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Polemaster without the polemaster?

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#1 bmbaum

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 12:25 AM

I don't own a polemaster, but it seems to me that the same routines used by the polemaster software should work equally well through the OTA/camera as opposed to the polar scope. As long as the OTA is aligned precisely with the polar scope, why do we need the $350 polemaster camera at all? 



#2 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 12:27 AM

Some people like buying extra gadgets. For everyone else, there's the Sharpcap alignment process (or others). :step:


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#3 terry59

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:59 AM

There are some differences betwen Sharpcap and PM, such as the ability to measure and store cone error. It reminds me of the inability to store settings in APP


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#4 1965_dup1

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 08:46 AM

Polemaster is a great tool and I just love mine, simplicity .


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#5 idclimber

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 09:29 AM

Not only is a Polemaster not needed, a view of Polaris is not needed either. Programs like TheSkyX used with the Paramounts use a model created by plate solving images all over the sky. Only about 30 to 40 points are needed for a portable realignment of a larger pointing model that was created previously. This usually only takes about 15 minutes and creates a solution to correct the mount and provide excellent polar alignment. 


Edited by idclimber, 07 July 2020 - 09:30 AM.


#6 bobzeq25

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 09:36 AM

I got a PoleMaster when they first came out, before Sharpcap was an option.  It's extremely simple and works very well.  These days many like Sharpcap because it's free and also works.  Just a personal choice.  PoleMaster, I think, is a bit better (just like their software), but costs $300, and the free Sharpcap does the job.

 

I think the new iOptron iPolar is the best yet, it too costs money, and is, I believe, only available with certain iOptron mounts.  I think there's also something in PhD2.

 

The bottom line is that there are now a number of alternatives that can all do polar alignment better than most people need, rapidly and easily.


Edited by bobzeq25, 07 July 2020 - 09:40 AM.


#7 khursh

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 11:06 AM

FYI. Sharpcap Pro which has the PA routine is not free, it is 10GBP (about $14) per year.



#8 chadrian84

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 11:18 AM

Do long FL scopes (narrow FOV) work with sharpcap? I don’t use guide scopes, OAG only. I have 3 pole masters which work well but using the main scope camera makes sense if it works.

#9 RandallK

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 01:02 PM

I got a PoleMaster when they first came out, before Sharpcap was an option.  It's extremely simple and works very well.  These days many like Sharpcap because it's free and also works.  Just a personal choice.  PoleMaster, I think, is a bit better (just like their software), but costs $300, and the free Sharpcap does the job.

 

I think the new iOptron iPolar is the best yet, it too costs money, and is, I believe, only available with certain iOptron mounts.  I think there's also something in PhD2.

 

The bottom line is that there are now a number of alternatives that can all do polar alignment better than most people need, rapidly and easily.

I have PoleMaster and now iPolar in my CEM-40 mount and yes, you are correct...the iPolar is about 1/2 hour more sensitive in capturing Polaris and setup is soooo much quicker. For us folks farther north, it gives us more critical imaging time!



#10 Umasscrew39

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 01:18 PM

Do long FL scopes (narrow FOV) work with sharpcap? I don’t use guide scopes, OAG only. I have 3 pole masters which work well but using the main scope camera makes sense if it works.

As long as you have a FOV of 1-2.5 degrees, are within 5 degrees of the Pole, and can see 15 stars, SC will work.  That is why Robin recommends a guide scope with around a  200mm focal length.   I actually use the Polemaster camera with SC to align with the Pole.  I find the SC software easier and quicker to use.  With that said, I have compared PoleMaster, SC, and the old painful gold standard, drift alignment in my observatory and all three are very close.  



#11 OhmEye

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 02:46 PM

I always seem to have some uncommon stuff to deal with! :) This time of year the PM software is usable to me about 40 minutes before I start imaging. My main imaging location in my yard has tree branches in the view of Polaris, and I can use the PM software much sooner than Sharpcap because while the sky still has brightness the edges of the leaves and branches fool Sharpcap's star detection and it fails to solve until it gets dark enough to not see the tree. This doesn't bother me though since I prefer to use PM anyway since it remembers the cone error and doesn't go through a rotation routine to find it every time it's used.



#12 robbieg147

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 03:20 PM

Some people like buying extra gadgets. For everyone else, there's the Sharpcap alignment process

With the Polemaster I know I am aligned before mounting the scope. It is also so quick only a couple of minutes and so accurate. Once I started using the Polemaster I could get 3 minute subs unguided with my AVX.


Edited by robbieg147, 07 July 2020 - 03:21 PM.

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#13 nimitz69

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:26 PM

I don't own a polemaster, but it seems to me that the same routines used by the polemaster software should work equally well through the OTA/camera as opposed to the polar scope. As long as the OTA is aligned precisely with the polar scope, why do we need the $350 polemaster camera at all?


You don’t, you only need a $15/yr subscription to SharpCap Pro and your guidescope and guide camera

Edited by nimitz69, 07 July 2020 - 05:48 PM.


#14 OhmEye

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:37 PM

Indeed you don't. It's simply a luxury. Having a camera permanently mounted on the mount in a fixed position that doesn't change alignment with the RA axis doesn't require going through a camera alignment routine every time to find the cone error. I wouldn't recommend a Polemaster if budget is an issue but I enjoy the indulgence. People spend 2-3 times what I think is reasonable for an automobile, and I have a dedicated camera that shaves a few minutes a month off my PA time. Humans. We're weird.



#15 SoDaKAstroNut

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 08:38 PM

Not only is a Polemaster not needed, a view of Polaris is not needed either. Programs like TheSkyX used with the Paramounts use a model created by plate solving images all over the sky. Only about 30 to 40 points are needed for a portable realignment of a larger pointing model that was created previously. This usually only takes about 15 minutes and creates a solution to correct the mount and provide excellent polar alignment. 

...at only $9,000, plus tax & shipping. I will stick with my trusty PoleMaster until I hit the lottery.



#16 idclimber

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 02:51 AM

...at only $9,000, plus tax & shipping. I will stick with my trusty PoleMaster until I hit the lottery.

TheSkyX imaging addition is $495. It also works on most mounts. You do not need a Paramount to do this.



#17 terry59

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 06:43 AM

I've had a few occasions when I've gotten a bad alignment with the PM and it is nice to be able to redo the alignment on the fly



#18 WebFoot

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 03:23 PM

I'm a big fan of "easy."  Especially in a hobby where so little is "easy."

I used to do a drift polar alignment.  Works great, and doesn't take a long, long time.  But it's annoying, and does take time away from using the scope.

I bought Polemaster a year ago.  My only regret is that I didn't buy it years earlier.  I don't know of the other computer aids (other than Tpoint, which takes a long time), so I can't compare, but I can say that Polemaster is that rare tool with software that just works, and UI that is easy and intuitive.

I like easy.

 

Mark


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#19 nimitz69

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 06:53 PM

...at only $9,000, plus tax & shipping. I will stick with my trusty PoleMaster until I hit the lottery.


Or just go with the $15/yr SharpCap option ... smile.gif

#20 pbmazda32

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:47 AM

I've had three back surgeries and now I'm looking at a neck surgery. It's painful and difficult to get down and look through that tiny polar scope. I bought the ipolar and it's been wonderful.

#21 freiform

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 08:52 AM

There's also EKOS which has a PA routine similar to SharpCap. And it's free as in beer AND speech. It's requires you to use INDI, so your hardware has to be connected to a Linux system (or a Mac). EKOS itself will also run on Windows, though. And it can control the hardware through the INDI server.

 

CS

Sven




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