Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?


Christopher Erickson
 

Good grief.

I have all of the following non-AP GOTO GEM mounts and NOT ONE of them has a "pier flip" button or menu command in the hand controller.

Rainbow Astro RST-135 + Hubo-i SE
Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II
Software Bisque Paramount + joystick
Vixen GP-DX + SkySensor-2000-PC
Vixen GP + Meade LXD-55 motors + Autostar 497
Meade LXD-75 + Audiostar
iOptron iEQ30 + Go2Nova 8401
Celestron CGX 1100 + NexStar

In fact as far as I can tell, only Astro-Physics and Rainbow Astro hand controllers have any configurable meridian management functions at all. All the rest handle meridian flips automatically and don't give the user any control whatsoever. And in fact the iOptron iEQ30 won't even report back to its ASCOM driver which side of the meridian it is currently on. You have to make educated guesses about its meridian state, since it will happily track through the meridian and keep on going, until it checks the meridian again during a slew command. A bit annoying in robotic observatory setups.

I also have a bunch of Meade/Celestron fork GOTO mounts and some GOTO dobs. Of course they don't have any meridian functions due to their mechanical design.

I have been using GOTO GEM mounts for over 20 years and have not yet ever felt the need for a manual meridian flip button or menu command in a hand controller. If I plan to image through the meridian, I set the meridian delay value in the AP hand controller or APCC, or the meridian limit value in the Rainbow hand controller or their ASCOM driver.

Personally I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole" or "desperate" and I don't consider setting the AP meridian delay value to be "tricking" the mount. It has been thoughtfully designed to operate exactly the way it operates. No "tricks" required.

I guess I need to be educated as to what GEM GOTO mounts and hand controllers are out there that I don't have any experience with that have a manual meridian flip button or menu command in their hand controllers (or ASCOM/INDI drivers.) And why they are needed at all. Please, if you have the time, consider sharing some mount make and model numbers so I can research this further.

Thanks in advance... and clear skies and chocolate!

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?

If you are connecting SkyX through the AP V2 ASCOM driver on Windows then you would not need to disconnect/reconnect anything.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver


> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of ray.palmer@...
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?
>
> Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that
> many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock
> standard feature with their mounts.
>
> Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.
>
>
>
>       Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software
> 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per
> Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
>
> Ray Gralak says
>
>
>       I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
>
> Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup
> using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.
>
> Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new
> commands.
>
> Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics
> mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other
> measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a
> gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged.
>
> Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination
> and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the
> concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".
>
> Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've
> said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position.
> So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread
> that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can
> track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping.
> The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is
> only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few
> nights.
>
>
>
>       The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
>
> Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian
> delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:
>
> 1. Set meridian delay.
> 2. Slew to current RA/Dec.
>
> Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.
>
> Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer
> a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about
> meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips
> instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers
> offer, why can't AP?
>
> What does "Pier side" mean please?
>
> Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip
> without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with
> the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?
>
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?
>
> The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default
> functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you
> and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier
> flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature .
>
> I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an
> imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does
> APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3?
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier
> flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC).
>
> Regards
>
> Ray
>
>
>
>






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