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Old 01-02-2020, 05:50 PM
Davep314 (Dave)
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HEQ5 USB Adaptor

Hi all

I'm thinking of purchasing a HEQ5 USB adaptor to control the mount through a PC via ASCOM.

Does anyone have experience using this adaptor? Is it stable?

cheers

Dave
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davep314 View Post
Hi all

I'm thinking of purchasing a HEQ5 USB adaptor to control the mount through a PC via ASCOM.

Does anyone have experience using this adaptor? Is it stable?

cheers

Dave
What sort of USB adaptor, are you looking at EQMod or simply hooking up through the handset to use Synscan via your computer?
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:32 AM
Davep314 (Dave)
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Hi Outcast
I’m would like to bypass the hand controller and use Stellarium or similar to control the positioning of the scope. I would also like to connect my guide camera to the PC (using PHD) rather than connecting it to the mount.

Cheers
Dave
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:50 AM
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In that case you need to be looking at EQ Mod cable, you can get them from BINTEL & Siderial Trading; if you have a look at their respective websites you will be able to work out which one you need.

Regarding your guide camera, which camera are you using? I would have thought it was already connected to your computer??
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:16 AM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Carlton,
Sounds like Dave wants to go to Pulse Guiding under EQMod rather than the ST-4 connection between the camera and the mount.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:15 AM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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I have one of the cables as supplied by Sidereal trading for my Orion Atlas (AZEQ6 clone) and have had zero problems with it in a year or so of use. All I did was cut it to length and fit a new RJ45 connector and started using it.
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin66 View Post
Carlton,
Sounds like Dave wants to go to Pulse Guiding under EQMod rather than the ST-4 connection between the camera and the mount.
Yeah, I did gather that Ken...

I presumed it would be the same setup I'm going for (albeit through a single board computer to tablet setup). My guide camera will be a ZWO with USB 3 connection to computer. EQmod cable between mount & computer... PHD2 to then control the guiding & a planetary program to slew the mount?

What threw me a little was the introduction of the bit about connecting the guide camera to the computer... I figured it would already be connected (unless using a synguider or similar) as the only way I can view any image is either through the USB cable connection to my computer or tablet.

Anyways.. yup.. EQMod would be the direction to head...
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:40 PM
Davep314 (Dave)
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Ken is correct...pulse guiding is what I’m trying to set up and avoid connecting the guide camera (a ZWO) directly to the mount. I am aware of the EQ Mod cable approach but would like to know if this adaptor is a reliable alternative.

I spoke to the people at Bintel and they assured me it would work but I’d rather hear from someone who has had first hand experience (no offence to the Bintel staff!).

Cheers
Dave
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:34 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Dave,
I can’t comment on the benefits of the pulse guiding....
I’ve used EQMod on my NEQ6PRO for many years, but still use my ST4 for guiding.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:59 PM
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Hi Dave,

If you're happy being tied to having your PC in the field then its a case of "shut up and take my money"

You'll never look back from EQMOD - fantastic software, and integrates with so many planetarium programs, automation programs (SGP, Voyager, etc), planning software.

Fantastic solution for Skywatcher mounts.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davep314 View Post
Ken is correct...pulse guiding is what I’m trying to set up and avoid connecting the guide camera (a ZWO) directly to the mount. I am aware of the EQ Mod cable approach but would like to know if this adaptor is a reliable alternative.

I spoke to the people at Bintel and they assured me it would work but I’d rather hear from someone who has had first hand experience (no offence to the Bintel staff!).

Cheers
Dave
I'm only just heading down the EQMod path (& as yet, haven't really got any experience), however I know a lot of the imagers (in the beginners imaging where I lurk..) use & swear by EQMod so... I'm guessing it must be pretty good.

Maybe post a thread in the beginners imaging section about it too?

As for 'being tied to a laptop', there are alternatives such as Asiair, Stellarmate & a few other lesser known options that essentially use a Rasberry Pi single board computer & Indi based software. The Rpi generates it's own wifi hotspot & you can use apps to control everything from a phone or laptop. Asiair is ZWO's product & in my humble opinion is overpriced. I've just stumped for Stellarmate but, I bought the RPi locally & just paid for the software...

Don't ask me how it's going yet, I'm still getting my head around the connections let alone the App/software interfaces... bottom line, you don't have to be tethered to a laptop to use EQMod.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:05 PM
Davep314 (Dave)
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Thanks everyone.

I don’t doubt that ASCOM is the way to go but I’ve not heard whether the Skywatcher USB adaptor is as good as a EQMOD cable.

Any advice?

Cheers
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:34 PM
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You can make them, but either of these should be trustworthy:

https://www.bintel.com.au/product/sh...EaAp2lEALw_wcB

https://www.siderealtrading.com.au/p...ect-usb-rj-5v/


I'm no help with Bluetooth, or tricky modern raspberry PI options like Carlton is describing. But then I'm from the generation that often goes 8 hrs without glancing at my phone
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:59 AM
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The rPi options are really just a way of using a small, low power PC on the mount to control the mount and camera/guider etc, and you still need an eqdirect style cable to connect it to the mount.

It is completely possible to buy a Pi and homebrew a linux build and all the associated software to build your own version of an Asiair or Stellarmate box, what ZWO and Stellarvue are selling there is the convenience of a pre built operating system ready to do the job straight out of the box. I looked at one point at doing what Carlton did and buying the software and sourcing a Pi locally but there was actually not a whole lot of money in it at the time.

The whole Asiair/Stellarmate setup does exactly the same job as the Intel NUC I have on my mount, they would be much slower for image download, plate solving etc, but the cost of a ready built Pi solution is about a third of what I spent on the NUC.
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Old 23-05-2020, 08:17 PM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Just to clarify...

Heya team,


Had some trouble tonight setting up the synscan usb adapter, and posted here wondering if it was actually even capable of being used with EQMOD at all. I was getting errors in EQMOD telling me that the mount couldnt connect to a port, after having downloaded a bunch of different skywatcher synscan drivers.



I really, REALLY didnt want to have another bit of plastic and metal sitting around that was unsuitable for the job, so kept digging and got it to "work". I'm in my shed, its raining, so when i say "work" i mean i can control the mount with APT, slew to wherever I like (and its pointing to about the right spot), switch filter wheels and see the difference in liveview, and also see through my guide camera in PHD2. So I have a glimmer of hope that things will be ok when I get out under the stars.


Here is what helped:
There are a bunch of synscan drivers on the skywatcher page, I grabbed both the ascom versions and it didn't get the job done. I then grabbed the windows driver: "prolific usb-to-serial device driver" on this page https://skywatcher.com/download/software/accessories/ (note that is the accessories driver page, not the ascom specific page).
The other thing that was crucial (and I'm sure most people will already have dialled in) is that the port # can be a pain with windows, but once i mapped it correctly and connected the usb dongle directly to the pc (not via a hub as I had done previously) it was firing on all cylinders.


So in the end, I'm happy that the USB adapter isn't a total waste. I think its probably a step behind the shoestring solutions in terms of exposure to the elements, but its about a $60 saving (maybe $50 once you also get a long usb cable) and i was very glad to not have to abandon it.


I note this here in the hope that someday it can help someone who is wandering around the internet sometime faced with the same issue.



JP

Last edited by jahnpahwa; 23-05-2020 at 10:09 PM. Reason: got it happening!
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Old 23-05-2020, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahnpahwa View Post
Hi team,


I'm currently hooking up EQMOD/ASCOM/synscan usb adapter to run APT and pulse guiding, as I think Dave was here.



I'm running into issues with it.



I've got my main camera and filter wheel talking to apt ok, but when i try to connect the mount, i can choose the heq5 from the ascom list, but it is saying it cant find a port... I'm not sure what that is referring to.



My current connection is mount-(hand controller port cable)-synscan usb dongle-(usb cable)-USB hub-(usb cable)-computer USB 3.0 port.


My thought was that I dont need an EDMOD cable as I can just connect the synscan USB to a USB port, but now I'm thinking this skywatcher thing is useless and there is no other option to the EDdirect cable units linked below?

Sorry for the newb question, I'm sure it'll be obvious when its clear!


JP
JP,

Assuming the cable you are using will work as an EQMod cable & I'm not sure if it will, is there an option to select 'EQ Mod' rather than HEQ5 Pro?

I know with the software I use (which is also ASCOM/INDII based) you select EQ Mod rather than the specific mount.. However, I use an EQMod cable so, not sure if the way you have it connected will in fact work.

See if that is an option & if that solves your problem

Cheers
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Old 23-05-2020, 08:38 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Guys
Look back at my previous posts on Ascom control of Stellarium and EQMOD control of telescope via a planetarium like Stellarium
Posted specific procedures for all the above in Software and Computers dated 13th April 2020
If you want to go down the original method of telescope scope control which I’ve used for 3 years using EQMOD, StellariumScope and Stellarium ( non Ascom ) then refer to procedures below -

EQMOD , Stellarium Scope and Stellarium

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 alignment stars for limited accuracy , where as EQMOD can use 3, 6, 10 , 20 or more syn point stars with more sophisticated pointing algorithms like 3 point + nearest
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 which easy to use and incredibly accurate

Good luck
Regards
Martin
*
*
*
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Old 23-05-2020, 08:43 PM
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If you are trying to get the SW USB dongle to work, you might want to look at this thread... I understand it was problematic...

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=182833
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Old 23-05-2020, 09:12 PM
Astronovice (Calvin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahnpahwa View Post
Hi team,


I'm currently hooking up EQMOD/ASCOM/synscan usb adapter to run APT and pulse guiding, as I think Dave was here.



I'm running into issues with it.



I've got my main camera and filter wheel talking to apt ok, but when i try to connect the mount, i can choose the heq5 from the ascom list, but it is saying it cant find a port... I'm not sure what that is referring to.



My current connection is mount-(hand controller port cable)-synscan usb dongle-(usb cable)-USB hub-(usb cable)-computer USB 3.0 port.


My thought was that I dont need an EDMOD cable as I can just connect the synscan USB to a USB port, but now I'm thinking this skywatcher thing is useless and there is no other option to the EDdirect cable units linked below?

Sorry for the newb question, I'm sure it'll be obvious when its clear!


JP
Suggest you try using a USB2 port. For some reason the synscan USB controller allegedly doesn’t like USB3
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Old 23-05-2020, 10:16 PM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Thanks a lot to all of your responses!


I didn't see anything until I came back and altered my post. Solution was that there was one more driver needed (in the accessories drivers area, not ascom) from the skywatcher site, and then also mounting the usb directly to the computer rather than via a hub.


Anyway, its whizzing away and i am so glad to not be turfing gear. Now just waiting on my guide scope and clearskies!


Thanks again, legends.


JP
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