I had first light with my Edge 11 setup.
I ended up with the ZWO ASI071MC Pro camera. An 2" Astronomic UV/IR L2 Cut filter. The Moonlite CHL low profile focuser, a Celestron .7 reducer, and the ZWO OAG with 290mm Mini.
I was able to bring everything to focus during the daylight. Then once it got dark, had to readjust everything as stars were much further away than whatever I practiced on.
At first, it was a pain adjusting the OAG, I had oblong stars, and rotating/moving it around finally fixed it. I don't really like the orientation, but can't seem to get it to face another direction. Right now, it's on the bottom side of the long flat edge of the 071.
Finding guide stars was really painful. I visited M108, M101, M106, M51, and M3, and couldn't get a single guide star. I upped the gain on the 290mm to 300 and could just barely pick out two stars, but the guiding software wouldn't lock onto either. Also, there was a huge bright spot in the middle of the OAG camera view. I don't know if this is just heavy vignetting from the OAG tiny pass through hole or what. Getting really frustrated, I ended up putting a LPS filter on the guide camera, and that huge bright spot toned way down. I'm hoping this fixes the issues, but clouds rolled in before I could test it out.
To make sure guiding worked at all, I went to an open cluster and easily found stars for the guide cam. I was around .2 to .3 RMS on guiding. But I'm really bummed I couldn't pick up any guide stars on a single galaxy. The whole reason I got this thing was to image small galaxies.
Before giving up for the night, I aimed at the moon and snagged a few shots.
Your setup looks ok but I'm afraid the main thing limiting it is the OAG and the size of its prism - plus the oag viewport. Nonetheless there are ways to improve things without spending money.
First - instead of just hunting for guidestars you should use a planetarium program and a FOVI (field of view indicator) - along with an angle readout on the OAG. Simply hunting for guidestars will be frustrating - but if you know which ones are available and where they are - it becomes a matter of dialing them in - and there they are.
I currently use a Pyxis rotator with EdgeHD11 and I never 'hunt for' or 'find' guidestars - I just center the target - set the angle - and there they are. You can do the same with a dial indicator and it just takes some calibration and figuring out - but it means a more systematic approach.
Here is a page that describes how I was doing things with a C11 ten years ago when I was doing things manually with a FOVI and degree scale:
You can see the simple dial indicator on the OAG - and an example FOVI in TheSky that let me select a guidestar and dial in its angle. This is the way high end users have been doing things for decades - and the only difference is automation with things like rotators.
All of the above can be done with no expense - but some overhead in getting things set up and calibrated.
The other thing that can help if you are in a position to 'hunt' for the guidestar is to make sure your gain is high and your camera is operating in interactive video mode - so you can see stars appear as you are moving around. If your focus is good and your guidestar is nearby - you shouldn't need long exposures to see it.
One big improvement in all this that has happened in recent years is the ease of doing plate solving to make sure you are exactly centered on where the FOVI is laid out. That helps make sure that when you set the OAG angle - the star will be there.
If you did want to spend money - the main thing I would change is the OAG itself. The main source of frustration with OAG is a system with a small prism and a narrow view of it. This is limiting your light from the guidestar - and causing vignetting. If you had an OAG with a 12mm prism and a full view of it from a sensor nearby, you would have brighter stars and a wider field on your sensor.
And if you had a larger prism, it would let you switch to f/7 and get an additional win in brightness and field of view on the guide sensor. But you would need to change the OAG for that to happen.
It's good that you have enough backfocus for the focuser because that should make focusing easier. I recommend using automatic focus if you want to image small galaxies.
So - there are ways to improve your system without spending money - with a combination of simple degree scales and different technique. But if you were able to spend more I recommend a different OAG with big prism and wide view of it.
Edited by freestar8n, 20 March 2019 - 04:14 AM.