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Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Wes Mcdonald
 

Kevin:

Go here:   MOUNTS@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io

And look at the files section.  In it you will see Bob's paper, my paper and a sketchup by Vince for the mount mechanics.  This should help.
Wes.

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Wes Mcdonald
 

Kevin:

Ok.  Now I know what you are up to.

1.  I advise you strongly to connect to the PMC-8 via the serial cable, not wifi.  No problems with dropped connections etc.  
2.  You will use the ASCOM platform and the ES Ascom driver for the PMC-8.
3.  APT also will connect to the mount via ASCOM hub.  With APT you will be able to run the mount, the focuser, camera, guide camera I believe.
4.  You will use the PHD2 to guide.  I also connects to the mount via the ES ASCOM driver, using pulse guiding
5.  With an OAG on your scope your ASI 120 should be fine.  You might want to figure your view per pixel and see how this relates to your camera arc secs per pixel.  You can research this on the web but in my view you only need to have guide pixels about 2 or three arc seconds in size which should guide you better than the mount can practically be guided.  But then some Exos-2 mounts can be guided better than others.  Bob Hoskins has posted a paper on how to adjust and tune the backlash and other aspects of the mount that contribute to your ultimate guiding errors.  You can find it in the file section of one of the forum sub-groups.  You might read through it and see what you want to do there.  I don't have an OAG, but with my guide scope and ASI 290MM mini I get about 2.5 arc second pixels and guide between 2 and 1 arc seconds combined RMS.  
6.  For alignment, you will need to use something that gets you physically aligned.  ES does not provide software to do this in ASCOM, but you do have a polar scope on the mount which you can use to align the mount.  IF you don't want to do it that way (I never could) you can add a Polemaster or use Sharpcap with you ASI I believe.  You should look into this, as it is easy to use, inexpensive, and accurate.  I use a polemaster because I already owned one, and it is also a breeze and very accurate -- PHD routinely tells me I am good to a few tenths of an arc sec or better.  Don't know if I believe it or not, but guided images are not disturbed by any polar drift (to the limits of my guiding sessions anyhow)
7.  If you are using APT, you can use the plate solve capability it provides to find your DSO objects, dead center.  It uses Platesolve2 software which you will need to download one time, follow APT manual instruction for this.  APT and Platesolve2 will control the mount beautifully to put objects dead center.  With plate solving, you need not worry about stuff like DEC home error like you do with open-loop gotos in explorestars, for example.  So you don't need my article.
8.  So make sure you polar align.  Then put the mount in its polar home position indicated by the little alignment arrows on the RA and DEC axes.  I colored mine with a silver sharpie to help see the danged things.  Then start the PMC-8, boot ascom, etc.
9  You may want to use a planetarium program such as Stellarium or Cartes Du Ceil (or what ever the danged thing is named).  CdC connects directly through the ASCOM POTH hub to the scope.  Stellarium requires a helper app called StellariumScope.  You can research these and see what you like.  APT at least includes integration with Stellarium that allows you to import target locations from STellarium.  That way you can pick objects graphically in Stellarium, import the object into APT and carry on from there with commanding a slew to the object etc.  All through the POTH Hub which uses the ES ASCOM driver.  It all works pretty well, except for the usual Windows related crashes.

So thats a lot.  Not sure what you have done before in this arena, but you have bought a lot of gear and it sure looks like you will have a nice rig once you get it all up and running.  

I'll send a link to Bob's paper and mine for fun in another note.  I don't trust this editor not to lose my response while I go look for them.

Wes.

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Hi Wes,
I could not find any files uploaded by you in the files section of this board..
Maybe you could get me a URL for it?


Re: Polar alignment through main scope #alignment #iEXOS-100 #sharpcap

Tommy
 

I just picked up the AZ adjuster for my iEXOS-100 mount and polar aligned via Sharpcap. Wow what a difference with the AZ adjuster, so much easier. Thanks for the heads up. I got an excellent my first time out in under 10 mins. It will only get easier as time goes on. Now I just need to figure out how to perfect my star alignments!
--
Cameras: Nikon D5600, ASI ZWO120
Scope: Astro-Tech 60ed, Orion 50mm
Mount: ES-iEXOS-100


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 
Edited

By the way guys this is the stuff that I purchased to upgrade my Mount and everything to go with it.

This mount, https://www.highpointscientific.com/explore-scientific-exos-2gt-goto-equatorial-mount-with-pmc-8-electronics-exos2gtpmct3-00
 
This autofocuser,
https://www.highpointscientific.com/celestron-focus-motor-for-sct-and-edgehd-94155-a
 
This camera as a guide camera,
https://www.highpointscientific.com/zwo-asi120mm-mini-monochrome-astronomy-camera-asi120mini
 
This Celestron off-axis guider,
https://www.highpointscientific.com/celestron-off-axis-guider-93648

And this to replace the DSLR I have been using..
https://www.highpointscientific.com/zwo-asi290mc-usb-3-color-cmos-camera-asi290mc


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Hi Wes, I wasn't really going to use explorer stars for my alignment or anything else.
I was hoping I could use Astro photography tools software.
Kevin


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Actually I'm going to be doing more deep space objects than planets. So I need a really good alignment.
Kevin


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 
Edited

Hi Wes,
When you say serial ascom, am I correct in assuming that instead of using the wireless mode to connect from the pmc-8,  to use a serial cable directly from the PMC - 8? If so, that is what I am already doing. I run it from the serial connector on the PMC - 8 into the USB powered hub, which then goes to the computer.
By the way, I am also using the 6.3 reducer on the scope.

Kevin


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Wes Mcdonald
 

Kevin

The 2-3 star alignment routine steps you through each star.   The best way to see if it worked is to go to settings and enable show alignment.  The alignment coefficients are displayed on the main page.  These should be near about 1 and 0.  If the numbers are huge then the alignment is bogus.  It might be bogus if they are more or less correct but definitely bogus if way out.  Another indication of bogus alignment is NaN listed as telescope position.  

Btw for planets for sure just do a 2 star.  It's easier and plenty good enough for planets I believe.

Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Polar alignment through main scope #alignment #iEXOS-100 #sharpcap

 

Jeny,
 
Not quite sure what scenario you have in mind, but FWIW, Sharpcap does not need a separate Astrotortilla installation to perform a Polar Alignmnent.
 
If you're talking about using Sharpcap to do a plate solve on your imaging target through your guidescope and then use something else to run a different camera (say, BackyardWhatever and a DSLR...) through your imaging scope, that would not likely be a good idea.  I think you'd want to do the plate solve on what the *imaging* camera sees.
 
The whole point of plate solving is to get your target centered quickly and reliably in the field of view of your imaging camera.  Your guiding FOV and your imaging FOV are unlikely to be the same, let alone precisely aligned.  If you are using a control program of some kind for your imaging camera, the thing to do is get Astrotortilla (or equivalent) integrated with THAT.  
 
I use BackYard Nikon with mine, integrated with Astrotortilla, and plate solving really is magic. :-)  
 
HTH...
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Daryl Larkin
 

I don’t think it’s necessary. When I image planets, I point my telescope’s alignment roughly north but that’s it.  I don’t polar align or use GoTo since planets are obvious and easy to find. Because you’ll be shooting many images at short exposures, if the planet drifts a little, it’s not a problem. 


Re: Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Wes Mcdonald
 

Kevin

Oh boy.

If you want to do serious astro you are going to want to go serial ascom.  But if you want to use  explorestars:
1.  You should polar align.  This will help with star drift as the explorestars alignment is virtual only not physical

2.  You should read and execute my procedure posted in the files section of either mounts or main that describes how to find polar home.  Do this.

3.  Set the scope to polar home after polar aligning and start everything.

4.  Now just goto  a star and perform a sync.  At that point the go-to accuracy should be pretty good.  

5.  Now go-to and make sure the explorestars mode is "T"

But I must warn you that unless you guide with that C8 focal length you are going to have some lousy stars, as the PE is in the order of 15 arc seconds ok to pk.

You could also go ahead and refine your go-to by doing a virtual alignment after a physical.

More as questions arise.

Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Exos-2gt pmc8 mount alignment

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 
Edited

Hi guys,
I am coming from a Celestron 4SE, so I'm used to getting it aligned before I can go and Chase planets.
But now I have Celestron C8 mounted on my new exos-2gt mount.
So am I to understand that before I go chasing objects, I should do the polar alignment, and then a two or three star alignment?
Is this the correct procedure before I go photographing objects?
When using the 4SE, the handheld computer remote,  it takes you first to polar alignment, and once you have done that you press the button and it takes you to the two or three star alignment.
Then as you go through each step you press the button and it takes to The next step until you are finally completed and it says successful.
On Howthe new EXOS-2 GT mount,  do you know that each step is successful?

Thanks,
Kevin Rea
Lancaster, California USA


Re: Polar alignment through main scope #alignment #iEXOS-100 #sharpcap

Jeny@
 

I'm curious if somebody tried to plate solving with guide scope and SharpCap? I believe SharpCap can use Astrotortilla for it.


On Sat, Feb 1, 2020 at 10:48 AM, Tommy
<darko7411@...> wrote:
Hello everyone,

I have a newbie question. I am picking up a ZWO asi120mc-s camera that I was going to use on my 50mm Orion guide scope to polar align with Sharpcap. My question is, can I just use this on my main scope to polar align and use it to image as well? Or will the polar alignment only work on my guide scope? I have the iexos-100 Mount and a Astro tech 60ed scope. I also use a Nikon d5600 for imaging. Thanks in advance for the advice.

Tommy


Re: ASUS Nexus 7 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Wes Mcdonald
 

No need to check.  The ability to inhibit autoslew is only in the tablet versions not the windows version.  As I stated, the tablet versions are more advanced than the windows version at the moment.  This will not always be the case however.  

Wes
--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Polar alignment through main scope #alignment #iEXOS-100 #sharpcap

Jeff Paules <jeff.paules@...>
 

Skull HQX

I really do appreciate the feedback, and given the forum rules I wouldn't mind going into more detail with you in another space.

Regarding elaborating I'll do my best:

1.       Set-up and level the tripod & snug tight your mount to tripod know (located under the tripod middle)

a.       Not to be too insulting, but I messed this up.  Please check to make sure your bubble level works, if not find a fix.  Mine was way off.

2.       Attach and balance camera w/ lens

a.       Balance RA

b.       Balance Dec

3.       Attach your camera to your imaging software

a.       Power on

b.       Connect cable

c.       Connect button in software

4.       Start an imaging plan

a.       200 frames

b.       Iso 6400

c.       Pause 2 sec.

d.       Same images to a folder you know, make sure it’s empty

5.       Open SharpCap

a.       Choose folder monitor camera

                                                                                       i.      Select the folder you pointed your imaging software to

                                                                                     ii.      Press play

6.       Start up Polar Align

a.       Follow the Tutorial

                                                                                       i.      Solve home position – next

                                                                                     ii.      Solve 90D Dec turn – Next

                                                                                   iii.      Adjust to the SharpCap Numbers

7.       Solving to SharpCap numbers

a.       Use the altitude knob to zero in the up / down number in SharpCap

                                                                                       i.      Once your within 00:00:XX where xx is any number & you’re good

b.       This is the part I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of – To zero in the left Right in SharpCap with your thumb and finger grab the tip of your counterweight bar and push the bar forward for “right” and pull backwards for “left”

                                                                                       i.      This will pivot the mount on the Azimuth axis, but since you are extended so far out of the center of rotation you are able to make really fine adjustments quickly.

                                                                                     ii.      This will add torque to the counterweight bar and possibly loosen the bars connection to the axis over time.  Not sure, but likely.

c.       Do this till your Left right reads 00:00:XX were XX is any number, and you should now have an “Excellent” polar alignment in SharpCap

 

Using this method I’m able to get an excellent polar alignment in SharpCap in under 70 frames or (.333+2)*70=163.31 secs. Or 2.72 minutes.

 

Since Orion was just nearly directly above me I was able to use this grab the counterweight bar tip adjustment to do drift alignment corrections on the fly when I noticed a few frames in a row with identical trails.

 

Does that clarify.

 

And again, thanks for the photo feedback.  Quickly, as for the color you’re right.  I initially balanced my blacks by choosing a black point for reference and getting each the R, G, and B to all read the same numbers.  Ensuring the sky is black, and thus the image is color corrected.  But then while “juicing” saturation things got wonky and I edited it on the fly.  I’ll review my process to correct this error. 


Re: ASUS Nexus 7 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Skull HQX
 

On Wed, Feb 5, 2020 at 03:24 PM, Wes Mcdonald wrote:
One of the important changes in Android (over Windows) is its ability to inhibit auto align.  I recommend everyone turn auto align off.  With this off, you have the opportunity to skip through proffered alignment stars without having the mount skewing around the sky as you skip to the next star searching for one that is visible.  Jerry mostly, if not completely, crushed a persistent issue with slewing from one star to another rapidly.  While the mount probably can handle it now, I just don’t do it.  Disable auto slew and be very happy.
Hi Wes, for clarity, I think you mean 'auto align' instead of 'auto slew'?

Btw, the iPadOS version is able to turn off auto align as well. I'm not sure about the current Windows version to be honest. I'll check and report back soon.


Re: Polar alignment through main scope #alignment #iEXOS-100 #sharpcap

Skull HQX
 

On Wed, Feb 5, 2020 at 05:36 AM, Jeff Paules wrote:
I also aligned without the Azimuth adjuster in under 2mins, but I'm not sure this technique is best for the longevity of the equipment.
I'm not sure what you mean exactly. Can you elaborate? 

Regarding the resulting picture. It looks good Jeff. The core isn't overexposed and there is nice detail. For constructive feedback I would say regarding color, on my calibrated screen, the nebula is a bit too purple and the skyglow/larger nebulae a tad too blue/cyan. The core should be teal colored. But only if you'd ask for such feedback! ;) It's a good result as it is already.

Clear skies!


Re: ASUS Nexus 7 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Wes Mcdonald
 

Tim

The apps have different, though similar, UI.  Also the Android and the IOS versions have the most recent improvements while the Windows version is still the same as the initial release I believe 

The main UI difference between Windows and Android (iOS also) is that the various options are accessed via the menu button located next to the zero on the main screen number pad.  That gives you a slide-in pick list. Try them out to find the goodies.  Many things in the settings menu which you will need.

One of the important changes in Android (over Windows) is its ability to inhibit auto align.  I recommend everyone turn auto align off.  With this off, you have the opportunity to skip through proffered alignment stars without having the mount skewing around the sky as you skip to the next star searching for one that is visible.  Jerry mostly, if not completely, crushed a persistent issue with slewing from one star to another rapidly.  While the mount probably can handle it now, I just don’t do it.  Disable auto slew and be very happy.

Another difference between Android and all of the other apps is the ability to search for an alignment star during the alignment procedure.    Start the alignment and when you want to select a star just go to the catalog.  The app will pull up the star page and prompt you to select the associated alignment star.  Note the app picks stars automatically that are most likely going to result in a good alignment— remember the relative locations of the stars matter when it comes to accuracy.  But if you want to you can pick your own stars.  I have found it is helpful sometimes to pick another star than the one auto picked but in the same constellation, owing to obstructions.

Hope this helps
Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: ASUS Nexus 7 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Pavel
 

I have never seen any other version except of the one for Android, but I suppose there are some small differences in the design. There are also minor differences between the slightly outdated documentation and the newer application updates that Jerry partly explained somewhere before. I still have no idea about the function of some buttons, such as the one concerning fimware.

For me, the UI fits perfectly on a 7” screen. On a 10” screen, there is free space on the right and bottom. I also tried my phone with a 6” screen and (of course) this is a no-go: only top left part of the control screen is visible with the most of the direction buttons and site data, OTA data and target data. The rest is missing. Also the settings screen is incomplete. On the other hand, the catalog scales very well on any screen size, large or small.

Regards,
Pavel

5. 2. 2020 v 1:07, Timothy Myers via Groups.Io <tim_s_myers=sbcglobal.net@groups.io>:

Paval,

Thank you that was easy enough to do. Question: Is the interface on the Android different from the one on a PC? I am not seeing the buttons across the top and bottom of the screen, or is that the scale issue with the Nexus 7?
--
Tim Myers

Telescopes: Celestron 4SE, Celestron 8SE
Mounts: 4-5 SE, 6-8SE, EXOS-2GT with PMC-Eight
Cameras: ASI1600ME, Cooled
Tablets: Asus Nexus 7

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