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this is bloody aweful. massive tracking and guiding issues. LRGB around 70-80 minutes I think it was. I think I might be needing a new mount. lots of noise and colour calibration didn't work properly either, also prob a bit over colour saturated.

Having whinged about all that at least it is something.

 

Shane

NGC 2024 LRGB.jpg

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Up close and personal, just how I like it mate. Not sure what your focal length is but the closer in the harder life is. I can't tell you how many issues I have had to work through. 

Those two satellite trails (lower left) are at a perfect right angle to each other as well! :PB)

Ray

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Lol those "sat trails" are difraction spikes:blink: from  Alnitak. .............I know......... you were taking the piss, but, by explaining that they are difraction spikes, it sounds like I know what I'm talking aboutB).

FL is around 1600 or 1233 with the reducer Ray. Although I rarely use the reducer.

Up close and personal is the reason I got the camera I did to match the FL of my RC, I believe I am imaging at around 0.94 arc sec/pixel. Other cameras in the Moravian range are perhaps better chips but I like the FoV that the G2 2000 gives me for galaxies.

7 hours ago, Radar said:

 Not sure what your focal length is but the closer in the harder life is. I can't tell you how many issues I have had to work through. 

I'm unsure what my mount issue is mate, it used to play nice considering it's a mass produced chinese mount(SW NEQ6). One night I had the best guiding ever and the next night everything went to shit and stayed shit. I have pulled the mount down and given it a service(clean, regrease, and new bearings) but that isn't the problem. At this point I'm thinking either motor and/or control board.

Shane

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9 hours ago, poppasmurf said:

I know you were taking the piss, but, by explaining that they are difraction spikes, it sounds like I know what I'm talking aboutB).

lol, classic.

When you say your mount "went to shit" (I believe this is your scientific term) what exactly is it doing? I've been here before with my Losmandy, I hated every moment of it, but I became a bit of a mount detective with motors, gears, software, balancing, etc. 

Ray

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Very scientific term that eh. 

Immaculate guiding one night but the following night RA had unexplained massive excursions. I originally put it down to the nature of guiding with a mass produced Chinese mount as had happened in the past, and fully expected things to magically improve, as had happened in the past. Unfortunately both RA and DEC both have unexplained excursions now. I thought it might be some dirt or something in the gears, but, after pulling the mount apart things were really quite good inside, apart from 1 suspect bearing. Thinking this was the problem on one axis I decided to replace all the main bearings on both axis'. Also gave all sprocket and worms a good clean and regrease with high quality grease. 

Expecting I had solved the problem I tried again and found absolutely no change. I now am thinking main board and/or motors are failing, causing both tracking and guiding problems that software can't compensate for.

I'll keep at it for a while, but, am also researching new mounts. When I break the news to the minister of finance and war that I'm thinking of a new mount, and that I'm looking at $4-$11k range, should be an interesting conversation to say the least. So far I am looking at the Ioptron CEM60 in the lower range and the 10Micron GM1000HPS in the high range. Unguided 20min exposures out of a 10Micron is very tempting.

 

Shane

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7 hours ago, poppasmurf said:

Very scientific term that eh. 

Immaculate guiding one night but the following night RA had unexplained massive excursions. I originally put it down to the nature of guiding with a mass produced Chinese mount as had happened in the past, and fully expected things to magically improve, as had happened in the past. Unfortunately both RA and DEC both have unexplained excursions now. I thought it might be some dirt or something in the gears, but, after pulling the mount apart things were really quite good inside, apart from 1 suspect bearing. Thinking this was the problem on one axis I decided to replace all the main bearings on both axis'. Also gave all sprocket and worms a good clean and regrease with high quality grease. 

Expecting I had solved the problem I tried again and found absolutely no change. I now am thinking main board and/or motors are failing, causing both tracking and guiding problems that software can't compensate for.

I'll keep at it for a while, but, am also researching new mounts. When I break the news to the minister of finance and war that I'm thinking of a new mount, and that I'm looking at $4-$11k range, should be an interesting conversation to say the least. So far I am looking at the Ioptron CEM60 in the lower range and the 10Micron GM1000HPS in the high range. Unguided 20min exposures out of a 10Micron is very tempting.

 

Shane

I've seen nothing but good reports on the 10 micron.

Greg

 

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Unfortunately I don't think the budget will run that high Greg, more a pipe dream, I will most likely have to settle on something like the Ioptron CEM60.

 

Shane

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There is no doubt that the better the mount the more rewarding the hobby becomes. The headaches of cheap mounts cause such frustration, we've all been there. 

When you say that the software cannot cope with the errors, how big or far are the errors? For example, if you are taking a photo, how oblong are your stars? From what you have said it can't be the bearings or gears. I would be leaning toward (depending on how big the errors are) either bad seeing causing the guidescope to jump around frantically combined with backlash. But I haven't seen the errors so it is hard to guess. What does a guided sub exposure look like? Can you post one? 

With bad seeing, I cannot shoot anything unless the seeing is good to very good. I now use this before every session (otherwise my focus is soft and I'm wasting my time, but I can still track okay in bad seeing)

http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/viewer/index.shtml?type=windbarb&level=200hPa&tz=AEDT&area=Au&model=CG&chartSubmit=Refresh+View

Also are you able to drop the fl of your guidescope back with a reducer? 

Ray

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G'day Ray, I am a cranky old bastard so I tend to crack the shits when things are playing up and have deleted the really bad subs. I did find an older one that I cropped and zoomed in to get a closer look at the stars. 

Bad seeing doesn't effect the subs, except for soft focus, and slightly poorer guiding than normal(better seeing).

I image at around 1600mm FL and guide at 400mm FL.

Not sure where to even start now that I have ruled out mechanical issues.

I have "made" an example of the problem at its worst in PS. In this example all I did was clone a star into what the subs in question looked like( imagine all stars the same). This would also have had less visible lines where the mount was moving while exposing. I hope you can understand an old illiterate cranky man.LOL.

 

Shane

 

zoom_guide_issues.jpg.21084f2ab71b2059df37d91e3f810fc1.jpg

example.thumb.jpg.5c4cf3d93d8595ee5c88dffbbb123b5e.jpg

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In that first photo is up and down RA or Dec?

Ray

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11 hours ago, Radar said:

In that first photo is up and down RA or Dec?

Ray

Good question mate, I've never needed to know before so will get back to you.

 

Shane

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There are a lot of good mounts out there if your are prepared to spend some money. I bought an iOptron CEM25 and was so impressed I traded out my CGEM for its bigger brother iOptrons, CEM60. with which  I am equally impressed for guiding consistency. It claims to carry up to 60 pounds, but I have not yet pushed it beyond about 38 and that has been near perfect guiding. Everything depends upon the mount! if that is screwed up, nothing else matters. The minister of finance might be most pleased that its price is modest.

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Cheers Tony, I have done considerable research over the last few weeks, trying to solve this issue and looking at reviews etc on the cem60. I believe the non encoder version is the one I will try convince the MoF that I need. Encoders would be nice but I don't believe the extra $1500 is worth the benefits for me. That would be $ (that I don't have) better spent on other goodies. 

Thanks for posting the thread about your cem60, I wouldn't have known about them otherwise. Your glowing review, as well as many others, convinced me that this is the best, most affordable option for me.

I spent several hours out last night checking everything to no avail, backlash on both axis' is minimal so not that, in fact everything seems mechanically fine. Checked polar alignment and tweaked it a bit, now sitting around 1.5 arc-sec of polar error according to PHD2, it was around 2.4 arc-sec before tweaking it, so not that either. Really has me stumped and can only put it down to either the motors or control board issue. Its been a long time since I've seen round stars from almost any length exposure.

Anyway the way I am looking at it, through all the frustration, is that 12-13 years out of the NEQ6 is a reasonable life compared to cost.

Shane

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I wrote a post yesterday and half way through it got a call and forget to submit the reply, lol :( But you have answered some of my questions. 

Have you tried different guiding software to see if there are any differences?

Have you tried a PEC program to remove the errors?

Finally will the mount guide accurately without the primary imaging scope (a mission to unload and rebalance I know). 

Ray

 

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Ray, the only other guiding software I have tried is within Prism10, I have never had any luck with that but I believe that is due to my guide camera not being sensitive enough.

PEC is taken care of in EQMOD, which I have been using for over a decade.

Haven't tried if the mount guides with another scope, I only have the RC and a guide scope. I could try swapping cameras around but guiding at 1600mm FL for 400mm FL scope is a bit overkill IMO.

 

Shane

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Sorry about the delay in replying, I've been away with the kidlets in Mandurah.

Can you try another guide program to eliminate the possibility of software? And have you tried both with PEC on and off to ensure it is not using a default PEC file? 

I would also unbalance it the (only after you have tried the above two). Misbalance it so that the scope is travelling uphill. Test and then try it the opposite way. This also speaks volumes about the gear teeth. And try it with PEC on and then off. 

Ray

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Also could be the stepper motor moving the mount too far then reverting to pull it back in, etc. I know I am preaching to the choir but try the smallest possible movements in RA only. Turn DEC and backlash off. 

Ray

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Hi Ray cheers for the reply. I hope you had some fun with the billy lids.

I have run with and without PEC, also did a new PE curve for a complete new PPEC. The only other guide software I have tried I have never had any luck with.(Maxim DL4 and Prism10), I believe the issue there is more the lack of sensitivity of my guide cam which may well be replaced with a Lodestar X2 soon as well.

I always run the mount with a slight imbalance to have a preload on any gear mesh.

I have got the mount tuned so good there is almost zero backlash. When I did a backlash measurement with PHD2 the report noted only miniscule backlash and recommended no backlash compensation. 

With regards to the stepper motors, I am thinking that may be the issue. I wouldn't be complaining at all if I used the mount for visual only or perhaps widefield imaging, but as you are aware being up close and personal FL imaging is rather more demanding on equipment.

Anyway I am starting to get over fighting the mount and missing imaging time. For a 12 to 13 year old NEQ6, I have had good service from it, and are currently waiting on emails with prices to get an Ioptron CEM60 (Thanks Tony ;)).

 

Shane

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Okay. Try swapping the stepper motors if you haven't already. That's all I have left. Even swap the gears over if they can be swapped. The RA worm may have a tiny dent or something. 

Ray

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Then again ever considered a squadron of UFOs flying in formation? :rolleyes:

I note that the latest mounts have done away with gears and now use belts. My old EQ6pro is still chugging along OK. 

Dave.

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Hi Dave,

I changed my NEQ6 over to belts quite a while ago now. At the time it made all the difference, reducing backlash to virtually zero. I just can't seem to nail down the cause of the current issue and are leaning towards a new mount.

I believe the NEQ6 is still a great performer for its price point, I have had mine for around 12-13 years. Mine is still fine for visual and perhaps planetary imaging, but I like deep sky imaging so I have grown tired of fighting it.

 

Cheers Shane

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Noted Shane.  

Yeh, mine would be around that age. It has not not had a lot of use per se, but looking ahead and my age/activities/health does not really warrant any further expenditure in Astro Gear. I have picked up a couple of accessories for the Canon 750D, for which I will put together a note/pictures regarding focal length reducing rings I purchased.  I feel my future in photography will probably orientate closer to the terrestrial vistas  Such as heading North of Perth in the Wildflower season   Could chuck the MAK90 on the back seat  :)

 

Cheers Dave

 

 

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