MountMonitor is an application that takes Right Ascension (RA), Declination (DEC) and time data from LX200 or ASCOM protocol supported mounts and shows it as graphs
. Optionally a seismometer
can be installed to monitor ambient vibrations.
MountMonitor is designed to show the behaviour
of mounts with absolute encoders, like those manufactured by 10Micron, but should also work with relative encoders. It reads mount time, RA and DEC from the mount, shows them graphically
and stores them in a file. The idea is that the program is run in the background while doing astrophotography. If the images show unexpected results, the logs created by MountMonitor can be consulted to see if there was noise on the DEC and/or RA axis or jumps in the mount-clock. This can especially be of importance while doing unguided imaging to show if the mount performs within specifications or requirements, but of course it can also be used while guiding to show the quality of the guiding system.
As per version 3.00 a graph was added to monitor time differences between the pc and mount, while per v.3.03 a NIST server was added to this.
As the mount can be disturbed by ambient vibrations (e.g. heavy traffic, building activities, earthquakes, etc), MountMonitor Plus allows to connect a seismometer
to correlate events in the RA and DEC recordings to those vibrations.
Although MountMonitor does show how the RA and DEC axis of a mount behave, up to version 3.30 it did not show any deviations caused by flaws in the internal model of it (these models can be made using the mount's firmware or with third-party applications like ModelCreator, ModelMaker or MountWizzard). A poor quality mount-model may cause the tracking not be as accurate as appears from the graphs. MountMonitor does show any movements of the axis caused by external forces (i.e. wind, human handling, animals, ground vibrations, localised friction in the drive-trains etc.). It also shows the effect of guiding to the axis.
From v.3.30 on the newly implemented :GaXa#/:GaXb# commands, that read axial orientations for respectively RA and DEC, should now indicate the actual orientation and axial speed of the axis. These two commands should return raw axis orientations, so without being corrected by a model (this has yet to be confirmed by 10Micron).
MountMonitor was designed for and tested with a 10Micron GM3000 HPS and Celestron CGEM equatorial mounts, but should work with all 10Micron mounts. It may work with most LX200 protocol supported mounts, but so far this has not been tested, while some of the commands are taken from the 10Micron extension to the original LX200 protocol. Since version 3.10 the ASCOM interface has been added, allowing it to interface a wider range of mounts.
For the seismic data
MountMonitor was tested with the USB Seismometer Interface (SEP-064)
in the UK. It was tested in combination with their Slinky Seismometer System (SEP-067)
There is no installer for MountMonitor, instead the files are provided in a zip-file
and need to be installed manually
When an internet connection is available MountMonitor collects the e-mail address, observatory name, mount type and mount id (the first two are set in preferences
, the last two collected from the mount while running). This data will not be shared with third parties and is for administrative, research and development purposes only.