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Considering a PoleMaster, Is there anything better or newer I should consider?

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#1 doclov

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:04 AM

I'm considering a Polemaster for my EQ-6 mount. I'm a little concerned that there were approx. 12 of them sold used in the 2 larger classified listings in the last 2 months. Is there anything newer or more useful I should consider?

Thanks in advance for your help.

John


Edited by doclov, 23 August 2019 - 11:06 AM.


#2 Hesiod

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:15 AM

Are you into deep sky imaging?

In such case the guiding softwares have the possibility to drift align the mount quickly and easily even if the pole is not accessible. Also, sharpcap can, at a modest price, turn any planetary camera into a sort of polemaster.

Last, iOptron started to offer their own version.

Or just the sellers replaced their mounts and discovered that like the optical polarscope morelol.gif



#3 ippiu

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:15 AM

https://www.ioptron....duct-p/3339.htm



#4 scadvice

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:41 AM

I'm not sure why there were so many sold lately. Mine is serving me well and I would not want to do without one. iOptron has come out with their own version built into their scopes. I'm guessing some/more people are now using SharpCap, Drift Alignment in PHD, and Plate Solving methods as the SW is getting improved. Most likely because they use those for imaging and so forth anyway. 

 

Some have the PM and set up a permanent  pier or observatory later then rely on one of these other tools to check the alignment.

 

If your like me and don't have a permanent setup plus a back that is not at all happy with getting down on your knees peering through the mounts built in optic's then I recommend the PM. It's simple to use, I have the computer out already for imaging and it's done in a couple of minutes. Plus, as soon as you can visually make out Polaris you can align...no waiting for it to get truly dark. Another benefit is if you need to recheck your alignment during the night to see if something shifted it only takes a minute or two.

 

I not saying the other methods can't do this, I just at this point am very comfortable with using the PM and the time saved each setup or recheck is wonderful simple, and reliable.



#5 Astrola72

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:43 AM

I never found drift alignment "quick" or "easy". I've been very happy with my polemaster, had it for more than a year. I can get approx.1 arcmin PA error (as reported by PHD2) with minimal effort. The iOptron product looks a bit more difficult to install, on my CEM60. Just my penny.gif penny.gif

 

Joe

 

PS - I see that there have been a few PM's sold recently, but I also see that they got 75-80% of retail, so the demand is obviously still there.



#6 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 12:23 PM

Nothing that's better enough to notice.  The new iOptron is just a bit more automated, again, not significant.

 

Some things that are cheaper, like Sharpcap PRO or PhD2.  Drift is not cheaper, if you value your time.  <smile>

 

I got one of the first ones, have never been tempted to switch to something else.



#7 RandallK

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 12:30 PM

If you don't have anything yet, I'd look at the iOptron. I already have the PoleMaster (still a great aid). But, I now have an iOptron CEM40 mount with iPolar. I must admit that it takes less than a minute to Polar align, rather than 4 to 5 min with PoleMaster. With iPolar you do not have to swing the mount around 3 times.



#8 mikefulb

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 12:42 PM

If you are using a supported camera and have a FOV of 1 degree or more with your main imaging rig them Sharpcap would be my choice. I use it with my ASI1600 and 8 inch f/4 Newtonian and it works nicely. I prefer to reuse my existing equipment then buy another gadget.

Edited by mikefulb, 23 August 2019 - 12:42 PM.

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#9 Don W

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 12:48 PM

Does the iOptron work with other brand mounts? He has an EQ6.



#10 RandallK

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:04 PM

I believe you can get the iPolar as a stand-alone unit.....YES.


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#11 Hawkdl2

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:16 PM

If I didn't have a guide camera I would go with the PM, though the new iOptron offering is interesting.  But I do have a guide camera and use Sharpcap and that set up has worked very well and the few times I compared SC PA with PhD drift align on the same night, I got alignments very similar to PhD's - some people have reported dissimilar results so YMMV.   It takes me about 3-5 minutes to PA with SC, but that's a whole lot less time than drift aligning with PhD. 


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#12 nimitz69

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 05:48 PM

I'm considering a Polemaster for my EQ-6 mount. I'm a little concerned that there were approx. 12 of them sold used in the 2 larger classified listings in the last 2 months. Is there anything newer or more useful I should consider?

Thanks in advance for your help.

John

 Why spend $300 for something that only does one thing And is another piece of H/W you have to install & worry About?  Get SharpCap pro for $15/yr.  it has an amazing Polar alignment function that is easy to setup and use since it uses your guide scope and camera to do the PA.  Also, many people use it as their image capture s/w since it has a lot of features.


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#13 Astrodave

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:17 PM

$250-300 for one of these things? Yikes. That’s money well spent on a mini guidescope setup instead which you can use for guiding and PA. These gadgets would have to be about $125 before I would get one. 



#14 scadvice

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:38 PM

$250-300 for one of these things? Yikes. That’s money well spent on a mini guidescope setup instead which you can use for guiding and PA. These gadgets would have to be about $125 before I would get one. 

LOL...I thought the same until I used one. Now it's just one of the those tools I don't want to do without. (Unless I got an observatory that is coolnod.gif )


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#15 dmdouglass

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:36 PM

LOL...I thought the same until I used one. Now it's just one of the those tools I don't want to do without. (Unless I got an observatory that is coolnod.gif )

Heck...   I have an observatory !   And i have one of them.

And i use it too....   Periodically check and recheck, and adjust periodically.


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#16 AZ Maverick

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 10:16 PM

I have an EQ6-R Pro mount and for Polar alignment I use SharpCap 2.9 (free) with my autoguider scope and I compensate for refraction after getting Polar alignment by dropping the alt by my refraction correction.

It works very well for me.

My routine is to use my mounts Polar scope and the PolarScope app to do a rough Polar alignment and then switch to SharpCap to do the plate solve Polar alignment.


Edited by AZ Maverick, 23 August 2019 - 10:55 PM.


#17 dmdouglass

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 10:51 PM

I have an EQ6-R Pro mount and for Polar alignment I use SharpCap 2.9 (free) with my autoguider scope and I compensate for refraction after getting Polar alignment by dropping the alt by my refraction correction.

It works very well for me.

There is an "old saying" that still holds true....  

If it is NOT broken, DON'T fix it.

If it works for you, and you are happy.....  Clear Skies, and Fantastic Images !!



#18 Charlie B

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 07:02 AM

I'm considering a Polemaster for my EQ-6 mount. I'm a little concerned that there were approx. 12 of them sold used in the 2 larger classified listings in the last 2 months. Is there anything newer or more useful I should consider?

Thanks in advance for your help.

John

PHD2 has three PA routines, static polar align, dynamic polar align and drift align, with respective accuracy.  The PA routines need to see close to the pole and act very similar to Sharpcap.  I notice only drift align being mentioned, but I've used all three and they work well.  

 

Regards,

 

Charlie B


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#19 bobzeq25

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:50 AM

Heck...   I have an observatory !   And i have one of them.

And i use it too....   Periodically check and recheck, and adjust periodically.

Me too.  But I have no pier, just a portable pier set on concrete blocks.  The recheck takes about a minute, no rotation required.  That may also be true with a portable setup, I think the rotation simply calibrates a specific PoleMaster setup to your mount.  The iOptron version requires rotation on the first use, and I'd guess on change of mount.

 

I've long said we ought to make this more concise.  People _with_ a PoleMaster think everyone should own one, that the Hubble could use one.  <smile>  People without a PoleMaster post about "better" methods.  The first people could just say "PoleMaster post A".

 

I concede that SharpCap PRO works about as well (perhaps not as easily), at low cost.  The basic concept is the same.  Use platesolving to locate the North Celestial Pole, and the center of rotation of your mount.  Superimpose. 

 

Probably PhD2, also.


Edited by bobzeq25, 24 August 2019 - 09:54 AM.


#20 gmartin2000

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:47 AM

I have a polemaster and love it. The PoleMaster sure saves me from contorting all around just to use the optical polar alignment scope in my Atlas and iOptron mounts. That and I get better alignments with it

 

I'm told that the cameras inside the iPolar and PoleMaster units are the same and both units are made by QHY so I AM wondering if the iPolar software would work with the PoleMaster. Has anyone here tried that combination or know it's been tried?

 

Seems like a good combo.



#21 AlienRatDog

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 12:52 PM

Sharpcap Pro?
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#22 HxPI

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 03:54 PM

The PoleMaster stopped working reliably. Get the iPolar instead.


Edited by HxPI, 18 September 2019 - 03:54 PM.


#23 scadvice

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:13 PM

The PoleMaster stopped working reliably. Get the iPolar instead.

Open statement...why did it stop working reliably? My understanding is most of the time it's because the operator does not screw the knurled screws in tight, prematurely wearing it or causing it to fail in it's connection.. The small connector side is admittedly not the best for this kind of application so trouble usually is from that source. 


Edited by scadvice, 18 September 2019 - 07:20 PM.


#24 HxPI

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:51 PM

Open statement...why did it stop working reliably? My understanding is most of the time it's because the operator does not screw the knurled screws in tight, prematurely wearing it or causing it to fail in it's connection.. The small connector side is admittedly not the best for this kind of application so trouble usually is from that source. 

 

Not sure why it stopped working. It was working when I first purchased it. Now the screen does not refresh in the PoleMaster app and SharpCap. In my particular case, I have to move the mouse around to get it to even attempt to refresh the image. This is only recently when it started happening. Could be due to a Windows 10 update. There are others having similar issues:

 

https://www.cloudyni...aster-freezing/

 

Regardless, iOptron makes a newer unit and I would recommend getting that one. I have one and it works just fine.


Edited by HxPI, 18 September 2019 - 07:59 PM.

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#25 Darrenlh

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 12:14 AM

The PoleMaster stopped working reliably. Get the iPolar instead.

+1.

My polemaster does not work well with a new laptop. It works fine on Windows 10 on an older laptop. The update rate plummets to something like once every 6 to 10 seconds. I'm not sure if it is related to video hardware, but both laptops run Windows 10. This is a well reported issue on QHYCCD's forum. They offer some suggestions, but nothing actually ever seems to get fixed. The iPolar looks to be virtually identical to the Polemaster.

 

I know it's not fair to place the burden on a tiny company like QHYCCD, they don't seem to have enough resources to get to the bottom of the issue, and I'm fresh out of ideas.

 

I would be curious to see if the iPolar has similar issues.




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