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Old 29-10-2020, 10:07 AM
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On the edge (Michael Novak)
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AZ-EQ5 GT Mount to PC Issues

Hello,
I am writing this today after I had lots of trouble connecting my new AZ-EQ5 GT Mount To my laptop.

Bit of previous history: I decided to sell all my equipment which was getting bulky and replace it with something a little easier, in hindsight I should have just sold the OTA and purchased a triplet, The stock in Australia was very limited with problems getting stock from USA.

I ended up buying a Skywatcher AZ-EQ5 GT Mount and Tripod, QHY 183C, and QHY 5-ii Mono Guider with a Svbony 50mm Guide Scope through Adriano Massatani from Testar Australia who background is as a Aerospace Engineer and worked at Skywatcher Australia, Really great guy!

The issues I had was doing my head in, after 4 solid days in front of the computer I managed to solve the issue by changing the Baud Rate in ASCOM from 9600 to 115200 and it worked although still a bit eratic. In the mean time Adriano sent me a Synscan USB Dongle which connects the Synscan to the PC with a USB A-B Printer Cable after again Invalid Parameter and Port Not available I changed the Baud Rate back to 9600 and it worked ( There was no mention about the cable issues from Skywatcher nor ASCOM about the Baud rate)

The other error was inside the EQMOD configuration area in the Co-Ordinates section, Please make sure you put the right amout of lat/longunits in each box other wise you will get Invalid Parameters!!
Please check my YouTube video on these issues:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qioH...l=MichaelNovak

In the video also connecting to ASCOM, Carte Du Ciel, Stellarium and NINA

I must also give Peter Ward from Advanced Telescope Supplies a plug, He went out of his way to track down a William Optics 102mm GT Triplet from Taiwan and arrived today.

(Again, there was no mention about the new cable issues from Skywatcher nor ASCOM about the Baud rate)
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Old 29-10-2020, 11:19 AM
Wilsil (Wilco)
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Sorry to hear about your issues.
When I plugged in the EQMod cable all was working straight away after I did all the settings. This is with the SW HEQ5 Pro.
It was very satisfying to see the mount moving after I selected a star in Stellarium.
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Old 29-10-2020, 12:24 PM
VPAstro (Andrew and Cam)
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Funny thing I am now faced with a similar problem. My EQDIR cable has worked without an issue for a few years until last night, when it wouldn't connect from my computer to EQ6. The cable is detected on com4, but EQmod will not find it when searching for ports. So that is what I am trying to troubleshoot at the moment. Works ok if I connect the handset and use PC direct mode that way, but not the EQdir cable. Maybe it has gone faulty, but device manager sees the cable and has allocated com port 4. Oh well, I will keep troubleshooting.
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Old 29-10-2020, 02:10 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Hi All
Here’s a procedure I wrote up and tested with my EQ6-R over the past week
Which has been flawless

Hopefully it might help.

Telescope Control via EQMOD and Stellarium ( using Ascom and EQ Direct Cable )


( NB: Stellarium Scope no longer required as driver interface )

(Using Ascom as the interface platform)
Telescope Control for Synta mounts eg: Skywatcher Orion or Saxon EQ5 , HEQ5, EQ6,NEQ6, AZEQ6, and EQ6-R mounts

Please find below and attached documentation to get you up and running with EQMOD telescope control and Stellarium as your planetarium to navigate across the night sky

Note 1: If your using a DSLR for imaging 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 and recommend Stellarium as its extremely good and easy to use and navigate.If your using a dedicated Astro camera there are many frame , focus and capture software programs like APT which do an equally great job

Note 2: The information I provide is based on “my set up” using my HP Omen Laptop PC running Windows 10 Home version though most Windows PC’s and Laptops running Windows 7 , 8 and 10 should be Ok
(Mac computers are not compatible )

Note 3: Special Cable Required
EQ Direct Cable from Shoestring Astronomy
HEQ5 and EQ6-R Mounts ( USB2EQ5 ) RJ modular to USB
EQ6 and NEQ6 Mounts
( USB2EQ6 ) DB9 plug to USB (Serial)
Available from Bintel
Software Download Required
Ascom ( ascom-standards.org ) Ascom Platform 6.5 SP1 latest ( Free )
EQMOD (eq-mod.sourceforge.net ) Eqmod version dated 14/5/18 or latest ( Free )
Stellarium (stellarium.org ) version 0.19.3 or latest version ( Free )
Note : Above software versions may have been upgraded since I wrote this procedure always use the latest.
Important Download
Shoestring Astronomy Virtual Com Port ( VCP driver for FTDI chip ) for your Bintel ( Shoestring Astronomy) USB EQ Direct cable ( www.shoestringastronomy.com ) This is the most important item and allows your Laptop to find and connect to the mount through the Shoestring EQ cable .Hopefully your operating system is on the list for the VCP driver ( Go to The Shoestring Astronomy Store then “Downloads” then “Software” and then select “Virtual Com Port Drivers for USB2EQ6 and USB2EQ5” ( VCP Driver for FTDI devices ) this opens the FTDI page. Go to the Supported VCP Drivers table. If your using a computer with Windows 7 , 8 or 10 then choose the first section in the table under Windows* go across to the RHS under Comments and this is where you find out how to download the FTDI driver ( you can use the “set up executable” or just read the installation notes and it shows you how to download and set up for Windows )



EQMOD Set Up
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 your scope in the “Home Position” and switch off mount and disconnect Synscan hand controller ( if you still use Synscan HC to Star align and Polar align )

3/ For HEQ5 and EQ6-R mounts connect the USB2EQ5 cable RJ45 plug into hand controller port on Mount. For EQ6 and NEQ6 mounts connect the USB2EQ6 cable DB9 plug into the serial port on the Mount. USB end of cable, plugs into the Laptop.
NB: EQ Direct cables are only 1.8m long so you will probably need a 2m long USB2 extension cable connected to the EQ Direct cable to reach your Laptop ( These are available from computer retailers or electronics retailers like Jaycar )

NB: Make sure EQMOD and Stellarium programs run as “Administrator” in your computer.
NB: Mount must be sitting in the Home Position ( Park Position )

4/ Connect your mount to your laptop with a USB2A to USB2B cable (max length 5m )
Switch on your mount and laptop and open Device Manager in laptop and verify Com port connection to mount via a serial USB Com port. ( eg COM 3 , COM 5 etc.. ) Unplug cable from mount end to check connection , USB Serial Com ## should disappear. plug it back in and it should reappear.Still in Device Manager select Ports then double click your USB serial Com port and Com port Properties will appear. Go into port settings and just change Bits per second to 9600 which is Baud rate ( this is very important !!! ) Press ok and close Device Manager. Your serial port connection is now ready to communicate with EQMOD.

5/ Now register and check the EQMOD Ascom Set Up Window and make sure all your settings are correct. This can be found on your computer via Start Up and Programs. Press EQMOD folder then EQASCOM folder , in the drop down select “Toolbox”. The small EQASCOM Toolbox will appear. Press the “Register” button , an error will come up, just press Ok, then Success Ok. Now in the Toolbox press “Driver Set Up” this will launch the EQMOD Ascom Set Up window.

EQMOD Ascom Set Up Window Settings
• Mount Options leave as default Auto Detect
EQMOD Port Settings
• Time out 1000
• Retry 2
• Baud 9600 ( very important )
• Port - press binoculars icon , your port number should be “Found” ( eg COM3 or COM5 etc.. ) If not you have to go back into Device Manager and check port settings , cable , baud rate etc etc...

Site Information
Enter your local site information
Latitude, Longitude, Elevation etc.. This must exactly match the Site or Location information in Stellarium !!!

Guiding - leave as default Ascom
Ascom Options - leave as default
General Options - leave as default

Once all settings are completed and checked in the EQMOD Ascom Set Up just press OK at the bottom and close the EQASCOM Tool Box

Procedures for Stellarium

1/ Open Stellarium and open Location Window F6 on RHS toolbar
2/ Ensure location information is exactly the same as the EQMOD Ascom Set Up window ( latitude, longitude etc.... )

3/ Select Configuration tab F2 on RHS toolbar

4/ Select Plugins tab on the top

5/ At the bottom of the drop down
list select “Telescope Control”

6/ In Telescope Control (Options) tick Load at start up check box

7/ Close Configuration window and shut down Stellarium, this procedure initialises the configuration.

8/ Restart Stellarium and reconfigure Telescope Control by selecting Configuration F2 again , then Plugins tab, then Telescope control on left hand side drop down list , then press wide flat button “configure”

9/ In Telescopes window press “Add” button at the bottom and then select “Ascom” radio button as your telescope control and name your telescope or mount in black field. Leave Coordinate system as default or J2000. Then scroll down and press “Choose Ascom Telescope” the Ascom Telescope Chooser appears so then select EQMOD HEQ5/6 from the drop down. You will prompted to check the EQMOD Ascom Set Up to ensure all settings are correct then press Ok. Then press Ok in the Ascom Telescope Chooser

10/ Now Press OK in Stellarium Telescope window and your named telescope should appear as “Disconnected”. Now press “Connect” and the EQMOD control pad should be launched on the LHS of the Stellarium sky view along with the EQMOD Target icon sitting at the SCP or Home Position. The EQMOD target icon should have the same name as your selected telescope. You can then close or minimise the Stellarium telescope windows and leave the EQMOD control pad in the corner ready to use.

11/ In the EQMOD control pad press the Spanner icon with 3 red arrows to open up the whole window. The Site Information should match the previous EQMOD Ascom Set Up Window. All other settings can remain default for the moment until you learn to Autoguide later. Press the spanner icon again and the window will shrink and leave the EQMOD control pad ready to use.

12/ Don’t forget to manually Unpark EQMOD before you slew to a target ( Unpark / Park button at the bottom )

13/ You can now click on a target on the same side of the meridian and the scope will slew to that target. Increase slew rate ( red box) from 1 to 2 or 3 to increase slew speed rate. Once you get closer to an object slew speed 2 is usually the best rate. You can use NSEW buttons to navigate and also use Stop button. Once you slew to a target the mount will start tracking in Sidereal ( default) This can be changed for Solar or Lunar tracking as required.

14/ Default key functions for EQMOD with Stellarium are as follows -
Slew - CTRL + 1 Slew to target
Sync - CTRL hold then + Shift hold then a quick press of no. 1 to Sync scope (adds alignment point in EQMOD for creating an accurate pointing model) Star or object must be centred before Sync. Make sure EQMOD control pad is in default view not extended view when Syncing
Cancel or Stop - CTRL + Alt + Shift + 1 Cancels scope operation

15/ At the end of your observing or imaging session, simply press Park to Home Position on the EQMOD control pad at the bottom and the scope will slew and return back to the Home Position. Then just close Stellarium and switch off mount.

16/ So after your initial set up is completed and working , the next time you use the telescope all you need to do is -
Connect and Power the mount
Open Stellarium
Select F2 Configuration
Select Plug Ins
Select Telescope Control
Press “Configure”
Press “Connect “
And now your ready to navigate the night sky

17/ One important thing to check , make sure all the time settings in EQMOD and Stellarium are J2000 ( not J Now and J2000) otherwise your Goto and pointing accuracy could be compromised
If unsure, leave the setting in the Ascom Eqmod Set Up ( Options ) as EPOCH Unknown

18/ Stellarium itself has an alternative option to Slew and Sync objects instead of using the EQMOD preset commands on the key board. It does not have a Stop or Cancel function.
Once telescope is connected in Stellarium go to the bottom task bar and click on the telescope symbol. A Slew and Sync window will pop up. Click on a selected object in the sky, press the Current Object button then press Slew button. Telescope will slew and Goto the object. Once centred and aligned press the Current Object button again and then press Sync. A sync will be registered in EQMOD ( extended section ) under Alignment / Sync and a sync point will appear in Point Count. This is the start of your alignment model in EQMOD. The more objects you centre and sync the more accurate your Goto will become.

19/ Sync points in EQMOD are important, they create an accurate pointing model across the night sky to enable your Goto on a target to end up right in the centre of frame or field of view
EQMOD has two pointing algorithms that relate to Sync points, N Point or nearest point and 3 Point.
When you Sync 3 Stars or points around your intended target the accuracy is extremely good , however if the target falls outside the Sync point triangle obviously accuracy is compromised. With N Point or single Sync point, the closer you are to a target the more accurate the Goto will be become.
EQMOD should be set up with both N Point and 3 Point algorithms so you achieve the most accurate pointing model across the nigh sky. Sync points are stored in EQMOD memory until you end your session and power off.




Cheers
Martin
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  #5  
Old 29-10-2020, 02:42 PM
VPAstro (Andrew and Cam)
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I got mine working again. Turns out it was a broken wire in the DB9 connector. Re-soldered them all again, and I am back up and running again.
Thanks
Andrew
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Old 17-11-2020, 05:47 PM
Baobab (Bohdan)
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very late to the music but - why would you need to use EQMOD with AZ-EQ5? I am using my with Asiair only and not with PC but all I need is USB A-B cable. It works perfectly for me so just wondering wasn't the problem with your USB cable or PC/mount connector?
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