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Old 05-04-2012, 10:48 AM
Poita (Peter)
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New Sysncan with polar alignment feature

I see there is a new Sysnscan firmware beta that lets you do a 2 or 3 star alignment, and then gives you the adjustments to make to your mount to get accurate polar alignment.

http://www.skywatcher.com/swtinc/cus...1=1&class2=101

Anyone tried it yet?

From the readme file:

SynScan® EQ GOTO Polar Re-alignment Instruction
- No polar scope polar alignment
Rev. 1.0

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Level the tripod of the EQ GOTO mount and point to the north.
2. Rough align the RA axis of the mount to the celestial polar axis by pointing to the north and setting the latitude on the EQ mount.
3. Do a 2-Star alignment or 3-Star alignment with the SynScan hand control. 3-Star alignment is recommended for better accuracy and error compensation. If use 2-Star alignment to align the GOTO mount, please make sure that the “cone error” is eliminated.
4. After completing the Star alignment, browse to “Polar Re-align.>” submenu under Setup\Alignment menu of the hand control and then press ENTER.
5. The hand control will prompt, “Select any star:” and provide a list of stars, which can be used as the reference star for the Polar Re-alignment. Select a star from the list and press ENTER. The EQ Telescope GOTO mount will slew and point to the selected object.
6. When the hand control prompt, “ALIGN OBJECT ”, use the directional keys to center the selected reference star to the center of the finder scope and then to the center of the eyepiece. When done, press ENTER to confirm. The hand control will prompt the displacements of polar misalignment of the EQ mount, Mel and Maz, in both elevation and azimuth directions respectively.
7. Press ENTER and then the mount will slew to the same reference star again, but the reference star will not locate at the center of the eyepiece at this moment. Try to use the Altitude Adjustment T-bolts and the Azimuth Adjustment Knobs to adjust the mount as doing the adjustment for polar alignment, but just draw back and center the reference star to the center of the eyepiece. In this procedure, you cannot use the directional keys to center the object and the directional keys are disabled to driving the motors.
8. When finish the adjustment of the mount for the Polar Re-alignment. Press ENTER to confirm and check the new calculated polar misalignment, Mel and Maz. Press ENTER to exit Polar Re-alignment function. During these Polar Re-alignment procedures, you may press ESC to go back to previous step, if necessary.
9. Check the polar re-alignment result. You may repeat the Polar Re-alignment procedures from step 3 to step 8 to get better polar alignment, if it is necessary.
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  #2  
Old 05-04-2012, 11:03 AM
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bartman (Bart)
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Now that would be a handy piece of software upgrade!!!!
Why didn't they think of it earlier?
Love to see the results of some field testing......
Guess I'll have to give it a go too hehehehehe.....
Thanks for the heads up Peter
Bartman
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:16 AM
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Sarge (Rod)
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But is it suitable for southern hemisphere?

As usual the blurb only mentions polaris alignment.

"Notes: This is not SynScan EQ official firmware release, but for beta-site test only. A new feature of Polar Re-alignment is added under Alignment sub-menu of the hand control in the firmware. User may use this feature to do the polar alignment without aligning Polaris in the polarscope for an EQ mount. The instruction of Polar Re-alignment is included"

Rod
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:56 AM
Barrykgerdes
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I hate to throw a spanner in the works but if you can't do a polar alignment by drift alignment I don't think you will find this method much easier.

I feel that most people won't understand what the aim is and will still have trouble.

The most important starting point for a polar alignment is to get your altitude correct within about 1/2" a degree. I do this by levelling the tripod first with a spirit level. This will save altitude errors if you need to move the azimuth a long way later. I next get the Altitude close with a large protractor device that I set the angle to my latitude, clamped to the telescope mount and a large spirit level. The angle of the protractor is adjusted using trigonometry or you can by a large digital protractor from Hare and Forbes and adapt it. A compass or a landmark will find a close enough azimuth.

Barry

PS there is no reason for the method not to work in either hemisphere
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:20 PM
Poita (Peter)
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I think the part people will find easier is that they just have to manually adjust the mount until the star is back in the reticule. It gets away from the whole North South East West mind-cuss that a lot of people suffer with when starting out. It also removes a lot of errors due to picking the wrong star etc.
If the 3 Star alignment works, then the rest is fairly straight forward.

I imagine for photography a drift alignment would still be on the cards, but for getting the mount close and for visual use, this sounds like it might work and be easier for the un-initiated.

Your setup routine is pretty much what I do, except I use the inclinometer on my phone.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:04 PM
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GeoffW1 (Geoff)
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Hi,

Well, I've loaded this V3.28 into my Synscan, and will report.

My PC does not have a serial port, so I had to use a USB adapter, and at first the Synscan firmware loader would not detect it. Getting a specific driver from the Net fixed that

I can't drift align a toy duck in the bath, so that will be the start point now


Cheers
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2012, 10:02 PM
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GeoffW1 (Geoff)
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Hi,

Now I've tried it, and I'd advise waiting on for the final release. I reckon it has a major bug for Southern Hemisphere use, which causes it at step 7 (see above) to race off in the opposite direction and point North, into the ground. This it did consistently no matter which correction star I chose from the list. I tried several in turn, all round the sky.

Ordinarily with a Synscan this has well-known causes, but I ironed those out some time back (I think ), as otherwise tonight, I got a good 3-star alignment and excellent pointing, for once!!

I have written to Skywatcher, we will see what they say, if anything.

Cheers
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Old 15-07-2012, 12:18 AM
vic4loc (Victor)
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Finally had the time to upgrade my HEQ5 Synscan to V 3.28 Beta and to test this polar re-align feature.

The upgrade process was very touchy, had to try many times before it work, below was what I did, I had a USB-to-serial adapter:

1. Press 0 & 8 at the same time & power up Synscan handset

2. Press "Setup" button to lower speed to "Lo" on lower right corner. (Lo settings set the transfer rate at 9600bps, by default the Synscan to set to 115kbps, but most USB-to-serial adapter runs at 9600bps)

3. Start up Firmware loader software

4. If you have installed a USB to serial adapter, your PC should have assigned it a COM port, for me it was COM8, so I untick "Auto detect COM port", and select the COM8

5. Click the HC Version button, it should display the current version

6. Now click on "Browse" to select the firmware file, XXXXXX.ssf

7. Click on the Update button

If upgrade fails or come up with error messages, just power cycle the handset, repeat the steps above and/or restart firmware loader software a few times until it works.

After the upgrade, I did a 2-star align and then did the polar re-align process. The process is surprising fast & easy, it only requires you to select a single star, the center it using the handset, the mount then slew a correctional amount, then it will prompt you to centre it again using the adjustment screw/bolt (Alt & Az). I repeated the process twice.

So far I'm impressed with the result:
- the Goto is now very accurate, selected various objects and slew centered within my 26mm eyepiece
- centered a test star in my illuminated eyepiece, the star stay centered for over 12 minutes before moving slightly off my cross hair

The handset did show some Mel & Maz misalignment figures, which I didnt understand what they are yet, will do some more reading & testings.

Victor.
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  #9  
Old 15-07-2012, 12:28 AM
vic4loc (Victor)
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Finally had the time to upgrade my HEQ5 Synscan to V 3.28 Beta and to test this polar re-align feature.

The upgrade process was very touchy, had to try many times before it work, below was what I did, I had a USB-to-serial adapter:

1. Press 0 & 8 at the same time & power up Synscan handset

2. Press "Setup" button to lower speed to "Lo" on lower right corner. (Lo settings set the transfer rate at 9600bps, by default the Synscan to set to 115kbps, but most USB-to-serial adapter runs at 9600bps)

3. Start up Firmware loader software

4. If you have installed a USB to serial adapter, your PC should have assigned it a COM port, for me it was COM8, so I untick "Auto detect COM port", and select the COM8

5. Click the HC Version button, it should display the current version

6. Now click on "Browse" to select the firmware file, XXXXXX.ssf

7. Click on the Update button

If upgrade fails or come up with error messages, just power cycle the handset, repeat the steps above and/or restart firmware loader software a few times until it works.

After the upgrade, I did a 2-star align and then did the polar re-align process. The process is surprising fast & easy, it only requires you to select a single star, the center it using the handset, the mount then slew a correctional amount, then it will prompt you to centre it again using the adjustment screw/bolt (Alt & Az). I repeated the process twice.

So far I'm impressed with the result:
- the Goto is now very accurate, selected various objects and slew centered within my 26mm eyepiece
- centered a test star in my illuminated eyepiece, the star stay centered for over 12 minutes before moving slightly off my cross hair

The handset did show some Mel & Maz misalignment figures, which I didnt understand what they are yet, will do some more reading & testings.

Victor.
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  #10  
Old 15-07-2012, 01:10 AM
Poita (Peter)
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I find it pretty accurate too, and fast.

You can tweak with a drift alignment after that if required.

Good to know it works on the 5 as well as the 6.
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Old 15-07-2012, 02:11 PM
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Larryp (Laurie)
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Works on EQ3 Pro, too.
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