PHD2 & Adaptive Optics (AO)


Question. I have an opportunity to purchase a used Orion SteadyStar AO with OAG and Rotator and was wondering if PHD2 supports the SteadyStar system. Curently I don’t know much about the SteadyStar system other to know it has been discontinued by the manufacturer. I’m starting my research here first to see if PHD2 supports it and if not I’ll most likely not purchase it. If so I’ll do more research into it to learn more about it. If PHD2 does not support the SteadyStar AO which do they support?

The reason I am posting this question here is that I sent Jared a email and he stated SQPro does not support any AO directly but any AO would need to be supported by PHD2 and he suggested I post the question here since many of the PHD2 folks are active on this forum.



Hi Mark,

One of our developers requested a SteadyStar unit from Orion for adding the support to PHD2 but received no response from Orion. Without a unit to test with, there is no way we can update PHD2 to support it. Seeing as the product is now discontinued it does not seem likely that SteadyStar support will be added to PHD2.

PHD2 currently works with the Starlight Xpress AO. We will also support SBIG AOs at some time in the future (a user loaned us one to use for development), but not sure when the work will get done.

For future reference, the best place to post PHD2 questions is!forum/open-phd-guiding



Hi Andy,

Thanks for the quick response/information and the link to the phd guiding forum. I’ll be sure to visit there.



Out of curiosity, where’s the developer working on the SBIG AO support for PHD2 located geographically?


approximately 41.96N 71.38W altitude 72m :blush:



I’d be happy to ship my doorstop, I mean Orion AO, to the developer to build a PHD interface and finally get some use out if this thing.


This would be a good thing to post on the open-phd-guiding forum!forum/open-phd-guiding . Let’s move the discussion over there.



Follow up question: The SteadyStar system I’m looking at does have a ASCOM driver for the rotator part of it. would anyone know, if SGPro would be able to work with this rotator since it does has a ASCOM driver?



It has not been tested, but it should.


Ah! If he was a little bit closer by me in the PNW, I could probably share my STL-11000 and AO-L gear for development/testing purposes… :smile:


Anyone using a SX AO with a SBIG camera? How do you like the SX AO? What motivated you to go AO? Any trials and tribulations?


Jerry, Thanks for the offer. Like I said we already have one to test with, but we could use you as a tester when we are ready. Could you send me your email address (in a PM if you prefer; mine is



Although I do not have an SBIG camera I can comment on the SX AO. The AO gives you a nearly perfect tool for guiding - very fast and no mechanical backlash. If you have ever had any backlash or guiding problems with your mount, adding the AO is an almost magical cure. I know some people pick up an AO with an expectation that they will be able to correct for seeing, but if that is your goal you will likely be disappointed. Think of it rather as the ultimate band-aid for an under-performing mount.

As far as the SX AO in particular, my unit has been rock-solid. I have had it for over two years and never had any mechanical problem. Once, about a year ago, it failed to respond when I tried to connect to it. I posted about the problem on the starlightxpress yahoo forum and got an immediate response that I needed to re-load the firmware. I did so and it has worked perfectly ever since. So other than that 10 minutes of down-time, it has never let me down in 2 years of steady use. Terry at SX provides top-notch support on the starlightxpress yahoo forum.



Cool. I don’t really have any mount guiding issues at my image scale… I think it would probably give me a solid ability to image with my 12" SCT though (.68"/sec).

I’ve been reading up on it. Seems like a pretty solid device!

Thank you, Andy!


I can’t comment on using the SXAO with SBIG but I did use one last year for a number of months. I found that i didn’t really get on with it - My mount (Avalon Linear Fast reverse) was happy enough with my C9.25 on it and so when I added the AO unit I really didn’t find much of a benefit if at all. The OAG at f10 was struggling to find a guide star and I never found one bright enough to lower exposures much below 1s. It found it added another layer of things to go wrong and was pleased to take out of the imaging train.

I personally didn’t find it useful, but there are plenty of folks who do I guess.


Thanks Swag, I’ve got a pretty good mount too. I’m always looking for the next toy though :blush:.


FYI - I posted this discussion over on the PHD2 forum. As requested by Andy.


Only in my opinion… I would say that if you have a good mount that guides well… look for another toy :wink:


Hah, yea. I’ve been contemplating some 3-nm narrowband filters.


Now that is a good upgrade!!