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Sky-Watcher AZ GTi WiFi Controlled for EAA

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#26 davidparks

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 10:31 PM

Here is a thread on the WO61.  Post #6,#7, and #8 show a good example of the effects of a Flattener.

 

No, a Flattener is not neccessary for EAA.  The basics for EAA are a telescope (or lens),  and a camera.  The camera is used to enhance observation, so generally short exposures are used for near real time observation.  The images can be stacked by the use of software (such as Sharpcap), or even within the camera hardware as in the case for the analog Revolution Imager camera.  Any/All other accessories, while not neccessary, are generally used to improve the experience. There are many approaches to EAA, and it’s always fun to see how people push the limits, even break pre-conceptions of what is capable with modest equipment.  You could even use a simple photo tripod, small camera with lens, and stacking just a few short exposures to enhance observation.

 

The SkyWatcher AZ/GTi offers abilities that while not neccessary for EAA (like GoTo, and WiFi), are features that I enjoy and wanted in a small, lightweight, portable mount.  In addition, the ability to use the mount in EQ Mode, along with guiding, will allow me to explore longer exposures.  This would be more like conventional astrophotography, and will also benefit from the field Flattener.  So while I did purchase, and plan to use the Flattener for EAA, I also got it with longer exposure imaging in mind.  Likewise, the guidescope (and guiding) will be neccessary for long eposures, but no so much for EAA (I’ll use it for both).


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#27 Mark Brickley

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:48 AM

I agree that this will make an excellent, full featured travel mount.  Small and light, and yet able to handle enough weight to be matched with a wide variety of travel equipment.  It should easily be able to go in a carry-on bag for flight.  The exception being the tripod legs.  I’m sure you can get a different tripod, one that is shorter when collapsed, yet still sturdy enough for your needs.  The SkyWatcher tripod legs are probably too long for carry-on.

 

I’m excited to be taking delivery this Wednesday on a new WO Zenithstar 73 that I will match with this mount.  I love that I can run the whole rig, including PHD2 guiding (50mm guidescope), Sharpcap (Polar Align, Platesolve, Stacking), and SynScan (GoTo) using just one USB3 cable on travel PC (Surface Pro).

 

As indicated above, I use Sharpcap for Polar Alignment.  I find the SkyWatcher Latitude base very simple to use, and accurate enough for my needs.

 

 

Thanks David

 

I’m going to have to try the sharpcap polar align routine, I have been using a pole master to very good effect but one less thing to carry for a travel setup is really very good, plus of course here it would not easily mount onto the setup.

 

is the sharpcap align routine quick in your experience? 



#28 davidparks

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 09:41 AM

Yes, the Sharpcap PA process is very quick and easy, with nice onscreen instructions for each step.  It basically consists of setting your mount up with rough "eyeball" alignment (in my case to the north, Polaris) and adjusting your camera exposure/gain to acquire an image which Sharpcap then platesolves.  I recommend short exposure, high gain, so that you get faster"real time" updates.  After the first platesolve, you rotate the polar axis approximately 90 degrees, at which point Sharpcap takes a 2nd platesolve and does all the math needed to guide you with live updates as you tweak your alignment knobs.  Give it a try, i'm sure you'll be surprised how easy it is !


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#29 Mark Brickley

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 09:46 AM

Sorry to be dense David but did you have to setup anything to get the platesolve to work and do you need to have the mount wired into sharpcap? I have probably very unwisely steered away from platesolve on sharpcap 



#30 davidparks

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 02:57 PM

For polar alignment, no, I believe Sharpcap has everything it needs (database of stars within 15deg of pole), and the polar alignment routine is a visual aid only, so no direct (ascom or otherwise) scope control is needed.  It just gives you a real time update and correction for adjusting your EQ mount adjustment nobs.

 

I may have mislead you a little, in the use of the term "Platesolving".  While Sharpcap does a platesolve using it's own internal data for Polar Alignment, Sharpcap also offers a separate Platesolve feature.  For this feature, you would need to download and install one of the recommended free platesolve programs, such as Astrotortilla, or All Sky Platesolver.  You do not need to configure or use this software, Sharpcap just uses the index files which these programs allow you to download.  Also, this feature does use an ASCOM connection to your mount.  It's very nice to be able to "GoTo" a target, and then the Platesolve feature can center the target precisely, especially useful for very faint objects and precise centering of alignment stars.  The SkyWatcher AZ GTi mount is simple to use in this fashion, using the SynScan application for Windows PC and ASCOM drivers.  (no cables necessary)



#31 davidparks

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 09:24 PM

Update:  The WO Z73 arrived, very well packaged.  The fit and finish are impressive.  Of course I’m excited for first light, and just as predictable, Rain Storms fingertap.gif

 

WO Z73 / SW AZ GTi
 
WO Z73 / SW AZ GTi

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#32 Muleskinner115

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 10:01 PM

Can you tell us about what connectors and spacers you are using to marry up your camera to the new WO 73?  I am curious about the spacing and how you attach the camera.  

I think I can see the lens cap using a focus system. Is this new?  What other accessories did you get?

Thanks

Tim



#33 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 01:01 AM

Update:  The WO Z73 arrived, very well packaged.  The fit and finish are impressive.  Of course I’m excited for first light, and just as predictable, Rain Storms fingertap.gif

 

 

David,

 

Looks like a great setup! 

 

A couple of questions:

 

1. How is the counterweight rod attached to the mount?

2. How does the wedge "feel" with that kind of total weight? Feels stable or is it worth considering something more solid?



#34 BinoGuy

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:49 AM

Somewhat amusingly, davidparks and I have almost an identical configuration so I expect to learn a lot about advanced polar alignment from this thread.  Thus far I've been using a nice crosshair EP and winging it.

 

I purchased my WO 73 last month (also in red!, although I have modified the ring and dovetail placement for better balance), the integrated B-mask is on the way from TW, and of course I have the same mount*.  The only difference is that I am using a less awesome camera. 

 

@davidparks I am also only 2 hours away form you.  Please PM me if you are planning to attend any observing sessions and I can drive out.

 

 

* I might need to attempt the 4-hour reset process this weekend.  I have not been able to see the WiFi for about a week (across multiple devices), although it is single-blinking saying that the option is working.



#35 davidparks

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:39 AM

Can you tell us about what connectors and spacers you are using to marry up your camera to the new WO 73?  I am curious about the spacing and how you attach the camera.  

I think I can see the lens cap using a focus system. Is this new?  What other accessories did you get?

The Flat73 affixes directly to the draw tube (screw thread) (after removing the 2" visual back), the 1.25" rotolock adapter then connects to the Flat73 (screw M48x.75), and finally the camera is inserted with an 1.25" nose.  (ZWO Cams have an M42x.075 thread and come with an M42-1.25" nosepiece).  I haven't focused at infinity yet due to the bad weather, but was able to focus at distant utility pole with plenty of draw tube travel left, so I expect infinity focus can be achieved without any additional spacers.  Indeed I suspect enough fore and back focus to accommodate most any configuration, such as diagonal/flip mirror, filter wheel, etc. without concern for spacers.  Incidentally, using the 1.25" nose on the camera will allow an individual filter to be used (IR/UV Cut, LDAS, or what have you).  For the guidescope, the ZWO 290 Mini fits right into the 1.25" rotolock.

 

Yes, WO has a new Lens Cap option whereby you can remove the face plate on the Cap revealing a Bahtinov Mask, very nice!

 

Accessories: The scope comes with a standard 2" visual back, and 1.25" adapter (with thumbscrews).  I got the Rotolock versions of these.  I also received the new 50mm guidescope (with rotolock), 1.25" dialectric diagonal for visual, and 1.25" 2x Barlow nosepiece.

 

 

A couple of questions:

 

1. How is the counterweight rod attached to the mount?

2. How does the wedge "feel" with that kind of total weight? Feels stable or is it worth considering something more solid?

The "backside" of the altitude clutch has a M12 bolt thread connector, I use the counterweight rod scavenged from an Orion Min-EQ mount, but I understand the StarAdventurer counterweight rod works, and DIY M12 bolt.

 

The latitude base is probably at or close to it's limit.  It "feels" stable, and I'm able to adjust latitude and declination smoothly, but I've only a few hours experience handling it, so time will tell.  I'm now waiting delivery of the Sesto Senso focusing motor, and then will weigh the whole rig, 'cuz, who doesn't like numbers!  I think I'll be all-right with the latitude base, but I feel it is still an open concern...


Edited by davidparks, 10 May 2018 - 10:46 AM.


#36 davidparks

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:42 AM

@davidparks I am also only 2 hours away form you.  Please PM me if you are planning to attend any observing sessions and I can drive out.

Looks like the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society is having a Public Observing Session this coming May 19th...  I'd encourage anyone to attend a local star party... I will try to be there.


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#37 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:49 AM

Thanks David! 



#38 Muleskinner115

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 11:27 AM

David,

Your description of the setup is fantastic—THANKS!  I can’t wait to see how it performs. 

 

Tim



#39 BinoGuy

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:58 PM

@davidparks   Have you applied the firmware patch to add the new Eq-only mode?



#40 davidparks

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 02:08 PM

I have applied the version 3.11, which is "Right Arm, AZ/EQ Dual Mode".   It does not allow for switching right/left when in AZ mode.  Right side only  (Original and v3.10 was left side only, but no EQ mode).  I've had no issues or glitches with it thus far, even though the version into says "for testing purpose only".

 

Is there a formal or newer version maybe I'm not aware of?


Edited by davidparks, 10 May 2018 - 02:08 PM.


#41 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 11:57 PM

 

The "backside" of the altitude clutch has a M12 bolt thread connector, I use the counterweight rod scavenged from an Orion Min-EQ mount, but I understand the StarAdventurer counterweight rod works, and DIY M12 bolt.

 

 

David,

 

Just checked and the counterweight rod of the StarAdventurer is M8, so all it takes is an el-cheapo M12 to M8 adapter and it will work just fine!


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#42 BinoGuy

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 03:58 PM

Well, the powered-on reset did not resolve the issue.  I have no WiFi and, last it worked, it was still unscrewing itself.  I'll be sending a note to SkyWatcher US after the holiday because returning it to the vendor is not an option.



#43 davidparks

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 10:29 AM

I'm sorry to hear that BinoGuy frown.gif, I hope SW works it out.  I've had no issues with WiFi nor the unscrewing problem.  The AZGTi has been performing wonderfully for me.  As of late I've been using it with PHD2 guiding and it's been very stable.  I've been stacking 3 and 4 minute exposures.   Please keep us posted as to how it all turns out for you.


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#44 Muleskinner115

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 01:01 PM

David,

Please share some examples of your new system's performance.

Thanks

Tim



#45 davidparks

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 02:46 AM

Here’s a few from recent:

 

https://www.cloudyni...asi2/?p=8603357

 

https://www.cloudyni...cted/?p=8599777


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#46 Muleskinner115

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:17 AM

Thanks David.  This mount seems to be fantastic for its reasonable cost.  

Tim



#47 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 06:07 PM

Bringing up an old thread, but many thanks David this thread has been very helpful. I recently received the AZ-GTi, and had some bits from the Sky Watcher Mini that works with this mount for EQ mode, and very pleased with this true grab-n-go with the AT72ED, AT60ED and DLSR. I am very close to a total visual/EAA system that I can carry around in a small tripod bag + my always laptop bag and have everything, from EAA with ASI294MC and visual with the Morpheus set + TV 3-6 zoom.

 

My dream grab-n-go visual/EAA setup with this mount is the upcoming AT92. Fingers crossed that OTA will be light enough to ride on the AZ-GTi with a decent diagonal+EP or camera hanging on the back.


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#48 davidparks

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 08:52 AM

Bringing up an old thread, but many thanks David this thread has been very helpful. I recently received the AZ-GTi, and had some bits from the Sky Watcher Mini that works with this mount for EQ mode, and very pleased with this true grab-n-go with the AT72ED, AT60ED and DLSR. I am very close to a total visual/EAA system that I can carry around in a small tripod bag + my always laptop bag and have everything, from EAA with ASI294MC and visual with the Morpheus set + TV 3-6 zoom.

 

My dream grab-n-go visual/EAA setup with this mount is the upcoming AT92. Fingers crossed that OTA will be light enough to ride on the AZ-GTi with a decent diagonal+EP or camera hanging on the back.

Thank you!  I'm glad some of this information has been helpful.  I still love this mount, and my setup in general.  Primarily I use this mount with the WO Z73 in EQ Mode guided with PHD2 for exposures between 30second and 10minutes. Rock solid performance!  Occasionally I will still mount the 500mm mirror lens for daytime terrestrial viewing.  We watched a Red Tailed Hawk feeding it's young back in June.   Day or Night this is a great grab-n-go mount that still offers all the features.

 

My guess is that the AZ-GTi will handle the AT92 no problems at all.  The bigger concern would be the tripod.  Good Luck!



#49 CrossoverManiac

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:11 PM

 

New lens and first light:  Opteka 500mm f/6.3 HD Telephoto Mirror Lens
All captures are using the ZWO ASI294MC Pro
The third shot of Luna utilizes the 2x Converter pushing the lens to 1000mm
 
 
 
 
First look was at 4:30pm, daylight  cool.gif
Snapshot 0.00396 second, 100 gain
 
 
Snapshot 0.00396 second, 100 gain
 
 
Snapshot 0.031664 second, 0 gain
 
 
M92 - 12s 450g 10f = 120s
 
 
M101 - 12s 500g 25f = 300s
 
 
Eye’s Galaxies(Markarian’s Chain) 6s 500g 20f = 120s
 

M51 - 12s 500g 15f = 180s

 

Where did you get the mounting ring for the Zwo camera from?



#50 davidparks

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:53 PM

ZWO sells the ASI cooled camera mounting ring here:  https://astronomy-im...s78mm-diameters




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