Merlin Speed/Controller problem  

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Wonf
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Merlin Speed/Controller problem

by Wonf » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:06 pm

Hi,

Recently, I purchased a Merlin head with the standard controller handbox ([1]). My aim is to try nightly time lapse videos with a rotation in siderial speed - which actually should be possible with that setup. Unfortunately, it doesn't: The lowest speed I can adjust is 8x siderial, far too much for a 25sec exposure, and the automatic tracking doesn't work at all :rolleyes:.

It seems, that the problem is the controller: First, it doesn't look exactly like the one in the manual, and also the functionality differs somehow: The upper three keys are labbelled "a", "b", and "c" instead "Guide", "slow" and "fast", and the lowest two have added "4" and "5" additionally to "set" and "go". Both is not shown in the picture of the controller in the manual. The speed setting does also not work in the way described. By simple trying I found out how it works: Instead of 6 there are 5 possible speeds adjustable, depending on the number which is pressed before.

Thus, my questions are:
- Is it known that there several versions of this standard handbox?
- How can I enable automatic tracking with my version?
- In the shop they told me that there are two versions of this head: one for panarama (my version) and one only dedicated for stellar observations. They also told me, that there are hardware differences also in the head, NOT only in the controller. Is this _really_ true?

As I'm pretty annoyed about this thing I really hope you can help me. Many thank in advance!
Wonf

[1] http://www.apm-telescopes.net/de/Montierungen-Stative/Azimutale-Montierungen/Acuter-MERLIN-Multi-Funktions-Montierung-727.html

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gkaefer
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by gkaefer » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:17 pm

no idea if merlin (for panos) can do what you want.
a solution that can do what you want could be:

>30 demos videos are available:
http://dynamicperception.com/videos

done with this set:
http://dynamicperception.com/products/stage-zero-ultimate-bundle

Georg

PS: the other one in that shop listed is the :
http://www.apm-telescopes.net/de/Montierungen-Stative/Azimutale-Montierungen/MERLIN-SynScan-AZ-Goto-Tischmontierung-757.html
here it is said it can not only 8x but also 1x 2x.... and I doubt that your version from your link can do it with the handcontroller allone...
Last edited by gkaefer on Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by Wonf » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:32 pm

Hi Georg,

Many thanks for the fast answer :), it's a really interesting web site. However, I have already a motorised dolly slider - primitive, self-made, but working sufficiently well for my needs.

Now I'd like to also try panning the camera duiring the time lapse, which can only be realised with a rotating head (at least to my limited beginners-knowledge). In the web-description there was written that auto-tracking and siderial sped is possible with the Panorama-version Merlin. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. I simply want to find out whether I'm too stupid to do what I want, or the controller is :).

Cheers,
Wonf
Last edited by Wonf on Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gkaefer
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by gkaefer » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:33 pm

ah.. found it - did remember There was something about manual & merlin some days ago ;-))
http://www.kolor.com/forum/p64207-2010-05-30-23-50-23
claude points to 2 different manuals, the non go-to should be the one for your version.

and look also on above thread @ my posting the link to "my" manual ... see page 6... choose "guide" option to set 1x sidereal speed...) or claudes non-go-to manual on page 8...

Georg
Last edited by gkaefer on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by Wonf » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:00 pm

Hi Georg,

Thx for the info :). Today I phoned he guys from the shop, they told me there are sometimes indeed problems with the head/controllers. We agreed that I return the device and they send me a replacement, because the tracking should work definately.

He also told me that there will be changes in the near future concerning the controller, and mine one being maybe one of the new type with yet undocumented "features" (different key labels, 5 speeds). This maybe is interesting for other users which obtain the new handbox.

I'll keep you informed when there are news :-)
Wonf

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by Woody » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:41 pm

Hi there,

Interesting... did you manage to get a new one that worked? I havent had my Merlin very long, but cant understand how to control the auto tracking for what I need to do. (for timelapse pans)

Does anyone know how I can get it to just pan at sidereal speed L to R? I obviously understand that it is to auto track the stars- but I was wondering if it was set to a specific latitude whether it will simplay pan L to R or vice versa...

I've been shooting timelapses with it at the slowest slewing speed, but wondering whether there's a way to use the really slow tracking speed without having to buy an expensive MX2 and plug connector for it, keeping it as a simple single unit.

Anyone out there know?

Thanks in advance!

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by shutterdrone » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:53 pm

Woody,

If you are handy with DIY and can do basic soldering/software, there is no need to buy an MX2. The instructions for making a cable to go from Arduino->Merlin are in the MX2 user guide, and the MX2 source code contains the control library. You could use an arduino and a few resistors to write your own control for it.

However, I'm getting a lot of reports that the latest firmware doesn't work at all. It doesn't allow for GOTO commands as it has previously, and trying to read back position (travel and read back), isn't working either. It will take some time to figure out what they changed.

Chris

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by Wonf » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:52 pm

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay, but now I can report that there is indeed an update of the hard-/software. The layout and functionality of the standard handset has changed a bit, the company send an addition to the manual per fax describing the new functionality.

My Merlinhead was replaced and I could grab an "old" handset in addition for comparison, all worked fine at home. So I travelled to Madeira for a few weeks with the head and tried to use it for TL vids. First, in the hotel room it worked fine, but on the first trip to a mountain top (Pico Areiejo) it showed some unmotivated strange movements. Back in the hotel it worked fine gain.... (???). Back on the mountian top the uncontrolled movement started immidately again...(???).

So I tested it again in the hotel room in more detail and by chance it turned out, that (!) simple opening/closing the rooms curtain (!) confused this head. open curtain - crazy. closed curtain: normal (this is NOT a joke!) :D. I did not touch the head or the controller meanwhile! . Also standing up / sitting down had the same effect... :lol:

I have absolutely *no idea* what happens with this *&%$§-thing..... My only guess is that maybe a strong radio emitter confused this thing (there's a military radar station at the top of Pico Areiejo). As the head meanwhile keeps his unmotivated movements I'm pretty pissed about this thing (most probably I'll scrap it :( ).

Is the Merlinhead/controllers known to be very sensitive to radio emission / has anyone observed a similar behaviour?
Is there any possibility to try it with a new/old firmware? Is it possible to modify/update it? In the "manual" there's no description....

Thanks
Wonf

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:16 pm

Wonf wrote:I have absolutely *no idea* what happens with this *&%$§-thing..... My only guess is that maybe a strong radio emitter confused this thing (there's a military radar station at the top of Pico Areiejo). As the head meanwhile keeps his unmotivated movements I'm pretty pissed about this thing (most probably I'll scrap it :( ).

To solve your problem is quite simple:

Under the bubble is an optical sensor which controls the motor. In bright light the sensor gets confused by light which comes through the bubble and reaches the sensor.
So take a piece of black tape and stick it under the bubble to avoid light falling through it. :cool:

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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gkaefer
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by gkaefer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:35 pm


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Wonf
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by Wonf » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:15 pm

Hi Klaus & Georg,

Thanks for the fast answers :). Acutally, a light sensitive device was my first guess, but I excluded this idea because in the night it didn't work properly, but in the hotel room during daylight, it worked. In addition, lighing the interior with a torch didn't had any effect. Meanwhile I tried it again and added a tape as described in your links, and it seems that it works "a bit" now (i.e. some features of the handset work, some not). I'm pretty baffled :|

I'll keep on trying to convice it to work properly.

Thanks for your help :D
Wonf
Last edited by Wonf on Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:38 pm

Wonf wrote:(i.e. some features of the handset work, some not). I'm pretty baffled :|

Wait a second: which handset exactly?

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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gkaefer
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by gkaefer » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:55 pm

... this decides the question if you took the red or the green pill :D

possible answers:
+ Merlin handcontroller (without lcd display) (1)
+ Merlin handcontroller (with lcd display) (2)
+ the T & C handcontroller (3)

(1) http://www.teleskop-austria.at/shop/index.php?lng=de&m=2&kod=mont-hqx-stc-sw
(2) http://www.teleskop-austria.at/shop/index.php?lng=de&m=2&kod=mont-azt-ssb-sw
(3) http://www.typeandcolour.de/index.php?tp=Produkte&up=cont

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Wonf
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by Wonf » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:23 pm

I have two different versions of link number (1). The one in the link is the "old" layout. There's a new layout, with slightly different labelling of the buttons:

Button "1/Guide" is labelled "1/a" in the new version
"2/slow" --> "2/b"
"3/fast" --> "3/c"
"go" --> "4/go"
"Set" --> "5/set"

Also the functionality has slightly changed. The company I ordered from sent me a small "Addendum" describing the new functionality. However, only minor changes were realised, mainly concerning the speeds. I can try to scan&post this addendum later (but currently my flat is refurbished, so there's "some" mess here :D )

The functionality which work is the tracking with sidereal and 8x siderial time. All others are gone.....


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