Date   

Re: Mach2 User Manual

Rick Socarras
 

David,

I just received my Mach 2 a few days ago and I'm very happy to report that the learning curve is minimal.  Then again, I'm an IT person.  The most trouble I have had was an Intel i5 windows based PC that I selected to run the mount.  It's not a brand name PC and it's been trouble...lot's of it.  So I switched to a lowly PC stick running an intel Celeron J4105 processor and it's been a joy.  I'm running the Mach 2 headless (no screen/keyboard or mouse).  I connect to the PC stick with Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection and as mentioned the PC stick has been perfect running APCC pro, ASCOM and SkyX with guiding and camera and filter wheel.  So if you intend to run the mount with a PC attached learn from my mistake and pick a good one.

The bad news is I've only had the mount out for about 2 hours...clouds and weather!!!  What to watch out for...the FTDI serial drivers that you need to download.  It's in the manual.  The ASCOM and AP drivers are easy.  What else?  The biggest surprise I had was with the new clutch system.  I'm used to clutches that have some resistance...some friction.  When you remove a scope with these old style clutches the moving parts are held in place because they always have some friction.  The Mach 2 is not the same...when you release everything moves freely.  So my first time playing with the mount it just swung over and hit an internal stop.  Just be aware that it's a design I've never seen...a great one at that and I love it but you need to watch it.

Good luck and ask questions.  If it's nice out you will have to wait for my response.  I love the mount in so many ways.  I love how it sounds and looks.  I love the clutch system.  If I have ANY negative about the mount it's the weight of the entire piece.  It's not terrible but I'm not getting younger.  I will say this...my 99 year old grandfather would have been able to deal with the mount so there is hope.  You can't have everything and this was the compromise that was made and I agree with that compromise for many reasons.  A split mount would have made that mount a perfect 10!  It's a 9.9 as it is so I'm not complaining.  At least not yet...ask me in 15 years.

I also decided to go with the Eagle Pier and I have ZERO regrets.  What a fantastic tripod.  The Mach 2 replaces a Losmandy G11 and I hated moving that tripod.  The Eagle has a handle and the balance is great!  It's also not bulky in size like other tripods.  I serious considered other tripods and I was second guessing my choice of the Eagle tripod.  Not anymore...great tripod that is truly portable and manageable.

Rick

Rick


Re: What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

Mike Dodd
 

On 5/7/2020 2:23 PM, Steve C. Mitchell, Sr., O.D. wrote:
... it looks to
me like an option for a point modeling that should improve the pointing
accuracy is the main advantage. Is that correct or is there more to it
than that?
I have an AP1200 and I was planning to buy APCC Pro, but I was laid off from my part-time copy editing job, so hobby funds are scarce at the moment.

I know APCC will improve pointing accuracy, but I also think it can improve TRACKING accuracy, to the point where long unguided exposures might be possible. That was MY main reason for considering it.

Currently I use ACP automation software and MaxIm for imaging. I have a 130mm f/7 OTA, and guide with a 60mm f/5 scope and separate camera. When ACP runs an observing plan, it slews to the target, then plate-solves a test image and moves the mount if necessary to center the target to under 2 arcmin accuracy. My camera's FOV is 51x67 arcmin.

So for me, additional pointing accuracy isn't a big deal. However, the ability to take 10-minuite unguided images would be nice, but not essential -- ACP almost always finds a suitable guide star, and MaxIm's autoguider error typically is about 1 arcsec.

So, if I ever replenish my hobby money, I need to think about whether unguided imaging is worth the investment in APCC Pro, since I don't really need the improved pointing. Problem is, I don't know if APCC really could track well enough to give me good images.

And likewise you can decide if improved pointing and tracking are worth it.

HTH.

--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Roland Christen
 

I believe if you raise your altitude axis, turn the altitude knob clockwise about 1/4 turn, you will see your RA drift diminish. You can then go from there to null it out.

Roland



-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Young <craig.young.m8@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Thu, May 7, 2020 7:40 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Roland,
I ran the clock test for 12 hours and there was no drift in the time.  That would indicate the crystal oscillator is well within the accuracy required since a 0.1% drift would be 43 seconds in 12 hours.

So the problem is elsewhere.  The next test is the ones you requested, but I would recommend that we close this post since it was a question about the crystal oscillator, and we work offline to try and determine why the large discrepancy between the AP model and ATrack.  If this is okay, go ahead and send me an email we can then exchange on.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Craig Young
 

Roland,
I ran the clock test for 12 hours and there was no drift in the time.  That would indicate the crystal oscillator is well within the accuracy required since a 0.1% drift would be 43 seconds in 12 hours.

So the problem is elsewhere.  The next test is the ones you requested, but I would recommend that we close this post since it was a question about the crystal oscillator, and we work offline to try and determine why the large discrepancy between the AP model and ATrack.  If this is okay, go ahead and send me an email we can then exchange on.

Craig


Re: What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

 

I've opted not to buy Pro while it was available discounted (on a time limit). Being purely a mobile setup/takedown observer, I haven't uncovered any use cases where I actually needed the Pro version.

I'm convinced that my only real reason to buy it would be "because I want it." I think I can overcome that. :)

Mojo

On 5/7/20 1:23 PM, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri wrote:
I actually have the same question. And I have been doing everything just as Steve said. I could have written that email 😎

Also lovin this mount. 

Mikey 


On May 7, 2020, at 2:24 PM, Steve C. Mitchell, Sr., O.D. <smitchell@...> wrote:



Hey Guys,

 

Recently purchased a AP1100 mount and am quite happy with everything so far. Curious about the advantage of upgrading to the Pro version of the APCC software. Been busy modifying my pier so I could mount this beast on it, getting all my equipment set up and running, trying to figure out all the new software…..a plethora of “things to do” lately and been loving every minute of it. Now I’ve got some time to think about this software thing. My initial thought is, you “need” the Pro version if you have the absolute encoders (which I do not have), otherwise it looks to me like an option for a point modeling that should improve the pointing accuracy is the main advantage. Is that correct or is there more to it than that?

 

Steve



Re: What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

Michael Hambrick <mike.hambrick@...>
 

Hi Steve

Just a comment on your pier: Make sure that the top of the pier is perfectly flat and that you can not feel any wobble when you sit the RA axis in place and try to rock it back and forth. Once everything is installed, the weight will be centered over the north side of the mount and will want to tip the mount out of the pier. You have to make sure the screws holding the mount onto the pier are properly tightened, and it is a good idea to use lock washers. Toothed lock washes are good, but wedge lock washers are better. Both types are available from McMaster Carr.

This may sound trivial, but if the mount shifts on the pier after you have polar aligned it I am not sure that APCC or encoders will be able to compensate.




Best Regards

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


Re: What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

Roland Christen
 

You can do modeling, unguided imaging and a lot more.

Roland



-----Original Message-----
From: Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri <mjmangieri@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Thu, May 7, 2020 3:23 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

I actually have the same question. And I have been doing everything just as Steve said. I could have written that email 😎

Also lovin this mount. 

Mikey 


On May 7, 2020, at 2:24 PM, Steve C. Mitchell, Sr., O.D. <smitchell@...> wrote:


Hey Guys,
 
Recently purchased a AP1100 mount and am quite happy with everything so far. Curious about the advantage of upgrading to the Pro version of the APCC software. Been busy modifying my pier so I could mount this beast on it, getting all my equipment set up and running, trying to figure out all the new software…..a plethora of “things to do” lately and been loving every minute of it. Now I’ve got some time to think about this software thing. My initial thought is, you “need” the Pro version if you have the absolute encoders (which I do not have), otherwise it looks to me like an option for a point modeling that should improve the pointing accuracy is the main advantage. Is that correct or is there more to it than that?
 
Steve


Re: What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I actually have the same question. And I have been doing everything just as Steve said. I could have written that email 😎

Also lovin this mount. 

Mikey 


On May 7, 2020, at 2:24 PM, Steve C. Mitchell, Sr., O.D. <smitchell@...> wrote:



Hey Guys,

 

Recently purchased a AP1100 mount and am quite happy with everything so far. Curious about the advantage of upgrading to the Pro version of the APCC software. Been busy modifying my pier so I could mount this beast on it, getting all my equipment set up and running, trying to figure out all the new software…..a plethora of “things to do” lately and been loving every minute of it. Now I’ve got some time to think about this software thing. My initial thought is, you “need” the Pro version if you have the absolute encoders (which I do not have), otherwise it looks to me like an option for a point modeling that should improve the pointing accuracy is the main advantage. Is that correct or is there more to it than that?

 

Steve


What are the advantages of the APCC Pro

Steve C. Mitchell, Sr., O.D.
 

Hey Guys,

 

Recently purchased a AP1100 mount and am quite happy with everything so far. Curious about the advantage of upgrading to the Pro version of the APCC software. Been busy modifying my pier so I could mount this beast on it, getting all my equipment set up and running, trying to figure out all the new software…..a plethora of “things to do” lately and been loving every minute of it. Now I’ve got some time to think about this software thing. My initial thought is, you “need” the Pro version if you have the absolute encoders (which I do not have), otherwise it looks to me like an option for a point modeling that should improve the pointing accuracy is the main advantage. Is that correct or is there more to it than that?

 

Steve


Re: Meridian limits

Ray Gralak
 

We are trying to sort out meridian limits. There seem to be "mount" meridian limits, and "APCC meridian limits".
Have you looked at the help file? If there is something not clear it would be good to know so that we can improve it.

Thanks,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
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 Richard Spencer via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, May 7, 2020 9:07 AM
To: Astro-Physics GTO Users Group
Subject: [ap-gto] Meridian limits

Dear All,

AP 1100 mount, APCC Pro

We are trying to sort out meridian limits. There seem to be "mount" meridian limits, and "APCC meridian limits".

We believe:
--Mount limits apply to slews
--APCC limits apply to tracking and movement into CW up positions

Is that right? Does one set of limits supersede the other? Do we use them together somehow?

Thank you for any guidance!

Rick Spencer
Elkton, MD 21921



Meridian limits

Richard Spencer
 

Dear All,

AP 1100 mount, APCC Pro

We are trying to sort out meridian limits.  There seem to be "mount" meridian limits, and "APCC meridian limits". 

We believe:  
--Mount limits apply to slews
--APCC limits apply to tracking and movement into CW up positions 

Is that right?  Does one set of limits supersede the other?  Do we use them together somehow?

Thank you for any guidance!

Rick Spencer
Elkton, MD  21921



Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Craig Young
 

Roland, two tests were requested.  The first one I think was to put tape on the mount to measure the RA drift after 24 hours.  I believe this was done to check the sidereal rate.  Assuming the sidereal rate is calculated correctly using the crystal oscillator then measuring the crystal oscillator will be more accurate than a piece of tape.  So I will do this test first.  If it shows the oscillator is accurate then it does not prove the sidereal rate is off, only the oscillator is good and we can continue from there.

The second test I believe you wanted was to measure the drift with the scope pointed straight up at the meridian and on both sides.  Then a subsequent test at the horizon.  I will do this test at the next clear night but as I mentioned, I cannot observe below HA -3 which I will do but not sure if it helps.  Next clear night is set for Saturday end of this week.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Ray Gralak
 

Craig,

You can connect to the mount via a browser and issue commands without APCC or the driver being connected at all.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
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 Craig Young
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 5:40 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Thanks Roland, that is a big help. So by checking the time we can check the crystal oscillator. And given the
clock is not maintained during the power down state I will run the test with the mount always powered on. So it will
initialize once and then be good after that. I believe there is a setting in the APCC configuration to refresh the CP4
time but I will wait for Ray to comment. Looks like this will be a good test.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Ray Gralak
 

Steve,

Many AP clients doing photometry REQUIRE that kind of 1 arc-sec precision and it seems achievable with the
right approach. A number of us would like to know more about how to achieve it. Dithering is not an option in
photometry. Craig's posts bring up significant points that are quite relevant and should be considered seriously.
For photometry you could use APCC Pro's tracking rate correction and auto-guiding. This is better solution because auto-guiding will
update mount position more imminently than waiting longer for an image to complete and be plate solved. The drawback of Craig's
plate solve method is that it corrects after the tracking error has occurred. So, if a plate solve indicates a correction is
required then Craig's software may have already gone outside 1-arcsec accuracy.

Auto-guiding + APCC Pro tracking rate correction is definitely capable of sub arc-second tracking over many hours. And with a couple
tweaks to the code APPC Pro's tracking rate could be constantly refined to match any residual tracking rate error calculated from
snooping auto-guide pulses sent to APCC.

But again, this is not the subject of this thread!

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
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 Steven Steven
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 1:53 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Ray,
Many AP clients doing photometry REQUIRE that kind of 1 arc-sec precision and it seems achievable with the
right approach. A number of us would like to know more about how to achieve it. Dithering is not an option in
photometry. Craig's posts bring up significant points that are quite relevant and should be considered seriously.

Steve

________________________________

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Ray Gralak <groups3@gralak.com>
Sent: Wednesday, 6 May 2020 10:50 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Hi Craig,

So if I understand correctly, using your scope, unguided, and with APCC corrective tracking, you can plate solve
your first image, three hours later plate solve your last image and the difference in plate solutions is less than 1
arc-sec?
No, I'm not saying that at all, although I'm sure under some conditions that would be possible.

What I'm saying is most people would not want to do that. Most want to randomly dither the telescope position
between images to average out differences in pixel sensitivity and noise when stacking images. Dithering
obviously will change the image center between images. And cases where low pixel resolution (e.g. camera lens)
dithering can be used to increase effective detail in an image.

So acceptable unguided performance is needed only for the duration of the longest exposure. There's little
advantage for tracking to be better than that, but it's great that you are able to do that via a closed loop process.

Anyway, hopefully you can try Roland's test so you can validate your mount's sidereal tracking rate.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro <https://www.astro-
physics.com/apcc-pro>
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver
<https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver>

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Craig Young
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 7:02 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Ray,
So if I understand correctly, using your scope, unguided, and with APCC corrective tracking, you can plate solve
your first image, three hours later plate solve your last image and the difference in plate solutions is less than 1
arc-sec?

Craig





Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Roland Christen
 

So you simply refuse to do the test I asked you for? Why?

Roland Christen



-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Young <craig.young.m8@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Wed, May 6, 2020 7:39 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Thanks Roland, that is a big help.  So by checking the time we can check the crystal oscillator.  And given the clock is not maintained during the power down state I will run the test with the mount always powered on.  So it will initialize once and then be good after that.  I believe there is a setting in the APCC configuration to refresh the CP4 time but I will wait for Ray to comment.  Looks like this will be a good test.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Craig Young
 

Thanks Roland, that is a big help.  So by checking the time we can check the crystal oscillator.  And given the clock is not maintained during the power down state I will run the test with the mount always powered on.  So it will initialize once and then be good after that.  I believe there is a setting in the APCC configuration to refresh the CP4 time but I will wait for Ray to comment.  Looks like this will be a good test.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

thefamily90 Phillips
 

🤓☕️🔭🛎


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of uncarollo2 <chris1011@...> via groups.io <chris1011@...>
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 8:11:19 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency
 

a) does the clock share the same oscillator as used by the electronics responsible for sidereal rate?
b) is the clock on the CP4 updated from APCC and if so how do I disable that, and how frequent or when does APCC update the CP4 time?
c) I assume the clock time is maintained after I power down the mount.  Do I need to keep the mount powered on for the test?
a) There is only one precision oscillator in the CP that does all functions, including setting the sidereal rate.
b) I would have to ask Ray to answer that one
c) the clock time is not maintained when the power is removed. Clock time is set during initialization by the ASCOM driver or by APCC, or by the keypad clock or other external apps, depending on your setup.

The clock inside the CP servo can be updated at any time by external sources, but that has zero effect on the sidereal tracking rate. The sidereal rate is directly set from the precision oscillator.

Roland Christen


-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Young <craig.young.m8@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Wed, May 6, 2020 6:50 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

I am not absolutely certain the RA drift is due to an offset in the clock frequency, it is only a possibility among others.  But I do like the idea of measuring the clock using the method you described.  I have a couple of questions though,

a) does the clock share the same oscillator as used by the electronics responsible for sidereal rate?
b) is the clock on the CP4 updated from APCC and if so how do I disable that, and how frequent or when does APCC update the CP4 time?
c) I assume the clock time is maintained after I power down the mount.  Do I need to keep the mount powered on for the test?

I can then use SL# to record the time and then 24 hours later do the same thing.

One thing I noticed a couple of years ago is when I powered up the mount and slewed to a set DEC,HA did a plate solve that each subsequent trial (park, power off, power on, slew) resulted in an increasing error in the position.  It was as if the time base was drifting.  I have not tried this in a while so may schedule that for the next clear night.  But it may be that Ray fixed this in one of the APCC/firmware updates since then.

If the clock does indeed share the same oscillator as the sidereal electronics then this will tell us if the clock frequency is off a bit.

Craig


Re: Mount recommendation for TEC 180FL with FLI 16803 + FW #Mach2GTO

Shailesh Trivedi
 

Thank you Michael.


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Roland Christen
 


a) does the clock share the same oscillator as used by the electronics responsible for sidereal rate?
b) is the clock on the CP4 updated from APCC and if so how do I disable that, and how frequent or when does APCC update the CP4 time?
c) I assume the clock time is maintained after I power down the mount.  Do I need to keep the mount powered on for the test?
a) There is only one precision oscillator in the CP that does all functions, including setting the sidereal rate.
b) I would have to ask Ray to answer that one
c) the clock time is not maintained when the power is removed. Clock time is set during initialization by the ASCOM driver or by APCC, or by the keypad clock or other external apps, depending on your setup.

The clock inside the CP servo can be updated at any time by external sources, but that has zero effect on the sidereal tracking rate. The sidereal rate is directly set from the precision oscillator.

Roland Christen


-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Young <craig.young.m8@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Wed, May 6, 2020 6:50 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

I am not absolutely certain the RA drift is due to an offset in the clock frequency, it is only a possibility among others.  But I do like the idea of measuring the clock using the method you described.  I have a couple of questions though,

a) does the clock share the same oscillator as used by the electronics responsible for sidereal rate?
b) is the clock on the CP4 updated from APCC and if so how do I disable that, and how frequent or when does APCC update the CP4 time?
c) I assume the clock time is maintained after I power down the mount.  Do I need to keep the mount powered on for the test?

I can then use SL# to record the time and then 24 hours later do the same thing.

One thing I noticed a couple of years ago is when I powered up the mount and slewed to a set DEC,HA did a plate solve that each subsequent trial (park, power off, power on, slew) resulted in an increasing error in the position.  It was as if the time base was drifting.  I have not tried this in a while so may schedule that for the next clear night.  But it may be that Ray fixed this in one of the APCC/firmware updates since then.

If the clock does indeed share the same oscillator as the sidereal electronics then this will tell us if the clock frequency is off a bit.

Craig


Re: Adjust CP4 Clock Frequency

Craig Young
 

I am not absolutely certain the RA drift is due to an offset in the clock frequency, it is only a possibility among others.  But I do like the idea of measuring the clock using the method you described.  I have a couple of questions though,

a) does the clock share the same oscillator as used by the electronics responsible for sidereal rate?
b) is the clock on the CP4 updated from APCC and if so how do I disable that, and how frequent or when does APCC update the CP4 time?
c) I assume the clock time is maintained after I power down the mount.  Do I need to keep the mount powered on for the test?

I can then use SL# to record the time and then 24 hours later do the same thing.

One thing I noticed a couple of years ago is when I powered up the mount and slewed to a set DEC,HA did a plate solve that each subsequent trial (park, power off, power on, slew) resulted in an increasing error in the position.  It was as if the time base was drifting.  I have not tried this in a while so may schedule that for the next clear night.  But it may be that Ray fixed this in one of the APCC/firmware updates since then.

If the clock does indeed share the same oscillator as the sidereal electronics then this will tell us if the clock frequency is off a bit.

Craig

8921 - 8940 of 79126