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Everything posted by syd_malicious

  1. Rich, Getting towards the end of how much I can help as I have no experience of the hardware or software you are using. It "feels" mount/guider related but there are others who will be able to give you more meaningful advice. The only extra thing is whether PHD allows you to quantify the error as what is on screen may be small or may be big. Paul
  2. You do have a problem (potentially) it may still be something really easy (potentially). It may be difficult to diagnose over the web but you will need to list mount guider CCD main CCD how the mount is being guided (ie software or via ST4 type cable) I presume the graph is from PHD - I use Maxim so cannot offer too much advice really and you may be best to wait for a PHD expert. There are no figures on the graph to quantify the degree of movement so I am guessing a bit. I think that as the error seems to be in just RA (if I read the graph properly) then it is less likely to be sloppiness in the guider/guidesope connection or in the main CCD to scope. Is the aggressiveness set to 100% ?? - if so that is a bit high and you are generally best at a max of about 80% the curve almost looks like one you would expect for measuring PE so are you sure the guider was actually making corrections? if the guider was making corrections then it would imply there is someting going on with the mount do you have a huge PE? is PE enabled? is there backlash? (wouldn't really expect this curve if it was this) bit stuck as to what to suggest further than this but I think you are narrowing down the culprit. Paul
  3. In that case I would make sure everything is screwed down tight. check during daylight all screws and adjustments on the mount/scope check the cameras are stable with no wobble check all cables do not snag do another session with a few subs the longer the better so you have more chance of catching a problem. you are not going for a shot for processing so don't need to worry about minimizing sky glow. enable graphing. I don't use PHD but it would be best if there is a live graph so you can see a problem as soon as it occurs if there is only minimal guider deviation and you have a problem with the actual image the problem is likely to be optics (mirror flop) main CCD attachment issue guide scope/guide camera loose. the least likely if there has been minimal guider correction. [*]just because you are in an observatory wind can still be an issue. Bit difficult to fully diagnose over tinterweb tho. Have a look at the Software Bisque advice on eliminating problems as this may help but is quite involved. Paul
  4. doubt it's collimation or focus. As the stars are asymmetrical (ie like a teardrop) I would have thought the most likely is someting nudging the mount. This could be wind, a knock from yourself, a cable snagging. It perhaps could be something loose such as the guide scope or camera mounting. Make sure everything is firmly attached, that there are no loose cables. Next it depends on your sub length but, depending on your software, I would monitor the guide star read out on your PC to identify if there is a sudden deterioration of guiding at a certain point to help identify the cause. Paul
  5. The one thing not mentioned about binning is the image scale. ie arc seconds per pixel. The prevailing theory about this is quite simple really, however not all imagers agree . I will probably give a bad description and google will find a better one but here goes........... Each pixel of a CCD will cover a certain area of sky, this is measured in arc seconds per pixel. The determinants of this are the focal length at which you are imaging and the pixel size. A good way to calculate this is to use CCD Calc. The optimal resolution for imaging is determined by the quality of the sky at a particular time/elevation/location etc. In Arizona or up a mountain in Hawaii you may be able to image at the sub arc second level. Realistically in the UK the best sky quality we hope for is 2 - 4 arc sec quality (I think). You need to actually image (approximately) at half the seeing quality. So if the sky is 2 arc pixel per sec you need to actually set the camera to measure 1 arc sec per pixel. For this scenario imaging at 0.5 is oversampling and at over 2 is undersampling. Oversampling makes guiding unnecessarily difficult and can lead to distorted stars because of guiding/scintillation issues. Undersampling can lead to boxy or pixelated stars. Physiologically your eyes perceive detail mainly (or better) in mono. So you need the best resolution in mono (ie luminance) and less so in colour. Therefore the best option is:- luminance - half the seeing quality. So for the UK this would be 1 - 2 arc sec per pixel. colour - perhaps 50 - 100% greater which is 2 - 3 arc sec per pixel. Once you know the value of arc sec per pixel you can actually determine the best binning value. For my 14" Meade SC (3556 focal length, guiding is err interesting at times ) and Artemis 11002 (9 micron pixels) I bin at 2 for luminance and 3 for colour though I could probably go up to 4x bining for colour. Hope that seems logical and I am sure there are better descriptions around Paul
  6. You're a brave man - not many new wives would go for that idea I suppose
  7. Meetings have never been my thing - used to go to one in Stoke-on-Trent in the 80s but not since. Unfortunately I have little enough spare time anyway with my job that I just crash out at home whilst the clouds roll in; unless it's a "school night" in which case it is occasionally clear Paul
  8. Yikes, where in Durham is that . I was reading this with a bit of smugness after observing the Milky Way and M31 with my naked eye last night from my back garden on the side of Weardale (it was stunning just before the clouds rolled in). I feel so lucky living in a conservation area - the rules are a bit petty but hopefully () this would make house building pretty difficult. Paul
  9. It shouldn't be a driver issue with Windows 7. I use a Lodestar and SXV M25 under Windows 7. These are initially recognized as Echo2 but then with the proper inf file read as the correct hardware. I am a bit stuck as to what to suggest other than the obvious of trying different ports, reinstalling drivers etc etc. Have you tried the SX Yahoo groups or Starlight Xpress directly?? Paul
  10. You are correct - Cyanogen have a help page specifically for this. Look under equipment setup -> camera and autoguider setup -> starlight xpress hex file utility I have never used this but it is what you were asking. Paul
  11. That is not strictly true. You cannot delete CMOS files as these are not files but a separate type of memory where the BIOS is stored. You can delete start up files but this is difficult to do to screw it up to the degree it won't boot. Suggest 1) remove power cord 2) remove battery 3) leave for about 10 - 20 mins 4) reattach battery/power 5) boot up 6) what happens next is the issue 7) if you see text etc then the BIOS is kicking in a) there should be an option (prees del key or F1) to enter BIOS in BIOS there should be an option to go back to defaults - choose itc) re-bootd) try to boot into windowse) if not then press F8 while booting to go into safe mode and try a system restore8) if it does not boot into the BIOS then you are a bit stuffed really. there may be an option to boot a utility from an external floppy but this is specific to the laptop. 9) if you can start booting but it won't go into safe mode even the you have just mucked up your windows installation. You can recover but this is a bit complicated and realistically you may need to reinstall windows. If you use a recovery disc the it probably will wipe everything on the hard drive as these usually do a format type operation first. If you have documents that you cannot afford to lose then these can be retrieved but you will need to take extra advice about it as it is a bit tricky. I could do it but you really need to be happy taking laptops apart (not easy). Any questions then just ask. Paul
  12. There was a similar post from Software Bisque. This does help with the tangle of COM ports but I do find FTDI chips stop it happening in the first place.
  13. There are 2 points about USB-serial adapters. 1) The chipset manufacturer (eg Prolific or FTDI). This is the actual brain of it that converts the signals and does the USB side of things. 2) The manufacturer of the actual adapter. There are very many from the well known to the no name ones. The only ones I have any experience of are based on FTDI and Prolific chips. The former are much better as they retain the COM port designation (because each has a unique identifier). The Prolific ones work but assign a different COM port if you plug them into a different USB slot - very irritating especially as it can be difficult to remove old COM port designations. Unfortunately it is difficult to know which chipset is used and certainly the cost of the adaptor is no indication. Maplin (yeuch, yeuch) charge an outrageius price for theirs and they generally use Prolific; OTOH I saw a load of cheap ones that use FTDI. Irrespective of which you use they can be a pain. When they are recognised they work flawlessly but I am forever having to pull and and put back the USB plug as my PC randomly goes into a teenage strop and doesn't recognize some USB peripherals. If at all possible get a hardwired PCI serial port card. Paul
  14. Insurance IS a con. Unfortunately it is a necessary con. No-one is disputing that individuals that work for insurance companies work hard, it is the company policies that I and many have issues with. I have had a good experience with insurance - Lloyds-TSB were very good when I had storm damage to my observatory replacing the roof and damaged equipment. However many are simply not reputable such as 1) Underinsurance. If I was underinsured, even if the damage is less than the sum insured, I would get a reduced payout. Using this logic LukeSkywatcher would get more than the insured value in the payout, that's not going to happen is it. 2) "Acts of God" - In my opinion God does not exist and yet these companies happily invoke some non-existant deity to get out of some commitments. I have insurance as INSURANCE AGAINST things happening. 3) Critical illness cover. I have seen (I work in medicine) the most pathetic, thinly disguised and outrageous reasons that companies weedle out of paying cover for. If you haven't told them some long forgotten illness (no matter how minor or brief) completely unrelated to the current illness they will try and get out of paying. 4) Car insurance. There are so many areas of poor behaviour. If someone vandalises my car I get more put on my bill next year - it isn't my fault that some ****** damaged my car so don't penalise me (and yes I am aware that I could be culpable if I left the car in an inappropraite place but I am NOT if I didn't). Accidents - if I am not to blame then I still have to declare it which may bump up my premium etc etc 5) Financial cover. Look at the litigation going through about income protection inappropriately sold - and don't just blame the financial companies this IS insurance. I have no issue with insurance companies being "businesses" but they are inherently dishonest ones that will avoid a claim for the most minor, or even no, reason. This is exactly why there are problems - they only care about profit/share dividends which means any payout is from their coffers, there is no incentive at all to give a reasonable and honest payout at the start. It is up to you then have to run around disputing things and they hope to grind you down to accept a low payout. As said above the policy documents are an example of how to hide and disguise simple facts to drag out a pathetic excuse not to pay when the time comes. Rant over
  15. This place usualluy has a fantastic display of disposable hot air devices - they are rather expensive, overrated and not much use though...... Sorry, not the best help to your question! I would still use a dew heater and controller as this provides a constant (slight) heating. Hair dryers are best suited to a crisis management when the dew has developed despite a dew heater. The dew heaters do not get too warm and are just needed to slightly heat the corrector. It also depends on what scope you have, those with large bits of glass at the front (catiodioptric) are the worst. Also a dew hood is pretty essential. You can even get combined dew hood and heater in one. Paul
  16. That is actually a cracking deal. It is mass produced and as such the mount usually has a highish PE and a few issues from time to time. However, for that price it is a pretty good deal and I would spend that if I was in the market for a midrange mount with OTA. Paul
  17. See this idea for one that is similar - not exactly cheap tho! Paul
  18. Did a quick google and found this. Paul
  19. I meant Orion Optics the UK company, look here on the right hand side 1/2 way down. The 2 names are so close that so many people confuse them Paul
  20. There are 2 issues Hardware It depends on whether the motor is a simple DC one or stepper. DIY - As above you can either do your own or use the Arduino one. Commercial - there are the James Lacey controller which is a serial port version but you could use a serial-usb convertor. Mount Hub Pro (my review here) which is not cheap but does so much more than focus control. Lunatico focuser from Spain (think this is what Orion Optics uses). Or of course the one you have already mentioned. I think 2 & 3 only support stepper motors (certainly true for 2) whereas 1 has versions for both stepper and normal DC. Software If you just want a program to control it yourself then you would need to write it. Alternatively if you want other programs (FocusMax, Maxim etc) to control it you will almost certainly have to write an ASCOM driver. This latter scenario almost means you will have to go commercial appart from the Arduino option (which I have no experience of). Paul
  21. Probably the best way would be to have it powder coated, this is the most durable paint and is what the original paint is. However, this means you would need to completely strip out the glass, mechanics and anything that may melt. Stripping scopes is actually much easier than it sounds and there are a number of guides on the web. The next best option would be an car body shop. I would never try to respray myself as, even though I am good with DIY etc, I was disappointed with the results when I tried. Just my opinion of course Paul
  22. Agreed - can't see the point of this. FITS files are pretty big compared to lossless files such as jpeg and you only really need them to retain all the original data. Can't even get the point of the iPad or iPhone either but that's another story..............
  23. Forgot to add you can get the equipment form Greenwitch.
  24. I have used one on my C8. It is an old, old orange tube one so do not know how it relates to your C11. The only problem I encountered is that the 2 halves of the secondary holder were glued either side of , but not to, the corrector. On the hyperstar diagrams the halves are the baffle on one side and secondary holder on the other. I had to be careful prying them apart (after removing the secondary) as I wanted the option of going back to non-hyperstar. If you do not mind hacking them apart then it would be easy. Overall it feels a bit "wrong" trying to prize apart something on the front of a corrector but is actually straightforward; I'd have no qualms about doing it again. Just remember to mark the rotational alignment of the corrector and secondary with-respect-to the primary. Paul
  25. Hitec Astro Mount Hub Pro, Background I have my scope/mount in an observatory for quick access; I have 2 cameras, 2 scopes, 2 focusers, a filter wheel and dew controller. I had previously been using a home made distribution panel for the 12v supply, dew buster controller for dew straps and James Lacey controller for one of the focusers. Whilst all this worked it felt a bit cumbersome. I saw the Mount Hub Pro advertised and thought it seemed reasonable for a more all-in-one solution. Ordering I spoke directly to David at Hitec who seemed knowledgeable and responsive to questions and suggestions. Paid for and had delivered the hub. Descritption This has 4 individual dew controllers (remote and via software) , 8 individual power controls (via software) and ASCOM compliant focus controller for a stepper motor. There is a bundled software application to control all this and the focuser can be controlled by other software as it is ASCOM compliant. In action All seemed to work except the focuser. I thought it seemed broken and after an email discussion with David I returned it. He confirmed there was a problem and replaced the defect. Now all is working and whilst I have not formally put the focuser on my second scope or used this for imaging it does work through Focusmax etc. Everything else is fine and has allowed me control my imaging train (Optec focuser, filter wheel, camera) with dew control. Impressions The ability to have 8 (high amp) individually controlled power outlets is fantastic. To add to this a 4 channel controller and focus controller is just an answer to so many problems. To then add a software control for all of this, well there is nothing to compare on the market today. Support Hitec were supportive and responsive both when there was a problem and to suggestions for changes. Improvements The software does not display properly on my Windows XP system unless I switch the program to night view (integrated into the program) and could do with a tweak. Likewise it would be nice to have the ability to recall settings for various components being on/off etc. The focus driver could do with having access to a few more variables being adjustable. Overall This is a fantastic bit of kit that makes life so much easier and integrates a number of vital components into one box; all in cheaper than individual components too. Highly recommended. I am not connected to HiTec Astro and this is a standard users impression! Paul
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