SynGuider Tips

Need to know about how to work that new mount or scope? Got tips on how to make it easier?

SynGuider Tips

Postby Dion » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:46 pm

I know a few people have either newly acquired these or have had them a while and abandoned them in frustration, so here's my guide to Synguider Nirvana, doing the following has certainly worked for me and worked well. I will say though that you at least need guide rings or preferably a guiding mount like this :-

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=3677

1) OK, first and foremost, focus is CRITICAL to getting consistent success, follow carefully the instructions in the manual for focusing the unit, it WILL take some time and patience, just work methodically. Now I find it's important to not choose an over bright star for this, so not Vega or Deneb but still a naked eye dim star. Focus the unit as described and make sure you focus again after turning up the zoom level, be warned on such as an ST80 just the slightest touch on the focuser can be effective, just like when using it visually. Next, check the BRI level and drop exposure or increase NOISE levels to drop BRI down to between 10 and 20 and re check that focus, this can be frustrating but it's a once only procedure.

Before doing the above, make sure your ST80 focuser is nicely tuned, the focuser has a couple of grub screws for tensioning that are slightly hidden, also, take the focus lock and tighten it just enough so that just a little twist locks your focus, what you're doing here is minimising any slight movement when you actually lock the focuser up for the next stage.

2) Once the Synguider is focused, lock the focuser on the guide scope and take a 10mm eyepiece to make a parafocalising eyepiece, one of the cheap ones that comes with many skywatcher scopes is fine. Be sure to again take your time with this as again it's a once only procedure if done correctly, so be very fussy about setting that eyepiece up using either the supplied parafocalising ring or one of your own.

3) Once all the above is done, DO NOT be afraid of interchanging eyepiece and synguider, when you start the night, you should aim at a dim star, use the parafocalising eyepiece and get good focus on that star, once achieved, lock the focuser, keep your eye to the eyepiece when locking focus to make sure you don't 'knock it out'.

4) Insert Synguider and you'll see the star on the screen that you just focused on, now in the menus, choose CROSS and switch it on, this places crosshairs on the synguider screen, now just slew your mount SLOWLY in any direction and just check that the star is running parallel to one of the lines (either alt or dec) You only have to do this in one axes as if one is right, the other will be, at this point DO NOT worry if the star is going in what seems like the wrong direction, just that it's running parallel is enough.

5) Go to your chosen object, once your main scope is centered, look on the synguider screen and check that you have stars, follow the instructions in the manual re turning up/down the EXPOSURE setting and the NOISE setting, this is covered fairly well in the manual so doesn't need repeating, BEAR IN MIND that synguider seems to remember noise/exposure settings, so if you change exposure, also check noise levels, I tend to find that noise settings of around 4, 5 or 6 work well for me or at least as a starting point. You're aiming to get a BRI reading of between say 12 to 18, a little either side of this is fine but the nearer to the lower end the better.

6) Go to the LOCK menu and select AUTO, I find this always works best for me. Once you have lock, go to the GUIDE menu and select AUTO CAL, again I find this works best for me, the synguider will now tweak your RA/DEC on your mount in various directions, don't worry about it de-centering your object as it puts it back when it's done, basically the synguider is learning it's orientation with regards your mount, direction/speed etc, you will see these movements on your imaging screen, don't worry, it's normal. Once the synguider has finished learning, (this can take a couple of minutes) it will change the heading on the screen to GUIDING. Now you can start imaging.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

OK, that all sounds easy, but sometimes you will repeatedly get STAR NOT FOUND when you try and lock, don't worry, this is EASILY fixed. Remember when I said don't be afraid of swapping eyepiece / synguider? If you are repeatedly getting STAR NOT FOUND, remove the synguider, remembering it's orientation (this isn't super critical, remember what AUTO CAL does?) but as close as you can is good. Replace your parafocalised eyepiece and take a look, it could be that there are very few stars near your object, OR, there could be some nice stars but they're a bit close to the edge of the field of view, so, use your finder bracket or guiding rings and just move your guiding scope to get a nice star roughly in the middle of the FOV, then, replace your synguider and repeat the setup procedure outlined above.

Doing this has instantly fixed EVERY "star not found" that I have had with the synguider.

It sounds like a long and drawn out process, it actually isn't once you've done it, it just flows, and remember, you could be imaging an object for several hours, much rather spend 10 minutes in good prep and not ruin your imaging run.

If you have any further questions, please ask.

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Re: SynGuider Tips

Postby galileo » Mon May 13, 2013 8:14 pm

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Re: SynGuider Tips

Postby galileo » Thu May 16, 2013 9:28 am

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Re: SynGuider Tips

Postby Aardvark » Thu May 16, 2013 5:15 pm

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Re: SynGuider Tips

Postby galileo » Mon May 27, 2013 10:19 am

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