28 Dec 2011

Minor progress

Weather has been really awful! During last month there has been two nights with clear sky for longer than 15 minutes.

First one I got the mount polar aligned. I used PAM (polealignmax) which is really easy, fast and precise way to do it. After four runs I had error less than 1 arcsec.

But I noticed that the virtual COM-ports are not so handy to use! When I needed to switch mount control from PAM to MaximDL, I'd had to shut down both programs before I could use the other one. If I tried to disconnect one and connect to another there was an error with the driver. weird...

Last night was the second clear night, but there was a huge storm which cut down the electricity for my observatory too...

12 Dec 2011

Driver update

The weather forecast showed partly cloudy for yesterday evening so I head to the observatory.

I saw stars for about 5 minutes wich after started to snow... So much for my plans for the precise polar alignment!

But, something good because of the clouds! I removed all the hidden COM-ports of my laptop and got the ASCOM-driver working! That's really good news because now I can let the computer do all the hard work of the polar alignment and all that I have to do is rotate the adjustment knobs. And now I don't have to use TheSkyX Pro as a mount control and a planetarium program for the CCDCommander (it's quite heavy for my old observatory computer) because I can do them with the ASCOM. Hopefully weather will get better soon...

10 Dec 2011

First power-up of the mount

My work was keeping me busy and I was away for over 3 weeks. But at this week I had time to power up the mount.

First the bad things: I can't put the dovetail plate holder directly to the mount! There are few skrews which are higher than the underside of the plate holder (they will jam the motion!). I had to lift the dovetail plate holder for about 3mm to prevent it attaching to the skrews.

Ok, this should be figured out when making the mount but this really isn't a big disaster!! I put thick 10mm washers under every locking skrew and that's it!

After figuring that out I put my 80mm APM to the mount and made a rough polar alignment. Then I took some time for visual observing.

I had plans to make precise polar alignment also but I had problems with ASCOM drivers on my laptop. StellarCAT is using virtual COM-ports with USB connection and for some reason my laptop didn't connect to the mount. Everything worked fine with TheSkyX Pro and servocat drivers so no need to worry! But I couldn't use Polealignmax. Hopefully ASCOM drivers will work on my observatory PC.