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Thread: PHD Frustrations

  1. #21
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations



    Quote Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
    Maybe I misunderstood but there is no on the mount selection other than Ascom which requires the RS-232 cable.
    sorry hondo I meant ST4 cabeel, All I am using is the st4 cable and usb. I think an all star align may be the solution. I only did a 2 star align last night because the guy that sold me the mount said he only needed to do 2 star with the sbig auto guider. I will give all star a go tonight

  2. #22
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    No problem. I still have issues with PHD when I try to image anything in the southwestern sky. Like everything in life we sort it out eventually. Good luck.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by calypsob View Post
    sorry hondo I meant ST4 cabeel, All I am using is the st4 cable and usb. I think an all star align may be the solution. I only did a 2 star align last night because the guy that sold me the mount said he only needed to do 2 star with the sbig auto guider. I will give all star a go tonight
    It may well be that he had his set up so the mount was aligned once and he didn't have to mess with it because it was not being moved.

    There are two goals for the alignment being discussed:

    • Two star alignment is about teaching the GOTO where to find things mostly but also gives the scope an indication of tracking etc.
    • Polar / Mount alignment is about matching the rotation of the mount with the earths rotation.. I can get decent gotos with 2 star and my mount 5 degrees off true north. On the CGEM the All star uses the goto functionality to allow you to polar align off more than polaris (which I can't see from my main spot)


    If you don't break down the mount your mount aligment may last many sessions or more depending on how its locked down.. If you do that and sleep it the Goto Alignment stays too.. This is a benefit of building an observatory or a roll away building over your mount.

    If you are like me.. you do it all every time because it all comes inside at the end of the night.. I can get my mount fully aligned for AP in as little as 20 minutes if I have my Rigel Quickfinder mounted to help with the large changes needed at the start. I have taken over an hour with a new scope and traditional finder.

    This is my system:

    • Level the mount and eyeball the north alignement when setting up the scope.
    • Do a two star with 3-4 calibtration stars.
    • Do my polar alignment
    • Then I power down the mount, restart and do a full two star alignment with 4 calibration stars and I am good for the evening if I don't push on the scope.
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  4. #24
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Just a tidbit, was reading another forum and thought of you. Another CG5 owner had similar issues.....had to go into the guide rate settings and change it from 50, to 99.

    Who knows? 'Couldn't hurt'

    Cheers,

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  5. #25
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by calypsob View Post
    Ok I am using the st4 cable and I had on the mount selected in PHD menu, I am wondering if you celestron users had to change anything in the nexstar menu? I poured over the cg5 manual last night but really didn't see anything about changing any functions. I wish there was a way that I could practice autoguiding during the daytime, maybe a sun filter and I could practice on the sun? Oh well there is always tonight if its clear and calm again. I have school tomorrow so I can't pull an all nighter but maybe more luck tonight. My drivers are all up to date and so is my phd software, Im starting to wonder if I would have had better luck with the neximage but I am not one to give up so quickly, just worried that my return window may close before I can return a malfunctioning product, in the worst case scenario.
    #1 doing the all star align should do wonders for you.

    #2 in the menu for guide rate try something higher than the default 50%, if it seems to take forever to calibrate. I actually set mine up high and spent time working it down a bit along with several other phd settings until the guider corrections are set no higher than 10% of the max guide command issued during 4 full rotations of the worm for the axis. I found this using the graphing function of phd.

    I think you have enough information to get some great results next time out. The All star Polar align is a must, especially due to fact that you do not have the polar scope. The other method is a drift align.


    Best of luck!


    Clear Skies.

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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Probably not the solution this but because it caused me to lose a nights work with frustration may help or at least warn others.

    Check the cable from the camera to the mount, I once put mine in the wrong way in the dark and could find no good reason for the guiding to fail. Spent the whole night changing settings and only figured it out when removing the cable. It seemed to be in the right way but proved not.

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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    ok folks I had clear skies again tonight and I started out on M42 just fine, phd was autoguiding for 2 minute exposures with no trails at all. I did an allstar align and I leveled and balanced really intensively. I also set the DEC autoguide function to 99% in the nexstar controller as recommended by several cg5 users. I was in my backyard while imaging orion and as orion began to set behind my house out of sight PHD of course lost visual. So I decided to try something new and pointed to M51. This is were all of my troubles began.
    I closed PHD and opened it again to realign the mount. Everything worked great, phd calibrated N,S,E,W in about 30 seconds for each direction. I started guiding and the DEC axis is skyrocketing up almost immediately and the RA is just humming along in a pretty compact line. here is a screen shot.
    phd troubles by LMNO Sunset Deluxe, on Flickr
    I had no luck autoguiding whatsoever after slewing to m51. every shot had star trails in it and I was getting snr warnings after a minute or so. I ran dark frames and I choose really bright stars and nothing is working. I would like to know more about these advanced settings, the manual is a bit vague. From what I understand I can adjust the callibration steps to see some improvement but I dont understand if it is referring to the focal length of my scope or guidescope. Anymore pointers would be great.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Also, Is there another way to graph PHD? I feel like I have seen much more extensive graphs online when using phd.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Ok, the RA agressiveness is quite big I'd say, and you have no Dec trace. You have selected North for Dec, and you can't do that unless you know for a fact where you're drifting. Just leave it in auto to get started.

    What guide rate have you selected for your mount - should be a keypad menu option? Usually rangeing between 0.1 and 1. (Which means fraction of sidereal, 1 is full sidereal speed, and can be quite jittery.)

    Are you sure your mount responds to guide signal - both RA and Dec? There's a shortcut in PHD to send simple commands to the mount in all directions. I'm on the wrong laptop now to tell you what to press.... I'm sure someone else will know.

    At present I wouldn't worry with polar alignment to get to grips with this problem. PHD will guide fine regardless at higher guide rates. At rate 1 it would guide even tens of degrees off true North alignment. At least for a while. The resulting image would be useless off course since you will have severe rotation around the guide star, but a few degrees off true north won't matter much for the calibration.

    I'll try to find out the movement shortcuts to test the basic communication, unless anyone else here comes in with it first. When using them you'll listen for movement of the motors rather than look for it.

    A lot of advice on cables above, ST4 and USB, and I can only agree fully. Rattle, WD-40, replace even.

    PHD will work out of the box. The brain is for refinement. Start with default would be my advice.

    Good luck!

    /Jesper

    EDIT: PS the more advanced graphs are perhaps made with PHDLab from a log file?

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    Default Re: PHD Frustrations

    Hi, as far as your graph, you have excellent tracking in RA, I would leave that alone for now.

    You stopped the guiding for the screenshot, but I would imagine you were tracking at less than 1.0 pixel in RA, which is great.

    The problem with your screenshot is the DEC graph, almost off the top of the chart, just barely visible. That could be due to something as simple as your DEC commands, which, as Jess pointed out, should be left at 'Auto' unless the mount is continually correcting in one direction..? If it were always correcting South, then you could get away with the North selection, but not with a gross error in Polar alignment.

    So, leave the RA alone, set your RA Hys to 20 to smooth out the graph a bit, leave the DEC set to Auto. But, play with the Dec aggessiveness settings, from 100 to 1000 to see how it affects the DEC graph. Oh, and when you calibrate, make sure the DEC setting is Auto as well.

    The calibration settings are based on the focal length of the guide scope I would imagine, since that is what the guide camera is looking thru. If you were using a OAG, looking through your main ota, then you need to increase steps. Aim for a setting that will give you 8-12 iterations per axis, that will work fine.

    Hope the info helps a bit...have a ton of fun getting it all sorted out, that's how you learn, might as well enjoy it?

    Paul
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