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Old 27-05-2012, 12:40 PM
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PRejto (Peter)
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PHD and PMX Settings?

Sorry for requesting more help....

I'm not exactly clear how to configure PHD and the PMX Mount.

Obviously the USB goes to the computer and the AutoGuide Cable to the mount. I can load the camera with PHD, and I assume the proper mount connection is: "On Camera?"

Is there anything that needs to be configured in TSX to allow PHD to control the mount? I cannot find anything in the PMX manual, or TSX help.... I want to try this tonight and would hopefully not be trying to configure things too much in the dark....

THANKS!!

Peter

Last edited by PRejto; 30-05-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 27-05-2012, 01:25 PM
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Marke (Mark)
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You dont need to use the auto guide cable just use the usb and connect thru that with Phd . Auto correction can be done just as easily thru the usb and it gets rid of a cable.
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Old 27-05-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marke View Post
You dont need to use the auto guide cable just use the usb and connect thru that with Phd . Auto correction can be done just as easily thru the usb and it gets rid of a cable.
Are you sure this works with a PMX? I have the ASCOM driver installed that lets me select "Sky Controlled Telescope," and then TheSkyX, but when I attempt connection I get an error message saying "pulse guiding not available on this mount."

Having the guide cable on a PMX is not an issue given the through the mount cable hub that is attached to the DEC axis...

Thank,

Peter
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Old 27-05-2012, 04:11 PM
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I assume it should work , let Phd do the guiding on its own you shouldnt need to connect to the guider with TSX . I could be wrong but both my Mach1 and the Cgem work this way even tho they have guide ports.
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Old 27-05-2012, 09:08 PM
cfranks (Charles)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marke View Post
I assume it should work , let Phd do the guiding on its own you shouldnt need to connect to the guider with TSX . I could be wrong but both my Mach1 and the Cgem work this way even tho they have guide ports.
I can't remember how much I tried, but I don't think I managed to get PHD to work with the PMX. Peter, why don't you guide using CCDSoft, you would have got the Add-on with the PMX. I already had CCDSoft and I find it works well. At least it now works well after I understood what it needs in the way of a guide star etc.

Charles
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Old 28-05-2012, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cfranks View Post
I can't remember how much I tried, but I don't think I managed to get PHD to work with the PMX. Peter, why don't you guide using CCDSoft, you would have got the Add-on with the PMX. I already had CCDSoft and I find it works well. At least it now works well after I understood what it needs in the way of a guide star etc.

Charles
I would LOVE to use CCDSoft but the program won't run with the Star Shoot AutoGuider as there is no ASCOM driver. CCDSoft also refuses to run properly with the ASCOM driver for my camera, a Moravian G2-8300. If I get desperate enough I might try to convert the Starshoot to a QHY5 by flashing the bios. Then there would be an ASCOM driver but I also risk toasting the camera. Not so good!


Peter

Last edited by PRejto; 30-05-2012 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 28-05-2012, 11:08 AM
cfranks (Charles)
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Have you tried the Plug-in driver (for CCDSoft) from Tom Van der Eede? His old site has gone but http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=74552 has a link to a .rar file which contains it.

Charles
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Old 28-05-2012, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfranks View Post
Have you tried the Plug-in driver (for CCDSoft) from Tom Van der Eede? His old site has gone but http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=74552 has a link to a .rar file which contains it.

Charles
Yes, that driver will not run in Win7 64 bit so that pretty much ends that possibility. I was even in touch with Mr. Van der Eede to ask if he would write a new driver. Short answer, no. Too hard. And Evan Warkentine has told me that Orion won't cooperate with him or anyone that wants to write a driver. No idea why they would take that attitude as it could only enhance sales of their cameras. Maybe I shouldn't say "won't cooperate," more like "sure" but then they never provide the requested information which amounts to the same thing!

Last edited by PRejto; 28-05-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 29-05-2012, 07:56 AM
cfranks (Charles)
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Sorry to hear that. AFAIK, none of the Imaging Software creators write drivers, they have to rely on the camera manufacturers to do so. Why Orion is different I don't understand!

Charles
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Old 29-05-2012, 08:54 AM
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Peter, I seem to remember pmrid having trouble getting his pmx to guide using a guide cable from both phd and ccdsoft.
I'm pretty sure he needed a firmware update for the mount to make it work but in the end it was working. Maybe pm him and ask.
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Old 30-05-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
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Peter, I seem to remember pmrid having trouble getting his pmx to guide using a guide cable from both phd and ccdsoft.
I'm pretty sure he needed a firmware update for the mount to make it work but in the end it was working. Maybe pm him and ask.

Thanks for that suggestion. I shall!
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:37 PM
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I know there are users of the PMX having some trouble using PHD and the Orion SSAG combination. I've been playing around with the software and ASCOM driver and have run into difficulty.

To do pulse guiding the ASCOM driver for TheSkyX (and other versions) has to be configured. Version 5.2.7 is on the Ascom site and it should be configured in the driver's properties "Enable Tracking Offsets" and "Enable Pulse Guiding." PHD will then connect to TSX, however there is a major problem when connecting the Orion camera (and perhaps others) as TSX will quickly disconnect from the MX.

It turns out that others have run into this same roadblock! Bintel put me in touch with one of their customers that discovered what the problem is. He wrote to me as follows:

"My PMX arrived couple of months ago so I had the opportunity to iron out some of the problems. Number one was the guiding using the SSAG with PHD and MaximDL. I used the ST4 cable and the camera relays to drive the PMX via the guide port. The result was similar to yours, I would loose the SkyX after a short while. Then I tested a basic config without the T-Point model (it was a basic one only 6 stars). Bingo I was able to successively guide with both PHD and Maxim. Later I found out that SkyX will time out after a number of errors. The guiding was good but not excellent,
Then I received my new SBIGs St-i mono camera. What a change. I can use Direct Guide with CCDSoft the results are 10 times better then the SSAG as far as the error rate. The image stability, sensitivity, and ability to take auto flats, and the piece of mind is worth the price. I can concentrate on my imaging and not the silly guiding. I can use my St-i mono camera with PHD to do a quick, efficient and precise drift alignment, I can use MaximDL (camera relay) or CCDSoft for Direct (precision) guiding with T-Point enabled. The SSAG will work but it's a toy when I compare it with the St-i."

Today I was able to confirm that by turning off T-Point, PHD will connect to TSX and TSX does not disconnect from the MX. I was able to track and slew without error both in the pulse guide configuration and in direct guide config. I'm thinking seriously about the ST-1 mono....

I hope this helps anyone else running into a similar problem. I also wonder why T-Point seems to cause this problem and hope there might be a fix someday.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:42 PM
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Hi Peter, you might want to put your order in now for the ST-i.
I ordered mine at the start of March, I am still waiting.

Cheers
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:30 PM
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Peter,
I have recently been looking at guiding via the sky controlled telescope driver as there was some chatter about guiding a paramount via ascom on the maxim forum. I got hold of the source code for the sky controlled telescope driver and found as you did that you need to tick some boxes to enable pulse guiding but the actual function in the driver to pulse guide simply adjusts the tracking rate of the mount. Some people found this method unreliable and instead of guiding via telescope in maxim, they are using the micro guide setting in maxim guiding settings and getting acceptable results. I don't see the difference as there is only one guiding function in the driver although micro guiding will send smaller corrections to the mount?

I then went looking for the sky direct guide functions mentioned in that thread and found them registered in the Windows COM sub system in my sky6 machine. This Sky function has only just been added to the skyx documents but it looks like it's been there all the time, undocumented. I believe the ascom driver guys will move guiding from the current adjusting of tracking rates to using this direct guide function to allow the sky to handle guiding movement instead of mucking around with tracking rates externally. I am surprised that Robert Denny didn't know of this function when he wrote the sky driver, after all he was one author of ACP Obs Control which is known to combine maxim, paramount and dome control. I mean I found it registered in windows without an issue?

As for the tpoint issue, maybe all these tracking speed changes are sending it bonkers but I don't see why there would be an issue using a guide cable from the camera, maybe up your exposure times so it sends less corrections.



Here is the guiding function from the sky controlled telescope driver if interested :-

Public Sub PulseGuide(ByVal Direction As GuideDirections, _
ByVal Duration As Long)

If Not m_bPulseGuide Then
Err.Raise SCODE_NOT_IMPLEMENTED, ERR_SOURCE, _
"Method PulseGuide()" & MSG_NOT_IMPLEMENTED
End If
' cdr try to implement pulseguide by using the SetTracking command
CheckConnected
If Duration > 10 Then
Dim RaRate As Double, DecRate As Double
RaRate = 0
DecRate = 0
Dim Rate As Double, dur As Long
' avoid short guide times by setting the guide time to 100 millisecs and reducing the rate
' try a maximum rate of 50% sidereal
If Duration < 100 Then
dur = 100
Rate = 0.075 * Duration
Else
dur = Duration
Rate = 7.5
End If
Select Case Direction
Case GuideDirections.guideNorth
DecRate = Rate ' in arc sec per sec
Case GuideDirections.guideSouth
DecRate = -Rate
Case GuideDirections.guideEast
RaRate = Rate ' in arc sec per sec
Case GuideDirections.guideWest
RaRate = -Rate
End Select
m_SkyTele.SetTracking 1, 0&, RaRate, DecRate
SleepEx dur, True
Select Case Direction
Case GuideDirections.guideNorth, GuideDirections.guideSouth
' set dec rate to 0
m_SkyTele.SetTracking 1, 0&, 0&, 0&
End Select
' resume tracking
m_SkyTele.SetTracking 1, 1&, 0&, 0&
End If

End Sub

Last edited by Tandum; 01-06-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:46 AM
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Thanks for the replys;

Phil: I am getting in line at OPT. Perhaps the wait won't be as bad as yours!

Robin: What you posted is really interesting! I do hope the ascom guys do come up with a better driver. The current one certainly has issues.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:24 AM
cfranks (Charles)
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I've had my ST-i for a few months and use CCDSoft/TSX/PMX successfully with it. I got it for its built-in shutter and it has been great. I bought it 'off the shelf' from Peter Ward in a couple of days so try him with a PM, he may have another?
The only difficulty I have is (so far) I can't find a way of using it with my SX AO-L. CCDSoft wants the SBIG AO to work with the ST-i but I'm going to see what PHD will do with my AO-L, if I ever get a clear sky that doesn't have a huge bright moon in it!

Charles
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfranks View Post
I bought it 'off the shelf' from Peter Ward in a couple of days so try him with a PM, he may have another?

Charles
I tried Peter yesterday but none are left in stock....

Hope you solve the SX AO issue!
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:36 AM
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Finally the weather improved, though briefly, and I could continue some testing. I was able to "successfully" guide using a direct guiding cable from Bintel, though I needed to turn T-Point off in TSX to prevent the mount from disconnecting from TSX. I attempted pulse guiding through PHD but gave up when - immediately after calibration - TSX turned off MX tracking for some reason. I tried direct guiding straight away - since it seemed to work ok I didn't try pulse guiding again.

I put "successfully" in quotes because I'm not actually sure about my results. I took 2 images...one guided for 5 min, the other for 10 min.

The 5 min guided image looks pretty good, and CCDInspector showed fairly round stars: aspect = 7% (without a flattener).

The 10 min shot was not very good! Aspect = 47%

I'm attaching an image that shows a portion of the 10 min guided shot along with another picture showing the same field with RA turned off for 30 sec. I'm not sure what conclusion I can draw from this, if any. The guiding error looks to be both in RA and DEC. My PA on the MX is as follows: MA = 0, ME = 0, but suggests raising 1.3 tics to get 84" from refracted pole. I seem to be chasing this value even when I move the polar axis by half the value so I have not tried hard to refine this. Is PA error part of what I am seeing in 10 min guided or would I not expect to see that error unless I was guiding considerably longer?

The guiding was just with the default settings in PHD. Based on the 10 min guided shot can anyone recommend different settings I might try? (I couldn't detect any motion of the guide star in PHD during the 10 min exposure.) What is a "reasonable" expectation re guiding with PHD/Orion SSAG/PMX...that is how long should I be able to guide? What do I aim for here?

Thanks! Any help muchly appreciated with this
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (10 min guided + 30 sec RA off.jpg)
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Last edited by PRejto; 11-06-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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