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    Default Leo Triplet with Guiding Woes



    Guiding Woes
    Under poor conditions.

    Last night was a learning process for me and an all thumbs moment or two.
    First thing I did when I set up the tripod is set the camera under the legs to start my first set of 5 minute darks.
    Walking back and forth I reached over to reposition the camera after the polar alignment and kicked the tripod.
    Ok.
    Let's do another polar alignment.
    All done.
    I hoisted the OTA up on the mount to start my flats (first attempt) and bumped the tripod out of alignment.
    Well aint that just peachy.
    Back on the ground goes the OTA and number three polar alignment.
    No flats this night out.
    After all the fussing around I looked up and saw nothing but puffy clouds in all directions with a star or two popping out just to tease me.
    After all that there was no way I was going to pack up for the evening and continued the learning process on guiding.
    With a combination of poor seeing and balance problem My 5 minute exposures were a pipe dream.
    I fought the guiding problems trying just about everything until I realized I could control the aggressiveness within the graphing log.
    the first screen shot shows the dec was unable to catch up always drifting south.
    That's what I get for not balancing the ota after a rough start







    After playing around for some time I was able to get better control by increasing the max dec to 1300 ms







    Finally I hit a meridian shift and bang everything back to normal.







    Everything except for me so I packed up and headed home.
    This is what I ended up with after a 5 hour frustrating night.


    Leo Trio
    39 x 2 min ISO 800
    10darks
    dss and Pixinsight



    Ken

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Hi Ken AWESOME galaxy shot! I guess that's the LEO TRIPLET?

    I see some issues you can fix for now:

    1) RA HYS is too low - I set mine to 35 - 44 (44 seemed to make my mount guide like butter)

    2) I have the same issues you do - my DEC guiding is @#$@. That is the red graph in PHD. To fix this I would click on the BRAIN, set it on AUTO for DEC axis. Then you have to play around with things. Mainly try to decrease or increase Max DEC - but honestly you have it way too high (1300). I try to set mine from 50 or less - 150 max. After I change my settings in MX DEC, I clear the history and then check the values and the graph. If it gets better, I play a bit more and check. With this, you can find optimal settings for your setup.

    3) correction time and minimal star movement - decrease these, and also try to decrease the 2.5s to 1 or even 0.5s so your camera sends star movements to your software quicker - this way you adjust FAST.

    4) find the reason for your DEC issues - sometimes mine were balance/weight issues, cables pulling down the mount, bad polar alignment, or a non-perfect DEC axis

    Either way I think you are off in terms of processing, just need to get your stars a bit tighter. Honestly think you can do this soon
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    Thanks for the tips Gus.
    I'll eventually get things settled down but as you can see I didn't start off very good last night and Stubbornness got the best of me.
    Last week wasn't quite so challenging and I was getting 3 minutes on bodes galaxy.
    I remember the camera was 1.5 secs that outing.
    I increased the exposure time because of the clouds but I forgot the camera sees better than I do
    I'll try to drop the RA hys a little at a time until it smooths out.
    After the third Polar alignment I was ready to pull my hair out and just set the OTA up without balancing
    Ken

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    Default

    Ken,

    Congrats on the image. I know you were asking me about guiding with my 254N and EQ5pro mount.

    Here's a screen shot of my setup tonight.

    Last edited by ghswen; 03-11-2011 at 07:29 PM.
    Gordon
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    Default

    Hi Gordon,
    Can you post a larger version and one that shows EQMOD pulse guide settings? I can learn from you both as well

    Maybe we can move relevant discussions here, also Ken may have missed this thread:
    PHD graphs I'll show you mine if...
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    Nice work, Ken. Thanks for posting.
    -Nick

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    Even though you were having some difficulties you came out with a pretty good image.

    Is it normal to do the polar alignment with the OTA not mounted? I usually mount most of my equipment then spin everything on both axis so to get the mounts feet settled in the dirt, then level and align and balance. It takes a couple of tries of spinning and leveling before I do the polar alignment.
    Name - Verne / Call sign - KF7UHL

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    Default

    Nice capture Ken


    I found on my Dec issues two things, number one balance was not where it should have been...The CGEM I use, found dec does not balance well, really took time and also a pier mount before I could play and make this work out often, and dreaded phd guide failure sound could occur several minutes into guiding fairly often.

    I would guide well in past in certain parts of skies, but when I went to different area of sky phd would have hard time calibrating. Once again balance was part of equation, but found that n/s was not calibrating in proper amount of time.

    Last few times out and now pier mounted I worked on balance, then also decided to make following changes.

    I went into the cgem settings and increased max guide up to about 70% of sidereal rate.

    I then went into brain functions and set max ra and dec guide to 1000ms as high as 1300ms.

    By doing this I now find PHD never fails in calibration in any portion of the sky, and calibrates in less than 1 min 20 secs or so. Guiding is spot on now tested for up to 1 full hour of guiding.

    The CGEM has alot of backlash and I figured by increasing the max available guide pulse it would allow this backlash to be removed and for calibration to complete. I also figured once guiding initiated and mount was tracking guide commands should only have to happen in two directions and max pulses would quickly settle down.

    In my testing once I now hit guide, I may see few larger pulses initially, but guiding settles in perfectly in under 30 seconds, and it will guide all night making only minor corrections.

    When I get chance the hypertune kit will be installed and all the cheap grease removed from the mount. This should also smooth things out even more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pederv View Post
    Even though you were having some difficulties you came out with a pretty good image.

    Is it normal to do the polar alignment with the OTA not mounted? I usually mount most of my equipment then spin everything on both axis so to get the mounts feet settled in the dirt, then level and align and balance. It takes a couple of tries of spinning and leveling before I do the polar alignment.
    Thanks Verne
    For me I calibrated the polar axis scope to the axis of the mount by sighting in on a tower some 3 miles away so when I spin the mount in RA the target stays in the cross hairs of the reticle.
    when I start the polar alignment I keep Polaris in the center circle around the circumference of the cross-hairs(etched circle in the reticle).
    Spinning the mount in RA (complete circle) with the ota and weights attached is impossible.
    After this I usually drift align but not lately because of the LP here
    Ken

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaltonSkyGazer View Post
    Nice capture Ken


    I found on my Dec issues two things, number one balance was not where it should have been...The CGEM I use, found dec does not balance well, really took time and also a pier mount before I could play and make this work out often, and dreaded phd guide failure sound could occur several minutes into guiding fairly often.

    I would guide well in past in certain parts of skies, but when I went to different area of sky phd would have hard time calibrating. Once again balance was part of equation, but found that n/s was not calibrating in proper amount of time.

    Last few times out and now pier mounted I worked on balance, then also decided to make following changes.

    I went into the cgem settings and increased max guide up to about 70% of sidereal rate.

    I then went into brain functions and set max ra and dec guide to 1000ms as high as 1300ms.

    By doing this I now find PHD never fails in calibration in any portion of the sky, and calibrates in less than 1 min 20 secs or so. Guiding is spot on now tested for up to 1 full hour of guiding.

    The CGEM has alot of backlash and I figured by increasing the max available guide pulse it would allow this backlash to be removed and for calibration to complete. I also figured once guiding initiated and mount was tracking guide commands should only have to happen in two directions and max pulses would quickly settle down.

    In my testing once I now hit guide, I may see few larger pulses initially, but guiding settles in perfectly in under 30 seconds, and it will guide all night making only minor corrections.

    When I get chance the hypertune kit will be installed and all the cheap grease removed from the mount. This should also smooth things out even more.
    I seem to be fighting the mount because in theory if the mount is properly polar aligned I should be able to guide for some time in RA only with very little dec corrections.
    so I need to find out whats up with mount be it poor balance or maybe something as simple as a bent mounting plate(cheap orion dovetail) or flex in the plate or DEC axis.
    maybe Its my polar alignment but I need to eliminate the mechanical aspect of the issue first.
    Ken

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