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Thread: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

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    Default Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount



    Recently I took down my WO 110 FLT AP setup and thought I would configure a Celestron C8 for AP. I installed a Moonlite focuser, added a .63 reducer in the focuser and autofocus system to the focuser and mounted it on my Atlas. With some adjustments to balance, I thought I was all ready to go. Also, I use the Orion autoguider.

    Usually after the initial alignment I can get pretty close to the center of the target, let's say the Rosette. But it always requires a little adjustment. So I run outside (the setup is on my deck and I am inside where it is warm), guess at which was to move the mount with the handset, go back inside, take a short picture with Maxim DL and see if I am where I want to be. I probably do this dance three or four times before I get the target, say the Rosette, centered.

    I wanted to eliminate this process. So I looked into the Atlas PC Direct mode. Setting the Atlas into PC Direct after the initial alignment, I connect to the scope in Maxim and can tweak the position of the mount from inside. Once I had the Rosette where I wanted, I set up autoguiding using PhD as usual. Once it says it's guiding, I start my imaging session.

    The results have not been good. Now to begin with the FL of the 110 with its reducer FL is 640 and the C8 with its reducer is 1260. So alignment errors with be more. But what is happening is that the autoguider does not seem to be doing its job. The pictures of the Rosette look as if I am not guiding at all and simply using the Atlas tracking. So here is my question.

    Can you use autoguiding with PhD while the mount is in PC Direct mode? Or is there something else going on? Opinions are welcome.

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    Default Re: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

    What was the PHD RMS reading? - what did the PHD graph look like?

    Most folks avoid PC-Direct mode if they have a computer attached (e.g. for PHD guiding) and use an EQDIR interface (no handset required) and the amazing and free EQASCOM software. EQASCOM will also provide you with fully automated PEC correction and integrated pulse guiding (you can ditch that ST-4 cable).

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    Default Re: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

    I agree with Phil, and that is the configuration I use.

    However, before I took his advice, I used my HEQ5 through the handset in PC Direct mode, with the guider connected through the ST-4 port, and it worked fine. The most common guiding problem I had in that mode was bad connections at the ST-4 connectors. So your configuration ought to work.

    The EQDIR cable, with ASCOM pulse guiding, replaces four cables and the handset, reducing 7 electrical connections down to 2.
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    Default Re: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

    Phil,

    I don't know the RMS reading My process with the guidescope and PhD is simply to go through the progression of taking an image, stop taking an image, selecting a star, connecting to the mount and start guiding. When PhD says its guiding, I start imaging.

    I will look into EQASCOM. Right now I simple start the mount, my polar alignment is pretty good, select one star alignment with a star close to my target, align to that star with my finder, then go to my target. I remove the finder and attach the guidescope. The rest of any adjustment is done using the QSI images as I described above. There is no visual alignment outside of the finder.

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    Default Re: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

    I would strongly recommend that you enable graphs, under the Tools menu in PHD. Monitoring the graph allows you interpret how well PHD is guiding your mount. It will tell you if it is struggling or coping easily, and often you will be able to interpret the cause of any difficulty, whether it is polar alignment, wind or balance.
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    Default Re: Using autoguiding port and PC Direct mode together on Atlas mount

    Keith,

    Thanks, that's a good suggestion on PhD. I had not see that before.

    After the comments above, I have decided to use the Shoestring cable (purchased some time ago and not used) to connect the mount directly to the laptop and eliminate the handset completely. And I am trying out MaxPoint. I already have Maxim DL and have installed ASCOM. So right now I am playing with Maxpoint inside the house. It looks like I will still have to visually see where the scope is pointing in the initial setup. Hopefully after that I can just load up the preset calibration and be off and running. We will see.

 

 

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