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Building 10Micron mount models

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#1 Tonk

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 06:11 PM

Its now mid March and I've been waiting for clear skies since 28th November 2016 to build models for 4 scopes on 2 10Micron mounts! This is the reason why I'm now in the queue to move my stuff out to a mountain in southern Spain later this year. North Yorkshire is now not a good place to do astrophotography anymore (10 years ago it was reasonable! but every year has got cloudier).

I thought it would be good to compare and contrast different model building methods. I'm now fully set up on the GM1000HPS and have two models built - for a Televue 85 and for an ASA N10 astrograph. The GM2000HPS with a Takahashi TOA130 and FSQ106 has been polar aligned but I haven't yet managed to build full pointing models due to clouds rolling in. I'll  add  data for the GM2000HPS when the next clear night comes (at least 7 days away according to current forecast!).

The intention was to use MountWizzard and SGPro to set up the GM1000HPS but unfortunately SGPro has trouble plate solving when using a Canon 450D camera. The plate solver was Astrometry.NET (local server) and SGPro dims out the plate solver menu option. Consequently MountWizzard can not run its model building.

 

So I reverted to my favourite method of doing it manually with an astrometric eyepiece. Having used ModelMaker/MountWizzard what I can say is the manual method is actually considerably faster but obviously more labour intensive. The difference is centering the star on the cross hairs takes a few seconds whereas a camera exposure and a plate solve uses significantly more time.

So here are the results with the GM1000HPS using manual model building. First with the Televue 85 (most rigid scope - 480mm FL APO) followed by the ASA astrograph (912mm FL Wynne corrected newt). Note that during model building and polar alignment Dual Tracking is turned off

Polar alignment was achieved using the "3 Star Alignment" function followed by "Polar Alignment" function using a bright star closest to the celestial equator/meridian intersection. This was repeated 4 times - with each iteration requiring smaller "Polar Alignment" Az/Alt knob adjustments to center the reference star. After the  final "3 Star Alignment" (the 5th) the mount was demanding 0.00Rt and 0.00Dn for the Azimuth and Altitude adjustments. I now built a 21 star pointing model from the preferred list of bright stars (stars with very precise known positions). After completing this I removed one outlier star to finish with a very good pointing model and polar alignment.
 

                            Initial Model                     Pruned model
# stars:                    21                                20
Az:                         359:59:55                         359:59:56
Alt:                        054:08:42                         054:08:41
Polar Align Error:          000:00:10                         000:00:08
Position Angle:             019:06                            019:49 
Mount Az/Alt Correction:    0.00 Rt  0.00 Dn                  0.00 Rt 0.00 Dn              
Orthogonality Error:       -000:37:29                        -000:37:30        - scope dependent
Model Terms:                18                                18
Exp RMS:                    10.0"                             08.3"
 
Stars: Alkaid               12.8"                             11.7"
       Castor                8.0"                              8.0"
       Gamma Cas             9.0"                              9.0"
       Alpha Cam             4.7"                              4.7"
       Alpha Lyn             4.7"                              4.7"
       Alphard               8.9"                              8.9"
       Alula Borealis        5.5"                              3.3"
       Arcturus             12.0"                              2.3"
       Cappella              9.8"                              9.8"
       Caph                  9.5"                              9.5"
       Cor Coroli           12.8"                             13.1"
       Denebola              9.1"                              9.5"
       Duhbe                12.1"                              6.9"
       Eltanin               7.5"                              6.0"
       Vindemiatrix         18.9"
       Gemma                10.9"                              6.8"
       Mirphak               6.9"                              6.9"
       Muscida               5.9"                              5.9"
       Procyon               8.4"                              8.4"
       Regulus               8.8"                              8.8"
       Zeta Persei          12.4"                             12.4"

The second scope (the ASA) was just modeled in one pass of 24 stars subsequently pruned to 20 stars (Polar alignment wasn't repeated)

                            Initial Model                     Pruned model
# stars:                    24                                20
Az:                         000:00:02                         000:00:00
Alt:                        054:08:22                         054:08:22
Polar Align Error:          000:00:11                         000:00:12
Position Angle:             184:54                            180:23   
Mount Az/Alt Correction:    0.00 Lf  0.00 Up                  0.00 Lf 0.00 Up             
Orthogonality Error:       -000:15:54                        -000:15:56        - scope dependent
Model Terms:                11                                11
Exp RMS:                    16.3"                             09.7"
 
Stars:     Arcturus          3.1"                              3.6"
           Vega             14.5"                             14.3"
           Duhbe             4.2"                              7.0"
           Alkaid           17.1"                             13.8"
           Alpha Cam        11.3"                              8.7"
           Alpha Lyn        15.8"                              7.6"
           Alula Borealis   13.7"                             13.5"
           Castor           36.0"                                  
           Cor Coroli       10.3"                              8.7"
           Deneb            25.0"                              8.8"
           Denebola          2.0"                              2.2"
           Eltanin          14.3"                             14.8"
           Gemma             6.5"                              5.6"
           Arcturus          6.6"                              3.8"
           Muscida           9.7"                             12.6"
           Pi Herculus       8.6"                              8.7"
           Ras Alhague      31.5"
           Regulus          11.5"                              3.1"       
           Spica             8.3"                              2.6"
           Unukalhai         8.1"                             12.3"
           Vindemiatrix     10.8"                             10.0"
           Zeta Herculus    12.0"                             13.2"
           Aldermin         22.7"
           Albireo          26.6"

You can see from the results that the Televue 85 (an APO) is more rigid than the ASA N10 (Newtonian) and the best strategy, if mounting more than one scope, is that the most rigid scope should be used to perform the polar alignment.

Using the same mount alignment (Az/Alt knob setting) the two scope report

TV85 - polar alignment error =  8"  Pointing RMS error: 8.3"
ASA  - polar alignment error = 12"  Pointing RMS error: 9.7"

These look like very good results in reasonable agreement. The next test here is to do some unguided imaging with the two scopes with dual tracking turned on.

When the next clear sky spell comes by I'll compare the above manual building method to an automated build using MountWizzard and SGPro


Edited by Tonk, 15 March 2017 - 07:19 AM.

 

#2 psandelle

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 09:11 PM

And Tonk continues to be...da Man!

 

Thanks for the info.

 

Paul


 

#3 gunny01

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:09 AM

It will be interesting to see how the MountWizzard results turn out as compared to manual.............You have a lot more patience than I Tony.  Thanks for posting.  Oh, you probably know this but POGO (Martin) has released his version of 10u modelling software.  This will make for an interesting horse race...................Gunny


 

#4 Tonk

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 07:49 AM

This will make for an interesting horse race


The current 4 horses are:

 

Model Maker (not yet a lame horse)
MM.py
Mount Wizzard

Model Creator

What separates all these is the use of delegated software (free or otherwise) to perform camera control / image capture and plate solving. Also the provision of supporting observatory domes is either there or absent. rehearsal and test modes are also patchy (but definitely needed).

Interestingly none of these (yet) provide an "engine" component that is well separated from the user interface (nearest is MM.py) nor do any of these handle INDI - only ASCOM. My needs running a truly remote imaging rig are different enough in that I'm going to enter my own horse into a slightly different race once I have analyzed and perfected my "remote" needs around an INDI platform. Right now I'm not in a rush to do this - other issues to resolve (like getting the gear into a place with clear night skies - or how else do you test! 3.5 months between clear sky episodes is my real issue!!!!!!!!!!)
 


 

#5 Tonk

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 07:13 PM

Well contrary to yesterdays forecast I got a 3 hour clear sky window tonight. So I've now been able to run a MountWizzard session with my GM2000HPS mount, Takahashi TAO130 and QSI 683 camera.

 

Without going into details here are some mistakes I made in early test runs tonight

1) Forgetting to feed MountWizzard the correct focal length of the scope and the pixel size of the camera sensor. This is used to compute the image scale as a hint to go to the plate solver. As a consequence the plate solves failed on the refinement point sequence (the model base points are blind solved). I aborted the run and restarted from just the base points. Whatever the failed plate solves had done they had corrupted the model and I ended up with a 35 point model with a RMS of 435" ! If you do have a plate solver foul up the best advice is start over from scratch.

2) I tried to speed up plate solving by using a 50% subframe with the QSI camera. The problem here is the 50% subframe is located in the top left quadrant of the sensor - so subsequently all selected objects were perfectly centred in the top left quadrant - dooooh! Use full frame for plate solves - unless you camera is smart and uses the center for all sub frame sizes.

 

3) Do not follow the 10Micron controller instructions when making polar alignment corrections - such as turning the Alt/Az knobs 0.02 Lf 0.05 Dn. Its hard to turn a knob to 1/100 turn precision. The correct way to do this with the 10Micron is select "Polar Align" - pick a star from the offered list nearest to the celestial equator and meridian intersection and use SGPro (or equiv) to take a image (e.g. 1 second @ 1x1 binning) and turn on the centering cross hairs (e.g. in SGPro's "Frame and Focus" panel). Now use the Alt/Az knobs to center the star on the cross hairs - may need a few iterations of image <-> move knobs). This is far more precise for achieving good polar alignment.

Here are my results:

I did two iterations of "3 Star Alignment" and "Polar Align" followed by a base model run of 3 stars ("Polar Align" automatically clears the model ready for the next run) . This is the result
 

                            Base Model                    
# stars:                    3                              
Az:                         359:59:33        
Alt:                        053:53:13        - GPS gives 053:53:08         
Polar Align Error:          000:00:17 
Position Angle:             070:05        
Mount Az/Alt Correction:    0.02 Rt  0.00 Dn            
Orthogonality Error:       -000:07:38            
Model Terms:                2                          
Exp RMS:                    19.0"                       

This was repeated without any further Alt/Az knob adjustments to check if it is reproducible
 
                            Base Model                   
# stars:                    3                             
Az:                         359:59:33       
Alt:                        053:53:13        - GPS gives 053:53:08        
Polar Align Error:          000:00:17
Position Angle:             071:39      
Mount Az/Alt Correction:    0.02 Rt  0.00 Dn           
Orthogonality Error:       -000:07:36          
Model Terms:                2                         
Exp RMS:                    19.4"                      


Looking good - very little difference between the two runs

This was now followed by a simple refinement run using a grid of 4 x 5 stars to give:

                            Initial Model                
# stars:                    23                          
Az:                         359:59:54                     
Alt:                        053:53:13                      
Polar Align Error:          000:00:06 
Position Angle:             034:26         
Mount Az/Alt Correction:    0.00 Rt  0.00 Dn            
Orthogonality Error:       -000:07:19
Model Terms:                20    
Exp RMS:                    2.9" 

Points:    1                 0.4" 
           2                 5.2" 
           3                 1.2" 
           4                 2.6" 
           5                 4.0" 
           6                 3.5" 
           7                 2.1" 
           8                 3.4"                                 
           9                 2.3" 
           10                4.8" 
           11                1.8" 
           12                2.0" 
           13                5.2" 
           14                1.8" 
           15                3.2" 
           16                1.5" 
           17                2.8"
           18                2.2"       
           19                2.8" 
           20                1.1" 
           21                2.9" 
           22                2.5" 
           23                1.1"

Thats a displacement from the pole of 6 arc seconds and a pointing RMS error of 2.9 arc seconds

**** flipping ace!!!! **** 

Edited by Tonk, 16 March 2017 - 04:31 AM.

 

#6 psandelle

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 07:25 PM

#3 is the only way to finish off the PA (it spoiled me for anything else). I throw up the crosshairs in MaxIM and put it in focus mode so I have a semi-real time view and dial that puppy in.

 

Paul


 

#7 Tonk

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:34 AM

I'm going to run some better stats than plain RMS tonight to get a handle on precision and reliability for the three scopes modeled so far. An RMS by itself doesn't tell the complete story.

.


 

#8 gunny01

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 06:10 AM

So Tony, does this mean you will finally surrender to the seduction of automated modelling mistress?  I sense that you are weakening very quickly. laugh.gif 


 

#9 psandelle

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:32 AM

Asking Tonk to go fully automated is like asking Usan Bolt to ride a Segway. For most people, it's probably a good thing, but not in this case. grin.gif

 

Paul


 

#10 Tonk

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:01 AM

o Tony, does this mean you will finally surrender to the seduction of automated modelling mistress?  I sense that you are weakening very quickly.


Absolutely not - this is only for my remote rig where you cant put your eye to  astrometric eyepiece. Plus I wont be doing the pier/mount/scope alignment - that will be technical support at the remote site. I'm just writing the manual.

Two stand outs from this testing are:

a) Manual cross hair centering is not as precise as plate solving - but the difference is not that critical to unguided imaging in most cases (extreme long exposure NB imaging might be the exception - but remember 10Micron only spec up to 15 minutes for at most 1" drift - so autoguide for NB to be safe). Test 10 minute unguided exposures show zero sign of non-round stars in both methods (not tried longer yet). Rate limiting step for setup - slewing around. If you want better precision - add a Barlow. I'm happy.

 

b) Manual model building for me is 3 times faster to execute over the automated method. The slow steps in the automated method are camera image download times, plate solving and waiting for dome slots to catch up!  (slewing is that same for both methods)

So for mobile imaging where setup time is potentially limited I would 100% recommend manual (astrometric eyepiece) 
polar alignment and model building. Just requires practice - I had 10 years worth using the Losmandy Gemini which 
also supported the same model building and polar alignment methods (just different hand paddle button pressing sequences).
For observatory setups (remote or home) where there there is a fixed CCD camera on the scope (i.e. not easy to fit 
astrometric eyepiece or even do live view imaging on software cross hairs) the automated plate solving route is easier 
even though it takes much more time (once per season though!).

Case of use the right tool/method here.


Edited by Tonk, 16 March 2017 - 11:06 AM.

 

#11 mworion

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:08 PM

Hi Tonk,

 

I'm sorry about the bad weather conditions and the bug in MW about subframe. Please update to 2.0.7 where the fix is in. With the updated SGPro there should a fully populated FIT header in, where your FL and Camera setting are in. If so MW will use these data instead of manual input.

 

Michel


 

#12 Tonk

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:07 PM

Hi Michel - will do - I have to re-run the model build to align the model to the sensor center (sync'ing a model in the handset to a new sky point with a DEC offset is only local to specific sky areas it doesn't translate to other parts of the sky - you get field rotation out of frame).
 

 

With the updated SGPro there should a fully populated FIT header in


Do I have to update SGPro as well? - which version is good these days? I've held off because of adverse reports with newer SGPro's not working with software that delegates to SGPro.

Also how can I use pip to install on a rig with no inet access? Thats my immediate problem. Is there something (a python package) I can download in advance to transfer to the obs computer via memory stick - as I know pip can do local installs.

 

 

 

where your FL and Camera setting are in.

So I type in this LF/pixel size info into SGPro instead?

 

Finally - how about automatically clearing the model before running a 3 star base model? If you forget then the model goes corrupt - or at least have a check box to turn this feature on off. I would always have "clear before base model" ON for myself.

 


Edited by Tonk, 16 March 2017 - 01:14 PM.

 

#13 mworion

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:45 PM

Hi,

 

so far, please don't upgrade SGPro (because they changed FITS Header population). So far you have to set FL and CAM in MW. I currently working on this (will be in next beta). I'm working with the beta's, but sometimes it struggles. 

 

with installer: Once you had MW installed, you just can copy the files from GitHub to an USB stick an put it elsewhere . The only point is to install the packages around this. But: you can download all the packages in advance and install it manually by local files. Never done it. I try to figure it out over the weekend how to make an offline install.

 

Michel

 

PS: I will do an update still this night to 2.0.8, but that does not include FL from FITS Headers.

 

PPS: You can also use the latest one 2.1.4, which has a first support for TheSkyX - still beta, but with rehearsal mode it's fine and Julien already made a Base Model with it.


Edited by mworion, 16 March 2017 - 03:03 PM.

 

#14 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:32 PM

I like to do more than 3 stars for polar alignment. Perhaps this is left over from when I was using TSX Precise Polar Alignment routine when I had the MyT.  I seem to recall that Bisque wanted about 16 points(I could be wrong about this) to get an excellent grasp of how the optical tube and camera are pointing in relation to the mount.  In other words any cone error that exists and/or any flopping around by loose gear or mirrors.  By having a bigger model that is taken into account when instructed by the software to center a star. 

 

So with the 10Micron I am carrying over that philosophy and I have a model saved with 17 points and I named it "polar alignment".  I do a rough polar alignment by green laser pointer mounted to the side of my mount (there is a bracket you can buy) and then I run the 17 point model.  Then I use that model to do the polar alignment usually a bright star that is low in the north or south near the meridian.  Typically I choose Kochab.  

 

I then put my imaging in a loop with cross hairs and get the star centered on it.  Then the model is cleared when you conclude the polar alignment routine and I pull up a 35 - 50 point model that I will be using to image with.

 

Seems to be working ok so far.


Edited by Whichwayisnorth, 17 March 2017 - 01:32 PM.

 

#15 mworion

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 06:39 AM

Hi,

 

one question: Did you use SGPro oder TSX for doing the imaging and plate solving ? TSX should be running in beta stage in 2.1.4


 

#16 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:26 PM

Michel,

 

If you are asking me, I was using Per's Model Maker at the time.  I don't usually use SGP so I am happy you are adapting TSX to your program.  I have also been testing Martin's Model Creator and it works well for me.


 

#17 carlosgib

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 02:43 AM

Hi, I purchased the 10Micron1000 I am in this stage of adopting the correct model software, previously when using the AP1100 I worked with the TSX. and applying the same approach for polar alignment, followed by using the Tpoint to map/model the sky. I am interested to know your result in using both Per's MM and Martin's MC with TSX, Currently I am just testing to what's the best model application to use with the 10M.

 

Thanks

 

Carlos


 

#18 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 10:05 AM

I use Model Creator from Martin @ http://astromi.ch/

 

I use it with TSX Pro without issue.  Per's MM is great but I hated using Pinpoint  and Maxim to start with because I always moved back over to TSX when the model was complete.

 

Also I have been messing with SGP recently and Martin's MC works directly with SGP too.  


 

#19 gunny01

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 12:45 PM

  I've been using MountWizzard the past three nights.  It is really  a fantastic addition for the 10 Micron mounts.  Recently, the author has released version 2.1.23 to his dropbox site.  A simple .exe file makes it easy to set up and run.

 

  To date I have generated 3 models for the Tak FSQ 106, and AGO 12.5" iDK.  Results showed improvement in the  areas of pointing accuracy and final rms values when used with SGP/PHD2 .  Slewing to an object and centering was greatly improved.  

 

  For those into analytical tools such as ra /dec flexure  and their respective errors,  there are plenty of gui features.  You can also optimize a model with simple one button ease.  No longer the need to eliminate bad model points one at a time.

 

  Results when using SGP, MW, and PHD2 have been great.  Unguided, the FSQ was able to capture 30 min. Ha subs with nice round stars.  Guiding on the larger scope and its' respective model fed to the 10 Micron mount showed a very nice PHD2 graph with round stars.  I haven't tried it using unguided imaging yet. In the past, 20-25 min.unguided images were the best I could do, and that was dependent on atmospherics. 

 

  I have tried to use ModelCreator, but I was never able to get it to plate solve.  Hopefully, I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong.

 

  For the 10 Micron mount owners, this is good news for those worried about the fate of Per's modelling program.  Both programs fill that void nicely and the wonderful additional feature is that you can eliminate the need and cost of maxim and Pinpoint.  So for around $100 for SGP and free PS2, the owner is free of this expensive software of the past which was linked to Per's program  


Edited by gunny01, 08 May 2017 - 12:49 PM.

 

#20 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:00 AM

MountWizzard is pretty nice and has a ton of features.  Too many features for me to be honest.  I just want to model and then go on with my life and I don't need 90% of what MW offers. If it was the only modeling software available I'd be happy using it.   However Model Creator offers an upgrade over Per's Model Maker with streamlined and simplistic model creation and optimization and it works flawlessly for me with SGP and TSX Pro (depending on which software I plan to use that night).

 

So that is what I use.  MW is just overkill for me.  It is like driving a 30 foot RV to the grocery store.  I don't need the oven, the microwave, the fridge, the toilet, the beds, the TV, or the kitchen sink :)


 

#21 PeterWar

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 08:48 AM

This is a great threat, I'm assessing what model creation tool to use now for my 10 Micron GM3000 HPS, so I'm subscriving!


 

#22 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:31 PM

I have been doing live streaming on youtube on nights when I am playing around with equipment and testing things out.  

 

Here is one from last week where I was playing around with Model Creator and TSX Pro

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=SqD7h4RTK4c


 

#23 PeterWar

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:31 PM

So far I've tried the endebed star refinement in the mount, Model Creator and TPoint. Model Creator does not work for me, it crashes, I've already reported the crash log to Martin from astromi.ch, he seems a very helpful guy.

 

I have a litte bit of confusion regarding pointing models, If I have a 11 star model in the mount and I use The Sky X with a 14 star Tpoint model, will the mount know that I want the Tpoint model for pointing and tracking instead of the mount 11 star model?

 

Also, If I use Model Creator or any other specific 10Micron tool, will I be able to transfer the models from the PC to the mount and viceversa?


 

#24 EFT

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:42 PM

I haven't used Model Creator yet (only Model Maker) but if it works like it should, then the model is actually stored in the mount's computer.  T-Point will not save the model to the mount's computer since it is a completely unintegrated software that is only present in the external (not the mount) computer and is not designed to upload the model to the mount.


 

#25 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:42 PM

So far I've tried the endebed star refinement in the mount, Model Creator and TPoint. Model Creator does not work for me, it crashes, I've already reported the crash log to Martin from astromi.ch, he seems a very helpful guy.

 

I have a litte bit of confusion regarding pointing models, If I have a 11 star model in the mount and I use The Sky X with a 14 star Tpoint model, will the mount know that I want the Tpoint model for pointing and tracking instead of the mount 11 star model?

 

Also, If I use Model Creator or any other specific 10Micron tool, will I be able to transfer the models from the PC to the mount and viceversa?

Do you have Maxim DL?

 

If you have Maxim the original model maker is worth trying. I have limited access with the other programs. Model maker has tremendous flexibility in how you work with it on the fly. As you work with model maker you will see what I mean.

 

HA


 


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