Slewing Problem

Last night, it looked like we might have a coupleof hours of relatively clear sky. I wanted to

a) Try getting the slew failure error 212 to occur when doing FindBrightStar with actual plate solves. Tried several times; also tried with Maxim connected back to ACP telescope. No failures.

b) Run another TPoint 70 point model to check alignment now that the SBig is back and I adjusted the alignment position according to the last model. Hopefully this model will look pretty good, and I will be ready to run a Big model.

Of course, disaster. Somehow, when slewing to Azm 150 Alt 30, the mount out the OTA on the West side (good) and dropped it down until it hit the pier (or got really close, to trip the hardware limit). The counterweights are up at about a 50 degree angle, and Sky now reports “the mount hit something or the balance is not even”. In this mode, I cannot get the mount to slew at all – it keeps just repeating the error. It looks like the roof might hit the counterweights, so now I can’t get the roof to close.

Sigh. Got dressed, drove out to the observatory. Fortunately, the new snow wasn’t too deep, only 3 inches or so. I could drive to the observatory. Put the mount in RA Balance switch, re-positioned the mount, got the roof closed. By this time, snow is accumulating pretty fast.

Sent message to Bisque to see a) why would it position this way, and b) how can I get control of the mount back?

This afternoon, connected to the mount, found Home fine. Slewed to a spot, and suddenly getting the same error. Cameras show the position is fine. Re-powered and re-connected, and now it seems fine. Another flakey problem:(

Don’t know what to do about this. Also, the 30 points it collected seemed to be a pretty bad model…

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SkyX problem continued

Several posts back and forth to Ascom, Bisque, and ACP are now to this point:

The failure occurs when ACP is in a Refresh loop to update the status of the Main screen. Basically, it is checking the current RA/Dec of the scope, whether Tracking and Slewing are active. In the course of checking this, the SkyX scripting object gives the error “Process Aborted. Error – 212” and stops. ACP then disconnects from the scope. The Phase 3 has to do with where ACP is in the refresh process.

So, back to Bisque – what does error 212 mean?

Of course, I cannot get the failure to occur anymore. I am suspicious that the error occurs when a plate solve is successful, which of course isn’t happening now. I am running inside with the roof closed since it is still cloudy.

I added Pipe to the driver stack, so the various scope commands are being logged to the file Pipe.log in Common Files.Ascom/Telescope. If I can ever get it to faill again, perhaps I will have more information for Bisque.

 

SkyX Timeout problem

Good news/Bad news:

Good news: I am now getting plate solves in ACP from FindBrightStar. Cool – FL is 2818 mm, bin 2 gives .76 arcsec/pixel.

Bad news: still getting SkyX **REFRESH TIMER EXCEPTION** when slewing, waiting for slew, etc. Sometimes works once, crashes the next time; sometimes crashes right away.

Turned off “Slew – start delay for CPU-hogging cameras”. Crashed ACP right away.

Turned off TPoint, ProTrack, and PEC. Now everything seems to work! Turned back on TPoint; still works. Turned on ProTrack and PEC; still works. Don’t have a clue why it now works. Perhaps something in the startup sequence of SkyX?

Posted note in Bisque Forum, hopefully Daniel et. al. will have a helpful response.

Hmmm, I never turned the “Slew – start delay” setting again.

Making Progress

Making progress with the calibration routines.

After adding the straps, I no longer see the drift in RA. Odd, I now see some wandering in DEC.

Reran another 71 point TPoint. Supermodel again says to make small adjustments. Today (Sunday) I drove down and

– adjusted polar alignment again

– focused guider. Had to tighten the focuser tension significantly.

– adjusted the C11 so it now focuses closer to 3500 (3800 now). Made sure the mirror locks are pretty tight.

Yesterday, ran a long PEC data collection run. It showed 2.8 arcsecond variation. I think the seeing was better today, plus I got a longer run since it wasn’t drifting all over in RA.

PEC Fit with long run

Applied the generated PEC curve, and remeasured PEC. It was now a bit worse at 3.3 arcsec.

So, I reversed the PEC curve (turned off the “Collected when pointing West” flag. Applied this one, and now the PEC is a bit better:

PEC after applying reversed PEC

Tried running a 5 minute exposure with TPoint applied (71 points), Protrack running, and PEC applied. Looks pretty good! CCDInspector shows a 9% aspect ratio – stars look pretty round. Since I expect to run only as long as 5 minutes with the Canon, this is pretty cool.

Added Straps on C11

I added two pipe straps on the C11. One is in front, just goes around the OTA and the dovetail. The second goes around the back, and goes around OTA and the ATM dovetail holder. That would seem to be better, maybe alleviate some stress from the dovetail.

 

Also adjusted the polar alignment again. We’ll see what the next Supermodel says.

 

PEC Training

After all the hee-haw about getting SkyX to use Maxim for images, apparently I can’t actually use that to do the PEC training. Not sure where I had gotten that idea. So, fired up CCDSoft and used it to generate a trackiing log (with guider corrections turned off). 1 sec exposures, ran for 17 minutes or so.

Problem: there is a drift to the star, so it steadily drifts out of the track box. I don’t know how far out it can go – if it is out of the box, do we lose part of the image, so the centroid is calculated wrong? Or, does it actually “see” image beyond the tracking box?

So, when I load the raw tracking log into SkyX, I see

RawData

Raw Data from CCDSoft Tracking log

Hard to see the curve – Bisque picked some tough colors. The drift looks bad – don’t know why I would have this in the first place. When I hit the Fit button, the drift is removed and I get

Fit

Data after Fit button. Drift is gone.

Not sure what this means – do I have a net 6.6 Arcsec error? Or is the 3.3 correspond to the 4.4 pixel displacement on the axis, so I have about 2 racsec? I check the Last box “Periodic Error curve for TCS” and get

PEC curve for loading into the mount

Downloaded this into the mount. Turned on “apply PEC”, and reran the tracking log to see if I get better PEC. The raw data looks like

Raw tracking data with PEC running

Still a serious drift going on.

The fit data is now

Fit data with PEC running

Hmmm, it looks to me like the mount is worse with PEC running!

Repeat the process; also, I focus the star first. Now, the 3 stages look like:

Raw data 2nd time

Interesting, this curve is upside down from the previous one.

Oops – it looks like it is cloudy now – no stars showing up. To be continued next time….

 

Now, will the mount automatically use the PEC when it is turned on, or do I have to enable it every time?

Canon plate solve issue

Sent in some pointing images which I cannot get solved. It turns out that the issue is not the images; somehow the estimated RA/Dec is off. In one case just off by 4 min, but apparently that is borderline for a small FOV like this. However, the others were off by an hour! What the heck? Somehow the mount/SkyX is not reporting the correct location? I will need to investigate this. I wonder if this is related to the weird RA/Dec values during the calibration run?

Related note: the way Bob gets the actual location is to submit the image to a site

http://nova.astrometry.net/

They do the plate solve for you.

I had tried using the cool SkySolve utility, but it wasn’t working well for some of the images. I may need to try that some more.

 
2012-01-15 15:10:38,-7, 26, 36
2012-01-15 15:25:38,-7, 26, 37
2012-01-15 15:40:38,-7, 26, 37
2012-01-15 15:55:38,-7, 26, 37
2012-01-15 16:10:38,-7, 26, 37
2012-01-15 16:25:38,-7, 26, 37
2012-01-15 16:40:38,-7, 25, 37
2012-01-15 16:55:38,-7, 25, 37
2012-01-15 17:10:38,-7, 25, 36
2012-01-15 17:25:38,-7, 24, 36
2012-01-15 17:40:38,-7, 22, 35
2012-01-15 17:55:38,-7, 17, 34
2012-01-15 18:10:38,-7, 14, 32
2012-01-15 18:25:38,-7, 13, 30
2012-01-15 18:40:38,-7, 11, 28
2012-01-15 18:55:38,-7, 10, 27
2012-01-15 19:10:38,-7, 9, 26
2012-01-15 19:25:38,-7, 8, 25
2012-01-15 19:40:38,-7, 8, 24
2012-01-15 19:55:38,-7, 8, 23
2012-01-15 20:10:38,-7, 8, 22
2012-01-15 20:25:38,-7, 8, 21
2012-01-15 20:40:38,-7, 9, 20
2012-01-15 20:55:38,-7, 8, 20
2012-01-15 21:10:38,-7, 8, 20
2012-01-15 21:25:38,-7, 7, 20
2012-01-15 21:40:38,-7, 7, 20
2012-01-15 21:55:38,-7, 7, 19
2012-01-15 22:10:38,-7, 7, 18
2012-01-15 22:25:38,-7, 6, 19
2012-01-15 22:40:38,-7, 5, 19
2012-01-15 22:55:38,-7, 5, 20
2012-01-15 23:10:38,-7, 5, 18
2012-01-15 23:25:38,-7, 5, 18
2012-01-15 23:40:38,-7, 5, 18
2012-01-15 23:55:38,-7, 5, 18
2012-01-16 00:10:38,-7, 5, 19
2012-01-16 00:25:38,-7, 4, 20
2012-01-16 00:40:38,-7, 3, 21
2012-01-16 00:55:38,-7, 3, 21
2012-01-16 01:10:38,-7, 3, 21
2012-01-16 01:25:38,-7, 4, 19
2012-01-16 01:40:38,-7, 4, 18
2012-01-16 01:55:38,-7, 5, 18
2012-01-16 02:10:38,-7, 4, 18
2012-01-16 02:25:38,-7, 4, 19
2012-01-16 02:40:38,-7, 4, 20
2012-01-16 02:55:38,-7, 5, 20
2012-01-16 03:10:38,-7, 5, 20
2012-01-16 03:25:38,-7, 5, 21
2012-01-16 03:40:38,-7, 5, 21
2012-01-16 03:55:38,-7, 5, 21
2012-01-16 04:10:38,-7, 6, 21
2012-01-16 04:25:38,-7, 6, 21
2012-01-16 04:40:38,-7, 7, 21
2012-01-16 04:55:38,-7, 7, 21
2012-01-16 05:10:38,-7, 7, 22
2012-01-16 05:25:38,-7, 8, 22
2012-01-16 05:40:38,-7, 8, 22
2012-01-16 05:55:38,-7, 8, 22
2012-01-16 06:10:38,-7, 8, 23
2012-01-16 06:25:38,-7, 8, 23
2012-01-16 06:40:38,-7, 9, 23
2012-01-16 06:55:38,-7, 9, 23
2012-01-16 07:10:38,-7, 9, 23
2012-01-16 07:25:38,-7, 9, 23
2012-01-16 07:40:38,-7, 9, 23
2012-01-16 07:55:38,-7, 9, 24
2012-01-16 08:10:38,-7, 10, 24
2012-01-16 08:25:38,-7, 10, 24
2012-01-16 08:40:38,-7, 11, 25
2012-01-16 08:55:38,-7, 12, 25
2012-01-16 09:10:38,-7, 12, 26
2012-01-16 09:25:38,-7, 13, 26
2012-01-16 09:40:38,-7, 14, 27
2012-01-16 09:55:38,-7, 14, 27
2012-01-16 10:10:38,-7, 15, 27
2012-01-16 10:25:38,-7, 16, 27
2012-01-16 10:40:38,-7, 17, 28
2012-01-16 10:55:38,-7, 18, 29
2012-01-16 11:10:38,-7, 19, 29
2012-01-16 11:25:37,-7, 20, 30
2012-01-16 11:40:37,-7, 21, 31
2012-01-16 11:55:37,-7, 22, 32
2012-01-16 12:10:37,-7, 23, 33
2012-01-16 12:25:37,-7, 25, 34
2012-01-16 12:40:37,-7, 26, 35
2012-01-16 12:55:37,-7, 27, 35
2012-01-16 13:10:37,-7, 28, 36
2012-01-16 13:25:37,-7, 29, 37
2012-01-16 13:40:37,-7, 29, 38
2012-01-16 13:55:37,-7, 30, 39
2012-01-16 14:10:37,-7, 31, 40
2012-01-16 14:25:37,-7, 32, 41
2012-01-16 14:40:37,-7, 32, 41
2012-01-16 14:55:37,-7, 33, 42
2012-01-16 15:10:37,-7, 33, 43
2012-01-16 15:25:37,-7, 33, 44
2012-01-16 15:40:37,-7, 34, 44
2012-01-16 15:55:37,-7, 34, 44
2012-01-16 16:10:37,-7, 34, 45
2012-01-16 16:25:37,-7, 34, 45
2012-01-16 16:40:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 16:55:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 17:10:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 17:25:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 17:40:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 17:55:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 18:10:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 18:25:37,-7, 35, 45
2012-01-16 18:40:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 18:55:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 19:10:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 19:25:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 19:40:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 19:55:37,-7, 36, 46
2012-01-16 20:10:37,-7, 37, 46
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44
TcpClient creation Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException (0x80004005): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 192.168.15.30:2101
at System.Net.Sockets.TcpClient..ctor(String hostname, Int32 port)
at TempLog.Form1.M1_Connection() in C:\Users\brew\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\TempLog\Form1.vb:line 44

Needing X2MaximCamera to Image from SkyX

OK, one problem solved with a couple of posts to Bisque. Apparently SkyX needs an outside driver X2MaximCamera to access Maxim. Makes sense, unfortunate that this doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere. I downloaded the driver (not on the Ascom site), loaded it, and now it seems that I can take images from SkyX. I should now be able to do the PEC process.

Continuing Alignment

I ran another alignment run of 45 points. The Polar Alignment indicates that the Az is excellent, the Alt is “good enough”.

Weird thing in the data – I don’t know if I just didn’t notice it last time, but a bunch of the points are wacky looking. The RA is 12 hours off, and the Dec is really off – 150, 160 degrees.? Seems to work OK, though.

Did another run of 67 points. Again, Polar alignment indicates

Northern Hemisphere Polar Alignment Report
Important information:
ME is the vertical misalignment of the polar axis of an equatorial mount.
MA is the misalignment of the polar axis of an equatorial mount to the left or right of the true pole.
The altitude report shows the adjustments necessary to align with the refracted pole, not the true pole.
************* Azimuth ************
Recommendation: Azimuth alignment is excellent. No additional adjustments are necessary.
Supporting information
MA = -28.2 arcseconds (-0.5 minutes) Sigma = 35.2198 – Adjust Confidence-Low.

************* Altitude ************
Recommendation: Altitude alignment is good enough. No additional adjustments are necessary.
Supporting information
ME = -13.4 arcseconds (-0.2 arcminutes) Sigma = 19.9514 – Adjust Confidence-Low

The graph shows 135 Arcsec error, again spread in the E-W direction

Model61

135 arcsec basic model with 61 points

Supermodel now gives 15 arcsec

15 arcsec error after full model

Now, run a test pointing accuracy using AAG with 20 points. Generates a csv file (AAGTpointCheck.csv), I’m not sure how to interpret this. I would have expected some type of graph in AAG. I think the next step might be to run the ACP script to check pointing.

First, need to check PEC.

Well, this is a mess. I managed to get my Serial number from Bisque to enable the camera Addon. Now, it looks like I want to connect to the Maxim Camera – but this gives an error, missing driver 217. Reading around, it looks like I need to install X2 Camera plugin for Ascom. Did that, still doesn’t work. Maybe these plugins need Ascom platform 6? I am still running platform 5.1. Sigh – it looks like I get to update all of the ascom stuff. Unclear what drivers work with platform 6, or even whether these X2 plugins even need platform 6. The Ascom pages don’t spell out what is needed at all:(

Checking tracking – 2 minute exposure looks OK. 3 minute is bad. Re-ran 2 minute, this time it looks a little trailed. Looks like we need to get the PEC done, at least.

Tried using CCDInspector to adjust collimation. Didn’t work at all – I can’t tell which screw does what. Eventually defocused and did a standard manual collimation.

Spent some time trying to get ACP to plate solve using the Xsi/Edge combo. No luck. Once, I got the SkySolve utility to solve; seems like the address is slightly off? The scale looks like 0.76 arcs/pixelwhen binned 2; 0.376 or so when bin1. The FL looks like 2850 mm. Got an image link to work, gave the .76 scale. In general, the Pinpoint and Maxim plate solves do not work. I wonder why the AAG Pinpoint solves worked every time?!

Another weird thing: In ACP, run FindBrightStar. Works OK, plate solve fails, script ends. Scope is still connect in ACP, tracking. Re-run FindBrightStar, this time it crashes when it slews to the Mag6 star; crashes on Wait for Slew. ACP then disconnects from the telescope. When I reconnect ACP, SkyX then has to go find Home again.I didn’t write down the error msg, it should be in the log (Oops – apparently there is no log from FindBrightStar? Can’t find a log).