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08 Apr 2018
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TOPIC: First night out with KSTARS/EKOS

First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24400

knro wrote:

Lead_weight wrote: I then wanted to align with preselecting 3 alignment stars using the auto routine in EKOS. I selected the first star which should have been high and to the west, and the scope pointed at the ground, so I stopped everything and disconnected EKOS.


I'm not sure what "Auto Routine" you're talking about exactly here? For your mount, you need to perform the 2-3 stars alignment using the hand-controller before connecting to Ekos.

I ran through the basic goto /alignment routine built into the hand controller (2+4 star align). Then moved the mount to the home position (basically pointed at Polaris), and reconnected EKOS. (as a side note: I set the park position to the current home position. But no matter what I tried, every time I parked the scope, it started slewing to some strange destination, and not the home position. I don't really need the park feature, but would like it if the scope could return to this home position and park so that I can tear down the equipment the next morning without needing to move it.)


How did you set park position? To set parking position, just right-click anywhere on the sky map, but not TOO close to Polaris, and then from the menu go to Celstron and then -> Set As Parking Position. Next time you park, it should go there.

This time I was able to point to objects using the built in mount controller for EKOS, and pointed and solved a few objects with no issue. The mount was able to correct it's GOTO and sync the proper location. From here on out the GOTO model seemed very precise.


Yes! This is the correct procedure.

I picked an object to image, and loaded my LRGB sequence I had made.

Went to the guide tab to start guiding and I began to quickly run into problems. It does not seem the data coming off the guide camera (ASI224MC) is coming across correctly. It's really garbled and pink/blue. I wish I took some images, but I didn't. I tried a bunch of the settings, including setting to 8-bit, RGB, 16-bit, and I modified the guiding software settings to different exposures, as well as tried some of the effects settings such as high contrast, additive, etc. Some of those settings had an effect on the final guiding images coming through, like additive (I think it was called) provided more regular images, but they were very dim, and any changes to gain or exposure length had little effect.


I've had several issues with getting my ZWO ASI120 to guide correctly as well. Were you able to select "LUMA" in the ASI driver? You probably don't want to guide on color frames due to increased noise. Ideally, you don't need to use filter. I will try today to test my ZWO camera again and check what settings were used to make it guide properly and I'll report back.

Eventually, I changed from the internal guider to PHD2, and loaded it up, picked a guide star, calibrated it, and started guiding. I switched back to EKOS, and it had already picked up the guiding signal from PHD2, and I started imaging my target.

I wish I could get the internal guiding working, because I'd prefer to use one program, but overall, I'm very pleased to get it all running and working in my first session, and can't wait to get outside again for another session.


Absolutely! I'll try to check these issues today with my observatory. I usually use my faithful Lodestar X2 for guiding, but I'll mount the ZWO ASI today as well and see how it goes. Thank you for your patience!


The auto routine I was using was the Mount Model settings under the align tab. I added three stars that were visible, hoping it would slew to them automatically and solve each one, then sync. But I think it didn't because of the issue you addressed above that with my mount I have to perform a hand control 2-3 star align before I connect EKOS.

For setting the park position I moved the mount to it's home position, which is just to the side of Polaris, went in to the INDI driver control panel for my mount, and under the park options selected use current, then write data. I have not tried what you suggested, but will attempt it the next night out.

As for the guiding camera. I believe I tried LUMA, I think I pretty much tried all the options with no luck. I got out for a second night last night, and used PHD2 from the beginning with very little issue. But I need to make another attempt with EKOS for guiding.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24403

rlancaste wrote: Hmm i am not sure I understand the zwo issue. i have been using the usb3 zwo asi 120 monochrome with KStars since last December with no problems (so about 15 months?). It doesn't show colors? It has worked very well as a guider. I have tried it on the mac but usually it is attached to my raspberry pi. I Have always been using the latest version of kstars and indi.


I haven't attempted it again, but maybe I'll hook it up and make a screen recording, so it can be seen what is happening.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24404

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I see the colours when doing polar alignment. For guiding I use PHD2 and haven’t seen colours there nor noticed if they are in the kstars status of PHD2

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24406

Good point gbeaton. I have used PHD2 the last few months, so I might not have noticed a change in the INDI driver or KStars. But when I used it in the internal guide configuration before, it did not have colors. Maybe I will do a quick test and see.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24411

So today I hooked ASI120MC to my Orion Guide Scope (50mm 162m FL) and connected the ST4 cable from ZWO to my EQ8 mount.

When I captured first, I also got the pink-color, and then I went to ZWO control panel and changed it to Luma

Then it worked fine. I spent a bit of time to get it focused and used looping for that, but once focused, I set it binning to 2x2 and then started guiding and it worked flawlessly afterwards with absolutely no changes.

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Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info

First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24416

This is after 20 minutes with bin 1x1:

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Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info

First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24426

Great to hear. I'll check this tonight. It's possible I overlooked Luma, and only tried RGB, and the other options.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24441

The LUMA setting worked for me (I must have overlooked this before), and now I'm able to guide with the internal guider. I attempted dithering, but all my frames were blurry until I turned it off. So, I'm not quite sure how to set this up.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 6 days ago #24442

Dithering happens between frames and not during capture, so it shouldn't cause your frames to become blurry. Maybe logs could shed a light on this.

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Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info

First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 5 days ago #24454

knro wrote: Dithering happens between frames and not during capture, so it shouldn't cause your frames to become blurry. Maybe logs could shed a light on this.


I'm not sure why this happened. I used the default settings, but it looked like it was constantly dithering during the 60 second exposures. Each image had stars that looked like z shape. I'll attempt it again and see if I can log it.

I also ran into another issue with the internal guider now that I got it working. For long periods of time the image coming from the camera would be black, and would periodically go back to showing a normal image of the stars. When it was black, even for 5 minutes at a time, the guiding continued to work as if it still was tracking the star. See attached images of dithering example, and my guiding panel screen with the black image.


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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 5 days ago #24469

Is „autostretch“ (FITS settings) enabled (box checked)? this has causing me problems, and I disabled.

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First night out with KSTARS/EKOS 2 months 5 days ago #24472

Yes, this was enabled. I'll try it out this evening to see if that fixes it.

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