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Drift Alignment with PHD2 - The Bookmark Technique

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#51 JMac85X

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:16 AM

Wow



#52 nitegeezer

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 07:34 PM

In an attempt to get ready for a possible imaging challenge within the forum in addition to the site wide one, this topic is no longer a stickie, but in an attempt to make it easy to find in the future there is now a link in the Best Threads.  I hope this will meet with everybody's needs, if not, let me know and we will try something else.



#53 Jon Rista

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 08:31 PM

Since it's in the Best Threads sticky, I have no complaints.



#54 JoseBorrero

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 11:43 AM

Anyone has luck with this? I can even get PHD2 to work.

My first issue was star lost, OK I just disabled star tolerance and theres no star lost, Great!!!!!

Now, I go a perform a calibration, the scope move but the green box stay on same place ..LOL  whats the problem here?



#55 Jon Rista

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 02:22 PM

Can you give us more information, Jose? How are you connecting to the camera? To the mount? Are you connecting to the mount through the camera and an ST-4 cable? Are you connecting to the mount directly via ASCOM? Do you have DEC guiding enabled, and is it set to Auto, or is it off? 



#56 Tom and Beth

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:28 AM

Tonight was the first time through this procedure, taking advantage of so much Moon and clear skies between storms to re-do the mount. Slick right up, Jon. Thanks



#57 JoseBorrero

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 06:46 PM

Lucky I found this post again. Thanks.

I use a losmandy gemini 1  with latest version of gemini.net as suggested by phd2, the guide camera is qhy5L-II mono.  I turned off the the star loss tolerance and now I solved the issue not picking the star. Now the new issue is when going to calibration, the star move but the green box stay on same place!  


Edited by JoseBorrero, 04 March 2015 - 06:48 PM.


#58 Jon Rista

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 07:06 PM

@Tom & Beth: Thanks! Glad you were able to put it to use. :)

 

@Jose: How are you connecting to the mount? Via the guide camera and ST-4, or via ASCOM?


Edited by Jon Rista, 04 March 2015 - 07:07 PM.


#59 Jon Rista

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 09:04 PM

Glad it helped you out, Daw & John.

 

I thought I would post an update here. I am drift aligning with PHD 2.4.1 for the first time tonight. It seems the new behavior in 2.4.1 has broken this technique. I don't know why, but every time you re-enter drift mode now, PHD selects a random star to track, so subsequent bookmarks basically have zero meaning. I've had stars all over the frame tonight, and I've been unable to identify my bounding positions. I've tried to manually select the star I want before hitting drift, but PHD will still randomly select, so there is no way to override it. Rather frustrating, if I do say so myself. This technique allowed me to drift align in minutes...now it's taking me a lot longer because I have inconsistent stars.

 

I've been extremely disappointed in PHD 2.4.x. From day one, it introduced problems into my setup and procedures that I never had with 2.3.x. First it was terrible timeout issues, then it was lost connectivity issues (just lost connectivity, no timeouts), and now they broke bookmark drift alignment. Really disappointing. Anyway...if anyone figures out how to force the star to drift on, please let me know. I'm about 12 minutes into my drifting now, and still haven't dialed it in, and I rarely spend that much time drifting anymore... :\



#60 Tom and Beth

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 03:51 AM

Jon,

 

I was using PHD2r1451 with none of the problems you listed....and on 2 different mounts.



#61 kd4pbs

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 02:46 PM

I've noticed the same issue, Jon.
What I have to do is literally tell it to drift, shake my finger at the screen as it selects a hot pixel that it supposedly mapped out in the hot pixel map (even manually adding the hot pixel), quickly de-select the guide button, manually select my star, then re-select the guide button to watch the drift.
Frustrating indeed, but to adjust the mount, I always just moved the azimuth until the star touched the big pink circle that PHD makes around it, instead of messing with a bookmark.  That always seemed to me to get it close to perfect with only a few iterations.



#62 Jim W. Coleman

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 11:20 AM

I tried PHD2 to drift align my 8" Meade LX200R. I had a terrible time with it - kept saying "star lost" and flashing the screen and beeping.

 

I was not using a guide scope - I had the Orion SSAG camera hooked up directly to the visual back of the LX200R. Could that be part of the problem? I did have the focal length set to 2000 in the PHD2 setup options ... so not sure what I was doing wrong ...



#63 fatboy1271

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 12:24 PM

Glad it helped you out, Daw & John.

 

I thought I would post an update here. I am drift aligning with PHD 2.4.1 for the first time tonight. It seems the new behavior in 2.4.1 has broken this technique. I don't know why, but every time you re-enter drift mode now, PHD selects a random star to track, so subsequent bookmarks basically have zero meaning. I've had stars all over the frame tonight, and I've been unable to identify my bounding positions. I've tried to manually select the star I want before hitting drift, but PHD will still randomly select, so there is no way to override it. Rather frustrating, if I do say so myself. This technique allowed me to drift align in minutes...now it's taking me a lot longer because I have inconsistent stars.

 

I've been extremely disappointed in PHD 2.4.x. From day one, it introduced problems into my setup and procedures that I never had with 2.3.x. First it was terrible timeout issues, then it was lost connectivity issues (just lost connectivity, no timeouts), and now they broke bookmark drift alignment. Really disappointing. Anyway...if anyone figures out how to force the star to drift on, please let me know. I'm about 12 minutes into my drifting now, and still haven't dialed it in, and I rarely spend that much time drifting anymore... :\

Hi Jon,

 

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I took my setup out last night specifically to test this. Using the latest version of PHD2 there are none of the auto select issues with stars that you saw in 2.4.1. Your procedure worked great and made complete sense!

 

One thing I was confused about at first is in your documentation, and maybe I missed a follow up correction, is in Part 4 you say, "If you started out with your first bookmark at around -2' PA, and your second one at around -1' PA,..." Then halfway through Part 4 you say, "If you started out with -2' PA, then moved to +1' PA,..." I assume both are supposed to be -2 and +1?

 

Thanks again, you Rock for doing all of this and I hope you are back up and running with a "good" version of PHD2!!!



#64 Jon Rista

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 01:57 PM

Thanks Fatboy. Welcome.

 

You are probably right, I typoed that one adjustment value with - instead of +. 

 

Anyway. I personally still seem to have some problems with automatic star selection...it often does not choose the same star, even though it is still in the field. Not sure why...but I am on the latest version. 


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#65 fatboy1271

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 02:49 PM

Interesting that I had zero issues like that last night... :undecided: Anyway, I plan on using this method because I'm a visual person and this really brings all those movements into perspective! Thanks again for the awesome write-up!!!


Edited by fatboy1271, 25 February 2016 - 02:56 PM.


#66 Jon Rista

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:41 PM

Welcome. It's pretty quick, too, once you get the hang of it. I can usually dial in less than 2' within a matter of 5-10 minutes, which is good enough for my 600mm FL setup. I spend a bit more time to get down to as close to the limits of my tracking as I can, which is around 30', when I use a longer FL.


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#67 AgilityGuy

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 10:42 AM

Another thanks for taking the time to write the steps.  I'm new to AP and still trying to figure out how to get all the setup stuff done before the the sky starts to get light in the east!  This kind of instruction is REALLY helpful!  By the screen shots and your equipment list it looks like you're using Windows computer?  My first try at using PHD2 on my Mac with my new Atlas Pro mount was a bit frustrating.  I'll give this a try next night out. 



#68 newman

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 09:09 PM

Jon

 

thx so much this thread has been great. Just started DA in PH.D. And it's helped a lot. I am not good at it and it was slow but getting there. Couple questions. 

 

1.  If I do DA for altitude am I still adjusting my az knobs or my alt knobs?

 

2.  Being really new to this and using SGP, PHD, EQASCOM...having trouble locating CE, meridian and horizon from my limited view on my balcony. Ideas?

 

3.  Once I do Polar align, how do I re-sync on a star do that I know what I am definitely looking at?  Do I use PHD or SGP?  Thinking about it I was unsure how to be certain I was on the star I wanted to be. 

 

Thx. 



#69 Jon Rista

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:44 PM

Newman, glad you found it useful. Regarding your questions:

 

  1. When drift aligning for azimuth, use the azimuth knobs. When drift aligning for altitude, use the altitude knobs. 
  2. The CE is the point where the meridian meets declination zero. The RA coordinate for that will change, but it is always declination zero. Similarly, you want to find a horizon where the CE (declination zero) is anywhere from just above the horizon to anywhere up to about 50 degrees above the horizon. The closer to the horizon you are, the better things will be for altitude adjustment, but sometimes that just isn't possible. Personally, I use a planitarium program, Microsoft WorldWide Telescope, to point my scope. You could also use Stellarium, Cartes Du Ciel, The Sky, etc.
  3. If you are using EQASCOM, then use a planetarium program to connect to it, then use the planetarium to point to a bright known star. Change the EQMOD sync mode to dialog. Then center the star and sync it with the planetarium.


#70 newman

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:57 PM

Jon,

 

thanks again. Went back and took a shot at it. Seems to have helped a bunch. Possibly too much--my PHD graph looks too good for it to be real to me. I bet I am missing something. Lol. 

 

Hoping to to have my first shots tonite.  Not expecting much but fingers crossed. 

 

Michael



#71 Jon Rista

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 12:20 AM

If you really do dial in a good PA (and barring wind or particularly bad seeing), your graph should flatten out like glassy water. ;) I haven't tried to dial in a 30" PA for a while, but the last time I did, my RA RMS was about 0.25" and my DEC was 0.1". I only saw a DEC pulse about every five minutes or so. That was some of the best guiding I've had. Of course, that was also paired with great seeing and zero wind. ;P



#72 artem2

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 02:28 AM

Good morning,

My 1st attempt to align my mount with PHD2, and I have some questions.

 

Though I did leave the DRIFT ALIGN process work for more than 10 minutes ( for both AZUMITH and then also for  ALTITUDE ), I did not see any hint or values " like described in manual or also in Videos " related to, POLAR ALIGNMENT ERROR and then, as described in the manial https://sites.google...drift-alignment

I also did not get see any "magenta circle" also described under

https://sites.google...drift-alignment

 

I am using the latest version of PHD2 2.6.1

 

What could be the reason ? why I did not see any values related to POLAR ALIGNMENT ERROR and also not any "magenta circle" ?

Thank you

Martin


Edited by artem2, 03 April 2016 - 02:28 AM.


#73 Jon Rista

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 02:30 AM

Have you first done a rough polar alignment with a polar scope or other method before using PHD drift align? If you are way out of alignment, then you won't see any of that until you get close, but getting close without those assists can be very difficult.

#74 artem2

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 04:05 AM

Thank you for your answer, in fact I did not do any rough polar aligment process, I do not have any open view towards the POLE & POLARIS. That is why I did decide to ALIGN by doing the DRIFT ALIGNMENT way.

 

The Declination trend line (Red) was very stable and FLAT.. for both AZIMUTH & ALTITUDE.

 

I only did expect to see the values for POLAR ALIGNMENT ERROR, like described under

https://sites.google...drift-alignment

 

I did repeat the measurement and adjustment of the mount and did achieve a good flat horizontal dec trend line, all the time..

But I never saw any values related to POLAR ALIGNMENT ERROR.

 

I will for sure try today again, and follow the instruction to search for the MAGENTA CIRCLE..

 

Thx

 

Martin


Edited by artem2, 03 April 2016 - 04:50 AM.


#75 Jon Rista

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 11:27 AM

Hmm, seems odd to hit a perfect PA without being able to see the pole. Are you sure you were actually using the drift wizard, and that you were NOT guiding the declination axis? You should only be guiding RA, because you need DEC to drift. 

 

There are some iterative methods you can use to dial in a reasonable PA, by slewing back and forth between a pair of stars. AlignMaster works this way, I think some of the Celestron mount alignment procedures do as well. You might try one of those first to get a reasonable starting PA, then switch to drift to refine. 

 

If you cannot see Polaris and are just guessing when you set up, it is likely your PA will be quite far off. When you try to drift align from there, it's basically pure guesswork as to how much to adjust the mount and in what direction. I usually use EQMOD's PA routine to dial in a rough PA first, then I will drift to improve it from there. 




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