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 Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497 
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Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:49 am
Posts: 9
Post Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
I recently got a new milapse head (cause I sort of buggered up my old one), and first of I have to say the new DS mount does seem much more solid and the L bracket the head is shipping with is great. My questions is about the pan speeds on the 495 controller. I've been shooting on speed "2" and with a 1 second interval I can get a nice 150 deg. vertical pan over about 500 frames. However if I'm out at night doing longer exposures of say 4 seconds then its panning to fast. I tried dropping down to the "1" speed but that is so slow I can't even tell if its moving. I was wondering if anyone knows of a way to get a custom speed between the two or of a way to modify the overall panning speed for the unit to give me more options in the slower range.

By the way I've tried changing the tracking rate in the setup but I don't think it has any effect on the manual panning speed.

Thanks


Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:56 am
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Could you post a photo of the bracket that it comes with pretty please (preferably a couple of angles with/without camera)... I've yet to see one.

To answer your question:

I explain how to get 'inbetween' speeds in the latter part of this video. I use the 494 but it's basically the same with the 497. Go into the setup>telescope> az ratio/alt ratio - generally 1.000 Az = 150d/hour @ 8x or 1.000 Alt = 100d/hour @ 8x


Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:21 am
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
champro wrote:
I've been shooting on speed "2" and with a 1 second interval I can get a nice 150 deg. vertical pan over about 500 frames.


something does not compute here...

A. have you pulled out the stops on the vert? as far as I know it will only go 90d (or so)?
B. Speed 2? what is that? 2x sidereal? can't be.... 2deg/sec? that's 1000 deg... hmmm.


Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:33 am

Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:49 am
Posts: 9
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Alright, first off here's the scoop on the new mount and L bracket. I'm shooting with a d300 and the sigma 10-20 is my beefiest lens and it seems to handle the load fine. Here is a link to a couple more photos of my setup. http://www.flickr.com/photos/34629466@N ... 522300515/

Yes I did take the vertical stops off, its actually quite easy. I've done it on two heads now and have yet to bugger anything up. Its mainly a matter of holding the center nut on the mount side and screwing the large knob off the backside of the head. From there you can slide the whole gear ring out of the head and you'll see about a half inch tab on the plastic ring that keeps the head from spinning 360º freely. I was at first going to grab a dremel to get rid of the annoying spur, but thought better of it. Instead I recommend a heated box cutter or sharp screwdriver, and you can in a couple of passes "heat cut" the piece off. Its simple this way and eliminates the possibility of getting plastic shavings all in the gears. Other than that, I'm using velcro to hang the hand box on the unit, and I was lazy so I actually stripped the lower nut by screwing it right onto my tripod base which had a much stronger screw. I know its not the best way, but the mount screws on easily and sits tight. And on a side note it appears the worm gears, while still cheap plastic, are a bit larger and more robust than on the original DS head.

Ok so back to my question. I've watched your vid quite a few times, and that was the first place I went back to when I realized my panning speeds weren't doing it for me. At first I tried a custom tracking speed, but that had no effect so I assume it only kicks in on tracking and not on manual mount movements. The next thing I did was play with alt/az ratios just like you said. Try as I might it seemed to have no effect on the movement. As I understand it the ratios refer to the number of teeth on the gear so you could trick the scope into thinking that to go 45º it would need to turn 10 tooth steps instead of 20, but that is only assuming that it is doing that math when you use the paddle manually. I even got as wild as putting in ridiculous ratios of 500 or 0.5, but no change. Next I called meade to hear it from the horses mouth. Their story was that the 1-9 speeds are hard wired and could not be altered. In addition, I have no way to tell what speed the number keys refer to because in every piece of meade info I've seen they only give a range of "9 speeds from 1x sidereal to 5º a sec".


What this seems to mean to me is that, yes the speeds are hard wired, and Meade might not have gone to the trouble to find out exactly what they are. I also think the 494 controller is doing the math to turn the gears to match the speeds it lists, and thats why you can trick the remote by changing the gear ratio. A bit frustrating that the 494 looks to be doing more thinking than the 495. In the end I'll prob hop on ebay, pick up a 494 and then sell the 495.

I guess in the end unless you've had a different experience with the 495/497 that I've basically answered my own question. I would be happy to be proven wrong though so if you know anything more about the matter lay it on me.


ps. I'm crushing down the timelapse I shot where this problem reared its ugly head. When I'm done I'll post it up with the exif data so there will at least be an estimate of deg/time.

Thanks,
Duncan


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Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:35 am
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Thanks for the photos! Looks nice..... I like the fact that you can balance the camera load by sliding it.

I'm guessing it's a '495 thing' because I had someone else contact me (using a 495) and he was having all sorts of trouble altering the alt/az ratios. I think your experience confirms it... The 495 is not the best. I've had no trouble altering the 494 and 497 ratios (as long as you don't go 'too extreme' ie higher than 2.0 or lower than .5). Using my little rule of thumb 150d @ 1.0 @ 8x predicting the distance of travel over time is a breeze.


Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:11 pm
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
champro wrote:
In addition, I have no way to tell what speed the number keys refer to because in every piece of meade info I've seen they only give a range of "9 speeds from 1x sidereal to 5º a sec".


The 495 doesn't display the speed on the screen? IIRC it goes something like this:

9 - 5d
8 - 2d
7 - 1d
6 - .5
5 - 64x sidereal
4 - 32x sidereal
3 - 16x sidereal
2 - 8x sidereal
1 - 2x sidereal

sidereal (pronounced Syd-iir-i-all) = 360d/24hours = 15d/hour = .25d/min

So I get it now... you were using 8x sidereal (speed 2)


Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:19 pm
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Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:54 pm
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Location: Aars, Denmark
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
The 495 and 497 is supposedly exactly the same thing, just with different firmware on it. Which means that you can make the 495 into a 497 simply by upgrading the firmware. :) I bought a 495 because I could find it cheaper on eBay and then installed 497 firmware on it. From what I've read I can now forget that it was once a 495.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:04 pm
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Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:49 am
Posts: 9
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Thanks for the breakdown, it helps, and looking at my other test pans it seems your right on. As for the 495 being a 497 if you give it a nudge, I knew that but hadn't given it a try yet. If you say the 497 works though, then that may be the better option than swapping down for a 494. I'm off to give it a try now, but I have a feeling being on a mac might not work in my favor on this.

flyvholm any tips you can offer on the conversion.


Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:14 pm
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Location: Aars, Denmark
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
As far as I remember all I did was download and install Autostar firmware for the 497, and from googling around for a bit I haven't been able to find any guidelines suggesting anything else. Well, what I've found is this upgrade report, and I may have used the specific firmware version mentioned in there to be on the safe side, but would actually be surprised if that's necessary. You can find the latest firmware + the update client from Meade here. You will need a cable (Meade #505 or equivalent) to do the upgrade, and you will also need either a Windows machine or a Windows simulator on your Mac (e.g. see here). Another option (which I used) is to use Starpatch and Dick Seymour's extended firmware which unlocks some extra capabilities of the Autostar. As far as I remember the extended firmware is actually included with Starpatch so it is ready to install.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
milapse wrote:
I've had no trouble altering the 494 and 497 ratios (as long as you don't go 'too extreme' ie higher than 2.0 or lower than .5).


Huh, I use ratios lower than .5 all the time, even as low as .1
I have noticed the occasional rapid burst of speed which seems to be a recurring problem, but I can't associate it with a particular ratio setting. A good example is in my most recent video, the St. Johns Bridge when I'm panning up and to the right there was one of those bursts. Normally I would hear it and start the sequence over again but the tripod was on a wooden bridge that I had to stay off to keep from shaking it.

Got any info on this one? It came with the unit I bought to strip the motors out of.
Image

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:21 pm
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Andrew Curtis wrote:
milapse wrote:
I've had no trouble altering the 494 and 497 ratios (as long as you don't go 'too extreme' ie higher than 2.0 or lower than .5).


Huh, I use ratios lower than .5 all the time, even as low as .1


Guess I should say that I've never gone much further than double or half ratios but others have said it does work fine... ;)


Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:09 am

Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:19 am
Posts: 34
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
Hey Guys -

Just curious if any of you have made similar charts. Do these look right to you?

AZ (Horiz)
Deg/hr Ratio Speed
150’ 1.0 8x
37.5’ 1.0 2x
120’ .8 8x
30’ .8 2x
75’ .5 8x
18.75’ .5 2x

ALT (Vert)
Deg/hr Ratio Speed
100’ 1.0 8x
25’ 1.0 2x
80’ .8 8x
20’ .8 2x
50’ .5 8x
12.5’ .5 2x


Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:05 pm
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
codyw wrote:
Hey Guys -

Just curious if any of you have made similar charts. Do these look right to you?

AZ (Horiz)
Deg/hr Ratio Speed
150’ 1.0 8x
37.5’ 1.0 2x
120’ .8 8x
30’ .8 2x
75’ .5 8x
18.75’ .5 2x

ALT (Vert)
Deg/hr Ratio Speed
100’ 1.0 8x
25’ 1.0 2x
80’ .8 8x
20’ .8 2x
50’ .5 8x
12.5’ .5 2x


Yep looks right to me. Did you get these numbers by testing or just math?


Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:05 pm

Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:19 am
Posts: 34
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
So check this out...

Just did a shoot for 2 hours, 10 minutes with the AZ ratio set to 1.0. It rotated 2.4 units (according to the ruler.) 15 degrees per unit (I'm avoiding calling the units hours as to not be confused with time!) That comes out to 36 degrees - so I guess we're right on the money. Now I'm thinking about making a ruler that uses degrees instead of units... :)


Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
just received my new toy :)

I've a 497 and i can't find your tracking rate menu !
In fact i may but i can only find :
Sideral, lunar and custom.

Changing to custom doesn't seens to change anything :(

Which i could be set on 8X to use the SWF program file panning-calc.swf

where should i look ?

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Timelapses.fr http://www.Timelapses.fr
Pro http://www.bziegler.com
Blog http://blog.bziegler.com

Nikon D800 - Canon 5DMkIII- scalped 10.5 - 15mm sigma - 14/24 - 17/35 - 24/70 - 70/200 - 28/300 105 macro - 50 f1.4 - 85 f1.4- 24 f1.4


Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:11 am
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Location: France
Post Re: Custom Pan Speeds? - Autostar 495/497
bziegler wrote:
just received my new toy :)

I've a 497 and i can't find your tracking rate menu !
In fact i may but i can only find :
Sideral, lunar and custom.

Changing to custom doesn't seens to change anything :(

Which i could be set on 8X to use the SWF program file panning-calc.swf

where should i look ?


Oki found it !
Just read the user guide ;)
Just use the numerical values (1,2,3..) on the keypad

I just made a XLS file that i can use on my Iphone. Less sexy that the swf file but it works :)

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Timelapses.fr http://www.Timelapses.fr
Pro http://www.bziegler.com
Blog http://blog.bziegler.com

Nikon D800 - Canon 5DMkIII- scalped 10.5 - 15mm sigma - 14/24 - 17/35 - 24/70 - 70/200 - 28/300 105 macro - 50 f1.4 - 85 f1.4- 24 f1.4


Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:51 am
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