ASTRONOMY SOFTWARE FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 14 April 2009

This page is for user comments on Astronomy software for the Windows (including the Meade AutoStar Suite), Macintosh, or Palm OS systems. Items that are more "review" oriented will be posted on the Astronomy Software Reviews page. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.


Subject:	ETX-70 motion scripting
Sent:	Monday, April 13, 2009 11:28:46
From:	Roland Meier (kwasi82@googlemail.com)
I am using an ETX-70, Autostar497 patched with build43gg (ver17) and
My497scope. I am new to the subject matter and my goal is to write a
script that will control the mount since I replaced the telescope with a
camera for time lapse.

My scripts look like this:

:R8#      //-> why exactly is it necessary and what is the effect?
// Second: 1.0; alt:0.026522; az:0.026522
:Ea25892#
:Ee25892#
:Me#
:Ms#
,1000
// Second: 2.0; alt:0.105376; az:0.105376
...
:Q#

As you can see I am using absolute alt/az values in degrees to deduce an
Ea and Ee rate (changing the M commands when going reverse):

VelocityPerSecond = 8843*4*60*X

where 8843 was the given value for 15" per second, hence the other
numbers.

PROBLEM: Trying to come up with a proper factor X for the Ea/Ee command
I never hit the right place with the scope, usually it runs too far. I
cannot derive a pattern.

QUESTION: Do I need to take into account that the commands really
describe RA/DEC movement (the manual says "east/west/north/south")
rather than alt/az? Is the info on site and telescope geographical
position necessary, and do I still need to set it up correctly even if I
dont look at stars? I could imagine setting the scope up at the north
pole should work in that case? Is the effect of the E commands dependent
on other factors?

Thanks for any input or clarification!!!
Roland
Mike here: First, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? That will ensure repeatablility in movement. As to scripting, I'll leave that to our resident AutoStar Expert, Dick Seymour.

And:

Thank you for the awesome quick response!
I will try that on Wednesday, cannot do tomorrow. I supposed I received
it in an already trained condition from my father but I will do that
again. I thought an offset of 30, 40 or more could not possibly arise
from motor taining...
Thanks again
Tom

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
:R8# selects the overall slew speed, and is equivalent to
tapping the "8" key on the keyboard.   It's needed for the
patched firmware to bring the default slew speed -away- from
its "default-after-power-up" of 9, or Maximum.  If the keypad-selected
slew speed were still "9", the :Ea/:Ee  commands would be ignored.

>> // Second: 1.0; alt:0.026522; az:0.026522
>> :Ea25892#
>> :Ee25892#
>> :Me#
>> :Ms#
>> ,1000
>> // Second: 2.0; alt:0.105376; az:0.105376
>> ...
>> :Q#
>> As you can see I am using absolute alt/az values in degrees to deduce 
>> an Ea and Ee rate (changing the M commands when going reverse):
>> VelocityPerSecond = 8843*4*60*X
>> where 8843 was the given value for 15" per second, hence the other 
>> numbers.
>>
>> PROBLEM: Trying to come up with a proper factor X for the Ea/Ee 
>> command I never hit the right place with the scope, usually it runs 
>> too far. I cannot derive a pattern.

Well, if you install the -newest- version of the patch kit (v23,
the :Ea and :Ee have been upgraded to :RA and :RE
(just like the LX200gps) which accept real "degrees per second" as their
numeric arguments.  So your desired "alt:0.026522; az:0.026522"
become  :RE0.026522# :RA0.026522#

>> QUESTION: Do I need to take into account that the commands really 
>> describe RA/DEC movement (the manual says "east/west/north/south") 
>> rather than alt/az?

The :RA commands the Azimuth axis, the :RE commands the Elevation axis.
The sky coordinates "RA" and "DEC"  have no bearing upon these
:Ms# (down), :Mn# (up), :Me# (left), :Mw# (right) commands.

>> Is the info on site and telescope geographical position necessary,
>> and do I still need to set it up correctly even if
>> I dont look at stars? 

I would advise at least setting your site for location (or at least in
the northern hemisphere), to avoid -possible- confusion (due to
Meade's inconsistent handling of the n/w/e/s direction convention
in the southern hemisphere). You only need do that once, and the
scope will remember it from then on (until you Reset, or reload firmware).

>> I could imagine setting the scope up at the north pole should work
 >>  in that case?

I -have- run my ETX90 "at the north pole", but i wouldn't advise it.
I can't guarantee that Meade has handled the "tangent goes to infinity
at 90 deg" issue in all cases.

>> Is the effect of the E commands dependent on other factors?

Only that you have selected a "slew speed" of -other- than 9 ("Maximum").
You can do it via the handbox, or via the :R8 command, but you have to
do it to (un)set a flag in the Autostar's firmware.

>> Thanks for any input or clarification!!!

good luck
--dick

Subject:	ETX90EC controlled by laptop with Starry Night's Pro with Microsoft Vista
Sent:	Thursday, April 9, 2009 16:07:51
From:	Robert Wrobel (rwrobs737@verizon.net)
Long time no "mod" ...as in modulation...talking that is...LOL
!!!...well I haven't sent you an email since March, 2002 when I bought
my spankin' new ETX 90EC. Well my problem is I just bought a new laptop
and I'd like to connect my laptop to the scope but I just need some
guidance. The scope and Autostar #497 was updated  by none other than
the the famous Dr. Clay Sherrod who is known throughout the universe
back when I bought it 7 years ago.So right now I have the #497 Autostar
with Starry Nights Pro version 4.05 and a new Acer laptop computer.How
do I go about making everythink work ??...what do I need ??...can it be
done ??
 
Thanks,
Bob Wrobel
Mike here: If your computer does not have a serial port, you will need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters for both Macs and PCs. You will also need a #505 serial cable, which you can easily make yourself using the tips on the AutoStar Info page.

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