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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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N. Ham
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Reged: 02/14/11

Loc: GA
Auto guider preferences
      #5755408 - 03/25/13 02:09 AM

I am formulating my plan to get into some DSLR astrophotography, and among other things the question of auto guiders comes up since I am sure some deep space targets will be in my sights before long. At this point I am looking at the auto guider/planetary imagers by SBIG and Starlight Express. Anyone here care to share their experiences good or bad.

Thanks.


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: N. Ham]
      #5755741 - 03/25/13 09:46 AM

Don't forget to take a look at the new QHY 5L-II Autoguider/Planetary camera. It has some very impressive specs, a great price and some excellent reviews from users.

QHY 5L-II Autoguider/Planetary Camera


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
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Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5755765 - 03/25/13 10:01 AM

I have the SX Lodestar and I find it noisy. It's very sensitive but noisy .

I hear good things on the SBIG Guide cam... but I don't own one myself.

I also got my QHY 5L-II Friday and it looks pretty good... though I have not use it in the field yet.

Guylain


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p1taylor
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/19/08

Loc: West Midlands UK
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5755773 - 03/25/13 10:04 AM

Hi I guide my 10" with ZS 80II ED, SX Lodestar, and PHD, all goes real good.

peter


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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: p1taylor]
      #5755785 - 03/25/13 10:09 AM

I've used a QHY5 mono coupled to a 50mm guidescope on more than one of my setups. Worked fine up to 2000mm focal length without trouble. Low weight, low center of gravity with respect to the imaging OTA, and minimal moving parts.

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Lenbo
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Reged: 04/08/09

Loc: Cochranville, Pa.
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5755850 - 03/25/13 10:34 AM

Been using an SBIG ST-I for a few months with PHD. Still pretty new to astrophotography and especially to autoguiding. Use it with SV70ED and GSO RC8. Switch imager and guider between scopes depending on targets. Has worked since first time out with no problem. Len

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lakeorion
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/03/10

Loc: Lake Orion MI
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: Lenbo]
      #5755867 - 03/25/13 10:45 AM

Dumb question - by Auto guider do most people mean a guide camera + software on the laptop, or a lens/camera/module that sends guide into to the mount without requireing a laptop?

I'm trying to make a laptopless setup but don't know what I want when I get to guiding.


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N. Ham
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Reged: 02/14/11

Loc: GA
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5755935 - 03/25/13 11:18 AM

I am too much of a newbie to be answering, probably, but an autoguider is a simple CCD imager that keeps a polar aligned scope locked on its target. Some have to be connected to a computer, others do not require a computer after setup. The two I have enqireded about are the former. These can be used for short unguided planetary imaging as I unit ad them.

Most of the advanced CCD cameras have an auto guiding second CCD chip along with the main imaging chip..


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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: lakeorion]
      #5755944 - 03/25/13 11:22 AM

When I say "autoguider" I'm generally referring to the camera, optics, and any mounting/connecting hardware specific to it. Mileage may vary on here though.

What stand-alone units have you considered? I've been tempted to go stand-alone myself for a portable rig rather than lugging around yet another power-hungry platform like I used to. I think I used to pull more in battery weight than actual imaging gear. A pair of 125AH deep cycle batteries do wonders for the back and for fuel economy.


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Peter B
super member


Reged: 04/17/07

Loc: Parker, Colorado
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5755995 - 03/25/13 11:43 AM

The old SBIG ST-4 is a workhorse and relatively bombproof. They show up in the ads occasionally for as little as $125! The Celestron Nexguide is another stand-a-lone guider. Neither of these require a computer and work great for DSLR imagers.

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michael hester
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/28/08

Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: Peter B]
      #5756021 - 03/25/13 11:55 AM

There are a few Laptopless guiders (Celestron NexGuide and Meade's starlock) out there. I haven't heard much about their performance though. Most of the guiders you listed are laptop guiders. They plug into your laptop with USB and use the computer to do the calculations.

Orion Starshoot guiders are popular but I wouldn't recommend using them in an observatory unless it's climate controlled during the day. I had a new SSAG break completely because I left it attached in my observatory and it didn't like that. My obs is just a converted outdoor shed and it's not climate controlled in any way. Funny that my Meade DSI is more stable than that B).

Speaking of Meade DSIs, if you use a laptop and don't mind ascom guiding then a meade DSI is the best thing for that.


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: michael hester]
      #5756182 - 03/25/13 01:10 PM

Quote:

Orion Starshoot guiders are popular but I wouldn't recommend using them in an observatory unless it's climate controlled during the day. I had a new SSAG break completely because I left it attached in my observatory and it didn't like that. My obs is just a converted outdoor shed and it's not climate controlled in any way.




That's strange .... you must have gotten a bad one! I bought one of the very first SSAG's available and it's been attached to a guidescope in my non-climate controlled observatory for many years without a single problem. A lot of hot summers and cold winters.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Auto guider preferences new [Re: N. Ham]
      #5756318 - 03/25/13 02:41 PM

Quote:

Most of the advanced CCD cameras have an auto guiding second CCD chip along with the main imaging chip..




Not most, but some. Only SBIG cameras (and only some of those) offer this feature. Their patent should have just about run on that, so maybe others will be able to use the idea in coming years.

I've owned a number of SBIG cameras with the feature and found that I didn't use it. Having the guide chip after the filters reduces sensitivity quite a bit (and, with narrowband filters, way too much).

Edited by jrcrilly (03/25/13 02:43 PM)


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