Contains:  Gear
About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben

About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount

About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben

About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount

Description

I am testing my new mount : the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI GoTo mount.

I am sharing here my setup and my first tests.



============================================================================

What I was looking for...

============================================================================



- replacing both the Vixen Polarie mount and the Star Adventurer mount in one unique mount

- 2 motorized axes for easy motion, panoramas, 2 axes guiding...

- GoTo for targetting more easily small objects

- portable

- easy powered

At first sight the AZ-GTI is an alt-az mount so not suitable for photography.

Sky-Watcher has released a firmware to turn the mount into an equatorial mount.

The firmware was experimental at the beginning but now it seems to be a stable release. I thought it was the right moment to jump into new experiences.



============================================================================

Hardware (DSO setup)

============================================================================



- the AZ-GTI mount + tripod + extension tube (all this is in the full package)

- an equatorial wedge for easy polar alignement. You can use the Star Adventurer one.

Mine : link

[UPDATE] the chinese wedge was not very strong. Some play in it. I decided to upgrade to the William Optics wedge. Expensive but strong and very pleasant to use (link).

- a polar scope, attached in the blue support : link

There is no illumination so I can not see the reticle. Not needed for now in my process.

[UPDATE] I do not use the polar scope anymore in DSO setup. Sharpcap is enough.

- counterweight

     * shaft + counterweights : link

     * additionnal counterweight : link

- dovetail plate : link

The SA plates also works.

For simple setup (shooting milky way) I will use the SA ballhead adapter : link

- Samyang 135mm + ASI183MM Pro + ASI to Sony E mount adapter

adapter : link

[UPDATE] Now I use ASI183MM + ZWO Electronic Filter Wheel (small one) + Canon Samyang 135mm + adaptors.

- Datyson T7c camera (ASI120 clone) + 32mm guidescope

     * guide scope : link

     * pan/tilt head : link

NB : the guide scope may be better attached, using less weight (the pan/tilt head is heavy) but for now it does the job

- focusing

     * I will use my DIY motorized focuser (link)

     * for the tests I have used a follow focus ring : link

- powering : from the manual it runs at 12V and it draws 750mA.

I have measured the power consumption with a multimeter : when tracking the mount draws about 50 mA. When the motors move at the highest speed the peak is about 300 mA.

     * in the backyard a classic 12V wall converter will do the job

     * on the go :

          -- you can put 8 AA batteries inside the mount ; not very practical to charge 8 batteries but it may be useful one day

          -- I have successfully tested this 5V->12V/1A converter, plugged to a USB power bank : link

          -- of course a classic 12V power tank will fit. I have this one : link

- one PC running Windows 10, connected to the mount WIFI

- total weight on the mount is about 3.2 kg. The mount is rated for 5 kg.



============================================================================

Imaging workflow (DSO setup)

============================================================================



- polar alignement :

     * rough alignement with polar scope : just putting Polaris in the scope.

     * fine alignement : with Polar Align tool in Sharcap. Works great.

[UPDATE] Now i do not use the polar scope anymore when using Sharpcap. Going roughly manually while Sharpcap is solving is enough to be in the pole area.

- focusing : with Focus Assistant tool in Sharpcap

[UPDATE] I also focus by visually inspecting a star in the field, zooming at 400-600 %. With Samyang 135 at f/2.8 and 1.5 seconds exposure one can see if the star is focus or not.

- star alignement : with Sky-Watcher SynScan Pro app (PC or smartphone version).

[OLD] 2 stars alignment seems to be enough for this setup (FOV is 3.15° x 2.12°).

- targetting : with SynScan Pro app

[NEW] What i do now is :

* slew to target in SynScan, without doing star alignment

* take a picture with Sharpcap (~ 10 s)

* launch All Sky Plate Solver software, connect the mount, solve

* in SynScan, delete alignment model if any, click align with scan and go back in All Sky to sync

* disconnect mount in All Sky, slew to target again in SynScan

* If needed, repeat the steps before. For me one iteration is enough

- shooting : with Sharcap

- guiding : with PHD2



============================================================================

Use cases and results

============================================================================



Please note that these are my own first tests. This is not a complete review of what the mount can do.

For instance the tracking results could vary depending on the declination target.

- milky way landscape / timelapse setup : Sony A7s (unmod) + Samyang 24mm, tracked during 30"

     * minimal setup (no guide scope, small plate, no counter shaft / weight).

     * shot at f/2.8.

     * resolution : 72.1" per pixel.

     * looks no problem.

     * only rough polar alignment (Polaris in scope).

- milky way close up / landscape / DSO scape / timelapse : Sony A7s + Samyang 135mm, tracked during 30"

     * same minimal setup except that shaft and counterweight are needed !

     * shot at f/2.8.

     * resolution : 12.82" per pixel.

     * only rough polar alignment (Polaris in scope)

To be confirmed. Maybe I was lucky and a better Polaris position in scope would be needed (this would require illumination to see the reticule)

     * looks no problem, see pic D, close up in pic E.

- DSO setup, unguided light version

     * no guide scope, no guiding camera.

     * shot with 12 nm Ha filter, gain 180, sensor temperature 28°.

     * focus not at the best in this test.

     * resolution : 3.66" per pixel.

     * polar alignement was "Excellent" in Sharcap.

     * autostretched images. Looks nice until 60" (see pic F and close up in pic G). At 90" there was some trails.



- DSO setup, guided

     * shot with 12 nm Ha filter, ASI178MM with gain 180, sensor temperature 27°.

     * resolution : 3.66" per pixel.

     * polar alignement was between "Fair" and "Good" in Sharcap => possible improvement here.

     * PHD2 displayed a warning message after calibration => possible improvement here ?

     * autostretched images.

     * North America, 4 minutes : looks fine. See pic J and close up pic K.

     * M31, 5 minutes : fine at 1:1 scale, pix L. However close up (pic M) shows not perfectly round stars.



============================================================================

Pictures results

============================================================================



M31

North America and Pelican

M45 / Pleiades



============================================================================

Conclusion

============================================================================



It's just the beginning but for now I am happy with this mount.

A few points :

     - It looks like a Star Adventurer with additionnal features.

     - Need more tests to see the possible exposure limits.

     - GoTo feature is very nice (and fun !). Endless plate solving for targetting is over ^^



============================================================================

Useful links

============================================================================



Tadej Skofic's YouTube channel (setup tutorials and results) : link

David Parks's review on using the AZ-GTI with different devices (Windows PC, ASIAIR, and Stellarmate) : link

David Parks's full setup with 73mm APO : link

Giant thread on Cloudy Nights : link

Comments

Revisions

  • Final
    About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    Original
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    B
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    C
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    D
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    E
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    F
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    G
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    J
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    K
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    L
  • About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben
    M

C

Description: polar scope support (blue part)

Uploaded: ...

D

Description: A7s + 135mm, 30"

Uploaded: ...

E

Description: A7s + 135mm, 30", close up

Uploaded: ...

F

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 60" unguided

Uploaded: ...

G

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 60" unguided, close up

Uploaded: ...

J

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 4 minutes guided

Uploaded: ...

K

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 4 minutes guided, close up

Uploaded: ...

L

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 5 minutes guided

Uploaded: ...

M

Description: ASI178MM + 135mm (3.66" per pixel), 5 minutes guided, close up

Uploaded: ...

Histogram

About the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI mount, 



    
        

            Ben

In these public groups

AZGTi Skywatcher