Date   

Re: AP Recommendation

Steven Panish
 

John,

I run an AP1200, computer, LED lights, camera and dome motors from a  12v nominal 100 AH LiPO4 battery.   This is a solar powered system.  The AP1200 power runs through a buck-boost regulator and is dead stable.  There are no spikes when the dome motors are run.  I use a Battleborn battery, which can be run in series or parallel, not true for some others.  Cost is around $950.  Unlike lead acid, you can drain them close to the bone with no damage to the battery, and they are good for 5000 cycles.  Weight is 30 lbs. 

Steve

On Fri, Aug 23, 2019 at 9:10 PM stinerjohn@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

Dale, thank you very much for taking the time to explain that. I’m using an Astrozap dew heater. If you don’t mind, once I get the specs together on all my equipment, I’d like to communicate with you regarding the details of setting this up (I’ve already experienced some trepidation just thinking of all the ways I could manage to mess up my equipment).


Re: AP Recommendation

David
 

Like Dale, I also run a Bioenno LiFePO4 battery.  Picked up several when they had a 20% off coupon running a while back.  They are far and away superior to a SLA or AGM battery in all respects.  To get 100Ah of usable power you need one LiFePO4, but you’ll need TWO SLA or AGM 100Ah batteries because they drop in voltage during usage until they drop below 12v at around 50% capacity.  The LiPo batteries rated at 100Ah will give you the full 100Ah at full power before dropping off sharply.  One LiFePO4 = (2) SLA or AGM batteries in deliverable power.  

The SLA and AGM type lead acid batteries will recharge around 300x over their life.  The LiFePO4 batteries have about 2000 charge/discharge cycles and can be discharged MUCH deeper without harming the battery.  

So yes, the upfront cost is greater, but in the long run one LiFePo4 100Ah is cheaper than about 12 100Ah SLA batteries for the same amount of usable power.  And the bonus is they’re super light weight in comparison!!  About 28 lbs vs. 145 lbs (2 SLA 100Ah).

I run all my gear through a RigRunner at remote sites.  Don’t have any power issues at all.

David



On Aug 23, 2019, at 9:06 PM, stinerjohn@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

Dale, thank you very much for taking the time to explain that. I’m using an Astrozap dew heater. If you don’t mind, once I get the specs together on all my equipment, I’d like to communicate with you regarding the details of setting this up (I’ve already experienced some trepidation just thinking of all the ways I could manage to mess up my equipment).



Re: AP Recommendation

John Stiner
 

Dale, thank you very much for taking the time to explain that. I’m using an Astrozap dew heater. If you don’t mind, once I get the specs together on all my equipment, I’d like to communicate with you regarding the details of setting this up (I’ve already experienced some trepidation just thinking of all the ways I could manage to mess up my equipment).


Re: AP Recommendation

Dale Ghent
 

On Aug 23, 2019, at 6:34 PM, stinerjohn@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

I’m planning to construct a battery box with PowerPole connections for powering my equipment at dark sky sites. I’ve read elsewhere where folks recommend that the mount have its own power supply separate and apart from the other equipment but was not entirely clear as to why. Does AP recommend this for our mounts, an AP 1100 AE-L in my case? Also, if it does, does anyone have anything good or bad to say about the LiFePO batteries as they appear lighter than the usual deep-cycle batteries. I’ve always imaged from home with convenient access to power so this is new to me.
Hey, a mostly mobile imager here with a Mach1.

LFP (a shorter term for LiFePO4) batteries are, in a word, magic. They're 1/3-1/2 the weight of an equivalent Pb-acid or AGM battery and far-surpass the overall lifetime of them. They provide near-constant voltage as they discharge to the bitter end. They are capable of rapid charging. There are no memory issues, and are low maintenance (no trickle charging needed to keep them in top shape.)

The drawbacks are pretty much in the configuration category - running multiple, different LFP batteries in parallel (or series) is very inadvisable unless the batteries in question are of the same specific design, of the same age, the same level of charge, and have very close or matching internal resistance. I know with Pb-acids, people are apt to toss a few together in parallel to get a higher watt-hour rating and run longer... you just can't be that cavalier with LFPs. Some might say that the price of them is also a drawback, but if you consider that a single LFP battery will continue to perform at its peak well after a Pb-acid becomes useless and fails to hold a charge, you could end up spending the same amount of money over time replacing multiple Pb-acids as you would would with a single LFP. Pb-acids, on the other hand, start konking out once they've been drained to around 30% of their rated capacity... and that's even with a fresh one.

Regarding the question about separate power sources for the mount (or camera) and other accessories (dew heaters, focuser, etc) there are two bits to this. One has relevance today regardless of the battery chemistry in use, and the other does not have much relevance when speaking in the context of LFP batteries.

The first is electronic noise, the kind that Roland alluded to in his response. Some older dew controllers are known to feedback noise onto their power leads. If it's not filtered, this noise could negatively affect other equipment. The easy solution is to run the heaters off their own power source and just isolate them that way. If you are electronically-inclined, you can measure the noise and construct a DC line filter to remove it. I run Kendrick dew controllers and have not encountered this issue. This mainly seems to be an issue with older equipment. Ronald Keating of Dew Buster Controls is particularly adamant about his controllers running clean.

The second bit concerns voltage dips when a higher load is suddenly introduced, such as when dew controllers are switched on to full, or when a mount slews. With Pb-acid or (to a lesser degree) AGM battery chemistry, it's normal to have a voltage drop when there's a sudden introduction of more load. This voltage drop can be severe enough on a taxed or low-charge system that it could cause things like mount motor stalls. LFP batteries do not suffer from this type of voltage drop, and the issue can be further protected against by placing a low-noise buck+boost voltage regulator in front of everything and setting it to output a steady 13.6V.

I run a 40Ah LFP, and just took delivery of a 100Ah LFP, both from Bioenno. Their weight is 13 and 30lbs (6 and 13.6kgs) respectively, and this includes the battery box each sits in. I'm in the process of decking out the group 31 battery box for the 100Ah one with powerpole and USB outlets, a voltmeter, and possibly a voltage regulator. Its charger is a 20A monster that plugs directly into the powerpole outlet, and my one test so far shows it charging the battery from near-empty to full in the expected 5 hours (100Ah battery being charged at 20A, means a max 5 hour charging time.)

If you want advice on powerpole distribution considerations and such, let me know. I make and crimp my own cables.

/dale


Re: AP Recommendation

John Stiner
 

Thank you and thank you Roland for the responses. The 100 Ah LiFePO battery looks to be $949 so they certainly don’t come cheap.


Re: AP Recommendation

Yasushi Fukunaga
 

As for the LiFePO4 batteries, I have been using the batteries for 4+ years in the field for my 1100GTO-AEL, an FLI cooling camera and the FW, and a laptop PC, etc either directly or via DC-AC inverters.
Mines are O'CELL imported from China. They work perfectly to me even the temp is 5ºF (-15ºC) in winter. They claim the battery is rechargeable 2000 times and the life time is 10+ years according to the local dealer. Yes they are much lighter than deep cycle batteries (almost half in weight). 
The only caveat is its price and it is 6 to 8 times higher than that of deep cycle batteries with same capacity.


Re: AP Recommendation

Roland Christen
 

Things like dew heaters draw a lot of current in PWM mode and can put hefty spikes on a DC source. These can disrupt proper operation of a mount if they are deep enough.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: stinerjohn@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Fri, Aug 23, 2019 5:34 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP Recommendation

I’m planning to construct a battery box with PowerPole connections for powering my equipment at dark sky sites. I’ve read elsewhere where folks recommend that the mount have its own power supply separate and apart from the other equipment but was not entirely clear as to why. Does AP recommend this for our mounts, an AP 1100 AE-L in my case? Also, if it does, does anyone have anything good or bad to say about the LiFePO batteries as they appear lighter than the usual deep-cycle batteries. I’ve always imaged from home with convenient access to power so this is new to me.

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AP Recommendation

John Stiner
 

I’m planning to construct a battery box with PowerPole connections for powering my equipment at dark sky sites. I’ve read elsewhere where folks recommend that the mount have its own power supply separate and apart from the other equipment but was not entirely clear as to why. Does AP recommend this for our mounts, an AP 1100 AE-L in my case? Also, if it does, does anyone have anything good or bad to say about the LiFePO batteries as they appear lighter than the usual deep-cycle batteries. I’ve always imaged from home with convenient access to power so this is new to me.


Re: Ascom 6 / Saving Elevation setting: Weird behavior

Rodolphe G.
 

Okay.

I found a "smart" workaround but using the bug to my benefit: I enter 65, save location, and it turns into 650, which is fine ;)

The value no longer changes (as I don't have to save the location any further).

To your question, Winver:
  • Version 1903 (OS Build 18362.295)
I tried reinstalling the ASCOM version (standard, not the EU specific one), same issue.

Hope it helps.


Re: Full Field image ( New file uploaded to ap-ug )

mike.hambrick@...
 

There is a pattern of stars in the open cluster that reminds me of M11 - The Wild Duck Cluster

Best Regards

Michael Hambrick
ARLANXEO
TSR Global Manufacturing Support
PO Box 2000
Orange, TX 77631-2000
Phone: +1 (409) 882-2799
email: mike.hambrick@...


Full Field image ( New file uploaded to ap-ug )

Roland Christen
 

Hi Astrofolks,

After playing around with the data George took with the 175 refractor and my data with the 155 and 180, I combined them to show a full field image at full resolution and a bit more color processing. We have the galaxy in the lower right, the compact open cluster in the upper left and a sprinkling of very bright blue and red stars over the whole field which look like they might be a large loose open cluster. Anyone know what they might be? Sprinkled among the field are a number of faint and very faint background galaxies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: ap-ug
To: ap-ug
Sent: Wed, Aug 21, 2019 2:40 pm
Subject: [ap-ug] New file uploaded to ap-ug

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the ap-ug
group.

  File        : /Images taken on the AP Mach2 Mount/Fireworks Galaxy-LRGB-FullSize2.jpg
  Uploaded by : uncarollo2 <chris1011@...>
  Description : Full Field image of NGC6946, composite of 180F9 image and 175F5.8 image taken by R.Christen and George Whitney.

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Regards,

uncarollo2 <chris1011@...>


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Re: Fireworks Galaxywith 180F9 on Mach2 (New file uploaded to ap-ug)

Ben Koltenbah
 

Well, done, and I, too, like those colors.  I'm working on a tighter Fireworks image taken with a C11 on "just an old AP 1100", and I'm hoping to achieve the same coloring as you did here.

Ben



Re: Fireworks Galaxywith 180F9 on Mach2 (New file uploaded to ap-ug)

Terry Robison
 

Nice colours in that galaxy.


Fireworks Galaxywith 180F9 on Mach2 (New file uploaded to ap-ug)

Roland Christen
 

Hi Astronuts,

George and I had a couple of clear nights last week, although the Moon was up and almost full, which did affect our background sky. I imaged this galaxy and neighboring open cluster with a 180F9 refractor running at F7.2 (Quad TCC) in luminance, 10 x 10 minutes each. Meanwhile George got 6 x 10 minutes of RGB using his 175 refractor running at F5.6. I also had some Ha narrowband data of the galaxy taken with my 155 at F5.6 which I added to the mix. Even though we had almost full Moonlight, we recorded quite a number of faint galaxies in the background. It ain't the desert of Utah, but not bad for around here in light polluted suburbia.

The exercise of course was to run the Mach2 at full load and beyond and see how well it guides. And it does guide superbly. Typical rms guiding accuracy was 0.2 arc sec and less, all night long with that long refractor and its quite significant moment arm.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: ap-ug
To: ap-ug
Sent: Tue, Aug 20, 2019 1:58 pm
Subject: [ap-ug] New file uploaded to ap-ug

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the ap-ug
group.

  File        : /Images taken on the AP Mach2 Mount/Fireworks Galaxy-3.jpg
  Uploaded by : uncarollo2 <chris1011@...>
  Description : NGC6946 Image taken on the Mach2 mount with: Luminance - AP 180F9 refractor QuadTCC, RGB - AP175 QuadTCC, Ha - AP155 QuadTCC.

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Regards,

uncarollo2 <chris1011@...>


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COMs Issue in APCC

Steve Reilly
 

When I woke up this morning I found my roof open and mount pointing in the NW. This was well past the time the shutdown script should have run in ACP. The clock in ACP’s console showed 5:18:48, not running, and everything connected. So I looked to make sure APCC was up and running as it was. I did see that there had been some COM errors but they started at 07:04:26 and the last entry was at 08:24:02. I took screen captures of both the full screen with ACP and the programs running. The camera, rotator, mount, and focuser were all still connected. The mount, an AP1200GTO is still using the CP3 with current firmware and ASCOM driver. Concerned about the chance of storms I needed/wanted the telescope parked (Park 4) and roof closed. I used the Telescope park command in ACP to park the mount which responded as expected, parked the mount, and then closed the roof as it’s configured to do on Park. The telescope position in ACP never changed, in fact it still shows  RA:23:02:33.9 and DEC:+58 18’ 21” and the time of 05:18:48. The shutdown script is loaded but hitting the Run button does nothing. I’ve left the system running short of parking the mount, closing the roof, warming the sensor, shutting down the camera (it’s 98.2 degrees outside) but now after talking to Bob he said ACP is waiting on some communication……

 

None of this makes sense to me but that’s what’s happened. I have had ACP “wait” for park long after the scope had parked and when I opened the ASCOM Driver and parked the mount again ACP finally responded. This wasn’t the case here as the shutdown observatory script hadn’t even run although it was posed to. I ended just closing everything and rebooting…..till maybe next time.

 

Anyone have an experience such as this? This is a Windows 7 64 bit system fully updated. Typically the system runs extremely well. Whether it’s a timing thing or a COMs ting I have no clue but would like to be able to determine if there’s a way. Here are two screen captures from this morning.

https://www.astral-imaging.com/ACP-Screen%20Captures%208-19-2019.html

 

 

-Steve

 


Re: Ascom 6 / Saving Elevation setting: Weird behavior

Ray Gralak
 

Forgot to mention that I actually tried 645 and 645,0.
Both variations fail.
Did you have a chance to try the other two suggestions I made? That is:

1. Changing the Decimal symbol to "." in Windows regional settings.
2. Using Windows update to make sure you have the latest updates.

BTW, which version of Windows 10 are you using? You can find out by typing "winver" from the Windows 10 search box.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/apcc
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver


-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:56 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Ascom 6 / Saving Elevation setting: Weird behavior



Forgot to mention that I actually tried 645 and 645,0.
Both variations fail.


Re: Ascom 6 / Saving Elevation setting: Weird behavior

Rodolphe G.
 

Forgot to mention that I actually tried 645 and 645,0.
Both variations fail.


Re: Ascom 6 / Saving Elevation setting: Weird behavior

Rodolphe G.
 

Hi Ray
Thanks for the suggestion.
I already tried 645,0 and it didn't work either.
But will try changing the locale settings.
I'm on the latest w10 release.
I'll report here about the results.
Thanks


Re: setting APCC Pro Meridian delay

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Dave,

APCC's meridian limit can stop tracking or park the mount when the limit is reached. This is independent of the meridian delay, which sets the mount's flip point. You can enable meridian limits without having APCC change the mount's flip point (meridian delay) by not enabling Counterweight up Slews within "East Limits" and "West Limits" on APCC's "Meridian" tab.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/apcc
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2019 2:38 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] setting APCC Pro Meridian delay



I have a remote setup with my ap1200 with APCC pro. I am trying to set up protection for a meridian flip that
does not occur from a script stoppage (this happened last night for the first time in 5 months). Currently the script
is set to do a meridian flip upon crossing the meridian and completion of the current exposure. i have had the
script stop after the meridian flip and was saved by the APCC Pro horizon limit. In reading the APCC pro
manual, I can not find any direct discussion on this type of protection. but it appears that if i set the meridian
delay to a negative number, say -0.4 for a 24 minute delay in the meridian flip and select the result as "park
mount" this would provide the protection i desire. Have I interpreted the manual correctly, 1) negative sign, 2) In
another part of the meridian manual section, it recommends not using the meridian limits if remote. Implementing
only a meridian delay seems like it would be safe for remote....do you agree?

thanks

dave


setting APCC Pro Meridian delay

david w pearson
 

I have a remote setup with my ap1200 with APCC pro.  I am trying to set up protection for a meridian flip that does not occur from a script stoppage (this happened last night for the first time in 5 months).  Currently the script is set to do a meridian flip upon crossing the meridian and completion of the current exposure.   i have had the script stop after the meridian flip and was saved by the APCC Pro horizon limit.   In reading the APCC pro manual, I can not find any direct discussion on this type of protection.   but it appears that if i set the meridian delay to a negative number, say -0.4 for a 24 minute delay in the meridian flip and select the result as "park mount" this would provide the protection i desire.   Have I interpreted the manual correctly, 1) negative sign, 2) In another part of the meridian manual section, it recommends not using the meridian limits if remote.  Implementing only a meridian delay seems like it would be safe for remote....do you agree?

thanks

dave