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Paramount ME and TheSkyX RA way off

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Brad Mead Posted: 06-25-2018 9:07 PM

Hello,

I have a Paramount ME, driver version 1.99 and firmware version 1.1.45 that is permanently mounted and that I've been using with TheSkyX professional. Both are great products. About a month ago I had to re-purchase and re-install the SkyX as the result of a computer problem. Since reinstallation, the mount connects and homes, but the telescope points about 2 hours or more off to the west in right ascension when slewing to a target despite the fact it shows centered on the target in the display. (I'm in the Northern Hemisphere). Interestingly, if I disengage the RA gears and move the mount by hand in RA until it points the same place as is indicated on the display, the mount seems to track and slew properly after I re-engage RA gear.

The location setting is correct and the time is as well. I've used the TCS to reset default settings for a Paramount ME and I've searched the Knowledge Database and reviewed the manuals, but. I couldn't find a solution. Sorry if this is a repeat question, but I'm out of ideas,

Thanks,

Brad Mead

 

Bradford Mead
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Posts 3,015
Software Bisque Employee

Occasionally someone who reports a similar pointing problem, yet claims that they have TheSkyX configured correctly for their site location (longitude, time zone and daylight-saving option) and their computer's clock accurately synchronized, turns out to be wrong. So I'd recommend that you triple check those settings as well as run the Tools > Verify TheSkyX Time command as a sanity check.

Also verify that the Absolute Hour Angle value reported under Hemisphere Setup on the Utilities tab of the Bisque TCS window is 2 (as you're in the northern hemisphere).

If all of the above looks good, home the mount and see if the RA axis appears to be at an hour angle of +2 (that is, pointing at the celestial equator, 30° west of the meridian, assuming the mount is aligned with the pole).

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 3,015
Software Bisque Employee

Brad Mead:
About a month ago I had to re-purchase and re-install the SkyX as the result of a computer problem.

The first does not beget the latter. If you have copies of the full installer and any desired updates, you may use them to install TheSkyX to a new or reformatted drive on the same computer, or on a different computer. If you don't have such copies, or want to obtain the latest version of TheSkyX, you need only have a current subscription to be granted download-access to the latest associated installers. In your case, your subscription expired about a year ago, and you can renew it for 12 months for USD $100.

At the moment, you have two registrations of TheSkyX Professional Edition for Windows (and another for Mac), but the newly-purchased one is probably unnecessary. I see that we discussed this in your prior thread from May; was there some reason you wanted to purchase an additional copy?

By the way, I'd recommend that you register your Paramount ME, as you've apparently not done so (at least not to your Brad Mead account).

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 17

Hi Brian, 

Thanks for the quick reply. 

I have checked the location, both with latitude and longitude and on Google Maps. And the clock is synced with the Naval Observatory. But the Absolute Hour Angle is at 0, not 2. So maybe that's the problem. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to change it.

Brad

Bradford Mead
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Posts 17

Thanks Brian,

I've triple checked the location and verified the time sync. But the Absolute Hour Angle is at 0, not 2. That seems like it might be the problem, but I'm not sure how to change that setting.

Bradford Mead
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Posts 4,882

Almost sounds like a bad sync.  Do you have a TPoint model active?

Also what version and build of TSX are you using? 

Tom

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Software Bisque Employee

Brad Mead:
I have checked the location, both with latitude and longitude and on Google Maps. And the clock is synced with the Naval Observatory.

I don't think it's likely your issue, but be aware that TheSkyX uses an older convention for the sign of longitudes (west is positive), opposite that of Google Maps. Verify that TheSkyX correctly assigns E or W for the desired location.

Running the Tools > Verify TheSkyX Time command will give an objective report on time settings (otherwise there's a lot of room for subjectivity). Here's what's checked:

  • TheSkyX's Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) — If this agrees well with an independent time source, the computer's clock is reasonably accurately set. If the discrepancy exceeds five seconds, you'll be advised to independently verify the computer's clock. A problem here could be due to an error in the computer clock's UTC offset (as determined by time zone and daylight saving settings in the OS). 
  • TheSkyX's Local Time — If this doesn't agree with the computer's clock, there may be a problem with the location's UTC offset (time zone and/or daylight saving option), as defined in TheSkyX. A discrepancy here is normal, however, if one wishes to use a different "local time" in TheSkyX than is used for the computer's clock. An example of this would be configuring TheSkyX to use UTC or a remote location's time, while keeping the computer's clock on the user's local time (or vice versa).

Brad Mead:
But the Absolute Hour Angle is at 0, not 2. So maybe that's the problem. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to change it.

Yes, this would seem to be the problem. Others are more expert in this area, but I don't believe you can change the absolute values except to select either the Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere commands. You might try that to see if you can get the absolute hour angle to 2. I think you'd also then need to save the settings to the mount.

By the way, if you're using a TPoint model, have you tried disabling it temporarily to see how that affects the mount's pointing?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brad Mead:
But the Absolute Hour Angle is at 0, not 2.

Do both windows confirm a absolute HA of 0 ?  Is relative HA 0 and dec 0 as well?  (of course HA 2 Dec 0 absolute is correct).

Tom

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 69

Brian Rickard:

Occasionally someone who reports a similar pointing problem, yet claims that they have TheSkyX configured correctly for their site location (longitude, time zone and daylight-saving option) and their computer's clock accurately synchronized, turns out to be wrong. So I'd recommend that you triple check those settings as well as run the Tools > Verify TheSkyX Time command as a sanity check.

This was me about a month ago as well, but everything was set correctly.  Confirmed by hooking TSX to another mount to confirm it was setup correctly.  The advice finally came down to resetting the MX to default settings, which worked.  You may end up,there yourself Brad.  Good luck!

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Posts 17

Thanks Brian.

I tried changing the Absolute Hour Angle to +2 using the TCS parameters tab. It can be changed using the edit command in the parameters tab, and the change is then reflected in the TCS utilities tab. I then save the changes to the mount. I'm doing all of this while the mount is homed and connected. After I change the Absolute Hour Angle and select Home again, the mount doesn't move, which suggests to me the change hasn't done anything at that stage. If I try to exit and restart TSX after saving, or disconnect and then reconnect the mount, the Absolute Hour Angle goes back to 0. 

I'm not using a TPoint model. I've tried unplugging the joystick to see if that made a difference without success. Others have suggested resetting the defaults, and I've tried that too, using the Reset Defaults command in the TCS parameters tab. 

I'm not at the telescope now, but I'll double check the longitude is positive as soon as I can.

 

 

 

Bradford Mead
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Posts 17

Thanks Marcus. No fix so far, but still working on it!

 

Bradford Mead
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Posts 17

Thanks Tom. The screen shots were helpful. I'd found and used the Parameters tab to change the Absolute Hour Angle to 2 (and the change is immediately reflected in the Utilities tab). But the mount, which was homed when I made this change, doesn't move when I re-home it, so nothing changes physically. And if I save my TSX setting and restart the Absolute Hour Angle has reset to 0. Same if I disconnect and re-connect or cycle the mount by turning it off and then back on. It always resets to 0. 

(I don't know if it's germane, but as nearly as I can eyeball it on my mount, the telescope does look like it's pointing about 30 degrees West of the Meridian in the home position--something Daniel said to check. I can't swear to the degrees, but I'm pretty sure it's fewer than the slew error).

At the suggestion of Daniel, I made sure I'm set to the Northern Hemisphere in the Utilities tab, and I've checked the location and time too many times to count. The indicator on Google Maps is exactly on top of my observatory on the Google Maps satellite photo, the Lat/Long are correct numbers and the same sign, and I've used the exact numbers on my previous edition of TSX with the same mount. 

I'm running TSX 10.5.0 Build 10305, and I've tried resetting defaults for the Paramount ME.

Others have wondered about uninstalling and reinstalling TSX for dissimilar problems, but the responses I've seen from Software Bisque folks have been that that won't help. All else failing, I might give it a try. 

Bradford Mead
Not Ranked
Posts 17

Brian et. al. 

I realized that when the mount is homed, while it looks to me it's about 30 degrees West of the Meridian, the Home cursor on the star map is right on the meridian. Maybe that's because the Absolute Hour Angle is still at 0 and I cannot change it. To put the nail in the location coffin, I used Golden CO as my location. I live in Jackson WY, so it should have fixed (most) of this problem if it were because of location.

Thanks for your advice. I'll keep trying.

Bradford Mead
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 4,882

Brad Mead:
if I save my TSX setting and restart the Absolute Hour Angle has reset to 0. Same if I disconnect and re-connect or cycle the mount by turning it off and then back on. It always resets to 0. 

Never seen this before as absolute is HA 2.  Having said that did you save the settings to the mount (not TSX settings)?

Is it possible to power cycle the mount, home it and post a screen shot of the sky chart.

Tom

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 1,412

Brad, did you home the mount and sync on a single star?  Our ME got lost at least once and it was just over 2hrs off in RA. The sync fixed it. Then parking it before power off, unpark will work fine.

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