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#51 korborh

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:22 AM

John, your current software (Sky6) will not operate an MX. And MX would not be operated by anything but SkyX.

#52 frolinmod

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:15 AM

Through the magic of ASCOM I frequently operate my Paramount via ASCOM compatible third party applications. All those applications know is that it's an ASCOM mount. They don't know that it's a Paramount underneath or anything about TheSkyX. They don't care how that is accomplished either, just that it is. That's what ASCOM is for. This works well for me.

#53 orlyandico

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:56 AM

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.

#54 Ray Gralak

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.


Hi Orly!

ASCOM does not rely on ActiveX. It relies on COM interop to allow scripting from 3rd party applications. The same Microsoft technology is used in the core of all Windows versions for a long time (and is used by bisque products on Windows). COM interop may be old but it is a very slick concept which allows virtually any programming language to control an ASCOM driver.

So, in your opinion, what makes INDI or the bisque solution better? (Have you actually programmed either?)

-Ray

#55 rmollise

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.


Well...that's true except it doesn't rely on Active X, and it's not clunky at all. It works great and speedily, even with very complex drivers like EQMOD. ;)

#56 orlyandico

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.

In any case it's a windows only solution. So the Mac users have to look at other options. At least Bisque supports them.

#57 Ray Gralak

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.

I think you are mistaken on the performance issue. You can easily do more than a 1,000 "empty" COM interop calls in a second on the average windows application. Any perceived slowness of a single COM interop call is caused the delay introduced by sending commands to and from the device, which in the case of a telescope is usually over a serial port. Other solutions would have a similar delay.

-Ray

#58 rmollise

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.

In any case it's a windows only solution. So the Mac users have to look at other options. At least Bisque supports them.


Sorry, not sure what's going on with your setup, but I've never had speed problems with ASCOM or heard of anyone who has. Again, if it will run EQMOD, a plain old driver is duck soup. ;)

#59 Hilmi

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:52 PM

I figure if ASCOM is fast enough to handle accurate auto-guiding, then it's fast enough for any reasonable use. Beyond that, the AP vs. SB argument. I feel that they are both great mounts and the only downside I can see to the SB way of doing things is that should your computer fail for any reason (and who hasn't had a PC failure, they are probably the weakest link in our set-ups) you loose all goto capability. For people hate stare hoping or people like me who just never learnt the sky enough to navigate it due to living in a heavily light polluted sky then loosing goto is equivalent to ending your session.

#60 David Pavlich

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

The MX can *only* be driven by TheSkyX. There are many astronomy programs that use ASCOM and/or run on other devices and using ASCOM - these will not work with MX. That can be a limitation/issue for some.


Considering that the purchase price includes all the software needed and that it's compatible with Mac and Windows, I don't see why this would be an issue other than those mentioned about being tied to a computer.

David


I am among those who selected TheSky6 as my primary telescope control software years ago but don't own a Bisque mount so I had to purchase it. It was a good investment. I have used quite a few ASCOM-compatible programs along with it, and have never found one that didn't work with TheSky6 and a TheSky-controlled telescope. It interfaces nicely with them all Unless there's a new defect in TheSkyX, the limitation claimed above isn't valid.


Me, too! I use the Sky6 to control my MI250 via SiTech. 6 is a good program. I can only imagine that X is really good!

David

#61 Bill Dean

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:01 PM

I think you may be confusing running TSX with having to *use* The Sky. Not the case, I use Guide 9 and MaximDL to "drive" my PMX via The ASCOM plug in for The Sky controlled telescope. The Sky is minimized mostly.

TSX is growing on me though and I assume I'll use it exclusively by the summer.

Clear skies,
Bill

#62 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:18 AM

In looking at my next purchase it's interesting. IMO the Bisque mount is great mechanicals coupled with great software. For imaging it's a dream machine. As far as the always unavoidable comparison to A-P, I think that the concept of software is something A-P is trying to catch up on with APCC though it's nowhere near what you get with a Paramount. In one it's 'our mount is perfect and we cn't help it if your scope is slightly non-ortho to it... the other is hey, let's get your scope imaging... It's two different schools of thought from inception and cleary obvious in the to customer product offering. Two great mounts, two great companies, with vastly different approaches to software integration and implementation. ummm USB? ... ;) Both work very well at what they are supposed to in their way, have the images and customers to prove it. it's a choice that is actually a choice and we're lucky to have it. Dropping the price by $1k is fantastic.

#63 Paul G

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:24 AM

In looking at my next purchase it's interesting. IMO the Bisque mount is great mechanicals coupled with great software. For imaging it's a dream machine. As far as the always unavoidable comparison to A-P, I think that the concept of software is something A-P is trying to catch up on with APCC though it's nowhere near what you get with a Paramount. In one it's 'our mount is perfect and we cn't help it if your scope is slightly non-ortho to it... the other is hey, let's get your scope imaging... It's two different schools of thought from inception and cleary obvious in the to customer product offering. Two great mounts, two great companies, with vastly different approaches to software integration and implementation. ummm USB? ... ;) Both work very well at what they are supposed to in their way, have the images and customers to prove it. it's a choice that is actually a choice and we're lucky to have it. Dropping the price by $1k is fantastic.


I know there is a major difference in functionality when both mounts are used without a laptop. If both mounts are used with a laptop, The Sky, and Tpoint how much difference is there in how they function?

#64 korborh

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

The main differences are that A-P will give more flexibility at the risk of user error e.g. one can image horizon to horizon if possible without meridian flip if scope/pier arrangement allows it. SB design has hard limits (2hrs. for MX) in the mounts to make it safer for observatory. Another difference is A-P has clutches for manual operation and safety from accidental bumps, and so A-P mount cannot have absolute homing (without encoders). SB mount does not have clutch and has absolute homing.

From what I understand, mechanically they are similar in performance. The differences are more based on what user cares more for - higher flexibility (field, software, paddle) for field/observatory vs. more robust for observatory use.

#65 rmollise

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

I am not likely to ever own either mount--they are so far above my humble needs and talents that it is not even funny. :lol:

That said, I've used both brands and believe the AP to be more flexible. Yes, I wish the HC software were a litle more sophisticated, but the folks running these mounts are usually imagers who are going to go-to and stay on a target or two all evening, and that is pretty easy to nail down with even the simple software of the AP control. And I guess that's the beauty of the thing. The APs can be kept simple and run like we've always run telescope mounts. Or they can be run with modeling software or anything else from a laptop.

No doubt the MX is a godsend for folks doing stuff like remote control from distant sites, but I am too dumb about such things to even form an opinion on 'em. :scratchhead:

#66 orlyandico

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

yes the absolute homing on the MX is a big deal.

the new 'S' firmware for the CP3 supposedly helps with this because the mount no longer has to be parked (it remembers its position when it loses power) so - in theory - a homing sensor is no longer required.

how well this actually works in practice, i don't know.

#67 darbyvet

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:44 AM

I have an MX on a pier in my skyshedpod.I have s decent tpoint model (7 arcsec pointing) and can get 10-15 min subs without star trailing unguided.I have my c11 and ES 80mm triplet refraftor mounted so I can switch between planetary and DSO imaging.It takes about 3 mins for me to be ready to start imaging.I have barely scrathced the surfrace of what the moutn and theskyX can do.

#68 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

I was referring to what each does as supplied 'out of the box' without any additional purchase or add on. As I said, each is capable of doing all it advertises. As the OP was about cost, that is what I meant as far as my prev post. All the other posts about 'what you need' are up to the purchaser, no better or worse in my opinion.

#69 pfile

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

yes the absolute homing on the MX is a big deal.

the new 'S' firmware for the CP3 supposedly helps with this because the mount no longer has to be parked (it remembers its position when it loses power) so - in theory - a homing sensor is no longer required.

how well this actually works in practice, i don't know.


do you know if there is any dependence on APCC for this functionality, or is it purely inside the CP3?

rob

#70 korborh

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:40 PM

This functionality is programmed in the 'S' chip - so yes in the CP3 box.

#71 Ray Gralak

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

I was referring to what each does as supplied 'out of the box' without any additional purchase or add on. As I said, each is capable of doing all it advertises. As the OP was about cost, that is what I meant as far as my prev post. All the other posts about 'what you need' are up to the purchaser, no better or worse in my opinion.

If you go by that definition then the MX is not ASCOM compatible out of the box (because you need a third party "add on"). The Bisque software had to be included with the Paramounts otherwise they wouldn't be very useful at all. So, I think it's pretty silly to exclude all the software one can use, or, in this case, *has* to be used if the mount is to do useful work.

-Ray

#72 orlyandico

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:11 AM

i personally won't get APCC - yet - but it's comforting to know that the capability is there.

i did buy the S chip because "no need to park" is cool to have.

#73 Bob Abraham

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

Is APCC is actually available? My understanding is that it is still in beta.

I own a Mach 1 GTO and regularly use a Paramount ME. Both are terrific mounts. However, I'm thinking of buying a Paramount MX to replace the Mach 1 because:

1) I prefer using a Mac and don't want to have to deal with an emulation layer. So even when APCC comes out it won't work for me. In any case, I like TheSkyX a lot.

2) I appreciate being able to home the mount remotely, which is a feature built-in to the Paramounts (and I believe you can add this capability onto AP's larger mounts, but not the Mach-1 GTO). The Mach 1 mostly lives in an observatory and I occasionally run it remotely, even though most of the time I'm right next to it.

3) I find the lack of basic pointing corrections (even something really simple to handle in a basic model, like a single non-orthogonality term) in the AP mount's hand controller disappointing. It's really the only aspect of the mount I actively don't like (the lack of a home switch is less of a big deal in a portable mount). If TheSkyX comes out for iOS with T-point (unclear to me what features will be in the iOS version of TheSkyX) then it could well be that the MX would have a truly fabulous hand controller! Anyway, aside from modelling in the hand controller the Mach 1 GTO is a brilliant mount for its weight class.

4) I have been using T-point in one incarnation or another for 25 years on professional telescopes, and I like its basic philosophy (basing pointing corrections on coefficients of a physical geometrical/structural model, rather than minimizing errors on some more abstract transformations). Since T-point is integrated into TheSkyX and the Paramount mounts play so nicely with TheSkyX, an ME/MX + TheSkyX + T-point operate like a well integrated system. Of course one can use TheSkyX+T-point with AP mounts but it's less integrated (no Pro-Track, no Direct Guide). Maybe an AP mount + APCC will be similarly well-integrated as a system - though sadly I won't be able to use it day-to-day because I won't be able to run it on a Mac. In any case, I look forward to trying out APCC when it comes out, perhaps I'll run it on a virtual machine for a while just to check it out. I certainly trust Ray Gralak to deliver some nice software... PEMPro is terrific (wish I could get it on my Mac, even though I do my polar alignment with T-point these days, PEMPro is very cool).

Bob

#74 Ray Gralak

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

Is APCC is actually available? My understanding is that it is still in beta.

I own a Mach 1 GTO and regularly use a Paramount ME. Both are terrific mounts. However, I'm thinking of buying a Paramount MX to replace the Mach 1 because:

1) I prefer using a Mac and don't want to have to deal with an emulation layer. So even when APCC comes out it won't work for me. In any case, I like TheSkyX a lot.

2) I appreciate being able to home the mount remotely, which is a feature built-in to the Paramounts (and I believe you can add this capability onto AP's larger mounts, but not the Mach-1 GTO). The Mach 1 mostly lives in an observatory and I occasionally run it remotely, even though most of the time I'm right next to it.

3) I find the lack of basic pointing corrections (even something really simple to handle in a basic model, like a single non-orthogonality term) in the AP mount's hand controller disappointing. It's really the only aspect of the mount I actively don't like (the lack of a home switch is less of a big deal in a portable mount). If TheSkyX comes out for iOS with T-point (unclear to me what features will be in the iOS version of TheSkyX) then it could well be that the MX would have a truly fabulous hand controller! Anyway, aside from modelling in the hand controller the Mach 1 GTO is a brilliant mount for its weight class.

4) I have been using T-point in one incarnation or another for 25 years on professional telescopes, and I like its basic philosophy (basing pointing corrections on coefficients of a physical geometrical/structural model, rather than minimizing errors on some more abstract transformations). Since T-point is integrated into TheSkyX and the Paramount mounts play so nicely with TheSkyX, an ME/MX + TheSkyX + T-point operate like a well integrated system. Of course one can use TheSkyX+T-point with AP mounts but it's less integrated (no Pro-Track, no Direct Guide). Maybe an AP mount + APCC will be similarly well-integrated as a system - though sadly I won't be able to use it day-to-day because I won't be able to run it on a Mac. In any case, I look forward to trying out APCC when it comes out, perhaps I'll run it on a virtual machine for a while just to check it out. I certainly trust Ray Gralak to deliver some nice software... PEMPro is terrific (wish I could get it on my Mac, even though I do my polar alignment with T-point these days, PEMPro is very cool).

Bob


Hi Bob,

I own both Windows and Mac computers. What features are there on the Mac that make it a must have over a PC? You can usually get a much more powerful windows machine for much cheaper and have a whole lot more choices in astronomy apps. What does the Mac version of SkyX have that the Windows version does not? If you use your Mac outside do you really want to risk having it exposed to the environment? Having used (and still using) multiple Macs and Windows machines I say just wonder why not just get a cheap Windows laptop and dedicate it to the mount? No Windows emulation is needed and you save your Mac for indoor use.

-Ray

#75 Bob Abraham

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:45 AM

Hi Ray,

As I see it, the advantage of running Macs is that you get both UNIX and nice hardware and a pretty good mix of free and commercial software. And in my opinion you actually get way more choices in very powerful astronomy apps with the Mac, because the whole world of hard-to-use but insanely powerful free professional astronomy apps is opened up to you.

Just one example:

Right now my colleague at Yale and I have put together a project to use a remotely operated Paramount ME in New Mexico atop of which is sitting a bank of Canon lenses feeding a bunch of CCD cameras. Data taking is fully automated and works using 3 Mac minis (which are pretty cheap) that sit in the observatory which talk to each other using a client-server model that I hacked together using Perl and Python and Bash scripts. This was comparatively easy because networking and scripting is so straightforward in UNIX and there's so much pre-existing code knocking around. The data analysis pipeline (real-time reduction of data from 4 cameras now, and 9 cameras soon) uses Python and IRAF scripts.... also UNIX-specific, because these in turn call tools only available on a UNIX-based OS. For example, plate solves and image stacking also use tools like SCAMP and SWarp which are pretty awesome and UNIX-specific (check out http://www.astromatic.net/software if you're not familiar with them). The same Mac that's running TheSkyX and controlling our mount in New Mexico is running a bespoke TCP/IP server that communicates a bunch of data to the other machines on the network. I guess I could have written a server on a Windows machine but it was pretty easy to just hack it together in an afternoon on the Mac since as I'm sure you know UNIX is pretty good for that kind of thing.

Anyway, that's just one example. My institute also operates a remote 0.5m telesope on an AP3600 for research... also a very heavy reliance on UNIX. The world of professional astronomy is totally dominated by UNIX (hence Mac OS X and Linux boxes outnumber PCs running Windows by 10:1, except perhaps amongst the admin staff) and if you use a Mac all the same software I use to deal with HST and Gemini data is available to you. Mac mini's are fairly cheap these days so the buy-in isn't too bad.

Admittedly though much of this software is not very easy to use... for example there is nothing out there that I am aware of that lets you polar align as easily as PEMPro. And scope control has always been a weak point because most professional telescopes have had custom control software (a lot of which, frankly, is lousier than TheSkyX + T-point) which you can't use to control a high-end amateur mount.

Anyway, now that high-end amateur mounts like the AP3600 and the Paramounts can easily support 0.5m+ telescopes (the bread and butter of Universities) having TheSkyX running on Macs which are common around these parts is turning out to be a pretty good thing.

Bob






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