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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
PHD - About to give up
      #6172684 - 11/02/13 10:01 PM

Well here I sit in the observatory after 4 hours of frustration, and not 1 image to show for it. I can't believe it's really that hard to even see stars. I have everything else working so well,including Astrotortilla, BYEEOS, and Stellarium. I can locate, slew to, center, and image anything I want, but I just can't guide.

The issues -

Unintuitive, unexpected, and bizarre results, from making small setting changes.

No guide stars showing up except for very bright stars.

If gain is turned up I get thousands of pin point dots?bNoise? Hot pixels?

If I turn the gain lower I get a black screen with no stars.


If I take a dark frame, and then start the loop, I get a pure white non changing screen. Deletig the dark frame turns the screen darker again.

I did try guiding on some of the brighter stars that weren't near my target just to see if it would guide. I got wildly oscillating graph lines, and the lines woukld eventually leave the graph all together.

It really can't be this hard right? If some screen captures would help I'm take some before I roll the roof shut, and call it a wasted night.

Edited by Wmacky (11/02/13 10:02 PM)


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shawnhar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172694 - 11/02/13 10:07 PM

Unintuitive, unexpected, and bizarre results, from making small setting changes.

What settings were changed?


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6172701 - 11/02/13 10:12 PM

We need to know what you're guiding, how you're guiding, and your settings to help.

And, PHD is the easiest of the guide programs.


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bmwbiker
member


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: SF Bay Area
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6172722 - 11/02/13 10:28 PM

Maybe you have covered this but I have to ask..
Sure you are in focus?
Does covering up the guide scope objective make your "stars" disappear?
Have to tried forcing a fresh calibration?

Edited by bmwbiker (11/02/13 10:31 PM)


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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: bmwbiker]
      #6172730 - 11/02/13 10:34 PM

What guide camera are you using?

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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: bmwbiker]
      #6172732 - 11/02/13 10:35 PM

Guiding through a AT6RC with a ASI120MC
Picking WDM Webcam from list
Focused on a bright star.
Used to see a greyish background with some bands like in examples, but now just see a black screen with bright tiny pixels that are not stars. will ulpoard screen shots next.


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172745 - 11/02/13 10:43 PM

Quote:

Low gain setting at 6







Gain at 20




Gain at 50ish












Looping after taking a dark frame. *BLEEP*?




Edited by Wmacky (11/02/13 10:50 PM)


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bmwbiker
member


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: SF Bay Area
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172750 - 11/02/13 10:45 PM

Do you have the extenders on the AT6RC?
I need the 2" extender plus another extra 1" in the camera coupling to get my DSLR into focus.

If your still stuck you might try simply try to get a focused image in PHD during daylight hours. Even a small amount of out of focus will cause ALL the stars to just be dispersed into the background.


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172751 - 11/02/13 10:47 PM

using the correct spacers - bright stars in focus.

Edited by Wmacky (11/02/13 10:49 PM)


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6172755 - 11/02/13 10:48 PM

Quote:

Unintuitive, unexpected, and bizarre results, from making small setting changes.

What settings were changed?




Gain, Gamma, exposure, dark frame


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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172757 - 11/02/13 10:53 PM

I gotta ask just to cover the bases so don't take it the wrong way. You did cover the scope when you took the dark right?

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bmwbiker
member


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: SF Bay Area
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172761 - 11/02/13 10:56 PM

Quote:

using the correct spacers - bright stars in focus.




I don't see any "bright stars" in your screen captures, just pixel noise. In focus using what? (an eyepiece?). There is no guarantee the the camera is parafocal with anything else, in fact it is likely NOT to be parafocal with other observing equipment.

PS: 2.5s is long (IMO) if you go down to say 1s you can boost the gain without getting so much noise. But its not clear to me that your camera is "in focus".

Edited by bmwbiker (11/02/13 11:23 PM)


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: bmwbiker]
      #6172832 - 11/02/13 11:44 PM

I was "at least originally" in focus on a bright star. However it did seem to need touching up just now, and that helped a very little. You don't seem any bright stars in any of my captures because frankly there doesn't seem to be many in the sky that will even show up.

For example right now I have it guiding while imaging the Pleiades. But had to decenter it just to find 1 star to guide on, and even that one is beeping at me here that there.

Maybe this cam is just too weak, but there have been reports that it is sensitive, and others are using it with success?

Edited by Wmacky (11/02/13 11:48 PM)


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: zerro1]
      #6172835 - 11/02/13 11:46 PM

Quote:

I gotta ask just to cover the bases so don't take it the wrong way. You did cover the scope when you took the dark right?




I did


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shawnhar
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172845 - 11/02/13 11:54 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Unintuitive, unexpected, and bizarre results, from making small setting changes.

What settings were changed?




Gain, Gamma, exposure, dark frame



Used to see a greyish background with some bands like in examples, but now just see a black screen with bright tiny pixels
So it was working, then gamma and exposure were changed and now you get a black screen?


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172865 - 11/03/13 12:05 AM

To top it off, I think this $2000 mount may be junk. It can't seem to keep up, and PHD ends up losing the star!










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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6172871 - 11/03/13 12:10 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Unintuitive, unexpected, and bizarre results, from making small setting changes.

What settings were changed?





Gain, Gamma, exposure, dark frame



Used to see a greyish background with some bands like in examples, but now just see a black screen with bright tiny pixels
So it was working, then gamma and exposure were changed and now you get a black screen?





Well, not exactly. It never did really work right, but seemed to get even worse yes.

Here's what i have learned in the last hour. If there are no real stars displayed, you get the jet black background, with bright tiny pixels. Again, if there are no stars displayed you get a bright whiteS screen after doing the dark frame.

So the real issue is no stars, or very very few. Well, that, and the fact I think I need another expensive mount!~



Edited by Wmacky (11/03/13 12:12 AM)


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Madratter
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Reged: 01/14/13

Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172875 - 11/03/13 12:13 AM

What are you using as your guidescope? Nevermind, I see it is the AT6RC.

Your settings are way off. For example, your minimum motion is way to small given you are using the AT6RC.

Edited by Madratter (11/03/13 12:17 AM)


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Madratter]
      #6172888 - 11/03/13 12:20 AM

do you have a starting point for the settings?

BTW, tonight I was using a .5x focal reducer on the AT6RC to help with finding guide stars. Didn't really help, but the scope was guiding at 1/2 it's normal FL. As you can see, the stock setting still didn't work even in this case.(guiding at FL685mm)

Edited by Wmacky (11/03/13 12:26 AM)


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172893 - 11/03/13 12:24 AM

Well, I don't have direct experience with trying to guide at that long a focal length. But I can tell you that minimum motion probably needs to be up around .5 if not more. I can also tell you than you will need to up the size of the box in PHD that it surrounds the guidestar with from 16 to 50 (which is the maximum). Set your RA aggressiveness down to around 80. Set your hysteresis to around 25.

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