Date   

Re: APCC & NINA Platesolver "sync" question

Ray Gralak
 

With the Mach2, there's both a "Sync" and a "ReCal" button in APCC,
When using a planetarium program you won't usually need to use SYNC or RCAL. To use them, you would have to manually enter coordinates into APCC then issue the RCAL.

So first question, is it useful and safe to have the "Sync" option turned on in NINA's platesolve section?
Yes.

Second question, how am I supposed to actually use the ReCal thing in APCC? For example, last night I wanted to
center a particular star as part of an alignment routine. I used Stellarium to command the mount to the star. It
wasn't quite centered, so I platesolved with the "reslew" and "sync" options on. To my surprise, it wouldn't center.
The most accurate way to sync/recal the mount is to use APPM. On APPM's setup page, there are buttons for syncing into the model.

And to my even greater surprise, when I tried to figure out why I noticed that APCC, Stellarium, and the plate solver
all showed different RA/Dec for where the center of the frame was. There was about an arcmin difference between
them.
It depends on the accuracy of the J2000 to local apparent calculation. For instance, Stellarium might not account for refraction, but APCC does when you have a pointing model enabled. If you have no pointing model and the difference is more than 1 arc-second (rounding error), then the reason for the discrepancy is something you would have to ask of the Stellarium developers.

Plate solves are not always very accurate. Using the same image you will usually get different coordinates between each plate solver, and even in the same solver when using different catalog files. The most accurate results are usually from the solvers that use, or derive from, the Gaia databases.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 Xentex
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2020 1:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] APCC & NINA Platesolver "sync" question

I just started using APCC and a Mach2, and my usual imaging program is NINA with ASTAP doing platesolving.

My other mount is a Celestron CGEM and there is a pretty simple process to sync it to the sky when started up.
You pick a star in the mount driver's pseudo-planetarium software (CWPI), go to, center it in eyepiece, then click
sync. I generally did the centering with platesolving, and in NINA always had the "reslew to target" and "Sync"
options turned on. I never knew exactly what was happening, but didn't really care. It just worked.

With the Mach2, there's both a "Sync" and a "ReCal" button in APCC, and the manual explains you only want to
"Sync" once per session, and you want to be pretty careful about where you're pointing when you're doing it. I can't
see my mount from where I control it, so that got me wondering whether the NINA "Sync" option is doing a "sync" or
a "recal". And then I started wondering what exactly is happening.

So first question, is it useful and safe to have the "Sync" option turned on in NINA's platesolve section?

Second question, how am I supposed to actually use the ReCal thing in APCC? For example, last night I wanted to
center a particular star as part of an alignment routine. I used Stellarium to command the mount to the star. It
wasn't quite centered, so I platesolved with the "reslew" and "sync" options on. To my surprise, it wouldn't center.
And to my even greater surprise, when I tried to figure out why I noticed that APCC, Stellarium, and the plate solver
all showed different RA/Dec for where the center of the frame was. There was about an arcmin difference between
them.

It was late and cold at that point, so I shut down, but now I'm perplexed about how APCC and Stellarium can show
different values for the mount's RA/DEC (whether using JNOW or J2000). I'm not surprised the platesolve gives a
different RA/DEC because the star in question isn't actually centered. But I'm not sure what the process is to rectify
it.


APCC & NINA Platesolver "sync" question

Xentex
 

I just started using APCC and a Mach2, and my usual imaging program is NINA with ASTAP doing platesolving.

My other mount is a Celestron CGEM and there is a pretty simple process to sync it to the sky when started up.  You pick a star in the mount driver's pseudo-planetarium software (CWPI), go to, center it in eyepiece, then click sync.  I generally did the centering with platesolving, and in NINA always had the "reslew to target" and "Sync" options turned on.  I never knew exactly what was happening, but didn't really care.  It just worked.

With the Mach2, there's both a "Sync" and a "ReCal" button in APCC, and the manual explains you only want to "Sync" once per session, and you want to be pretty careful about where you're pointing when you're doing it.  I can't see my mount from where I control it, so that got me wondering whether the NINA "Sync" option is doing a "sync" or a "recal".  And then I started wondering what exactly is happening.

So first question, is it useful and safe to have the "Sync" option turned on in NINA's platesolve section?

Second question, how am I supposed to actually use the ReCal thing in APCC?  For example, last night I wanted to center a particular star as part of an alignment routine.  I used Stellarium to command the mount to the star.  It wasn't quite centered, so I platesolved with the "reslew" and "sync" options on.  To my surprise, it wouldn't center.  And to my even greater surprise, when I tried to figure out why I noticed that APCC, Stellarium, and the plate solver all showed different RA/Dec for where the center of the frame was.  There was about an arcmin difference between them.

It was late and cold at that point, so I shut down, but now I'm perplexed about how APCC and Stellarium can show different values for the mount's RA/DEC (whether using JNOW or J2000).  I'm not surprised the platesolve gives a different RA/DEC because the star in question isn't actually centered.  But I'm not sure what the process is to rectify it.


Continued: (Field curvature with Flatteners and compressors)

Roland Christen
 

Field correction of the 140EDL refractor using the QuadTCC telecompressor:

In order to cover a wide field and compress the image to get faster focal ratios, we have the QTCC. This compressor was originally designed for our 130 GTX refractor for use with the 3.5" focuser. However, it has been requested for other scopes such as the TEC 140 to 180 triplets, and our own triplets of various sizes. The amount of back focus required depends on the scope's field curvature and some other factors. The faster the lens, the more back focus is required to get a flat field. So the question is what is the best back focus for my camera and my scope. The correct answer is - it depends....

For an example, below I have an analysis of the AP140 F7.5 refractor (which we made in limited quantities a long time ago). As the images below show, the optimum back focus changes as the size of the field changes. The reason for that is that the shape of the field curvature doubles back on itself, at first ever so slightly undercorrected and then as the limit is reached it goes quickly into overcorrection. Even a small change in the field size will produce significant deterioration of the corner stars. So the spacing becomes more and more critical as the chip size gets larger. Any tilt in the camera will cause one corner's stars to be perfect and the opposite corner to be quite out of focus with wonky star shapes.

Frame 1 shows the optimum spacing for a 42mm field. Frame 2 shows that with the same spacing the stars at the edge of a 51mm field go quickly out of focus. Frame 3 shows that decreasing the spacing by 1.25mm results in much better edge sharpness. For reference, the Airy Disc diameter at 140mmF5.39 is 7.2 microns.




--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

deonb
 

Dale,

My UPB2 is reporting 9.0A right now at idle. If I run the rotator and mirror focuser it peaks at 9.8A.

That's with 3 dew heater straps on the C14, as well as the camera dew heater. (I live in Seattle. Our state flower is mildew...)

This is without an OAG or OAG dew heater. That adds another 1.5A. I'm also musing putting my FocusLynx controller at the front of my scope since the Mach2GTO sadly doesn't have RJ45/CAT5 passthrough. Another 1.25A. So 12.5A so far. The UPB2 itself supports 20A - just needed to check the mount.

I don't specifically want to run 24V, but if the Mach2GTO had a low current limit (let's say 10A), I could run 24V 10A and step it down to 12V 20A with either a buck converter or transformer. I'm glad Roland confirmed this isn't needed.


Field curvature with Flatteners and compressors

Roland Christen
 

Hello All,

The question is "what is the shape of the field curvature with and without flatteners and compressors, and how does it change with spacing".

Without any flatteners/compressors the typical field curvature of a refractor is approximately 38% of the focal length, inward curving and with astigmatism (oval stars shape pointing toward the center). Taking the example of our 140EDL refractors, it has a focal length of 1048mm and an inherent field curvature of 399mm. If you tried to take an image of a 2 degree field covering a 38mm circle, you would get the result shown in the picture below. For reference, the Airy Disc shown is about 10 microns diameter at 1048mm focal length.

Off-axis, the oval shape results from the difference in field curvature between the sagittal and tangential rays that come from the various parts of the lens. So the job of the flattener/compressor is to not only flatten the curvature, but also bring the sagittal and tangential rays together without introducing other defects such as coma, spherical and chromatic aberrations.

Rolando


--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

deonb
 

Thank you Roland, perfect answer!


Re: Notification list and a couple other questions -

Karen Christen
 

Hello Dhaval,

 

If you’re on the list for a 1100GTO, you’re fine.  You can let us know about your encoder preference when you place your order.  We have not yet begun notification or accepted any orders for our current run of 1100s.  Yes, we plan to manufacture 1600GTOs in 2021.  I’m sorry I can’t be more specific than that at present.

 

Clear skies!

Karen

AP

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dhaval via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2020 12:06 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Notification list and a couple other questions -

 

Hello all,
I am on the AP1100 list, however, when I put my name on the list, I believe I only wanted the AP1100 mount without the encoders. I am now going to change my mind and get the encoder version. The question though is, do I need to do anything special to ensure A-P puts me on the encoder list v/s the non-encoder list? Or is that something that gets determined at the time of the order? I obviously don't want to lose my place in the line if I need to re-apply on the list.

One other question - is A-P going to manufacture AP1600s anytime soon (hint: If anyone is selling their AP1600 with or without encoders, do please let me know!)?

Thanks,
Dhaval


--
Karen Christen
Astro-Physics


Notification list and a couple other questions -

Dhaval
 

Hello all,
I am on the AP1100 list, however, when I put my name on the list, I believe I only wanted the AP1100 mount without the encoders. I am now going to change my mind and get the encoder version. The question though is, do I need to do anything special to ensure A-P puts me on the encoder list v/s the non-encoder list? Or is that something that gets determined at the time of the order? I obviously don't want to lose my place in the line if I need to re-apply on the list.

One other question - is A-P going to manufacture AP1600s anytime soon (hint: If anyone is selling their AP1600 with or without encoders, do please let me know!)?

Thanks,
Dhaval


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Roland Christen
 


many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock standard feature with their mounts.
Why do you keep saying that? We have introduced this feature in our CP4/CP5 controllers, along with a boatload of other useful stuff. It's a simple button push on the keypad and on APCC. The issue has been addressed.

Roland Christen
Astro-Physics Inc.


-----Original Message-----
From: ray.palmer@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Dec 28, 2020 9:09 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock standard feature with their mounts.

Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.

Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
Ray Gralak says 
I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.

Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new commands.

Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged. 

Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".

Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position. So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping. The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few nights.

The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:

1. Set meridian delay.
2. Slew to current RA/Dec.

Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.

Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers offer, why can't AP? 

What does "Pier side" mean please?

Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?

Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function? 

The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature . 

I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3? Thank you in advance.

Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC). 

Regards

Ray



--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

Roland Christen
 

The internal wiring is a simple pass-thru. It is totally isolated from the chassis.
The wire is AWG 16 which will carry 15 amps conservatively, and up to 22 amps intermittently.
https://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
The wire length is approx 0.7 meters, 2ft.
You can use it for any low voltage application, 5 volts to 24 volts AC - DC etc.
NEVER connect 120 volt AC house power to this wire - it is extremely dangerous to do so.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: deonb <deonb@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Dec 28, 2020 9:02 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

How much current can I draw through the Anderson Powerpole passthrough on the Mach2GTO?

Or alternatively, what is the AWG & length of the internal wiring, and are the Powerpole connectors 15, 30 or 45 amp rated?

Second, are those wires pure passthrough without any connection (even just ground) to the mount's internal wiring? For example, is there a technical reason that it can't be used for 5V? Or 24V? Or 12V A/C ?

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Ray Gralak
 

Ray Palmer says - Thank you for that offer, I did notice that offer and is why I said it was very kind of you. I just
feel bad putting you to that trouble. Would the script work through The SkyX please?
Ray, the script would work if you connect TheSkyX to your mount through the AP V2 ASCOM driver.

If you are connecting directly to the mount's COM port in TheSkyX, then I don't think it is possible because I don't think there is a way through the native SkyX interface to send the appropriate commands to the mount. However, it would be something that Software Bisque could develop in TheSkyX.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 ray.palmer@thecosmicartgallery.com
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 11:35 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Ray Gralak says - Hey Ray - you may want to reread what I wrote. I offered to create a simple script for you for
free. :-)

Ray Palmer says - Thank you for that offer, I did notice that offer and is why I said it was very kind of you. I just
feel bad putting you to that trouble. Would the script work through The SkyX please?

Ray Gralak says - Or, you could upgrade to the GTOCP4.

Ray Palmer says - certainly a possibility to upgrade in the new year I guess. Would this then offer a simple pier flip
feature to access via the keypad?

Ray Gralak says - Let's use your "other manufacturer" pier flip button as an example:

1. Say the mount is at (RA_1, Dec_1) - whatever coordinates those happen to be.
2. You click the "Pier Flip" and the mount goes to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the other pier side.
3. Later, you want to slew to (RA_2, Dec_2), but on the other side of the pier.
4. You first click the "pier flip" button, and the mount slews to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the opposite side of the pier, but
you are not done.
5. Now you still have to issue the slew to (RA_2, Dec_2).

Is that how the other manufacturer's pier flip works? Is that how you would like it to work?

Ray Palmer says -

1. Say the mount is at (RA_1, Dec_1) - whatever coordinates those happen to be.
2. You click the "Pier Flip" and the mount goes to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the other pier side.

Perfect, those two steps is all that is required regardless of what side you are on or what objects you want to view
after, the pier flip feature simply changes the side of the mount and retains the target. Of course there are
preprogrammed mount slew limits which may prevent some pier flipping, but with AP's tracking past the meridian,
this would rarely be an issue. My only observation is the mount should slew through the counter weight down
position during its travel, which prevents any equipment danger.

Thanks again for the feedback gentlemen.

--
Raymond D Palmer
Astronomer
Western Australia
www.MyAstroSpace.com
www.TheCosmicArtGallery.com


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

ray.palmer@...
 

Ray Gralak says - Hey Ray - you may want to reread what I wrote. I offered to create a simple script for you for free. :-)

Ray Palmer says - Thank you for that offer, I did notice that offer and is why I said it was very kind of you. I just feel bad putting you to that trouble. Would the script work through The SkyX please?

Ray Gralak says - Or, you could upgrade to the GTOCP4.

Ray Palmer says - certainly a possibility to upgrade in the new year I guess. Would this then offer a simple pier flip feature to access via the keypad? 

Ray Gralak says - Let's use your "other manufacturer" pier flip button as an example:

1. Say the mount is at (RA_1, Dec_1) - whatever coordinates those happen to be.
2. You click the "Pier Flip" and the mount goes to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the other pier side.
3. Later, you want to slew to (RA_2, Dec_2), but on the other side of the pier.
4. You first click the "pier flip" button, and the mount slews to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the opposite side of the pier, but you are not done.
5. Now you still have to issue the slew to (RA_2, Dec_2).

Is that how the other manufacturer's pier flip works? Is that how you would like it to work?

Ray Palmer says - 

1. Say the mount is at (RA_1, Dec_1) - whatever coordinates those happen to be.
2. You click the "Pier Flip" and the mount goes to (RA_1, Dec_1) on the other pier side.

Perfect, those two steps is all that is required regardless of what side you are on or what objects you want to view after, the pier flip feature simply changes the side of the mount and retains the target. Of course there are preprogrammed mount slew limits which may prevent some pier flipping, but with AP's tracking past the meridian, this would rarely be an issue. My only observation is the mount should slew through the counter weight down position during its travel, which prevents any equipment danger.

Thanks again for the feedback gentlemen. 

--
Raymond D Palmer
Astronomer
Western Australia
www.MyAstroSpace.com
www.TheCosmicArtGallery.com


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

Dale Ghent
 

On Dec 29, 2020, at 00:53, Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@gmail.com> wrote:

It is a straight-through run that is fully isolated from the mount frame, as it should be. It has no internal fusing. That wouldn't be a bad thing to add. My memory is a bit faded but IIRC, it is 14 ga wire and can handle up to 15 amps, although 10 amps is a more reasonable limit. Roland or George will correct me if I am wrong.
Yeah, and distance is also a factor when it comes to sizing DC wiring. I just use the following tool to keep myself straight:

https://powerwerx.com/help/recommended-wire-gauge-calculator

/dale


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

 

Under Gemini Telescope.net under Function menu there is meridian flip

>>> I used to have the original Gemini GOTO system. Absolutely HATED it. It was about as user-hostile as any GOTO system I have ever used.

We stopped making that one about a decade ago, so not sure why this is coming up, but you have the Gemini II system now


This is getting off-topic from AP, so if you have follow up questions i am happy to answer via email?


Thanks

Brian




On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 10:02 PM Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
My G11 + Gemini-II happens to be set up inside my house right now and I don't see a manual meridian flip button or command in the menu tree. I guess it's time to triple-check it and find what I have overlooked. I used to have the original Gemini GOTO system. Absolutely HATED it. It was about as user-hostile as any GOTO system I have ever used. Even worse than the original Vixen/Celestron stepper-based Skysensor system and the Meade LX200 Classics.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 7:38 PM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
>>>Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II

actually losmandy does have meridian flip 


>>> I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole"

agree completely - at least for my use


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 9:29 PM Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
Good grief.

I have all of the following non-AP GOTO GEM mounts and NOT ONE of them has a "pier flip" button or menu command in the hand controller.

Rainbow Astro RST-135 + Hubo-i SE
Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II
Software Bisque Paramount + joystick
Vixen GP-DX + SkySensor-2000-PC
Vixen GP + Meade LXD-55 motors + Autostar 497
Meade LXD-75 + Audiostar
iOptron iEQ30 + Go2Nova 8401
Celestron CGX 1100 + NexStar

In fact as far as I can tell, only Astro-Physics and Rainbow Astro hand controllers have any configurable meridian management functions at all. All the rest handle meridian flips automatically and don't give the user any control whatsoever. And in fact the iOptron iEQ30 won't even report back to its ASCOM driver which side of the meridian it is currently on. You have to make educated guesses about its meridian state, since it will happily track through the meridian and keep on going, until it checks the meridian again during a slew command. A bit annoying in robotic observatory setups.

I also have a bunch of Meade/Celestron fork GOTO mounts and some GOTO dobs. Of course they don't have any meridian functions due to their mechanical design.

I have been using GOTO GEM mounts for over 20 years and have not yet ever felt the need for a manual meridian flip button or menu command in a hand controller. If I plan to image through the meridian, I set the meridian delay value in the AP hand controller or APCC, or the meridian limit value in the Rainbow hand controller or their ASCOM driver.

Personally I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole" or "desperate" and I don't consider setting the AP meridian delay value to be "tricking" the mount. It has been thoughtfully designed to operate exactly the way it operates. No "tricks" required.

I guess I need to be educated as to what GEM GOTO mounts and hand controllers are out there that I don't have any experience with that have a manual meridian flip button or menu command in their hand controllers (or ASCOM/INDI drivers.) And why they are needed at all. Please, if you have the time, consider sharing some mount make and model numbers so I can research this further.

Thanks in advance... and clear skies and chocolate!

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?

If you are connecting SkyX through the AP V2 ASCOM driver on Windows then you would not need to disconnect/reconnect anything.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 ray.palmer@...
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?
>
> Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that
> many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock
> standard feature with their mounts.
>
> Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.
>
>
>
>       Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software
> 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per
> Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
>
> Ray Gralak says
>
>
>       I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
>
> Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup
> using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.
>
> Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new
> commands.
>
> Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics
> mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other
> measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a
> gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged.
>
> Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination
> and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the
> concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".
>
> Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've
> said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position.
> So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread
> that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can
> track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping.
> The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is
> only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few
> nights.
>
>
>
>       The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
>
> Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian
> delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:
>
> 1. Set meridian delay.
> 2. Slew to current RA/Dec.
>
> Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.
>
> Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer
> a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about
> meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips
> instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers
> offer, why can't AP?
>
> What does "Pier side" mean please?
>
> Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip
> without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with
> the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?
>
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?
>
> The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default
> functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you
> and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier
> flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature .
>
> I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an
> imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does
> APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3?
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier
> flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC).
>
> Regards
>
> Ray
>
>
>
>








--
Brian 



Brian Valente



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

Dale Ghent
 

Erm. I have to ask, based on your questions, just what is it that you have in mind?

Any typical single- or dual-imager setup riding on top of the mount should not pull anything near 15A @ 12V DC continuous *at all*, and one shouldn't even entertain the thought of running AC through an ungrounded cable harness that also runs parallel to the USB and, for some appreciable length, the encoder data cables. PowerPole 30/45 connectors *can* carry AC current just as well as DC, but the overall wiring harness has to be designed for AC, which means including proper grounding conductors and all. The Mach2's harness is clearly intended for low voltage DC. You could very likely do 24V DC, but why? You would still need a DC-DC transformer riding on top of your mount to step it down to 12V because that's what any astrogear you would have that wired into would be designed to consume.

For reference, my QHY600 and 2x dew straps pull 3.5A in the winter and bounces around in the upper 4's in the summer. The other powered things that consume top-of-mount power, such as my guide cam and mostly-idle focuser motor take next to nothing and nothing, respectively. So I'd say for the typical single main camera imaging setup, your concerns should not go beyond 60-80W of power, and if it does, a fuse ought to be blowing somewhere.

On Dec 28, 2020, at 22:02, deonb <deonb@outlook.com> wrote:

How much current can I draw through the Anderson Powerpole passthrough on the Mach2GTO?

Or alternatively, what is the AWG & length of the internal wiring, and are the Powerpole connectors 15, 30 or 45 amp rated?

Second, are those wires pure passthrough without any connection (even just ground) to the mount's internal wiring? For example, is there a technical reason that it can't be used for 5V? Or 24V? Or 12V A/C ?


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Christopher Erickson
 

My G11 + Gemini-II happens to be set up inside my house right now and I don't see a manual meridian flip button or command in the menu tree. I guess it's time to triple-check it and find what I have overlooked. I used to have the original Gemini GOTO system. Absolutely HATED it. It was about as user-hostile as any GOTO system I have ever used. Even worse than the original Vixen/Celestron stepper-based Skysensor system and the Meade LX200 Classics.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 7:38 PM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
>>>Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II

actually losmandy does have meridian flip 


>>> I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole"

agree completely - at least for my use


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 9:29 PM Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
Good grief.

I have all of the following non-AP GOTO GEM mounts and NOT ONE of them has a "pier flip" button or menu command in the hand controller.

Rainbow Astro RST-135 + Hubo-i SE
Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II
Software Bisque Paramount + joystick
Vixen GP-DX + SkySensor-2000-PC
Vixen GP + Meade LXD-55 motors + Autostar 497
Meade LXD-75 + Audiostar
iOptron iEQ30 + Go2Nova 8401
Celestron CGX 1100 + NexStar

In fact as far as I can tell, only Astro-Physics and Rainbow Astro hand controllers have any configurable meridian management functions at all. All the rest handle meridian flips automatically and don't give the user any control whatsoever. And in fact the iOptron iEQ30 won't even report back to its ASCOM driver which side of the meridian it is currently on. You have to make educated guesses about its meridian state, since it will happily track through the meridian and keep on going, until it checks the meridian again during a slew command. A bit annoying in robotic observatory setups.

I also have a bunch of Meade/Celestron fork GOTO mounts and some GOTO dobs. Of course they don't have any meridian functions due to their mechanical design.

I have been using GOTO GEM mounts for over 20 years and have not yet ever felt the need for a manual meridian flip button or menu command in a hand controller. If I plan to image through the meridian, I set the meridian delay value in the AP hand controller or APCC, or the meridian limit value in the Rainbow hand controller or their ASCOM driver.

Personally I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole" or "desperate" and I don't consider setting the AP meridian delay value to be "tricking" the mount. It has been thoughtfully designed to operate exactly the way it operates. No "tricks" required.

I guess I need to be educated as to what GEM GOTO mounts and hand controllers are out there that I don't have any experience with that have a manual meridian flip button or menu command in their hand controllers (or ASCOM/INDI drivers.) And why they are needed at all. Please, if you have the time, consider sharing some mount make and model numbers so I can research this further.

Thanks in advance... and clear skies and chocolate!

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?

If you are connecting SkyX through the AP V2 ASCOM driver on Windows then you would not need to disconnect/reconnect anything.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 ray.palmer@...
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?
>
> Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that
> many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock
> standard feature with their mounts.
>
> Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.
>
>
>
>       Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software
> 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per
> Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
>
> Ray Gralak says
>
>
>       I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
>
> Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup
> using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.
>
> Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new
> commands.
>
> Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics
> mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other
> measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a
> gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged.
>
> Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination
> and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the
> concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".
>
> Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've
> said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position.
> So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread
> that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can
> track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping.
> The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is
> only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few
> nights.
>
>
>
>       The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
>
> Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian
> delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:
>
> 1. Set meridian delay.
> 2. Slew to current RA/Dec.
>
> Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.
>
> Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer
> a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about
> meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips
> instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers
> offer, why can't AP?
>
> What does "Pier side" mean please?
>
> Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip
> without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with
> the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?
>
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?
>
> The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default
> functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you
> and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier
> flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature .
>
> I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an
> imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does
> APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3?
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier
> flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC).
>
> Regards
>
> Ray
>
>
>
>








--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Mach2GTO Anderson Powerpole passthrough current rating #Mach2GTO

Christopher Erickson
 

It is a straight-through run that is fully isolated from the mount frame, as it should be. It has no internal fusing. That wouldn't be a bad thing to add. My memory is a bit faded but IIRC, it is 14 ga wire and can handle up to 15 amps, although 10 amps is a more reasonable limit. Roland or George will correct me if I am wrong.

IMHO, putting anything besides 12-14 VDC on it is inviting problems. Too easy to mix up power supplies and devices and burn stuff up. I think it is better to just run the 12-14 VDC and then use regulators to step the voltage down (or up) from there after it has emerged out of the top of the mount.

Of course YMMV.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 5:02 PM deonb <deonb@...> wrote:
How much current can I draw through the Anderson Powerpole passthrough on the Mach2GTO?

Or alternatively, what is the AWG & length of the internal wiring, and are the Powerpole connectors 15, 30 or 45 amp rated?

Second, are those wires pure passthrough without any connection (even just ground) to the mount's internal wiring? For example, is there a technical reason that it can't be used for 5V? Or 24V? Or 12V A/C ?


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

 

>>>Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II

actually losmandy does have meridian flip 


>>> I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole"

agree completely - at least for my use


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 9:29 PM Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
Good grief.

I have all of the following non-AP GOTO GEM mounts and NOT ONE of them has a "pier flip" button or menu command in the hand controller.

Rainbow Astro RST-135 + Hubo-i SE
Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II
Software Bisque Paramount + joystick
Vixen GP-DX + SkySensor-2000-PC
Vixen GP + Meade LXD-55 motors + Autostar 497
Meade LXD-75 + Audiostar
iOptron iEQ30 + Go2Nova 8401
Celestron CGX 1100 + NexStar

In fact as far as I can tell, only Astro-Physics and Rainbow Astro hand controllers have any configurable meridian management functions at all. All the rest handle meridian flips automatically and don't give the user any control whatsoever. And in fact the iOptron iEQ30 won't even report back to its ASCOM driver which side of the meridian it is currently on. You have to make educated guesses about its meridian state, since it will happily track through the meridian and keep on going, until it checks the meridian again during a slew command. A bit annoying in robotic observatory setups.

I also have a bunch of Meade/Celestron fork GOTO mounts and some GOTO dobs. Of course they don't have any meridian functions due to their mechanical design.

I have been using GOTO GEM mounts for over 20 years and have not yet ever felt the need for a manual meridian flip button or menu command in a hand controller. If I plan to image through the meridian, I set the meridian delay value in the AP hand controller or APCC, or the meridian limit value in the Rainbow hand controller or their ASCOM driver.

Personally I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole" or "desperate" and I don't consider setting the AP meridian delay value to be "tricking" the mount. It has been thoughtfully designed to operate exactly the way it operates. No "tricks" required.

I guess I need to be educated as to what GEM GOTO mounts and hand controllers are out there that I don't have any experience with that have a manual meridian flip button or menu command in their hand controllers (or ASCOM/INDI drivers.) And why they are needed at all. Please, if you have the time, consider sharing some mount make and model numbers so I can research this further.

Thanks in advance... and clear skies and chocolate!

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?

If you are connecting SkyX through the AP V2 ASCOM driver on Windows then you would not need to disconnect/reconnect anything.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 ray.palmer@...
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?
>
> Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that
> many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock
> standard feature with their mounts.
>
> Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.
>
>
>
>       Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software
> 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per
> Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
>
> Ray Gralak says
>
>
>       I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
>
> Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup
> using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.
>
> Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new
> commands.
>
> Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics
> mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other
> measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a
> gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged.
>
> Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination
> and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the
> concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".
>
> Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've
> said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position.
> So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread
> that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can
> track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping.
> The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is
> only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few
> nights.
>
>
>
>       The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
>
> Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian
> delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:
>
> 1. Set meridian delay.
> 2. Slew to current RA/Dec.
>
> Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.
>
> Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer
> a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about
> meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips
> instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers
> offer, why can't AP?
>
> What does "Pier side" mean please?
>
> Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip
> without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with
> the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?
>
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?
>
> The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default
> functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you
> and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier
> flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature .
>
> I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an
> imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does
> APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3?
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier
> flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC).
>
> Regards
>
> Ray
>
>
>
>








--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Meridian Flip Feature Yet?

Christopher Erickson
 

Good grief.

I have all of the following non-AP GOTO GEM mounts and NOT ONE of them has a "pier flip" button or menu command in the hand controller.

Rainbow Astro RST-135 + Hubo-i SE
Losmandy G11 + Gemini-II
Software Bisque Paramount + joystick
Vixen GP-DX + SkySensor-2000-PC
Vixen GP + Meade LXD-55 motors + Autostar 497
Meade LXD-75 + Audiostar
iOptron iEQ30 + Go2Nova 8401
Celestron CGX 1100 + NexStar

In fact as far as I can tell, only Astro-Physics and Rainbow Astro hand controllers have any configurable meridian management functions at all. All the rest handle meridian flips automatically and don't give the user any control whatsoever. And in fact the iOptron iEQ30 won't even report back to its ASCOM driver which side of the meridian it is currently on. You have to make educated guesses about its meridian state, since it will happily track through the meridian and keep on going, until it checks the meridian again during a slew command. A bit annoying in robotic observatory setups.

I also have a bunch of Meade/Celestron fork GOTO mounts and some GOTO dobs. Of course they don't have any meridian functions due to their mechanical design.

I have been using GOTO GEM mounts for over 20 years and have not yet ever felt the need for a manual meridian flip button or menu command in a hand controller. If I plan to image through the meridian, I set the meridian delay value in the AP hand controller or APCC, or the meridian limit value in the Rainbow hand controller or their ASCOM driver.

Personally I don't consider AP's approach to meridian management to be a "gaping hole" or "desperate" and I don't consider setting the AP meridian delay value to be "tricking" the mount. It has been thoughtfully designed to operate exactly the way it operates. No "tricks" required.

I guess I need to be educated as to what GEM GOTO mounts and hand controllers are out there that I don't have any experience with that have a manual meridian flip button or menu command in their hand controllers (or ASCOM/INDI drivers.) And why they are needed at all. Please, if you have the time, consider sharing some mount make and model numbers so I can research this further.

Thanks in advance... and clear skies and chocolate!

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM Ray Gralak <groups3@...> wrote:
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?

If you are connecting SkyX through the AP V2 ASCOM driver on Windows then you would not need to disconnect/reconnect anything.

-Ray Gralak
Author of PEMPro
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
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 ray.palmer@...
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Meridian Flip Feature Yet?
>
> Ray Palmer says - Ray Gralak and Rolando, I appreciate all your feedback so far, but it has become evident that
> many AP owners do NOT have access to a simple pier flip feature like so many manufacturers offer as a stock
> standard feature with their mounts.
>
> Ray Gralak says - First, as Roland pointed out, there is a way to do the pier flip from the hand controller.
>
>
>
>       Ray (Palmer) says - that's great news then. I'm using a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software
> 4.19.3. How do I do a simple pier flip please? What is the keypad path? I tried using +- and pressing 9, as per
> Rolando's instructions, but it doesn't do anything.
>
> Ray Gralak says
>
>
>       I don't know, as I hardly use the keypad.
>
> Ray Palmer says - I do not really use the keypad either my friend. But Rolando has now indicated that my setup
> using the GTOCP3 cannot perform the keypad pier flip.
>
> Roland Christen says - Your CP3 does not have the software commands for flips and a lot of other new
> commands.
>
> Ray Palmer says - So it is evident that there is NO simple dedicated pier flip command for many AstroPhysics
> mount owners. That has now been clearly established. Only playing with the meridian delay or performing other
> measures such as writing a script can I do what many other mount manufacturers offer seamlessly. This is a
> gaping hole in AP's firmware and software that desperately needs to be plugged.
>
> Ray Gralak Says - BTW, APCC has a meridian limits explorer tool to map out the slew limits at every declination
> and pier side. Once mapped out, APCC automatically allows pier flips within the meridian limits. Note that the
> concept of "meridian limits" is not the same as the mount's "meridian delay".
>
> Ray Palmer says - Yes, I have seen that feature and I appreciate you are trying to assist me, I really do, but I've
> said so many times in this thread, my reason for needing to pier flip has nothing to do with the meridian's position.
> So the meridian explorer tool to map out slew limits does absolutely nothing for me. I keep saying in this thread
> that pier flipping is required for so many other reasons than just the meridian's position. Because AP mounts can
> track so far across the meridian everyone seems to be think there is no possible other requirement for pier flipping.
> The meridian is only 10 percent of the reasons why people need to pier flip. If anyone thinks that pier flipping is
> only for the meridian, then I would invite them to visit my observatory and see what an astronomer does over a few
> nights.
>
>
>
>       The idea that pier flipping is meridian based is strongly misguided.
>
> Ray Gralak says - A pier flip in any mount results in multiple operations. In the case of an AP mount, the meridian
> delay is just one of the two commands needed to do a pier flip:
>
> 1. Set meridian delay.
> 2. Slew to current RA/Dec.
>
> Setting the meridian delay sets the destination pier side.
>
> Ray Palmer says - Why do we even need to trick the mount at all, when so many other mount manufacturers offer
> a simple pier flip command as stock standard functionality? AP owners shouldn't even have to think about
> meridian delays, what side of the mount are we tricking etc, it should just be a single pier flip button and she flips
> instantly, should not even have to make another Goto command. This is what most, if not all other manufacturers
> offer, why can't AP?
>
> What does "Pier side" mean please?
>
> Ray Gralak says - APCC has a button to do a pier flip, but a simple script can be made to perform the pier flip
> without APCC. The script could be placed on the desktop and double-clicked when needed. I can't help you with
> the AP keypad operations, but I can create a (free) script for you that will flip the mount if you are interested?
>
> Ray Palmer says - I would be interested in this script my friend and thanks for the offer for support. I use TheSkyX
> to control my dome and mount. Would that script interfere with TheSkyX? Meaning would I have to start
> disconnecting and reconnecting from TheSkyX to do a simple pier flip function?
>
> The observation here is, that having to write a script to perform what other manufacturers offer as default
> functionality in their mounts is clunky and not seamless. Even though your offer to write a script is very kind, you
> and other AP owners shouldn't have to resort to writing scripts when most if not all other manufacturers offer pier
> flipping as a stock standard simple button-press feature .
>
> I think the easiest solution will be to spend more money on more software to run (I run about 5 programs during an
> imaging run already, and running another is the last thing I wanted to do). Before I spend money on APCC, does
> APCC offer single touch pier flip commands for a 1600GTO with a GTOCP3 using the latest software 4.19.3?
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Thanks again for your time gentlemen, and it is evident that many AP owners cannot have access to a simple pier
> flip command like most other manufacturers offer (unless we spend more money on APCC).
>
> Regards
>
> Ray
>
>
>
>







Possible bug in AE tab in APCC 1.8.8.11

Luca Marinelli
 

Hi Ray,

While I was troubleshooting the declination axis motor issue with my Mach2, I noticed something that looks like a bug in APCC Pro 1.8.8.11 on the AE tab. If I start the homing process by pressing the FIND HOME button, the CANCEL HOME button does not appear to work correctly. In my case, FIND HOME failed because the mount couldn't energize the dec motor properly. When I pressed the CANCEL HOME button and confirmed by clicking NO - CANCEL Find Home button (which, by the way is always hidden under the current axis position) nothing happened and the homing process continued. 

Let me know if the logs may be helpful. I believe they were saved and am happy to send them to you.

Thanks,

Luca

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