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Need a better guiding solution, Lacerta MGEN 3 or Stellarmate Plus?

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#1 Astronomy4You

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 10:53 PM

All,

 

I'm in need of a better solution for guiding. Here's my setup(s) 

 

Main mount is a Losmandy G-11 with Gemini 1

Alternate (portable) mounts are:

Explore Scientific IEXOS-100

Skywatcher AZ-Gti

 

I'm looking for a standalone guiding system where I don't need a laptop in the field to set up for guiding. Since the most I will have is a DSLR (Pentax K-1) and a number of Scopes/Lenses

(Redcat 51, ES 127 Apo, Celestron 9 1/4 OTA & various Pentax Lenses)

 

My current guide camera is a ZWO ASI 174MM

 

Obviously I'm not going to try and mount the 9.25 or 127 on anything other than the G-11.  

 

I'm considering the Lacerta Mgen 3 or the Stellarmate plus (I don't feel like building out  my own system so I want to purchase something all inclusive (aside from the guide scope) I'm considering an OAG and ZWO mini-guide scope. 

 

What I'm unsure about, is what cables I need to hook up to the G-11. Is the ST4 cable enough to get me guiding? I have a wifi connector to the G-11 that allows me to control it with Sky Safari (something I don't do frequently), but would that allow the Stellarmate to slew the mount or do I need to get some kind of cable to do that? If so, what cable and where do I get it?

 

Camera control would be nice to have, but not critical.

 

I've heard about the Atik Base that built off the Stellarmate, but it doesn't seem to be for sale yet.

 

Any advice is appreciated.


Edited by Astronomy4You, 04 August 2020 - 10:54 PM.


#2 tonyt

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 01:30 AM

The mgen should work fine with your G11 Gemini controller, but confirm with a retailer. I had the mgen 2 which is very easy to use and now the mgen 3 where you literally turn the unit on and press one button (then it selects stars, calibrates and starts guiding automatically). I also control the dslr exposures and dither via mgen.

 

I can't compare to any other guiding options as I haven't used them. I successfully guided with mgen 2 the first night I tried it.    


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#3 alphatripleplus

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:35 AM

Moving this to Beginning & Intermediate Imaging for a potentially better fit.



#4 Astronomy4You

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:02 AM

The mgen should work fine with your G11 Gemini controller, but confirm with a retailer. I had the mgen 2 which is very easy to use and now the mgen 3 where you literally turn the unit on and press one button (then it selects stars, calibrates and starts guiding automatically). I also control the dslr exposures and dither via mgen.

 

I can't compare to any other guiding options as I haven't used them. I successfully guided with mgen 2 the first night I tried it.    

Thanks Tony, As there's no retailers here in the states for the MGEN, I have buy it on line.  



#5 artem2

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:22 AM

Hello Astronomy4You, have a closer look also to this device, https://staraid.ai/

The MGEN3 is also a superb standalone guider..

Here is also the technical details for MGEN3 https://mgen-autoguider.com/en/

 

Regards

 

Martin



#6 Astronomy4You

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:38 AM

Hello Astronomy4You, have a closer look also to this device, https://staraid.ai/

The MGEN3 is also a superb standalone guider..

Here is also the technical details for MGEN3 https://mgen-autoguider.com/en/

 

Regards

 

Martin

Martin, I've been following StarAid, but it seems more vaporware than a real product, and very expensive for fewer capabilities than either of my other two choices.



#7 davidparks

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 01:30 PM

The Stellarmate Plus is not a stand alone guiding system...  it's a Raspberry Pi based device that uses Ekos and or PHD2 for guiding, as well as running KStars Planetarium for GoTo.  Ekos also does sequencing similar to SGP...   my point is really that you will still need a laptop, or tablet (iOS/Android) in order to connect and control the Stellarmate.

 

I just don't think it compares to an MGEN for what you are describing (stand alone guiding)



#8 Astronomy4You

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 04:37 PM

The Stellarmate Plus is not a stand alone guiding system...  it's a Raspberry Pi based device that uses Ekos and or PHD2 for guiding, as well as running KStars Planetarium for GoTo.  Ekos also does sequencing similar to SGP...   my point is really that you will still need a laptop, or tablet (iOS/Android) in order to connect and control the Stellarmate.

 

I just don't think it compares to an MGEN for what you are describing (stand alone guiding)

 

It's standalone in that I don't need a laptop. I'm going to have a tablet or phone with me regardless. The IEXOS-100 needs one to control the mount, and I have an extra phone that I can use to control the Stellarmate. I have a wifi controller that plugs into the  Gemini and allows me to control it with Skysafari on my phone, will Stellarmate beable to use that or would I still need a cable to allow Stellarmate to control the mount (Slews etc...)?



#9 jewelsdean

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:34 PM

It's standalone in that I don't need a laptop. I'm going to have a tablet or phone with me regardless. The IEXOS-100 needs one to control the mount, and I have an extra phone that I can use to control the Stellarmate. I have a wifi controller that plugs into the  Gemini and allows me to control it with Skysafari on my phone, will Stellarmate beable to use that or would I still need a cable to allow Stellarmate to control the mount (Slews etc...)?

It appears that indi driver supports connecting to the mount using a wifi/wired network based on settings in the indi control panel, see topic #2.

https://www.indilib....s/losmandy.html


Edited by jewelsdean, 05 August 2020 - 09:49 PM.


#10 davidparks

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 03:55 PM

As jewelsdean states, you should be able connect stellarmate and mount over the network... the thing to remember is everything has to be on the same network...  that is to say, if your “wifi controller that plugs into the Gemini” serves as an access point, then you will need to connect the stellarmate, and all other wireless devices (phones/tablets) to that same wifi controller access point.  (the difference is that your not going to connect your phone/tablet directly to the stellarmate access point)



#11 Astronomy4You

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 04:40 PM

It appears that indi driver supports connecting to the mount using a wifi/wired network based on settings in the indi control panel, see topic #2.

https://www.indilib....s/losmandy.html

 

 

As jewelsdean states, you should be able connect stellarmate and mount over the network... the thing to remember is everything has to be on the same network...  that is to say, if your “wifi controller that plugs into the Gemini” serves as an access point, then you will need to connect the stellarmate, and all other wireless devices (phones/tablets) to that same wifi controller access point.  (the difference is that your not going to connect your phone/tablet directly to the stellarmate access point)

 

Thanks to both of you, Jasem at Stellarmate also confirmed that I'd be able to use the Gemini Wifi to connect as long as I put the IP Address and port in teh indi connection.

 

I did order the Stellarmate Plus as it was available and pretty cheap as these things go. There's no place in the states to order the Mgen 3 from and I'm not sure if 365 Astronomy in England has any in stock at the moment. I have an e-mail request in. If it does, then I'll get that as well. I do like the idea that the Stellarmate can do stuff like SGP which only supports Canon and Nikon neither of which do I use.

 

<SIGH> I wish Pentax had better outside support.




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