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This is more of a story about last nights efforts than a cry for help. I went out at ten to focus the OAG on the scope fitted with a lodestar and align the guiding axis to the telescope. The ultimate aim was to calibrate the PEC on the SS2K to start to take decent pictures with the mount. It was a glorious night. But my lodestar seems to have grown duff bright pixels by the dozen over summer. Even using full autocalibration in Maxim didn't seem to remove them. So I created a bad pixel map and applied it to my auto calibration groups but still with no effect. Meanwhile I soldiered on, using a brighter star in the OAG to focus and align axiis on. That done, I discovered there seemed to be a reflection from the bright star that Maxim insisted trying to guide on. It turned up on the row of the first bright star image and even after subsequent images when the star clearly moved according to movement calibration requests, the false star remained fixed and caused maxim to fail the tracking calibration. An hour and a half of this I tried, with various combinations of bin ratios, exposure times, star in different quadrants of the CCD and all with no success until I put the star in the top left quadrant and then calibration success! You might think that was it, I was motoring, since Maxim was now seeing the star. But no. Maxim could calibrate on the star but reported 'star faded' when trying to use it a guide star, consistently and persistently. Apparently it needs a different type of star to guide on. There were no others. So half an hour later I gave up with that and went to PhD2. It had support for the Lodestar and for the ZWI so I persevered with the Lodestar. It could even see the star Maxim refused to guide on and I could use it to calibrate the movement of the scope for Phd to guide with. I did get a 'ratio difference alert since my motion was very assymetric 'L' shaped but it did calibrate so on I went. Now I could calibrate my PEC!. Several times I achieved this, repeating it starting at different times on the worm since the ss2K will even out the measured with the already recorded. And then Puff! the star had gone - nothing to guide on and the duff pixels were there polluting the image as before. Where did it go ? The sky was still clear and the dome slot was right there where the scope needed it to be. Now I tried a few exposures at 3mins just to get a feel on what quality had resulted from all my efforts. Its an 8" 1800mm so its was optimistic but the evening conspired further - the camera intervalometer battery was flat. Not to be deterred I dug out the spare. That'll teach it. But that one has a duff lead that causes the camera to turn off occasionally and it wanted to play. It was now 1.30, I was freezing and not thinking about swapping batteries so it was time to hit the sack. Only up at 6 for work. I love these succesful evenings. Gotta have more of them. Better luck to every one else, and if you have a solution to the Maxim problem I'm interested. Mike