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A beginner-friendly smart EAA setup

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#1 cuivienor

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:09 AM

Hello,

 

I have recently been more and more attracted by EAA (especially thanks to the ASIAIR and news about eVscope and Stellina), so I decided to see whether it would be possible to make an eVscope or Stellina equivalent (e.g. smartphone control, auto pointing and centering, live stacking, just plop the tripod down and it works) that remedies what I see are the main drawbacks of those solutions: modular, ultraportable, cheap and that anyone can build.

 

I came up with Raspberry Pi + Stellarmate + AZ-GTi + EvoGuide 50ED DX + Random ASI camera, but anything works because it's modular ! And I've posted the whole tutorial on how to build this here: https://youtu.be/0JdtL950RjQ

 

I hope this can be useful to anyone starting in EAA (as I am!)

 

Cuiv


Edited by cuivienor, 20 October 2021 - 01:11 AM.

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#2 Kaikul

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 05:35 AM

cuivienor,

 

What a wonderful project. I perused your YT video and would watched it again to get into the nitty gritty. I have a few items I could use to make a serious attempt on this. In regards to the mount, is my understanding correct that any WiFi capable mount would work? (I have an orphaned Celestron GT mount and an old Celestron Wifi dongle.)

 

Thanks for the share!

 

kaikul



#3 zoltrix

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 06:18 AM

thanks a lot Cuiv

fantastic movie

#4 alphatripleplus

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 07:14 AM

Nice video. The modular approach will appeal to a number of people who don't mind understanding how it all goes together.



#5 jprideaux

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 07:46 AM

Very nice. Basically a home-built Vaonis Vespera but missing the Vespera auto-focus. There is a bit of one-time set-up in the initial build but it doesn’t look all that hard. Well done!

#6 jkelly

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:22 AM

Thanks Cuiv,

 

I have been looking for a project like this and was able to order an in-stock scope and mount.

I have a ZWO and a RPI 4 so I downloaded Stellarmate and have that all set up....just

waiting for the mount to arrive. 

 

I hope you produce a few followups to further develop the system and show off what it can do.

 

I plan on doing a few public demo's once I get everything going!

 

TY!

 

Jeff


Edited by jkelly, 20 October 2021 - 09:23 AM.

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#7 alphatripleplus

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:43 AM

The modular approach looks great for building a lightweight and very portable EAA set-up. It would seem to make it  very easy to pack the components up for travel, which might be harder to do with a non-modular set-up that can't be easily disassembled.



#8 Lastinline

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:53 AM

Very cool! Hope to see some EAA content on your channel.



#9 rdmarco

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:08 AM

Hello,

 

I have recently been more and more attracted by EAA (especially thanks to the ASIAIR and news about eVscope and Stellina), so I decided to see whether it would be possible to make an eVscope or Stellina equivalent (e.g. smartphone control, auto pointing and centering, live stacking, just plop the tripod down and it works) that remedies what I see are the main drawbacks of those solutions: modular, ultraportable, cheap and that anyone can build.

 

I came up with Raspberry Pi + Stellarmate + AZ-GTi + EvoGuide 50ED DX + Random ASI camera, but anything works because it's modular ! And I've posted the whole tutorial on how to build this here: https://youtu.be/0JdtL950RjQ

 

I hope this can be useful to anyone starting in EAA (as I am!)

 

Cuiv

Way to go, Cuiv!. Do you you think I would be able to get similar results with 60mm refractor on the AZ-GTi in EQ-mode? I also have a zwo focuser. I don't know about the focuser app in ekos.



#10 Borodog

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 02:19 PM

The project is fantastic; amazing job.

 

For $275 I would have expected better stars out of the Sky-Watcher EvoGuide 50ED, though. I know it's no RedCat, but that seems worse than my $80 SVBONY guide scope.


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#11 GSBass

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 03:08 PM

Enjoyed the video, Having autofocus does seem important though…this mostly makes me appreciate more what went in to Vespera to make it easy but also shows that it’s a no brainer that Celestron and skywatcher will be able to make these systems even at a cheaper price…. 



#12 EmeraldHills

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 03:53 PM

Cuiv, you're our hero. How's your back pain?

 

Hello,

 

I have recently been more and more attracted by EAA (especially thanks to the ASIAIR and news about eVscope and Stellina), so I decided to see whether it would be possible to make an eVscope or Stellina equivalent (e.g. smartphone control, auto pointing and centering, live stacking, just plop the tripod down and it works) that remedies what I see are the main drawbacks of those solutions: modular, ultraportable, cheap and that anyone can build.

 

I came up with Raspberry Pi + Stellarmate + AZ-GTi + EvoGuide 50ED DX + Random ASI camera, but anything works because it's modular ! And I've posted the whole tutorial on how to build this here: https://youtu.be/0JdtL950RjQ

 

I hope this can be useful to anyone starting in EAA (as I am!)

 

Cuiv


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#13 cuivienor

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:30 PM

Thanks for all the comments! And good luck on the build for those attempting it :)

 

@Kaikul: any mount supported by Stellarmate would work (either via Wifi or USB connection)

 

@jprideaux & GSBass: I'm actually super impressed by the Vespera in terms of price vs capabilities. They must have planned to move a huge amount of units to reach that price point. It's just... I know that in a couple of years a Vespera 2 will be released with a better sensor and processor... but you need to switch the whole setup to get that. It just pains me how telescopes like that are like smartphones: difficult to repair, impossible to upgrade, and overall strong e-waste generators.

 

@Borodog: keep in mind I'm not in focus - just rough focus, and I have a lot of field rotation (because my ghetto EvoGuide 50ED to dovetail really introduced a huge difference between optical axis and mount pointing axis). What you're seeing here is absolutely not representative of the scope!

 

@EmeraldHills: back is better thank you! I'm dreading the surgery to remove the stuff from my spine though...


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#14 Ptarmigan

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 11:19 PM

Now, that is cool. cool.gif waytogo.gif



#15 alphatripleplus

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 07:17 AM

It will be interesting to see if some people do try to replicate cuivienor's modular set-up and post here after they have done so.



#16 GSBass

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 10:42 AM

I hope that many do try to do it themselves, but you really do need autofocus and an advanced software derotator and a higher degree of automation, but all of that will come as more people do it. The ability to swap camera out is huge as Culvienor pointed out… Vespera is not even here yet but I would love for them to swap out the 462 for the 464 already.. that would be a huge FOV in that scope and they literally could probably do it for the same price point. Perhaps someone will take a Vespera apart one day and see what kind of Frankenstein work could be done…. I bet the 464 could be installed because the software parameters might be very well the same….. moving to a different chip entirely would require software hacking 



#17 zjc26138

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 11:23 AM

That's an awesome setup!

 

Thanks for doing this!

 

I've considered getting into EAA for my outreach events.



#18 Borodog

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 12:31 PM

keep in mind I'm not in focus - just rough focus, and I have a lot of field rotation (because my ghetto EvoGuide 50ED to dovetail really introduced a huge difference between optical axis and mount pointing axis). What you're seeing here is absolutely not representative of the scope!

 

I could forgive imperfect focus and field rotation; what I saw was wicked coma as you were focusing. Better focus will make the stars smaller, but it won't make them rounder.



#19 Borodog

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 12:36 PM

Also, "ghetto." LOL!



#20 bdjeep

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 01:31 PM

Thanks for the video.  I have a scope, mount, and camera but was looking for an automated solution that I can operate from inside in the cold weather.  I didn't really want to deal with a full remote computer at the scope.  I might give Stellarmate a try with a raspberry pi that I have lying around.  I didn't have luck with astroberry and live stacking.



#21 halsmaulwurf

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 04:27 PM

It will be interesting to see if some people do try to replicate cuivienor's modular set-up and post here after they have done so.

I had considered a very similar setup 2 weeks ago, but Cuiv gave me the courage to give it a try. I am also new to EAA astronomy and have only done AP before.

Since I don't even have a balcony, I thought of a rather unconventional solution for my kitchen window. The frame is clamped to the fixed frame with a C-clamp. I used the AZ-GTI on a ZenithStar ZS61 OTA with an Altair GPCAM2 224C, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it. I run it with Kstars and Ekos, all via cable directly on the Mac.

 

Future plans are to work more with Kamere lenses, as I think the Z61 is a bit overkill for eaa out of the window.

 

Live stacking is done with ASTAP, I haven't found anything better yet.

Eaa from the kitchen is much more pleasant than AP on the mountain at -10 Celsius.

 

Today, however, we have 98% moon. I am observing under a bortle 5 sky in a city in Germany.

 

EAA Setup
Eaa Setup
 
EAA M36

Edited by halsmaulwurf, 22 October 2021 - 01:51 AM.

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#22 gwal0

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 01:08 PM

Thanks Cuiv for the video (I watched it already for two times...) and the ideas behind it. I have to admit that I own an eVscope and have ordered a Vespera, which in many ways is similar to your modular solution. But I own also other telescopes, which I use with an Atik Infinity and an ASI224 on GoTo mounts. I have to admit that I have my problems with GoTo mounts and was looking for a solution that uses plate solving. And there it is!

I also have to admit that although having been a geek some decades ago, I went for an easy solution this time and just ordered a Stellarmate Plus...

Best regards and keep up the good work,

Gerd Waloszek


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#23 Joey44

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 05:24 AM

I would like to build this if I can find a Skywatcher AZ-GTI or GTe mount; they are out of stock at all the US retailers I have checked. I guess I will look for used. I do have a question about the best camera to use for this scenario-the Skywatcher EvoGuide 50ED as a live viewing color EAA setup with the ability to save stacked files in best-available quality but with no interest in post-processing.

 

I see that Cuiv used a smaller chip camera than the ones he recommends on the comments page, the ZWO ASI482MC or 485MC. It looks to me like these two cameras are similar except for the pixel size.
I have read about matching cameras with intended uses and involving calculating arc seconds/pixel and worrying about oversampling or undersampling, but I don’t understand how to apply this. I would like to be able to have as wide a field of view as is reasonable with this scope, and use it for DSOs and larger galaxies. A larger chip camera sounds like the way to go but I am looking for best bang for the buck.

I would really appreciate any advice on the best camera for me. Thanks in advance to the always helpful CN community



#24 GSBass

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:45 AM

Just noting the Vespera is 50mm and gets away with using the 462 chip, so the imx464 is what I would be looking at for that project…should be plenty big for that scope size….. as far as sampling, they are 2.9 also and I am not seeing any issues in Vespera sample images ….. I also should point out that although not spot on, both these cameras are more color corrected out of the box than 485 and are far easier to dial in…. But if automation is the goal your still going to need a way to change the cameras RGb settings on start up, either manually or ideally with a script. The 485 is such a great value because it’s a huge chip for the money but color correction prevents me from recommending it for your purpose, I really think the imx464 is what you probably need

I would like to build this if I can find a Skywatcher AZ-GTI or GTe mount; they are out of stock at all the US retailers I have checked. I guess I will look for used. I do have a question about the best camera to use for this scenario-the Skywatcher EvoGuide 50ED as a live viewing color EAA setup with the ability to save stacked files in best-available quality but with no interest in post-processing.

 

I see that Cuiv used a smaller chip camera than the ones he recommends on the comments page, the ZWO ASI482MC or 485MC. It looks to me like these two cameras are similar except for the pixel size.
I have read about matching cameras with intended uses and involving calculating arc seconds/pixel and worrying about oversampling or undersampling, but I don’t understand how to apply this. I would like to be able to have as wide a field of view as is reasonable with this scope, and use it for DSOs and larger galaxies. A larger chip camera sounds like the way to go but I am looking for best bang for the buck.

I would really appreciate any advice on the best camera for me. Thanks in advance to the always helpful CN community


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#25 Joey44

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:30 PM

Just noting the Vespera is 50mm and gets away with using the 462 chip, so the imx464 is what I would be looking at for that project…
 

The only camera that I can find with the imx464 chip is from Player One, a company that I have not heard of. I am a newbie and would prefer a more "mainstream" camera that hopefully would be more likely to be supported here on CN and I assume more likely to be natively supported by Stellarmate and other products. Forgive my ignorance if I am off-base here. Also, I am interested in what you mean by "changing the cameras RGB settings". Does the software that comes with Stellarmate allow this? If not, since I am not interested in post-processing this could be an issue. I am hoping from some natural colors in live stacked images. I notice on Cuiv's video that he was getting blue/green and red in his Dumbell Nebula stacks with his ASI 178MC camera.




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