Alternatives to TSX? Suggestions?


#1

Hi:

I have a had lot of mounts thru the years (Losmandy, Two AP mounts, and currently a Paramount ME). I went to the ME about 10 years ago because at that time it was the best for remote operation. There are a lot more in that category nowadays.

I am considering a new mount in the near future since my ME is almost 10 years old and many high end mounts these days have more modern features (note my questions on another thread a week or two ago).

Partly because of the issues with the Paramounts and the Windows updates (which appear to affect Paramounts more than most other mounts for reasons that are still not totally clear), I will probably avoid SB mounts. This is not the sole reason, only a small part, but has added more weight to that almost already made decision.

That brings me to my question. What non-TSX planetarium software for following mount position and doing image planning are other (non-SB mount) SGP users happy with?


#2

I generally just use the Framing and Mosaic Wizard and will (now) be using the planning tools. But my needs may be significantly less than yours for planning. I generally only do a target or 2 at a time and I haven’t been using my observatory either so my needs are pretty simple.

Thanks,
Jared


#3

I like Stellarium. I use it mostly just for planning, but also for the
initial slew of my mount (first a Losmandy G11 and now a Mach1GTO).


#4

I use Cartes du Ceil. It’s not the prettiest but I find it to be reliable and low in resource demands. Good for looking at what’s visible and basic mount control.


#5

But you will still have the Sky-X will you not. I bought it some years ago (SA edition). I never renewed the license but the software still works - just no updates. I control a TAK mount with it whenever I have the need. … no problems.


#6

I will but I would just as soon put the entire SB experience behind me.


#7

Well I cannot argue with that, if that is your preference…just sayin’…it comes in handy (for me) from time to time as I don’t have any other comparable software.


#8

I guess @CCDMan you did not see my post early on in the other thread about the Win 10 update ASCOM issue. My GeminI 2 ASCOM driver controlling my Titan 50 also got trashed with this update. This issue does not just affect the SB product line.
Here is what it did to my Gemini 2: came up with totally different settings than what it has been using for the past couple of years, ie. set it to a G11 mount, changed the time zone by 1 hr, put in new values for RA limits. Also caused my Digital Domeworks ASCOM driver to crash so I could do nothing with the dome, thereby totally dead in the water, even if everything else worked perfectly.

Just my humble opinion on this, but it seems premature to consider abandoning any major, established product line, just because of this serious problem with Microsoft’s latest update. Seems to me there are 4 paths here:

  1. Microsoft will truly fix it
  2. The various drivers will get fixed
  3. The patch presented in the other thread will fix it
  4. You can roll back the offending MS update, and prevent new MS updates from being installed

Option 4 is what I have done for now, and everything is working fine now. The easiest way to prevent new MS updates from being installed is to change your network connection to a “metered” connection. MS never downloads updates on a “metered” connection because it is assumed to be either very slow, or very costly, such as a cell phone. This change would be permanent, so long as you keep it a “metered” connection. Detail here:

Obviously permanently disabling MS updates is normally a bad idea. However on a pc that is dedicated to running your astro gear, it probably won’t make any difference. You are not surfing the web and doing email on that pc. I would not have a problem with that. However, I am fairly sure that either 1) or 2) will happen, and this will no long be an issue.

I use AstroPlanner for my planetarium program. Works really well for planning.


#9

I certainly am well aware that not just SB mounts are affected! Tons of hardware and driver are affected - I have followed almost every thread on this issue - not just here but at SB, ASCOM talk, PhD, and ACP forums. In fact, I was one of the first to notice the issue when PhD would not guide my ME via Directguide.

The difference is that Bob Denny’s Dcom fix fixes most non-SB issues. It does not fix the SB issues since there is more going on than just the Dcom in the case of the SB mounts. There is at least one other issue and perhaps more than that. It is not clear at this point exactly what is going on but multiple experts have confirmed the fact that the problem is more than just the Dcom with the SB mounts/driver and the W 10 update.

SB says they are working on this and I would assume that they are. Ultimately it is the results that count and it is too soon to say on that subject, ask me in a month. If blame needs to be assigned, I will do it once all the facts are in. Right now all I know is that it is broken, not whose fault it is.

Having said that, I am looking for an updated mount (the ME is old tech - there is a reason it is called “ME”) and I would point out that I was looking at new mounts BEFORE this update issue (see my inquiry thread for 10 Micron users). I have decided not to get another SB mount but only a very small part of that has anything to do with the update issue. There are other reasons that I will not go into here that are much more significant.

As far as how to prevent updates or solve the update related issues, there are other threads for that. We rolled back and blocked ours for now but that is clearly not a proper long term solution. Either MS or the astronomy vendors (more likely both) need to do that.


#10

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have heard of most of these but have only ever tried a couple of them.

Just to illustrate how really old I am,:grin: does anyone remember GUIDE (Project Pluto)? I was amazed to see they still have a webpage!


#11

The problem is not theskyx or paramount. The true point is that we have to avoid all automatic updates and do them manually one or two weeks later


#12

I have said, twice, something to the effect that:

“I have decided not to get another SB mount but only a very small part of that has anything to do with the update issue.”

THIS THREAD IS NOT ABOUT THE UPDATE ISSUES!

I have several other reasons for not wanting another SB mount. I will not go into those because I do not want to offend anyone or violate forum policies but suffice it to say they are much more significant than the update issue.


#13

I would really appreciate hearing your details referenced above since I have just purchased an MEII, but could be returned. You can contact me privately on Astrobin. Thanks.


#14

I had TSX and switched to SkyTools3. I’ve been very happy with it for planning. I use SGP for control, but ST3 can also control ASCOM mounts.

Regards,

Charlie


#15

Frankly speaking, the sky x is developed with the idea of driving a telescope, plus a skychart. All the skychart softwares are made to show a map plus… Send a goto to a mount. There is a huge difference on that. Right now i am using carte du ciel and skysafari on telephone.

While i am happy about skysafari, i am unhappy with carte du ciel.
Starrynights? Stellarium? Skysafari(again)? Skytools? Ccdnavigator? I always go back considering tsx.

About people not reading, i apologize that was you remarking on opening post your sufferings with windows updates.

Moving on from a mere wrong interpretation, I would try all possible demos and free softwares, but i think that you could change mount and use tsx as simple stellarium. Any other software might feel as downgrade


#16

Changing mounts is challenging. The motive is often to avoid a set of issues, when, all that happens is, we inherit a completely new set. (Like moving house…)
The problem is that a mount is the sum of many parts, software, mechanics and electronics and now… - operating system :slight_smile: . The trick is to find a product whose manufacturer is proficient in all areas, or at least has subcontractors who are (and continues to retain them for ongoing support) … I should add customer service too.


#17

I do begin to suspect that does not exist! :wink:


#18

Be confident, there is, it is just a matter of $$$ :wink:


#19

I would add that if I sell my Paramount, the typical procedure is to transfer your TSX license as well so I would not have TSX w/o buying a new copy.


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