PoleMaster(Updated (7/4/17)




2/5/17

There was finally a decent day to get outside yesterday to work on the PoleMaster setup. although the weather didn't hold for the evening.  I decided to get the PM attached to the mount while it was light and nice.  When you get PoleMaster you must by the adapter fot the mount you want to use.  If you have different mounts you may need to buy a different adapter.  Check with your seller or their website to see.  I have an AVX and a CGX, but the adapter isn't available yet for the CGX because it is relatively new.  If this changes I will update this to reflect that change.  I am mounting this on my AVX which is Hyperuned by Ed Thomas at Deep Space Products.  The scope is a Williams Optics 81 mm GTF with a 60mm APO StellarVue as a finder/guide scope.  Lets get started.....


You remove the polar scope cover and insert the adapter(the one that has the opening that looks like a baseball infield).  You tighten the little set screws located on the inner part of the adapter with the supplied allen wrench(the set screws will be more visible in the next picture).



The allen screws are tiny and some may find them hard to deal with.  I have seen them replaced by wrench head screws by others and tightened with pliers.  I had no real trouble tightening them and patience, sometimes, is not one of my outstanding virtues๐Ÿ˜€.  Make sure it is nice and tight and then advance on to the next step.



Insert the PoleMaster base and secure it with the thumb screw and make sure it's secure. The three holes are for the screws that attach the PM camera which you will see in the next step.






The last step in setup is to take the PoleMaster camera and attach it to the base using the 3 supplied screws.  They go through the camera base and attach to the 3 holes mentioned and seen in the last section.  Make sure the USB connection is on the left as you face the camera. Once done with that you can unscrew the camera cover to see the lens(shown below).




Now while you wait for a clear night to attempt your first use of this handy, little item you should go to the QHY website and download the two programs necessary to operate the PoleMaster  the drivers and the program to do the actual polar alignment.  This is the point I am at right now.  At the mercy of the lousy weather this winter we have had in SE Pa.๐Ÿ˜•


(Will update when weather permits.)

Update 2/11/17

The weather has been horrible here in SE Pa. What few clear skies we have had have come with 20-40 mph winds and temps in the 20's.  I haven't forgotten about this.


Update 2/21/17

This past weekend I had the opportunity to finally get to the 1st light use of my PoleMaster.

My Friend, Pete, and I were anxious to see what this can do.  Pete actually texted me when he was at Kitt Peak for the weekend a few weeks ago and said how people were talking about it and it might be an interesting and helpful accessory so I immediately ordered it(that's what an R&D guy for the Mars Hab in Utah does).  I was also anxious to try my new Dell AlienWare computer(32 GB ram and an i7 7th Gen processor) that I specifically wanted for DSO imaging and processing only.  After downloading the appropriate drivers and program we were ready to go.  When connected to the camera the screen looks like this.


The camera is actually a high speed video camera so results are almost instantaneously acquired.  Here in lies the big problem we had the first night.  More on that later.  The screen shows Polaris and surrounding stars.  You set your template for exposure and gain and then move on.  

You double click on Polaris(the bright star).  The magnifier in the upper left will help you to click on the center of the stars you pick in this part of the procedure and then using the slider on the left you move the circles until they match up with 5 stars that surround Polaris.  We were able to get 3 on the screen and then assumed the other 2 off the screen at the bottom were on target too.  You pick one of the stars and double click on it to set it as your reference and it's very important you remember which one you picked.

You then rotate your RA axis using the right arrow on your hand control at least 30 degrees following the star you clicked.  When rotation is done click "Finished".

You then double click the SAME star that you did before and rotate another 30 degrees using the right arrow on your HC.  After rotating click "Finished".

Now you go to the "Home " command and park the mount and watch the star you picked.  If things were done right your picked star should rotate back to where it started from along the green line. If it does press "Correct".  If not...start over.

You will then be prompted to use ONLY your altitude/azimuth knobs to place the Pole(green) over, and as close to coinciding as possible to, the Axis(red) in  the box on the left.  This is done slowly and as exact as possible.  The better you do this the better the Polar Align you will have.  When satisfied lock everything down and you are done with this part.  To find out what your PA error is use a program like PHD2 to find out the numerical value.  I haven't done that part yet, but will add my numbers the next clear night I get for imaging.

Now about the small problem I had.  Those who read this and are familiar with the PoleMaster will look at those screen shots and will think something doesn't look right.  Those captures were done the first night I tried PM.  Knowing that the results shown by PoleMaster were done in real time, imagine my surprise when screens and corrections were following a time delay of anywhere from 8-30 secs or more.  We completed the task that night and got a polar alignment although I'm sure it wasn't very good.  Thinking something was wrong. I got on Cloudy Nights forum and described my problem. The replies all came back that no one had ever seen anything like that.  Some good suggestions were given and I proceeded to follow them.  I opened a ticket with QHY and let High Point Scientific, who I bought it from, know about the problem.  It was also suggested that the USB cable might be bad although no one knew where to get the required mini B in a secured form.  Someone did say to contact Cyclops Optics for the secured version.  I got on Amazon and bought some unsecured USB to mini B cables to start and then went to Cyclops Optics site and bought 2 secured cables when I located them.  I was shocked for a minute when the bill came up $287 with shipping, but then realized that it was Hong Kong dollars and my bill was just over $33.๐Ÿ˜

QHY and High Point both answered me the next day and were great to deal with.  What dawned on me though was what if it was my new computer.  I didn't think it would be, but the next night was beautiful and it allowed us to try a little experiment.  Using the same camera and USB cord we tried the program again on the same computer and it made the connection, but no screen came up for at least one minute.  We shut down the program and changed out the new computer for my Dell XPS with 16 GB and a 4th generation i7 processor.  I had prepared the drivers and program on it earlier in the day so it was just a basic plug in and go move.  I started the program and it came up made the connection and the screen with Polaris came right up and we proceeded to do the routine for a PA all over again and this time it worked fantastically.  It took us 10 min instead 45 min and everything was in real time.  the only reason it took 10 min was because we were so enjoying how easy it worked compared to the night before we spent some time just being amazed.  Also, we went very slow on the last screen aligning the Pole and the Celestial Axis to get it as exact as possible.  Realizing it was a USB problem at the computer I ended up contacting Dell about it today and the gentleman,who is solely responsible for my computer(they do that with AlienWare line), updated the Bios and said there may be some changes in there that would update the USB connection.  The next clear night it won't be hard to figure out if it helped or not.  I just have to connect up and open the program to the Polaris screen.  If it shows up right away the glitch is fixed.  Next for the PoleMaster is polar aligning my CGX as soon as my mount adapter from ADM gets here.  I'm expecting it by Thursday.  I am now a firm believer in the PoleMaster and I can highly recommend it to anyone thinking about getting one. BTW...those of you who prefer video show me's can find some excellent ones on PoleMaster on YouTube. 

I received my PoleMaster adapter from ADM and installed it on my Edge 9.25 on my CGX mount.  It mounts to the dovetail on the scope.  You can use either the top or bottom dovetail




 Thanks for stopping by and Clear Skies to everyone.


Update 4/26/17

I finally had have enough messing around with whatever is wrong with my Edge 9.25 and have sent it back to Celestron to be refurbished(I know, big bucks).  So until it comes back I mounted my SV 130 mm f5.6 on my CGX like I had before.  The reason I am updating the PM post is to show you how the ADM adapter works with the SV 130 setup. 


I didn't have enough room to use the mounting base for the PoleMaster, so it it mounted on the guide scope base at the top.

Close up:


After use you take it off and go on with your 2+4 alignment and calibration stars and your off to the races.


Update 5/15/17

This is an update to the ADM CGX adapter for PoleMaster.

ADM has decided that even though their adapter did not put the micro USB at the horizontal position as recommended by PoleMaster and even though it still worked like that they wanted to make sure that there were no concerns by ADM customers that the adapter would work, so they developed an update that put two sets of holes so the PM could be attached WITH the micro USB in the correct position no matter whether you used the PM on a top or bottom dovetail.  Pictured below is the new adapter shown on a bottom dovetail on my original CGX that is, for now, carrying a 150mm SkyWatcher Mak while I await the return this week of my refurbished Edge 9.25 from Celestron.





Clear skies tonight, winds diminishing so will be hunting Comet Johnson tonight after a 2+4 alignment and a PoleMaster polar align.

Keep looking up!


Update 7/4/17 for Star Adventurer users

My friend, Pete Detterline, is using the Pole Master on a Star Adventurer out in Utah at the present time.  If interested in this setup click on the Star Adventurer tab and find the latest update near the bottom.

7 comments:

  1. Great description; wish I had known about the ADM adapter. Using PM on AVX with Celestron 8SE. Next up is iEQ45 mounting a ES 127. PM is a huge improvement vis-a-vis tracking once aligned... forget polar scopes.

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  2. I have a polemaster and love it (Used on a NEQ6) however I just upgraded to a Mach1 mount. It won't fit in the polarscope hole. I can get a ADM adapter... but I'm stratching my head? Is it as accurate of not in the polar rotational center? I see lots of guys doing what you're doing? but I want alignment to be as accurate as possible. Will we have this not mounting is in the center of the axis?

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    Replies
    1. Did you get my email message back to you?

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    2. no? ronkramer1957 at gmail dot com

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    3. I find that the PA is just as good. I have a CGX and the polar scope for that doesn't sit center. It sticks out on an arm on the right. My PM is closer to center with the ADM. I think there is no problem at all.

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