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EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues...

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#1 Foehammer

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:15 AM

Hi all

Spent the whole night trying to do the Polar re-align routine on my EQ6 mount with no success. I've just upgraded from a CG5 and was very familiar with ASPA (which was a breeze to get right and get great results!) but something seems off with Synscan! I'm running version 3.28 (upgrading today to 3.35). What I've failed to understand is: How can you ONLY use the AZ bolts or ONLY use the ALT bolts to align a star in the eyepiece without having to use BOTH AT THE SAME TIME??? I must have done 10 or 12 3-star alignments thinking I was off but each time when going into the polar routine my selected star (and I tried various from the very short list of maybe 5 stars available to you) would be off in both ALT and AZ by 3 or 4 degrees.

So to sum up: After doing a successful 3-star alignment and heading into the polar re-align routine, selecting a star and centering it (using reticle ep) the star then is positioned by synscan to where it should be based on the user's input (time/date/lat/long/3 star alignmt) and asks to correct ONLY in Azimuth first (which is what I find odd and impossible to do!) and then veers off again and asks to correct ONLY in Altitude... is this right? In my case when needing to correct for AZ the star would be off in both AZ and ALT by a good margin which was impossible for me to correct using ONLY one of the two axis...

...I miss ASPA... :bawling:

#2 Foehammer

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:39 AM

...forgot to mention, I am using a side by side setup!

#3 telfish

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 08:03 AM

3.28 was not good on the polar align routine. 3.35 is better but not perfect. I use alignmaster and get great results.

I find with the Atlas routine that I can't get repeatable results. I believe they are working on this and will release new version soon.

As to only using the alt or Az bolts alone, they did try a version where you adjusted both at once but that produced even worst results.

When I used 3.35 I tried to get as close to the center as possible over 4 iterations.

It did get better as I progressed but I could then go a day and check again and the handset would tell me I was 3 degrees out!

Your side by side arrangement might be causing you issues if the scope you are using is not exactly 90 degrees to the axis. Try with a one scope setup and see if that helps.

#4 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 08:44 AM

Wow. That's another mount off of my list... Celestron is looking better and better....

#5 Foehammer

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:33 AM

I've just upgraded to v3.35 and gonna have another go both with the SBS setup aswell as signle scope..will report back...still don't get how it's possible to use one axis at a time to center a star...

#6 Frank @ Van

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:41 PM

I think the rountine should be altitude correction first, not azimuth first.

#7 rigel123

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 08:50 PM

I think the rountine should be altitude correction first, not azimuth first.


Altitude is first and when you adjust that first the instructions say to bring it back as CLOSE to center as possible and then to make a mental note of where that was in your eyepiece and then when you do azimuth you move the star back to that point, not the center necessarily. I have found it to work well in my experience with the technique. I typically do two iterations of it.

#8 tclehman1969

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 11:55 PM

I'm not certain what exactly you are doing, but on the Atlas mount, the only time you use the alt or az bolts is when you are getting Polaris lined up in the finderscope. Other than that, the only other time you would touch them is if you are doing a drift align method in which you would check the azimuth first then the altitude second.

Even just following the instructions that come with the Atlas, I have had pretty good alignments every time since I bought it back in May.

Check out AstronomyShed over on YouTube. He has a couple videos on polar alignment that work pretty well for this mount.

#9 John Carruthers

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:26 AM

If your Atlas/EQ6 has a V3 or later Synscan handset which can be updated it includes a polar align routine, same as the Celestron system.
With the 3.35 firmware you don't centre the star in alt or az, you get it 'as close as you can' using only that adjuster. Then do the other axis, then 3 star align again because you just threw the alignment off. :-)
I find it a good refinement to the polar scope which is fine for visual work but not up to AP.
Drift alignment (EQAlign helps) is the long stop technique. It will get PA right and gets easier with practice.

Skywatcher manuals and firmware;
http://www.skywatche...loads.php?cat=5

#10 rmollise

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

I'm not certain what exactly you are doing, but on the Atlas mount, the only time you use the alt or az bolts is when you are getting Polaris lined up in the finderscope. Other than that...


The Atlas Synscan HC now has a polar alignment routine like AllStar in the Celestrons that allows you to polar align without the polar scope.

#11 tclehman1969

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:52 PM

That's great! But where and how do I use it?

#12 Fernando134

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:57 AM

Unk,

My Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT Mount (brother/syster of the Atlas) will be home soon. I read in the manual that "the SynScan hand control provides...polar alignment routine which can achieve extremely precise polar alignment". Is that for sure? Even for AP? I am very excited about that because polar alignment in the Southern hemisphere is not that simple. At least for a beginner like myself.

#13 rmollise

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:26 AM

That's great! But where and how do I use it?


The "how" can be found in the instructions (you can download the manual from SkyWather). It works very similarly to AllStar.

Not sure what you mean by "where?"

#14 rmollise

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:26 AM

Unk,

My Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT Mount (brother/syster of the Atlas) will be home soon. I read in the manual that "the SynScan hand control provides...polar alignment routine which can achieve extremely precise polar alignment". Is that for sure? Even for AP? I am very excited about that because polar alignment in the Southern hemisphere is not that simple. At least for a beginner like myself.


It appears to be at least as good as AllStar.

#15 tclehman1969

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:24 PM

Ok, I kept reading the section over and over on alignment and couldn't find anything, then I finally find it way down in part 11 on page 35 of the manual. I would have thought they'd put all the alignment info together, but I guess not...and I didn't read all the way through. :p. so, anyway, looks like a very cool function and I can't wait to get out and try it out this weekend!

#16 Dan Watt

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:54 AM

You know to be honest I've found a properly collimated polar scope + the polar scope alignment feature in EQMod is perfect for my uses. I can do 10 minute subs @ 800mm all night without a problem and PHD is perfectly happy. Takes maybe 2 minutes and I usually do it with everything already set up and balanced. I've done 20 minute drifts to confirm its working fine.

The key here is properly collimated polar scope.

I used to have a CG5 and ASPA was pretty handy I really prefer the tried and true polar scope method.

#17 WillCarney

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:47 AM

3.28 was not good on the polar align routine. 3.35 is better but not perfect. I use alignmaster and get great results.

I find with the Atlas routine that I can't get repeatable results. I believe they are working on this and will release new version soon.

As to only using the alt or Az bolts alone, they did try a version where you adjusted both at once but that produced even worst results.

When I used 3.35 I tried to get as close to the center as possible over 4 iterations.

It did get better as I progressed but I could then go a day and check again and the handset would tell me I was 3 degrees out!

Your side by side arrangement might be causing you issues if the scope you are using is not exactly 90 degrees to the axis. Try with a one scope setup and see if that helps.


The last time I tried the polar routine with 3.35 it was way off. By just sighting my mount I got 0 degree 2 sec on one axis and 0 degrees 44 seconds on the other. The first polar realignment it was 1 degree 56 and 8 degrees 25. Then the next it was so far off that Arcturus did not show up even in the 6x30 finder scope, at least 20 degrees off. I don't use the polar align at all. For most things a visual polar align with three star alignment is enough. Otherwise I use drift alignment. Orion does need to work on the polar align routine.

#18 Foehammer

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 02:54 PM

After having upgraded to v3.35 I was able to get a better result. It became clear to me that v3.28 was offsetting the mount by a long and non logical margin. Now The mount offsets in both ALT and AZ to positions that can be adjusted with only one axis at a time as the procedure suggests. Got down to less than a degree off in ALT and got up to 160sec unguided exposures. All seems well!

#19 WillCarney

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 12:55 PM

H'mmm. I did not get the v3.35 to work. It was way off. I might try again. Maybe I did something wrong. I was pretty sure I followed the directions. I pretty much always am able to get less than 1 degree in either axis by just visual sighing through the polar scope. But would like to get a faster alignment for photography and asteroid hunting. I've done the star drift but it takes time.

#20 telfish

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:27 PM

After having upgraded to v3.35 I was able to get a better result. It became clear to me that v3.28 was offsetting the mount by a long and non logical margin. Now The mount offsets in both ALT and AZ to positions that can be adjusted with only one axis at a time as the procedure suggests. Got down to less than a degree off in ALT and got up to 160sec unguided exposures. All seems well!


Please try it again on the same stars and let us know if you get the same result.

Terry

#21 Moromete

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:28 PM

Is the polar align routine in firmware v3.35 a copy of Alignmaster software routine consdering you have to adjust the mount separately in AZ and ALT?

#22 telfish

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

Is the polar align routine in firmware v3.35 a copy of Alignmaster software routine consdering you have to adjust the mount separately in AZ and ALT?


It's pretty similar, for me the Alignmaster routine gives better repeatable results.

#23 Moromete

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:38 PM

I suppose Celestron ASPA is more accurate and easier to use because:
- you actualy center the star near the meridian once, not in 2 steps like with Skywatcher
- it computes the polar alignment error based on 4 callibration stars and not just 1 like Skywatcher does.

Has anyone compared in the field the Celestron ASPA and Skywatcher firmware v3.35 polar align routine?

#24 Zad

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:08 PM

Hi all

Spent the whole night trying to do the Polar re-align routine on my EQ6 mount with no success. I've just upgraded from a CG5 and was very familiar with ASPA (which was a breeze to get right and get great results!) but something seems off with Synscan! I'm running version 3.28 (upgrading today to 3.35). What I've failed to understand is: How can you ONLY use the AZ bolts or ONLY use the ALT bolts to align a star in the eyepiece without having to use BOTH AT THE SAME TIME??? I must have done 10 or 12 3-star alignments thinking I was off but each time when going into the polar routine my selected star (and I tried various from the very short list of maybe 5 stars available to you) would be off in both ALT and AZ by 3 or 4 degrees.

So to sum up: After doing a successful 3-star alignment and heading into the polar re-align routine, selecting a star and centering it (using reticle ep) the star then is positioned by synscan to where it should be based on the user's input (time/date/lat/long/3 star alignmt) and asks to correct ONLY in Azimuth first (which is what I find odd and impossible to do!) and then veers off again and asks to correct ONLY in Altitude... is this right? In my case when needing to correct for AZ the star would be off in both AZ and ALT by a good margin which was impossible for me to correct using ONLY one of the two axis...

...I miss ASPA... :bawling:


According to the manual, you don't adjust the alt/az BOLTS, you adjust using the direction keys on the hand controller to slew to the target. Think of it this way: you are not adjusting the mount itself, you are training the computer as to how far off your mount is aligned, and in what direction, so it can compensate. As long as you are close to polar alignment, it shouldn't be a problem. That's why you can just rough align with the polar alignment scope.

If I am doing visual work, a 1-star alignment has worked well for me. I usually do a 3-star alignment when doing AP, and have no trouble.

#25 rmollise

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:42 PM

According to the manual, you don't adjust the alt/az BOLTS, you adjust using the direction keys on the hand controller to slew to the target. Think of it this way: you are not adjusting the mount itself, you are training the computer as to how far off your mount is aligned, and in what direction, so it can compensate. As long as you are close to polar alignment, it shouldn't be a problem. That's why you can just rough align with the polar alignment scope.


That isn't at all what is going on. The mount is not compensating for anything. The point is to allow you to easily adjust it in altitude and azimuth to get closer to the pole; that is all.






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