Date   

Re: Software Update to V5.XXX for Existing Keypads

Joe Zeglinski
 

Mike,
 
    I would add ...  besides software, will there be a Kit, or at least instructions,  to Upgrade (or retro-fit)  that terribly dim Keypad display module with a more readable  OLED one, so we can actually see more than just a blank screen, even on a cloudy day?
 
    AP may not have considered some people doing solar observations,  and a need to control the mount by hand, but I find it easier to check out or service my AP mounts,  using that rugged AP Keypad.
 
    Also hope some future new Keypad has an “innovative”  external,  slide-in battery access coin-slot rather than dismantling the delicate Keypad fibre optic  internals etc.
 
    But, I am certainly looking forward to the expected software features.
Joe
 

From: M Hambrick
Sent: Wednesday, July 7, 2021 9:49 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Software Update to V5.XXX for Existing Keypads
 
Is there any estimate on when the new V5.XXX keypad software and membranes will be available to the other mounts that use the GTOCP4 or GTOCP5 ?

Mike


Software Update to V5.XXX for Existing Keypads

M Hambrick
 

Is there any estimate on when the new V5.XXX keypad software and membranes will be available to the other mounts that use the GTOCP4 or GTOCP5 ? 

Mike


Re: Musing about my next mount...

W Hilmo
 

So I just added myself to the notification list for a Mach2.  I suspect that’s the best long term solution.  I’ve been hung up on the fact that the halves cannot be separated – but I’m already transporting an AP1100 and a C14 on these trips, so it’s not like I’m traveling light to begin with.  I expect that it’s going to be a significant wait, which is fine with me.  If something else lands in my lap in the meantime, I can change my decision if needed.

 

I am aware of the CGE Pro, and know that it can handle a C14 easily for visual, and can probably be had used for a nice price.  The problem is that I have used them before.  They are ridiculously heavy for what they are, and they are also really, really tall.  Even with the tripod at its lowest level, I cannot reach the eyepiece in many positions without a step stool.

 

-Wade

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Robert Berta
Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 2:27 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Musing about my next mount...

 

I would consider getting a used  900 mount for the 14" used visually....photographically it works fine. I have one as well as a 1100. If buying new I would go with the 1100 with a 14" over the Mach II. Before I had the 1100 I had a 14" SCT on the 900 and never had any issues. I also have a Celestron CGE-PRO mount with another 14" SCT HD at a Boy and Girl Scout observatory I manage. The mount works fine but not at the level of precision or user friendly as the AP mounts...and it is heavy and awkward to move as a travel setup. 


Re: Mach2/Tec 180fl

rocktrepanier621@...
 

Thanks for the feedback Jeff, it is appreciated. A very fine looking set-up you have
Rock


Re: Mach2/Tec 180fl

Jeff B
 

The Mach2 should be just fine as I base that upon the excellent ability of my Mach 1 to be used with my old AP 178 F9 for high power visual use where the ability to focus easily without the jiggles is important..

Jeff

On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 6:41 PM <rocktrepanier621@...> wrote:
I know that this question has been discussed by Roland and others regarding using the Mach2 with a Tec 180fl for imaging. I was wondering if being used for visual only would the Mach2 be stable enough for high power observing or should I just get the AP1100 and not worry. 
Thanks
Rock


Mach2/Tec 180fl

rocktrepanier621@...
 

I know that this question has been discussed by Roland and others regarding using the Mach2 with a Tec 180fl for imaging. I was wondering if being used for visual only would the Mach2 be stable enough for high power observing or should I just get the AP1100 and not worry. 
Thanks
Rock


Re: Musing about my next mount...

Robert Berta
 

I would consider getting a used  900 mount for the 14" used visually....photographically it works fine. I have one as well as a 1100. If buying new I would go with the 1100 with a 14" over the Mach II. Before I had the 1100 I had a 14" SCT on the 900 and never had any issues. I also have a Celestron CGE-PRO mount with another 14" SCT HD at a Boy and Girl Scout observatory I manage. The mount works fine but not at the level of precision or user friendly as the AP mounts...and it is heavy and awkward to move as a travel setup. 


Re: Which Camera?

Robert Berta
 
Edited

I don't have either QHY or ZWO but do have an ATIK camera also. They are made in Portugal and of very high quality. ATIK is located in the UK. The one I have is their OSC camera 490EX which is a round body CCD camera that works very well with my 11" SCT and Hyperstar. For all of my regular imaging through my 152mm and 80mm APO refractors I am still using my SBIG STL-6303e mono camera for RGBL and Ha, SII, OIII narrow band filters. ATIK has several models including a full frame CMOS camera mentioned in the above posts.  Many friends have both QHY and ZWO cameras....it seems that the ZWO are a bit better debugged and perhaps more durable. The older (around 2010) QHY cameras my friends had seemed to have electronics that ran very hot....not sure if that is an issue still.


Re: To guide or not, that is the question

Marcelo Figueroa
 

Since I received my Mach 2 I am not using guiding, it works perfect with my Esprit 100 on exposures of about 8 to 10 minutes (although because of my light pollution I usually use about 4 min).
 
It is very satisfying to no longer hear the annoying beep of PHD2 when it loses the guide star on a clear night. However there is a drawback, the guiding also acts as a cloud detector, and if it gets cloudy the session is automatically aborted. But if you are using only the modeling you can perfectly well spend the night photographing clouds :D.
 
 
PS: for really long exposures, more than 30 minutes, then you really need guiding.


Re: Which Camera?

michael mccann
 

Will do


On Jul 6, 2021, at 11:44 AM, jimwc@... wrote:

Michael
show me cables pretty much just handles Ethernet cables they should be able to answer your question, shoot them a Email.
https://www.showmecables.com/
 


Re: Which Camera?

jimwc@...
 

Michael
show me cables pretty much just handles Ethernet cables they should be able to answer your question, shoot them a Email.
https://www.showmecables.com/
 


Re: To guide or not, that is the question

 

tubes are going to be less problematic re: flexure than truss in my experience

i did do unguided for quite some time with the CDK17 and could image 5 min subs pretty reliably - that's somewhere around 2500mm

just an example:



On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 11:00 AM Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...> wrote:
> modest focal length/image scale, you could easily get away with just a model and no guiding

Oh.. yes.   There's probably a FL limit on this depending on mount size.  (I was thinking under 1000mm.)
I've been experimenting with the 12" ACF and reducer at about 1900mm with promising results.

Good point about "bump guiding" ... I'll have to keep that in mind.



On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 9:13 AM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
Hi Jeff

I think it depends :)

for a mach2 and perhaps a modest focal length/image scale, you could easily get away with just a model and no guiding

As image scale gets more fine, everything becomes more challenging

Right now i am bringing up our CDK20 with image scale of 0.54" on a 1600 with encoders 

i have opted to go with "bump guiding" (as Roland calls it) where i'm using PHD2 to do 3 sec exposures, wait 10 seconds, repeat, Even with a completely terrible guide camera and problematic setup, i'm still getting around 0.3-0.4" guiding. Aside from some setup issues, things like scope flexure become major issues.

however, earlier i was doing widefield on that same mount with an 80mm refractor and about 2.6" image scale and was able to easily do 15 minute unguided subs

  

On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 8:59 AM Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...> wrote:
A question for those of you more experienced with AE mounts...

Is "classical auto guiding" required if the mount has absolute encoders, and an APPM model is created?   (I.e. auto-guiding with a guidescope, or OAG.)

Ray once told me:   "If your guide camera has to adjust the position of the mount, then your  mount, then your image is already damaged by the photons that went into the wrong pixel.  It is too late."

With the AE on the Mach2, I have not used a guidescope since receiving the mount a few months ago.   The results look great if I create and use a pointing model.   (I did notice that without a pointing model imaging closer to the horizon (iirc like under 30 degrees up) the stars are elongated.   I believe this is atmospheric refraction.

Am I missing something?   
I just find the idea of messing with the OAG (in my case) to be a) more stuff to get going/manage and b) potentially cause further image damage if something goes awry with guiding.

And if there is a need for the guide camera, what is the purpose when AE+APPM is used?

AE + APPM + Guide camera?
-- Or --
AE + APPM + no need to guide?

thx
-jeff



--
Brian 



Brian Valente



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Which Camera?

michael mccann
 

Anybody have usb, Ethernet cable sources for low temp environments, -10F and below?


On Jul 6, 2021, at 10:04 AM, jimwc@... wrote:

Sorry for all the duplicate posts I thought they got lost somewhere.

USB connectors are fine if you don't plug and unplug them a lot, hence the hub
or ethernet converter.

I mount my 3104 REX and focuser controller on the dovetail plate. 
this gives me one power cable and one USB up and one Ethernet cable down. 
this will change when I get my Mach2.

the 3104 REX takes the place of a 4 port hub, if needed a hub can be used to add more ports.
try to find a computer with a serial port. 
I agree a NUC is the ultimate 

I get my Ethernet cables at   https://www.showmecables.com/

Jim


Re: To guide or not, that is the question

Jeffc
 

> modest focal length/image scale, you could easily get away with just a model and no guiding

Oh.. yes.   There's probably a FL limit on this depending on mount size.  (I was thinking under 1000mm.)
I've been experimenting with the 12" ACF and reducer at about 1900mm with promising results.

Good point about "bump guiding" ... I'll have to keep that in mind.



On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 9:13 AM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
Hi Jeff

I think it depends :)

for a mach2 and perhaps a modest focal length/image scale, you could easily get away with just a model and no guiding

As image scale gets more fine, everything becomes more challenging

Right now i am bringing up our CDK20 with image scale of 0.54" on a 1600 with encoders 

i have opted to go with "bump guiding" (as Roland calls it) where i'm using PHD2 to do 3 sec exposures, wait 10 seconds, repeat, Even with a completely terrible guide camera and problematic setup, i'm still getting around 0.3-0.4" guiding. Aside from some setup issues, things like scope flexure become major issues.

however, earlier i was doing widefield on that same mount with an 80mm refractor and about 2.6" image scale and was able to easily do 15 minute unguided subs

  

On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 8:59 AM Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...> wrote:
A question for those of you more experienced with AE mounts...

Is "classical auto guiding" required if the mount has absolute encoders, and an APPM model is created?   (I.e. auto-guiding with a guidescope, or OAG.)

Ray once told me:   "If your guide camera has to adjust the position of the mount, then your  mount, then your image is already damaged by the photons that went into the wrong pixel.  It is too late."

With the AE on the Mach2, I have not used a guidescope since receiving the mount a few months ago.   The results look great if I create and use a pointing model.   (I did notice that without a pointing model imaging closer to the horizon (iirc like under 30 degrees up) the stars are elongated.   I believe this is atmospheric refraction.

Am I missing something?   
I just find the idea of messing with the OAG (in my case) to be a) more stuff to get going/manage and b) potentially cause further image damage if something goes awry with guiding.

And if there is a need for the guide camera, what is the purpose when AE+APPM is used?

AE + APPM + Guide camera?
-- Or --
AE + APPM + no need to guide?

thx
-jeff



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: Which Camera?

jimwc@...
 

Sorry for all the duplicate posts I thought they got lost somewhere.

USB connectors are fine if you don't plug and unplug them a lot, hence the hub
or ethernet converter.

I mount my 3104 REX and focuser controller on the dovetail plate. 
this gives me one power cable and one USB up and one Ethernet cable down. 
this will change when I get my Mach2.

the 3104 REX takes the place of a 4 port hub, if needed a hub can be used to add more ports.
try to find a computer with a serial port. 
I agree a NUC is the ultimate 

I get my Ethernet cables at   https://www.showmecables.com/

Jim


Re: To guide or not, that is the question

 

Hi Jeff

I think it depends :)

for a mach2 and perhaps a modest focal length/image scale, you could easily get away with just a model and no guiding

As image scale gets more fine, everything becomes more challenging

Right now i am bringing up our CDK20 with image scale of 0.54" on a 1600 with encoders 

i have opted to go with "bump guiding" (as Roland calls it) where i'm using PHD2 to do 3 sec exposures, wait 10 seconds, repeat, Even with a completely terrible guide camera and problematic setup, i'm still getting around 0.3-0.4" guiding. Aside from some setup issues, things like scope flexure become major issues.

however, earlier i was doing widefield on that same mount with an 80mm refractor and about 2.6" image scale and was able to easily do 15 minute unguided subs

  

On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 8:59 AM Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...> wrote:
A question for those of you more experienced with AE mounts...

Is "classical auto guiding" required if the mount has absolute encoders, and an APPM model is created?   (I.e. auto-guiding with a guidescope, or OAG.)

Ray once told me:   "If your guide camera has to adjust the position of the mount, then your  mount, then your image is already damaged by the photons that went into the wrong pixel.  It is too late."

With the AE on the Mach2, I have not used a guidescope since receiving the mount a few months ago.   The results look great if I create and use a pointing model.   (I did notice that without a pointing model imaging closer to the horizon (iirc like under 30 degrees up) the stars are elongated.   I believe this is atmospheric refraction.

Am I missing something?   
I just find the idea of messing with the OAG (in my case) to be a) more stuff to get going/manage and b) potentially cause further image damage if something goes awry with guiding.

And if there is a need for the guide camera, what is the purpose when AE+APPM is used?

AE + APPM + Guide camera?
-- Or --
AE + APPM + no need to guide?

thx
-jeff



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


To guide or not, that is the question

Jeffc
 

A question for those of you more experienced with AE mounts...

Is "classical auto guiding" required if the mount has absolute encoders, and an APPM model is created?   (I.e. auto-guiding with a guidescope, or OAG.)

Ray once told me:   "If your guide camera has to adjust the position of the mount, then your  mount, then your image is already damaged by the photons that went into the wrong pixel.  It is too late."

With the AE on the Mach2, I have not used a guidescope since receiving the mount a few months ago.   The results look great if I create and use a pointing model.   (I did notice that without a pointing model imaging closer to the horizon (iirc like under 30 degrees up) the stars are elongated.   I believe this is atmospheric refraction.

Am I missing something?   
I just find the idea of messing with the OAG (in my case) to be a) more stuff to get going/manage and b) potentially cause further image damage if something goes awry with guiding.

And if there is a need for the guide camera, what is the purpose when AE+APPM is used?

AE + APPM + Guide camera?
-- Or --
AE + APPM + no need to guide?

thx
-jeff


Re: Musing about my next mount...

W Hilmo
 

Here are the requirements, simplified:

 

I have been using the AP1600 both in the field and at home, always for imaging.  I’m moving it into an observatory and will not be using it in the field anymore.  The observatory will have two piers.  The AP1100 will normally live on the second pier to carry the C14 for visual.  If I never set up in the field, I’d not need anything else.

 

When I set up in the field, I want to image with the AP130 and do visual with the C14.  Of course, I can keep doing it the way that I have been, but I want to stop traveling with the AP1600, and leave it in the observatory all the time.  I don’t mind removing the AP1100 from the observatory for travel.

 

Essentially, I’m looking for a replacement for the AP1600.  One option is to get a mount to carry the C14 for visual, and continue using the AP1100 as the travel imaging mount.  Another option is to make the AP1100 the mount to carry the C14 to do visual, and get a mount to image with the AP130.

 

I am 100% satisfied with my AP1100 as an imaging mount.  Adding encoders would be an unnecessary $5K expense.  In terms of buying a new mount, the contenders are the Mach2 and another AP1100 without encoders.  I’m leaning towards the Mach2, but I believe that the AP1100 is more portable.  Either of those options is essentially $10K, and now that I’m retired, I have to weigh whether I want to spend that much.  A used AP900, AP1100 or Mach1 would also be a good option.  As you mentioned, they do come up periodically, but they sell immediately, and I don’t live on the classifieds.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Monday, July 5, 2021 11:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Musing about my next mount...

 

Here's my 2 cents.. tho i'm having a bit of a problem parsing the "requirements"...

Essentially.. you want a permanent mount for visual use in the observatory , in addition to the AP1600?

And another third mount for travelling doing imaging OR visual?

But you would remove (one of) the OTAs from the observatory when travelling?

 

So.. the 1600 will be in the observatory for imaging since it has encoders, correct?

 

Option A:   

 

Step 1. Put the  existing 1100 in the observatory for visual use with the C14.   I presume there is some requirement that once installed in the observatory the mount can't be used for "double duty" in the field.   But the OTA would move from the observatory for use in the field.   I suppose the idea of a "permanent" mount is understandable. ¯\_()_/¯

Step 2. Buy an AP1100 with encoders.  This will be used "in the field" (travelling) for imaging (w/ AP130) or visual (w/ the C14) (but not at the same time).

(Probably a Mach2 is not appropriate for the C14.  Fwiw I use a Meade 12 ACF on my Mach2, even for imaging along with camera, GEG, etc.. I'm almost maxed out on the counterweight shaft.)

 

Option B:

 

Step 1. Upgrade the AP1100 adding encoders (is that still doable? -- i thought it was in the past), and use this as your travelling imaging / visual mount.

Step 2. Get a used AP mount (AP900, 1100, 1200) etc for visual use with the C14 in the observatory.   I suspect "used AP1100" is not economical since you already have that same exact model.

 

 

If you were going to be travelling for imaging (e.g. with an AP130)  and travelling for visual use with something smaller than the C14 , I would suggest seriously considering the Mach2 (which has encoders of course).

After getting the hang of APPM in the field, I'm really enjoying the performance of the Mach2.   Sure the smaller Mach1 would be nice, but I'm very happy with the Mach2 even with the additional "heft".   (Since using the mach2 I'm not sure I would bother with a Mach1 for imaging.  Dark-sky time is too precious.)

Fwiw, I also have an 1100 (w/o encoders) in addition to the Mach2; While the Mach2 doesn't separate, the Mach2 is much more compact in the car for me than the 1100.    (And I transport my 1100 as one piece anyhow; there isn't a huge "total weight" difference.)

In any event, as you may have guessed, I've not used the non-encoder 1100 since the Mach2 arrived.  

 

But it sounds like you need a mount that can carry the C14.. that seems to be the baseline... and that's probably a bit much of the Mach2 (tho it is only visual use)... which means the AP1100 would be the next up.   However, if this is to be used as an imaging mount also, then (imo) the mount should have encoders.

 

-jeff

 

Ps. There was a Mach 1 on CN on saturday, so these mounts do come up for sale periodically:  https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/260812-mach1-gtocpo3-complete-setup/

 


Re: Which Camera?

Christopher Erickson
 

For me, it is much more about the horrid, unreliable, easily-corroded and short-lived USB connectors.

And I NEVER attempt any USB connection over 1.5 meters.

All of the various shortcomings and unreliabilities of USB are why I prefer to mount NUC's directly on OTA's and go with simple, stable, short USB cables. And good old fashioned, solid RS-232 down to the CP3/4/5. FTDI USB-Serial adapter (or a real serial port) up on the NUC.

Control the NUC via Android tablet or Win laptop.

-Christopher Erickson


Re: USB 2 VS USB3 problems solved

Woody Schlom
 

Jim,

 

I think that running USB2 and USB3 devices on the same hub is OK if it’s a “good” hub with each port being independent. 

 

My understanding is that cheaper hubs share USB ports between USB amplifiers.  “USB amplifiers” is probably the wrong term – but I’m talking about the circuit board that’s connected to the port.  Cheaper hubs share two, three, even four ports between the same “amplifier.”  And those are the ones that slow down to USB2 if there’s a USB2 device connected to any of the shared ports.

 

The better (usually more expensive) hubs have a separate and independent “amplifier” for each USB port.  So you can run a combination of USB2 and USB3 devices on the same hub and they’ll all run at top speed.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.

 

Same goes for USB power.  The cheaper ones share power between ports, while the better ones power each port independently.

 

My Pegasus brand powered USB3 hub has seven ports.  Each port has its own amplifier and its own circuit breaker.  I can run USB2 and USB3 devices at the same time, all at top speed.  And if a port dies or blows its circuit breaker, all the rest of the ports still work.  Basically, all its ports are independent.  With some (many) 4-port hubs, all the ports are connected together.  Blow one and none work.

 

Personally I like the idea of using Ethernet instead of USB.  But if your device only has USB, then adding the Ethernet converter means another connection and another device you’ll have in your system.  Which means more potential failure points.  But I still like that idea.

 

Woody

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of jimwc@...
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2021 9:45 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] USB 2 VS USB3 problems solved

 

I am still waiting on my Mach 2 but I thought I would chime in on how I solved my USB problems.
Right now I have a Celestron CGX mount I had nothing but trouble getting my mount to talk to my computer over a extended USB3 of about 30 feet using a powered USB3 hub.


I found that most mounts, focuser adapters etc. use USB2 where Cameras use USB3 because of band width. simply put
USB3 caries more data. I have heard (not Confirmed) that if you use a USB2 and USB3 over a USB3 hub it drags the USB3 down to a USB2 level.
also on some laptop computers USB 2 and USB3 inputs use the same controller per side of the computer so if you plug a USB2 and a USB3 on the same side it drags the USB3 down. 

My solution is use a Ethernet adapter ICRON makes two versions one is USB2 and one is USB3 I chose the USB3 because the Computer end (RCV) has a USB3 output,
and my computer has only USB3 inputs (that's the way all computers are going). It also will accept USB2 inputs to the Mount end (TX) with no problem.
they say that the max cable length between the TX end and RCV end is ~300 feet.
the ICRON Raven 3104 solved my problems. I am sure there is other brands but I can not vouch for them.
Jim


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