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another G11 question...

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#1 revans

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:28 AM

Hi all,

Last night I used the G11 Gemini mount for the first time. I wasn't concerned with the GOTO functions, really only with getting stars and the moon to track, and to get the handcontroller to work. I didn't use a computer.

I found the Gemini handcontroller to be less than user friendly, but maybe I just don't know how to use it properly as I hate reading long manuals.

Is there a way, just using the handcontroller, to quickly and easily go from one tracking rate such as sideral to lunar... and is there a quick and easy way to increase or decrease tracking speed and the speed of movement using the handcontroller arrow keys?

Half the time stars and the moon didn't seem to track (although I tightened the clutches pretty well) and movement of stars pressing the handcontroller arrows was either painfully slow or did not happen at all.

I kept getting "sidereal mode" showing up on the handcontroller box no matter what I did... and also at startup I noticed that it was sort of tedious to enter the time, date, long, lat, mount type etc. I also miss the presence of the old standard axis release levers present on my other mounts.

Any advice (besides just sitting and reading the whole manual for a few hours) ??

Rick

#2 blueman

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:32 AM

Hi,
You just have to read the manual. Sorry, but it is necessary as there is a lot to the Gemini.
To much to know without doing this.
Think of using DOS with sub directories. Choose a directory, then the sub directory you wish, then the item that you want.
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#3 revans

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:50 AM

DOS subdirectories are a real good analogy... I spent some time this morning with the handcontroller unit after reading about a third of the manual... and actually am sort of starting to get a feel for the thing... I still think its not very user friendly (the way the Meade handcontrollers work seems more logical to me so far)

Rick

#4 Phil Cowell

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:16 PM

I still think its not very user friendly (the way the Meade handcontrollers work seems more logical to me so far)

Rick


Don't say that you'll get branded a heretic :tonofbricks:
Phil

#5 Joselo

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:48 PM

Rick,
I agree with Blueman. Read the manual, and get familiar with the Gemini interface. It is a really good software.
Forget about the interface of other manufacturers, since they really are not comparable.

#6 GShaffer

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:32 PM

Its just different from the rest. What you will find is after you get used to the interface you wont even need to look at it......something I cant say of any other goto I have used.

#7 Charlie Hein

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:40 PM

DOS subdirectories are a real good analogy... I spent some time this morning with the handcontroller unit after reading about a third of the manual... and actually am sort of starting to get a feel for the thing... I still think its not very user friendly (the way the Meade handcontrollers work seems more logical to me so far)

Rick


Give it a little time, Rick - check back with us after a few outings.

Charlie

#8 Bowmoreman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:25 AM

Its just different from the rest. What you will find is after you get used to the interface you wont even need to look at it......something I cant say of any other goto I have used.


+1

Yep... took me about 2 nights before I'm now where I can do it without even looking at it... Haven't read the manual since... it is intuitive ONCE you "get it"; until then you just grouse about it's archaic-ness and arcanity...

I don't miss all those NextStar buttons anymore at all, not one bit...

But yeah, at first, you gotta RTFoolishM ;)

clear enough skies

#9 revans

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:41 AM

Well, I've got to say that the learning curve with the G11G is still steep for me. I've had many years of experience with Takahashi and Meade mounts, but it didn't seem to help use this one. But, I only had time to read the quick start part of the manual.

For first light with a new Gladius 315 scope, I moved the assembled mount only from its storage shed observatory to my observing deck... only about 25 feet but it just about broke my back until I learned what the best "handles" on it were.

I polar aligned with the optional Polaris finder and must have been at least somewhat on target, then balanced the Gladius on the mount along both axes. I did a cold start in the right scope position, then I entered the date, my longitude and latitude and the G11 mount type into the handcontroller box. It eventually came back with "Sidereal Mode" I wanted to star test the new Gladius scope which is an F24 scope, but damned if I could get the mount to track Arcturus at all... although the handcontroller box arrows would very very slowly move the star around when I pressed them.

I would have never had this problem with my Tak or Meade mounts and I started to grumble... I just hope my next time out the mount will at least track a star... I'm not even asking for GOTO yet... that's mostly for deep sky folks and I'm a lunar/planetary person.

Anyway... I've read the manual through and learned about the two arrow trick to change speeds etc. Maybe I'll have more luck next time... but I still don't know why the thing wouldn't even track a star...

I'll keep you posted on my future adventures... your probably right... it may work out in the end... but right now I'm not overly excited... plus so far I miss my "clutch" levers on the Tak and Meade mounts and don't really like these Losmandy clutches.

Rick

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#10 Charlie Hein

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 07:03 AM

Hi Rick - I personally think that the Gemini was never intended to be a consumer grade system like the Meade and Celestrons. It really does have a very good logic to how it's set up but you have to work with it to get it down. It doesn't seem that Dr. Goerlich made any attempt at all to pattern the system after anyone elses - it is very good but it is also completely unique in operation. Hang in there and you'll be over the hump before you know it.

There are two ways to change the manual slew rate. If you press the opposite slew button while you're holding the button down in the direction you're going it will speed up the slew rate one step for every time you punch it - but be careful because you can get it going too fast pretty quick. You can also hold the menu button down to activate the quick menus and select the slew rate from there. This is a slower process but it's arguably safer since you know for certain what slew rate you're setting the controller to.

#11 GShaffer

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:33 AM

I was just reading up on those OTA's last night......looked REAL intresting....By all means DO give us a report on that scope!!

ohhh and once again.....once it clicks for you the gemini is great....but it does take a bit to click :)

#12 revans

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:12 AM

Ah... the Gladius 315... well its a Dall Kirkham tubeless scope with the secondary attached to rod-like struts via a round holder (which gives weird zonal diffraction patterns on a star test but doesn't hurt imaging). It is F24, so its like using a regular SCT that has a 2x or 2.5x barlow in place. Its pretty much for the moon and planets only. It is beautiful, sturdy, and well built (no flexure from the rod-like struts at all). Some think that screwing the focuser on too tight might cause some astigmatism to show up on a star test, but I'm not sure if this is really true or not. So far, I've only looked at the moon with it and the image was OK for the seeing conditions. I haven't tried lunar imaging yet... only made an image of a star test. It seems to hold collimation well. My impression so far is that you need to have really excellent seeing to do useful lunar imaging with the scope because you can't really decrease the focal length to compensate for below average seeing. I don't think the design would favor reducing the focal length... might lead to coma or some other problem.

More on this later (in another forum or something, when I get more experience).

Rick

#13 rsbfoto

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:28 AM

Well, I've got to say that the learning curve with the G11G is still steep for me. I've had many years of experience with Takahashi and Meade mounts, but it didn't seem to help use this one. But, I only had time to read the quick start part of the manual.

For first light with a new Gladius 315 scope, I moved the assembled mount only from its storage shed observatory to my observing deck... only about 25 feet but it just about broke my back until I learned what the best "handles" on it were.

I polar aligned with the optional Polaris finder and must have been at least somewhat on target, then balanced the Gladius on the mount along both axes. I did a cold start in the right scope position, then I entered the date, my longitude and latitude and the G11 mount type into the handcontroller box. It eventually came back with "Sidereal Mode" I wanted to star test the new Gladius scope which is an F24 scope, but damned if I could get the mount to track Arcturus at all... although the handcontroller box arrows would very very slowly move the star around when I pressed them.

I would have never had this problem with my Tak or Meade mounts and I started to grumble... I just hope my next time out the mount will at least track a star... I'm not even asking for GOTO yet... that's mostly for deep sky folks and I'm a lunar/planetary person.

Anyway... I've read the manual through and learned about the two arrow trick to change speeds etc. Maybe I'll have more luck next time... but I still don't know why the thing wouldn't even track a star...

I'll keep you posted on my future adventures... your probably right... it may work out in the end... but right now I'm not overly excited... plus so far I miss my "clutch" levers on the Tak and Meade mounts and don't really like these Losmandy clutches.

Rick


Hi,

The Gemini without any change starts up in Visual mode which means that you have 2 slewing wpeeds and those are Centering and Slewing.

If you change the menu sometime then it will always start up in that mode.

Apart from Visual mode you also can choose Photo Mode and All Speed Mode

Photo Mode = G and C which are Guiding and Centereing speed ( This is the one which can make you nuts :-) )

All Speed mode has G, C and S = Guding, Centering and Slewing.

The moment you press be it the RA or DEC button it moves always at first in the slowest speed of the adjusted mode. While pressing one button and quickly pressing the opposte button you change into the next speed and if you do it again then in All Speed mode you get the slewing speed. As you see this is quite a very intelligent way to change speeds.

The AP controller does NOT have this for example. So as you see the Gemini is not that archaic as some write here. It is by far more logical to operate if you understand the a bit the way Directories folder and archives are build aup. It is the same tree arrangement, but if one has not a bit of order in his PC then it is difficult to understand :grin:

As many already have written down, take a good look in the manual especially in the section where the menu tree is depicted then you will understand the logics behind the 4 or 6 button function.

I guess all what I did write right now comes quite late because in the meantime you surely have read the manual :jump:

#14 Nebhunter

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:02 PM

It took me awhile to get comfortable with Gemini. Once I got used to it after a few sessions I began to appreciate the "depth" to the software. I appreciate the control it offers as I do long exposures using film. This is not a learn as you go by pushing buttons. You need to spend time with the manual and work with it.

The polar scope may not be well aligned. Try the Polar Assist routine and quickly dial in the mount. Yes, read up on it first to understand the adjustments. Once you are on target - do a few Additional Aligns - and then the Polar Correction. Now you know the mount is very accurate.

Check the polar alignment scope to see how far off it is. Make adjustments to the polar scope to get it on target - yes - it's a tiny Allen key. Once you dial in the polar scope - you will have a very accurate polar alignment every time after that. Is Gemini accurate with Go To's? A good polar alignment - build an alignment model - and subsequent Go To put every target inside a 12 mm Abbe ortho for me.

#15 Bowmoreman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:43 PM

Rick, some clear night if you want to swing on by (I'm in Bolton), I can show you how everything works...

Basically if it is saying "Sidereal mode", you can just press the "Menu" button once to get BACK to Menu... and from there, to anywhere...

go up/down to Setup, thence to "handcontrol" and thence to picking the speeds...

As also pointed out, if you end up in Photo mode when you actually want/need to do any kind of "faster" slewing or centering, it can be frustrating because of being so darn slow... I recommend "All Speeds" for that use case, because once you get things all set, you can initiate guiding in that mode. (note that Guiding won't work in Visual Mode).

Anyways, anytime you want to swing by, just drop me a PM.

clear enough skies (doesn't look like anytime soon for us though!)

#16 blueman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:50 PM

Also, if you wait a couple of seconds, the sidereal mode will disappear and display will be blank. Then press for the menu and make a choice.
Blueman

#17 revans

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:07 PM

Thanks ! It would be great to see your setup and we are almost neighbors... I could also show you my roll out shed type observatory... the landscapers have almost finished the rest of the patio.

I'm a little backed up with work and also promised an observatory in Brookline that I'd look at a project with them... but probably later this summer. I'll send a PM when the weather looks good... probably some time after the 4th holiday. Thanks again...

Rick

#18 Awesomelenny

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:54 PM

Hi Rick,

I used to have an Atlas EQ-G, and Meade Go-TO mounts and controllers. When I went to my Losmandy Titan, I also gruntled on how un-user friendly it seemed. But you know what? I sold off all my mounts, and am a Losmandy purist! I now have a G11 and a Titan. Both have Gemini GoTo. Listen to all these guys here, they are right. You have GOT to give yourself time to read the manual, learn the ropes and before you know it, you will love this mount and all that it is capable of doing for you. When you get pretty good at it, I very highly recommend you to download and purchase the Gemini Control Center. That is so neat to work with off your pc. I can't get enough of the functionality.

The Sky6, CCDSoft from Software Bisque, Starry Night Pro Plus all work well with the Gemini too.

#19 revans

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 04:16 AM

Well, I haven't given up hope quite yet... and it is in my financial interest to make this mount work for me... if my initial experience has been less than I had hoped for, I still think that things will eventually work out as your say...

Rick

#20 Charlie Hein

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 07:34 AM

Well, I haven't given up hope quite yet... and it is in my financial interest to make this mount work for me... if my initial experience has been less than I had hoped for, I still think that things will eventually work out as your say...

Rick



I was a bit scared at the expense (I'm basically cheap) for a while but I really think now that this was money very well spent. I really think that you will too.

#21 revans

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 10:11 PM

Hi all,

OK... after 5 weeks of continuous rain in New England, tonight I finally had clear skies, no wind, and decent seeing. I took out the Losmandy G11 mount for the second session with it and put my Gladius 315 on it.

My problem before was just that it defaulted to the Titan mount rather than the G11 and that threw the tracking completely off. Once that was fixed, everything worked out perfectly.

Polar alignment was extremely accurate with the optional polar scope. Tracking of stars and the moon was spot on.

I'm even getting used to the clutches. I also learned that it is really worth it to take off the equatorial head when you move the tripod... otherwise it kills your back... but taking the head on and off is quick and easy...

So... overall... I think it is going to work out OK... I'm optimistic for a change...

Rick

#22 Bowmoreman

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:49 AM

Hi Rick, good to see you back on this thread; and with things working...

and with us finally getting some clear, transparent, skies, huh?

I was up til 2AM the night of the 4th, and 12 last night doing imaging and generally having a BALL! (6+ weeks of deprivation - basically - will do that to an astro-lad!).

first step 2 nights ago was using the Polar Alignment Correction to tighten up my alignment... It was off slightly. But after ONE iteration, it is now really good. Of course, I had to build a new pointing model afterwards, but THAT was ridiculously easy. Every goto was dead-nuts on. As in within a few hundred pixels of the center of the CCD chip!

Took the time to build a new model with each/every alignment star fully centered on the Nebulousity cross hairs of the "focusing" screen...

Planning on going out again tonight; not sure of the target(s) yet...

But I have found that Gemini will guide INCREDIBLY accurately (at least on my MI250) using an STV.

Last nights average X/Y error was 0.2 - 0.4"... for 90 minutes, many times, it would be 0.0 - 0.1 for many minutes on end... And this w/o PEC trained or turned on. I only had ONE peak error (X) that was greater than 1", and that was when I futzed with a cable during the guiding run.

Sure made the guiding uneventful. I'm now (after about 7 uses/nights) to where I can completely use Gemini without reading the manual (at all), and without LOOKING at the hand controller!

That Gladius is quite interesting; seems an "analog" for the Tak Mewlon 300 my neighbor Steve has (also a very long focal length 300mm DK scope)... He does planetary and doubles analysis, etc...

Wish we didn't have LUNA right now though! :lol:

clear enough skies

#23 Bob D

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:59 AM

... plus so far I miss my "clutch" levers on the Tak and Meade mounts and don't really like these Losmandy clutches.

Rick


What don't you like about the Losmandy clutches? Are they too hard to tighten? I noticed that there are some alternate knobs with "little handles" like a ship steering wheel.

#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:25 AM

It usually goes the other way. People get sick of lever clutches. The lever clutches on the Taks, Vixens, and older AP mounts can be a real PITA (fumbling in the dark etc.).

I suppose their main virtue is you can achieve a virtual "lockdown" of the mount. But I grew up using an Optical Craftsmen mount which allowed you to grab and move and point with no fiddling. So I went into shock when I started using a lever system. I'm still not hugely fond of it.

In fact, after years of reading posts, I think this is the first one I've seen of someone saying he prefers levers. But, wotthehell. I also note that if you are using go-to it doesn't matter, you won't be grabbing at the clutch levers much if at all.

Greg N

#25 revans

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 02:18 PM

Dave,

I've done my share of deep sky imaging, but the last few years I've mainly done lunar and planetary imaging. I don't need precise guiding for long periods... only for a couple of minutes at a time. But, the Losmandy mount would have kept Jupiter centered in the camera field at something like 200x for at least 10 minutes without a correction on my part. That is as good or better than my Tak EM-200 mount can do. I'm starting to like the G11 mount. It certainly is solid and accurate. My EM-200 mount is much less heavy and my old LXD75 mount is like a feather in comparison.

The Gladius is an F24 scope of 12.4 inch aperture. It is only useful for the moon and planets... not a deep sky scope at all. Also, I would say that it is really not for visual use... it is really designed around having a camera attached. The only negative I see with it so far is that when seeing is only average there is no way to reduce the focal length. With my Mewlon 250 it is often possible to take a lower power view of the moon and increase the image scale in processing. This gives a better result in average seeing than trying too much image scale when the image is taken at the scope. But, it isn't possible to use this strategy with the Gladius. On the other hand, when seeing is really good, the Gladius is the scope to have for lunar and planetary imaging.

I think I'll give Jupiter another a try in the early morning hours. I just used a color webcam yesterday (actually early this morning) and I think I'd like to try an LRGB image. Seeing is supposed to be better tonight than yesterday in our area.

A few people commented on the clutch issue I mentioned earlier... I'm liking the Losmandy clutch better now... initially I didn't know how tight to make them and they were not in the usual locations. With my other mounts I was used to feeling for the clutch levers in the dark and knew by experience just how much to tighten them. But... now I have no complaints about the Losmandy clutches.

Anyway... I'll attach a photo of my setup from last night... it shows the scale differences between the Mewlon 250 on an EM-200 mount and low tripod, a Celestron 9.25 inch SCT on an LXD75 mount, and the Gladius 315 on the Losmandy G11 mount. All though I set them all up, I really only had time to work with the Gladius/G11 combo.

Rick

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