Date   

SkyatNight Review - Explore Scientific iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight Mount #ExploreScientific #iEXOS-100

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 
Edited

I just discovered this online review of the iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight mount from SkyatNight Magazine.  I knew about an article that Astronomy Now Magazine had published (attached) but was not aware of this online article.

https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/reviews/mounts/explore-scientific-iexos-100-pmc-eight-equatorial-mount-review/

Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Re: Meridian Flip #ASCOM #EXOS2

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Hi Tim,

The way this normally works is that the ASCOM Client mount control program such as NINA will ask whether to stop the mount tracking at the Meridian, or at some time before the Meridian, or it will ask whether to perform a Meridian flip aka pier flip at when it gets to the Meridian. It really is as simple as that. 

If you do not enable the Meridian flip, or a Meridian stop, the PMC-Eight will happily track past the Meridian. Advanced astrophotographers can take advantage of this behavior to continue imaging if they are taking an important sequence of images that they do not want to interrupt. The best images are taken when the object is at the highest altitude in the southern sky  which is at the Meridian, so once you understand that you want to try and do this as much as you can, without the telescope hitting the tripod, of course.  With our pier mounted G11 in our observatory, we can typically track past the Meridian for about an hour or so.

To find out more about the need for a Meridian flip for GEM mounts, see this page 

http://astronomy.mdodd.com/gem_movement.html

--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Re: Getting the Tripod pointing toward true north #polaralignment #EXOS2

Timothy Myers
 

Never did report my imaging session the second night. Alignment went well and I was able to image M42, but I screwed up some setting in SharpCap and it didn't come out so well. Only did 30 subs at 50 seconds, stars were smudged oblong, part of it was probably bad focus. the 8" SCT can be a bear to get into proper focas, and I have none of the tools to make that easier yet.

I did attempt a polar alignment in SharpCap and though it let me go through all the steps the solution was just the words Poor Alignment. i have to purchase SharpCap Pro to get the alignment aids. I am checking out NINA as Wes suggested, and might get a chance to work on that tonight.

I picked up a SW 100ED Pro at auction for $260, and it looks perfect, other than some adjustment of the focuser. Looking forward to seeing what kind of views I get with it vs the 8" SCT.
--
Tim Myers

Telescopes:     Celestron 4SE, Celestron 8SE, SkyWatcher 100ED Pro
Mounts:           4-5 SE, 6-8SE, EXOS-2GT with PMC-Eight
Cameras:        ASI1600MC, Cooled
Tablets:           Asus Nexus 7, Amazon Fire 7
Laptop:           Lenovo


Re: Meridian Flip #ASCOM #EXOS2

Timothy Myers
 

Reason I was asking was that NINA asks questions bout Meridian Flip and your mount. I am way off from attempting things like this but thought there needed to be some compatibility at the mount level for it to work. I will keep reading and learning NINA. there is a lot to do there. Wow!!!
--
Tim Myers

Telescopes:     Celestron 4SE, Celestron 8SE, SkyWatcher 100ED Pro
Mounts:           4-5 SE, 6-8SE, EXOS-2GT with PMC-Eight
Cameras:        ASI1600MC, Cooled
Tablets:           Asus Nexus 7, Amazon Fire 7
Laptop:           Lenovo


New ASCOM Platform 6.5 Coming Soon?? #ASCOM #TECHNICAL

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

I just discovered this on GitHub while looking to check my version of the ASCOM Conformance Tool used to test the PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver. The Conformance program runs the driver through every method and property setting to make sure it can do everything needed to comply with the platform certification requirements. You can find the test results for the PMC-Eight driver in the PMC-Eight Programmer's Reference.

Here is the link to the Conform Page. Platform 6.5 is not currently available on the ASCOM Standards website.

https://github.com/ASCOMInitiative/Conform/releases



--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

Wes Mcdonald
 

Kevin:

To further what bob reported:

I ran my 940 mm FL with a 2x teleview a few days ago.  My guiding with a guide scope etc was about 1 arc sec rms.  By stars were fine.  Effective FL of 1880, exposure times of 2-3 minutes depending on the object.  I had terrible seeing that night so my HFR was not great, but the sars were round.

I have a Meade f10 SCT (LX200GPS)  .  You can get crappy stars that look like coma if your collimation is off.  Im not sure it would change with exposure times though, except the crapy part might not show as much for shorter exposures.

I wonder though.  What is the plate scale of the guide camera and what is the plate scale of the astro camera, in arc secs per pixel?  it might be your "good" guiding is lousy compared to your camera plate scale.  Also with long focal length telescopes, guiding might need to be better than otherwise.  But as I said with 1 arc sec rms my stars at 1800 were round.  Exos2-gt pmc8.

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: Astrophotography Done with the iEXOS-100, EXOS 2, and G11 Post your Pictures and Details! Lets Show What These Mounts Can Do. #G11 #astrophotography #iEXOS-100 #EXOS2

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Ok..my first one of Orion.
I still need to get a better focus.
Stacked 25 shots of 70 seconds on Deep Sky Stacker
Processed a little bit in Photoshop.

An ok first step..
kevin rea


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

 

Kevin,
 
Please post the log that Jerry asked for.  On my (Win7) machine, it's in My Documents/PHD2.  I assume it's the same on Win10, if you're using that. 
 
That will show what PHD2 thinks was going on. Maybe a raw image or two from the same run as well,  so we can see what your imaging camera thought was going on. :-)
 
I did a test back in December - I put a 2x barlow on my scope to simulate ~1242mm FL (similar to your C8+reducer), and with a 290MM guide camera on a 60/280mm guidescope, was able to get round stars at 300s on a well-tuned mount in decent-for-my-yard conditions.  YMMV, but there's likely hope.  :-)  



- Bob
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2 290M
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Hi Jerry,
I am using a off axis guider and there are no clouds in the high desert at night..(most of the time)

kevin


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

yes, I am using the celestron 6.3 reducer.
the guide camera is zwo asi1290mc

kevin


Re: Data base is on SD card but will not load onto the application #ExploreStars #Android

John Pirrone
 

Kent at Explore Scientific customer service is a MIRACLE worker! We got it going. I had some issues with both my laptop and my PC that he had not seen before, but somehow we got the database on my tablet and it is WORKING!!!! I am not sure even he knows how we did it. I don't have to buy a windows table now and can use that money for FUN STUFF! LOL! 
Thank You, Kent for your time and patients!  


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

 

Kevin,

Couple of questions:
- Are you using a reducer with that C8?
- Which ZWO guide camera are you using?

--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2 290M
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Re: Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 
Edited

Hi Kevin,

One of the first things you learn after doing some auto-guiding sessions is that you will have times when you still have oblong stars regardless of you guiding performance. It seems like it should be good, but it isn't. There are two main reasons that could cause you problems. First is differential flexure. Flexure is when the guide camera/scope moves independently of the main camera/telescope.

You assume that the guide scope/camera is firmly fixed to the main optic but that may not be the case. The mount is keeping the star at the same position on the guide camera chip, but does not keep it steady on the main camera. So I would first suspect that you have some differential flexure between the auto-guider and the main instrument.

The next thing that could cause oblong stars is high clouds. High cirrus clouds can smear the stars image formed on the chip. This image is called the Point Spread Function. There are many factors that can impact the PSF of the star image outside of the impact of auto-guiding, the atmosphere is one of these. Typically with worse seeing comes larger PSF measured in arc-seconds Full-Width-Half-Maximum (FWHM). This is typically a bloated looking star image when the seeing is bad, but high clouds can also cause a measure of smearing in a given direction also. 

If you could share your PHD2 guide log that would help us to verify that there isn't something else going on with your auto-guiding.

Those are the main two culprits that I suspect is causing your problem, especially flexure.

Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Star trails showing up at 90 second exposure and above #astrophotography

Kevin Rea <reakevinscott@...>
 

Hi guys,
I have been shooting the Orion nebula the past few nights.
I use this mount,
Explore Scientific EXOS-2GT Computerized Mount with PMC-8.
I am using the serial connection instead of the wireless. 
With my celestron c8 on top.
I'm using a Canon DSLR 600d.
I am using a ZWO guide camera.
I am using the celestron off axis guider.
I have balanced it as perfectly as I can with the counterweight.
when I do 6o second exposures.everything's fine but if I go above 70 second exposures I start getting Star trails. 
I have good tracking with PHD2.
Any idea what I could do to have longer exposures?

Thanks for your help.
Kevin Rea
Lancaster, California USA


Re: Windows tablet may be my only solution

Kent Marts- Explore Scientific Customer Service
 

Was on the phone with some technical call for hours – thus was not able to get to you.

 

I plan on doing that today.

 

Kent

 

 

 

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io <MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io> On Behalf Of John Pirrone via Groups.Io
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2020 10:52 PM
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: [ESPMC-Eight] Windows tablet may be my only solution

 

Ok. So after weeks of frustration trying to load the explorer stars database onto my tablet, following directions to the letter with both the instructions provided by  Kent Marts with his detailed instructions and Wes with the configuration manager, I am thinking of buying a windows 10 tablet so I can just load this as I did on my PC and my laptop and use that instead of an Android tablet. Both the PC and the laptop work fine, have the database and move the mount, however, I can't take my PC  out into the back yard with me and the laptop is cumbersome and using a mouse to move the mount sucks. So I wanted to use the small tablet like a hand controller.  I have done everything many many times, and it never sees the database on my tablet and I continue to get that error. The tablet recognized the card and the files show up but will not go onto the Explorestars application. Before you ask me if permissions are turned on YES they are.  I have deleted the database on the Mini SD card and reloaded it so many times trying to do this, that now the mini SD card has died and is not recognized any longer by my PC, laptop or tablet. I purchased a new mini SD card so I can try this once more. But after that, I am not going to waste any more of my time. I called the Explore Scientific customer service number today and there was no answer. I left a message but did not receive a callback. I am hoping that I can get a callback and do this one more time over the phone with Kent to see what is going on when I am trying to do it, following the directions exactly.    
If this does not work again I am going to buy a Windows 10 tablet that has 4 GB of
Ram and 64 GB of storage or possibly more, depending on price and I will most likely use it only for the telescope. 


--
Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific

Gear: Anything in the store!


Windows tablet may be my only solution

John Pirrone
 

Ok. So after weeks of frustration trying to load the explorer stars database onto my tablet, following directions to the letter with both the instructions provided by  Kent Marts with his detailed instructions and Wes with the configuration manager, I am thinking of buying a windows 10 tablet so I can just load this as I did on my PC and my laptop and use that instead of an Android tablet. Both the PC and the laptop work fine, have the database and move the mount, however, I can't take my PC  out into the back yard with me and the laptop is cumbersome and using a mouse to move the mount sucks. So I wanted to use the small tablet like a hand controller.  I have done everything many many times, and it never sees the database on my tablet and I continue to get that error. The tablet recognized the card and the files show up but will not go onto the Explorestars application. Before you ask me if permissions are turned on YES they are.  I have deleted the database on the Mini SD card and reloaded it so many times trying to do this, that now the mini SD card has died and is not recognized any longer by my PC, laptop or tablet. I purchased a new mini SD card so I can try this once more. But after that, I am not going to waste any more of my time. I called the Explore Scientific customer service number today and there was no answer. I left a message but did not receive a callback. I am hoping that I can get a callback and do this one more time over the phone with Kent to see what is going on when I am trying to do it, following the directions exactly.    
If this does not work again I am going to buy a Windows 10 tablet that has 4 GB of
Ram and 64 GB of storage or possibly more, depending on price and I will most likely use it only for the telescope. 


Re: Meridian Flip #ASCOM #EXOS2

Wes Mcdonald
 

What Jim states is correct and illustrates why it would not be necessary absolutely for the PMC8 to do anything at the meridian.  The short answer to the question is no, the PMC8 driver does not do anything at meridian.  That is left to the application in charge of scope motion and activity.

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: Meridian Flip #ASCOM #EXOS2

Jim McKee
 

APT and NINA will automate meridian flip.  Just works as part of serial ascom control.  You can give it a try inside and make sure it works for you.  Slew to a target near meridian (east) and give it a try.
--
Scope:        Orion EON 115mm APO
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-GT w/ PMC-8
Cameras:   ZWO ASI 071MC Pro, Canon 6D Mk 2, Canon 7D2,  EOS 60D Asto Modified
Lens:
          Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Misc:          TELRAD, ZWO ASI120MM Guide Camera, Astromania 60mm Guidescope, Senso Sesto Focus Motor
Software:   EXPLORESTARS IOS & WIN, Stellarium. NINA,  APT, DSS, PixInsight, Photoshop CC
Computer:  Dell Latitude E5450, Windows 10


Meridian Flip #ASCOM #EXOS2

Timothy Myers
 

I have read a lot about Meridian Flip with various scope control formats. 0I have read that some mounts do and some don't, does the PMC-8 support meridian flip?
--
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, Amazon Fire 7


Re: Data base is on SD card but will not load onto the application #ExploreStars #Android

John Pirrone
 

Wes. Here we go again. I did exactly what you said, to the letter. When I click on install in step 2 I immediately get an error message that says Unhandled exception has occurred in your application. If you click Continue, the application will ignore this message and attempt to continue. If you click Qui, the application will close immediately.
Could not find a part of the path F:\.'
So I clicked continue anyway and all I am getting is downloading the file please wait.  My SD card is in the computer. I tried this with both my laptop and my PC and got the same error and the same result. The SD card says it is empty when I look at it. 
I am pretty sure I don't have to wait an hour for the Downloading file please wait message. 
I will keep it on and see what happens but I don't think it is going to work. 

 

On Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 6:13 PM John Pirrone via Groups.Io <pepperonihead=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Ok. I did all that. So there is three items at the bottom. 
They say
2 Deleting existing DB
1 The database was successfully downloaded
0 Downloading file. Please wait. 
So I assume it is working
 


On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 9:30 AM Wes Mcdonald <wesmcd6@...> wrote:
John:

If you use the CM to load the database onto the SD card, it will all be done properly for you.  Try it.  It under the Explorestars tab.

1.  Open CM and go full screen
2.  MAke sure your PC is connected on line to the internet
3.  Put your SD card on your PC as a drive.  Thisis done with a card reader typically.  Windows will recognize the thing and make it an external drive.
4.  Open the explorestars tab in the CM
5.  Click the radio button to Install to SD Card.  When you do you will see the database location change fom blahblahblahComplete to blahblahblah.zip
6.  Press the download button.  But First, note you are not downloading to the SD card, you are going to a temp file on the C drive.  When you press download you will get a verification window, clock OK.  Then wait for the Down Load complete window to pop up.  Click it off.
7.  Select the removable drive location under Step 2.  Press install.

Thats it.  All the files you need will be in the right place on the SD card.  Eject it and install it on your tablet.  Fini.

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

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