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Old 16-08-2019, 09:03 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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What's with the alignment star selection of the NEQ6???

Bloody dumb, is all I can say.

Fired up the NEQ6 last night for the first time in a while, and it is proposing absurd stars to do the alignment process with! INCLUDING stars that are below the horizon! And yes, I was inputting the correct date (mm/dd/yyyy), time and coordinates...

The star selection list it complies is so narrow, limited and inconsistent. Chose one star for the first alignment, and it compiles a very limited list for the second star. Chose a different star for the first alignment, and a totally different list of stars comes up for the second that can actually be more extensive.

I can understand the programming wanting to chose stars that are as far apart as possible, but this is not the case. As an example, I chose Alpha Centauri as the 1st, and in the list of second stars it includes Acrux, Hadar and Gacrux! WTF!? Bloody hell, it was even selecting mag 4 stars too!

Could it have to do with the version of firmware I'm using? Because it was flaming bloody difficult and so time consuming to do a three star alignment last night, as it just complied bloody stupid and limited lists of alignment stars to select from, and it meant I had to stop and start again several times.

Freaking frustrating as I was at an outreach event too (Murphy's Law, right... )

Some help and a Bex would be appreciated,

Alex.
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Old 16-08-2019, 09:09 AM
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LewisM
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Synscan can has been garbage since 3.27

I still have a copy if you want to flash back to it. Every Synscan I have ever had I flashed to 3.27

Not sure if you can go to a V3 firmware with the new V4 handset though
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Old 16-08-2019, 10:39 AM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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I use V3.27 and have encounted the same issues. I have tended to choose a relatively isolated first alignment star which then leads Synscan to list some better spaced second alignment stars. It has been a bit of trial and error and not a perfect work around.

I have not encounted Synscan proposing stars below the horizon. Is there an erroneous setting in the filters that limit slewing - see the “Configure the Hand Control” menus?

Of course, if your initial observing is concentrated in one sector of the sky, two relatively close alignment stars will generate a very workable alignment for that sector of sky.



Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
Synscan can has been garbage since 3.27

I still have a copy if you want to flash back to it. Every Synscan I have ever had I flashed to 3.27

Not sure if you can go to a V3 firmware with the new V4 handset though
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Old 16-08-2019, 11:31 AM
Wavytone
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Hi Alex, I have experienced this too, it had me shaking my head in disgust for half an hour one night. After checking the initial parameters for date, time and location the only solution I had at the time was to switch everything off and start over.

From personal experience:

1. If the scope is not in the park position when powered on, this can lead to havoc during the alignment sequence (basically it fails). This is not consistently repeatable however so as to finding the bug... clearly they haven’t.

2. I have doubts about how it handles a mount that is not precisely level at the long/latitude stated. Tilt errors essentially are equivalent to a shift in the longitude or latitude, yet after a 2 or 3 star alignment subsequent GOTOs have errors suggesting the level errors are not properly compensated.

Conversely levelling the tripod head accurately to 0.1 degree pays off handsomely with GOTOs putting the target in the field of view at 200X.
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Old 16-08-2019, 11:49 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Thanks for the replies.

Leveling the tripod is something I take care with. I also don't rely on the poor latitude scale on the mount to set it. I level the tripod and then use digital protractor that's been zeroed on the tripod to set the latitude scale. And i don't use the bubble level on the head of the mount as I found it totally erroneous.

I always start from park.

When starting over it gets turned off.

I'll check the settings. The selection of stars below the horizon really did my head in.

And I'll see what version my handset is running.

I may well settle on a two star alignment for outreach. Mind you, doesn't make the process easier as each site offers different access to the sky and the blasted alignment star list is far from a comprehensive and not a freely selectable one.

Alex.
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Old 16-08-2019, 12:12 PM
Wavytone
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Alex there’s a setting somewhere to stop it selecting stars below a certain altitude - worth trying.

What’s more I’ve never explored what happens if that is set to a negative value - let alone -90. Maybe try that in the garage one cloudy night.
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Old 17-08-2019, 05:07 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Well, looking through the Setup Mode, I found the Alignment Star sub menu. There you can select Auto Select (what I've been fighting with) as On or Off. Off meaning you select the alignment stars.

Then another sub menu allows you to select in having the alignment stars arranged in either magnitude or alphabetical order.

Problem solved!

I've cancelled the auto select of alignment stars so I can now select the alignment stars, and have them arranged in alphabetical order.

Much easier now

Thanks for all your help, fellows Your encouragement had me look more closely at the menu options.

Alex.

Last edited by mental4astro; 18-08-2019 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 22-08-2019, 11:45 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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I've had time to play with the new settings a few times now. The non-automatic alignment star selection mode is a VAST improvement on the default auto alignment star selection mode. The process is still not perfect as depending on what stars you select, some stars still won't show up in the next list of alignment stars, and this varies on what star you first selected.

For instance, if I select Alpha Centauri as my first star, Antares won't appear in the list of second stars, but Acrux does. But if I select Acrux as the first, both Alpha Centauri and Antares are in the second star selection list. Most curious.

All the same, the list of stars now available is much more comprehensive and with very few omissions. Last night I was at an outreach event at a location with a limited view of the sky. I would only have been able to align the NEQ6 with full access to the alignment star catalogue, and impossible to work with the auto alignment star selection default setting.

Alex.
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Old 22-08-2019, 06:18 PM
Wavytone
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Ah thanks ... a fandangle to disable next time.
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Old 22-08-2019, 08:57 PM
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From what I understand, the alignment stars are filtered out based on a reasonable shift in RA and Dec.

But what would I know...haven’t used the handset for a good while...plate solving works like a charm
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Old 24-08-2019, 09:20 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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When Synscan mount chucks a wobbly...

Still on alignment, at that outreach event someone somehow managed to pull the cord out of the handset right during the busiest time. Buggered if I know how

I redid the alignment process several times, but the mount wouldn't cooperate no matter what I did, switching it off between alignment processes. So I switched it off and let it be.

Next day I had a quick look at the cord & connections & things looked ok. I switched it on and did a dummy alignment run and things were promising but still off. Thought about doing a factory reset too.

Last night I set it up again with my Mak and a 7mm EP to work with a 3 star alignment.

Here's the intetesting part. 1st alignment failed, so I put the mount into park, BUT I didn't switch it off. Instead I repeated the alignment process a second time, this time alignment came up poor, but an improvement. Encouraged, i repeated the alignment process from park and without switching off the mount and the alignment was perfect!

So, I now see that if my Synscan chucks a wobbly, a fix can be had by repeating the alignment process from the park position but without switching off the mount between alignments. It may take three alignment sequences, but it took the frustration out of the mess. No factory reset either. I don't understand how the CPU reworked itself, but just have the CPU get its bearings again.

I have had alignment issues with the NEQ6 before and found it very frustrating especially when you add the pressure of trying to fulfill a session under the stars. I had no pressure on myself last night, and just tried something different. And it worked!

This has been a very frustrating but also very enlightening week with Synscan.

This may be old hat to some Synscan users, but it may come as a help to other people having trouble.

Alex.
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  #12  
Old 24-08-2019, 09:43 AM
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Retrograde (Pete)
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Thanks for posting this thread Alex.
I have had intermittent issues with alignment stars when using my AZ-EQ6 (my first Synscan mount) but I usually have limited time under dark skies to work out what is going on so I just keep fighting until I get it to work.
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