View Full Version here: : HEQ5 Instructions
04-04-2012, 10:48 AM
I just took delivery of a second hand HEQ5 and am a bit miffed at the instruction manual. I got a much better one with a Honda Whippersnipper, and it didn't cost as much.
Does anyone know if there is an extended version of the instructions available anywhere?
Thanks in advance
04-04-2012, 10:56 AM
yes, the instruction manual is a bit on the thin side but does cover the important bits on installing the mount and polar alignment to a certain extent.
I think there is an article here in IIS about setting it up. Have a look through the projects and articles link on the left.
04-04-2012, 10:58 AM
this article covers the basics for a GEM
04-04-2012, 10:59 AM
Hope its better than the one you have.....
Also this review in IceInSpace
04-04-2012, 11:32 AM
Thanks for all that, mostly I am interested in using the synscan controller, I find it really hard, maybe it is. If it fails an alignment it starts again but I can't get past entering the date, without powering off and on again, that sort of thing.
04-04-2012, 12:27 PM
There is an EQ6/HEQ5 manual and a Synscan manual. Do you have both. They can be downloaded
The synscan controller takes a bit of getting used to. You make your selections from the menu tree and press enter, somtimes enter again to get deeper into the menu. To get out you press Esc as many times as necessary to get back to the top menu.
Depending on your Synscan version the menu trees vary a bit. What version is the Synscan. If it is 3.xx you can upgrade the firmware to 3.27. If it is 2.xx No.
If you have any queries I have a HEQ5 set up on the bench here and can try anything you want confirmed.
Learn the Synscan method first before anyone tries to talk you into EQMOD/ASCOM
04-04-2012, 01:05 PM
thanks for that, its 3.27. I think Donald Rumsfeld said "we don't know what we don't know" which pretty well sums up what I don't know.
I have managed to dumb my way out of a few corners, but last night I had to call it quits because I couldn't make it work. It would be nice to have a comprehensive guide to know what will happen when something happens, like "allignment failed".
Thanks again for the reply.
04-04-2012, 02:00 PM
I never put a telescope on mine till I had learnt to drive the handbox (synscan) in the dark.
When no one is looking bring the mount and tripod inside near your computer. Forget the counterbalances and all the other stuff that mounts the scope. The tripod should have a letter "N" on top of one of the legs. Orient this to where South is and sit the mount onto its seat. Set its altitude to your latitude (near enough will do for the testing).
Plug in the controller set the mount to the "home position" counterbalance shaft down parallel to the leading (South) leg and the scope mount in the position that your scope would point due south.
Turn on the power. see initializing and then the name and software version and try this routine
Press Enter- twice
Enter your longitude and latitude with the numbers on the key pad
Set your time zone with the number keypad
Enter the Date with the number keypad
Enter the Date with the number key pad
Enter the time (local 24hr) with the number key pad
See "daylight saving "No"
Begin alignment selct 1 yes or 2 No
Enter 2 (No)
Press (key 8) Object
Name Star will appear
with the down key (bottom) cycle through to Achenar
Press Enter three times
The mount will slew to where the star is (check a planetarium program)
Get this far a couple of times and you should be able to learn the rest. By the way the manual does not show the menu for ver 3.27.
04-04-2012, 02:56 PM
Thanks for that. I did that very thing when I got it home, and had it out two nights alligned without any problems.
I had mounted a Canon DSLR on it and used Remote Shooting to centre the stars (if you are not familiar with the canon, in remote shooting the computer becomes the viewfinder, there is a square on the screen that can be dragged around and when selected the area inside the square becomes magnified , real cool for focusing). I was putting the allignment stars in a corner of the box, close as I could eyeball to the centre of the finder.
After doing that last night I tried to use the Pointing Accuracy Enhancement. It went according to the book, or sentence in the book more precisely, the only problem was the stars were smeared in the photos (20 second exposure), after a few shots, all the same, I noticed the mount appeared to be making a faint (for my old ears) high pitched whine and seemed to have a faint vibration, like one of the motors was still running.
I parked it and then discovered the difficulty with realligning. Powered off and did an allignment with the same stars as the first time and it failed. Powered off. Tried again with a different third star and it failed again.
Discovered this morning after my initial post one of the things I didn't know which is on your menu tree, delete PAE data, I did that and fired it up and it seemed to work without noise and vibration.
So I wait for tonight. Three quick ones for you.
Powering the handset to explore is mentioned, but not how to power off, I just pulled the plug and hoped for the best, figuring it must be designed for people to fall over the leads in the dark. Am I right?
Then, in I think setup menu, there is a Restore Factory Settings? Yes or No and no other choice except to pull the plug. Do you know what that is about?
Finally, to use PAE they mention eighty five area of sky, where are they and what happens if I select a star for an area seperate from my area of interest? This is what I suspect and am hoping happened last night, in which case I know half the answer.
Thanks a lot for your help so far.
04-04-2012, 06:03 PM
I haven't used the canon But my son uses one on his G11 occasionally. I know he does something like that. Are you controlling the mount from a computer.
I have not used the pointing accuracy Enhancement. I have always used a full polar alignment so I don't really know its effect on other parameters you may be having trouble with backlash. I think you should avoid the PAE as it does not seem to be working correctly. Parking at the Home position should have allowed a single star sync on restart after getting the date time correct. However you seem to have fixed the problem by deleting the PAE.
I am not sure about the stopping. When I go to home the hanbox instructs to turn off which is done via a switch on the HEQ5 access panel. although turning power off at the power supply does the same thing.
I don't know the restore factory settings. I could not find a reference.
Framing a star shold not need the PAE if you have done a reasonable polar alignment. I did a rough polar alignment at Wiruna and a one star sync and my gotos were within 20 arcmins.
You've got a good workhorse of a mount there Pete, probably at a good price too. Keep playing and learning, and firing off questions when you get stuck. Plenty here to try and help.
I still get a smile on my face when mine whirs into action and heads off to a new object. :)
05-04-2012, 06:51 AM
Went out last night and had the same results as in the second post up.
Definately a high pitched hum and vibration, which though faint, makes photos impossible. From the star tracks it seems to be wandering in both axis. Anyone know if the Set Backlash function could fix this? The book of course doesn't say what happens if it is set too low or high, or how to know when it needs to be set.
05-04-2012, 07:28 AM
Firstly, the high pitched hum and whine are the tracking motors, I notice them on mine when its guiding with a guide cam as I am listening to how much its pulsing, but as you arent guiding I suspect yours are doing something like trying to correct themselves such as PEC. (Periodic Error Correction)
I will describe my set up and shut down procedure I use for the HEQ5 Pro which may help.
1) I have my tube and mount lined up with the tripod leg thats labelled N, however as we are in the southern hemisphere, this leg is the one I point the mount to south with.
2) I have a pretty good rough south celestial pole alignment marks on the concrete where I set up. I got these from using my tutorial on how to find the SCP (in the articles section), but you can simply use a compass and subtract the magnetic deviation for your location from 180 (or add it, depending on where you are) and roughly line up the south leg to that.
3) Power up the mount and press the enter key after the synscan version comes up, then enter again to go past the sun warning.
4) Enter the lat/long for your site.
5) Enter the date in MM/DD/YY. THIS IS IMPORTANT as I often put the AUSTRALIAN date of say 05/04/12 for today, which means the scope thinks its the 4th of MAY, not the 5th of April (Americans, what can you do?)
6) Enter time, no daylight savings etc.
7) Select 1, 2 or 3 star alignment. I normally only use 1 or 2 as I use stellarium to drive the scope with the PC later.
8) Normally, I select Sirius, Acrux (nice double star, easy to recognise at the bottom of southern cross) or Achenar, Canopus, Rigel etc. as my alignment stars as I am lazy and couldnt be bothered figuring out where Vindematrix or Duschubba is.....:)
9) Once aligned, I select the M, NGC, IC or planets button etc and then enter what I want and off she goes. Normally pointing will bring the object within a 12.5mm eyepiece field of view.
10) When shutting down, I go to the utilities menu, select PARK scope and then watch it return to where it started from. A message then comes up on the screen to say it is safe to power off.
11) Turn off the power switch and pack up.
The motors are fairly quiet on mine, except when its slewing at 800x during alignment when it sounds like a missile or tank turret moving,, but once its on an object, it should only have faint humming sounds while its in sidereal tracking mode, perhaps this needs to be selected in the setup menu as it could be set to sun or moon tracking from before.
Give this a go, let me know if you have any other questions, I will see if I can help in more detail (yes I know the above is pretty brief...;) )
05-04-2012, 07:34 AM
From your description it appears that you have a problem with the mount itself. I doubt if backlash manipulation will correct it. You said you removed PAE did you also cancel out any old PEC. PAE is just a work around for a poor polar alignment and PEC will not be critical till you try high magnification without satisfactory guiding. If you are photographing wide angle ie. FOV greater than 1 degree arcsecond errors are going to be insignificant.
It could be just an inadequate power supply. I use a regulated 13.8 v 7 amp supply on mine. The intermittent nature (from your earlier post) points in this direction
Another area may be in the meshing of the gears. If they are too tight they will certainly cause problems. (I have tested this)
The mount is second hand. Is this the reason it was sold?
05-04-2012, 08:11 AM
Thanks Chris, guiding corrections (though I have never heard them) is sort of what I thought it sounded like. As if it was constantly correcting for errors it was imagining. The vibration seems stronger when it is just tracking than when it is slewing.
Barry, I have started trying to find the nearest repair station. If you feel it is not backlash then I am running out of ideas. Power supply is 12V 5a.
I am using a 250mm lens with 20sec exposures, I have a wooden EQ platform I made which would take better pictures than the EQ5 at the moment. It seemed to work the first two nights, so I may pull the cover off, I think there is only one, and check the grease hasn't got hard and thrown off after the first two sessions or something. but because it seems to vibrate more in tracking mode than slewing mode I really don't like my chances.
Might find out how to run it from Stellarium and see if the $420 hand controller is stuffed.
05-04-2012, 08:42 AM
To control the scope via stellarium it is done using the stellarium scope program.
Download it and the EQmod and EQ ascom programs and connect it to the PC by the white serial DB9 to RJ11 cable to the handcontroller and put the hand controller into PC direct mode using the utility menu option.
While the scope is in pc direct mode, start stellarium scope and connect to the HEQ5/EQ6 option in EQascom and make sure you are using the correct serial port on the PC.
USB to serial adaptors can be tricky as some of them do funny things or not work at all, so I have a laptop with a built in serial port (9 pin) and it works flawlessly.
Similarly, avoid upgrading the Synscan using a USB to serial as this can also not work.
Having said all this, "driving" the scope using stellarium isnt going to quieten the motors if something like PEC is still on like Barry said.
Check the tracking mode in setup menu is set to sidereal and see if you can clear the PEC training data. If all is well, the mount is almost silent when its simply tracking in RA on a star or object.
05-04-2012, 10:58 AM
Thanks for that. I found the PEC training function but couldn't find any data to erase. Apparently the mount was owned by a lady who had trouble working it out then sold to the gentleman I bought it from. He only used it for visual, and it might be all right for that.I am reasonably sure he looked after it. I don't have a scope yet to put on it (this weekend I will).
It doesn't appear to make the noise and vibration when unloaded (no camera and counterweight).
Using the synscan hand controller in Stand Alone Mode (plugging power directly into it, I am assuming and hope that the way to turn it off is simply unplug it, can you confirm that please?
05-04-2012, 11:23 AM
Contrary to what Chris says forget about EQMOD at this stage You will need to install ASCOM then EQMOD and get a EQDIR cable and then Install Stellarium scope. Although you can bypass the EQDIR cable by using the PC direct mode if you have the standard supplied RS232 cable.
Stellarium will drive the Synscan directly via a comport using the synscan driver or the nexstar. If you haven't got a comport a USB to Com converter is easy to install.
That 250mm lens should work great for wide field and you should be able to use at least 30 second subs. Trevor did this with a canon 1000d camera mounted on an ETX125 unguided and got some great pictures.
05-04-2012, 01:00 PM
You should be able to just switch off the power to the handset and mount without any detrimental effects, I kick the cord out of mine all the time in the dark and mine survives ok.
Thanks for clarifying my points Barry, it's been a while since I set up eqascom and stellarium scope....
05-04-2012, 01:11 PM
Thanks Chris, found a really good site detailing stripping and reassembling the mount, including adjusting the worm gear.
The problem is one of mine is very tight and the other very loose, so which is correct, or is it neither. Running with the cover off it seems the Dec drive is making noise during slew, it is very tight, so I will loosen it up first. Stay tuned
05-04-2012, 02:55 PM
It sounds like you have the cover off the drives.
Unmesh one of the drive motors from its worm and turn it with you fingers. It should move quite freely.
Check the worm and make sure this turns quite freely with no backlash.
Put the motor back and adjust the meshing while turning the motor with your fingers.
Close up the mesh until there is no backlash without any noticeable extra loading.
Do the same with the other gear.
The way you speak I think you will find one of the motors or its corresponding worm binding. If this is the case I think the motor will be OK but the worm is probably too tight and will need to be checked for dirt or lubrication or possible incorrect assembly.
05-04-2012, 05:30 PM
Thanks Barry, I sort of did that but discovered the RA motor was buzzing, quite a bit. local (brisbane) service place is shut, all I could find on the web were motors in the UK for 80 quid, thats got to be $150 here, add labor and gas and its over a quarter of the price of the mount. You don't look through it while using the dec motor, so I pulled it to bits and swapped them around. It works in the kitchen, fingers crossed for tonight. My only concern is not having a clue how tight the gears are supposed to mesh, and since I did all of them it should be obvious early on if it was correct.
Thanks everyone for the assistance and will advise tomorrow morning if it worked.
06-04-2012, 08:24 AM
Last night was cloudy, in the end I parked and then told it to go to Saturn without alligning, which it did. There was little or no change in the photos, so I turned tracking off and there was still vibration showing in the photos. To prove I am not set up on some sort of fault line I turned power off completely and got the expected star trails. One of the motors must be quietly humming to itself for no good reason. Will recheck gear meshing and adjust the worm for the RA axis as Barry suggested. If no luck it will go to Brisbane in a bucket for professional help and the children will probably get nothing when I die.
07-04-2012, 08:28 AM
Actually I remember now both motors would still be powered on, thats how steppers work.
Last night after adjusting the RA worm and balancing with a slight bias to the counter weight I finally had a big improvement. Two good photos, one out of focus when changed from 55mm to 250mm lense, one good then a fuzzy one, followed by a good one. Beginning to suspect the main RA bearing dry or contaminated.
09-04-2012, 07:12 AM
Got a scope to put on the mount, Orion 120, and no clouds. It worked, more or less as I expected. There must still be a problem though as it "sings", the scope acts as a sort of speaker and the noise is audible from a metre away. Thanks everyone for the advise.
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