Avalon StarGO GoTo Control System
The StarGO is a Computerized GoTo Control System based on stepper motor technology. StarGo can manage both Alt-Azimuthal and Equatorial Mounts, even if has been designed mainly for the M-Zero, M-Uno and Linear mounts but, thanks to the programmable Gear Ratio and the special motor kit, it may be easily used also in different mounts from other companies.
Its design follows the most recent technological developments in this field, consisting in realising a very simple hardware characterised by a large field of applications such as the management of focusers, filter wheels, DSLR cameras, etc. without the need of frequent modifications to be adapted to new devices but maintaining the possibility to be controlled by a PC and even by smartphones and tablets.
The Avalon Mounts are well known for their capability to drive the carried telescopes with extreme precision. This characteristic is due to two factors:
1 - Use of teethed belts for the motion transmission combined with the precision and strength of CNC machined components
2 - Use of a proprietary control system, fully developed by Avalon Instruments, capable to supply the mounts with all the needed intelligence to perform all the required operation for a very successful use in visual observations but, mainly, in long exposure astrophotographic field.
The latter function is performed by the StarGO control system. It is composed by five main components:
1. The StarGO Control Box that can be embedded in the mount as for the Avalon Linear and M-Uno, or in a separate control box for the M-Zero (and for its use with all other compatible third part's mounts). It has the duty to provide the smart interface between the internal motors and the external world. It performs all the communications with specific components (Focuser, CCD rotator, DSRL camera, and other auxiliary devices) using direct connections and with Windows and Mac computers via USB. The wireless Bluetooth capability is also integrated in the control box to interact with intelligent devices such smartphones, tablets and, again with Windows and Mac computers.
2. The StarGO Keypad to physically command the mounts and perform almost all the available and most needed operations on it.
3. The StarGO software, entirely written inside Avalon Instruments, allowing the performing, with a computer, all the setup and management operations, included the control of the numerous external equipment that can be connected to the control box, in addition to the same control operations performed by the StarGO keypad.
4. X-Solver tool. The X-Solver is an application based on the Plate Solve solution. With X-Solver it is possible to build Sky Model till 24 stars that can be saved and used later even during other night sessions. With X-Solver application comes two very useful tools: the Sky Model and Polar alignment. The Sky Model allow to build easily a sky model up to 24 stars. The tool provide an intuitive GUI that shows a 2D representation of the sky top view that can be designed from the user simply by the mouse double click.
The modeling function is particularly useful in fixed observatory installations, however for the speed of its execution, it may be used also for mobile installations, especially for visual observation (after a short period of CCD use at the very beginning of the session).
The Polar Align is a tool for a fast and easy Polar Alignment by using the Plate Solve function.
5. The StarGO-BT application for Android devices that allows to interface them with the StarGO control box via Bluetooth connection. With this application the Android devices become perfect intelligent control pads. This application, as well as the PC StarGO, is under continuous developent to add new functionalities.
6. The AvalonStargo ASCOM driver that makes possible the interaction between the StarGO Control Box and the vast majority of third part software applications such as TheSkyX, CartduCiel, Stellarium, etc.
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