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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: brokenwave]
      #5337960 - 07/27/12 07:47 AM

Gday BrokenWaver

Quote:

Glad to hear that you guys have worked out an alternative way to guide the LX80




You could always guide the LX80 ( or any 497/audiostar based scope )
using 3 methods, based on alignment mode.
a) Std guide commands, where you issue start ( :Mx# ) and stop (:Qx# ) slew commands independently, will work for polar or alt az.
In polar only, you also get
b) pulseguide via serial (:Mgxddd# ) commands
c) pulse guide via ST4 if you have an "ST4 lump" ( ie APM909/clone )

Currently, the only problem is the ST4 method isnt ( supposedly) available as the "new" lump isnt available, but as far as i can tell, an old APM909 or a clone 909 will still work.
It will still beat the bejeezus out of the processor time tho, but it did that before, so its no new problem tied to the LX80, just something to understand.

Andrew


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5337980 - 07/27/12 08:06 AM

Quote:

I think I missed it- what was the PE?

-Rich




I think something like +/- 15 although it looked like +15 /-8 in the screen captures to be exact.

Joe


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: jmiele]
      #5338141 - 07/27/12 10:00 AM

I suppose that's middle of the road. At least it's usable, which makes it a better equatorial mount than the NexStar SE, which has a triangle wave motion correction programmed into it so it never tracks at the right rate.

-Rich


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5338238 - 07/27/12 11:05 AM

It's a decent number in this price range. I'm sure with some effort it will be much improved upon.
Joe


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: jmiele]
      #5338626 - 07/27/12 03:33 PM

+- 15 arcseconds is very good at this price point. Right up there with the atlas, IEQ45, and CGEM. the question is how smooth the PE is and can it be guided out easily. More data will be forthcoming I am sure, and it will tell the tale.

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MeadeSquared
member


Reged: 03/06/11

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: brokenwave]
      #5339358 - 07/28/12 01:01 AM

Quote:

(I think few of you folks need to call Meade to have them release APM for LX-80 (a needed accessory).)

Probably not happening, My original reply got buried.

I was at the OPT SCAE event last weekend and spoke with the Meade Rep's there. When the LX80 guide port ship date came up, I was told it's not happening anytime soon. It seems that because of the different electronics in the LX80 and LX800 that Meade has put the LX80 guide port development on hold.
Plan on screaming really loud at Meade.




Hopefully this issue gets resolved soon. I've been excited about this mount since September but cancelled my order when I fell into a CG-5gt with a standalone guider for next to nothing. Now I'm really comfortable with that set up and prefer standalone to guiding with a laptop (for now at least). It'd be a real shame if an auto-guider port stood between me and the mount that I want.


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MeadeSquared
member


Reged: 03/06/11

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: MeadeSquared]
      #5339367 - 07/28/12 01:15 AM

Then again, if this delay is due to Meade configuring the APM electronics to enable use of the Starlock autoguider on the LX80 then I'm all for it. I want to believe.

And by the way, thanks for going through all of this testing and posting your results up here. You've done a lot of heavy lifting for the rest of us.


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: MeadeSquared]
      #5339447 - 07/28/12 03:28 AM

Gday MeadeSquared

Quote:

Then again, if this delay is due to Meade configuring the APM electronics to enable use of the Starlock autoguider on the LX80 then I'm all for it.




My best guess would be.... Note a hope.
Starlock would have to plug into the rs232 port ( ie Hbx ), and would require a massive rewrite of the code in the Hbx before it could work.
Possible, but not probable.

Andrew


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5340516 - 07/28/12 06:43 PM Attachment (72 downloads)

Several times in this thread, people have asked or wondered if the LX80 mount could be used for imaging. I have stated many times, that I expect to do so. I was hoping to be able to do so in Alt/AZ, both guided, and unguided. Usually, my images do not exceed 2 min (guided). Currently, that is still an issue for the LX80. However, I have gotten good results with 30 seconds in Alt/AZ.

But for nebulae, and galaxies, more time is needed. That is my challenge. I have read that in polar, if your alignment is VERY good, you can expect to do exposures between 2-3 minutes. Less than VERY good, and you should get at least 60 seconds. Last night, I was in Polar, and did NOT do the extensive alignment. I had failed to “PARK” the night before (when the alignment was VERY good, and thus last night was “almost” VERY good, but not there. I imaged several nebulae areas. Below is one example.

This image (mine is the one to the right) is 60 seconds, with 7 frames. This would be UNGUIDED. Thus far, this mount pleases me. I always gather the same scale image data from the Digitized Sky Survey (circa 1940-1950) from Palomar Observatory, as a “base” for my image identification, and preparation. That would be the image to the left.

[ed: corrected "Dark Sky Survey to Digitized Sky Survey -- sorry about that...
I also found a way to change the compression ratio to get a better image for CN display.]

The OTA is the Meade SC-6 (sold with the mount). The camera is an SBIG ST-8300M. The FOV is 40x30 arc min. This “observing” sheet is how I keep track of all my “observations. Tonight, I am going to go for the VERY good alignment, and target some galaxies (still in polar). We shall see how far I can go UNGUIDED.

Why UNGUIDED ?? Because I don’t have a 2nd OTA to mount to the 6” for guiding. I have a second OTA (the Meade 80mm) but it is configured for the 2nd position in Alt/AZ. Hmmmmm. Although I prefer Alt/AZ, I certainly have found the LX80 easy to align in polar. Much easier than my LX200r(GPS)- 8”.
Well, there you have it. I will report back on the longer exposures tomorrow (if the weather holds good tonight).

Edited by dmdouglass (07/28/12 07:11 PM)


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5340762 - 07/28/12 10:04 PM

David

Dennis and I are going to try some AP tonight. Your photo looks promising. We will let you know how it turns out


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mmalik
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5341127 - 07/29/12 04:08 AM

Quote:

We shall see how far I can go UNGUIDED.




David, your unguided image looks good, thanks for posting and thanks for all your efforts.

If someone could try 'guided' images, possibly 5-10min subs, that would be good.


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5341239 - 07/29/12 07:26 AM

We set up the scope doing 2min & 5min subs with only one usable frame the tracking is still not working right. We set up pole as normal then drift alignment. Dec was working well with in specs. The RA was not even when we wasn't guiding you would see RA go west then back east. We tried changing the setting RA aggressiveness & Ra duration even changed the exposure times. We also tried guiding with Dennis Laptop it wouldn't connect to the mount he is running a older ver. of PHD and Meade driver 5.0 and Ascom 5. We did get Meade software Envisage to connect to mount and tried to guide using DSI pro II it would lock on a star only to see it drift off in one direction. so we still have some bugs to work out. The weat east back and forth would be fine for visual observer and it was making nice Football shaped stars.

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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5341621 - 07/29/12 01:07 PM

Good Morning to all. Hello to Dennis and Kevin.

Sorry you had trouble last night. Some of your comments caught my attention. Recall my comments on Envisage (in Polar). You connect, on what would be otherwise a very stable series of images, and then envisage starts issuing commands (who knows what), and the target starts moving….. never stopping, UNTIL you close Envisage. Reopen Envisage, and there is your target, right where you left it…. And very stable. Reconnect the guiding function, and there it goes again. I think we can cross Envisage off.

Also recall my story about the target “jumping out of the box [PHD guiding target box]”, but then moving back into the box, getting re-captured. I saw that a couple of times that evening. The “rate” of occurrence looks like maybe something between once every 20 and 30 minutes. Very weird. Its like something in the gears. Well, it happened again last night, about once every 20 min. You end up throwing that frame out…. But the target returns to its original position in the next frame, and stays steady. I was doing 2 min subs, and I lost about 1 sub about every 7-10 frames.

Regarding PHD… I use “stock default” values, and left the “use newer pulse guiding” box checked. The only thing I enter was the port, the focal length, and the aperture. Keep in mind I was not imaging. Only had one OTA for Polar. But the guiding locked on, and stayed steady for 10-15 min.

My results last night were wonderful. I spent about 30 min re-tweaking the polar alignment. Didn’t use drift, but used the Iteration Alignment Method. Got it nice and tight. I was NOT using a cross-hair eye-piece (which I have). That would probably have improved it even more. I targeted 5 galaxies along my western horizon, low at about 20-30 degrees. I have a close in mountain range, with coastal fog hanging on the tops. Thus, I had some reflected “people light”, which with a 2 min exposure, shows up very quickly. Not the best targets, but they were on my list, so I wanted to grab them before I lost them for the season. I got good stars all the way through, so the polar alignment was VERY good.

I will work on the stacking and processing this morning and post one a little later. Overall, I would call my 2-min images in UNGUIDED polar a HUGE success.


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Wigleydh
member


Reged: 10/26/07

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5341636 - 07/29/12 01:16 PM

First I'll talk about the results with my laptop with Kevin's LX80.

I did actually connect to the LX80 with my laptop - I just didn't get any guiding to work using it (XP, older ver. of PHD = 1.12, and Meade driver 5.0.0 and Ascom 5). That older stuff does work very well with the LXD55 - good enough that I never changed beyond that. We were using the exact same cables, scopes, and my DSI pro I, that we have been using with the LXD55.

With the LX80, my laptop with it's versions of XP, PHD, ASCOM, and Meade driver had the same sort of issue David saw with when he used Envisage (star began to head out of the field of view). I also attempted Envisage (with both laptops - mine had v5 and Kevin's has the current Envisage), with no success - both Envisage versions also had the star head off out of the field of view.

I had the DSI Pro I orientated the same as when we did first light for the LX80. The first thing I noticed was that once the star headed off, the star's motion on screen was again drifting East in the program's field of view - same direction for both programs (left which was East). It was like the RA stopped running or was very slow again, when the program calibration started, as it was the exact same direction as when the RA was running slow with A3S1 firmware prior to the A3S2 update.

David could what you saw "star strolling down the screen" be the same, just your camera oriented 90 degrees different to the why I orient my DSI pro I (moving down vs left)?

Once starting to calibrate for guiding, the star quickly headed East in the field of view. I guess PHD saw the amount of change was value that was enough from where it started, so it went from West calibration to East calibration. The star movement stayed East on the screen. It then saw the amount of change from the position it started was enough, even though same direction, and it started it's North calibration. PHD was talking to the LX80, as now even with the star still heading east in the field of view, the mount started moving North (up). Do to RA not running properly now and the mount doing it's North calibration, the star was now moving up and to the left (much faster left = East). PHD then going to South calibration - star movement was then down and left(again much faster left = East).

I gave up on using my laptop. As my laptop is currently configured, it fails attempting to guide the LX80. I wanted to try it and post the results as others may have laptops configured like mine.

I'll continue with another post about what we saw with Kevin's laptop attempting to guide.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Wigleydh]
      #5341774 - 07/29/12 02:38 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

Here is 1 of the 5 targeted galaxies from last night. I already mentioned the light issue, but I should also point out that I am working with a 80% moon. Makes trying to take longer images of Mag 10 or 11 objects just a little challenging. Again, this is a stack of 7 2-min frames, taken UNGUIDED in Polar with the LX80, a Meade SC-6 OTA, and an SBIG ST-8300M. Considering the “light challenges”…. I would call this one a keeper. I am truly pleased with this mount and configuration as a “travel” or “away” package.

I cannot comment on the "guiding" problem above, beyond what i have written. Without a guide scope to use, i cannot test that in full operation. However, in my case, using PHD and the DSI-2 (Win 7 64bit ASCOM 6-SP1 with default settings) it does seem to lock and hold steady over a lengthly period of time.


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Wigleydh
member


Reged: 10/26/07

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5342148 - 07/29/12 06:23 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

David,

Thanks for the info. Glad you got things going that well. It does confuse me some with what I saw last night using Kevin's laptop to guide with.

We have more variance that your pictures show. We still had some star movement back and forth in RA unguided - had PHD only connecting to the DSI pro I with the fine grid overlaid and watched it run.

The guiding had one pleasant surprise in that the DEC axis was quite good - PHD only had to send very small corrections. We've had more issue with DEC on the LXD55 - balance and backlash I think with it. We had hoped the LX80 would an improvement.

As Kevin mentioned earlier, the RA with the LX80 was still an issue for us. We never see RA in PHD graph bounce around with the LXD55 like we did last night with the LX80.

I tried playing with different settings but never was happy with the results.

As a reference, the attached is from a screenshot of the PHD graph from using the LXD55 at the end of June - 2 second exposures. Both of those axis did well that night. We always have the LXD55 do that well in RA.

The LX80 last night using the exact same camera/guide scope, had the DEC axis do as good as that LXD55 example or better. The RA however was not stable no matter what settings we tried. It would go up and down. We had some finer squiggles but we had highs and lows that were 2 and 3 graph divisions both directions from the center line, that also got that far in a very short time. We had some settings that got farther off both directions than that. Using the DSI pro I, through the Astro-Tech 66mm F6.0 is 4.45 arc-seconds a pixel.

I tried both reducing the RA aggressivenes (steps all the way down to 15% - which did even worse) and increasing it to over correct (120% - which did help some). It also helped some when I reduced the guide camera exposure to unrealistic short times (had a bright star in the field I could still use - times too short to use in real imaging - not enough stars that bright to see with such short exposures). That should have had it chasing seeing but actually improved things some. It seemed the more agressive the guiding attempt, the better. Sending corrections as quickly as possible but not overly long correction with each correction - got the smallest amplitude on the graph.

I also eliminated the chance of it being balanced too well and rocking back and forth in backlash by moving the counterbalance some to ensure it was a little heavy to the east.

We don't think we did a screen shot of the graph last night but he had the logging enabled. We have not had a chance to dig into the log yet.


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mmalik
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5342167 - 07/29/12 06:34 PM

This "jumping out of the PHD guiding box" seems like a serious problem for extended AP sessions. Please do more testing to get to the bottom of this if this is a mechanical issue or a bug. Plus you seem to be the only one having success so far with serially guiding LX80, we need more testers to be able to do that and with “ease”.

I am for ST-4 guiding if someone could try their cloned APM or old Meade APM, though we know it may not work, but we do need a confirmation whether it works or not. If not, then we definitely need to push Meade to release the APM module given all the trouble other users are having with ASCOM/Serial guiding, and also to have an alternative to ASCOM/Serial guiding.


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Wigleydh
member


Reged: 10/26/07

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: mmalik]
      #5342232 - 07/29/12 07:20 PM

MMalik,

Last night we never had it jump out of the PHD guide box like David did. It just wasn't steady enough, it moved around in RA to the point I was't happy with any of the resulting 5 minute frames from the imaging camera. We run 5 minute guided frames consistently with the LXD55.

Kevin and I do know some people that one has a 909 APM and another person that has an Orion auto-guider. I had already briefly mentioned to both doing the test your asking about. Both seem open to getting together but I have no idea how far down the road that could be before all get togther and attempt that. I'd like to try but can't promise that it will all come together.


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Hilmi
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Wigleydh]
      #5342690 - 07/30/12 01:19 AM

Could it be that there is some slack in your imaging train that needs to be tightened up?

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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA Tracking [Re: Wigleydh]
      #5342709 - 07/30/12 01:49 AM

I think we need to do some unguided test and log to seeing what the mount is doing while it tracks. We know it's running
fast and then slow in east to west but how much and how often and does it have a pattern. It was strange to watch the tracking graph it would run fine for a minute or two then jump around in RA and the Dec was well within specs to do AP.


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