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Author Topic: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment  (Read 6047 times)

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Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #15 on: 13:31:48, 09 December, 2015 »
The part you see has some removable printing supports at the bottom (the rectangular bars), after printing you just snap those off leaving the actual base which attaches to the back of the camera with the two screws already there. Then just use a small cable tie to hold the wire(s) onto the support extention which projects out the back. I just downloaded it from Thingiverse ;-)

ChrisH
Chris Heapy - current: 10-Micron GM2000HPS-II U/P, G11/Gemini, TV NP127is, Altair 8" RC, TV Genesis SDF, TV Pronto, SW Equinox 80ED, 10" LX200, 12" f/5.4 Newt, Vixen 90mm.
Atik 490EX, Atik EFW, Baader LRGB filters, Astrodon 3nM NB filters, Lodestar, QHY5L-II all-sky, Canon 70D and 350D
Whirley Obs., MPC Code Z89

Offline rofus

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #16 on: 13:48:47, 09 December, 2015 »
Understood! Ok so is not very different from my DIY...will keep that one for now :) Interesting this Thingiverse...!
AA 8" RC + AT Flattener, SW Esprit 100 + SW Flattener, Daystar Quark Chromosphere
Canon 6D modded, Nikon D750 unmodded, ASI174MM-COOL, SX Lodestar X2, ASI120MM
Canon & Nikon various prime lens
SW HEQ5 Rowan Belt Mod, AA 60mm Guidescope, Astrotrac, SW Star Adventurer
Mac 15" Retina Parallels: EQMOD, PHD2, SGP, PlateSolve2, BYN, CDC, Pixinsight, Photoshop
William Optics binos, Baader Hyperion eyepieces, Meade & Celestron binoculars
http://theski.es

Offline Nomis Elfactem

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #17 on: 15:37:33, 09 December, 2015 »
I have moved house. So now it's lost somewhere in the ether.
Didn't you set up a redirection Phil (https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/redirection?PSID=Google_PPC&cid=RD1015_GAR_SM_250) [I should point out I currently work for Royal Mail so it's a shameful plug I'm afraid :D ]

The Lodestar x2 has been top of my shopping list for a while now but my Mrs jacking her job in a few months ago sadly meant my hard earned cash has had to go elsewhere (plus I haven't seen a clear sky since so haven't missed much thankfully).  Looking forward to plugging it into my SX OAG which is currently attached but covered, not doing anything.  The removal of my AA finder/guider will also help with the weight of my rig.

S.
Simon

Scopes: Astro-Tech AT-111EDT Triplet, TS65ED Quad, Orion ST80, Modded PST-90 Solar Scope, PST Cak (on loan)
Cameras: SXVF H694, Atik 16ic, Canon EOS 600d, DMK41, DMK21, QHY 5L-II (mono & colour)
Accessories: SX USB Filter Wheel, SX OAG, Baader LRGB Ha SI OII Filters, SharpSky Focuser
Mount: EQ6 (EQMOD), SW Star Adventurer, plus a lot (and I mean a lot) of other bits and pieces

Offline Phillyo

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #18 on: 18:09:13, 09 December, 2015 »
Yes Si I have got a redirection set up for another month for all mail. Obviously didn't work, although it was DHL I believe that were delivering the package if that makes any difference.

Phil
Astrotrac | Avalon Linear Fast Reverse with EQmod | WO Star 71 | Astrodon 3nm Ha, 5nm SII and 5nm OIII | Astro-modded Canon 450D | QSI 583wsg | Lodestar X2 Guidecam | Sequence Generator Pro | Pixinsight

Offline MikeDunn

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #19 on: 20:33:31, 09 December, 2015 »
DH-Hell ?  Well, it'll be in Cambodia or the DRC by now then ... ;)
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10" Meade LX200 Classic, AA GP-Cam, Canon 300D, Phillips ToUCam, SkyShed POD

Offline rofus

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #20 on: 13:23:08, 12 December, 2015 »
In the last two nights I've done some tests following your suggestions, yesterday in particular was a good mix of discrete and bad seeing (high clouds), and some windy/gusts conditions with more stable conditions early morning before clouds came back.

In quiet conditions I tested more relaxed settings as you suggested and indeed it worked, but anything with longer than 1s subs and higher than .15 minmov make things worse with my mount/configuration. Instead having it 1s with .15 minmov (50 aggr) gave me between 0.85 and 1.10 arcsec RMS, and when it was a bit more windy or bad seeing I was able to keep it all between 0.90 and 1.20 arcsec RMS going back to 0.5s and .10 minmov with smaller maxmov (400) and softer aggr (30), and I'm very happy with that :) I tried relaxing it more but got much worse in graphs and images.

Again on a whole night apart from clouds (that ruined here and there about 1h) I got a full session from 6pm to 4am worth of images with well round stars checked 1:1 crop. I didn't even have to worry about mount position (ended up couple of times weights up for few hours), the combination of that Lodestar with PHD2 and the Rowan Belt mod is just a miracle for me :)

Lodestar Live is now renamed Starlight Live. Download from http://www.sxccd.com/drivers-downloads and yes it does exactly as you describe, live stacking of live view. It really is rather good though of course the FOV on the Lodestar is pretty small.

I think even at an image scale of 0.76 "/pxl you may benefit from upping the minimum move to 0.4 or 0.5 and on a windier night or when seeing is bad, just up the aggressiveness. I have my doubts that wind borne movements can be successfully guided out in any event. By the time the guider has made a correction, things have changed. The thing that REALLY helps with wind is to hang a bag of sand, or something else heavy, from the centre of the tripod. On the refractor at 2.76 "/pxl I would be tempted to up it to 0.7 or even 1.0. You really want to minimise guide corrections as far as possible so they are only applied when truly needed rather than due to some transient event. A longer guide exposure averages out these untrue errors, gives a better star signal and better centroiding.
AA 8" RC + AT Flattener, SW Esprit 100 + SW Flattener, Daystar Quark Chromosphere
Canon 6D modded, Nikon D750 unmodded, ASI174MM-COOL, SX Lodestar X2, ASI120MM
Canon & Nikon various prime lens
SW HEQ5 Rowan Belt Mod, AA 60mm Guidescope, Astrotrac, SW Star Adventurer
Mac 15" Retina Parallels: EQMOD, PHD2, SGP, PlateSolve2, BYN, CDC, Pixinsight, Photoshop
William Optics binos, Baader Hyperion eyepieces, Meade & Celestron binoculars
http://theski.es

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #21 on: 14:23:43, 12 December, 2015 »
Could well be that without PEC applied there is some high frequency elements that need short exposures to compensate for. Next time the moon stops playtime it may be worth having a go at taming the PE (it is pretty high on these mounts, which makes guiding mandatory). I found seeing and transparency pretty bad last night as this weather front approached, much better two nights ago when my guide error plot looked like below over 7 hours. I have my minimum move set to 0.5" so you can see that the vast majority of errors fell below this, and they are lost in the seeing anyway which is the aim. Many of those outside 0.5" are dither returns (I set a 4" dither so at a maximum move of 1" it takes a few cycles to bring it back). This was with a 7 second guide exposure.
LX200|ZS70|FSQ85|FLT110|Altair DF250RC|EQ6 Pro(Rowan Belt Mod)|ParamountMX
ATIK383L+/EFW2/OAG|Lodestar|Baader 36mm LRGBHaSIIOIII
Starlight Express SXVRH16/ONAG/FW|Lodestar X2|Baader 2" Filters
Starlight Express SXVRH814/ONAG/FW|LodestarX2|Baader 2" Filters
Lunt LS60PTBF1200|DMK41|Quark Chromo
Samyang 135mm f1.8

Offline rofus

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #22 on: 14:37:39, 12 December, 2015 »
Is this with your NEQ6 or the Paramount? Because I know from my HEQ5 I can't expect perfect results, and from now on because is precise for my smaller image scale, is just a technical achievement :)

But yes I should have a go at PE recording...I have to check online a good tutorial step by step, do you have any? I just need to understand precisely how it works and how many cycles/time is needed to filter out what can be other errors than PE (like temporary wind or anything else)..but yes is something I have to try as it's the last improvement I can do :)
AA 8" RC + AT Flattener, SW Esprit 100 + SW Flattener, Daystar Quark Chromosphere
Canon 6D modded, Nikon D750 unmodded, ASI174MM-COOL, SX Lodestar X2, ASI120MM
Canon & Nikon various prime lens
SW HEQ5 Rowan Belt Mod, AA 60mm Guidescope, Astrotrac, SW Star Adventurer
Mac 15" Retina Parallels: EQMOD, PHD2, SGP, PlateSolve2, BYN, CDC, Pixinsight, Photoshop
William Optics binos, Baader Hyperion eyepieces, Meade & Celestron binoculars
http://theski.es

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Lodestar X2: the best money I ever spent on any scope equipment
« Reply #23 on: 17:10:14, 12 December, 2015 »
To my mind its all about minimising every error you have any control over. You don't have any control over the seeing but if everything else is well within it you have done everything possible. That graphic is with the MX but the Belt modded EQ6 is not a whole lot worse, just the odd spike and a bit of bias to the shape of it in RA. Seeing on a really good night might be down just under 2" so you want to be able to take advantage of those rare conditions. RMS is one measure but I tend to chuck the guide log in Excel and see what percentile of the total combined x&y error falls within 1/3 of the seeing estimate  i.e. under about 0.7". If thats over 90% I reckon guiding has done a decent job.

I would download the trial of PEMPro. Version 2 is the current one but V3 is just around the corner. At the very least it will allow you to gauge what sort of PE you have, I would suspect it is of the order of 15" p-p and you should be able to get that down to under 5" p-p.  PE will correct for the long period worms error and 'some' of the shorter period gear errors but there tends to be some higher frequency error from the run out on gears and the like. You want to log several worm periods so I normally do 30 minutes. You will want to do that with the Lodestar to avoid hundreds of shutter activations on the DSLR. Aim for due south at low Dec values (0 is ideal). Apply PEC to the mount and repeat to see what difference it has made. PEMPro also has functions for accurate polar alignment and backlash analysis. You do need to be pretty well polar aligned or the star being used for logging tends to wander off.

Having decent PEC applied reduces the work that the guider has to do so tends to smooth everything out further and allow for longer guide exposures and lower aggressiveness. The net result is a better star FWHM on long exposures.
LX200|ZS70|FSQ85|FLT110|Altair DF250RC|EQ6 Pro(Rowan Belt Mod)|ParamountMX
ATIK383L+/EFW2/OAG|Lodestar|Baader 36mm LRGBHaSIIOIII
Starlight Express SXVRH16/ONAG/FW|Lodestar X2|Baader 2" Filters
Starlight Express SXVRH814/ONAG/FW|LodestarX2|Baader 2" Filters
Lunt LS60PTBF1200|DMK41|Quark Chromo
Samyang 135mm f1.8

 

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