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MaxIm DL5 Problems... Help needed!


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Well the sky finally clear last night and I manage to get a few subs of M42. Unfortunately, MaxIm DL5 let me down big time! For the first time in my life I tried to use it for both imaging and guiding and I have to say that the guiding part of the program is terrible. Furthermore this also had unexpected consequences for my DARKS and BIAS frames which contained the brighter image data?

It seem that the ST2000XM cant make proper DARKS and BIAS frames when its used for guiding as well. Can someone please confirm this point? I observed that the brighter image data was breaking through to the DARKS and BIAS frames?

Furthermore MaxIm seems to also ****-up the indexing of the filter wheel, something that hasn't been a problem up to now. I might be jumping to an unfounded conclusion but this is the first time I have had problems with the filter wheel and put it down to the guiding issues.

The main problem with guiding was that my G41 was making huge guiding movements when calibrating, so I dialed everything back even under the advanced tab and it was still no better. In fact, I have the distinct feeling that the subs would have been better without any guide corrections.;)

My conclusion at the moment is that I have to go back to using a separate guide camera and guide scope along with PHD which has served me well so far unless someone has an bright idea how to cure my problems?;)

Perhaps its all user error! :)

I have to say that using MaxIm for the main image capture was OK but adding these other tasks has definitely taken me backwards not forwards...:p

Neil.

Edited by Neil Hankey
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Hi Neil,

sorry to hear you had problems on of our rare, precious clear nights; I have used MaxIm for many years with a variety of cameras and guiders so may be able to help. First off MaxIm guiding setup is rather different to PHD so I would recommend that you go through the guiding and equipment setup tutorials in the MaxIm help. See my comments in-line below in respect of your specific issues.

Cheers

Derrick

Well the sky finally clear last night and I manage to get a few subs of M42. Unfortunately, MaxIm DL5 let me down big time! For the first time in my life I tried to use it for both imaging and guiding and I have to say that the guiding part of the program is terrible. Furthermore this also had unexpected consequences for my DARKS and BIAS frames which contained the brighter image data?

You can't take dark and bias frames whilst simultaneously guding ( and there is no reason you would ever want to) - all kinds of undesirable effects will result from reading and downloading the guider whilst collecting calibration frames with the main sensor.

It seem that the ST2000XM cant make proper DARKS and BIAS frames when its used for guiding as well. Can someone please confirm this point? I observed that the brighter image data was breaking through to the DARKS and BIAS frames?

See above; I would normally use a preset in V5 to expose all my calibration frames - guiding should be disabled when doing this.

Furthermore MaxIm seems to also ****-up the indexing of the filter wheel, something that hasn't been a problem up to now. I might be jumping to an unfounded conclusion but this is the first time I have had problems with the filter wheel and put it down to the guiding issues.

Can you give a bit more detail about what is going wrong with this - ****ed up is not really specific enough to reach a diagnosis :D

The main problem with guiding was that my G41 was making huge guiding movements when calibrating, so I dialed everything back even under the advanced tab and it was still no better. In fact, I have the distinct feeling that the subs would have been better without any guide corrections.;)

Can you explain how you are calibrating the guider, this is an area where MaxIm and PHD are very different.

It's been a while since I used a G40 but ISTR that it has a setting for slew speed and a separate one for guding and NSEW button movement - make sure the guide rate is set at sidereal.

My conclusion at the moment is that I have to go back to using a separate guide camera and guide scope along with PHD which has served me well so far unless someone has an bright idea how to cure my problems?;)

Perhaps its all user error! :)

I think a lot of it is user error - let's debug the errors and see if there are any real problems remaining; I can tell you that I used MaxIm with ann ST-10, a G-40 and 3m+ FL scope without any issues some years ago. :D

I have to say that using MaxIm for the main image capture was OK but adding these other tasks has definitely taken me backwards not forwards...:p

Neil.

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I'll come straight out and say this - there are no Maxim based errors with guiding. If you have any there is a 100% chance it will all come down to finger trouble.

Re the filter wheel. I have an ST10 and an STL, both using their own wheels. The filters are in a different order (MY fault) so the software needs to be set up to show the correct order for the filters. This is done before you connect the camera in Maxim (4.58) you can then connect and cycle the wheel from the expose tab and look down the scope to see if Maxim and the wheel are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Dennis

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To add to what Dennis has said - it is also VERY important to have the Filter Wheel settings as per the Manual.

ie. SBIG Universal Driver with 'Standard' set (I think) for a CFW9 wheel. (This makes the Comm Port option redundant, as it's not required).

Barry.

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Regarding the filter wheel, it has worked perfectly up to this point. However, the diagnosis isn't simple because normally I setup start an imaging run and disappear for a cup of tea etc... Now at first I thought it was the indexing of the wheel but I think the exposures weren't correctly executed?

I have a standard setting LRGB 10x 5min L 5x %min RGB with bias and darks also done automatically. This has worked perfectly until guiding was added to MaxIm DL5 list of tasks. What surprised me is that all this should take about 2:20min but it was done faster than that, so I now suspect the image timings?

Neil.

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Hi Neil

I'm new to Maxim having used it for all of 14 days which amounts to 3 sessions! I've used CCDSoft previously extensively and CCDOps a little when I had a ST2000.

My experience with Maxim is a little different to yours. Guiding has been a dream (I now use a separate guider) and compared to CCDSoft, calibration of Maxim is a doddle and I've had no problems with either the control of the focuser nor the filterwheel.

I am a little puzzled by your particular comment about taking darks and bias whilst imaging and guiding. I think this is a tall order, especially with a dual chip camera. You're asking it to image and guide simultaneously and have its shutter closed for taking darks. I'm not sure how possible that is under any circumstance ... or indeed why you might want to do it

One thing I've had to do is re-learn a lot of things I did previously with CCDSoft/CCDOps. So far, <tapping my head>, I'm pleased to have made the change

HTH

Steve

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I am a little puzzled by your particular comment about taking darks and bias whilst imaging and guiding. I think this is a tall order, especially with a dual chip camera. You're asking it to image and guide simultaneously and have its shutter closed for taking darks. I'm not sure how possible that is under any circumstance ... or indeed why you might want to do it

Steve

Hi Steve,

I thought that the shutter in the ST2000XM only covered the main imaging sensor and not the guide sensor which is by all accounts mounted above the main sensor. This proved not to be the case.

The only reason that I'm using MaxIm for guiding is that it also proved impossible to use the guide sensor with PHD whilst imaging with MaxIm DL5, hence I'm now trying to do everything with MaxIm DL5.

Regards

Neil.

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Hi Neil, just so we are clear on this, the camera will not even guide during a download, I have two SBIG's and neither of them will. You need the shutter open to guide and closed to take darks or bias. The best plan is to do what everyone else does. Do your imaging run and take darks when convenient. You have a temperature controlled camera so take darks and bias on a cloudy night.

Dennis

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Hi Neil

My understanding is that the two chips are parfocal and sit behind the one shutter. Thus if you're doing darks when guiding, the guiding needs to stop. This was a real problem in CCDSoft in that 'auto' darks are the norm (and I usually forgot to turn them off) and to lose guiding for, say, a 5 min dark was a little annoying!

I think you're right to do everything through Maxim. Controlling one camera being used by two different software for two different purposes would be a contention nightmare. Based on my very limited experience, I'd persevere with Maxim at this stage

Steve

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There is only one shutter covering both chips.

Assuming you have the 'Dual Chip' check box checked, guiding will stop while downloading, as already stated.

As a precaution, start Maxim first, then power on your SBIG Camera(s).....good tip, trust me!!!

Barry.

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