CPC 1100 with SkyFi
Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:30 PM
I have a CPC 1100 using primarily a Mallincam video camera. Wanting to control
the telescope from inside the house where I view I purchased
SkySafari3 Plus. Being that the wireless modules were out of stock on Southern
stars I bought the StarSeek wi-fi module(as suggested).
Everything hooked up great!Now for the problem/question. I can not get the
object to enter the FOV of the video camera(it just makes it in using a 40 mm
eyepiece). If I align as the directions state then move off that object and back
it will be centered in the FOV. If I tell it to go to another obeject the new
object will not be in the FOV but as I said if I go back to the object that I
aligned to it will be centered. I searched and found suggestions that
stated to turn off the time and location on SkySafari.
If that did not work to turn off the same things on the I-pad.
I could not get either to turn off and stay off. I was hoping the forum members
would assist me as I am still trying to get warm from last night and desperately
would like to get this working before the temps get worse! The go-tos using the hand control come into the FOV using the Mallincam so I am assuming that my alignment on the Celestron hd wedge are alright.
Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:44 AM
I have a similar set up. Verify you have set the celestron scope id to CPC alt-az in the setup screen and turn off 'auto detect' skyfi also in addition to turning off time. Next,
1. Using the Mallincam at full F10 on the CPC1100 is a real big challenge in many respects. I use the MFR5 and one or two spacers to get the telescope down to F4 or thereabouts. If you are imaging at F10 this alone can probably explain alot of your pointing troubles... at the very least use a F6.3 reducer or the cheapo antares 0.5X...
2. when performing your initial 2 star alignment, use the Mallincam with cross box. I have all my wires running into my study, about 50 feet away, but for this step I bring a small 9" portable (battery operated) LCD to the scope and plug in the composite output to do the alignment. So lets say you start at Altair and then use Vega as your second star...
3. Once centered on Vega I come inside, and SYNC the sky safari to Vega.
4. I find the Sky Safari/SkyFI combination is accurate to no more than 10-15 degrees of the sky when slewing and using the "DSS-hopping" technique. So from Vega, go to M57... SYNC... then go to M27 SYNC... etc... try and keep each slew to under 10 degrees...
Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:13 AM
My CPC 1100 is mounted on a Celestron HD Pro wedge. I use a 15mm lighted reticule for a 2 star EQ North alignment. I have it set on the SkySafari3 Plus to Equatorial GoTo Fork. I am using the MFR5 focal reducer with a 5mm spacer between the elements. I have not yet tried shutting of the time and location in the communication settings. Auto detect SkyFi is off. I Have a 7" monitor at the scope. Do you find the aligning with the Mallincam rather than using the eye piece gives better GoTo's?
Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:01 PM
I used to do it your way with a 12mm reticle eyepiece, but now I just use the mallincam, that way I can do the alignment and focus at the same time.
I also have GOTO accuracy issues, matter of fact I started a thread on the yahoo forum on this issue... I also have GOTO accuracy problems with my CG5-AGST also using skiFI. But again this is mostly the case when slewing a great distance. For nearby pointing it mostly works fine.
Try turning off the local time and turn off detect SkiFi and then try moving to nearby targets - use my example above ( vega to M57 ) and see if that improves your accuracy...
I experimented a few weeks ago using Cartes du Ciel and RS232 to the handset via ASCOM and the accuracy was better than SkyFi. Don't have any idea why this is the case as both are just reading the info directly from the mount... Go figure...
Let me know how that works. Also if you are not getting anywhere drop Tim or Bill an email or post on the yahoo forum, they are very helpful.
Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:50 PM
I am not a Mallincam user, but I have been using SkySafari with my CPC1100 for the last 3-4 months with great success and a lot of fun.
I have been playing with techniques for aligning and my current practice includes the following things to mitigate possible errors:
• I use the Baader ClickLock diagonal which tightens a band around the eyepieces for a consistent eyepiece alignment. (you wouldn't want your alignment eyepiece to be ever-so-slightly oriented different from your visual eyepieces (or CCD device).
• Make sure you are using widely spaced alignment stars. I've been using Vega and Alpheratz (Square of Pegasus) the last couple of weeks.
• I use a 20mm (140x) wide FOV alignment eyepiece with illuminated reticle. The wide FOV and slightly lower power of the 20mm make it easy to get my target star into view. The illuminated reticle allows me to line it pretty darn close. I would never use an alignment eyepiece without a reticle... would introduce too much error early in the process.
• I always make the final approach to the target alignment star making the star move up and to the right in my diagonal-oriented eyepiece view. This is the same direction the CPC1100 uses in its final approach to a goto object
• Special note: Do you guys couple your Mallincam directly to the CPC back, or through a diagonal? Final approach motion is "Up and to the right" when viewing thru an eyepiece with a diagonal. A Mallincam with diagonal It would appear "Down and to the left" with a Mallincam and diagonal. Or it would appear "up and to the left" with a Mallincam direct-coupled.
When you throw in the fact that the CPC1100 reverses arrow directions at low speeds compared to higher slew rates, it REALLY can get confusing. But the trick would be to make sure you approach the alignment target from the same direction your scope does in goto mode.
This could definitely lead to poor (but still ballpark) alignments.
With my technique and 20mm cross-hair, I get pretty darn good GoTo's across a lot of the sky with my default 17mm Ethos eyepiece. Targets are usually within the field, even if not perfectly centered.
When going for particularly dim or tough objects (planets like Uranus, Neptune or Pluto), I'll still GoTo a very nearbye star that is easy to find, and use the SkySafari ALIGN (which implements the SYNC command in the CPC) before a final GoTo to the target. Then my target is almost perfectly in the center of the Ethos.
I don't know if this helps, but I've had great results with my CPC1100 in concert with Sky Safari.
Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:23 PM
why would final approach be reversed with mallincam and diagonal versus using an eyepiece?? Will give it a try next time around, as i have been consistently using "up and right" with mallincam and eyepieces alike with or without diagonal... yikes!!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:16 PM
Then figure out which two of your hand controller buttons does the same motion (when motor speed is 6 or less, which are your eyepiece approach speeds compared to speed of 7-9 which are slew rates and reverse the button directions.) The goal is to use whichever two buttons makes the target star move the same direction as when your scope finishes a GoTo.
Now, to your question of "why does mallincam direction differ from eyepiece direction"...
A mallincam direct coupled to the back of your SCT should show a correct imaged (not flipped left-right nor up-down). An eyepiece reverses both. A diagonal reverses the up-down only.
• A mallincam direct to back of SCT is correct image.
• A mallincam with diagonal flips up-down. (left-right correct)
• A diagonal with eyepiece flips left-right. (up-down correct)
At least I think I'm right there. I use a Canon 7D DSLR (which would behave the same as a mallincam I believe. No corrective lens in the front of the mallincam, yes?
SkySafari is WAY cool for comparing starfields. On your iPhone or iPad, if you tap the upper right corner of the SkySafari screen, you get a box that lets you flip horizontally or vertically. This lets you zoom into a 1 degree view and flip according to whether you have an eyepiece or camera attached to match the SkySafari chart with what you see in the eyepiece or camera. WAY cool.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:07 PM
I use an MFR5 focal reducer in the Mallincam - this is a two element FR. So that could alter the image perspectives...
I did not know that little trick in Sky Safari, I will check it out!!
P.S. Just got another copy of Sky Safari for my Macbook... on sale through tomorrow!!
Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:53 AM
Okay, the MFR5 Focal Reducer probably throws a reversal of both horizontal and vertical, but I'm not positive. Still, the best thing would be to align as you always do... then do a GoTo and observe how the target is approached in your video stream from the Mallincam. That takes into account everything. Then figure out which pair of handcontroller arrows matches it.
Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:10 AM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:57 AM
Either way you should finish your aligning move with the same directions as the scop does a GoTo with the same optical configuration.
Jimmy, do you use the default GoTo motion on the hand controller, or have you changed it?
Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:31 PM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:39 PM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:54 PM
The buttons change direction by design. When you are slewing at speeds 7-9, the arrow buttons correspond to the motion of the front of the scope: e.g. you push the right arrow, the front moves right, you push up arrow, the front moves up.
When you go to "eyepiece speeds", I think its the left-right arrows reverse direction so that when you are looking in the eyepiece it moves the way you expect.
Either way, if the view in your mallincam finishes a GoTo with Right&Down, then use the buttons that cause Right&Down in your mallincam view when you align.
The GoTo is set to finish its approach with consistent and proper gear loading. Whichever way it appears, you want to push buttons that duplicate that motion for the same reason.
I'm going out on a limb here, but when you are in final alignment mode, I'm betting you still push the Right/Up arrows to make the view go Right/Down in your mallincam.
Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:29 PM
Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:26 AM
That sounds absolutely correct. What would be Up&Right in an eyepiece with diagonal would be Up&Left in a direct connected Mallincam (no diagonal or FR). So you would use the UP & RIGHT arrows to finish your align (which would still appear UP & LEFT in your mallincam view).
Whew. Too many juxtapositions. ;-)