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Calibrating PHD2 with a SkyGuider Pro mount

astrophotography
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#1 matthefed

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 09:54 AM

Hi - I am a newbie on this forum, but have long-appreciated the information and advice it provides. I just started putting together my first rig for DSO astrophotography and I'm hoping someone can help with an autoguiding problem.

 

I have been trying (without success) to use PHD2 software and the ZWO ASI290 mini camera to autoguide my polar-aligned SkyGuider Pro. I have been able to get all the way to the calibration step, successfully connecting the equipment and auto-selecting a star to track, and have made the following changes in the PHD2 settings:

 

Global menu -> Dither --> check the in RA only box.
Aligorithms menu -> Declination -> Dec guide mode: Change to “off”

 

After about 2 minutes of attempting to calibrate, PHD2 returns an error message that there was not sufficient RA star movement, and does not complete the calibration process. In the meantime, the LED (for 1X speed) on the SkyGuider Pro blinks as if it is receiving data from the computer.

 

Any suggestions for how I can successfully complete the calibration process? Thanks.

 

Matthefed

 



#2 rlillard

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 10:19 PM

I'm not going to pretend to know the source of your problem(s) and I don't mean to be overly pedantic.   Here is a short list of things you didn't mention in the off chance that they have been overlooked.

 

Is the clutch tight ?

 

Do the slew buttons visibly move the RA axis ?

 

How good is your balance ?  ... both RA and DEC.

est.

Is the guide cable connected between the camera and the mount ?

 

What does your star profile look like ?

 

When attempting to calibrate, do you see the star move in the Star Profile window ?

 

Is your calibration star well away from the pole ?  Roughly near the meridian and equator is best.

 

Your SGP should be calibrated for PE for best guiding once you get past calibration.

 

Did you correctly

 

I hope this has stimulated your thinking and you get this sorted soon.

 

Regards,

Ray



#3 fishonkevin

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 08:32 AM

In the Brain, what is your calibration step set to?  When I have had problems with this same message, I have to boost the step higher, sometimes as high as 1500, to get enough movement.  Also it is particularly hard to get calibration if aimed at the pole.



#4 matthefed

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 10:44 AM

Ray - thanks so much for your response and assistance. My clutch is tight and the SGP slew buttons will move the mount visibly across the RA axis. Balance is good in both directions (actually, I've been doing this calibration step with only the guide scope and ASI290MM mini attached to the mount, so there's not much weight at all. Both cables (camera to laptop and camera to SGP guide port) are connected properly. I have not yet checked the star profile and will check for star movement in the Star Profile window next.

 

One suggestion was that my calibration step was too short b/c PHD2 is trying to calibrate, but doesn't complete the process it before it times out. My calibration step is set to 850 and I will try again tonight while pointing closer to the celestial equator. If that fails, I will use a longer calibration step. 

 

Matt 

 

I'm not going to pretend to know the source of your problem(s) and I don't mean to be overly pedantic.   Here is a short list of things you didn't mention in the off chance that they have been overlooked.

 

Is the clutch tight ?

 

Do the slew buttons visibly move the RA axis ?

 

How good is your balance ?  ... both RA and DEC.

est.

Is the guide cable connected between the camera and the mount ?

 

What does your star profile look like ?

 

When attempting to calibrate, do you see the star move in the Star Profile window ?

 

Is your calibration star well away from the pole ?  Roughly near the meridian and equator is best.

 

Your SGP should be calibrated for PE for best guiding once you get past calibration.

 

Did you correctly

 

I hope this has stimulated your thinking and you get this sorted soon.

 

Regards,

Ray



#5 matthefed

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for your suggestion! My calibration is currently set to 850. I will try again, this time pointing closer to the celestial equator and will try longer calibration steps. Per the PHD folks (I sent them my debug and guide logs), the software is trying to calibrate, but times out before it completes the process. Does that make sense to you?

 

Matt

 

In the Brain, what is your calibration step set to?  When I have had problems with this same message, I have to boost the step higher, sometimes as high as 1500, to get enough movement.  Also it is particularly hard to get calibration if aimed at the pole.



#6 matthefed

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 11:30 AM

Ray - thanks so much for your response and assistance. My clutch is tight and the SGP slew buttons will move the mount visibly across the RA axis. Balance is good in both directions (actually, I've been doing this calibration step with only the guide scope and ASI290MM mini attached to the mount, so there's not much weight at all. Both cables (camera to laptop and camera to SGP guide port) are connected properly. I have not yet checked the star profile and will check for star movement in the Star Profile window next.

 

One suggestion was that my calibration step was too short b/c PHD2 is trying to calibrate, but doesn't complete the process it before it times out. My calibration step is set to 850 and I will try again tonight while pointing closer to the celestial equator. If that fails, I will use a longer calibration step. 

 

Matt 

FYI, I tried to calibrate again last night, sighting along the celestial equator. This time it worked, but will increase my calibration steps if I run into troubles at a higher Dec. Thanks again for the help.

 

Matt



#7 rlillard

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 10:49 PM

FYI, I tried to calibrate again last night, sighting along the celestial equator. This time it worked, but will increase my calibration steps if I run into troubles at a higher Dec. Thanks again for the help.

 

Matt

 

Matt,

 

Glad to know you've got it sorted out. I have a SGP w/iPolar.  With precise balance and polar alignment, a level tripod, good seeing and no wind, I can maintain round stars at 5 mins with a WO Zenithstar 73 and a Nikon D810A.  This and a Redcat is my traveling rig. A 290mini and a Stellarmate completes the rig.  Oh, I also am using the WO base and DEC bracket.  For wht I have in tis I probably should have bought an iOptron CEM25.

 

Oh well, it's only money. :-)

 

Ray



#8 matthefed

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 11:09 AM

In the Brain, what is your calibration step set to?  When I have had problems with this same message, I have to boost the step higher, sometimes as high as 1500, to get enough movement.  Also it is particularly hard to get calibration if aimed at the pole.

FYI, I tried to calibrate again last night, sighting along the celestial equator. This time it worked, but will increase my calibration steps if I run into troubles at a higher Dec. Thanks again for the help.

 

Matt


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