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Full Version: GuideDog Autoguiding Software / Review by Woodwizard
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woodwizard
GuideDog Autoguiding Software


Guidedog allows you to use your webcam to autoguide any ASCOM supported telescope mount. In addition, mounts with a CCD Guide Port can be guided through a parallel port based relay box.


Features
Dedicated, standalone, easy-to-use autoguider software
Supports the SC-1 long-exposure webcam to allow guiding on faint stars
Uses ASCOM for scope control to support many different telescopes/mounts
Support for parallel port based relay boxes to connect to the CCD Guide Port of most mounts
Sub-pixel guiding on a star centroid
Audible alarm if lock on the guide star is lost
Runs under Windows 98, 2000, ME, and XP without having to install additional port access drivers
For my setup with the Losmandy G11, I used my parallel port on my PC. To the parallel port I had to purchase a GPINT-PT adapter from Shoestring Astronomy (www.shoestringastronomy.com). Also picked up a 25 ft RJ-12 cable from Shoe String to go between GPINT-PT adapter and Autoguider port on the Gemini Control Box.
I used my Meade LPI or ToUcam to acquire the guide star. Open GuideDog. Screen will open as shown below.Of course my imaging scope is slewed to what I want to image. And a star is centered in my guidescope by adjusting the rings.




In the tool bar, set up your camera,guiding,telescope and options. Very good instructions can be downloaded from GuideDog website.Once evrything is finished in setup, click on the Preview button. An image is now displayed on screen from your guiding camera. You may have to adjust the exposure slide bar to see image. Next you click on the focus button, and focus image. I use a Hartmann Mask here to do the focusing. You can also center your image while focusing. Once your happy with the focus, click on the lock button and right click with your mouse arrow on the guide star. A two ringed recitile will appear on screen with your guide star in the center. The Lock button will turn from red to green. Now click on the Guide button. This button will also turn from red to green. Below this button you will notice the dx and dy numbers.I had to play around with the aggressivness slider and exposure rate. All of this is explain in the directions.
I was autoguiding the first night out. GuideDog kept my guidestar centered for over 5 hrs. Could have gone longer but clouds rolled in on me. I know if I can set this program up anybody can do it.
On the GuideDog website is a Discussion forum which is VERY helpful. Steve Barkes, the programer for GuideDog is there to answer any and all questions.
The software does not currently work with the Meade DSI, but Steve is working on the codes.
I am very happy with the performance with GuideDogs ability to track and keep my guide star centered. I know this program will greatly increase the quality of my astrophotos.
The best part is this program is FREE. But donations can be send to Steve to help offset all his time to improve a great program and add more codes for new cameras.
JörgHanisch
Hi All,

I don't use this kind of hardware, but I thought this could be of interest to you.

there is a Program called Guidemaster. Some German Amateurs use this and I heard very good things of it.

In case you are interested: http://www.guidemaster.de/index_en.asp

Of course, this is also Freeware! :wink:

Regards,

Jörg
Mark Cislo
Nice review. Can you still use the software if you only have USB ports. Most newer computers don't even give you parallel or serial ports anymore.
Richard B. Drumm
I think you can get USB to Serial converters that'll get you there...
I think...
Rich
rsbfoto
QUOTE(Mark Cislo)
Nice review. Can you still use the software if you only have USB ports. Most newer computers don't even give you parallel or serial ports anymore.


Hi,

Take a look at the site www.shoestringastronomy.com and go into the shop. Doug Anderson has nearly any kind of adapter so you can work with different software as well as ports.

QUOTE
I think you can get USB to Serial converters that'll get you there...


The cable type of USB to serial adapters are quite problematic. The best is either to get a PCMCIA serial adapter card for a Laptop or a PCI serial adapter card for a desktop computer. There are companies like Quadtech, Manhattan or Socketcom, etc. which make this sort of adapters.

I have a Manhattan two PCI serial adapter cards with each 4 serial ports which works very nice, absolutely problem free. www.manhattan-support.com

For parallel ports there are nearly no solutions and if you find one then it is not equal to a native parallel port. Those mostly work for printers.
Dan Wolk
QUOTE(JörgHanisch)
Hi All,

I don't use this kind of hardware, but I thought this could be of interest to you.

there is a Program called Guidemaster. Some German Amateurs use this and I heard very good things of it.

In case you are interested: http://www.guidemaster.de/index_en.asp

Of course, this is also Freeware! :wink:

Regards,

Jörg



Hi Jorg,
Would this support a Meade DSI Pro II ?
Thanks,
Dan NM
woodwizard
The Quatech SPP-100 PCMCIA/Parallel card works just fine for me. I had to email customer support for the older drivers to support 0378 address. I now have a copy of older drivers if needed by anyone.
Many portable and handheld computers do not provide a parallel port. When they do, the built-in port often cannot function in EPP mode. Quatech’s SPP-100 is an ideal choice in these situations when a high speed parallel interface is required. For example, the SPP-100 is currently being used in several portable medical applications to provide EEG and EKG tests to patients in remote areas who would otherwise need to travel hours to reach the nearest hospital. It is used as part of a real-time scoring system for stock-car racing, and as an interface for an electronic sewing machine. Of course, the most common use is to provide a high-speed printer port when one is not provided by the PC.

Quatech’s SPP-100 fully supports the IEEE 1284 EPP standard, and functions exactly like a computer’s native parallel port. Thus, unlike the many USB to parallel converters on the market, Quatech’s SPP-100 will work seamlessly with any hardware or software that requires either an EPP or standard parallel port. It is compatible with both 3.3V and 5V systems.
http://www.quatech.com/catalog/parallel_pcmcia.php
rsbfoto
Hi Woodwizard,

Yes you are right. Now that you mention it I think those are the only ones.
woodwizard
Yes, I think it is also. I did not see another one when I was looking. The SPP-100 does work great. Been using it now for a couple of months.
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