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Skywatcher AZ GTI mount owners thread


AstroNebulee
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18 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

Hoping to delve back into the AZ-Gti (GTe) world soon ... really miss the versatility of that mount . 

Mine has not been used since mid summer. I've been *really* tempted to sell the AZGTi, but the mount is so quick & easy to set up and use. Unfortunately I don't have a suitable scope to use with it though. My procrastination has reached new heights with this, fearing post sale remorse!

Great idea for a thread Lee & and nice setups peeps. 👍

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33 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Mine has not been used since mid summer. I've been *really* tempted to sell the AZGTi, but the mount is so quick & easy to set up and use. Unfortunately I don't have a suitable scope to use with it though. My procrastination has reached new heights with this, fearing post sale remorse!

Great idea for a thread Lee & and nice setups peeps. 👍

I have the scope for it but no mount ... lol .... i also have a tripod just begging me to buy one (again) .  Even if the firmware is updated for EQ use one still has the option to use it in alt - az .

 

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22 hours ago, AstroNebulee said:

What firmware version we're you using prior to the 3.37 update? I found the 3.36 one to solve mine. I haven't updated to 3.37 as of yet. I did also take apart my mount and grease everything up too. What do you have set up on your az gti? 

3.26 is the only one I installed and have been trying to use in EQ mode since I bought the mount new a few months ago. Only recently I've updated it to 3.37 hoping it will help but haven't had a chance to try since last month due to the beautiful weather.

I have a WO Z61 with mini 30mm guidescope, two ZWO cameras and a field flattener (I should really take a photo when I've got the time), the counterweight used is around 1kg. All together it's probably pushing 4.5-5 kg. As far as I can see it's balanced in both RA and DEC, everything is clamped up fine. There's something amiss as there's a different issue all the time but the main one is tracking stars are usually lost as they drift out the field of view, to give you an idea of the latest adventure I had with it:

1. Polar alignment, I think this is fairly accurate:1.thumb.png.63a095de8e375f81865bb6fccbe79648.png

 

2. Following another thread it was suggested to calibrate guiding offset from the meridian so I slewed the telescope around to Beltegeuse:

2.thumb.png.b8c81234312226ca863f46189cbd1b56.png

3. I let the ASIAIR choose the guidestars automatically and it starts the calibration and guiding initially starts okay then it goes wild:

3.thumb.png.07526c95d0efb2c8c5322d7732773e77.png

 

4. I stop it and recalibrate and guide:

4.thumb.png.132f6edcbe3e7ade40a683eb6c3748ea.png

 

5. At this point I think its okay so start imaging, then start to guide again then it does this:

5.thumb.png.ac0191ef72f59b967a24f092f2672d4f.png

 

6. So I stop, recalibrate again then this, why the RA is off so much I don't know:

6.thumb.png.dc7c33fe5971ecace0402a8d1710f2a3.png

 

7. At this point I've read up on a few forums and tried adjusting the RA and DEC aggresiveness, increased the guide pulse rates, tried changing DEC mode to North and South (see the RA has changed again and I haven't touched the mount):

7.thumb.png.2d12440d14e2c7e84c3b5182e9b884c1.png

 

8. I even turn off declination guiding altogether, and still cannot image for even a few seconds, the most i've managed to image with this mount with the standard AZGTI sidereal rate is around 9 seconds, haven't had a single sucessful run with autoguiding yet:

8.thumb.png.35864397492d60b1c3912eea1139c867.png

 

There is something odd going on with this, either the way I've set it to go or something else. It's frustrating as the limited time I do have to image is mostly taken up by trying to resolve technical issues. It shouldn't be that difficult to get this going successfully. I really want to get the best of the AZGTI before even considering another mount.

Any help will be welcome.

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2 hours ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

Hoping to delve back into the AZ-Gti (GTe) world soon ... really miss the versatility of that mount . 

It's such a stunning little mount. I wouldn't be without mine now, I'd obviously love a larger goto mount but the practicality of living in a first floor flat means weight and portability is key. 

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1 minute ago, AstroNebulee said:

It's such a stunning little mount. I wouldn't be without mine now, I'd obviously love a larger goto mount but the practicality of living in a first floor flat means weight and portability is key. 

Yes , i have a skytee which i use for my 102 mm Starwave but with the weather like it is , ie 4 weeks of cloud with only the occassional clear(ish) night a more portable set up is once again required to go with my 72ed 

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1 hour ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Mine has not been used since mid summer. I've been *really* tempted to sell the AZGTi, but the mount is so quick & easy to set up and use. Unfortunately I don't have a suitable scope to use with it though. My procrastination has reached new heights with this, fearing post sale remorse!

Great idea for a thread Lee & and nice setups peeps. 👍

Yes the dreaded post sale remorse, I think we can all relate to that indeed. If I lived somewhere with a garden and had a bigger set up I would still keep my az gti and have it as a quick observing setup. 

Real pleased your enjoying the thread and that it could rekindle your romance with the az gti 😍

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1 minute ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

Yes , i have a skytee which i use for my 102 mm Starwave but with the weather like it is , ie 4 weeks of cloud with only the occassional clear(ish) night a more portable set up is once again required to go with my 72ed 

Definitely the best plan, though I'm rather envious of your 4 weeks of cloud, last outing with my set up was 13th October 😢

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56 minutes ago, Elp said:

3.26 is the only one I installed and have been trying to use in EQ mode since I bought the mount new a few months ago. Only recently I've updated it to 3.37 hoping it will help but haven't had a chance to try since last month due to the beautiful weather.

Before you do anything else I'd definitely try 3.37 (when possible with like you say this beautiful weather) it should hopefully cure the runaway mount as I think the later firmware I can't remember when had a fix for the runaway issues. When I get home I'll post my settings I use, it'll only be a rough guide to you. With my sw 72ed, zwo asi120mc-s guide cam with zwo mini 30mm guidescope, Canon 600D, asiair pro and 2 star adventurer weights comes to very similar to the weight of your set up. I have the star adventurer tripod with extension pillar but I never extend the legs of the tripod to give me a sturdier placement and lower centre of gravity to help it as much as I can. 

I have increased the pulse rate and altered the RA and Dec aggression and also choose my own guidestar. I also have the guide cam at 2sec exposure time. Yours looks to be on 4secs which is I think to long to guide on with the az gti and the RA and Dec look to aggressive. I will check my gain settings for my guidecam. 

Like I say try the new firmware first and I'll add the settings when I'm home later. 

 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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Thanks for that, any info will be beneficial.

Does where you calibrate matter, I thought you would have to calibrate every time prior to an imaging run as your sky position will be different every time?

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On 15/12/2021 at 15:46, Elp said:

Thanks for that, any info will be beneficial.

Does where you calibrate matter, I thought you would have to calibrate every time prior to an imaging run as your sky position will be different every time?

I do a fresh calibration every session. As I only image one target per night and successive nights if possible, to build up my integration time. 

My workflow if I remember rightly is (it's been a long time since I had the scope out imaging) 

I have a mark on my focus draw tube so I know when I'm roughly in focus, then set up and polar align. Then do my final focus on bright star with bat mask. Then slew to my target and plate solve it so its nicely centred. Then I will calibrate my guidedscope (which are aligned so it matches my scopes view) I choose a star myself to guide on, one that's not to bright and not to dim. I may not be right in this but it always works for me. 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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Hi @Elp

I have looked at my notebook and I use 50 gain on my guide cam with 2 sec exposure. 

My dec aggression is 60‰ and RA is 40‰ these can always change but generally it stays around these levels depending on how the graph is looking. 

In the guiding settings my guiding rate is 0.9x and I have set max Dec duration to 500ms and the same for RA. 

I always keep a notebook of my sessions so I can look back to see wgat settings I used, firmware, target, how many frames and times, so I good tip is to keep a note of each session. 

My settings are ones that work for my set up so hopefully it'll give you a base to work from, these were all using 3.36.

Like I said before try the new firmware first but definitely change the exposure time and gain of the guide cam and change the aggression on RA and dec to lower values and see where you go from there, any question is do you dither? 

Clear skies 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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First night with mine, testing a mobile/battery powered setup. 

I've had great success guiding tonight - but had to set it guide DEC in one direction only.  Is that what everyone else does - or is there a possibility of tuning DEC to the point where bi-directional guiding is feasible?

 

image.thumb.png.798f012eb04025aee93d4b63e1fd34c4.png

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5 minutes ago, rnobleeddy said:

First night with mine, testing a mobile/battery powered setup. 

I've had great success guiding tonight - but had to set it guide DEC in one direction only.  Is that what everyone else does - or is there a possibility of tuning DEC to the point where bi-directional guiding is feasible?

 

image.thumb.png.798f012eb04025aee93d4b63e1fd34c4.png

Hi, great news to hear you had a great night with your az gti, what set up do you have? 

I guide in both RA and dec with my sw 72ed AzGti Canon 600D eq mode asiair pro. Though I use the watered-down version of PhD2 in my asiair pro. 

Also what firmware version are you using? 

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40 minutes ago, AstroNebulee said:

Hi, great news to hear you had a great night with your az gti, what set up do you have? 

I guide in both RA and dec with my sw 72ed AzGti Canon 600D eq mode asiair pro. Though I use the watered-down version of PhD2 in my asiair pro. 

Also what firmware version are you using? 

I'm using an askar fma-180 tonight, but probably also 125mm Samyang in future. With a standard Pi4 + astroberry. Firmware appears to be 3.24. 

The DEC guiding is definitely mechanical though - just too much backlash. I found a few guides to tune it so I will try those out, so looks like it's possible to tune out the backlash sufficiently to be able to guide in both directions in DEC.

Edited by rnobleeddy
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50 minutes ago, rnobleeddy said:

I'm using an askar fma-180 tonight, but probably also 125mm Samyang in future. With a standard Pi4 + astroberry. Firmware appears to be 3.24. 

The DEC guiding is definitely mechanical though - just too much backlash. I found a few guides to tune it so I will try those out, so looks like it's possible to tune out the backlash sufficiently to be able to guide in both directions in DEC.

I did take mine apart and gave it a good regreasing and used cuiv the lazy geeks guide on the backlash, but can't remember now if I fixed the worm gear or not. I'd definitely upgrade the firmware though and use a eqdir cable to do it. 

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30 minutes ago, Elp said:

"any question is do you dither?"

Not yet, got to get the guiding right first.

My spelling is awful, my fingers to fast for the keypad and don't check what I write haha. It should be 'another' and not any. 

Good idea to sort the guiding first before dithering, I do dither now and makes a significant difference to the final image. 

Let us know how you get on with your guiding. 

👍

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10 minutes ago, AstroNebulee said:

I did take mine apart and gave it a good regreasing and used cuiv the lazy geeks guide on the backlash, but can't remember now if I fixed the worm gear or not. I'd definitely upgrade the firmware though and use a eqdir cable to do it. 

Do you know if there's a change-log anywhere? I'm not averse to updating the firmware, but the number of devices that had died during a firmware upgrade in my lifetime is >0, so I'd probably like to ensure there's some benefit!

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8 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

Do you know if there's a change-log anywhere? I'm not averse to updating the firmware, but the number of devices that had died during a firmware upgrade in my lifetime is >0, so I'd probably like to ensure there's some benefit!

Although it's not on the skywatcher website I have 3.36 on my laptop I can message to you moro hopefully, though 3.37 should have the benefits of 3.36 already. 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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Hi @Elp just an addition to any advice I offered, when choosing your guide star choose one that when it shows you the little box with the guidestar in that the peak of the triangle graph is visable. You want a clear point to the peak ^. Hopefully my poor doodle on your screenshot shows you.

 

Screenshot_20211216_061143.jpg

Edited by AstroNebulee
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9 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

Do you know if there's a change-log anywhere? I'm not averse to updating the firmware, but the number of devices that had died during a firmware upgrade in my lifetime is >0, so I'd probably like to ensure there's some benefit!

Hi @rnobleeddymake sure you use a cable (either one of the widely available FTDI cables or the Skywatcher USB adaptor) when updating. According to Skywatcher product support it's not only the most stable way to update, but will also allow you to recover a bricked device from a prior firmware update failure 🙂

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Hi all, how is everyone doing in the az gti world here. I did manage to get the scope out on the 16th December and only could image the moon and tried the double cluster in Cassiopea (image to come) as the moony was near full. Hope you all have a lovely Xmas and get loads of astro goodies and clear night's over the Xmas period! 🎄🎅

IMG_20211218_173552.jpg

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