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SW Star Adventurer GTI owner thread


Astroscot2
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8 hours ago, licho52 said:

Just get a HEQ5, the difference is enormous, even for a 400mm, which is well outside of gti's capabilities in my opinion.

Yep - if you have the budget, the HEQ5 is a no brainer. But if you want to start small, there are a few examples of guys using Askar FRA400s and WO ZS 73s though on GTis or other 5kg payload mounts and able to get 5min subs. It's a stretch, and you're gonna need to gain some real experience to make it work (which for me is much of the appeal). But it can be done if you keep your imaging train lightweight. Personally, for me, I know I'm gonna need a much bigger mount down the line - and the HEQ5 wouldn't cut it then anyway. By then i'll be looking at something like a Pegasus HWM to give me the capacity for an 11" SCT. So I'm happy with the SA Gti as a starter mount to learn on, and also use with a high quality lightweight ED refractor rig as the next stage. My tripod underneath is already sized to 40 or 50kg, so that part I know is future proofed (and also the only part that is vaguely affordable in all of this!)

Edited by RobW
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I got my SA GTI a few weeks ago but only had a chance to use it properly last weekend. Unfortunately, I have an issue with the tracking.

I have a Redcat 51, Svbony sv165 guide scope, ASI183MC-Pro, ASI120MM and use ASIAIR to control everything. The tripod is level, the equipment is balanced on both RA and DEC, and polar alignment is almost perfect using the PA feature of the ASIAIR. I  did also use the inbuilt polar scope to rule out any issues with the ASIAIR. I had a set of brand new Duracell Optimum batteries inserted in the mount ( I read a comment somewhere that some unbranded batteries may cause problems).

Despite all this, at 60 seconds I get very bad star trails unguided. I could only push it to 2 or 3 mins with guiding. A friend of mine who was with me this weekend has the same mount (with same batteries) and without guiding he was able to see round stars up to 3 mins. This Friday I am meeting my local astro supplier to test the mount together. In the meantime, if anyone has any idea what might be causing the problem or what else I could test I would like to hear from you.

Word of warning - Do not tighten the RA clutch. I did (probably out of frustration for the tracking issue) and the green knob or whatever you call just unscrewed itself. The RA knob can be screwed in and SW must have used some glue to keep it from unscrewing when tightening or loosening the RA. Anyway, I used pliers to release the RA and super glued the green knob. 

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12 minutes ago, astrocliffs said:

I got my SA GTI a few weeks ago but only had a chance to use it properly last weekend. Unfortunately, I have an issue with the tracking.

I have a Redcat 51, Svbony sv165 guide scope, ASI183MC-Pro, ASI120MM and use ASIAIR to control everything. The tripod is level, the equipment is balanced on both RA and DEC, and polar alignment is almost perfect using the PA feature of the ASIAIR. I  did also use the inbuilt polar scope to rule out any issues with the ASIAIR. I had a set of brand new Duracell Optimum batteries inserted in the mount ( I read a comment somewhere that some unbranded batteries may cause problems).

Despite all this, at 60 seconds I get very bad star trails unguided. I could only push it to 2 or 3 mins with guiding. A friend of mine who was with me this weekend has the same mount (with same batteries) and without guiding he was able to see round stars up to 3 mins. This Friday I am meeting my local astro supplier to test the mount together. In the meantime, if anyone has any idea what might be causing the problem or what else I could test I would like to hear from you.

Word of warning - Do not tighten the RA clutch. I did (probably out of frustration for the tracking issue) and the green knob or whatever you call just unscrewed itself. The RA knob can be screwed in and SW must have used some glue to keep it from unscrewing when tightening or loosening the RA. Anyway, I used pliers to release the RA and super glued the green knob. 

I have a similar set up as you, have you tried powering the mount via the ASIAIR to see if that makes any difference?

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I've got a beginner's question with regard to 3 star alignment and the SA GTi. Some videos I've seen have just used the SynScan App controls to align to the stars. Some have used the Azimuth and Altitude control knobs. A Sky-Watcher webcast has them using both. The manual doesn't cover it. So, how do people do 3 star alignment with the Synscan App?

Thanks!

Ian

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3 hours ago, irose said:

I've got a beginner's question with regard to 3 star alignment and the SA GTi. Some videos I've seen have just used the SynScan App controls to align to the stars. Some have used the Azimuth and Altitude control knobs. A Sky-Watcher webcast has them using both. The manual doesn't cover it. So, how do people do 3 star alignment with the Synscan App?

Thanks!

Ian

The Azimuth and Altitude control knobs are a must with an accurate polar alignment, whether that's using the finderscope or software. However, that does not do the alignment.

Alignment, using the movement controls tells the mount where your scope is pointing, the more alignment stars used allows it to create a map of your mounts accuracy.

For a quick visual session you could just do a rough PA visually and let the alignment process work out the errors - you'll get some drift of course.

An imaging session without guiding needs the best PA you can muster, but guiding can help wih poor PA and longer exposures.

 

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Thanks StevieDvd.

So the alignment process (without guiding) should be:

1. Polar align as accurately as possible using the Azimuth and Altitude control knobs and finderscope

2. Use the SynScan App , 3 star alignment and movement controls to centre each star

Ian

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On 28/10/2022 at 23:39, irose said:

Thanks StevieDvd.

So the alignment process (without guiding) should be:

1. Polar align as accurately as possible using the Azimuth and Altitude control knobs and finderscope

2. Use the SynScan App , 3 star alignment and movement controls to centre each star

Ian

I'm also a beginner - but I think there is also an extra possible step. The polar align in (1) can be "refined" with the SynScan App - in my version it's listed as "Polar Alignment" next to the "Polar Scope" function. My understanding is that this is in addition to 1+2 above - you do those first, then this does an extra/final star alignment based check with an "adjustment" using the Alt & Az controls to correct for minor polar scope alignment miscalculation. I spotted this being explained in one of the SA Gti review/intro videos. Honestly, for me results were mixed - my polar scope align was more accurate. But I only just got myself a crosshair eyepiece to help with accuracy centreing, so I need to retry now I have that. For imaging work, I'll likely just use plate solving in SharpCap or some other tool after getting a reasonably close PA using the polar scope.

Edited by RobW
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4 hours ago, RobW said:

I'm also a beginner - but I think there is also an extra possible step. The polar align in (1) can be "refined" with the SynScan App - in my version it's listed as "Polar Alignment" next to the "Polar Scope" function. My understanding is that this is in addition to 1+2 above - you do those first, then this does an extra/final star alignment based check with an "adjustment" using the Alt & Az controls to correct for minor polar scope alignment miscalculation. I spotted this being explained in one of the SA Gti review/intro videos. Honestly, for me results were mixed - my polar scope align was more accurate. But I only just got myself a crosshair eyepiece to help with accuracy centreing, so I need to retry now I have that. For imaging work, I'll likely just use plate solving in SharpCap or some other tool after getting a reasonably close PA using the polar scope.

Yes it's the same on the bigger SW mounts, a star alignment adjusts the mounts mapping but does not correct the phyical alignment.  In the handset options (and Syncan software) you can then use the Alt/Az screws to improve the physical (and the model) accuracy. I've not used that for years as the newer PA hardware/software tools are easier.

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Another Newbie Q - are there any significant benefits/drawbacks of using EQMOD over USB vs WiFi for a PHD2 connection to the SA Gti? Reason being, if I use EQMOD it keeps my PC WiFi free for remote desktop connection and saves me running an Ethernet cable into the garden. My worry about EQMOD is if a high frame rate camera were in use, could this saturate the USB3 bus and result in EQMOD having issues communicating with the mount? I realise that high frame rates would likely only be the case on planetary imaging, and in that case maybe it's less of an issue. I'd probably be using FireCapture with a single camera then anyway rather than a separate guide camera.

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5 hours ago, RobW said:

Another Newbie Q - are there any significant benefits/drawbacks of using EQMOD over USB vs WiFi for a PHD2 connection to the SA Gti? Reason being, if I use EQMOD it keeps my PC WiFi free for remote desktop connection and saves me running an Ethernet cable into the garden. My worry about EQMOD is if a high frame rate camera were in use, could this saturate the USB3 bus and result in EQMOD having issues communicating with the mount? I realise that high frame rates would likely only be the case on planetary imaging, and in that case maybe it's less of an issue. I'd probably be using FireCapture with a single camera then anyway rather than a separate guide camera.

USB is much more reliable, i simply cant imagine using the WIFI connection myself not reliable enough for my taste and with no external antenna on the SA GTI the range is very limited. 

Adam 

Edited by Adam J
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1 hour ago, Adam J said:

USB is much more reliable, i simply cant imagine using the WIFI connection myself not reliable enough for my taste and with no external antenna on the SA GTI the range is very limited. 

Adam 

Thanks. Cable is on way today so I'll start out that way.

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Do any of you have experience with this mount when simply using a DSLR & lens, so fairly lightweight? I’m asking because I’m struggling to balance it properly.

The provided counterweight is too heavy, even when moving it as close as possible to the mount so I believe I might need to get a lightweight one just for this use case but I understand the rod is slightly thicker than on previous SA’s. Does anyone have any recommendations?

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On 24/09/2022 at 09:49, SirLancelot4711 said:

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.

By the way, update on this: I did eventually get a replacement. Long cloudy spell prevented me from properly playing around with it earlier but I did so the last few days and wanted to check a few things with you guys (going from low to high in terms of how concerned I am about them).

  1. After polar alignment, when I used the GOTO function on the first SA GTI to align to my first star, it generally went more or less into the right position and I only had to finetune, which was great. This one however goes completely off and I have to move it significantly to put into the right direction. Once the first star is aligned, the rest works. Was I just lucky with the first few times and is it typical that the first alignment is totally off?
  2. After doing a 3 star alignment, I tried to focus on Andromeda, but the app told me it's out of reach, despite being right above me. Has anyone experienced this? It did find other stars correctly so I would have presumed that my alignment was correct. Location and time were also correctly set.

Did you experience any of the above and have any advice?

Edited by SirLancelot4711
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21 hours ago, SirLancelot4711 said:

By the way, update on this: I did eventually get a replacement. Long cloudy spell prevented me from properly playing around with it earlier but I did so the last few days and wanted to check a few things with you guys (going from low to high in terms of how concerned I am about them).

  1. After polar alignment, when I used the GOTO function on the first SA GTI to align to my first star, it generally went more or less into the right position and I only had to finetune, which was great. This one however goes completely off and I have to move it significantly to put into the right direction. Once the first star is aligned, the rest works. Was I just lucky with the first few times and is it typical that the first alignment is totally off?
  2. After doing a 3 star alignment, I tried to focus on Andromeda, but the app told me it's out of reach, despite being right above me. Has anyone experienced this? It did find other stars correctly so I would have presumed that my alignment was correct. Location and time were also correctly set.

Did you experience any of the above and have any advice?

On point 1 - the accuracy of your first star you go to will in part be how good your PA was, but also the accuracy of your home position. I've been battling with this. The GTi doesn't help much with manually getting a good home position because it has no degree scales on RA or DEC. Actually, I need to check that properly - I realise the polar scope has a scale that I may not be properly using for one of those! There's no external scales to use with levels though. Setup for visual with a wide FOV eyepiece, it's no big deal, but it's painful for a narrow image sensor FOV. It's something I need to work on next time out. Possibly your 2i was less of an issue because you only had one moving axis which could be slightly mis-aligned when in home position. Once you've done your 1,2, or 3 star alignment none of this matters - the GOTO caters for any mis-alignment of home. But that doesn't help with getting that first star alignment close enough to be in FOV. BTW - I'm a total beginner, so I could be missing something obvious!

As for your (2) I'm too new to advise - but I do recall seeing some configured limits on the mount DEC that may be worth checking out. Possibly also that a mis-aligned home could mean the GOTO is adjusting too much for the DEC axis being too high (or low) and hitting the mechanical limits.

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22 hours ago, SirLancelot4711 said:

By the way, update on this: I did eventually get a replacement. Long cloudy spell prevented me from properly playing around with it earlier but I did so the last few days and wanted to check a few things with you guys (going from low to high in terms of how concerned I am about them).

  1. After polar alignment, when I used the GOTO function on the first SA GTI to align to my first star, it generally went more or less into the right position and I only had to finetune, which was great. This one however goes completely off and I have to move it significantly to put into the right direction. Once the first star is aligned, the rest works. Was I just lucky with the first few times and is it typical that the first alignment is totally off?
  2. After doing a 3 star alignment, I tried to focus on Andromeda, but the app told me it's out of reach, despite being right above me. Has anyone experienced this? It did find other stars correctly so I would have presumed that my alignment was correct. Location and time were also correctly set.

Did you experience any of the above and have any advice?

On point 2., you probably need to increase the altitude limit in the SynScan Pro app, under Settings->Altitude Limit. I think it defaults to 75 degrees.

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I noticed that the RA clutch was getting a little bit of play after just 3 nights of using. Shortly after, I ended up experiencing the same problem again that I had with the first one (which I mentioned earlier in this thread). The problem was that tightening the RA clutch would have no effect anymore and you'd be able to move it by hand easily 😱

I finally did get some help though and fixed it and wanted to post it here in case any of you run into the same issue:

Underneath the black sticker mentioning patents, there is a little hole with a screw. You can use a 2mm allen key to tighten the screw, which tightens the backlash. Not sure if this was something super obvious for some of you guys but for me it was like a eureka moment 😀

That fixed it for me and all seems to work as it should now. Let's see if it does so on the next night out.

2030254358_Picture1.thumb.jpg.f9ccb8e3ebf54881a0aedb601b3a07f9.jpg

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2 hours ago, SirLancelot4711 said:

I noticed that the RA clutch was getting a little bit of play after just 3 nights of using. Shortly after, I ended up experiencing the same problem again that I had with the first one (which I mentioned earlier in this thread). The problem was that tightening the RA clutch would have no effect anymore and you'd be able to move it by hand easily 😱

I finally did get some help though and fixed it and wanted to post it here in case any of you run into the same issue:

Underneath the black sticker mentioning patents, there is a little hole with a screw. You can use a 2mm allen key to tighten the screw, which tightens the backlash. Not sure if this was something super obvious for some of you guys but for me it was like a eureka moment 😀

That fixed it for me and all seems to work as it should now. Let's see if it does so on the next night out.

2030254358_Picture1.thumb.jpg.f9ccb8e3ebf54881a0aedb601b3a07f9.jpg

Yeah I asked permission from FLO to conduct this procedure and to also to add some purple thread-lock (purple = for small adjustment screws) to prevent it coming loose again. They gave me the OK, its not come loose again since. Its caused by vibration so without the thread-lock it may work lose again. Others on cloudy nights have used a couple of turns of PTFE, not sure i like that solution as much though. 

Adam

Edited by Adam J
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On 14/11/2022 at 09:04, RobW said:

Just spotted on Cloudy Nights, that SW have release a new version 3.42 f/ware which is listed on ZWO forums (to fix some issues with ASIair I belive), but the link is only currently on the ZWO site and not the SW site.

https://bbs.astronomy-imaging-camera.com/d/15229-asiair-star-adventurer-gti-problems/18

 

 

Attached is the Release Note file - the last offical one I saw/installed was 3.39 but this new one is 3.44

Release Note.txt

I updated mine via wifi at first but it failed at 72%.  So I powered the mount down and connected an eqmod cable and on powering up Syncan says it can't find something but an update can be done. Took a while longer over eqdir cable, but all updated and I rebooted it and now starts up okay (and moves on both axis using the app). Forgot to try the usb cable first so can't say for sure it must be an eqdir cable on a failed update.

This happened on its first firmware update too so I was prepared. There have been some saying the wifi signal can be interrupted if you are too close to a router (I had a repeater in the garage where I did the update).

Steve

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Having major problems.  Firstly, I could not get the firmware update to work although I had a good wifi connection to the mount.  I noticed my laptop needed some updates, so I did those and then re-booted everything.  Now the mount does not appear to be broadcasting a wifi signal at all.  I have tried from mobile devices as well - aaagh!  Is there any kind of re-set procedure for the mount, I can’t find any trouble shooting info in the very short manual?  I have yet to get this thing operational in any way, so wanted to get the right firmware on board to link to my ASIAir as had read about problems.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  FYI, I have an EQMod cable for connecting to the ASIair, could I use this for another go at updating?

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