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PHD/SSAG question

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#1 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:44 AM

Does PHD require drivers that are not installed when the PHD software is downloaded and installed?

I own a Skywatcher EQ5P and use a Windows 7 laptop to control Nebulosity. Last night, I attempted to begin learning to use my SSAG with PHD, but could never get PHD to see the mount.

The SSAG is connected to the computer via a USB cable, and to the mount's guideport via the included network cable. PHD started fine, and seemd to display an image from the camera, but when i attempted to connect to the mount I received an error message indicating a problem with the ASCOM driver.

This morning I found the PHD manual on-line and noticed there are several versions of drivers listed, but not much in the way of explanations about which ones (if any) to use with specific mounts.

If one of you might have experience with this mount and with the SSAG and PHD, I'd appreciate some help with the best settings to use for the connection dialog boxes.

#2 Trev

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:54 AM

Is your laptop recognizing the com port your connected to?

#3 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:01 AM

Not sure. The SSAG is connected by USB cable to a USB hub. My DSLR is also connected thru this hub and the computor recognizes the camera just fine.

While attempting to resolve the issue, I selected all of the avaible Comm Ports in turn - the dialog box presented me with Comms 1-12. This did not resolve the issue.

#4 CarolG

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:03 AM

Did you install the drivers from Orion? These Drivers It says 64 bit, but from what I read they also are for 32 bit machines. I installed them and have had no trouble.

#5 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:10 AM

I honestly don't remember, and it is worth re-installing just in case. Thanks for the link.

It looks like those drivers are specifically for the SSAG. Do you believe they might also influence to mount/PHD handshake?

#6 nemo129

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:35 AM

On the top menu in PHD (you know the File-Mount-Tools-Help one on top) under Mount. Did you choose "On-Camera"? The camera is controlling your mount, so you need to do that. That way when you pick your camera (SSAG), the mount will be driven by the camera via the ST4 guider interface which is a standard. You do not need click on the Connect the Telescope icon if you are connecting the way that you described it in your OP. Hope this helps.

#7 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:48 AM

I do not believe I did that. I installed the software when I got the SSAG about 6-7 months ago. It's been long enough that I've forgotten most of the install/setup routine.

Perhaps it's also been long enough to have forgotten a cardinal rule - there are no real shortcuts. I'll simply have to read the instructions and practice the routine.

I'm hoping to get it all down in the next month. I am moving to a new home and leaving my observatory behind. My new neighborhood doesn't allow out-buildings, and I don't want to spend any more time setting up once I no longer have the luxury of just leaving everything connected and mounted at the end of the night.

#8 nemo129

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:51 AM

I edited my post to try to make it clearer. As I said I hope that helps. It really is very easy to use. The issue you had is really the only one I ever had and it just works great now!
Clear Skies!

#9 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

At the very least, you have identified something that I should have done and that I failed to do. At best, it may just completely solve the problem.

I'll give it all a try tonight.

#10 mak7

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 12:34 PM

Another thing that could be in question, you mentioned a USB hub.

If it is not a powered hub, it divides power between the individual outlets and might not be fully powering the SSAG. I had some intermitant problems with other accessories until I changed to a powered USB hub. They require 5 volts to power them fully and I picked up a 12v to 5v converter from Radio Shack to power the unit in the field from the main deepcycle battery.
My intermitant problems went away.
Brad

#11 rmollise

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 05:00 PM

Does PHD require drivers that are not installed when the PHD software is downloaded and installed?

I own a Skywatcher EQ5P and use a Windows 7 laptop to control Nebulosity. Last night, I attempted to begin learning to use my SSAG with PHD, but could never get PHD to see the mount.

The SSAG is connected to the computer via a USB cable, and to the mount's guideport via the included network cable. PHD started fine, and seemd to display an image from the camera, but when i attempted to connect to the mount I received an error message indicating a problem with the ASCOM driver.

This morning I found the PHD manual on-line and noticed there are several versions of drivers listed, but not much in the way of explanations about which ones (if any) to use with specific mounts.

If one of you might have experience with this mount and with the SSAG and PHD, I'd appreciate some help with the best settings to use for the connection dialog boxes.


This has nothing to do with drivers, but with connections. That "network" cable is not a network cable; it is an ST4 cable that goes from the guide output on the camera to the guide port. No drivers are involved. Ascom is not used. You simply tell PHD "on camera."

#12 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:12 PM

Nemo and Rmollise nailed it. When I selected "on Camera", it all connected just fine.

Now - what are my configuration options. I attempted to guide, and got the error message that the RA calibration failed, star did not move enough.

I read the help file, and found the advanced section, but don't want to guess at what configuration options to change.

#13 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:47 PM

Okay, randomly tweaking one item at a time worked. I have round stars at 5 minutes!

So - does PHD retain settings from one session to another, or do I need to save the file?

#14 nemo129

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:04 PM

So - does PHD retain settings from one session to another, or do I need to save the file?


It saves them, but I would write them down just in case. ;)
You may also find that you need to change your settings at times based on where in the sky you are imaging, sky conditions, or maybe you changed your imaging scope. I just put the settings into a text file that I save on the laptop for future reference.

#15 CounterWeight

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:05 PM

Congratultions and +1 for forums :) what settings are you referring to? The brain function settings are saved, as is the contrast slider position.

#16 dymy24

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:07 PM

Thank you all. I've recorded the "brain" settings. I'll learn more tomorrow night. Gotta love this time of year.

#17 dymy24

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 06:51 AM

Thanks to Stark Labs and Cloudy Nights, I can now take 5 minute subs with nice, round stars. Of course, that doesn't mean I know what to do with them afterwards! Wish I'd started in this hobby when I was younger.

#18 Grimzella

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:00 AM

"Wish I'd started in this hobby when I was younger." -dymy24


any time is a GREAT time to get into astronomy!!

#19 nemo129

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 06:33 PM

Thanks to Stark Labs and Cloudy Nights, I can now take 5 minute subs with nice, round stars. Of course, that doesn't mean I know what to do with them afterwards! Wish I'd started in this hobby when I was younger.


Well, there is this other free program called Deep Sky Stacker... :grin: You are never too old to learn new things...trust me on this! :)

#20 dymy24

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:47 AM

I have DSS somewhere. I also purchased Nebulosity about a year ago. I use Nebulosity to control the camera, capture the images, and do the post-capture processing that I know how to do. Because Nebulosity also integrates with PHD and does the stacking, I just use it for everything.

Does DSS have an advantage (besides being free) over Nebulosity for some of these tasks?

#21 Bowmoreman

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 02:20 PM

DSS is WAY better/faster at post-processing (calibration of lights, darks, flats, stacking, etc.) than Nebulousity... you can fully automate the entire process...

When I use my QHY8 (OSC) camera, I use Nebulousity for capture, and then use DSS for post processing...

Now that I also have a QSI583WS, I'm having to learn Maxim DL5 instead... jury is still out...

But, thus far, I *miss* DSS...

HTH

#22 kid

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 06:10 PM

I met with the same problems recently. The way I fixed it is in the Mount manu choose "on camera" but not "ASCOM". Because the camera is controlling the mount, not the computer via ASCOM.

I have a question about SSAG/PHD as well and I wonder if I can post it here:
When I am doing the calibration, firstly I believe it moves along RA from the original position and come back to cailbrate RA movement; This step works fine. Then it moves along DEC for about 60 steps, but it can't come back, and waring shows:"DEC calibration failed: Turning off DEC guiding". Does anyone knows what's the problem? Should I increase the calibration step in the brain manu?

Thanks!

#23 rmollise

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 05:00 AM

I met with the same problems recently. The way I fixed it is in the Mount manu choose "on camera" but not "ASCOM". Because the camera is controlling the mount, not the computer via ASCOM.

I have a question about SSAG/PHD as well and I wonder if I can post it here:
When I am doing the calibration, firstly I believe it moves along RA from the original position and come back to cailbrate RA movement; This step works fine. Then it moves along DEC for about 60 steps, but it can't come back, and waring shows:"DEC calibration failed: Turning off DEC guiding". Does anyone knows what's the problem? Should I increase the calibration step in the brain manu?

Thanks!


Yes, try increasing calibration steps. The problem is usually dec backlash.

#24 kid

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:17 PM

THX Rod,

I tried yesterday and now here's the issue:

I increase the calibration step longer, from 1s to 15s. Now after N calibration it will return and do S calibration, but I guess because of the DEC backlash the star doesn't move a lot, and it won't come back to the original point before it starts guiding. So, during the guiding, the RA curve fluctuate along x-axis, while the DEC curves gradually drops with generally a constant slope...






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