ASIAIR Plus Review :
Selected as ASI Experience Officers by the folks at ZWO to evaluate the performance of the new ASI Plus (AAP+), we decided to put it through an extensive series of tests by placing it on several of our scopes—starting with the Explore Scientific ED80. As soon as we went to step one of the installation, which is to download the AAP+ app, we were met with a pleasant surprise. The existing AA pro app is the same for the AA+. No need to download anything! How sweet is that. We connected and powered up and switched our WiFi from AA+ to home WiFi so that it could install the new update. Then we switched back to the AA+ app. We set our parameters for the scope, guide scope, cameras, and our Autofocus. To this point everything went flawlessly. We visual polar aligned, went about the business of plate solving, and again flawless. We plate solved in one second! It rotated 60 degrees, and again, plate solved in one second. At that point we went about the business of commanding the AA+ to travel to various targets all over the sky. Each time it centered each target flawlessly. Then we gave it the command that always makes me nervous. We had it perform a meridian flip, both manually and as a part of the imaging sequence. Again, flawless! We repeated this process for our Explore Scientific ED 102, Explore Scientific AR 127, Explore Scientific ED 152, and ultimately our Celestron Edge HD 11. It simply could not have performed better. We have spent many hours with the AA+ and we have compiled a list of the things we love.
Ease of setup. Anyone who has spent time with the ASI AIR Pro will have no trouble using the AA+. It will be no different.
Efficiency. The AA+ runs significantly cooler than the ASI AIR Pro. Heat in energy. Our ASI AIR Pros are quite hot to the touch. The AA+ is barely warm. It also loads the acquisition data faster after each image.
eMMC storage. It is really nice to have 20GB of storage on board that can be downloaded easily with the supplied USB type C port. For those wishing for external USB flash drive storage, that is still an option for user supplied flash drives of up to 1 TB.
Recovery Mode. While we never had any type of issues, it is nice to know that if there were problems the unit can detect faults and recover mode which will allow the system to recover itself!
External WiFi antenna. We saved our favorite feature for last. We have two ASI AIR Pros. Our first maintains consistent WiFi even up to 20 to 30 feet away. Unfortunately, our second ASI AIR Pro will lose WiFi if it is more than 4 or 5 feet away. Enter the AA+. We have tested this unit to 40 feet so far and as of this writing, have never lost The AA+ WiFi connection.
I know equipment and tech vary widely through this hobby, and there are many ways to achieve astrophotography success.
This is a list of tech we use, starting from the ground up:
Mount: Losmandy G11 with Explore Scientific modifications including PMC8 and stepper motors. The PMC connects to the AA+ via USB.
EAF: we use a ZWO EAF.
Power supply: We supply power to the AA+ and dew heaters with a Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox Micro. This is also used to supply power our cooled cameras the ZWO 533 and the ZWO 2600. We use the AA+ to power our guide cameras, the ZWO 174s and also the ZWO 290s.
I hope this evaluation and review of the AA+ has been helpful. Whether you are just starting out as a astrophotographer, or are someone who has been doing it for years, the AA+ in our opinion is an incredible piece of equipment that puts astrophotography within reach of almost anyone willing to give it a shot.