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SW Star Adventurer GTI owner thread


Astroscot2
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A meridian flip is on my list to test, I just need a decent clear night to dial in the processes on the ASI Air.  When taking a few test images the other night , the Veil nebula was close to crossing the meridian, the scope was on the West side of the mount and close to the hard stop, There was no mention of a meridian flip being imminent by the ASI Air  even though I had selected it? I need to look at this. Looks to be clear-ish tonight

 

Regarding your guiding after meridian flip, are you re-calibrating the guiding, I see an option for this on the ASI Air.

 

Mark  

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2 hours ago, Astroscot2 said:

A meridian flip is on my list to test, I just need a decent clear night to dial in the processes on the ASI Air.  When taking a few test images the other night , the Veil nebula was close to crossing the meridian, the scope was on the West side of the mount and close to the hard stop, There was no mention of a meridian flip being imminent by the ASI Air  even though I had selected it? I need to look at this. Looks to be clear-ish tonight

 

Regarding your guiding after meridian flip, are you re-calibrating the guiding, I see an option for this on the ASI Air.

 

Mark  

Yes I am recallibrating. Not sure whether it is useful but it doesn't take an awful long time anyway.

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I believe we need to relax a bit the usual parameters on ASIAIR. Like the stability criteria. 2" may be a bit harsh. I went to 3" and got a good result. Overall guiding around 1" error. That's very good given the focal length.

The meridian flip going bonkers is another issue. Still under assessment!

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image.thumb.png.87bdf079f406fc6a3b68180df96ef64b.png

Typical guiding for tonight. Scope west pointing east, target clsoe to meridian. Neutral balance. Thats 200 pulses at 1.5seconds so 5mins of guiding total end to end of log and it did not trip up once. Ill weigh my rig at some point to let you know the load but the counter weight is about 3/4 of the way towards the bottom of the bar. Peak errors did not even exceed 1 arcsecond per axis in the entire run, with the RMS being 0.59 arcseconds.

Adam

Edited by Adam J
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Id be happy with that guiding, no huge jumps.  

 

Ive emailed FLO regarding my polar scope,  I dont really need it as im polar aligning via the ASI Air however its bugging me that I cant eyeball the pole with the illumination switched on at the lowest setting.  

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48 minutes ago, Astroscot2 said:

Id be happy with that guiding, no huge jumps.  

 

Ive emailed FLO regarding my polar scope,  I dont really need it as im polar aligning via the ASI Air however its bugging me that I cant eyeball the pole with the illumination switched on at the lowest setting.  

Well I am having no issues with the polar scope with the illumination on or off so its not a general design issue. Myst be something wrong. Have you pointed it to the horizon and seen that you can see though it clearly in daylight? Or perhaps try pointing it towards a brighter star than Polaris. 

Adam

Edited by Adam J
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I assume it's not just me, but there seems to be a hard stop at about +/- 95 degrees from home on the RA axis.

Does anyone know what EQMOD will do if you tried to slew beyond that? Does the SynScan app have these limits already programmed (I know it had an altitude limit by default)?

Thanks 

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4 hours ago, wvrfish said:

I assume it's not just me, but there seems to be a hard stop at about +/- 95 degrees from home on the RA axis.

Does anyone know what EQMOD will do if you tried to slew beyond that? Does the SynScan app have these limits already programmed (I know it had an altitude limit by default)?

Thanks 

You have to set limits in eqmod like any other eqmod mount. 

Edited by Adam J
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for starting this thread. I meant to ask about an issue that I had with mine. I received it a few weeks ago and tried it out at home (just with the DSLR mounted) and all went as expected.

I then went out (15mins from my home) for a proper test and I thought it behaved well but I only got a few shots in before clouds ruined the evening. All worked fine - the polar scope illuminator was rather bright as well but I figured out later that it was set too high and I couldn’t find the setting on the app to lower it while I was out.

Anyway, next time I went out I had a clear sky and did my polar alignment which worked brilliantly now that I had the light setting adjusted. However after mounting the camera and tightening both clutches, I noticed that despite tightening the RA clutch, it was still loose. The motor would not move it when I set a target.

I’ve sent it back and FLO had a look at repairing it but weren’t able to so they gave me a refund as they were out of stock.

I presume none of you had a similar issue? I couldn’t find anyone mentioning a similar problem so I guess I just had a faulty one. I still wanted to double check that it’s not a general issue with this mount, as I really liked it and want to purchase it again. I saw some other vendors have stock.

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Great to hear. Yeah I think so. I generally loved it while it was working and think it's a good piece of equipment.

I'm currently reading through/viewing everything about the star adventurer AZ GTI (to work in equatorial mode) as an alternative (£259 at FLO seems very appealing), although looks like I'd need to get a ton of extra stuff as well to make it work and also switch to using a guide scope, ASI air etc, so might end up being more of a faff.

I think the star adventurer GTI might be perfect for me at this stage. I just want an ultra portable kit for a DSLR+lens (switching to a small scope at some later point) that will help me find targets super quick, and it looks like this fits the bill.

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I’ve been very happy with my SA GTi. I’ve used it perhaps 10 times so far (left running all night) with no major issues.

I have noticed I end up with more bad subs than with my HEQ5, though that might be the slightly ropey tripod I’m using shifting slightly, also the conditions haven’t been great. Still probably only lose 1 in 10 or 15 3 minute subs, which I find acceptable.

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4 hours ago, Elp said:

Quite good, what FL are you shooting at?

It has only been at 250mm (SW Evoguide 50ED) to be fair.

Next clear night I plan to put my 72/432mm refractor on there which will probably be quite close to the 5kg payload rating. Hoping the performance won’t suffer too much. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 24/08/2022 at 13:54, Astroscot2 said:

I purchased the SW SA Gti with the tripod combo a number of weeks back. The Intention is  to pull together a portable rig to visit dark skies and work in conjunction with my ZWO camera and ASI air plus which I've also never used until last night. 

My first impressions on mounting the mount head on the tripod were not great, with the small refractor mounted it did not seem very stable, anyway I pushed on and cabled everything up. Total wt of the OTA and camera etc is around 4 kgs,  1kg under the recommended 5 kg wt limit. With the supplied counterweight all the way to the end of the CW shift I would not balance the rig. Thankfully I had a few small SW counterweights around to balance. 

So after a bit of a phaff with jumping between the home, mount and ASI air wifi I got everything connected.  So Last night was a quick trial, I had a 40 min clear spell.  Polar alignment was easy with the ASI, mount adjustments in RA & DEC are nice and smooth. Once I figured how to set my home point I slewed to various targets all of which were dead centre. BTW this mount is quite noisy slewing in the dead of night.  Onto guiding, this was the biggest surprise, RMS sat between 0.6 - 0.85 the whole time.

I noted a few issues one of which was the polar illuminator, when I Initially set up the mount I wanted to eyeball and centre the pole star prior to ASi polar alignment . With the polar illuminator turned to the lowest setting it was still too bright to see sny stars. I had to turn it off to see any stars.  Will look at this next clear night.

So picture of rig below. Still so cable manage but I think this is going to be a great portable set up.

 

20220821_173129 (1).jpg

Hi Astroscot2 l noticed you are using an extra balance weight on your set up. Could you let me know what weight it is as l have one from my EQ3 which is a tad over 7lb and before l chop it down to give about 3lb extra weight as per the extra iOptron weights that are being used to balance. Nice set up by the way.

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7 hours ago, steviebee said:

Hi Astroscot2 l noticed you are using an extra balance weight on your set up. Could you let me know what weight it is as l have one from my EQ3 which is a tad over 7lb and before l chop it down to give about 3lb extra weight as per the extra iOptron weights that are being used to balance. Nice set up by the way.

Hello Stevie, 

The extra weight is a 1.8kg SW counterweight I believe.  I hope to do away with the extra weight soon once I have the OAG set up. The mount handles the weight with no issues.

 

Mark

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You guys are all on way more advanced rigs than me (just starting out), so I doubt many have tried the built in SNAP/camera control port. But interested in experiences for anyone that has. I was getting very wonky timings - often longer or shorter than requested. Need to do some more tests, but I'm wondering if it's the Phone App playing up. I have set it not to be unloaded/stopped when in background mode. But realised after the fact I had a minor phone battery saver on which may have got in the way. I'm actually not clear yet if the app is doing real time control or sending the intervals to the SA Gti - I suspect  the former, given that it seems to also play up if I walk out of range with the phone.

So far though - after a couple of nights visuals and tinkering and one night attempting imaging, I'm really enjoying the mount. My experience is way too low to know if I'm getting backlash or other issues, but that'll come in time I'm sure. I do find the App based PA a bit all over the place, as I saw mentioned. I may just stick to my initial polar scope PA, which seems to get me pretty close. If anything, the App attempts seem to wander off from this rather than getting closer, but that could be me!

For info: I'm using a very old Lumix GF1 and 135mm/f2.5 lens combo (effective 270mm on the crop sensor) - just as a way to test the basics of my PA, focusing, exposure etc. I'll swap it out for my Lumix S5 soon on my Startravel 102T. The S5 has it's own intervalometer - so this'll be a short lived issue. But I'm waiting on the longer dovetail to balance the rig with that.  And yes, I know I'm going to get bad CA on the 102T with it not having ED glass, but I can live with that for now as I learn all the other stuff. I'm planning to add a 72ED sometime early next year once my skills will live up to it!

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5 hours ago, RobW said:

You guys are all on way more advanced rigs than me (just starting out), so I doubt many have tried the built in SNAP/camera control port. But interested in experiences for anyone that has.

 

Answering my own Q here. It seems the "screen timeout" is the fatal trigger (on Android 11 at least). So not only does the SynScan Phone App need to be continually present for the SA Gti Camera Control, the screen has to be permanently on - which is going to be a battery killer. So it looks like I'll be using the Lumix S5, or grabbing a cheapo intervalometer if I continue to tinker with the GF1.

I'm really hoping the tracking does not stop if the SynScan Phone App is disconnected. Haven't read a definitive report on it, but I suspect it does keep running ok without the phone present.

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Slightly off topic, but the Gti was on my purchase list, but i happened across videos about the HEQ5 Pro, i know its more expensive and at this time i will shut be shooting with my 6D and in the future largest lens purchase of maybe 400mm. Would i be better to go with Gti, given my short /mid term goals, or spend more while i can and get the HEQ5?

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16 hours ago, John Wick said:

Slightly off topic, but the Gti was on my purchase list, but i happened across videos about the HEQ5 Pro, i know its more expensive and at this time i will shut be shooting with my 6D and in the future largest lens purchase of maybe 400mm. Would i be better to go with Gti, given my short /mid term goals, or spend more while i can and get the HEQ5?

The HEQ5 is more future proof - but if you have no immediate need to go above 400mm, it's more expense than you need right now. FWIW, I'm planning on upgrading to a 72ED or maybe even one of the very light 80EDs as a full imaging rig with my Gti. It's a stretch to keep that under the 5Kg payload, but I believe it can be done (e.g. using a l/weight 32mm guide). My longer term plans also include either a 14" Dob or the largest Aplanatic Schmidt  I can lug around (poss the EdgeHD 1100). The latter obv needs a bigger mount, but quite likely I'd be running both at the same time anyway, so it's not really a duplication to have 2 mounts. That part is all ways down the road though - I haven't spent enough time outdoors or gained enough experience to know which way my interests will lead. If it's more on the visual, the big dob is a no brainer.

Edited by RobW
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