Alright, so I am hoping that I am able to keep this on topic but I have questions ranging from camera settings to equipment so here we go...
I will start out with equipment. Right now, my batteries suck. I know I need to go to something like a 100ah battery and all that, BUT I had an idea. Right now, the issue with power comes from my laptop. It's eating 65w of power and makes up 80% of my power consumption. So I figured, instead of getting a massive heavy battery, what if I minimized the laptop with a mini PC. I know this question gets asked a bunch and I've read alot of the post. What I dont understand is the setup stuff. Like when you are in the field, you hook everything up to the PC, power it on and all that. But from there, I hear about 20 different ways to connect to the device. All I care about is being able to PA in SharpCap, and setting up APT. What is the easiest way to do that?
Next, I have just purchased a 1600mm Pro. Firstly, I FREAKING LOVE IT. Man it's so much "easier" than a DSLR in some manners, but I dont understand some things. The biggest thing is gain and offsets. I pretty much have everything at default or zero, but I was wondering what is correct? Im keeping my binning at 1x1 but I dont know with gain what to do and neither with offset. On that same vein, how do yall handle cooling in the cold? I am worried about going below 32*F due to condensation forming and all that, ice on a camera scares me! So is there any rules to cooling or do you pretty much just let it cool to as cold as possible relative to ambient? I know John Rista has show benefits to going really cold.
And now, polar alignment. Right now, I am using a 3D printed setup of rings to hold a SMC 200mm F4 lens to a ASI120MM. It is pretty solid (5min subs on my AVX with my setup) but I want something better. The whole setup, plastic or metal, just seems janky to me. I feel like if you mounted a guide scope in the same manner as you do the main scope, it would be much more solid. The only thing I worry about is alignment. Right now, my guidescope isnt really aligned to the same point as the imaging train, how much of an issue is that? But before commenting on that, I need to speak about SharpCap.
In sharpcap, I have issues alot with either the alignment star jumping around or not being able to pickup stars despite them being clearly visible in the image. The first issue is really annoying. I can be aligning have my error approaching zero and be off by only a few seconds, then suddenly, it switches to a new star and says poor and be off my several minutes. I am assuming this due to user/equipment error. The only point of error I can think of is the lens. Maybe it's not letting in enough light and so sharpcap freaks out when losing a star due to seeing or something like that and changes the error. I dont know this tho.
Any and all help is appreciated! Thanks!