Date   

Re: Dec axis motor system faulty or newbie error?? #EXOS2

Paul Mogg
 

Tony, I got to the Orion Nebula using just the Telrad ( which is an amazing tool ) and loosened clutches, which is how I'd been it before getting the EXOS-2 PCM-8. I started about a month or so age using an old video tripod I had, with my Newtonian, but quickly realized that doesn't cut it for astronomy, it's down right dangerous frankly, the whole shebang nearly fell on me a few times. So anyway, the EXOS-2 is a big step up for me.
--
Location: southern Spain

Equipment:
Explore Scientific EOS-2 PMC-Eight mount
Skywatcher 200DPS Newtonian telescope
Telrad.
28mm 2" and 12mm 1.25" lenses.
2 and 5 x Barlows.
Macbook air 
Huawei Android T5 Tablet
Nikon D3200 DSLR
Software: ExploreStars Android & WIndows, Stellarium OSX & Android, AstroDSLR


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Wes Mcdonald
 

Paul 

The RN 131 G which is in the unit has a spec sheet operating temperature -30 to +85 (C) so don’t sweat the temperature.  Also, in case you are still worried that 5C is a problem realize the thing self heats also while operating.  Self heat also likely prevents moisture from forming on it.  Finally the thing is pretty much sealed up in an RF enclosure.


You are looking in the wrong places for a problem.  Barring that your unit is somehow defective, a thesis that its operational capability with WiFi is demonstrated, all of your problems stem from your windows machine.  I have said this many times, the pmc8 is a relatively simple machine — compared to a PC it is the smallest bump on the smallest wart in the smallest code module in windows operating system.   

I don’t know if anyone on the forum that had been unable to get things up and running.  

I had issues also.  In the end they all were related in someway to the windows tablet I had.     Everything works fine on two bootcamped macs and in dell laptop.   Same stuff didn’t work correctly in the the tablet.   Go figure.

So you just have to clear the decks and start over.  Start simple.  Uninstall ascom.  Install ascom 6.4, not 6.5.  Run the ascom diagnostics.  It must complete with no errors.  Reinstall the Es ascom driver, any cpu version.   Get the ftdi cable.  Load the ftdi usb-serial driver for the device.  Check with windows device manager to see if the adapter is working.  Load the configuration manager.  Connect to the pmc8 WiFi and using the cm switch the pmc8 to serial.  Using the configuration manager check that it responds to the ESGv! Command.  If so serial is working. If not suspect the usb serial cable/driver/chip set.  Boot poth.  Configure the ascom driver to the comm port and communication mode.  Connect poth to the mount.  See does the ra and dec values go to 90 and something around 0, can be off by a few hours in ra.   Use the poth keys to move the mount and see that the position in ra and dec as reported in poth are changing.  If all this works Ascom is up and running with the mount.

At that point the rest is just using other applications with their own stuff you have to figure out.  

Remember to connect ascom driver to the mount and every other ascom compliant software to Poth. 

If you are having issues with poth not moving the mount via an st4 cable while using explorestars there are a few possibilities.  Remember to tell PhD that guiding is to be done on camera, pick this in the mounts drop box in phd profile manager.  The st4 interface may have an issue with your particular guided camera that is easily fixed but requires you to run the unit in diagnostic mode.  So check out all above and get back to us. If all works but guiding via st4 does not then diagnostic mode test will be the next step.

There is an issue with connecting to WiFi that cropped up with a windows update.  The only known work around we have is to set the network adapter to static IP address.   I have put a .bat file in the files section of the Mounts subgroup that will do this for you.  So if your PC is not connecting to the wifi module while in DHCP mode use the bat file to switch it.

Finally, if you have issues with WiFi dropping it is possible the WiFi is not configured correctly. After you establish that every other thing about WiFi is correct we can look into that.  But make sure the WiFi advice others have given you is all followed and the static mode switch does. It fix the problem 

Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Dec axis motor system faulty or newbie error?? #EXOS2

Paul Mogg
 

Well I fixed it, took me while as I'm not used to doing any mechanical stuff, and finding the right hex keys etc. but it was exactly as Robert had predicted, both of the set screws holding the large pulley in place on the DEC motor assembly were completely loose on their spindle, so the motor was turning but it wasn't turning the head.

Many thanks again to Robert for his help and instruction sheet, and to Tony for his helpful suggestions.

Paul

--
Location: southern Spain

Equipment:
Explore Scientific EOS-2 PMC-Eight mount
Skywatcher 200DPS Newtonian telescope
Telrad.
28mm 2" and 12mm 1.25" lenses.
2 and 5 x Barlows.
Macbook air 
Huawei Android T5 Tablet
Nikon D3200 DSLR
Software: ExploreStars Android & WIndows, Stellarium OSX & Android, AstroDSLR


Re: Dec axis motor system faulty or newbie error?? #EXOS2

James Ball
 

If you have just the bare mount, not scope or counterweights, does it seem to move correctly with only the high pitch noise of the motors and no clicking or grinding?
--
James Ball
Dawson Springs, Ky
Mounts: iEXOS-100
Scopes: Meade ETX90RA(deforked now) Sky Watcher 150MCT
Camera: ZWO ASI 120MC-S
Software: Explore Stars Android, ASCOM, Stellarium Scope, Stellarium, AS!3, SharpCap, RegiStax6.


Re: Dec axis motor system faulty or newbie error?? #EXOS2

Tony
 

You're shooting with a 200mm newt, correct?  That's similar to my setup.  Are you sure your scope is well balanced with the camera and accessories attached?  It sounds like the motor may be straining.  The mount should be plenty strong enough to move a big newt, so long as its well balanced.  Sorry if  this seems like an obvious point, I just want to make sure.

How were you able to get to the Orion Nebula?  Did you use explore stars and slew to the target?  Were you platesolving in APT?  Or did you loosen the clutches and point the scope manually?

Also, if you were able to get the scope on target (M42) the DEC motor should be essentially still.  Only the RA motor would be turning to counteract the earth's rotation.  If you got star trails at 30 seconds, and assuming you had good polar alignment, it sounds like the RA axis is not turning.  Perhaps you have them confused?  Or perhaps both are straining? 

Please don't take any offense if my questions seem too rudimentary, I'm just trying to understand and confirm things. Hopefully you'll get some answers from Support soon.


On 10/17/2020 1:41 AM, Paul Mogg wrote:
Yes I did that Tony, nothing to see, the belt is in place, the cogs turn. Unfortunately the Dec motor system started making a loud repetitive click last night as I suppose it is trying to track but can't. I tried taking my first pics of the Orion nebula last night but just got long star trails with a 30 sec exposure, ( lovely colors though, haha! ) the Dec motor isn't moving anything. 

I sent a message about this to Astroshop.eu the German company I bought it from, to try to figure out if I should attempt a repair myself, but haven't heard back yet. I really don't relish shipping this whole rig back to Germany if I don't have to, but don't want to touch it until I know how my Warranty will be affected, as it's brand new. Don't know if I need to also contact the US people at Explore Scientific too.

Thanks for your feedback.

Paul

--
Location: southern Spain

Equipment:
Explore Scientific EOS-2 PMC-Eight mount
Skywatcher 200DPS Newtonian telescope
Telrad.
28mm 2" and 12mm 1.25" lenses.
2 and 5 x Barlows.
Macbook air 
Huawei Android T5 Tablet
Nikon D3200 DSLR
Software: ExploreStars Android & WIndows, Stellarium OSX & Android, AstroDSLR


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Paul Meesters
 

Also the mount is quite capable of being driven by ASCOM, where the world of applications awaits your use.

I tried to control the mount via Stellarium, following the setup guide found on this forum (https://espmc-eight.groups.io/g/MAIN/topic/pmc_eight_stellarium_setup/)
However, POTH is freezing up (and Stellarium too), becoming unresponsive. So, I'm forced to keep using ExploreStars.

My report of my mishaps in that thread have remained unanswered :(


But the problem is the PMC8's WIFI. I suspect it is more vulnerable to temperature and moisture than it ought to be

The temperature yesterday was around 5 Celsius (41 F), Haven't checked the dewpoint, but I was out only for 15 minutes or so.
If the PMC-8 can't handle those temperatures, then we have a problem :(

Thanks,
Paul


Re: Dec axis motor system faulty or newbie error?? #EXOS2

Paul Mogg
 

Yes I did that Tony, nothing to see, the belt is in place, the cogs turn. Unfortunately the Dec motor system started making a loud repetitive click last night as I suppose it is trying to track but can't. I tried taking my first pics of the Orion nebula last night but just got long star trails with a 30 sec exposure, ( lovely colors though, haha! ) the Dec motor isn't moving anything. 

I sent a message about this to Astroshop.eu the German company I bought it from, to try to figure out if I should attempt a repair myself, but haven't heard back yet. I really don't relish shipping this whole rig back to Germany if I don't have to, but don't want to touch it until I know how my Warranty will be affected, as it's brand new. Don't know if I need to also contact the US people at Explore Scientific too.

Thanks for your feedback.

Paul

--
Location: southern Spain

Equipment:
Explore Scientific EOS-2 PMC-Eight mount
Skywatcher 200DPS Newtonian telescope
Telrad.
28mm 2" and 12mm 1.25" lenses.
2 and 5 x Barlows.
Macbook air 
Huawei Android T5 Tablet
Nikon D3200 DSLR
Software: ExploreStars Android & WIndows, Stellarium OSX & Android, AstroDSLR


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Dan Ward
 

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)
Workflow: Windows-ASCOM-Stellarium-NINA-ASTAP-PHD2-DSS-GIMP
(everything else is a WIP, but next up is an ASI290MM Mini for guiding)


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Brett
 

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)
Workflow: Windows-ASCOM-Stellarium-NINA-ASTAP-PHD2-DSS-GIMP
(everything else is a WIP, but next up is an ASI290MM Mini for guiding)


Re: PHD2 stopped talking to my mount #EXOS2 #OpenGOTO #pmc-eight #ASCOM

Wes Mcdonald
 

Great point jerry


At a guide rate of .5 sidereal, a 5 second pulse from PhD will move the mount all of 37.5 arc seconds.  (15’/sec * 5 sec * .5).  So easy to miss


The reason PHD fails to calibrate via “mount failed to move enough” is usually because you have too much backlash in the dec axis or ra or both.  But dec has always been my bugaboo.

Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Wes Mcdonald
 

Also don’t forget.   While not optimum, one can enter the ra and dec of any object.  It is best to have a planetarium program to use on your phone or laptop to look up things anyhow to check visibility etc.

Also, as with many hobbies you get out of this one in proportion to what you put into it.  There are lots of resources out there to explain things like how various catalog reference systems relate to sky objects.  There are, as you have been told, several other than Messier.   

Glad to see many on the forum are helping you out.  I am sure you will get over the hump.  That’s not to say Explorestars is a perfect application, but it works well once you get used to it.  Also the mount is quite capable of being driven by ASCOM, where the world of applications awaits your use.

Wes



--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Re: UPDATED FIRMWARE NOW AVAILABLE #ExploreScientific #FIRMWARE

 

Jerry,

Any update on power consumption?   

- Bob

On Tue, Aug 25, 2020, at 15:54, Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering wrote:
On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 02:09 PM, Robert Hoskin wrote:

What do you think?
 
I just talked with Alex and he has measured the current to be around 700 mA when tracking and slewing. He has the original firmware that had the motor current set to 600 mA for both tracking and slewing.

To be clear, the motor current to each motor with the latest firmware is restricted to 600 mA each tracking, and 900 mA while slewing, BUT the signal to the stepper motors are 50% duty cycle square waves, not straight DC current. The resulting effective current to each motor is 300 mA tracking and 450 mA while slewing with about 100 mA for the circuitry. This means it should be around 700 mA while tracking and 1000 mA when slewing. Again this is with the latest firmware.

I just talked to Wes, he is going to do a measurement on his EXOS 2 PMC-Eight mount, and we will share his results.
 
--
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!



--
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: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Mirko Gude
 

Hi Paul,

I may be wrong, but for me it seems to be correct. I got one hit in ExploreStars Search for „heart nebula“. Maybe the description "open cluster" is not what you expect, but the destination seems to be ok.





Regards, Mirko


Am 16.10.2020 um 19:25 schrieb Paul Meesters <p.h.meesters@...>:

Hi,

My mistake, the longitude and latitude info was incorrect for my location :( Hence it didn't show the Slew To button.

However, IC 1805 (the heart nebula according to Stellarium) returns the Cassiopeia Objects Group. Not the Heart nebula. This object type is "Open cluster"  not "Nebula"
NGC 1795 returns the Dorado objects group.. Not the nebula..

I'm confused ..

Thanks,
Paul


--

Mounts: ES PMC-8 IEXOS 100, ES EXOS2-GT 
Scopes: Skywatcher 80/600
Cameras:  Nikon Z6, D7000, ZWO ASI385 Color, QHY 5L-II-mono
Lens: Sigma 150-600mm, Sigma Art 135mm/1,8, Nikon Z 50mm/1,8, Tamron 70-200mm
Msc: LRTimelapse Pro Timer 2.5, Raspberry Pi4, Polemaster, GPS Dongle
Software: PixInsight, Kstars, Starry Night, Redshift


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Patrick Maher
 

I agree with you about finding objects that aren't solar system objects or Messier objects.  This, in my opinion, is a weak area of the app.  What if someone doesn't know the names of things to view?  Wouldn't it be better if we could at least scroll through a list of viewable objects in the sky at the moment?  Obviously, a more graphical interface like we have for the Messier objects and the Solar System objects would be even better but just a list would be okay.  Maybe add-on packs for the app? 

I also use a Surface tablet with ExploreStars and I have no problems so there must be something wrong with your particular tablet/OS or you are doing something wrong (which is easy to do and expected for someone new to the system).  

As far as your other problem, it sounds like you might be losing connection with the mount.  The obvious reason is because you have your tablet set to "Always Connect to this Device" for your home's Wifi.  You must uncheck that option.  Even better, set your mount's Wifi to "Always Connect..."  

My guess is that will resolve the connection issue.

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Paul Meesters
 

When I set up outside, I was still on mains power (both the PMC-8 as the laptop). The laptop was correctly connected to the PMC-8 via WiFi. I even switched to my normal internet-wifi signal and back again. It connected without any problem, but the ExploreStars application was stuck on "Please Wait". restarting ExploreStars several times had no effect.
Once inside again (I had unplugged the power to do that) and putting the power back on, ExploreStars started up normally with the compass-rose for slewing.
The distance between inside and outside is about 5 meters. That cannot be the issue.

One positive point was that clouds drifted in 15 minutes later (not forecasted by the nightshift app by the way, it promised clear skies for hours), so no precious observing time was lost.

I have the Exos-II / PMC-8 now since September 4th, and have had zero skywatching time with it :( So, forgive me for being less then jubilant.


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Paul,
 
Out of curiosity, when you tested indoors vs. outdoors, did you change from mains power to battery?  
 
I believe Win10 has power management settings for the wifi adapter, and I seem to recall that we've had the odd post concerning that.  Just wondering if Win 10 decided to power down your adapter on you...
 
FWIW...
 
- 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: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Mikas
 

Hi Paul,

I would definitely go outside to confirm it's not working there. How it could be? What changes when you go outside? Does Laptop get connected to another wifi instead of PMC-Eight?. Different power supply? Does the laptop run on battery there? Perhaps there is microwave interference from faulty street light? Is there 5G telecom antenna nearby? Use a wifi analyzer app to check if there is a neighbors wifi on channel 1 near your mount. Must be some reason for it to be working inside, but not outside.

I have nearly new Skywatcher EQ5 pro with Synscan Go-To, but because of oblong stars had to upgrade to EXOS II also. So on Synscan there is no search at all. Arguably better than EXOS II  would be also belt-driven Sky-Watcher EQ6-R PRO and you can get many tablets for the price difference. I bought TECLAST P20HD 10.1 Inch 8-Core 4GB Tablet Android for £128, but it could be way cheaper to get the job done. The only requirement is an SD card slot and can be as old as Android 4.4 kitkat.


Re: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Harry
 

Paul,
Another option I used when I didn’t want to use my iPad, was an inexpensive Amazon Fire HD8. You need a micro SD card to separately load the ExploreStars database, but I had great luck with it. Your Windows laptop should do this fine.  It is a modified Android device. Just make sure the ExploreStars app is still available from the Fire App Store. I think mine was a 32mb unit.
I certainly understand your frustration, but the mount really is a great product. I have been there.
--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL

Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Guide: ZWO 30mm Mini, ZWO ASI120MM-Mini
Software: ASIair Pro, iPad Pro, MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Affinity Photo, Lightroom,  SkySafari Plus
Cameras: Nikon D600, D5500
Misc: ES USB Power Bank, Rigel QuikFinder, 0.8x Focal Reducer
Filters:  Optolong L-Pro, L-eNhance






Re: PHD2 stopped talking to my mount #EXOS2 #OpenGOTO #pmc-eight #ASCOM

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 10:01 AM, Jennifer Shelly wrote:
The third screen shot in post 8515 shows the mount is connected, but the camera is not connected.  I am not sure if it makes a difference or not, but have you tried connecting the camera and the mount at the same time and the tried moving the mount in PHD2?  
Hi Jennifer, James,

Yes, I think in order to send manual pulse guide commands, you may have to connect the camera, although I have not tried using the manual guide without the camera to see if that is actually a problem. Also since guide commands are very very small, you may not be able to see any "physical" movement of the mount at all. The way you should test this is to first slew to an object using a planetarium program (which I will explain why it is needed) and make sure it is tracking. Once you do that then bring up the manual guiding in PHD2 and zoom up on the target in your planetarium so you can see small position changes on the chart. Make sure your chart is zoomed up to see the motion when you push the guide buttons.

Give that a try and let us know
 
--
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: Non-Messier objects in ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Paul please persevere with the mount and ExploreStars, it is a very good programme and once you get your head round it you will love it. Like any other programme or software to work to its full potential you must definitely have a good polar align so that the mount knows where you are. I had the same problem as I thought I was polar aligned but the polar scope inside the mount needed collimating itself. I had weeks of nothing working properly until I discovered this. Since it was collimated I have had no probs with slewing to anything, maybe a slight tweak here and there to get things central, I don’t even do any star align.  Although ExploreStars is mostly for observing, once you know you have a good PA the mount tracks superbly, good enough for short exposures. I can now push it to 1min/ 90 sec exp. please check your polar scope, I would put my house on that not being properly calibrated. Cheers, Mick. 


On 16 Oct 2020, at 19:20, James Everson <jeverson.biz@...> wrote:

Paul,

I can understand your frustration. My first few outings with the mount was challenging. It has a rather steep learning curve compared to my Celestron AVX mount. However, once you figure it out, it is a great mount. It sounds like you are using either a laptop or a Windows tablet to connect to the PMC8 device. I would suggest, if you happen to have one, is using an iPad when getting started. It connects to the PMC8 wifi easily and the databases are updated automatically. I am only just starting to get into auto-guiding which involves moving from my iPad to my laptop and I am running into some challenges again. As with all new things, we have to learn and adapt. ES does seem to target more intermediate to advanced users. Give it some time and I think you'll find that even with it's quirks, it's a good mount.

Good luck and clear skies

--
Mounts: Explore Scientific EXOS II GT, iEXOS-100, Celestron AVX
Scope: Explore Scientific AR102, AR152, FirstLight 152mm Mak-Cassegrain, SpaceCat 51
Guide Scope: Astromania 50mm Guidescope (190mm focal length)
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI120MM Mini Monochrome
Camera: Canon RP (IR modification)
Software: PHD2, ASCOM, and APT

--
Michael Whitaker
Wakefield, UK. 
MOUNTS. Exos-2 PMC Eight..
SCOPE: RVO Horizon 72ed. 
CAMERA: Not Applicable. 
SOFTWARE: Just iPad at moment.