The observatory PC was down so I couldn’t operate any cameras – thus, no tracking error could be quantified. I did use the assisted polar alignment. Couldn’t start with PolarAlignMax as usual because of the PC so I just plopped it down and let the mount sort it out. That took longer than it would have if I had started a little closer to correct alignment, but it got me there. You can tell how far off you are by how long it watches the drift. When I started it was using periods of 20 seconds but by the time I was done it took 90 seconds or more to see enough drift to decide what to do. I really like the whole “turn knob .5 turns CW” bit! Both adjustments are very smooth and precise; I believe they are both worm drives. I’ll refine it later but it should be close enough now for reliable goto. I did a star alignment or two, just looking in the finderscope, and that seemed to work. I had the impression from reading the manual that the mount could do the alignment itself using the widefield Starlock camera but I didn’t figure out how to tell it to do that. I did observe the Starlock tracking camera going active and reporting tracking corrections so that appears to be working. That’s the camera it uses for drift, also. I don’t think I’ve done anything that used the widefield camera yet. I’ll turn on HPP next time I use the mount and see if that invokes the automatic object centering.
It seems nice and quiet now. I suppose it’s a combination of getting used to it, the gears wearing in a bit, and having it somewhere near balance. It’s nice (though not important) that it slews faster than the NJP.
I did get the PC running yesterday and installed the software from one of the disks. It came with three, for some reason, but the first one I grabbed seemed to have everything on it and until I check I’ll presume that they are all dupes. Don’t forget the drivers for the included serial-USB converter. I thought it was nice that they included that device, which presumably has been tested and found to be compatible with the controller. I’ve never had issues with serial-USB adaptors but have heard enough stories to know that it CAN be a problem.
Further testing under the stars will be arranged as time and weather permit. I’m eager to see some tracking results, and some test images!