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New Skywatcher AZ GTi goto wifi mount

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#576 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 09:27 AM

Hi all

 

 I'm struggling with this mount (just bought it) and my goto's are garbage.

 

When you say the azimuth knob needs to be pointing north, is it the actual knob that needs to point north or main body (dovetail & Skywatcher writing) that needs to point north?

 

I'm running it in eq mode with the sw star adventurer wedge.

 

I've followed the directions in the following video which show as completely different polar orientation: https://www.youtube....h?v=swr1Ssc1ehE

 
 
AZ GTi 3
 
Or is one of the below correct?
 
AZ GTi 2
AZ GTi 1

 

 
 

Any help greatly appreciated.



#577 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:01 AM

Hi Geordie,

 

I wish we could make some posts on here stickies to the top page.  Buried in these pages, David put up a pic of how the mount should be set up in EQ mode:

https://www.cloudyni...ount/?p=8547636

 

Note that the scope and guider are pointed at Polaris.

 

Hope this helps.


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#578 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:17 AM

So, I also managed to do some more testing last night with encouraging results, although conditions were less than ideal (winds of ~20mph with gusts up to 50mph, terrible seeing).  My observations:

 

- The wifi range kinda sucks.  The signal drops off pretty badly after the first ten feet or so.  About 20ft is probably max distance. My little tplink portable router has better range.

 

- I managed to guide in dec.  The mount moved much better after my adjustments, but it's either stiction or backlash that required that I set calibration steps of 2000msec in order for PHD to calibrate in DEC.  Wishlist item:  PHD, please let us specify RA and DEC calibration steps separately.  I think the RA calibration suffered a bit using that large a step.

 

- DEC commands (1sec exposures) ended up being like 0.5 sec, sometimes a bit more.  And it did wander around a bit.  I'll upload the PHD graph screen shot, but RMS for RA and DEC were around 2 arcsec (maybe a bit more in DEC).  Since my combo images at about 1.8 arcsec/pixel (420mm fl) this should give OK stars but a little bloaty.  Tbh, I think the guiding would do better under better conditions.  I would consider it on a par with the Smarteq Pro.

 

- One thing that concerns me, and this is a question for the group.  I tried to play around with plate solving last night.  I use APT, which uses ASPS as the solver.  It solved fine, but syncing the solved cords to the mount had no effect.  I've tried it several times, no go.  Also, APT complained it could not move the scope, even though it slewed to the original location just fine.

 

So, my question, has anyone managed to plate solve and auto goto with this mount?  My major reason for getting this mount is so I can automate my target framing.  I'll ask skywatcher as well, see what they say. 



#579 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:34 AM

Thanks Daniel, so in my 3rd pic, there is a sticker I've put on the mount. In effect, the bubble level points north. That's the correct orientation?

 

That seems to match David's 1st pic of his setup.

 

Is that also the position I would use a s "park" if the option was available on this mount? E.G - the starting point for alignment?

 

Thanks again for your help.



#580 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:50 AM

Hi Geordie,

 

I think your arrow points the wrong way.  The axis towards Polaris (north) is actually pointed where your camera is pointed.  Yes, that seems backwards on the wedge, which is why so many folks get confused.  To adjust the latitude on the wedge, set it to 90 minus your actual latitude, since the wedge is reversed from the way it's normally used.

 

So basically, set everything up like you have it in the 3rd pic (with the camera oriented like you've shown on the mount), then place it all on the ground so the camera now points towards Polaris.

 

Hope this helps.



#581 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 11:06 AM

Thanks Daniel - yes, there is a little sticker on the mount itself pointing in the same direction as the camera. If you zoom in on the pic the sticker says <<<<NORTH<<<<

 

That's correct - yes?



#582 tkottary

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:10 PM

Thanks Daniel - yes, there is a little sticker on the mount itself pointing in the same direction as the camera. If you zoom in on the pic the sticker says <<<<NORTH<<<<

 

That's correct - yes?

Mount , camera should point in same direction and towards north, you have got it reversed. 

 

see this.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ount/?p=8836474



#583 rvr

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:28 PM

I'm running it in eq mode with the sw star adventurer wedge.

I also got it wrong using the Sky Adventurer wedge. The polar must be pointed at 90º - your latitude according to the wedge circle. In my case 90º - 28º = 62º. The AR axis must revolve (and pointed) to the celestial polar axis. So looks like the first photo is the right now.



#584 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:41 PM

Geordie, I can't see the sticker in your pic, for some reason it's telling me I'm not authorized to view the image.

 

But if it's pointing in the direction of the camera, then you're good to go.


Edited by dciobota, 04 October 2018 - 12:41 PM.


#585 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:48 PM

Ok, so as to my question about sync, I got a somewhat confusing answer back from Skywatcher:

 

"The customer has to do a alignment first, then use the Sync to refine point in a local small area.

 

The current Synscan app does not support aligning the mount with Sync command yet. This feature will be available in next release."

 

So, it looks like Sync is not supported in Synscan Pro?  Or do they mean it doesn't support aligning the mount via Sync?

 

I've read some more posts that also mention aligning first before attempting syncs.  But it wasn't clear if a one star alignment is sufficient or a three star is required.  Either way, I plan to test again by "blind" aligning (just say ok to whatever the mount points to during alignment) then attempting a sync using plate solving.  This would make it easy for me in the field, I don't really care how good the initial alignment is.

 

Cross fingers, if this works I'm good to go.  Be watching for some mounts to come up for sale soon, I think I need to thin the herd a little.  ;-)


Edited by dciobota, 04 October 2018 - 12:51 PM.

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#586 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 02:24 PM

Thanks all - I have it like below. That looks correct now - YES??

 

AZ GTi4

 

Just got to try and find a way of mounting my polemaster now......


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#587 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 02:27 PM

Mount , camera should point in same direction and towards north, you have got it reversed. 

 

see this.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ount/?p=8836474

Thanks tk

 

So in my last pic with the ncp arrrow, it looks the same as the other post - good to go?


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#588 Geordie47

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 02:30 PM

I also got it wrong using the Sky Adventurer wedge. The polar must be pointed at 90º - your latitude according to the wedge circle. In my case 90º - 28º = 62º. The AR axis must revolve (and pointed) to the celestial polar axis. So looks like the first photo is the right now.

Thanks rvr

 

I'll keep that in mind. I am at 55ºn, so need to point to 90º - 55º = 35º

 

I'll keep that in mind :-)



#589 tkottary

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 02:48 PM

you should be good once you set it to 35! :)



#590 davidparks

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 02:53 PM

I use the "Solve and Sync" button in Sharpcap, backed by the All Sky Plate Solver.  It works every time.  I do my alignments with it, as well as tweaking in my GoTo targets when needed. 

 

Polar Alignment

After leveling the tripod, I start with the mount in (0 , 90) position (which means if it were in AZ mode, it would be pointing straight up at zenith, but this is in EQ  mode, so it's pointing at Polaris [NCP]).  I have this (and my next) position saved in SynScan Pro User Objects.  I then use the Sharpcap Polar Align feature which after solving the start position will instruct to rotate the RA, for which I use SynScan to GoTo my second saved User Object at (90, 90).  Sharpcap then instructs the base adjustments for Polar Alignment.  I do this twice usually, restarting now in the (90, 90) position and finishing in the (0, 90) position, which leaves me ready for Star Alignment.  (If i'm in a hurry I will PA only once, starting in my saved 2nd position, and finishing in the saved 1st position, again, leaving my scope in the (0, 90) ready for Star Alignment).

 

Side Note on my saved User Object, and How to Manually Sync the Mount:   Create the User Object in SynScan using your coordinates (0, 90) in this case, and hit the GoTo to have the mount move there.  Loosen the mount clutches and then manually move the scope into this "Home" position pointing at Polaris, and lock down the clutches.  (In AZ mode this would be scope pointing straight up on the south side of mount, power button pointing north)

 

Star Alignment

Having left my scope in the "Home" position (like my Avatar pic) after PA, I always start Alignment by Resetting Alignment in SynScan Pro, and then going into either 2-Star (front yard) or 3-Star (backyard) alignment, depending upon how much of the sky is open to me.  SynScan will ask to choose the stars, and then it will slew to the first, which should be pretty close, and then wait for you to center and confirm the star.  At this point I switch over to Sharpcap and click the "Solve and Sync" button.  Sharpcap will move the mount, bringing the star into center (I turn the crosshairs on in Sharpcap, just to watch).  Then I switch back to SynScan to confirm the star, and off it goes to the next alinment star, repeat.  It's all very fast and easy once you've gone through it a couple times.

 

I've never had issue with subsequent GoTo's or platesolves/syncs thereafter, using SynScan/Sharpcap/All Sky Platesolver.   I tried using Astro Tortilla for the platesolve engine behind Sharpcap once a while back, but if memory serves, the mount would not sync.   I havn't really used my licensed copy of Sequence Generator Pro, because I find Sharpcap works so well, but I did run one sequence one night which included a GoTo, Solve and Sync, Tracking, Autofocus, and taking Light exposures on two objects (Trifid & Lagoon), and the sequence ran successfully.

 

Daniel:  Reading the response you got from Skywatcher (which I agree is somewhat confusing),  I wonder if what they mean is you cannot Sync from "halfway across the sky"... needing to be somewhat close to begin with.  SW said "...customer has to do alignment first..." which just might be the easy response to facilitate getting close to your target... "in a local small area".  I say this because I know the mount does not need to be in a "post alignment" state before solve/sync works, because I do it all the time after clearing/resetting alignment.  Also note that I do solve from a fairly close to target point anyway.

SW also said "..aligning the mount with Sync command yet. This feature will be available in next release."   Does this mean we will soon be able to Sync from "halfway across the sky" !! lol.gif


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#591 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:05 PM

@Geordie, yup your red arrow is correct!  :-)

 

@David, excellent post, I wish we could make this one a stickie at the start of the topic.  Some of my thoughts:

I didn't realize that maybe the az-gti has absolute encoders.  I thought that whenever I turn the mount on, it thinks it's aligned with the pole.  Interesting that the mount moves when you tell it to go to 0, 90.  I'll remember to do this now when I first start it.

 

Also interesting is how you refine your star alignment.  I've read before that you platesolve to zero in on the alignment stars.  And you could well be right, maybe their sync only works for minor adjustments.  My RA was off by quite a bit, since I was moving the scope manually before that (and I didn't engage the secondary encoders, I read that makes goto less precise).  So I'll keep all this in mind when I test it out next... which may be a while, Omaha is getting rainier weather than the west coast nowadays.

 

I did send a follow up email asking them to clarify those statements.  It could well be they will implement a more lax sync command (I don't see why they couldn't tbh).  So waiting to see what evolves.  I must say this is still a bit of a work in progress, although it definitely does the job (if I can get plate solving gotos to work).  Tracking is decent, guiding is pretty decent, wireless (as long as you're fairly close) is a very nice to have.  Like I said, I am seriously considering selling the skyguider pro and definitely the smarteq pro, which is a nice mount, but heavier and pretty redundant to my needs now.


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#592 nm1213

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:11 PM

Hi,

I’ve been working with Synscan dev on this stuff. Basically there are a few bugs with sync. The sync coordinates will randomly be lost, reverting back to previous coordinates. Sync also results in incorrect slewing where the coordinates jump to a random location after a couple of seconds of manually slewing.


Also, the mount will ignore sync commands if the resulting coordinates will be too far from where it thinks it’s pointing.

Finally I was the one to suggest that we should be able to build an alignment model via sync. That’s the new feature they’re talking about in the next release. This means that we no longer have to manually align by looking through a finder or eyepiece.

N.
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#593 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:44 PM

Excellent thank you very much N., very informative.

 

Did they mention anything about a possible date for the next release?



#594 nm1213

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:20 PM

I’ve asked for a release date... they said “coming soon”. I also asked why we can’t just polar align automatically. Astrotortilla plate solves to figure out how far off you are in Ra and Dec. Why can’t the mount then adjustitself by that much to auto polar align? This would surely be the same as manually moving the relevant knobs.

#595 dciobota

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:55 PM

Yup, I thought that the mount automatically considered itself polar aligned when first turned on.  But David mentioned that it does slew when you tell it to go to 0,90.

 

Btw, this is the latest answer I got:

 

"You need to do an alignment first before you can send controls to the mount from another source. There is no Sync function in the current build on the app. so this is not a feature that can be used. In future builds on the app. we hope to have a Sync function available."

 

Which isn't exactly true since I was able to send gotos without aligning the mount at all.  And using skysafari indoors, they looked like were pretty close.  I'm going to do some more testing tonight after dinner.

 

Incidentally, as promised, here's the screenshot of PHD guiding in both RA and DEC last night:

azgti RA and DEC guide.jpg

 

So RA and DEC were about 2 arcsec each.  Like I said, to me, imaging at about 2 arcsec I don't find this too objectionable.  And I'm thinking if conditions were better, those numbers would be better also.

 


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#596 Geordie47

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:42 AM

@Geordie, yup your red arrow is correct!  :-)

 

@David, excellent post, I wish we could make this one a stickie at the start of the topic.  Some of my thoughts:

I didn't realize that maybe the az-gti has absolute encoders.  I thought that whenever I turn the mount on, it thinks it's aligned with the pole.  Interesting that the mount moves when you tell it to go to 0, 90.  I'll remember to do this now when I first start it.

 

Also interesting is how you refine your star alignment.  I've read before that you platesolve to zero in on the alignment stars.  And you could well be right, maybe their sync only works for minor adjustments.  My RA was off by quite a bit, since I was moving the scope manually before that (and I didn't engage the secondary encoders, I read that makes goto less precise).  So I'll keep all this in mind when I test it out next... which may be a while, Omaha is getting rainier weather than the west coast nowadays.

 

I did send a follow up email asking them to clarify those statements.  It could well be they will implement a more lax sync command (I don't see why they couldn't tbh).  So waiting to see what evolves.  I must say this is still a bit of a work in progress, although it definitely does the job (if I can get plate solving gotos to work).  Tracking is decent, guiding is pretty decent, wireless (as long as you're fairly close) is a very nice to have.  Like I said, I am seriously considering selling the skyguider pro and definitely the smarteq pro, which is a nice mount, but heavier and pretty redundant to my needs now.

Hey Daniel - daft question but how do you manually get the mount to go to 0,90?



#597 Geordie47

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:49 AM

Hey Daniel - daft question but how do you manually get the mount to go to 0,90?

And is that then the std "Home" position (e.g. mount/scope point at NCP)?



#598 davidparks

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 10:14 AM

From the SynScan Home Screen, you can save User Objects, either in Celestial format RA/Dec, or Terrestrial format Axis1/Axis2 (AZ/Alt).  Also you can use the Utility function to get current position Information.

(red colored text are actual 'buttons' in the SynScan app)

 

Be mindful of which firmware you are using.

    Firmware Version 3.14 is the current official Left Arm firmware.  AZ Mode Only.  Orientation of (0, 0) is North Level, with the small AZ clutch knob pointing North, Power Button pointing East, and Optics on left side of mount pointing North/Level at the horizon (horizontal dovetail).

    Firmware Version 3.14 also currently comes in a Right Arm, AZ/EQ Dual Mode (testing purpose only).  Orientation of (0, 0) is still North Level, with the small AZ clutch knob pointing South, Power Button pointing West, and Optics on right side of mount pointing North/Level at the horizon.

 

If you are getting oddly strange GoTo's while in AZ Mode or Alignment issues, I suggest you "Manually Sync" your mount.  This is not an official procedure or designation, it's just what I personally call it.  The process is simple.  Save a (0, 0) User Object, slew to it, loosen both clutches and move your scope to the North/Level position and tighten the clutches.  Reset Alignment from the Alignment screen and proceed with a North/Level, or alignment type of your choice.

 

For EQ Mode, imagine the above North Level position of the mount as I've described, tilting the mount forward/northward, so now your optics are pointing at the ground (at your latitude angle), still on the right side of the mount, with power button pointing west, and AZ clutch knob pointing at the celestial equator/meridian intersection to the south.  You would slew your scope up(alt/dec) to point at Polaris (0, 90).  I say SLEW meaning to make this movement using SynScan, motorized, with tight clutches  (do not loosen and just manually move the scope to point at Polaris).   I call this position (0, 90) "PA Start", because my PA routine using Sharpcap requires rotating the RA axis 90 degrees.  My "PA Finish" saved position rotates the RA 90 degrees (90, 90) so that now the optics are "on top" of the mount still pointing at Polaris, power button facing the ground.  This also means that the counterweight, if used, is pointing "down", in what is normally considered the "Home" position.  Disclaimer:  This (90, 90) position may actually be (-90, 90), or (270,90) but you will know when your optics are "on top" of the mount... trust me... it's the opposite of crashing your scope into the tripod...waytogo.gif

 

If you are in EQ Mode you would Polar Align first (which aligns the EQ base physically), and then Star Alignment (which aligns the mounts internal model of the sky with the actual sky).  Star Alignment does not require you to be in a "Home", or any, specific position (with the exception of the North/Level alignment routine for AZ mode, which says to start North and Level... lol.gif ).     It only really requires that the scope be pointing to where the mount thinks it is... hence the "Manual Sync" routine.  (Slewing the mount to 0,0 sets the internal position, unclutch/move-north-level/clutch sets the external/actual position)

 

I hope this post isn't too confusing... I tried to strike a balance between too much and too little detail...


Edited by davidparks, 05 October 2018 - 10:27 AM.

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#599 Geordie47

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 02:51 PM

From the SynScan Home Screen, you can save User Objects, either in Celestial format RA/Dec, or Terrestrial format Axis1/Axis2 (AZ/Alt).  Also you can use the Utility function to get current position Information.

(red colored text are actual 'buttons' in the SynScan app)

 

Be mindful of which firmware you are using.

    Firmware Version 3.14 is the current official Left Arm firmware.  AZ Mode Only.  Orientation of (0, 0) is North Level, with the small AZ clutch knob pointing North, Power Button pointing East, and Optics on left side of mount pointing North/Level at the horizon (horizontal dovetail).

    Firmware Version 3.14 also currently comes in a Right Arm, AZ/EQ Dual Mode (testing purpose only).  Orientation of (0, 0) is still North Level, with the small AZ clutch knob pointing South, Power Button pointing West, and Optics on right side of mount pointing North/Level at the horizon.

 

If you are getting oddly strange GoTo's while in AZ Mode or Alignment issues, I suggest you "Manually Sync" your mount.  This is not an official procedure or designation, it's just what I personally call it.  The process is simple.  Save a (0, 0) User Object, slew to it, loosen both clutches and move your scope to the North/Level position and tighten the clutches.  Reset Alignment from the Alignment screen and proceed with a North/Level, or alignment type of your choice.

 

For EQ Mode, imagine the above North Level position of the mount as I've described, tilting the mount forward/northward, so now your optics are pointing at the ground (at your latitude angle), still on the right side of the mount, with power button pointing west, and AZ clutch knob pointing at the celestial equator/meridian intersection to the south.  You would slew your scope up(alt/dec) to point at Polaris (0, 90).  I say SLEW meaning to make this movement using SynScan, motorized, with tight clutches  (do not loosen and just manually move the scope to point at Polaris).   I call this position (0, 90) "PA Start", because my PA routine using Sharpcap requires rotating the RA axis 90 degrees.  My "PA Finish" saved position rotates the RA 90 degrees (90, 90) so that now the optics are "on top" of the mount still pointing at Polaris, power button facing the ground.  This also means that the counterweight, if used, is pointing "down", in what is normally considered the "Home" position.  Disclaimer:  This (90, 90) position may actually be (-90, 90), or (270,90) but you will know when your optics are "on top" of the mount... trust me... it's the opposite of crashing your scope into the tripod...waytogo.gif

 

If you are in EQ Mode you would Polar Align first (which aligns the EQ base physically), and then Star Alignment (which aligns the mounts internal model of the sky with the actual sky).  Star Alignment does not require you to be in a "Home", or any, specific position (with the exception of the North/Level alignment routine for AZ mode, which says to start North and Level... lol.gif ).     It only really requires that the scope be pointing to where the mount thinks it is... hence the "Manual Sync" routine.  (Slewing the mount to 0,0 sets the internal position, unclutch/move-north-level/clutch sets the external/actual position)

 

I hope this post isn't too confusing... I tried to strike a balance between too much and too little detail...

Hey David - thanks for this. I'm not used to this kind of mount (only the ioptron zeq25 which has an auto home function, but wanted a more mobile setup). I'm using the eq firmware and have the unit sitting on the sa wedge.

 

So in the "home" position as described and in your Avatar, what should RA/Dec be in the info screen, or does it matter?



#600 estebandf

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 08:30 AM

I have a 12lb. load on mine (not quite balanced), and I find the GoTos are very accurate.  I would even say 'extremely accurate'.  This was the case earlier when I was using this mount in Alt/Az mode, and is still the case, although I've only been using this mount in EQ Mode lately.  To increase accuracy, I recommend either using a cross-hair eyepiece (for visual centering of the alignment stars), a cross-hair overlay with a camera, or even better is to use plate-solving with a camera during alignment.  I find plate-solving is so easy that I usually do a 3-Star alignment, but I have had no accuracy issues when just doing a 2-Star.  One of the great things with this mount and the SynScan app (I use the Pro version), is that any/all subsequent GoTos can be centered and added to the alignment model if needed.  I generally don't have to do this because I find GoTos are dead center after I do a plate-solved 3-star, but it's a great way to improve accuracy as you move from target to target if needed.

 

Just a note with plate-solving: Even though I end up with very accurate GoTos because I plate-solve during alignment, I think that even rough alignment would be fine if plate-solving were added to your toolbox.  Even when the target object is outside the field of view, plate-solving can snug it right up to center.

 

I've found this little mount to be very enjoyable, with accurate GoTos, great unguided tracking (no mount is perfect here, but its better than my 6SE), and easily guide-able for long exposure tracking.  I've used PHD2 to track just over 3 hours (until a passing cloud lost my guidestar fingertap.gif )   (Not saying anything bad about the 6SE, I'm very happy with it's un-guided tracking, I've just noticed the AZ GTi is a bit better)

 

Quick question, how do you setup PHD2 with this mount ?

 

Thanks :)




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