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Old 16-01-2012, 08:14 PM
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Advice please

Let us assume I have the hamburger with the lot.

PMX mount, FLI camera, filter wheel and focuser. And RH200 optic.

What guiding camera should I use. I will use an off axis guider. I have been recommended to use Maxim something or other for data collection.

I put this up as general question as there is a plethora of wildly woolly unknowns looming on the horizon.

Bert
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Old 16-01-2012, 08:18 PM
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SBIG's new guide camera looks the go

then again the OSSAG with PHD works a treat
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Old 16-01-2012, 08:19 PM
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Very happy with my Lodestar for OAG & Maxim DL for data collection.

I have much more success seeing guide stars with short exposures using the Lodestar vs the SSAG through an OAG.

DT

Last edited by DavidTrap; 16-01-2012 at 08:20 PM. Reason: added a bit
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Old 16-01-2012, 09:23 PM
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One of your Gstar-Ex's Bert.
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Old 16-01-2012, 09:35 PM
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I haven't used one but I'd say the new SBG STi is the go.

Its CCD rather than CMOS and less likely to have weird artifacts that Lodestars sometimes seem to have. My Lodestar works but often requires autodarks which of course it can't do properly as there is no shutter but the dark subtract seems to leave a fragment of the guide star which you can guide on using CCDsoft.

It may work better in Maxim and it may be quality between Lodestars is rather variable.

Greg.
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Old 16-01-2012, 09:47 PM
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I've migrated from the QHY5, then the ATiK16ic and now finally to the Lodestar.
IMHO the Lodestar does the job very well.
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Old 17-01-2012, 04:51 AM
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Another emphatic vote for the Lodestar Bert.
Gary
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Old 17-01-2012, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorW View Post
SBIG's new guide camera looks the go

then again the OSSAG with PHD works a treat
Has anyone given the STi a go yet? I was looking at this camera a few days ago.
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Old 17-01-2012, 05:26 PM
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Martin Pugh is using one. He did post about a problem he had with it with remote imaging where it would drop out or not boot up at times.

Not sure if that was resolved.

To be fair to SBIG it sounded like a possible USB issue with hubs as I have seen similar but it may have been the guider -who knows.

Greg.
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Old 17-01-2012, 05:33 PM
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If you've spent that kind of money on rig, I would've thought a cooled guide cam with a shutter to build a dark library for it would be a small sacrifice really. Do it properly.
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Old 21-01-2012, 11:50 PM
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I use the Orion (cheapish) Star Shoot autoguider. It works well with the PME, so I would assume it would work well with the PMX.

However I think Fred is onto something there. Maybe a consideration.

Using Maxim is a breeze and intergrates well with all the automated software I have used so far. Easy to operate and intuitive to use.
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Old 22-01-2012, 12:09 AM
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Starshoot works well with PMX as well. I use one right now with my PMX.

I have no issue other than fact it has poor driver support. This means you cant run it from CCD Soft. Not sure about Maxim. When you then want to use things like CCD Autopilot etc... it wont be useable.

My STi is on the way. I will let you all know how it goes when it comes.
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Old 22-01-2012, 12:13 AM
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The SBIG ST-i is the way to go but there is a bit of a waiting list (took 6 months to get mine) as there was a problem with the tiny shutter mechanism. I believe they are now catching up with orders but it would still probabaly take a month or two to get one. The CCDOps program that comes with the camera is a bit spartan and I have mine working very well in MaximDL (although I had to update my copy to the latest version (5.18) for the camera drivers to be supported - must be ver 5.13 and above, I had ver 5.12, go figure). MaximDL offers the best allround AP program IMO with all the bells and whistles you could possibly want and then some. Camera, mount, guide, dome control, FW, focusers, processing, virtually everything is all combined in a single program. It is great for guiding as you can change things on the fly and the fine settings etc etc etc really let you nail your mount into doing what it should. I have never tried to mix it with "the Sky" which you will have to use to drive the PMX but there is a driver included for "telescopes driven by the sky" in the options list in the latest version (5.18), not sure about earlier versions, so it should play together nicely, in any case you are a bright lad, sure you will work it out.

Mark
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Old 26-01-2012, 12:53 PM
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Bert, now isn't the time, but at some later time when you're stating to tame all that new hardware, I'd propose you seriously think about some automation software too (e.g. CCD Commander or CCD Autopilot). For mosacis, darks, bias libraries, flats and general image capture is nice to get a libarary of scripts together for things you do all the time over and over. You don't have to break the bank either.

Agree with Mark Maxim is great for really finely tweaking your guiding. The automation packages can take that a step further though and do nice things like recapture and recentre after automated meridian flips while you're catching up on ZZZzzzs.
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Old 28-01-2012, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
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Bert, now isn't the time, but at some later time when you're stating to tame all that new hardware, I'd propose you seriously think about some automation software too (e.g. CCD Commander or CCD Autopilot). For mosacis, darks, bias libraries, flats and general image capture is nice to get a libarary of scripts together for things you do all the time over and over. You don't have to break the bank either.
I totally agree with this and in relation to the subject is that to be successful you will need a good guide camera. The weakest link in my setup is the guide camera that I use (Orion Starshoot). When unattended it sometimes fails to find a suitable guide star and tries to guide on a group of hot pixels, even when I use dark subtraction. This is the reason why I have been looking at the STi.
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Old 28-01-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzRob View Post
I totally agree with this and in relation to the subject is that to be successful you will need a good guide camera. The weakest link in my setup is the guide camera that I use (Orion Starshoot). When unattended it sometimes fails to find a suitable guide star and tries to guide on a group of hot pixels, even when I use dark subtraction. This is the reason why I have been looking at the STi.
At the risk of hijacking.......I had no success with automated guidestar acquisition until doing a library of bias/darks for the Starshoot autoguider. Even so, CCDAutopilot is very unreliable re-acquiring (in my hands), while CCDC seems rock solid. These issues may be important down the line, so agree a decent low noise (and low artefact) guidecam important. I was surprised at number of defects in a lodestar at a local site recently - certainly made dithering a challenge.
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Old 28-01-2012, 12:33 PM
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The SBIG ST-i is both clean (class 1 chip) and sensitive. It also has the advantage of having a small mechanical shutter which allows proper darks to be shot. I have now had a play in maxim with the ST-i and where my CMOS guider used to cause mayhem with the guiding through hot pixels even after darks were applied, the ST-i has no such problems. All it needs is a simple auto dark and away it goes, super clean guide subs for maxim to work with.

Mark
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Old 28-01-2012, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
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The SBIG ST-i is both clean (class 1 chip) and sensitive. It also has the advantage of having a small mechanical shutter which allows proper darks to be shot. I have now had a play in maxim with the ST-i and where my CMOS guider used to cause mayhem with the guiding through hot pixels even after darks were applied, the ST-i has no such problems. All it needs is a simple auto dark and away it goes, super clean guide subs for maxim to work with.

Mark

That sounds great Mark. That's exactly what can bug autoguiding with these CMOS based autoguiders. They track on a hot pixel by mistake or lock onto an artifact line instead of a star. They don't do proper autodarks either having no shutter or no electronic shutter it would seem.

Greg
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