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  1. Perhaps DIYers will be interested in a low cost guiding setup for EQ2 mounts. I'm not sure if this approach has been tried before, but it's relatively straightforward to implement and is certainly low cost. In early 2016 I purchased a Meade Polaris 130 scope, complete with EQ2 mount and Economy RA (clockwork) motor drive with the intention of trying out astrophotography at a low entry cost. Very quickly the prime focus problem arose - so the scope was shortened by 40mm. With this mod 30 second exposures very not too difficult, with 60 seconds sometimes successful. Of course the problem was tracking. Rather than spend time taking lots of 30 second exposures and knowing that longer exposures were really the way forward, I decided to investigate the Economy RA Motor to see if it could be modified in some way for guiding. The answer soon became apparent - yes it could (with very simple mods) but I had no idea how well it would work. Next steps were to look for a way to guide the motor - an Orion mini guide scope and Microsoft Cinema webcam (modified of course) plus a Raspberry PI with Lin_guider were relatively painless to get going and the results were good. However, DEC drift could still cause star trails, so a bit of thought came up with the idea of using an Economy RA Motor as a DEC motor, again to be controlled by the Raspberry PI. This evening the setup was given its for test for dual axis guiding (5 min RA guiding had been successful previously). Not the best sky - very bright due to the moon and clouds appearing. Still, taking no time for polar alignment other than to point the scope slightly to one side of the pole star, a guide star was found, guiding started, guiding gain etc adjusted and a couple of images taken before the clouds got in the way. Results - no doubt as seasoned astrophotographers would expect, DEC guiding just needs a bit of correcting from time to time - the gain of Lin_guider had to be brought down to stop oscillation. RA guiding takes much more frequent corrections, again with a low gain for my setup. My aim with the mods was to see if such a low cost and basic setup could be made to guide - also at a low cost and with simple equipment/mods. On the face of things it is not too involved and I hope that it will be useful to those who don't want to jump into the expense of more mainstream equipment. It could also be a low cost learning curve into guided astrophotography for those who have already purchased a scope with EQ2 mount. Next steps for me is to find (hopefully!) some clear skies for a chance at decent imaging. Weight hasn't been added to the mount as yet - this should improve stability although the short 650mm focal length is a help when it comes to stability and guiding errors. Below is a 5 minute (bright) single image taken this evening with dual axis guiding (at 100 ASA due to the moon). The central star seems reasonably round, though coma affects other stars towards the edge of the image. I've also attached diagrams of the setup and another earlier 5 minute single image taken with RA only guiding.
  2. Hi everyone, I'm using for the first time PHD2 and after connecting my mount and guide camera (Star Adventurer pro + ZWO 30mm f/4 + Orion Starshoot autoguider), the calibration process fails all the time. I've watched Peter Zelinka's tutorial, but in the end, after 60 west steps, I always get the same "the star didn't move enough" message. Why does phd2 wants the star to move anyway? isn't having stars as still as possible the purpose of guiding? I must obviously be too much of a dummy to be able to use a program called Press Here Dummy
  3. Hi, first post so please bear with me, having issues with autoguiding, looked at numerous forum threads and cannot find the issue specific to my setup and the issue I am having. Equipment in question: ZWO 224 using as guide camera plugged into raspberry pi running Astroberry via USB3, Lynx Astro EQDIR cable plugged from USB on raspberry pi into hand controller port on AZ GTI. Configuration: Synscan android app successfully connected to AZ GTI via wifi and can control via mobile phone, AZ GTI setup to connect to raspberry pi (so it's on the raspberry pi network) AZ GTI connected successfully as it is recognised in PHD2 and EKOS, In PHD2 the mount is setup as INDI mount (AZ-GTI) and connects. Issue: PHD2 is unable to guide in either RA or declination (see screenshot error showing up), it is always one or the other. I have tried setting up multiple times, tried using the network cable which came with the camera directly from the camera into the hand controller port and setup in PHD2 as "on camera" (I suspect this setup is wrong anyway and was one of the first I tried). Polar alignment has been checked multiple times, the end result is always the same, the star field within PHD2 window will always drift in one direction so any star chosen will eventually disappear out the field of view as the mount isn't moving to follow it. Looking at the PHD2 graph I know it is trying to send pulses to the mount but either the movement is too much for the mount to move or something isn't happening as it should, in the example screenshot provided I tried this indoors on a fairly fast (compared to in the field) rotating star field looking at a screen so it will fail, though the mount didn't adjust at all, no matter how I've setup prior the AZ GTI refuses to adjust to follow a guide star. I have tried manually moving the mount in PHD2 and it doesn't seem to move in any direction, manually moving however does work in EKOS so the hardware seems to be plugged in correctly. EKOS even knows where the mount is pointing and can issue go-tos (although it is slightly off target at the moment). I am kind of at my wits end to why autoguiding isn't working, if anyone can help please assist. On another note if someone can advise how to configure PHD2 so the off yellow warning box colour can be changed so the error message can be read clearly - I know theres a line of code I can use in the terminal window which refers to a resource file to change to the default PHD2 colours and launches the software but the changes are never saved.
  4. I currently have a Skywatcher Star Adventurer Tracking mount. I am looking at options to improve my accurate exposure time. My first option is autoguiding. What is an effective autoguiding solution for the Star Adventurer? Or am I better off completely upgrading to a Celestron Advanced VX without an autoguiding solution?
  5. Hi, I'm new to this whole auto guiding thing so bare with me! So I have a iOptron SkyGuider Pro with a WO Zenithstar 61 and recently bought a ZWO ASI120MM Mini and guide scope to have a go at auto guiding. I followed tutorials online step by step (installing drivers, and changing the settings in PHD etc.) and managed to connect the camera and mount in PHD, start looping exposures and select a star. But when I start the calibration, it counts to 'west step 61' and comes up with "RA Calibration Failed: star did not move enough" I have tried reinstalling all drivers/software, using a different laptop and solutions other people have found do not help. Guide scope is focused and it's not trying to track a hot pixel. The star is supposed to move up and down as the mount moves during the calibration although nothing happens. So this makes me think there is something wrong with the mount or the ST4 cable from the camera to the mount. Cable securely clicks into both ends. I have heard the term "backlash" with mounts and not sure if this could be the cause? Not sure what this means or if this is possible with a star tracker? I can't seem to manually control the mount in PHD although I'm not sure what I'm doing. I can however, manually press the buttons on the mount itself and it moves fine. I've attached pictures of my setup along with the 'Guide Log' that people often ask for - PHD2_GuideLog_2021-08-23_225305.txt (Also, the total weight on the mount is 4.7kg and the max payload is 5kg for imaging so this should be fine?) Any Ideas? Let me know if you guys need anything else. Thanks, Dean Setup: iOptron Skyguider Pro WO Zenithstar 61 ii Guide Camera: ZWO ASI120MM Mini Guide Scope: 32mm F4 (focal length - 125mm)
  6. Hi After a break of some years, and having sold my equipment, I am being drawn back into doing some deep sky imaging. The thing that stopped me before was the long cold nights with usb connections meaning I had to be near the scope. I have been looking at wifi control and the ASIAIR system looks really good but it is expensive (on top of re-equipping with scope and camera etc.) and nobody seems to have stock. So I am trying to find out about the Skywatcher synscan wifi adapter. However, I cannot see a way of connecting a guide camera without a usb cable to the laptop, which rather defeats the object. I do not really want to leave a laptop out and connect via TeamViewer. On the FLO site it says that the wifi adapter supports ASCOM guiding. How does the camera connect? Thanks in advance and apologies for the ramble! Barry
  7. i am looking for a list of brand names of the webcams along with their model names/numbers which are compatible with PHD2 guiding software. The more latest the model, the better.
  8. Hey guys I am curious. I'm about to get myself some auto-guiding kit however I don't have a laptop to run the Backyard EOS or the auto-guiding software. I know a lot of people like to run cables to the inside of theri home and hook up tech there but where the fun in that?! Due to the freezing cold temperatures and dew this time of year, what laptops (if used outside) do you guys rock with and if you do, how do they handle with the cold temperatures. Cheers for any advice. - Tom
  9. I purchased a used Logitech Webcam C160. Turns out that the chip is from the Quickcam SP4. 640x480 1/8" sensor. Would anyone here know which CMOS/CCD is it based on?
  10. I have recently acquired a heq5 pro and a 200dps newt from skywatcher. What type of mounting kit do I need to mount an orion 50mm guide scope? Or should I take the finder scope out and use that mount. Thanks
  11. Hi everyone, I would like to use my QHY5L-II with my OAG. However, it seems like even at 2x Binning its not able to see stars. I've used Dark library, but no use even then Any help will be appreciated.
  12. Has anyone been successful at autoguiding a Celestron NexStar Evolution SCT? It doesn't seem to have an autoguiding connection on the mount. Some articles mention a way to do this through a PC, but fail to go into further detail. I'm aware that a wedge is needed for this, I just can't seem to find anyone that actually did autoguiding on this type of scope...
  13. Hi all, This is my first post (apart from the one in the welcome section). If my question is not cristal clear, please tell me and i'll turn this differently. Does anybody know about PHD 2's logic to autoguide? Indeed, considering it is often advised not to send corrections too rapidly, e.g. at the same frequency as those high fps camera, because we would end up autoguiding on seeing disturbances and not actual mount errors (e.g. low freq P.E.). So, when setting the correction interval to say, every 1s, what does happen in those autoguiding softwares? I currently foresee two cases: 1) do they calculate the centroid position of the star only on those very shots (every 1s)? 2) do they still calculate the centroid position of the star at the freq. of the camera (say, for 50ms exposure, we'd have an image every ~50ms) and average this over 1s to send the correction every 1s (again, here, 1s is just an example)? In PhD2, the only setting related to this is the "time lapse" in the camera setting. The name of this mode tend to suggest the former case, while I would hope that it would do the latter. Does anyone know what it actually does? And is there any other software that uses the method in case 2)? (which I would prefer) Thanks
  14. Hi can anyone help me with some basic settings in the software for PHD2, ive used it for some time now, but I dont think my settings are right. And on top of that im still trying to get better polar alignment. Im guiding long focal length, (piggy backing my w/o zenithstar to my mak newt, to aliviate the issues on my images), ive been trying to use the drift alignment tool, but im finding that my trendlines are to erratic (another reason I feel my settings are wrong). So the mak is at the moment my guidescope which is 1000mm, and im imaging through a much shorter focal length zenithstar. My settings at the mo are (on PHD2)............. "Guiding".........search region pixels...15, enable mass star detection with a tolerance of 50.0, focal length 1000mm, once in calibration its... pixel size micron 7.40 (guide camera is atik 16IC mono), calibration steps 15, calibration declination, degrees 14, calibration steps, ms 350, then in algorithym tab.........RA...hysteresis 10, aggressiveness 20, minimum move 0.40, max RA duration is 2645, and then DEC hysteresis 10, aggressiveness 20, minimum move 0.90, backlash comp 0, max dec duration is 2500, dec guide mode is auto. My mount is a losmandy G11, (standard not go-to Gemini), and my guiding rate is 0.5.....which I put in the PHD2 settings. my camera exposure durations are set to 1.5 sec as well. If anyone can help me to get at lease some of my settings better then I would be very grateful. If I can get my settings right then I can maybe go back to the drift alignment tool and go from there to get better PA. Many thanks.............
  15. I have recently bought a Orion Starshoot Autoguider. I downloaded phd 2, eqmod and ascom stuff. After a small research I found out my mount (exos 2 gt) doesn't support computer acces without firmware upgrade and fancy cables but I have the st4 port so it shouldn't be a problem. In phd I choose camera as Starshoot Autoguider and mount On-Camera. Aux mount and AO are both none. My wiring is one cable to pc from camera and another to st4 port from camera. When I started looping I selected the star with no problem. I choosed the one star alignment option from my hand controller and after centering the Archturus in the middle of view I pressed ok and it was successfull. I started guiding and after a while I get the error: RA calibration failed star didn't move enough.
  16. I connect my mount to PHD2 using ASCOM and most nights I have the error "Star did not move enough" as well as "Suspicious blah blah, axis may not be perpendicular". This does not happen when I connect the mount via ST4 cable. I read somewhere that I can do a Calibration Sanity Check in PHD2. I am however unable to find that function in the software. Is it some pop up feature or does it have a location in the settings/brain icon? Any help will be highly appreciated.
  17. I have recently purchased an Orion Mini guide scope and I'm keen to start autoguiding using my Altair GPCAM2 224. However, I have a MacBook and it's not playing ball. I've managed to get BETA versions of Atair Cam and PHD2 drivers on my Mac but the frame rate on Altair capture is horrendous and PHD2 doesn't recognise the camera. Therefore I'm resigned to having to shell out on a windows based laptop. I'm looking to the second hand market at the moment but all I want is the minimum specs I need to capture. I will use the Mac to process images. Altair states minimum requirements are : Windows PC Hardware Requirements: Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher Minimum Memory: 2GB or More USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port It doesn't say if this is IntelCore2 single, duo or quad. I'm presuming single here. Even still is that the minimum for just capturing data? What are others using. I'm really reluctant to start shelling out another £100+ on a used laptop just for autoguiding. Chris
  18. Hello all Ive been through this a few times but I thought I would look at what other people think on this. Is the time spent on dithering really worth it? Or is it better to use that time to get more subs? It seems to me in my experience that im spending at least 2 minutes between shots for dithering. When I look back through my pictures when I wasn't even guiding they look much better. One thing I have changed is not using darks anymore. I used to always use them. Now I use flats and bias shots but they seem noisier than my older shots. What sort of times are others getting in dithering? Is there a way to speed it up? I'm using APT. EQMOD PHD2 eq6. Many thanks Gerry
  19. Or, what happens when you leave your autoguiding setup unattended. The other night (28 dec, actually) I thought I try my hands at the Iris nebula (NGC 7023). Set up, aligned, etc, etc. Got guiding to work (Lin_guider on Raspberry Pi) and started a series of 20 12 minutes exposures. Sometime during the third exposure clouds rolled in and spoiled about 4 exposures. But then it cleared up again. I was quite unaware of this, sitting inside and doing other stuff (like haning out on this forum). When I got back outside after 4 hours, it had clouded over and I packed it in for the night. Examining the night's catch, I noticed that only two subs had the Iris right in the center. All the other exposures had just an unknown starfield. Just for fun I stacked the images and sent them to astrometry.net for solving. Here's what the sky looks like at RA 20 h 41 mins 31 secs, DEC 72 deg, 27 mins, 4 secs, right between Draco and Cepheus. A whole lot of nothingness. And I wasn't going for a Hubble Deep Field either. Enjoy! Happy new year to all.
  20. My current setup for astrophotography is an eq5 pro mount with a 200p telescope, using a canon 1000d camera, I’ve been looking at what I could upgrade to improve my astrophotos and my top priority is getting a light pollution filter and it in the middle of a city. But next I’m torn, between getting an autoguiding system and getting a new mount (heq5 or neq6 if I could find one used) I recognise I will need both eventually it’s just about which to get first. I’m that respect if I were to get the auto guider first, I would probably have to find a different way of mounting it because of the weight limit, I found a old thread that referenced mounting the autoguiding system to the counterweight bar which would not increase the weight, I see a few problems with this but for the sake of saving the weight I figure it’s a good idea. Im not sure what autoguiding kit I would get but I’ve seen that the st80 is highly regarded and probably a Astro ccd around the £150 mark. Any advice on which to get first for my setup would be appriciated and what mount and autoguiding system that is advisable. Thanks in advance.
  21. Hi, I am planning on my 1st autoguiding session tonight , I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions. My setup is 9x50 guidescope, ASI guidecam, EQ5, 130-PDS, and EOS 1000d with CC and LP Filter. I have a good view of the north, west, south, and south-southeast. 1. Polar Alignment. Should I use PolarFinder and my polar scope, or should I use Sharp-Cap to do polar alignment using the guidescope and camera?1. Considering the moon and my limited view of the west , what is a good target I can attempt an imaging run on? 2. Things I should prioritize in testing and mastering, and the best way to do this? 3. Considering the moon and my limited view of the west , what is a good target I can attempt an imaging run on? (M31???) I have reasonably clear skies, with a bit of higher cloud forecast later (1-2am) on Clear Outside, BBC and satellite images are more optimistic though. (Streetlights go off at 12 midnight ) P.S. Tips on keeping awake until early hours also appreciated . Thanks for looking, John
  22. Hello everybody on this community, very happy I recently joined stargazers lounge.com Last November I was able to modify my EQ5 mount via shoestring astronomy GPUSB (ST4 mount-USB laptop, my guiding camera is connected to the laptop by USB and PHD2 as guiding software) so I can autoguide it for long periods 6 minutes and more, I was really happy that this project was achieved and now I can get more details out of deep sky objects. My question is how can I go GOTO with this set up, trying to find objects to image is really time demanding without GOTO, and my goal is to take advantage of time to get those photons. I installed already ASCOM but I didn't connect with the USB connection (I think only work with serials cable) Thanks in advance for your valuable comments
  23. I was out imaging on Saturday night and faced an image shift problem for the first time in 3 years. Description is below: I had three targets in mind. Horse head, M51 and Pinwheel. The scope to be used was my GSO RC6, camera was my Canon 500D, mount was my HEQ5-PRO guided with PHD and finder guider. I had made sure that there was no drift when the scope pointed Southward near the Celestial Equator. I forgot to check the Eastern Horizon. I setup the exposures and after an hour found that the object had shifted Westward in the frame. No shift North or South, just Westward. Also, time and again the guider seemed to be loosing the star as I could clearly see that the mount was tracking intermittently. The entire night was an absolute waste. Any advice on solving my problem would be greatly appreciated.
  24. Hi, I am after some fairly basic advice on getting started with autoguiding. My set-up is as shown in my signature and the Atik One 6.0 with the integrated Off Axis Guider and Atik GP is a pretty new bit of kit which I have had some success with normal guiding, and I am keen to try out Autoguiding (which I have never tried before). Now, I will get onto asking for advice on using software later, but my first question is how do I set things up in terms of connecting the camera / computer / mount to one another? Atik One 6.0 Camera to the OAG Atik GP is via a MiniUSB cable, Ok with this . Atik One 6.0 Camera to the Laptop is pretty obvious (standard USB cable). Now I am lost; how do I connect the Laptop to the Mount. Here is a picture of the guide Port on the mount:- Can someone please give me a link to what cable I would need to connect the Laptop to this Port (I assume that this is what I need to do). Once I have achieved this, I will follow up with what software is best to use for Autoguiding (PHD or the supplied Artemis Capture software via the Tracking function). Thanks in advance, Dave
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