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ianpwilliams

Hardware and software advice needed for upgrading to guided imaging

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It'll work fine!  Just read up on some of the details of what to set / troubleshooting for the calibration. You'll be able to see if the star is in fact moving enough on the screen while it is calibrating...  As long as it does that it should be OK.  If there's barely any movement for each movement it makes or it states it's going to do a ridiculous amount of movement steps, look at the parameters.

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I was mainly looking at this thread rather than the instructions:

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/188777-phd-guiding-basic-use-and-troubleshooting/

Incidentally the thread says:

If you are using a finder-guider, try to use a pair of solid rings. Avoid three-point finder rings if possible (especially plastic screws), and never use a the rubber o-ring type of finder holder that you get on many cheap scopes!

This is the guide scope that I bought, and at the moment it's fitted using the holder it came with:

http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-mini-50mm-guide-scope.htm

Is that going to cause problems? And if so, what should I buy instead for holding the guide scope?

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I use on the imagine rig, a Lodestar in a ST-80 perfectly aligned to the CCD, there's also a Telrad for not so close slews, PHD window shows the Star/DSO and when EQMod centred it i just take a image the ST-80 is held in place by one of these, its nice a stable....

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/adm-guider-mounting/adm-mini-max-guider-guidescope-saddle.html

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Am I going to be doomed to fail with what I have now? And if so, is there not a cheaper alternative to that thing?

You are a long way from doomed! You have enough equipment and software to keep you going for a year!

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I'm reasonably confident in the equipment that I have, but it does seem like the holder for the guide scope could be a weak link. That SGL thread that I linked to warns against triple screw rings, and even more so against plastic triple screw rings.

I'll give it a go anyway with what I have. I'm pretty much expecting to end up spending a whole session messing about with PHD2 (maybe on a partly cloudy night so it's not completely wasted), and getting most of the stuff into the shed, and then hopefully start imaging in the next session. I just that the Orion's default holder doesn't entirely prevent PHD2 from calibrating or guiding properly.

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You could wedge something like a piece of card between the guidescope and rings so they don't move? To be honest, I think you have plenty of other things to think about. So don't get hung up on the small stuff. The GPCAM is a very good guide cam and plenty of people use your guidescope setup I assume without issue... Where you'd most likely start find issues using that kind of setup with a long focal length.

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Yes, the scope is one part I'm very happy with. I really like the 130P-DS, it's aa fast, short focal length scope and nice and light too. Works nicely on my HEQ5 Pro SynScan, and hopefully that will go in favour when attempting to guide.

Edited by ianpwilliams

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Unfortunately there's just no way I can afford that after all the money I've spent recently.

I spread my spending over a couple of years....

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Well I have all my new equipment now, including a second 22Ah Tracer, a 20V Tracer adaptor, and a table for the laptop. Just got to get Christmas out the way and then I can finally give it a shot. Although in the meantime I still need to make sure the laptop runs from the Tracer via the adaptor, and make sure that APT connects to the mount and slews to my target using GoTo. And then it'll be a case of deciding whether to try plate solving or just sticking to star alignment for now, and whether to try using the Bhatinov Aid APT utility, and hopefully getting PHD2 to calibrate successfully (I'm installing PHD1 as a backup).

I've noticed that there is now a PHD2 v2.5.0dev8, and I have dev7. Is it worth updating to dev8 before I go out do you think?

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So many variations so here's my set up. Laptop with PHD, (for some reason PHD2 won't connect to my QHY5-11, PHD does, so that's what I use). This is connected to the QHY5-11 on a guide scope. The other cable from the QHY5-11 goes to the mount. That's it, and it seems to work pretty well.

P.

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PHD2 does find my guide cam, and I've got PHD1 installed just in case PHD2 has calibration issues.

I guess upgrading from dev7 to dev8 won't be strictly necessary.

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I'm reasonably confident in the equipment that I have, but it does seem like the holder for the guide scope could be a weak link. That SGL thread that I linked to warns against triple screw rings, and even more so against plastic triple screw rings.

I'll give it a go anyway with what I have. I'm pretty much expecting to end up spending a whole session messing about with PHD2 (maybe on a partly cloudy night so it's not completely wasted), and getting most of the stuff into the shed, and then hopefully start imaging in the next session. I just that the Orion's default holder doesn't entirely prevent PHD2 from calibrating or guiding properly.

Don't believe everything you read on the net, or anywhere else.

I use the rings with three screws and don't see any flexure at all with a 60mm Altair guidescope in them.

I always check when stacking in DSS to see if there is any flexure but never see any.

Bigger guidescopes may cause flexure but the small finders should be ok.

Here is mine with plastic tipped metal screws.

setup1.jpg

Edited by wxsatuser

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OK good. I'm certainly not going to upgrade the setup before trying the current setup first, and only then will I consider upgrading if I find issues. But with the scope and guide scope both being small I'm hopeful that things will be fine.

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I've connected my new Tracer to my laptop and it's working fine, behaving like a PSU and keeping the laptop battery charged. Also, PHD2 is able to connect to the mount and guide cam. I tried connecting to both with PHD1 in case I needed it as a backup, but I can't see that working because it was only a dev version of PHD2 which supported my guide cam, so I may have to abandon having PHD2 as a backup.

But I'm having a problem connecting APT to the mount. When I click "Connect Ascope" in the Gear tab it just connects to the simulator, so it seems it can't find it. I then tried running EQASCOM to connect and then trying to connect in APT, but it's still not having it. When I was connecting to the scope in StellariumScope it opened EQASCOM for me automatically, and closed it when I disconnected. Is there a way I can get APT to do that?

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Never mind, turns out I had to shift-click connect, and now I'm in! GoTo is working fine, slewing to targets near Polaris using my Stellarium Android app.

I compared the Ra and Dec of APT and Android Stellarium for Dubhe, and the figures were slightly different:

APT:

11:03:44 / 61:45:04

Stellarium:

11:04:42 / 61:39:56

The numbers weren't updating in APT though because I was in the object menu. Will the numbers being different be an issue?

Also, while I've got everything set up indoors, is there any way I can test the Plate Solving and Bahtinov Aid utilities in APT, given that I have no targets?

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Take one of your unguided subs from last year and ask it to plate solve it.

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Not sure how that would work. So if I took a sub where my target wasn't centered, and then clicked on plate solving, would it slew the scope until the target was centered? There'd be no point in it taking photos obviously.

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You can use the simulated scope, you are just proving the plate solving is able to solve an image from your camera.

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I'm not sure if APT has a downscaling function? This is very helpful for speeding this up. When I plate solve with my CCD I use bin4 which produces an image 1/16 of the usual size. If I try to plate solve a non-binned image it takes ages on my clunky obsy laptop.

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Saturday night is currently forecast as clear (finally!) For the moment at least, so I'm hoping to have my first crack at guided imaging.

I'd really like to go for M31 if possible, although on Saturday night the half moon will be at 215 Az and M31 fairly close at 261 Az. Do you think the light from the moon will cause enough issues to warrant going for a different target instead?

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