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Old 29-07-2017, 08:38 PM
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graham.hobart (Graham stevens)
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auto focus FS 106 tips from wise old astro Elfs

Greetings from windy wet Hobart.
Have managed one brief first light since acquiring my second hand FS106N. Thanks to an IIS deal it was delivered safe and sound (Mr Copernicus no less!)
Having just signed up for another year of two jobs I am concentrating initially on OSC /DSLR to save time. I have currently in service a cooled 60Da which has given me sterling service with a selection of scopes over the years, plus a QHY 8 pro.
Whilst I ponder which full frame CMOS gets my hard earned, the 60da is currently attached and ready.
I want to use the attached robofocus and am looking for tips/short cuts or wizened advice about setting this up. Because my imaging time is so precious, most of the nights in the past when I have tried to set up focus max or maxim dl auto focus routines have been patchy cloud nights not good for imaging so therefore have screwed my focus routines also.
I ask...
1. should I automatically update my focus max (I have the old free version and I believe they charge now?)
2. I don't want to update MaximDl 5 as it has been a trusty servant for years running my mono rig. Plus I read the early teething issues and stopped reading the email circulars after that
3. I run APT for the DSLR -can this be reliably linked via robocofus to automate - via another ascom program-or should i run the DSLR in maxim (which I don't like)
4. I have SG pro but that I think relies on third party software to do its focus routine, plus it really annoyingly does not store my password each time I shut it down ( I know, first world problem)
5. Everybody says the fs106 is temperature sensitive for focus, hence my query, though if you have seen my old photos you would agree my standards are lower than some others!!- my humble baht mask was fine for me with the other scopes- maybe not enough for this ?
I am sure I can think of something else soon but for now
thanks for any advice
Graham
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  #2  
Old 29-07-2017, 11:24 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Do a first light wizard with FocusMax.

Set the final direction to out, instead of in, and you're done.

When I have a moment, I'll message you on the book of faces and give you the low down on settings.

Old/free FocusMax works just fine.

H
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  #3  
Old 30-07-2017, 10:10 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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Graham
The auto focus routine in SG Pro is built into the program. It can be a little tricky to get working well as it uses the entire image and then measures Half Flux Radius on all the stars it can see to estimate focus. Occasionally I found it ended up with dodgy focus until I increased the minimum star diameter setting a bit so it only uses bright stars and now it works really well.
SG Pro does use some external programs. It doesn't have guiding built in but interfaces with an external guide program, I am using PHD2 and it works fine with that. It also requires an external plate solver if you want to use that, Plate Solve 2 works fine with me.

Malcolm
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  #4  
Old 31-07-2017, 08:22 AM
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LewisM
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You forgot the Q Graham - it's not an FSQ--106N without it!

FocusMax V3 works just fine and is 100% free. Can be tricky to find a copy still since they want you to buy V4 for WAY too much, so if you need, I can email you the program or share a link for it (it's not bootleg - it's just discontinued and no longer supported).. In fact, V3 is easier to work with than V4 - even my intellect can figure it out :dribble dribble:
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  #5  
Old 31-07-2017, 08:37 AM
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graham.hobart (Graham stevens)
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fs106 tips

thanks guys will look forward to it H,
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  #6  
Old 31-07-2017, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graham.hobart View Post
Greetings from windy wet Hobart.
Have managed one brief first light since acquiring my second hand FS106N. Thanks to an IIS deal it was delivered safe and sound (Mr Copernicus no less!)
Having just signed up for another year of two jobs I am concentrating initially on OSC /DSLR to save time. I have currently in service a cooled 60Da which has given me sterling service with a selection of scopes over the years, plus a QHY 8 pro.
Whilst I ponder which full frame CMOS gets my hard earned, the 60da is currently attached and ready.
I want to use the attached robofocus and am looking for tips/short cuts or wizened advice about setting this up. Because my imaging time is so precious, most of the nights in the past when I have tried to set up focus max or maxim dl auto focus routines have been patchy cloud nights not good for imaging so therefore have screwed my focus routines also.
I ask...
1. should I automatically update my focus max (I have the old free version and I believe they charge now?)
2. I don't want to update MaximDl 5 as it has been a trusty servant for years running my mono rig. Plus I read the early teething issues and stopped reading the email circulars after that
3. I run APT for the DSLR -can this be reliably linked via robocofus to automate - via another ascom program-or should i run the DSLR in maxim (which I don't like)
4. I have SG pro but that I think relies on third party software to do its focus routine, plus it really annoyingly does not store my password each time I shut it down ( I know, first world problem)
5. Everybody says the fs106 is temperature sensitive for focus, hence my query, though if you have seen my old photos you would agree my standards are lower than some others!!- my humble baht mask was fine for me with the other scopes- maybe not enough for this ?
I am sure I can think of something else soon but for now
thanks for any advice
Graham
I am use temperature compensation for my Honders using SkyX. What I did was plot the temperatures and focus position over several nights until I got an idea of how many steps per degree C it needed to change to stay in focus.

So now I focus, set temp compensation to on and activate it and it adjusts the focuser with every .1C temp shift. I am using a FLI Atlas focuser which has a temperature sensor.

It seems to work well. Probably not as well as a proper refocus though.
I have a good eye now for what looks in focus (images get a look when the focus is at ideal and I have learned to recognise it). If the stars look tight still after a few hours then I leave it. If they start to look soft I refocus.
I have a cable that links my home computer with my observatory computer 50 metres away and I use virtual desktop to control it from inside. I also have a dew heater around the cell.

Another setup I was considering was autofocus by Optec.

I also just was reading the feature list for Images Plus these days. Its very sophisticated now. I see he has a feature that analyses each image downloaded for sharpness and will adjust the focuser. That sounds very time saving and accurate if it works. Canon DSLRs are supported.

Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 01-08-2017 at 11:56 AM.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2017, 11:50 AM
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alocky (Andrew lockwood)
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I found on a cold night the fsq needed refocus every 30 minutes or so, which is fine when using SGPro as it will run an autofocus if you tell it to, but when using a DSLR on the back it is unrealistic to do an af run because of the download time. Someone suggested, and I can verify that it works, that a dew strap on the tube as well as around the cell will reduce the shrinkage. Works well and I've gone for hours without refocusing.
Cheers
Andrew.
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2017, 12:07 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Can confirm. I refocus every 30 minutes. As it is all automated, it's no big deal.

I was doing autofocusing even when using the DSLR. Again, while I slept, it wasn't a big deal.

Graham, I haven't forgotten about you -- will message you as soon as I get a moment.

H
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2017, 12:55 PM
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alocky (Andrew lockwood)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post
Can confirm. I refocus every 30 minutes. As it is all automated, it's no big deal.

I was doing autofocusing even when using the DSLR. Again, while I slept, it wasn't a big deal.

Graham, I haven't forgotten about you -- will message you as soon as I get a moment.

H
With a D800 or D810a on my old usb2 laptop, sgpro takes 10-15 minutes to download a single image. I went back to the intervalometer and camera chip!
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2017, 01:44 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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10-15 minutes or seconds? :O

I don't seem to recall my 5D Mark III taking that long. But, then, mine was automated through FocusMax and MaxIm DL.

H
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:23 PM
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alocky (Andrew lockwood)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post
10-15 minutes or seconds? :O

I don't seem to recall my 5D Mark III taking that long. But, then, mine was automated through FocusMax and MaxIm DL.

H
Minutes! It may have improved as that was their first attemp to talk to nikons.

Last edited by alocky; 01-08-2017 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Autocorrect changed Nikon to bikini. Much funnier...
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  #12  
Old 01-08-2017, 04:18 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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WOW. That is NUTS. :O

It was a matter of seconds through MaxIm DL.

H
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  #13  
Old 01-08-2017, 05:48 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Takes less than 5s to download a RAW Monochrome frame in Maxim DL for me and a Nikon D810. Same with my Nikon D7200.
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2017, 03:12 PM
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I'd be looking at the continuous autofocus system Lacerta at Optec for an FSQ.

Greg.
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