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synscan tracking accuracy (AZ-GTi)


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Hi chaps, I'm finding that though it seems pretty good at going to a star or planet on request, the tracking I am getting from my AZ-GTi is pretty awful.

At higher magnifications (>100x) it's pretty useless -as it loses the object in a minute or so. But even with low magnifications (56x) it drifts badly.

I've attached a small mp4 (will play quick so will need to play a few times to see - of 30 frames taken over 15 minutes of M42. You can see it drifting quite a lot.

Each time I set up I'm resetting alignment, and doing a north + 2 stars alignment. I then went to M42 (dead on), and tracking is set to sidereal, but it's just not very good.

Last night I set up my old polarie on a tripod with my DSLR and 600mm, and it kept a far better lock on M42 than the AZ-GTi.

Any ideas what I'm missing ? No one else seems to be complaining on the forums, so I'm assuming I'm doing something wrong.

stu

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Hi.  I have the same mount and it is usually very reliable.  I will mention the most common cause in my view which is poor power supply.  What are you using for your power?  Another possibility that I admit to encountering myself is to mount the OTA the wrong way round.  This can produce the effect you describe. On my set up and software version it is critical that the OTA is inserted a particular way into the mount dovetail.  My understanding is that later versions of the software circumvented this. On my version the objective needs to face away from the 'FREEDOM FIND' lettering on the mount body.

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I had one unit which I just couldn't get to track properly so it was returned under warranty.

One one occasion with my current mount, I swapped phones and forgot to give the Synscan app location access. The mount still goto'ed but tracked badly until I realised.

Getting the mount as level as possible using the built in bubble helps to. As does a decent power supply. Mine is a Talentcell 6000mah.

 

 

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Thanks. Hmm.. I'm using new alkali batteries, and ota is mounted as described. And it has my location correct. Does seem like a software rather than hw issue. Maybe I need to give FLO a call then. [removed word]. Was hoping it was something simple.

IMG_20210131_190847.jpg

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I did three things to try and improve my tracking:

1. Painstakingly checking, checking and re-checking that the mount was level. 

2. Whenever possible, I use the mains (230v AC to 12v DC) instead of battery.

3. The mount doesn't come with a counterweight. But it does have a threaded hole for it on the opposite side. I was fortunate to have a rod and 2½ kg counterweight from an old "cheap as chips" mount I bought ages ago. It was a perfect fit. It shouldn't be necessary, though. I'm just mentioning it in case you're as fortunate as me to have a rod lying around you can use.

Here's a video of a spot on the moon taken with my AZ-GTI/Mak127 a couple of years ago. This was taken before the above mentioned 'enhancements', although I'd like to think that I payed at least a minimum amount of attention to leveling the mount. As you can see, it does drift. But with a very limited field of view as the Mak127, the drift will seem more noticeable than with other telescopes. I'll let you be the judge of whether or not it drifts more than yours does.

For DS photography I can get exposure times of 20s consistently. 25s if I'm particularly diligent in my leveling of the mount. 

Oh and also: Remember to tighten the clutch. You'll be amazed by how many people forget this. Myself included, I'm sorry to say 😉

However, it could be that your mount is simply faulty. In which case you can't really do anything else but getting a new one from the dealer.

 

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thanks - good advice. that's definately not drifting much. as you can see in my video (1300mm 102 mak with 25mm ep) mine is drifting loads.

i'm pretty sure i tightened clutches...cough. but yeh I'll need to double check next time, and I've replaced the batteries with a lipo and 12v UBEC to give me a clean portable stable dead on 12v.

I emailed FLO (the dealer) and they made some suggestions too - next clear night I'll make myself a checklist and go through it all from the ground up (sic) and see where i get to.

balance wise FLO made me realise I'd been balancing the OTA with jsut the eyepiece on - not with my phone. I mean it's not a lot of weight, and its definately not that - because i was wathcing the drifitng visually without phone mounted, but still it's another thing I'll do next time.

My old Polarie with my Sony RX10iii at 600mm was getting sharp shots with 30 second exposure, so it did kinda show the new fangled GTi up a bit.

Just need to wait for a night you can actually see a star now 🙂

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