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Questions on mount/Go-To/sync

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#1 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:40 AM

Hi there,

 

I've bought a NEQ6Pro some time ago (the one with the old interface, so no direct USB-port, but rather handcontroller-port => handcontroller-cable => handcontroller-to-USB converter => USB-cable => astro-PC), together with a Skywatcher 200/1000 telescope.

 

During summer I've built my own garden observatory (concrete pillar, rollback, ...) and finished it about a month ago. Since then I waited for clear skies and last week there was actually the first clear night - so I used it for SharpCap-supported polar alignment, achieving "excellent" results.

Next step was to run a full three-star-alignment (which I got used to from the times where I had my mount on a tripod) - all good.

 

Finally I wanted to also test (first light) my new astrocam (2600c), but wasn't able to focus (SestoSenso2) due to cloudiness.

 

Last night we finally had clear skies again, so I decided to continue - just to learn that my mount would "Go-To" the floor of my observatory, rather than slewing to NGC 7023 (iris nebula).

And this is actually my first question - does this/my mount really "forget" its alignment when powered off? The mount was not moved in power-off state, nor did I open the clamps to manually align it - after the polar alignment night, I've set a parking position in SGPro and parked it.

 

So I ran alignment (two-star this time) again directly in SynScan (my observatory is/can be fully remote-controlled) with Jupiter and Capella. Jupiter was way(!) off, but after centering it in SharpCap (I don't do it "optical" -> my astromcam is mounted), alignment for Capella was no issue at all.

And here is my second question - I've seen an option "Alignment with Sync" in SynScan, would you please be so kind and elaborate what this is and if it's actually the thing I'm looking for (maybe to solve question 1)?

 

Also what I like to mentioned here is that SynScan is unreliable (tested both 1.19.20 and 2.0.13) - it terminated I think at least 2 or 3 times and after starting it again plus connecting to it via SGPro/SharpCap I just found out that Go-To isn't working and I had to star-align again (--> therefore my questions 1&2).

 

My third question is about (auto-)focusing - as stated, I have mounted a Sesto Senso 2 and was able to "near-focus". So I would like to ask if you could give me any tips like - should I activate/deactivate sidereal tracking to get rid of star-trails (8sec exposure)? Is it better to activate PHD2 during auto-focus? As of now I've set up coarse steps to 200 and fine steps to 70. But it seems whatever I try, SGPro stays with its red line and no confidence for good focus.

 

Many thanks for your time, have a nice day!


Edited by man_in_the_moon, 05 October 2022 - 01:42 AM.


#2 Spaceman 56

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 03:12 AM

if the mount is on a permanent Pier, and you have done an accurate Polar alignment, and you did not take the mount off the Pier, or move it physically, then the polar alignment should be maintained from night to night, and not have to be repeated nightly.

 

the mount knows nothing when its turned off, nothing at all.

 

Parking the mount gives it a home position, and it will ask when it boots up if you are starting from Park.

 

if you start every session from Park, and end every session at Park, you will have a reference that is maintained.

 

then the mount should be able to Slew to targets and have some accuracy.

 

note that every time you boot up the Mount, you will need to tell it the date and time.

 

every target that the mount goes to, depends for accurate positioning on date and time.

 

if you get the date and time wrong, the mount will go to where it thinks the target would be, but the target won't be there.

 

hope some of this is helpful. smile.gif

 

Spaceman


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#3 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 04:43 AM

Hi Spaceman, yes - the mount is on a permanent pier and polar alignment has been done with SharpCap. It was neither moved, nor de-mounted since then (.. as it's an observatory :)).

 

About the "booting up" - I never got the question if I'm starting from park position. I just switch on the power, start SynScan app on Windows, connect it to the mount and that's it. But maybe I missed something?

 

About "date and time" - I fully operate my observatory via PC, meaning SynScan gets date and time from the PCs systemtime (and that is set via NTP - so fully accurate). No hand-controller in use.

 

Thanks for your reply, have a great day!


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#4 michael8554

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 07:20 AM

Permanent setup, good PA.

 

I would think there needs to be a Park option in the mount, the Park in SGP may not be enough - just guessing.

 

So fire up the mount, GoTo a known star near your target and centre it, then SYNCH.



#5 Spaceman 56

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:58 AM

Hi Spaceman, yes - the mount is on a permanent pier and polar alignment has been done with SharpCap. It was neither moved, nor de-mounted since then (.. as it's an observatory smile.gif).

 

 

About "date and time" - I fully operate my observatory via PC, meaning SynScan gets date and time from the PCs systemtime (and that is set via NTP - so fully accurate). No hand-controller in use.

 

 

well if the mount is on a permanent pier, and polar aligned, there is nothing mechanical to do.

 

if date and time come from the computer, then that also can not be wrong.

 

so what actual problem do you have?



#6 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 10:32 AM

Couple of things come to mind. 

 

1. When I had a synta mount (and these days when I use my friend's EQ6R) I used a special cable rather that the port on the hand controller. That removes the HC from the loop completely. I can see that you are in NZ and these may not be easily available, but boy does is simplify the start up. 

 

2. The park position is generally stored in the firmware of any goto mount. That's true of every modern mount I've ever used. What imaging software are you using to control the mount? If you can find the command language for your mount (what the ASCOM driver sends to the mount) you'll see that the Park command doesn't have any parameters. So, it must be stored in some way in the firmware of the mount. There's always an exception though. 

 

3. When using a computer, if the time/date/location are correct AND you have not moved the mount, you just unpark it and off you go. The star alignment - syncs - should also still be stored in the mount firmware. Again, for an authoritative answer, you need to look at the command language for the mount. 

 

4. It's much easier to plate solve if you are using a computer versus trying to do a multi star alignment. Download a copy of ASTAP and be happy, if you are imaging. 

 

5. When auto focusing the mount needs to be tracking. It should track well enough to take short exposures. I just point my systems roughly to the zenith as the first step each night and get focus. 


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#7 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 10:57 AM

I would think there needs to be a Park option in the mount, the Park in SGP may not be enough - just guessing.

 

So fire up the mount, GoTo a known star near your target and centre it, then SYNCH.

OK.. would you please tell me exactly what you mean with SYNC? In SynScan, there's a menu called "align with sync" - when I open it, I can find all objects from star alignment in there (Jupiter and Capella as mentioned in my initial post).

 

well if the mount is on a permanent pier, and polar aligned, there is nothing mechanical to do.

 

if date and time come from the computer, then that also can not be wrong.

 

so what actual problem do you have?

So the issue is that in both cases A) "power off" and B) "SynScan app terminated" that - eventhough the mount is perfectly star-aligned - when I start again and would say Go-To NGC 7023 the mount drives to a position that is nowhere near the actual object. So that's why I think that the mount somehow forgets where it's pointing to.. IDK smile.gif

 

Couple of things come to mind. 

 

1. When I had a synta mount (and these days when I use my friend's EQ6R) I used a special cable rather that the port on the hand controller. That removes the HC from the loop completely. I can see that you are in NZ and these may not be easily available, but boy does is simplify the start up. 

 

2. The park position is generally stored in the firmware of any goto mount. That's true of every modern mount I've ever used. What imaging software are you using to control the mount? If you can find the command language for your mount (what the ASCOM driver sends to the mount) you'll see that the Park command doesn't have any parameters. So, it must be stored in some way in the firmware of the mount. There's always an exception though. 

 

3. When using a computer, if the time/date/location are correct AND you have not moved the mount, you just unpark it and off you go. The star alignment - syncs - should also still be stored in the mount firmware. Again, for an authoritative answer, you need to look at the command language for the mount. 

 

4. It's much easier to plate solve if you are using a computer versus trying to do a multi star alignment. Download a copy of ASTAP and be happy, if you are imaging. 

 

5. When auto focusing the mount needs to be tracking. It should track well enough to take short exposures. I just point my systems roughly to the zenith as the first step each night and get focus. 

ad1) I'm not using the hand-controller at all, it's connected to the PC via this usb module. And this is my mount - so the old version of the NEQ6PRO that doesn't have a direct USB interface.

 

ad2) For polar- and two-star-alignment I use SharpCap Pro, for imaging SGPro. Both are using the ASCOM driver of Skywatcher that is able to connect any software to Skywatchers' SynScan app.

 

ad3) ..and this is precisely what I would assume. I can tell you 100% sure that both the system time (that SynScan is using) and the geo-location are fine and validated. Again, during star-alignment (you need to do the first manually) - the second one is done within 2 minutes with fine adjustments.

 

ad4) I have ASTAP installed and use it in SGPro for framing. Anyhow I understand that you use it for alignment? I actually need to star-align first because plate solving completely fails as the telescope is looking into a very-very-very different part of the night sky (this is what actually baffles me).

 

ad5) OK got that, would you (sidereal) track via the mount itself or PHD2?

 

THANKS everyone for your kind support!
 


Edited by man_in_the_moon, 05 October 2022 - 10:58 AM.


#8 asanmax

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:05 AM

I don't think you actually need to do star alignment if you control the mount from a computer.

What you need is to use plate solving. This is an amazing tool that will help with putting your desired object exactly in the center of the frame.

Or you can add coordinates from let's say Stellarium.

I think you may be able to bypass the hand controller and use a direct connection to PC 

https://eq-mod.sourc...introindex.html

 

I made the cable myself for an EQ6 mount and it works beautifully. I don't need the hand controller.

When I power the mount up, the computer (EQMOD) treats that position as park position.

So what I need to do before turning the mount on, is just do polar alignment and move both axes to their respective zero positions.

Read more here https://eq-mod.sourc...t/tutindex.html


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#9 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:18 AM

The cable that I linked to plugs directly into the port where you have the HC plugged in now. It's a bit of a trick as what it does is safely reduce the voltage to what that port can tolerate along with being a standard serial cable. 

 

I never ever do any alignments these days with my observatory or portable imaging systems. I just focus, polar align (if portable), slew to my target, platesolve, slew again and start imaging. If I'm just moving around the sky to look at stuff, it's the exact same workflow - just platesolve.

 

With some augmented driver software like EQMOD you can store sync points. That's useful if you are permanently mounted as they persist in EQMOD. So the next time you turn the mount on, you've got the points and slews should be close to dead on. 

 

I'm baffled though about why ASTAP is failing you. I use it all the time without any failures even at long focal lengths. Is it possible that you don't have the H18 catalog installed or that you've got some parameter wrong in the rig? You can use instead ANSVR which is a blind server. I abandoned it once ASTAP came along. It's just a real nuisance to have to do any form of star alignment. 

 

So, with regards to PHD. I'm not sure that I undestand your problem, but the mount should be tracking when focusing. The mount must be tracking when calibrating as well. 

 

Rgrds-Ross



#10 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:31 AM

I don't think you actually need to do star alignment if you control the mount from a computer.

What you need is to use plate solving. This is an amazing tool that will help with putting your desired object exactly in the center of the frame.

Hi there! This is exactly what I'm doing, let me elaborate my startup routine;

  1. observatory; I power on everything (mount, powerbox (dew-cap, auto-focus, ventilator, ...), astrocam)
  2. following steps are on my astro-PC;
  3. Starting SynScan app
  4. Do the "Brightest star-alignment" for 2 objects (Jupiter / Capella) --> if I don't do that and work "as is" (assuming the position is somewhere persisted) and want to Go-To NGC 7023 the telescope points somewhere below the horizon (YES, I am sure I selected the right object) - e.g. Iris nebula is currently on 70° alt
  5. Starting SGPro, setting coordinates with the framing & mosaic wizard and start the sequence
  6. The first step is "slew to and center" -> and this is the biggest issue as when I don't do the star alignment the mount is so far off that plate solving fails. IF I did a star alignment, plate solving works great - then the only issue I have currently is auto-focus. But I already learned here that tracking is necessary so I will try that once we have clear skies again (currently it's awful).


#11 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:37 AM

The cable that I linked to plugs directly into the port where you have the HC plugged in now. It's a bit of a trick as what it does is safely reduce the voltage to what that port can tolerate along with being a standard serial cable. 

 

I never ever do any alignments these days with my observatory or portable imaging systems. I just focus, polar align (if portable), slew to my target, platesolve, slew again and start imaging. If I'm just moving around the sky to look at stuff, it's the exact same workflow - just platesolve.

 

With some augment driver software like EQMOD you can store sync points. That's useful if you are permanently mounted as they persist in EQMOD. So the next time you turn the mount on, you've got the points and slews should be close to dead on. 

 

I'm baffled though about why ASTAP is failing you. I use it all the time without any failures even at long focal lengths. Is it possible that you don't have the H18 catalog installed or that you've got some parameter wrong in the rig? You can use instead ANSVR which is a blind server. I abandoned it once ASTAP came along. It's just a real nuisance to have to do any form of star alignment. 

 

So, with regards to PHD. I'm not sure that I undestand your problem, but the mount should be tracking when focusing. The mount must be tracking when calibrating as well. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

I don't think my issue is based on the cables - again, I'm not using HC at all. It really has to be something like "the mount doesn't know where it is and even if it receives coordinates from e.g. Stellarium it is not able to Go-To unless prior star-alignment".

 

I'm not sure if I can use EQMOD with the SynScan app, because from what I've heard SynScan is the only option I have to PC-control my mount.

 

As far as ASTAP goes - it works perfect when I'm near-target. But again, Go-To is so far off that ASTAP fails. I have the H18 catalogue installed :) - thanks for the remark!

 

I don't have an issue with PHD2, I just wanted to know if I need tracking (I can do that natively via the SynScan-app or directly via PHD2) - so this question is solved for me, thanks a lot again!
 



#12 asanmax

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 12:50 PM

 

 

Do the "Brightest star-alignment" for 2 objects (Jupiter / Capella) --> if I don't do that and work "as is" (assuming the position is somewhere persisted) and want to Go-To NGC 7023 the telescope points somewhere below the horizon (YES, I am sure I selected the right object) - e.g. Iris nebula is currently on 70° alt

 

If you are using a connection through the hand controller, you may need to set the park position manually in the controller before doing anything on the computer. There should be that option somewhere in settings.

So when you do that, the application on your computer should pick that up and you won't need to go through star alignment procedure.

Does your mount remember time after a shutdown?



#13 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 12:56 PM

Sorry. I don't think that your issue has anything to do with cables either. I was just suggesting a simplification and I may have misread your post.

 

Now I owned an (older) AZ/EQ6 up until about 3 years ago. I did NOT use the "Synscan App" to control the mount. I used EQMOD which was wired to the mount using the cable that I linked to. When a friend bought an EQ6R about 2 years ago, I set it up in exactly the same manner - Shoestring cable directly the the HC port - and we put the HC into a drawer at his observatory where it sits today. That mount does NOT forget its position when turned off when connected that way. 

 

The only thing that occurs to me is this. If you are trying to do a star alignment, it's best to use more than two stars. I would never use a planet. I would make sure that I used stars on both sides of the meridian. Final movement when centering should be to remove any backlash. (I think that you know this but..........)

 

I wonder, given the terrible pointing, if some setting in Synscan is incorrect - time, date location, etc. . 

 

Once you put the HC in PC direct mode, it's just acting like a cable. I experimented with it while I had my AZ/EQ6 and it was unreliable. Myabe as asanmax suggests, you need to have the park position stored in the HC and then go to PC direct mode as you are doing. Maybe the park position is actually stored in the app or the driver. 

 

Rgds-Ross


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#14 asanmax

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:38 PM

rgsalinger I agree, EQMOD is super easy to setup and use. Just need to make sure the proper driver is installed for the mount. For instance, I found out that newer drivers don't work with the EQ6.

As soon as I installed an old driver, the mount started taking commands from the laptop right away.



#15 danny1976

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 02:20 PM

I suggest you use software like APT or NINA so you have access to platesolving and you can sync the mount. Skip the 2-star alignment. 

 

When you release the clutch and the mount doesn’t know the position anymore, there is a blindsolve option in APT. Takes a little longer but with ASTAP configured as platesolver it always works. But when I release the clutch I always disconnect the mount and place it in home position again before I move on.

 

These are my steps in APT,

 

Place scope in home position

Turn on the mount

Slew away from polaris, take 10s exposure, blindsolve

Sync the mount and now it knows where it’s pointed at

From here on you can perform any goto command

APT has a goto++ command which double checks the position after a goto. Usually after a first goto it is a little off target.



#16 unimatrix0

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 02:36 PM

I

I'm not sure if I can use EQMOD with the SynScan app, because from what I've heard SynScan is the only option I have to PC-control my mount.

 

 

I can guarantee you, that at least 90% of people who have a Skywatcher mount is using EQMOD and not Synscan. 

 

You need to download ASCOM from the web and then google EQMOD and also search youtube how to set up your mount in EQMOD.  Only needs to be done once, after that  you just select EQMOD from any imaging software for mount connection. 



#17 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 06:22 AM

Does your mount remember time after a shutdown?

No it doesn't, as I have no hand-controller in use. Time/Location is derived from the astro-PC that controls my whole observatory.

 

Now I owned an (older) AZ/EQ6 up until about 3 years ago. I did NOT use the "Synscan App" to control the mount. I used EQMOD which was wired to the mount using the cable that I linked to. When a friend bought an EQ6R about 2 years ago, I set it up in exactly the same manner - Shoestring cable directly the the HC port - and we put the HC into a drawer at his observatory where it sits today. That mount does NOT forget its position when turned off when connected that way. 

 

The only thing that occurs to me is this. If you are trying to do a star alignment, it's best to use more than two stars. I would never use a planet. I would make sure that I used stars on both sides of the meridian. Final movement when centering should be to remove any backlash. (I think that you know this but..........)

 

I wonder, given the terrible pointing, if some setting in Synscan is incorrect - time, date location, etc. . 

 

Once you put the HC in PC direct mode, it's just acting like a cable. I experimented with it while I had my AZ/EQ6 and it was unreliable. Myabe as asanmax suggests, you need to have the park position stored in the HC and then go to PC direct mode as you are doing. Maybe the park position is actually stored in the app or the driver.

So I gave it a try (again) with EQMOD/EQASCOM -> with success. I've set up a suitable PARK position for my equipment (HOME position doesn't work due to the height of my observatory), played a bit around with manual control and it now slews perfectly to the assigned PARK position.

About the star alignment - valuable input, thanks for that. Chances for CS are very high today, looking forward to do a new run based on your remarks.

The SynScan settings are correct, I double-double checked that. But now that I finally got EQASCOM working, I can (finally) get rid of that *yay*.

 

I never had the HC in PC-direct-mode because I simply didn't get it working.

 

rgsalinger I agree, EQMOD is super easy to setup and use. Just need to make sure the proper driver is installed for the mount. For instance, I found out that newer drivers don't work with the EQ6.

As soon as I installed an old driver, the mount started taking commands from the laptop right away.

In my case, I can only install this one, there are no other driver available. Again, I don't think my issues are driver-related, rather "I'm a bloody beginner and maybe not using the right tools to achieve what I want".
I managed to get EQASCOM working - maybe I can already report here tomorrow about a first successful imaging session, who knows :)!

 

I suggest you use software like APT or NINA so you have access to platesolving and you can sync the mount. Skip the 2-star alignment. 

 

When you release the clutch and the mount doesn’t know the position anymore, there is a blindsolve option in APT. Takes a little longer but with ASTAP configured as platesolver it always works. But when I release the clutch I always disconnect the mount and place it in home position again before I move on.

 

These are my steps in APT,

 

Place scope in home position

Turn on the mount

Slew away from polaris, take 10s exposure, blindsolve

Sync the mount and now it knows where it’s pointed at

From here on you can perform any goto command

APT has a goto++ command which double checks the position after a goto. Usually after a first goto it is a little off target.

Hi there, and first of all also many thanks for your time to read through and support me with your input - highly appreciated!

In terms of software I have a broad variety available; SGPro / SharpCap / NINA and APT.

 

As of now, I like SGPro most because I feel most comfortable with the sequencer, but for all named I have plate solving configured - and it actually works well in SGPro when my mount is near-target. And that was the biggest issue until now, because my mount seems to forget its position and is way off, so platesolving always ended in a failure. But there were also tries, right after star alignment, where SGPro slewed the mount precisely to the target position and plate solving did the rest (some 1-2k pixel error only and after centering <60px for both axis).

 

I can guarantee you, that at least 90% of people who have a Skywatcher mount is using EQMOD and not Synscan. 

 

You need to download ASCOM from the web and then google EQMOD and also search youtube how to set up your mount in EQMOD.  Only needs to be done once, after that  you just select EQMOD from any imaging software for mount connection. 

Hi also to you and also many thanks for your input. After your comment I tried it again with EQMOD/EQASCOM and finally got it working -> it's set up and I was already able to set a custom PARK position that is stored now. I can't run any other tests right now as we have daylight here, but of course I'll let you know what I was able to do (CS forecasted for tonight).

 

Have a nice day everyone - keep you posted!


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#18 asanmax

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 10:59 AM

Great, I'm glad to hear the EQMOD worked for you! Please post the results.



#19 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 03:29 AM

Hi everyone.. so after another 3h of trial & error it's getting a little bit frustrating - but I won't give up smile.gif.

 

Good News - I got EQMOD/EQASCOM to work - and I can control/park my mount with it. It responds to SGPro, SharpCap, NINA and APT.

 

Here's what I did;

  1. power up the mount - I haven't found anything like "do you want to start from a parking position?", I just "unparked" the mount (but at that point it doesn't matter because it was not aligned/synced at that point because I didn't get it to work) - at that point just a sidenote; my PARK position is not the HOME position (pointing towards Polaris)
  2. as per remark of @rgsalinger, I used Capella (instead of a planet, which is obv. moving - but bare with me, I'm a bloody beginner) as a reference point
  3. in SharpCap, I overlayed with a crosshair - centered Capella with it
  4. in SharpCap, I started Tools > Plate Solve and Resync (it has a 15° search) and it failed
  5. in SharpCap, there's another option thats called Tools > Plate Solve (Solve only), which has a 180° search - and this one worked, but unfortunately without sync
  6. So I opened the ASTAP manual, because SharpCap allows you to pass command line parameters
  7. Based on that, I've set SharpCap Settings > Plate Solving .. the addtional options with "-r 180" to also have that (working) plate solve with sync-possibility
  8. So the Plate Solve and Resync works, but it's not able to sync frown.gif

The result of the plate solve:

"Plate solve succeeded, position found to be RA=05:40:33,Dec=+51:36:02 (J2000, offset of 93,35 degrees), field of view is 1,0036x0,6711 degrees, pixel size 0,8arcsec/pixel, up is 136,8 degrees E of N."

 

So that 93° offset is that what I was describing as "way-off" - I don't know why and I don't know where it comes from. Maybe a question here at that point - based on that picture here, I mounted my telescope to my NEQ6PRO. So when the telescope is oriented NORTH, the two screws that hold the (green) saddle are looking WEST. Does that matter, is that maybe the issue for that offset?

 

And the latest issue:

"Could not sync mount to plate solve location: SyncToTarget() RaDec sync was rejected.

 

So eventhough I could now plate solve with the additional -r 180 parameter, I can't sync with the mount. I've tried several times, power off/power on, even rebooted my astro-PC twice.

 

So much for that, weather conditions still look good - will give it another try tonight!

 

Have a great day everyone!


Edited by man_in_the_moon, 07 October 2022 - 03:47 AM.


#20 gsaramet

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 05:46 AM

Something is quite wrong, methinks. 

 

Let me ask a few questions.

 

1. You polar align. Have you checked it via mount polar scope - or at least looking alongside the scope? Does it goes approximatively to Polaris? Doblecheck correct time and geographical position used

2. When you slew your mount to zero position... where is the scope pointing at? What are the coordinates you see in your software? Do they match celestial north pole? What happens if you slew to Polaris?

3. You select a target and slew to it. Do target's coordinates match the ones the mount indicates?

4. Bit of puzzler, what do you mean by "HOME position doesn't work due to the height of my observatory"? Doesn't the scope need to move all around?

5. What do you use to slew? (It could be part of the problem)

 

What should happen is: mount slews near your target, platesolve kicks in, centers precisely on target, you are good to go. 

 

Now, in  regard to 5. I don't usually image planets, but last night they said it's gonna be cloudy, I saw Jupiter and Mars in decent positions, I thought "Why not?". NINA - which I use - does not have solar system in it, so I did use stellarium to slew to Jupiter. Something was a bit off - I could see in stellarium that the centered object and the scope position did not overlap. I got the coordinates in NINA from Stellarium, platesolved and centered, took my shots, then I used again Stellarium to slew to Mars. Well, this time it went totally bonkers, I had to stop it manually, because I was afraid that the scope would hit the tripod. I did recheck. Slewing from hand controller or NINA getting the coordinates from Stellarium worked. Stellarium slewing the scope directly created problems - I am not sure why or how much off. 

 

Good luck with the troubleshooting :)



#21 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 06:30 AM

Hi buddy, thanks for joining!

 

Yes, indeed. But I'm sure we'll fix it.

 

ad1) I polar-aligned once (my NEQ6Pro sits on a concrete pillar) with the help of SharpCap - final "error" was < 5", so "excellent". Yes I checked the approximate alignment, but will do once again today. I think SharpCap uses plate solving for the polar alignment, so I'm quite sure it's fine.

time is correct -> system-time equals NTP with almost 0 offset

geo-location -> I just did a reverse lookup and copy-pasted the values set under EQASCOM Toolbox > Setup > Driver Setup > pointing exactly to my observatory.

 

ad2) I'm not yet familiar with all the terminology, do you mean "zero" position as the HOME position - so basically pointing NORTH towards Polaris?

 

ad3) I will collect that information tonight for you, hoping for CS.

 

ad4) OK, that was a bit misleading, apologies for that. So the walls of my observatory are 140cm high  (roughly 4,6") and I have a "roll-off" roof. I can't PARK my telescope in the HOME position, because I can't close the roof then -> hope that makes sense now. Of course there are no obstructions whatsoever when the roof is open.

 

ad5) My "main" software is SGPro - so I wanted to initially start with M45. I start the "Framing and Mosaic Wizard", define a target and the FoV and let it create a sequence. I don't have filter-wheel (IMX571-color), so I just set up exposure and repeat (300" / 175x) in that case. I right-click on the target and select "Center on Target" to see if it makes sense. Next step would be auto-focusing with tracking. That worked, at least ONCE when I star-aligned with the SynScan app.

 

Have a nice day!



#22 unimatrix0

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 07:25 AM

 

 

And the latest issue:

"Could not sync mount to plate solve location: SyncToTarget() RaDec sync was rejected.

So eventhough I could now plate solve with the additional -r 180 parameter, I can't sync with the mount. I've tried several times, power off/power on, even rebooted my astro-PC twice.

So much for that, weather conditions still look good - will give it another try tonight!

Ok, for me, that happens if I did a successful plate solve previously , but later something happened and the next plate solve image is way out of bound.  (I moved the mount; the telescope moved in the shoe mount; Dec clutch wasn't tight and slipped; first plate solve wasn't correct; my polar alignment is way off etc) 

 

What you can do is, go inside the the EQMOD and delete the alignment points it made. It's gonna show like 3-4 or whatever number you plate solved previously. 

 

Remember, when it plate solves, it builds a map.  So after 1 successful plate solve and it saved,  the next plate solve somewhere else will be compared to the previous and so on.   It's like the 3-star alignment that built into the hand controller. 

If any following plate solves are way out of bound, it will be rejected.  Another reason can be is the software you are using to image doesn't have the same coordinates/same location settings as the EQMOD. 

 

On this picture, you gonna see where the alignment point count is indicated and next to it, there is a wordpad-icon with a red X, that deletes the previous alignment points. 

EQMOD_1.jpg


Edited by unimatrix0, 07 October 2022 - 07:30 AM.


#23 gsaramet

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 08:12 AM

Hi buddy, thanks for joining!

 

Yes, indeed. But I'm sure we'll fix it.

 

ad1) I polar-aligned once (my NEQ6Pro sits on a concrete pillar) with the help of SharpCap - final "error" was < 5", so "excellent". Yes I checked the approximate alignment, but will do once again today. I think SharpCap uses plate solving for the polar alignment, so I'm quite sure it's fine.

time is correct -> system-time equals NTP with almost 0 offset

geo-location -> I just did a reverse lookup and copy-pasted the values set under EQASCOM Toolbox > Setup > Driver Setup > pointing exactly to my observatory.

 

ad2) I'm not yet familiar with all the terminology, do you mean "zero" position as the HOME position - so basically pointing NORTH towards Polaris?

 

ad3) I will collect that information tonight for you, hoping for CS.

 

ad4) OK, that was a bit misleading, apologies for that. So the walls of my observatory are 140cm high  (roughly 4,6") and I have a "roll-off" roof. I can't PARK my telescope in the HOME position, because I can't close the roof then -> hope that makes sense now. Of course there are no obstructions whatsoever when the roof is open.

 

ad5) My "main" software is SGPro - so I wanted to initially start with M45. I start the "Framing and Mosaic Wizard", define a target and the FoV and let it create a sequence. I don't have filter-wheel (IMX571-color), so I just set up exposure and repeat (300" / 175x) in that case. I right-click on the target and select "Center on Target" to see if it makes sense. Next step would be auto-focusing with tracking. That worked, at least ONCE when I star-aligned with the SynScan app.

 

Have a nice day!

Ok, so you are sure enought that the PA is good. Check. 

Yeah, my mount's terminology says zero when the main scope is pointing where the polar scope is pointing

 

Try and see little by little what happens when slewing. I would try to do one thing at a time. First with the hand controller, if it's possible. Then with the native software (EQMOD or whatever you use). Then with the acquisition software - SGPro in your case. I'd use for slewing very clear targets, so you can guess only by looking if the scope points 30 degrees off. Also see if the error increases the more you go away from NCP. 

 

Double check the mechanics. Double check for obstructions - mechanical and optical. I don't think that's the case, but just to be sure.

 

Hmmm, if I was to bet... Make sure you have cleared your previous alignment. Do you happen to have a command called something like "search for home position"? If, for whatever reason, you disengaged the gears and hand rotated the scope, then reengaged, that would easily explain a 90 degrees offset. 



#24 rgsalinger

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 09:32 AM

It won't sync because the solve is so far off. There's a parameter in EQMOD buried somewhere. It's there to prevent bad solves which could then cause collisions. I have no idea how you could be 93 degrees off if you have the settings correct. unimatrix0 has it right. Don't use "Append on Sync" if you are going to platesolve and clean out any old points and see if that fixes it. 



#25 man_in_the_moon

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 11:02 AM

What you can do is, go inside the the EQMOD and delete the alignment points it made. It's gonna show like 3-4 or whatever number you plate solved previously. 

Another reason can be is the software you are using to image doesn't have the same coordinates/same location settings as the EQMOD.

On this picture, you gonna see where the alignment point count is indicated and next to it, there is a wordpad-icon with a red X, that deletes the previous alignment points.

OK, so I pick that up as a todo with the alignments delete. I will also double-check if both EQMOD-config and SGPro would have the exact same settings.

 

Try and see little by little what happens when slewing. I would try to do one thing at a time. First with the hand controller, if it's possible. Then with the native software (EQMOD or whatever you use). Then with the acquisition software - SGPro in your case. I'd use for slewing very clear targets, so you can guess only by looking if the scope points 30 degrees off. Also see if the error increases the more you go away from NCP. 

 

Double check the mechanics. Double check for obstructions - mechanical and optical. I don't think that's the case, but just to be sure.

 

Hmmm, if I was to bet... Make sure you have cleared your previous alignment. Do you happen to have a command called something like "search for home position"? If, for whatever reason, you disengaged the gears and hand rotated the scope, then reengaged, that would easily explain a 90 degrees offset. 

Oh trust me, I did yesterday - for almost 3h. One by one to find out what could be the issue. But as mentioned, I won't give up. It has to be a simple and tiny thing / misconfiguration. Got that with clearing previous alignments before I start tonight!

 

I'm not aware of a command like "search for home" - but maybe other experienced users could comment on that?

 

It won't sync because the solve is so far off. There's a parameter in EQMOD buried somewhere. It's there to prevent bad solves which could then cause collisions. I have no idea how you could be 93 degrees off if you have the settings correct. unimatrix0 has it right. Don't use "Append on Sync" if you are going to platesolve and clean out any old points and see if that fixes it. 

Yes, that's what I thought. I stopped this night, because I was too afraid to damage something and wanted to clarify here in the forums first.

 

So for tonight, that's my task list;

  1. power up everything
  2. clear alignments in EQMOD/EQASCOM
  3. slew to Capella via Stellarium -> verify what the mount does

Can you tell how that alignment list in EQMOD is being filled? I would assume that if I "Plate Solve and Sync" and that was successful it would create an entry there.

 

More or less is there any workflow you would recommend for me to test out?




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