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PHD Guiding and On-Camera Guiding

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#1 Patrick

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

I have a Lodestar autoguider and so far I've been unable to get the camera talking to the mount through the autoguider port on my CGEM. I can get communication between the camera and the mount through the hand controller cable but then I can't use my Starry Night program without first disconnecting from PHD Guiding.

I had the mount and scope out yesterday and was able to connect PHD to the guide cam and the mount using, but when I went to calibrate the mount I got an error message saying that the mount did not move far enough to do a calibration. I can only assume that means the mount was not moving at all. When I switched over to the ascom mount control and hooked up the cable to the hand controller, everything worked fine.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks,

Patrick

#2 mmalik

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

Lodestar info dispersed in these two threads...

Link1...
Link2...

#3 mmalik

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:30 PM

...when I went to calibrate the mount I got an error message saying that the mount did not move far enough to do a calibration. I can only assume that means the mount was not moving at all.


Yes, most likely mount didn't move at all. Remember to use ONLY the ST-4 cable that came with the guider (not others you may have); I have seen scenarios where I tried other ST-4 cables and it didn't work for some reason. Thx

Note: Of course this applies to ST-4 guiding scenarios only (not serial guiding).

#4 Patrick

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:42 PM

I looked through both those threads. While there was some discussion related to my problem, no one gave an answer to it.

Anyone know what's going on that I can't guide through the ST-4 port with the Lodestar ST-4 connector?

Patrick

#5 Patrick

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

Remember to use ONLY the ST-4 cable that came with the guider (not others you may have)



Yep...that's the one I'm using.

Patrick

#6 Peter in Reno

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

Hi Patrick,

I assume you already checked "On-Camera" under "Mount" pull-down menu like your thread title?

If you did, then the only thing I can think of is faulty white ST-4 autoguider cable that came with Lodestar. Not the first time I've heard.

Peter

#7 mmalik

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:13 AM

Also make sure ST-4 cable is well seated on both ends, especially the Lodestar end which is tiny/unconventional. I am sure you have taken care of all the drivers and device recognition in Windows? Thx

#8 rmollise

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:24 AM

If the problem is that you cannot complete calibration, you need to do some tweaking under the Brain icon. Start by increasing calibration steps.

#9 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:47 AM

He said it works fine with ASCOM guiding so I doubt changing settings in Advance screen will help.

Peter

#10 rmollise

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

Nevertheless, that is the action to take when trying to get ST4 guiding going. ;)

#11 Patrick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

I assume you already checked "On-Camera" under "Mount" pull-down menu like your thread title?

If you did, then the only thing I can think of is faulty white ST-4 autoguider cable that came with Lodestar. Not the first time I've heard.



Yes, I checked "on-camera" under mount pull down. I hope it's not the cable...

Patrick

#12 Patrick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:27 AM

Here's the brain info I used. When going through the calibration, I could not detect any mount movement at all.



Patrick

Attached Files



#13 mmalik

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:51 AM

Here's the brain info I used. When going through the calibration, I could not detect any mount movement at all.


My take is you shouldn't have to do anything, i.e., take defaults in PHD, if you have everything configured/recognized in Windows and connected properly. Thx

#14 rmollise

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

That take is reasonable sometimes, but not at others. Plenty of folks have had to adjust the Brain values, including calibration step. You don't mention your guide scope, but the first thing I would do would be to start upping cal step, to as much as 2000, especially if you are using a short f/l small aperture guide scope like one of the 50mm jobs, and see what happens. The cable is the next suspect. Triple check its continuity, and that it is plugged into the guide output on the camera and the ST-4 input, not a serial port, on the scope. I am FAMOUS for plugging cables into the wrong jacks. :lol:

#15 mmalik

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

Also read this... thread. Thx

#16 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

If ASCOM guiding works and ST4 does not, Brain settings should be irrelevant. Both types of guiding should work with same Brain settings.

Have you ever get ST4 autoguiding and CGEM with different autoguider camera (e.g. Orion SSAG) to work? If so, then that would rule out autoguider port of CGEM. This will narrow down to Lodestar or ST4 autoguider cable.

PHD has a cool tool called "Manual Guide" under "Tools" pull down menu. It will pop up a new window showing four directional control buttons. Press the buttons and pay attention to PHD screen to see if the star is moving. If you want to test it during the day, try to listen to the motor to see if it responds to PHD.

You said you use Starry Night. Does it support ASCOM to control the mount? If it does, then you should be able to use Starry Night and PHD with ASCOM. ASCOM protocol allows multiple devices sharing the same cable.

I use Stellarium and PHD with ASCOM sharing same serial cable without issues with my A-P Mach1GTO mount.

Peter

#17 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

Patrick,

I just remembered that Lodestar can have a good number of hot pixels. It's pretty easy to tell a difference between hot pixels and stars. Hot pixels look too good to be stars.

You may have selected a hot pixel when using ST4 cable and a real star when using ASCOM. This could be why calibration failed if you selected a hot pixel.

PHD allows you to dark subtract to remove hot pixels. I never use it because I can tell the difference between hot pixel and real star.

Here is a sample of my 1 second dark from my Lodestar.

Peter

Attached Files



#18 JoseBorrero

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

Patrick you're the second person I know with same problem on same mount. A faulty ST-4 was rule out when using the SX guiding software all work. On other threads out CN I found that was possible that a driver from the SX installation disk came without the proper driver that PHD needs. In my opinion contacting Terry at SX can be productive. Other failed try's was to install an older version of PHD. Good Luck

#19 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:35 PM

There are several drivers for SX cameras depending on Operating System and 32 or 64 bits:

http://www.sxccd.com/drivers-downloads

Look at the top and select the correct one for your computer. SX use same driver for all of their cameras so you won't find Lodestar specific drivers.

Further down, you will see "Lodestar Software" but that's not a driver. That's an autoguider software in place of PHD. This software is kind of junk. PHD is way better.

Peter

#20 Patrick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

I just remembered that Lodestar can have a good number of hot pixels. It's pretty easy to tell a difference between hot pixels and stars. Hot pixels look too good to be stars.



Yes, you're right that there are a lot of hot pixels. I'm aware of them and know how to differentiate between them (the Lodestar was slightly out of focus). I picked the same star for both the ST-4 and the Ascom calibration. I wish that were the problem because we wouldn't be having this discussion! ;)

Patrick

#21 Patrick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

Patrick you're the second person I know with same problem on same mount. A faulty ST-4 was rule out when using the SX guiding software all work. On other threads out CN I found that was possible that a driver from the SX installation disk came without the proper driver that PHD needs. In my opinion contacting Terry at SX can be productive. Other failed try's was to install an older version of PHD. Good Luck



Hmmm...interesting! I will contact Terry. Thanks so much for the tip.

Patrick

#22 Patrick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

There are several drivers for SX cameras depending on Operating System and 32 or 64 bits:



Peter,

Thanks for the link. I noticethat the drivers are for USB 2.0 or 1.1. I've had my USB hub connected to a USB 3.0 port. Do you suppose that could make any difference? I can try hooking it up to one of the USB 2.0 ports to see if it makes a difference.

Patrick

#23 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

Patrick,

I think it would be safer to use USB 2.0 ports. I have read issues of USB 2.0 devices connecting to USB 3.0 ports of PC. In theory it should not matter. What computer, Operating System and is it 32 or 64 bits? If you have USB 3.0, it sounds like you have a new computer.

Peter

#24 mmalik

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

I notice that the drivers are for USB 2.0 or 1.1. I've had my USB hub connected to a USB 3.0 port. Do you suppose that could make any difference? I can try hooking it up to one of the USB 2.0 ports to see if it makes a difference.


I should have mentioned, USB 3.0 didn't work for me. I had to plug into USB 2.0 port for PHD to work properly. I would also suggest removing hub from the equation. I think you are close to solving your problem. Thx

#25 Peter in Reno

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

A powered USB hub should be fine. I use 35ft active USB cable from laptop to powered hub and then 6ft USB cable from powered hub to Lodestar. Works great.

Peter






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