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Sounds like you found the problem.
For others, just a reminder that Mars is not currently moving at the sidereal rate that stars move. At opposition, we have normal Earth rotation causing sidereal motion plus or minus the combined orbital motions of Mars and the Earth as we pass each other. If you have cranked up the magnification, Mars will drift more than normal.
If the background stars are not drifting out at the same speed as Mars, the issue is orbital mechanics, not alignment.
On Oct 16, 2020, at 11:33 PM, Brett <papicek@...> wrote:
I have found the same thing. Last night I had Mars lined up and was working on focus and exposure when POTH gave out on me and I watched Mars sail out of frame while I frantically tried to re-establish tracking. I thought it was ASCOM and POTH, but I think that was only where the error showed up. Well, it would be that, wouldn't it? Troubleshooting revealed the source: it was the PMC8. That connection was non-responsive. I had been running 2 WIFI connections simultaneously and began trying to connect one or the other to the PMC8, but it had gone to sleep. Both WIFI devices with my laptop had no trouble connecting to our home network throughout, please note. I was never more than three feet away from the PMC8 at all times, as well.
Indoors, I can run the mount all day. Which I did today in fact, practicing meridian flips. The connection strength was something I kept an eye on throughout and though lost a bar at one point today, it never quit on me. But the problem is the PMC8's WIFI. I suspect it is more vulnerable to temperature and moisture than it ought to be. Dew accumulation was noticeable, but light that night. By the time I called it outdoors, I was still 7 or 8 degrees warmer than the dew point (air temperature was 51°F and the dew point sat at 43°. Yes, I checked that too).
I did not want to declare this a problem at this time until I learned more. My thinking right now is that sealing up the WIFI antenna on the PMC8 will solve the problem. Before I go with the WD-40, I'm going to try to find the dielectric grease lying around here somewhere. Additionally, I'm going to put a small umbrella of sorts over the PMC8 box, just to protect it from dew collection. That could be nothing more than a large sized baggie, with maybe a small hole cut through it for the antenna to peek out of. Because dew collecting on the bag will tend to attenuate the signal as well.
I promise to keep everyone posted.
I do know this: Though there are no certitudes—especially in complex systems—moisture is likely a solvable problem and if that's the case, I'm done. As a last resort, PMC8 users report stress-free operation with their serial connections And with that, I'm going to practice some more meridian flips now. I would like to fine tune my NINA flip settings.
FYI: I bagged 2 clusters today in NINA and never had the lens cap off. Now I have to stack all that imaginary data.
North of Boston, Massachusetts
Explore Scientific 102mm Air spaced Doublet
Explore Scientific EXOS2-GT with PMC8 (wifi connection)
Orion USB Eyepiece Camera (training wheels)
(everything else is a WIP, but next up is an ASI290MM Mini for guiding)