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NigeB

Mesu mount - upgrading to SiTech controller?

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Dear All,

I'm seeking the opinions of those who have used a Mesu 200 in ServoCat and SiTech guises...

I'm preparing to send my mount back to Lucas Mesu, to fix some occasionally odd dec motor behaviour I've been experiencing. It's a ServoCat / ArgoNavis version, and I've been very happy with that setup - I can be up and running with a 1 star alignment in minutes, and I don't need a PC for goto and visual operation.

Now, since it's all the mount I'll ever need, and it's going all the way back to the Netherlands, I'm wondering whether I should take advantage of this and upgrade it to a SiTech controller while it's with Lucas. I'm aware of the main (?) differences between the two setups - no park, plate solve, meridian flip, only basic pointing model on the ServoCat/AN setup. I've also read Neil C's (@ncjunk) very useful thread following his own upgrade to the SiTech. Clearly the SiTech is a much more sophisticated system.

BUT... I've recently discovered the marvel that is Sequence Generator Pro, and suddenly, I've got much more functionality with the Servocat system - there's a really effective plate solver which always puts the target in the middle of the frame; a meridian flip routine that uses calculated slew manoeuvres to get around the lack of a built-in flip routine, and the ability to automate the imaging of multiple targets in a session. In fact the only major element that seems to be missing, is "Park" - SGP can stop the tracking so the mount isn't driven to its limit, but it can't park in a specific orientation.  I don't own a fully automatic observatory - my ROR needs to be closed manually, and if I change that it'll probably be to a dome, so full park isn't really something I need.  

Lucas has informed me that the SiTech upgrade is about €1210 - so not an insignificant sum, and on balance, I'm thinking that sticking with the Servocat / AN system is the right decision.

Opinions gratefully received - am I missing something?

 

Thanks


Nigel

 

 

 

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I have the same version as you do, Nigel. I'm very fond of it! I also host a SiTech version in our robotic shed. I think the SiTech was downright intimidating until Steve Richards wrote a startup guide to simplify the process. It still has its complications - a recent issue to do with PC clock time and mount clock time getting out of synch and needing a firmware fix. Did you read that thread?

Personally I would rather not risk changing my own mount (Lucas did offer) because I don't really need the automation and am pretty useless with software.

A part of me (an evil part!) is tempted to urge you to go for the upgrade and offset some of the cost by selling me the discarded Argonavis and Sitech components as spares. Joking apart, if you did go for the Sitech I would be happy to discuss this possibility with you. Neil kindly gave me the Stellarcat from his system but I don't have a spare Argonavis and I'd be happy to buy both parts of the system. I might even ask Lucas if he'd consider making me a new mount using the old system from yours.

Olly

PS I should have added that the SiTech version in the robotic shed has worked well for several years. Its only foible is an occasional tendency to start tracking in the daytime and switch itself off when it reaches the end of its travel. To save the owners too much plate solving I nip up and put it back in its park position.

Edited by ollypenrice
PS
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I use SGP and a Mesu with Sitech and I absolutely CAN park to a position of my requirement (I need to park horizontally to close the roof)... You set the park position in Sitech and SGP, at the end of the sequence. will park the mount and guess where it parks? ........... To your customised park setting :) 

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3 minutes ago, swag72 said:

I use SGP and a Mesu with Sitech and I absolutely CAN park to a position of my requirement (I need to park horizontally to close the roof)... You set the park position in Sitech and SGP, at the end of the sequence. will park the mount and guess where it parks? ........... To your customised park setting :) 

Our robotic one is also in a custom park position. Does yours ever go for a walkabout in RA during the daytime when its supposed to be in bed?

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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5 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Our robotic one is also in a custom park position. Does yours ever go for a walkabout in RA during the daytime when its supposed to be in bed?

Olly

Never.... It's always exactly where it should be...... Mine has no power to it during the day, so any RA movement would be a slippage, no?

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Just now, swag72 said:

Never.... It's always exactly where it should be...... Mine has no power to it during the day, so any RA movement would be a slippage, no?

No, this one wakes up and spontaneously starts tracking in RA. It doesn't do it all the time though. That would make it too easy to trace!

Olly

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I have a SiTech version and I am very happy with it.  Once or twice we have had a minor issue in set-up (for example determining the correct Meridian flip settings), but this has never destroyed a night of imaging (we may have lost 15-20 minutes).  I am reluctant to tempt fate by writing this, but Mesu + SiTech + SGP is working like a dream for us at the moment.  Park does now seem to be working reliably in SGP - it didn't always work, and I don't know if it is a SiTech or SGP update that has fixed it.  I do need to put the scope in the Park position to get my roof closed.  But being able to 'Park' automatically isn't a big deal.

The main advantages for me are the automated slewing, centering (via Plate Solve) and the automated meridian flip.  If you can do all that with the ArgoNavis, then I wonder why you would upgrade - the upgrade does seem quite expensive.  The meridian flip settings in Sitech are quite sophisticated - you can tell SiTech how far past the meridian you will allow your mount to track before stopping.  So it is easy to set up SGP so that it never 'stops' mid way through an exposure.  I have played a little with Olly's ArgoNavis, but he uses a 'hands on' approach and is not automated via SGP (at least not as recently as November.)  

I would like to suggest an alternative course of action.  Once you drop your mount off with Lucas, perhaps you could continue down to Les Granges and show Olly how to set up his Mesu to operate via SGP.   :evil4: :evil4:  You see, I am going back later this year.  [Ahem.. Ahem .. cough - hint .. Ahem]  If you encounter resistance to your teaching, perhaps your 1200 Euro could be used by way of 'inducement' (I might even be prepared to add to this).  As a great man once said (I think it was Confucius), 'Never trust a man who won't take a bribe'.

I am joking, of course.  [Ahem .. Ahem .. Splutter ... Cough ..  Erm]  :eek:     

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Sounds like your shed is haunted Olly! :icon_biggrin:

As others have said, SiTech does have a customisable Park position. It also has a meridian flip routine.
The advantages of the system might depend on what you intend to use it for...for example SiTech has a very powerful satellite tracking tool, so if ISS/satellite imaging was your thing then that could be a killer application.
The costs sound very reasonable....a SiTech Servocontrooler II is $895 and another $95 for the handcontroller.  Presumably the motors and encoders are re-used, so Mesu isn't charging much for fitting the kit.

 

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The trouble with my job is that I'm persecuted by madmen. Yes, madmen. The ladies are way more sensible. :hello: Olly You're getting clean stacks in AstroArt so you need to change to PI! You can understand AstroArt so switch to Maxim! Your Argonavis Mesu has never dropped a sub so upgrade it to ChainsitechMassacre. It takes you two minutes to get on target so use plate solving! Your images are in focus so spend 2000 euros on robotic focus! Your softare has been stable for two years so CHANGE SOMETHING!

Nononononononononononononon and no!

Anyway, being a cave man is part of my marketing strategy. He can't really do it like that, can he? Let's go there and find out....

:icon_biggrin:lly 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

The trouble with my job is that I'm persecuted by madmen. Yes, madmen. The ladies are way more sensible. :hello: Olly You're getting clean stacks in AstroArt so you need to change to PI! You can understand AstroArt so switch to Maxim! Your Argonavis Mesu has never dropped a sub so upgrade it to ChainsitechMassacre. It takes you two minutes to get on target so use plate solving! Your images are in focus so spend 2000 euros on robotic focus! Your softare has been stable for two years so CHANGE SOMETHING!

Nononononononononononononon and no!

Anyway, being a cave man is part of my marketing strategy. He can't really do it like that, can he? Let's go there and find out....

:icon_biggrin:lly 

 

 

At last - I won one!!!!

You do know Olly, don't you, that the rest of us here have a daily competition to see who can be the first person to provoke a trademark Olly 'rant'.   

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2 minutes ago, gnomus said:

At last - I won one!!!!

You do know Olly, don't you, that the rest of us here have a daily competition to see who can be the first person to provoke a trademark Olly 'rant'.   

This is interesting news. Those involved in this competition should be aware that I am open to bribes and can perform to order at short notice. But anything in astronomy is epensive... I need the cash to buy Nigel's excellent Agonavis system!

Olly

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I have 2 guiding principles, never trust some one your dog doesn't like and dont fix what isnt broken.

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3 minutes ago, paraman said:

I have 2 guiding principles, never trust some one your dog doesn't like and dont fix what isnt broken.

My dog liked everyone...

CACHOU-Th.jpg

... but I agree.

Olly

 

 

 

Edited by ollypenrice
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11 minutes ago, paraman said:

I have 2 guiding principles, never trust some one your dog doesn't like and dont fix what isnt broken.

My dog doesn't like ANYONE ..... maybe that explains a lot :D 

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1 minute ago, swag72 said:

 

My dog doesn't like ANYONE ..... maybe that explains a lot :D 

Must have been the company that you used to keep.:icon_biggrin:

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23 minutes ago, gnomus said:

At last - I won one!!!!

You do know Olly, don't you, that the rest of us here have a daily competition to see who can be the first person to provoke a trademark Olly 'rant'.   

<whispers>

Crayford focusers

<lights blue touch paper and runs off, cackling>

:ph34r:

 

Edited by Zakalwe
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6 minutes ago, Zakalwe said:

<whispers>

Crayford focusers

<lights blue touch paper and runs off, cackling>

:ph34r:

 

I'm not even going to mention Hip Hop...oh dear, I did :evil4:

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14 minutes ago, swag72 said:

 

My dog doesn't like ANYONE ..... maybe that explains a lot :D 

My dog doesn't like me.   How do I proceed?

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Olly,

if you can't do the deal on a spare and your ArgoNavis goes down, do you have plan? 

I don't think the Argo is full of clockwork:eek:

Joking aside, it's a tough question on whether on not to upgrade. I think there is a big personal element in the decision, are you of the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' school or 'l must have the latest trick of the week item' fraternity. I'm inclined to be of the former but not too much, or else I would still be imaging with Kodachrome....

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Hello All,

Wow... Thanks to everyone for these responses - very helpful!

Olly, thanks - yes, I knew you had a ServoCat/ArgoNavis Mesu and had nothing but good things to say about it - though I saw your post about "lurve"-ing Yves' new SiTech as well. And yes, I followed the recent thread about the RA jumps and time sync issues: I'll admit this  temporarily put an end to my thoughts about upgrading - but it seems that the news is good and the most recent firmware has fixed the problem. 

6 hours ago, gnomus said:

I would like to suggest an alternative course of action.  Once you drop your mount off with Lucas, perhaps you could continue down to Les Granges and show Olly how to set up his Mesu to operate via SGP.   :evil4: :evil4:  You see, I am going back later this year.  [Ahem.. Ahem .. cough - hint .. Ahem]  If you encounter resistance to your teaching, perhaps your 1200 Euro could be used by way of 'inducement' (I might even be prepared to add to this).  As a great man once said (I think it was Confucius), 'Never trust a man who won't take a bribe'.

Ah... That would be nice. If only... In the BC (before children) era, my other half and I used to spend our summer holidays motorcycling or in a Caterham 7, heading down to Annecy, then the Hautes Alpes, through Sisteron and onward to the south coast. We used to venture into the hills - we were probably but a few miles from Les Granges on one trip. I'm not sure I could cope with the "are we there yet". (Olly, I'm happy to tell you how I set mine up - it's easy, but I suspect this suggestion probably falls into your madman category :laugh2:)

 

6 hours ago, Zakalwe said:

The advantages of the system might depend on what you intend to use it for...for example SiTech has a very powerful satellite tracking tool, so if ISS/satellite imaging was your thing then that could be a killer application.

This is interesting ... I wasn't aware of that. Satellite imaging is definitely on my list of things I'd like to do, so this might be relevant - thanks!

OK, you've given me a lot to think about... The view I'm forming is that they're both very good systems. Without the SGP-added capability, the SiTech is clearly a more sophisticated solution, and if Lucas was offering both models now, I guess almost everyone would go for the SiTech. But with SGP providing ArgoNavis with some of the additional functionality that previously only the SiTech could offer , it's perhaps not as clear cut as it once was. That sat-tracking point I'd not considered. But the price of the SiTech upgrade (which I agree seems reasonable), would go a long way to financing a scope upgrade...

More thinking to do.

Thanks Everyone!

 

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Hi All,just a note to say ArgoNavis has a sat tracking program,and watching a large Obsession scope motoring is awesome,

Mike

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On 2/7/2017 at 01:31, ollypenrice said:

No, this one wakes up and spontaneously starts tracking in RA. It doesn't do it all the time though. That would make it too easy to trace!

Olly

Is it named HAL? Does it ask you what you're doing? :evil4:

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What are you going to do about the mount then?

P.S.  I used to semi-pro cycle around Olly's place 30 years ago, very undulating and big, big cycling climbs not far off.  When I did Ventoux a few years back that is only 20 odd miles from his place. I hope to come don't at some point net year maybe.  I was going to come down this year but my GF wanted to go on a cruise in the Caribbean instead!  Only problem is, is doing 100 miles in those hills and stopping up all night stargazing is mutually exclusive - you're in bed at 8 o'clock hardly able to blink even after doing 10000m of ascent in 100 miles!

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A very difficult decision indeed. I have only experienced the SiTech version of the Mesu and that experience has been extremely positive - although rather 'quirky', the SiTech system is very powerful and feature-rich but the really nice thing is that you don't have to use all the features if you don't want to - you can cherry pick.

On the other hand, the Argo Navis version already works for you and apart from the glitch resulting in you returning it to Lucas it ain't broke so why fix it?

I love connecting my computer to stuff. It drove my amateur radio station, it allows me to change the engine parameters of my Westfield Speedsport for road or track, it drives my studio camera and finally     it drives my automated observatory and Mesu mount so I am a little biased! For me, the upgrade to SiTech would make the most sense and give you some future-proofing.

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