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Best Practices - Nexstar Mount, CPWI, Stellarium and SharpCap

Celestron EAA
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#1 degantx

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 08:06 PM

Folks-

 

i've gotten everything working but there persists some annoyances.  Most painful is at some point during a session my work in Sharpcap falls apart as the mount isn't keeping sync with the star and they are lines of movement instead of dots of light....

 

So here's what I do and I'm interested in bullet-proofing this with your best practices:

 

1)  Power up 8se Nexstar mount

2)  Using hand controller ensure telescope is point generally NORTH and LEVEL

3)  Power off and then Power ON at the above alignment

4)  Start CPWI and connect to hand controller (with USB plugged in with computer).

5)  Start alignment from CPWI and do two stars on opposite side of meridian

6)  Fire up Stellarium and SharpCap, focus with SharpCap live view.

7)  Find a target in Stellarium and goto there via SLEW command in Telescope add-in

8)  Use Sharpcap to do PLATE SOLVE AND SYNC (successfully, using ASTAP)

9)  Start livestack

 

The above worked last time for a few objects just fine.  Then ask some point repeated 7, 8 and plate solve fails 'cause things are not staying aligned with stars. I really don't want to start all over every hour or two...

 

This is over a few hours.  In essence I get things very well lined up and then after while, I can still find a star but things don't stay tracking and so plate solve and live stacking fail because of star movement.  As if CPWI decided to stop tracking a star or was lost in that process...

 

Help!

 



#2 Notdarkenough

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 08:33 PM

Sounds like some kind of communication problem. Any particular reason you use 2 planetarium programs simultaneously? I haven't used CPWI for 8 or 9 months, but I remember it not shared well. I was using CPWI as a Celestron ASCOM hub, and CdC with SharpCap and NINA. I think if you Align in CPWI, you should keep the GoTos in CPWI as well. It will work in the SharpCap Telescope Module and you can even leave a pop-up slew window from CPWI on top of SharpCap if you want. I just don't think Alignment in one program and GoTo in another is going to be solid.



#3 PeterAB

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 09:19 PM

Hi,

 

Are you connecting Stellarium and SharpCap to the ASCOM interface that CPWI manages? 

 

This caused me some confusion.    If aligning with CPWI, everything needs to go through CPWI.   Attempting to connect to the telescope directly or through the standard Celestron ASCOM interface won't work.

 

Peter


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#4 Tfer

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 09:37 PM

When needed (scope is generally parked in my observatory, but occasionally loses its alignment), I use CPWI and StarSense to align, then take over control with SkySafari Pro.

 

I’ve never had an issue with it.



#5 degantx

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 09:41 PM

Sounds like some kind of communication problem. Any particular reason you use 2 planetarium programs simultaneously? I haven't used CPWI for 8 or 9 months, but I remember it not shared well. I was using CPWI as a Celestron ASCOM hub, and CdC with SharpCap and NINA. I think if you Align in CPWI, you should keep the GoTos in CPWI as well. It will work in the SharpCap Telescope Module and you can even leave a pop-up slew window from CPWI on top of SharpCap if you want. I just don't think Alignment in one program and GoTo in another is going to be solid.

 

 

Hi,

 

Are you connecting Stellarium and SharpCap to the ASCOM interface that CPWI manages? 

 

This caused me some confusion.    If aligning with CPWI, everything needs to go through CPWI.   Attempting to connect to the telescope directly or through the standard Celestron ASCOM interface won't work.

 

Peter

 

Yes I use CPWI because of the ASCOM drivers are needed for Stellarium.  CPWI just not robust enough for a planetarium.  Plus it can't do the align.  Now someone can enlighten me here if that's wrong but Peter you seem to confirm my understanding and actions.  I would be happy to dump CPWI but doesn't seem feasible based on my understanding.



#6 Notdarkenough

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 10:12 PM

Yeah, no getting around CPWI right now. However, you can do the alignment in CPWI. It isn't as busy as other planetarium programs, but it is a solid GoTo agent. I have a copy of Starry Nights (free with Evo 8HD), TheSky Imaging (huge discount with iOptron), and my true love, SkySafari Pro. For 90% of everything I do, they all work just as well as CPWI, especially if you are plate solving. Even the stripped-down Atlas in NINA is good enough for most stuff.

 

If you want to use Stellarium, don't even start CPWI. Your pc can still use the ASCOM drivers from CPWI to allow the mount to talk to Stellarium without connecting to CPWI. Whether CPWI or Stellarium, try just 1 and see if it works out better.


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#7 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 10:18 PM

Moving from EAA to Astronomy Software & Computers for a potentially better fit.



#8 PeterAB

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 10:20 PM

Hello again,

 

You can download the Celestron ASCOM driver and use that (Celestron Unified (6.1.7350, Feb 2020) Telescope & Focuser) directly from:

 

https://ascom-standa...copeDrivers.htm

 

Align with the hand control.    Connect Stellarium and Sharpcap through the Celestron ASCOM driver.    The standard Celestron ASCOM driver goes through the hand controller.     The hand controller is fully functional in this configuration.   This is configuration I use most often and prefer to using CPWI.     This is mostly because I don't like looking hand controller functions. 

 

No need for CPWI in this configuration.    CPWI does some interesting things.    If you are not wedded to one of cool features, I would just skip it for now.

 

Peter


Edited by PeterAB, 03 May 2022 - 10:25 PM.

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#9 degantx

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 10:29 PM

Hello again,

 

You can download the Celestron ASCOM driver and use that (Celestron Unified (6.1.7350, Feb 2020) Telescope & Focuser) directly from:

 

https://ascom-standa...copeDrivers.htm

 

Align with the hand control.    Connect Stellarium and Sharpcap through the Celestron ASCOM driver.    The standard Celestron ASCOM driver goes through the hand controller.     The hand controller is fully functional in this configuration.   This is configuration I use most often and prefer to using CPWI.     Theis is mostly because I don't like looking hand controller functions. 

 

No need for CPWI in this configuration.    CPWI does some interesting things.    If you are not wedded to one of cool features, I would just skip it for now.

 

Peter

Intriguing tip.  Thanks!  I am not a fan of having multiples running and don't have use for CPWI so that might just work!  Not necessarily wed'd to Stellarium either so some refresh of others might be due.  I had to move off of kStars/Astroberry as it just wasn't beefy enough and running on windows now.

 

Tnx!



#10 degantx

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Posted 09 May 2022 - 10:07 PM

I am successful running with a Auto 2 star align via the hand controller and then connecting via Celstron ASCOM driver.  However in retrospect I think my perception of the 'scope not tracking is more of my unfamiliarity with SharpCap and its inability to stack because of not enough gain/exposure time.  So the image looks blurred.  But I'm going to keep it this way for now with very simple  connections/software.

 

Thanks for the tips!



#11 musicmatters

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 08:11 PM

I would skip the alignment in CWPI, and just use the plate solving function of Sharpcap to sync with CWPI.   You don’t need to do the 2 stars in both sides of the Meridian 


Edited by musicmatters, 10 May 2022 - 08:13 PM.


#12 Notdarkenough

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 09:16 PM

I would skip the alignment in CWPI, and just use the plate solving function of Sharpcap to sync with CWPI.   You don’t need to do the 2 stars in both sides of the Meridian 

In CPWI (and HC) you need a Alignment Success screen or the tracking will not start. However, you can do a Quick-Align in CPWI that is just whatever star or space the the pc thinks the target is aiming at, and then do your first plate-solve. That is the only trick to plate-solving with with CPWI, no automated tracking without at least a Quick-Align. 


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#13 degantx

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 07:19 AM

Yes I’ve learned on Celestron Goto mounts you must do an alignment successfully or nothing works.  

In CPWI (and HC) you need a Alignment Success screen or the tracking will not start. However, you can do a Quick-Align in CPWI that is just whatever star or space the the pc thinks the target is aiming at, and then do your first plate-solve. That is the only trick to plate-solving with with CPWI, no automated tracking without at least a Quick-Align. 



#14 musicmatters

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 08:12 AM

In CPWI (and HC) you need a Alignment Success screen or the tracking will not start. However, you can do a Quick-Align in CPWI that is just whatever star or space the the pc thinks the target is aiming at, and then do your first plate-solve. That is the only trick to plate-solving with with CPWI, no automated tracking without at least a Quick-Align.


Yes, that is what I meant. You can skip the multi star alignment in CWPI. Do a quick align and slew it to a star. Plate solve and center, and then tell CWPI it’s aligned in that star


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