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Orion / Merlin MOD

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:18 am
by vertrider
Hi there,

I am a long time AutoPanoPro user doing landscapes etc and recently bought a Merlin (as I am also shooting astro images). However, as I am doing more and more day-to-night timelapse movies made from still images, I was sad to discover a limitation of the Merlin mount: In terrestrial use it cannot do sideral (earth rotation) tracking speed. I tried Astronomical mode, but there always the two axis are moving - but I only need the horizontal axis moving...

Situation: On a horizontal move, I want to store point A (start) of a timelapse horizontal panorama and point B (end). BUT then I want GOTO from A to B with 1x tracking speed - in 7-8 hrs it can do a 360 degree rotation (not with 32x which is way to fast for panoramic still image timelapse).

example see here (beautiful timelapse from collegaue Bernd Prà¶schold - make sure to watch the full movie - it is truly amazing when the stars come up and go down again):

This timelapse movie was done using a EOS 5D DSLR and T2 mounted Nikon AFS 14-14/2.8 with a simple skywatcher EQ2 mount and one motor. but a little bit more comfort (with the Merlin) would be cool.

As I am nor a programmer or a electronics engineer here is my question: is anyone in this valuable forum willing to implement or MOD my Merlin's controller so that I can use 1x sideral speed in Goto mode too.

If not, what hardware/software would I need?

I use this Merlin version here (I guess it is the latest one):

I have some budget for such a mod. Please send a PM if you are interested to do this.

Thanks a lot and clear skies!

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:33 pm
by claudevh
A quick reply,

You can use "Papywizard" with "XML" presets files designed for Timelapse.

You will find 2 "Timelapse preset generators" herafter :

By this way, you will get a huge choice for solving all "Timelapse" situations ...

With Papywizard, you get much more possibilities then with the Merlin hand-controler alone.
You must of course connect your Merlin head with your PC/Mac/Nokia running Papywizard ... via a wired or Bluetooth "wireless" interface. (several possibilies exists ...)

Have a look on all that and don't hesitate to come back with more questions ...

Have fun. :)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:22 am
by vertrider

thank you very much. I checked out the links and it is amazing what you guys are doing with papywizard.

If only the day would have more than 24" hrs :)


PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:15 am
by vertrider

quick question: which version of Papywizard is compatible with the Bluetooth Interface of

I am working on Mac's so I would like to use the Version of Papy which is OSX compatible.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:29 am
by mediavets
vertrider wrote:Claude,

quick question: which version of Papywizard is compatible with the Bluetooth Interface of

I am working on Mac's so I would like to use the Version of Papy which is OSX compatible.


It's compatible with all versions of Papywizard. The BT adapter plugs into the Merlin mount in place of the hand controller.

But why buy this BT adapter when the Delta-Papymerlin adapter from Claude (or Kolor or SkiVR) is less expensive:

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:29 am
by claudevh
Hello Chris,

As allready said by Andrew, Papywizard don't care about the Brand name of the interface.

You can connect your Mac to the Merlin head with a "wired" connection or with a "wireless" connection .... the only conditions are :
1. You must have the correct wiring between the communication device and the Merlin.
2. You must have a device who communicate via TTL 5V (USB to TTL, Bluetooth, Wifi, etc ...) the most "popular" is Bluetooth considering confort, the most "robust" is USB to TTL (wired connection)
3. The chosen connection method should be adapted to what you want achieve and the "mobility" you want to have...

Timelapse is a "very long" process and both camera's, PC/MAC, Merlin head must be capable of running sometime for hours without discontinuing !
Generaly Timelapse is quite static, in the sense that you will not move your material "every 5 minutes" ;)

For your MAC, there is no problem for installing Papywizard.
There is a "recent" DMG file with the last version of Papywizard :

You can install it and play with Papywizard who is able to run in "simulation mode" without any hardware other then your MAC.
This is a good opportunity for initiation without any costs.
You will be able to try "Timelapse presets" in simulation.

Have fun. :)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:40 pm
by vertrider
Hi Claude,

I already had ordered the Bluetooth module from Teleskope in Vienna, when I saw the links in the Post of Andrew. The complete Autopano Merlin Package is very cool, very nicely tuned out!!

Thanks for the PW download link, looking forward to play around with PW on the Mac. Thanks for providing a native OSX Version of PW, because then I can leave out Parallels (for Windows XP) and it will fit on my MacBook Air nicely.

Yes, TimeLapse is *very* static. I already did some with my AstroTrac full night, so I have a lot of different power sources around for outdoor use (PowerTank, Battery, 300W/12V converter etc), hahaha. You never want to run out of power or GB space on TimeLapse neither on the Merlin or the Camera...

Looking forward to begin testing with the Merlin and PW from next week on - hopefully the weather stays like it is. Beautiful starlight in the night.


PS: If you ever come around Innsbruck let me know... I know most cable car companies around town and there are some cool 2000 m+ mountain places to do Gigapixel panos ;)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:28 pm
by 120to120
Hallo vertrider,
wann treffen wir uns unter dem Goldenen Dachl? Schick mir bitte eine PN.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:45 am
by walterfiton9
Hi there I am new here
one question, dose anybody know which (equipment) Bernd Prà¶schold use to rotate his camera? (video number(2) in the list, is the video where all the stars are fix, do not move, and the earth (horizon) rotate around them.

it is a Merlinor or other?
Many many thanks for your help


PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:20 pm
by claudevh
Hello Walter,

By deep examination of the video (mainly TV show), I believe that he is using a "self-modified" Skywatcher EQ1.
This mount is basically a "manual equatorial mount", and the modification is made with a "Orion EQ-1M, EQ-2M & EQ-3M Electronic Telescope Mount Drives"

This "modified mount" is "very basic" but it work ... !

You can achieve the same results with a classical Merlin mount normally without problems ... this is just a question of correct "polar" allignment of the Merlin ... (see the manual)