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Everything posted by cjdawson

  1. Hi everyone. I don't normally do the support for the Meade Generic driver via the SGL Forum. Please use the mailing list that I have linked from the driver page. or the discord channel again details are on the page. However, I can answer these questions.... I've taken a very quick look through the stuff that you have posted. It doesn't look like an attempt has been made to connect with the Meade Generic driver. You don't need to use POTH or DeviceHub, just connect directly to the driver. I've created it so that multiple applications can connect to the driver at the same time without adverse effects. Actually, I run APT, PHD2 and CdC at the same time normally in my sessions. Might also add WifiScope if I want to use SkySafari instead of CdC. Make sure that you have the correct cables, and that you have setup the correct serial port in the driver settings. Other than that, you shouldn't have to change any of the defaults. You can create a trace log from the driver directly, which can give you some information about whether the connection is successful, or not. Hi Juan. I use an LX90 myself as well and guide using PHD2. However, for the LX-90 scopes, you can only guide when the scope is in EQ mode (on a wedge). The guiding commands will be ignored by the scope when in Alt-Az mode. PHD2 might be able to attempt guiding with Alt-Az scopes. However the Meade mount will not allow you to do it. I highly recommend getting a good wedge, so that you can run the scope in EQ mode. (it's how I run mine all the time)
  2. I use the 12v output to a cigar socket that comes with the Tracer battery. From there, I run power to Lynx Astro 4 channel dew controller, and 2 dew heaters (one for the guide scope and one for the main scope) The lynx astro output has 2*2.1mm 12v outputs. One I use for my ASIAir, the other is good for my EAF (in the post) and I have a splitter, so that I can run my ASI1600MM pro as well. If I upgrade to the AsiAir Pro, I can do away with the splitter. That's my setup. An alternative if you only USB Sockets is to get USB charger for a car, I've got one in my car that has 4 USB sockets, so that should do what you want.
  3. I attempted something similar to what you described and found that the 20K power bank didn't last nearly as long as I thought it would. The cold drains the batteries fast. I thought about insulating the power bank, and using one power bank for the mount and another for the heater, but then I got to thinking about it and realised that it was always going to be a problem. I also found that a dew heater that runs on 5V pulls huge amounts of power, and again will drain a battery fast. My solution was to forget the idea of running using 5v power banks that are not meant for the abuse that we give them and instead I purchased a 24Ah Tracer LiFePo4 power pack. Sure it was not cheap, but it's powerful like a lead acid, survives the abuse of running on a cold night and provides enough juice to be able to run my mount, ASIAir, cameras (imaging and guide) for a whole night. Charging it up next day with relative ease. with 1400 cycles, I'm sure that the battery will die from old age before the charge capacity becomes an issue.
  4. Hi @Priesters There is no concept of J2000 v JNow in the driver at all. So, I don't know what sharpcap is doing regarding conversions or where it is getting any idea that there is a difference from. There is a new release of the driver which I doubt will change anything in the accuract of platesolving. I have tried platesolving with Platesolve2 which I have working successfully, I'm also trying ASTAP. To date, I've platesolved with SGP, and have been a little dissapointed with it, the reason being that after the platesolve happens and the software issues a correction, it does this by sending another slew command to the mount. In my opinion this is a problem as it will be trying to correct for small errors by using a method that is ment to go to any object. It would be far better after the initial solve, to use the scopes Slew (or jog) commands to manually correct the position of the scope using a cycle of slew, image, platesolve to home in on the correct place considering that the inital goto didn't go to the right point in the first place. APT has a GOTO++ feature, which I'm looking forward to trying out, it appears that this does work differently from SGP's implementation, and I suspect that sharpcap's implementation is roughly the same as SGP's. Regards Colin.
  5. I'd say a 40D or above. The 70D has wifi, whilst it sounds like a gimmick, for wide field, it opens an opportunity to do day to night timelapses using the "holy grail" technique, or even "Holy trinity" technique. Holy grail is where as the light levels drop, the exposure time is extended to capture more information, then once a certain level has been hit the ISO is bumped up to keep things going. The trinity also adds opening the aperture of the lens into the mix to even better results. I've got software for my iPhone called "Control my camera" that allows me to do this using the camera without having to modify anything. Live view is a huge asset for getting things setup and focused quickly, though I sometimes still find taking exposures better.
  6. Thanks for the link. I suspected that SGP is doing a slew, after the plate solve, however the slew isn’t as accutate as using guide commands. What I’m thinking about is adding a feature to the driver that will find the current position of the scope, and if it’s below a given threshold distance, it’l use guide commands instead of doing a normal slew. This will allow the scope to work to greater accuracy, even though it’s doing repeated slew commands. I’ve got some more research to do on this before I start doing any coding, I suppose the biggest question that I have to overcome is figuring out which direction the scope needs to move in response to the updated slew command. This might not be possible to implement. It’s interesting that other people has noticed this issue with Meade scopes, I’d noticed it too, and simply lowered the platesolve accuracy to about 400px which is kind of a cheat.
  7. Ooo, that’s interesting. I’d love to know the details about that @michael8554 would you be able to find the link? I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something clever that I can do if the slew is for a small distance. I’m still thinking about this problem, and haven’t had a lot of time to work on it and don’t have access to my Lx-90 for the next couple of weeks.
  8. @jhart glad to hear that the driver is working great for you. I also have problems with getting platesolving perfect in SGP. I've got a project on the go to see if I can figure out what is going on and how to fix it. Hopefully I'll crack that at some point.
  9. Hi @pgoelz Got an update for you on this. Yep, I'm still working on things. 1. There is a bug in the driver when using an LX-200 classic. Which I've resolved with the help from an LX-200 Classic owner. 2. I think I've got an implementation of dynamic braking working in the driver now for the focuser. So would you be able to check this to see if it works? I don't have my Meade focuser plugged in at the moment. Here's a direct link to the development version of the driver, which should have these things resolved. https://www.dropbox.com/s/s4qzvpef6try3ub/Meade.net.Setup.
  10. Hiya. POTH - Plain Old Telescope Hub. iirc correctly that's what POTH stands for. And it's very old software, written in VB6 I believe. The device hub replacing POTH. I'm not sure of the details of exactly where things are with that at the moment. Something tells me that what you've seen with the installers is that the device hub might not be quite ready for prime time yet, so possible got pulled from the SP 1 install maybe. That's a guess so I could easily be wrong. As for adding support for dynamic breaking to the focuser implementation. I've not made much progress on that, as I work on things in my spare time. From what I've seen it looks like it makes the motor go in reverse for a time. I'm still looking into it, as I want to make sure that when I add it to the telescope code it works properly.
  11. Hi Paul. Here's my initial responses.... 1. hmmm, that's something I'm going to have to look into. Not tried the device hub at all myself. I can't think of a reason why they'd be disabled. I might have to ask on the developer group what decides if those buttons are enabled or not. 2. focuser dynamic braking isn't implemented at this time. I'm using the old 5.0.4 driver as a source of information and it looks like this is a software feature. It's on to the todo list, but to be frank, I've found that the focuser has been very unreliable in hardware. 3. I'm going to have to look into that. I'd love to know where these "static properties" that you are talking about are. Would be handy to help with checking stuff.
  12. I released an update to the driver on 23-may which has an extra feature and if the driver fails to connect to the scope properly, it will put messages into the trace log. If you could try that one with trace logging on, it would be helpful to narrow down what is going on with that driver.
  13. Hi Douglas. Here's the response that I posted on my website to the same question.
  14. Hi @FrozenYack I created the driver using using my Meade LX-90 which also uses the Autostar, I did most of the work using the latest official firmware for it, I think it's 43Eg if I remember correctly. It's not really been change by meade in the last 10 or so years. I've also got an AudioStar handset, and have started using that in preference. That said it should not make any difference which of the two hand controllers you use, both work just fine. The EW being backwards seems a bit strange to me. Could that be a hemisphere setting related issue in your setup? I've got people all over the world using the driver without any issues, so I'd be reluctant to say that's a driver issue. It's very strange and I'm very curious as to what's going on there. Using the scope with PHD2 works just fine, I've had some good results with it. I've not used APT, as I use Sequence Generator Pro. As for the focusser, that's a problem on the Meade Firmware. It has problems responding to start and stop commands, I've found it to be un reliable, so the point that I've even had it crash the telescope and that was testing using the Autostar Suite. The commands are sent to the handbox correctly, it's just that the handbox firmware doesn't really like running the focusser properly.
  15. I don't have the EQ3 Pro myself, it's something that I'm considering picking up at some point. That said, I'm very happy with my SA. There is also an alternative approach that you might want to consider as well. Rather than using a Tracer battery like I linked above.... Use several USB power packs, the internal battery in the DSLR and the AA's in the SA as well. This is a completely different way of thinking. Firstly, the SA documents says it'll run for several days from a set of AA's. You can get USB camera lens warmers - I have one that I have used and they work well. If you were to get a basic setup..... SA Pro Pack, a good tripod (I do recommend the one I linked above), the DSLR, a camera lens warmer (USB) and a usb power bank, have everything you need to get up and running for wide angle photos. You'll be able to get decent results without needing to do a perfect polar alignment. With an 18mm lens, the polar scope should get you to the point where 1-2min exposures should come out just fine. And with a bit of practice you should be able to get up to 10 min exposures as well. The rest of the stuff can come much later, and maybe even form a second setup. By the time you get round to that you might also be considering getting a bigger telescope, so rather than stepping to the EQ-3, you might want to then look at an EQ-5 or higher as they can take much bigger payloads. (This also translates to a lot more stable mount with a smaller telescope) The widefield photo that I posted above, was taken with the camera on the SA, but I had only done a polar alignment using the polarscope, I had not used the Asi air for that one. So, I can tell you that you can get great results, without having all the items from my shopping list.
  16. HI JudeHs I've got a Star Adventurer pro and use that for Deep Sky Imaging. Here's my setup that I'm using Mount: * Star Adventurer Pro (I'll call this SA For short) - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-star-adventurer/skywatcher-star-adventurer-astronomy-bundle.html * Sky-Watcher 3/8" Stainless Steel Tripod - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-star-adventurer/sky-watcher-38-stainless-steel-tripod.html Guide scope: * ZWO Mini Guide Scope - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-accessories/zwo-mini-guide-scope.html * ZWO ASI 290MM USB 3.0 Mono Camera - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi290mm-usb-3-mono-camera.html Main scope * William Optics SpaceCat 51 APO f/4.9 - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/william-optics/william-optics-spacecat-51-apo-f4-9.html Power and Dew control * Tracer 12V 24Ah LiFePo4 battery - https://www.tracerpower.com/tracer-12v-24ah-lifepo4-battery.html * Lynx Astro 4 Port Dew Controller with DSLR Power Supply - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/lynx-astro-dew-controllers/lynx-astro-4-port-dew-controller-with-dslr-power-supply.html * (2 of these) Lynx Astro Silicone Power Cable 2.1mm DC Jack to 2.1mm DC Jack with Coupler - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-cables-leads-accessories/lynx-astro-silicone-power-cable-21mm-dc-jack-to-21mm-dc-jack-with-coupler.html * Lynx Astro Dummy Battery Cable - Canon Fit - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/batteries-powerpacks/lynx-astro-dummy-battery-cable-canon-fit.html * LanParte E6 Dummy Battery Pack - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/batteries-powerpacks/lanparte-e6-dummy-battery-pack.html * Astrozap Dew Heater Tapes - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dew-prevention/astrozap-dew-heater-tapes.html * ZWO ASiair (link is for the current pro model) - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-accessories/zwo-asiair-pro-wireless-astrophotography-controller.html Misc * Astro Essentials Multi Finder Adapter for Sky-Watcher - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/astro-essentials-multi-finder-adapter-for-sky-watcher.html And finally * Canon EOS 70D - https://www.canon.co.uk/for_home/product_finder/cameras/digital_slr/eos_70d/ The above is the setup that I have taken to using for deep sky work. There's alot of kit there and some of it, I would still recommend even when doing wide field shots. Here's how I would go about building up a setup similar to what I've listed and how I'd go about it if I were starting from scratch. 1. Get the tripod and Star Adventurer as shown above. Alternatively, I would look think again and maybe look at switching out for * Sky-Watcher EQ3 PRO Go-To Astronomy Mount - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq3-pro-synscan-goto.html Whilst the star adventurer is a great wide field mount, and I'm extremely happy with mine. It does lack one feature that can be the cause of frustration. That is the ability to platesolve and correct images. The GOTO features of this mount will mean that will work, and once you grow, the mount will grow with you, allowing you to access this feature which the Star Adventurer doesn't and cannot offer. That said, having seen the EQ3 mounts I would still be looking at getting the 3/8" tripod that I listed above as it will make the platform much more sturdy. If you don't plan on getting a telescope to mount on the mount for a while (as in years) the Star Adventurer is a great mount for starting out. 2. Camera Starting out with a Canon camera is always a good idea. Other cameras are great as well but my experience is with canon, so I know that they work out of the box. I use the 70D, and that has the advantage of being able to turn the gain up to 25600 ISO, which is a crazy figure. The x00 series, the consumer level are limited more in their ISO capability, so that means that you'd need longer exposures to get a good exposure. Just means more time trying to capture data. Using the Kit lens (that's the nickname of the 18-55 zoom lens that you mentioned) will take a while to capture data as well as widest apeture is F4.5 You'd be well advised to get a faster lens, I'd recommend the 50mm Prime Lens that you can get for about £100 ish. Whilst the focal length is fixed, the F ratio is much faster so you can use much shorter exposures. That will make a huge difference. In addition, I tend to use an different lens which is capable of F2.8 which means I can 1/2 the exposure times compared to the kit lens (I'm trying to keep this simple) In the kit list above you can see that I have a dummy battery listed and a cable that plugs into my dew controller. This means that I don't need to worry about charging the canon battery every time and having the worry about the battery going flat mid run. Using a big powerful battery I can run my entire telescope setup for the whole night without worrying about flat batteries. 3. ASI Air and Guiding? At this point, I'm a few steps on from a beginner level setup, I know, but let my explain the reasoning behind why I have this and why it's worth considering. Firstly the ASI Air allows me to perform an extremely accurate polar alignment without having to use the polar scope that is built into the SA. This is where the mini guide scope, and ZWO 290MM cameras come in handy as I doing my polar alignment using that setup. If starting from scratch you can get a bundle of an ASI Air, Mini Guide Scope and a ZWO120MM camera. That will work exactly the same, and will be a great setup. I'm only using the 290MM as I already own one and was able to repurpose it for this. After the polar alignment has been done, I am about to then switch a few settings around, then can use the camera as a guider, this means that some corrections can be applied whilst I'm making an imaging run. This means that I can make longer exposures. The combination of being able to do very accurate Polar alignment, and guiding puts this setup into a place where the Guide isn't even needed for the wide field shots. The Polar alignment will solve pretty much all the error that you can cram into a 5 min exposure at 18mm. 4. Dew prevention is a must have. There's nothing worse than seting up your gear on a cold clear night, leaving it running whilst you go into the warmth for a couple of hours. And when you come out to clear up finding that your lenses are fogged up. You just know that you've lost 1/2 your images maybe more do to water that can be prevented. Whilst I have astro zap bands for my gear, you can easily use Hand warmers or USB camera lens heaters, they all work and can suit your budget. The point is don't leave home without dew prevention. 5. weight limit. The SA and the EQ3 mounts have a weight limit of 5Kg, this isn't alot, and is good enough for a small scope like the SpaceCat51 I mentioned, and indeed the camera with kit lens that you mentioned. However, I'd consider this to be the upper limit of what the mount can handle. The combination of the SpaceCat, GuideScope, Camera, dew bands and fittings all add up to quite a significant amount of weight. I'd not be looking to add anything bigger as I don't think the SA would be able to handle it. What would happen is that the whole telescope would start to wobble with the slightest breeze and this will wreck images by smearing light. I meantioned about that I'd go for the EQ3 Pro Goto mount if I was building this setup again, the reason is that combined with the ASI Air and the guide scope, it would allow me to guide in both X and Y Axis, the mount would be able to be controlled by the ASI Air, allowing me to tell the scope where to point and have the ASI Air and mount do all the hard work of finding the target. For wide field imaging, which is what the SA was intended for the Goto feature isn't really needed, framing a constellation is not hard. It's only when going for deeper sky objects that the advantage of Goto really comes out. As for the results that you can get with the setup that I have, here is a couple of examples. M51 - taken with a ZWO 1600MM and LRGB filters. (so not my canon 70D) This is a cooled astro camera, oh and I discovered that I had a mark on my L filter, which created those spikes. I'm planning on doing this image again in the future and adding even more data. I don't think there's a huge amount of light pollution in this image, and I'm sure that there is much much more details looking to be pulled out. Here's my first image that I took with my Canon 70D and the SpaceCat51 on the SA. I'm fairly sure that I over exposed the image as Andromeda turned white. That said, the transparency of that night wasn't good there was mist and visual observers had all given up. I kept this going because I could, they were all jealous that night. hehe. Here is a wide field shot that I took of a random part of the milky way. This is an hours worth of data taken with my DSLR using an 18mm F2.8 lens. Hope this gives you some hints tips and ideas of what you can expect from the kit that you are thinking about getting. As well as some things to think about for how you are likely to grow as you gain experience and want to explore further.
  17. I've gone for a different approach to the one machine to rule them all approach. It has pro's and cons. Here's my setups. I have multiple scopes, so bare with me. Scope 1 - Meade LX-90 8" Sct * Laptop HP Pavillion 8Gb Ram, 256GB SSD, 15" screen (1366*768) * ZWO ASI1600MM-PRO, with Filter wheel and LRGB filters. * Starlight Xpress Superstar Guide scope. * MyArdunioPro2 focusser. * Software - SharpCap Pro, Carts De Ceil, Sequence Generator pro. ANVERS for plate solving, PHD2 Scope 2 - William Optics SpaceCat51 mounted on Skywatcher Star Adventurer. * ASI Air (not pro) * Canon 70D main camera * ZWO 290-MM Guide Scope * 64GB flash external storage Seperate laptop - Macbook pro (2015 model). Desktop - self build i7 with 32Gb ram. Stacking software that I use - Astro Pixel Processor to stacking, Photoshop CC for post stacking processing and combining LRGB. I've combined the MacBook and Desktop machines as I can use either or both interchangeably. The Macbook is handy if I want to do the processing on the move, the desktop is better when I'm at home. Could also employ both machines if I had a lot to do, and wants to multi task. The idea is that I use a dedicated machine for the image capture. The HP Laptop runs my LX-90 and that's it's sole purpose. This means that I could get a much cheaper machine when I purchased the machine as it was never intended to do anything other than control the scope and capture images. It handles the pointing, slewing, guide processes with ease, and I mean it barely makes the processor work at all. Image capturing again is handled easily. Which means that for most of the time the i5 processor is overspec'ed for the job! However, having that processing power available really comes into it's own when the platesolving kicks in. It can do this quickly and without the need to be connected to the internet. For my second scope, portability was also a concern, being able to run the whole setup from a Tracer battery, for a whole night without worrying about power is great. The PI in the ASI Air is good enough to do all the tasks needed including the plate solving needed for polar alignment. I've also used it to help with plate solving for finding targets - just have to manually slew and manually look up the co-ordinates in Sky Safari Pro to be able to see where the scope is actually pointing. Having the processing seperated means that if I had several good nights in a row (wishful thinking) I would be able to transfer the images captured from the scopes to the processing laptop/desktop then perform the processing whilst the scopes are busy capturing the next set of data. The downside of this approach of course is that you end up with more equipment to cart about.
  18. Great start. It's really easy to see that you are taking a photo of the large Magellanic cloud. Just kidding. It's a good orion shot. Keep going. The better that you get with wide field, the easier it will be when you ramp up the focal length.
  19. Best ship that out express delivery. With all those FLO boxes, there is sure to be dense cloud attraction.
  20. The SharpCap method needs a camera of some sort, it doesn't really care what you use as long as it can get an image with enough sky to platesolve. I've been successful using various cameras using this method, DSLR, ASI290MM, ASI1600MM and Starlight Xpress Superstar. I tend to use my guide scope to perform the polar alignment rather than the main scope. That said, it doesn't really matter as long as the guide and main are fixed relatively. I'm sure that you could use an OAG as well. It's more a case of try it and see.
  21. @RadekK I'm glad that Astroberry runs on Raspbian buster. However there are somethings that I'm doing a different way. The main difference so far is... Astroberry Wireless Hotspot allowing to access the system directly i.e. without external wireless network eg. in the field Rather than using the hotspot that you provide, I'm using a different project called RaspAP. This allows the PI to be a hotspot whilst connecting to a network as a client over wifi at the same time! This makes it more flexible when as I don't need to choose whether to be a hotspot, or have it connect to a network, it can do both at the same time. I'm also using the image for other non-astro related stuff, so need to have full control over the install. Astroberry is a great starting point for those who don't have specialist needs, in fact I'd still recommend that people look at it as the first port of call to see if it does everything they need, it most likely does.... and more. (Just I'm very very picky)
  22. It won't save me any hassle at all, as for my needs I want to run software and configurations that are not part of AstroBerry. There are things that are not standard at all so I really do not want to start from anything other than the complete official raspbian image. (I have reasons, and don't want to elaborate) besides, I think I already solved the problem just before I went to bed last night and anything else now will be a setback.
  23. ooo, that's interesting. I'm going to take a look at that when I have time. Especially if it autostarts the server on boot. Might be easier than the indiserver program that I already tried. As for Astroberry. I thought it was based on ubuntu, but that is obviously wrong. That will explain why it was easy to install some of the software direct from the astroberry repos. (saved me a lot of time and hassle)
  24. @Gina thought of you when I was putting thinking about posting this, and knew that you use ZWO cameras, just like I do. The Altair cameras are a friends and I'm helping him get a PI4 up and running. @Avocette I tried the AstroPI script, it installed alot of stuff, but in the process wrecked a load of settings that I'd already made. That said, last after making the post, I did try running some of the bits from the Astroberry setup, which as you said now uses buster, and it looks like it's installed everything. I just need to figure out how to connect to cameras via indi. I'm going to play with that today using one of my ZWO cameras, but I want to connect via indi and not direct to the camera. (so that I can mimic the altair camera setup)
  25. I think I just cracked it. Seems that there's a program called indi starter that you can get from the CDC people, once installed, that gives me a gui to tell it what drivers to use. I think that will give some progress
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