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Orion SkyView Pro issue slewing to objects after alignment

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#1 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 01:36 PM

Let me start off by saying I am new to using a goto equatorial mount.  I have purchased a used Orion SkyView Pro goto mount about a month ago that has a SynScan controller with firmware version 3 installed.  I have polar aligned the mount and have carefully entered in the long/lat, time, time zone, daylight saving setting, etc into the hand controller multiple times for a 2-star alignment with this mount.  Every time it slews to an object I have selected from the hand controller after alignment, it correctly moves in the right direction to the object but ends up below the horizon when finished.  I have tried different time zones as I am close to -5 and -6 zones with no help.  I have repeated this procedure at least a dozen times with the same failed result.  I have called Orion support and explained in great detail the issue and they think it is the motor control box.  Are these known to fail? Can anyone assist?  I am beyond frustrated with this issue. 



#2 DuncanM

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 01:52 PM

Let me start off by saying I am new to using a goto equatorial mount.  I have purchased a used Orion SkyView Pro goto mount about a month ago that has a SynScan controller with firmware version 3 installed.  I have polar aligned the mount and have carefully entered in the long/lat, time, time zone, daylight saving setting, etc into the hand controller multiple times for a 2-star alignment with this mount.  Every time it slews to an object I have selected from the hand controller after alignment, it correctly moves in the right direction to the object but ends up below the horizon when finished.  I have tried different time zones as I am close to -5 and -6 zones with no help.  I have repeated this procedure at least a dozen times with the same failed result.  I have called Orion support and explained in great detail the issue and they think it is the motor control box.  Are these known to fail? Can anyone assist?  I am beyond frustrated with this issue. 

Can you give us your approximate geographical location? 

 

The symptoms you describe are typical of incorrect time settings.



#3 photobiker

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:12 PM

I have an iOptron CEM40 and found that using the GPS coordinates, the mount determined, changing to day light saving time and changing the time in the hand controller wasn't enough.  I had to also correct the GMT to the correct number, in my case -300.  Then it was correct.  And make sure you have a battery in your hand controller, if it has one, to keep those settings.



#4 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:37 PM

Can you give us your approximate geographical location? 

 

The symptoms you describe are typical of incorrect time settings.

Kettering, Ohio. Lat - 39.40.19 N  Long - 84.06 W 



#5 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:41 PM

I have an iOptron CEM40 and found that using the GPS coordinates, the mount determined, changing to day light saving time and changing the time in the hand controller wasn't enough.  I had to also correct the GMT to the correct number, in my case -300.  Then it was correct.  And make sure you have a battery in your hand controller, if it has one, to keep those settings.

My GMT is -5.  I also tried -6 as I am close to Central Time zone but, had not success.  I am getting my coordinates from my phone.



#6 DuncanM

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:56 PM

My GMT is -5.  I also tried -6 as I am close to Central Time zone but, had not success.  I am getting my coordinates from my phone.

The HC will compensate for location based upon your entered coordinates. Your TZ should be -5 with DST = On:



#7 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 03:29 PM

The HC will compensate for location based upon your entered coordinates. Your TZ should be -5 with DST = On:

I will give is another shot tonight as the last time I tested, I had DST = off.  I believe I tried DST = on as well with -5 TZ and still had the mount slew below the horizon.  Thanks for everyone's help and I will post if I am successful or not.



#8 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 07:55 PM

Still slewing way to low on the horizon to the moon after 2 star alignment. I downloaded synscan init to input all info for alignment with no improvement.

#9 pbretelson

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 08:57 PM

Another interesting observation....When I slew to stars the goto seems to be more accurate.  Not in the eyepiece but, way closer then the moon!



#10 michael8554

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 05:30 AM

Lat - 39.40.19 N is  plus 39.40.19, not minus.

 

From what I've read, your location should be entered as N 39  04 (or 39  04 N) and W 084  04 (or 084  04 W),  the degrees/mins format, not digital degrees eg not 39.06 N or 84.06 W

 

84 degrees west is close to the edge of the -5 time Zone which ends at 90 degrees west, but -5 and DST ON  should work.

 

But you say that Star Alignment is successful ? 

 

Then if GoTo's  to objects that are obviously well above the horizon go wrong, this can be caused by poor power supply - how are you powering the mount ?

 

When I slew to stars the goto seems to be more accurate.  Not in the eyepiece but, way closer then the moon!

 

The moon and planets have dynamic positions day-to-day in RA and Dec, the handset only has an approximate idea where they are.

 

Unlike stars, which by-and-large don't change their RA and Dec.



#11 pbretelson

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:35 AM

Lat - 39.40.19 N is  plus 39.40.19, not minus.

 

From what I've read, your location should be entered as N 39  04 (or 39  04 N) and W 084  04 (or 084  04 W),  the degrees/mins format, not digital degrees eg not 39.06 N or 84.06 W

 

84 degrees west is close to the edge of the -5 time Zone which ends at 90 degrees west, but -5 and DST ON  should work.

 

But you say that Star Alignment is successful ? 

 

Then if GoTo's  to objects that are obviously well above the horizon go wrong, this can be caused by poor power supply - how are you powering the mount ?

 

When I slew to stars the goto seems to be more accurate.  Not in the eyepiece but, way closer then the moon!

 

The moon and planets have dynamic positions day-to-day in RA and Dec, the handset only has an approximate idea where they are.

 

Unlike stars, which by-and-large don't change their RA and Dec.

Not using a negative "-" for the Lat value.  I was just using that as a separator from Latitude and the actual value.  Here are the actual coordinates I am entering in:  084.06 W and 39.40 N.  BTW - I have an Alt Az mount (StarSeeker IV) that retrieves the coordinates automatically from wifi (same coordinates above) and has no problem slewing to planets almost dead on.  As I said, I am very much a rookie and might be missing something here.  Today, I plan on reflashing the hand controller to see if that helps.  I am out of ideas at this point.  I am using a lithium battery to power my scope using the 12v adaptor.  Here is a link on amazon for the battery -  https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  Appreciate your help michael8554 on this!


Edited by pbretelson, 20 October 2021 - 10:06 AM.


#12 DuncanM

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 11:12 AM

Not using a negative "-" for the Lat value.  I was just using that as a separator from Latitude and the actual value.  Here are the actual coordinates I am entering in:  084.06 W and 39.40 N.  BTW - I have an Alt Az mount (StarSeeker IV) that retrieves the coordinates automatically from wifi (same coordinates above) and has no problem slewing to planets almost dead on.  As I said, I am very much a rookie and might be missing something here.  Today, I plan on reflashing the hand controller to see if that helps.  I am out of ideas at this point.  I am using a lithium battery to power my scope using the 12v adaptor.  Here is a link on amazon for the battery -  https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  Appreciate your help michael8554 on this!

Here's the Synscan V3 manual:

 

https://www.telescop...29484_06-13.pdf


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#13 jdupton

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 11:45 AM

pbretelson,

 

Still slewing way to low on the horizon to the moon after 2 star alignment. I downloaded synscan init to input all info for alignment with no improvement.

   Using SynScanInit2 should give you the correct entries. Be sure to use exactly what it says and don't second guess any of the entries.

 

   SynScanInit2 will give you the correct value for your TimeZone entry. This is where many new users go wrong. A TimeZone is really a measure of your location on Earth and has little to do with clock time. TimeZone for a given location never changes throughout the year. It is completly independent of Standard or Daylight time. It is best to think of a TimeZone as a distance or location. Just as a LightYear is a measure of distance and not time, a TimeZone is a measure of location and not time.

 

   Since you got the same results after using SynScanInit2, it might be that your Hand Control has some erroneous values stored for CE (Cone Error) and NPE (NonPerpendictularity Error). These are (re)calculated and stored when you do a three star alignment. They are used again for other alignments. If a bad value gets stored, it will affect future slewing and non-three-star alignments. You may want to try resetting the stored values back to zero. Then see if that helps with your GoTo accuracy issue.

 

   To reset the stored CE and NPE values, do this:

  • Reset the CE using Menu item "Setup | Alignment | Cone Error" [set to 0]
  • Reset NPE using Menu item "Setup | Alignment | NP Error" [set to 0]

 

  • Or, you can do a factory reset which will clear these along with other things.
  • Use Menu Item "Setup | Factory Setting"

   The next time you do a three star alignment, these values will be calculated and stored for you in the Hand Control. Be very careful to center the correct stars when doing a three star alignment as if you happen to center on a different star, it will store a bad value for CE and / or NPE and all subsequent slews can be affected.

 

 

John

 

Edit: Corrected stupid typo / mistake. (LeapYear -> LightYear)


Edited by jdupton, 20 October 2021 - 12:13 PM.

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#14 pbretelson

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:10 PM

Did a factory reset with no luck. Got an EQMOD cable tonight to refresh the hand controller to latest version. Still made no difference. Slewing to moon is still way off where stars are a bit closer. Tried M31 as well and was off more then the stars but not as much as the moon. Ugh....

#15 DuncanM

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:06 PM

Did a factory reset with no luck. Got an EQMOD cable tonight to refresh the hand controller to latest version. Still made no difference. Slewing to moon is still way off where stars are a bit closer. Tried M31 as well and was off more then the stars but not as much as the moon. Ugh....

What happens if you do a 3 star alignment?

 

What I don't understand is how you can even do a 2 star alignment since that implies that the HC can put the two alignment stars close enough so that you can centre them? Are you sure you're actually centring on the correct stars?


Edited by DuncanM, 20 October 2021 - 09:09 PM.

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#16 pbretelson

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 06:06 AM

I did a 3 star alignment last night with no improvement. I am using Sky Map on my phone to verify I have the correct stars. Let me just say I have used this same process when using my alt az goto mount and have had accurate goto capabilities.

Edited by pbretelson, 21 October 2021 - 06:12 AM.


#17 jdupton

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 09:08 AM

pbretelson,

 

   I am not positive but think the Orion SkyView Pro mount is a rebadged SkyWatcher EQM-35. If that is the case, you may get some insight into your inaccurate slewing issue by reading through several threads by other users here on CloudyNights. The following link is to one long thread where lots of users have shared their own issues and workarounds for getting the most out of the mount.

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/707262-how-to-make-a-sky-watcher-eqm-35-pro-work-right/

 

   In regards to SynScan in general, I have also noticed that GoTo slews to the Moon are often off by as much as 1° with my own two SynScan mounts. Planet positions are in the field of view and after a good three-star alignment, slews to all stars and deep sky objects are usually spot on. I think the Moon may not be a good target to judge for GoTo accuracy because the limited computing power of the microcontroller in the Hand Control necessitates a simpler algorithm. (The calculation of the Moon's position can be quite involved for high accuracy.) However, you should be getting accurate GoTos for all stars and deep sky objects.

 

   Which version of Firmware did you re-flash the other day? Was it v3.39.?? or something else. Have you checked the version of motor control Firmware inside the Mount Control box? You should be able to do that from the Hand Control Menus.

 

   There is always the slight possibility that there is a mechanical issue at play also. If the telescope is too unbalanced or too stiff, the stepper motors could lose steps causing poor accuracy. In addition, loose clutches can also result in not getting to the correct position during a slew. It's too bad someone else with SynScan experience couldn't watch your set-up and mount in operation to see exactly what might be happening. A second experienced pair of eyes can sometimes help zero in on a possible cause for the difficulties.

 

 

John


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#18 pbretelson

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 01:46 PM

pbretelson,

 

   I am not positive but think the Orion SkyView Pro mount is a rebadged SkyWatcher EQM-35. If that is the case, you may get some insight into your inaccurate slewing issue by reading through several threads by other users here on CloudyNights. The following link is to one long thread where lots of users have shared their own issues and workarounds for getting the most out of the mount.

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/707262-how-to-make-a-sky-watcher-eqm-35-pro-work-right/

 

   In regards to SynScan in general, I have also noticed that GoTo slews to the Moon are often off by as much as 1° with my own two SynScan mounts. Planet positions are in the field of view and after a good three-star alignment, slews to all stars and deep sky objects are usually spot on. I think the Moon may not be a good target to judge for GoTo accuracy because the limited computing power of the microcontroller in the Hand Control necessitates a simpler algorithm. (The calculation of the Moon's position can be quite involved for high accuracy.) However, you should be getting accurate GoTos for all stars and deep sky objects.

 

   Which version of Firmware did you re-flash the other day? Was it v3.39.?? or something else. Have you checked the version of motor control Firmware inside the Mount Control box? You should be able to do that from the Hand Control Menus.

 

   There is always the slight possibility that there is a mechanical issue at play also. If the telescope is too unbalanced or too stiff, the stepper motors could lose steps causing poor accuracy. In addition, loose clutches can also result in not getting to the correct position during a slew. It's too bad someone else with SynScan experience couldn't watch your set-up and mount in operation to see exactly what might be happening. A second experienced pair of eyes can sometimes help zero in on a possible cause for the difficulties.

 

 

John

John,

 

My SynScan version I flashed to was 3.39.15 which is their (SkyWatcher) latest version.  I did not know you could check the version of the motor control.  I will look into that tonight.  I think you are correct of the rebadge of SkyWatcher EQM-35.  I will look thru the link you provided.  As far as balancing, I have a very light scope (5 pounds) and a have both provided weights on.  I will remove one and rebalance as using the 2 weights is probably overkill for the weight of the scope.  I will also verify the clutches are tight before alignment.  Like I mentioned before, after an alignment (2 or 3 star), slewing to stars were close but, galaxies were further off but not as bad as the moon.  Appreciate the good info!  Wish me luck :)

 

Patrick



#19 jdupton

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 02:11 PM

Patrick,

 

   The Firmware Version readout in the Hand Control is a little odd. Only the Scroll Up button at the bottom right side of the key board layout works to view the extra information, at least for me.

 

   To read out the complete Version Information try:

  • Use the Hand Control menus to access the "Utility | Information | Version" item.
  • You will see the Current Installed Firmware version displayed.
  • Press the Scroll Up button.
  • It will show The Motor Control Firmware version
  • Press the Scroll Up button.
  • It next shows the Hardware version of the Hand Control you are using. This is unaffected by Firmware upgrades and will always be fixed for a given Hand Control unit.
  • Press the Scroll Up button.
  • It finally shows the Database version that is installed. The object database is automatically updated to the latest when you flash a new Firmware load into the Hand Control. The database version number is usually lower than the Firmware version. (For example, I am still running Firmware v3.36 Firmware but my database is at v3.28. Yours may be later.)

 

John



#20 pbretelson

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 04:25 PM

John,

DB version: 3.28
HC version: 3.06
Motor Controller version: 2.7.2
Firmware version: 3.39.15

Can you actually update the motor controller?

Patrick

#21 jdupton

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 05:09 PM

Patrick,

 

   I just verified the motor firmware version on my HDX110 (EQ8). It is at v02.11.04. That may be [is] specific to my mount type. You should check the Orion or SkyWatcher Websites to see which version is the latest for your mount. (You may have to call or email Orion technical support to find the latest version.)

 

   The Motor Firmware can be upgraded. It is done in a manner very similar to updating the Hand Control firmware. The differences are that you need need a different Updater Program specific to updating the Motor Firmware. You also, of course, need the Firmware package itself. The instructions are usually packaged with either the Updater or Firmware download packages.

 

 

John

 

PS: Checking the Orion Website shows that the latest is what you have -- v02.07 for the Motor Control Firmware.

 

PPS: The SkyWatcher Website indicates that version v02.07 is the latest if your older mount does NOT have a USB port on the mount. For newer mounts with the USB port, a different version is available.


Edited by jdupton, 21 October 2021 - 05:25 PM.


#22 pbretelson

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 06:42 AM

Patrick,

 

   I just verified the motor firmware version on my HDX110 (EQ8). It is at v02.11.04. That may be [is] specific to my mount type. You should check the Orion or SkyWatcher Websites to see which version is the latest for your mount. (You may have to call or email Orion technical support to find the latest version.)

 

   The Motor Firmware can be upgraded. It is done in a manner very similar to updating the Hand Control firmware. The differences are that you need need a different Updater Program specific to updating the Motor Firmware. You also, of course, need the Firmware package itself. The instructions are usually packaged with either the Updater or Firmware download packages.

 

 

John

 

PS: Checking the Orion Website shows that the latest is what you have -- v02.07 for the Motor Control Firmware.

 

PPS: The SkyWatcher Website indicates that version v02.07 is the latest if your older mount does NOT have a USB port on the mount. For newer mounts with the USB port, a different version is available.

John,

 

Thanks for the info!  Mine is the older mount with no USB port on the mount so, it appears I have the latest motor controller version.  I have been reading thru the link you provided and many folks where complaining that the mount does not move freely or is stiff and may be the cause for bad goto accuracy.  Not sure how stiff my mount might be.  I will look into this.  Last night was cloudy so, I did not get a chance to test rebalancing with one less counter weight.  It appears the next couple nights will be cloudy here so, I might be a couple days before I give an update.  Again, thanks for your help.

 

Patrick




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