Paramount and 10micron SGpro suitability


#1

Hi folks been toying with the idea of a new mount but can’t decide between the paramount MYT or 10micron. The important requirement is that works well with SGpro. Admittedly I’m more drawn to the 10micron but would like users thoughts and comments of their experiences with the mounts on how easy it was to get SGPro working with either mount
Cheers


#2

Hi Mark, I have a 10 Micron GM1000HPS and it works very well with SGP. There are two model building utilities which integrate seamlessly with SGP, both discussed on the 10 Micron forum.

HTH.


#3

I have a Paramount MX+ and it works great with SGP. No problems here.

Chris


#4

I had a GM1000 and now have a Paramount MX but only have used MX with SGP. In both cases it is the implementation of ASCOM and how you plan to use the mount, that are the real questions.

SB have a robust TSX program, which acts as the driver but the ASCOM interface to that is limited by the features exposed by the TSX API. There have been some changes in the API and the behavior of TSX that have required SGP to change in order to do plate solved centering. Very occasionally I have a ‘wobbly’, which is fixed by a reboot of TSX/ASCOM.

The GM has the intelligence in a separate Linux box and its ASCOM interface was, for some time, provided by its customers. It was not without its software issues either but if the current version works, then great.

Both models will initially point to within a 20 or so pixels with little effort or a few pixels with a pointing model and a sync command from SGP will nail the object center.

How you intend to track is the other consideration - PE after PEC on my Paramount is +/-0.7", I think the 10Micron was about 0.3".
Both, with a tracking model, can deliver unguided results but in my experience, difficult to achieve well in portable setups, as the time, care and attention to do it robustly steals several hours. On a pier, 10 and 20 minute unguided subs are achievable from power up. My MX guides very easily, with RMS tracking errors with a 2m FL sub 0.3" RMS. My GM1000 did not guide as well, but at that time the firmware was optimized for unguided tracking. It has changed several times since and you will need to check the forums on its current effectiveness.

I initially used my MX on a sturdy tripod and now have it pier mounted. in both cases I don’t use a model since SGP’s center routine works just fine and PHD2 guides beautifully, though I can detect a small guided tracking improvement if I use a tracking model (TPOINT). The current GM owners will need to step in and say how they use theirs - whether they are pier mounted and use a tracking model / tracking model+guiding / guiding alone.


#5

Thank you for the detailed reply Buzz much appreciated. I do intend to use the mount guided on a fixed pier. That’s very impressive results with a 2m focal length. Did you get just as good results on the GM. Just wondering what made you change from the GM to the MX. I did want to ask questions on the GM site but it won’t let you unless you’ve got a mount registered, which is a little annoying. It’s good getting comments from someone who’s had/got both mounts :+1::+1:


#6

Hi Mark

I have my GM1000HPS permanently mounted in my garden observatory and also a jointly owned remote setup in Spain (FSQ106/QSI683/GM1000HPS which has been operating for two weeks).

I use a 100 point model which takes about 45 minutes to build and image unguided (30 minutes is no problem) - my logest FL is 925mm and gives a scale of 1.2"/px. Plenty of 10 Micron folk also guide with longer FL set ups. Synching and auto-centreing also work without issue with SGP. There are excellent and very effective balance and polar alignement routines, the documentation is first class, users who have developed complemantary freeware utilities (for model building, meteo input, mount control giving functionality such as wake-on-lan) and 10 Micron give good customer service via their forum and dealers.

You do need some additional hardware to make full use of its absolute encoders and unguided performance but this is not expensive, eg pressure and temeperature data. You can opt to input these manually from Open Weather for example and also have a pc utlity for accurate time keeping, eg Meinberg, so you can operate stand alone portably very well.

Both mount brands offer premium products and will be able to provide anything you want.


#7

Thank you Barry for that. I must admit I do like the 10micron, it sounds incredible from what I’ve read. I also know the paramount have a very long standing reputation but I’m not keen on using another software. I love SGpro and that’s the software I want to use. I just don’t want to be faced with problems. Has the meridian flip problem now been solved Barry ?


#8

I had a love / hate relationship with my GM1000. At the time I owned it, there were operational issues and the technical support from the dealer and 10Micron was poor. I really wanted it to work but continually had tracking and guiding issues, with help only from other forum members, some of which had similar problems. I made one passable image in a year. I went to the MX in desperation - a simpler product that ‘just worked’. As a bonus it also had through-mount cabling and a higher load capacity. With it I made 10 deep sky NB images in the following year with SGP.
Things have improved a lot since: My friend has a GM2000 and then bought another and a GM3000. They are all pier mounted and with very careful alignment and attention to environmental parameters run completely unguided, including a 16" RiDK. He crucially does not use Per’s Model maker to achieve his results, as he discovered it introduced model errors. He would not have done this if his first mount did not perform.
Note the MyT that you are considering will have similar performance specifications and uses the same software as the MX but its load capability is less. The semantics around payloads should be checked out. The MyT lists two, with and without counterweights, the GM does not.
On dovetail plates, the MX/MyT has a fancy dovetail plate with connections but you have to slide in the mount, which can be tricky when the scope gets heavy. The 10Micron’s equivalent Achilles heal is its clutch knobs, which require a 3d printed plastic wrench to tighten them sufficiently to stop slippage. A case of aesthetics over function.


#9

Yes Mark, if you decide to opt for a 10 Micron I’ll let you have the parameters to use for flipping.

Good luck with your choice - whichever you opt for, either 10 Micron or Paramount, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


#10

Thank Barry for that really appreciate it :+1:
It’s so hard to decide

Buzz , how easy did you find the paramount to set up for SGpro, also does it meridian flip ok.
Just wondering as well are you based in the USA as I’ve read on quite a few forums that support outside the States has been poor. This was another issue that put me off a little but it seems you had the same problem with the GM :frowning:

With spending a serious amount of money it’s difficult trying to make the right decision, a decision I’m going to be happy with. The end of the day I’m wanting something that’s going to guide very well and isn’t going to cause me an headache setting up SGpro. I’m currently using an old EQ6 that I belt modded. I’ve a 10inch Meade on it but I’m fed up of lost frames due to guiding. So decided to upgrade to a decent mount hence the post. You’ve even got me looking at the MX now :flushed::joy::joy:


#11

The Paramount MyT I own is now starting it’s 3rd year of flawless operation. I’m 100% portable, using the (excellent) dedicated MyT tripod.
Although initially I used TSX with it just to see what that was like (not liked much at all), I soon went full-on to SGP.
Having used SGP with my all my previous mounts, I was fully experienced and comfortable with it.

Software Bisque wrote a very stable ASCOM X2 driver to use 3rd party applications like SGP and PHD2. Thanks very much to them.
Luckily, after my “trials” with TSX were concluded, I could make the switch seamlessly and just concentrate on imaging.

I have a lot of respect for the Bisque operation. The quality and performance of the MyT is outstanding. The support has been solid, what little amount I have required.
There are undoubtedly far more Paramount owners that use TSX exclusively than guys like me who don’t.
T-Point and ProTrack are some big features of TSX, but as they run in the background, SGP is still doing the capture.
Personally, I find TSX nothing more than a very capable planetarium program. For capture, and especially guiding, it is very deficient compared to SGP/PHD2.
In a nutshell, the mount is initialized with TSX (because it contains the mount control system), then you start SGP as you would normally.

So, to answer your real question: Yes! SGP works wonderfully well with the Paramount family.
(And as far as 10 Micron goes, I’d love to have one just to see the differences.)


#12

D_Zielke
That’s awesome to know, didn’t know about the ascom driver either. Things are swaying back in favour of the paramount. Just out f interest what’s the longest focal length you’ve used on it


#13

I moved from MDL to SGP at the same time as switching to MX. I was imaging reliably within a few days and unmanned all-nighters shortly afterwards. That is the simplicity and robustness of SGP. This immediate reliability allowed me to acquire the images to finish my book on time. I can share meridian flip data. SBforum support is excellent and well informed. They have about four active staff who have 10s of thousands of posts each. Yes, they are a bit protective if you criticize but I guess everyone is to some extent- when they know from experience that 90% of issues are ‘finger trouble’. With both companies, if the approach is too aggressive, the response is defensive.

When using SGP - TSX is used like a fancy graphical handcontroller (normally minimized) with a couple of crucial differences. First there is no need to time sync the mount. Once the PC clock is synched with NTP, the mount is. 10 Micron owners have to additionally sync the Linux controller with a utility program, the details of which are a source of discussion. Although TSX is capable of imaging, it does not have the sophistication of SGP for sequencing and, like MDL, relies on programs such as ACP to do anything more elaborate. Having said that, TSX’s pointing model and tracking model generation is fully integrated and is effortless and I think, more robust too. All points are used with equal weighting in the model and the model generation I believe is more sophisticated despite Per’s claims to the contrary. Without encoders, my RMS pointing error is typically 4" and I routinely achieve polar alignment under 1’ with the Paramount, often lower than 15" with TSX’s advanced pointing algorithm. When I last used 10 Micron / model maker, not only did I have to use MDL for acquisition (since then, other similar utility programs can use SGP) but the first three points had more weight in the model and if they had errors - it was impossible to generate an optimum model. Polar alignment typically around 5’. Again - there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then and better documentation, support and experience have certainly moved things along (as well as using QHY PoleMaster)
The other little thing is that TSX also runs on Linux, Raspberry Pi and OSX. I tend to use it in Win10 pro on a stick computer and do remote control from my iMac.


#14

@MarkW
Primarily, I image with refractors of 360mm, 550mm and 840mm FL.
But I have also used the MyT with a C8 Edge at f.7 (1422mm) and f.10 (2032mm).
Cameras used are mono CCD, mono and OSC CMOS.

As I mentioned, my setup is 100% portable, travelling 45 minutes to a dark(er) site.
However, if you are permanently mounted (pier), then you can really benefit by building a large (300) point model and use it to maximize the advantage that Pro-Track gives you. It works best on a very rigid installation.

Regardless of permanent or portable, SGP makes the scheduling and capture so easy with a Paramount.
If you do get a Paramount, you will see how basic and limited TSX (Camera Add-On) is compared to what you can do with SGP.


#15

Thank you d_zielke and Buzz,
For your detailed replies, with what you’ve told me I really do favour the Myt now. I’d be guiding from either one so paying extra to have unguided option doesn’t make sense. I was just worried about the paramount and its performance with SGpro as I was led to believe it only performs well with its own software.

I can’t thank all that replied enough :clap::clap::+1::+1::+1: thank you all for taking time out to comment and give advice. I really REALLY appreciate it


#16

Hi buzz I’ve some further questions if you wouldn’t mind answering. First of all though I’ve recently purchased your new book and I must congratulate you on it, well done.
Back to SGpro and Sky x. I’m a little confused on how it intergrates with SGpro. I’ve watched lots of videos on sky x and SB and from what I understand the accuracy of the mount relies on th software. Is this done automatically when SGpro starts sky x ? Also do you use PhD for guiding or the inbuilt one in sky x. I’m starting to get a little worried that it may be too complicated I know you’re an extremely intelligent man and I’m more of an average person. I love the SGpro and setting up with eqmod etc was more or less straight forward. Is there anyway you can enlighten me further. Even if it means phoning you to discuss it further.

Many thanks
Mark


#17

Mark - The Sky X is used in this instance as a planetarium and telescope driver for your MyT. TSX is seen by SGP as an ASCOM telescope mount. To this requires an added ASCOM driver, downloadable from Software Bisques site. So - all the hardware connects to SGP via ASCOM, only in the case of the mount, it has what appears to be a standard simple ASCOM interface, with a number of options in its properties page, coupled to a whopping great planetarium. SGP controls the telescope, though it is possible to go into TSX directly and slew etc there too. For instance, you need to home the mount before you can operate with SGP.
This is where the confusion may reside. When I change my optical configuration I create a pointing model in TSX. To do this, I completely ignore SGP, connect mount, focuser and cameras directly from TSX and run TPoint. When the model is done, I disconnect the hardware from TSX (not physically, in the software) and then connect to the camera’s, focusers etc from SGP. TSX in effect still acts as the telescope driver, only this time, it points (and tracks) with more accuracy than before.


#18

Thanks buzz for that I think that’s made it more clear Obviously I suppose it will all fall into place when I get it. It’s jusr wh n I’ve searched on YouTube there doesn’t seem to be any videos on how to marry up sgpro with skyx. Thanks for your help no doubt I’ll be in touch again once I get my mount :joy::joy:


#19

Hi Mark. I also have a 10 Micron GM1000HPS. Indeed, I share it with Barry for remote imaging in Spain. I use a Mesu 200 in my home observatory.

When I first got the 10 Micron, I was more than a little out of my comfort zone - indeed, without Barry’s assistance (and emotional support!) I think I might have returned it. I am growing to like it and it is giving good results. The promise of unguided imaging is a big draw. And there is no question that the 10 Micron can deliver unguided imaging. However, unguided imaging is not a simple thing to achieve. Firstly, as Barry said, you need additional boxes to make it work, You also need additional bits of software to make models and to ensure that these models update the mount. All power to the guys who put the time in to write these things. It always seems to be in development though and you may find yourself running beta versions, more often than not.

The 10 Micron comes, as Buzz said, with its own little computer. The manual says that this needs to be properly shut down when imaging is finished. I e-mailed the 10 Micron guys to ask about suddenly cutting the power to the unit (as might happen with a power outage - or power cut as we call them in the UK). The chap cheerfully confirmed that - yes - the unit could be damaged if the power to it was suddenly cut. Naturally, 10 Micron provide no on-board protection for such an eventuality and so you have to devise your own system. I had to put the device that I built in a plastic box - primarily because if Barry looked at my solder joints he would have a coronary. Then I had to learn to write some Visual Basic scripts … then test … then test … then test…

The model takes around an hour to build … once you know what you are doing… But it will probably need to be re-done every 3-4 months. So that is 3-4 hours per year. That’s a lot of PHD2 calibrations…

I was amused to read about Buzz requiring a plastic spanner. I’m laughing with you though, Buzz, not at you -
our mount started slipping within a couple of weeks of us leaving Spain. And we too had to order one of these plastic spanners from a shop in Germany.

The mount always knows where it is and that is some bonus for remote imaging (though not absolutely essential in my opinion). But you pay a lot for those absolute encoders. If you don’t need these expensive electronic encoder gizmos then, why bother, would be my view. Have you considerd the Mesu 200? It has a lot of carrying capacity. It is extremely accurate. It is significantly less expensive. And you don’t need any extras.

It needs to be guided, of course. I would like to suggest, however, that setting up guiding is much easier than setting up an unguided system.


#20

Can you actually guide a 10Micron if you want to?


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