Results 1 to 10 of 21

Threaded View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Central Virginia, USA

    Default Serious problem with Acquire Star - Any ideas?

    I'm having problems with Acquire Star in FocusMax -- it ignores nearby stars, slews across the sky to a faraway target star, but misses that by a huge amount, and ends up pointing at my trees -- causing the plate-solve and autofocus to fail. I've asked about this in the Yahoo FocusMax group, but I'd like hear what folks here think.

    Last night I was imaging IC443 with ACP. At the appointed time, ACP initiated Acquire Star. IC443 was at altitude 62 at the time, well above the minimum 48 I've specified in FocusMax. I have specified mag 3 to mag 5 in FocusMax as the acceptable range of focus stars.

    Instead of choosing a nearby star, FocusMax chose one far away, but didn't even point to that one.

    The log file and a screen shot of TheSky, showing the location of IC443 and the star in Leo that FM chose, can be found here: <> According to the log, FocusMax searched an area as large as 10 x 10 but then chose a star 54 away! How can it do this?? Here are the relevant log entries. The "current pointing" entry is correct for IC443.

    20:21:16 Current pointing: RA 06:17:43.6 Dec 22 30' 51.1"
    20:21:16 ** Getting catalog stars between mag 3 & 5 **
    [...smaller field searches...]
    20:21:21 Field search = 10.0 x 10.0 (degrees)
    20:21:23 3 potential target stars found
    20:21:24 Target stars = 3
    20:21:24 Identified target stars:
    20:21:24 Star 1 mag 3.50 RA:10:07:55.6 Dec:16 42' 34.7" Sep: 54.21 Alt:53.41
    20:21:24 Star 2 mag 4.59 RA:10:08:29.0 Dec:09 56' 39.2" Sep: 56.46 Alt:55.8
    20:21:24 Star 3 mag 3.90 RA:10:33:23.2 Dec:09 15' 01.5" Sep: 62.45 Alt:61.88
    20:21:24 Using 3.50 mag star at RA 10:07:55.6 Dec 16 42' 34.7" Alt: 53.41
    20:21:24 Slewing 54.2089 degrees to target star

    If FocusMax searched a field of 10x 10, why did it identify three target stars halfway across the sky, and not the 5-6 (at least) nearby mag 3-5 stars? This makes no sense to me.

    The RA and Dec in the log indicate a target star in Leo -- but the OTA was not pointing anywhere close to that direction after the slew. Leo at the time was at Az 120, but the OTA really was pointing about 60 east of north, where my horizon is 80.

    I think FocusMax somehow messed up my AP1200's pointing model.

    Not only did it not point to the star in Leo, when it slewed back to IC443 after the failed Acquire Star, the OTA was way off there as well. Here's what happened:

    FocusMax slewed the scope back to what it believed was the original target. But the OTA ended up pointing at the horizon, not at IC443. The RA shaft appeared to be in the correct angle, but the Dec axis was almost horizontal.

    When this occurred, I shut down FocusMax and ACP, then went to the observatory to park the AP1200 using the hand box.

    After the park, the counterweight shaft was horizontal as it should be for Park 1, but the OTA was pointing downward 50-60 It should have been horizontal.

    I readjusted the AP1200 using my machinist's level, then powered-up and resumed from Park 1, as is necessary after something like this happens.

    This large slew to a focusing star and seriously-wrong pointing after returning to the target occurred on two different nights, with two different but close targets: first NGC2174, then IC443. The autofocus occurred at about the same time on both nights -- 8:20pm -- so both targets were in the same area of the sky.

    Whatever is happening, it's screwing up my AP1200 -- slews are seriously wrong and a hand box park results in the Dec axis parking 50-60 away from where it should.

    I'm suspicious because the wrong-star slew to Leo was 54 last night, and 64 two nights before. Also, the OTA was pointing roughly 60 away from the target star in Leo both times.

    60 seems to be a common factor in this mess.

    Does anyone have any ideas what's going on, and how to fix it? Thank you.

    Last edited by Mike Dodd; Mar 8, 2010 at 12:30.



Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. FocusMax/Maxim Acquire Star Problem
    By Robert Capon in forum FocusMax and PoleAlignMax Questions
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Jun 4, 2013, 20:46
  2. FocusMax FOV search for acquire star
    By TRAPPIST in forum FocusMax and PoleAlignMax Questions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Apr 22, 2011, 11:12
  3. Rotator, Acquire Star, Positioning, and Guiding Issues
    By andyschlei in forum Pre-Sales Technical Questions and Help
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: Sep 27, 2009, 06:27

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts