Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'phd2'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Welcome
    • Welcome
  • Beginners
    • Getting Started General Help and Advice
    • Getting Started Equipment Help and Advice
    • Getting Started With Observing
    • Getting Started With Imaging
  • Community
    • Official SGL Announcements and Events
    • StarGaZine
    • SGL Challenges and Competitions
    • SGL Star Parties
    • Star Parties & Astro Events
    • Celestial Events Heads Up
    • The Astro Lounge
  • Retailers
    • Sponsor Announcements and Offers
    • FLO Clearance Offers
    • IKI Observatory
    • Supplier Reviews
  • Astro Classifieds
    • For Sale / Swap
    • Wanted
  • Equipment
  • Observing
  • EEVA (Electronically Enhanced Visual Astronomy)
  • Imaging
  • Science
  • WADAS's WADAS Discussion Forum
  • Beaufort Club's Topics
  • Swindon Stargazers Club's Topics
  • East Midlands Stargazers''s Topics
  • Central Scotland Astro's Topics
  • SGL Cumbrian Skies's Topics
  • Herts, Beds and Bucks Group's Topics
  • SGL East Anglian Group's Topics
  • South Leicester Observers's Topics
  • South Wales Group's Topics
  • SGL Surrey Observers's Topics
  • South Yorkshire Stargazers's Topics
  • Yorkshire Astronomers's Topics
  • Devon and Cornwall's Topics
  • West Midlands's Topics
  • Essex Cloud Dodgers's Topics
  • Essex Cloud Dodgers's New equipment
  • NLO and Planetarium's Topics
  • Astronomical Society of Edinburgh's Discussion
  • Dorset Stargazers's Topics
  • Hairy Stars Club (Comets)'s Tutorials and Guides
  • Hairy Stars Club (Comets)'s General Discussion
  • Hairy Stars Club (Comets)'s Observing Campaigns
  • Hairy Stars Club (Comets)'s Analysis results
  • Hairy Stars Club (Comets)'s Useful Links
  • Pixinsight Users Club's Pixinsight Discussion Forum


  • Astro TV
  • Celestial Events
  • SGL Calendar
  • Astro Society Events
  • Star Parties
  • WADAS's Events
  • Beaufort Club's Events
  • Astronomical Society of Edinburgh's Events
  • Dorset Stargazers's Events


There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start





Website URL







Found 46 results

  1. Has anyone had any experience installing ASCOM driver onto the EQM 35 pros SynScan hand controller for using with PHD2? I'm watching a tutorial using PHD2 and the chap is using ASCOM for connecting his computer to his guide camera instead of using a cable. So the computer becomes the middle man instead of the mount. Thanks, Mark
  2. Hi all, First of all mine english is not so good so sorry for that. I am a new to astrophotography. And my setup is Mount : Skywatcher EQM 35 PRO Tube : Skywatcher Explorer 150PDS (newtonian) Camera : Canon 550D Guide scope : Svbony 60mm compact guide scope Guide cam : Svbony SV105 I know my setup is weak and cheap but for now I have them (budged problem ) I started the hobby at May and I took some photos that not bad for beggining. I reached 60-90 seconds without guiding. After that I thought that the time for starting improve the guiding and I bought guiding scope and cam. I know the cam is not for guiding but it was cheap, and I am planing to change it with mono guide cam (like zwo asi120 mono) at next months. But my first experience for PHD2 was terrible. I've detected some errors and tried to fix them. First thing there was a unbalancing. I mounted the guide scope on the position of finder scope which is very close to edge of the main scope. So I fixed it (after the night I tried to guide with PHD2) and put it on the bracelet (over and middle of the main tube) And second thing was that there is a backlash and I tried to fix it too. I opened to gear of dec and adjusted to gear mesh. Except them the alignment was not so good because location was in the city (bortle scale 9) and I haven't got finder scope as you know. So I am not sure that if the stars (3 star alignment method) are correct because with nacked eye I could't see them. Next time I will do better alignment with finder for sure. After them I am planing to try next weekend again. But before that I need your advises to eliminate the problems which I couldn't detect or I don't how to fix them. For example I can not see any pulse for RA on the graph what does it mean and how can I fix it. And also I am not sure if there is any problem with ascom. There is no option in the drop list for EQM 35 PRO. So I choose ASCOM.SkyWatcher.Telescope and I downloaded/installed ascom driver from webpage of skywatcher. Thank you PHD2_DebugLog_2020-09-21_100115.txt PHD2_GuideLog_2020-09-21_100115.txt
  3. Ok, so this is a really annoying bug / problem that I have with my setup: From time to time, in non regular intervals the image my guiding cam (ZWO ASI120) send seems to get flipped / mirrored or looks like it's from a completely different patch of sky. When I'm paying attention to the guide images I can clearly see that the image seems to be flipped in some way. It only happens for 1 frame PHD send a warning ( No star found / Star lost Mass changed) and after that everything is fine again. My gear is all connected to a single USB3 Hub which then runs via powered USB3 cable to my Pc. I'm not binning and have the noise reduction off (though PHD might got hickups while processing) but it still happens. Sometimes there are minutes between two events sometimes it happens 5 times in a row. It also seems like it's only happening during guiding, I haven't seen it happen during calibration yet... I'm completely clueless what's happening or how to get rid of it, any help / idea is greatly appreciated.
  4. Hi All, wondered if you could help me make sense of this ... new HEQ5 - belt modded by FLO, all feels good, minuscule backlash but strange guiding. Admittedly first time using it but baffled. Failed calibration see image below and guiding seemed to be Ra and Dec following each other. Stars look ok ish (@ 1500 mm ) Needle galaxy is poor as only about 10 mins each in RGB note - it was hazy and did keep losing star in OAG Thanks for looking PHD2_DebugLog_2020-05-19_221608.txt
  5. Dear Avalon Enthusiasts, Do you have PHD2 Guiding Logs that you could share? Preferably at least 30 minutes long. I am curious about the contribution to the overall error from the individual parts of the belt reduction gear. PHD2 Log Viewer provides nice analysis capabilities for that. I am especially interested in the frequency analysis. Background is that I have built a motion module that uses a timing belt gear reduction quite similar to the Avalon mounts. Performance is quite good already, but I would like to compare it to the "real thing". CS Guido
  6. As a rookie astrophotographer, I have recently acquired a star adventurer mount. Seeing the port marked "Auto Guider" it sure seems to me that the manufacturer intended the mount to be used this way. But the documentation on this capability or connection is non existent. I bumped into something called phd2..it seems there is hope. Do I need a guide scope or can the mount take direction directly from phd2? Obviously i am somewhat confused. Any guidance out there? Thanks in advance.
  7. Im completely rubbish at polar alignment so I got myself a polemaster to aid and speed up the process. I know the manual is pants but I have seen loads of videos on the tube, and I have been able to follow what's going on, and managed to align the scope. When I tried to verify the alignment with Phd2, a huge alignment error is shown (-104). I've also found other problems like non orthogonal axes when calibrating PhD. Has anyone any ideas on solving these issues? God I wish this hobby was less frustrating
  8. Hello stargazers! after fixing the ED80 focuser tilt and FFR spacing issues (http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/249588-sw-ed80-reducer-elongated-stars-problem/) I have some trail (i think) in all exposures i take but it takes a lot of time to really build up and manifests in the images even in the center of the field! It becomes slightly visible in 10mins, worse in 20mins and in my opinion unusable in 30mins exposures. Gear used : Heq5 Pro Modified finderscope with QHY5 bolted firmly (although on 3 screw baader rings on single shoe on one of the rings not on a plate) on top of the ED80 Pulse guiding through ascom + pec trained and applied corrections while imaging One shot of 1800secs from last night Here is the plate solve of the image if that is of any help. Image Plate Solver script version 3.5.1 =============================================================================== Referentiation Matrix (Gnomonic projection = Matrix * Coords[x,y]): +0.00059136 -3.35323e-005 -0.948749 +3.35667e-005 +0.000591379 -0.805052 +0 +0 +1 Projection origin.. [1676.147757 1266.175055]pix -> [RA:+02 54 45.62 Dec:+60 26 33.75] Resolution ........ 2.132 arcsec/pix Rotation .......... 176.752 deg Focal ............. 522.35 mm Pixel size ........ 5.40 um Field of view ..... 1d 59' 7.6" x 1d 29' 59.1" Image center ...... RA: 02 54 45.583 Dec: +60 26 33.36 Image bounds: top-left ....... RA: 02 47 15.353 Dec: +59 37 27.51 top-right ...... RA: 03 02 57.738 Dec: +59 44 03.24 bottom-left .... RA: 02 46 12.014 Dec: +61 07 05.13 bottom-right ... RA: 03 02 38.669 Dec: +61 13 59.48 =============================================================================== 200% crop of the centre of the image shows the problem clearly. And here is PhDLabs last night's analysis log. Second run does not look much different than the first one (to my untrained eyes at least). The phd graph did look at its best (flatline like) What do ladies and gents think? bad polar alignment, backlash on gears, differential flexure? If anyone has suggestions of the nature of the problem might be, I would be grateful.
  9. Hi The longest frames i seem to be able to capture using my Atik 414ex and PHD2 are about 2 minutes. Any longer than that and i start to get egg shaped stars. PHD is making corrections, but i can't understand why i can't get to subs of at least 5 minutes. I'm not sure if its a limitation of the scope (6SE, with f/6.3 FR), limitation of the guide camera (orion magnificent mini, 50mm scope), poor polar alignment or poor worm gear. Would PEC training help improve my sub length? Or is it settings in PHD to experiment with? I look at the logs, but it's all just numbers to me. I can provide logs if that would help? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks Joe
  10. Has anyone upgraded on Mac to "High Sierra" (OS 10.13) and had any issues with PHD2 or using Wine to run DSS, or any camera control software? I'm getting the notifications for the upgrade, but I'm worried some of my AP software (currently running on 10.12) won't work right before a big trip to a dark sky site in 2 weeks.
  11. Hi, Bit of a strange one. I have a NEQ6 which I control with EQASOM for imaging using SGP and PHD2 for guiding and have recently replaced the HC connection to the pc with an Lynx Astro FTDI EQdir cable. First time I used it it worked perfectly, it connected straight away, the guiding was good and SGP found the target without any issues. But I tried it again last night and whilst SGP worked perfectly, plate solved the image and moved directly to the target, PHD2 wouldn't connect to the scope. I selected the correct ASCOM mount from phd2 dropdown list but the EQASCOM connected briefly then disconnected with a display saying that it had failed to find the correct port. I tried adjusting the settings next to the mount selection tab and ensured it had pulse guiding selected but still no joy. As a result the phd2 software is not sending guide commands to the mount. The funny thing is that PHD2 will connect to EQASCOM if done so before SGP is connected but then the subsequent connection to SGP fails. But with PHD2 connected on its own its still not sending signals to the mount. Is this a faulty cable or is it a EQDIR driver problem or even an issue with PHD2 or EQASCOM? Any help would be appreciated as I am a loss as to how to rectify the situation. Thanks Dec
  12. Hey all, finally got some guiding going last night, but at the bottom right of PHD2, the word "CAL" is yellow (as opposed to green) and says "Calibration: Completed, but scope pointing info not available/not in-use" Does this mean PHD2/SSAG isn't sending data to the mount, or the mount isn't accepting the pushes? It's an AVX mount, and my PHD2 graph isn't great, but RA and Dec stay within about 3" either way. But I can't tell if guiding is doing anything to the mount, or if my images are turning out ok simply because of decent polar alignment and just tracking. Any ideas what the above text means? - Josh
  13. Hi All, i have recently purchased a star tech powered USB hub and 25m of CAT6e cable and connected it up to my NEQ6 mount, Canon 700d, and Star shoot autoguider (through PHD2). The problem is that everything works fine apart from the autoguider. PHD2 connects ok to the mount and camera but won't loop exposures. I keep getting Error 31 connection to device has failed. Any suggestions on what the problem could be? Thanks
  14. Hi Guys, hoping someone can help me with the guiding issues Iv'e been having. First of all my setup is: Explore Scientific ED80 Triplet Skywatcher EQ5 mount with synscan Orion mini 50mm guide scope Altair GPCAM2 AR0130 Mono (as the guide camera) I did my polar alignment and 3-star alignment, which was spot on. So I set up the GPCAM2 and opened PHD2 where I selected "Altair Camera" and "On-Camera". It was all in focus, kept it on the default settings and I selected "auto select star", then it said I was guiding (I can hear the mount making small adjustments). A message popped up saying I needed to increase the max RA duration, then I needed to increase the max DEC duration, which I did gradually by 1000ms each time the message appeared. Still no progress. So I restarted the process with the max RA and DEC duration as 8000ms and it said I needed to eliminate the source of the problems. (I HAVE ATTACHED IMAGES OF THIS) I'm not sure why it not working and if I'm doing something wrong. But if someone knows where I'm going wrong, or has any advise it will be greatly appreciated! Oh and just let me know if you need any more info, because Iv'e probably missed something out. Thanks again ?
  15. Hi I've set my scope up on it's pier in my ROR observatory, done a few drift aligns and started to take some images. I've noticed a 'quite' regular dip in my DEC line on several nights. Would anyone be able to have a quick scan of my log and offer any insight? Could it be backlash? Could it be something with each rotation of the gears? Faulty tooth? It is quite regular, although not always, and always in the same direction. It doesn't seem to be adversely affecting imaging yet, but I've not tried anything too taxing. Thanks Joe PHD2_GuideLog_2018-09-23_200940.txt
  16. hello all.. i'm hoping someone can help me here. i'm trying to hook up my SW EQ3 Pro SynScan mount and ZWO ASI120MC guide camera with PHD2. I haven't done any auto guiding before, so forgive me if my questions are a bit dumb.. I've read quite a few bits online, but get confused with the terminology half the time. I've got my guide camera connected to my laptop via USB, and the SynScan connected via ST4 to USB too. I've downloaded and installed all the mount drivers I need (I think?), but nothing seems to happen when i try to control the mount with PHD2. Any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received and acted upon immediately - it's clear out tonight! If you can, please help.. you're my only hope. Thank you.. RAWz. ps: I have posted this question in another thread, but feared it may get buried. My setup: Skywatcher ED80 Pro Telescope + Skywatcher EQ3 Pro SynScan Mount and Tripod + ZWO ASI120MC Guide Camera + Canon EOS 550D + Microsoft LifeCam Polar Cam + PC or MAC.
  17. Hello dear guys & girls, i am guiding with a 162 mm FL guide scope (aperture 50mm), an Orion SSAG, and PHD2. (My primary scope is an 800 mm f4 Newton). It looks like the best tracking i can manage (with decent polar alignment, but suboptimal seeing) is 1.5 arcsec error (but with peaks at 3.75 arcsec, see below). What is YOUR mileage? Looking forward to many great guide graphs
  18. So I have bought a QHY ii for guiding as my old guide cam died My setup is a Skywatcher Explorer 250 OTA Skywatcher EQ6 Pro SynScan and for guiding Qhy5 ii and a Skywatcher Startravel 80 so I guess I might as well use PHD2 now as its been around for a while. Are there some recommedned settings I should use in the advanced setup I realise I may need to tweek a touch once its up and running but a guide to get going would be great Regards John B
  19. Does anyone know what the cyan bullseye targets are in PHD2? I accidentally discovered these, but can't work out what they're for. I've looked through the manual and done a few web searches but can't find any info. I just wondered if anyone know? If you press ctrl and then left click over the guide screen these appear. Is it anything I should know about? Am I missing something? Thanks
  20. 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.
  21. Hello, I need the the help of you guys in analysing my mount's PE and maybe tuning my guiding performance. So far I've been using the PHD settings almost on default but I've now decided it's time to make the jump and learn if and how to fine tune them. My setup consists of a AZ-EQ6 GT used with EQMOD, the scope is a SW ED80 with a 0.8 focal reducer (so my imaging FL is 480mm), the imaging camera is an Atik 460ex mono. Im guiding through a TS 60mm f4 guidescope (240mm FL) with a QHY5 camera piggybacked on the ED80. So, I'm imaging at 1.95"/px for bin 1x1 and at 3.9"/px at bin 2x2 and my guiding resolution is 4.47"/px. The whole setup is a mobile one, so I set-up and take everything apart after each session. Last weekend I decided to give Periodical Error Correction a try and used the automatic tool included with the EQMOD. Just by visually analyzing the PHD guide log I see there's a slight improvement (see "guiding_session_overview.jpg" printscreen from PHD2 Log Viewer): to my eyes there's a change (in good) after second half of the graph). I loaded the PERecorder file into PECPrep for analysis and this is what I got ("PECPrep_overview.jpg"). I'm having a bit of a hard time understanding the numbers as I don't have what to compare against. Are those numbers good or does the mount require some tweeking? What is the PE of my mount (I'm curious to see how it compares to figures from other mounts)? Should I look at the RMS PE, or Peak PE? Zooming in on the PHD log I noticed that there's some "bounce" on both RA and DEC when making corrections (see "DEC_bounce_example.jpg" and "RA_bounce_example.jpg"). I belive the "official" term is that PHD is overcorrecting. From what I've read I should decrease the aggression and/or hysteresis parameters. Am I right or the "bounce" is not that bad? Should I also alter some other parameters? I've also attached the PHD guide log form that evening. My "target" is to try and reach the 30min subs mark. Thanks and clear skies, Andrei pecapture_07022016234934_EQMOD.txt PHD2_GuideLog_2016-07-02_221125.txt
  22. Tarantula Nebula ( NGC 2070 ) in the Large Magellanic Cloud ( LMC ) Re-processed to tweak colour balance and bring out a little more faint detail: New version: Original: ( click/tap on image to see full size - the above compressed version looks a little soft; the full size version is sharper ) The Tarantula Nebula ( NGC 2070 ) is the largest and brightest emission nebula in the nearby irregular galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud ( LMC ). At a distance of 160,000 light years away from us, the Tarantula Nebula is so bright that it would cast shadows on the Earth if were as close to us as the Orion Nebula in our galaxy. First image with new telescope and autoguider/setup. Links: 500px.com/MikeODay photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: Nebulae: NGC 2070 Tarantula Nebula NGC 2048 NGC 2060 NGC 2077. Open clusters: NGC 2042 NGC 2044 NGC 2050 NGC 2055 NGC 2091 NGC 2093 NGC 2100 Image centre RA 5h 38m 57.3s, Dec -69deg 20' 36.6" (nova.astrometry.net) Field of view (arcmin): 58.7 x 39.2 Scale (full size image) 0.585 arcsec/pixel. Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, FL1200mm, f4 ) Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x Effective Focal Length / Aperture ): 1410mm f4.7. Mount: Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Filter: none Exposures: 14 x 240 sec ISO400 12 x 120 sec ISO400 10 x 60 sec ISO400 11 x 60 sec ISO200 10 x 60 sec ISO100 10 x 30 sec ISO100 Pixinsight & Photoshop 20 December 2016
  23. My first dip into guiding. I've got a DMK2104AU camera on my guidescope, and am trying to connect my EQ6 to my laptop via an RS232-USB adaptor to use PHD2 for guiding. PHD successfully connects to the camera but when I try to connect the mount (I've downloaded the ASCOM drivers for Skywatcher ASCOM), I get an issue in that it says the Port field cannot be left blank. When I go into Device Manager on Windows I can see the Serial-USB adaptor successfully assigned to COM Port 3. However in PHD this just isn't appearing in the dropdown and I can't just type it in. Any thoughts on how I can get PHD2 to recognise the COM Port required for Serial-USB adaptor? Thanks in anticipation.
  24. I am having lots of issues getting PHD2.6.2 to calibrate and guide reliably. So I hope this might be useful to others trying to get similar combination to work. I am running PHD2.6.2 on my laptop with Windows 10 and the camera is the Toupcam GCMOS01200MB guide cam from FLO. The camera works fine with no issues using Sharpcap when the camera selected as the GCMOS01200MB and I can focus and see stars fine and record short avi's of the moon etc. But Guiding is not so easy. I have so far only been able to get calibration to work once out of 5 nights trying. I have come to the conclusion that PHD2 needs a really clear star field to work with this camera slightest cloud cover and you have issues. So today I thought I would create my own stars by using some battery powered christmas tree led lights attached to a tree trunk at the end of my garden and then I would be able to sort the issues in the warm indoors. Finally, after a lot of permutations, I managed to get it to calibrate and begin tracking I found these settings to work using the on camera ST4 port connected direct to the az-eq6 guide port and the camera USB port connected to the laptop. These are the only phd2 settings I could get to work Connected devices Camera : Toupcam Astro Mount: Toupcam ST4 (Ascom) Also if the windows laptop has been using ASCOM before then again PHD2 doesn't like it so I needed to restart windows before it would connect properly. I know some people have used the Windows WDM option for the camera and this does work as a camera connection but then the mount: "on camera" setting will just not connect so its no good for guiding. Will give these settings another go next clear night to see if this has finally cracked it. Does anyone use any other settings successfully?
  25. Hi, thought I’d share my experience having a go at guiding on a budget. Not much for anyone to learn from it but it demonstrates it’s not complicated. Last year, with astrophotography in mind, I bought a second hand HEQ5 Pro Synscan and a second hand Skywatcher Startravel 120 (it’s 600mm and also came with a few filters and bits). While you get some large and colourful stars in the images I’m more than happy with it to get my astrophotography eye in. Guiding seemed to be the next significant step to take. I’m happy with the polar scope and moving around the sky using the hand controller. So my aim was to keep it simple, just connect camera to laptop and then to scope. Find my target, set it guiding and off I go. My son had an old Celestron Travel Scope 70 telescope (F5.6 400mm and currently £55 on Amazon). So that was the guide scope sorted. It also had its own spotting scope. I then bought a Revelation 0.5x Focal Reducer for £25. So that gave me a more suitable shorter/wider and faster scope at roughly a 200mm/f3. Second came the guide camera. After some searching I settled on an ELP Low Illumination USB Camera Module with the 3.75um Aptina AR0130 1.3MP colour sensor (I couldn’t find a mono version). It seemed a good compromise for £30. I just needed to mount it in a box (I used an ABS enclosure, RS part no. 502-332, 75 x 50 x 27mm) and then fabricate appropriate mounts to make it go into the scope eyepiece. I also added a heat sink and made sure to take any stress and loads off the sensor board. At this point I was just going to use the IR cut filter from the lens that came with the sensor module. You can often just unscrew the ring off the front of the webcam lens and the bits fall out. You can reassembly with only the filter. But it turned out in the bits I had with the used scope was a 1.25” Baader IR blocker filter. So I splashed out £15 on a Webcam to 1.25” Adapter that just screws into the M12 lens mount on the sensor board. That made it painless to screw the filter and reducer on there as well. Then it just slips into the guide scope eyepiece hole. It probably makes for a better aligned sensor than if I made a 1.25” tube assembly on the box myself. Next was the connection from laptop to mount. I briefly looked at making something but in the end I got a ZWO USB-ST4 inline adapter for £35. In addition to being all done and in a nice small aluminium case it also included the USB and ST4 cables needed. To mount the guide scope I used a thin length of metal plate to screw to the telescope rings. I had some 1/4 tripod to DSLR screws that appeared to have the right thread and had the benefit of the being hand screwed and with a coin slot making it easy to assembly. Good solid guide scope mounts don’t seem compatible with a small budget so I used an old swiss arca type camera tripod base plate. I used a wing nut to keep it easy to assemble. I was thinking I could slightly rotate the guide scope left/right if I needed to point it somewhere different to the main target and I’d live with no up/down angle adjustment for now and see how it goes. I contemplated a ball head mount as I had one but it was suggested that it might make it too high and wobbly. For the software I installed ASCOM, PHD2 and the ZWO USB-ST4 drivers. The USB camera had already installed itself OK and all the resolutions, modes and FPS appeared to show up OK in SharpCap. Guiding connections were simple, plug camera USB to laptop and laptop USB to mountST4 via the inline ZWO box. In PHD2 I choose Camera “Windows WDM-style webcam camera” and Mount “ZWO USBST4 (ASCOM)”. It all appears to work OK although I had two minor self-inflicted issues that might be worth sharing. On my first test I couldn’t find any stars. I had tested it during the day on “distant” objects (TV aerials), and pinholes in black card. They focused fine and it all looked OK. But unbeknown to me infinity focus was still enough away from a distant object so that I ran out of focus travel when I went for the stars at night. So without seeing stars I gave up. I tried again a few days later when the moon was out so I had something big to find and it showed it was out of focus even at full limit. But removing a locking ring off the focuser allowed an extra 2-3 mm of inward focus movement to see the stars OK. In fact I might get away with putting it back on now I know where it needs to be. Once seeing a star was all sorted I tried PHD2 for the first time. Initially I couldn’t get it to work. Or to be more specific I didn’t give it time to work. I kept getting a message “Calibration this far from the celestial equator will be error-prone...”. I pointed the scope everywhere and the message kept appearing. In the end I just ignored it and carried on. I took a couple of 2min test shots. Tracking was way way worse than without it! I put it down to something about this error and gave up for the night. So I consulted my astronomy club and they suggested where I should point it. Tried again last Sunday and still the message appeared. Then I noticed the little white text updating in the bottom left corner of the PHD window and I realised it was trying to calibrate even though I had the message. I didn’t appreciate just how long it took to calibrate. After quite a few minutes the graph sprang into life and off it went tracking. My two bad images previously were likely just because I was exposing while it was finishing the calibration. Because of the “error message” I just assumed it hadn’t calibrated right. I tried exposures up to 15 minutes pointing to Andromeda and the stars looked OK to my untrained eye. Set up is a Nikon D7100 DSLR on the 600mm telescope. That probably allows more exposure time than my light polluted town will take! It looks like it tracks keeping within the +/- 1 sec range. So I consider it a success so far. Below is also the first 15min exposure (ISO 200 with Baader Contrast Booster filter). Not the best night for it, bright moon, thin wispy cloud and looking above a street light but I think it demonstrates the guiding is working. Maybe it was not quite as cheap as I initially though it was going to be as I did splash out on the eyepiece mount and USB-ST4 adapters rather than make them (that was £50 of the £105 spent excluding the bits I already had around I used) but I think it was worth it for the extra quality and ease. Anyway I think it will keep me going for a while. I now have no more excuses to avoid actually going out into the cold dark night and using the kit rather than staying inside and just surfing the web and tinkering in the garage instead. John PS sorry for the long read!
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.