Date   

Re: New AP Owner (AP900GTO CP2)

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/23/2007 10:10:52 AM Central Daylight Time,
dude@... writes:


I am permentaly mounted, balanced, fully powered and aligned. I have
been drift aligning for the last three nights. My question is after I
have what I believe very good polar alignment what should I do to
improve pointing accuracy. Should I redo an alignment routine? I have
been doing the recalibrate but I was hoping for better accuracy without
having to recal in new parts of the sky.
Your pointing accuracy will depend on how orthogonal your scope is. For each
1 degree that the scope points optically off from the mechanical axis, you
will be off by 2 degrees when the scope does a meridian flip. If your scope has
wide-field, then the object will always be somewhere in the field of view, but
never centered. If you have a long focus scope, then obviously the object will
be out of the field of view. No matter which mount you buy, this will always
be the case. Therefore, to solve this problem, you would either align the
optical axis of your scope with the mechanical axis, or you would use external
software such as T-Point to do it for you. Even with perfect polar alignment, you
can never have perfect GoTo without some software intervention, because the
sky itself is distorted by the atmosphere.

At this point, we do not have software for the keypad to do this function,
but we are working at it. We probably will have it later this year, perhaps
earlier for beta testing.

One other thing: scopes such as large SCTs present more complexities to the
pointing issue because their internal optical path shifts around randomly due
to the way they are constructed. Therefore you may have problems even with
T-Point to get the system to always point exactly. Therefore you may have to use
the Rcal function to center the object even though you are using T-Point or a
similar software solution.

Rolando


**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the all-new
AOL at http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


Re: New AP Owner (AP900GTO CP2)

Kent Kirkley
 

In a message dated 7/23/07 10:11:29 AM, dude@... writes:


All,

I have owned my 900GTO for about three or four months now and have
resisted asking questions because I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing
something really stupid and then telling the world.

I am permentaly mounted, balanced, fully powered and aligned.  I have
been drift aligning for the last three nights.  My question is after I
have what I believe very good polar alignment what should I do to
improve pointing accuracy.  Should I redo an alignment routine?  I have
been doing the recalibrate but I was hoping for better accuracy without
having to recal in new parts of the sky.

Dark Skies,

Patrick Harrold
http://www.astrodude.com
Patrick:
If you have been 'drift aligning' for 'the last three nights' I doubt you
need to do anything else.

A really good drift alignment over several nights should serve you well for
imaging exposures out to several hours and, if visual, way beyond what is
required.

Kent Kirkley


**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the
all-new AOL at http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: RS232

Steve Reilly <sreilly@...>
 

Actually Stewart, it would have both OS on the computer and you would have
to decide which OS to boot into. The only real problem with this arrangement
is that Vista assumes total control of the restore points and wipes out any
of XP's.



Steve



From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of
Stuart Heggie
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 5:03 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] RS232



Steve, thanks! I did get an OEM XP disk but was told by an IT guy at work to
try reinstalling Vista clean and see if some of the vexations disappear and
then put XP on if that doesn't work. I have the basic version of Vista and
have not seen any indication that it can boot up in XP mode.

Stuart

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Reilly
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] RS232

Guys,

Vista is by most, considered Beta until the first service pack released and
that's not due to come out till 2008. If time and opportunity are key to
you, I would at a minimum, install XP as a second OS and dual boot.
Personally, I'd uninstall Vista altogether and get an OEM XP version for
now, about $90 - 120 depending on where you get it, and wait for Vista to
mature. I do have Vista Ultimate installed on one computer but it can boot
into either Vista, XP 64 or XP32. It's there for testing reasons only.
Telescope time has been rare so far this Summer and I certainly don't want
to waste precious time fixing a broken OS. Just my 2 cents worth.

Steve

From: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
[mailto:ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
Of
Stuart Heggie
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:47 PM
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] RS232

Steve, I think you are probably right about the RS232 but get ready for the
Vista ride. I got Vista on my new image processing computer and while
everything started out like you describe, one by one my key software seems
to disable itself and the fixes and work-arounds are getting more convoluted
as time goes on. Another beta test on the Microsoft user community's back.

To be fair I guess it has only really messed up Photoshop CS2, Maxim,
StarryNight Pro, StarryNight Deluxe, .... and don't get me started on the
subject of all the software Dell added when they shipped it that does not
even work on this computer right out of the box.

Stuart
----- Original Message -----
From: snightingale40
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 3:59 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] RS232

Hello,

I'm trying to set up my new computer (with windows vista) to download
the database to my hand controller--it isn't corrupted, but figured I'd
get it up and running if needed in the future.

Anyhow, there is no RS232 jack on the back of this computer and I'm
wondering if it is as simple as getting a USB-serial converter; Radio
Shack shows one for about 40 bucks.

And if I could get my computer to stop asking for an mscomm32 file (it
doesn't seem to believe I've installed it) I'll be in business! (All of
this worked fine on my 10 year old computer!)

Steve


simple resolution certain flat-field anomalies involving square emission line filters

Richard Crisp <rdcrisp@...>
 

Late last week I was asked if I could help identify the root cause of some anomalies observed in some flat fields taken using some square emission line filters.

as it turns out some of the square emission line filters when used in the CFW4-5 have an unprotected edge that can cause spurious reflections. There are a number of ways to address the issue but a simple one is to install the filter wheel carousel upside down. That will require inverting the drive sprocket too but that's simple enough as well.

here is a writeup of my findings and some before and after images and photos of what was done

http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/square_flat_anomalies_page.htm


Re: RS232

Stuart Heggie <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Steve, thanks! I did get an OEM XP disk but was told by an IT guy at work to try reinstalling Vista clean and see if some of the vexations disappear and then put XP on if that doesn't work. I have the basic version of Vista and have not seen any indication that it can boot up in XP mode.

Stuart

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Reilly
To: ap-gto@...
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] RS232


Guys,

Vista is by most, considered Beta until the first service pack released and
that's not due to come out till 2008. If time and opportunity are key to
you, I would at a minimum, install XP as a second OS and dual boot.
Personally, I'd uninstall Vista altogether and get an OEM XP version for
now, about $90 - 120 depending on where you get it, and wait for Vista to
mature. I do have Vista Ultimate installed on one computer but it can boot
into either Vista, XP 64 or XP32. It's there for testing reasons only.
Telescope time has been rare so far this Summer and I certainly don't want
to waste precious time fixing a broken OS. Just my 2 cents worth.

Steve

From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of
Stuart Heggie
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:47 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] RS232

Steve, I think you are probably right about the RS232 but get ready for the
Vista ride. I got Vista on my new image processing computer and while
everything started out like you describe, one by one my key software seems
to disable itself and the fixes and work-arounds are getting more convoluted
as time goes on. Another beta test on the Microsoft user community's back.

To be fair I guess it has only really messed up Photoshop CS2, Maxim,
StarryNight Pro, StarryNight Deluxe, .... and don't get me started on the
subject of all the software Dell added when they shipped it that does not
even work on this computer right out of the box.

Stuart
----- Original Message -----
From: snightingale40
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 3:59 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] RS232

Hello,

I'm trying to set up my new computer (with windows vista) to download
the database to my hand controller--it isn't corrupted, but figured I'd
get it up and running if needed in the future.

Anyhow, there is no RS232 jack on the back of this computer and I'm
wondering if it is as simple as getting a USB-serial converter; Radio
Shack shows one for about 40 bucks.

And if I could get my computer to stop asking for an mscomm32 file (it
doesn't seem to believe I've installed it) I'll be in business! (All of
this worked fine on my 10 year old computer!)

Steve


Re: RS232

Steve Reilly <sreilly@...>
 

Guys,



Vista is by most, considered Beta until the first service pack released and
that's not due to come out till 2008. If time and opportunity are key to
you, I would at a minimum, install XP as a second OS and dual boot.
Personally, I'd uninstall Vista altogether and get an OEM XP version for
now, about $90 - 120 depending on where you get it, and wait for Vista to
mature. I do have Vista Ultimate installed on one computer but it can boot
into either Vista, XP 64 or XP32. It's there for testing reasons only.
Telescope time has been rare so far this Summer and I certainly don't want
to waste precious time fixing a broken OS. Just my 2 cents worth.



Steve





From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of
Stuart Heggie
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:47 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] RS232



Steve, I think you are probably right about the RS232 but get ready for the
Vista ride. I got Vista on my new image processing computer and while
everything started out like you describe, one by one my key software seems
to disable itself and the fixes and work-arounds are getting more convoluted
as time goes on. Another beta test on the Microsoft user community's back.

To be fair I guess it has only really messed up Photoshop CS2, Maxim,
StarryNight Pro, StarryNight Deluxe, .... and don't get me started on the
subject of all the software Dell added when they shipped it that does not
even work on this computer right out of the box.

Stuart

----- Original Message -----
From: snightingale40
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 3:59 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] RS232

Hello,

I'm trying to set up my new computer (with windows vista) to download
the database to my hand controller--it isn't corrupted, but figured I'd
get it up and running if needed in the future.

Anyhow, there is no RS232 jack on the back of this computer and I'm
wondering if it is as simple as getting a USB-serial converter; Radio
Shack shows one for about 40 bucks.

And if I could get my computer to stop asking for an mscomm32 file (it
doesn't seem to believe I've installed it) I'll be in business! (All of
this worked fine on my 10 year old computer!)

Steve


Re: RS232

Stuart Heggie <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Steve, I think you are probably right about the RS232 but get ready for the Vista ride. I got Vista on my new image processing computer and while everything started out like you describe, one by one my key software seems to disable itself and the fixes and work-arounds are getting more convoluted as time goes on. Another beta test on the Microsoft user community's back.

To be fair I guess it has only really messed up Photoshop CS2, Maxim, StarryNight Pro, StarryNight Deluxe, .... and don't get me started on the subject of all the software Dell added when they shipped it that does not even work on this computer right out of the box.

Stuart

----- Original Message -----
From: snightingale40
To: ap-gto@...
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 3:59 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] RS232


Hello,

I'm trying to set up my new computer (with windows vista) to download
the database to my hand controller--it isn't corrupted, but figured I'd
get it up and running if needed in the future.

Anyhow, there is no RS232 jack on the back of this computer and I'm
wondering if it is as simple as getting a USB-serial converter; Radio
Shack shows one for about 40 bucks.

And if I could get my computer to stop asking for an mscomm32 file (it
doesn't seem to believe I've installed it) I'll be in business! (All of
this worked fine on my 10 year old computer!)

Steve


RS232

snightingale40 <snightingale40@...>
 

Hello,

I'm trying to set up my new computer (with windows vista) to download
the database to my hand controller--it isn't corrupted, but figured I'd
get it up and running if needed in the future.

Anyhow, there is no RS232 jack on the back of this computer and I'm
wondering if it is as simple as getting a USB-serial converter; Radio
Shack shows one for about 40 bucks.

And if I could get my computer to stop asking for an mscomm32 file (it
doesn't seem to believe I've installed it) I'll be in business! (All of
this worked fine on my 10 year old computer!)

Steve


600E GTO Power

Jerry Lodriguss
 

I have an AP 600E GTO mount. My understanding is that the AP mounts do not like it when the voltage of the DC power source, such as the 60 amp-hour deep-cycle battery that I have, drops below 12 volts.

Someone has suggested using a car power adapter for a laptop battery that has adjustable output voltage because it provides constant voltage output.

The idea would be to use this adapter between the 12 volt deep-cycle battery and the mount with the adapter set to output 15 or 18 volts.

I sometimes use the mount at remote locations where the temperature can be below freezing on a winter night that can last 10 hours.

I would be running the mount, ST-4 autoguider and anti-dewers all night long, so at the end of the night in the past with my Losmandy mount, I know the voltage has dropped way down below 10 volts but the mount kept working. I doubt that the AP mount will do the same.

So, is this a good idea to use this kind of adapter with the AP 600 mount under these circumstances?

I don't know anything about electricity. So, what happens if the voltage is held constant under this kind of use... does the amperage (is that current?) drop? Would this affect the mount?

Thanks,

Jerry


Re: Keypad battery

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/20/2007 4:08:04 AM Central Daylight Time,
a.w.colburn@... writes:



Recent posts regarding the keypad battery have spured me into action
since my AP 1200 is now 7 years old. I purchased a replacement battery
some time ago when Roland advised the lifetime is expected to be about
5 years.

Following the instructions on the AP website I noticed two things I was
not expecting. When I lifted the clip to free the battery I heard the
click from the speaker indicating the keypad was reset and when the
battery was out the display was blank. The display returned to normal
after inserting the new battery. Is this expected behaviour for battery
replacement?

I measured the old battery at 3.29V so it probably still had a few
years of life left in it. On the Gemini system I use for field work the
memory back-up battery which is a much larger cell needs to be changed
every year.

Alex
As a caution to others contemplating replacement of the battery: The battery
changing instructions are on the web site. If you replace the battery, first
power the keypad up with your normal power source plugged into the servo. Now,
when you replace the battery, you will not lose any of the data base. If you
pull the battery out and do not have the keypad powered up from an external
supply, then you will lose the database and will have to reload it via the AP
website using the download procedure.

Roland Christen




**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


Keypad battery

Alex Colburn
 

Recent posts regarding the keypad battery have spured me into action
since my AP 1200 is now 7 years old. I purchased a replacement battery
some time ago when Roland advised the lifetime is expected to be about
5 years.

Following the instructions on the AP website I noticed two things I was
not expecting. When I lifted the clip to free the battery I heard the
click from the speaker indicating the keypad was reset and when the
battery was out the display was blank. The display returned to normal
after inserting the new battery. Is this expected behaviour for battery
replacement?

I measured the old battery at 3.29V so it probably still had a few
years of life left in it. On the Gemini system I use for field work the
memory back-up battery which is a much larger cell needs to be changed
every year.

Alex


Re: Powering a GTO in the field

Jeff Young <jey@...>
 

Thanks for the replies, Dwight and Roland.

If worst comes to worst, I do observe less than 100 yards off a highway
with 5 - 10 cars/trucks an hour, even in the dead of night.

-- Jeff.



________________________________

From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On
Behalf Of chris1011@...
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 9:56 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Powering a GTO in the field



In a message dated 7/18/2007 10:17:24 PM Central Daylight Time,
jey@... <mailto:jey%40adobe.com>
writes:

> Anyone else have any experience to share?
>

I used to power my scope all night from my car battery and never
had a
problem starting in the morning. You can't do it for 3-4 days in
a row, but for 6 -
8 hours it probably won't be a problem.

Rolando

**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the all-new
AOL at http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour
<http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour>


Mach1 or AP900 wait times

Steve Cannistra
 

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this group but not new to astrophotography. Sorry for this
type of post, but I'm trying to get some accurate info on waiting
times for either the Mach1 or AP900 mounts (but prefer the Mach1). I
just placed myself on the notification list for these mounts only a
few days ago- I am assuming that the wait will be at least 2-3 years
for one of these, but was hoping that someone could confirm and/or
give me a sense of production schedules, etc. I was told that perhaps
production was being ramped up, but didn't know exactly what this
meant, especially if wait times are still this long.

Thanks

Steve

Steve Cannistra
http://www.starrywonders.com


Re: Mach1 or AP900 wait times

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/19/2007 10:34:27 AM Central Daylight Time,
sc02492@... writes:


Hi everyone,

I'm new to this group but not new to astrophotography. Sorry for this
type of post, but I'm trying to get some accurate info on waiting
times for either the Mach1 or AP900 mounts (but prefer the Mach1). I
just placed myself on the notification list for these mounts only a
few days ago- I am assuming that the wait will be at least 2-3 years
for one of these, but was hoping that someone could confirm and/or
give me a sense of production schedules, etc. I was told that perhaps
production was being ramped up, but didn't know exactly what this
meant, especially if wait times are still this long.

Thanks
For the 900 mount, if you placed your name on the list now, you will probably
be in the next run. Production for the next 900 run is slated to start by the
end of this year with delivery beginning in spring of next. For the Mach1 the
delivery will be longer.

Rolando


**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the all-new
AOL at http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


Re: Powering a GTO in the field

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/18/2007 10:17:24 PM Central Daylight Time, jey@...
writes:


Anyone else have any experience to share?
I used to power my scope all night from my car battery and never had a
problem starting in the morning. You can't do it for 3-4 days in a row, but for 6 -
8 hours it probably won't be a problem.

Rolando


**************************************
Get a sneak peek of the all-new
AOL at http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


Re: Powering a GTO in the field

Dwight Bogan
 

I would never power equipment off my vehicle battery period. You're just
asking for trouble. Its so much simpler to use a separate deep cycle battery of
the wheel chair variety or a gel cell. BTW car batteries are not designed
extended equipment use. What car batteries are designed for is high current
output over short intervals. Whereas batteries I mentioned before are designed
for long term usage at relative low current draw's. In the past we have had
people power equipment from their accessory in their car for what they thought
was a short night and draw down their car battery to where they could not
start their vehicle and had to walk 20 miles to get help, in the desert! Your
using a 12 amp hour battery to power your goto mount for a few hours. That is
nothing as far as size and weight is considered. I normally use a Optima
yellow top 55 Amp hour deep cycle battery to power my equipment for the night and
it weighs about 40 lbs what's more I usually have two batteries of that type.
For a short night I use a 30 amp hour wheel chair battery which allows me
plenty of head room as far as peak current demands from the mount is concerned.
In my book 12 Ah gel cell is insufficient for powering an AP 600 goto even
for a few hours I used to use 17 Ah Gel cells and found because of peak
current demands even for an evening was not a sufficient sized battery. I would
really suggest getting yourself at least 30 Amp hour wheel chair battery from
Sears and forget about the idea of powering anything off your cigarette
lighter in your car except maybe the car radio.

Clear Skies
Dwight L Bogan



************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


Re: Powering a GTO in the field

Jeff Young <jey@...>
 

That would probably be Ok for short sessions as mounts don't pull much
curent except when slewing.
However, if your car battery isn't in good shape.......the car might
not
start and you'd be faced with getting a jump or a tow or a long walk.
Kent --

My sessions average about 2 hours, and a long one is 3 hours. Power
consumption on the 600EGTO is listed as 300mA sidereal and 1.2A slewing.
If we figure 20 minutes slewing and 3 hours tracking, that's less than
1.5 AH, which shouldn't put too much stress on an SUV battery (I'm
assuming they'd be in the 40 - 70 AH range?).

If I use a heavy guage (professional video power cable, for instance)
12V extension, and limit it to 6', then the voltage loss (I hope) won't
be too bad.

Anyone else have any experience to share?

Thanks,
-- Jeff.


AP wooden tripod and MI 250

adam81224 <adam81224@...>
 

I have an AP wooden tripod which I use with a Discmount and TEC 140.
I'd really like to put my MI 250 on the AP Wooden tripod. The MI 250
is about the size on an AP 900GTO-about 75 lbs with counterweight and
bar plus an additional 25 lbs for the TEC, rings, dovetail, binoviewer
and eps.

Overall 100 lbs give or take 5 lbs either way.

Any opinions as to whether or not I should pursue a ring to adapt the
MI 250 to the AP tripod or is this too much weight (strictly visual
with this setup)? I love the convenience of this tripod and would
like to use it with the GEM.

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks,
Adam


Powering a GTO in the field

Jeff Young <jey@...>
 

I've been using a 12 AHr lead-acid battery to power my 600EGTO. I
just switched scopes, which led to two knock-on effects:

1) I needed a third counterweight. My accessories box is now heavy
enough that it's somewhat uncomfortable to carry around.

2) The new scope's a Dall-Kirkham, so I have no need for dew
heaters. (I pretty much only use the finder for the first sync, and
sometimes not even then.)

It occurred to me that with my reduced power requirements, perhaps I
don't need to carry a battery around at all (which would make a
significant difference as it weighs over 10 lbs). I could power the
mount directly from the cigarette lighter socket in the car, no?

I suppose there's a bit of a voltage drop on a long wire, but I
usually set up within 6' of the car anyway, so a 6' extension on the
existing (8'?) mount cable wouldn't result in too much of a drop,
would it? (I use this mount only in the summer, so the temp is
usually above 40°F.)

Thanks for any thoughts,
-- Jeff.


Re: Controlling 900GTO Mount without a Serial Port - what about PCMIA adapters

Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Ruben,
I have used a PCMCIA adapter with dual USB ports for imaging. It
works fine. They also make them with Serial and most other common
interfaces.
Thanks, Rick

--- In ap-gto@..., "stardoctor5" <stardoctor5@...> wrote:

I have seen some adapters that use the PCMIA slot instead of a USB
slot. Does anyone have experience with these? Should these be
better or worse? I think they would be less likely to be pulled
out
accidently.

Ruben

--- In ap-gto@..., "Bert Katzung" <katzung1@> wrote:

Hi Wade:
I have an Edgeport USB to serial
hub and it works perfectly.
Bert

katzung1@
www.astronomy-images.com
www.visionlightgallery.com/katzung/

----- Original Message -----
From: "twade35" <twade35@>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 3:04 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Controlling 900GTO Mount without a Serial Port


I recently purchased a laptop which unfortunately has no serial
ports.
Is it possible to use a USB to Serial Port cable with a 900GTO
mount?

Thanks,

Wade



To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links