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iOptron SkyGuider Pro - iPolar Upgrade

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#1 Jim Waters

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 06:29 PM

I have a SkyGuider Pro.  I am thinking about upgrading it to include the iPolar.  Anybody using this combination or iPolar?  What's your experience with its PA accuracy and SW?



#2 Dave24137

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 06:43 PM

Hi, Jim

 

I can't speak to the iPolar, but I will say that such an upgrade is probably worth it.

 

I use a Polemaster with the SGP and it's far more enjoyable than cranking the neck for the polar-scope, re-checking 10 times, and then never feeling 100% that the alignment is as good as it could be.

 

What's nice about the Polemaster though is that it can be removed on nights when I'm photographing very wide (normally I use the Z61) — when PA doesn't need to be so accurate. And the SGP polar-scope is still there.

 

The "problem" with iPolar, if I'm not mistaken, is that once it's installed you have to use your laptop always. Yet on some nights, it might just be nice to use the polar-scope: an option you would lose with the iPolar.

 

That doesn't answer your question, but maybe it's an insight worth considering.


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#3 Jim Waters

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 06:53 PM

The "problem" with iPolar, if I'm not mistaken, is that once it's installed you have to use your laptop always. Yet on some nights, it might just be nice to use the polar-scope: an option you would lose with the iPolar.

This is the concern I am having.  It would be nice to use the existing PS to sight-in Polaris first.  Once you upgrade you can't do that and you need to use a laptop.



#4 B 26354

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 07:40 PM

The "problem" with iPolar, if I'm not mistaken, is that once it's installed you have to use your laptop always. Yet on some nights, it might just be nice to use the polar-scope: an option you would lose with the iPolar.

This is the concern I am having.  It would be nice to use the existing PS to sight-in Polaris first.  Once you upgrade you can't do that and you need to use a laptop.

Not in all cases... but definitely with the SkyGuider Pro. Some other mounts -- my CEM25P, for example -- allow the option of mounting the iPolar on the front of the RA axis housing, as well as the rear. The iPolar is easily removed from the front, so mounting it there would allow one to still keep the polar-scope in the mount, for non-laptop use, if you so desired. Again, this obviously does not apply with a SkyGuider Pro.

 

I actually don't like the idea of having to use a laptop for AP... so I don't. My Lacerta M-GEN autoguider doesn't require one -- nor does my Olympus OM-D E-M1 -- so as soon as I've completed the iPolar alignment procedure (~5 minutes), I disconnect the laptop and take it back in the house.



#5 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 10:08 AM

For about the same price as an iPolar, I added an ASI120mm Mini camera and guide scope to my DSLR. Now I can do polar alignment and guiding with PHD2 on my Skyguider Pro.

 

I too, hate the thought of taking a laptop out in the field, so I loaded Astroberry on a spare Raspberry Pi and can run it all from my 7" tablet or even my phone if I want.

 

I took 100 x 3 minute exposures at 400mm last weekend and only threw out 2 of them, and that was probably due to wind.

 

Clear skies!

 

Edit for wrong exposure time.


Edited by NGC 2419, 19 October 2019 - 02:41 PM.

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#6 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 11:28 AM

For about the same price as an iPolar, I added an ASI120mm Mini camera and guide scope to my DSLR. Now I can do polar alignment and guiding with PHD2 on my Skyguider Pro.

 

I too, hate the thought of taking a laptop out in the field, so I loaded Astroberry on a spare Raspberry Pi and can run it all from my 7" tablet or even my phone if I want.

 

I took 100 x 4 minute exposures at 400mm last weekend and only threw out 2 of them, and that was probably due to wind.

 

Clear skies!

Nice - can you post pictures of your setup.



#7 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 12:17 PM

Here you go. The DSLR and Pi are powered by a 26,000mAh power bank. And I have 4 x 10,000mAh  power banks for dew control. (I got them for $5 each brand new.) I haven't tried out the 26,000mAh battery yet, but I shot for 5 hours with a 10k battery on the DSLR and a 10k battery on the Pi with a little juice to spare. I'm hoping the 26k will run them both for 6 hours.

 

Attached Thumbnails

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#8 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:10 PM

Do you have enough stability connecting the auto-guider to the camera Hot Shoe?  



#9 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:35 PM

It's actually pretty rigid. I used one of these 1/4"-20 post adapters to mount it.
https://www.ebay.com...or/223454278857

I've only had one 6 hour session with the autoguider, (5 hours imaging plus calibration frames), and this was my first try at guiding so I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went.

There may have been small issues that I didn't recognize as a novice, but stability wasn't one of them and the result was pleasing to me. (I need to learn how to process.)

 

Edit to fix session time based on exposure error above.


Edited by NGC 2419, 19 October 2019 - 02:43 PM.


#10 Dave24137

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:43 PM

Here's another option for mounting an autoguider:

https://youtu.be/Cl1GD7LgSrY?t=445



#11 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:53 PM

Here's another option for mounting an autoguider:

https://youtu.be/Cl1GD7LgSrY?t=445

Nice..!  hanks for the post.



#12 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:58 PM

It looks like the L-Bracket installation would interfere with the USB cable on my Canon 6D.

 

Look and the pictures.

https://www.bhphotov...r_canon_6d.html


Edited by Jim Waters, 19 October 2019 - 02:04 PM.


#13 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 02:21 PM

Looks accessible in this image.

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#14 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 02:46 PM

Yes... - but when I put on a Vixen Dovetail Plane Adapter it will interfere with the USB cable.  I will look for a right angle USB cable.


Edited by Jim Waters, 19 October 2019 - 02:48 PM.


#15 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 03:13 PM

Oh yeah, I see that now. It costs a lot more than the hot shoe adapter too!

#16 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 03:25 PM

IMHO it would be more stable than a hot shoe adapter..



#17 NGC 2419

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 04:09 PM

I am sure it would be but I think you are underestimating the stability of the adapter I linked to earlier. I don't have a YouTube channel or any cloud storage to make a video, but I just loosened the clutch on my Skyguider and was using the guide scope to rotate the mount back and forth around the RA axis and the guide scope did not noticably move on its mount.

I'm sure if you measured it carefully after my test, you'd see some movement but it doesn't move at all under normal imaging conditions.

Cheers!

#18 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 04:22 PM

Thanks NGC 2419...!




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