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Skywatcher Synscan/AZ-GTi Alignment Instructions

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#51 Starman81

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 01:22 PM

 

Point-and-Track (AZ Mode Only) 
Tracking does not require an alignment or a sky model.  Select the object from the appropriate list and choose Point-and-Track.
(For EQ Mode, just point the scope at the object and select the appropriate tracking rate from the tracking menu in the upper right corner of Synscan)

 

 

 

This question is for anyone that can answer it, not just the OP... Please excuse my ignorance on this mount, I got it last year but only had a couple chances to use it...

 

So for Point-and-Track (AZ Mode Only), I can really just point the scope to any object without doing any alignment and choose Point-and-Track and it will track? If so, that sounds great! I desire tracking more than GoTo and would find this VERY useful for quick lunar/planetary observing.

 

Thinking out loud here... The mount gets the time/location information from the phone, so what factors could potentially degrade tracking performance? How level the tripod is? 


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#52 davidparks

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 02:26 PM

This question is for anyone that can answer it, not just the OP... Please excuse my ignorance on this mount, I got it last year but only had a couple chances to use it...

 

So for Point-and-Track (AZ Mode Only), I can really just point the scope to any object without doing any alignment and choose Point-and-Track and it will track? If so, that sounds great! I desire tracking more than GoTo and would find this VERY useful for quick lunar/planetary observing.

 

Thinking out loud here... The mount gets the time/location information from the phone, so what factors could potentially degrade tracking performance? How level the tripod is? 

 

You are correct, in the case where no alignment has been performed, then leveling will have an impact upon tracking performance.  How much of an impact will depend upon the area of sky and the leveling inaccuracy.

 

Point-and-Track is intended for short-term visual use, where more accurate tracking, or tracking over long periods of time is not needed.  This is a great way to quickly setup and start observing an object. You could go from target to target, just using Point-and-Track, all night long waytogo.gif the mount will vary the axis speeds according to the area of sky you are in.


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#53 mkothe

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 04:20 PM

Do you have to power up/reset alignment from level-north so th mount knows where in the sky uouare pointing?

#54 davidparks

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:47 PM

Do you have to power up/reset alignment from level-north so th mount knows where in the sky uouare pointing?

Mkothe, referring to Point-and-Track, no, you can just set the mount down as level as possible (bubble-level is just fine), point at your target, using the arrow keys on synscan or loosen clutches and swing the scope to your target.  With tight clutches just select your target from one of the object lists and choose Point-and-Track.  The mount uses your date/time/location and the current AZ/Alt of the object to figure the tracking rates for each axis.


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#55 trurl

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 07:33 AM

Do you have to power up/reset alignment from level-north so th mount knows where in the sky uouare pointing?

 

Mkothe, referring to Point-and-Track, no, you can just set the mount down as level as possible (bubble-level is just fine), point at your target, using the arrow keys on synscan or loosen clutches and swing the scope to your target.  With tight clutches just select your target from one of the object lists and choose Point-and-Track.  The mount uses your date/time/location and the current AZ/Alt of the object to figure the tracking rates for each axis.

SInce it is (mostly) level enough, it can know the altitude, but how can it know the azimuth without an initial starting place like north?



#56 davidparks

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 08:56 AM

Point-and-Track is all about the Tracking (as far as the mount is concerned), you the operator have to provide the Pointing.  Synscan's database knows the current position in the sky of your chosen target, and uses your current date/time/latitude/longitude which it gets from Synscan (mobile device gps or manual input), to calculate the correct tracking rates for each axis.  That's all it needs for accurate tracking... a known point on earth, and a known point in the sky. The magic happens because Synscan assumes you have pointed your scope at the object you've selected.

 

Now, if you were doing a GoTo operation, then yes, you would need some kind of alignment, like knowing where North is, etc.  But with Point-and-Track, you are pointing at the object yourself, already, prior to engaging Point-and-Track.  The mount already knows everything it needs without alignment to simply track.



#57 trurl

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 09:04 AM

Point-and-Track is all about the Tracking (as far as the mount is concerned), you the operator have to provide the Pointing.  Synscan's database knows the current position in the sky of your chosen target, and uses your current date/time/latitude/longitude which it gets from Synscan (mobile device gps or manual input), to calculate the correct tracking rates for each axis.  That's all it needs for accurate tracking... a known point on earth, and a known point in the sky. The magic happens because Synscan assumes you have pointed your scope at the object you've selected.

 

Now, if you were doing a GoTo operation, then yes, you would need some kind of alignment, like knowing where North is, etc.  But with Point-and-Track, you are pointing at the object yourself, already, prior to engaging Point-and-Track.  The mount already knows everything it needs without alignment to simply track.

Yes, of course. You have essentially already told it the altitude and azimuth by selecting an object. Even level isn't all that relevant in that case.


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#58 Bigzmey

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:39 PM

Thanks David, very useful sum-up! Do I understand correctly, that

 

1) Earlier versions on firmware/software supported only left side scope position

2) Latest version supports only right side and EQ mode

3) There is no firmware/software which give you the option to select either left side to right side? 

 

I got the mount a month ago. In my first session I used scope on the right side of the mount and it went all smoothly. I got it aligned and trucking within 10 min right from the box.

 

This Friday I tried it with my 127mm Mak which requires left side position and I could not get it to align or track in two hours. At the end I tried switching it to the right, but probably did not reset it properly, so it did not work either.

 

For the first session I used SynScan. For the failed session I tried both SynScan and SynScan Pro. Both are 1.16 ver. Or did I mess it up by installing both and switching from one to another during the session? At this point I just don't know. lol.gif      


Edited by Bigzmey, 20 May 2019 - 05:40 PM.


#59 davidparks

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:16 PM

1) Earlier versions on firmware/software supported only left side scope position

2) Latest version supports only right side and EQ mode

3) There is no firmware/software which give you the option to select either left side to right side? 

 

Originally, and shipped on the mount out of the box, there was just the AZ Only, Left Side motor controller firmware.  This is still the only ‘formal’ version.  However, shortly after release, Skywatcher posted and continues to update the AZ/EQ Dual Mode, Right Side motor controller firmware which is noted as “test purpose only, not a formal version”

 

Unfortunately No, there is no version that allows you to choose Left or Right side mounting.  Of course, in EQ Mode, the mounting side isn’t relevant, but for AZ Mode you have to flash the firmware to switch mounting side. 

 

Synscan will connect in AZ Only and work with either motor controller firmware.  Synscan Pro will give you the choice upon connecting for AZ or EQ Modes and is made to work with the AZ/EQ Dual Mode - Right Side motor controller firmware.

 

The alignment model, which among other things (like mount level), defines the relationship or offset of the Axis and the Az/Alt coordinates.  This model is held in Synscan(Pro), not the mount.  Switching between Synscan and Pro should be done with care, so that you don’t inadvertently send your scope crashing into your tripod by going below horizon or some other wonky position.  Just remember to Reset Alignment and perform a new alignment if you switch.


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#60 Bigzmey

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:39 PM

Thanks David!

 

Attached pic shows scope position which worked right out of the box for me with SynScan. Is that considered right side or left side?

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • SW AzGTi.jpg


#61 davidparks

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:59 PM

Thanks David!

 

Attached pic shows scope position which worked right out of the box for me with SynScan. Is that considered right side or left side?

Interesting... right out of the box...  well that is Right Side mounting, with the AZ clutch knob in the "back" and power button facing "left".

The Synscan directional buttons will have "UP" moving the front of your scope upwards, not "diving" like an airplane or submarine.



#62 Bigzmey

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:39 PM

Interesting... right out of the box...  well that is Right Side mounting, with the AZ clutch knob in the "back" and power button facing "left".

The Synscan directional buttons will have "UP" moving the front of your scope upwards, not "diving" like an airplane or submarine.

This is correct, "UP" moves scope upwards. When I got the mount I read a few posts here and went for the left side mounting first, but could not align it. Switched to the right side and it worked like a charm.

 

I wonder if the new mounts ship with updated firmware now.



#63 f300v10

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 10:57 PM

Really glad I found this thread, I had no idea the point and track option even existed.  Just got back from a quick session with my son where we used point and track to view the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn.  All three were held dead center, with no alignment. 

 

Thanks David for putting this super helpful post together.


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#64 SpaceOddities

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 01:25 AM

Thank you David for taking the time to write these guides. Very helpful!

 

I'm trying to get my EQ-GTi polar aligned on my balcony. But unfortunately, I cannot see Polaris. Basically, it's a closed balcony with a roof, a wall facing North and the windows facing East. Since I'm in the 4th floor, I have a lot of nice nebulae to photograph in the East.

 

I'm using the GTi with Stellarmate, but I can also use it from my iPhone, or a Windows PC and a Mac, using the EQDIR cable.

 

What do you think would be the best way to polar align the mount in this context, and what would be the routine? Is the SynScan app able to polar align with no view of the North?

 

I tried with Ekos yesterday, but the polar alignment tool doesn't seem to work as I expected, so I'm a bit lost...

 

Thanks for your help! :) 



#65 davidparks

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 02:17 PM

You should be able to PA using Synscan for iPhone or Windows.

 

You should be able to setup with your scope facing north (compass), and the EQ Base set to your latitude (sometimes it's 90 - your latitude, depending on your EQ Base marks)

The PA routine is thus:

  1.  Do a 2 star alignment, choosing 2 stars you can see

  2.  Do a Polar Alignment (from the Advanced Menu),  the app should give instructions

  3.  Reset Alignment and do a 2 star alignment

 

You can alternatively do:

  4.  Another PA to check/refine accuracy (although the first one should get close enough for most operations)

  5.  Reset Alignment and do a 2 star alignment

 

You can choose a star that you can see to do the Synscan PA, no need to see Polaris, or have a view to the north.

When the app asks you to center the star with the EQ adjustment bolts, you will be moving in just one axis of adjustment, so get the star as close as you can.... and then the same for the 2nd axis  (synscan will give instruction/prompts)


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#66 SpaceOddities

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 03:16 PM

Thank you David for the quick instructions. It's often difficult to understand astro software: so many options, so many buttons, so many acronyms and notions... And tutorials are sometimes dense and complex. It's nice to have a simple routine and start from there, step by step!

 

Your help is really appreciated smile.gif

 

As a complement to your answer: I noticed there's a daytime polar alignment tool, in the iOS version of the app "Polar Scope Align" (the pro version). It's an app that I used to align the SkyGuider Pro. The PA tool is very straightforward: it just points to Polaris with arrows, that get smaller as you get closer to the star. 

 

I'm not sure how precise it is, I've never used it for very long exposures (perhaps someone has experience with this tool?), but I guess it can be a good first PA, that can be fine tuned later in SynScan.


Edited by SpaceOddities, 24 June 2019 - 03:20 PM.

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#67 tkottary

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 05:19 PM

I am in the same Situation like you and use PS align pro as first cut followed
By Darv method . With this method I usually
get 2 mins for under 300mm . Legacy polar alignment in Ekos is another option you can try
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#68 jeffry7

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 11:18 PM

Hi David,

 

Thank you for this post.

 

I have the android app and am set in Alt/Az. There is a 2 star alignment option. In your OP, you say this is an equatorial only function.

 

I tried it last Saturday night but did not get a good alignment, although I had not seen your instructions then.


Edited by jeffry7, 29 July 2019 - 11:22 PM.


#69 davidparks

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 10:05 AM

You may be right about the Android Version.  In the iOS and Windows versions you get “Brightest Star” and “North-Level” as the Alt/Az types of alignment that uses 2 stars.  EQ Mode gets “Brightest Star” and the true “2-Star” types of alignment that uses 2 stars.

 

Thanks for the update on the Android Version!

 

xlgxzs.jpgsglfnk.jpg


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#70 Silvifabio

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 07:54 AM

Dear all,

could be little off topics but I hope contribute to build up a "user manual" for AZGTi (I insert it in a separate tread but anyone reply frown.gif )

 

I find in 1.17 version of SynscanPro App some new functions undocumented (strangely lol.gif ).

 

0) Alignment Compensation (previously present in the app but I don't know how to use)

1) Speed Compensation (ppm)

 

2) in the release note of motors drive 3.20 they write "Add support for photography". What does it means?

 

Someone knows how to use them?

 

Thanks to all

 

Fabio



#71 jeffry7

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:45 AM

Hi Silvi,

The Skywatcher mount supports remote shutter operations on cameras. There is a port on the mount where can plug in a shutter cable. The other end attaches to your camera.

There is a seperate application to support this called SynScan PTZ.

#72 jeffry7

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:56 AM

So I went to check out the photo and could not find SynScan PZT on the Google Play store.

There is Tracker Console made by the same people who wrote the SynScan app. (Pacific Telescope Corp.) This app has a lot of camera control options.

#73 Silvifabio

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:27 AM

Hi Silvi,

The Skywatcher mount supports remote shutter operations on cameras. There is a port on the mount where can plug in a shutter cable. The other end attaches to your camera.

There is a seperate application to support this called SynScan PTZ.

Hi jeffry7,

I use regularly, starting from first release of SynscanPro app, the internal photographic function. No need of Synscan PTZ app.

I worder that only in july 2019 in the last release of motor firmware they "add support for photography". Then I guess this is a new way to manage the motors?



#74 Frank @ Van

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:13 PM

So I went to check out the photo and could not find SynScan PZT on the Google Play store.

There is Tracker Console made by the same people who wrote the SynScan app. (Pacific Telescope Corp.) This app has a lot of camera control options.

Hi Jerrry7,

 

You may try SynScan Photo on Google Play.



#75 Silvifabio

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 02:28 PM

I discover just yet that Synscan Photo when installed is Synscan PZT Prosmile.gif and need the AZGTi motor firmware >= 3.20




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