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iOptron CEM70 setup issues

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#1 jase.wells

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:25 PM

Hi, I've been using an older ioptron45 for years and recently purchased a CEM70 to hold a new Celestron 9.25 edge hd.  I am using it for astrophotography, but this problem has nothing to do with Astrophotography.

 

My problem, that I hope someone can help with, is that I can't seem to get it setup correctly.  My level is accurate. I believe I'm balanced properly. The RA and DEC both have locks and are in the best locked position for zero position. The time, date, and daylight savings time is set correctly, and I'm spot on polar aligned using the included app and built in camera. Yet when I go to do a 1 star polar alignment to Capella (or any other star), I am significantly off.  Anything else I try to align I'm way off as well.    The tracking rate is so off that I think its drifting so much that its hard to get PHD2 to align. I'm sure once I have my base alignment straight my PHD2 will fall into place.

 

I have attached a couple images to show how far off it is, what my level looks like.  I'm at my wits end and losing sleep from thinking about it.

 

20201202_202349.jpg

 

 

 

 



#2 jase.wells

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:26 PM

what it says after I find Capella during a 1 star align

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20201202_203211.jpg


#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:33 PM

Is there are a menu setting for "Clear Alignment Data"?  That fixed some problems with my CEM60, by gettin rid of some bad old data.

 

Is the clock working perfectly?  Problems there are a sign that the hand controller battery is not good.

 

Level is irrelevant.


Edited by bobzeq25, 04 December 2020 - 05:33 PM.


#4 rgsalinger

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:34 PM

Are you waiting until you get a GPS "OK" message before starting up the mount? 



#5 redtag

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:45 PM

It is possible you have some cone error,a misalignment between the axis of the OTA and the mount axis. More stars in the alignment process may improve the model and correct for the cone error. 



#6 ChrisWhite

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:13 PM

You mentioned that you manually put the scope to the zero position, but did you sync the zero position in the software to this?



#7 mehdymo

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:13 PM

You are saying that both of your "Go to" and "Tracking" have problem. You are using "Ipolar" so I assume your alignment is correct BASED on what you get from hand controller. Some suggestions:

- Are you using correct firmware and updates? Double check it with the website.

- Are location and time are correct. how about daylight saving? wait for GPS to become "OK" and check the data again.

- leveling doesn't make the tracking so off that you see the drift easily unless the legs are ridiculously uneven. By the way, it is better to level the tripod (don't trust the bubble) before loading the mount.

- Cone error of OTA should only affect "GO to" if I understand it correctly and it should be a little off not too much.

- How about zero position? how accurate is it? You can use levels to roughly determine zero position. I do it with high precision using Polaris moving direction on my screen. I check each axis separately by moving Polariz horizontally or vertically using knob on the mount. As an example, if Polariz doesn't move horizontally, it means RA is not zeroed. If you are using polar scope you can use the bullseye and for ipolar you have to make sure your camera is zeroed as well. Another way is to setup the mount very accurately, go to a star, center it, synchronize it, go back to zero position and make it zero position in hand controller.

 

Thanks

Mo



#8 jase.wells

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:49 PM

Thanks everyone. Will try to address each question.

 

I will try clear alignment

Battery seems strong in the hand controller, time seems to remain accurate. But will keep a look out here.

Yes, I am waiting for GPS to set in.  Its really fast on this one compared to my ieq45.  It beeps at me telling me its ready in just a few seconds. however, I have waited 10s of minutes before doing anything too.

I dont have a lot of sky to work with for using its star selections for alignment, but I have used multiple stars manually after a 1 star alignment, i thought it helped, but it was still way off.

I dont manually put it into position normally, I was just saying that it is in zero position and it has locks, and next jump over would be way off and obvious.  When I'm done for the evening, I use the hand controller to go to zero position.  I am not sure how else to explain this. If you have this mount, you'd understand. Maybe you do.

I will check for firmware updates. Its new and you are right, not everything new comes with the latest firmware. I should have checked that.

Time and day light savings have been checked and double checked.

You said "Another way is to setup the mount very accurately, go to a star, center it, synchronize it, go back to zero position and make it zero position in hand controller." - This sounds like a good idea!  

Mo, I am not following your last comments after "how about zero position" other than the above.  The ra and dec locking mechanisms only lock in certain spots, so I am pretty sure its accurate. I will go muck with it though and see. I will see if I can use a level for that and I will try what I think you are saying about polaris and moving horiz and vert.

 

Thanks all. You have given me some hope for this evening.


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#9 mehdymo

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 08:36 PM

The "Go to" accuracy depends on Zero position accuracy as well. You have to determine zero position as accurate as possible. There is a search for zero position in hand controller that returns it to the factory zero position. But, I always use some logical simple ways to do it myself. Some are as follows:

Removing cone error:

- Put Polaris in the center of polar scope. It should be in the center of the scope as well.

- If Polaris is not centered in scope, adjust the scope or dovetail to fix it.

Determining zero position:

- I level the tripod, set up the mount, and set the zero position roughly. Then I put the Polaris in center of polar scope.

- If DEC is zeroed correctly, star should be in the center of the scope as well.

- Move the mount horizontally or vertically by azimuth or altitude knobs. If RA is not zeroed accurately, the star wouldn't move on horizontal or vertical lines of bullseye (it should move exactly on the line). If it is the case, rotate RA to fix it.

 

This has given me very accurate results on IEQ45 Pro and each time my "Go to" is dead on at even 1400mm focal length.

 

If you do these two steps, your Go to would be very accurate. But, tracking has nothing to do with these two. It is all about accurate polar alignment which depends on accurate information on hand controller and accurate alignment of polar scope with RA. 

 

 

Thanks everyone. Will try to address each question.

 

I will try clear alignment

Battery seems strong in the hand controller, time seems to remain accurate. But will keep a look out here.

Yes, I am waiting for GPS to set in.  Its really fast on this one compared to my ieq45.  It beeps at me telling me its ready in just a few seconds. however, I have waited 10s of minutes before doing anything too.

I dont have a lot of sky to work with for using its star selections for alignment, but I have used multiple stars manually after a 1 star alignment, i thought it helped, but it was still way off.

I dont manually put it into position normally, I was just saying that it is in zero position and it has locks, and next jump over would be way off and obvious.  When I'm done for the evening, I use the hand controller to go to zero position.  I am not sure how else to explain this. If you have this mount, you'd understand. Maybe you do.

I will check for firmware updates. Its new and you are right, not everything new comes with the latest firmware. I should have checked that.

Time and day light savings have been checked and double checked.

You said "Another way is to setup the mount very accurately, go to a star, center it, synchronize it, go back to zero position and make it zero position in hand controller." - This sounds like a good idea!  

Mo, I am not following your last comments after "how about zero position" other than the above.  The ra and dec locking mechanisms only lock in certain spots, so I am pretty sure its accurate. I will go muck with it though and see. I will see if I can use a level for that and I will try what I think you are saying about polaris and moving horiz and vert.

 

Thanks all. You have given me some hope for this evening.


Edited by mehdymo, 04 December 2020 - 08:42 PM.


#10 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 01:43 AM

I had a thought reading through this. Hopefully, even though the OP doesn't mention it they are doing a polar alignment using iPolar before doing anything else. Don't obsess over leveling the tripod either, just get the mount polar aligned. 

 

I have a CEM120 and the CEM70 firmware is pretty much the same. With these mounts, the zero position feature works differently from the earlier mounts. You just set the mount up roughly pointing at polaris and then do a "Search Zero Position". The mount should locate the zero position. It's all on page 18 of the manual. If you don't do that then you will get the symptom that you have now.  In addition it's possible to have the zero position set to whatever you like by moving the mount and then running a Set Zero Position. 

 

I'm not sure how this feature works, though. iOptron seems to call this feature "Autozero" and it's in the manual. I wish that iOptron gave a more detailed description of how it works with the 70.  

 

Then do a 1 star alignment to get accurate pointing. Unless things have changed, though, adding stars does not improve the pointing. 

 

Are you using a camera or an eyepiece?  



#11 Starman27

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 10:42 AM

Moving to Mounts.


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#12 JerryWise

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 11:44 AM

I'm very much in the same boat.  3 weeks in and not a good align yet.  See the post on "Finding Zero Position".  I'll be doing more test on what Ioptron support told me to do tonight (details in other post).  Just doesn't seem right to do this much work to get the mount going.  I've been through a lot of mounts and this one is right testy. 



#13 bobzeq25

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 12:19 PM

I'm very much in the same boat.  3 weeks in and not a good align yet.  See the post on "Finding Zero Position".  I'll be doing more test on what Ioptron support told me to do tonight (details in other post).  Just doesn't seem right to do this much work to get the mount going.  I've been through a lot of mounts and this one is right testy. 

Everyone.

 

Be sure to start fresh.  MENU-ALIGNMENT-CLEAR ALIGNMENT DATA.

 

It's the equivalent of turning your computer off and on.  Works more often than you might think.


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#14 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 01:20 PM

That is Always what i do with my IEQ30 pro.

 

With my CEM60 i Always do a search for zero pos wich automatically clears aligment data...also

 

If i don't do it, the mounts might go beserk...pointing to alignment stars way off...


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#15 jase.wells

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 05:17 PM

Still an issue.  

 

Last night I reset my zero position by unlocking my ra and dec and laying it where it looked right.    I cleared my alignment data.  I then did a 1 star align to Capella.  Capella was visible in my finder scope so I could easily correct and set alignment.  I then went back to zero position and reset zero position in the controller.  I could then go between capella and zero without having to re-adjust. 

 

Then I added Betelgeuse.  It did not land on it. I had to slew about the same amount I did for capella originally to then align to Betelgeuse.  I went to Orion Nebula and had to slew just a little to get there.  I sync'd to both of these objects. I then went back to capella and it was off.  I went back to zero and then to Capella. It landed on capella.  Repeated with Betelgeuse same issue.  

 

I went back to zero, then capella.  Still good. Then something somewhat in between, m81.  Tougher for me to ID this through my spotting scope so I never knew where to go and went back to zero and shut down for the night with tears in my beer.

 

 

What haven't I done yet? I Haven't updated firmware.  attached is my dead on polar alignment.

 

Its supposed to snow here tonight, so everything is inside again, but should have some clear nights to get out sunday on.  

 

If anyone wants to do a video call with me or phone call, I'd love it to cut to the chase.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20201204_185645.jpg

Edited by jase.wells, 05 December 2020 - 05:17 PM.


#16 bobzeq25

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 08:29 PM

Still an issue.  

 

Last night I reset my zero position by unlocking my ra and dec and laying it where it looked right.    I cleared my alignment data.  I then did a 1 star align to Capella.  Capella was visible in my finder scope so I could easily correct and set alignment.  I then went back to zero position and reset zero position in the controller.  I could then go between capella and zero without having to re-adjust. 

 

Then I added Betelgeuse.  It did not land on it. I had to slew about the same amount I did for capella originally to then align to Betelgeuse.  I went to Orion Nebula and had to slew just a little to get there.  I sync'd to both of these objects. I then went back to capella and it was off.  I went back to zero and then to Capella. It landed on capella.  Repeated with Betelgeuse same issue.  

 

I went back to zero, then capella.  Still good. Then something somewhat in between, m81.  Tougher for me to ID this through my spotting scope so I never knew where to go and went back to zero and shut down for the night with tears in my beer.

 

 

What haven't I done yet? I Haven't updated firmware.  attached is my dead on polar alignment.

 

Its supposed to snow here tonight, so everything is inside again, but should have some clear nights to get out sunday on.  

 

If anyone wants to do a video call with me or phone call, I'd love it to cut to the chase.

No call needed, there's an easy fix.

 

You said you were doing imaging.  There's a _far_ better solution for imaging.  No tears in your beer.  <smile>

 

I do no star alignments.  None.  Haven't for years.

 

I polar align carefully with a PoleMaster, one of many methods.

 

I GOTO my target.  I don't care if it's even in the field, it does not matter.  I snap a short image (all I need is some stars) and platesolve it.  I like the free PlateSolve2. 

 

That tells me _exactly_ (understatement) where I'm pointed.  I know where I want to be.  Calculate the difference and enter it into the hand controller or the iOptron software.  Shoot another, longer, test.

 

Wham.  There my target is.  Dead center, I sometimes adjust framing for creative purposes.

 

The hardest part is not going 180 degrees the wrong way, you'll get over that mistake fast.

 

There is software like SGP or NINA or Voyager (what I use, very reliable) that automates the process, and does many other things.  But starting out "manually" is good if you ever need to troubleshoot one of those.


Edited by bobzeq25, 05 December 2020 - 08:29 PM.


#17 The Cat

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 09:40 PM

I am having the same exact issues with my brand new CEM70.  I have read about plate solving software, but I would really like this elite Mount to have proper GoTo functionality with the hand controller. I’ll track this post.  Hope we find some solutions soon!  I’ve been spinning with ioptron support about Zero Position, but none of their suggestions worked. 



#18 HxPI

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 09:50 PM

I have a CEM60-EC and only use platesolve syncs for star alignment. I have stopped doing 1/2/3 Star alignments from the handset a while ago. Preliminary setup includes verifying date/time/gps, clear alignment data, search for zero, and ipolar alignment. From time to time throw in an encoder calibration. After that it’s off to the races. 


Edited by HxPI, 05 December 2020 - 09:53 PM.

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#19 mehdymo

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 10:25 PM

If your mount goes to zero and Capella accurately, then I guess this is cone error. You scope is not parallel to the mount axes. It is easy to fix as I said in my previous comment. There may be better and easier methods. You can even do it in daylight time by bringing something to the center of polar scope and adjust the scope/saddle to center it in scope as well.

Still an issue.  

 

Last night I reset my zero position by unlocking my ra and dec and laying it where it looked right.    I cleared my alignment data.  I then did a 1 star align to Capella.  Capella was visible in my finder scope so I could easily correct and set alignment.  I then went back to zero position and reset zero position in the controller.  I could then go between capella and zero without having to re-adjust. 

 

Then I added Betelgeuse.  It did not land on it. I had to slew about the same amount I did for capella originally to then align to Betelgeuse.  I went to Orion Nebula and had to slew just a little to get there.  I sync'd to both of these objects. I then went back to capella and it was off.  I went back to zero and then to Capella. It landed on capella.  Repeated with Betelgeuse same issue.  

 

I went back to zero, then capella.  Still good. Then something somewhat in between, m81.  Tougher for me to ID this through my spotting scope so I never knew where to go and went back to zero and shut down for the night with tears in my beer.

 

 

What haven't I done yet? I Haven't updated firmware.  attached is my dead on polar alignment.

 

Its supposed to snow here tonight, so everything is inside again, but should have some clear nights to get out sunday on.  

 

If anyone wants to do a video call with me or phone call, I'd love it to cut to the chase.

 

 

I am having the same exact issues with my brand new CEM70.  I have read about plate solving software, but I would really like this elite Mount to have proper GoTo functionality with the hand controller. I’ll track this post.  Hope we find some solutions soon!  I’ve been spinning with ioptron support about Zero Position, but none of their suggestions worked. 



#20 DuncanM

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 02:52 AM

Still an issue.  

 

Last night I reset my zero position by unlocking my ra and dec and laying it where it looked right.    I cleared my alignment data.  I then did a 1 star align to Capella.  Capella was visible in my finder scope so I could easily correct and set alignment.  I then went back to zero position and reset zero position in the controller.  I could then go between capella and zero without having to re-adjust. 

 

Then I added Betelgeuse.  It did not land on it. I had to slew about the same amount I did for capella originally to then align to Betelgeuse.  I went to Orion Nebula and had to slew just a little to get there.  I sync'd to both of these objects. I then went back to capella and it was off.  I went back to zero and then to Capella. It landed on capella.  Repeated with Betelgeuse same issue.  

 

I went back to zero, then capella.  Still good. Then something somewhat in between, m81.  Tougher for me to ID this through my spotting scope so I never knew where to go and went back to zero and shut down for the night with tears in my beer.

 

 

What haven't I done yet? I Haven't updated firmware.  attached is my dead on polar alignment.

 

Its supposed to snow here tonight, so everything is inside again, but should have some clear nights to get out sunday on.  

 

If anyone wants to do a video call with me or phone call, I'd love it to cut to the chase.

I use plate solving as well, via Astroart 7's built in platesolving engine. 

 

However to get reasonably accurate gotos with the hand controller you have to do a 3-star alignment, as two is not sufficient and you have to centre each alignment star precisely using a crosshair EP or a camera.


Edited by DuncanM, 06 December 2020 - 02:56 AM.


#21 michael8554

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 04:47 AM

GoTo a star close to your target.

 

Centre

 

Check focus

 

SYNCH

 

GoTo your Target

 

Finetune framing

 

Start Imaging



#22 takbiker

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 11:22 AM

It was mentioned that synching on an object, then moving to a different part of the sky and synching on another object, then going back to the original object only to have to align it again was a problem.  That is not my understanding of how "synch" works.  Synching on an object moves the entire model by the same amount.  It does not improve the overall model.  To get better pointing accuracy across the sky you need to add "alignment" stars to the model.  However, if you are only using a one star alignment, you can use synching to improve pointing accuracy in a local region of the sky by synching on a star near the location you want to locate. 



#23 starflyer

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 03:43 PM

Still an issue.

Last night I reset my zero position by unlocking my ra and dec and laying it where it looked right.


This is where you're going wrong, on these mounts you don't set your zero position by unlocking the clutches and eyeballing where you think it is.

You use Search Zero Position from the handset / Commander, when the process completes you use Set Current Position as Zero Position. The exact wording may differ, I have a CEM60 EC, but the procedure is needed if you breakdown / set up / unlock the clutches to balance.

You could of course platesolve, I do, but I also do the above and get super close after the first goto with only a small move needed to get bang on.
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#24 jase.wells

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 07:07 PM

I will try the Search Zero Position and then setting it.  I've seen that available.

 

The platesolve might get me to a target, but there is a secondary problem that I haven't mentioned here as I felt I needed to solve the root of this problem first and it might solve my secondary problem.  The second problem is, stars drift a lot.  They seem to drift so much that PHD2 cannot stay locked on a star while its setting up.  I've gone through assistance on the forums for getting phd2 setup properly with this new setup and when I set the mount to track on King rate, I have better chance at PHD2 locking in.    

 

If I am just observing through the scope, I can watch a star slowly drift out of view.  Its not super fast, and I recognize im using a longer focal length scope than I ever have before. Im using an OAG so I know its using the long focal length for the guiding and PHD2 is configured for this focal length.   I select the star to track, the star starts to drift, PHD2 is sending commands to the mounth, and after a couple minutes, PHD2 gives up as it seems the star has drifted too far.

 

So platesolve would get me to a target, but in the end, it wont get me to my goal of tracking.

 

Its clearning up, so I'll get it out again tonight and try the search zero pos.



#25 The Cat

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 08:41 PM

I will try the Search Zero Position and then setting it.  I've seen that available.

 

The platesolve might get me to a target, but there is a secondary problem that I haven't mentioned here as I felt I needed to solve the root of this problem first and it might solve my secondary problem.  The second problem is, stars drift a lot.  They seem to drift so much that PHD2 cannot stay locked on a star while its setting up.  I've gone through assistance on the forums for getting phd2 setup properly with this new setup and when I set the mount to track on King rate, I have better chance at PHD2 locking in.    

 

If I am just observing through the scope, I can watch a star slowly drift out of view.  Its not super fast, and I recognize im using a longer focal length scope than I ever have before. Im using an OAG so I know its using the long focal length for the guiding and PHD2 is configured for this focal length.   I select the star to track, the star starts to drift, PHD2 is sending commands to the mounth, and after a couple minutes, PHD2 gives up as it seems the star has drifted too far.

 

So platesolve would get me to a target, but in the end, it wont get me to my goal of tracking.

 

Its clearning up, so I'll get it out again tonight and try the search zero pos.

The Zero Position business didn’t help me!  And I’ve got tracking problem too, despite perfect polar align.  How can a mount this expensive have some many problems. 




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