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INDI Library v1.9.6 Released (21 May 2022)

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

KStars still not handling cloudy nights well

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So I've been using the new version (1.7) for a few nights and have been happy with the results. It seems that if I have clear nights, then everything works well. However, on Thursday night we had some clouds pass through... and things went south. As best as I can tell, EKOS began losing the guide star intermittently and then reacquiring it and begin guiding again. Up to a point, it worked correctly... trying to find the guide star and aborting the capture... then restarting. But then it lost the guide star and slew the scope far enough to put the object out of the frame. Then it started guiding again and capturing again... in the wrong place. After about two hours, it lost the guide star again and, apparently, aborted the job. The scheduler restarted the job, realigned and worked properly from then on.

I understand everything that happened except the radical slewing. Why didn't the guide slewing limits in PHD2 work? Shouldn't the pulses shut off when it loses the guide star?

I've attached the log... hopefully, someone can figure it out.

Thanks,

Ron
Mounts: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, Meade LX85, Celestron NexStar Evolution Alt/Az
OTAs: Celestron 8" Edge HD w/Celestron Focus Motor, Meade 80mm APO Triplet Refractor w/ZWO EAF
Cameras: ASI533MC Pro, ASI183MC Pro, ASI224MC, ASI120MC-S, ZWO ASI290MM
Raspberry Pi 4 with Stellarmate OS, MacBook Pro
2 months 4 weeks ago #81981
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Hi
A good workaround is to set a short job of say 6 frames. Use the scheduler 'Repeat for' to select how many multiples of 6 you'd like.
Don't forget to set the scheduler to trigger an align upon the start of each job.
Cheers and HTH
kubuntu 20.04
700d, eq6, t7m
Last edit: 2 months 4 weeks ago by alacant.
2 months 4 weeks ago #81999

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Alacant,

Yeah... I guess that is the direction that I need to go. Especially on marginal nights. Also, it would help solve other potential problems with bad focusing, meridian flips, etc.

I'm guessing that a good frequency would be setting the job to about a one-hour duration? That would cap the max damage to a reasonable amount, without wasting time by frequent focusing, alignment, guide start-up, etc. I'll give it a go.

I guess that I keep wanting to get the system to handle cloud interruptions better... but I'm not a programmer, so can't create any solutions... only problems... lol.

Thanks,

Ron
Mounts: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, Meade LX85, Celestron NexStar Evolution Alt/Az
OTAs: Celestron 8" Edge HD w/Celestron Focus Motor, Meade 80mm APO Triplet Refractor w/ZWO EAF
Cameras: ASI533MC Pro, ASI183MC Pro, ASI224MC, ASI120MC-S, ZWO ASI290MM
Raspberry Pi 4 with Stellarmate OS, MacBook Pro
2 months 4 weeks ago #82006

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I've seen this issue several times. I wish EKOS would just keep on tracking as normal and wait for the sky to clear, instead of slewing the scope for some strange reason.
Once the sky clears the guide stars is so far away that out looses the ability to bring it back. I have excellent encoders and had it just done nothing at all, the star would have not moved much.

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD
William Optics Star71
ASI 1600Mm Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight motorfocus & Esatto focuser
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
DewBuster
NANO PC-T4
2 months 4 weeks ago #82026

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Peter,

Same here. I generally have good tracking and don't need a lot of guiding. I'm going to try Alacant's method to minimize the damage from the weird slewing.

Thanks,

Ron
Mounts: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, Meade LX85, Celestron NexStar Evolution Alt/Az
OTAs: Celestron 8" Edge HD w/Celestron Focus Motor, Meade 80mm APO Triplet Refractor w/ZWO EAF
Cameras: ASI533MC Pro, ASI183MC Pro, ASI224MC, ASI120MC-S, ZWO ASI290MM
Raspberry Pi 4 with Stellarmate OS, MacBook Pro
2 months 4 weeks ago #82032

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There is a feature in the scheduling tab (maybe it's alignment) that tells the mount to analyze a picture every x frames and recenter if required. I use it because I've found with dithering it'll 'walk' my images out of center and it does work.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Hans, Ron DeBry
2 months 4 weeks ago #82042

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Chris,

Wow! I've never seen that option before. I found it in the EKOS Configuration Scheduler tab. Would you share how you have set the two pull-downs and the four check boxes below? It's a little confusing as the second pull-down and third check box say the same thing.

Thanks for finding!

Ron
Mounts: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, Meade LX85, Celestron NexStar Evolution Alt/Az
OTAs: Celestron 8" Edge HD w/Celestron Focus Motor, Meade 80mm APO Triplet Refractor w/ZWO EAF
Cameras: ASI533MC Pro, ASI183MC Pro, ASI224MC, ASI120MC-S, ZWO ASI290MM
Raspberry Pi 4 with Stellarmate OS, MacBook Pro
Last edit: 2 months 4 weeks ago by Ron Clanton.
2 months 4 weeks ago #82043

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Hadn't ever noticed that one either. Took me a while to find it.

In KStars / Settings / Configure KStars / Ekos / Scheduler

Below the dusk/dawn offset values, "Verify captured image position every ____ frames" and then a few additional options below for after you have set that to a non-zero value.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Madson
2 months 3 weeks ago #82077

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I didn't think it worked till a few nights ago. Totally will recenter :). I was having problems with 100 frames and 'non-guided dithering'. The dither tends to go in the same direction so my images would walk away. Turning that feature on fixed it.

Ekos is full of these little treasures.
2 months 3 weeks ago #82180

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Hi
Perhaps don't think in terms of time, Rather, 'if clouds come and guiding fails, I'll lose x frames.'
We set 6 frames and repeat for the total time we'd like but in multiples of 6. So with e.g. 5 minutes, you'd lose only 1/2 hour of imaging.
HTH
kubuntu 20.04
700d, eq6, t7m
2 months 3 weeks ago #82191

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Lots of passing cloud last night and I saw this happen as well. I would like to see the guider just let tracking continue and don't attempt to slew anywhere and wait for the cloud to pass. My mount is pretty well aligned and will keep the image close enough aligned whilst cloud passes. I don't understand this behaviour?
2 months 3 weeks ago #82193

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David,

Yes, I also don't understand the behavior. If the star is lost, it should simply not send any guiding pulses. Additionally, I don't understand why it sends such a large pulse... seemingly ignoring the maximums designated in PHD2/Internal guiding parameters.

However, this realignment feature could be a game changer for saving my nights until a permanent fix is in place.

Ron
Mounts: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, Meade LX85, Celestron NexStar Evolution Alt/Az
OTAs: Celestron 8" Edge HD w/Celestron Focus Motor, Meade 80mm APO Triplet Refractor w/ZWO EAF
Cameras: ASI533MC Pro, ASI183MC Pro, ASI224MC, ASI120MC-S, ZWO ASI290MM
Raspberry Pi 4 with Stellarmate OS, MacBook Pro
2 months 3 weeks ago #82196

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