Topics

Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?


Tom Blahovici
 

Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.

I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not apparent in my case.  I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute.  I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was even higher.  Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all.  Rock solid.  Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters.  The drive has a very smooth 3 arc second peak to peak tracking.  With PEM, +-2.8. 
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom


uncarollo2 <chris1011@aol.com>
 

When you do drift alignment, you are aligning the Dec drift in two places. The first one pointing to the celestial equator and meridian. The second one is pointing to the celestial equator above the eastern horizon.Whether or not the RA has periodic error has zero bearing on drift alignment. The fact that you brought up RA tracking means that you are not understanding the fundamental idea of drift alignment. In drift alignment the RA axis has no function and no bearing on the alignment.

When doing drift align, you are looking at only Dec drift, and since the Dec axis is stationary, the drift is 100% due to polar misalignment. There is no Dec tracking happening in either drift position.

Azimuth alignment:
The first alignment at the celestial equator involves ONLY the azimuth axis. Do not touch the altitude axis! It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to adjust the azimuth so that the star does not drift in Dec. Ignore any RA drift - it is meaningless at this point. Once that is done, the azimuth should not be adjusted again.

Altitude Alignment:
The second alignment is done pointing toward the eastern horizon. I like to be somewhere above 25 degrees altitude above the horizon. Here again you want to zero out the declination drift but this time by adjusting the altitude axis. If you don't know which way to turn the altitude knob, start your mount out with the axis pointing way below the pole (many many degrees) and watch the drift in Dec. It will be a very fast drift, so start raising the axis slowly and watch the drift decrease. Now you know which direction to turn the knob versus the direction of the drift. Nifty,eh? Eventually you will reach a point where the Dec drift has bottomed out and maybe even reversed. Then just go back a bit and move the altitude adjuster by smaller amounts. It is not absolutely necessary to reduce the Dec drift to zero, but a good 1 arc sec per 5 minutes is close enough for all intents and purposes. Again ignore any RA drift during this procedure. And do not touch the azimuth adjustment.

Once the Dec drift has been close to zeroed out in both Az and Alt, you are essentially polar aligned. Does that mean that you will have no RA drift anywhere? NO! RA will drift, and in some places by large amounts up to 2 to 3 arc seconds per minute if you are pointing to a low object in the east or West, and especially so as you go further north toward the pole. That is the penalty for living on a planet that has a breathable atmosphere. You will even get some small amount of RA drift near the zenith using this method, but it is quite manageable with guiding and a good PE curve.

Typically the RA axis will drift more than the Dec in most directions in the sky. That's because atmospheric refraction affects the RA direction far more than Dec, some places by a factor of 10x more. Just remember, you cannot stop RA drift with perfect sidereal tracking and perfect polar alignment. If you could, you would be dead within a minute because there would be no atmosphere above you.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Blahovici <tom.va2fsq@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Sep 12, 2020 1:08 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.
I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not apparent in my case.  I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute.  I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was even higher.  Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all.  Rock solid.  Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters.  The drive has a very smooth 3 arc second peak to peak tracking.  With PEM, +-2.8. 
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Tom,
 
    Funny that you should mention the odd “adjustment direction” misbehaviour running PEMPRO.
 
    Like you, I have years of familiarity with PEMPRO, and it is actually fun to use. However, I spent hours last night,  trying to get it to behave with my AP-1200/CP4. I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,  to the direction it was asking me to adjust the AZ. Every time it said Clockwise rotation, I rotated the AZ COUNTER clockwise, and that worked fine. Otherwise, as in your experience, following its suggestion, the gap just widened with every suggested direction adjustment.
 
    I think the initial setup calibration  pointing to either your East side or West of the meridian, should automatically determine if the camera ‘s vertical direction, Mine was upside down, during the run, pointing to   West of the PM. Next time out, I will rerun PEMPRO, but with the scope pointing to the East side of the PM, and see if the direction to turn then becomes correct. As I recall, the older versions had “hockey sticks” on the drift graph, for us to help specify the camera orientation. Now it is supposed to be automatic.
 
    Ray, is it possible that without doing the DEC adjustment, the scope axis is pointing below or above Polaris, and this makes it offer the contrary direction suggestions?
 
    I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT seem to be the case. It has to be started  in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO,   every time.
 
    It is a great program, but seems to have some “direction prompting” quirks, as we have both witnessed, and which I will investigate further to double check my observations.
 
Joe Z.
 
 

From: Tom Blahovici
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 2:08 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
 

Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.

I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not apparent in my case.  I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute.  I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was even higher.  Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all.  Rock solid.  Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters.  The drive has a very smooth 3 arc second peak to peak tracking.  With PEM, +-2.8.
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom


Tom Blahovici
 

Thanks for the trick on the altitude. Makes sense.
I think one of the most difficult parts is tightening the altitude Allen bolt. It always seems to throw off everything, although it shouldn't since tightening should make the mount go snug on the altitude screw.
What about a slight misbalance in the Dec axis? Would this not be benificial? Given how the graph jumps all over the place would this not indicate that the mount is flexing in Dec?
Thanks, Tom


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Joe,

I have used PEMPro a number of times in the last few months on my 1100AE and 1200 mounts, and haven't seen any direction reversals, but I can double check the next year (lol) that my California skies are clear enough. Assuming you went through the calibration steps correctly, is it possible you could have adjusted the wrong Azimuth knob?

Also, being above or below the pole will not affect the Az direction at all.

I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
seem to be the case. It has to be started in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO, every time.
CCDSoft (and any other ActiveX control) should register itself when it is installed, which it doesn't. If it can't register itself even when running as Administrator, then maybe there is reason. You might try changing the compatibility mode of CCDSoft to Windows 7.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 12:19 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi Tom,

Funny that you should mention the odd “adjustment direction” misbehaviour running PEMPRO.

Like you, I have years of familiarity with PEMPRO, and it is actually fun to use. However, I spent hours last
night, trying to get it to behave with my AP-1200/CP4. I quickly realized that I should do the opposite, to the
direction it was asking me to adjust the AZ. Every time it said Clockwise rotation, I rotated the AZ COUNTER
clockwise, and that worked fine. Otherwise, as in your experience, following its suggestion, the gap just widened
with every suggested direction adjustment.

I think the initial setup calibration pointing to either your East side or West of the meridian, should automatically
determine if the camera ‘s vertical direction, Mine was upside down, during the run, pointing to West of the PM.
Next time out, I will rerun PEMPRO, but with the scope pointing to the East side of the PM, and see if the direction
to turn then becomes correct. As I recall, the older versions had “hockey sticks” on the drift graph, for us to help
specify the camera orientation. Now it is supposed to be automatic.

Ray, is it possible that without doing the DEC adjustment, the scope axis is pointing below or above Polaris, and
this makes it offer the contrary direction suggestions?

I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
seem to be the case. It has to be started in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO, every time.

It is a great program, but seems to have some “direction prompting” quirks, as we have both witnessed, and
which I will investigate further to double check my observations.

Joe Z.


From: Tom Blahovici
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 2:08 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?


Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.

I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not
apparent in my case. I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute. I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree
off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was
even higher. Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then
start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet
long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all. Rock
solid. Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters. The drive has a very smooth 3 arc
second peak to peak tracking. With PEM, +-2.8.
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom




uncarollo2 <chris1011@aol.com>
 

You should not be doing the drift align with any of the bolts loose. Tighten them and only loosen one set when you are actually changing the setting (either az when adjusting az or alt when adjusting alt). Then tighten them again and take another reading. Leaving them loose while taking a reading will cause things to drift in weird directions.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Blahovici <tom.va2fsq@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Sep 12, 2020 2:22 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Thanks for the trick on the altitude. Makes sense.
I think one of the most difficult parts is tightening the altitude Allen bolt. It always seems to throw off everything, although it shouldn't since tightening should make the mount go snug on the altitude screw.
What about a slight misbalance in the Dec axis? Would this not be benificial? Given how the graph jumps all over the place would this not indicate that the mount is flexing in Dec?
Thanks, Tom


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Tom,

I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute.
I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth
and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
PEMPro just passively measures declination drift without sending any move commands while measuring. PEMPro is extremely sensitive and detect movements that are just a fraction of a pixel in width. At the start of the Polar Alignment Wizard is a checklist of things to consider. Tube currents are one of the biggest impediments to getting good results. There is a way to eliminate the effects of tube currents, if you think that might be the reason. Usually this isn’t a factor with refractors, but any mirrored scope, including SCTs can have significant tube currents under certain circumstances.

BTW, when you tighten any of the knobs on the mount that can affect the polar alignment. Also, if your scope is on a tripod or temporary pier the mount can settle into the ground.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Tom Blahovici
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 11:09 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.

I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not
apparent in my case. I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute. I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree
off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was
even higher. Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then
start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet
long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all. Rock
solid. Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters. The drive has a very smooth 3 arc
second peak to peak tracking. With PEM, +-2.8.
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom




Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Ray,
 
    It was a very long night, so I must have redone PEMPRO about 5 or 6 times.  I could have made the same mistake in the lead up to the drift graph,  every time, but I doubt it. I’m not new to PEMPRO use, but it is infrequent. Luckily, the instructions are simple.
 
    As Tom mentioned earlier, after a few tries following screen hints, it was obvious that doing so made the drift error progressively worse, so I reversed the logic, and turned the AZ “knobs” to rotate the mount towards the other direction. This made it settle down, and using the reverse direction was then consistently better.
By reversal, I mean that the entire run was giving contrary directions, as did the reruns after that. It wasn’t a logic reversal DURING a run.
 
    At each correction, I looked down at the mount baseplate, and considered which knob would “push it towards or away from the AZ post” in the direction for the mount to rotate, (horizontally in AZ), per the given instruction. I still “suspect” that this reversal of procedure may have to do with choosing one side of the meridian, while the camera is either straight up, or inverted. But, that should have been determined automatically,  during the calibration steps of clicking on the star trail, and the three star image targets.
 
    PEMPRO worked fine for me a couple of years ago, using an earlier revision, but has also happened the weird way, at other times in the past. I have used several versions over more than a decade. I’ll continue to investigate its problem, or possibly mine. Perhaps I will discover a unique set of conditions that causes the logic  reversal.
 
    Please stay safe out there Ray. We need you healthy at all times.
Best regards,
Joe Z.
 
 
 

From: Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 4:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
 
Hi Joe,

I have used PEMPro a number of times in the last few months on my 1100AE and 1200 mounts, and haven't seen any direction reversals, but I can double check the next year (lol) that my California skies are clear enough. Assuming you went through the calibration steps correctly, is it possible you could have adjusted the wrong Azimuth knob?

Also, being above or below the pole will not affect the Az direction at all.

>     I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
> ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
> website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
> seem to be the case. It has to be started  in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO,   every time.

CCDSoft (and any other ActiveX control) should register itself when it is installed, which it doesn't. If it can't register itself even when running as Administrator, then maybe there is reason. You might try changing the compatibility mode of CCDSoft to Windows 7.

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


> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 12:19 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
>
> Hi Tom,
>
>     Funny that you should mention the odd “adjustment direction” misbehaviour running PEMPRO.
>
>     Like you, I have years of familiarity with PEMPRO, and it is actually fun to use. However, I spent hours last
> night,  trying to get it to behave with my AP-1200/CP4. I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,  to the
> direction it was asking me to adjust the AZ. Every time it said Clockwise rotation, I rotated the AZ COUNTER
> clockwise, and that worked fine. Otherwise, as in your experience, following its suggestion, the gap just widened
> with every suggested direction adjustment.
>
>     I think the initial setup calibration  pointing to either your East side or West of the meridian, should automatically
> determine if the camera ‘s vertical direction, Mine was upside down, during the run, pointing to   West of the PM.
> Next time out, I will rerun PEMPRO, but with the scope pointing to the East side of the PM, and see if the direction
> to turn then becomes correct. As I recall, the older versions had “hockey sticks” on the drift graph, for us to help
> specify the camera orientation. Now it is supposed to be automatic.
>
>     Ray, is it possible that without doing the DEC adjustment, the scope axis is pointing below or above Polaris, and
> this makes it offer the contrary direction suggestions?
>
>     I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
> ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
> website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
> seem to be the case. It has to be started  in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO,   every time.
>
>     It is a great program, but seems to have some “direction prompting” quirks, as we have both witnessed, and
> which I will investigate further to double check my observations.
>
> Joe Z.
>
>
> From: Tom Blahovici
> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 2:08 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
>
>
> Hi,
> I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.
>
> I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not
> apparent in my case.  I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
> I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute  I checked it yesterday, and it was a degree
> off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
> place.
> It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was
> even higher.  Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then
> start slanting again.
> It should not be this unstable.
> A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6 feet
> long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all.  Rock
> solid.  Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters.  The drive has a very smooth 3 arc
> second peak to peak tracking.  With PEM, +-2.8.
> I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
> Any hints please?
> Thanks, Tom
>
>
>
>




CurtisC
 

On Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 02:21 PM, Joe Zeglinski wrote:
I quickly realized that I should do the opposite, 
Yes.  When it says to point the mount further west, it really means further east, and vice versa.


Tom Blahovici
 

Tube currents....I did have my dew heater on the lens of the FSQ106 running.  Could this contribute to a lack of stability?

As a side note, last year it took me 4 evenings to adjust.  The first three, I had a loose connection from the mount to the pier.  So, adjusting east or west was anyone's guess as to which way it was moving lol.


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Joe,

Just to be sure you are adjusting the correct knobs, for a 1200GTO, to rotate the mount clockwise, you tighten the knob facing to the East. To rotate the mount counter-clockwise, you tighten the knob facing to the West. After each adjustment, you should tighten all mount knobs so that you are measuring the drift in the state that the mount will be in when you will be using it.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 3:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi Ray,

It was a very long night, so I must have redone PEMPRO about 5 or 6 times. I could have made the same
mistake in the lead up to the drift graph, every time, but I doubt it. I’m not new to PEMPRO use, but it is infrequent.
Luckily, the instructions are simple.

As Tom mentioned earlier, after a few tries following screen hints, it was obvious that doing so made the drift
error progressively worse, so I reversed the logic, and turned the AZ “knobs” to rotate the mount towards the other
direction. This made it settle down, and using the reverse direction was then consistently better.
By reversal, I mean that the entire run was giving contrary directions, as did the reruns after that. It wasn’t a logic
reversal DURING a run.

At each correction, I looked down at the mount baseplate, and considered which knob would “push it towards or
away from the AZ post” in the direction for the mount to rotate, (horizontally in AZ), per the given instruction. I still
“suspect” that this reversal of procedure may have to do with choosing one side of the meridian, while the camera
is either straight up, or inverted. But, that should have been determined automatically, during the calibration steps
of clicking on the star trail, and the three star image targets.

PEMPRO worked fine for me a couple of years ago, using an earlier revision, but has also happened the weird
way, at other times in the past. I have used several versions over more than a decade. I’ll continue to investigate
its problem, or possibly mine. Perhaps I will discover a unique set of conditions that causes the logic reversal.

Please stay safe out there Ray. We need you healthy at all times.
Best regards,
Joe Z.



From: Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 4:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi Joe,

I have used PEMPro a number of times in the last few months on my 1100AE and 1200 mounts, and haven't seen
any direction reversals, but I can double check the next year (lol) that my California skies are clear enough.
Assuming you went through the calibration steps correctly, is it possible you could have adjusted the wrong
Azimuth knob?

Also, being above or below the pole will not affect the Az direction at all.

I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
seem to be the case. It has to be started in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO, every time.
CCDSoft (and any other ActiveX control) should register itself when it is installed, which it doesn't. If it can't register
itself even when running as Administrator, then maybe there is reason. You might try changing the compatibility
mode of CCDSoft to Windows 7.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 12:19 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Hi Tom,

Funny that you should mention the odd “adjustment direction” misbehaviour running PEMPRO.

Like you, I have years of familiarity with PEMPRO, and it is actually fun to use. However, I spent hours last
night, trying to get it to behave with my AP-1200/CP4. I quickly realized that I should do the opposite, to the
direction it was asking me to adjust the AZ. Every time it said Clockwise rotation, I rotated the AZ COUNTER
clockwise, and that worked fine. Otherwise, as in your experience, following its suggestion, the gap just widened
with every suggested direction adjustment.

I think the initial setup calibration pointing to either your East side or West of the meridian, should
automatically
determine if the camera ‘s vertical direction, Mine was upside down, during the run, pointing to West of the PM.
Next time out, I will rerun PEMPRO, but with the scope pointing to the East side of the PM, and see if the
direction
to turn then becomes correct. As I recall, the older versions had “hockey sticks” on the drift graph, for us to help
specify the camera orientation. Now it is supposed to be automatic.

Ray, is it possible that without doing the DEC adjustment, the scope axis is pointing below or above Polaris,
and
this makes it offer the contrary direction suggestions?

I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
seem to be the case. It has to be started in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO, every time.

It is a great program, but seems to have some “direction prompting” quirks, as we have both witnessed, and
which I will investigate further to double check my observations.

Joe Z.


From: Tom Blahovici
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 2:08 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?


Hi,
I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.

I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not
apparent in my case. I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute I checked it yesterday, and it was a
degree
off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
place.
It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was
even higher. Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then
start slanting again.
It should not be this unstable.
A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6
feet
long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all. Rock
solid. Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters. The drive has a very smooth 3
arc
second peak to peak tracking. With PEM, +-2.8.
I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
Any hints please?
Thanks, Tom







Ray Gralak
 

I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,

Yes. When it says to point the mount further west,
it really means further east, and vice versa.
Unfortunately, East/West can be ambiguous. The scope is pointing roughly South, so rotating the telescope's pointing position West actually rotates the polar azimuth position East.

To try to minimize confusion, PEMPro also states which way to rotate the mount: clockwise, or counterclockwise, if looking from the top of the mount down over the mount.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of CurtisC via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 3:16 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

On Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 02:21 PM, Joe Zeglinski wrote:


I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,

Yes. When it says to point the mount further west, it really means further east, and vice versa.


Ray Gralak
 

Tube currents....I did have my dew heater on the lens of the FSQ106
running. Could this contribute to a lack of stability?
Yes, dew heaters can potentially cause tube currents and random drift, but that is not going to cause a 3x fundamental frequency.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Tom Blahovici
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 3:45 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Tube currents....I did have my dew heater on the lens of the FSQ106 running. Could this contribute to a lack of
stability?

As a side note, last year it took me 4 evenings to adjust. The first three, I had a loose connection from the mount
to the pier. So, adjusting east or west was anyone's guess as to which way it was moving lol.


Tom Blahovici
 

Ray,
I have two separate question threads running... one for PEM and one for polar alignment.  This one is polar alignment.  Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment?  It seems to go all over the place.


uncarollo2 <chris1011@aol.com>
 

Not tightening all the bolts can cause what you are seeing.
Plumes from a dew heater can add to that.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Blahovici <tom.va2fsq@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Sep 12, 2020 6:35 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

Ray,
I have two separate question threads running... one for PEM and one for polar alignment.  This one is polar alignment.  Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment?  It seems to go all over the place.


Tom Blahovici
 

Hi
All the bolts were tightened each time I changes as or alt. I'll try again, the next free night, no heater on, and use you're trick for the altitude.
Thanks for the hints.


Ray Gralak
 

> Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment? 

 

Taken from PEMPro’s polar alignment checklist:

 

 

-Ray Gralak

Author of PEMPro

Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver

 

 

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

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

> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 4:36 PM

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

> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

>

> Ray,

> I have two separate question threads running... one for PEM and one for polar alignment.  This one is polar

> alignment.  Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment?  It seems to go all over the place.


Joe Zeglinski
 

Yes Ray.
 
    We’re on the same page, and I’ve got my bearings.
It is a standard  “Push-Pull” system. Screwing-in the right side knob  (on the west side on an AP-1200),   where the AZ adjuster is located on the AP-1200 North side of the pier, pushes  the mount’s base plate around,  away  from the pier-fixed  center post – and turns the entire mount counter-clockwise.
 
    I’ve done it lots of times, and every time I do, I try to envisage what each turn of a knob results in.
 
Joe.
 

From: Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 7:04 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
 
Hi Joe,

Just to be sure you are adjusting the correct knobs, for a 1200GTO, to rotate the mount clockwise, you tighten the knob facing to the East. To rotate the mount counter-clockwise, you tighten the knob facing to the West. After each adjustment, you should tighten all mount knobs so that you are measuring the drift in the state that the mount will be in when you will be using it.

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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 3:10 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
>
> Hi Ray,
>
>     It was a very long night, so I must have redone PEMPRO about 5 or 6 times.  I could have made the same
> mistake in the lead up to the drift graph,  every time, but I doubt it. I’m not new to PEMPRO use, but it is infrequent.
> Luckily, the instructions are simple.
>
>     As Tom mentioned earlier, after a few tries following screen hints, it was obvious that doing so made the drift
> error progressively worse, so I reversed the logic, and turned the AZ “knobs” to rotate the mount towards the other
> direction. This made it settle down, and using the reverse direction was then consistently better.
> By reversal, I mean that the entire run was giving contrary directions, as did the reruns after that. It wasn’t a logic
> reversal DURING a run.
>
>     At each correction, I looked down at the mount baseplate, and considered which knob would “push it towards or
> away from the AZ post” in the direction for the mount to rotate, (horizontally in AZ), per the given instruction. I still
> “suspect” that this reversal of procedure may have to do with choosing one side of the meridian, while the camera
> is either straight up, or inverted. But, that should have been determined automatically,  during the calibration steps
> of clicking on the star trail, and the three star image targets.
>
>     PEMPRO worked fine for me a couple of years ago, using an earlier revision, but has also happened the weird
> way, at other times in the past. I have used several versions over more than a decade. I’ll continue to investigate
> its problem, or possibly mine. Perhaps I will discover a unique set of conditions that causes the logic  reversal.
>
>     Please stay safe out there Ray. We need you healthy at all times.
> Best regards,
> Joe Z.
>
>
>
> From: Ray Gralak
> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 4:14 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
>
> Hi Joe,
>
> I have used PEMPro a number of times in the last few months on my 1100AE and 1200 mounts, and haven't seen
> any direction reversals, but I can double check the next year (lol) that my California skies are clear enough.
> Assuming you went through the calibration steps correctly, is it possible you could have adjusted the wrong
> Azimuth knob?
>
> Also, being above or below the pole will not affect the Az direction at all.
>
> >     I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
> > ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
> > website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
> > seem to be the case. It has to be started  in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO,   every time.
>
> CCDSoft (and any other ActiveX control) should register itself when it is installed, which it doesn't. If it can't register
> itself even when running as Administrator, then maybe there is reason. You might try changing the compatibility
> mode of CCDSoft to Windows 7.
>
> -Ray Gralak
> Author of PEMPro
> Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physicscom/apcc-pro
> Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joe Zeglinski
> > Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 12:19 PM
> > To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> > Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
> >
> > Hi Tom,
> >
> >     Funny that you should mention the odd “adjustment direction” misbehaviour running PEMPRO.
> >
> >     Like you, I have years of familiarity with PEMPRO, and it is actually fun to use. However, I spent hours last
> > night,  trying to get it to behave with my AP-1200/CP4. I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,  to the
> > direction it was asking me to adjust the AZ. Every time it said Clockwise rotation, I rotated the AZ COUNTER
> > clockwise, and that worked fine. Otherwise, as in your experience, following its suggestion, the gap just widened
> > with every suggested direction adjustment.
> >
> >     I think the initial setup calibration  pointing to either your East side or West of the meridian, should
> automatically
> > determine if the camera ‘s vertical direction, Mine was upside down, during the run, pointing to   West of the PM.
> > Next time out, I will rerun PEMPRO, but with the scope pointing to the East side of the PM, and see if the
> direction
> > to turn then becomes correct. As I recall, the older versions had “hockey sticks” on the drift graph, for us to help
> > specify the camera orientation. Now it is supposed to be automatic.
> >
> >     Ray, is it possible that without doing the DEC adjustment, the scope axis is pointing below or above Polaris,
> and
> > this makes it offer the contrary direction suggestions?
> >
> >     I also had problems with connecting the camera to the software (CCDSOFT) – kept getting the “Unavailable
> > ACTIVEX module” error, unless I run both the camera software (CCDSOFT) and PEMPRO-V3, “as ADMIN”. The
> > website claims this is only necessary to do once, to register CCDSOFT’s Activex module – but that does NOT
> > seem to be the case. It has to be started  in Admin mode (before) starting PEMPRO,   every time.
> >
> >     It is a great program, but seems to have some “direction prompting” quirks, as we have both witnessed, and
> > which I will investigate further to double check my observations.
> >
> > Joe Z.
> >
> >
> > From: Tom Blahovici
> > Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 2:08 PM
> > To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> > Subject: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
> >
> >
> > Hi,
> > I am using an AP600e with a CP4 controller and am attempting to polar align with PemPro.
> >
> > I am quite familiar with the software. That is not an issue. However, how to use it properly is obviously not
> > apparent in my case.  I have spend at least 2 hours trying to get the polar alignment even within 1 arc minute.
> > I did the first alignment last week, and it seemed I was within 1 minute  I checked it yesterday, and it was a
> degree
> > off. I kept trying to adjust both azimuth and altitude, but the trend lines were never stable seeing to go all over the
> > place.
> > It would show a line being off by 6 minutes and I would adjust the mount in the right direction only to find it was
> > even higher.  Not only that, when I did get it close, the trend line would be fine for the first 3 minutes only to then
> > start slanting again.
> > It should not be this unstable.
> > A bit about the mount: It is mounted on a 10 inch diameter pier on top of a solid 3' x 3' concrete block that is 6
> feet
> > long buried in the ground. It has been there for 5 years or so. There is no flexing on the mounting at all.  Rock
> > solid.  Scope is an FSQ106 with Moonlight nightcrawler with screw in adapters.  The drive has a very smooth 3
> arc
> > second peak to peak tracking.  With PEM, +-2.8.
> > I am using APCC standard and the pointing has been calibrated.
> > Any hints please?
> > Thanks, Tom
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
>
>




Joe Zeglinski
 

Ray,
 
    One thought came to me during my problematic runs – the major planets (Jupiter & Saturn)  are very close to the meridian right now, slightly south of the equatorial. This won’t matter at any other time, but for the present, is there any chance that PEMPRO might have latched onto a bright planet, as it searched for a suitable star at say 3 degrees from the meridian? Then it is tracking something moving at “planetary rate” rather than sidereal.
Of course this conjunction would never happen again, but just a coincidence, at this time. Never happened over all my years of using PEMPRO.
 
    Would have been safer to target a star myself elsewhere in the nearby region, rather than take the easy & quick choice of letting PEMPRO find something suitable like the sweet spot,  at the equator,  3 degrees west of PM. Or, maybe my change from the default of 5 degrees to 3 degrees, might have pushed the scope to the east of the PM during its square pattern search, causing the confusion in reference direction when the drift measurement started.
Probably a stretch here.
 
Joe
 

From: Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 8:33 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
 

> Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment? 

 

Taken from PEMPro’s polar alignment checklist:

 

 

-Ray Gralak

Author of PEMPro

Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver

 

 

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

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

> Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 4:36 PM

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

> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?

>

> Ray,

> I have two separate question threads running... one for PEM and one for polar alignment.  This one is polar

> alignment.  Can the dew heater cause a non-stable drift alignment?  It seems to go all over the place.


Joe Zeglinski
 

Totally  agree with you Ray.
 
    I like to do as you suggest, stick to rotation reference rather than east/west positional.
Perhaps a good analogy is thinking how to steer an outboard motor boat. Pushing away from the centre line, rotates the boat direction.
 
    I never pay much mind to the east/west reference, but rely on considering what rotation results by pushing the left or right screw off the “centre line (post).
 
    However, that only works for the old AP-900 & AP-1200 mounts, with the azimuth adjuster at the back of the mount, on the north side. The MACH series and newer mounts have the AZ adjuster now on the south side, which work oppositely. The wording could become complicated in the instruction. Each mount owner has to imagine how the knob push system works to get a specific rotation.
 
    However, for now, I’m am convinced that I have my bearings correct, and indeed, as Tom wrote, the PEMPRO screen queues ... under some conditions perhaps ... contradict program logic, based on the resulting drift changes.
 
Joe
 

From: Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2020 7:23 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Takes hours for me to polar align with PemPro...Suggestions for my AP600e?
 
> I quickly realized that I should do the opposite,
>
> Yes.  When it says to point the mount further west,
> it really means further east, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, East/West can be ambiguous. The scope is pointing roughly South, so rotating the telescope's pointing position West actually rotates the polar azimuth position East.

To try to minimize confusion, PEMPro also states which way to rotate the mount: clockwise, or counterclockwise, if looking from the top of the mount down over the mount.

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