All things wear out and fade away. My trusty ST4 autoguider, while still functional, is nearing that time. While I love its simplicity it suffers from poor sensitivity. Many of its critical parts are no longer available, repair would be difficult. Its better to have a new system ready than have the old fail in the middle of nowhere.
Friday I received my new Orion Star Shooter Autoguider (SSAG) and last night was its first light. Right out of the box it worked, the latest version of PHD Guiding works very well. Last nights 50 minute test was done using PHD’s default configuration and my G11 was setup like I was using the ST4 (2x guide rate). The guide rate maybe too high. While tracking was good (+/- 1 pixel) there was some RA overshoot on corrections. So I need to spend some time tweaking the software and finding the proper drive rate for this setup. Overall I am extremely pleased with the SSAG plus it weighs 80% less than the ST4/flipmate setup.
Oh, and sorry everyone in the midwest. I’m sure it will be cloudy for a week now!