Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Astrophotography has never been easier

Moderators: Sam, Tech@ZWO, ASIAIR@ZWO

Post Reply
Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by Marc.mawson » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:05 pm

Hi,

I used my ASIAIR with my EQ6-R-Pro mount for the first time last night. Other than the guiding it was a pleasure to use. I admit that i probably didn't have everything set up correctly which is why my post asks for advice.

At first i couldn't get the guider to calibrate using the default settings, the mount moved too much with each step until the star was out of the green box, I later watched a Video on youtube that suggested the slew rate be decreased to 1x or at most 8x for guiding.

Secondly i set the max RA and DEC pulses to 300ms (I dint know about the slew rate at this point) and it took too long to calibrate, lastly i set them to 400ms and that at least got the guiding calibrated, however the RA corrections were off the chart, which is almost the RA tracking on the mount wasn't activated.

So my question to the forums members is this, is there a guide to correct settings for guiding and or an order of operations to perform when trying to guide?

Thanks.
Last edited by Marc.mawson on Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Optimal Auto Guiding settings (updated with HowTo Guide)

Post by Marc.mawson » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am

I have answered my own questions last night, so I thought i'd post a write up of what I did and in which order.

I use a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro, which has a SynScan handset.

First off ASIAIR needs the firmware version recommended when you go to connect, if the firmware version is less please update the firmware first the lastest version is 4.39.05 http://skywatcher.com/download/software/ just follow the instructions on the website.

Secondly, there are two options for SynScan in ASIAIR; SynScan and SynScan Beta.

SynScan Beta has lots more features (it looks suspiciously like the EQMOD Driver), such as the ability to enable and disable tracking, and setting the guiding multiplier, however it will not function with SkySafari. For the time being I will continue to use the non Beta version.

(using the EQMOD drivers also functions, however please note that the mount must be in PC direct mode, and again you will not be able to use SkySafari)

order of operations (assumes the ASIAIR is powered on, and the mount has been accurately Polar aligned, and that both your main and guide scope have been focused)

1. connect the USB to RS232 convertor to the ASIAIR USB port, connect a serial to RJ11 cable to the RS232 end of the USB to RS232 convertor.
2. connect the RJ11 end to the Aux port on the SynScan hand controller.
3. Turn the mount on and enter the settings for location / time etc... when prompted to do so choose Alignment > 3 star
4. At this point you do not have to perform a 3 star alignment, you just need to trick the handset into thinking you have, so go ahead and slew to the 3 stars you have chosen without checking to see they are centred (platesolving will resolve the inaccuracies introduced at this point)
4. once aligned go into Setup>Tracking and enable tracking at the sidereel rate (you are unable to do this through the SynScan driver through ASIAIR at this point, so it has to be enabled on the handset)
5. In ASIAIR choose the mount and click connect (i also choose sync from phone, to sync up accurate date / time location information for the handset)
6. once the mount has been connected go into SkySafari (minimum plus version, I use Pro) go into settings and choose the SynScan option (don't auto detect the mount), and then connect (Sky Safari should then display where the mount is pointed which if in the home position should be at the NCP (North Celestial Pole)
7. In SkySafari choose the observation target and choose goto, this will slew the scope to the target.
8. In ASIAIR choose to take a preview image (I normally take an image for 60 seconds at BIN 4)
9. Once the image has been taken click plate solve (it is critical that the focal length of the scope (including any reductions in focal length due to a reducer, i use a televue .8x reducer, my telescope focal length is 430, which is 344 after reduction) and location information is accurate to perform this step)
10. Once the image has been platesolved click sync, this will instruct SkySafari of where the mount is actually pointing.
11. Go back into SkySafari and if necessary repeat the Image>platesolve>sync steps until you are happy that the target is framed.
12. Once you are happy Go back into ASIAIR and choose the mount speed as 8x (if the mount is set to MAX or any higher than 8x it will prevent the guiding module from calibrating correctly)
13. Click guiding to bring up the guiding module and double click the RA / DEC adjustment chart (this opens the guiding interface) (i use 1000ms guide pulse with a 2000ms max RA and DEC duration, these are the defaults)
14. Set the exposure time to 2 seconds and click the loop button
15. choose a star and click the guide button
16. the guiding module will then go through a number of calibration steps, and finally the cross hairs will go solid green, with means the mount is guiding, i normally go back into the SynScan hand controller and make sure that tracking is set to sidereel at this point.
17. run your imaging sequence, please note that if you queue up your entire sequence (like you would do with sequence generator pro) that the software will run the images sequentially, one image from each type, so I normally just do my lights first, then darks, bias, and flats, keeping the object name the same.

Using the above I have had great results for guiding and was able to take 10mins subs of NGC7000, with very flat guiding correction chart. (please note the image below is that of a 5 mins sub taken earlier in the evening)

Equipment used:

ASIAIR
SkyWatcher EQ6-R pro
WIlliam Optics ZS73
WIlliam Optics 50mm Guide scope
ZWO ASI071MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM
Televue x.8 reducer / flattener
SCT Duo Narrowband filter
QHY PoleMaster

5mins Test Sub

Image

maudette
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:16 am

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by maudette » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:47 pm

HI,


Thanks for the detailed process. I have the same mount but only use the ASIAir on my smaller EQ3-2. I do the same except that I would normally do a good 3 alignment. I was under the impression that is trying to sync when its "too off" that SkySafari would give you an error. I'll try your way.
that said, I am avid SkySafari user (pro too) but I'm finding to start using the ASIAir goto selection more and more.... Its actually pretty good! Its soooo.... easy to get that center image.

BTW, where is NGC 7000 in your file :)

Michel

Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by Marc.mawson » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:33 pm

One of the reasons I got the ASIAIR was that I had issues platesolving in APT and syncing with CDC, it worked fine for a good long while then all of a sudden it wouldn't sync at all. I was tempted to just uninstall everything and try again, but then i remember how long it took me to get settings correct, this is the problem when you rely on lots of different bits of software.

I never even realised there was a maximum error margin where SkySafari will not accept corrections from the platesolving software, which sounds like the issue I was having with CDC and platesolve 2.

I'd be very interested to find out from other users of SynScan mounts as to what the maximum SkySafari error is (I assume its not documented) or at the very least who has encountered the issue and what the circumstances are.

It could be that as I use a polemaster my polar alignment is accurate enough for the goto's (even when you factor in that I do not align the scope properly) to be within the acceptable margin of error?

Anyway, i need to test another target other than NGC7000 (which is in the image FYI, it's just faint as its an unprocessed 5 min test sub) top see if platesolving still works.

Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by Marc.mawson » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:20 pm

https://support.simulationcurriculum.co ... atesolving.

Perhaps the issue is with the lack of support for EQMOD through the HC in PC direct mode? ASIAIR does not require the HC to be in PC direct mode?

Once there is EQMOD support in SkySafari i'll get a EQMOD cable and use that, so I can ditch the HC completely, until then i'll continue to use the workflow as described in my previous post to get good results.

maudette
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:16 am

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by maudette » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:46 am

Hi;

It is well documented (but cant remember where I read it :) ) that you have to have an accurate alignment for SkySafari to work with Synscan drivers.
I had the same issues as you. It was frustrating, it just wouldn't sync. but if you sync from SkySafari directly, you do get an error in SkySafari that says that the error is too apart (or something to that effect).

I do a 3 stars alignment, I'm just so used to it, it doesn't take long, but perhaps a 1 star alignment would be enough?

Michel

maudette
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:16 am

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by maudette » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:12 am

Eh Mark!!

Check this link out from the ZWO facebook.
https://hujer.net/wiki/index.php/ASIAIR

This guy give clear instructions on how to connect SkySafari using the EQ Mod driver. I'm going to try it this weekend. It's a bit complex to set up but his instructions are very clear.

Michel

HDastro
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:35 pm

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by HDastro » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:46 pm

Using same mount and I have been able to get away with a FAKE 1 star alignment then use ASIAIR PA, then go into my routine. And with Marc's post here, he confirmed what I found only this week after months of fighting with Guiding and my mount (EQ6-R Pro). I have been using all this time a 1X instead of MAX in the preview screen and have had really bad RA when guiding. DEC has always been good so far. RA has always been up around +2 to +4.

They suggest 1X and possibly 8X which confirms that when I did my testing this week, and could not get RA down to a descent value no matter what I did, I decided to start at MAX and go down towards 1X. All values were too fast and the guide star was slipping off the screen, until I got to 8X, and that seems to be the magic number for good RA in the guiding for me as well.

Also, I found on this BBS that ZWO confirms that the MAX, 32X, 16X etc......are not only for the SLEWING speed, but also is used for the guiding in Pulse mode, and that now answers my question as to why SLEW speed made a difference in the guiding. They have tied them both together.

Cheers

Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by Marc.mawson » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:41 am

This is all good information, thanks to everyone for your contributions, I have probably been lucky so far that the fake 3 star alignment I performed was within the margin of error in SkySafari so it can be corrected by platesolving, I think once I tried to slew and plate solve to target in a different part of the sky I’d probably encounter the sync error.

That being said, next time I go to capture a target I am going to make sure I do my alignment correctly as I have been using platesolving as a crutch, the weather in the Northeast England has been overcast for a good couple of months or so, and when it hasn’t it doesn’t really get dark until quite late on, which is not great when you have to go to work the next day... the net effect is that I need to maximise the time I have on target, so if I can save 10 mins or so by not aligning the scope properly i’ll take it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get out again on Sunday and get some good subs of NGC7000 and Pleiades.

Marc.mawson
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Re: Optimal Auto Guiding settings For EQ6-R pro (now with guide).

Post by Marc.mawson » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:46 am

maudette wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:12 am
Eh Mark!!

Check this link out from the ZWO facebook.
https://hujer.net/wiki/index.php/ASIAIR

This guy give clear instructions on how to connect SkySafari using the EQ Mod driver. I'm going to try it this weekend. It's a bit complex to set up but his instructions are very clear.

Michel
I’ll get an EQMOD cable next week and try this. Thanks :)

Post Reply