Topics

Automatic Meridian Flip (re: APT) #ASCOM #astrophotography


Jay Sanchez
 

I've been struggling with AMF in APT, I haven't performed a successful automatic flip yet.
Before I uninstall and re-install ASCOM and ES drivers, APT and my astro software, I just want to make sure that someone using a PMC-Eight mount has performed a success automatic flip with APT (Astrophotography Tool). I really like APT so far... I'm trying not to switch and learn NINA just to see if I can successful configure an AMF.

Anything in these APT settings look obviously wrong? (just a screen cap without anything connected) I've entered my scope focal length correctly and plate solving successfully. One thing might be a clue -- whenever I park after a plate solve, my mount is off in the Dec axis. I've been in detective mode about my issue for awhile now trying to deduce factors. I'm also inquiring the APT community. Thank you ES community in advance.




--
Jay Sanchez

Home: Bortle 8, Norfolk VA
Camera: Canon t2i, ha modded
Guide Camera: ASI224MC & ASI mini guidescope
Imaging scopes/lens: Pentax 300mm f4, WO Z61 w/ FF, Vivitar 90mm; 70-200mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikon 50mm f1.4
Filters: HA 12nm, CLS-CCD
Mount: iEXOS-100
APT, CDC, PHD2, Sharpcap, DSS, PS


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Tue, Mar 3, 2020 at 10:16 AM, Jay Sanchez wrote:
I've been struggling with AMF in APT, I haven't performed a successful automatic flip yet.
Before I uninstall and re-install ASCOM and ES drivers, APT and my astro software, I just want to make sure that someone using a PMC-Eight mount has performed a success automatic flip with APT (Astrophotography Tool). I really like APT so far... I'm trying not to switch and learn NINA just to see if I can successful configure an AMF.
Hi Jay,

Have you posted your question on any APT forums, or on CloudyNights?
 
--
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!


Mike Leemhuis
 

If you aren't returning to park then my guess is that your steppers are breaking phase.  That could be caused by a bind in the gearing or a cable that gets caught on something and prevents normal motion.  An unbalanced RA or DEC axis can cause it too.  I would run it inside and listen for any popping sounds while you slew in various directions.

As for your trying to do a meridian flip, are you aware you can do this directly with POTH?  Just pick a target on the east side very near the meridian.  You can watch the Hour Angle (HA) count down to zero and then change sign as you pass the meridian.  Then click on the Flip button to force a meridian flip. This bypasses other software that could be causing confusion.  Again, I would do this inside so you can see how it works.
image.png


Hope that helps.

Mike L.

--
Mount: Explore Scientific Exos-2
Scope: Explore Scientific ED102CF
Camera: QHY163C and QHY5L-ii
Filter: Optolong L-eNhance 2" for nebula pictures
Software: ASCOM, PHD2, CDC, Sharpcap Pro, NINA, Deep Sky Stacker
Computer:  Dell desktop XPS
Extras:  Lots of 3D printed parts I designed to improve usability


Jay Sanchez
 

Thanks for your insight Mike.

Yes, I'm balanced on both axis. No unusual noises coming from the mount. I have no problem returning to Park before I do a plate solve, it's when after I do a solve that it doesn't find the original Park position. I haven't tried manually flipping from POTH, I'll give it a try - it might give me a clue as I'm trying to narrow down the problem. But, the issue I'm having is with an Automatic Meridian Flip without intervention.

Jerry, I've only inquired on the FB APT page, not yet on Cloudy Nights or APT's forums. That's my next steps


--
Jay Sanchez

Home: Bortle 8, Norfolk VA
Camera: Canon t2i, ha modded
Guide Camera: ASI224MC & ASI mini guidescope
Imaging scopes/lens: Pentax 300mm f4, WO Z61 w/ FF, Vivitar 90mm; 70-200mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikon 50mm f1.4
Filters: HA 12nm, CLS-CCD
Mount: iEXOS-100
APT, CDC, PHD2, Sharpcap, DSS, PS


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Tue, Mar 3, 2020 at 01:21 PM, Jay Sanchez wrote:
it's when after I do a solve that it doesn't find the original Park position.
Hi Jay, remember that if you do a plate solve and a SYNC, that the motor counts will update to the new coordinates. If the plate solve is incorrect, then it could cause  large shift in the park position. Remember to always validate the plate solve and check to see if the solved plate scale, focal length, and position seems reasonable before SYNCing the mount to the coordinates.
 
--
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!


Jay Sanchez
 

Slowly narrowing things down - so far, pretty much ruled out any issues with ASCOM and PMC 8 driver. POTH ASCOM manually flips and slews/parks correctly.
I loose that manual flip control though when either APT or NINA is active even with the software showing the mount isn't connected (to the software), slewing still works normally. Unfortunately, I have to wait to test out manual flips with APT or NINA because it involves an exposure and plate solve (cloudy skies until Saturday). Also, gonna test to see if ASCOM PAD maybe the culprit and test to see if PHD2's meridian flip calibration tool (which I've never used) can help sort things out.

I'll get this figured out!

--
Jay Sanchez

Home: Bortle 8, Norfolk VA
Camera: Canon t2i, ha modded
Guide Camera: ASI224MC & ASI mini guidescope
Imaging scopes/lens: Pentax 300mm f4, WO Z61 w/ FF, Vivitar 90mm; 70-200mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikon 50mm f1.4
Filters: HA 12nm astronomik clip in, SVBony 2"CLS, 2" L-Enhance
Mount: iEXOS-100
APT, CDC, PHD2, Sharpcap, DSS, PS


Lloyd Simons
 

Jay,

Did you ever get this sorted out? I am having similar issues with NINA. Mount flips fine (is pointing in the general vicinity of my target), plate solves, then the mount tries to point the scope at the ground. 
--
Lloyd Simons
Mattawan, MI
Telescopes: Astrotech AT72ED II, Orion 8" Dobsonian, Tectron 15" Dobsonian, Celestron Super Polaris C8
Imaging Camera: Canon T3i
Guide Camera: QHY5L-IIM on a 60mm F4 Guidescope
Mounts: iExos-100 PMC-8, Vixen Super Polaris
Mount Control: KODLIX gn41 mini PC, Explorestars on a Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70F Android 6.0
Software: N.I.N.A. for imaging, PHD2 for guiding, Sharpcap for PA, Cartes du Ciel, PixInsight


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 03:47 PM, Lloyd Simons wrote:
Did you ever get this sorted out? I am having similar issues with NINA. Mount flips fine (is pointing in the general vicinity of my target), plate solves, then the mount tries to point the scope at the ground. 

Hi Lloyd,

This problem is related to the fact that when a pier flip occurs right at the meridian, and a plate solve is performed where the solved position is still west of the meridian, the driver calculates that the mount is pointing west, not east. Once this is the case, a slew to any object makes the mount move in the wrong direction. To resolve this if you want to automate the pier flip and get back on target, it is best to not do a meridian flip right at the meridian but instead delay the flip for 5 or 10 minutes. The mount is fully capable of tracking past the meridian. Once you are past the meridian by 5 minutes, command a slew back to the object and it will perform the flip and it should be pointing past the meridian. Then the automation can do a plate solve and re position the mount to center the object. I have seen this very rarely and only in cases where the plate solve was done immediately after the pier flip at the meridian.

Give this a try and see if it corrects the issue.
 
--
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!


Lloyd Simons
 

Thanks so much Jerry. I'll give this a try.
--
Lloyd Simons
Mattawan, MI
Telescopes: Astrotech AT72ED II, Orion 8" Dobsonian, Tectron 15" Dobsonian, Celestron Super Polaris C8
Imaging Camera: Canon T3i
Guide Camera: QHY5L-IIM on a 60mm F4 Guidescope
Mounts: iExos-100 PMC-8, Vixen Super Polaris
Mount Control: KODLIX gn41 mini PC, Explorestars on a Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70F Android 6.0
Software: N.I.N.A. for imaging, PHD2 for guiding, Sharpcap for PA, Cartes du Ciel, PixInsight


Lloyd Simons
 

Jerry, 

That did it! I had the mount track 9 min past the meridian and the flip went perfectly. Thanks again for your help.
--
Lloyd Simons
Mattawan, MI
Telescopes: Astrotech AT72ED II, Orion 8" Dobsonian, Tectron 15" Dobsonian, Celestron Super Polaris C8
Imaging Camera: Canon T3i
Guide Camera: QHY5L-IIM on a 60mm F4 Guidescope
Mounts: iExos-100 PMC-8, Vixen Super Polaris
Mount Control: KODLIX gn41 mini PC, Explorestars on a Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70F Android 6.0
Software: N.I.N.A. for imaging, PHD2 for guiding, Sharpcap for PA, Cartes du Ciel, PixInsight