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25 Jul 2018
Glad to announce of release of INDI Library v1.7.4 on 2018-07-25. A few drivers were added in this release as we continue to improve & stabilize existing drivers.
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TOPIC: Orion Starshoot Autoguider

Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 9 months ago #12859

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I finally had some initial success with my SSAG using INDI at least partially. I have only been able to reliably use the QHY5 native drivers for the PHD2 guiding so far. Using the INDI drivers for the camera itself seems flaky and slow to respond. I may experiment with that more though. For some reason, the on camera setting for guiding does not work for me with my iOptron mounts. That could be something to do with my iOptron mounts. I know this has worked in the past and I tried a second SSAG and confirmed it was not the SSAG or ST-4 cable that was bad. The likelihood of both mounts having bad guide ports is also unlikely. If I set the mount to INDI and select the SmartEQ or ZEG25GT drivers for my mount it is able to control the mount with guide pulses. My chart was all over the place because I didn't even bother to do an alignment for this test, but I did see the correction pulses being sent.

My next questions is does anyone have any recommended settings for PHD2 they would recommend as a good starter set? I am talking about all of the widget settings (i.e. gain, max pulese length, agressiveness, etc). I know most of these will end up needing to be tweaked for individual mounts, but wanted to see if anyone had any ideas there.

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 9 months ago #12982

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Good News!

After the last couple of updates from the PPA both my SSAG and my Canon T4i are detected and connect from INDI, great work devs!

I did notice that the '/lib/udev/rules.d/85-qhy.rules' does have some 'SYSFS' attributes in it which cause udev some errors unless they are replaced with 'ATTRS'

Thanks for the awesome work!

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 9 months ago #12984

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The SSAG does seem able to more reliably connect for me via INDI now as well. Perhaps I will give the built in guiding a shot again once I have some decent weather to try.

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13639

myxlflik wrote: The SSAG does seem able to more reliably connect for me via INDI now as well. Perhaps I will give the built in guiding a shot again once I have some decent weather to try.


Hi myxlflik(?)

Just want to share that I'm using the Orion SSAG successfully with boult in ekos guider.

That's a truth with some modifications. It does work with Celestron AVX with 'Guiding Via' set to celestron gps, and use pulse cmd set in the celestron driver.
I have also one or two times managed to calibrate with 'Guiding via' QHY5, but it seams more likely to fail.

I would like to add that i have never had any issues connecting the SSAG and getting images from it. It's always the calibration that is the tricky part.

Just an half hour ago or something I had ha patch of clear skies, opened up my roof calibrated and started guiding. (Then as always a lot of clouds! [damit!])

Some notes about maximizing the chance of success. Polar aligning is a lot more important than PHD2 on Windows. When I was using windows I could point my scope to north with a Android compass and set the mount to 59deg and PHD2 would calibrate. This does not work with the built in ekos guider (atleast not with SSAG).

By using the Polar alignment tool in Alignment module I now have ~35 sec error in Az error and ~15 sec error in Alt. The one thing that makes the PA tool difficult to use is that it uses 'Capture and Slew'. This does not work with a poor PA. As the images are downloaded and the solver solves, then the scope has drifted away from the solution in time for it to solve. I always ended up getting closer and closer until the solver error was more or less the same every time.

My fix to this was to set to 'Capture and Sync' Every time the solver syncs then slew to the middle of the solution back to the intended target, and the PA tool continues. Not sure but I suspect the tool might be less accurate this way?, however you will get close enough to eventually re run the tool with 'Capture and Slew' and so complete a good PA. Not sure that my PA with 35 sec and ~15sec is the best, but it's all that i had (time) for in the cold weather.

I'm not sure what the Celestron driver's 'Pulse CMD' does and why th SSAG is more likely to complete calibration when it's done. The 'Guide Via' option does make Ekos send guide signals directly to the mount, so the guiding part of the SSAG is not used, and the ST-4 port is bypassed. (at this point I think the SSAG is reduced to a camera, and non of the guiding capabilities of the device is used).

Figured this could be useful info for some people with the SSAG.

Picture of todays guiding. (not very good seeing, so the guide graph is a little wobbly) :)


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Last Edit: by Magnus_e. Reason: Many typos

Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13662

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Magnus_e,

Thanks for your input. I will see if I can make it work properly with the settings you used. I don't have a Celestron GPS mount, but I generally have not had any problems moving my mount around other than with the guiding setup. Do you normally do 3 second exposures?

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13663

The 3sec exposures was a little out of the ordenary. I usually try 0.5 first and then work my way up. When seeing is bad I start to get white streaks all over the image, and the stars are gone. It usally happens when I do not realize I'm imaging clouds :) I need a sky meter in my observatory!

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13664

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Ok. That makes more sense to me. I usually start about 1 second. You must have been imaging a darker area when you snapped those snippets. :)

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13790

So this is something that must be investigated!

I have a perfectly clear night, witch is not usual. It's a lot of moon, but I'm imaging my first nb session :woohoo:

So today I did not manage to calibrate the qhy at all. No matter what I did it would not reach start point after 30 iterations.
So what I noticed, was that it never complained about ra, only dec.
So I turned off calibration of dec. At this point the guider did not know that I have to swap dec, so I enabled that manually.

What happened then? First the dec axis was dropping all the way to -20 or something, in the passing of a minute or so, but then it gradually got back on track!
It's like guiding is a self calibrating effort :)
Just look at the guide graph after it settled, and notice it's qhy5 via qhy5.
Not sure, but I'm thinking the calibration algorithm is not agreeing with the qhy5.

First picture is guiding started with uncalibrated dec, second is after it had settled. Looks like it's working just fine to me.



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Last Edit: by Magnus_e.

Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13792

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How did you disable calibration? I don't see where that can be disabled.

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13793

Click on Options and disable 'two axis'


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Build thread @ SGL: Starting summers observatory project

Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13794

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Thanks. I will have to try that during my next opportunity to set things up. I just need a couple hours of winds to blow these clouds away. :) I can live with a rough graph to start if it stabilizes itself out.

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Orion Starshoot Autoguider 1 year 8 months ago #13796

I wouldn't recommend turning off "Two Axis" because if calibration is failing in DEC then there is definitely a problem. I wouldn't use subframing & any effects to test this initially. You can also cover the telescope and take dark frames as well to be used later, as it can help reduce the noise.

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