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sometimes you have to try something else


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chair outside dressed with a virtuoso v1 mount level and horizontal pointing north, synscan dongle, 50ED, ASI462MC, flower pot due shield, LiFEPO4 tank and a 10m usb cable getting cold outside, a plonk and go arrangement.

Me inside pc screen - ASCOM, ASTAP, sharpcap Pro, PHD2, stellarium and a mobile using scanpro app (tend to use that then the windows app) and other end of the 10m usb from the camera.

For fully hands off use my method is 1 star align as on this option the mount will slew to where it thinks the target is, fine tune the position by looking at what the camera sees in sharpcap, using 1 star alignment repeat on different targets using platesolve in sharpcap a bit too all builds a better goto response.

So far so good but getting unpredictable exposure length even accounting for the most forgiving directions of East and West below 60 degrees. The small sensor size does expose issues fast, I do use a DSLR sometimes and that can give longer exposures say 20 seconds which is useable for me. Lets see what the tracking is like with the small sensor, PHD2 wasn't quite happy the star (single star tracking) kept drifting off. What ever fiddling I did couldn't really fix it. This was the best I managed, see the scale size on the left!


Next using platesolving to assist I worked out what the drift was, aim at a star where the altaz and eq axis are parallel, due South 30-40 degrees for me (stelllarium helps here). platesolved again after 5 or 10 minutes tracking and resynced and centred and pumped the before and after coordinates into a spreadsheet and worked out the RA had negligible drift but DEC had a fairly consistent drift of 0.025. ASCOM does have an offset rate feature but the mount did not support receiving that communication.  Love the mount tracks great for visual but I've reached a block currently with what software I was using but I've found by search Astroberry on Pi might be worth trying as there's a driver for the mount where I can enter the DEC rate adjustment.

In the meantime I picked up a returned az-gti in the recent offers using my super FLO voucher I'd been saving, happy to start a journey with mount taking the pressure off getting my Pi3A+ to work with Astroberry but will be sticking with Altaz as this suits me.


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