Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Paramount MyT - Day 1 - Unpacking, Assembling, Connecting

I heard a lot of good things about the Paramount mounts (T-Point, ProTrack, Polar Alignment) that I bought a Paramount MyT. It has almost the exact same specification as my Astro-Physics Mach1 mount (load, size...) i.e. should be a good fit for my TOA-130 scope.

After less then a week(!!), the boxes arrived - 4 big boxes!
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Unpacking and assembling was super-easy. The mount is really well-made and comes in surprisingly few pieces.

When I put the counterweights and my scope on top, one of the pier extensions gave in!!! They seemed to be rather flimsy considering the amount of weight that they have to support. I moved them all in and move the mount horizontal with good, old paper under the legs!
<picture of legs>

One of the first things I noticed was the great altitude alignment: you can easily move it up to roughly where you need it and then do the fine alignment with the altitude screw. Moving the mount upwards with the screw requires some force - the altitude screw of the Mach1 mount was WAY easier to turn in comparison.
<picture of altitude alignment>

While I was setting this up, I suddenly noticed that the plate that the mount gets screwed in turned on the pier! I tied the 6 set screws some more (some were a little loose) - hopefully that won't happen again.

Once I had everything mounted, I wanted to try the (super simple!) handcontrol. But it didn't do anything. I switched the mount off and on, unplugged the hand control... And finally read the manual: I have to home the mount first (that's very different from the Mach1).

Homing can only be done from TheSkyX. So, I tried to connect, but couldn't find the MyT mount in the list of mounts (only all other Bisque mounts). Turns out, I needed the latest version of TheSkyX for that. Installed it, now I could see the MyT mount! But when I tried to connect, it threw an error. Reading the manual again, it needed a driver. I plugged the USB stick that came with the mount into the NUC computer and installed it. Tried again, and again an error!!! It's a little misleading: the mount has a USB port and connects to a USB port. But internally, it still uses a serial port and hence needs to know on which COM port it needs to connect! Once I set it, I could connect to the mount and TSX immediately asked me if I want to home the mount. I said yes, and the scope turns into the homing position. Now I could use the hand control to move the mount/scope around.

Next, I wanted to connect the mount to SGPro and PHD to see if they work with it. I needed a new Ascom driver for the MyT mount. Installed that one and then I could select it from the list of mounts in both programs. Important to remember: the both connect to TheSkyX!!! I.e. I always have to keep it running - otherwise the mount wouldn't work.

By now, it was pretty late, so I just wanted to check if I can move the mount around. Worked easily in SGPro. In PHD2, I tried to calibrate the mount, but it didn't move. At all!!!

... now it was 2:30am - and I needed to go to bed!!!