Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

HELP! I need EAA for Dummies - Please don't drown me in technobabble

  • Please log in to reply
256 replies to this topic

#226 jgraham

jgraham

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20127
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 20 October 2016 - 09:33 PM

Perfect will have to do! :)

 

I have done a lot of imaging with a 6" f/5 Newtonian on my Atlas and it is a very nice combination. I haven't tried my RI2 on it yet, but I will. The image scale should be just about perfect for the RI2. I wouldn't worry too much about back-focus, the RI2 doesn't need much. The focal reducer may not work, but you won't need it with that scope.

 

Have fun!



#227 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 21 October 2016 - 08:26 AM

Friends,

 

I just want to check in.   I have not forgotten or lost interest in this discussion.   I am waiting for my warranty replacement ETX 80 to show up so I can continue my work tih the RI2.   



#228 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 27 October 2016 - 05:03 PM

The ultimate novice set-up as far as camera systems seem to be the Revolution Imager R2.  As for mounts, it seems that just about any tracking mount should work.



#229 rml63

rml63

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Prince Edward County, Ontario

Posted 29 October 2016 - 10:53 AM

Ed, what can I say I have been binge reading this thread for over an hour and I can't stop :), great stuff and jgraham has kept me busy with his pics and helpful tips.  I have only been in the hobby for a short time but this sounds very appealing to me, like an image should or could be in a telescope from a lp location.

 

While I am far from even an experienced beginner this thread makes me wish I had started in EAA , the fellow that mentioned it was a better view than his 16 or 20 inch Obsession scope really sunk in.  My SW 130 reflector is originally for astrophotography so at f5  with a sturdy 2" focuser it would be a good EAA scope?

 

I am researching different tracking mounts, I really like the Ioptron AZ PRO, what mount would you guys recommend?

 

 

 

Mike


Edited by FirstSight, 10 November 2016 - 12:21 PM.


#230 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 29 October 2016 - 11:31 AM

Glad you have enjoyed.



#231 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 29 October 2016 - 11:49 AM

While eaa offers a promise of greater reach I have no intention of abandoning visual astronomy. They are two observation tools just as AP is another.

Enjoy this wonderful hobby in as many aspects as you can.

#232 rml63

rml63

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Prince Edward County, Ontario

Posted 05 November 2016 - 11:09 PM

Ed,

How are you coming along with EAA? I am very curious about your experience thus far.

 

Mike



#233 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:20 PM

I finally attached the velcro to the new ETX 80 and got it up and working last night.   I was out for 3 hours but only had the RI2 up for about 30 minutes.  

I had two people, who are very new, join me and an experienced friend at a local park to give them some help in learning to observe the sky.  We spent most of the time using our eyes and binoculars ranging from 7X35 through 15X70.  I can report that the evening was a success.  They really enjoyed trying a variety of binoculars and by the end of 3 hours they were referencing many of the bright stars by name. 
 

 

No real plan with the RI2 other than getting it working and on a target.   The target was the Pleiades and then the Andromeda galaxy.   

 

The ETX 80 is a fork mounted GoTo scope.  I have the monitor velcroed to one side of the fork and the battery velcroed to the other side of the fork so the whole system rides on the scope as it scans the sky using the GoTo system.  I have a lot of extra wire so I have to figure out how to deal with that.

 

Clearly I have a LOT more to learn but I was able to bring it to focus without the focal reducer.   I hope to get out again tonight and try with the focal reducer as even with my 400 mm FL I would like to crank down the magnification.  

 

Sorry I don't have more but the focus last night was getting the new guys up to speed with binoculars and starting to know asterisms and good binocular targets they can enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 


  • rml63 likes this

#234 jgraham

jgraham

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20127
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:41 PM

Cool! Reaching focus in the first barrier. I had to draw in the little C-mount adapter to reach focus on my ETX-80. I still gotta get mine out to try my new camera settings and to measure the limiting magnitude. I've been sooooo busy climbing the ladder to see how far it goes, and I see at least two more rungs that I want to try. This has been so much fun!

 

Good luck with your EXT!


  • rml63 and aeajr like this

#235 rml63

rml63

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Prince Edward County, Ontario

Posted 06 November 2016 - 06:19 PM

Do you get rough focus by watching the monitor, and then fine focus with the camera? 

 

Mike



#236 jgraham

jgraham

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20127
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 06 November 2016 - 07:10 PM

Since the GoTos on the litte ETX refractors can be a tad off with the RI2's small sensor I marked the barrel of a wide field eyepiece so that it is parfocal with the camera. This makes it easy to swap out the camera for the eyepiece, center the object or alignment star, and then replace the camera. I can also use this eyepiece to roughly set the focus. I fine tune the focus with a small Bahtinov mask. My ETX-60 is a bit too small for a Bahtinov mask (the image is too small to see clearly) so I use a modified Hartmann mask with this scope.


  • aeajr likes this

#237 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:55 PM

John,

 

That is brilliant.  So you had to pull the eyepiece out some to get it to focus where the camera focuses?    I will definitely have to do that.

 

Thanks



#238 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:57 PM

Do you get rough focus by watching the monitor, and then fine focus with the camera? 

 

Mike

Not sure what that I know what that means.   I put in the camera and turn the focus knob till it comes into focus on the screen.   Can't think of any other way to do it.  If there is some way to adjust focus from the camera I don't know how to do it.



#239 rml63

rml63

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Prince Edward County, Ontario

Posted 07 November 2016 - 12:07 AM

OIC, I thought you did close focus with the focuser and the canmera in position and then made adjustments for fine focus by controlling the focus on the camera itself.  Now I understand.

 

Mike 



#240 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 03 December 2016 - 11:52 AM

I feel a need to provide an update on my experience with the RI2 with my ETX 80.

 

Note that I was without my ETX 80 for over a month so that slowed things down.  Then there are nights when I just want to pull out the Orion XT8i Intelliscope and be a cosmic tourist.  And, with the weather getting colder and windier, I am not getting out as much as I would like.   So my devoted testing and learning of this system has been limited.

 

I am at the point with this that one might be with a new, first time bow and arrow.  I can get the arrow to fly but I am not too good at hitting the target.  I just need more time with it.

 

I believe it works as advertised so I can say that it does what it says it does from a visual point of view.   Based on that I am highly confident that the reports posted by others are true and accurate and over time I will be able to repeat their results. 

 

I have not tried any computer captures but I do have the adapter.   I did not really buy it for computer capture so that will be a while.

 

As I have the monitor and battery mounted on the ETX fork I have way too much wire. (see photo below, wires not shown)  I need to clean that up.  

 

I have used the battery for several hours without recharge and no indication of it running down.  It powers the RI2 system only, not the mount.

 

The angle and focuser of the ETX 80 are molded into the scope and may present some limitations in relation to this system.  Without the focal reducer it sets fine and comes to focus fine.   Effect is similar to a 6 mm eyepiece.   If I look at the lower cluster of the double cluster there is a set of stars that form a man shaped pattern.  That pattern fills about 50% of the monitor so you can use this as a reference point.   In the ETX 80 that would be about 65X.  

 

If I put the focal reducer on the tube that goes into the nose piece it won't go all the way into the angle.  There is a lip inside that it hits.  With the FR reducer on I can't get it to focus.   I tried taking the extension tube apart as it can be used in two pieces so that the camera can sit all the way in but still I can't get it to focus.  But I may be doing something wrong.  I tried manually moving it in and out to see if I can get it to focus but I can't.

 

I don't understand the use case for the IR filter.  Need to learn more about that.

 

It may be possible with an adapter to attach it to the rear port of the ETX 80 but I have not tried it.

So, bottom line, I am really at the very very early evaluation stages.  I need to learn exposure times, gain, and "averaging" in the camera, day night settings and such. 

Without the FR I can focus and get it on an object but that is about it.  I am all over the place when it comes to camera settings.   So I would not post an evaluation of the product based on where I am now other than to say that it works as advertised.

 

If there is a quick learning guide I need to go find it and study it.

 

I need to do more reading before I do more testing.  Then I need a nice calm clear, not to windy night, in front of my house where I can do some really well organized testing and personal training over several hours and documentation of what I am doing.   Then I will be in a better position to say if it is going to be a valueable tool for my with this scope.  I believe it will be but I don't have the real experience yet.

 

Several people have asked for a progress report, so here it is.   Straight, honest and incomplete.   

 

I am glad I purchased the RI2 and feel confident that, long term, it is going to serve me well.

Attached Thumbnails

  • R2 montor and battery from viewing side (640x359).jpg

Edited by aeajr, 03 December 2016 - 11:54 AM.

  • REC and rml63 like this

#241 jgraham

jgraham

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20127
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 03 December 2016 - 04:11 PM

I also found that I could not get the RI2 to focus with the focal reducer, even when using the short nosepiece. However, I found that the ETX-80 works fine without it.

 

As for settings, I went through how I have mine setup and made a few notes...

 

From the setup menu there are only two items that I adjust; Scene Select>Custom, and Pict Adjust>Brightness. Everything else I have left at their default settings.

 

SetUp Menu_0001.jpg

 

Under the Custom menu I adjust the Shutter/AGC and DNR. Changing the Shutter/AGC to Fixed and Manual gives you access to several more settings. However, I have found that it is tough to find settings that work well under light polluted skies, so using the Auto setting greatly reduces the fiddle-factor and works quite well.

 

Scene_Select_Auto_1.jpg

 

Under Shutter/AGC>Auto there are three settings; AE Level (Exposure), AGC Max (maximum gain), and Sens UP (how the gain is adjusted). I generally leave the AE Level at 250 (maximum exposure, 5 seconds), AGC Max at 36 DB (almost max, but not quite), and the Sens Up to Auto.

 

Shutter_AGC_1.jpg

 

The DNR menu sets up how many frames are stacked internally by the camera. This can be changed from 0 to 6. 0 gives the fastest settling time for the image, but the most noise. For scopes that track well I’ll use values of 4-6. For the ETX-80 I generally use 3.

 

DNR SetUp_0001.jpg

 

Once these values are set I rarely change them. The value that I change most often is the DNR; up if the mount is behaving itself, down if it’s not.

 

The setting that I change very frequently is back up at the root level; Pict Adjust. Under light polluted skies the sky gets darker the higher in elevation you look and vice versa. A picture that looks fine high in the sky will be washed out as you look lower, making it necessary to lower the brightness. A picture that looks fine at low elevations will become dark and clipped as you look higher, making it necessary to raise the brightness. Fortunately, adjusting the brightness is fairly easy just off of the main menu.

 

Picture Adjust_0001.jpg

 

Soooo, my normal operating procedure is to set and forget Scene Select>Custom with the possible exception of changing the DNR. However, I frequently need to change the Pict Adjust>Brightness, but this is fairly easy using the wired remote.

 

Since you may be making frequent use of the wired remote I highly recommend using a video/power extension cable as this moves the connection for the wired remove away from the camera and prevents shaking the scope every time that you use it. Also, the wired remote can get flaky as the battery runs low. I take the battery out of my remote when it is stored and I keep a couple of spare batteries in the RI2 case.

 

Enjoy!

 


  • Ptarmigan, brettisley, BinoGuy and 2 others like this

#242 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12375
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 03 December 2016 - 04:52 PM

Wow!  That is very helpful.   Thanks for the set-up tips.



#243 paulymo

paulymo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 773
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2014
  • Loc: Vermont

Posted 24 April 2017 - 06:16 PM

Picking this thread back up and getting it back to its stated intent of "EAA for Dummies" instead of opening another one for my question.  Like the OP, I've not done EAA but am trying to learn and found myself lost in many posts as they start getting into chipsets, etc.

 

My goal is to get a budget EAA setup that is more "friendly" to use with my youngish kids (who have no patience to wait around for dear ol' dad to hunt down an object so they can get 10 seconds to squint at a tiny wispy thing) and which I could also use to start doing some club outreach with.  So my ideal rig would result in me being able to slew to 5-6 DSOs a night and be able to gradually watch more detail appear in a minute or so while I talked a little more about the object.

 

After my reading here and watching Youtube videos, it is clear an all-in-one kit like the R2 would allow me to do just that (using the DNR functionality, I believe it is called).  However, I already have a Windows 10 laptop/tablet that I could use next to the rig so are there any cheap USB webcam/PC freeware combos that would also get me the same "handsfree stacking" outcome that I'm after?  I'm seeing threads about sub $100 cameras that would let a newbie like me get my feet wet with EAA for a lot less than the R2...but I don't know if the PC software would mimic the hands-off experience or if I'd always need to fiddle with the PC to get an image.

 

I'm asking because sadly budget does come into play.  If I need the (albeit relatively inexpensive) R2 for what I want to achieve then I'll save up for it.  But if a cheaper option would also do the job with my existing laptop, that would allow me to get my feet wet quicker.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.



#244 Kaikul

Kaikul

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1716
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2014

Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:04 PM

Picking this thread back up and getting it back to its stated intent of "EAA for Dummies" instead of opening another one for my question.  Like the OP, I've not done EAA but am trying to learn and found myself lost in many posts as they start getting into chipsets, etc.

 

My goal is to get a budget EAA setup that is more "friendly" to use with my youngish kids (who have no patience to wait around for dear ol' dad to hunt down an object so they can get 10 seconds to squint at a tiny wispy thing) and which I could also use to start doing some club outreach with.  So my ideal rig would result in me being able to slew to 5-6 DSOs a night and be able to gradually watch more detail appear in a minute or so while I talked a little more about the object.

 

After my reading here and watching Youtube videos, it is clear an all-in-one kit like the R2 would allow me to do just that (using the DNR functionality, I believe it is called).  However, I already have a Windows 10 laptop/tablet that I could use next to the rig so are there any cheap USB webcam/PC freeware combos that would also get me the same "handsfree stacking" outcome that I'm after?  I'm seeing threads about sub $100 cameras that would let a newbie like me get my feet wet with EAA for a lot less than the R2...but I don't know if the PC software would mimic the hands-off experience or if I'd always need to fiddle with the PC to get an image.

 

I'm asking because sadly budget does come into play.  If I need the (albeit relatively inexpensive) R2 for what I want to achieve then I'll save up for it.  But if a cheaper option would also do the job with my existing laptop, that would allow me to get my feet wet quicker.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

First things first. I looked at you equipment list and did not see any goto mount. This is important as a goto mount will allow the scope to track the object and allow the camera/software to perform stacking without smearing the image.  

 

As for using a sub-$100 webcam, if you can find one that you can fit in and use with your scope, then you can use SharpCap to do the stacking. But a goto/tracking mount must be the first order of business.


Edited by Kaikul, 24 April 2017 - 07:05 PM.


#245 paulymo

paulymo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 773
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2014
  • Loc: Vermont

Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:34 PM

I plan on buying an SLT mount.  Best the budget can do right now and I already have a plan for the legs, which appears to be the weak point.  Scope will be either a 4" F6 frac or the 5" F5 newt I already have.



#246 Kaikul

Kaikul

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1716
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2014

Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:55 PM

I plan on buying an SLT mount.  Best the budget can do right now and I already have a plan for the legs, which appears to be the weak point.  Scope will be either a 4" F6 frac or the 5" F5 newt I already have.

 

Ah! Yes, an SLT mount is a good choice - I have one myself. It's very capable, just keep the total weight of the load under 8 lbs. 



#247 CA Curtis 17

CA Curtis 17

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 806
  • Joined: 13 Feb 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:05 PM

The R2 is a good entry level camera that you can use without a computer or with a computer.  The free software called Sharpcap will allow you to stack exposures for as long as you wish.  Of course, field rotation will limit the maximum time you can stack frames without star trailing.  With your computer, you can also get the USB camera, ASI224MC, which will show more detail but has slightly less sensitivity compared to the R2.  Both are priced the same, but the R2 includes some extras.  Sharpcap will also work with the R2.  

 

You might want to check out this thread for considerations about choosing between analog (R2) and digital (224MC): https://www.cloudyni...g#entry7606312 

 

You can also look at the two threads I started on "Light Weight, Low Cost, Highly Portable EAA Setups".

 

Many have bought and seem quite happy with the Rising Tech version of the 224MC camera which can be purchased on line for less than $200.  There are lots of threads on CN about this camera.

 

Good luck.

Curtis


  • paulymo likes this

#248 orionic

orionic

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 137
  • Joined: 06 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Boulder, CO

Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:37 PM

The free software called Sharpcap will allow you to stack exposures for as long as you wish.  Of course, field rotation will limit the maximum time you can stack frames without star trailing.  

I am a bit concerned about this phrase "maximum time you can stack frames".

 

I had thought that the various stacking programs (SharpCap, AstroToaster, etc.) will all automatically rotate the subs in order to align them.  Is that not the case?  That would be a big problem if field rotation places a limit on the total duration of the session.



#249 Don Rudny

Don Rudny

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1625
  • Joined: 21 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:53 PM

I'm not sure what Curtis meant by that statement, but you will get field rotation only with an AZ mount.  An Eq mount will not have field rotation issues.  Stacking software that has both translational and rotational star alignment will adjust for tracking errors and field rotation with an AZ mount, but only for subs that are short enough to not have the errors.  Sub exposure length that will show field rotation will depend on sky location.  Near the zenith, for example will have a high degree of field rotation.  It is possible to get some fairly long sub exposures without field rotation in some parts of the sky such as east and west near the Celestrial equator.

 

Perhaps Curtis meant maximum sub exposure time.

 

Don


  • paulymo likes this

#250 orionic

orionic

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 137
  • Joined: 06 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Boulder, CO

Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:58 PM

I'm not sure what Curtis meant by that statement, but you will get field rotation only with an AZ mount.  An Eq mount will not have field rotation issues.  Stacking software that has both translational and rotational star alignment will adjust for tracking errors and field rotation with an AZ mount, but only for subs that are short enough to not have the errors.  Sub exposure length that will show field rotation will depend on sky location.  Near the zenith, for example will have a high degree of field rotation.  It is possible to get some fairly long sub exposures without field rotation in some parts of the sky such as east and west near the Celestrial equator.

 

Perhaps Curtis meant maximum sub exposure time.

 

Don

Thanks, that's good news.  Also, now I can feel good about the fact that my Evo mount with OTA loaded with reducer & adapters is nowhere near capable of reaching the zenith... so field rotation will be less severe smile.gif




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics