Date   

Re: How to Take Best Advantage of Partial APPM Model Runs #APCC

Greg Vaughn
 

Thanks, Brian and Luca;

I actually bin 2x2 for platesolving, but recognize they are still big files.   I haven't had any issue with the QHY 600, but the ZWO 6200 MM seems a little more temperamental.

I saw that there is a Beta version for SGP available and was hoping it would be a regular release before I used it - but a 64bit version sounds like it may help.   I had some frames dropped while imaging 1x1 (1 out of 4) with the new image train and hopefully that will stop with the Beta version.

Cheers,
Greg


Re: How to Take Best Advantage of Partial APPM Model Runs #APCC

Luca Marinelli
 

What Brian said. If you want to use SGP with the ASI6200, it will be much more reliable if you use SGP v4.657 beta 64bit. 

Luca

On Feb 26, 2021, at 5:41 PM, Brian Valente via groups.io <bvalente@...> wrote:


>>>the model is all-or-nothing, you can add on to an existing APPM model. 

EDIT: Sorry i mean to write you can *not* currently edit and add more points to an existing APPM model.

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 2:36 PM Brian Valente via groups.io <bvalente=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Greg

just inserting a couple things i"ve learned from using APPM

the model is all-or-nothing, you can add on to an existing APPM model. 

Also your hanging may be due to the huge file sizes of the 6200, in which case you might try binning or using a subframe. Generally it's better for models to use bin 1, but those files are enormous

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 2:27 PM Greg Vaughn <gregvaughn@...> wrote:
I think this question is for Ray Gralak;

I've gotten very comfortable with APPM and use it every time I set up for imaging.  I only have a partial view of the sky and I set up runs of between 49 and 87 points.  I use SGP with ASTAP selected and I haven't had an issue in recent memory with my primary imaging set up on the Mach 2.

Last night, I was testing a new imaging train on a little bit larger scope.   Instead of the QHY full frame CMOS, I was using the newer ZWO ASI 6200 Mono.  I adjusted the image scale and ran the model builder in APPM.  In this case it was the 49 point model and when it got to #41, APPM just hung showing 'imaging' in the status block on the table of points.   I could see that nothing was happening in SGP and so I 'paused' the model run.   I was looking for a selection that allowed me to just use points collected so far to build the model, but couldn't find such a selection.  

So I restarted the process.  Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until I get to point #36 and the same hang occurred.   I could see that SGP was 'downloading' interminably (don't know why) and the image was not appearing.  So it appears to be an SGP issue that impacts APPM.   (I already have the camera's USB communications slider all the way to the left, which indicates '40' and is supposed to be best at ensuring USB comms.)

My question is:  If I run into this issue again (and haven't yet found the root cause), is there a selection sequence in APPM I can use to go ahead and accept the existing model points I've accumulated so far and build a model from them without reaching the end or starting over.

Equipment/Software:
-AP Mach2
-CP5 (VCP5-P-02-08)
-APCC Pro (1.8.8.15)  -  just realized I need to upgrade to 1.8.8.17 and have done so
-SGP (3.2.0.613)

Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
Greg

Greg Vaughn
Alexandria, VA



--
Brian 



Brian Valente



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: How to Take Best Advantage of Partial APPM Model Runs #APCC

 

>>>the model is all-or-nothing, you can add on to an existing APPM model. 

EDIT: Sorry i mean to write you can *not* currently edit and add more points to an existing APPM model.

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 2:36 PM Brian Valente via groups.io <bvalente=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Greg

just inserting a couple things i"ve learned from using APPM

the model is all-or-nothing, you can add on to an existing APPM model. 

Also your hanging may be due to the huge file sizes of the 6200, in which case you might try binning or using a subframe. Generally it's better for models to use bin 1, but those files are enormous

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 2:27 PM Greg Vaughn <gregvaughn@...> wrote:
I think this question is for Ray Gralak;

I've gotten very comfortable with APPM and use it every time I set up for imaging.  I only have a partial view of the sky and I set up runs of between 49 and 87 points.  I use SGP with ASTAP selected and I haven't had an issue in recent memory with my primary imaging set up on the Mach 2.

Last night, I was testing a new imaging train on a little bit larger scope.   Instead of the QHY full frame CMOS, I was using the newer ZWO ASI 6200 Mono.  I adjusted the image scale and ran the model builder in APPM.  In this case it was the 49 point model and when it got to #41, APPM just hung showing 'imaging' in the status block on the table of points.   I could see that nothing was happening in SGP and so I 'paused' the model run.   I was looking for a selection that allowed me to just use points collected so far to build the model, but couldn't find such a selection.  

So I restarted the process.  Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until I get to point #36 and the same hang occurred.   I could see that SGP was 'downloading' interminably (don't know why) and the image was not appearing.  So it appears to be an SGP issue that impacts APPM.   (I already have the camera's USB communications slider all the way to the left, which indicates '40' and is supposed to be best at ensuring USB comms.)

My question is:  If I run into this issue again (and haven't yet found the root cause), is there a selection sequence in APPM I can use to go ahead and accept the existing model points I've accumulated so far and build a model from them without reaching the end or starting over.

Equipment/Software:
-AP Mach2
-CP5 (VCP5-P-02-08)
-APCC Pro (1.8.8.15)  -  just realized I need to upgrade to 1.8.8.17 and have done so
-SGP (3.2.0.613)

Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
Greg

Greg Vaughn
Alexandria, VA



--
Brian 



Brian Valente



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: How to Take Best Advantage of Partial APPM Model Runs #APCC

 

Hi Greg

just inserting a couple things i"ve learned from using APPM

the model is all-or-nothing, you can add on to an existing APPM model. 

Also your hanging may be due to the huge file sizes of the 6200, in which case you might try binning or using a subframe. Generally it's better for models to use bin 1, but those files are enormous

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 2:27 PM Greg Vaughn <gregvaughn@...> wrote:
I think this question is for Ray Gralak;

I've gotten very comfortable with APPM and use it every time I set up for imaging.  I only have a partial view of the sky and I set up runs of between 49 and 87 points.  I use SGP with ASTAP selected and I haven't had an issue in recent memory with my primary imaging set up on the Mach 2.

Last night, I was testing a new imaging train on a little bit larger scope.   Instead of the QHY full frame CMOS, I was using the newer ZWO ASI 6200 Mono.  I adjusted the image scale and ran the model builder in APPM.  In this case it was the 49 point model and when it got to #41, APPM just hung showing 'imaging' in the status block on the table of points.   I could see that nothing was happening in SGP and so I 'paused' the model run.   I was looking for a selection that allowed me to just use points collected so far to build the model, but couldn't find such a selection.  

So I restarted the process.  Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until I get to point #36 and the same hang occurred.   I could see that SGP was 'downloading' interminably (don't know why) and the image was not appearing.  So it appears to be an SGP issue that impacts APPM.   (I already have the camera's USB communications slider all the way to the left, which indicates '40' and is supposed to be best at ensuring USB comms.)

My question is:  If I run into this issue again (and haven't yet found the root cause), is there a selection sequence in APPM I can use to go ahead and accept the existing model points I've accumulated so far and build a model from them without reaching the end or starting over.

Equipment/Software:
-AP Mach2
-CP5 (VCP5-P-02-08)
-APCC Pro (1.8.8.15)  -  just realized I need to upgrade to 1.8.8.17 and have done so
-SGP (3.2.0.613)

Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
Greg

Greg Vaughn
Alexandria, VA



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


How to Take Best Advantage of Partial APPM Model Runs #APCC

Greg Vaughn
 

I think this question is for Ray Gralak;

I've gotten very comfortable with APPM and use it every time I set up for imaging.  I only have a partial view of the sky and I set up runs of between 49 and 87 points.  I use SGP with ASTAP selected and I haven't had an issue in recent memory with my primary imaging set up on the Mach 2.

Last night, I was testing a new imaging train on a little bit larger scope.   Instead of the QHY full frame CMOS, I was using the newer ZWO ASI 6200 Mono.  I adjusted the image scale and ran the model builder in APPM.  In this case it was the 49 point model and when it got to #41, APPM just hung showing 'imaging' in the status block on the table of points.   I could see that nothing was happening in SGP and so I 'paused' the model run.   I was looking for a selection that allowed me to just use points collected so far to build the model, but couldn't find such a selection.  

So I restarted the process.  Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until I get to point #36 and the same hang occurred.   I could see that SGP was 'downloading' interminably (don't know why) and the image was not appearing.  So it appears to be an SGP issue that impacts APPM.   (I already have the camera's USB communications slider all the way to the left, which indicates '40' and is supposed to be best at ensuring USB comms.)

My question is:  If I run into this issue again (and haven't yet found the root cause), is there a selection sequence in APPM I can use to go ahead and accept the existing model points I've accumulated so far and build a model from them without reaching the end or starting over.

Equipment/Software:
-AP Mach2
-CP5 (VCP5-P-02-08)
-APCC Pro (1.8.8.15)  -  just realized I need to upgrade to 1.8.8.17 and have done so
-SGP (3.2.0.613)

Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
Greg

Greg Vaughn
Alexandria, VA


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Bill Long
 

Low weight, medium cost, dual absolute encoders.  🙂 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 2:01 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN
 
I guess if you need just an imaging mount with no clutches (no way to use manually without power), it can be very small and light weight.
A universal mount like the Mach2 or 10-Micron has more components than a non-clutched mount like the MYT or Rainbow mounts.
A non-clutched mount without encoders would be slightly less weight, and less cost, but will always require aggressive guiding.
A non-clutched mount with just an RA encoder to eliminate the periodic error would be medium cost and light weight.

There are a lot of permutations and possibilities, and it would depend on what you want to do with this mount. Some people just want a light weight mount that they can haul out from the basement to the driveway, put a scope on it, put an eyepiece on it and do a Moon Cruise or examine the planets. They don't need encoders or PE correction. Others want one as small as possible for airline travel and may or may not want to guide. Others want a precision universal mount that they can do anything with, but must have low weight because their back hurts. The possibilities are endless.

Low cost, medium or high cost. Medium weight low weight or ultra-low weight. Low tracking performance, medium or ultra-high performance. Clutched or non-clutched - universal or targeted. Single encoder or dual absolute encoders.

Pick any 3 out of 5.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: alan.dang@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 2:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: GTOCP4 Control Box

Don Anderson
 

Very nice compact setup Tom. Your box on a post design is something. I am considering for my AP 900GOTO with an TV NP127is and SXVR H694/SX FW combination. What’s the diameter of your pier? I assume you meant 3 ft for the pier concrete block diameter. Can you un bolt the pier from the foundation?
Cheers
Don




On Friday, February 26, 2021, 2:36 PM, Tom Blahovici <tom.va2fsq@...> wrote:

Hi
Here you are.  This routinely works no issues down to -20C.  Actually the only issue is my darks are at -20 and should be set to -25 on these cold days.
You can see the NUC, which is an I5, bought last year so it is pretty current.  There are also two Goldenrod heaters, two desiccant chambers a IR webcam and Thunderbolt to 10G network adapter.
In the box under the unit, there is the IOT power strip, the power supply for the setup, network hub and Anderson power pole box. There is also another GoldenRod heater.
The pier is mounted to a concrete block 3" in diameter and six feet deep.
All comes down in the summer so my wife can enjoy her garden.
Tom


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

DFisch
 

1, low weight
2, Knows where it is at all times
3 High accuracy on both axes

TJF Mobile
please excuse grammar and spell errors


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 5:01:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN
 
I guess if you need just an imaging mount with no clutches (no way to use manually without power), it can be very small and light weight.
A universal mount like the Mach2 or 10-Micron has more components than a non-clutched mount like the MYT or Rainbow mounts.
A non-clutched mount without encoders would be slightly less weight, and less cost, but will always require aggressive guiding.
A non-clutched mount with just an RA encoder to eliminate the periodic error would be medium cost and light weight.

There are a lot of permutations and possibilities, and it would depend on what you want to do with this mount. Some people just want a light weight mount that they can haul out from the basement to the driveway, put a scope on it, put an eyepiece on it and do a Moon Cruise or examine the planets. They don't need encoders or PE correction. Others want one as small as possible for airline travel and may or may not want to guide. Others want a precision universal mount that they can do anything with, but must have low weight because their back hurts. The possibilities are endless.

Low cost, medium or high cost. Medium weight low weight or ultra-low weight. Low tracking performance, medium or ultra-high performance. Clutched or non-clutched - universal or targeted. Single encoder or dual absolute encoders.

Pick any 3 out of 5.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: alan.dang@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 2:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Roland Christen
 

I guess if you need just an imaging mount with no clutches (no way to use manually without power), it can be very small and light weight.
A universal mount like the Mach2 or 10-Micron has more components than a non-clutched mount like the MYT or Rainbow mounts.
A non-clutched mount without encoders would be slightly less weight, and less cost, but will always require aggressive guiding.
A non-clutched mount with just an RA encoder to eliminate the periodic error would be medium cost and light weight.

There are a lot of permutations and possibilities, and it would depend on what you want to do with this mount. Some people just want a light weight mount that they can haul out from the basement to the driveway, put a scope on it, put an eyepiece on it and do a Moon Cruise or examine the planets. They don't need encoders or PE correction. Others want one as small as possible for airline travel and may or may not want to guide. Others want a precision universal mount that they can do anything with, but must have low weight because their back hurts. The possibilities are endless.

Low cost, medium or high cost. Medium weight low weight or ultra-low weight. Low tracking performance, medium or ultra-high performance. Clutched or non-clutched - universal or targeted. Single encoder or dual absolute encoders.

Pick any 3 out of 5.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: alan.dang@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 2:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Christopher Erickson
 

For me, a super-compact, super-lightweight, super-rigid, super-tight, and super-accurate AP mount sporting strain wave gears and abs encoders would be the ultimate portable killer imaging mount.

And price wouldn't be a priority if it met all my requirements.

My name would be on the waiting list within seconds.
 
"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 11:37 AM Christopher Erickson via groups.io <christopher.k.erickson=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
I bought a Rainbow Astro RST-135 because AP currently doesn't have a compact mount that matches the size and portability of my Stowaway.

My overriding passion is for solar eclipse travel and occultation travel, two activities that don't require long exposures and extreme tracking precision and my 1100GTO and Mach1 are just way too much hassle for me for airline travels. The RST-135 and Stowaway fit solar eclipses perfectly, and the RST-135 and C11 with Hyperstar fit occultation travel perfectly.

But I have to say that now I have the RST-135 I have learned the value of super-lightweight portability. It is so much easier to get out and go for casual stargazing with buddies than with my bigger setups. I may only be 63, very strong and in good health, but even my Mach1 is often more of a handful than I want to haul out for an evening's casual stargazing on short notice. The RST-135 is so lightweight and compact that my entire mount kit, plus Pelican case is only 35 lbs. And that even includes a carbon-fiber tripod.

I am really enjoying my RST-135 but I would sell it in a hot minute if I could buy a compact AP mount for my Stowaway instead.

Abs encoders would be cool but not required by my applications. However I wouldn't balk at the extra cost for them. Personally I would want servos over steppers for a whole-multitude of reasons, although I understand that steppers are quite a bit cheaper than precision servos. Servos have way lower power requirements and consequently give off way less heat. For me that also means less battery capacity to haul around.

Maybe call it the Mach-10, for how light and fast it will travel the world with me.

However my favorite name for it would be the AP Intrepid. Fearless, nimble traveller and adventurer.

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

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 10:46 AM <alan.dang@...> wrote:

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.


Re: Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Roland Christen
 


"Keeping the mount perfectly steady while engaging the gearbox release was a challenge at times and this is when I remember feeling the teeth raking across the worm more than once before it would fully engage."
If you have your mount set up, try this little experiment:

1) Send the mount to Park3.
2) while holding the rear of your scope, release the RA gearbox lever.
3) now let go of the scope.

Did the scope suddenly move? I bet not. Notice how stable the scope is even with the gears fully released. Even if it was unbalanced it would not move, unless you begin to swing the scope a bit from the Park 3 position. You can now manually move the axis to the horizontal position to do fine balance. once that is finished, return the mount back to Park3 position.

4) Now re-lock the gears with the lever only 1/2 way to the full lock position. Gently rock the axis back and forth by a very small minute amount until you can hear the gears engage naturally. Once they do, you will not feel any motion as you apply a tiny amount of pressure back and forth. When you feel no motion, turn the lever the rest of the way to fully locked position.

5) With scope still in Park3, release the DEC gearbox lever. Did the scope suddenly move? I bet not, and again note how stable the scope is, even if it was not perfectly balanced.
6) Now move the Dec axis to the Park2 position (horizontal). In this position you can do a fine Dec balance.
7) move the scope back to Park3 position and lock the lever in 2 steps as above.

Do this with your Mach1 mount in order to get a feel for how things should be done to prevent any kind of problems with the gears if you have unbalanced load. If you really don't know how badly out of balance you are, you can get pretty close to balance by loosening the clutches and doing a rough balance first. Once you have done that, you can do a fine balance by taking the gears out of mesh. You won't have to worry about wild swings when the axes are disengaged.

Roland Christen

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Jones <andjones132@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 2:19 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Hi Rolando.

Thank you for your response and it is very good to hear you do service your mounts after the sale. Like I said, I don't mind spending the money for a world class mount, but I need to know that if the mount ever needs to be serviced and it is beyond my skill level that I can send it back to AP get it serviced. 

Also, thank you for explaining a bit more what it takes to damage the gears and for letting me know that I should only be using the gearbox release from Park 3. It is probably in the manual somewhere, but I never knew that the gearbox release should only be used in Park 3. This is great to know. 

Regarding my my Mach1, yes, I have felt the gears rake across teeth when I engaging the release lever a couple of times, but I have never forced anything. This was mainly a problem when I first got the Mach1 and I had a 11" EdgeHD OTA fully loaded with imaging gear, which required over 60lbs of counter weights. Keeping the mount perfectly steady while engaging the gearbox release was a challenge at times and this is when I remember feeling the teeth raking across the worm more than once before it would fully engage. Of course, I did not know I should only be using the release levers from Park 3 which probably made the situation worse. That said, I never force it to engage, so maybe the gears are still OK. If memory serves me correctly, I think I only ever had this happen on the DEC Axis so based on what you told me I should still be OK even if I did slightly damage the gear. George sent me a note asking me to send him a screen shot of my guiding for 7 mins with aggressiveness set to zero. He seemed to indicate that he would be able to tell if the worm gear has been damaged based on this. Are there any other techniques to check if the worm gears have been damaged? I would like to check both Axis just to make sure they are OK.

The Mach1 was my first mount, so I made a lot of mistakes over the years as I learned how to use this type of mount. Now I need to clean up my mistakes and fix any issues so that I can get many more years of service out of the mount. Plus if I ever sell the mount I don't want to pass on a damaged mount to someone who then might blame AP for issues caused by me. The current plan is for the Mach1 to become my portable mount once the 1100 show up. I want to be able to do solar imaging and I found out recently that imaging the sun from inside a dome is a bad idea due to the sun heading up the dome during the day. So the Mach1 will make for a perfect platform for my Lunt solar scope that I can setup out in the yard away from any radiant heat sources. 

Thanks again for all your help and support.

Andrew J



--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Christopher Erickson
 

I bought a Rainbow Astro RST-135 because AP currently doesn't have a compact mount that matches the size and portability of my Stowaway.

My overriding passion is for solar eclipse travel and occultation travel, two activities that don't require long exposures and extreme tracking precision and my 1100GTO and Mach1 are just way too much hassle for me for airline travels. The RST-135 and Stowaway fit solar eclipses perfectly, and the RST-135 and C11 with Hyperstar fit occultation travel perfectly.

But I have to say that now I have the RST-135 I have learned the value of super-lightweight portability. It is so much easier to get out and go for casual stargazing with buddies than with my bigger setups. I may only be 63, very strong and in good health, but even my Mach1 is often more of a handful than I want to haul out for an evening's casual stargazing on short notice. The RST-135 is so lightweight and compact that my entire mount kit, plus Pelican case is only 35 lbs. And that even includes a carbon-fiber tripod.

I am really enjoying my RST-135 but I would sell it in a hot minute if I could buy a compact AP mount for my Stowaway instead.

Abs encoders would be cool but not required by my applications. However I wouldn't balk at the extra cost for them. Personally I would want servos over steppers for a whole-multitude of reasons, although I understand that steppers are quite a bit cheaper than precision servos. Servos have way lower power requirements and consequently give off way less heat. For me that also means less battery capacity to haul around.

Maybe call it the Mach-10, for how light and fast it will travel the world with me.

However my favorite name for it would be the AP Intrepid. Fearless, nimble traveller and adventurer.

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

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 10:46 AM <alan.dang@...> wrote:

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.


Re: GTOCP4 Control Box

Tom Blahovici
 

Hi
Here you are.  This routinely works no issues down to -20C.  Actually the only issue is my darks are at -20 and should be set to -25 on these cold days.
You can see the NUC, which is an I5, bought last year so it is pretty current.  There are also two Goldenrod heaters, two desiccant chambers a IR webcam and Thunderbolt to 10G network adapter.
In the box under the unit, there is the IOT power strip, the power supply for the setup, network hub and Anderson power pole box. There is also another GoldenRod heater.
The pier is mounted to a concrete block 3" in diameter and six feet deep.
All comes down in the summer so my wife can enjoy her garden.
Tom


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Bob Benamati
 

As someone who's become very pysically limited by handicap over the recent years, this is exactly what I've been holding off and hoping for in order to get some observing "independence" and flexibility back! I would certainly be a buyer.

Un-mounting the main scope from the 900GTO just to run my FSQ, and/or tearing apart the 900 from the pier in the obs. in order to go offsite to image is just not possible for me anymore. 

And ~20lbs would be a perfect weight that I can actually manage and setup unassisted!

BB
 








Sent via Verizon Wireless

On Feb 26, 2021 11:57, "Roland Christen via groups.io" <chris1011@...> wrote:
I'm thinking more along the lines of older people who can't lift 40lb of mount any more, but could set up a smaller mount that weighs between 10 and 20 lb. The idea of the encoders was to eliminate doing PE correction. With a high resolution small scope and the tiny pixel cameras that can record 1.5 arc sec stars, the last thing you want is to have tracking variations over short time periods that measure 10 to 20 arc seconds. Yes, you could guide at rapid fire rates, but that's just more gear to take along.

As an example, last night I shot a huge number of 30, 60, 90, 120  second exposures of the core of M42 with the Mach2 encoder mount. I did not guide or model, simply let it gather data over a 4 hour period. The mount was just polar aligned with my usual techniques. The average FWHM of the stars was between 1.5 and 1.8 arc seconds. Total drift was around 30 arc seconds for the entire period ( 0.13 arc sec per minute). Although I used my CCD camera, a modern CMOS camera with a 120 second exposure can capture a lot of data. Perfect for a fun weekend camping trip where you set up the scope, let it do its thing while you enjoy friends around a campfire.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Long <bill@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 9:47 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

For visual use, wouldn't encoders be way overkill? 

For imaging mobile space is a serious concern, especially if you have a smaller car or when it is a family outing as well. Mount, counterweights, tripod, camera, wheel, guide accessories, imaging computer, cabling, backup supplies, tools, etc. Making the mount smaller and lighter helps a lot. Smaller and lighter tripod helps as well.

Taking imaging gear on a plane isn't really a need for me now, which is why the RST135 isn't in my gear herd yet. The AP400AE would be awesome and would work with all of my scopes except for the two big iDK scopes which I wouldn't likely take on a road trip anyhow.

For solo trips where the space is all mine to use, then my other mounts are fine. But boy would a nice light more compact mint be wonderful to have!


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Elenillor <elenillor@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 5:38 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN
 
I will put in my 2 cents on this. Back in the day I put my name on the list for a 400 as I wanted a smaller mount to go with the 600E. I wound up with a Mach1 as the 400 was superseded by the larger mount and very glad I have it.
 
Still in the search for a smaller option I got a DM6 shortly after they were introduced. It was rarely used, and I eventually sold it.
 
The DM6 excursion taught me that the mount head is only a small part of the 'kit' that needs to be transported for portable observing. Having a small head really made no difference in ease of transport, setup or takedown. I am only visual, photographers have another whole set of 'kit' to deal with that is independent of the mount head. As a result I see no reason to make any tradeoff for a small head.
 
I assume an updated encodered 400 would be only a little less cost than and a Mach2. Would they sell in numbers big enough to justify it's development is a good question. That was apparently answered when the 400 was discontinued.
 
As an aside for grab and go I have a TEC110 F5.6 on a gear headed tripod. I take it in an out of the house almost daily for quick solar or night time viewing.  Also a SKY90 with a smaller tripod for suitcase travel.

John

On Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 08:16 PM, Roland Christen wrote:
If we ever decide to design a smaller portable mount, what would be most desirable? What's missing in the panoply of mounts today? Before you answer, I have in my right hand a 400 mount that weighs 12lb without the base. It has a precision gear set and can be fitted with absolute encoders that would allow it to track at sub-arc sec levels. I daresay that this mount can easily swing a C11 or a 140 refractor. Is there a reason for such an animal?
 
Rolando

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

alan.dang@...
 

And not just older people, but young enthusiasts who just want a lighter no-fuss mount that more easily travels when going on a group road trip where you have limited space for the Astro gear along with clothes and other travel essentials.

A real question is what is the smallest mount that would work with a AP105 and have encoders?  You might not save production cost over a mount that handles a C11 or AP130EDT — but if the mount is dramatically smaller or lighter, it could be interesting.


Re: Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Andrew Jones
 

Hi Rolando.

Thank you for your response and it is very good to hear you do service your mounts after the sale. Like I said, I don't mind spending the money for a world class mount, but I need to know that if the mount ever needs to be serviced and it is beyond my skill level that I can send it back to AP get it serviced. 

Also, thank you for explaining a bit more what it takes to damage the gears and for letting me know that I should only be using the gearbox release from Park 3. It is probably in the manual somewhere, but I never knew that the gearbox release should only be used in Park 3. This is great to know. 

Regarding my my Mach1, yes, I have felt the gears rake across teeth when I engaging the release lever a couple of times, but I have never forced anything. This was mainly a problem when I first got the Mach1 and I had a 11" EdgeHD OTA fully loaded with imaging gear, which required over 60lbs of counter weights. Keeping the mount perfectly steady while engaging the gearbox release was a challenge at times and this is when I remember feeling the teeth raking across the worm more than once before it would fully engage. Of course, I did not know I should only be using the release levers from Park 3 which probably made the situation worse. That said, I never force it to engage, so maybe the gears are still OK. If memory serves me correctly, I think I only ever had this happen on the DEC Axis so based on what you told me I should still be OK even if I did slightly damage the gear. George sent me a note asking me to send him a screen shot of my guiding for 7 mins with aggressiveness set to zero. He seemed to indicate that he would be able to tell if the worm gear has been damaged based on this. Are there any other techniques to check if the worm gears have been damaged? I would like to check both Axis just to make sure they are OK.

The Mach1 was my first mount, so I made a lot of mistakes over the years as I learned how to use this type of mount. Now I need to clean up my mistakes and fix any issues so that I can get many more years of service out of the mount. Plus if I ever sell the mount I don't want to pass on a damaged mount to someone who then might blame AP for issues caused by me. The current plan is for the Mach1 to become my portable mount once the 1100 show up. I want to be able to do solar imaging and I found out recently that imaging the sun from inside a dome is a bad idea due to the sun heading up the dome during the day. So the Mach1 will make for a perfect platform for my Lunt solar scope that I can setup out in the yard away from any radiant heat sources. 

Thanks again for all your help and support.

Andrew J



Re: Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Bill Long
 

You could order a grease kit and service your mount. In the process of doing that you remove the gearboxes and spend some quality time with the worm, wheel, and reduction gears. If anything is awry, you will no doubt see it. If not, your mount is now well greased up and ready for action. Two birds, one stone! 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Andrew Jones <andjones132@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 10:27 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers
 
Hi Rolando.

Let's say that I did damage the worm gears on my Mach over the years by using the gearbox release levers. I know there has been times when I felt the gear rake across the worm gear before it fully engaged. I also know that have been having issues guiding on my DEC Axis. The mount is on a permanent pier in a dome and I recently verified both the PEC and my polar alignment using PemPro so I should not be having guiding issues. Which makes me suspect that I may have damaged my DEC Axis worm gear. Does AP offer an inspection/repair service for their mounts? Can I send the mount in to be inspected and serviced if needed?

Not only is this question important for getting my Mach1 fixed, I just put down my deposit for the 1100 GTO AEL with accessories and weights plus a 10" ATS Pier. Combined this is north of $20K. Which I am ok with as I know I am buying a quality mount that should last 20 - 30 years. That said, before I spend this kind of money I need to know that if I have issues with the the 1100 like i have with my Mach1 that I that I can send it to be serviced. I got a note back recently that indicated you don't service your mounts. That if repairs are needed the customer will need to perform the repairs themselves. I need to get confirmation that you do service your mounts after the sale. 

Thank you.

Andrew J


Re: Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Roland Christen
 


I got a note back recently that indicated you don't service your mounts. That if repairs are needed the customer will need to perform the repairs themselves.
I don't know where you got that information, but that's totally wrong. Of course we service our mounts.

As far as raking the gears when releasing them, it might cause an issue with guiding in RA because it would affect the periodic error during sidereal tracking. The Dec axis doesn't track, so any tooth damage would probably never show up during normal tracking and guiding. If it's just a minor amount of damage, the gears repair themselves during normal slewing to the point where nothing is affected. They lap themselves in if the damage is minor.

Major damage occurs when the user forcibly jams the gears back together when they are not aligned tooth top to tooth bottom. In other words, the tops of the teeth are jammed together and crush each other. The best way to re-lock the teeth of the worm to the worm wheel is to 1) always do it in Park3 position, both RA and Dec, and 2) move the lever half way and let the gentle spring pressure push the teeth back together while gently rocking the axis back and forth a slight amount until the worms mate fully. Then gently turn the lever the rest of the way to fully lock them in place.

In the case where the worm teeth have been crushed, there is no other fix than replacing the worm gears.

Roland


-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Jones <andjones132@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 12:27 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Hi Rolando.

Let's say that I did damage the worm gears on my Mach over the years by using the gearbox release levers. I know there has been times when I felt the gear rake across the worm gear before it fully engaged. I also know that have been having issues guiding on my DEC Axis. The mount is on a permanent pier in a dome and I recently verified both the PEC and my polar alignment using PemPro so I should not be having guiding issues. Which makes me suspect that I may have damaged my DEC Axis worm gear. Does AP offer an inspection/repair service for their mounts? Can I send the mount in to be inspected and serviced if needed?

Not only is this question important for getting my Mach1 fixed, I just put down my deposit for the 1100 GTO AEL with accessories and weights plus a 10" ATS Pier. Combined this is north of $20K. Which I am ok with as I know I am buying a quality mount that should last 20 - 30 years. That said, before I spend this kind of money I need to know that if I have issues with the the 1100 like i have with my Mach1 that I that I can send it to be serviced. I got a note back recently that indicated you don't service your mounts. That if repairs are needed the customer will need to perform the repairs themselves. I need to get confirmation that you do service your mounts after the sale. 

Thank you.

Andrew J

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Clutch Knobs vs. the Gearbox Release Levers

Andrew Jones
 

Hi Rolando.

Let's say that I did damage the worm gears on my Mach over the years by using the gearbox release levers. I know there has been times when I felt the gear rake across the worm gear before it fully engaged. I also know that have been having issues guiding on my DEC Axis. The mount is on a permanent pier in a dome and I recently verified both the PEC and my polar alignment using PemPro so I should not be having guiding issues. Which makes me suspect that I may have damaged my DEC Axis worm gear. Does AP offer an inspection/repair service for their mounts? Can I send the mount in to be inspected and serviced if needed?

Not only is this question important for getting my Mach1 fixed, I just put down my deposit for the 1100 GTO AEL with accessories and weights plus a 10" ATS Pier. Combined this is north of $20K. Which I am ok with as I know I am buying a quality mount that should last 20 - 30 years. That said, before I spend this kind of money I need to know that if I have issues with the the 1100 like i have with my Mach1 that I that I can send it to be serviced. I got a note back recently that indicated you don't service your mounts. That if repairs are needed the customer will need to perform the repairs themselves. I need to get confirmation that you do service your mounts after the sale. 

Thank you.

Andrew J


Re: Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

Bill Long
 

Yes, that would be a very real use case for it. There is certainly an appetite for such a mount. 



From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 8:57 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN
 
I'm thinking more along the lines of older people who can't lift 40lb of mount any more, but could set up a smaller mount that weighs between 10 and 20 lb. The idea of the encoders was to eliminate doing PE correction. With a high resolution small scope and the tiny pixel cameras that can record 1.5 arc sec stars, the last thing you want is to have tracking variations over short time periods that measure 10 to 20 arc seconds. Yes, you could guide at rapid fire rates, but that's just more gear to take along.

As an example, last night I shot a huge number of 30, 60, 90, 120  second exposures of the core of M42 with the Mach2 encoder mount. I did not guide or model, simply let it gather data over a 4 hour period. The mount was just polar aligned with my usual techniques. The average FWHM of the stars was between 1.5 and 1.8 arc seconds. Total drift was around 30 arc seconds for the entire period ( 0.13 arc sec per minute). Although I used my CCD camera, a modern CMOS camera with a 120 second exposure can capture a lot of data. Perfect for a fun weekend camping trip where you set up the scope, let it do its thing while you enjoy friends around a campfire.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Long <bill@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2021 9:47 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN

For visual use, wouldn't encoders be way overkill? 

For imaging mobile space is a serious concern, especially if you have a smaller car or when it is a family outing as well. Mount, counterweights, tripod, camera, wheel, guide accessories, imaging computer, cabling, backup supplies, tools, etc. Making the mount smaller and lighter helps a lot. Smaller and lighter tripod helps as well.

Taking imaging gear on a plane isn't really a need for me now, which is why the RST135 isn't in my gear herd yet. The AP400AE would be awesome and would work with all of my scopes except for the two big iDK scopes which I wouldn't likely take on a road trip anyhow.

For solo trips where the space is all mine to use, then my other mounts are fine. But boy would a nice light more compact mint be wonderful to have!


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Elenillor <elenillor@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 5:38 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small mount was Recent encoder discussion on CN
 
I will put in my 2 cents on this. Back in the day I put my name on the list for a 400 as I wanted a smaller mount to go with the 600E. I wound up with a Mach1 as the 400 was superseded by the larger mount and very glad I have it.
 
Still in the search for a smaller option I got a DM6 shortly after they were introduced. It was rarely used, and I eventually sold it.
 
The DM6 excursion taught me that the mount head is only a small part of the 'kit' that needs to be transported for portable observing. Having a small head really made no difference in ease of transport, setup or takedown. I am only visual, photographers have another whole set of 'kit' to deal with that is independent of the mount head. As a result I see no reason to make any tradeoff for a small head.
 
I assume an updated encodered 400 would be only a little less cost than and a Mach2. Would they sell in numbers big enough to justify it's development is a good question. That was apparently answered when the 400 was discontinued.
 
As an aside for grab and go I have a TEC110 F5.6 on a gear headed tripod. I take it in an out of the house almost daily for quick solar or night time viewing.  Also a SKY90 with a smaller tripod for suitcase travel.

John

On Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 08:16 PM, Roland Christen wrote:
If we ever decide to design a smaller portable mount, what would be most desirable? What's missing in the panoply of mounts today? Before you answer, I have in my right hand a 400 mount that weighs 12lb without the base. It has a precision gear set and can be fitted with absolute encoders that would allow it to track at sub-arc sec levels. I daresay that this mount can easily swing a C11 or a 140 refractor. Is there a reason for such an animal?
 
Rolando

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics

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