Date   

Re: California Nebula

Florencio Rodil
 

Dennis, the image looks great. Good guiding, focus and color; but you must correct it's name, NGC7000 is Norteamerica nebula.

Florencio

________________________________
From: dennis_persyk <dpersyk@att.net>
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 2:24 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] California Nebula


 
The California Nebula, NCG7000, is a bright emission nebula located just below Deneb in Cygnus. The image on my web page is the first one taken with my new SBIG STF-8300M.

My web page has screen shots from SkyMap Pro, image details, and both a luminance and colorized image. Which do you prefer?

Please check out my web page at
http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/new.htm

Clear skies,

Dennis Persyk
Hampshire, IL

Igloo (Now Roll-Off) Observatory Home Page http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk
New Images http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/new.htm
Pier Design http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/Pier_Design.htm
Daily Bread Inspirational Page http://users.foxvalley.net/~dpersyk/DailyBread/





Re: 900 Mount out of control

wsrison
 

Hello Howard,

The serial number 900201 chip version id D.
The next time this happens what should I try before power cycling the mount?

Thanks,
William

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, Howard <howard@...> wrote:

Hi Bill,

Please call me at AP to discuss this. What is the mount's serial number? Do you know which chip version is in the GTOCP2? A runaway condition like that is often related to a problem somewhere in the servo feedback loop. We can systematically do some tests to narrow it down.

Mag. 7 Skies!

Howard Hedlund
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone: 815-282-1513
www.astro-physics.com<http://www.astro-physics.com/>
Please include this e-mail with your response.

P Consider the environment before printing this e-mail.


From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of wsrison
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 9:51 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] 900 Mount out of control



Hello Everyone,

My astronomy's club AP 900 GTO with GTOCP2 controller and keypad v4.12 has done something strange the last 2 Saturday nights I used the mount.
The mount is located in a 16' Ash observatory and has a hefty 12VDC power supply with a voltage output of 13VDC so I know power is not the issue. Here is what happens.
Power on the mount and everything comes up.
Goto an object the the mounts slews at it's max. slew rate to wrong position and causes the scope to hit the pier. The 2nd Saturday I pressed Stop to stop the mount. When I tell the mount move using the hand controller NSEW buttons it moves at the 1200 rate instead of the 64x I have set. I changed the slew rate to 600x and do a part but the mount still slews at 1200x. Move rate of 600x and 900x does not work the mount slews at 1200. When I part the mount and let it stop both axis are off by a lot. At this point I turn off the mount and loosen the clutches and move it to the correct part position. Power the mount back on and now everything works. Any ideas?

Thanks,
William Rison



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


California Nebula

dennis_persyk <dpersyk@...>
 

The California Nebula, NCG7000, is a bright emission nebula located just below Deneb in Cygnus. The image on my web page is the first one taken with my new SBIG STF-8300M.

My web page has screen shots from SkyMap Pro, image details, and both a luminance and colorized image. Which do you prefer?

Please check out my web page at
http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/new.htm

Clear skies,

Dennis Persyk
Hampshire, IL

Igloo (Now Roll-Off) Observatory Home Page http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk
New Images http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/new.htm
Pier Design http://users.FoxValley.net/~dpersyk/Pier_Design.htm
Daily Bread Inspirational Page http://users.foxvalley.net/~dpersyk/DailyBread/


Re: Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 6/26/2012 12:40:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
J.Zeglinski@rogers.com writes:


I’m still having problems with my AP-900 losing its “levelling”
position, after power up. The mount axes are firmly locked, using a hex wrench, so
it isn’t a case of slippage.

The other night, I powered up the mount, and as usual, responded to “
Select Location”
NB: AUTO CONNECT = OFF
One question: Why do you have Autoconnect NO set on a mount that is
permanently mounted? Why not use the Autoconnect "YES" setting? Any reason to use
the "NO" setting in your case?

Rolando

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


Re: Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?

Howard Hedlund
 

If the mount is parked at the previous power-off, it will not start default sidereal rotation when powered up. However, keep in mind that when parking from the keypad, you must NOT press any keypad buttons after sending the mount to the park position. Park must be the FINAL command before power-down. The menu button, which you would use to do anything else with the keypad sends a quit command that terminates the park state. A common error is to park the mount, and then to back out via the menu button to the main menu before powering down, thus undoing the parked state.

This is simple to verify. Remove the cover from the RA reduction gearbox and park the mount using the keypad. DO NOT press any further buttons on the keypad. Power off the mount. Power back on and observe the motor. It will not be tracking.

If the keypad is set to a tracking rate of STOP when the unit is powered off, it will not resume tracking upon power up because the keypad will send the stop rate command within a few seconds of being powered on. The rate command is sent before any other initialization is sent. You can verify this as above. The only difference is that the motor will turn a partial revolution until the stop command is received from the keypad.

Default sidereal rotation is a valuable feature that was intentionally built into the system. It allows the mount to be operated, and to track objects even if the computer crashes or the keypad gets inadvertently left at home or broken. It prevents many potential “dead-in-the-water” situations from arising, and as we all know, those situations are especially fond of remote dark sites that required hours of driving and lots of effort. Otherwise, if the keypad failed, how would you turn your tracking on?

The next version of the firmware will include an auto-park command that will prevent default sidereal rotation from starting upon power-up until the mount is specifically “un-parked”.

If you are set up for more than one night, then only use the Auto-connect = NO on the first night. After that, have the keypad on Auto-connect = YES.

Mag. 7 Skies!

Howard Hedlund
Astro-Physics, Inc.
Phone: 815-282-1513
www.astro-physics.com<http://www.astro-physics.com/>
Please include this e-mail with your response.

P Consider the environment before printing this e-mail.


From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:42 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?



Hi,

I’m still having problems with my AP-900 losing its “levelling” position, after power up. The mount axes are firmly locked, using a hex wrench, so it isn’t a case of slippage.

The other night, I powered up the mount, and as usual, responded to “Select Location”
NB: AUTO CONNECT = OFF

Then I went back for some other equipment, leaving the mount running “in its last Park Position” ... or so I had “Assumed”.
When I returned about an hour later, the Keypad was still showing the “Resume From Park” selection list. I usually perform the those two menu options in quick succession right away, but THIS time, there was a long delay.

However, it had actually moved about an hour in HA – so I was stuck with none of the resume options being valid. Resume from Last Park Position tells the mount that it is still at Park-2, which is clearly no longer correct. The other options also require re-levelling now. More unnecessary work.

QUESTION:
WHY has Sidereal Tracking resumed? I always assumed nothing started until the mount had been UN-PARKED.
This major annoyance required me to re-level the mount, in pitch darkness, with only the aid of a flashlight to indicate the bubble.

One may need a few moments to check Polaris on the PAS. Or, after power is applied to everything else, including the Keypad, one would wish the mount NOT to be tracking, until it has become dark enough for alignment of the PAS. The current situation, requires Parking the mount again, to get it into Park-2, and then to resume PAS use when it finally does get dark. No, you would not want to keep the entire system powered down all that time, because you need OTA fans running for a couple of hours, and just “pulling the plug” on the mount is an extra step, easily forgotten, and certainly extra wear on the plug.

Hope someone can explain WHEN tracking actually begins.
There is really no reason or resume immediately, after selecting location, since you will lose seconds, as you decide on which Park to resume from. This seems minor – but the seconds of error add up. Since you don’t re-level every time out, your mount will be slightly in error the first night. Repeat the same two-step sequence next day, your mount will have accumulated the previous day’s error, plus the current one. This just adds up until you re-level the mount, at some point.

I feel that tracking should NOT resume UNTIL after the “Resume-from-park-position” option has been answered.

********** corollary **********

In that regard .... because of the Un-Park hassle ...

It would also be nice if AP had an “illuminated line level accessory”
– one with LED’s at each end of the bubble glass, to make re-levelling the mount in the dark, a lot easier. I suppose “backlighting” the bubble with a single LED might work, but that addition is likely to interfere with the level body remaining flat in a narrow position , or it would be unbalanced and flop over easier. I usually rest the line level in the D-Plate channel. with no room to light it perpendicular to the level body. Besides, the level could not be flipped or rotated, to recheck its accuracy.

If the alcohol in a special ”dark area” usage level, had luminescent micro particles, the LED’s wouldn’t be necessary, just hit it with a flashlight beam for a few seconds. Wouldn’t this be a benefit to people doing home repairs in a dark corner, where they have to hold both a flashlight and the carpenter's level?

Such a level would help not only for initial set-up for a portable system as I use, but also following a pier/mount collision, where the clutch has slipped to protect the OTA, and needs to be immediately re-levelled, in the dark, to finish the session.

I guess a headband or cap-mounted LED could be used, but even so, I find that “reading the bubble”, lighted face-on, is not as easy as backlighting, or hopefully, end-lighting.

***********

So ... when does Tracking Resume ?
Joe Z.


Re: Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 6/26/2012 12:40:16 PM Central Daylight Time,
J.Zeglinski@rogers.com writes:


I’m still having problems with my AP-900 losing its “levelling”
position, after power up. The mount axes are firmly locked, using a hex wrench, so
it isn’t a case of slippage.

The other night, I powered up the mount, and as usual, responded to “
Select Location”
NB: AUTO CONNECT = OFF
The mount will not move if it was properly parked the previous session. You
can verify that by removing the motor cover and looking at the motor shaft
after doing your above scenario.

Proper parking means that you go to one of the 3 park positions in the
keypad, wait for the mount to stop moving and turning off power. You can also
park via other programs such as Pulse Guide, with same exact results. .

Rolando

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


Re: Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?

Steve Reilly <sreilly@...>
 

Just a thought Joe, are you connecting a camera using the guider cable? If
so, what camera? I can tell you that the guider relays on the STL-11000 are
closed when the camera is not powered and this causes the mount to move as
if it's getting guider corrections, always being closed relays. I found
powering the mount and camera at the same time negates the problem. But I
also changed my guider settings in MaxIm from camera relays to telescope and
this eliminated the cable altogether thus eliminating the movement. Hope
this is relative and helps.



-Steve





_____

From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Joe Zeglinski
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:42 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?





Hi,

I'm still having problems with my AP-900 losing its "levelling" position,
after power up. The mount axes are firmly locked, using a hex wrench, so it
isn't a case of slippage.

The other night, I powered up the mount, and as usual, responded to "Select
Location"
NB: AUTO CONNECT = OFF

Then I went back for some other equipment, leaving the mount running "in its
last Park Position" ... or so I had "Assumed".
When I returned about an hour later, the Keypad was still showing the
"Resume From Park" selection list. I usually perform the those two menu
options in quick succession right away, but THIS time, there was a long
delay.

However, it had actually moved about an hour in HA - so I was stuck with
none of the resume options being valid. Resume from Last Park Position tells
the mount that it is still at Park-2, which is clearly no longer correct.
The other options also require re-levelling now. More unnecessary work.

QUESTION:
WHY has Sidereal Tracking resumed? I always assumed nothing started until
the mount had been UN-PARKED.
This major annoyance required me to re-level the mount, in pitch darkness,
with only the aid of a flashlight to indicate the bubble.

One may need a few moments to check Polaris on the PAS. Or, after power is
applied to everything else, including the Keypad, one would wish the mount
NOT to be tracking, until it has become dark enough for alignment of the
PAS. The current situation, requires Parking the mount again, to get it into
Park-2, and then to resume PAS use when it finally does get dark. No, you
would not want to keep the entire system powered down all that time, because
you need OTA fans running for a couple of hours, and just "pulling the plug"
on the mount is an extra step, easily forgotten, and certainly extra wear on
the plug.

Hope someone can explain WHEN tracking actually begins.
There is really no reason or resume immediately, after selecting location,
since you will lose seconds, as you decide on which Park to resume from.
This seems minor - but the seconds of error add up. Since you don't re-level
every time out, your mount will be slightly in error the first night. Repeat
the same two-step sequence next day, your mount will have accumulated the
previous day's error, plus the current one. This just adds up until you
re-level the mount, at some point.

I feel that tracking should NOT resume UNTIL after the
"Resume-from-park-position" option has been answered.

********** corollary **********

In that regard .... because of the Un-Park hassle ...

It would also be nice if AP had an "illuminated line level accessory"
- one with LED's at each end of the bubble glass, to make re-levelling the
mount in the dark, a lot easier. I suppose "backlighting" the bubble with a
single LED might work, but that addition is likely to interfere with the
level body remaining flat in a narrow position , or it would be unbalanced
and flop over easier. I usually rest the line level in the D-Plate channel.
with no room to light it perpendicular to the level body. Besides, the level
could not be flipped or rotated, to recheck its accuracy.

If the alcohol in a special "dark area" usage level, had luminescent micro
particles, the LED's wouldn't be necessary, just hit it with a flashlight
beam for a few seconds. Wouldn't this be a benefit to people doing home
repairs in a dark corner, where they have to hold both a flashlight and the
carpenter's level?

Such a level would help not only for initial set-up for a portable system as
I use, but also following a pier/mount collision, where the clutch has
slipped to protect the OTA, and needs to be immediately re-levelled, in the
dark, to finish the session.

I guess a headband or cap-mounted LED could be used, but even so, I find
that "reading the bubble", lighted face-on, is not as easy as backlighting,
or hopefully, end-lighting.

***********

So ... when does Tracking Resume ?
Joe Z.


Keypad start-up: When does Tracking really begin?

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi,

I’m still having problems with my AP-900 losing its “levelling” position, after power up. The mount axes are firmly locked, using a hex wrench, so it isn’t a case of slippage.

The other night, I powered up the mount, and as usual, responded to “Select Location”
NB: AUTO CONNECT = OFF

Then I went back for some other equipment, leaving the mount running “in its last Park Position” ... or so I had “Assumed”.
When I returned about an hour later, the Keypad was still showing the “Resume From Park” selection list. I usually perform the those two menu options in quick succession right away, but THIS time, there was a long delay.

However, it had actually moved about an hour in HA – so I was stuck with none of the resume options being valid. Resume from Last Park Position tells the mount that it is still at Park-2, which is clearly no longer correct. The other options also require re-levelling now. More unnecessary work.


QUESTION:
WHY has Sidereal Tracking resumed? I always assumed nothing started until the mount had been UN-PARKED.
This major annoyance required me to re-level the mount, in pitch darkness, with only the aid of a flashlight to indicate the bubble.

One may need a few moments to check Polaris on the PAS. Or, after power is applied to everything else, including the Keypad, one would wish the mount NOT to be tracking, until it has become dark enough for alignment of the PAS. The current situation, requires Parking the mount again, to get it into Park-2, and then to resume PAS use when it finally does get dark. No, you would not want to keep the entire system powered down all that time, because you need OTA fans running for a couple of hours, and just “pulling the plug” on the mount is an extra step, easily forgotten, and certainly extra wear on the plug.

Hope someone can explain WHEN tracking actually begins.
There is really no reason or resume immediately, after selecting location, since you will lose seconds, as you decide on which Park to resume from. This seems minor – but the seconds of error add up. Since you don’t re-level every time out, your mount will be slightly in error the first night. Repeat the same two-step sequence next day, your mount will have accumulated the previous day’s error, plus the current one. This just adds up until you re-level the mount, at some point.

I feel that tracking should NOT resume UNTIL after the “Resume-from-park-position” option has been answered.

********** corollary **********

In that regard .... because of the Un-Park hassle ...

It would also be nice if AP had an “illuminated line level accessory”
– one with LED’s at each end of the bubble glass, to make re-levelling the mount in the dark, a lot easier. I suppose “backlighting” the bubble with a single LED might work, but that addition is likely to interfere with the level body remaining flat in a narrow position , or it would be unbalanced and flop over easier. I usually rest the line level in the D-Plate channel. with no room to light it perpendicular to the level body. Besides, the level could not be flipped or rotated, to recheck its accuracy.

If the alcohol in a special ”dark area” usage level, had luminescent micro particles, the LED’s wouldn’t be necessary, just hit it with a flashlight beam for a few seconds. Wouldn’t this be a benefit to people doing home repairs in a dark corner, where they have to hold both a flashlight and the carpenter's level?

Such a level would help not only for initial set-up for a portable system as I use, but also following a pier/mount collision, where the clutch has slipped to protect the OTA, and needs to be immediately re-levelled, in the dark, to finish the session.

I guess a headband or cap-mounted LED could be used, but even so, I find that “reading the bubble”, lighted face-on, is not as easy as backlighting, or hopefully, end-lighting.

***********

So ... when does Tracking Resume ?
Joe Z.

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


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

Wayne Hixson
 

Thanks, lots of good suggestions.

Wayne

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "dannysperry" <danny@...> wrote:

Hi Wayne,

On eBay, I bought two 60w panels that were hinged together for 120w. They're the better monocrystalline type and had the adapter boxes and cables already installed, ready to be set up in series or parallel. I then just bought a $20 solar charger and it's been working out great. All told, I spent a little over $300 for the setup.

If you're like me and you image from twilight to twilight, the 80AH battery will probably barely make it through 1 night (especially in the colder and longer winter nights). The camera and laptop will be the biggest power consumers. If you're very conservative with laptop usage (turn down the LCD brightness, turn off bluetooth and wi-fi, etc.) and you don't need to aggressivley cool the camera, you might be able to make it.

As far as solar panels vs. a generator, I greatly prefer the solar panels. No gas to carry around, it's absolutely silent, everything I need fits in an artist's portfolio bag, and if it's cloudy, I'm not imaging anyway.

Best,
Danny



--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@> wrote:

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount, focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5. Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

 

Get rid of the inverter and go with a DC to DC converter, this will save a bit of energy.
Floyd

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@...> wrote:

I run the camera off DC and the laptop off an inverter. Another option is a battery dedicated to the laptop, which is a power hog. I've thought about a portable generator, which is more versatile, but also is not always permitted at the star parties depending on how dry the area is and Forest Service rules.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" <JunkMailGoesHere@> wrote:

What you require is to figure out what your actual energy consumption is. Knowing Watts = Amps * Volts

1) The SBIG camera (Peltier coolers swill power), what is its rating in Watts? It will likely be using a significant portion of that (80-90%) constantly depending on temperature. If it is running off an AC inverter inverter add at another 20%.
2) laptop (they swill power too but can be adjusted somewhat to use less by turning off the screen and running in a low power cpu mode. Do not confuse this with the overall Windows style machine settings of low power mode as that may also turn off hard disks, USB ports and other items which may require constant power to keep the imaging and tracking software working properly. You will have to manually configure a usable low power mode and then measure the consumption. Problem with laptops is that they can run off the internal battery for a while and then when it is empty it wants to be plugged in. This really costs power as it not only has to run the entire laptop, it has to run the charging circuitry to recharge the battery. Oh, if it too is running off the 110VAC inverter add another 20% as well.
3) Mach1GTO - it all depends on how much you are slewing. It can use from a negligible amount of less than a Watt to around 15 Watts if you are slewing constantly.
4) Focuser - barely noticeable power use once it has run through its focus routines.

This is really a SWAG since I have no idea about your actual equipment, but I'd expect you will be pulling down a minimum of 60Watts (5Amps * 12VDC nominal) and are actually going to be using even more.

Once you have a firm grasp of the total energy required you will have an idea of what capacity of battery you will be able to use and how much energy you have to put back into the battery. While you can run at a deficit for a period of time, overall you will likely have to put back about 75% of the energy used daily and small inexpensive solar arrays won't do at all. Even moderate sized moderate priced ones of 2 to 3 or so square feet only put out about 20 Watts maximum (~1.2A @ ~16VDC) in intense direct sunlight. The only way around this is several solar arrays as described (and don't forget the proper battery charging circuitry), several more batteries to cover the expected energy required, or a source of reliable AC power.

Anyway, this is all just guesswork until you come up with some firm numbers for actual consumption.




--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@> wrote:

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount, focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5. Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne


Re: A couple of images taken with the AP900

 

Thanks Danny,
I shoot at LAAS site, in Lockwood Valley, CA. A pretty nice place with fair skies and not too much local light pollution.
Floyd

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "dannysperry" <danny@...> wrote:

Great work, Floyd!

Where do you shot from these days?


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "bakersfieldbiker" <fblue@> wrote:

This month was pretty good during the New Moon and I managed to capture a couple of images.
The AP900 is really great for imaging, I am really getting use to it.
Here are links to the images, hope you like them.

NGC-7000 The Wall and Gulf

http://www.astrophotogallery.org/floyd-s-pics/p9787-ngc-7000-the-wall-and.html

NGC-6914

http://www.astrophotogallery.org/floyd-s-pics/p9786-ngc-6914-lrgb.html

Floyd


Re: RA drift in my Mach1GTO

Donghun
 

Thank you.
I will dial in the polar alignment first.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 6/25/2012 3:45:49 PM Central Daylight Time,
malonee72@... writes:


Hi guys.

I just purchased a used Mach1GTO and I had the first light last night.

The session goes relatively smooth but I was noticing constant drift in
the RA axis. First I noticed that the PHD always correct the RA almost always
on one side of the RA. So I disabled the guide output and looked at the
graph and the RA kept drifting to one side. The RA was drifting much more
than the DEC.

I though that this was a balance issue so I re-balanced the setup but I
was still getting the issue. My setup is pretty light weight with 4" f/8
with a DSLR and a 50mm guider scope. The whole setup is around 17lb.

Are there any things for me to check to troubleshoot this issue?

Thank you very much.
Donghun
Drift is usually the result of improper polar alignment. I would look there
first.
For polar alignment, you can do a classic drift align, and that would be
the best way to check.

Secondly, make sure that your keypad is set to Sidereal. The previous owner
might have set the tracking rate to Solar or Lunar.

Finally, please note that you will always have some RA drift, even when
perfectly polar aligned and running at the sidereal rate, because the stars do
not follow the sidereal rate everywhere in the sky. Any time that you are
more than 15 degrees from the zenith, you will get some RA drift. The further
you are from the zenith, the higher is the RA drift rate.

Rolando

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


Re: RA drift in my Mach1GTO

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 6/25/2012 3:45:49 PM Central Daylight Time,
malonee72@hotmail.com writes:


Hi guys.

I just purchased a used Mach1GTO and I had the first light last night.

The session goes relatively smooth but I was noticing constant drift in
the RA axis. First I noticed that the PHD always correct the RA almost always
on one side of the RA. So I disabled the guide output and looked at the
graph and the RA kept drifting to one side. The RA was drifting much more
than the DEC.

I though that this was a balance issue so I re-balanced the setup but I
was still getting the issue. My setup is pretty light weight with 4" f/8
with a DSLR and a 50mm guider scope. The whole setup is around 17lb.

Are there any things for me to check to troubleshoot this issue?

Thank you very much.
Donghun
Drift is usually the result of improper polar alignment. I would look there
first.
For polar alignment, you can do a classic drift align, and that would be
the best way to check.

Secondly, make sure that your keypad is set to Sidereal. The previous owner
might have set the tracking rate to Solar or Lunar.

Finally, please note that you will always have some RA drift, even when
perfectly polar aligned and running at the sidereal rate, because the stars do
not follow the sidereal rate everywhere in the sky. Any time that you are
more than 15 degrees from the zenith, you will get some RA drift. The further
you are from the zenith, the higher is the RA drift rate.

Rolando


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

dannysperry
 

Hi Wayne,

On eBay, I bought two 60w panels that were hinged together for 120w. They're the better monocrystalline type and had the adapter boxes and cables already installed, ready to be set up in series or parallel. I then just bought a $20 solar charger and it's been working out great. All told, I spent a little over $300 for the setup.

If you're like me and you image from twilight to twilight, the 80AH battery will probably barely make it through 1 night (especially in the colder and longer winter nights). The camera and laptop will be the biggest power consumers. If you're very conservative with laptop usage (turn down the LCD brightness, turn off bluetooth and wi-fi, etc.) and you don't need to aggressivley cool the camera, you might be able to make it.

As far as solar panels vs. a generator, I greatly prefer the solar panels. No gas to carry around, it's absolutely silent, everything I need fits in an artist's portfolio bag, and if it's cloudy, I'm not imaging anyway.

Best,
Danny

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@...> wrote:

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount, focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5. Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne


RA drift in my Mach1GTO

Donghun
 

Hi guys.

I just purchased a used Mach1GTO and I had the first light last night.

The session goes relatively smooth but I was noticing constant drift in the RA axis. First I noticed that the PHD always correct the RA almost always on one side of the RA. So I disabled the guide output and looked at the graph and the RA kept drifting to one side. The RA was drifting much more than the DEC.

I though that this was a balance issue so I re-balanced the setup but I was still getting the issue. My setup is pretty light weight with 4" f/8 with a DSLR and a 50mm guider scope. The whole setup is around 17lb.

Are there any things for me to check to troubleshoot this issue?

Thank you very much.
Donghun


Re: A couple of images taken with the AP900

dannysperry
 

Great work, Floyd!

Where do you shot from these days?

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "bakersfieldbiker" <fblue@...> wrote:

This month was pretty good during the New Moon and I managed to capture a couple of images.
The AP900 is really great for imaging, I am really getting use to it.
Here are links to the images, hope you like them.

NGC-7000 The Wall and Gulf

http://www.astrophotogallery.org/floyd-s-pics/p9787-ngc-7000-the-wall-and.html

NGC-6914

http://www.astrophotogallery.org/floyd-s-pics/p9786-ngc-6914-lrgb.html

Floyd


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

observe_m13
 

Those 80W panels weigh 50 plus pounds or so with frames and are not really meant for mobile use. They are also quite large at about 6 square feet give or take. As to price, you generally get what you pay for and high quality new ones single quantity with frames are $400-500. If you buy a larger quantity such as 10 or so, I have found new ones, without frames, for around $275-300 each.

Flexible panels are far more useful for portable applications but are significantly less efficient, less output, and more expensive overall.

The smaller older panels I was describing in my first response are relatively inexpensive, and while somewhat fragile as well, can be quite easily protected and handled.

It still comes down to the amount of power you are using as a basis for the rest of the equipment required.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@...> wrote:

Thanks! Any recommendations on panels? I find a variety of 80 watt panels from about $200 up to $400-500.


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson" <christopher.k.erickson@> wrote:

A couple of cheap 80 watt solar panels and a Sunsaver MPPT solar charge
controller from Morningstar.

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sunsavermppt

Make sure to install fuses or breakers on the controller's outputs and
panel's outputs.

The MPPT type charge controller will get you an additional 5 to 15% charging
a day.

Christopher Erickson
Consulting Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com



-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Wayne
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 7:38 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Solar Charger Recommendations?

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount,
focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I
expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5.
Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me
through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne



------------------------------------

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



-----
No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2012.0.2180 / Virus Database: 2437/5091 - Release Date: 06/24/12


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

Wayne Hixson
 

I run the camera off DC and the laptop off an inverter. Another option is a battery dedicated to the laptop, which is a power hog. I've thought about a portable generator, which is more versatile, but also is not always permitted at the star parties depending on how dry the area is and Forest Service rules.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" <JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

What you require is to figure out what your actual energy consumption is. Knowing Watts = Amps * Volts

1) The SBIG camera (Peltier coolers swill power), what is its rating in Watts? It will likely be using a significant portion of that (80-90%) constantly depending on temperature. If it is running off an AC inverter inverter add at another 20%.
2) laptop (they swill power too but can be adjusted somewhat to use less by turning off the screen and running in a low power cpu mode. Do not confuse this with the overall Windows style machine settings of low power mode as that may also turn off hard disks, USB ports and other items which may require constant power to keep the imaging and tracking software working properly. You will have to manually configure a usable low power mode and then measure the consumption. Problem with laptops is that they can run off the internal battery for a while and then when it is empty it wants to be plugged in. This really costs power as it not only has to run the entire laptop, it has to run the charging circuitry to recharge the battery. Oh, if it too is running off the 110VAC inverter add another 20% as well.
3) Mach1GTO - it all depends on how much you are slewing. It can use from a negligible amount of less than a Watt to around 15 Watts if you are slewing constantly.
4) Focuser - barely noticeable power use once it has run through its focus routines.

This is really a SWAG since I have no idea about your actual equipment, but I'd expect you will be pulling down a minimum of 60Watts (5Amps * 12VDC nominal) and are actually going to be using even more.

Once you have a firm grasp of the total energy required you will have an idea of what capacity of battery you will be able to use and how much energy you have to put back into the battery. While you can run at a deficit for a period of time, overall you will likely have to put back about 75% of the energy used daily and small inexpensive solar arrays won't do at all. Even moderate sized moderate priced ones of 2 to 3 or so square feet only put out about 20 Watts maximum (~1.2A @ ~16VDC) in intense direct sunlight. The only way around this is several solar arrays as described (and don't forget the proper battery charging circuitry), several more batteries to cover the expected energy required, or a source of reliable AC power.

Anyway, this is all just guesswork until you come up with some firm numbers for actual consumption.




--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne" <wayneh9026@> wrote:

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount, focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5. Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

Wayne Hixson
 

Thanks! Any recommendations on panels? I find a variety of 80 watt panels from about $200 up to $400-500.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson" <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

A couple of cheap 80 watt solar panels and a Sunsaver MPPT solar charge
controller from Morningstar.

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sunsavermppt

Make sure to install fuses or breakers on the controller's outputs and
panel's outputs.

The MPPT type charge controller will get you an additional 5 to 15% charging
a day.

Christopher Erickson
Consulting Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com



-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Wayne
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 7:38 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Solar Charger Recommendations?

I will be at a couple 5-night-long star parties running Mach1 mount,
focuser, SBIG camera and laptop from about an 80 amp-hour AGM battery. I
expect I can get at least 2-3 nights from the battery but not sure about 5.
Any recommendations from the gallery on a reasonable solar charger to get me
through the week?

Thanks!

Wayne



------------------------------------

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



-----
No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2012.0.2180 / Virus Database: 2437/5091 - Release Date: 06/24/12


Re: Solar Charger Recommendations?

jwrenonv
 

If you purchase the SunSaver MPPT 15 controller, you can purchase the less expensive 24 volt 230 watt panels. These go for about $1.10/watt. The controller will allow a 12, 24 or 36 volt panel setup with a 12 volt battery.

I use 3 80 watt panels in series to feed the SunSaver 15 MPPT controller. I have a band of two 6 volt 220 amp-hour batteries. Solar can be very effective and quiet. I live in Nevada and benefit from more solar exposure than some eastern US locations.