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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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Wmacky
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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shawnhar
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6172911 - 11/03/13 12:43 AM

Quote:

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!~





I think you should go to a bright star and use the cam dialog to adjust gamma/gain/brightness, etc... until you can see the star clearly in the PHD screen, you may need to decrease the slider in PHD that adjusts the brightness, it's just for you though, has no effect on guiding. I had similar issues using a webcam where I had the gamma/gain settings messed up, it would either be super bright or super dark and really picky about the settings.
Then read this:
http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=2755


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Raginar
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6173029 - 11/03/13 01:52 AM

Use meta guide. It's designed for the type of guide camera you have. PHD doesn't work well with direct draw cameras.

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Wmacky
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6173034 - 11/03/13 01:59 AM

Quote:

Use meta guide. It's designed for the type of guide camera you have. PHD doesn't work well with direct draw cameras.




I'll look into Metaguide.

I spent another couple hours with not much luck. I did notice that my images looked better using no guiding at all! I tried change the settings to no avail. PHD just can't control the dec. It will for a bit then go off scale. I read the post of Stelios for the other day as he had the same issue and was able to cure it by turning of guide commands, and watching for N or S commands from PHD. then set the setup to guide that direction. I did this and found N commands being sent. I set it to North, but it still went off scale. Hope seems bleak! I'm going to bed for a bad night sleep.


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Raginar
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6173038 - 11/03/13 02:02 AM

Tea, those are warm pixels I'm pretty sure. Dude, I haven't tried a direct draw camera with PHD but I've read about some horror stories. Meta guide was written specifically with them in mind so it should be easier to control.

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bmwbiker
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6173111 - 11/03/13 03:51 AM

Its hard to perform diagnosis from a distance, but I'm just don't see a image of stars in your screen captures. Suggest you slew the scope to a very bright star and make sure you can see and focus on it with the guidecam and PHD. So there is no ambiguity about framing, focus and exposure.

If you got is setup right it will be a question of which star to chose as a guide star. Not is there a guide star?

Edited by bmwbiker (11/03/13 03:53 AM)


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astrodog73
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: bmwbiker]
      #6173150 - 11/03/13 04:55 AM

The screen grabs definitely look like hot pixels, but the graphs suggest you are guiding on stars.... hot pixels give really nice graphs....

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Madratter
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: astrodog73]
      #6173232 - 11/03/13 07:56 AM

The suggestion to try metaguide is a good one. On top of that, you should be able to focus things in daylight with that camera. Obviously the exposure will be real short.

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Wmacky
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: bmwbiker]
      #6173413 - 11/03/13 10:16 AM

Quote:

Its hard to perform diagnosis from a distance, but I'm just don't see a image of stars in your screen captures. Suggest you slew the scope to a very bright star and make sure you can see and focus on it with the guidecam and PHD. So there is no ambiguity about framing, focus and exposure.

If you got is setup right it will be a question of which star to chose as a guide star. Not is there a guide star?




I did do that, and results are the pics of the graphs. I have never seen more than 2 guide stars in a frame, but usually none at all. This is with good focus on what guide stars I can find. I think I have a serious issue with the cam, or the mount, or both. I have no idea what to try next other than metaguide.

Also I'm headed out to test focus the AT6RC in daylight.

I guess next step will be another guide cam. I was thinking about a mono ASI120MM anyway as a part of my planetary arsenal, but now I'm gun shy. Do I really have to have a Lodestar?

Has anyone directly compared the ASI120MC to the ASI120MM for guiding purposes? Is there a big difference?

Thanks for the help guys, I know no astrophotography people locally, or heck, even anyone else that even owns a scope. This is my only resource.

Edited by Wmacky (11/03/13 10:19 AM)


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SergeC
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6173546 - 11/03/13 11:22 AM

I'm not familiar with your guide cam so I can't give advice on the problems you're seeing. About your local resources, Alachua Astronomy Club is reasonably local, as is NEFAS. Both have monthly star parties and active AP-ers as members.

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zerro1
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6173571 - 11/03/13 11:35 AM

I use a Meade DSI pro that I picked up used for $100.00 that worked so well I got a second one for another imaging setup. I have compared it to the SSAG (Orion "Star Shoot Auto Guider") The SSAG is certaily less sensitive than the Meade DSI. I always have plenty of stars to choose from with the Meade. It's not a guider in that it does not have a guide port on the camera.

do try to get guiding sorted out before you try to change mounts. a poor guiding situation would make a mount look like its in sad shape. Once the guiding is solved, it can help pinpoint problems as you learn how to regognize what is coming from the mount


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Madratter
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6173602 - 11/03/13 11:52 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Its hard to perform diagnosis from a distance, but I'm just don't see a image of stars in your screen captures. Suggest you slew the scope to a very bright star and make sure you can see and focus on it with the guidecam and PHD. So there is no ambiguity about framing, focus and exposure.

If you got is setup right it will be a question of which star to chose as a guide star. Not is there a guide star?




I did do that, and results are the pics of the graphs. I have never seen more than 2 guide stars in a frame, but usually none at all. This is with good focus on what guide stars I can find. I think I have a serious issue with the cam, or the mount, or both. I have no idea what to try next other than metaguide.

Also I'm headed out to test focus the AT6RC in daylight.

I guess next step will be another guide cam. I was thinking about a mono ASI120MM anyway as a part of my planetary arsenal, but now I'm gun shy. Do I really have to have a Lodestar?

Has anyone directly compared the ASI120MC to the ASI120MM for guiding purposes? Is there a big difference?

Thanks for the help guys, I know no astrophotography people locally, or heck, even anyone else that even owns a scope. This is my only resource.




A couple of things:

1) If you get to the point you consider the lodestar (and I don't really think that will be necessary), also consider the SBIG ST-i mono. It is also quite sensitive and is pretty clean as these guiders go. Don't get the color one for this purpose. I have it. It works, but the mono is clearly better (it is also 100$ more which mattered to me at the time).

2) Trying to learn guiding at the focal lengths you are trying at is bound to cause frustration. Learning on a 50mm guider (which I have successfully used to guide up to 2000mm scopes) is much much easier. The reason has to do with the ease of finding guide stars. It isn't so much the focal length, as the f/ratio. The Orion 50mm guiders are f/3.2. Sure the larger scope pulls in fainter stars. But what counts for this purpose is the signal to noise ratio on the sensor. And because of that the faster the f/ratio of the scope, the more stars in practice you will have to guide with. When I realized that, it was one of the things that steered me away from the ST-80 guide scopes. The advantage of longer focal length is less difference in image scale between the main scope, and the guider. But even the 50mm does fine at 2000mm. And it is easier to secure things with less flex as well. In other words, you chose to make things hard on yourself. Maybe once you were more experienced this would have been a good idea. But certainly not now.

3) Your mount may indeed be bad. But the session last night gives no useful information on that front. Don't be so fast to conclude you need a different mount. You probably could have been using an Astro-Physics Mach1 and still had the problems you were seeing.


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CounterWeight
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6173625 - 11/03/13 12:05 PM

I know I'm late to the party but all those first images appear to be just noise and maybe hot pixels, so there is some issue with the signal. White after dark cal shows a huge imbalance between expected and actual, so IMO all bets off until you get that completely sorted. IMO that points to the driver for the camera and the software looking with it and how. Hope the Metaguide software helps!

BTW, I can't seem to find those in the supported cameras list, is it there and I just don't see it? also don't see a direct statement that it's PHD compliant at least on the OPT site or the ZWO site. Anyway with the Orion SSAG they include PHD, at least with those I've bought - any chance there was a version on the install disk?

That you get better images unguided is great in ways as shows the mount tracking is good/decent from your polar alignment alone. I wouldn't worry about the mount based on what is happening here with this guide camera issue.


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Dwight J
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6173668 - 11/03/13 12:30 PM

As mentioned already, using a 6" F9 scope, even with a reducer, is way too long a focal length to guide with initially. The field of view, especially with tiny chipped guide cameras, is very small making it highly unlikely a suitable guide star will appear. You will need to inset an eyepiece and use the screws in the guidesscope rings to center a suitably bright star, then reinsert the camera and focus it. Use of a par focal ring will simplify this operation in the future.

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Wmacky
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Dwight J]
      #6174266 - 11/03/13 06:45 PM

Thanks for those comments.

As to guiding with the AT6RC. Yes, I know it's not the best way to begin, but with reports of people finding lots of guide stars with the newer sensitive cameras, even with OAGs on SCTs, gave me hope. Perhaps, this isn't as true as I had read?


I had never used the AT6RC before so today I test focused it in daylight, and it focused ok. With the ASI the view was kinda soft, and washed out. Not a very impressive view. Same with it in the EON 80, but no real problems found. However, as others have stated, the FOV (even with a FC) was indeed tiny. Focusing on my neighbors fence about 200' away showed a single nail head surrounded by a small amount of wood! I'm starting to think that those who reported plentiful stars with this MC version cam were using a Mini guider.

What next?

Well, I guess I could wait, and try Metaguide next weekend if it'd clear. (weekends only for me).

Or I could purchase a better mono cam, or a 50mm Mini guider, or perhaps both?

I can't really think of anything else to try. I feel that waiting and just trying to adjust PHD setting numbers will waste out another good weekend.

I'd still love to hear from someone that has atempted to guide with the ASI120MC at a longer FL. (> 1000mm)

Edited by Wmacky (11/03/13 07:35 PM)


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Raginar
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6174288 - 11/03/13 06:56 PM

Seems a little excessive. You didn't even try meta guide. A finder guider would probably be a better bet than using your RC though.

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Wmacky
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6174320 - 11/03/13 07:18 PM

Quote:

Seems a little excessive. You didn't even try meta guide. A finder guider would probably be a better bet than using your RC though.




Probably right. It's just in Florida we are afforded a small imaging season of just a few precious dry months. I sure hate to waste the good cloud free ones!


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frozen.kryo
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6174476 - 11/03/13 08:57 PM

Have you tried using the ascom chooser to select the guide camera? (instead of using wdm?)

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Raginar
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6174583 - 11/03/13 10:06 PM

Well, if your budget allows, get the lodestar/mini-guider. You won't be disappointed. It was the best purchase I made when I upgraded from a SSAG.

The lodestar is such a beast!


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astrodog73
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6174836 - 11/04/13 03:53 AM

+1 for lodestar... I guide with one, I'm tossing up getting another to image with... A friend guided on a galactic core once with his lodestar.

I would also pick up a cheap, fast, short achromat, and use that instead of the RC.... I've never heard of anyone using an RC as a guide scope (might be a reason behind that??)


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Wmacky
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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: astrodog73]
      #6175026 - 11/04/13 09:01 AM

Good news first - I was able to order an adapter for one of my 50mm finders, So I'll have a new guide scope for $29.


Tha bad. Wow, the lodestar is more expensive than remebered! Thats a big expense with IDAS filters still to purchase, a light box supplies needed. Any less expensive options for a sensitive cam? I was thinking about purchasing a ASI120MM for plantetary work anyway, but there's not much info on these being used for guiding, and it's bad to be a trail blazer when a newbie! Especially, after using the MC version with no real guidance available from other users with that cam.

Edited by Wmacky (11/04/13 09:14 AM)


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6175045 - 11/04/13 09:17 AM

Wmacky,

Have you thought about the QHY5L-II mono? It has the same chip as the ASI120MM. I have no problems using mine as a guide camera and connect with PHD using the ASCOM drivers that are available from the QHY web site.

Here is a link to a retailer that sells them in the US.
https://www.astrofactors.com/planetary-autoguider/qhy5l-ii-mono.html


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6175063 - 11/04/13 09:29 AM

Can you return the one you have and recoup some cost? My thought is 'why do you NEED such sensitive guiding just starting out?', you really don't IMO. I'd just start over with the whole guiding proposition and start very simple. What makes a SSAG/mini-guider reasonable is you don't need scope rings and upper DTP's and all that, and in my time using one differential flexure non-existent. Many, many of us are getting by just fine with one.

Save complexity for later, start simple. There was a point where I thought i needed something more sensitive long ago but i decided to try the mini-guider approach with the SSAG and have not had the thought since. I live in a place where imaging opportunities can be very long interval and believe me I value my clear sky time as much as anyone.


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6175237 - 11/04/13 11:09 AM

I guess my put on need is does he intend to keep imaging? If so, buying a 500 camera now is better than saving a few hundred but buying two cameras in 2 years or something.


I agree with the QHY5 put. Someone did a review on it and apparently it's very favorable to a lodestar.


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6175585 - 11/04/13 02:21 PM

My understanding is that the lodestar has bigger pixels and a bigger chip. Also QHY has several models named similarly. The basic QHY5 chip is identical to the SSAG. The QHY5L-II mono is the more sensitive one that has been compared to the lodestar. BTW, Orion has a relationship with QHY and QHY probably makes the SSAG.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6175712 - 11/04/13 03:15 PM

Quote:


Any less expensive options for a sensitive cam?




Unless you have a thing for buying brand new only, you need to start looking at the "used" options if you want to cut down on some of the costs. a meade DSI v1 was posted in the classifieds yesterday for $75 and sold that fast. It is the most sensitive you will find at that price and is always less expensive than the SSAG. Used SSAG's normally are listed in the $200 range and quite frankly (since I own and have used an SSAG) I'm not that impressed with them. Try plugging that SSAG into an OAG on an SCT and see how many stars you can find to guide from! I've tried, it doesn't work! Plug the Meade DSI into the same setup and you can find guide stars...

SSAG = QHY5 (QHY5 is printed on the circuit board of the SSAG)

The QHY5 II- never had any experience with them so no opinion.

Loadstar - I seen a lot of complaints over cable and connector failures that would *BLEEP* me the *bleep* off if I paid that price and had it break 3rd time out.


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: zerro1]
      #6176095 - 11/04/13 07:16 PM

I've never broke the cable other than when I was stupid. I would order a spare though.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6176331 - 11/04/13 09:30 PM

Quote:

I've never broke the cable other than when I was stupid. I would order a spare though.






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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: zerro1]
      #6176965 - 11/05/13 08:45 AM

Well, I decided to cover most bases. As mentioned earlier, I've ordered an adapter to alter a spare 50mm finder into a mini guider.

I've also spent a day researching the QHY5l-II / ASI120mm cameras, and it turns out there were a lot of comparisons made with the Lodestar. Almost all the posts indicated that these Aptiva chipped cams are very close to Lodestar sensitivity, with some who owned both favoring to Aptiva chip. So - I went ahead and got the ASI120MM as I had already decided to get this cam anyway for mono planetary work. Just not so soon.

I also downloaded Metaguide, and will give it a try.

Sure hope the mount works out. I really think the only worth while upgrade would be a Mach One, But that could be years down the raod for me if ever.

BTW, anyone know where I can find the default "brain" setting are in PHD?

Edited by Wmacky (11/05/13 08:54 AM)


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6178317 - 11/05/13 10:18 PM

You using a finder guider? Try 80 15 .15 and RA and dec max motion around 1000. Calibration steps of 4000 work for me.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6185393 - 11/09/13 08:36 PM

Update:

Sitting out here imaging as I type!

The finder adapter came in as well as my new ASI120MM. Got the old Celestron Finder converted to guider duty in all of 15 seconds, and screwed on the New ASI. Set the brain setting to as suggested, and well it works!

The good news; I see lots of stars. Real ones this time! Wow this cam is sensitive. I must have over 50 guide stars in every field so far.Also I have no problem seeing the DSO's to. I'm glad I got this instead of the Lodestar. I couldn't imagine needing anything more sensitive, and now I have a top tier planetary cam. I still don't know if the cure was the new, cam, or the new guide scope, or perhaps some of both. I need to to try the color cam on the new mini guider just to see.

As for the mount, I'm not sure how great it's doing. Most seem to get a smooth graph with the mini guiders, but mine is very jagged, and corrections are made on almost every frame. This said, RMS is around .27. This mount is a Mid range classic CGE. As long as It will work will enough for Short FL imaging, I guess I can get by for now until I have the funds for a Mach One.

Thanks again.

Edited by Wmacky (11/09/13 08:46 PM)


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6185397 - 11/09/13 08:39 PM

Did you end up using meta guide? Or are you still doing PHD? What was the fix to make it work?

Chris


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6185420 - 11/09/13 08:56 PM

Quote:

Did you end up using meta guide? Or are you still doing PHD? What was the fix to make it work?

Chris




I had Meta guide ready to go, but never needed to try it, as PHD started working fine right off the bat. I will still give it a tryl along with PDS2.

What was the fix? Well I'm not sure. I added a mini guider instead of using the AT6RC, and replaced the ASI120MC with a ASI120MM. So it was one of those things or both?

I'll try the ASI120MC again with the new mini guider to determine what may have been the true cure.

Edited by Wmacky (11/09/13 08:58 PM)


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6185426 - 11/09/13 08:58 PM

Did your settings change on how you used it? Like your integration time on the camera?

I'm really stoked its working for you!


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6185430 - 11/09/13 09:00 PM

Thanks. I'm stoked too.

The settings were set back to nearly stock, but tweaked slightly as recommended for Mini guider use.


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6185445 - 11/09/13 09:07 PM

Try setting noise reduction to 2x2 and see if that helps your RMS value come down some.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Madratter]
      #6185659 - 11/09/13 11:38 PM

Just some advice from looking at your guide graph and settings. Your RA are probably too large. I guide with the orion 50mm scope, which has a focal length of about 130mm and I only do RA steps of about 200-400. The oscilating pattern suggests that your RA steps are too large and overshooting every time.

Your declination issue could be due in part to backlash, I didn't see what kind of a mount you are using, I'm assuming a Equitorial of some type, but if you have any sort of back lash in the gears, it's pretty important to figure out which way you're going to need to guide your DEC in then, make sure you've run your backlash all the way out, other wise it looks like it's not guiding (though this problem should show up in calibration).

This won't fix your sensitivity issues, but will help with guiding.


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6186047 - 11/10/13 07:54 AM

For what it's worth I gave up on PHD a while ago as well. Metaguide is simply a better program and it produces better results with my Shoestring GPUSB.

obin


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6186313 - 11/10/13 10:53 AM

Obin, I always wanted to try it. I wish I had a video cam that could do it.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6186338 - 11/10/13 11:05 AM

Quote:

Obin, I always wanted to try it. I wish I had a video cam that could do it.




I'm using my Microsoft LifeCam Studio as a camera and a Zhumell 50mm mini guider as a scope. When you turn up the digital zoom on the LifeCam Studio it will still detect and track some magnitude 4 stars. Not perfect, but still good enough for my purposes. If I want to go one level more sensitive I plug in the Imaging Source CCD. That will detect much dimmer stars. In either case Metaguide works so well I uninstalled PHD guiding altogether.

obin


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6186376 - 11/10/13 11:25 AM

More testing.

OK I have a confession. A lot of this stuff was set up during the "Off season", and I'm just now using it. It appears I had installed the regular ASI cam driver, but never installed the "ASI ASCOM" guider drivers as they weren't needed for testing in Fire Capture.

It appear it is needed in PHD. I thought I could use the "WDM Webcam" setting and just needed the regular ASI driver if doing pulse guiding. However, doing so causes a lot of the display weirdness I was seeing such as the bright random hot pixels that filled the screen. Picking, ASCOM LATE cam, then selecting "ASI120MM ASCOM" driver produces a more reasonable display with lots of stars.

Also, now that the special "ASI ASCOM " guider driver is installed, even picking "WDM Webcam" now work better. After selecting it, it now asks to select the ASI120mm CAM. It did NOT do that before I installed that ASI / Ascon driver.It just went straight to the weird display.


The Color cam (ASI120MC) has be retested, and now works much better. But, the ASI120MM mono still blows it away in sensitivity with many more stars. So that's money well spent.

Hopefully, The new mono cam, with the proper Ascom type drivers installed will work when I go back to guiding with the AT6RC, and C8 edge using a OAG for shooting with those scopes. I'm sticking with the EON 80mm, and mini guider for now while I develop some skills!

BTW, my converted Mini guider works wonderfully, and what a deal it was. I already had a spare 50MM finder, and some great Sellarview Finder rings, so just needed to order this Adapter . The whole shebang cost me $29. I like the flex free - all threaded connections better than the Orion type.

Here she is:







Edited by Wmacky (11/10/13 12:11 PM)


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6186541 - 11/10/13 12:47 PM

Glad you got it figured out and posted what was wrong. Hopefully it'll save some new guys some angst in the future

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Wmacky]
      #6186943 - 11/10/13 04:01 PM

Quote:

BTW, my converted Mini guider works wonderfully, and what a deal it was. I already had a spare 50MM finder, and some great Sellarview Finder rings, so just needed to order this Adapter . The whole shebang cost me $29. I like the flex free - all threaded connections better than the Orion type.

Here she is:








Okay so let me get this straight you are telling me that I can use this spare finder I have:
http://agenaastro.com/gso-8x50mm-straight-through-finder-black.html

...and this adapter:

http://agenaastro.com/blue-fireball-sct-female-m48-male-t-t2-female-thread-ad...

...then I'll be able to attach a CCD directly and make that into a guide scope? There must be something I am missing because how can you support the camera and have it in focus?

obin


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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6187126 - 11/10/13 05:12 PM

Obin, that's the general idea. Specifically I think it's a finder with a given kind of thread that allows you to do it. His guide camera has a 2" filter thread on the outside of it.

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Re: PHD - About to give up new [Re: Raginar]
      #6187416 - 11/10/13 07:49 PM

The finder scopes rear tubing must be internally threaded with SCT thread. This includes Recent 50mm Synta finders such as Celestron, and skywatcher. Not sure about the GSO units. Someone would have to check this.

Also your guide cam must have 42mm T-2 or T adapter female threads.

Edited by Wmacky (11/10/13 10:26 PM)


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