog_2020-01-01_222712.txt
  14. Is there any news on the Astrotrac 360? A lot of vendors here in Germany switched the delivery time from '1 - 2 weeks' to 'unknown'. Seems to me that they missed their delivery date.
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