Date   

Starting with counterweight up in SGPro #Mach2GTO

David Johnson
 

Now that I've gotten my pointing issue fixed (thank you for that), I want to try starting CW up tonight, and M104 is an ideal candidate for this from my location.  I do have a question about it.  With meridian limits mapped out and enabled, there are two possible ways to point at many places in the sky - counterweight down or counterweight up.  When I ask SGPro to center on my target, how do I make sure it picks the CW up position?  I guess the more fundamental question is which does the Mach2 go to when asked to slew to these positions where there are two choices?  is it the nearest one?  I just want to avoid issues tonight.  Thanks.


Re: Pier for 1100GTO #Guiding

Donald Gaines
 

Hi Len,

That is a very nice pier.  What you say makes a lot of sense.  It looks like the sides were rolled to produce the shape.

Thanks,
Don


On Saturday, March 20, 2021, Len Fulham <lfulham@...> wrote:
Embedded or bolt attached pipe piers are commonly and successfully used, but they have an inherent tendency to resonate vibration. Filling with sand or concrete changes the frequency and maybe amplitude without necessarily improving damping as might be expected.

The best piers have a broad base tapering progressively to the top. This form minimises the tenancy to resonance and is self damping. It is not a good shape for embedding, but works extremely well for bolted applications (eg bolted to a concrete base).

Look at this example:

https://ap-ug.groups.io/g/main/photo/113262/13?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

The pier has a 600mm square base bolted to a isolated concrete foundation. The pier tapers exponentially to 150mm square at the top. It is made of 6mm thick mild steel. It forms an extremely stable base for the vintage AP 706 mount and 6" AP scope.  It takes more to organise a pier like this but it is appreciated in the long term.

A simpler "tall pyramid" shape (ie tapered flat sides rather than curved & profiled)) would be much better than a pipe, and could more easily be made embeded.

Something to consider,
Regards,

Len.


Re: APPM Attempt Failed - Clearly I am doing something wrong #APCC #Mach2GTO

mjb87@...
 
Edited

Thanks, Ray. This is very helpful.

I am getting big images (17MB) but I did check 1/2 subframe and Auto Dark Subtract was unchecked. The computer itself is very fast (6-core Xeon processor at 2.7GHz) but I'll add time for the solution set.

I'm surprised at the need for the USNO A2.0 (I do have it downloaded) given the focal length and thought the GSC11 would be enough. But I'll try USNO A2.0 tonight.

Pixel scale is off for sure: closer to 0.9 than 1.6. (3.76 pixel and 819mm) so I'll make that correction.

As for #3 (Recal Near Zenith at Start) my dome shutter configuration made that difficult so I gave up on that. When it moves to that position the telescope is on the same side of the mount as the unopened part of the shutter. So even though the shutter is open past zenith it still blocks about 1/2 of image. If I rotate the dome 180 degrees it would work. (Ironically, I got a good solution at one point at zenith even though the telescope was partially blocked.)

I'll check everything else and give it a try. Many thanks.

Marty


Re: Pier for 1100GTO #Guiding

Len Fulham
 

Embedded or bolt attached pipe piers are commonly and successfully used, but they have an inherent tendency to resonate vibration. Filling with sand or concrete changes the frequency and maybe amplitude without necessarily improving damping as might be expected.

The best piers have a broad base tapering progressively to the top. This form minimises the tenancy to resonance and is self damping. It is not a good shape for embedding, but works extremely well for bolted applications (eg bolted to a concrete base).

Look at this example:

https://ap-ug.groups.io/g/main/photo/113262/13?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

The pier has a 600mm square base bolted to a isolated concrete foundation. The pier tapers exponentially to 150mm square at the top. It is made of 6mm thick mild steel. It forms an extremely stable base for the vintage AP 706 mount and 6" AP scope.  It takes more to organise a pier like this but it is appreciated in the long term.

A simpler "tall pyramid" shape (ie tapered flat sides rather than curved & profiled)) would be much better than a pipe, and could more easily be made embeded.

Something to consider,
Regards,

Len.


Re: Mach2 transport case?

Len Fulham
 

Jeff,

On my Mach I,  with my case, I needed to bring the the saddle plate under but it was interfering with the altitude knob as you have experienced. I decided to modify the saddle plate by cutting a section out. Mine is the older D style 9" saddle plate. I resected about 20mm of plate while preserving the dovetail ways and I do not see any adverse effects from this. If you have the newer 10" D + V saddle you will need to consider if this is a useful approach.

Just another way of not going to a larger case. (I realise some prefer not to modify their AP equipment).

Cheers,

Len


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

That fixed it.  I’m imaging.  Thanks.


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

That makes sense.  I was very careful to make sure I upgraded to the latest version on my other computer before using the Mach2, because I knew of the issue.  However, PrimaLuceLab "helpfully" pre-installed ASCOM on this new Eagle, so I didn't think of getting the latest version.  I hope that fixes the problem.  Thanks very much for the help.  It doesn't get hours of sleep back, but the good news is that tomorrow night is also supposed to be clear, so I hope this problem is behind me.  I had a couple of other problems that had nothing to do with your software of the Mach2 that made it even more frustrating.


Re: Problem with pointing model

 

Ray i think that bug was 6.5 of ascom platform, and it was fixed in 6.5SP1, correct?


On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 9:54 PM Ray Gralak <iogroups@...> wrote:

This looks like this could be the severe bug with the ASCOM platform I discovered months ago.

 

You should try updating to the latest version of the ASCOM Platform from here:

 

https://www.ascom-standards.org

 

-Ray

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 9:44 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

 

Okay, this shows the effect of the JNow check box.  Here are results with it checked.  Note that RA Solved and Dec Solved don’t even change. 



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Problem with pointing model

Ray Gralak
 

This looks like this could be the severe bug with the ASCOM platform I discovered months ago.

 

You should try updating to the latest version of the ASCOM Platform from here:

 

https://www.ascom-standards.org

 

-Ray

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 9:44 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

 

Okay, this shows the effect of the JNow check box.  Here are results with it checked.  Note that RA Solved and Dec Solved don’t even change. 


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

And here it’s is with just it unchecked.  Not other changes.


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

Okay, this shows the effect of the JNow check box.  Here are results with it checked.  Note that RA Solved and Dec Solved don’t even change. 


Re: Who Needs Guiding.....

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Barry,

I am glad the Declination Arc tracking feature is working so well for you. Thanks for posting!

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Barry Megdal
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 9:29 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Who Needs Guiding.....

I know others have had good luck with unguided imaging, but we just got the first clear and stable night in Southern
California in what seems like months, so I was able to try out my latest APPM model, using Ray's experimental
"declination arc" feature and hundreds of mapped points.

Seeing was a bit under 2 arcseconds, which unfortunately is good for my location. AP1600 mount with encoders,
and a very long and bendy AP206 scope. Most 10 minute subs never had a single guiding correction. Ray
deserves a lot of credit for APPM being able to model a difficult scope so well across the sky.

Typical Maxim guiding graph looked like this (and I think most of the variation was still due to less than excellent
seeing):





- Barry


Dr. Barry Megdal

Shb Instruments, Inc.
19215 Parthenia St. Suite A
Northridge, CA 91324
www.shbinstruments.com
(818) 773-2000 (818)773-2005 fax
bmegdal@shbinstruments.com

Faculty (retired)
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Caltech


Re: Problem with pointing model

Ray Gralak
 

It shrunk itself and is locked up. It happens every time I try to move a pointing model into APCC.
I can't explain why APPM would shrink itself in that case, but it seems like the model you loaded is bad.

Can you attach it to post here so I can take a look? (Or email me privately).

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 9:34 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

It shrunk itself and is locked up. It happens every time I try to move a pointing model into APCC.


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

It shrunk itself and is locked up.  It happens every time I try to move a pointing model into APCC.


Re: Problem with pointing model

David Johnson
 

The check mark for J2000 to JNow definitely does make a difference.  When it’s checked, my errors when using APPM are huge.  If I uncheck it, they go way down to normal values.  Also, APCC still locks up when I try to load a pointing model into it every time.  Even simple models.  See attached.


Re: Problem with pointing model

Ray Gralak
 

I can't see APCC's panel because it looks like you tried to shrink APCC's window much smaller.

I’m also having problems getting the pointing model into APCC
Did you try loading a bad APPM model? That can cause really wild calculations, which the driver is going to reject, which explains the blank fields.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 8:13 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

I’m also having problems getting the pointing model into APCC. On the other computer, when APPM was done, it
would ask me if I want to import the model in APCC, and it seemed to do it with little problem. Now, everything
seems to lock up. I can still move the windows around, but all the AP software (APCC, APPM) is unresponsive.
See attached.


Who Needs Guiding.....

Barry Megdal
 

I know others have had good luck with unguided imaging, but we just got the first clear and stable night in Southern California in what seems like months, so I was able to try out my latest APPM model, using Ray's experimental "declination arc" feature and hundreds of mapped points.

Seeing was a bit under 2 arcseconds, which unfortunately is good for my location.  AP1600 mount with encoders, and a very long and bendy AP206 scope.  Most 10 minute subs never had a single guiding correction.  Ray deserves a lot of credit for APPM being able to model a difficult scope so well across the sky.

Typical Maxim guiding graph looked like this (and I think most of the variation was still due to less than excellent seeing):




- Barry


Dr. Barry Megdal

Shb Instruments, Inc.
19215 Parthenia St.  Suite A
Northridge, CA 91324
www.shbinstruments.com 
(818) 773-2000  (818)773-2005 fax
bmegdal@... 
 
Faculty (retired)
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Caltech
 


Re: Problem with pointing model

Ray Gralak
 

I took the check mark off of “Precess J2000 to JNow”, and that seems to have fixed the problem. I wish I could
claim that I completely understand why that fixed the problem, but I don’t.
I don't think that had anything to do with whatever issue you thought it fixed. Is this the first time you used the mount after the time change?

Try homing the mount in APCC.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 7:44 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

I took the check mark off of “Precess J2000 to JNow”, and that seems to have fixed the problem. I wish I could
claim that I completely understand why that fixed the problem, but I don’t.


Re: Problem with pointing model

Ray Gralak
 

Hi David,

What are these RA (topo) and Dec (topo)? They are what are giving me
ridiculously large errors.
No... the error values have nothing to do with the RA/Dec (topo).

Plate solve solutions return coordinates in J2000.0 coordinates, which roughly means where the stars were at the beginning of the year 2000. Because of precession those coordinates need to be precessed to where they actually are today. That is the RA/Dec topo coordinates.

The error values are the delta between the mount coordinates and the plate solve coordinates. It might have just been a bad plate solve.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 6:37 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Problem with pointing model

I’m trying to generate a pointIng model. I’ve done this before with no problem, but I have a new computer, and I’m
having issues. Please see the attached. What are these RA (topo) and Dec (topo)? They are what are giving me
ridiculously large errors. The RA and Dec values above them are. Sorry I don’t have time for more explanation, but
I’’m freezing out here. Thanks.


Re: APPM Attempt Failed - Clearly I am doing something wrong #APCC #Mach2GTO

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Marty,

 

The errors are coming from the plate-solver application. Here are some suggestions:

 

1. Instead of using GSC11, use USNO A2.0 or UCAC4. Note that you will likely have to download those catalogs.

 

2. On APPM's Plate Solve Settings tab:

 

            a) Increase "Max Solve Time (sec)" to 60 seconds. The "Operation stopped by client checkpoint operation" means that the plate solve didn't solve before the time in this field. If your computer is slow, or you have large images this can happen. You can reduce image size by binning or doing a subframe on APPM's Camera Settings tab. Also, uncheck the Auto Dark Subtract option on that tab if you have it enabled.

 

            b) Enable "Refine image scale from next solved image".

 

            c) Enable "Use last plate solve's offset as hint for next plate solve".

 

            d) Enable "Try All-Sky Plate Solving if available". And set the timeout to 300 seconds.

 

            e) Make sure the X and Y plate solve scale (unbinned) is set approximately to your image scale.

 

3. On APPM's "Run" tab, enable "Recall near Zenith at start". You should always leave this enabled so that the all models you create will have the same starting reference point.

 

4. Before you start a run for the very first time try a "Plate Solve and Recal" on APPM's run tab. If this succeeds then everything should run smoothly.

 

Here is a screenshot of the Plate Solve Settings I mentioned above:

 

-Ray

 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of mjb87 via groups.io

> Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 6:16 PM

> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io

> Subject: [ap-gto] APPM Attempt Failed - Clearly I am doing something wrong #APCC #Mach2GTO

>

> I tried my first ever attempt at building an automated pointing model using APPM.  (I've used manual T-Point runs in

> the past.) The plate-solves were all failing. I must be doing something very wrong here and would like to at least be

> pointed in the right direction. Is this an imaging issue, a plate-solving data problem, or what?

>

> Equipment: Mach2, 130mm Starfire GTX, ASI2600MC-Pro

> Software: All latest versions of APCC Pro, ASCOM driver, SG Pro

> Platesolving: Pinpoint 6 using GSC11 downloaded file

> Settings pretty much at default for a small sample (40-50 points) with horizon limits in use. I tried a range of

> exposure settings from 2s to 5s

> Sky clear with half moon. (The failed images were not being taken in the vicinity of the moon.)

> Focus: checked in SG Pro.

>

> First issue: if I connect directly to the camera I can't adjust camera settings (e.g., cooling temperature). Plus, the

> process got hung up on imaging. So I abandoned that and connected the camera via SGPro and used that instead.

> It seemed to help. Is this the right approach?

>

> Second (bigger) issue: All but one plate-solve failed. Here are the results of my fourth run attempt, before I

> abandoned the effort.

>

>

>

> Lots of the following errors. What do these suggest is wrong?

> - Operation stopped by client in Checkpoint event

> - Failed to solve plate possibly due to input plate scale being too far off

> - Bad Y scale

> - Bad X scale

>

> I want to try tomorrow if conditions permit. What am I doing wrong? Amy assistance would be greatly appreciated.

>

> Marty

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