by Ray Gralak of Sirius-Imaging
PulseGuide is a free stand-alone
Windows (98, ME, 2000, NT4, XP, Vista and Windows 7) utility that provides
basic computer control for all Astro-Physics GTO mounts. It derives its
name from its most distinctive feature, pulse guiding, which refers to a calculated
series of timed pulses in order to create custom tracking in both RA and Dec.
It was developed for the older GTOCP1 and GTOCP2 mounts that do not support
custom rates. Specifically, it can help correct tracking errors caused by polar
misalignment and atmospheric refraction. You can also train PulseGuide to track
objects moving relative to the stars, such as asteroids, comets, and the moon.
In addition to pulse guiding, PulseGuide also has many useful utility features.
PulseGuide was developed many years ago and does not support the later command
language.. Over the years, we have implemented additional commands and safety
features in the GTOCP3 and GTOCP4 control boxes that are not utilized in PulseGuide.
With that in mind, we recommend that you consider using your planetarium program
with the AP ASCOM V2 driver or for optimum performance consider Astro-Physics
Command Center (APCC) - Standard or Pro version. This software, also written
by Ray Gralak in conjuction with Astro-Physics, offers more refined custom variable
tracking rate control, vastly improved tracking of asteroids and comets in addition
to many other advanced features.
PulseGuide requires a serial connection
from your PC to your mount using a straight-through
DB9 cable. One end of the cable must have a female
connector and the other end male. Cables as long as
100 feet or more should work provided the cable is
made from high-quality shielded cable. Cables with
twisted pair wires work best, such as those from Belden. We now offer several
USB connectivity devices for computers that lack serial ports.
PulseGuide was written by Ray Gralak
of Sirius-Imaging. Please refer to his website http://www.pulseguide.com
for further developments and enhancements. The software
has been provided on a CD-ROM with all Astro-Physics
mounts delivered since 2004. Previous owners
of any Astro-Physics mount can download the software
free-of-charge courtesy of Ray.
- Supports the Astro-Physics serial command protocol. However, it does not
utilize a number of advanced commands developed in more recent years .
- Pulse guiding. Corrects for drift due to mispolar
alignment and atmospheric refraction. Pulse guiding
is an idea originally suggested by Roland Christen
of Astro-Physics and implemented in this application.
It works by sending precisely timed serial commands
that make the mount move faster in RA and/or Dec
for a short period (hence “pulses").
- Declination axis tests that you can use to check the function of
- With one button Unpark, automatically setting the time, time zone, longitude, and latitude without ever needing to plug in the hand controller. PulseGuide will even detect that your mount is not initialized and ask to initialize it.
- One-button Park feature allows you to park the mount at its current position, one of the AP park positions, or a user-defined Alt/Az.
- Unpark from one of the AP park positions or your
- Set guide/slew rates.
- Buttons to move the scope conveniently.
- A status bar that shows the scope’s position in RA/Dec (or Alt/Az), the side of mount that the scope is on, Local Sidereal time, and Object Hour Angle.
- Set the tracking rate (sidereal, lunar, solar, zero).
- Delayed stop or park of the mount so the scope will not hit the pier if you fall asleep or forget to shut down the scope.
- PEM (On/Off, record with timer).
- Set mount to PC Time and set Time Zone.
- Set a Meridian delay so the mount will not flip on a GOTO command.
- Convenient Site management.
- GOTO/Sync to RA/DEC coordinates. STOP button to stop a GOTO, if desired.
- TPoint resynchronization. This is a useful tool if you are using Software Bisque’s TheSky with a TPoint model and lose synchronization because you moved the scope by hand.
- Focus control including a counter to keep track of position.
- Reticle brightness control.
- Set mount backlash.
- Other miscellaneous features.
GTOCP1 and GTOCP2 Control Boxes
must have a chip dated 05-07-01 (designated as "D"
or "KD" or later versions) in order to use this program. Click
for more information on chip upgrades. The GTOCP3 and GTOCP4 Control Boxes
are ready to go.
Much confusion arises from the use of the term “PulseGuide”.
The term was originally coined by Ray Gralak when he developed this software.
The term is now more commonly used in a different way by ASCOM-Standards
to mean any guide move that is sent through an ASCOM driver.
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Inc. - All Rights Reserved
This page was last modified:
October 13, 2015
11250 Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park, IL 61115, U.S.A.
Phone: 815-282-1513 Fax: 815-282-9847