Connecting with telescope

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wcstarks
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Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:37 pm

Connecting with telescope

Post by wcstarks »

I have had my telescope for some time now, but without using a computer or camera. I am just advancing to using my computer, astrocameras and to using this software for the first time, so I am very new at this.

The software manual speaks of focusing, mount control and polar alignment among other features, which would need direct control of the scope and mount, but it says nothing about connecting with the telescope. How does that happen? I have a Meade 8" LX200 GPS CTS. My computer connects with the scope via the scope hand controller for controlling the scope using the AutoStarSuite.
1) Does SharpCap somehow discover this and can control the scope natively?
2) Does the software need ASCOM installed to control the scope.
3) Do I need to control the scope with its native computer software, and bounce back and forth between the two programs?
4) Do I need to use the native scope program to find an object, or does SharpCap also provide this feature?
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admin
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Re: Connecting with telescope

Post by admin »

Hi,

controlling the mount from SharpCap all happens via ASCOM, so you need to install

* The ASCOM platform (latest version)
* An ASCOM driver for your mount

Unfortunately, choosing the Ascom driver to install is not going to be a simple matter – it looks like there are several different Ascom drivers that supports the LX 200 GPS mount, some of which have limited functionality of one sort or another. I haven't personally ever used a Meade mount, with or without an Ascom driver, so I can't give much useful advice on which is the best one. I suspect you will find some discussions in other forums on the subject.

Once you have the Ascom platform and driver installed and configured then you can set SharpCap up to talk to the mount. This is covered in the hardware settings part of the documentation.

SharpCap's control of the mount is really designed for either making small tweaks to the positioning or for using the plate solving feature to center on a pre-selected target.

Going to a target is best done through a separate planetarium application (Stellarium, Cartes-du-Ciel, SkytechX), which can also be configured to talk the the mount's Ascom driver. Depending on the ASCOM driver that you use, you may have to configure a thing called an ASCOM hub to allow more than one application to talk to the mount at the same time. (See for example https://diffractionlimited.com/help/max ... M_Hubs.htm)

Robin
wcstarks
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Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:37 pm

Re: Connecting with telescope

Post by wcstarks »

Thank you for your response. It is beginning to sound rather complicated. I Just got a ZWO ASI183MC Pro camera as a main camera and ZWO ASI120MC-S as a finder and guide for the scope. I was planning on trying to operate the scope remotely from within the house using two computers and Wifi. Perhaps this may not work. I will investigate these other programs.

SharpCap can work with the ZWO cameras natively. If I install ASCOM and a driver for the scope, will SharpCap not be able to work natively anymore?

I had planned on a family star party in a couple of weeks. I wonder if I'll be able to get every thing working by then? Is there somewhere I can go on the Internet where the subject of setting this all up is discussed? I am becoming a little overwhelmed by it all.

At worst, I guess I could go out to the scope to find a target with and eyepiece and then mount the cameras to do the viewing and capturing.
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Re: Connecting with telescope

Post by admin »

Hi,

Everything that you want to do is going to be possible, but as you say the path to get there is a bit of a long and twisty one.

Installing Ascom will still allow SharpCap to talk to the ZWO cameras natively – no problems there.

The best thing to do is to start small - get the imaging working first, then maybe try to get a planetarium program to control moving the telescope, then try to get SharpCap talking to the telescope too. Only move onto each new step once you are happy you have the previous ones working well.

You can find plenty of online discussion of setting up the Meade telescope with ASCOM, but I don't think there is a single definitive guide - for example

https://www.google.com/search?q=lx200+gps+ascom+how+to

Robin
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