Hutech Hinode Solar Guider Review
Hutech Solar Autoguider
Last year I purchased a solar telescope and was very excited to begin using it. For day long viewing I quickly tired of making tracking adjustments on my mount, granted if I had better alignment this would be less of an issue. Most of us solar observers know that aligning during the day is problematic as most mounts are used for night viewing with star alignment possible, In day time you simply have no stars to align visually. No worries!! You now have the Hutech Hinode Solar Guider to make all that pain go away.
At nearly $700.00 it is not exactly the cheapest Solar Only accessory, but in my opinion is well worth it, especially for imaging - read on.
In the Box: This Guider is well packed into a small plastic carry case with almost everything you need to begin right out of the box. The solar guider can be ordered specific for mounting to your solar telescope, Lunt, Coronado, or a generic Guider can be acquired as well. For me this device replaced my default "solar finder". You get the Beautiful White Guider, USB Cable for power, Guide Port Cable, and a rugged hand controller.
Installation: Simple and straight forward. If you bought one specific to your scope it will be a direct bolt on. Otherwise you simply need to mount the guider like any other guider, in-line with the optics.
The Hand controller allows you to calibrate the guiding specific to your mount - it learns your mounts specifics and takes about two minutes before being ready for guide mode. No need for a computer to operate this unit. Once your scope is set up and approximately aligned, you slew the scope to the sun, then use the hand controller to position the solar disk into the Guider's recital until you hear an audible tones, once you are happy with the position of the sun in your eyepiece, you tell the guider to "learn" and for the next couple minutes the Guider adapts to the mounts specifics and alignment. Once the guider knows how to make the necessary adjustments to maintain the solar disk perfectly centered - it sends a tone with a light on the controller's led to indicate it is time to set to GUIDE, and the rest as they say is history. This thing works!
As it guides on the sun, an audible tones lets you know when it loses sight of the sun (clouds) with a tone, and also when it returns to tracking mode when the clouds pass, and it makes correction to re-center the sun just where it left off. I had a session with passing clouds and the guider handled it with no issues. The sound volume is adjustable using the hand controller if you have neighbors or dogs.
This device works wonderfully on my Losmandy Gemini 1 system, or Genini II and I suspect just as good on other mounts that have a ST4 guider port. Keeps the sun centered for several hours, allowing me to process a few shots while the scope keeps on tracking. In the event you bump your telescope and moving the alignment, You can set the guider to finder and use you telescope hand controller to move the sun back into position, the press GUIDE on the guider and it takes over the task once again without the need to re-learn.
Basic Guiding Steps I Used:
1. I do a rough polar alignment of the mount. I have markers in my yard to tell me where to place my mount legs to position the mount in its celestial north position. if you have no markers you can use a compass - easy, or even your smart phone.
2. Power up the mount, enter your coordinates, date and time as necessary, I use GPS, my mount needs to be in photo mode for the guiding port to activate - easy. This is only necessary if you want your mount to slew to the sun and get you in the ball park without the need to manually slew.
3. Make all necessary connections to the Hutech Hinode Solar Guider. Power comes from a mini USB cable. So you need a USB power source. I use an all in one 12vdc system with USB ports; keep the solar guider in finder mode for now.
4. Using your telescope hand controller, instruct your mount to go-to the sun (after you have the proper safe solar filters in place). It should slew to the sun and be roughly on target, unless you are really off - but dont worry about it, this is exactly why you bought this guider. Using the telescope hand controller make small adjustments until the sun is centered. You can use the visual guider port on the Hutech like on your old solar guider as necessary if you need to. In finder mode an audible sound is heard and will increase in pitch as you get closer to center of the sun.
5. Ensure your Solar Filter is in place then, Look through your eyepiece the sun should be centered and view-able in your eyepiece, if not make any fine adjustments using the mount's hand controller.
6. Ensure the Hutech is plugged into your Mounts Guider Port and using the Hutech Hinode Solar Guider's hand controller, push calibrate - this will take about 2 minutes. I call this the learn mode.
7. When calibration finishes, if necessary use the mounts hand controller to make any fine adjustments, now press - guide on the Hutech Hinoder Guider hand controller - your done, go enjoy.
Note: If the sun is not perfectly centered or you forgot to center it perfectly, just use your Telescope's hand controller to adjust, Place the guider in finder mode, make the adjustment then press guide and it will continue guiding.
Using the Hutech Solar Guider I was able to keep the sun centered during 1000's of exposures and was able to make this these images on a bad day using 300+ stacked images.
The Hutech Hinode Solar Guider along with a guide mount makes it much easier to view and image the sun, I wished everything was as easy to setup and use.
The Solar Guider can be used as a basic visual solar guider using the visual port - just like the old days.
Also can be used in finder mode which is sounds audible tones during cloud passing or if the sun drifts out of view.
Easy on and off using two finger thumb screws at either end for transportation or moving to another telescope - you just need a second mount plate if you have more than one telescope.
This is one great system and I highly recommend it to any one who does imaging on a regular basis, or does outreach programs, or for those who are tired of manually adjusting!
Here is my Lunt 80mm with DSII and BF3400 setup, Notice the extra extension to allow prime focus using the Celestron 274m imaging camera.
I use a small solar charger that has a 2300mah capacity with DC out and USB port to keep my tablet computer running for the entire day.
|Mount Mfg||Losmandy G11 Gemini I GoTo|
|Camera Used||Celestron 274 Mono|
- Lunt Solar DSII Double Stack Module
This is my typical setup for hydrogen Alpha imaging sessions. The Losmandy G-11 is a rock solid platform for my day time imaging efforts.
Note for 2017: If you are serious about solar imaging this is by far one of the best investments you can give yourself of loved on who enjoys the hobby. After getting this Solar Guider, the quality of my captures improved greatly. Although my camera mount tracks, the Hutech Solar Guider keeps the Solar Disk near perfect, even if your mount is not perfectly level or aligned. This Guider has a learning mode and can offset any problems and still track the sun perfectly. Next to the HA system this is the second most enjoyed product I own.
|Original Date||4/12/2015 12:01:00 AM|