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Old 26-09-2020, 02:16 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Setting up Astrophotography rig

Hi,
I'm starting from scratch, setting up my gear to do some deep space imaging. I'd welcome any advice regarding which software/drivers to use, as my experience in this area = 0.
Here's my hardware:
Mount - NEQ6 Pro. I've just done the AstroBaby Strip/Rebuild, and added Rowan belt drive kit.

Scope - 180 Mak. Looong focal length, I know, but this is the only scope I have, and I like the challenge.

Cameras - ZWO ASI290MM, DMK51AU02.AS
Guiding - Celestron OAG


Computer - Laptop running Win10, with Linux (Unbutu) installed on a VM. Connection to mount is USB via SynScan hand controller v.5, PC direct mode.



Software - I'm going to use APT. I know there are other options, but my approach is to pick one and get to know it, and I like the look of this package. PHD2 using the ASI290MM for pulse guiding. The DMK-51 will be my main camera, controlled by APT through an INDI server on the VM running Linux.



My first task is to get the mount set up, so need to install drivers. and I'm wondering whether to install EQMOD or skywatcher drivers for the mount. Which would be the best choice with these setups?

Cheers
Stephen
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  #2  
Old 26-09-2020, 02:26 PM
glend (Glen)
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Good luck, you are certainly making it hard for yourself with that Mak.
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Old 26-09-2020, 02:38 PM
morls (Stephen)
Space is the place...

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I know, and it's probably (almost definitely) a silly way to go about things. But, this is the gear I've got, and I'm going to have a crack at it. If I can get to the point of having the mount, PHD2/ASI290MM and APT talking together I'll be very happy. At the very least I'm going to be learning a lot...
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Old 26-09-2020, 03:18 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Stephen,
I used EQmod on both the HEQ5 and HEQ6 for many years. Works very well for me in conjunction with Cartes du Ciel (CdC)


You can run EQMod throught the handcontroller set to PC direct mode, but it's prefered to use a dedicated EQDir cable fitted directed between the PC and the mount handcontroller port .


Check you have the latest ASCOM installed (V6.5) if OK then install CdC and finally the EQMod (watch the download site! you look for EQascom download)
Open CdC, click the connect telescope icon, select "EQMod Ascom HEQ5/6"
You may have to confirm the coms port #
You can then use CdC to GOTO, slew, Sync etc etc etc.
Well worth setting up.
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Old 26-09-2020, 03:21 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Sounds promising, thanks Ken.
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Old 29-09-2020, 03:42 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Ok, I've managed to get a few connections happening. Here's my setup so far:

NEQ6 --- EQMOD --- CdC. All happy, talking to each other, slewing and parking. Once I select an object in CdC I can get the mount to slew there. It doesn't seem to track, but I'm working on that.

Guide Camera (ASI290MM) --- PHD2 (via EQMOD) --- Mount. All happy, recognise each other.

Imaging sensor (DMK 51AU02) --- Fire Capture. All happy, talking to each other nicely.

Filter Wheel --- ASCOM --- Fire Capture. All happy, talking to each other

At the moment my idea of an imaging workflow (after hardware setup and connection to software) is:
1. Slew to target.
2. Find and lock on to guide star using PHD2.
3. Start imaging using Fire Capture.

I'm now wondering how software such as APT fits into this. Is it common practice to have PHD2 and Fire Capture operating independently? If so, maybe I don't need to go any futher at this stage. I've ordered a ShoeString focus controller as well, maybe this is where APT will be useful?


Thanks for all help so far.
Stephen
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  #7  
Old 29-09-2020, 04:39 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Stephen,
Well done, sounds like you’re pretty well set.
Your tracking should be automatic through EQMod.
It depends how much you want to “automate” things.
I only do spectroscopy, so I don’t need much more.....
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Old 29-09-2020, 05:58 PM
morls (Stephen)
Space is the place...

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Thanks Ken, I appreciate the help.
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