Alnitak Flipflat - using across multiple sequences


I currently use an Alnitak flipflat for taking flats, and it works great when I have only one target for the evening. For example - I shoot target A light frames, then shoot flats. Everything works as expected - when the light frames are done, it closes the panel, sets the panel to the specified brightness and shoots the number of exposures I defined.

My problem: Sometimes after shooting target A along with the requisite flats, I want to go shoot target B. Upon completion of target A flats, the flat panel is still covering the scope, and I do not know how to get it to open without going to the SGP control panel and clicking on the OPEN button. What I have been doing is having the sequence “pause” when completing target A so that I can manually open the panel. But there has to be a way to have that happen automatically, no?

This is my problem too at the beginning of a session - when I connect everything the flat panel is closed and I have to “manually” open it before I can start a sequence. What am I missing to automate the flat panel open and close process? Oh - it does close at shutdown no problem.

Thanks in advance

I don’t have an answer for the first question as I haven’t tried this, but mine does open when the camera starts imaging for autofocus or plate solving. Also a frame and focus image will open it.

My experience is same as @neilcorke . SGP will not open the Alnitak cover until it reaches a point that the camera needs to take an image (and SGP will wait until cover is fully open before it starts the image capture). Been working pretty reliably.

If you have examples of it not working (ie. not reopening when sequence starts your target ‘B’, you should probably post logs of it).


Thank you for your feedback. As soon as I get a clear night I will try what you suggested and post a log file.

So as others have mentioned, SGP generally controls the flip flat by the type of frame that is requested. If it’s a dark/flat/bias we close the panel. We open the panel when there is a light frame. We also close/open at different points such as “End of Sequence”.

But just taking a light should trigger the panel to open.


Hi Jared

Thank you for your reply. That was what I thought - that once the flat panel was connected it would open/close based on the type of frame (dark/flat/light) was being taken. But then I was shooting two different objects one night and the flat panel did not open on the first light frame of the second object. Unfortunately I do not have a log file for that. So… waiting for a clear night and will try again - this time keeping the log file!


SGPro keeps log files for 2 weeks and is still present unless you explicitly deleted it. More guidance here:

Thank you all who replied with assistance. I had a clear night last night and ran a test with the latest version of SGP 64 bit and everything worked fine:

  1. the telescope slewed to its first target, the flat panel opened before autofocus
  2. took a light frame then a flat frame - panel closed for the flat
  3. took another light frame then a flat frame - panel opened for the light then closed again for the flat.

Best regards

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