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The New AM5


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Hi I am lucky to have one of the first ZWO AM5 mounts in the UK. I have been testing with my Celestron Edge8 with counterweight bar and tonight going to try out my Redcat71.

Clear Skies All.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I too have been trying out my new AM5 in the UK this weekend. The whole rig arrived Thursday - I’m new to astrophotography so I’m still getting used to even the basics like focusing and polar alignment, coupled with a mount few people have had hands on experience with. What an adventure!

I’m using a 50mm scope and the 462MC to guide in near IR. No issues with guiding, except when seeing becomes an issue.

Here’s my first ever light with the Veil nebula - 25x5 minute frames in Ha and OIII. 
 

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Edited by Macroscopic
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That is really nice.

I am no expert on guiding but have spent quite a few hours playing with the guide settings in ASI Air while imaging and I think it might be worth upping your RA aggression a bit.

In your guiding screenshot you can see the blue (RA) line "bouncing" a bit. I have a completely different mount to you so all this may be invalid but it has worked for me. 🙂

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Aha! I was beginning to think I was alone :huh2:. My AM5 arrived at the beginning of July, and I've posted up my experience so far.

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/396654-the-zwo-am5-landed/

So far I've been suitably impressed, but of course this is the wrong time of year to be imaging. I'm not up to very late nighters.

On 07/07/2022 at 20:23, Mount Longlevens said:

I have been testing with my Celestron Edge8

Blimey, looks like snow on the ground in your Redcat picture :biggrin:. What guide and imaging exposures were you using? Did you use a filter?

Ian

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11 hours ago, Macroscopic said:

25x5 minute frames in Ha and OIII.

Nice result there Macroscopic. Guiding looks very acceptable, and the PE curve looked quite well behaved 👍. What imaging filter were you using? You say that you are using IR for guiding, is that because you have found visible guiding unsuccessful, or more as belt and braces approach? Have you practical experience of guiding being an issue with poor seeing, with this mount?

Ian

Edited by The Admiral
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14 hours ago, The Admiral said:

Nice result there Macroscopic. Guiding looks very acceptable, and the PE curve looked quite well behaved 👍. What imaging filter were you using? You say that you are using IR for guiding, is that because you have found visible guiding unsuccessful, or more as belt and braces approach? Have you practical experience of guiding being an issue with poor seeing, with this mount?

Ian

I’m using the L’Extreme (H-alpha and OIII) for imaging. On the night I said I was having seeing issues affecting guiding slightly… it turns out the images were poor too with little to no nebulae to see. I’m imaging tonight and having more luck with guiding and imaging in the same region I didn’t have success before.
 

I’m using the ZWO 1.25″ IR 850nm Pass Filter to guide with the 462MC. I had read people’s experiences over on a 100 page thread with the RST-135 and found this post interesting, so took a punt for IR guiding. I wanted to make sure I could guide at 0.5 sec rather than 1 sec.

Edited by Macroscopic
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9 hours ago, Macroscopic said:

I’m using the ZWO 1.25″ IR 850nm Pass Filter to guide with the 462MC. I had read people’s experiences over on a 100 page thread with the RST-135 and found this post interesting, so took a punt for IR guiding. I wanted to make sure I could guide at 0.5 sec rather than 1 sec.

My set up uses the bog-standard ASI120MM in a 50/200mm guide scope, and I got good results recently with 0.5s guiding, but I believe that the seeing was good. I haven't had an opportunity since. I do admire your stamina for imaging last night(?), I felt too drained by the heat 🥱.

Ian

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11 minutes ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

Just got news mine should arrive tomorrow (clear skies predicted for tonight, clouds for tomorrow, go figure!) 

Ah the new kit curse strikes again.

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3 hours ago, The Admiral said:

My set up uses the bog-standard ASI120MM in a 50/200mm guide scope, and I got good results recently with 0.5s guiding, but I believe that the seeing was good. I haven't had an opportunity since. I do admire your stamina for imaging last night(?), I felt too drained by the heat 🥱.

Ian

I imaged another part of the Veil nebula last night. When I started guiding wasn’t as good as the first night, with total error around 0.6–0.7” and slightly bumpy. But as the night progressed, and with the meridian flip it decreased to 0.3-0.4” where the graph was very smooth… much like the first night of imaging I experienced. Just with the naked eye I could see more stars. Not sure if position of the object played a part or not.

At some point I may do some tests with without the IR filter to see if there’s much benefit if it.

I couldn’t sleep in the heat, plus I think I have new kit excitement. Having so many clear nights after buying new equipment goes against all the rules I’ve read about so I was determined to make the most of it!!!

I’m not really sure what ‘gotchas’ I’m looking for in imaging or processing as I’m new to all of this, but this was last night’s 50x5min image. 
 

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Got lucky and picked mine up today as the one that RVO managed to get hold of was knocked back by the person who had originally ordered it.  A big hats off to the crew as I'd only managed to express interest last week.  Expecting lots of bad weather now.......

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rather than starting another thread on the AM5 I thought I’d add a few comments here - hopefully it won’t be seen as a hijack 🙂

There are more positives than negatives so I’ll start with those.

1. The mount and tripod are very well put together and a significant step up in fit and feel over the SW gear that this set up has replaced.

2. The set up and connection with my AAP+ and ancillaries was pretty seamless and painless even for an IT numpty like me.

3. The recent clear skies have given me about 15 hours on multiple targets. Guiding has generally been good in the 0.4-0.6” range average over the session.

The negatives:

1. Not really the fault of the mount per se but after one session after the mount had been sent to home I found the scope pointing at the ground trying to destroy the scope and tripod. Fortunately the limiter had cut in but now I make sure I’m with it when it goes home. I’m putting this as an AAP+ fault to be fair though at the moment.

2. There are excursions in the guiding to +/- 4” on occasion which I’ve yet to determine a cause for. But the overall average remains good. The guiding is more sensitive to seeing than my AZEQ5 was; last night I was constantly upping from 1 to 2 sec as it was chasing less than optimal seeing.

So overall I’m pretty pleased and can’t see me swapping for an EQ6 class mount any time soon.E9908BD0-DC18-46E1-94B9-117A27F35115.thumb.jpeg.3d6665e8277c81ccae398cb6427a7d83.jpegA056CBBA-0563-4AAF-B050-09C9D315F591.thumb.jpeg.abd9125c693897e8fd99b8c0b66d5b0f.jpegDEADBDF5-F9E4-4A19-9B39-24A4C9145ACD.thumb.jpeg.b2d0fb140fa2a4d468c7e63126fe48e8.jpeg2A332999-D013-46F2-AACB-DDA3FED670C6.thumb.jpeg.35b7e86187eb108729e58149f4a340f3.jpeg

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38 minutes ago, Martthebass said:

Rather than starting another thread on the AM5 I thought I’d add a few comments here - hopefully it won’t be seen as a hijack 🙂

There are more positives than negatives so I’ll start with those.

1. The mount and tripod are very well put together and a significant step up in fit and feel over the SW gear that this set up has replaced.

2. The set up and connection with my AAP+ and ancillaries was pretty seamless and painless even for an IT numpty like me.

3. The recent clear skies have given me about 15 hours on multiple targets. Guiding has generally been good in the 0.4-0.6” range average over the session.

The negatives:

1. Not really the fault of the mount per se but after one session after the mount had been sent to home I found the scope pointing at the ground trying to destroy the scope and tripod. Fortunately the limiter had cut in but now I make sure I’m with it when it goes home. I’m putting this as an AAP+ fault to be fair though at the moment.

2. There are excursions in the guiding to +/- 4” on occasion which I’ve yet to determine a cause for. But the overall average remains good. The guiding is more sensitive to seeing than my AZEQ5 was; last night I was constantly upping from 1 to 2 sec as it was chasing less than optimal seeing.

So overall I’m pretty pleased and can’t see me swapping for an EQ6 class mount any time soon.A056CBBA-0563-4AAF-B050-09C9D315F591.thumb.jpeg.abd9125c693897e8fd99b8c0b66d5b0f.jpeg

Mart, I have to say I'm rather pleased with mine. Coupled with the AAP+ it's made imaging a whole lot easier and enjoyable. Mind you, being able to image in T-shirt and shorts is so much nicer than thick warm clothes and gloves :lol:. I was imaging the Elephant's Trunk Neb on Thursday night too, despite the essentially full Moon, using the L-Extreme. I still haven't got around to processing it yet, far too hot where my PC is. I was pleased with the guiding too. Here are the stats courtesy of PHD2 reader:

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Sorry, I've had to squash the trace into one page width, so probably not ideal to assess, but I was pleased with 0.44" overall. That's with 0.5s guiding. I used dither every 3 frames. PHD2 was reporting an RA error of 5.2'. These guide results are quite typical so far, up to about 0.65". I use multi-star guiding, are you? The aggression settings seem to be the default AAP ones, and that is what I've been using. I started logging my initial thoughts and experiences here.

Ian

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To be honest that doesn’t look too different to mine. It’s about what I expected and at the FL I’m working at even subs with bad seeing haven’t been rejected in DSS. I’m using 1s guiding exposures as I’m on a 30mm guidescope, I might up to a 50mm at some point should I think it’s causing a problem.

I didn’t mean the post to come over as negative, I’m well chuffed with the kit - hope I can pin down the ‘inversion’ issue as I’d like to think I can set the plan and leave it to run without worry.

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Sorry Mart, I didn't mean to imply that your post was coming over as negative, in fact I thought it was positive. You seemed pleased with what you were getting, and I was really saying that I too was positive about mine. Just agreeing with you in fact. Perhaps I should have started off by saying: "Mart, I have to say I'm rather pleased with mine too."

Ian

Edited by The Admiral
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On 13/08/2022 at 20:52, Martthebass said:

To be honest that doesn’t look too different to mine. It’s about what I expected and at the FL I’m working at even subs with bad seeing haven’t been rejected in DSS. I’m using 1s guiding exposures as I’m on a 30mm guidescope, I might up to a 50mm at some point should I think it’s causing a problem.

I didn’t mean the post to come over as negative, I’m well chuffed with the kit - hope I can pin down the ‘inversion’ issue as I’d like to think I can set the plan and leave it to run without worry.

Just a quick update on this:

Fortunately there hasn't been a repeat of the 'inversion' issue.

Regarding seeing, the seeing was really bad on an imaging session on Saturday evening and I think this was also coupled with some high level haze.  Again I pushed up to 2s and fortunately the guiding was still kept below 0.6" rms.  At some point however the guide star was lost and the AAP+ - AM5 combination appeared to be unable to reacquire the guidestar.  When I noticed a  few subs had been rejected in the live stack I checked the guidecam screen and saw the stars just drifting by.  As I was about to close the session I shut down but stupidly forgot to send through the logs to ZWO.  This isn't something I gave much thought to previously as on my old AZEQ5 mount if the guidestar was lost the encoders could handle it until reacquired.  Has anyone else met this issue yet and if so got any comments/solutions?

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Is it necessary for the log to be sent in before shutting down? I record my session on a memory stick, and not only are the subs all saved there, but so too are the logs and guide logs. Would that be of any help to you?

I can't help thinking that the guide-stars were lost on account of the longer guide rate. I don't know what your PE curve looks like but there are some quite abrupt switch-backs with mine, and I would conjecture that if the guide rate is not fast enough then the star could be lost, though I've little experience with guiding. Fortunately I've not imaged under poor seeing conditions, but I guess under those conditions the guide rate has to be a compromise. How much better multi-star guiding is affected by such conditions I haven't a clue.

Ian

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You could be right Ian, mine’s about average in the PE range I guess but quite sharp on the gradient. I’ve attached the PE curve.

The first time this happened I was on 1s but the star shape was poor and brightness dipping into the 20s when it was lost. Second time the brightness was 50s but on 2s but didn’t see when loss occurred.

Not had a problem when seeing and transparency were good but I’m concerned if a brief loss (passing cloud) will disrupt all guiding sessions and what if any fixes there could be.9AD1D28F-DB6E-4842-84AB-CB329B42B997.thumb.jpeg.7598e45822fe978584fb48f50f7b8bb6.jpeg

I don’t know if the logs are saved on my stick - I’ve never thought to check.

 

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