Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly


Dale Ghent
 

It doesn't work that way, Joe. These auto-timezone settings use any location data that your computer can derive from its public IP address or any observed wifi networks, if visible (databases of wifi SSIDs exist, see wigle.net). Because auto-tz relies on these external cues, they can also be fooled. For example, if you use a VPN where the tunnel exits with a public IP that's SWIP'd to an ISP in Frankfurt, Germany, Windows might decide that's where you physically are.

If it's not a computer that travels, there's really no need to have auto-tz on.

Besides, time zone isn't a factor here because both Windows and the mount run in UTC. Timezone conversion in Windows is basically for presentation purposes.

On Apr 1, 2020, at 12:39 PM, Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@rogers.com> wrote:

Mikko.

Why are you avoiding the button for Windows to set Time Zone automatically?
It can sometimes be set to a convenient USA west coast one, by some USA software installers, perhaps even during Microsoft major half-yearly Updates.

I would check that box – couldn’t hurt. Might explain why your time might be correct, but not for your time zone.
Otherwise, why would Microsoft have this option box?

Joe

From: Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 11:56 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

Where else could there be time settings which would confuse the Mount or the program? This one is spot on...


- Mikko

<clock.JPG>


Roland Christen
 

Once again:

If you have a permanent setup where the mount and scope are never moved, then Unpark From Present Position.

If you are mobile and tear down your setup at the end of each session and set up fresh for the next one, then you can set your mount up to Unpark From Park X (choose 1 thru 5). It may not be as accurate as the permanent setup but it will get you started. Accuracy will depend on how well you level the mount, how well you polar align it, and how well you actually achieve the exact park position.

I don't normally do either of the above because I generally use a keypad for initialization. I just set it to Autoconnect YES and the keypad automatically resumes from present position. I don't change anything during the year, not even the daylight savings or set the clock back 1 hour. Every once in a while i might update the clock's minutes and seconds but never the hour. If the keypad clock is off by 1 minute the pointing will be off by 15 arc minutes. It would be off by 1 full degree if the time was off by 4 minutes in the keypad. I have never seen that much error in my keypad time in all the years that I have used it.

If you have a very small field of view then you will want to use a very accurate time base and initialize the mount via APCC. The keypad would then be set at EXT so that it does not interfere with the accurate time initialization of your computer. Of course if your computer's time drifts then all bets are off.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Cheng-Yang Tan via groups.io <cytan299@...>
To: main <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Wed, Apr 1, 2020 11:53 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

Hi Rolando,
  What is the difference between unparking from last park and unparking from a specified park position when I startup? FYI, I always start from park3.

My setup is mobile, but I don't usually loosen the clutches or unload the spring levers for balance when I setup and start from Park3. So which way is the recommended way for mobile setups?

cytan

On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 11:44:56 AM CDT, uncarollo2 <chris1011@...> via groups.io <chris1011@...> wrote:



Unparking now from the last position
I recommend to always do this for mounts that are never moved and have permanent scope setups.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Mikko Viljamaa <mikko.viljamaa@...>
To: main <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Wed, Apr 1, 2020 11:41 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

Unparking now from the last position as instructed earlier. Mach finds it's home now nicely.

- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

So I just started tonight's session and had no plate solving issues. Yes ASTAP told me that it was over 22,000 pixels (?) off - not sure how it converts to PlateSolve2 regions but I was done in seconds - the thing I like about ASTAP - so i'm not sure anymore what's going on. Not that I've been for a while anymore but anyway, if anyone has some ideas of what to try, I'm willing to do everything as I'm afraid that tomorrow's situation might be totally different again.


- Mikko


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Mikko,

Any other ideas of what to try?
Have you checked the mount's polar alignment?

Also, maybe the scope is mechanically or optically misaligned with the mount's RA and Dec axes which will cause pointing errors.

Maybe you said this before, but which telescope and camera are you using?

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 8:33 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

OK, so no LST. Then I'm out of ideas what could cause this. I would like to think that daylight saving or something
else would force this but as it again worked just fine a couple of times, I cannot believe time would be the cause.
Unless something somewhere feeds the mount wrong time information even though all visible timepieces are
correct.

Any other ideas of what to try?


- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 
Edited

So just in case I have not been clear before. The system we are talking about is;

  • Mach1 permanently on a tripod. No hand controller or APCC
  • Scope is a TEC140 and the camera is a QSI6120 (FL is about 1m so nothing major)
I checked the Polar Alignment yesterday evening, still spot on. And to add insult to this injury, the sequence had stopped last night at 3 am when the next target was not plate solved. I'm currently looking the SGP log to better understand what exactly happened. Further, this is how I found the mount this morning when it's supposed to return itself to the park3 position. So clearly something has shifted again during the wee hours of the night.

Correction, this seems not to be a plate solve issue after all. I'm still looking into this though...

 

- Mikko


Steve Reilly
 

Have you posted any of this to SGP> I’m beginning to think it may be software related and not hardware.

I suspect there are SGP logs that may well tell you far more but I have no knowledge with SGP.

 

-Steve

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:36 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

 

So just in case I have not been clear before. The system we are talking about is;

  • Mach1 permanently on a tripod. No hand controller or APCC
  • Scope is a TEC140 and the camera is a QSI6120 (FL is about 1m so nothing major)

I checked the Polar Alignment yesterday evening, still spot on. And to add insult to this injury, the sequence had stopped last night at 3 am when the next target was not plate solved. I'm currently looking the SGP log to better understand what exactly happened. Further, this is how I found the mount this morning when it's supposed to return itself to the park3 position. So clearly something has shifted again during the wee hours of the night.

 

- Mikko


Ray Gralak
 

Mikko,

Further, this is how I found the mount this morning when it's supposed to
return itself to the park3 position. So clearly something has shifted again during the wee hours of the night.
I can't tell from your photo what is wrong with the mount's position. It looks close to park 3. And as I mentioned before a plate solve/sync will offset the coordinates so a return to Park 3 will be offset.

And to add insult to this injury, the sequence had
stopped last night at 3 am when the next target was not plate solved
There is more than one reason for a plate solve failure. Do you have the image that failed to solve? It could be caused by unexpected things, like a plane flying through the image, or clouds.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2020 6:36 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

So just in case I have not been clear before. The system we are talking about is;



* Mach1 permanently on a tripod. No hand controller or APCC
* Scope is a TEC140 and the camera is a QSI6120 (FL is about 1m so nothing major)

I checked the Polar Alignment yesterday evening, still spot on. And to add insult to this injury, the sequence had
stopped last night at 3 am when the next target was not plate solved. I'm currently looking the SGP log to better
understand what exactly happened. Further, this is how I found the mount this morning when it's supposed to
return itself to the park3 position. So clearly something has shifted again during the wee hours of the night.



- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

I have Steve and Ken's been very helpful. i'm sending this last log to him again to better understand what went wrong. But the good news is that this seems not to be a plate solve issue after all. I still don't understand why the mount missed it's park position so badly and is it normal if it does it.


- Mikko


George
 

Mikko,

 

From the photo, that is Park 3.

 

Regards,

 

George

 

George Whitney

Astro-Physics, Inc.

Phone:  815-282-1513

Email:  george@...

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:11 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

 

I have Steve and Ken's been very helpful. i'm sending this last log to him again to better understand what went wrong. But the good news is that this seems not to be a plate solve issue after all. I still don't understand why the mount missed it's park position so badly and is it normal if it does it.


- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

Correct George. Except that this time the mount missed it's mark by more than an inch. 


- Mikko


George
 

Mikko,

 

Would you say that it missed by about 15 degrees?

 

Regards,

 

George

 

George Whitney

Astro-Physics, Inc.

Phone:  815-282-1513

Email:  george@...

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Mikko Viljamaa
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:09 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

 

Correct George. Except that this time the mount missed it's mark by more than an inch. 


- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

Ray I think I'm starting to understand some of this. So the miss from a specified park is a result of a plate sole or sync. That makes sense but what's the explanation that it does not happen always and I went basically two years when the mount always returned spot on. And now when it does not return exactly to park 3, should I manually move it so that the lines match? Or should I leave it as is for the next session?

Again, last nights miss seems not to be related to plate solving.


- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

George I would say it's at least 30 degrees if not more.


- Mikko


Roland Christen
 

I'm sorry that we cannot help since we don't really have any information to go on. It would be just speculation at this point. generally these kind of failings are the result of software telling the mount to do something, the mount faithfully doing it, but somewhere along the line the software told the mount to move to an erroneous position.

Normally in these situations I advise people to go back to fundamentals and control the mount with the minimum amount of software complexity. That means turning the mount on with nothing attached except a planetarium program. The idea is that once you have seen that the mount ALWAYS does what it is commanded to do, then you can forget about chasing it like a red herring down a blind alley. It all depends on whether you want to do the task of troubleshooting in a logical manner.

Here is how I would approach the problem:

First open the ASCOM "Setup Telescope" utility program and uncheck APCC. This allows you to connect your planetarium program directly to the mount in the simplest way possible.

1) With the mount powered up and no keypad connected, open SkyX, press "Connect". The ASCOM driver will come up. Check time, date etc., to make sure it is correct.

2) Using the ASCOM driver, park the mount to Park3 position. If the alignment marks are off, then release the clutch knobs and move the mount manually to Park3 and tighten the clutch knobs.

3) Disconnect the mount in SkyX (ASCOM driver will disappear), and turn off power

4) Turn power back on and unpark the mount "From Present Position" in the driver. SkyX should then show mount tracking at the sidereal rate.

5) Slew the mount to various stars and note that where the scope is pointed is correct.

6) Using the ASCOM driver, park the mount in Park3 position. Disconnect the mount from SkyX, the driver window will disappear. Turn power off.

7) repeat the sequence 4 thru 6 as many times as you wish. Note that each time you run this sequence that the mount will always park exactly at Park3. Try the other park positions also, but remember to always unpark the mount "From Present Position". No matter what park positions that you use, the mount will always know where it was when power was turned off.
(It will even remember where it was if you simply turn off power without parking the mount, but then both SkyX and the ASCOM driver will be very unhappy that you did not follow a proper turn-off procedure.)

Please do the above sequence and report the results. You can do this during the daytime, no need to wait until dark. Once you have done that, you can proceed to the next step. If anything in the above is unclear, I can provide you with screen shots of each step.

Waiting for you now, Roland Christen



-----Original Message-----
From: Mikko Viljamaa <mikko.viljamaa@...>
To: main <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Apr 2, 2020 8:36 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

So just in case I have not been clear before. The system we are talking about is;

  • Mach1 permanently on a tripod. No hand controller or APCC
  • Scope is a TEC140 and the camera is a QSI6120 (FL is about 1m so nothing major)
I checked the Polar Alignment yesterday evening, still spot on. And to add insult to this injury, the sequence had stopped last night at 3 am when the next target was not plate solved. I'm currently looking the SGP log to better understand what exactly happened. Further, this is how I found the mount this morning when it's supposed to return itself to the park3 position. So clearly something has shifted again during the wee hours of the night.

 

- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 
Edited

No need to apologize anyone. I keep following this and see how it develops. I've been thinking about trying another automation software anyway, this might be the push I need to rule that option out.


- Mikko


Roland Christen
 

Have you considered trying the test that I suggested in order to rule out any problem with the mount itself?

Roland Christen



-----Original Message-----
From: Mikko Viljamaa <mikko.viljamaa@...>
To: main <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Apr 2, 2020 6:38 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach1 Unable to Find Home Position Suddenly

[Edited Message Follows]
No need to apologize anyone. I keep following this and see how it develops. I've been thinking about trying another automation software anyway, this might be the push I need to rule that option out.


- Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

Rolando I don't have SkyX, nor do I have APCC or any planetary programs. As said, SG Pro does everything for me and if you think I can do the same with the SGP, I can try that.

But what you describe below is kind of what I have been doing, I have tried to realign the mount by loosen the clutches and manually rotating the Ra axes so the small alignment lines match. Both with the power on (mount connected) and without power. Based on my experience this makes things worse. The only way I can get the mount to return to the correct (park3) position is to manually turn the Ra axes with the clutches intact so the small lines match. And by doing this a few times.

This is what I had to do again yesterday evening, several times before the mount finally returned correctly to park3. After that I knew that I have a fighting change to get the sequence started. It all took about 30 min and the first slews were horribly off as the scope was already past the flip so I knew the solve would not work. The two photos attached show the incorrect and correct slews, telling how badly the mount is off (the one on the left obviously being the correct slew).




Thanks,

Mikko


Stuart <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Mikko, I've tried to follow this thread. In your description just posted, you did not mention SENDING the mount to Park 3 with the clutches loose. You do that first and just hold the scope with your hand while the motors run. When the mount stops, it "thinks" it is at Park 3. THEN you move it manually to Park 3 THEN tighten the clutches. 

Next you send it to Park 4. It should go there and be close. Now you loosen the clutches a second time and using a levelling device of some kind, ensure that the CW shaft and the scope are level. Then re-tighten the clutches. At this point you should be very close. Send the scope to a bright star, centre it and then hit RCAL.


On Fri, 3 Apr 2020 at 08:42, Mikko Viljamaa <mikko.viljamaa@...> wrote:
Rolando I don't have SkyX, nor do I have APCC or any planetary programs. As said, SG Pro does everything for me and if you think I can do the same with the SGP, I can try that.

But what you describe below is kind of what I have been doing, I have tried to realign the mount by loosen the clutches and manually rotating the Ra axes so the small alignment lines match. Both with the power on (mount connected) and without power. Based on my experience this makes things worse. The only way I can get the mount to return to the correct (park3) position is to manually turn the Ra axes with the clutches intact so the small lines match. And by doing this a few times.

This is what I had to do again yesterday evening, several times before the mount finally returned correctly to park3. After that I knew that I have a fighting change to get the sequence started. It all took about 30 min and the first slews were horribly off as the scope was already past the flip so I knew the solve would not work. The two photos attached show the incorrect and correct slews, telling how badly the mount is off (the one on the left obviously being the correct slew).




Thanks,

Mikko


--

Stuart
http://www.astrofoto.ca/stuartheggie/


Mikko Viljamaa
 

OK, so a couple of observations and a correction, hope these helps.

First a correction, when I have said clutches I actually meant levers. So if I disengage the lever and then rotate the mount to align it, things go worse. That's why I have not done that other than tried a few times to see if it helps. So when I have now tried to rotate the mount, I have done it as Rolando describes below, just without loosing the clutches first as the axes seem to move OK otherwise. The knobs are as tight as I can tight them without any tools and the axes are by no means loose, I need both hands to turn the axes. 

Then the observations. I was assuming that when Rolando said that I can to the test during the daytime that he meant just slewing the mount to different directions and see how it returns. That's what I did and the mount never returned correctly after it started from the "last parked" position. BTW the mount had returned spot on after last nights session. I did what Rolando asked below and the mount comes always short about the same amount. And what I noticed was that the mount always came short to the same side the slew was!  So if I slew to NE, the mount fell short of correct position below the fixed line and if I slew to NW, the mount was short of correct park above the line. 

The second observation was that if I didn't correct the mount as Rolando describes below (manually correct, disconnect from SGP and power off), the error multiplies about the same amount in the following slews (see photos below).



So what I can tell is that;

  1. it seems that the error shows now only on Ra axes
  2. Error seems to be consistent, about the same amount every time and regardless where you slew
  3. Error shows always on the same side of the mount where the slew started

Hope these helps,

Mikko


Mikko Viljamaa
 

Thanks Stuart.

What would be the difference with what you describe below and what I've done and what Rolando describes below, first let the mount park and then correct it?

SENDING the mount to Park 3 with the clutches loose. You do that first and just hold the scope with your hand while the motors run. When the mount stops, it "thinks" it is at Park 3. THEN you move it manually to Park 3 THEN tighten the clutches. 

The below I have not tried. Also, what's RCAL and from where do I find it? Again, I have never needed to calibrate the mount in any shape or form.

Next you send it to Park 4. It should go there and be close. Now you loosen the clutches a second time and using a levelling device of some kind, ensure that the CW shaft and the scope are level. Then re-tighten the clutches. At this point you should be very close. Send the scope to a bright star, centre it and then hit RCAL.


- Mikko