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  #1  
Old 05-06-2017, 03:00 PM
Star Hunter
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QHYCCD Polemaster: Are they worth it?

I'd like to know from other users if they like this device and did it actually work?

What are its Pros and Cons of the PM?

How does it stack up against PHD2 Drift Alignment or Eq. Drift with a illumination. XHair?

What do you find the most accurate and time saving method to do PA?

I ask because I have an SA, Astrotrac, EQ6 and EQ8.

Thanks,

JB
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2017, 03:40 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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i have a non-goto HEQ5 and an EQ6 that I use visually and photographically, for me it is worth it. Photographically for me with the HEQ5 is usually wide field (24-200mm) and I find that it is accurate and saves time.
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Old 05-06-2017, 03:52 PM
glend (Glen)
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You ask about the most accurate and timesaving method to do PA. For me that is Sharpcap 2.9 and its PA tool. Precise PA in a matter of minutes. No drifting, no dedicated Polemaster etc. Most any webcam will work, no requirement for the mount to be powered up, no internet connection required (contains plate maps internally), and its free.
For folks that bought Polemaster before Sharpcap PA, yeah i can see they would want to get some value from their investment, but if you have not bought Polemaster there really isn't a need for it now. Superceded by Sharpcap PA.
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Old 05-06-2017, 04:49 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Although I am yet to try the SharpCap polar alignment routine, if I am doing visual or wide field with a DSLR the PoleMaster is great as I am not using a telescope and camera.
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  #5  
Old 05-06-2017, 04:55 PM
VPAstro (Andrew and Cam)
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Best bit of equipment I have for aiding in this hobby
PA in usually 1 - 2 minutes.
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2017, 04:55 PM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
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Hi JB, if you're using a DSLR on your SA then PM is a good choice. Works well. Interchangeable adapter makes swapping between mounts easy. I think Cylops Optics are now including multi adapter for free...they were earlier this year.
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2017, 06:55 PM
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Another vote for SharpCap. Why bother buying another bit of kit when you likely have all that you need for SharpCap. We did my mount in the obs the other night, done in few minutes and checked it with StarTarg overlaid on PHD and no discernable drift over 10 mins.

Give it a try, it is a free download, it will change your life.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2017, 05:20 AM
SteveInNZ
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I use SharpCap with my Polemaster camera. It's a dream combination. The best part is that the plate-solver will lock on if the pole is anywhere in the field of view. That means you can use it for the first step in the southern hemisphere where you need to find the Trapezium and there are no visible stars anywhere near.

Steve.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2017, 01:40 PM
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NorthernLight (Max)
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I have the Polemaster and find it great to use, if you have clear view of Octans. Not used Sharpcap. The EQ6 has a pol finder scope and an inbuilt routine to increase alignment accuracy. I used to it's maximum and must have gotten close to the pol. But it always took half an hour or more and had to be done with cross hair eyepieces. I also never got guiding better thanks 3-4 arc seconds. With the Polemaster I am done in a few minutes and get sub arc second guiding every time. Plus, I can balance the gear in the mount and have everything ready before sunset. Not cheap but awesome if you have to set up from scratch every time.
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  #10  
Old 13-06-2017, 07:09 PM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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As an aside - doing some research on what sounds like a magic app, (thanks GlenD, Bart & co for the heads up) Sharpcap currently DOES NOT support SX Lodestar cameras etc - but code is currently in development - now if only worked on a mac...
BTW - Everyone I know with a polemaster loves the thing
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  #11  
Old 13-06-2017, 07:18 PM
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seeker372011 (Narayan)
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I have a polemaster and use it with my Vixen Polarie and also my EQ6

It is brilliant

I will - hopefully-never have to drift align ever again

I have just bought the adapter from Cyclops optics and I'll soon be able to use the polemaster with my EQ6, my Polarie and my Astrotrac once after the other on the same night and hopefully within a few minutes of getting each mount aligned

I have a new and renewed interest in Astronomy- gosh I hate drift aligning
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  #12  
Old 13-06-2017, 07:30 PM
DJT (David)
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I had a Polemaster with an HEQ5 and it was a doddle to use. Bit pricey though.

I replaced it with an AP Polar alignment scope I can use with the Mach1 when out and about which with the adapter came in at the same price, landed.

But..Polemaster really was that fast once you figured out what you were looking at.
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  #13  
Old 29-09-2018, 07:38 AM
ivanrostas (Ivan)
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Any photos of Star Adventurer or Polarie w/ Sharpcap or Polemaster setups?

Just resurrecting an old thread here...

Itís getting warm enough here in South East Queensland to plan some imaging adventures into the Scenic Rim with either my Star Adventurer or Vixen Polarie.

Reading about members success polar aligning with Sharpcap or Polemaster I wondered if anyone had some pictures of their setups?

Counterweights, where the PA camera is mounted (on a plate alongside the DSLR?) on top of the OTA.

Any images welcomed.

I will soon start setting up with very underused gear but this summer wanted to get automated polar alignment happening. Will post some pics here looking for guidance.

I have lost too many hours in th dark trying to polar align and this is the year to get the most out of my gear.

Any help will be much appreciated.

Ivan
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  #14  
Old 30-09-2018, 05:33 AM
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DaveNZ (Dave)
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I was setting up my iOptron on the the back lawn nightly doing narrowband with a QSI683 and a 135mm Zeiss lens and longer lenses.

I found the Polemaster great for quick polar alignment. Once Sigma Octans and the neighbouring stars are in the field it is easy and quick. For that reason positioning some permanent markers in the lawn which the tripod legs sat on. This was accurate enough to get the stars in the Polemaster field of view each night.

It takes a little practice but after a few polar alignments the process become considerably quicker.
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  #15  
Old 30-09-2018, 06:01 AM
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RickS (Rick)
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I have been using the PhD2 Polar Drift Alignment wizard and a guide camera to set up my Star Adventurer at home every night. It works a treat even though Sigma Octans is behind a tree. Only takes a few minutes to get alignment good enough for unguided subs of a few minutes. The alignment is based on analysing the drift of a star near the pole - it's not "conventional" drift alignment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanrostas View Post
I wondered if anyone had some pictures of their setups?

Counterweights, where the PA camera is mounted (on a plate alongside the DSLR?) on top of the OTA.

Any images welcomed.
Pic attached. I have the guide camera mounted on a ball head attached to the bottom half of the Star Adventurer dovetail bar, balancing the weight of the main camera and lens.
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  #16  
Old 30-09-2018, 10:01 AM
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Nikolas (Nik)
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Another vote for ploemaster here, up and running within 5-10 minutes and polar aligned in light polluted Melbourne
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  #17  
Old 30-09-2018, 06:35 PM
ivanrostas (Ivan)
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Pics of Vixen Polarie / SkyWatcher Star Adventurer setups

Thanks for your contributions and reigniting this thread.

An uncharacteristically chilly night on the Gold Coast tonight otherwise I would be out there.

The Polarie and Star Adventurer have been popular choices for amateurs like me and I thought this a good place to assist guidance of ideal setups.

Cheers
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  #18  
Old 30-09-2018, 06:58 PM
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RobF (Rob)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickS View Post
I have been using the PhD2 Polar Drift Alignment wizard and a guide camera to set up my Star Adventurer at home every night. It works a treat even though Sigma Octans is behind a tree. Only takes a few minutes to get alignment good enough for unguided subs of a few minutes. The alignment is based on analysing the drift of a star near the pole - it's not "conventional" drift alignment.



Pic attached. I have the guide camera mounted on a ball head attached to the bottom half of the Star Adventurer dovetail bar, balancing the weight of the main camera and lens.
Rick, is that "Polar Drift Align" just under "Drift Align" in the Tools menu?
(Thought you still needed to be quite close to the pool to use that?)
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2018, 08:06 AM
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RickS (Rick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobF View Post
Rick, is that "Polar Drift Align" just under "Drift Align" in the Tools menu?
(Thought you still needed to be quite close to the pool to use that?)
Hi Rob, yes that's the one. From my experience it works fine if you're just within a few degrees of the right direction. They suggest you do a "proper" drift align afterwards but for the purposes of wide field imaging PDA seems perfectly adequate.
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  #20  
Old 01-10-2018, 08:25 AM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I’ve been using the PoleMaster for visual and wide field DSLR stuff and love it. Takes a few minutes to keep a planet in pretty much centre of view for a few hours at 200x.
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