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Everything posted by samtheeagle

  1. I have posted a thread on the AstroArt forums to see if we can get some insight from the developers http://www.astroartforum.net/forum/showthread.php?61-Problems-with-flats-over-correcting-vignetting-with-AstroArt5 I hope that I conveyed your experiences correctly Olly.
  2. The plot thickens eh? Well it's interesting to see that it's not just me being daft... Hopefully we'll be able to work up some kind of a solution to this between us.
  3. Right then, so I tried to get some more flats last night, one of the VERY handy features of having an obsy where you leave your kit setup I set the dial to AV mode this time and it shifted the histogram peak from the centre to about 2/3 of the way along. As a quick test I divided one of my subs by this new flat and it looked like it had worked well. But when I came to process the whole lot a bit later on I once again found myself with the vignetting inverted as before So I can only assume that it's something to do with how I'm using the Pre-Processing tool in AA5. I know that the flats work ok because they do the business when thrown at DSS. I'm trying to follow the steps Olly described in the post linked above, but I wonder if anyone can flesh out those steps for me? For example when creating the master bias which combine method should I use?
  4. Cheers Jesper, I'll try some fixed exposure lengths then. I realized today that I'd made a bit of a faux pas in that I had the camera dial set to A-Dep instead of AV, so perhaps that's upset things? But looking at the histogram of the flats the peak is bang in the centre, which is where I think it should be... I'll take a series of flats and see what sort of exposure does the trick, I'm using an EL panel, so hopefully whatever value I hit upon should be good for a while until the panel starts to fade. I guess the point at which the histogram peaks is the real value I need to record...
  5. After a fair bit of faffing about I've got the floor tiles in. And all very nice they look too. I've had to mod the wee stool I perch on out there, as the legs looked like they were going to pop holes in the foam tiles, but other than that I'm sorted. I've also built myself a new shutter bulb control device, as I had two usb items based on the same usb->serial chip, and I wondered if that might be causing an issue? I had another session out there last night, and everything worked very well, so here's hoping... And I've given up on trying to get AA5 to guide for me. I experimented quite a lot, and determined that I needed to invert an axis, and the guiding was much improved, but not very good. I'd still lose maybe 1 in 4 subs due to guide failures So back to PHD I went, and it worked like a charm, with a single sub messed up the rest of the night. So as nice as it would be to get AA5 guiding for me (it cost real money after all), I haven't got enough clear nights to waste on it when I have another option that I know does the business. I think my obsy build thread is complete Everything now is just nice to have fluff. It's been a lot of hard work, but so totally worth it. Being able to get up and running in next to no time, and packed up even quicker is a god send. And couple that with being able to monitor the imaging session from inside the warm house, well, it's just AWESOME!
  6. Nearly there now Looking very nice sir!
  7. Me again, with yet another AA5 question... I've had this software since my birthday in April, and I'm still not having much luck with it. It looks awesome, with so many features that I need, but I am really struggling to get good ANY images from it. I'm determined to figure it out, it's far too expensive to put to the side and go back to DeppSkyStacker. Mind you, I've given up on getting good guiding from AA5, I've reverted to PHD because it actually works. Anyway, I digress... So I got about an hours worth of data on NGC6960 last night, and I've been attempting to process it with AA5. I've been following the advice of Olly given in one of my earlier posts about my woes with this software: http://stargazerslou...p/#entry1441245 and I'm getting a number of issues, but the main one for this post is the application of flats. They just don't seem to work for me, look it these pics... The first is a hyper-stretched image showing the vignetting with no flat applied. The second shows the same image, hyper-stretched again, with a flat. All it seems to have done is invert the vignetting, not remove it. What the hell? I'm sure it must be me, AA5 is very well regarded in the community, but me and it just can't get on right now. Can somebody offer us some relationship counselling?
  8. Fantastic details in the close ups Roger, you've got this white light stuff down to a fine art!
  9. Yeah, I've had it give me 62 degree angle on one calibration and then -92 on another immediately afterwards. I'm using a finder guider setup, so I don't know if that's the issue? Perhaps AA5 assumes a few things about the guide scope? I know in PHD with finder guiders we have to up the calibration step size to get it moving enough, but I'm not aware of AA5 having a similar option...
  10. Unexpected clear skies last night gave me the chance to do some more testing... Separating the devices over a couple of USB hubs seems to have improved things no end. This is only one test of course, but it's a good sign. The only thing I really had issues with was getting AstroArt5 to guide for me. Often it refused to calibrate for me, stating that the scope didn't move enough, and when it did it would give me varying results, so I'm not sure I trust it at all. I need to do some calculations so that I can manually tune the guiding parameters I think, but to be honest I might just use PHD. I gave that a quick go last night and it worked first time, and gave me some of the flattest graphs I've ever had. Oh yeah, and the floor tiles have finally arrived! That's a wee job for this evening me thinks
  11. Cheers Chris Yeah, it's fully operational now! Well, when it decides to work The only big thing left to do is pop the floor tiles in when (if) they ever arrive. Lots of little things that I can potter about with in the future of course, like some corner shelves for keeping bits and bobs on, and probably some insulation to try and cut down condensation when it turns colder. It's pretty compact in there, but it's perfectly adequate for my needs, and having mains power and kit always setup is going to be epic. I've switched the custom park position around from the picture shown above so that the telescope is away from the door. It's much easier to get inside with the counterweight pointing at the doorway Oh and yes, the pier is filled with sand. I did that before adding the fins, and it made a slight difference. It's the fins that have sorted the problem out. I'm defo going to lose some subs when the heavy trains come rumbling through, but I knew that was going to happen when I started out on this mad caper...
  12. Hi swizzly, I'm afraid I can't give you much of an update on this now. My brother-in-law got all spend happy and purchased an EQ6, and so isn't using the motor drive I made. But I think the work we did shows that the idea is sound, he certainly got the eq3-2 tracking with it. The key things are getting a motor that is powerful enough (torque) to drive the worm gear, securely fastening the motor to the mount and getting the motor shaft coupled to the mount spindle, and finally generating accurate timing steps. Making a strong enough bracket is the bit we struggled with, I just used a thin bit of aluminium which wasn't up to the task. If you can get a bit of steel shaped and drilled to suit you'll be laughing. It's crucial that you get the power of the motor transferred to the worm gear as efficiently as possible.
  13. Yeah, that's my fall back plan, and what I've had to do in the past... The laptop only has 4 usb ports though. I've got a powered hub which is drawing juice from a 2A cigar lighter USB widget, so I'm pretty confident that it's not a power issue. It just seems that a lot of these high bandwidth devices really don't get on with hubs, which is a real pain. What I've tried today is to pop another usb hub out there, just a small unpowered one for the mouse, gamepad and the GPS dongle, which are less critical to the imaging process. The less going into the hub with the cameras and EQDIR the better me thinks.
  14. Saturday night was forecast to be clear, so I spent a bit of time during the day trying to get everything hooked up to the newly improved pier. My hope was to get the majority of the gubbins fixed to the pier so that the rats nest of cables will originate from there, with just the one USB cable going back to the laptop. So far so good. I've got the cigar power sockets on there, a DC power supply for the DSLR, the shutter release box, and a 7 port USB hub. The night was kinda clear in the end, but nothing to write home about, and the moon was blazing away, so I just had a bit of a test session. All in all it messed me about with lots of USB issues. I don't know whether it's the hub or the cables or the laptop or what, but my machine was very unhappy with a number of hard lock ups during the evening. Traditionally the DSI which I use for guiding is temperamental, but that worked flawlessly, shame about all the other bits. The EOS utils remote shooting app didn't work properly, failing to download the images to my PC. And the auto calibration feature of AstroArt5 guiding repeatedly claimed that my mount didn't move enough. That last one could just be a config issue, but I'm using the same gear as always, and it's managed before, so who knows? Still, it's all starting to look like a working obsy now, just a few wrinkles to iron out Oh and some nice flooring tiles, hopefully they'll arrive soon...
  15. Well they don't stick out very far, less than the top plate. But yes, it could well hurt... Foam corners can always be added It's solid now, that's what I care about...
  16. And here it is, in all of it's glory! I don't think I'm ever going to get paint on the back side of those fins, they shall have to remain rust coloured... The floorboard is a bit wonky too, I'll have to tidy the edges up so that they meet. I'm a bit obsessive like that
  17. I think we've sorted it! The old man came to the conclusion that the crux of the problem was the thin base plate used. He figured that even a fraction of a millimetre of flex at the bottom can become several millimetres 1.2 meters away at the top of the pier. This feeds the resonating problem... So his cunning plan was to add some braces, 50mm 90 degree angle sections, to the 4 corners of the main post. These are attached such that one of the straight edges of the braces extends out to the bolt hole in the base plate. The other points towards the middle of the longest side of the pier post thus: This fixes the post much more firmly to the bolt anchor points, giving less opportunity for flexing. After some jigsaw action to make the floorboards fit around the rather interesting new bits of metalwork, the piers was bolted down again. And now it's pretty damn solid! A good thump on the side still causes a very small wobble, but that dies down after a second. None of that nasty ringing away for ages Hopefully that's good enough now. I'll post a pic of the new additions should we get a break in the rain tomorrow...
  18. So no real progress yet The old man has been busy, I'm prolly out of luck until next weekend at the earliest. In the mean time I've been working on security... I've fitted a shed alarm, and put a hasp and staple on the doors so that it can be locked up all safe and sound. Can't wait to use it properly, but I can't until the jelly pier is sorted.
  19. Rightho, keep it simple. Probably for the best So roughly in the middle of the side walls, no need to be exact, straight up, and each one welded on at different points along the brace length. Check.
  20. That's grand ta. I was curious when looking at the pics on your blog about the welds, they really do look symmetrical. Cameras can do funny things, one of my pics above makes it look like the floorboard is tight against the pier post, but it really isn't anywhere near it. Here's a super high quality design of what I'm currently thinking of doing brace-wise, hopefully it's clear enough. The braces will be on all 4 sides, making a kinda corkscrew pattern. So long as the braces are a correct length i.e not 1/4 or 1/3 of the pier height, and each one is welded on at different points, will this do the business? Or am I over complicating it? Will braces straight up the middle of the 4 sides of the box section (subject to the same requirements above) do the job just as well?
  21. Don't apologise! Your advice is excellent, I just wanted to make sure I do the right thing... Welding isn't the easiest thing to undo if you get it wrong I'll revisit your blog pictures to see if I can get a peek at your pier.
  22. Lol, yes, confusion all round I think. I'm thinking that they'll be fixed to the base plate, when I say the middle I mean the center of the box section walls... But possibly fixed to the base plate and welded on at an angle is the best bet? If I have the angles going in different directions on each side to properly mix up the cross section...
  23. Ahh yes, my dad said something about welding a bit on in a diagonal fashion, is that what you mean? So perhaps two diagonal braces tacked on either side of the main post?
  24. Hang on, I've read that again and I think I got the wrong end of the stick. Do you mean that the braces shouldn't be 25% or 50% of the height of the post? So braces say 30% of the post height, fixed in the centre of each side would do the business for me?
  25. Roger, what can I say? Excellent advice as ever! I'd have just got fins welded on in the middle of the 4 sides, and been no better off! I'll speak to the old man to see if he has any suitable steel knocking about...
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