Monday, June 2, 2014

Prep work for GSSP

GSSP is coming in just a few short weeks. 

I've been recently fixing up the gear to try to do a two-mount setup, learning from Calstar where the GM8 with Gemini 1 didn't work well at all.

Went to MBOSP last week and tried out the GM8 with Gemini 1.  It exhibited signs of a fatal error in the encoder chip on the main board.  When the mount powered up, it would slew uncontrollably.  Swapped the cables and motors with spares and replaced the CMOS battery twice.  No signs of improvement.  I've sent a message off to Losmandy about what repairs can be done to this old device.

I converted it back to the digital drive system - the non-goto setup that it had from the factory.  The DDS does not use ASCOM and it has no understanding of where it is in the sky.  Nicely, I've been able to keep using the PHD2 drift align tool so long as it is forced to calibrate each time.

I did see that the conversion didn't go as smoothly as it should - the RA worm slipped and needed to be tightened.

Last night, I went up to MBOSP again and was able to figure out a pretty good power system.  However, I managed to break the Gemini 2 Hand Controller.  One of the tactile buttons stopped working, so I followed the procedure to open up the device.  The LCD shattered in the process.  I've ordered a replacement controller and am asking Losmandy about repairs.

In the meantime, I can still use the G2 without the HC.  It will require a lot of running back and forth to click on buttons on the laptop.  Still, if I'm not able to get a replacement prior to GSSP, I can still use the system.

I'll be practicing again with the old GM8 DDS in the backyard a few days to see if the tracking is good.