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standalone autoguider?

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#1 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:02 AM

Can someone recommend a good one? All I've seen so far are the MGENIII and the StarAid (pricey).  I have a 420mm GT71, and will be getting an 8" SCT (2000-ish mm) at some point.  How long of an exposure would I be able to achieve with a standalone guider like these?



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:10 AM

Standalone versus PhD2 is not really a guiding performance issue.  The guiding performance of each depends on things like seeing, and operator skill.

 

Standalone doesn't require a separate computer (because it's built into the autoguider), costs more, and has less user support to draw on.  Since most of us want a computer at the scope anyway, for other reasons, it's used by a pretty small minority.



#3 rgsalinger

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:30 AM

I don't see how a standalone guider would work adequately for an 8" SCT. For that you need an off axis guider to get really good results.  Anyone using one for that kind of telescope - I'd love to see the results.

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#4 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:40 AM

I think my main usage would be on a GT71, but if I got it, I'd probably try it with the SCT as well.  I like the idea of going standalone and not having to connect a laptop.



#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:18 AM

I don't see how a standalone guider would work adequately for an 8" SCT. For that you need an off axis guider to get really good results.  Anyone using one for that kind of telescope - I'd love to see the results.

 

Rgrds-Ross

The MGENIII is just a camera.  In theory, you could use in with an OAG.  But the form factor (needs a box on the end to house the computer) may make it impossible.  Here's a package with the MGEN-2 and an OAG.

 

https://tavcso.hu/en...ct/MGEN-OAG-Set



#6 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:30 AM

Standalone autoguiders are rapidly being eclipsed by microcomputers such as the ASIair Pro and Astroberry.



#7 B 26354

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 12:31 PM

Standalone autoguiders are rapidly being eclipsed by microcomputers such as the ASIair Pro and Astroberry.

Hmmmm... don't both of those devices require the use of either a "smart"-phone or a computer GUI of some sort? I don't use Wi-Fi for anything.



#8 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 01:24 PM

Hmmmm... don't both of those devices require the use of either a "smart"-phone or a computer GUI of some sort? I don't use Wi-Fi for anything.

Sure.  ANY autoguiding requires a computer (except for the guy below <smile>, although he does require a pipe).  The MGEN just embeds it in the camera.

 

 

55752897_small.jpg


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 September 2020 - 01:25 PM.


#9 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 01:49 PM

Hmmmm... don't both of those devices require the use of either a "smart"-phone or a computer GUI of some sort? I don't use Wi-Fi for anything.

Yes, that is the key difference.  You have to control them from a computer (which can be a small tablet).  A truly standalone autoguider can work without any other computer attached, although it often has the option to connect to a computer to get more data and make more settings.


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#10 Pete_xl

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 03:12 PM

I use an MGEN with a 50/164 mm finder scope since 4 years . It guided a Starwatcher Adventurer, An AZ-EQ-5GT and now an EQ6-R with different scopes from 200 to 910 mm fl which is not the upper limit for the 164 mm finderscope fl. The MGEN ist completely autonomous. It consists of a camera and a small handbox. The MGEN is stand alone in the words pure meaning, needs no smartphone just 12V power. It can perfectly be used with any guidescope or an OAG and it does not need a computer (though it runs with APT and NINA) nor Wifi or anything else. You can take it with you into the outback with just a 12v device or use it in a stationary observatory with remote control. It has an excellent guiding performance and (now that I can compare it from own knowledge) it is WAY! more easy to use and forgiving than e. g. Phd2.


Edited by Pete_xl, 21 September 2020 - 03:13 PM.

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#11 B 26354

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:01 PM

Sure.  ANY autoguiding requires a computer (except for the guy below <smile>, although he does require a pipe).  The MGEN just embeds it in the camera.

Obviously. Ergo, the "autonomous" nomenclature. I thought it was equally obvious that I was referring to a separate, external computer-driven device.

 

Yes, that is the key difference.  You have to control them from a computer (which can be a small tablet).  A truly standalone autoguider can work without any other computer attached, although it often has the option to connect to a computer to get more data and make more settings.

Thank you Michael. waytogo.gif

 

I do understand that a large part of the AP population thinks that wired or Wi-Fi operated devices are the best way to go... but for those of us who don't happen to agree, I don't really see autonomous auto-guiders becoming obsolete. As I've said elsewhere, I do use a tablet-sized laptop for my iOptron iPolar scope... but as soon as I'm finished with polar alignment, it goes back in the house. And every time I see a post about trying to solve a software configuration problem between all of the various pieces of hardware being used and the control-software being used... I smile.  grin.gif



#12 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:45 PM

Obviously. Ergo, the "autonomous" nomenclature. I thought it was equally obvious that I was referring to a separate, external computer-driven device.

 

Thank you Michael. waytogo.gif

 

I do understand that a large part of the AP population thinks that wired or Wi-Fi operated devices are the best way to go... but for those of us who don't happen to agree, I don't really see autonomous auto-guiders becoming obsolete. As I've said elsewhere, I do use a tablet-sized laptop for my iOptron iPolar scope... but as soon as I'm finished with polar alignment, it goes back in the house. And every time I see a post about trying to solve a software configuration problem between all of the various pieces of hardware being used and the control-software being used... I smile.  grin.gif

Yeah, I was responding to someone else's post.

 

I keep the observatory computer connected at all times.  Use it for main camera control when I'm using an astro specific camera.  Platesolving to find targets.  PixInsight to evaluate subs on the fly.  Autofocus.  And I'm doing this all from the comfort of my house.  So, the only time I don't use it for is polar alignment, since that can't be done remotely.  I drag a laptop out for that.

 

As far as software configuration problems go, I use Voyager and Windows 10, carefully kept updated.  I smile a lot.  <smile>

 

None of which is meant, in any way, to try to persuade you that your methods are inferior.  Simply stating that mine are just as good.

 

Actually, they're necessary for the feeble old man.  <smile>  If I didn't have a permanent setup that I can pretty much access remotely, I'd have had to give up DSO AP.
 


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 September 2020 - 06:33 PM.


#13 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:45 PM

Actually I have seriously considered getting an MGEN (which I am told can also do drift alignment).  Simply to keep things simple in the field.


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#14 B 26354

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 08:09 PM

Yeah, I was responding to someone else's post.

Ah... OK.

 

But just to clarify... you quoted mine.  grin.gif


Edited by B 26354, 21 September 2020 - 08:10 PM.


#15 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 08:25 PM

Anyone using the StarAid?  I know it's expensive,  but it does seem super convenient.



#16 B 26354

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:31 PM

Anyone using the StarAid?  I know it's expensive,  but it does seem super convenient.

Hmmmm....

 

Looks to me like at the very least, a laptop or "smart"-phone connection is necessary for focusing, polar alignment, and plate-solving. Not exactly what I'd call "autonomous".

 

Also, it doesn't dither.

 

It's ~$1,168.

 

An M-GEN III is completely autonomous, controls all camera and mount functions -- including dithering -- and is ~$742.



#17 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:09 PM

It works with a phone, but I'm not wondering whether the phone needs a constant connection.  If so, that'd mean leaving my phone outside for hours while imaging while I'm in the house.  Maybe the M-GEN III is the way to go.



#18 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:20 PM

Hmmmm....

 

Looks to me like at the very least, a laptop or "smart"-phone connection is necessary for focusing, polar alignment, and plate-solving. Not exactly what I'd call "autonomous".

 

Also, it doesn't dither.

 

It's ~$1,168.

 

An M-GEN III is completely autonomous, controls all camera and mount functions -- including dithering -- and is ~$742.

Anyone have the M-GEN III in stock?



#19 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:28 PM

I must say that part of the appeal of the MGEN is that it does just one set of things, and keeps doing them forever -- no Windows or Linux OS upgrades, etc.  

 

Thinking about it!


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#20 B 26354

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:23 AM

Thinking about it!

You should definitely download the User Manual, available on this web-page:

 

https://www.365astro...ar-guiding.html

 

With your DSLR set to manual, an M-GEN can be programmed to take very complex multiply-interleaved sets of exposures... along with very finely-tuned dithering.

 

Here's their home page:

 

https://mgen-autoguider.com/en/

 

grin.gif


Edited by B 26354, 22 September 2020 - 01:30 AM.

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#21 B 26354

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:44 AM

Anyone have the M-GEN III in stock?

I got my M-GEN II from 365 Astronomy, in the UK. Great people to work with.

 

I would e-mail these dealers, to ascertain stock availability of the M-GEN III, and to determine any current shipping complications due to covid.

 

https://www.365astro...ar-guiding.html

 

https://www.teleskop...-with-A-I-.html



#22 Michael Covington

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:44 AM

Do I recall the MGEN will do drift alignment?



#23 Pete_xl

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 12:50 AM

Do I recall the MGEN will do drift alignment?

Yes it has a subroutine that measures the deviation and calculates values for the adjustment in RA and DEC. The results are like "Pole is left (right) XXX arcmin."

 

Here is an instruction in English and German:https://teleskop-aus...auf_deutsch.pdf. It may seem a little complicated when reading it but from my own experience I can tell that it is very easy after one or two times practice.


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