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Everything posted by samtheeagle

  1. Cheers David, yeah I was very please with that too. Previous Mosaics of 6 panes really badly showed up the PST sweet-spot, but this 2 image effort seems to suffer much less. I think there's a bit of a darkened triangle on the left of the disk, but that's the worst artifact. I stacked with Autostakkert, and stitched with Microsoft ICE, which seems to have done a really clean job.
  2. Yesterday I had my first crack at the Sun with my PST and the new Touptek Mono camera I recently acquired. Conditions weren't great, a bit of thin whispy cloud, and it was a bit windy, but overall I'm very happy with this result. Best of all I only needed two captures to get a whole disk image, much easier than the 6 I needed when using a mono converted SPC900
  3. Thanks all for the advice! @Starlight 1 - The new guide scope of mounted in a piggy back fashion, all firmly bolted down. Not even guide scope rings... And yes, I reset PHD2 to default settings and then set it up for the new scope & camera combo, so that all looks good. @Owmuchonomy - Good to know that it's fairly common and nothing too untoward, hopefully. @PhotoGav - Thanks for the binding tip, I had always wondered and worried if I'd over tightened things, but I've never heard any squealing, so if anything things may be too loose. Good to know that I can try the RA worm gear adjustment without too much stripping down... I did follow the whole strip down process when I got this mount secondhand, just to check it out and clean out the default nasty glue pretending to be grease. But it's been a long time since I have looked at the guide. I shall attempt to give the mount some TLC over the long weekend, and test it out when we're next graced with some clear skies. One thing that I did find when checking out the balance of things is that my DEC axis is very heavily out of whack... And I have no possibility to resolve it atm, I need to get an extra long dovetail so that I can shift the whole setup forward a bit. Right now the securing bolts are up against the saddle, and the scope is as far forwards in the rings as it can go... So a quick order to FLO incoming Thanks again all, will update as and when I have any further news.
  4. I'm starting to worry about my mount I've got a quite significant wiggle in the RA axis when the mount is powered off in it's parked position (clutches locked of course). Before I embark on a full strip down following Atrobaby's guide I thought it would be worth asking if anyone had suggestions for a less drastic investigation / fix? I'm not sure how recently this issue has come up, I've only just become aware of it after an equipment upgrade. I've just replaced my guiding setup of a 50mm finder coupled with an SPC900 webcam, to a Celestron 70mm TravelScope with a Touptek Mono guider. When I made this change my guiding went to hell, with a crazy amount of oscillation on the RA axis, which is what led to to start looking for flexure etc. and thus I found the RA axis slop... Now I understand that my new guiding setup has a much tighter FOV, and therefore will make the guiding errors look more pronounced than I am used to with the finder guider setup, but still I'm getting graphs with massive errors and corrections, sometime 2-3 pixels worth of motion. The DEC axis looks ok, but RA is all over the place, and I wonder if it's down to this wiggle? I've tried adjusting the balance so that the mount is at least always working on one direction, but that didn't appear to help much last night. So can anyone offer me some advice? Thanks in advance
  5. Would anybody be interested in an ASCOM driver for a Serial LX Webcam? I can hardly believe it, but it's 4 years since I was messing about with a hardware based LX mod, and in that thread a couple of fairly unsubtle hints were dropped about whether I was going to write such a driver. So 4 years, and 2 children later I'm slowly getting back into my astrophotography again, and suffering a bit of frustration with dropped frames from my LX SPC900 camera in PHD2. Now the issue isn't as bad as it used to be, PHD2 handles the lost frames much more gracefully, but I'd still really like it to be more reliable. So a couple of week or so ago I finally bit the bullet and got on with writing an ASCOM driver. It's not quite suitable for public consumption yet, but it is working and sending images to PHD2 I've Googled, and I don't think one of these exists yet... Fingers crossed I've not just duplicated someone else's work here
  6. That's fantastic news! Great that you managed to sort it out, a great find. I'm not sure I'd have thought about checking the COM port number... We could have been investigating forever. Best of luck using it, I look forward to seeing some guided images in the future
  7. Ok, so first I think we need to verify 100% that the hardware is working as expected. You say that you manually connected the ground wire to the 4 individual wires, so if I'm understanding you right that confirms that the socket and the cable are all ok, but it doesn't test anything about the CP2103 / optocoupler. Silicon labs provide a few handy utilities to help test this: http://www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/Software/CP210x_5x_AppNote_Archive.zip Within that zip there will be another zip AN223SW.zip which will contain a executable CP210xPortReadWrite.exe. Extracts the zip(s) and run the exe. Select the com port that your CP2103 is connected as, and connect the mount etc. Then you can set the state of the GPIO pins which, if everything is working, will trigger the mount motors. Testing this way removes the ASCOM driver from the equation so we can focus on just the hardware. If this test proves the hardware is all ok we can move on to the driver code
  8. Ok, so it's been a while... I've not worked on my DIY guiding solutions for quite some time now that I'm using eqmod, but I can try and help with issues. SimpleGpUSB is my first bit of custom hardware, and so it's the oldest code, I subsequently developed a similar solution ArduinoAstroControl. But neither of these have been actively developed in several years. All the source code and documentation has been made available for those who are interested in continuing their development. Having said that I appreciate that a lot of people aren't in a position to dive into software development, so I'll try to help where I can... The biggest issue I have is that I no longer have the hardware to test against, I have long since reclaimed the components for use in other projects, so I'll be doing things blind. But we can try! If you're having issues can you please supply me with as much information as possible about the issues you're having and we'll see what we can get sorted out
  9. Awesome! That has brought a smile to my face
  10. Yes I've tried Envisage, the horrible nasty thing that it is, but no joy with that either. I fear you might be right, but for now I'm going to have to press my mono SPC900 into service... It performed admirably the other night guiding on stars around M81/M82. I'm not entirely sure which star I was on, but that region seems to have mag 5 - 7 stars, so I think that's about the limit, as they were only just picked up by the camera. I have a serious lack of available funds right now I'm afraid Having children is a seriously expensive undertaking!
  11. I've been happily using a an original DSI Colour as my guide camera for a while now, but the other night during an imaging run I found PHD had locked up. It was late and I didn't think much of it and called it a night. But when I went out the next night I couldn't get the DSI to be detected by any software at all. It's not like it's totally dead. If I plug it in it is detected and shows up in the device manager, but any attempt to connect to the camera fails I've tried different cable, different USB ports, 3 different machines and I'm getting the same result... Has anyone experienced anything similar? Presumably with this being such an old camera the chance of a repair is going to be nil... I've opened up the case and everything looks clean, with no obviously blown components or anything like that. I think I'd be happier if it was a total brick, but it almost kinda looks like it's working, except that I cannot connect to it to get images. Here's hoping for some sage words of advice.
  12. Brilliant job Just what I was hoping to get, but alas I too was clouded out. Pleased to see someone managed to bag it for the rest of us
  13. For the first time since my son was born I was both not dead on my feet tired, and we had clear (ish) sky! So out to the obsy I trotted I lost a fair bit of data to clouds passing through, but I managed to grab enough to get an image I'm happy with. This is 90 minutes worth of 10 minutes subs taken with my ED80 and 350D. Stacking and simple processing was done with AA5. The image seems to have a bit of an issue on the far right, the stacking / alignment seems to have created some ghost stars in that area...
  14. That's a grand looking bit of work Very impressive! I had enough trouble "adjusting" a commercial shed with loads of advice from bizibilder, I can't imagine trying to build something from scratch.
  15. Glad you've got everything on song now I had problems with my Canon 350D until I shelled out for a good quality power supply for it. I whole heartedly agree with the "you NEED a good power supply" statement, whatever bit of kit it is you're using.
  16. I too have a metal shed / wooden frame roll off roof obsy, and overall it feels quite dry in there, but I have noticed that some rust is starting the show through the paint applied to the pier. Not good considering that it's only been outside for about a month now. That said it started out as a totally rusted up lump of steel that got a quick wire brushing and then a couple of coats of paint, so I'm not worrying about it too much yet. I leave everything bar the laptop set up in the obsy, so I am mildly concerned about the damp getting in to things. I had planned on putting a desiccant dehumidifier out there, but having now purchased one, and run it in the house for a week to dry the place out a bit, I've found it to be be VERY expensive to run (if my power meter is to be believed). Over the last week it's clocked up over 40 Kwh, and given the current electricity prices that's over a fiver for a week! I really hope that my meter is duff, or that my calculations are incorrect, because if not how much are you paying a year to dehumidify your obsy @Steve? FYI I've got the Meaco DD8L Junior dehumidifier.
  17. You sir are a magician! That's one fabulous image
  18. Heh heh Grats! I don't think I'd have the nerve to mod a camera myself...
  19. Yeah, too much cloud That said, with my gear setup in the obsy I used a cloudy night to do a run of Darks to build up a bit of a library There are just so many advantages to having a perm setup! I now have 10 each of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 minute darks at ~10C. I'll do the same again on other cloudy nights to build up the library for different temps.
  20. Woo hoo! I finally got an image to process correctly The vignetting seems to be correctly removed, and the dust bunnies are gone! I didn't supply any kind of dark frame for the flats, and I "borrowed" some old darks from a previous session. I suppose I should reprocess without those darks, to verify that it is supplying the master bias as the flat dark that is causing the issue for me. Oh yeah, this is all done in a single pass with the pre-processing tool. Edit - Scratch that! I was trying out a number of reprocesses, including different things at a time, and I did what I thought gave me a good image before again just to be sure, and it failed miserably. So a few experiments later and I realize that I did indeed use the master bias as the flat dark. BUT that only works if I supply light darks too. I've tried all kinds of combinations and this is the only one that seems to work correctly, with this set of data at least.
  21. @harry - Thanks for the clarification @jessun - Sorry it's getting a bit confusing, but that's basically the crux of the problem. We're finding that AA5 is behaving quite strangely, with different results being given when following a "standard" process. It seems that it's a bit sensitive to certain data, sometimes flats will work as expected, and others, for whatever reason, will cause an over-correction.
  22. Riiiiiight then. Hmmm. So I think the key thing I've discovered so far is that AA5 doesn't like me skipping darks. Which to be fair I should be capturing to do the job properly, but always seem like a chore. I'll have a play with some old darks of the same exposure and see what happens, as well as the bias offset work around...
  23. Having played with the image I got from the one pass pre-processing last night I have found that I've lost a load of colour information The flats seem to have removed the vignetting, and the dust bunnies, which is nice, but the colour seems to be gone too... One step forward, another back :S Here are 3 pictures of my processing efforts thus far, the first with all the data thrown into DSS and just letting it do it's thing, the second from AA5 that's just a stack of lights, and the third one is the other AA5 one pass process which includes the flats. It's interesting to see how DSS gives me a red/brown output, but AA5 is much more blue... But the third image is just a wash out next to the others.
  24. I've just been playing with the same data, and decided to throw caution to the wind and used the pre-processing tool to do everything in one pass. I tell you what, it looks like it's applied the flats correctly doing it that way! Here's what I did... I put the flat frames and the lights frames into their respective boxes I put the master bias frame as the flat dark frame and the dark frame I did a sigma combine, translate + rotate alignment, normalize background, and reject bad images with star elongation 1.2 I applied hot pixels filters single and group after dark/flat correction Here's the hyper-stretched result, which has a boat load of sensor noise in the lower right corner, but otherwise seem to be much better corrected.
  25. Here's Fabio's reply to my post on the AA5 support forums: He is correct that in my case I'm not using darks, but I believe Olly's process here is bias correcting the flats, which he implies should also do the trick... So I'm not sure that I'm any the wiser.
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