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Model: skywatcher_autoguiderPart Number: 20240Brand: Skywatcher
The Skywatcher SynGuider is a simple and elegant stand-alone autoguider that can guide a German Equatorial Mount equipped with an St-4 autoguider port without the use of a PC/Laptop.
Features real-time star image display, standard ST-4 autoguider interface, user upgradeable firmware and M42 or 1.25" telescope connections.
Supplied with guiding handset & cable, serial cable and battery pack.
I bought this to begin taking guided exposures while avoiding the hassle of taking a laptop out with me. In summary, it's been excellent. After a couple of training runs (about 2 hours) I'm now getting excellent results. Even the first time out I was getting 5 minute exposures with my HEQ5 200P combination with no trailing. What I learned in my 2 or 3 hours of faffing and fiddling is that accurate focusing of the synguider is absolutely crucial for top quality results. Spend real time on this. If you don't the unit still works but with a diffuse image it will be guessing to some extent where the centre of the guide star is resulting in bigger stars than you'd want in your images. Another tip is to play with the exposure and noise setting until you get a nice tight star image while getting the bri level to about 20. The internet wisdom is that you should also reduce the aggressiveness settings by 50 %. I've done this but couldn't say whether it was crucial in getting a good result.Easy to set up, working well, I'm delighted. Do also look at getting a power adaptor rather than using the battery pack. The pack worked but is bulky.
Used properly, this guides my telescope accurately for astrophotography for as long as I want. Its shortcomings of a rather small screen, and too stiff cables have been covered before, hence only 4 stars. Also, trying to select an item from a sub menu can cause it to revert to the main menu occasionally. This is a minor irritation but no more.Occasionally it just won't guide properly in declination at all, and its nothing to do with the Synguider ! If the polar axis isn't well aligned, then the star drifts in declination in one direction only, and the dec. guiding works fine. When I aligned my polar axis accurately, it went unstable, because atmospheric turbulence makes it want to drive in either direction. Although the declination backlash setting in the controller was set to zero (as recommended), the small backlash compensation setting (less than the actual backlash) in my Skysensor 2000 controller was the problem. It is essential to set this to zero to prevent ANY rapid motor reversal, no matter how small. Elasticity, inertia and friction in the whole drive train act to make the system unstable. As I said, don't blame the Synguider for this.I have mine attached to a 400mm Skywatcher ST80, with a x2 barlow, giving the same focal length as my main 'scope. I use a Skywatcher adjustable mount with the guidescope to select a nearby star rather than relying on a suitable one being in the field of view. With the effective 800 mm focal length there often isn't a suitable star visible. I rarely use exposure intervals of more than 250 mSecs, giving a brightness value between 10 and 20.So with the whole mount and drive system set up and used properly, the Synguider works perfectly. No more laptop !
I combined one of these with my Startravel-80 refractor (also from First Light Optics) to form a guiding system for my Explorer 150P on a HEQ5 PRO mount.You need to have a mount with a compatible ST-4 guide port, as well as a suitable guide scope.It works as advertised. The screen on the back, while limited in what it can display, still does an overall good rendition of the star field and in most cases can guide on any star that it can see through the scope.It's a very neat and capable solution to guiding and is a real help to DSLR users or other mobile setups where you may not want or need to bring a laptop along with you.I used mine with a battery bag and the batteries would last 2-3 sessions before needing recharging or replacing. A separate 12v supply is needed (First Light Optics also sell these) if you wish to power the SynGuider from your portable power supply.In summary - you'd want to buy this auto guider if you're looking for a quick and easy portable solution to the problem of guiding. If you want to take photographs that are longer than 60 seconds and don't want to use a laptop - get the SynGuider. It does the job well.
HitecAstro Power Supply for Skywatcher Synguider£25.00
First Light Optics LtdUnit 7 Budlake UnitsBudlake RoadMarsh Barton Trading EstateExeter, DevonEX2 8PY
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