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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5325411 - 07/19/12 04:48 PM

Gday Lee
Quote:

It shouldn't be necessary to send it more than once if the motor cards are closing the loop on the encoder pulses, correct?




Other than when PEC is on, yes.

Quote:

The fact that the handbox knows its drifting seems to indicate that the data about the encoder pulses is getting read




There are three scenarios,and meade uses its own proprietary I2C with variable clocking.
"Reading" encoder data back uses different clocking to "sending" speed requests.
Maybe the motorcard is tripping up on the second???
Ie losing one bit mid stream "could" be construed as a div 2 ie track at half rate.
Dunno, just a guess at present, but its the only thing that fits what we see.

Andrew


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5325485 - 07/19/12 05:34 PM

Unfortunately, I keep wondering what this skill level could do if applied to something other than trying to fix gimpy mounts.

-Rich


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5325496 - 07/19/12 05:39 PM

Meade autostar 497 update patches maybe?

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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5325531 - 07/19/12 06:02 PM

Quote:

Unfortunately, I keep wondering what this skill level could do if applied to something other than trying to fix gimpy mounts.

-Rich




Wellll... If they were hired by Meade, even money says they would have the LX800 fixed by now too... and would have resolved any and all LX600 issue before this forum is littered with threads about that mount too...

Or if they were hired by the State Department, we would likely have World Peace before Labor Day!


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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: ur7x]
      #5325550 - 07/19/12 06:18 PM

I read this entire thread. It's really fascinating. Only thing is, I have never owned an equatorial mount in 35 years of astro.

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: ur7x]
      #5325566 - 07/19/12 06:25 PM

Gday Ur7x

Quote:

and would have resolved any and all LX600 issue before this forum is littered with threads about that mount too...




Not necessarily
Just think if anyone had got Toms scope for testing,
They wouldnt have seen this problem,
but everyone would still be calling them mugs for not testing properly.

Whilst we ( Dick Seymour and myself ) have a better than average ability to track down bugs, a lot of bugs we patch for etc are based on one user somewhere doing something or noticing something odd.
Then, as big Arnie once said, (paraphrased)
"if its repeatable, we can kill it".

The art of testing wont always detect all problems.
The crux is how they get fixed when found.

Quote:

Or if they were hired by the State Department




Would i need a green card???
( being an alien and all that )

Andrew

Edited by OzAndrewJ (07/19/12 06:54 PM)


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5325638 - 07/19/12 07:07 PM

You have States in Australia? No? If you have States you must have a State Department

Been to a few Ozzie States myself... Really enjoyed a fair bit of VB in my day... Queensland is truly God's country, if you ignore all of the things that can kill/eat/poison you there. Breathtaking country side there though....

Oh and I too have a history in IT and bug fixes, so I know first hand what you are doing... My Forum ID is in fact my old IBM RACF ID from my first job. At one point I actually got to run/manage one of the largest System 390's in Western Canada.


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: ur7x]
      #5325680 - 07/19/12 07:33 PM

Gday Ur7x

Quote:

If you have States you must have a State Department




Yr a funny man.
We are a federation of states and territories, who cant get on with each other, let alone our "federal" govt.
Who in their right mind would work within that????
Esp when you can go to the beach and get
sunburnt, bitten, poisoned, stung or eaten,
all in the same afternoon .

Andrew


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5325993 - 07/19/12 10:54 PM

Well, we have news. Unfortunately, it is not the news we wanted to hear. As Andrew would say.... "Drats !!"

Andrew asked me to try a specific test before loading the new AudioStar code, and measure the affect. Unfortunately, there was none. Which was a clue as to the outcome of the new code.

I proceeded to load the new code, and test on three targets (from the above list), with the same parameters, and the tracking errors repeated the same results. Thus, although the new code may be sending motor speed commands, similar to the Alt/AZ configuration, the lack thereof does not appear to be the problem that we are chasing.

Keep in mind that Andrew does NOT have an LX80 mount to work with. Although he does have some Meade mounts, the motor control boards that he connects with (for this issue) are from (I think) an ETX-90. Although the code from the controllers “should” be interchangeable, the actual hardware that is on the boards is not the same. Thus, although Andrew can “test” at his bench, it is not to an LX80. That is where I have been coming in. I can run his code, and report back to him.

At this time, we must conclude that we do NOT have a fix. I am sure Andrew will be chiming in here in a little while, and will post his thoughts on this matter. I wish he were in the USA…. I would FedEX my mount to him overnight, so he could get a handle on it. Unfortunately, FedEX overnight to Australia is a completely different matter.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5326005 - 07/19/12 11:00 PM

Hello Kevin....

Your comment above:
"you will see a date code mine is 4977 051 12 and Carton # mine is 42 of 60 also my ser# 12153 "

Mine is the same date code. The box is currently stored back in the storage area of the motorhome. I could see the date code, but not the Box # of # statement. Must be on another side.

As to serial number, yours was/is 12153. Mine is 12123.
Looks like we are from the same (days) run.....


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5326298 - 07/20/12 03:58 AM

Just for others info, i sent a patched rom to David that removes the internal block on sending motor commands to the RA motor when in Polar "tracking" mode.
I tested on my bench, and i can see the commands are now getting sent every 2 seconds, however Davids tests indicate it didnt work. As such, i now have no idea why altaz works and Polar doesnt,

Andrew


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5326324 - 07/20/12 05:09 AM

Tom

If your still reading the post what is your date code info and serial Number

I would be surprised If it the same day.

Andrew / David
sure glad you guys are up to doing all testing and trying to patch the firmware. You guys are great even though we don't have a fix yet I just cant thank you enough for all the time
and effort that you have volunteered. Folks David the guy that's running patches stated he work in Alt/Az all the time
so fixing the polar mode wouldn't directly effect him. and Andrew the guy writing code and looking at 1's 0's rubbing the hair off his head doesn't even own a Lx80. My hat is off to both of you guys.


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Texas
super member


Reged: 01/14/08

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5326458 - 07/20/12 08:16 AM

<<My hat is off to both of you guys.>>
Absolutely.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: Texas]
      #5326720 - 07/20/12 11:15 AM

Are we chasing a ghost ??
I don't know. But my mind keeps asking me the same question.

Is a “dummy” polar alignment (just accepting the position of Polaris, and then accepting the slew to a single point) really going to give accurate base alignment for the mount? You still need to set the mount up “more or less” correctly… The OTA needs to be aligned with the mount for proper positioning.

I am not a "polar alignment" user, but i do understand it. I have played with it. But drift alignment, Pempro, and all the other polar alignment software exists for a reason. And every serious astronomer that I know (there are many) that works in polar mode, use that software, and those techniques.

Here is the question that needs answered. If a Meade mount, which uses the autostar controller, and is able to be acceptably polar aligned, is "dummy aligned", will the RA/Dec readings stay "aligned" ?? These are the handbox readouts that are displayed, after holding the MODE button down for about 5 seconds. They are “real time” updated with what the mounts thinks its position is.

There is a difference between “drift” and “tracking error”.
. Tracking error is where the mount actually moves to a known incorrect (sidereal) position. It looks like drift, but the mount “knows” where it is. It is just not moving at the speed we want. The object moves in the eyepiece, and we think “drift”.
. Drift, on the other hand, is where the mount “thinks” it is doing the right thing, and reports the correct position (for sidereal) but the target moves out of the eyepiece. This could be caused by many variables, including improper alignment.
. As I say, I am not a “polar alignment” expert here. The above is my understanding, and I am certainly open to others input on these definations.


The reason i am wondering, is that from what I have studied, the "pattern" illustrated in my 9 point table above, shows the characteristics of a improperly alinged scope (I think) .

Kevin and Dennis have access to a LXD mount. That would do for a starter. How about someone else too who might have an LX200 (I would qualify for that, but it is 1000 miles away…). Maybe someone with an ETX… Set the handbox time for 8:00 PM for your location, and then After the fake single star alignment (as described), try a couple of the stars from my table (all SAO numbers shown). Pick a good one, and then a bad one. Let us know. If using an LX200 (or other “wedge required OTA), you do not need to concern yourself with the “tilt” (produced with the wedge…). Just aim the OTA straight up (assuming you are putting the mount on the kitchen table).

Like everything else with this project, “things” just need to be checked out to “keep us on track”.


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5326866 - 07/20/12 12:52 PM

I see where you are going with that, but the whole issue still makes no sense.

Consider that (unless you live at the north pole) the most "un-polar-aligned" mount is an Alt/Az mount (OK maybe not technically "the most" but still pretty bad). And in that mode the mount seems to work.

How can the mount be fine in a mode that basically makes it harder for the mount to track, requires constant "significant" adjustments on both axises ... and yet in a mode that should be easier, (a perfectly aligned mount in polar mode, should, in theory only need to tell the RA motor to turn at a sidereal rate and all should be good) it clearly fails.

I think we can see in the Excel charts that the mount is doing something different. The fact that it works fine in Alt/Az mode and fails in polar would lead me to think that at best, there is a fundamental programming flaw in how it calculates the adjustment for minor polar misalignment. At worst, the whole "polar mode" software routine was ported in some mad, untested, rush and needs to be redone from the ground up (which of course also makes no sense) Meade has been building "successful" polar mode GOTO mounts for how long? Decades? A Couple of Decades?

Has anyone tried a "living room" test where you set up the mount inside, tell it that you live at 90* 00' 00" North and compare how it tracks on a few of "virtual" stars in Alt/Az and Polar modes?

That would show directly if there is something different/weird between the Alt/Az and Polar modes since they should produce identical results. If I were a software tester, that's what I would try.

Keep going! Keep looking! Good Luck!


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: ur7x]
      #5326990 - 07/20/12 02:15 PM

I want to order one of these mounts but after reading this thread, I believe I need to hold off for the time being if I want full functionality as advertised. Is that a correct statment? Thanks...John

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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: John Miele]
      #5327035 - 07/20/12 02:56 PM

the mount doesn't know if its fake alignment or under real sky you can do a fake alignment with the scope point any direction and one star it tells you to adjust out the error off the pole using mount adjustment but for a fake align it thinks you nailed the pole so even if you are pointed west on a fake alignment it swings everything from know Ra/Dec from the pole so at that point it's all mechanical and the hand controller is reading the encoders so it know where it is in relation to where it should be.

So iF the mount is off it's not your polar alignment


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Tmohr36
member


Reged: 09/27/10

Loc: Nevada
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5327062 - 07/20/12 03:20 PM

Quote:

Tom

If your still reading the post what is your date code info and serial Number

I would be surprised If it the same day.






My mount arrived in an "improvised" box shipped down the road from Meade HQ to OPT, in their haste to get it out. That said, I don't have an original box for the mount and I didn't think to check the tripod box when I was looking this morning. I'll check that tomorrow morning (12hr shift started 20 min ago) and post my findings here.


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: John Miele]
      #5327108 - 07/20/12 03:52 PM

Quote:

I want to order one of these mounts but after reading this thread, I believe I need to hold off for the time being if I want full functionality as advertised. Is that a correct statment? Thanks...John




Yes you are correct.

In Alt/Az mode the mount works as advertized...
In Polar mode the results are at best "mixed"...

Its your money and your decision, but if it were me, If you plan to ever use this mount in Equatorial/Polar mode... I wouldn't buy this mount until Meade either comes clean on what the problem in polar mode is (good luck with that)... Or even better that they announce a software update for this. (More waiting for Godot).

Given the challenges that Meade is also having with the LX800 (and the strong probability that those mounts and those customers are a priority) I think it will be a while before Meade gets around to figuring out what is wrong with these mounts...


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5327155 - 07/20/12 04:28 PM

A real polar alignment must be done under real sky because you are trying to match a theoretical sky to the real sky the closer you are to the pole the better your match will be to the computer generated sky that is just numbers in the Hand controller but under a fake alignment the mount believes that the Celestial sky or pole is nailed.

I hope I did a good job explaining that. I'm not a word smith.


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