Staff Assigned: Owen Lawrence Failure under the stars

Discussion in 'Demo User Tech Support' started by dawgchamp, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. dawgchamp

    dawgchamp Standard User

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    After several weeks of bad weather, I had a chance to use the trial of MDL6 for the past two nights.

    I wish I had better news, but the quirks of this software are very discouraging, particularly when it comes to guiding and the way it handles cameras.

    1. 2017 Mach 1GTO with spring-loaded worms, controlled by the ASCOM setting
    2. Canon DSLR controlled by the EOS II setting
    3. QHY5L-II controlled by the ASCOM setting

    Friday I was able to connect to everything properly, with the mount responding to move commands. Guiding was another story. Graphs were all over the scale, starting off-window and migrating down and up on both axes for more than the chosen +-5 arc/sec. RMS was over three. I shut down MDL and went to PHD2 and got a mediocre total RMS (bad seeing) of about 0.6 to 0.7".

    Last night I had better (?) results with MDL giving me a total of 2.5" RMS. The guiding show the lines going somewhat sideways but I could not clear the graph and have these results on the "Zero" line. They started up about 2" on the X axis, and -2" on the Y, with each never migrating to the zero line. Different exposure times from 1-3 seconds and aggression settings from 8-9 were tried. Going back to PHD2 gave me 0.4-0.5" total RMS results as seeing was better.

    Camera control was very buggy. Both connected, with the DSLR Camera 1 acting normally, but the QHY5L-II on camera 2 in the guider expose tab also showed an available ISO choice as was present for the DSLR. No matter what I did, that ISO window would not gray-out.

    Just now in my living room, I deleted and constructed the original configuration and that ISO window is now grayed-out for the QHY.

    For both nights, calibration was very fussy and worked only about 25% of the time, with me changing the settings to trying different time periods for mount movement. What should've been right-angles became triangles or a single straight line. I really want to like this program, but it seems the idiosyncrasies are everything I've read them to be.

    <edit> I also could find no tab in which the guide scope camera pixel size could be entered.

    Any comments or advice would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  2. Owen Lawrence

    Owen Lawrence Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2014
    Messages:
    1,232
    Hi,

    >...with the mount responding to move commands.

    Just to be clear, were those move commands issued from the Guide tab | Move dialog? It's important that it work from there. If it doesn't, then guiding will not work either.

    >...Guiding was another story. Graphs were all over the scale...

    Did you calibrate the guider? From the Guide tab, first do an exposure with the radio button set to "Expose". Select a guide star, or leave the one that may have been found automatically. Then select the "Calibrate" radio button, and click [Start]. Without completing this step successfully at least once you are almost guaranteed to get wonky results. Be sure to use a strong star in a sparse field when calibrating.

    >...QHY5L-II on camera 2 in the guider expose tab also showed an available ISO choice as was present for the DSLR.

    We have had quite a few reports of trouble with QHY cameras. They have had a lot of difficulty providing proper support for Readout Modes. The ISO issue is a new one to me, but it's related to the same sort of problem readout mode implementations can have. First, make sure you have the correct ASCOM driver for your camera, and second, make sure it's up to date. It would be wise to contact them to report this issue too. Have them get in touch with us if they can't help; we have worked with them before.

    As a test, try changing your ASCOM camera to the ASCOM camera simulator. With a Canon 50D selected as Camera 1, I set the ASCOM simulator as Camera 2 and selected its options "Multiple Readout Modes" and "Interface Version 2". The readout modes appeared just fine in the Guide tab | Settings dialog, and the ISO menu was disabled, as expected. If it works like this for you, too, the problem is most likely in your QHY ASCOM driver.

    >I also could find no tab in which the guide scope camera pixel size could be entered.

    This is generally the responsibility of the camera plugin. In this case it would come from the camera's ASCOM driver. Again, contact QHY for this, or at least look at the driver's settings dialog.

    Also, go to MaxIm DL's File | Settings... | Site and Optics. You can set the focal length and aperture for the guider there.

    - Owen -
     
  3. dawgchamp

    dawgchamp Standard User

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Your text in italics, my answers are bold regular font:

    Just to be clear, were those move commands issued from the Guide tab | Move dialog? It's important that it work from there. If it doesn't, then guiding will not work either.

    Yes, from the Guide Tab. I did not verify Friday or Saturday with the manual move command that the mount was responding. In testing tonight using your outlined procedure, the mount did manually move correctly in all directions when viewing the RA/DEC readout on the Astro-Physics driver.

    Did you calibrate the guider? From the Guide tab, first do an exposure with the radio button set to "Expose". Select a guide star, or leave the one that may have been found automatically. Then select the "Calibrate" radio button, and click [Start]. Without completing this step successfully at least once you are almost guaranteed to get wonky results. Be sure to use a strong star in a sparse field when calibrating.

    Yes. As I stated originally, calibration worked about 25% of the time. I did not proceed until a successful calibration was obtained. It was that erratic calibration that bothered me, i.e. why it worked, and then didn't work, was perplexing.

    We have had quite a few reports of trouble with QHY cameras. They have had a lot of difficulty providing proper support for Readout Modes. The ISO issue is a new one to me, but it's related to the same sort of problem readout mode implementations can have. First, make sure you have the correct ASCOM driver for your camera, and second, make sure it's up to date. It would be wise to contact them to report this issue too. Have them get in touch with us if they can't help; we have worked with them before.

    As a test, try changing your ASCOM camera to the ASCOM camera simulator. With a Canon 50D selected as Camera 1, I set the ASCOM simulator as Camera 2 and selected its options "Multiple Readout Modes" and "Interface Version 2". The readout modes appeared just fine in the Guide tab | Settings dialog, and the ISO menu was disabled, as expected. If it works like this for you, too, the problem is most likely in your QHY ASCOM driver.

    This worked correctly, but it also did when using the QHY and its driver as well. I installed the current driver about two weeks ago. After deleting and rebuilding my original configuration file, the ISO menu was disabled. It was almost like a corrupted configuration that could not be repaired by toggling connect/disconnect or even changing to a simulator then back to the QHY configuration.

    >I also could find no tab in which the guide scope camera pixel size could be entered.

    This is generally the responsibility of the camera plugin. In this case it would come from the camera's ASCOM driver. Again, contact QHY for this, or at least look at the driver's settings dialog.

    Also, go to MaxIm DL's File | Settings... | Site and Optics. You can set the focal length and aperture for the guider there.

    I had already found the Site and Optics tab to enter OTA and guide scope parameters. When using PHD2, the pixel size can be entered manually or the option exists for the driver to provide the data. My question was simply to find out if I was missing a tab or pull-down where this could be entered manually should one desire to do so.

    Thank you for your suggestions, Owen. It looks like I'll have to give it a go one more time when weather permits. I will enter here what happens after that attempt.
     

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