Regardless of whether you choose to guide or not, guiding improves tremendously when the mount has a pointing model to fall back on. I have used my AP1200 in a remote setting to take about 10 minutes unguided images at around 1000mm FL and about 0.5"/px image scale, just by having a solid pointing model. A solid pointing model takes in to account refraction and temperature. I am not sure if the ASIAir has those components or not, but if the ASIAir can't use APCC's APPM, then I would not use ASIAir, period.
One of the benefits of encoders is that they will remove PEC, so that helps with guiding, I am guessing even without falling back on a pointing model.
I prefer to image remote about 30 miles away from home in the mountains. It takes a while to get there because the roads are windy and there are tons of deer out there. There is no internet, no phone signal and plenty of dark sky. I have been imaging in this region for the last 2 years and I have had at least 8 of my imaging attempts fail due to various issues with windows, licenses on astro applications, ascom drivers, and post update incompatibility issues.
8 failed efforts may not seem like alot but you have to factor in the fact that weather has to be clear, I mean pristine no haze or high cirrus, wind has to be under 10mph, the moon has to be gone, and my work/life has to have room for a remote session to occur. Last time I went up there in January it was about 12F, I went on a Friday exhausted after work, got there and setup at about 10:30pm. Conditions were perfect for imaging, I setup everything and went to polar align. Sharpcap wouldn't run because the license expired. No Internet so I could not update the liscense. After about 30 minutes I found the oldest version of sharpcap in my downloads folder when the PA tool as free. I rolled back to that and polar aligned. Next CPWI started giving me fits about staying connected. Some long string of windows error. I finally abandoned plate solving and CPWI and just used the HC on the CGE, again lost another 45 minutes in this process. Got SGP up and running, got phd up and running, another 20 minutes of my time, and was finally imaging. During this time I periodically had to get in the car to warm up because its lethal cold out. Add on probably another 30 minutes. So I got up and imaging and apparently the most recent windows update I did at home deactivated teh metered connection and around 1:30 am the laptop performed a windows update while Im sitting in the car. I realized this at about 2:15 when I would periodically get out to check on things. So I had to reconnect everything and start again. My target I had wanted to image was now setting below the trees and I was ticked I just picked some arbitrary target and imaged that.
Right then and there I fired Bill Gates. Never again would I allow windows to ruin one of my incredibly rare nights to image at a dark site.
This is where the ASI Air came into play. I always thought this contraption was a joke, no way could it smoothly run all of those imaging applications, it must be wrought with bugs and issues. But now I was desperate for a new solution. I sold a starsense I had previously owned and replaced that with the Asi Air Pro. I had about a week of clear skies during a full moon and was working from home so I just decided to try and make myself figure out if I was going to be able to take the Asi Air seriously and left my mount outside all week testing every night. The only bug I found was that the WIFI connectivity is garbage, so I added a Gli.Net Beryl and now I have a wifi signal stronger than my home router. I control everything with my Iphone 12 pro, plate solving, integrations, auto focusing, autoguding all at my fingertips anywhere in my house. There are no windows updates, there are no licenses, there are no drivers, there is no power devouring laptop or cables to connect to the mount form a table, it is all self contained and unbelievably game changing. So this is why I insist on Asi Air Pro. I can stay in my car the entire night at a darksite and at home I can be anywhere monitoring my setup. So all I really want in the mach 2 is its extraordinary encoders correcting periodic error and giving me excellent guiding. ITs too bad that the Modeling software is limited to windows, unfortunately I no longer take windows seriously, it is not something I can rely on to professionally support a critical imaging session so Im done. Windows HAS worked for me plenty of times but its failure rate is no longer acceptable. I may experiment with the modeling program at home but unfortunately this is something I will likely never utilize.
Edited by calypsob, 11 April 2021 - 12:12 PM.