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New Starsense - going bokners! Please help!

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#1 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:55 AM

Hi Guys,

Came back from an amazing trip up North and faced an unusual issue - WAY too many bright stars! So tough to calibrate with the red dot because even though I was using my 40mm lens on my 6SE, there are still too many stars to choose in the field of view, to center on :-).

In the area where I live and observe (moderate light pollution), it's normally so easy - get a couple of bright start way apart, center them in the eyepiece, press ALIGN - ready to go! Not the case when there are too many stars above, I didn't really know if I am centering on a star I pointed on with my red dot.

I thought - OK, time to get a Starsense for those amazing skies up North. I bought the Starsense and installed it on the OTA, this part was easy.... I did my homework. I read most threads here and printed out the instructions everyone seemed to like on this forum. I read so many positive things about it, and I am pretty techy, so I thought it should be easy to work out the technical aspects.

 

HOW WRONG WAS I!!!! Now I only can count on the great experts here before I smash this thing with a hammer!

 

I started to process - aimed on the North, set the OTA horizontally, entered the time and my precise coordinates, started the Auto align process. Everything seemed to go well. It did it's thing (I didn't forget to take the cap of the camera :-), and after the Auto align process was successfully completed, I needed to Calibrate. I found Altair, slewed to it using the Calibrate process, I centered it and ALIGNED with high mag eyepiece. So far so good! Then the instruction say: Do RE-Alignment. Done . They say: "save this calibration", I choose Save from the Menu and....

 

HOW DO I SAVE????? The LCD on the control shows: 0, 1, 2, 3 and <EMPTY>, across each number. The instructions say: "press Options and Enter buttons at the same time". I did - NOTHING HAPPENS!!!! How do I SAVE this alignment? Could not find the answer anywhere, hope fully you can help with this.

 

But... The most frustrating is this - according to the manual and the instructions from the forum, I can start observing (even before I add Reference points). So, I just wanted to see if at least the precision to find object is done (I thought I could add Reference points later to  enhance the precision)... I ask the GoTo to go to Dubhe - it goes in a general area... But even with 40mm piece I see nothing.... OK,  I am asking Goto to go to Jupiter that shines right in front of me... I get into a general area again - no Jupiter in the eyepiece again. I thought... OK, at least it will find Moon - NOT EVEN THAT!!!!

 

I spent about 3 hours repeating the processes, trying to follow the instructions to the last dot. I still get the same result!!! When I ask Goto to go to objects, it goes into a general area and doesn't get anything into the ocular.

 

Please help!!! What am I doing wrong? I am honestly going ballistic, and ready to kill this thing.

 

Sorry for the long rant and thanks in advance,

 

Danny



#2 Newbutnotreallynew

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:26 AM

You aligned the starsence camera to the sky. However, did you calibrate the starsence camera to the telescope eyepiece? 



#3 MJB87

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:29 AM

First, you don't need to save the alignment model, and unless you have a fixed pier, it really isn't necessary.  As soon as you move the pier you need a new alignment model anyway.

 

Second, the way you save is to scroll up/down to the desired position (indicated by the number) and then press together OPTION and ENTER. It then saves that alignment information in the desired position (indicated by the number) you selected.

 

Third, make sure you have properly calibrated StarSense to the telescope. StarSense aligns itself (not the telescope) so you need to calibrate it for any errors in exact parallel alignment of StarSense camera and telescope.

 

It may be helpful for you to use some basic StarSense checklists I developed years ago, after becoming extremely frustrated with the manual.  As a former pilot, I was used to simple step-by-step checklists for basic functions. I also wanted big text so I could see them in the dark with a red flashlight. So I wrote these. You can find them here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-find-them-here

 

I don't know if newer versions of the firmware have rendered some of these obsolete.

 

Marty



#4 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:31 AM

Yes, that's exactly what I did after the first step: after the initial Auto Align, I slewed to Altair to CALIBRATE, and then Re-Calibrated with the AUTO ALIGN again based on the instructions. Still, first didn't know how to save this calibration: simulations OPTION and ENTER didn't produce any results and the precision after this wasn't there...



#5 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:38 AM

Hi Marty, Thanks for your reply! It was your check list I printed out and followed to the last dot! As for Save: I did scroll Up & Down and what not, but pressing ENTER and OPTION at the same time didn't produce any results...

But if you're saying Saving isn't a MUST, let's ignore this...

The biggest issue is the accuracy. Why after doing a sky alignment and then calibration the camera and the OTA (based on Altair), then doing Auto Align again - I can't see the object in the eyepiece? What am I missing here????



#6 MJB87

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:58 AM

Lots of possibilities.  Some of this is really basic so please don't be offended by my mentioning it!

 

First, you absolutely have to have the right time and location set. This is trickier than it may seem.

 

Second, when you do alignment, make sure you use the correct arrows for final adjustment.  (I forget what they are but the checklist has it.)

 

Third, make sure you use a high magnification reticle eyepiece (10mm or so is good) for the alignment process. It will help if it is illuminated. Alternatively, if you don't have a reticle eyepiece, just use a high-powered one and then defocus the star until it almost fills the eyepiece view. Easier to center that way.

 

Fourth, add some alignment refs.  I found results improved if I added 3-4 references.

 

Finally, you need to have reasonable polar alignment.  If you are not polar aligned (reasonably well) and you are using a high-magnification eyepiece, you could have excellent alignment to start and then have your target drift out of sight after several minutes.

 

Now -- here is a trick. If your target is not centered, immediately add a new alignment ref in that part of the sky. It will update and "sync" the alignment model for that part of the sky and you will probably find the object in question centered in the eyepiece.

 

Hang in there. StarSense is almost ALWAYS frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well.

 

Marty



#7 MJB87

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 11:01 AM

BTW, on Save Alignment, I don't think the process generates any result but you can check by starting the Load Alignment process. It shows which of the various numerical positions has a saved alignment model. You probably did save the alignment.



#8 Newbutnotreallynew

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 11:33 AM

I don't understand why you're doing the alignment, then calibrating then aligning again? 

 

After first alignment then calibration, isnt it all good to go? 



#9 Woody218

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 11:41 AM

I don't understand why you're doing the alignment, then calibrating then aligning again? 

 

After first alignment then calibration, isnt it all good to go? 

No, because the Starsense camera has a new "center" after calibration, therefore, a new alignment is necessary.



#10 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 12:22 PM

Thanks again Marty,

Here are the points you mentioned:

1. Time and location was perfect

2. I used Up and Right the way you mentioned in the checklist, so this part is done too

3. Magnification eyepieces were as you described as well

4. ALIGNMENT REFERENCES - this part I didn't do as I thought it was optional. I am reading in your checklist and don't really understand something:  "Use direction buttons to move telescope to different part of the sky". What does that mean? Do you mean find a different object (Star) in a different area from the one the scope is aiming at now?

Now, again you recommend to SAVE ALIGNMENT and pressing Option and ENTER simultaneously doesn't produce any effect... I will try Load Alignment (hopefully tonight) but I don't hold my breath.

I just can't believe how complicated the process is though...

Lastly, "Finally, you need to have reasonable polar alignment". I am not sure what you mean by polar alignment, can you explain please.

Thanks a million again!



#11 Newbutnotreallynew

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 01:36 PM

No, because the Starsense camera has a new "center" after calibration, therefore, a new alignment is necessary.

Thanks. So why can't one calibrate first then align? Keep it two step as a pose to three step? 



#12 skaiser

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 01:49 PM

Danny

The system has to ALIGN to know where the encoders are relative to sky objects before you can do a camera calibration which tells the control system where the Center of the camera is relative to the center of your telescope/eyepiece.

 

  Don't worry about Polar Alignment with the 6SE.

Not required for that type mount, only for Equatorial mounts, or if you have a wedge to make your mount Equatorial.

 

If you are in a fairly unobstructed sky view area, stay with using the STARSENSE AUTO align option.

This will auto scan the sky in various locations and complete a Alignment map on its own.

 

NOTE: anytime you shutdown your scope, or Move the scope mount you WILL have to rerun the Starsense AUTOAlign.

 

You DONOT have to recalibrate the Starsense , unless you have bumped the Starsense mount really hard .

If the Starsens mount is properly mounted and tightened , you should be able to remove the camera from the mount (leaving the Starsense base on the scope)  and put ithe Starsense back on without recalibrating.

take care

steve


Edited by skaiser, 01 August 2020 - 01:56 PM.


#13 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for clarifying the issue with Polar alignment Steve. I suspected Marty meant for EQ mount. As for Starsense Autoalign and shutting down - that point is clear, certainly continent if the precision is there. My biggest issue is I can't get the accuracy going AT ALL!!! After the Autoalign and following Calibration, GoTo only goes into a general area but not accurately enough to have an object in the eyepiece, even low mag. one with decently wide FOV...

So frustrating....



#14 RonaldNC

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 03:09 PM

I'll throw my two cents in, as I had a very hard time when I first got my Starsense.  My problem was two-fold.

 

First, I messed up the time due to daylight savings time... which made my alignment way off.  I discovered that pretty quickly and got closer, but couldn't get the object in the eyepiece.  BTW... I've since purchase the GPS module... takes care of location and time syncing!

 

Second, I somehow screwed up my calibration to a point that I couldn't seem to fix it.  I discovered the "reset calibration" function, which cleaned the slate and started over.  Then restarted the calibration process.  I was meticulous in centering object in the eyepiece... getting it down to the 6mm eyepiece and letting the guiding settle a bit to ensure that I got it right.

 

Now I can put on a 17mm eyepiece and the object is always in the view.

 

Also, I have to say that the instructions are a bit confusing in the manual.  I also found an error on one step where they say to hit "align", but you really need to hit "enter".  It's been a while, but I think it was after you complete the coarse alignment... before you start the fine alignment during calibration.

 

Additionally, I found that it's important to have the mount reasonably level and reasonably pointed to north.

 

Hang in there!  It's worth the effort.

 

Ron


Edited by RonaldNC, 01 August 2020 - 03:10 PM.

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#15 skaiser

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:43 PM

Danny

 just to be clear.

you only need to do the starsense calibration 1 time, but it should be as accurate as you can make it.

as others mentioned, if you don’t have a high power eyepiece, (less than 9mm) you can defocus to get a large disc in your eyepiece, to make it easier to tell when it is best centered.

let the scope settle for 5-10 seconds after each slew tweak to take care of backlash.

 

Once you cal the camera, go ahead and power down , then run starsense auto align again.

things should be pretty dead on.

if not then something may be wrong in settings,(date, time zone, location, etc).

I know you check those but be extra careful.

hmm

check your starsense Mount base to make sure it is firmly mounted on scope and that the starsense foot 2 set screws are firmly seated in the dimples located in the mount base.

take care

steve


Edited by skaiser, 01 August 2020 - 04:46 PM.

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#16 Seiten

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 05:41 PM

Thanks. So why can't one calibrate first then align? Keep it two step as a pose to three step? 

You can if you can find a bright start without having an alignment in place.  The manual probably assumes you've installed the SSA in place of any red-dot or star-finder scope.  The manual also assumes you're not adequately polar aligned as well.  If you perform an ASPA after all the SSA stuff, you will have to perform yet another SSA alignment because you've physically moved the mount apparatus.  

 

Celestron claims you do not have to re-calibrate the SSA camera to the scope again, even after removing the SSA camera from the scope.  However, Ive seen that the calibration parameters (in CPWI) will indeed change a tad from session to session.

 

There is alot of work involved in using this.  However, it sure saves alot of neck-pain for me just sitting back and watching the electronics do all the work.


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#17 MJB87

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:03 PM

. I suspected Marty meant for EQ mount.

...oops!



#18 audio_mad

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:47 PM

Thanks Steve, Ron, and Seiten indeed. I did assume the issue of time, and location could be very important, along with the well leveled mount pointed North. I did make sure they're all exact (even decided not rely on the city locations wise but rather entered the coordinates). I also put the star (Altair) very accurately into the center using 8mm eyepiece. I understand I only need to calibrate it once that's why I haven't given up yet. But, Man, this "once" is tough because it looks like everything checks the box but still no object in the eyepiece.... I haven't tried to power it off after completing the process, and then power back as Steve suggested. Will hopefully try in the next few nights (it's going to be rainy in Toronto area tonight and tomorrow night :-).

If this doesn't work... well, alternative cost of wasting time trying to make it work - is less time actually enjoying the sky... I will put back the old red dot, and ship the so-called "easy" machine back :-)

Thanks a million for all the comments guys!!! As always much appreciate your help!

Cheers,

danny



#19 RonaldNC

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Posted Yesterday, 07:07 AM

Danny,

 

Two things caught my eye in your last post.

 

I always turned my scope off and restarted auto align after calibration.  Not sure it's required, but it is different than what you have done.

 

I used the city location when I calibrated, even though Raleigh is 20 miles from my location.  It made me nervous entering long/lat coordinates.  It's too easy to mess up... seconds vs. fractions, west vs. east, etc.  Might be worth trying with a city entered (Toronto?).

 

It could certainly be a faulty mount/Starsense, but I'm still betting on something simple in the process that's not right... but I could be wrong :-).

 

Now if you could help me with getting my guidescope working correctly on my Meade LX85... LOL!

 

Ron


Edited by RonaldNC, Yesterday, 07:08 AM.

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#20 audio_mad

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Posted Yesterday, 09:33 AM

Thanks again Ron! I am with you. I am sure it's something minor that is not done properly, GoTo goes into a general area indeed, just doesn't get to an object accurately... As you suggested, I would try to power it off after completing the calibration, and then power back on, the way you did it.

As for location, I tried Toronto first (it's about 30 miles from where I am) - same result.... Coordinates actually brought the GoTo closer to objects, so probably more precise.

I don't think it's a faulty SS, will give it another try :-)

As for helping you with guidescope on your LX85. I wish I was that good :-))))




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