Topics

G-11 vs EXOS-2 #G11 #EXOS2 #TECHNICAL

Jennifer Shelly
 

I was getting very frustrated with the EXOS-2, so I took the plunge and purchased an ES PMC-8 G-11 and the difference between the performance of these mounts is night and day.

Wow. The G-11 is a beast and it dwarfs the EXOS-2.  I am impressed with the machining and quality of the G-11.  At first I did not think I would like the modular design of the G-11,  but now I love that it can be disassembled and reassembled in a few minutes.  

The modular design was beneficial to me because a couple of months ago I was in a car accident where the other driver rear-ended me, totaled my vehicle, and required PT.  Eventually with the help of PT I was able to carry and assemble the G-11.  It would have been more difficult with the EXOS-2.

Guiding with PHD2 has significantly improved with the G-11. I am still working out think kinks, but I am confident I will achieve excellent results.

When I received my mount there was significant binding on the RA axis, so I had to adjust the mesh on the RA axis because it was making sounds that quite frankly frightened me.

The only negative feedback I have for the G-11 is the worm assembly.  It is extremely difficult to adjust the mesh with the wheel when three or four hands are required.  Trying the hold the two blocks, maintaining the correct tension, keeping everything square, using an allen wrench to mount the blocks, and preventing the blocks from rotating while tightening the allen bolts is an extremely difficult task.  

I eventually gave in an purchased an expensive OPWB from Losmandy and was able to get the RA axis meshed without binding.

All in all I am extremely pleased with the G-11 and look forward to having stress free nights with it going forward granted there are clear skies.

--
Sincerely,
Jennifer Shelly

AstroPorch, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Skywatcher AZ-GTi
Scopes: ES N208CF, Meade APO 70 MM Astrograph
Cameras: QHY168C, ZWO ASI183MC-P, ZWO ASI183MM, Nikon D5600, Nikon D5200, Nikon D3100
Misc: SteelDrive II, SX USB Filter Wheel, TS Flip , Astromania DC Focuser
Imaging Software:  APT, BYN, SharpCap Pro, ASICap
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Sun, May 26, 2019 at 12:32 PM, Jennifer Shelly wrote:
I was getting very frustrated with the EXOS-2, so I took the plunge and purchased an ES PMC-8 G-11 and the difference between the performance of these mounts is night and day.
Hi Jennifer,

First I want to thank you for sticking with the PMC-Eight system on your new G11 mount. I know you could have purchased it from Losmandy with the Gemini system, so I appreciate that. I think as you said you will find the guiding results improved as compared to your EXOS 2 PMC-Eight mount. If you are powering your mount with the AC adapter you might want to upgrade the PMC-Eight firmware for the G11 to the 9T12 version which provided more motor current boosting it from 900 mA  to 1300 mA per motor. This upgrade will provide a small improvement in tracking smoothness and improve the auto-guiding performance a bit also. When I updated the firmware for the G11 PMC-Eight in our observatory, the tracking rate improved (using the TDM, not auto-guiding) from 0.5 - 0.6 RMS to 0.35 RMS. YMMV depending on how you tune your auto-guiding system.

Thanks again, I look forward to seeing further good reports from you in the future.
 
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!

JI THERIOT
 

I had no idea that there was a firmware update for the G11. I am going to have to look into that. That may fix any of my issues that I have been having.

JI THERIOT
 

Jerry,
I am trying to update my firmware but I cannot find the .exe file to get this thing to run.  

Ji

JI THERIOT
 

Jerry,
So I figured everything out with the exception of one thing:

I apparently do not have an updatable circuit board in my PMC-8.  My model is ESOGT-01B.  Anyway to get my firmware updated?

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Sun, May 26, 2019 at 10:26 PM, JI THERIOT wrote:
I apparently do not have an updatable circuit board in my PMC-8.  My model is ESOGT-01B.  Anyway to get my firmware updated?
Hi Ji,

The firmware on every PMC-Eight system is updateable. I assume you are looking at the number on the label on the PMC-Eight box. That is the SKU number and part of the box serial number, it is not the model number of the circuit board assembly. We have only delivered one version of the circuit board assembly for the G11 and EXOS 2 PMC-Eight, it is Model 2A-06B.  You can find details about this in the Programmer's Reference
http://02d3287.netsolhost.com/pmc-eight/PMC_Eight_ProgrammersReferenceManual_Release2_2019_March_07.pdf

Based on your previous message, it looks like you found the instructions here:
https://hosted.comm100.com/KnowledgeBase/PMC-Eight-Application-Note--AN001--How-To-Update-the-PMC-Eight®-Control-System-Firmware_A5000037.aspx?id=5000037&siteid=56501

It's easier to use the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager to update the firmware. This is the software developed by Chris Moses located here:
https://espmc-eight.groups.io/g/MAIN/files/User%20Contributions/PMC8ConfigurationManager.zip

Thanks
--
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!

JI THERIOT
 

Jerry,
Is there a way to check which firmware is installed?

Ji

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Yes, 

If you have installed Chris Moses' PMC-Eight Configuration Manager, you can go to the advanced tab and send the command "ESGv!" to get the firmware version number. It will return a number like "ESGvES6B09T11!" which is firmware version 9T11.  Unless anyone has updated to 9T12, everyone has 9T11. So I am positive that you have 9T11 in your box.

There are 2 sub types for 9T11, G11 and EXOS 2. The only difference is the set motor current limit.
--
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!

JI THERIOT
 

So 12 is the one I want correct? Or 12a? That’s the one that should smooth out the spikes in guiding? 

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 12:19 PM, JI THERIOT wrote:
So 12 is the one I want correct? Or 12a? That’s the one that should smooth out the spikes in guiding? 
Hi Ji,

9T12 is the replacement for the G11 that increases the motor current to 1300 mA which may smooth out your tracking (a tiny difference). The main reason for it is to provide increased oomph so that you don't have to worry about the motors skipping steps if you are not perfectly balanced. It may or may not provide any real difference for you, YMMV. 

The a variant is for when you lose connection, the mount just keeps on tracking when the connection drops. It disables the communications watchdog timeout to stop the mount if you lose communications. People that use ExploreStars and are doing astrophotography might want that if they want to leave the mount taking pictures on the current target without have ExploreStars running. This would only work if they have an excellent PA, because the mount is operating at a fixed tracking rate as in TRACK MODE and will not dynamically point to the object as in POINT MODE.
 
--
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!

JI THERIOT
 

So do you think that the 9t12 version will allow the use of the spring loaded worm from Losmandy?

Wes Mcdonald
 

Ji:

I believe you will find that Jennifer has had success with the OPWB.  As Jerry stated, the PMC8 firmware version 9T12 will run the G-11 just fine.  It increased the motor current for the G-11 motors.  That is the only difference, and it was done to make the G-11 work a tad better, as Jerry said, Your Mileage May Vary.  

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

JI THERIOT
 

Wes,
I’ve been running a OPWB for over a year in my mount. I was specifically referring to the spring loaded worm.  The initial iteration of the ES G-11 motors did not have enough torque to overcome the load placed by the spring. Now that the motors have more power, I am wondering if they can work with the spring loaded worm. This would greatly enhance the performance of the mount because it would greatly reduce backlash. Almost every high-end mount on the market uses a spring loaded worm of some sort.

Ji

Wes Mcdonald
 

Ji:

Opps.  OK, Jerry has to weigh in.  Cool.
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

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 03:06 PM, Wes Mcdonald wrote:
Opps.  OK, Jerry has to weigh in.  Cool.
Hi Ji,

Of course it would depend on how much more the torque requirement increased, I can't really judge that since I don't have any experience with your particular setup. I would say just try it and see if it works. If you need even more torque, we still have a little more margin to play with on the motor current, but we don't want to push it too far. because the motors would start to get warm.
 
--
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!

JI THERIOT
 

Jerry, 
You've got the gears turning now...

Of course tonight is going to be cloudy so I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the firmware update changes anything. Typically on a good night I get about .75” guiding. I would really like to get it below .6” so that I can use any of my scopes. 

In in regards to the spring loaded worm I think that is the next step toward premium-level performance. It would also eliminate any need to bias the balance one direction or another. That’s the biggest problem I face with the mount currently. It’ll track at .7-.8” on one side of the pier and then 1.0-1.1” on the opposite side.

Ji

Jennifer Shelly
 

Jerry:

I am trying to update the firmware for my G-11.  I am using 9t_12_G11.eeprom
Could you please confirm that this is what I am supposed to see when I use Chris Moses' PMC-Eight Configuration Manager.

7       EVT:503-Checking COM4.
EVT:505-Propeller chip version 1 found on COM4.
EVT:506-Loading RAM
EVT:507-Verifying RAM
EVT:508-Programming EEPROM
EVT:509-Verifying EEPROM
INF:451-Success.

6       Success - results:
5       Attempting to upload ROM
4       Received: ESGvES6B09T11!
3       Sending via Serial: ESGv!
2       Switching to ASCOM...
1       Mount appears to be connected on Serial
0       Com Port: COM4

After I receive the last message "7       EVT:503-Checking COM4." I disconnect the DB-9/USB cable and power off the PMC-8.
Then I power up the PMC-8, open PMC-Eight Configuration Manager, reconnect, and enter command ESGv! and get the following.

4       Received: ESGvES6B09T11!
3       Sending via Serial: ESGv!
2       Switching to ASCOM...
1       Mount appears to be connected on Serial
0       Com Port: COM4

It appears that nothing was updated.  Am I missing something?

--
Sincerely,
Jennifer Shelly

AstroPorch, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2, Skywatcher AZ-GTi
Scopes: ES N208CF, Meade APO 70 MM Astrograph, QHY Mini Guide Scope
Cameras: QHY168C, ZWO ASI183MC-P, ZWO ASI183MM, Nikon D5600, Nikon D5200
Misc: SteelDrive II, SX USB Filter Wheel, TS Flip
Imaging Software:  APT, BYN, SharpCap Pro, ASICap
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 
Edited

On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 09:27 PM, Jennifer Shelly wrote:
It appears that nothing was updated.  Am I missing something?
Hi Jennifer,

Yes, you are correct, there is something missing. What is missing was me failing to update the version string in the firmware to reflect the correct version.  I have updated the file in the download on the Explore Scientific website. I assume you went here to download the .eeprom files: The version you loaded was correct as far as the update to the motor current from 900 to 1300 mA, but the version string was wrong.

This is the new location for the knowledge base article
https://explorescientificusa.com/pages/pmc-eight-application-note-an001-how-to-update-the-pmc-eight-control-system-firmware

Here is the old knowledge base article that you probably got the firmware from. This system was scheduled to be shutdown, but apparently the comm100 company has delayed it.  I have updated the version on this page also:
https://hosted.comm100.com/KnowledgeBase/PMC-Eight-Application-Note--AN001--How-To-Update-the-PMC-Eight®-Control-System-Firmware_A5000037.aspx?id=5000037&action=preview&siteId=56501

You should be able to use the updated 9t_12_G11.eeprom file from the .zip folder containing all the firmware files and do as you did before. Hopefully you will see the updated version number come up.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for identifying this error, I apologize for any confusion.

 
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!

Jennifer Shelly
 

Thanks Jerry.  I will give it a try this evening.

--
Sincerely,
Jennifer Shelly

AstroPorch, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Skywatcher AZ-GTi
Scopes: ES N208CF, Meade APO 70 MM Astrograph
Cameras: QHY168C, ZWO ASI183MC-P, ZWO ASI183MM, Nikon D5600, Nikon D5200, Nikon D3100
Misc: SteelDrive II, SX USB Filter Wheel, TS Flip , Astromania DC Focuser
Imaging Software:  APT, BYN, SharpCap Pro, ASICap
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements

Jennifer Shelly
 

Jerry:

Thanks again.  It worked like a charm.

4       Received: ESGvES6B09T12!
3       Sending via Serial: ESGv!
2       Switching to ASCOM...
1       Mount appears to be connected on Serial
0       Com Port: COM4
--
Sincerely,
Jennifer Shelly

AstroPorch, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Skywatcher AZ-GTi
Scopes: ES N208CF, Meade APO 70 MM Astrograph
Cameras: QHY168C, ZWO ASI183MC-P, ZWO ASI183MM, Nikon D5600, Nikon D5200, Nikon D3100
Misc: SteelDrive II, SX USB Filter Wheel, TS Flip , Astromania DC Focuser
Imaging Software:  APT, BYN, SharpCap Pro, ASICap
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements