Date   

Re: North Keypad button problem

Dominique Durand
 
Edited

Joe,
I too had to clean a TV remote control with this problem. Thanks for the photo.
There with the AP keypad I went there quiet. I'm not sure I have exceeded 95 °F (35 °C).
It was not a thermal stripper and I think the problem may return.

Dominique


Re: AP 800

Christopher Erickson
 

Here is another vote for the OneStep solution.


On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 5:43 AM Michael Fulbright <mike.fulbright@...> wrote:
Someone used the cool OnStep project to convert an AP400 - might give you some ideas:

https://onstep.groups.io/g/main/topic/onstep_on_astro_physics_ap400/26511793

Michael Fulbright

On 6/29/20 10:30 AM, Peter Bresler via groups.io wrote:
Stepper motors are pretty easy to find and not expensive.


Re: North Keypad button problem

Joe Zeglinski
 

Dominique,
 
    Don’t want to scare anybody about this problem  – but I would be VERY careful – with using a hair dryer on your expensive AP Keypad. 
If it helps momentarily by cooking the oil, perhaps bubbling it away from the carbon contact, then it might also do the same for the rubber button tops. Those are very thin skinned rubber tops, which you don’t want to become stretched, floppy, or torn.
 
    Whenever I took a “marginally working” keypad membrane out of some misbehaving “remote controller case”, the circuit board pads were “quite slimy”, almost dripping, when I got it on my fingers.
 
    For example, zoom in very tightly on my attached  picture of my old Panasonic Cordless phone circuit board cleaning, when one of the keypad digits wouldn’t make a good contact for me to dial out. You can see fairly large, round drops of oil at the far left edge of the circuit board, especially next to the FLASH key pad,  and “puddled islands of oil”,  where pressing the other buttons, squirted  away some oil between the circuit pads in other places. Since we hold such devices “upright” during use, I think the oil eventually accumulates more toward the bottom edge, as seen in my picture – and this one wasn’t really bad yet, with just one button losing connection.
 
    The dark backside (buttons) of the membrane itself is a bit harder to see how wet it was, but it was all a big mess. It is NOT an “intended” button lubricant ! – I have seen circuit boards & keypads  bone dry, on newer devices I have taken apart to check.
 
    I haven’t needed to wash the oil from my AP-900 & 1200 Keypads yet, since I rarely use them, so I can’t speak about any difficulty of doing the same procedure there. But, this will give you some idea “what really goes on, under any”  of our common household Remote devices. Most people aren’t aware of such things, and simply throw away the device, and (hopefully) can still buy a new  phone handset, TV Remote, or a substitute etc.
You don’t want to do that for the AP Keypad, and nobody warns us about this “common” problem.
 
Joe Z.
 

From: Dominique Durand via groups.io
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2020 11:51 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] North Keypad button problem
 
Hi,
It may only be part postponed,but if they were oily structures stuck on contacts and preventing the activation of the button, one could think that a dose of heat could thin the thing. So with the screen and the buttons down, with a hairdryer, I moderately heated the "N" button, for 1 to 2 ', 2 to 3 times, and then I tried again and on the 2nd press on the N button the Dec axis started to move. After several tests the button remained operational.I will therefore follow its functioning on my next outings and I will inform you of the situation.

Dominique


Re: First light with Mach2GTO

Karen Christen
 

Wow, Jian.  That’s a really pleasing image.  Congratulations!

Karen C

AP

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of jypeng@...
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2020 5:56 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] First light with Mach2GTO

 

Hello Ray,
Thank you for helping out. Mach2 is a great mount and worth every dime to own it. 
This is my first image using Mach2GTO without modeling. The stars are round and small. 
https://www.astrobin.com/p245n9/0/
It was a long store after Ray found out it was user error not using the ASCOM 6.4 when I tried to create the model.
My next image will be modeled without PHD2! 
Regards, 
Jian Yuan Peng

Telescope: TEC 160FL + 0.9 FRC

Mount: Astro-Physics Mach 2 GTO

Camera: ASI6200MC Pro

Acquisition Date: June 2 ~ June 9, 2020

Frame: 97x600" bin2x2

Filter: Triad Ultra Quad-Band Narrowband Filter

Software: PHD2, PixInsight, Lightroom, Sequence Generator Pro, Photoshop

Location: Palo Alto, California, USA


--
Karen Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: North Keypad button problem

Dominique Durand
 

Hi,
It may only be part postponed,but if they were oily structures stuck on contacts and preventing the activation of the button, one could think that a dose of heat could thin the thing. So with the screen and the buttons down, with a hairdryer, I moderately heated the "N" button, for 1 to 2 ', 2 to 3 times, and then I tried again and on the 2nd press on the N button the Dec axis started to move. After several tests the button remained operational.I will therefore follow its functioning on my next outings and I will inform you of the situation.

Dominique


Re: AP 800

Michael Fulbright <mike.fulbright@...>
 

Someone used the cool OnStep project to convert an AP400 - might give you some ideas:

https://onstep.groups.io/g/main/topic/onstep_on_astro_physics_ap400/26511793

Michael Fulbright

On 6/29/20 10:30 AM, Peter Bresler via groups.io wrote:
Stepper motors are pretty easy to find and not expensive.


Re: AP 800

Peter Bresler
 

Stepper motors are pretty easy to find and not expensive.


Re: North Keypad button problem

Joe Zeglinski
 

AP-Support:
 
    As an after thought about Keypad’s buttons eventually becoming too oily and losing their circuit board pad contact,
may I suggest that AP Tech Support, with their usual excellent customer courtesy, not only change the battery or other servicing, but as a preventative measure also wash off any (possibly) underlying key membrane & circuit pad oil, as I described.
 
    Since the old Keypad battery, sent in for changing,  would already be 7 or more years old, then the “dead buttons” problem would surely soon follow. This way, the keypad and new battery would both be good for another decade, without a customer’s frustration of losing valuable  “sky-time”.
 
Joe Z.


Re: AP 800

Frank Widmann
 

You would probably have to replace the motors. 

Frank

On Jun 28, 2020, at 11:41 PM, Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...> wrote:

Since the 800 apparently uses stepper motors, it seems like it would be possible to adapt it to a recent controller, like the GT4. Has anyone ever done that?


Re: North Keypad button problem

Dominique Durand
 
Edited

Hi Joe,
Thank you for the link to the related topic, actually the problem could be of this nature, since since 2011 I used this keypad in a common way and it has, depending on the period, lived between -5 and + 30 °.
The other keys may already be partially affected.So I just replaced the battery but looking at how to access the buttons, I saw, with the fiber optic beam present, that it would be tricky. So I didn't go any further and I don't really see how to access the membrane part without removing everything from the keypad and therefore taking some significant risks.I await the opinion of Rolando on the question and I discussed with my dealer the return of the keypad. My concern is more about the repair time with the transport which is added, I have astronomy animations this summer and the mach1 with its keypad is useful to me.But I'm also waiting for a keypad for my mach2, the 2 could arrive together.

Best regards

Dominique


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Dean Jacobsen
 


Re: North Keypad button problem

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Dominique,
 
    Don’t worry. No need to send your Keypad to AP  for repair. Fixing buttons on ANY  “rubber membrane” keypad (TV Remote, cordless Phone, AP Keypad, etc.), is easy, if you are careful. I have done it several times on various devices. After pressing “certain buttons” on any keypad for many years, the “mould release oil”, soaked into the rubber itself, eventually “leaches out”, and you get its left-over  oil on the contact(s) underneath, electrically insulating the carbon (?) under-side of that button(s), and the corresponding circuit board copper contact pad(s). Over many years, you probably pressed the Keypad NORTH slew button more often than  any of the others.
 
     All you need to do is remove the keypad membrane sheet and wash it,  (and the circuit board surface), with “dish soap”.
 
    Please read my post on June 14, 2020:  “Re: [ap-gto] Old Keypad Repair/Refurbishing”
Should take less than an hour. It is also good a preventative procedure, since the other, less often pressed keys, are probably a bit oily as well and will eventually cause the same problem.
 
    The trickiest part of repairing TV , phone, car-keys Fob, and other Keypads, is finding & removing case screws (in the battery compartment) then splitting the case seam apart. Some can be more difficult than others, but the AP Keypad is easy and meant to be opened for battery changes. I found using a small stiff penknife blade, for prying & pressing along the case seam,  was handy for separating the case halves. Other keypad devices are just snapped together at only a few places, but the CP3/CP4  comes apart after its screws (and their critical nylon washers), are removed.
 
Good luck.
 
Joe Z.
 

From: Dominique Durand via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 1:37 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] North Keypad button problem
 

[Edited Message Follows]

Hi AP,
The keypad (3388GTO) of my Mach1 dating a little (2011) I took advantage of the command of my Mach2 to take a battery to replace the original one.
Everything went well and upon reignition I found all my parameters.
However, I have noticed for some time that there was a problem with the N key, on which it was necessary for it to activate the mount.Yesterday evening, after a few weeks without use (The mach2 occupied me well), I, during the evening "On The Moon Again", noticed that the N key on the keypad no longer worked.
Thanks to SkyFi3 that I had with me and skysafari I ensured the rest of the evening, but what to do to repair this problem on the N key?
The other keys work perfectly well.I understand that the new GTOCP5 / CP4 keypad, which I expect, will not be backward compatible with GTOCP3.

Dominique


AP 800

Peter Bresler
 

Since the 800 apparently uses stepper motors, it seems like it would be possible to adapt it to a recent controller, like the GT4. Has anyone ever done that?


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Joseph Beyer
 

Greg, 

Thanks for the information.  You've highlighted a number of important parameters to double check in SGPro and APPM setups.  I need to look through the program profiles again to make sure everything is correct.  

I've also found APCC-Pro and APPM very useful.  I've retired my guidescope and now spend my imaging time star gazing rather than watching the guider graph.  

Joe    

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 7:10 PM Greg Vaughn <gregvaughn@...> wrote:

Dean and Joe,

 

I normally watch this forum and learn from the experienced astronomers and imagers, but wanted to pass on a few thoughts about my developing experience with plate solving and APPM.

 

I was finally brave enough late last fall to dig into APPM and understand it well enough, after a few false starts, to make it work.    Despite understanding how to make it work now using at least three camera and telescope combinations and two different mount configurations, I still have an occasional issue - but I don’t think related to either APPM or my plate solver.   After successful use of APPM for several months with dedicated CMOS Astro cameras, a return to my Nikon D810A two weeks ago resulted in a failure to plate solve which resulted in an APPM failure.   Since then I’ve again had successful runs and my apparent failure to plate solve with the D810A is what I discuss in #5 below.

 

Just to level set everyone and to anticipate questions: I power up the mount, I use APCC to open the ASCOM driver, establish the virtual ports, and to run APPM.   For imaging I use SGP in concert with PHD2 and Focus Lynx software.   (I use SharpCap for planetary imaging, but use SGP to support APPM and auto focusing early in my sessions.)  I have been using Carte du Ciel planetarium software to slew to places other than those that I program into SGP for formal imaging runs (such as good locations for PHD2 calibration runs).   I have a Windows 10 Pro boot camp partition on a MacBook Pro with 16GB ram and an i5 processor.  I use a USB 3 router into which I plug; camera, guide camera, MGBoxV2 (GPS and environmental), USB to Serial cable for Mach 1 (CP4) or Mach 2 (CP5), and a Focus Lynx focuser.  I have the setup on my deck and run the operation from inside the house using UltraVNC remote desktop running on another laptop.  I use a variety of dedicated Astro cameras, ZWO and QHY, and a Nikon DSLR (D810A).   The only connection I ever have an issue with is the USB3 connection to the imaging camera.

 

Assuming  you are leveraging SGP for APPM, here are a few items that stand out in my mind as being worth trying or checking:

 

  1. After ‘connecting’ camera and mount on the APPM run page, make sure you have the proper imaging camera and plate solve settings, and they match, in both APPM and SGP prior to initiating your APPM run.  Critical items include binning (or ISO), exposure length, and Image Scale (must be correct for your current imaging train config in both places J).
  2. Remember to make sure in SGP that the selected image output format, under camera settings, is the FITS format.  My Nikon D810A choices in SGP are NEF, NEF and FITS, and FITS.   I have to choose ‘FITS’ – APPM will not work in ‘NEF and FITS’ and will deliver a ‘BAD IMAGE SCALE’ error.  (For my dedicated Astro cameras, I only have a choice of binning and FITS is automatically set.)
  3. I used platesolve2 for a long time as my plate solver in SGP.  As a result of a forum discussion (here as I remember)  about using ASTAP, I have switched to ASTAP (it was easy) and found that I can plate solve much faster and I think it works very well with APPM, returning points faster.    I like it better than platesolve2.   Consider switching to ASTAP if it seems slow with platesolve2.
  4. While this may be obvious, focusing your image train prior to running APM seems to improve my plate solve speed/reliability.   Even when I don’t mess with focus when I tear down and set back up, I still encounter different temperatures and could have bumped the focuser, so I do a focusing run.   (This may delay your mapping routine, but I like to try to do it.)
  5. My USB connection to the camera can be finicky – though not very often.  Most nights I have no issue.  When I do have an issue, sometimes it goes away with shutting down and restarting SGP, but sometimes it doesn’t resolve without shutting EVERYTHING down and starting completely over.   The only time that I’ve had issues with APPM in recent memory is when SGP shows that it’s connected to the camera and it’s downloading the plate solve image – but it really isn’t and it never completes the download.  The camera will show connected, but the image just will not complete a download to SGP.  This results in APPM timing out and reporting a failed plate solve, when clearly this was a camera/SGP issue.
  6. To make sure things are working properly before doing an APPM run, I usually do the focus run mentioned in #4 and I will do a ‘solve and sync’ in SGP to test the plate solver settings/connection and to start off on common ground.   These exercises will usually let me know if it’s a finicky night for my camera(s).   It also confirms that my exposure length and binning/ISO are sufficient to achieve a plate solve wherever I am in the transition to full darkness.

 

I’m sure that there are many other helpful items available to help you navigate APPM and plate solving, but the bottom line experience I’ve had is that APPM works well, but is usually unforgiving if your settings are mismatched between it and SGP and depends on SGP (in my case) delivering a plate solve.   I have SGP up in background and for the first couple points watch closely to make sure it goes through all the plate solve steps properly.   I’ve only had APPM stop one time after the first couple points were successful and that was due to a similar, but delayed, camera/image download issue which required attention on my part – independent of APPM.

 

Best of luck to everyone.  I have been very pleased with APPM and its impact.   I feel fortunate to have it to help compensate for having no view of Polaris from my deck and having a less than perfect polar alignment.

 

One last anecdote.   I only have about a 90deg azimuth sector available for imaging (~090-180) and a small slice overhead to the Northwest.   To cover that available sector, I did a 44 point map Thursday night and was able to track Jupiter in the early morning hours with a tiny ZWO ASI174 (in 640x480 mode) through an EDGE11 SCT with a Televue 4X Powermate connected to it - without guiding.   I had to make very minor 1X corrections with the virtual keypad about every fourth video capture to keep the planet absolutely centered - so I guess that’s a mild form of manual guiding) – but I was very impressed.    I had meant to ask Ray if the mapping would help tracking of the planets as well, but apparently it does.  (I should mention that this was with the Mach 2.)

 

Cheers, good luck, and clear skies!

Greg

 

p.s.  Ray helped me understand my failings in my first couple outings with APPM and I should also give credit to George who helped me set up APCC and the ASCOM driver for both the CP4 /Mach 1 configuration and the CP5/Mach 2 configuration.   Knowing that all that was good gave me additional confidence to dig into APPM.


Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

DFisch
 

Greg thanks, A veritable lecture in an email that is a real keeper!!

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 22:10 Greg Vaughn <gregvaughn@...> wrote:

Dean and Joe,

 

I normally watch this forum and learn from the experienced astronomers and imagers, but wanted to pass on a few thoughts about my developing experience with plate solving and APPM.

 

I was finally brave enough late last fall to dig into APPM and understand it well enough, after a few false starts, to make it work.    Despite understanding how to make it work now using at least three camera and telescope combinations and two different mount configurations, I still have an occasional issue - but I don’t think related to either APPM or my plate solver.   After successful use of APPM for several months with dedicated CMOS Astro cameras, a return to my Nikon D810A two weeks ago resulted in a failure to plate solve which resulted in an APPM failure.   Since then I’ve again had successful runs and my apparent failure to plate solve with the D810A is what I discuss in #5 below.

 

Just to level set everyone and to anticipate questions: I power up the mount, I use APCC to open the ASCOM driver, establish the virtual ports, and to run APPM.   For imaging I use SGP in concert with PHD2 and Focus Lynx software.   (I use SharpCap for planetary imaging, but use SGP to support APPM and auto focusing early in my sessions.)  I have been using Carte du Ciel planetarium software to slew to places other than those that I program into SGP for formal imaging runs (such as good locations for PHD2 calibration runs).   I have a Windows 10 Pro boot camp partition on a MacBook Pro with 16GB ram and an i5 processor.  I use a USB 3 router into which I plug; camera, guide camera, MGBoxV2 (GPS and environmental), USB to Serial cable for Mach 1 (CP4) or Mach 2 (CP5), and a Focus Lynx focuser.  I have the setup on my deck and run the operation from inside the house using UltraVNC remote desktop running on another laptop.  I use a variety of dedicated Astro cameras, ZWO and QHY, and a Nikon DSLR (D810A).   The only connection I ever have an issue with is the USB3 connection to the imaging camera.

 

Assuming  you are leveraging SGP for APPM, here are a few items that stand out in my mind as being worth trying or checking:

 

  1. After ‘connecting’ camera and mount on the APPM run page, make sure you have the proper imaging camera and plate solve settings, and they match, in both APPM and SGP prior to initiating your APPM run.  Critical items include binning (or ISO), exposure length, and Image Scale (must be correct for your current imaging train config in both places J).
  2. Remember to make sure in SGP that the selected image output format, under camera settings, is the FITS format.  My Nikon D810A choices in SGP are NEF, NEF and FITS, and FITS.   I have to choose ‘FITS’ – APPM will not work in ‘NEF and FITS’ and will deliver a ‘BAD IMAGE SCALE’ error.  (For my dedicated Astro cameras, I only have a choice of binning and FITS is automatically set.)
  3. I used platesolve2 for a long time as my plate solver in SGP.  As a result of a forum discussion (here as I remember)  about using ASTAP, I have switched to ASTAP (it was easy) and found that I can plate solve much faster and I think it works very well with APPM, returning points faster.    I like it better than platesolve2.   Consider switching to ASTAP if it seems slow with platesolve2.
  4. While this may be obvious, focusing your image train prior to running APM seems to improve my plate solve speed/reliability.   Even when I don’t mess with focus when I tear down and set back up, I still encounter different temperatures and could have bumped the focuser, so I do a focusing run.   (This may delay your mapping routine, but I like to try to do it.)
  5. My USB connection to the camera can be finicky – though not very often.  Most nights I have no issue.  When I do have an issue, sometimes it goes away with shutting down and restarting SGP, but sometimes it doesn’t resolve without shutting EVERYTHING down and starting completely over.   The only time that I’ve had issues with APPM in recent memory is when SGP shows that it’s connected to the camera and it’s downloading the plate solve image – but it really isn’t and it never completes the download.  The camera will show connected, but the image just will not complete a download to SGP.  This results in APPM timing out and reporting a failed plate solve, when clearly this was a camera/SGP issue.
  6. To make sure things are working properly before doing an APPM run, I usually do the focus run mentioned in #4 and I will do a ‘solve and sync’ in SGP to test the plate solver settings/connection and to start off on common ground.   These exercises will usually let me know if it’s a finicky night for my camera(s).   It also confirms that my exposure length and binning/ISO are sufficient to achieve a plate solve wherever I am in the transition to full darkness.

 

I’m sure that there are many other helpful items available to help you navigate APPM and plate solving, but the bottom line experience I’ve had is that APPM works well, but is usually unforgiving if your settings are mismatched between it and SGP and depends on SGP (in my case) delivering a plate solve.   I have SGP up in background and for the first couple points watch closely to make sure it goes through all the plate solve steps properly.   I’ve only had APPM stop one time after the first couple points were successful and that was due to a similar, but delayed, camera/image download issue which required attention on my part – independent of APPM.

 

Best of luck to everyone.  I have been very pleased with APPM and its impact.   I feel fortunate to have it to help compensate for having no view of Polaris from my deck and having a less than perfect polar alignment.

 

One last anecdote.   I only have about a 90deg azimuth sector available for imaging (~090-180) and a small slice overhead to the Northwest.   To cover that available sector, I did a 44 point map Thursday night and was able to track Jupiter in the early morning hours with a tiny ZWO ASI174 (in 640x480 mode) through an EDGE11 SCT with a Televue 4X Powermate connected to it - without guiding.   I had to make very minor 1X corrections with the virtual keypad about every fourth video capture to keep the planet absolutely centered - so I guess that’s a mild form of manual guiding) – but I was very impressed.    I had meant to ask Ray if the mapping would help tracking of the planets as well, but apparently it does.  (I should mention that this was with the Mach 2.)

 

Cheers, good luck, and clear skies!

Greg

 

p.s.  Ray helped me understand my failings in my first couple outings with APPM and I should also give credit to George who helped me set up APCC and the ASCOM driver for both the CP4 /Mach 1 configuration and the CP5/Mach 2 configuration.   Knowing that all that was good gave me additional confidence to dig into APPM.


Virus-free. www.avast.com

--
TJF MOBILE


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Greg Vaughn
 

Dean and Joe,

 

I normally watch this forum and learn from the experienced astronomers and imagers, but wanted to pass on a few thoughts about my developing experience with plate solving and APPM.

 

I was finally brave enough late last fall to dig into APPM and understand it well enough, after a few false starts, to make it work.    Despite understanding how to make it work now using at least three camera and telescope combinations and two different mount configurations, I still have an occasional issue - but I don’t think related to either APPM or my plate solver.   After successful use of APPM for several months with dedicated CMOS Astro cameras, a return to my Nikon D810A two weeks ago resulted in a failure to plate solve which resulted in an APPM failure.   Since then I’ve again had successful runs and my apparent failure to plate solve with the D810A is what I discuss in #5 below.

 

Just to level set everyone and to anticipate questions: I power up the mount, I use APCC to open the ASCOM driver, establish the virtual ports, and to run APPM.   For imaging I use SGP in concert with PHD2 and Focus Lynx software.   (I use SharpCap for planetary imaging, but use SGP to support APPM and auto focusing early in my sessions.)  I have been using Carte du Ciel planetarium software to slew to places other than those that I program into SGP for formal imaging runs (such as good locations for PHD2 calibration runs).   I have a Windows 10 Pro boot camp partition on a MacBook Pro with 16GB ram and an i5 processor.  I use a USB 3 router into which I plug; camera, guide camera, MGBoxV2 (GPS and environmental), USB to Serial cable for Mach 1 (CP4) or Mach 2 (CP5), and a Focus Lynx focuser.  I have the setup on my deck and run the operation from inside the house using UltraVNC remote desktop running on another laptop.  I use a variety of dedicated Astro cameras, ZWO and QHY, and a Nikon DSLR (D810A).   The only connection I ever have an issue with is the USB3 connection to the imaging camera.

 

Assuming  you are leveraging SGP for APPM, here are a few items that stand out in my mind as being worth trying or checking:

 

  1. After ‘connecting’ camera and mount on the APPM run page, make sure you have the proper imaging camera and plate solve settings, and they match, in both APPM and SGP prior to initiating your APPM run.  Critical items include binning (or ISO), exposure length, and Image Scale (must be correct for your current imaging train config in both places J).
  2. Remember to make sure in SGP that the selected image output format, under camera settings, is the FITS format.  My Nikon D810A choices in SGP are NEF, NEF and FITS, and FITS.   I have to choose ‘FITS’ – APPM will not work in ‘NEF and FITS’ and will deliver a ‘BAD IMAGE SCALE’ error.  (For my dedicated Astro cameras, I only have a choice of binning and FITS is automatically set.)
  3. I used platesolve2 for a long time as my plate solver in SGP.  As a result of a forum discussion (here as I remember)  about using ASTAP, I have switched to ASTAP (it was easy) and found that I can plate solve much faster and I think it works very well with APPM, returning points faster.    I like it better than platesolve2.   Consider switching to ASTAP if it seems slow with platesolve2.
  4. While this may be obvious, focusing your image train prior to running APM seems to improve my plate solve speed/reliability.   Even when I don’t mess with focus when I tear down and set back up, I still encounter different temperatures and could have bumped the focuser, so I do a focusing run.   (This may delay your mapping routine, but I like to try to do it.)
  5. My USB connection to the camera can be finicky – though not very often.  Most nights I have no issue.  When I do have an issue, sometimes it goes away with shutting down and restarting SGP, but sometimes it doesn’t resolve without shutting EVERYTHING down and starting completely over.   The only time that I’ve had issues with APPM in recent memory is when SGP shows that it’s connected to the camera and it’s downloading the plate solve image – but it really isn’t and it never completes the download.  The camera will show connected, but the image just will not complete a download to SGP.  This results in APPM timing out and reporting a failed plate solve, when clearly this was a camera/SGP issue.
  6. To make sure things are working properly before doing an APPM run, I usually do the focus run mentioned in #4 and I will do a ‘solve and sync’ in SGP to test the plate solver settings/connection and to start off on common ground.   These exercises will usually let me know if it’s a finicky night for my camera(s).   It also confirms that my exposure length and binning/ISO are sufficient to achieve a plate solve wherever I am in the transition to full darkness.

 

I’m sure that there are many other helpful items available to help you navigate APPM and plate solving, but the bottom line experience I’ve had is that APPM works well, but is usually unforgiving if your settings are mismatched between it and SGP and depends on SGP (in my case) delivering a plate solve.   I have SGP up in background and for the first couple points watch closely to make sure it goes through all the plate solve steps properly.   I’ve only had APPM stop one time after the first couple points were successful and that was due to a similar, but delayed, camera/image download issue which required attention on my part – independent of APPM.

 

Best of luck to everyone.  I have been very pleased with APPM and its impact.   I feel fortunate to have it to help compensate for having no view of Polaris from my deck and having a less than perfect polar alignment.

 

One last anecdote.   I only have about a 90deg azimuth sector available for imaging (~090-180) and a small slice overhead to the Northwest.   To cover that available sector, I did a 44 point map Thursday night and was able to track Jupiter in the early morning hours with a tiny ZWO ASI174 (in 640x480 mode) through an EDGE11 SCT with a Televue 4X Powermate connected to it - without guiding.   I had to make very minor 1X corrections with the virtual keypad about every fourth video capture to keep the planet absolutely centered - so I guess that’s a mild form of manual guiding) – but I was very impressed.    I had meant to ask Ray if the mapping would help tracking of the planets as well, but apparently it does.  (I should mention that this was with the Mach 2.)

 

Cheers, good luck, and clear skies!

Greg

 

p.s.  Ray helped me understand my failings in my first couple outings with APPM and I should also give credit to George who helped me set up APCC and the ASCOM driver for both the CP4 /Mach 1 configuration and the CP5/Mach 2 configuration.   Knowing that all that was good gave me additional confidence to dig into APPM.


Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Open for Product Pick Up

Burton Carl
 

Thanks Marj
I'll call on Monday then.  Thanks for getting back to me quickly. 

Carl


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Ray Gralak
 

OK, thanks. The setting to save the failed solves is already checked. I'll try solving those independently and see
if there's a problem with them. Where are they saved in the file structure?
The same folder as the logs. BTW, when APPM is collecting data if the image has been saved you can double-click the failed line in APPM and the FITS image will be opened in the default FITS viewer on your computer.

Right now the All-Sky Max Solve Time is the default at 300 seconds. I'll leave as is for now. As a reality check
before I spend any time experimenting, is there any value of changing the 'Subframe' setting under the 'Camera
Settings' tab from full frame, e.g. 1/2 x 1/2 center?
Usually full-frame results in better accuracy than 1/2 or 1/4 in my setup, but I'm not sure if that is universal. Using 1/2 or 1/4 center may or may not speed up plate solving as there might be 4x or 16x as many spiral plate solve attempts, and the max solve count for PlateSolve2 may be reached sooner.

-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 Joseph Beyer
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:59 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

OK, thanks. The setting to save the failed solves is already checked. I'll try solving those independently and see
if there's a problem with them. Where are they saved in the file structure?

Right now the All-Sky Max Solve Time is the default at 300 seconds. I'll leave as is for now. As a reality check
before I spend any time experimenting, is there any value of changing the 'Subframe' setting under the 'Camera
Settings' tab from full frame, e.g. 1/2 x 1/2 center? I'm using a full frame Nikon but switch it to DX crop mode
when running APPM because the images are so large. The system has successfully solved images in both
modes but the solving in full frame mode takes a LOT longer.

Thanks again for the suggestions,

Joe

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 10:25 AM Ray Gralak <groups3@gralak.com> wrote:


> Yes, that feature is enabled. I set up APPM based on your SGPro/PS2 video. In the past I've been able
to
> complete a 55 point run in about 40 minutes.
> I'm using a Nikon DSLR with SGPro. The exposure may be longer than it needs to be which could
extend the
> time. I had thoughts of optimizing the exposure to speed things up but since

It could be just a different part of the sky requires more processing time (e.g. Milky way fields). Try
increasing Max Solve time in APPM.

Also, you can configure APPM to save the plate solves that fail from APPM's Settings menu. You can try
solving the images later, perhaps uploading to Astrometry.Net if needed.

-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 Joseph Beyer
> Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:02 AM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping
>
> Hi Ray,
>
> Yes, that feature is enabled. I set up APPM based on your SGPro/PS2 video. In the past I've been able
to
> complete a 55 point run in about 40 minutes.
> I'm using a Nikon DSLR with SGPro. The exposure may be longer than it needs to be which could
extend the
> time. I had thoughts of optimizing the exposure to speed things up but since


>
>
> Joe
>
> On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 9:33 AM Ray Gralak <groups3@gralak.com> wrote:
>
>
> Hi Joe,
>
> > I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.
>
> That is not normal. You normally should be able to get 2-3 points per minute.
>
> Do you recall if you had enabled "Use last plate solve's offset as hint for next plate solve"? That
setting is
> on APPM's Plate Solve Settings tab. If not enabled, I recommend you enable it.
>
> -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 Joseph Beyer
> > Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 9:18 AM
> > To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> > Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping
> >
> > Interesting, I’ve used SGP/Platesolve2 with APPM about a dozen times and it’s worked without a
hitch.
> Last week
> > I set up, started the sequence, it solved a about 8-10 images then failed. Same equipment, same
profile
> used in
> > all previous runs.
> >
> > SGP v3.1.0.479
> > Windows 10 Home v1909
> > APCC-Pro v1.8.2.1
> >
> > I restarted a couple times after double checking all the parameters but at some point(s) during the
run,
> even late in
> > the run after solving 40 or so points PlateSolve2 would stop doing immediate solves and enter a
spiral
> search
> > mode. APPM also indicated AllSky plate solver had been activated several times but I’m not sure if
it
> was
> > concurrent with the PS2 spiral searches. It seems likely though. After restarting several times I
just let
> the process
> > continue however long it took. On several occasions when PlateSolve2 was still in spiral search
mode,
> APPM
> > would register a successful solve and move to the next point.
> >
> > I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.
> >
> > Joe
> >
> >
> > On Jun 28, 2020, at 8:32 AM, Dean Jacobsen <deanjacobsen@outlook.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > After three sessions of working without a hitch, PlateSolve2 stopped plate solving for me when
I was
> trying
> > to do an APPM point mapping run.
> >
> > In retrospect it was probably because I didn't open up the correct SGP profile which I created
when
> going
> > through Ray's setup instructions in the APPM documentation. I remember selecting and loading
one of
> my
> > preexisting narrowband profiles at some point. The control panel did show PlateSolve2 as the
plate
> solver for the
> > profile that I had loaded. I got a couple of good plate solves and then nothing... after an hour of
trying in
> the dark,
> > I gave up and got out the guide scope..
> >
> > I can't even get it to do a plate solve here at home now using the test button on APPM after
several
> tries of
> > deleting SGP profiles and re-doing the setup as per the APPM documentation.
> >
> > PlateSolve2 worked great... when it worked. Maybe there is a better way which doesn't involve
SGP
> and
> > PS2.
> >
> > I have TheSkyX...
> >
> > For those who have tried both, do you find that TheSkyX's Image Link works well with APPM?
> >
> > So, the last image of this month was via guiding. As usual, the Mach2 guides great.
> >
> > Here is a link to a wide field image of the Sharpless 2-101 area in h-alpha:
> > https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/0/
> >
> > All of those pesky foreground field stars block all of the nice stuff going on in the background.
Here
> is a
> > link to a starless version hich shows the emission nebula and the several dark nebula in the
background:
> >
> > https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/B/
> > --
> > Dean Jacobsen
> > http://astrophoto.net/wp/
> > Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
> > Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/
> <https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/>
> >
> >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>







Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Joseph Beyer
 

I'm using 8 second exposures at ISO 6400.  Nominally not all that different from your exposure time although the high ISO when starting the mapping run early in the evening may be washing out the background.  I'll have a look at the failed solves if they've been stored and see if there's anything obvious.

Thanks, Joe

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 10:36 AM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
i use SGP + Pinpoint for plate solve with exposure time of 5 seconds bin 1 (FLI proline 16803 camera). I got maybe 5 solve failures in a 400 point model and it took about 3 hours. not sure how that lines up with your exposure times 

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 10:02 AM Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@...> wrote:
Hi Ray,

Yes, that feature is enabled.  I set up APPM based on your SGPro/PS2 video.  In the past I've been able to complete a 55 point run in about 40 minutes.
I'm using a Nikon DSLR with SGPro.  The exposure may be longer than it needs to be which could extend the time.  I had thoughts of optimizing the exposure to speed things up but since everything has been working so well I've more than happy to let it be.

Joe 

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 9:33 AM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
Hi Joe,

> I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.

That is not normal. You normally should be able to get 2-3 points per minute.

Do you recall if you had enabled "Use last plate solve's offset as hint for next plate solve"? That setting is on APPM's Plate Solve Settings tab. If not enabled, I recommend you enable it.

-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 Joseph Beyer
> Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 9:18 AM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping
>
> Interesting, I’ve used SGP/Platesolve2 with APPM about a dozen times and it’s worked without a hitch.  Last week
> I set up, started the sequence, it solved a about 8-10 images then failed.  Same equipment, same profile used in
> all previous runs.
>
> SGP v3.1.0.479
> Windows 10 Home v1909
> APCC-Pro v1.8.2.1
>
> I restarted a couple times after double checking all the parameters but at some point(s) during the run, even late in
> the run after solving 40 or so points PlateSolve2 would stop doing immediate solves and enter a spiral search
> mode. APPM also indicated AllSky plate solver had been activated several times but I’m not sure if it was
> concurrent with the PS2 spiral searches.  It seems likely though. After restarting several times I just let the process
> continue however long it took. On several occasions when PlateSolve2 was still in spiral search mode, APPM
> would register a successful solve and move to the next point.
>
> I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.
>
> Joe
>
>
>       On Jun 28, 2020, at 8:32 AM, Dean Jacobsen <deanjacobsen@...> wrote:
>
>
>
>       After three sessions of working without a hitch, PlateSolve2 stopped plate solving for me when I was trying
> to do an APPM point mapping run.
>
>       In retrospect it was probably because I didn't open up the correct SGP profile which I created when going
> through Ray's setup instructions in the APPM documentation.  I remember selecting and loading one of my
> preexisting narrowband profiles at some point.  The control panel did show PlateSolve2 as the plate solver for the
> profile that I had loaded.  I got a couple of good plate solves and then nothing...  after an hour of trying in the dark,
> I gave up and got out the guide scope..
>
>       I can't even get it to do a plate solve here at home now using the test button on APPM after several tries of
> deleting SGP profiles and re-doing the setup as per the APPM documentation.
>
>       PlateSolve2 worked great... when it worked.  Maybe there is a better way which doesn't involve SGP and
> PS2.
>
>       I have TheSkyX...
>
>       For those who have tried both, do you find that TheSkyX's Image Link works well with APPM?
>
>       So, the last image of this month was via guiding.  As usual, the Mach2 guides great.
>
>       Here is a link to a wide field image of the Sharpless 2-101 area in h-alpha:
> https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/0/
>
>       All of those pesky foreground field stars block all of the nice stuff going on in the background.  Here is a
> link to a starless version hich shows the emission nebula and the several dark nebula in the background:
>
>       https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/B/
>       --
>       Dean Jacobsen
>       http://astrophoto.net/wp/
>       Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
>       Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/  <https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/>
>
>






--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping

Joseph Beyer
 

OK, thanks.  The setting to save the failed solves is already checked.  I'll try solving those independently and see if there's a problem with them.  Where are they saved in the file structure?  

Right now the All-Sky Max Solve Time is the default at 300 seconds.  I'll leave as is for now.  As a reality check before I spend any time experimenting, is there any value of changing the 'Subframe' setting under the 'Camera Settings' tab from full frame, e.g. 1/2 x 1/2 center?  I'm using a full frame Nikon but switch it to DX crop mode when running APPM because the images are so large.  The system has successfully solved images in both modes but the solving in full frame mode takes a LOT longer.  

Thanks again for the suggestions,

Joe

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 10:25 AM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Yes, that feature is enabled.  I set up APPM based on your SGPro/PS2 video.  In the past I've been able to
> complete a 55 point run in about 40 minutes.
> I'm using a Nikon DSLR with SGPro.  The exposure may be longer than it needs to be which could extend the
> time.  I had thoughts of optimizing the exposure to speed things up but since

It could be just a different part of the sky requires more processing time (e.g. Milky way fields).  Try increasing Max Solve time in APPM.

Also, you can configure APPM to save the plate solves that fail from APPM's Settings menu. You can try solving the images later, perhaps uploading to Astrometry.Net if needed.

-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 Joseph Beyer
> Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:02 AM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping
>
> Hi Ray,
>
> Yes, that feature is enabled.  I set up APPM based on your SGPro/PS2 video.  In the past I've been able to
> complete a 55 point run in about 40 minutes.
> I'm using a Nikon DSLR with SGPro.  The exposure may be longer than it needs to be which could extend the
> time.  I had thoughts of optimizing the exposure to speed things up but since


>
>
> Joe
>
> On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 9:33 AM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
>
>
>       Hi Joe,
>
>       > I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.
>
>       That is not normal. You normally should be able to get 2-3 points per minute.
>
>       Do you recall if you had enabled "Use last plate solve's offset as hint for next plate solve"? That setting is
> on APPM's Plate Solve Settings tab. If not enabled, I recommend you enable it.
>
>       -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 Joseph Beyer
>       > Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2020 9:18 AM
>       > To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
>       > Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PlateSolve2 vs. TheSkyX Image Link for APPM Point Mapping
>       >
>       > Interesting, I’ve used SGP/Platesolve2 with APPM about a dozen times and it’s worked without a hitch.
> Last week
>       > I set up, started the sequence, it solved a about 8-10 images then failed.  Same equipment, same profile
> used in
>       > all previous runs.
>       >
>       > SGP v3.1.0.479
>       > Windows 10 Home v1909
>       > APCC-Pro v1.8.2.1
>       >
>       > I restarted a couple times after double checking all the parameters but at some point(s) during the run,
> even late in
>       > the run after solving 40 or so points PlateSolve2 would stop doing immediate solves and enter a spiral
> search
>       > mode. APPM also indicated AllSky plate solver had been activated several times but I’m not sure if it
> was
>       > concurrent with the PS2 spiral searches.  It seems likely though. After restarting several times I just let
> the process
>       > continue however long it took. On several occasions when PlateSolve2 was still in spiral search mode,
> APPM
>       > would register a successful solve and move to the next point.
>       >
>       > I finally got the point map completed but it took a long time.
>       >
>       > Joe
>       >
>       >
>       >       On Jun 28, 2020, at 8:32 AM, Dean Jacobsen <deanjacobsen@...> wrote:
>       >
>       >
>       >
>       >       After three sessions of working without a hitch, PlateSolve2 stopped plate solving for me when I was
> trying
>       > to do an APPM point mapping run.
>       >
>       >       In retrospect it was probably because I didn't open up the correct SGP profile which I created when
> going
>       > through Ray's setup instructions in the APPM documentation.  I remember selecting and loading one of
> my
>       > preexisting narrowband profiles at some point.  The control panel did show PlateSolve2 as the plate
> solver for the
>       > profile that I had loaded.  I got a couple of good plate solves and then nothing...  after an hour of trying in
> the dark,
>       > I gave up and got out the guide scope..
>       >
>       >       I can't even get it to do a plate solve here at home now using the test button on APPM after several
> tries of
>       > deleting SGP profiles and re-doing the setup as per the APPM documentation.
>       >
>       >       PlateSolve2 worked great... when it worked.  Maybe there is a better way which doesn't involve SGP
> and
>       > PS2.
>       >
>       >       I have TheSkyX...
>       >
>       >       For those who have tried both, do you find that TheSkyX's Image Link works well with APPM?
>       >
>       >       So, the last image of this month was via guiding.  As usual, the Mach2 guides great.
>       >
>       >       Here is a link to a wide field image of the Sharpless 2-101 area in h-alpha:
>       > https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/0/
>       >
>       >       All of those pesky foreground field stars block all of the nice stuff going on in the background.  Here
> is a
>       > link to a starless version hich shows the emission nebula and the several dark nebula in the background:
>       >
>       >       https://www.astrobin.com/full/5szx79/B/
>       >       --
>       >       Dean Jacobsen
>       >       http://astrophoto.net/wp/
>       >       Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
>       >       Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/
> <https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/>
>       >
>       >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>




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