New and confused


I am new to this Forum. I really cannot figure things out like the other Forums I belong to, so please bear with me until I learn.

I recently purchased a license for SGP. I also purchased a new cooled camera, a ZWO ASI174MC Cool.

I have the camera up and running through DGP, so that isn’t a problem. I did have difficulty finding focus, with back focus of nearly 130mm required for my ES102ED OTA. I also had difficulty understanding the controls for cooling on the camera, but got help from the ASI Group at Yahoo.

Now I am trying to solve the Plate Solve issue, and find what instructions there are, very confusing. I decided on Plate Solve 2. I have the current version of PHD2 uploaded and working, per the SGP notice that I needed to upgrade it. I really don’t like the new version of PHD2, as I feel it isn’t as accurate as my last version.

Tonight was the first night I tried to use the plate solver, and from the notices that pop up, it seemed to work, but only the plate solving worked. Apparently it is not working with the mount for re-centering on the target I desire.

I also tried to use the center here mode, and it did move the mount, but never centered things at the center of the photo. It was always off by about 1/3rd of the screen width.

So right now I am spinning my wheels on the plate solver, and as usual, with complex software, very confused. I hope someone out there can help me with whatever I am missing. I do not have snap shots of the screens, as I am using Windows 8.1, and haven’t a clue as to how to take those snapshots. Actually, I’ve never understood a lot of the features in my browsers. I am a dummy computer user that always needs help.

Guess that’s it right now. CaleyAnn


You mention several things in the message. PHD2 is probably more accurate than PHD - the interface is more advanced and it works more intelligently with other applications. You probably are experiencing poorer seeing conditions.

Plate solving sometimes needs a helping hand. It can work without a clue but it is quicker if you can tell it roughly where you are pointing and what your image scale is. Image scale is the angular resolution of the sensor. To know the image scale, you need the focal length and the pixel size of the sensor. Have you typed those into the equipment profile?

There is another current thread on centering errors - there is quite a bit of discussion - for some, there is no issue at all and others have issues. There are a lot of mounts out there and a few settings that may trip things up. In your mount (ASCOM?) settings, can you set J2000 or JNow? That might be worth a try. I need to read up on the thread again and see if there is a general conclusion and some things to try.

One thing with SGP (and PHD2) - these programs create log files. It is diagnostic information that can help others work out if you have a problem or not. These are text files and the developers pretty much insist you share those before they try and root cause analyse. It might be a good idea to set up a dropbox or cloud based drive to share these. There is a drop down menu in SGP that displays the log file folder. I don’t want to overload you right now -


Hi Buzz, Thanks so much for the reply. I guess that the new version, I think 2.6.1 of PHD2 will just take getting used to.

I have inputted the parameters of my camera and OTA into SGP. I would guess that if I hadn’t, or given it wrong information, it would have hiccupped.

I am using JNOW wherever I find it mentioned.

I was getting something like an error message when trying to center on a target. It was saying something like unable to center, as it has not been entered. I am guessing that somewhere in SGP there is a box I need to check. So far I haven’t found that box, or anything that mentions centering on the target with the mount after plate solving.

These programs are so complex, sometimes the way an author puts things together just doesn’t mesh with the way y my beady brain functions. I am not very computer savvy. I tend to struggle discovering how something works. I hope it doesn’t take me another year like it did when I was using PHD2, BYEOS and AstroTortilla. CaleyAnn


There is, as I am sure you have discovered, quite extensive information in the
Help Files.

Here is another good source that may be of help…

This is a PDF file that you can download and work with at your own pace. It
has been around a while so unsure if it is totally up to date…but for
sure it should be a help for a beginner with SGP.