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Autoguiding a Meade LX65

Meade Astrophotography Equipment Imaging Mount Software
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#1 STWR

STWR

    Sputnik

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Posted 28 November 2023 - 02:35 PM

Hello!

I've owned a Meade LX65 Dual-Saddle GoTo since 2020 and things are getting complicated. In the best of ways.

So far I've managed to attach an RJ11/USB cord to the hand controller and have successfully controlled it using Stellarium. After that, I learned how to use my ZWO ASI294 astronomy camera in combination with SharpCap to PlateSolve and GoTo, which has been one of the best experiences ever. Using Remote Desktop to enjoy live-stacking in the comfort of my living room was something I never anticipated when purchasing this mount, either. I figured it was a visual-only scope designed for outreach.

Then last night, while successfully playing with a feature in SharpCap called Pixel Position to re-center M42, I asked myself: "if we could recenter the target using the camera and the rj11 cord, then why can't we autoguide?"
 

It's as if there's a room I can see into, but I can't find the door.

 

My equipment:

On the secondary saddle of the LX65 I have my 80mm APO. On the main saddle I have my 8" ACF. I also have a 50mm guidescope that I could use on either or I could dismount the 80mm and only use the guidescope on the secondary saddle. So I think I have the optics for this!

For cameras I have a Canon Rebel SL2, ZWO ASI120 and ASI294.

For my next experiment: I am planning to run two instances of SharpCap. One will be controllling the ASI294 and taking images through the 8" ACF. The other instance of SharpCap will be controlling my ASI120/80mm APO and the mount. Then, I'll use SharpCap's experimental Feature Tracking tool with the 80mm to try and keep a star centered. If that works, problem solved!

I have tried ASICAP's AutoGuiding tool but it seems like it only works with an ST4 cable, which I can't use on the LX65 because it has no compatible ports. ASICAP also does not recognize my mount while Stellarium and SharpCap do. Still working this out!

I've also used ASICAP's autoguiding feature before on my Losmandy G11 and it worked great! So, I'm familiar with this autoguding method and would love to use this if I could.

I am also curious if PHD2 would be better for this? I've read that PHD2 does not work well with AZ mounts but if someone knows this to be false or if everything else fails I can give it a try.

For solving this problem I would also like to avoid plugging anything into the AUX ports. I do not have the white dot on my battery box and may have the cursed ports with flipped wires.

Lastly, here is a live video of Saturn through our Meade ETX80 and 8" ACF while dual-mounted on the LX65: https://www.youtube....h?v=3ey3UEMPh04 At the end I show the mount and my setup.

Any insight into helping me would be awesome but as-is I am having plenty of fun. I'll report back if I figure this out! Clear skies!



#2 carolinaskies

carolinaskies

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Posted 28 November 2023 - 06:15 PM

Since it's an Alt-Az mount you will eventually get field rotation if imaging.  What will happen is the image will rotate over time on your screen as you go through the session.  Depending on where the target is will determine the speed of this rotation of the frame.  When doing live video it isn't a problem, but remember the star you use for guiding and it's distance from the actual target will have an effect on rotation and the difference in aim point between the OTA doing the guiding and the OTA doing the imaging. 

For guiding you actually can even use a mini-guidescope combo attached in place of a finder on either side's OTA.  This would allow you to keep the dual imaging through the OTAs and guiding through the mini-guider.  

I have an LX65 and currently use a C6 and an ST80 setup along with an ASIAIR+ for mount and camera control. I haven't done any guiding with it as of yet, just short exposures to achieve varying results. 

LX65 ST80 C6sm.jpg

M42 with ST80 m42v80mmAPS-C.jpg
M31 with ST80 20211112_205644_Light_M31_30.0s_Bin1_0008_1637623345800sm.jpg







 




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