Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | (show all)
GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: orion69]
      #5920015 - 06/14/13 05:05 AM

Quote:

GIR, I noticed you have permanent setup, but let's suppose that you don't, how long will it take from turning mount on to starting imaging (30 min subs @ 1000mm)?
Thx




Knez

You made a tough question because I've never tried it…

What takes quite a lot of time is to learn the different tuning/balancing methods in the beginning. There are many different ways to do it …automatically or manual fine tuning. However, the tuning/balancing itself has to be done only once. So even if you move the mount to a different place you can use all the previous (stored) settings. Of course the setup has to be exactly the same.

Polar alignment is pretty fast because you can get a quite accurate alignment with only 3 stars when using the Autoslew software assistance. After the polar alignment is done, building a model is quite fast also. As said before it'll take 15-20 minutes to build a new 50-60 point model (which is very accurate) or you can actually use an existing (stored) model somehow with the help of Autoslew but I've never tried it myself.

One of the most useful tools especially if not having a permanent setup is the new MLPT tool. It creates a kind of local pointing file that enables to track one object very accurately. Creating a MLPT model for a single object takes 2-3 minutes.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #5920019 - 06/14/13 05:16 AM

Quote:

And best of all is NO software dependency and still unguided imaging

I am all for direct drive technology and think that it is the future, but someone has to bite the bullit and move the motor control algorithms into the mount firmware. With today's high end micro controllers the performance is not an issue and the reliability of things in firmware compared to things in the PC environment is lightyears better. I am quite certain that ASA's mounts will function more or less flawlessly with their 100 percent PC dependency, but the scary part is USB communication and the not so real-time performance of Windows. Besides, I think an investment in a truly high-end PC is very important - the stuff will be as reliable as your PC.

Now, one can argue that you are software dependant anyway when it comes to imaging. But, and this is a big BUT, when you have your stuff on a remote site, or are asleep inside, and the scope won't park so that the roof can be closed when the rain comes, something unspeakable is going to hit the rotating air mover big time.

This, of course, is a highly personal comment as it involves many feelings and hunches, but I do believe it has some merit.

My ideal mount would be a direct drive technology one with total firmware control, no need for motor traing (should be done at the factory), no external PC or software dependency and electromagnetic axis locks that engage with loss of power.

The last part should be on anyone's short-list. Suppose you start a slew at 20°/s, the mount accelerates and *POOF* - power-out. Your equipment will hit the pier with a speed of just under 1 km/h. Unlikely, yes, but we regularly protect ourselves from many even more unlikely things.

Now that qualfies as genuine two-cent advice

/per




Per

I know that 10Micron makes excellent mounts but I'm a bit puzzled why you seem to criticize the ASA mounts and their way of doing things so much in different forums. The critique seems to boil down to couple of things …using a separate computer for operating the mount and the encoders not being absolute but relative.

Don't really understand the separate PC critique at all. I've been using a mid priced laptop in my (back yard) observatory with W7 and operating it remotely from the house using a lan connection all winter, and have never had problems with it. What comes to power issues and backup systems when doing things remotely has nothing to do with just ASA mounts and are a completely different topic. However, there are several ways to make sure that the horror scenarios you've described can be avoided.

All I can say about the high resolution Renishaw encoders ASA is using that they'll find the absolute homing position in few seconds and after that it really doesn't matter if your encoders are absolute or relative.

What comes to the 10Micron GM1000HPS software, if I've understood it correctly you've been writing a lot of extra scripts yourself to fix the deficiencies, including a proper ASCOM support ?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jjongmans
super member


Reged: 02/11/12

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: GIR]
      #5920045 - 06/14/13 06:19 AM

ASA is working on a gyroscope so that the homing can be completely automatic, even in a remote setup without being able to see it.
I'm using my DDM with a cheap mini laptop, dedicated for controlling the mount (and CCD, focuser, weather, SQM, etc.)

Balance is critical and needs to be very good, in that case the setup won't move if the motors aren't engaged.

PID tuning is always necessary because that depends on the load you put on the mount. The ASA software has an autotune feature and that works great, so tuning isn't an issue.

Edited by jjongmans (06/14/13 06:25 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
coz
sage


Reged: 08/25/10

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: jjongmans]
      #5920062 - 06/14/13 06:45 AM

Thanks for the comments I never realized you had to balance the ASA so well. Right now I have to use a portable setup and so the Astro-Physics mounts make more sense for me. i.e. balance doesn't matter and I can use the keypad only for quick use. If I had a permanent setup I would really consider ASA.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: coz]
      #5920093 - 06/14/13 07:32 AM

Gir,

It is all personal opinion. I have 20 years of working experience designing a nd programming different radio and control systems so I guess I am damaged by that.

The autonomous mount thing is a crucial design factor and I think ASA has taken a wrong turn there. USB is a very flaky communications system and, as I said, Windows may be a wonderful and stable operating system in all respects but real-time. The mount is a unit and it could controlled in terms of slewing, changing parameters etc from whatever type of system the user desires, be it hand controller, a computer or whatever. Putting the time-critical motor control loop in a PC is not the way to go. And that is MY opoinion made from the experience I have.

I bought my first 10Micron mount (GM2000HPS) on the hunch that it just had to be good. The only thing it lacked at that time was a proper ASCOM driver and that prompted me to write my own instead. Since then 10Micron has released their own dedicated as a replacement for having to rely on the AP driver or the LX200 driver.

Building a model with 10Micron mounts has always been possible with the aid of the handset. That is, however, not a pheasable way to do it so I wrote an automated plate solving model maker that sort of rose out of a specific need.

Niether of these two "products" have provided anything that cannot be done with other drivers or the handset, but I think they make life better and easier.

I love the fact that the model resides in-mount and is always available. But again, that is me, a crazy, 55-yearold technically interested person that stumbled upon modern astrophotography just a few years ago and love every second of it.

/per


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #5920175 - 06/14/13 08:54 AM

Per

I’m not qualified to say if ASA has taken a wrong turn (like everybody else except 10Micron ?) by choosing to use a separate computer controlling the mount. But I know that I haven’t had any problems using the system so far. And I’ve been using it in -27 C (-16 F) without a hint of problems, so it looks like a pretty solid system even for a cold weather.

I also know that the ASA software package can do a lot of things fully automated, including building all kinds of models, and tuning and balancing the system. It’s quite an experience to push a button and see the mount start slewing across the sky with an amazing speed, taking pictures and plate solving them …and everything happens in a complete silence.

On top of everything there is of course the direct drive technology which is something that makes me smile every time when using the mount. And as you said yourself, direct drive is probably the ideal technology for building a high end mount.

So I do understand what you’re saying and we’re all just expressing our personal views and experiences here. But it would be fair to point out that the only thing that 10Micron mount is doing “better” (in your opinion) is having the very basic operations included and integrated into the mounts own “mini computer”. How much of an advantage that might be in reality, will probably depend a lot on how the mount will be used.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: GIR]
      #5920220 - 06/14/13 09:23 AM

GIR,

I'll definitely agree to that. 10Micron has, in my opinion taken a right turn, it is all opinions and, top top it off, I really think the ASA mounts are amazing products

/p


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pbsastro
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/21/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: GIR]
      #5920416 - 06/14/13 11:36 AM

Quote:

Per,
I know that 10Micron makes excellent mounts but I'm a bit puzzled why you seem to criticize the ASA mounts and their way of doing things so much in different forums. The critique seems to boil down to couple of things …using a separate computer for operating the mount and the encoders not being absolute but relative.





GIR,
You should take Per criticism in a positive and constructive way. After all Per is saying his ideal amount is a direct drive mount with built-in controller.
So, who do you think is in better position to achieve that soon? ASA of course. ASA has most of the work done: mastered direct drive technology and developed all the software algorithms to control it, which is not easy, and took them some time to refine it, but they have done it. Now all is missing is the easy part, transport that software to a controller, but that is easy, as the algorithms are already developed.

So what I think everybody should do (especially if you are a ASA supporter and want all the best for ASA) is shout loud that ASA ***must*** do that final step (move the SW to a built-in controller), and show ASA that many potential customers are waiting that final small step to buy a ASA mount. Just praising a product is not the best way to make it better.

Note I have decided this week to order a 10micron, but that did not stop me to criticize it for their poor load/weight ratio compared to AP. AP users should follow the same route and criticize AP for their shortcomings, but AP has reached a religious status that makes that difficult to happen.

The best part for ASA and its customers is that that controller seems to me to be possible to easily add to existing mounts already sold.

Right now opinions on better mount on the market are split, some say AP, some say ASA, some say 10micron. If ASA completes that, it can be quickly the undisputed king (queen?) of high-end mounts. Other competitors will take ages to come on par with ASA again, as ASA has it almost ready, and others have not started on direct-drive nor are likely to start soon.


Edited by pbsastro (06/14/13 02:03 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
orlyandico
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: pbsastro]
      #5920668 - 06/14/13 02:08 PM

"AP has reached a religious status that makes that difficult to happen."

Funny, ha ha!

I didn't know ASA put the motor control loop in the PC. I'm with Per on this. I am disturbed by the concept. Motor PID control is a really, really basic feature, and to have it offloaded to an external PC.... I haven't seen that kind of "outsourcing" since Mel Bartels' SCOPE.EXE where even generating the stepper pulses gets relegated to the PC.

But then again SCOPE.EXE has a ton of features that most stand-alone GoTo controllers, even today, can't match - and Mel has an asteroid named after him, so what do I know...

Heck SB mounts will track without the PC, they just won't do PEC or GoTo. That points to the fact that motor control should reside in the mount firmware.

Of course if ASA came up with a strap-on box that contained a mini-ITX PC with the same Windows software, maybe that would qualify as "mount firmware."


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5920673 - 06/14/13 02:10 PM

Quote:


Heck SB mounts will track without the PC, they just won't do PEC or GoTo.




I believe SB mounts store their PEC curve in the MKS5000 system so I'm quite sure the PEC is being applied without being connected to PC - though I could be wrong.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
orlyandico
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5920687 - 06/14/13 02:16 PM

Saad, I stand corrected if so. Am not really an expert on those. In fact was surprised SB mounts actually worked without a PC - I thought they were totally dependent.

That said, SkyVision - http://www.skyvision.fr/wordpress/mount/direct-drive-mount/?lang=en and Astelco - http://www.astelco.com/html/products/ntm/ntm.htm also have direct-drive mounts. ASA isn't the only game in town here.

I admit that based on Roland's past comments on the AP mailing lists, that he is skeptical of the benefits of direct drive, and floats some of the same arguments that Per does about the payload banging into something if you lose power.

I see things this way - SB and AP are the pinnacle of traditional, worm-driven mount technology. We're at an inflection point where newer technologies such as direct drive, harmonic drive, and roller drive are becoming cost-competitive enough with the 100+ year old worm drive technology, to be interesting.

And direct drive has been used for years and years for things like GRB searches, where fast slewing is a necessity.

But today - I would still say worm-drive technology is the best-known, best-understood, and well-proven technology. And good worm drive mounts, while they still suffer from things like backlash and periodic error, keep these issues under very good control that they simply aren't relevant, unless you need that 100-degree per second slew.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Craig Ballew
newbie


Reged: 03/24/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6021422 - 08/12/13 06:58 PM

Well, now my head hurts. I too am getting ready to purchase a new mount and assumed it was obvious that the best decision was going to be between these two options:

AP1600 w/encoders option
Bisque MEII w/encoders option

Then I read this thread. Very little to no support for the SB MEII which surprised me. Is it the quality, features or pricing that has turned people away?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
orlyandico
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Craig Ballew]
      #6021551 - 08/12/13 08:11 PM

SB mounts are actually very well priced for the payload you're getting. They also bundle some stuff like weights and a versa-plate which for AP you have to buy separately.

Me, I want to have the ability to use the mount "bare" with no PC, so that's what turned me off SB. Also the smallest SB mount (PMX) is still much more mount than I need or can lift. So...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6021755 - 08/12/13 09:48 PM

Quote:


Me, I want to have the ability to use the mount "bare" with no PC, so that's what turned me off SB.




That and the difference in tech support....I guess...

Edited by wolfman_4_ever (08/13/13 08:40 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #6021864 - 08/12/13 10:58 PM

In my experience Software Bisque technical support for their line of Paramount mounts is excellent. It is online forum (www.bisque.com) based support, not telephone support. If you create a user account there (anyone can), you can read through the threads and post there.

CN certainly does have many outspoken A-P mount fans. Paramount mount users on CN are comparatively less outspoken. I don't see this as a reflection on the companies, their employees or their mounts. It appears to me to be a difference in user personalities and not anything sinister or derogatory. I don't fault A-P for that.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Craig Ballew]
      #6022109 - 08/13/13 01:51 AM

Quote:


Then I read this thread. Very little to no support for the SB MEII which surprised me. Is it the quality, features or pricing that has turned people away?




I've been running a Paramount ME-II remotely from New Mexico since last Spring, as part of a research collaboration between the University of Toronto and Yale. It's a really great mount. The capacity is high (we've got about 175lb on it and it's not breaking a sweat) and the tracking has been extremely good. The integration with TheSkyX and T-Point (all running on a Mac, which was important to my team) has been terrific. The mount has performed flawlessly and whenever I have asked a question on the Bisque forum I've gotten an authoritative answer. I think the support has been excellent.

When I decided to get this mount I did a bit of due diligence and looked at all the alternatives, and it seemed to me that for remote observing the ME series had the best track record. I've been using T-point for a couple of decades and trust it, and the integration between TheSkyX and T-point is terrific. If I were doing it again I'd get the ME-II again... but bear in mind that my needs may not be the same as yours. I can assure you though that our ME-II has been a total joy to use.

Until last month we also had a 24" scope on an AP3600 in New Mexico too (a beautiful system I ordered for our institute), and I've got an AP Mach-1 in my back yard, so it's not like I'm being driven by brand loyalty... everything is a trade off, and I think the best mount for a given circumstance depends on many factors. But certainly everybody who has used our system in New Mexico has been delighted with the ME-II, and most of our experience has been with much larger professional systems, so the acceptable performance bar is set pretty high.

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (08/13/13 11:32 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #6022713 - 08/13/13 11:40 AM

It sounds like your set-up is professional. Hence the type of mount is not important to the user, hence irrelevant and invisible to the user, as it should be.

I assume the A-P mounts at the South Pole are used similarly. What is important to the user is the data collected via an acceptable software interface.

We amateurs like to stroke the scope and mount when we go out to the observatory ;-) Either A-P or SB work in that situation also.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: EddWen]
      #6023134 - 08/13/13 02:43 PM

Hi Edd,

Yes, it's a professional setup feeding data to very fussy users, including me. The lack of complaints says a lot about the quality of the mount. So far we're very happy with it indeed.

I assure you that some of us professionals like to stroke the scopes and mounts too... :-)

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (08/13/13 02:44 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #6023295 - 08/13/13 03:49 PM

Quote:

the tracking has been extremely good



Can you post one or two autoguider logs?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: Alph]
      #6023374 - 08/13/13 04:24 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Next time we autoguide with it I'll try to remember to save the log... but our setup consists of a bank of 400mm lenses and autoguiding is optional at this focal length with this mount. Autoguiding is needed if the setup has changed and a new T-Point model hasn't been made so the ProTrack hasn't yet been dialed in, but with good PEC training and ProTrack we can often get away without autoguiding.

A picture of our setup is attached so you can see the load the ME-II is carrying.

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (08/13/13 08:19 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | (show all)


Extra information
14 registered and 33 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Dave M, richard7, bilgebay 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 7187

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics