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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328438 - 07/21/12 03:32 PM

One method of "guiding" for the LX80 that works now....
and that I have used, successfully...

If you happen to have a Meade DSI Camera, and are equipped with the Autostar Envisage (Camera) software, then guiding is done through the same serial cable we have been discussing for "upgrading the rom", and/or "computer control".

I cannot address other "options". I have noticed, however, that Meade has been talking about a "guiding port add-on" that will be released sometime later. Apparently, a seperate box will be required. No further information known.


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328469 - 07/21/12 03:48 PM

I guess I'll take the high road and apologize to the thread for the distraction(s). It wasn't (exactly) my intent. However, the best laid plans...yada yada..

As to the question of current PE. I would think getting a look at where it stands would be paramount as:

1) It stands to reason if in Eq folks may be looking to do some photography.
2) As PEC is currently out of commission, it's important to understand the potential impact.

Joe


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Tmohr36
member


Reged: 09/27/10

Loc: Nevada
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5328484 - 07/21/12 03:56 PM

Quote:

One method of "guiding" for the LX80 that works now....
and that I have used, successfully...

If you happen to have a Meade DSI Camera, and are equipped with the Autostar Envisage (Camera) software, then guiding is done through the same serial cable we have been discussing for "upgrading the rom", and/or "computer control".

I cannot address other "options". I have noticed, however, that Meade has been talking about a "guiding port add-on" that will be released sometime later. Apparently, a separate box will be required. No further information known.




Thanks David. I don't have that camera, but the option still exists if I can find one. I am anxiously awaiting the Auxiliary Autoguider (ST-4) port that's been discussed. It seems Meade has their hands full at the moment. The autoguide port is one of the many things I like about my CGEM (it's already there). I can get 15 minute guided subs (a limit I set for my camera)with it. I hope to do the same with my LX80.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328520 - 07/21/12 04:14 PM

Hi Guys
I uploaded the new firmware and did several dummy star tests and they all stayed perfect with zero deviations for about an hour each. Outstanding, I am very pleased.
I do say thank you to Meade because a year and a half ago I had an issue on a new telescope that took 5 months and lots of complaining to fix, so I am very happy this was taken care of in just days. Although I am still waiting for a call back about a few other cosmetic issues. I intend to call and thank them Monday then ask "what about the PEC issues."
Neilson


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Wigleydh
member


Reged: 10/26/07

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5328653 - 07/21/12 06:11 PM

As far as guiding even if you don't have a Meade camera but you have one that PHD will connect to, PHD will pulse guide through the 497 HBX and should due fine with the LX80's audiostar. That night Kevin did first light, even through the RA was tracking slow, I did connect PHD to the audiostar. The RA issue was bad enough to prevent PHD from calibrating/guiding but PHD was trying. PHD was talking to the autostar HBX. It just couldn't deal with that RA issue. Now the RA issue has been resolved, I don't see any reason that PHD wouldn't work to pulse guide the LX80 using any camera that PHD supports.

I've used PHD to guide LXD55s through their 497s and did well using several different cameras (Meade DSI pro, Orion Starshoot, and modified webcams).

Kevin and I won't get to test guiding on his LX80 tonight. He may be able to tomorrow. Once we do we'll post how that goes.

Edited by Wigleydh (07/21/12 06:28 PM)


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328718 - 07/21/12 06:54 PM

Gday Tom

Good to hear it still works.

Quote:

I will say that update process is time consuming




I constantly refer people to use Starpatch for loading firmware.
It is more robust and much quicker than Meades ASU.
( This is esp useful when reloading firmware a few times a day )

The freeware version runs at high speed for half the load then cuts back,
but the purchased version will load a full copy in about 10mins.
When doing patches, it can be as low as 12seconds per reload based on
amount of patching.
If you buy the StarGPS unit itself, you get the fullspeed loader and a
"pluggable" GPS unit to autoset the Hbx date/time/locn.
Lots more ways to spend a few bucks

Andrew


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328723 - 07/21/12 07:00 PM

Gday Tom

Quote:

Now to the PEC request. A little guidance is needed as I have yet to find a guiding solution that works with this mount




The PEC bug should have no effect on guiding???
So whats wrong with the guiding.??
Looking at the gearing in the scope ( very nice )
and the low drive train results several people have got ( very nice )
guiding should be relatively similar to any other 497 type scope
with this type of gears ie LX90s.
There was a prev bug where DEC pulseguide commands went to the RA motor but that got fixed in the A3S1, havent looked in A3S2 yet.
More today as its cloudy so no solar work

Andrew


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Tmohr36]
      #5328738 - 07/21/12 07:11 PM

Gday David

Quote:

I am anxiously awaiting the Auxiliary Autoguider (ST-4) port that's been discussed.




I can see nothing unusual/new in the code thats tied to this item,
hence i suspect it is just going to be a reworked APM909 unit.
Since Meade stopped selling the 909 units, a "AstroGene" started
manufacturing a clone that emulates this unit
http://www.astrogene1000.com/products/as_909/as_909_clone.htm
and i currently cant see why it wouldnt work.
He makes several different versions incl a "guider only" version.

If someone has one ( or a real APM909),
they may like to plug it in and see what happens.

Andrew


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: jmiele]
      #5328789 - 07/21/12 07:39 PM

Quote:

As to the question of current PE. I would think getting a look at where it stands would be paramount as:

1) It stands to reason if in Eq folks may be looking to do some photography.
2) As PEC is currently out of commission, it's important to understand the potential impact.

Joe




If I buy one, it would be used for photography in EQ mode, but that would be either planetary photography (video - PE is irrelevant) or wide-field (PE is probably not too important). It does concern me that PEC is messed up and has been for a long time as Meade should fix it if it doesn't work, and do so about as fast as they did with this EQ tracking problem.

Meade...is it true that PEC doesn't work on these mounts?


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5328807 - 07/21/12 08:07 PM

Gday Lee

Quote:

It does concern me that PEC is messed up and has been for a long time




There are also a lot of other bugs that may affect users using serial control of the scope still in the firmware after a long while.
ie you still cant set the date remotely

And as to PEC, i just ran a few tests this morning and the PEC recording mechanism is still broken.
There is also something new in how it works ( which appears to be tied into whether or not you have done an align???? ) Not sure there yet.


Andrew


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5328821 - 07/21/12 08:17 PM

The only thing I've ever personally found broken in my ETX is that the auto-align (LNT) fails by moving the scope backwards if you have the handbox directions reversed. Stupid bug, frankly, but they hadn't fixed it by the last time I checked.

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Tmohr36
member


Reged: 09/27/10

Loc: Nevada
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5328822 - 07/21/12 08:17 PM

Quote:

Gday Tom

Good to hear it still works.

Quote:

I will say that update process is time consuming




I constantly refer people to use Starpatch for loading firmware.
It is more robust and much quicker than Meades ASU.
( This is esp useful when reloading firmware a few times a day )

The freeware version runs at high speed for half the load then cuts back,
but the purchased version will load a full copy in about 10mins.
When doing patches, it can be as low as 12seconds per reload based on
amount of patching.
If you buy the StarGPS unit itself, you get the fullspeed loader and a
"pluggable" GPS unit to autoset the Hbx date/time/locn.
Lots more ways to spend a few bucks

Andrew




Great suggestion Andrew and a way to support as well. I quite like the idea of not entering that data...bells and whistles really, but then I do have an LS-8 that I still love to use 2 years later. I'll pop over to the website and give a "look see".

Cheers mate!


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5329118 - 07/21/12 11:54 PM

Gday All

Payback is a b!tc#

Quote:

The fact Toms scope always worked still really confuses me.
Wont it be funny if his scope stops working now




Just for "non LX80" people watching this thread,
as part of testing the PEC, i have been setting my testbench
up as a native LX90 Polar ( as thats what it is ).
On booting, i just set targets to Astro to get it tracking
( vs do a full dummy align )

I am seeing odd behaviour in three modes
a) It works
b) Nothing happens and it wont start tracking
c) It starts a mid speed runaway in RA ( easily stopped by a keypress )

Soooooo, something else is going on in how it now starts or initialises, and it affects older motorcards.
I dont know what it is yet, but if you just set targets to Astro to get it running,
be ready if it does start running away.
Again, its not a really fast runaway, but something to watch for.

Andrew


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5329234 - 07/22/12 02:49 AM

Gday All

After a bit more digging, i can see all the old "polar" speed calcs
(based on hardcoded rates ) are gone, and that now in polar,
it uses the same mechanisms as AltAz tracking.
I have tested this on my bench using a fake 2 star, with a lot of misalignment,
and can see that even when polar, the scope now tracks using BOTH motors.
Before this, in polar, the Az motor got a speed setting and the Alt motor
was forcibly stopped, ie it never tracked in DEC.
Sooooo, if anyone who can do a good mechanical polar align wants to try it,
do an align where you "mechanically" point roughly at polaris in ( E/W )
and say 2degrees below it. This will force DEC drift.

Do a polar one star align.
When done, slew to a star near the E or W horizon ( HA = +/-6 )
( as DEC drift will be highest at these locns given a "below pole" alignment).
The star should drift in DEC.

Now reboot and do a proper 2 star align and centre the stars correctly.
When done, slew to the star near the E or W horizon
and see if the star "drifts" in DEC
It should hold a lot more stable if everthing is correct.

Andrew


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mmalik
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5329267 - 07/22/12 03:33 AM

Quote:

Gday David

Quote:

I am anxiously awaiting the Auxiliary Autoguider (ST-4) port that's been discussed.




I can see nothing unusual/new in the code thats tied to this item,
hence i suspect it is just going to be a reworked APM909 unit.
Since Meade stopped selling the 909 units, a "AstroGene" started
manufacturing a clone that emulates this unit
http://www.astrogene1000.com/products/as_909/as_909_clone.htm
and i currently cant see why it wouldnt work.
He makes several different versions incl a "guider only" version.

If someone has one ( or a real APM909),
they may like to plug it in and see what happens.




Gday; while we all understand it may be possible to make ST-4 work through other means, what I don’t' understand is your (not just you Andrew) complacent attitude. Firstly, why wouldn't Meade release a needed accessory when a product is released? Secondly, why you folks wouldn’t demand integrating ST-4 port into the mount (if I could get your attention in your troubleshooting frenzy ?)


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Hilmi
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: mmalik]
      #5329287 - 07/22/12 04:12 AM

I have had more success guiding through serial cable, USB or Ethernet than through an ST4 port. The only true value I see of an ST4 port is for guiding through one of those stand alone autoguiders. The reason I say I have had more success is to do with the number of cables I've had to watch out for when trying to avoid cable snags.

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mmalik
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5329305 - 07/22/12 05:25 AM

Most autoguiders these days are ST-4 ported; most standard mounts have ST-4 ports on them. Number of cables is a moot point since that's the same; ST-4 is even lesser clutter since you are not looped through the hand controller.

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: mmalik]
      #5329320 - 07/22/12 05:56 AM

Gday Mr Malik

Quote:

what I don’t' understand is your (not just you Andrew) complacent attitude.




Its either or for me.
I have an ETX-125 ( which isnt worth guiding )
and no guide camera with ST4 output,
so its not really a problem for me.
Meade have said they will reissue a guider unit "at some stage".
All i'm pointing out is that if you have an old APM909 or a clone,
it will probably work in the interim, so try it and see.
No harm to anyone and no busted blood vessels,
and in the meantime, you can always use the serial pulseguiding.

Andrew


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mmalik
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5329378 - 07/22/12 07:18 AM

Quote:

Meade have said they will reissue a guider unit "at some stage".
All i'm pointing out is that if you have an old APM909 or a clone,
it will probably work in the interim, so try it and see.
No harm to anyone and no busted blood vessels,
and in the meantime, you can always use the serial pulseguiding.




Gday Andrew

• Re-issue a guider unit "at some stage"... that would be now!

• Serial pulse guiding in the meantime... that meantime started decades ago!

• No harm... there is no harm in tinkering the SAME decades old code to work in equatorial (even after the release and even as we speak); there is no harm in repackaging LX90/ETX circuitry of the 90s in LX80 housing; there is no harm NOT designing an integrated ST-4 port. It’s all good!

LX80 may be good for entry level, casual visual observing. I just don’t see it used for any kind of advanced and/or astrophotographical work.


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: mmalik]
      #5329418 - 07/22/12 08:34 AM

mmalik,

I now the you are aware on my position on this topic, however I made the same mistake as you when I first actively entered this thread. These folks are fully aware of the risks and limitation of this mount. They are "to some degree" enjoying the struggle of working together through these problems. I arrived and was disruptive to this thread. I'd hate to see you do the same. Just give them a bit of space and you'll see they are quite content and are enjoying the ride.

Nobody has come down on me and I've not "sold out to the man". I feel as much concern as you. I just think the points have been made and we shouldn't disrupt the flow they have going here. BTW, I've absolutely no right to request this of you as I did the same thing. However, I am requesting it.

Thanks for your consideration.

Best, Joe


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