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Parking position

When disconnecting my Astrophysics 900GTO mount Sky Safari asked me if I want to park in position 4. How can I change this to park in position 3

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    Bill Tschumy

    Unfortunately, you can't.  AstroPhysics told us everyone wanted Park 4.  Perhaps we can add the option in the future.

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    Christopher K Erickson

    I'm pretty sure that isn't exactly what they said but no matter.

     

    Adding Park-3 would be significantly useful.  It is the only park position that has the counterweights straight down and the OTA straight North/South, which is the most practical orientation when setting up and tearing down a GEM mount in the field.

     

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    John Sillasen

    Actually Astro-Physics only said Park 4 was the new one only people using APCC are using. Most of the real world uses Park 3, Bill. In fact, Astro-Physics owner said they were not asked for all park positions and only supplied the minimum. Roland specifically asked us to ask YOU for the park positions that we want. Bill, it is not a one stop fits all question. There are 4 Park positions. I have two of the newer mounts and trnd to only use Park 3. I am NOT in an observatory and need to setup and tear down and put my mount in a case every time I use it. Park 3 is the only park position I ever, EVER use. Please, please consider adding a selection box to all the AP community to park in any of the 4 available park positions ASAP. PS, I only use Android and am a Sky Safari Pro 5 user.

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    Bill Tschumy

    Christopher & John,

    They really did tell me that Park 4 was all that was really needed.  Sure it would be nice to implement the others but there was a big time crunch to get that out as it was.

    Allowing the user to choose would add some additional user interface complexity.  It sounds like an easy "pop up a choice panel" but it really is not that simple.

    We may add the other options in SkySafari 6 but SkySafari 5 is not getting any new code now other than bug fixes.

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    Christopher K Erickson

    Okay, I am reasonably content with only Park 4 in SSP5.  I am grateful that any AP resume from Park-N was added at all.

    Park 4 is handy in a fixed observatory and for mobile setups where a change in latitude has taken place and the clutches must be released and re-locked as part of the mobile teardown and setup process.

    Park 3 is the handiest park position for a lot of people (I would say the vast majority of mobile AP users) that prefer to avoid unlocking the clutches on our AP mounts when tearing them down and setting them back up when working mobile.  The mount MUST have the counterweight shaft pointing straight down to attach the counterweights and the OTA.  If we use Park 3, the mount is already in that position and if we have leveled the tripod reasonably well and done a reasonable polar alignment, we don't need to unlock the clutches during setup or teardown and our first GOTO is fairly accurate and quick.  If the clutches have to be unlocked and the axes manually moved to Park 4 then we lose our saved alignment and we must take another 5-15 minutes with a level to manually approximate Park 4, perform a test slew and recalibrate (sync) on a known object.  Using the same park position that we needed to use to assemble the mount saves time and just makes great sense to us.

    I am going to speculate that whenever Sky Safari is used with an AP mount, the odds are maybe 95% that the mount is being used mobile.  Permanent installations are likely to have an observatory PC running AP software and the user doesn't need SSP to initialize the mount.

    So here is my AP wish list for SSp6:

    ----------------------------------------------------

    AP GO TO PARK POSITION

    [2]-[3]-[4]

    -----------------------------------------------------

    AP RESUME FROM PARK POSITION

    [2] [3] [4] [current]

    -----------------------------------------------------

     

     

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    Ajtv

    Bill,
    If your not going to add new code then can you just change the park to position 3 ?

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    Bill Tschumy

    Probably not.  A-P told me that if we have only one, it should be Park 4.  If I get an overwhelming groundswell of people saying they'd rather have Park 3, it much be possible.  I would want A-P to approve that change though.

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    Christopher K Erickson

    If there is only going to be one park position supported for portable operation, it should be Park 3.

    If there is only going to be one park position supported in a stationary observatory operation, it should be Park 4. 

    99% of the time I see SSP being needed to initialize AP mounts only when they are being used in the field for visual use.

    For some time AP has been focusing their mount products on the permanent observatory imaging market running ASCOM and not the mobile, visual-use market.

    Consequently they may not have been worrying very much about how us mobile users are actually utilizing their mounts.  With the AP hand controllers we have access to Park 3 and since none of us had any reason to complain or provide any feedback to AP about how we were using their mounts, they didn't have a good picture of what we all were doing.

    I believe that if you were to perform a survey you would find that SSP users owning AP mounts would vote for Park 3 by about 90-100%.

     

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    Bill Tschumy

    Understood.  I'm scrambling to get ready to leave in a couple of hours for the AstroCon conference in Casper, WY.  I have marked this thread and will get back to it when I return next week.  Thanks for the feedback. 

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    Howard H.

    As the Astro-Physics representative who worked with Bill and the Tim on this, I'd like to clarify.  We have always wanted to have ALL of the AP park positions available on Sky Safari, along with the option to "Resume from Last Position" which initializes a mount into the position it was in when powered off.  When we added the ability to initialize into Sky Safari, we were under a time deadline to get something ready and working for NEAF 2017.  I had always hoped that we would take the next steps after that, but I'm afraid I may have dropped the ball.

    As for the selection of Park 4 as the position to use if only one was available, the reason is simple:  Park 4 (and Park 1 also) have the distinct advantage that they can be very accurately set with a bubble level.  Park 1 has some other issues since it is on the west side of the mount.  Park 2 and 3 are handy enough, but can only be set by "eyeballing" the alignment.  Starting from Park 4 allows enough accuracy to usually put the first GoTo target in the eyepiece. 

    I will be delighted to work with Bill and Tim again to add more functionality to the Astro-Physics / Sky Safari marriage.  Adding "Resume from Last Position" and Park 3 would probably be the top two on my priority list, as they are the most universally applicable.

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    Howard H.

    Some further thoughts:  If you do not move the mount via the clutches  for balancing, etc. when you power off, then the only thing you really need in addition to the reference Park 4 is the ability to resume from the last position.  Our mounts do not need to be parked, and they will remember where they were if initialized properly without any need for a calibration on a park position.  Use Park 4 if you've moved with the clutches.  Use last position if you haven't moved anything. 

     

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