Contents - Index


Please review the Hardware topic for any special settings that may apply to your hardware.
  • Focal Length (mm): Enter the focal length of the imager scope
  • Pixel Size (micron): Enter the pixel size of your imaging camera.  Consult the guider documentation for this value.
  • Unbinned Image Scale: Automatically calculated after the above values are entered.
  • G2V Filters: Select the filter names corresponding to the filters you will use for G2V balance calculations.
  • Use Sub-Frame: If you wish to use a portion of your imaging sensor for all your imaging, CCDAutoPilot will maintain your desired sensor cropping for light frames and all calibration frames, including flats. When the Sub-frame box is checked, the Get button will become active and you will be prompted through the steps to define your sub-frame. That definition will be maintained in your system profile.

    Select the Guider Method from the following:
  • Self-Guided: Used primarily with SBIG cameras having a built-in guide sensor. 
  • Off-Axis Guided: Select if you are using an off-axis guider such as the AstroDon MOAG series
  • Guide Scope: Select if you are using an external guide scope.
  • Unguided: Select if you are not guiding.

    Depending on which of the above selections are made, you will need to enter some or all of the following:
  • Focal Length (mm): Enter the focal length of the guide scope. If self-guided or off-axis guided, the guider's focal length is automatically set the same as the imager's focal length.
  • Pixel Size (micron): Enter the pixel size of your guide camera.  Consult the guider documentation for this value.
  • Unbinned Guide Scale: Automatically calculated after the above values are entered.
  • A/D Bits/Image Pixel: Enter a value appropriate for your guide camera.  Most CCD cameras are 16-bit per pixel while CMOS cameras are 8 or 12 bits per pixel. Consult the guider documentation for this value. With CMOS, it is recommended that a manual guide exposure of a bright star should be taken and measure the peak ADU. Some CMOS guider specs. indicate 12-bit but the actual image file can go up to 65535, indicating 16-bits per pixel. In this case, set the A/D bits to 16.
  • AO: Do not check when using a conventional guider. Check when using an AO (Adaptive Optic) guider. With an AO, there are typically two calibrations required - one for the moveable optic and another for moving the mount when the optic movement runs out of range. The latter is sometimes called "bumping". The optic calibration must be done manually, using the camera control program. Unless the relationship between the AO and guider changes, it need not be run again. Running the CCDAutoPilot Initialization process will optimize the bump calibration. be sure to follow the Initialization instructions to first calibrate the bump in the camera control program before running Initialization.
  • Binning: Enter the guider binning you want to use.  For most users, binning of 2 or 3 is most successful.

  • Type: Select from Equatorial and Fork.  Equatorial should be chosen if the mount has to flip when crossing the meridian.  This typically results in a rotation of the image plane by 180.  If this is not the case, choose Fork. If your mount supports any automatic meridian crossing logic to control guider directions or polarities, please disable it to prevent interfering with CCDAutoPilot's Predictive Guiding.
  • Guide Rate: Enter  the guide rate as a fraction of sidereal rate.
  • Double Slew: When checked, the mount will slew to the same coordinates twice.  With some mounts this can relieve belt tension and may result in better guiding.
  • Dec. Axis Release: When checked, the mount will perform a series of dec. axis slews to relieve any stiction or binding and may improve guiding with large payloads.
  • Precision Slew: When checked, the mount will slew to the specified target, plate solve the location, compare to the desired coordinate and make another slew to correct the position.
  • To Within: When checked, the mount will perform a Precision Slew and, after making the correcting slew, take another plate solve and see if it is within the specified tolerance.  If it is not, up to two additional correcting slews will be performed in an attempt to get within tolerance.  The slew tolerance should be chosen as a reasonable value related to the Unbinned Image Scale.  If the Unbinned image scale is .65 arc-sec./pixel and you want to lose no more than 30 pixels on your imaging sensor, then choose a scale of .65 x 30 or 20 arc-sec.
  • With Sync: When checked, the mount will sync to the first plate solve and then slew to the desired coordinates.  This should get the mount very close to the desired coordinates.  Do not use With Sync if you are using a Tpoint model as repeated syncs into the Tpoint model will pollute the model and actually make pointing worse.
  • Settling Time: Choose an amount appropriate for your mount to settle.  For high end mounts with modest loads, this can be as little as 3 seconds; with heavier loads or less precise mounts, it can take as long as 30 sec. for the system to settle.

    Altitude Limits
    These settings limit mount movement as described below.
  • Min. W Alt: This is the altitude at which imaging will be terminated for a given target once its altitude in the west falls below the specified value.
  • Min E. Alt: A target whose altitude is less than the specified value will be skipped. If Loop targets is enabled and the target rises above the specified altitude before the next time it is checked, then it will be acquired.
  • Max. E Alt & Max W. Alt:  You can set altitude limits for your mount, depending on your OTA and camera geometry and observatory walls. Setting a Min. W Altitude limit will insure your mount stops tracking before that limit. This is a nice fallback in case you miscalculate your run time. If Min. Alt is set to 0, there will be no minimum altitude limit applied. If this limit is exceeded during a target run, the light frame acquisition will cease for this target. Either the next target will be selected and acquired or the next programmed task will be executed. Max. E and Max W. Altitude limits can prevent your OTA from coming too close to your pier or tripod.