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jimjam11

Az gti vs star adventurer for imaging?

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Has anybody compared the performance of the star adventurer with the az gti?

I have a star adventurer and it does its job very well. Mine has a drift of approx 1.5"/min and can guide down to around 0.85" on a really good night (only in ra).

I can do widefield unguided or longer (say 200mm) if I guide. 200mm gets me to 4"/pix which is under sampled but still good for widefield dso. I find widefield stuff frustrating because it is heavily affected by light pollution. 

What I really want to be able to do is mosaic at 4"/pix but this is almost impossible with the SA because accurate positionin/tiling is difficult and automation is impossible. The alternative to this is to piggyback the 200mm on my cem60 but that is a lot of work for 4"/pix with what is essentially a camera+lens combo!

I believe the az gti can be updated to work in eq mode and it can be controlled by pc. If I could hook the az gti up to sgpro I could then automate everything except focus and accurately mosaic with a very light/portable setup?

Has anyone trested this combination and what kind of performance do you get?

Edited by jimjam11

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I forgot to add that I am not aware of any alternatives?

It might he the avx/heq5 is the entry point for reliable 4"/pix imaging but it feels like this should be achievable in 2019 with something much more portable?

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I used to have the star adventurer mini (no guiding) and never really got on with it. Bought the Az-Gti and love it , it has a bit of backlash and is by no means perfect ( fairly iffy quality control) but the ability to plate solve and guide fairly well has increased my effectiveness massively.

I'd get one !

Taken with Az-Gti on Manfrotto tripod/ star adventurer wedge / EQ firmware / ZWO 1600 pro / finder guider.

 

Heart _Hubble_palette.jpg

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Guiding is a bit iffy but probably can be tweaked in settings I guess

 

IMAG0772_1.jpg

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1 minute ago, jimjam11 said:

Thanks,

What lens/OTA was that? What kind of guide rms are you getting from it?

SW 72ED 0.8 reducer / flattener, guide graph posted above now

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I'm using both the AZ-GTi and the iOptron SkyGuider, which is basically like the SA. Long story short, I'm considering to sell my SkyGuider :) 

To be honest, the main advantage of the AZ-GTi (in EQ mode) is that it has Go-To. It makes everything easier, because you can use plate solving. With the SkyGuider, if you aim at smaller targets, it takes ages to frame correctly (at least for the beginner that I am).

I paired my AZ-GTi with the ASIAIR from ZWO, and it's really an amazing team. With my Samyang 135mm or Canon 200mm lens, plus guider (32mm guide scope & ASI120), everything fits in a backpack. If you have a ZWO camera (guide or main), you can polar align the AZ-GTi in a few minutes very accurately (similarly to a iPolar or PoleMaster). No need to do 3 stars alignment, plate solving in the ASIAIR does all the job and Go-To is spot on.

You can also use the mount with "traditional" software like SGP. I guess it works just like any SkyWatcher mount. I would recommend using it with the EQDIR USB cable, it's much better.

Another advantage of the AZ-GTi, is that you can use it in Alt-Az mode. I often take it with a small Maksutov, and it was amazing to show the night sky to my friends. They really enjoyed seeing Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon from up close for the first time :) And the mount can be setup in less than 5 minutes, with just your phone.

The cons, I would say, is the quality controls. There are some faulty copies out there... Also, there's no polar scope, so you'll need a laptop or something like the ASIAIR to polar align it in EQ mode.

To be honest, I think it's quite a unique mount, there's not direct competitor for a very portable Go-To mount!

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Lots of good info here, thanks for the contributions 🙂

I already have the AZ-GTi and Polemaster. I'm looking at options for a scope mounted controller such as RPi Stellarmate or equivalent. Can the RPi based solutions provide the same functionality as Polemaster, maybe using the Polemaster itself or even the guide camera?

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26 minutes ago, fireballxl5 said:

Lots of good info here, thanks for the contributions 🙂

I already have the AZ-GTi and Polemaster. I'm looking at options for a scope mounted controller such as RPi Stellarmate or equivalent. Can the RPi based solutions provide the same functionality as Polemaster, maybe using the Polemaster itself or even the guide camera?

Kstars/Ekos has a polar alignment routine so that's the only one I'm aware of on a RPi format. Though I would put it 3rd behind the Polemaster and first placed Sharpcap for ease of use.

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1 hour ago, Space Oddities said:

I'm using both the AZ-GTi and the iOptron SkyGuider, which is basically like the SA. Long story short, I'm considering to sell my SkyGuider :) 

To be honest, the main advantage of the AZ-GTi (in EQ mode) is that it has Go-To. It makes everything easier, because you can use plate solving. With the SkyGuider, if you aim at smaller targets, it takes ages to frame correctly (at least for the beginner that I am).

I paired my AZ-GTi with the ASIAIR from ZWO, and it's really an amazing team. With my Samyang 135mm or Canon 200mm lens, plus guider (32mm guide scope & ASI120), everything fits in a backpack. If you have a ZWO camera (guide or main), you can polar align the AZ-GTi in a few minutes very accurately (similarly to a iPolar or PoleMaster). No need to do 3 stars alignment, plate solving in the ASIAIR does all the job and Go-To is spot on.

You can also use the mount with "traditional" software like SGP. I guess it works just like any SkyWatcher mount. I would recommend using it with the EQDIR USB cable, it's much better.

Another advantage of the AZ-GTi, is that you can use it in Alt-Az mode. I often take it with a small Maksutov, and it was amazing to show the night sky to my friends. They really enjoyed seeing Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon from up close for the first time :) And the mount can be setup in less than 5 minutes, with just your phone.

The cons, I would say, is the quality controls. There are some faulty copies out there... Also, there's no polar scope, so you'll need a laptop or something like the ASIAIR to polar align it in EQ mode.

To be honest, I think it's quite a unique mount, there's not direct competitor for a very portable Go-To mount!

Got any pics? Despite my recent revisions and approach to my gear, I might be scaling down in the new year (temporarily) to just a DSLR and 71mm triplet so was eyeing up the Star Adventurer. But if the GTi in EQ mode is a viable option then I'm very interested. Can you add a counterweight?

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32 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

Got any pics? Despite my recent revisions and approach to my gear, I might be scaling down in the new year (temporarily) to just a DSLR and 71mm triplet so was eyeing up the Star Adventurer. But if the GTi in EQ mode is a viable option then I'm very interested. Can you add a counterweight?

Star adventurer counterweight kit with a M8 to M12 thread adaptor (if I remember correctly)

IMAG0748.jpg

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Here it is with my TS-Optics 60mm f/6 and guide scope :)  Since then I upgraded to the ADM saddle, which I find more secure than the default one (and it doesn't drill a hole in your dovetail bar 😕)

AZ-GTI-Fuji-2.thumb.jpg.2c48ebd78b99a99bc82f22440c266e1d.jpg

AZ-GTI-Fuji-1.thumb.jpg.f44735a1b01cd43c74c6a0882ad83e38.jpg

 

And with the Canon 200mm f/2.8L and ASIAIR:

IMG_6533.JPG

IMG_6532.JPG

The AZ-GTi, Tracer battery (12 Ah), ASI1600MM-Pro, guide scope & camera, lens, ASIAIR, tripod, filters, dovetails and cables... They all fit in this cheap backpack from Amazon :)

I also added a counterweight for the 60mm scope, it helps balance it, but it's not as easy as balancing an EQ mount. There are several options, explained here. I went with the M8 to M12 adapter, and the counterweight from the Star Adventurer :) 

If you want something very portable, I can really recommend the AZ-GTi. For grab and go observation, in alt-az, it's also very nice. However, keep in mind this mount wasn't designed for astrophotography, and even less for working as an equatorial mount. So it's certainly not perfect! 

 

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2 hours ago, fireballxl5 said:

Lots of good info here, thanks for the contributions 🙂

I already have the AZ-GTi and Polemaster. I'm looking at options for a scope mounted controller such as RPi Stellarmate or equivalent. Can the RPi based solutions provide the same functionality as Polemaster, maybe using the Polemaster itself or even the guide camera?

I'm using the ASIAIR, and it has a polar alignment function. I've just been testing it a couple times, but it seems to be working very well! :) 

However you're limited to ZWO cameras, so you'll need to use the guide scope or main camera to do it. 

The Stellarmate also has a tool to polar align, and is compatible with most cameras unlike the ASIAIR. And of course, you have the option to use SharpCap. But the reason why I went with the ASIAIR is for its simplicity, and the fact that I don't need to bring a laptop: I control everything from my phone! For my portability needs, it's really a game changer :) I can clamp my phone on the tripod while polar aligning, without breaking my back like with the SkyGuider Pro, and control all the imaging from the relative comfort of a public park's bench :) 

Here is a video for the polar alignment of the Stellarmate:

 

And here is a nice video that walks you through the ASIAIR, including the polar alignment, to give you an idea:

 

Edited by Space Oddities
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3 hours ago, knobby said:

Guiding is a bit iffy but probably can be tweaked in settings I guess

 

IMAG0772_1.jpg

Have you ever tried much shorter guide exposures? With a small guidescope seeing effect is minimised and mounts like the star adventurer (mine at least) guide way better with exposures of 1-0.5s. 

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15 hours ago, jimjam11 said:

Have you ever tried much shorter guide exposures? With a small guidescope seeing effect is minimised and mounts like the star adventurer (mine at least) guide way better with exposures of 1-0.5s. 

I'll give that a try if the clouds ever leave the UK 😄

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Old thread revival, I'm getting guide accuracy to around 1.5" now , fairly consistently using 1 second exposures - min move @ 0.16 and Ra and Dec aggression on 100%

Copes with 300 second images nicely at 335 mm focal length.

 

 

B33 - SiiHaOiii.png

Edited by knobby
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Now using 1.5 or 1 second exposures, Ra and Dec aggression at 100 or 90% and min move at 0.15. Getting periods of less than 1" errors but averaging out at around 1.5 which I'm happy with for a £250 portable mount.

 

Screenshot_20200115-195405.png

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Thought I'd add to this thread. I bought mine practically new off a member on here and rearranged my setup. Consisting of a Altair Starwave 70EDQ-R quad and Canon 6D for epic wild field imaging. I have an extra dovetail on top with mini PC running W10 pro loaded with Sharpcap, APT, PHD2, Stellarium, CdC etc. I've even got Pixinsight on there if I want to better inspect the subs. First few testing session gave me guiding of around 2.5" RMS. The AZGTi had a bit of a stiff spot when I turned the RA axis by hand. So i stripped it the other night. Barely a sliver of grease on the bearings so I rectified that. The RA motor and gears had very little play, surprisingly enough. The DEC axis however, loads of play but not in the gears. They are quite tight, but the motor output shaft has lots of lateral play so not much can be done about that. So much so that PHD cant complete the south move during calibration. Nor can it measure the DEC backlash! It guides much better now after greasing things up though. Typical RMS the last couple of nights have been around 1.5"RMS. I've set the DEC backlash compensation to around 2000ms and it seems to be able to keep up. It takes a while to bring itself into line if it starts to veer off so no big jerky movements. Overall impressed so far! It's super portable and compact. Can transport it as is without having to disassemble too much!

20200111_113841.jpg

20200111_113919.jpg

20200111_114029.jpg

20200115_224551.jpg

20200115_224556.jpg

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Nice setup Dave 🙂

I'm going a similar route though swapping out the 4-channel dew controller for an ASIair Pro when available 😉

CS, Andy

 

Screenshot_20200119-200204_Gallery.jpg

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I've posted in another thread about having issues with getting an error message upon mount connection : here https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/347246-eqmod-overflow/?tab=comments#comment-3777347

 

Another issue I was having was some syncing issues after a platesolve, especially after a meridian flip. After digging around i noticed on the EQMod website that the AZGTi should have a custom gear ratio. Up to now I was simply using the HEQ5/EQ6 option in EQMod. It was working, tracking and guiding so never thought it was an issue. Might explain why the mount was rejecting some platesolving syncs?

Custom settings for AZGTi :

Total steps 2073600

Worm steps 14400

Tracking offset 0

 

http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/reqindex.html

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2 hours ago, david_taurus83 said:

I've posted in another thread about having issues with getting an error message upon mount connection : here https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/347246-eqmod-overflow/?tab=comments#comment-3777347

 

Another issue I was having was some syncing issues after a platesolve, especially after a meridian flip. After digging around i noticed on the EQMod website that the AZGTi should have a custom gear ratio. Up to now I was simply using the HEQ5/EQ6 option in EQMod. It was working, tracking and guiding so never thought it was an issue. Might explain why the mount was rejecting some platesolving syncs?

Custom settings for AZGTi :

Total steps 2073600

Worm steps 14400

Tracking offset 0

 

http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/reqindex.html

I went back to the windows synscan app, found it more stable ... Still use the cable though as it means I can remote in to the laptops WiFi and watch what's happening from the front room 👍

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