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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: neilson]
      #5663271 - 02/05/13 10:22 AM

Neilson,

Starsense is a gimmick like adding GPS to your scope. I could align my CGEM (2+4) and get an ASPA completed with another alignment (2+4) in about 15 minutes. 300 bucks is alot of money to automate your alignment routine and really once you get it down, it's easy. If you have a CCD, take a look at Astrotortilla. It allows you to do platesolving for free (as in beer) if you're looking for something similar.

One other thing that G2 has built into it is a pointing model (assuming you're permanently mounted). Spend a few minutes added 10-15 stars on each side of the meridian and it should get you fairly precise .


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: neilson]
      #5663540 - 02/05/13 12:49 PM

supposedly the problem with the hand controller can be mechanical in nature. if the temperature changes and the box expands/contracts, it can put pressure on the touchscreen and cause the computer to think that your finger is being held on the display.

some people have loosened the screws a little bit and the problem goes away... i have never had that problem with temperatures down to about 34F.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: pfile]
      #5663774 - 02/05/13 03:25 PM

Hi Pfile,
Thanks for the advice on the handbox. I will definately give that a try. I appreciate the help.

Hi Raginar,
I know it's just a gimmick but I like things like that.
My G11 G2 is not permanently mounted so going through all the trouble of making a 10 star model of the East then manualy slewing the RA and DEC to the other side and making a 10 star model of the West every day gets old fast.
I definately feel the G2 was designed mostly for those who are permanently mounted. It would have been nice if it had the 2+4 like Celestrons. Its very accurate with 2+4 and if you want you can add more stars to the model. My CGEM DX always put the item dead center in my eyepiece with the 2+4. With my G2 I do a 10 + 10 and it never gets the item centered, Its in my eyepiece but off to the side every time. I mostly image DSO's and getting them centered would be nice.

neilson


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tboss70
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Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Missouri
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: neilson]
      #5664183 - 02/05/13 07:10 PM

I've had my G11G2 out in 12F. No issues.

I am very happy with my G11G2. I've always read about the "difficulty" of Gemini but when I first received mine I had trouble understanding what people were talking about. Keep in mind my only other mount was a Celestron ASGT. Still, I find Gemini II easy to work with...even in the dark.

I might also mention i added the Ovision worm to mine. When I first received my mount I didnt take a PEC curve. My first photos had the football shapes after 1-2 minute exposures. This was at 900mm FL. I adjusted the mount multiple times and finally got my best, +-7 peak to peak.

the football shapes only came about once per worm rotation.
After the ovision upgrade, I have not seen this issue. Now I get +-3 peak to peak.

So while it did take a little patience and fiddling, I am happy where I am at with it now.

Lastly, and back to Gemini, Here is my method for aligning every night.

Point mount to north star; enter polar scope and get it close; take polar scope out. Perform PAA between two stars then go to modeling. I only have access to the north and east skies so I just model the east side (about 3 or 4 stars) then go to PAC. After that I build another model of about 3-4 stars and I am done. Then i just autoguide.

I have used metaguide, PHD, and Pempro without issue. I have also use Cartes with Gemini without issue.

The only intermittent issue I still get today is occasionally after PAC the hand controller will freeze and i need to unplug it, then plug it back in. I loose about 10 seconds doing this and again, it doesnt happen all the time or that often.

Thus far, I am a happy owner and I dont find Gemini difficult at all.


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wasyoungonce
sage


Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: Land Downunder
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: tboss70]
      #5664460 - 02/05/13 10:57 PM

Jeez I don't know what the fuss is.

I've been using a G11 with a G1 for a few years but are secretly hoping it'll die and I'll be definitely be replacing it with a G2. I'd kill for OEM LAN, USB and wireless capability.


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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: wasyoungonce]
      #5664970 - 02/06/13 10:51 AM

Well, it doesn't have built-in wireless capability. But you can add a wireless adapter and make it happen pretty easy .

12F, good to know. I was looking around for some type of heater case, and couldn't find one.


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: wasyoungonce]
      #5665091 - 02/06/13 12:00 PM

Quote:

Jeez I don't know what the fuss is.

I've been using a G11 with a G1 for a few years but are secretly hoping it'll die and I'll be definitely be replacing it with a G2. I'd kill for OEM LAN, USB and wireless capability.




you'll figure out what the fuss is when you start using it and encounter a bunch of bugs.

the features of the hardware are very nice but unfortunately the firmware still needs help.

by the way, PEMPro might have been the culprit in the pier crash (it definitely unparks the mount when it first connects to the mount, and it was the only "new" software i had running on the night of the pier crash.) to be safe from now on i disconnect and quit PEMPro after i'm done with it.


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nganga
super member


Reged: 03/16/08

Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5665939 - 02/06/13 08:03 PM

Quote:

It now works as advertised. The developer is great as he has added two features at my request and the 3rd one "electronically assisted mount balancing" is on it's way. There is only one minor bug I know off that is pending a fix. After synchronizing dec axis guiding starts running away out of control. There is an easy workaround till the bug is fixed. Move slightly north then south after performing sync. Other than that I dont know of any bugs.

In short it works great.




Hello Hilmi,

Does the runaway DEC guiding occur with ST4 guiding too, or just ASCOM guiding?

Clem


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Hilmi
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: nganga]
      #5666304 - 02/07/13 12:20 AM

Havent tried with st4 guiding

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5666353 - 02/07/13 01:14 AM

OK, first night out with the G2 and I thought everyone would love to hear what I thought. First, not as easy as I thought it would be. I hit a safety limit from a bad slew before I powered down last time... and for some reason I couldn't get it to think it wasn't hitting that slew. Finally, after getting pretty frustrated, I manually moved the mount around and that seemed to clear it.

Second, aligning isn't 'great'. Especially when you don't have a polar scope or any really good way to wag your alignment. My mount doesn't have a polar finder nor does it have latitude marks on it... so I have to take a guess and use something electronically (or drift align) to figure it out. My first 'guess' was woefully off! So the first few GOTOs were very poor out of the box. In fact, it wouldn't let me select some of the stars because they were (according to it) below the horizon.

But, as I added stars to the pointing model, it did get better. Was it great? Nope. Was it as good as my CGEM? No. Even after adding 5-6 stars on each side, It was 'close enough' to plate solve but not putting the object on the chip. I'll have to see if there is some way to make this easier. In addition, I didn't have the Semi Automatic Alignment option for some reason... either I missed it or something, but I think that might make it easier and I'll go digging for that tomorrow.

Finally, the last thing I really checked was the Polar Alignment function. Mind you, this is based on your pointing model, so it's only so accurate... It's definitely NOT as good as ASPA. However, I think that is driven by the relatively shoddy pointing model I built randomly as I found stars I knew I could ID in my sky. It did get it accurate enough that I could guide; however it wasn't enough to let me take even 30 second exposures @ 600mm.

So, what do I think of G2? I have alot to learn before I can really make that judgement. I was super-comfortable with Nexstar; it definitely doesn't make sense... yet. I know it took me a few months with my CGEM before I really felt I understood what it wanted me to do too.

Hope this helps.

Chris


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Hilmi
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: Raginar]
      #5666385 - 02/07/13 01:53 AM

Chris,

I think there is some user error here. Let me guide you through the steps.

1) Before power on, make sure the mount is physically set up with the counter weight down and pointing straight ahead. The more accurately you do this to start with, the easier the later steps will become.

2) Power on mount and once all powered up, set up location coordinates, time zone and time and date. exact instructions are on the gemini II site, I'm out of country so cant refer to my mount now.

3) Make sure the mount is set up to ask you which start up mount you want. If the is is a set up that you set up and tear down every night just let it default to cold start. I like the setting that says ask if possible.

4) Restart mount in cold start mode. It should ask you if you want to model. If you dont get this screen then you are using very old firmware. Please update firmware.

5) Build model. It should work more easily now.


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dawziecat
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5666586 - 02/07/13 07:44 AM

It's hard to hold my tongue in this thread. I have used Gemini 2 likely as much as anyone although I have not used its full set of features.
I have owned, and used for AP, the G11 Gemini 2 since early 2011. Back then the FW was very rudimentary and there was cause for disappointment, yea, even consternation, among users who had no idea just how incomplete the software was when they purchased.

All that changed by the early summer of 2011. Since that time, Gemini 2 has been eminently useable and has improved, albeit in fits and starts, since then.

I don't get the complaints voiced here. My GOTOs are just fine and I rarely bother with more than 2-3 stars on one side of the meridian and NONE on the other! When it comes time to flip, I add 1-2 stars on the other side and, certainly at FLs up to 600mm or so, I have no trouble finding my target. And I don't model build often either, even if I have moved the mount. A simple synch seems to work just fine. My problem in model building is lack of stars due to trees, not Gemini 2.

Runaway slews? I never had one that was not attributable to the sticky soft key "feature" that I hated. Provision was made some time ago to lock that feature out and I have not had a runaway slew since.

The biggest problem I see with Gemini 2 is the lack of a manual. It is a wonderfully complete system and has more features than most of us will ever use. But it is tough to figure all those features out with no manual.

That new bugs pop up with new FW releases is not surprising. I am not sure Gemini 2 will EVER be truly "finished." It will continue to evolve until it is supplanted by Gemini 3 at some time in the future. I hardly see this as a bad thing. I have had no reason to update my FW since last summer. So, I'll allow some things may have "run amok" since that time.

But, I have to wonder at the discontent expressed here.


I have seen hardly any of the problems people are reporting here!


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Bart
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/06

Loc: Somewhere near Charlottesville...
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5666653 - 02/07/13 08:54 AM

Quote:

The biggest problem I see with Gemini 2 is the lack of a manual. It is a wonderfully complete system and has more features than most of us will ever use. But it is tough to figure all those features out with no manual.




Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.


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terry59
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Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5666669 - 02/07/13 09:07 AM

I've had my GM-8 since last March and it worked flawlessly for me until recently when it started stuttering while slewing in RA. I traced it to the gearbox and when I removed it, the box was apart slightly, causing problems with the motor shaft gear engaging correctly with the one in the gearbox. It snapped back together but I'd already talked to Scott Losmandy and he'd told me to return it for replacement. Last Tuesday, Jan 29, I sent it off and got the replacement yesterday, Feb 6. It was delivered to them on Friday so they must have sent the replacement out immediately.
I installed it last night but it was cloudy. When I got up this morning it was clear so I did a polar alignment with the scope and slewed to Vega which was just off center in my 20mm eyepiece. The same with Altair. Arcturus wasn't as close to the center but still was very good. I did not build a model, just synchronized on each of them. I did experience the runaway slew problem, which is an annoyance.
I purchased this mount because it is quality, easy to work on if necessary and parts are readily available. It took a couple of days for Scott Losmandy to get back with me, but he did call me which I thought was very good. Replacing the gearbox was super simple too.
I understand that people have issues with gear at times It happens. But I also think these mounts are a heck of a deal and as the owner of a Synta mount too, there really is no comparison.

Edit: Before this problem I was getting great 20 minute subs.I haven't tried anything longer yet.

Edited by terry59 (02/07/13 09:57 AM)


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dawziecat
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: terry59]
      #5666719 - 02/07/13 09:43 AM

Terry
The runaway slews---
Have you tuned off the sticky key feature?


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terry59
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Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5666730 - 02/07/13 09:52 AM

Hi Terry. No...how do you do that? I'll do it right away!

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Bart
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Reged: 05/28/06

Loc: Somewhere near Charlottesville...
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: terry59]
      #5666773 - 02/07/13 10:18 AM

Is it true that if you use a good third party PC based guiding software, for example SkyX, none of these problems manifest themselves?

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: Bart]
      #5666988 - 02/07/13 12:15 PM

Bart, I spent all last night guiding via PHD over ASCOM and had no issues. Mind you, it's a small sample. I think I'll lock on the back buttons too.

Terry, thanks for your take on everything. I agree that we're probably being overly harsh on the G2 and that much of it is probably user error at this point.

Hilmi, thanks for the walk through bro . Very helpful!

Obligatory picture:


Not bad for a first light!

Edited by Raginar (02/07/13 04:57 PM)


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5667052 - 02/07/13 01:01 PM

Hi Terry D.
You stated your using fl up to 600mm. There's a big difference when your imaging DSO's at 3250mm fl. I need my goto's to be dead on. At up to 600mm is so wide field you might not even notice it being off a little but at 3250mm fl. it becomes a problem.

I'm glad your Gemini 2 has no issues.



Neilson


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dawziecat
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: LOSMANDY GEMINI 2 GOTO SYSTEM new [Re: terry59]
      #5667168 - 02/07/13 02:11 PM

Quote:

Hi Terry. No...how do you do that? I'll do it right away!




Menu-HC-Buttons Then uncheck 'Persistant Diamonds,' IIRC.

I am using an unfamiliar Android tablet right now and can't figure out how to send a link here.
Try
www.gemini-2.com/stickybuttons.php

I was probably the worst offender of the stickies and was forever having runaways. Even after abandoning the membrane keys entirely for scope movement, it was easy to accidentally initiate a runaway by holding the HC and inadvertently pressing and holding a membrane key on the backside. After the feature was made user selectable in response to complaints, I deselected 'persistant diamonds' and have not had a runaway since.

Edited by dawziecat (02/07/13 02:27 PM)


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