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Paramount ME Southern Hemisphere Setup

Page history last edited by Joshua Pepper 13 years, 2 months ago

The Paramount ME is a versatile telescope mount, and the software for controlling it, TheSky6 (or just TheSky) is quite powerful.  However, the default settings of TheSky are for the Northern Hemisphere, and several software parameters need to be changed when installing the mount in the Southern Hemisphere.  In general, these changes are given in Appendix D of the Paramount User's Guide (PDF - 3MB).  We found that for those unfamiliar with the setup process there are a few steps that require clarification, and that one point seems to be omitted from the guide.



When installing the telescope, the first step after attaching the camera and placing the mount on the pier and leveling it is typically polar alignment.  Before alignment, we followed Appendix D of the guide to adjust TheSky for Southern Hemisphere operations.  First we changed the Tics/Revolution of the Right Ascension motor from 11520000 to -11520000. That step caused the second adjustment, changing the Integer tracking rate for Right Ascension from -43,067,265 to 43,067,265.  The third adjustment in the guide is to change the Sensor HA and Dec from (2, 0) to (10, 180).  The "Sensor HA and Dec" in the guide refers to the Home Sensor Position displayed in the Setup tab of the Telescope | Options | More Settings box.  However, the values of the Home Sensor Position were grayed out and we could not change them.  It is also important to note that the changes we did make were not saved unless the Save to Flash button on the Setup tab is clicked before the OK button is clicked.


Unable to make the third adjustment, we moved on to the next task which is to reset the Telescope Declination Limits.  The interface to make this change, located at View | Reference Lines | Edit Dec Limit, is very strange.  You move the mouse over the window that looks like a plot, and the declination limit line follows the click and drag of the mouse.  For our setup, we moved the red line from the very top of the plot to the very bottom, from +90 degrees to -90.


Although we were not able to make one of the adjustments, we decide to go ahead with polar alignment.  Following the guide, we attempted the Quick Polar Alignment Method (page 45), which involves slewing to a bright star or planet near the meridian.  As soon as we tried to do so, we found that TheSky didn't recognize where the telescope was pointing.  We exchanged some posts on the Software Bisque Community Support Forums about this problem, where we found that we should first synchronize the telescope before doing polar alignment.  We successfully synchronized the telescope on a star, but then we had a different problem - when we then attempted to slew the telescope South, it slewed North, and vice versa.


The solution to this new problem was in an additional adjustment to TheSky that we did not see mentioned in the guide.  When making the adjustments to the Tics/Revolution for Right Ascension, one must also adjust the Tics/Revolution for Declination, from positive to negative.  In order to enable that change to apply, we had to first rehome the mount, then make the change, then slew back to the synchronization star and resynch.  After that, the telescope correctly identified its position and pointing, and it slewed correctly.  The correct settings for the Home Sensor Position also appeared in TheSky.



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