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Old 21-02-2008, 09:32 AM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Autoguiding

Hi all, I'm starting to look into auto-guiding. I'm totally new to this so I need some assistance to set-up and would appreciate any pointers/advices so I can get the right gear first time around as I'm on a budget.

I've got a G-11 with Gemini Lvl 4. The box has an auto-guider port (the manual says ST4 compatible). I also purchased a while back a GPUSB-AH adaptor from shoestring astronomy.

I'll probably get an ED80 down the road but for now the plan is to auto-guide through my (only) scope and piggy back my Pentax *istD so I can do wide-field long exposures under dark skies.

I downloaded a few programs like PHD guiding, GuideDog etc... They all work through a laptop. I'm trying not to use a laptop.

Is there a way to autoguide directly from the camera to the Gemini? Or am I stuck having to go through a laptop? I guess my questions are directed to Losmandy/Gemini users on this forum. How do you guys do it?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 21-02-2008, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiweb View Post
Is there a way to autoguide directly from the camera to the Gemini? Or am I stuck having to go through a laptop? I guess my questions are directed to Losmandy/Gemini users on this forum. How do you guys do it?

Thanks for your help.
I'm not sure what you mean by "guiding from the camera".
Do you mean connecting the Pentax to the Losmandy ST4 guider port?
No you can't do it.

You either need a dedicated autoguider, like the SBIG ST4 (you'll need to find a second hand one as they're discontinued) or something similar so you avoid using the laptop.

Or

You will need to go down the path of using your laptop and buying either a toucam or DMK camera (or something similar) to use with PHD or Guidedog etc.
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Old 21-02-2008, 09:54 AM
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If you're wanting to exclude the laptop from the mix, I think you're options include:

- TVGuider: http://foto.astronomy.cz/TVGuider.htm (various threads exist on Ice In Space regarding this - do a search).

- Second hand SBIG ST4 or SBIG STV if you can get your hands on one

I think there's another alternative like the TVGuider but I can't remember who by or what it was called sorry.

Ignoring the expense of a laptop, all of those are going to be more expensive than the cheapest option, which is getting something like a second hand DSI, or a new QGuider, or a new Orion Starshoot Autoguider.

Roger.
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Old 21-02-2008, 11:00 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "guiding from the camera".
Do you mean connecting the Pentax to the Losmandy ST4 guider port?
No you can't do it.
Sorry for the confusion. I use the Pentax to take pictures. I don't guide with it. Would be cool though . I have a USB cam (celestron NexImage) which I used to do some planetary shots. I wonder if I could use that with guidedog or PHD, but that would have to go through the laptop.

I'm trying to cut the laptop out and keep it simple (cam to gemini). To me the PC is just another thing that can go wrong (crashing, loosing USB connection, external power, dew, etc...). Got enough on my plate with focus & tracking so I'm trying to eliminate the points where someting could go wrong.
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Old 21-02-2008, 11:04 AM
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Thanks Roger. The TV Guider looks like the STV setup. It's got its own box. Yeah I heard about the Meade DSI pro. So it sounds like as I already have the laptop, getting a DSI, Q Guider etc... is the go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerg View Post
If you're wanting to exclude the laptop from the mix, I think you're options include:

- TVGuider: http://foto.astronomy.cz/TVGuider.htm (various threads exist on Ice In Space regarding this - do a search).

- Second hand SBIG ST4 or SBIG STV if you can get your hands on one

I think there's another alternative like the TVGuider but I can't remember who by or what it was called sorry.

Ignoring the expense of a laptop, all of those are going to be more expensive than the cheapest option, which is getting something like a second hand DSI, or a new QGuider, or a new Orion Starshoot Autoguider.

Roger.
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Old 21-02-2008, 11:16 AM
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Sorry for the confusion. I use the Pentax to take pictures. I don't guide with it. Would be cool though .
I'm trying to cut the laptop out and keep it simple (cam to gemini). To me the PC is just another thing that can go wrong
Great, just had to clarify.
Yes that would be great to guide through the DSLR, lol.

I understand how you feel, even though it's great having the lappy there, it's something I'd rather do away with.
ATM I don't use it to focus or manage the exposures but I am looking at using it with PHD and the DMK.

If you keep an eye on the astro trades you may find someone selling an ST4 or STV which will eliminate the need for the lappy.
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Old 21-02-2008, 11:34 AM
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I ordered a Mono Sensor Q Guider from an aussie retailer. Apparently it plugs directly into the Gemini for the corrections and USB to laptop so I'll still have to use PHD guiding or guide dog. That'll do the job nicely through my main scope. Now got to save money for an ED80
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Old 22-02-2008, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by multiweb View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys. I ordered a Mono Sensor Q Guider from an aussie retailer. Apparently it plugs directly into the Gemini for the corrections and USB to laptop so I'll still have to use PHD guiding or guide dog. That'll do the job nicely through my main scope. Now got to save money for an ED80

It is very simple to run the guider using PHD. If you want, PHD can actually do everything on its own except the dark frame. It will find a star and start guiding on its own without a peep from the user.

The sensitivity of the QHY-5 (Qguider, etc) is really good. Just too bad it has higher noise than other CCD's.
I have many of my customers using them as a cheap DSO imager too, but its asking alot from the little guy !.

Theo.
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Old 27-02-2008, 09:20 AM
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BTW if you are piggybacking, you can probably go for 10 min or so unguided with the G-11 with focal lengths less than 135mm. Try first with the standard lens and see how far you can go.
Geoff
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Old 28-02-2008, 09:04 PM
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Thanks Geoff. I'll try next new moon at Wiruna in March weather permitting and give it a go. Dying to do wide-field but my back yard in hinchinbrook is a no go. Too much sky glow with the M7.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghsmith45 View Post
BTW if you are piggybacking, you can probably go for 10 min or so unguided with the G-11 with focal lengths less than 135mm. Try first with the standard lens and see how far you can go.
Geoff
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