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INDI Library v1.9.5 Released (08 Mar 2022)

Bi-monthly INDI Library released with new drivers and bug fixes.

RST-135 mount - what are the best practices?

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I think most of these problems have been eliminated through firmware and driver updates. You’ll learn to religiously home the mount after boot, or connection to software so that the mount knows it’s starting point. After that it will goto pretty good. A single plate solve using the align/sync will get you centered on an object. Really most default settings, even for guiding will be pretty straight forward. You will want to use .5 second guide exposures so the mount can correct quickly for the large periodic error that it has. Anything slower than .5 seconds and it can’t correct fast enough to keep up with the error rate, and you’ll drift off target and back again over a full cycle of the strain wave gear.

PHD2 can also be used with KStars/EKOS, and a full run of the strain wave gear using guiding assistant (4 minutes 20 seconds) will give you good settings to use for the mount. Ignore any backlash recommendation. Then the only other thing worth looking into is just how good you can get polar alignment.

Last, make sure you have the latest firmware.
-Andrew
––––––––––
Mac Observatory - All about using the Mac for Astrophotography: www.macobservatory.com
Astrobin: www.astrobin.com/users/Lead_Weight/
5 months 1 week ago #78343

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Greg,
I used the mount quite a few times since my last post.
Here's my latest practices.
-- I don't use the hand control. At all. Except for the initial setup months ago.
-- I have KStars set to "KStars updates all devices" for Time and Location.
(If I image at a remote location - I create a custom location in KStars beforehand)
-- After Starting KStars/Ekos it is important to "Home Mount" from INDI control panel
-- "simulate the pier side" should be OFF.
-- then I unpark/park to a preset position - scope pointing to NCP and do the rest from there.

Guiding.
-- I still do have those occasional spikes in RA (and DEC too)
They might have to do with seeing/light pollution since I just returned from a dark site where I didn't have those spikes.

My latest settings for guiding:
GPG off.
Guiding rate 0.5s (this is important - it should not be higher than 1s)
0.60 0.45
0 0
0.05 0.05
20 20

That's about it.
HTH and do not hesitate to as questions.
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS clip-in filter).
ASI2600MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM Mini on ZWO 30F4
ZWO ASI224MC-S on Orion 50 mm f/3.2
ZWO EAF x 2
SW AZ-GTi
SW HEQ5
RST-135
5 months 1 week ago #78344

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Yes, I know that a new and much improved driver was released but I hadn't tried it yet - I didn't want to break anything before going to a dark site.
Will try soon.
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS clip-in filter).
ASI2600MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM Mini on ZWO 30F4
ZWO ASI224MC-S on Orion 50 mm f/3.2
ZWO EAF x 2
SW AZ-GTi
SW HEQ5
RST-135
5 months 1 week ago #78345

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Andrew -
Does the new firmware make a difference? I was hesitant to install it and didn't.
Thanks!
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS clip-in filter).
ASI2600MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM Mini on ZWO 30F4
ZWO ASI224MC-S on Orion 50 mm f/3.2
ZWO EAF x 2
SW AZ-GTi
SW HEQ5
RST-135
5 months 1 week ago #78346

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A lot of firmware fixes have been bug fixes. For the 135E there was a fix for DEC excursions that were happening randomly when guiding. But the firmware has been better with every update. There has been work done on a new driver for INDI, which allows you to make a simple sky model with 7 point alignment. That could improve tracking as most imagers only solve a single point. And prior to this new driver, it only allowed one sync point to be stored.
-Andrew
––––––––––
Mac Observatory - All about using the Mac for Astrophotography: www.macobservatory.com
Astrobin: www.astrobin.com/users/Lead_Weight/
5 months 1 week ago #78347

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Thank you.  I have built homing the mount into my start up routine, and since I’ve starting doing that, I’ve not had issues with cord wrap.  Maybe I need to add homing after starting INDI, too.  Plate solving seems to work great.  Maybe the some of the guiding issues had to do with my polar alignment being off.  I’ve purchased a new MacBook Pro, I’ve had issues with the PoleMaster software failing (it worked fine on my old MacBook Air).  So when I tried this last night, my PA was undoubtedly off.  I have been trying 0.5 and 1.0 second exposures.  I’ll revisit that with better alignment.  Maybe it’s time to try the internal PA routine until the PoleMaster software is sorted.

I was hoping for a clear night but maybe tomorrow… thanks for the suggestions.
 
5 months 1 week ago #78349

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Max,

Thank you for the updated guiding settings and list of the steps you take during setup.  Sounds like I need to add homing the mount from the INDI control panel to my routine.  Plus, I’ll turn off “simulate the pier side”, too.  You mentioned that you don’t use the hand controller.  Is there an operational reason for that other than simplifying the setup?  I’ve already had the mount damage itself once (cord wrap), and I kind of like the extra assurance of having an easy to reach panic button.

Unfortunately, it’s cloudy here tonight, and so I’ll have to try again later.

Thanks again,
Greg
5 months 1 week ago #78350

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Another night of bad weather... crazy winds and a 30°F temperature drop this afternoon (hence the winds).  On the plus side, once the winds die down, I won't need to cool the camera!

When you guys are using INDI (e.g., StellarMate), are you running everything on the Raspberry Pi, or are you using the Pi as an INDI server and then running remotely?  I ask because I have been running KStars/Ekos on my Mac and then connecting to my Raspberry Pi as a server.  I was wondering if the communications delays between the Mac and the Pi might cause some of the issues I'm seeing (perhaps too much time to think since I can't be out trying things).  I'm assuming that the guiding software runs on the client (i.e., the Mac) with input from the server (the 0.5s exposures) and then sends it results to the server (i.e., the Pi).  Note that I do have the Pi hardwired to ethernet (I've learned that the Pi is not the most reliable in terms of WiFi connection...) and the Mac is on WiFi (5GHz, usually 500MBs or faster—strong signal)

I'm hoping for clear skis later this week, but it looks like it may be a few days.

Thanks,
Greg
 
5 months 1 week ago #78392

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I have run almost exactly as you describe (mac client rPi server connected over wired ethernet). Guiding was fine - the guide camera has fairly small files so not too much of a lag on GB ethernet.
Borg 107FL on RST-135, Astro-Tech AT130EDT on GM1000HPS; SkyShed Pier; QHY600PH Chroma LRGBHSO; QHY5-III-462C; IR Guiding WO Uniguide 50 & ASI290mm mini; ASUS PN51 ubuntu, kstars/ekos, & firecapture; Pegasus PPBA; Stellarvue Optimus + WO Redcat, Skyguider Pro RT90C, rPi4/stellarmate
The following user(s) said Thank You: Greg Stark
5 months 1 week ago #78393

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Cool, and thanks! I'm running an ASI290mm Mini, and I'm just waiting for the weather to clear so that I can try a new guide scope and updated guiding parameters (last time I tried, the guider kept losing track of the stars—extremely frustrating).
5 months 1 week ago #78394

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I found it worthwhile to tweak the gain and offset on the guide camera to optimize guiding SNR. For the ASI290mm mini with an IR pass filter a gain of 300 seemed to work well. Once the gain and offset are tweaked then doing darks helped further improve although if the offset was set too low dark subtraction gave poor results. With optimized gain, offset, and dark subtraction I get fairly robust tracking of stars.
Borg 107FL on RST-135, Astro-Tech AT130EDT on GM1000HPS; SkyShed Pier; QHY600PH Chroma LRGBHSO; QHY5-III-462C; IR Guiding WO Uniguide 50 & ASI290mm mini; ASUS PN51 ubuntu, kstars/ekos, & firecapture; Pegasus PPBA; Stellarvue Optimus + WO Redcat, Skyguider Pro RT90C, rPi4/stellarmate
The following user(s) said Thank You: Greg Stark
5 months 1 week ago #78395

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Thank you!  The ASI290mm mini with an IR pass filter (albeit on a 30mm f/4 guide scope instead of 50mm since I have a shorter focal length main scope) is exactly what I'm using.  I'll try the 290 gain numbers you mentioned.  Now all I need is clear skies!
5 months 1 week ago #78396

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