Frequently Asked Question

Are you stuck installing a driver for G4x, G53F, etc or just have tehnical questions? You will find many answers here in the Frequently Asked Question.

Advice: For quicker search in FAQ archive use search form (upper right).

Frequently Asked Question

Mount G4x

Minimal Guide scope focal length (FL)

The aperture of the guide scope should not be above 80mm to minimize bad seeing effects and weight. The focal length has a lower limit based on considerations of resolution. Let's suppose that you want the guide software to be able to detect 1/10th of a pixel error in your imaging camera and your software calculates the centroid position to 1/100th of a pixel. Guide scope focal length (FL) = main telescope FL x b/10a CALCULATE now!

Mount outdoor storage

How do you proceed if you leave your mount outdoor? Telegizmos covers with a small heater, worked really well for me .

Power supply Isolation

I have just bought a 24v power supply for my G42 which has an isolated output. I guess this would be the same as using a 24v battery as that would also be isolated. This means that the only reference between the power supply 0v and the computer 0v line would be via the USB connection. The question is, it sufficient to do this, or should the 0v of the computer and any power supplies used for mounts, cameras and focusers etc be managed in a better way. For example should the 0v points of all the external power supplies be connected together and then connected to the computer 0v in a more positive way? As far as is perfect it is indifferent. If there is small unnoticed problem with one of the power supply isolations that can kill the USB line, or any other connection between the installed equipment. It is a good idea to make the connections (USB, Autoguide, Serial) first and power up the system after. It is also recommended to have a single, properly grounded mains line for all the power supplies used.

Fixing backlash in RA

A common cause of backlash in RA is a loose worm bearing lock screw. The photo below shows the position if the screw. Lock cca 20-30 degree a time and control for correct goto and tracking function. Overtightening the screw blocks the worm. No damage will be done though, just untighten it a bit.   G42-Fixing.backlash-RA

Autoguide - DEC function screw

I have read about the DEC function screw and don’t understand exactly its function. Do I have to manualy tighten/calibrate it on every object when wanting to photograph after a goto. Or do I have to make it once and then goto more times and it works. What happens if the screw is not tightened/calibrated ? It is ok to calibrate once, to have a small backlash between the worm and the gear! This is no problem for CCD use, you just have to unbalance a bit in dec.

Using Pulsar with The Sky6

I use the G42 + with MaximDL and The Sky6. MaximDL configuration: -Generic hub then Pulsar telescope with the com port setting Configuration on The Sky6: -Teleapi then in setting, I selected generic Hub then Pulsar telescope with the COM port setting Then, I connected the telescope in both the software. This allows me to select the target a photograph in The Sky6, fly the G42 + with MaximDL. Proceed like this : Start The Sky, enter your location long. and lat. information in "Data/Location". Close The Sky 6. Install the drivers to be able to connect Pulsar to the computer. You must know the COM Port of Pulsar 2. Restart The Sky 6, click on "Telescope Setup" and choose "TeleAPI", and just under, select : "Settings" (*), and choose "Pulsar Telescope". Then you click on "Connect telescope" You can see the cross hair on the screen which indicates the orientation of the telescope. If the position is not the one showed, you can move the telescope with you usual handcontroler to a know star, then click on this star in The Sky. A windows opens and you click on "telescope" in this window and click on "Sync". Now you are ready to move your telescope selecting a stellar object : you click on M33 for exemple or you make a research on M33, and click on : Slew telescope. (*) : I advice to deselect "always keep cross hair on screen in the "Settings" ". If selected, if you move with the mouse the sky to look for an object, the software will automatically recenter the sky on the telescope, it can be very boring.

WEB interface

I have just upgraded my Pulsar2 to the latest firmware (V4.05a) using the old method which seemed to work fine. I then thought I would try the new web browser routines. I connected my Pulsar2 into my network and it all seemed fine and popped up on the network exactly as expected. I could connect to it and get to the Pulsar2 welcome page using Firefox and see links to Gemini Home and LK200 info. Both of these links worked OK. The instructions for web browser upgrade routine say that if I wanted to upgrade I should click on the 'upgrade' button. I could not see any upgrade button to click. If it is there it is very well hidden or I am looking in the wrong place. So, unless the routine is intelligent enough to know that I was already running the latest version and therefore didn't give me the option, would somebody tell me where the button is? So far not too bad, but now for the problem. I then thought I would try the 'Pulsar Virtual Hand' option. The first time I tried to connect it timed out. The second time it connected properly and I had the handbox buttons and display on the screen. On the top row just after the "R" there was a flashing "E" (in the same place where you normally get a flashing "H" to tell you it's at Home). First question; what does the flashing "E" mean? If it's an error what is the error and how do I avoid it? After this I disconnected the browser and went back to the handset to see that the flashing "E" was still there. The scope wouldn't park and I had to switch it off so I then had to re-initialise it on the next startup. First the "E" appears as the result of an internal program error, tracking has stopped and needs to be restarted by re-selecting siderial mode. Second, I could not see the upgrade button with the web browser because I was only connected in basic mode. Although I had upgraded to V4.05a using Sam Prog I needed to re-upgrade using the hex file with the web browser. To do this I had to use the IP address with a "/0" at the end which opens a simple page just for upgrade. (See the Web Browser Upgrade Manual for full details) After that when I restarted Pulsar2 and used the IP address without the "/0" I got the new page with all the functions including the upgrade button.

Mount G53F

Enable offset tracking​ (comets,etc)

Press button 7 , go up until you see "set user rate1", enter the correct offset values (min, sec, 1/100sec in AR, deg, min , sec of arc in DEC), then exit. Press button 7 again - Rate select - select your custom rate (user rate1, user rate2,...). Now your mount start tracking the comet or minor planet.

Minimal Guide scope focal length (FL)

The aperture of the guide scope should not be above 80mm to minimize bad seeing effects and weight. The focal length has a lower limit based on considerations of resolution. Let's suppose that you want the guide software to be able to detect 1/10th of a pixel error in your imaging camera and your software calculates the centroid position to 1/100th of a pixel. Guide scope focal length (FL) = main telescope FL x b/10a CALCULATE now!

Sideral tracking G53F

If your sidereal tracking is incorrect, most likely your RA motor rotation is set incorrectly in the Mount Parameters menu and it tracks to the East. Change it! Other possible reasons: user rate selected, still rate selected, driver has reset and stopped the motors for security (select sid rate) and finally a mechanical reason (least probable)

Mount outdoor storage

How do you proceed if you leave your mount outdoor? Telegizmos covers with a small heater, worked really well for me .

PULSAR1

Minimal Guide scope focal length (FL)

The aperture of the guide scope should not be above 80mm to minimize bad seeing effects and weight. The focal length has a lower limit based on considerations of resolution. Let's suppose that you want the guide software to be able to detect 1/10th of a pixel error in your imaging camera and your software calculates the centroid position to 1/100th of a pixel. Guide scope focal length (FL) = main telescope FL x b/10a CALCULATE now!

Serial Connection problem Pulsar1

A few days ago I couldn't connect to my mount, so I went to my observatory to check what the problem was. I found out that everything is connected as it should (no chewed off cables ;D), but still couldn't connect to the mount. I tried to connect via Pulsar commander and it connects kinda halfway...Init/Setup tabs are empty. Hand controller tab numeric display shows nothing, but if I press buttons on the virtual hand controller, I see that controller recieved the command (mount moves and I see i can browse the menus on the real hand controller). So, my assumption is that the TxD on the Pulsar 1 isn't working or not connected. Any way I can confirm that with a multimeter? I get -1V between pins 5 and 2, and 0V between 5 and 3 on the controller. Hmm...maybe rs-232 on the pulsar 1 died too. The MAX232 IC (in Pulsar1) has been replaced and we're back in business

Pulsar1 - COM port

If you have problems with serial connection, check these. Is your USB serial adapter bidirectional? Try another model. Is the port number correct? Is the cable correct (must be traight, pins 2,3 not crossed)?

Pempro with Pulsar1 and 2

I generated a PEC curve using PEMPro V2. Should I be able to program the PEC on a Pulsar2 using the 'Program Mount' playback command when using PEMPro V2? I have tried this but nothing gets downloaded. Once the curve has been created you only need to send that curve directly to the Pulsar controller. Make sure that you are directly connected to the Pulsar, NO Hubs. You should see a tab in PemPro labeled Pulsar when you are in this there should be buttons where you can Upload and Download the curve. The Playback does not work to well with the Pulsar so don't use that. Reducing the resulting curve by 40% works. I find I have a problem when attempting to use PEMPro V2.7 Calibration Wizard. The Ascom Pulsar Driver does not return control to PEMPro after I Stop the mount prior to taking a trail image. Does anyone else here use PEMPro V2.7 successfully with a Pulsar2, version 1.15 Firmware 4.03 ASCOM driver 5.0.10 Platform 5.5? However on reading your post I tried clicking Take Photo without clicking STOP first - lo & behold the mount stops and the camera starts. And when the exposure is completed the mount is automatically started - perfect! But not what I was led to expect from the manaul and on-screen directions. Sorry! I also now have found a warning in the PEMPro manual against using a Hub - thanks for pointing it out. Though it's a pity.

Meridian flip with Pulsar1 and 2

I need the mount (P1 - ASCOM) to either perform automatic meridian flip if the target is going to be on the same meridian as the tube or set autostop global limits so it does not crash into the pier (robotic operation). The ASCOM driver cannot perform an automatic flip for you this is always done through the firmware and cannot be changed. If you are using software like ACP then this software will control when a auto flip will take place. ACP will stop tracking at a certain point just before the object reaches the Meridian, it will wait for the object to pass over the Meridian and then issue a GOTO to the same object. The firmware will pick up that the object is now on the over side and a flip will take place. So if you just left your mount running which you can (you did not say which mount) with the G42 then it is your responsibility to set the AutoStop Global limit to stop the mount hitting the pier. Also the autostop global is firmware driven and the ASCOM driver has no direct connection with this process nor should it. If you believe that the instructions are incorrect or that they are not working for you then contact Andras directly to get this sorted. Personally I can follow the instructions and they work for me. In the latest P1 firmware 2.68 the default value for the Autostop Global is 10 sec on either side of the meridian. To use the mount in remote just leave the settings unchanged and turn the function ON in the autostop global menu. The mount will now flip just past the meridian if requested by a control sw like ACP.

Forcing meridian flip

Example right now is the Leo Triplet, I want to start on the EAST side of the meridian and then I can image throughout the night without needing a tube swap from the WEST side to the EAST halfway through? I have read in the pulsar manual that you can only perform a tube swap when both the telescope and the imaging target are on the same side of the meridian, correct!!! Any tips or advise would be welcomed, right now I'm doing a manual alignment on my target since the GOTO goes to the WEST side of the meridian :-( When you power the mount and do the initial align, make sure you align your scope on the east side for Leo. That way you don't need to flip it. To force a flip, you must move the mount in RA so the target and scope is on the same meridian...then execute flip and then move back to your target. Pulsar2 allows a flip in all circumstances, press the E/W button for 3 sec.

Pulsar1 and 2 handcontroller cable

Can I use a longer cable on the hand controller? Yes, you can extend the cable on the (ver1) hand controller side (leaving the original connected to Pulsar) using a standard non crossed serial cable. For the ver2 hand controller you will need a Dsub15 VGA cable as extension, at the driver side.

Is the Handcontroller of Pulsar2 the same as of Pulsar1?

Yes, they are the same, as far as ver1 (light plastic case with black buttons) is concerned. The ver2 hand controller with GPS can be used with Pulsar2 only. Back to top

RS232 DSUB-9 GPS Receiver Mouse Sirf Star 3 / Sirf III

I've connected a ProGin SGM-209 module (with RS232 output) to the RS232 port of the Pulsar1, and this combination is working perfect. Can I connect a GPS with an USB cable to Pulsar2? No, you cannot. Only a serial one.

Horizon error

Can anyone explain what a horizon error is and how to get rid of it. Positions below the local horizon are rejected. Check date/time, longitude (East is negative) and you will have no problems. The homing position must also be above the local horizon.

Autoguide STL

What autoguider cable can I use? The STL-RC plugs into the 9-pin port on the camera, and a standard phone cable, which we supply, connects the adapter to the telescope drive. Note: phone cables come in a few variations. We use the six-pin cable, and the pin order is reversed left to right relative to the connector from one end to the other. This is identical to what is typically sold at Radio Shack stores as an extension cable.

Tracking and Pulsar1

The mount does not seem to track smoothly - every minute or so (not sure if it is a regular occurrence) the mount seems to stop tracking or reduce tracking speed; the object slews as much as half or even a whole arc-minute east then over a few seconds then will "jump" back more quickly to its original position. And even in between these events, the tracking does not seem as smooth as I'd hoped (I do not think this is periodic error). The important factors are the supply voltage, track current and motor frequency (if the hw allows changing this). This is good choice for power supply: 13.8V 4A linear supply. Model is Voltcraft FSP-1134, from Conrad. Track current depends on voltage, the higher the voltage the higher current setting will work, from 850 to 1200mA. A low motor frequency setting works better.

Forced upgrade Pulsar1

Forced upgrades on Pulsar 1, has it be done with AVRProg?

PULSAR2

Enable offset tracking​ (comets,etc)

Press button 7 , go up until you see "set user rate1", enter the correct offset values (min, sec, 1/100sec in AR, deg, min , sec of arc in DEC), then exit. Press button 7 again - Rate select - select your custom rate (user rate1, user rate2,...). Now your mount start tracking the comet or minor planet.

Minimal Guide scope focal length (FL)

The aperture of the guide scope should not be above 80mm to minimize bad seeing effects and weight. The focal length has a lower limit based on considerations of resolution. Let's suppose that you want the guide software to be able to detect 1/10th of a pixel error in your imaging camera and your software calculates the centroid position to 1/100th of a pixel. Guide scope focal length (FL) = main telescope FL x b/10a CALCULATE now!

Web interface connection

I have just upgraded my Pulsar2 to the latest firmware (V4.05a) using the old method which seemed to work fine. I then thought I would try the new web browser routines. I connected my Pulsar2 into my network and it all seemed fine and popped up on the network exactly as expected. I could connect to it and get to the Pulsar2 welcome page using Firefox and see links to Gemini Home and LK200 info. Both of these links worked OK. The instructions for web browser upgrade routine say that if I wanted to upgrade I should click on the 'upgrade' button. I could not see any upgrade button to click. If it is there it is very well hidden or I am looking in the wrong place. So, unless the routine is intelligent enough to know that I was already running the latest version and therefore didn't give me the option, would somebody tell me where the button is? So far not too bad, but now for the problem. I then thought I would try the 'Pulsar Virtual Hand' option. The first time I tried to connect it timed out. The second time it connected properly and I had the handbox buttons and display on the screen. On the top row just after the "R" there was a flashing "E" (in the same place where you normally get a flashing "H" to tell you it's at Home). First question; what does the flashing "E" mean? If it's an error what is the error and how do I avoid it? After this I disconnected the browser and went back to the handset to see that the flashing "E" was still there. The scope wouldn't park and I had to switch it off so I then had to re-initialise it on the next startup. First the "E" appears as the result of an internal program error, tracking has stopped and needs to be restarted by re-selecting siderial mode. Second, I could not see the upgrade button with the web browser because I was only connected in basic mode. Although I had upgraded to V4.05a using Sam Prog I needed to re-upgrade using the hex file with the web browser. To do this I had to use the IP address with a "/0" at the end which opens a simple page just for upgrade. (See the Web Browser Upgrade Manual for full details) After that when I restarted Pulsar2 and used the IP address without the "/0" I got the new page with all the functions including the upgrade button.

How to read the internal log file

The internal log file of Pulsar2 is a record of most commands pulsar2 recieves or sends and serves for troubleshooting. It is present only in hardware version 2.2 (fw 5.xx). To download the log, connect Pulsar2 to a PC via the LAN interface, as instructed in the manual or youtube channel http://www.geminitelescope.com/gemini-german-fork-mounts-goto-manuals/ https://www.youtube.com/user/GeminiTelescopDesign If your firmware version is older than 5.43 upgrade it. If already upgraded, find the IP address as instructed and at the end of it type /log.txt and hit "enter"! e.g.: http://169.254.247.111/log.txt You will see the log file that you can copy and paste in a simple text file (word pad). When sending the file please include the description of the problem and the exact date and time when you have encountered the problem!

Initialisation - RA motor direction

Can anyone explain how the Pulsar 2 initialisation routine knows the RA motor direction ? It does not. You have to set it in mount parameters, but only once.

Pulsar2 - COM port

If you have problems with serial connection, check these. For the USB virtual com port – are you using the correct driver? Is the port number correct? Sometimes plugging in and out will change the port number. For the AUX port based serial – is the port speed setting in the Pulsar2 system menu correct (9600)? An ESD discharge can actually kill or damage the line and in this case a repair is necessary.

Pulsar2 USB connection (DC power socket type)

With the Pulsar2 models that have the 5,5mmDC connector on the black box you have to set the serial baud rate to 9600 in the system/LX200 baud menu to use the USB plug and play port. Advanced users can use a higher rate and set the PC com port to a higher rate too. 06.2013 Back to top

Connecting to CCDCommander and TheSkyX

A setup that works also with other similar configurations: In MaxPoint I have selected Pulsar Telescope. In CCDC I have selected ASCOM for telescope driver and set to Maxpoint. In |TheSkyX I have selected ASCOM for telescope driver and set to MaxPoint In CCDC I have selected TheSkyX for planetarium program. Set BAUD rate to 9600 (system menu).

Pempro with Pulsar1 and 2

I generated a PEC curve using PEMPro V2. Should I be able to program the PEC on a Pulsar2 using the 'Program Mount' playback command when using PEMPro V2? I have tried this but nothing gets downloaded. Once the curve has been created you only need to send that curve directly to the Pulsar controller. Make sure that you are directly connected to the Pulsar, NO Hubs. You should see a tab in PemPro labeled Pulsar when you are in this there should be buttons where you can Upload and Download the curve. The Playback does not work to well with the Pulsar so don't use that. Reducing the resulting curve by 40% works. I find I have a problem when attempting to use PEMPro V2.7 Calibration Wizard. The Ascom Pulsar Driver does not return control to PEMPro after I Stop the mount prior to taking a trail image. Does anyone else here use PEMPro V2.7 successfully with a Pulsar2, version 1.15 Firmware 4.03 ASCOM driver 5.0.10 Platform 5.5? However on reading your post I tried clicking Take Photo without clicking STOP first - lo & behold the mount stops and the camera starts. And when the exposure is completed the mount is automatically started - perfect! But not what I was led to expect from the manaul and on-screen directions. Sorry! I also now have found a warning in the PEMPro manual against using a Hub - thanks for pointing it out. Though it's a pity.

Meridian flip with Pulsar1 and 2

I need the mount (P1 - ASCOM) to either perform automatic meridian flip if the target is going to be on the same meridian as the tube or set autostop global limits so it does not crash into the pier (robotic operation). The ASCOM driver cannot perform an automatic flip for you this is always done through the firmware and cannot be changed. If you are using software like ACP then this software will control when a auto flip will take place. ACP will stop tracking at a certain point just before the object reaches the Meridian, it will wait for the object to pass over the Meridian and then issue a GOTO to the same object. The firmware will pick up that the object is now on the over side and a flip will take place. So if you just left your mount running which you can (you did not say which mount) with the G42 then it is your responsibility to set the AutoStop Global limit to stop the mount hitting the pier. Also the autostop global is firmware driven and the ASCOM driver has no direct connection with this process nor should it. If you believe that the instructions are incorrect or that they are not working for you then contact Andras directly to get this sorted. Personally I can follow the instructions and they work for me. In the latest P1 firmware 2.68 the default value for the Autostop Global is 10 sec on either side of the meridian. To use the mount in remote just leave the settings unchanged and turn the function ON in the autostop global menu. The mount will now flip just past the meridian if requested by a control sw like ACP.

Pulsar1 and 2 handcontroller cable

Can I use a longer cable on the hand controller? Yes, you can extend the cable on the (ver1) hand controller side (leaving the original connected to Pulsar) using a standard non crossed serial cable. For the ver2 hand controller you will need a Dsub15 VGA cable as extension, at the driver side.

Is the Handcontroller of Pulsar2 the same as of Pulsar1?

Yes, they are the same, as far as ver1 (light plastic case with black buttons) is concerned. The ver2 hand controller with GPS can be used with Pulsar2 only. Back to top

Third-party software

Minimal Guide scope focal length (FL)

The aperture of the guide scope should not be above 80mm to minimize bad seeing effects and weight. The focal length has a lower limit based on considerations of resolution. Let's suppose that you want the guide software to be able to detect 1/10th of a pixel error in your imaging camera and your software calculates the centroid position to 1/100th of a pixel. Guide scope focal length (FL) = main telescope FL x b/10a CALCULATE now!

Autoguiding checklist MaximDL

If you want to autoguide, you should first connect the guiding RJ11 cable to Pulsar1 or 2. The cable must have the correct pinout (direct for most cameras, or inverted for SBIG). Alternatively use the serial connection for guiding (LX200, ascom), this normally gives better precision. Then when you have connected all the necessary ccd, PC, maximdl and have chosen which camera you use to autoguide with maximdl (giuder relay if you use the cable from the CCD to Pulsar, or Telescope if you use the serial line), then you must make a good calibration with maximdl before guiding. According to your telescope focal length (less than 2 meters) you should use around 15s calibration time on each axis. Over this focal length you should use 10s. When you start a calibration you must indicate the DEC of the star on the guiding panel in maximdl, the calibration is more efficient if you make your calibration not too far from the object you want to image. You should have centered a guide star at the center of the guiding image. Make a 2s exposure with your guiding camera, select it, and then launch a calibration. After the first 15s, you should see the guide star has moved around 20 pixels or more. After 15s later, the guide star should come back to the starting pixel. If not, your balancing should be optimized. After 15s later, the guide star should move on the other axis, and 15s later the guiding star should come back to the starting pixel. You must consider that autoguiding must be made on both RA and DEC axis, so, you must orientate your guiding camera sensor parallel to the axis of your RA axis or the DEC axis. So when you make your calibration, you should see a cross with a vertical and an horizontal line. If the cross has an huge angular orientation, your guiding will be bad. Once you've made your calibration, you select a guide star and click "guide". You must choose 2 or 3 seconds for your guiding time exposure. Less than 2s is not necessary and will induce too much correction on your RA axis. More than 3s if your mount is very good and not overloaded. You must use 5 in agressiveness to start and 0.1 in min move. (with the G53F I recommend 4-5 sec exposure and 8-9 agressiveness with decent seeing.) You can enable simultaneous correction in Ra and Dec. If you see after 30s the autoguiding curve is a violent sinusoid curve, you must correct agressiveness to 4 or 3... your guiding speed should be 0.5 or less. If the guide error is increasing then change the sign (+/-) of the calibration values in Maxim.

Using Pulsar with The Sky6

I use the G42 + with MaximDL and The Sky6. MaximDL configuration: -Generic hub then Pulsar telescope with the com port setting Configuration on The Sky6: -Teleapi then in setting, I selected generic Hub then Pulsar telescope with the COM port setting Then, I connected the telescope in both the software. This allows me to select the target a photograph in The Sky6, fly the G42 + with MaximDL. Proceed like this : Start The Sky, enter your location long. and lat. information in "Data/Location". Close The Sky 6. Install the drivers to be able to connect Pulsar to the computer. You must know the COM Port of Pulsar 2. Restart The Sky 6, click on "Telescope Setup" and choose "TeleAPI", and just under, select : "Settings" (*), and choose "Pulsar Telescope". Then you click on "Connect telescope" You can see the cross hair on the screen which indicates the orientation of the telescope. If the position is not the one showed, you can move the telescope with you usual handcontroler to a know star, then click on this star in The Sky. A windows opens and you click on "telescope" in this window and click on "Sync". Now you are ready to move your telescope selecting a stellar object : you click on M33 for exemple or you make a research on M33, and click on : Slew telescope. (*) : I advice to deselect "always keep cross hair on screen in the "Settings" ". If selected, if you move with the mouse the sky to look for an object, the software will automatically recenter the sky on the telescope, it can be very boring.