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Old 08-10-2019, 07:50 PM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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Issue with EQDIR cable on NEQ6 mount

Hi,

I'm having issues connecting my mount to my computer using the EQDIR cable and EQMOD.



Basic problem is no connection to mount - cable appears fine in computer - it's all the proper FTDI cables even if homemade. Latest drivers etc. Designated COM port 3 or 4. But EQMOD doesn't see the mount.



Quick overview -

NEQ6 mount (serial hand controller port)

Dedicated astro laptop (Windows 10) with ASCOM 6.4, EQASCOM V2, PHD2, Backyard Nikon 2,

EQDirect cable is a homemade FTDI TTL-232R-5V serial to usb TTL converter.

Checked wiring 100 times (well at least 20 times) matches the descriptions in the EQMOD forums.

Also borrowed a friends EQDIR cable and having the same issues.

Latest drivers from FTDI website -listed as compliant with Windows 10


Scope works fine just using the hand controller but when I switch it out for the EQDIR cable and fire up EQMOD there is no connection detected on any COM ports. Even if I manually enter the COM port it doesn't detect either. I've checked the BAUD and other similar settings and they are all correct (9600) I've tried changing them and no change.



I've also tried various permutations of uninstalling sfotware and reinstalling, eg. ASCOM, EQMOD, Drivers, using older drivers, older versions of ASCOM and EQMOD etc. Etc.



I've checked the continuity of the pins in the serial port to ensure my soldering didn't melt or join anything and that isn't an issue.



Please can anyone give me another thing to try or another way to narrow down the issue?


Happy to buy a commercial cable but I don't know that it's really the cable at this point...
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2019, 08:16 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Tim,
You don't mention which planetarium program you're using to interface with EQMod??
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:57 PM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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Thanks. I have Nebulosity but this is just using the EQMod setup or the PhD login and the ascom diagnostics setups to check the connections.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:45 AM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Hmmmm
All the EQMod users I know work through a planetarium front end, ie Cartes du Ciel.
Does the EQMod screen flash and disappear when trying to connect?
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:58 AM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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Thanks for taking the time.
Yep. In whichever software it will flash up and disappear.
How do you control your NEQ6?
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:43 AM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Tim,
That seems to indicate that EQMod is not communicating with the mount.
Most of the time that is due to the Comms port, or that the mount is not powered up.

Connect the EQDir cable to the mount. (Check in the Device manager that it is showing, and the comms port #)

I use CdC, EQMod to control my mount, PHD2 for guiding....
Set-up and run CdC.
Under the telescope tab, check it is set to ASCOM.
Connect to the telescope using the second icon.
Select EQmod ASCOM HEQ5/6
click properties and enter all the EQmod set up data - note the Comms options.
Press OK
Back on the Ascom drop box press Connect - the mount should "click" and the EQMod control panel shows on screen.
Ken
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:59 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Tim
I don’t know if this would help but I use EQMOD and Stellarium as my planetarium
My advice is to ditch the home made cable a buy the The Shoestring Astronomy cable ( it won’t break the bank and they definitely work without fail , I’ve bought a couple over the years )
Here’s my long winded procedure -

EQMOD and Stellarium Set Up EQMOD and Stellarium
(Using Stellarium Scope as the interface platform)
Telescope Control for Synta mounts eg: Skywatcher HEQ5, EQ6 and EQ6-R mounts
*
Please find below and attached documentation to get you up and running with EQMOD telescope control
Note 1: If your using a DSLR, I strongly recommend you buy and download Backyard EOS ( Classic Edition ) from O’Telescope Canada as it will allow easy use of EQMOD and more importantly more accuracy with Polar Alignment, Star Alignment and Goto ( you can control everything from your laptop position – the only time I get up of my butt is to check location of the first alignment star in my finder scope to bring it into view on BYEOS and adjust the AZ and Alt bolts on my mount for PA ) You can also use Cartes Du Ceil planetarium software or any other that supports EQMOD but I prefer Stellarium as its extremely good and easy to use and navigate
Note 2: The information I provide is based on “my set up” using my HP Omen Laptop PC running Windows 10 Home version ( Not to sure about the set up if your using a MAC ?? )
*
Software Required
Ascom ( ascom-standards.org )** Ascom Platform 6.4SP1* latest *( Free )
EQMOD (eq-mod.sourceforge.net )* Eqmod version dated 14/5/18 *( Free )
Stellarium Scope ( welshdragoncomputing.ca ) latest release dated 26/12/16* ( Free )
Stellarium* (stellarium.org )* version 0.18.2* ( Free )
Note : Above software versions may have been upgraded since I wrote this procedure always use the latest
Shoestring Astronomy Virtual Com Port ( VCP driver for FTDI chip )* for your Bintel ( Shoestring Astronomy) USB2EQ5 cable ( www.shoestringastronomy.com ) This is the most important item and allows your Laptop to find and connect to the mount .Hopefully your operating system is on the list for the VCP driver ( Go to The Shoestring Astronomy Store then downloads then Virtual Com port drivers for USB2EQ5 ( VCP Driver for FTDI devices ) your USB2EQ5 cable has a FTDI device in the USB end

EQMOD Set Up and Goto Procedure
Once Software is down loaded and drivers are established here is the basic procedure* -
1/ Ensure you set up and run Stellarium a couple of times ( this creates the initialization files to allow the systems to work )
2/ Park Scope, switch off mount and disconnect Synscan hand controller ( if you still use Synscan HC *to Star align and Polar align )
3/ Connect the USB2EQ5 cable RJ45 plug end into hand controller port on mount then plug the other end which is USB into a 2 meter long USB2 extension cable , then connect this to your USB port on your laptop
4/ Switch on your mount ( Very important – I sometimes forget and wonder why my Com port wont connect )
5/ Check USB serial cable virtual com port (VCP) appears in Device Manager of your Laptop under Ports ( Com and LPT )
6/ Open Stellarium Scope and click on “Select Mount” button. This launches the Ascom Telescope Chooser Box window ( move the Stellarium Scope window over to the right hand side )
7/ Select EQMOD Ascom EQ5/6 then click “Properties” and then “OK” the *Ascom Set Up window now appears
8/ In the Ascom Set Up window enter your location data in the “Site Location” section ( this must exactly correspond to the data entered in the Stellarium *location window )
9/ In the Ascom Set Up window ensure “Mount Type” is Synta EQ
10/ In the Ascom Set Up Window ensure EQMOD Port details are – Time out 1000 , Retry 2 , Baud 9600
11/ In the Ascom Set Up Window leave all other settings as default
12/ In the Ascom Set Up Window click on the Port Button ( Binocular icon ) if port and driver are located , the word “Found” appears and the Com port number ( same as com port number in Device Manager in Laptop ) appears in the red box
13/ In the Ascom Set Up Window click “OK” at bottom
14/ In the Stellarium Scope window click the “connect” *box button and the EQMOD HEQ5/6 window will be launched. Minimize Stellarium Scope but do not close it otherwise you will close EQMOD
15/ In the EQMOD HEQ5/6 window click on the “Spanner’ icon to expand the whole EQMOD window and then check the “Site Information” section again to ensure it corresponds with the Ascom Set Up window and Stellarium location window
16/ In the EQMOD HEQ5/6 window Alignment/Sync section ensure User Interface is set to *“Append on Sync” , Alignment Behaviour is set to “ 3 Point + Nearest Point” , Point Filter set to “All” and 3 point Selection is set to “Best Centre” All other settings are default
17/ Click on the “spanner” icon again which minimises and just leaves the smaller EQMOD control pad window ready to use the slew control buttons, tracking and parking the mount
18/ Maximise Stellarium Scope which should read at the bottom “ Scope Connected ” then minimise it again for convenience but don’t close it.
19/ Open Stellarium and your ready to use the Goto functions via your laptop keyboard which is CTRL 1 for slewing , CTRL 3 for Sync and CTRL 5 for cancel
Note : For better Goto accuracy use EQMOD, Stellarium and BYEOS *
In Stellarium use at least 3 or 4 sync points ( Stars ) surrounding and in the vicinity of your intended imaging target ( you don’t have to be really close , I’ve used stars 30 to 40 deg away and its works fine but as close as you can )
Click on the 1st sync point star, press CTRL 1 on keyboard ,mount will slew to that star but not exactly centred, centre your star using EQMOD slew control buttons and view in BYEOS then hit CTRL 3 on keyboard. Star will be re centred automatically and a sync point count will appear in the EQMOD window. Note: you may have to minimise the EQMOD control pad window first and then press CTRL 3 to allow the sync function to work properly.
Repeat process for another 2 or 3 sync point stars surrounding the vicinity of your intended imaging target, then click on your intended target , the Goto accuracy should be very good if not bang on target
The above seems like a long winded procedure but after a while you get quicker and quicker ( much quicker and more accurate than your hand controller could ever achieve) The more sync points you use the more accuracy you achieve but I have found 3 or 4 to be enough ( The hand controller can only use 2 or 3 stars for limited accuracy , where as EQMOD can use 3, 6, 10 , 20 or more syn point stars with more sophisticated algorithms in a triangulation or trapezium format.
I have EQMOD control pad window open, Stellarium window open and BYEOS window open ( Stellarium Scope is always open and minimised ) and I minimise between Stellarium scope and BYEOS to perform the Goto* as my Laptop has only a 15.6” screen
I would recommend you set up and play around with Stellarium for a while and get use to it before jumping straight into EQMOD ( I used it to navigate the night sky for a year or so *before jumping into EQMOD )
Stellarium Time Settings (version 0.18.2 )
Found in Chapter 4 ( The User Interface ) of the Stellarium User Manual
Setting Your Location in “Location Window”
Eastern Standard Time
Time Zone should be UTC+10
Tick Custom Time Zone
Untick enable daylight saving time
*
Daylight Saving Time
Time Zone should be UTC+11
Tick Custom Time Zone
Tick enable Daylight saving time
Main Screen “ Configuration” Spanner icon
Click on “Time”
In Start up date and time click on bullseye System date and time
*
Stellarium Location Setting
Refer Chapter 4.2
You can set multiple locations as your default ( I have 2 set up , so I just click on either location in the huge alphabetical world list and the location info is all set up for me
For more information read the EQMOD Project website, Stellarium Scope website and Stellarium website
Hope this gives you a good head start on this great software and telescope control
Good luck
Regards
Martin
*
*
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:49 PM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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Thanks for the info.
Everything else seems to be accounted for so I’ll just buy another cable and see if it’s that simple. I was just hoping I could diagnose somehow if it was something else before buying a new cable.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:48 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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No problem
2 of the most important procedures in EQMOD is firstly establishing the VCP ( virtual com port driver ) for the FTDI chipset in the Shoestring cable and secondly turn the bloody mount on ( I’ve been guilty on more than one occasion of scratching my head and wondering why the mount won’t connect, the dreaded EQMOD Com Port Error )
Hope you resolve it and get EQMOD connected
Good luck !
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:57 AM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Tim,
I conclude that your cable/ adaptor didn't show up in Device Manager???
Yes/ No
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:09 PM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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Hi.
Both cables show up just fine in device manager. Correct ids and Com port control and I’ve tried multiple drivers.

That’s why I’m trying to workout Any other way I can tell if it’s just the cable or something else.
Thanks.
Tim.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:18 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Hmmm,
If they seem good in Device Manager I could only think of the plug at the mount being suspect....but you say ""Scope works fine just using the hand controller""
Clutching at straws... could it be you have USB3 and USB2 ports on the laptop... if so have you tried both...
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:21 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Tim,
The guy who loaned you the other cable (which I assume worked OK on his set up) can he try your cable on his set up???
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:44 PM
SpaceBug (Tim)
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I Thought about it but it was an old one he doesn’t use anymore so he can’t test it on his.
It just seemed strange to me and I was worried I’d burned the mount board or something but I assume If the handcontroller still works I haven’t damaged the mount. Fingers crossed.
And if the cable was bad I thought the computer wouldn’t find it properly. It’s got me stumped.
I’ve ordered a shoestring Bluetooth EQdir cable/dongle from Bintel now so I can bypass the whole USB port part and save another cable.
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