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Favorite Locations and Universal Time
#1
I use SkyTools 3 and SkyTools 4 to control my AP1600 mount using the ASCOM driver.  But every 6 months, I was having to switch the AP keypad from standard time to daylight savings time and then back again 6 months later.  On the AP forum they suggested setting the AP keypad to UT and also setting the computer to UT to avoid have to mess with keypad settings every 6 months.  I did so and can control the mount using the keypad.  

I then tried configuring my observatory location, but when I connected the mount to SkyTools and did a slew to the Sun this afternoon, the scope tried to aim into the ground on the southwest side of the pier.  I need to know how to set my location in SkyTools now that the mount and computer are set to UT.  I am in the Central US time zone.

I would appreciate feedback on this as I would hate to have to go back to setting the computer and AP keypad to the current local time.

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp
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#2
Hello Jack,

SkyTools has feature to handle Daylight Saving time for you, and it is well tested. I don't see any reason not to use it. You only have to set it once. Choose Daylight Saving Rules and just leave it be.

Can you explain why you don't wish to use the Daylight Saving Rules feature?

I think that using UT is a terrible idea. It can cause all sorts of problems, as you have seen with your mount. What matters is everything needs to be on the same page. So your computer must be using UT and the mount must also be using it. Like I said, this is a bad idea!
Clear skies,
Greg

Technoking of Skyhound
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#3
Greg, I am very familiar with how SkyTools handles Daylight Savings Time. As you know I have been a BETA tester of yours since SkyTools first came out, and I always set my location to use daylight savings time rules. However, that was before I had my Astro-Physics mount. With the AP mount keypad, it is necessary to change the setting for location twice a year from DST to Standard Time and back whenever the time change occurs. AP told me that to avoid this issue most users of their mounts set both the computer clock and the AP keypad to UT. Doing so, the location time does not have to change when local time changes in the US. And after I did so yesterday, I was successful at controlling the mount using the keypad.

I then shut everything down, restarted the mount, connected SkyTools and tried to adjust my location in Louisiana so that SkyTools would slew to the Sun. It did not do so.

My question is how do I configure my location so that SkyTools can control my AP mount with the mount and computer clock set to UT.

Jack Huerkamp
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#4
Hi Jack,

What happens if you set your time zone to the GMT+ option? I tried setting both ST3 Pro & ST4v (4.0j R1) to the GMT+ time zone setting for EST which is GMT-5 hrs. Both ST3 Pro & ST4 now display the time as GMT-4 since the DST rules are in effect. It looks like you'll still get local times though, so maybe this won't solve your issue.

Phil S.
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#5
Hi Jack,

Thank you for your very clear explanation. The problem with using UT is that it doesn't fit your time zone. UT is defined for a longitude of 0, and presumably you are at a different longitude. I haven't tried this myself, but it would seem to me that what you want to do is to set your time zone to GMT+0 in SkyTools and then select the Standard Time radio button.

What I don't understand is why you can't just leave the computer clock on standard time year round instead, which would presumably match the mount, and you would not have to change it twice per year. To set up for that, you would set the location to Standard Time in SkyTools (keep the time zone accurate) and then disable the auto-correction for DST in Windows (which is easy to do). It would seem to me that doing so would cause a lot less trouble than trying to operate on UT.

I mean, if its just an issue with DST, why are you changing the time zone to fix that? The time zone isn't the problem.

If it were me, I'd just make the change twice per year. That would be preferable to me to having a computer clock that doesn't match the one on the wall. Short of that, I would set the computer clock and SkyTools to standard time (which is what we should be using year round anyhow).
Clear skies,
Greg

Technoking of Skyhound
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#6
Hi Greg,

I agree that the switch from standard time to DST is dumb. As an amateur astronomer, I really didn't like DST in the summer because astronomical twilight came so late in the evening. Too many people like DST because they have more daylight in the evening. I too wish that we could just pick one & stick with it. Changing clocks messes me up for almost a week.

Phil S.
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#7
Hi Phil,

The way things are going the politics are moving toward adopting DST year round, which would resolve the problem of changing the clocks, but would have terrible consequences for getting to work/school on winter mornings because it will still be dark, particularly in the north. I suspect that what will happen is a deadlock. When they try to change it to DST year round the representatives from the north will fight it, and nothing will end up happening. I just wish we could have Standard Time year round. There never was a good reason for DST.
Clear skies,
Greg

Technoking of Skyhound
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#8
Hi Greg,

Yes, I think deadlock will happen again. Columbus, OH is only 40° N, but we only get ~9 hours of sun on the winter solstice. Even with EST, sunset in winter occurs ~5:00PM & sunrise ~8:00AM. On the East coast (the folks who really drive all of this) sunrise & sunset occur ~1/2 hour earlier. Further north the winter days are even shorter.

I guess this is the price we pay for regular working hours. Maybe it makes more sense to slide the start & end of work times to accommodate the changing amount of daylight available rather than mess around with the clocks. Either way someone will always be unhappy with the decision.

Oh well, glad I don't have to solve it,

Phil S.

P. S. After all, the actual amount of daylight doesn't care a bit about our clocks.
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