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Alignment Issues - Automated way?

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#1 chitown

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:57 PM

Guys is there a automated / software controlled method to align my Atlas EQ-G?

I have been trying the 3 star alignment and its a hit or miss. Sometimes id spend hours and nothing comes in site.

Anybody tried any software based solution?

#2 rmollise

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:50 AM

No, there is no automated way. If you describe what you are doing, we may be able to help you, however.

#3 Raginar

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:10 AM

Just gotta figure out what you're doing wrong. My suggestion would be to take out the manual and run through it during daylight. For instance, on a CGEM there are specific avenues of approach ("Up and Right") that you must do. If you don't, it causes slop and your GOTOs will suffer.

I thought my CGEM was busted until I figured that little trick out.. Just be patient and get it down.

#4 Phillip Easton

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

I use AlignMaster to do my final polar alignment, after using the polar scope. It is the best method I personally have tried, (drift, iterative).

http://www.alignmaster.de/

Cheers!

#5 neptun2

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:22 AM

If you describe in more detail what exactly you are doing and what happens we may be able to help fix your alignment problems. I personally am very happy with the accuracy of the synscan goto with 3-star alignment. The new beta firmware also have very handy polar alignment routine.

#6 Raginar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:48 AM

Deleted per Uncle Rod.

#7 rmollise

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

It sounds like he is talking about go-to alignment, not polar alignment, and PoleAlignMax can't help with that.

#8 Phil Sherman

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:35 AM

Your Atlas is controllable using EQASCOM, a downloadable piece of software. You'll also need the ASCOM platform and a planetarium program such as CdC, both available as downloads.

From a hardware standpoint, you'll need an RS-232 signal from your computer. A "standard" USB to RS-232 adapter can be fed through the hand controller's serial update port (V3 or newer controllers) or a better choice is to get a voltage converter box and put away the hand controller. The third option is to get an RS-232 adapter that outputs TTL signal levels which can be plugged directly into the mount.

USB to RS-232 adapters based on the FTDI chipset give the least number of problems. They're usually available from a number of mail order outlets for less than $25. Voltage level converters can be easily built if you have any electronics construction experience or can be purchased from Shoestring Astronomy and other vendors.

EQASCOM (aka EQMOD) builds a pointing model that uses fixed, relative to where your scope is set up, altitude and azimuth points. A target's celestial coordinates are fed into the equation of time formula to determine its current azimuth and altitude which is then used with the alignment points you've set to determine where to point the mount. This technique is very very accurate and, with a number of alignment points, is insensitive to polar alignment errors.

EQASCOM also has a polar scope alignment assist mode. It'll rotate the mount on it's RA axis placing the little alignment circle in the correct place for adjusting the mount's polar alignment. Don't forget that the reticle in the polar scope probably isn't perfect for the current position of Polaris because Polaris is still moving closer to the pole every year. It's a small movement but over 10 years, it's enough to be noticeable in the reticle. Synta reticles are not calibrated to show Polaris' movement as the years go by.

Phil

#9 Ray Gralak

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

Your Atlas is controllable using EQASCOM, a downloadable piece of software. You'll also need the ASCOM platform and a planetarium program such as CdC, both available as downloads.

EQASCOM (aka EQMOD) builds a pointing model that uses fixed, relative to where your scope is set up, altitude and azimuth points. A target's celestial coordinates are fed into the equation of time formula to determine its current azimuth and altitude which is then used with the alignment points you've set to determine where to point the mount. This technique is very very accurate and, with a number of alignment points, is insensitive to polar alignment errors.

Phil

Hi Phil, it depends on you you define "very, very accurate". Given about 30 data points I would define "very, very accurate" as less than 10 arc-secs pointing error all sky. If you consider "very, very accurate" as less than 10-20 arc-minutes pointing error all sky then EQMOD's pointing model might qualify.

-Ray Gralak

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:51 AM

If you're using software already, very good accuracy is not really needed if you can plate-solve after.

#11 Per Frejvall

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:32 AM

*Thinking*.... I beleive my alignment model builder will work with EQMOD. It builds a model on its own with no user involvment. I wrote it in order to speed up building 25-star models for my 10Micron GM2000HPS. Since it uses ASCOM it should work with EQMOD. I'll try it the next time I get the NEQ6 out and report back. Here's a screen dump from a few versions ago...

/per

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#12 Ray Gralak

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

If you're using software already, very good accuracy is not really needed if you can plate-solve after.

Plate solving is not always an option. For instance, if you are doing supernova surveys the extra time to plate solve and slew can become significant over the night.

However if you are doing just a couple objects per night then plate solving and reslewing is definitely a good option. But then you might ask, why do you need a pointing model at all?

-Ray

#13 MikeCMP

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

Sorry to dig this old post up Per, but did you ever try this experiment with EQMOD? Seemed interesting, could let the mount build a reasonable pointing model while chatting with fellow astronomers at the dark sky park :)

Thanks,
Mike

#14 Per Frejvall

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:21 AM

Nah, haven't found the time. Besides, the whole process is kind of useless since it would only model pointing with an NEQ6, not tracking (which the is the end goal).

The NEQ6 is slated for a belt mod and the addition of a homing switch. The two 10Micron mounts are off to two remote sites so I have to make do with the NEQ6 on the balcony (or, get another 10u???).

/per






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