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INDI Library v1.9.9 Released (30 Nov 2022)

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

RST-135 mount - what are the best practices?

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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
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Mac Observatory - All about using the Mac for Astrophotography: www.macobservatory.com
Astrobin: www.astrobin.com/users/Lead_Weight/
1 year 2 days 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.
 
1 year 2 days 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
1 year 2 days 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
 
1 year 1 day 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 + QHY268C, Astro-Tech AT130EDT on GM1000HPS + QHY600PH Chroma LRGBHSO; IR Guiding WO Uniguide 50 & QHY5-III-462C ASUS PN51 and Mele Quieter 3 ubuntu, kstars/ekos, & firecapture; Pegasus PPBA; WO Redcat, Skyhunter on RT90C, QHY533C, rPi4/stellarmate
The following user(s) said Thank You: Greg Stark
1 year 1 day 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).
1 year 1 day 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 + QHY268C, Astro-Tech AT130EDT on GM1000HPS + QHY600PH Chroma LRGBHSO; IR Guiding WO Uniguide 50 & QHY5-III-462C ASUS PN51 and Mele Quieter 3 ubuntu, kstars/ekos, & firecapture; Pegasus PPBA; WO Redcat, Skyhunter on RT90C, QHY533C, rPi4/stellarmate
The following user(s) said Thank You: Greg Stark
1 year 1 day 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!
1 year 1 day ago #78396

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I use RST-135 on RPI 100% since it's my travel mount.
I either use 10" monitor, mouse and keyboard (in the field) or VNC to it (at home).
Tried to use IR pass filter for guiding - didn't see much improvement.
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS D1 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
iOptron CEM40G
The following user(s) said Thank You: Greg Stark
1 year 1 day ago #78397

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Last Friday (New Moon) I went to a dark site with RST-135 and almost had a bad trip.
(SM 1.6.1 and KStars 3.5.6 Stable).
KStars kept crashing on plate-solve - after a successful plate-solve KStars would just crash.
I was about to cry since this was my second attempt at dark site / new moon where I was unsuccessfully trying to properly test my new FRA400 refractor (first time was bad weather).

In the end it all went great after I switched from the internal solver to ASTAP (I did try the setup at my Bortle 8 home several times and it did work fine with the internal solver - not sure why it kept crashing at the dark site).
Anyway, RST performed well. FRA400 produced some nice images. I ended up to be happy with both. Great!
Guiding was not outstanding but very good (below 1" RMS total). No spikes. I didn't use a counterweight.

Came home and updated the system to the latest nightly build. Tested with simulators (bad weather) - all is well and now I have the new RST driver!
Also did some improvements with the cable management.
Can't wait for the good weather to return!
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS D1 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
iOptron CEM40G
Last edit: 11 months 3 weeks ago by maxthebuilder.
11 months 3 weeks ago #78530

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