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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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tazer
sage


Reged: 12/22/11

Loc: Central North Carolina
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: austin.grant]
      #6619808 - 07/06/14 02:35 PM

Yep, that's pixels.

Austin, you're correct regarding my setup. 731mm Mak-Newt guided with SSAG via TOAG. That's about 1.45" ppx by my calculations.

I don't expect a flat guide graph but I'm getting wild swings in RA that PHD/PHD2 can't counteract effectively. Even at 100% RA aggressiveness there are periods where RA just seems unresponsive.

Polar alignment was done via the handset, PHD Lab estimates PAE was about 5', the tripod was well leveled, there was 0mph of wind, seeing was above average for once, RA was balanced east heavy, DEC was near perfect balanced, and the total imaging weight was 19.4lbs.

The only thing I can think of is that RA is 'soft' when tracking at sidereal. When the mount is off I can lightly press the scope in RA and it gives just a bit. If I thump it, the whole scope vibrates for a sec. This doesn't happen in DEC. I'd expect a mount of this weight class loaded at 1/3 capacity to be rock solid.


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daran0815
journeyman


Reged: 02/25/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: tazer]
      #6620293 - 07/06/14 07:04 PM

Quote:

I don't expect a flat guide graph but I'm getting wild swings in RA that PHD/PHD2 can't counteract effectively. Even at 100% RA aggressiveness there are periods where RA just seems unresponsive.





That does sound bad. Can't remember where I read it, but someone had guiding problems that went away when he directly connected to his equipment, instead of using the input panel. Probably not your problem, but easy enough to check?


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RandyC
sage
*****

Reged: 04/01/13

Loc: RI
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: daran0815]
      #6620413 - 07/06/14 08:27 PM

I've always had an unresponsive RA in my ZEQ25 ever since I got it. The mount sometimes ignores the first 3-4 pushes from the HC. But tracking and guiding have always been okay. This issue hasn't seemed to affect the mount in action.

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x6gas
member


Reged: 04/05/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: tazer]
      #6620851 - 07/07/14 02:40 AM

Quote:

Thanks for the suggestion but unfortunately I've already reloaded everything (ssag drivers, phd2, phd, ascom) but get the same results. I'll attempt to contact iOptron again and see if they respond but I'm at a loss of what to try next.

It occurred to me that my previous guide graph was around 57 degrees so I should try imaging something lower. After incorporating some of Paul's parameter suggestions I had a go a the Lagoon Nebula and this was the guide graph I got (I was balanced east heavy and my polar alignment was about 5'):




Hi Taser,

Just wondering but have you tried guiding with PHD rather than PHD2 and are you seeing the same results?

Here's why I ask: Last night I set up and had a polar align offset of 0.5' in DEC so there shouldn't be too much work for the guiding program to do on that axis. What I saw, though, was a whole bunch of spikes on DEC. Oddly not as a result of guide commands. It wasn't windy so I was curious and switched over to PHD... and then no spikes on DEC.

I am wondering if there is some kind of software issue with PHD2 that the CEM60 doesn't like?

Course this was just one night so this observation may be spurious, but something weird was going on!


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tazer
sage


Reged: 12/22/11

Loc: Central North Carolina
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: x6gas]
      #6621034 - 07/07/14 08:56 AM

Yep, I did try PHD as well but got a similar graph. What's seems odd to me was that although RA has always been like the graphs I posted, DEC has previously been nearly flat. I'd blame the recent firmware update but I don't know that anyone else is having the issues I'm facing.

I did loosen the RA belt (at iOptron supports direction) to alleviate the RA motor stalls I was dealing with. Then again, the RA guiding issues predate that change so I'm at a loss as to what's going on.


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Tony Finnerty
member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Nevada City, California
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: x6gas]
      #6621959 - 07/07/14 05:50 PM

Quote:

Hi Taser,

Just wondering but have you tried guiding with PHD rather than PHD2 and are you seeing the same results?

Here's why I ask: Last night I set up and had a polar align offset of 0.5' in DEC so there shouldn't be too much work for the guiding program to do on that axis. What I saw, though, was a whole bunch of spikes on DEC. Oddly not as a result of guide commands. It wasn't windy so I was curious and switched over to PHD... and then no spikes on DEC.

I am wondering if there is some kind of software issue with PHD2 that the CEM60 doesn't like?

Course this was just one night so this observation may be spurious, but something weird was going on!




This sounds so much like my experience with PHD2 under Windows 8.1, using a QHY5L-II to guide a ZEQ25. Dec spikes that nothing could fix, including cleaning and tuning both mount axes, down to the tiny gears in the planetary gearbox, and swapping drive motors with their planetary gearboxes, over several nights of testing.

As mentioned here by my brother Dan, I had a good night after reloading all drivers and software and thought I had solved the problem. The next night, the Dec spikes were back. It turns out that fortuitously I had a near-perfect polar alignment on the good night with very little Dec drift, so PHD2 issued few Dec commands and there were no software-caused spikes.

The last thing I expected was a problem with PHD2 because Paul Chasse gets excellent guiding from this combination. Finally, last night before the clouds shut me down, I tried MetaGuide, just to see what would happen without PHD2. I still must learn a lot about how to tune MetaGuide and to interpret its graphs but ... no Dec spikes!

Evidently the current version of PHD2 has a problem.


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x6gas
member


Reged: 04/05/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: Tony Finnerty]
      #6622690 - 07/08/14 02:16 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Hi Taser,

Just wondering but have you tried guiding with PHD rather than PHD2 and are you seeing the same results?

Here's why I ask: Last night I set up and had a polar align offset of 0.5' in DEC so there shouldn't be too much work for the guiding program to do on that axis. What I saw, though, was a whole bunch of spikes on DEC. Oddly not as a result of guide commands. It wasn't windy so I was curious and switched over to PHD... and then no spikes on DEC.

I am wondering if there is some kind of software issue with PHD2 that the CEM60 doesn't like?

Course this was just one night so this observation may be spurious, but something weird was going on!




This sounds so much like my experience with PHD2 under Windows 8.1, using a QHY5L-II to guide a ZEQ25. Dec spikes that nothing could fix, including cleaning and tuning both mount axes, down to the tiny gears in the planetary gearbox, and swapping drive motors with their planetary gearboxes, over several nights of testing.

As mentioned here by my brother Dan, I had a good night after reloading all drivers and software and thought I had solved the problem. The next night, the Dec spikes were back. It turns out that fortuitously I had a near-perfect polar alignment on the good night with very little Dec drift, so PHD2 issued few Dec commands and there were no software-caused spikes.

The last thing I expected was a problem with PHD2 because Paul Chasse gets excellent guiding from this combination. Finally, last night before the clouds shut me down, I tried MetaGuide, just to see what would happen without PHD2. I still must learn a lot about how to tune MetaGuide and to interpret its graphs but ... no Dec spikes!

Evidently the current version of PHD2 has a problem.




Interesting! I am running a Windows 8.1 machine, PHD2 with a QHY IMG0H as a guidecam. Perhaps there is something in that combo.

I can't get MetaGuide to run on my Windows 8.1 machine though. Perhaps I need to reinstall it...


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Tony Finnerty
member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Nevada City, California
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: x6gas]
      #6623348 - 07/08/14 12:26 PM

Quote:

I can't get MetaGuide to run on my Windows 8.1 machine though. Perhaps I need to reinstall it...




I had to install MetaGuide in Windows 8.1 using Windows 7 compatibility mode. MG seems to run fine that way.


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bseltzer
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: East S.F.Bay, CA
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: Tony Finnerty]
      #6628204 - 07/11/14 01:33 PM

Have you tried the latest version (5.1.7) of MetaGuide? At least on my Windows 8.1 laptop, it installed cleanly without any tweaks to the compatibility mode or needing to be run as 'administrator'.

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x6gas
member


Reged: 04/05/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: bseltzer]
      #6628367 - 07/11/14 02:55 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

Yes, clean install of 5.1.7. Odd that it installed fine on my other Win 8.1 laptop, but wouldn't install on a new HP Win 8.1 machine. Installing in Win 7 compatibility mode solved it.

Returning to the CEM60 topic - I'm definitely getting odd spikes when guiding with PHD2. Not seen that on my other mounts...

But then I upped the exposure and got the attached. This guided with and OAG at 1960mm. Excited? I was until I realized I was guiding on a hot pixel!

Might be clear here tonight so intend to try guiding using AstroArt and possibly MetaGuide to see if I can improve my guided results.

Edited by x6gas (07/11/14 02:59 PM)


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: x6gas]
      #6630788 - 07/13/14 12:38 AM

Quote:

Excited? I was until I realized I was guiding on a hot pixel!




Lol, thanks for that. Actually you can trash PHD2 v2.3, as it doesn't have any provision for taking darks..:( I have reverted to PHD2 v2.2a for that reason and also because of DEC guiding issues (it won't).

I was out last night in the full moon testing some spacers on my field flattener and took advantage of the time to also check guiding settings for the CEM60EC.

The CEM60EC definitely likes very low RA Aggression settings and a low Mx RA to perform up to its potential.

Testing was done with a mount guide rate of .80 (wish it were 1.0) and just a polar align and a One Star align. Screenshot of the PHD2 screen:

cem60ec_071214_1370mm by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

I use the pixel scale set at 8 pixels since that's the only scale that lets me make meaningful adjustments to the graph.
Anything smaller drives me nuts, and using the arc-second scale means nothing to me when imaging.

With the QHY5L-II in the Borg 50mm, the image scale is about 3.094 arc-seconds per pixel if you want to do the math.

Here's a single sub of Alfirk, 900 seconds @ 1370mm/F9 using the settings described above:

Alfirk_cem60ec_900secs by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Oh, the wife and I got out tonight to view the 'super moon' with the ES152. Used a plethora of ES EPs, ranging from 4.7 to 30mm and a Baader 17 and 8-24 zoom. Focusing with the 44"/24 pound ota on the CEM60EC was a dream, no vibrations, just smooth as silk, rock solid. After about an hour I was about 'moon blind' so we packed it in...:)

Cheers and have a great weekend,

Paul

Edited by Astronewb (07/13/14 12:41 AM)


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tazer
sage


Reged: 12/22/11

Loc: Central North Carolina
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6630989 - 07/13/14 08:12 AM

Quote:

Actually you can trash PHD2 v2.3, as it doesn't have any provision for taking darks..




Paul, the dark creation process is actually greatly improved in v2.3.0. If you go to the Darks menu and select Dark Library it'll bring up a Dark Library Creation dialog. On that dialog box you can select a range of exposure durations and exposure times. When you click Start PHD2 will iterate over each exposure step (which you'd normally see in the exposure drop down) and take as many darks at each step as you've requested. So, for example, you can select 0.5s to 10s with 30 darks for each step and PHD2 will completly automate the building of the dark library for every exposure in-between. There's also a bad pixel map library as well.


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bseltzer
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: East S.F.Bay, CA
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: tazer]
      #6631270 - 07/13/14 12:08 PM

What tazer said... No trouble producing and using a darks library in PHD2 v2.3

Paul, what is the focal length of your guiding optics?

Edited by bseltzer (07/13/14 12:12 PM)


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: bseltzer]
      #6631323 - 07/13/14 12:43 PM

Quote:

Paul, the dark creation process is actually greatly improved in v2.3.0. If you go to the Darks menu and select Dark Library it'll bring up a Dark Library Creation dialog.




Doh,I did not know that..:( It still does not explain the issues I experienced in DEC guiding though. That was corrected immediately when switching back to PHD2 v2.2a.

I will try it again on a clear night, maybe it was just a fluke, but others have reported similar issues with DEC guiding.

Thanks for that info,

Paul


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: bseltzer]
      #6631329 - 07/13/14 12:45 PM

Quote:

What tazer said... No trouble producing and using a darks library in PHD2 v2.3

Paul, what is the focal length of your guiding optics?




I use a QHY5L-II with a Borg 50mm achro, the focal length is 250mm.

Cheers...Paul


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bseltzer
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: East S.F.Bay, CA
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6631741 - 07/13/14 04:46 PM

Paul,

Thanks. I'm guiding through an OAG on a 1854mm FL RC10, and I'd kill for a PHD graph like the one you posted.

EDIT: FWIW, I'm using an AP900GTO with PHD2 v2.3 guiding via the ASCOM APV2 driver (not the on camera relays, and I've not seen any DEC guiding issues that weren't there with v2.2[a-h].

Edited by bseltzer (07/13/14 04:51 PM)


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SUNJiaLin
member


Reged: 06/24/14

Loc: China : Beijing
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: bseltzer]
      #6635436 - 07/15/14 08:39 PM

I'm reading this thread from the begining.
I appreciated a lot beta-testers for sharing their foundings.
But, now that CEM60 has been commercialized, there is no more publicated measures concerning the problems raised on EC version, or I missed it.
- Could somebody make a summary status ?


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daran0815
journeyman


Reged: 02/25/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: SUNJiaLin]
      #6636167 - 07/16/14 09:32 AM

Quote:

But, now that CEM60 has been commercialized, there is no more publicated measures concerning the problems raised on EC version, or I missed it. - Could somebody make a summary status ?




Since EC interfered with guiding, the current firmware automatically disables EC while guiding (any guiding command during the last 3 secs disables EC based corrections). This is in line with PEC, which is also better left disabled while guiding.

My take home message would be that you do neither want nor need EC when guiding. However, if you do not want to guide, EC is a big improvement over PEC.

PS: apparently the otherwise much better 10micron mounts have similar problems when guiding, with users asking for an option to disable the encoder loop to improve guiding performance.


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SUNJiaLin
member


Reged: 06/24/14

Loc: China : Beijing
Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: daran0815]
      #6637600 - 07/16/14 08:00 PM

So, what's the interest of no guiding ?

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Photovisions
member


Reged: 06/20/14

Re: iOptron CEM60, First Impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6638212 - 07/17/14 03:35 AM

Oh, the wife and I got out tonight to view the 'super moon' with the ES152. Used a plethora of ES EPs, ranging from 4.7 to 30mm and a Baader 17 and 8-24 zoom. Focusing with the 44"/24 pound ota on the CEM60EC was a dream, no vibrations, just smooth as silk, rock solid. After about an hour I was about 'moon blind' so we packed it in...:)

Cheers and have a great weekend,

Paul





Paul. I need to quiz you further on your statement about the CEM60 being rock solid.

Unfortunately, this is not my experience with a 6 inch AP refractor F7.5, weight 27lbs, so similar to your set up. I also noticed a separate thread on the CEM60 stating that the mount wobbles with a 6 inch refractor by 1/2 sun diameter. A link to a video showing this wobble:

Wobble

I have tightened the RA and DEC worm gear meshes, even without turning back the knob 1/2 turn. The whole RA axis seems to wobble.

So my conclusion at the moment is that there is something loose (I am in discussion with Ioptron) or the mount does not have the capacity to hold this weight..

Your thoughts?
Adrian


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