Insufficient Corrections in RA

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Steve Pratley

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Dec 21, 2021, 1:23:04 AM12/21/21
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Hi,

Firstly, thank you kindly for any support you may be able to provide. I am new to Astro and have realised how deep the 'deep end' can be. To keep the ask for support to the point, I have attempted to include all information that I understand may be required below:

Summary of issue:
  1.  "PHD2 is not able to make sufficient corrections in RA. Check for cable snags, try re-doing your calibration, and check for problems with mount mechanics"
  2.  "Advisory: Calibration completed but few guide steps were used so accuracy is questionable"

Link to log files:
( 17th of December and t20th of December - 2021)

Setup:
New AZEQ6 Pro (USB version)
Explore Scientific ED80 w/2" field flattener & ZWO auto focuser
ZWO 1600MM Pro cooled w/ZWO filter wheel (RBG + Narrowband)
ZWO ASI120mm mini w/50mm guide scope (focal length 190)
Primalucelab Eagle LE (Control Unit)
Software (NINA - latest version, PHD2, EQMOD etc)
Location - Sydney Australia

Overview of what I have tried:
Balanced / PA / EQMOD: Maxed out and Minimised the RA/DEC rate / restarted /  Calculator Feature: played around with the RA and DEC steps

It appears my mount is not tracking the star. The cam is connected, mount is also connected....I click the star/find icon and then shift PHD2 target icon and the above errors pop up.  

Steve

Steve Pratley

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Dec 21, 2021, 1:26:12 AM12/21/21
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Steve Pratley

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Dec 21, 2021, 1:27:01 AM12/21/21
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Steve Pratley

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Dec 21, 2021, 1:27:22 AM12/21/21
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On Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 5:27:01 PM UTC+11 Steve Pratley wrote:
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Steve Pratley

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Dec 21, 2021, 1:29:04 AM12/21/21
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On Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 5:27:42 PM UTC+11 Steve Pratley wrote:
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bw_msgboard

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Dec 23, 2021, 10:45:35 PM12/23/21
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Hi Steve, sorry you're having so much trouble.  Your calibrations are really bad so there's no way guiding is going to work - you'll need to concentrate on getting a decent calibration.  You need to pare things down to the bare essentials to figure this out - no imaging apps, no automation, no DSO imaging, no software talking to the mount except PHD2.  The calibrations are so bad, I suspect the mount isn't tracking at the sidereal rate.  Please read and think carefully about this advice posted recently by another EQ mount user:
 
The issue Bruce mentioned is something I discovered several months ago. I was also getting non-orthogonal calibration results, among other strange behaviors. The issue was that when Eqmod connects to a EQ6R Pro, it turns off the mount's tracking. The easiest way to spot this is to watch the stars in the PHD2 window while the camera is looping, you'll see the stars marching off the screen. Simply use the hand controller to restart sidereal tracking or use the tracking button on the bottom of the Eqmod window. This also happens with Sharpcap and Stellarium, which also use Eqmod. Just something to check each time PHD2 first connects to the mount.

-chuck-
This is a new behavior in EQMOD or the firmware, a bug in my opinion, and I don't know that it's confined to any particular model of EQ mount.  But this sort of thing will ruin a night very quickly.  Here's what you can try to achieve a usable PHD2 calibration:
 
1.  Set the mount guide speeds in EQMOD to 0.9x and leave them there.
2.  Slew the scope as close to Dec=0 as you can, recognizing that you are in Australia.  Point as close to the meridian as possible, we're trying to keep from pointing down close to the horizon.
3.  Disconnect all other apps from the mount and connect PHD2.  USING THE EQMOD UI, make sure the MOUNT IS TRACKING AT THE SIDEREAL RATE.
4.  Start looping in PHD2 and watch the stars in the display - they shouldn't be moving quickly in any direction if the mount is tracking.
4.  Use the hand-controller to move the mount north a little bit until you see the stars on the PHD2 display start to move
5.  Start the PHD2 calibration
 
If this doesn't work, use the Star-Cross test in PHD2.  Do NOT start using an imaging automation app that's trying to image a DSO. You need to take a picture through your main scope without the imaging app trying to guide or otherwise fooling around with PHD2 - don't connect the app to PHD2, just connect it to the main camera.  Details on the Star-Cross test and basic trouble-shooting with the Manual Guide tool are in the manual.
 
Good luck,
Bruce
 
 


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steve Pratley
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2021 10:23 PM
To: Open PHD Guiding
Subject: [open-phd-guiding] Insufficient Corrections in RA

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Steve Pratley

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Dec 25, 2021, 4:14:09 PM12/25/21
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Bruce,

Thank you so much for your insights. 

I attempted a 'christmas miracle' session last night with high hopes only to result in another night of failed attempts and frustration. 

I was not able to attempted the above mentioned option due to EQMOD constant failures (freeze / followed by disconnections). Initially I did manage to ONLY connect EQMOD and PHD2 (Admin mode) and attempted a tracking and the stars "marched off the screen" followed by the same "Advisory: Calibration completed but few guide steps were used, so accuracy is questionable" (same as last time). I was then plagued with EQMOD fails before throwing the towel in for the night. 

You mentioned in a previous post to someone else that Admin mode is not required. I picked, somewhere, that one shouldnt mix Admin and 'normal'....any insights on this would be appreciated. I typically dont run in Admin mode but had a go at both last night to see if it made a difference....and it didnt.

Note that I have also uninstalled EQMOD and PHD2 and reinstalled....no change. 

Steve

Steve Pratley

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Dec 26, 2021, 6:52:31 PM12/26/21
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Bruce,

I wondered if you thought trying to connect w/out the USB and going back to the original RJ connection from the mount to the camera might help? Just wondered if you had a view on this.

thanks
Steve

bw_msgboard

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Dec 26, 2021, 9:12:55 PM12/26/21
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Hi Steve.  Since you asked, I'll try to give you an honest opinion.  In this hobby, the best approach is usually to find the underlying problem, understand its behavior, then fix it.  This is a very technical hobby and considerably harder than most.  In the early stages, it often means spending time on trouble-shooting, reading, investigating, learning, and correcting - not imaging.  If you take the approach of running away from the problem, you will nearly always pay penalties down the road, even assuming that the escape hatch you tried actually works.  So let's consider abandoning ASCOM guiding, which is certainly an option.  To do that, you have to find a working cable for the ST-4 connection from the camera to the mount - it's not a telephone cable, it has specialized wiring, and it's prone to getting damaged.  If it works, you can soldier on that way but there will be prices paid - re-calilbrating every time you move the scope, manually handling meridian flips, and getting much less support because we won't know where the scope is pointed.  But what if it doesn't work - what have you learned?  Probably nothing - maybe the cable is bad, maybe you hooked it up wrong, maybe the mount isn't in the correct state to guide, etc.  But this approach is an option, no question.
 
With all of that said, I have another suggestion.  I can provide you with a test application that will be able to pulse-guide your mount in the daytime - no cameras, no need for stars, you can start it going and go do something else for an hour or so.  I'm working on that now and will probably have it done in another couple of hours.  You will have to connect to the mount via ASCOM, initialize the mount, and start it tracking at the sidereal rate.  Then you can use the test application  and we will know if EQMOD and the mount are actually pulse-guiding.  I suspect there's something wrong with the way you're connecting to the mount or something wrong with how the mount is being initialized - if that's the case, we will have a better idea of where the problem lies.  If you're interested in taking this approach, let me know and I'll proceed along these lines. 
 
Cheers,
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steve Pratley
Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2021 3:53 PM
To: Open PHD Guiding
Subject: Re: [open-phd-guiding] Insufficient Corrections in RA

Chuck Koos

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Dec 27, 2021, 5:01:33 PM12/27/21
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Bruce, will you be making this test app generally available? This seems like it would be very useful for testing/tuning one's mount.

-chuck-

bw_msgboard

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Dec 27, 2021, 5:23:52 PM12/27/21
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Hi Chuck.  I'll make it available to anyone who wants it and if it proves useful, I'll probably upload it to the PHD2 web site.  I think it has limited use though, I don't see any way for it to help "tune" a mount because there really isn't any measurement process provided.  But it can help those who are just getting started and want to test the mount connection and its basic behavior in the daytime.  It seems like we've had a number of situations recently where the mount isn't being connected to properly and people don't know how to identify the problems.
 
Cheers,
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Koos
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 2:02 PM

xa coupe

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Dec 27, 2021, 5:29:49 PM12/27/21
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Hi Bruce,
I think that app will be well received by many people. It may or may not help tune but it will certainly help get things sorted out before wasting clear nights on a learning curve and basic trouble shooting.

I’m one vote for putting it on the site.



Jeff

bw_msgboard

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Dec 27, 2021, 5:37:27 PM12/27/21
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Thanks, Jeff.  I think I'd like to test the app "in the wild" with a few users and make sure it works well before posting it on the site.  Let's see how it goes...
 
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of xa coupe
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 2:30 PM
To: open-phd...@googlegroups.com

xa coupe

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Dec 27, 2021, 7:38:17 PM12/27/21
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Bruce,
happy to help out with the testing.
jeff

bw_msgboard

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Dec 27, 2021, 9:46:24 PM12/27/21
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Thanks, Jeff, here's a link.  There's a document in the folder that tells you how to install and use the app - it's butt-simple.
 
 
Let me know how it goes.
 
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of xa coupe
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 4:38 PM

Steve Pratley

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Dec 27, 2021, 10:54:19 PM12/27/21
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Bruce,

Thank you for this app. I have run it and attached the log files.

Firstly, thank you for your note earlier about diagnosing and facing into these issues. I am attempting to do just that and spent ~4 hours yesterday and again another 3 today uninstalling, factory setting, trying alternate cables (inc ST4) and also trying to connect using GS Server rather than EQMod. We also setup the scope in the dark, pointed a laser at the roof and ran star cross test. Interestingly I found the following:
1) I could not connect GSS to PHD2. It would bring up this error 'PulseGuide command to mount has failed". I tried this on two different computers with the same error. Both, fresh installs and config checked across both from web sources to ensure I am not selecting an option that I should not be.
2) I could connect EQMOD to PHD2 and It appeared to me that the star cross test would only move in 1 direction...N/S/W/E all looked like it was moving in the same direction. I will try to attached a video that I have taken for reference
3) you were spot on with your earlier reference to sidereal tracking. When this was not checked, the mount did noting and EQMOD loads up without this checked. So, since checking this off...it is moving, but as mentioned above, it looks to be only moving in 1 direction

When running the mount exerciser, I ran it in multiple directions...not sure if I completed the test correctly and for enough time. Please let me know if I missed a step. Your support is so much appreciated. 

Without knowing the outcome of the test, although the logs look good to me, it makes me think that there is now an issue with my mount...given that I have had the same issue across two separate computers, installs and I have had someone very much more experiencd than I helping check over the settings. Would love to hear if you see anything in the log files or based on the additional ifnormation provided above to help me with next steps. 

Finally, I hear you loud and clear on cables. I am now investigating higher quality ones to purchase. 
MountExerciser_12272021_192152_log.txt

bw_msgboard

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Dec 27, 2021, 11:22:06 PM12/27/21
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Ok, I have some questions.  Why is the scope reporting that it's pointing at -86 degrees declination?  Do you live in the southern hemisphere?  Have you set the latitude and longitude correctly in EQMOD?   Did you see the earlier post from today from EdK where he found his problem to be that he had a 'SynScan' hand-controller (?) plugged into the mount and that is evidently a known problem for auto-guiding .  Also, don't leave the ST-4 cable plugged in when you're trying to do ASCOM guiding.  The MountExerciser test showed that the scope was actually moving in all 4 directions but those coordinates are completely wrong - so I don't trust it.  I still think there is something wrong with how you're connecting to the mount, not the mount itself - or you've got something else plugged in that is screwing things up  When you run the test, have the scope pointing nearly overhead but slightly to the west of the zenith - so the scope will be on the east side of the pier.  And just use the uni-directional mode, that's all that matters now.
 
There is no point in shot-gunning things in terms of repeatedly un-installing and re-installing application software - especially PHD2. 
 
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steve Pratley
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 7:54 PM

Steve Pratley

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Dec 28, 2021, 12:28:45 AM12/28/21
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Hi Bruce. 

Yes, I am in the Southern Hemisphere (Sydney, Australia). I had the mount angled to a light source that I setup in a dark room when running the star cross test. Would this position impact the star cross test? I have set the Long and Lat correctly in EQMOD. I have not even opened my 'synscan'...it is still in bubble wrap and unopened so this could not be it. 

I have re-run the mountexerciser with the scope pointing overhead, east side of peer as suggested. 

I dont have anything else on this setup connected to PHD2. Just EQMOD and PHD2 open. I have included a picture of my EQMOD settings. 

Do you have any idea why the star cross test would look like it is only going in 1 direction when testing N/S/W/E? I cannot load the video as the file is too large but in fast forward, it looks like it is just tracking off the screen in same direction as it runs through NSEW.

THanks again...I wish I lived near you to buy you a beer or a wine!
MountExerciser_12272021_211617_log.txt
Screenshot 2021-12-27 212638.png
Screenshot 2021-12-27 212507.png

bw_msgboard

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Dec 28, 2021, 12:58:43 AM12/28/21
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The star-cross test isn't going to produce a 'star' pattern when you're pointing close to the pole.  Forget about the star-cross test for now.  Looking at your EQMod settings, you're once again guiding at 0.1x sidereal!  That needs to be 0.9x sidereal, that's one of the most important things covered in the EQ settings document.  Fix that.  There's also a drop-down choice for 'Enable Encoders' - turn that off.  Then point the scope back to where it was this time, near the zenith, east side of pier.  Then run the MountExerciser, letting it run for a few minutes in each of the 4 directions.  I think the pulse-guiding was working from a software perspective in this last test but I want to see it with the correct guide speed - 0.9x sidereal - and in all 4 directions.  And please, respond to me privately at bw_m...@earthlink.net.
 
Bruce


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steve Pratley
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 9:29 PM

Steve Pratley

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Dec 28, 2021, 1:32:12 AM12/28/21
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Yes, in this new setup this morning I had not changed that to 0.9x sidereal. Prior setting was at this rate on my other PC which is my Primalucelab eagle LE for the mount. I have corrected. I had not known about disabling the encoders although I saw that Quiv spoke of this on one of his videos. Thanks for both pickups! 

I have re-run the app and attached the latest log file.

thanks again
Screenshot 2021-12-27 222008 new.png
MountExerciser_12272021_221116_log.txt

bw_msgboard

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Dec 28, 2021, 1:53:44 AM12/28/21
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Didn't you see my message about having this dialog off-forum?  There's no reason to create a huge message thread on the PHD2 forum, just send me e-mail directly.  :-)
 
Anyway, these tests show that pulse-guiding is working correctly in all four directions, at least as far as the ASCOM driver knows.  I suppose that begs the question of whether the mount really is moving like it's supposed to.  That doesn't seem like a very likely problem, but we can check.  Leaving the scope pointing where it is, set the direction to 'North' and set the pulse-size to 1000 ms (1 sec).  Before starting the test, make a rough measurement of where the mount is pointing, the position of the upper end of the scope relative to the ground.  Then start the test running north and let it run for an hour  The scope should clearly move by around 30 degrees to the north in addition to tracking about 15 degrees toward the west.
 
That's going to be it for me tonight, I'll check my e-mail in the morning.
 
Good luck.


From: open-phd...@googlegroups.com [mailto:open-phd...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steve Pratley
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2021 10:32 PM

Steve Pratley

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Dec 28, 2021, 2:08:06 AM12/28/21
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Thanks Bruce and sorry all for bombarding the board. Will respond via PM. 

Have a great night and thanks a lot for your support. It is greatly appreciated. 

Steve

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