I recently updated SGP to 188.8.131.527, and it can’t do an Auto meridian flip anymore. When it gets to the meridian, it doesn’t flip. I didn’t have this problem with the last version of SGP I used; it flipped just fine. Also, the behavior of the “Use Auto Meridian Flip” checkbox seems to be a bit odd.
Here are the details of my setup:
Mount: Losmandy G-11, Gemini 1, Level 1.4.
Scope: 600mm f.l., 80mm aperture Orion ED80 refractor.
Guide scope: Orion ST80 with StarShoot autoguider camera.
Imaging camera: SBIG ST8300M mono camera with LRGBHa filter wheel.
Laptop: ASUS eee PC 12-volt netbook, running Windows XP
Mount-control software: Gemini.NET control software. When I click “About”, it says ASCOM Gemini Telescope Driver Version 184.108.40.206.
(In other words, I updated SGP, PHD2, and Gemini.NET at the same time. My problems with auto-flips started as soon as I installed these software updates.)
After several months of being too busy with work to do any imaging, I decided to get the gear out and try to re-learn my workflows. I had had good luck with SGP the last few times I’d used it. Everything generally worked together pretty well, and the auto meridian flips generally worked well.
However, after the software updates, SGP doesn’t flip when it reaches the meridian. I have the auto-flip set to 0 degrees past the meridian, so it should flip, but it doesn’t. Another odd thing is that when Auto Meridian Flip is checked, I don’t get a countdown to the flip; I just get “NA”.
This can be seen in these two screenshots: The first one shows Auto Flip enabled, the second one shows it disabled:
I didn’t change anything about how I used SGP, at least not as far as I can tell. I also think that the Gemini.NET program is working okay, since its virtual hand paddle reports the scope on the correct side of the mount, and it gives a correct-looking hour angle. (When the scope is West of the mount, shooting in the East sky, it shows a negative hour angle, whose absolute value is getting smaller as time goes by.)
There’s another slightly odd thing I noticed in SGP, which may show up in those screenshots… I have the dither enabled, and SGP says it is, in fact, dithering, but there’s a dither icon at the bottom of the screen that looks greyed out. Same for autofocus. That icon is greyed out, but the autofocus is working.
I have “Center On” and “Slew To” enabled, and the sequence begins just like I’d expect it to. A panel of annunciators comes up, and shows that SGP is plate-solving and centering on the target frame just like always.
I think the mount is correctly synced. I polar-aligned the mount with PEMPro, and I have done some “solve and sync blind” operations, with “sync performs additional align” enabled in the Gemini.NET program. Since the G-11 is correctly reporting the side of pier and the hour angle, I think it has a good GoTo alignment. PHD2 is able to calibrate and autoguide as usual.
Here are the log files from tonight’s attempt. They may look a little odd, since I made a number of attempts to test this behavior. On two or three occasions, I used “Solve and Sync Blind” to populate Target Set 1 with a new image and coordinates, since all I cared about was testing the ability to flop.
Another slightly odd thing from my workflow might show up: I begin the night by using SGP to do a crude 1-star alignment with Solve and Sync Blind. Then I disconnect SGP from the gear, and use PEMPro / Maxim to do drift alignment. Then it’s back to SGP for the actual shooting. However, I do at least one more Solve and Sync Blind (with Sync Performs Additional Align) after I reconnect the gear to SGP, so I think the mount has a decent idea where it’s pointed.
Here are the log files:
I’m sorry that I don’t have the sequence file. I closed up the unattached garage where I do my imaging, and I can’t get back out there to retrieve the file from my imaging laptop without waking up the neighbors. I will try to attach it to another post tomorrow.
Sorry for such a long message, but I’m just confused as to why Auto Meridian Flip stopped working. I hope I’m just boneheading something simple. If this proves tough to diagnose, I might try to revert to earlier versions of SGP, Gemini.NET, and PHD2, to see if I can get back to my good `ol reliable software and workflow.