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Old 25-05-2019, 11:08 PM
OzinOz (Steven)
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Is it broken or am I

Hi guys and gals...so relative newb to the whole getting connected from aparatus to software...have gone down the gamut of downloading Ascom...platform, drivers, EQASCOM, EQMOD...etc etc...had a major breakthrough today finally connecting my EQ6 R to Stellarium and thought I had it nailed.. I haven't got the required cables for a direct connection yet so I didn't connect stellarium whilst using the mount and used the st4 port through the ZWO camera to guide...I connected both the camera and the ZWO ST4 ASCOM and tried to guide using PHD2 and the program would crash every time....Lets not get me started on the EQ5/6 ASCOM driver not working...one step at a time...any help would be appreciated...Why does PHD crash?

Last edited by OzinOz; 26-05-2019 at 08:11 AM.
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  #2  
Old 25-05-2019, 11:53 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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I tried the ST4 connection with PHD2 and could not connect to the mount via a USB serial adapter , waisted so much time and money
The best and most reliable way to connect is via the EQ connection to the mount with a shoestring USB2 EQ 5/6 cable ( available from Bintel ) PHD2 connects straight away too ( your guide camera connected straight to your laptop )
I use HEQ5 and EQ6-R Mounts
You also need StellariumScope if your using Stellarium for Goto
See my procedures below NB: I use a DSLR in my newts so I added info about that as well

EQMOD and Stellarium Set Up EQMOD and Stellarium
(Using Stellarium Scope as the interface platform)
Telescope Control for 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 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
If your using a Canon DSLR, Backyard EOS for Canon Cameras ( www.otelescope.com ) latest version* ( Costs about $65 + exchange rate etc.. *they send you licence to install within 24 hours )
Canon driver for your Canon EOS camera ?? If your Camera wont connect, BYEOS can tell how to install driver etc..( as long as your camera was manufactured after 2007 it should be OK )
Cables Required
Mount ( Synscan handcontoller port ) to Laptop – USB2EQ5 cable ( available from Bintel ) you will also need a 2m or 3m USB2 extension cable as the USB2EQ5 cable is only 1.8m long
If using a DSLR ( DSLR to Laptop ) 5m USB2 ( A to Mini B 5 pin ) *cable
*
Synscan Polar Alignment and 2 Star Alignment
As I have no view of SCP at both my Sydney and South coast locations so I still use the hand controller to perform 2 star alignments and the Synscan polar alignment routine ( after 2 or 3 iterations I can get down below 15 arc sec error which is pretty good. This is because I use BYEOS, defocus the star into a donut and set my polar alignment tool in BYEOS with the exact cross hair width and nail the star to perfect centre each time ) Process takes me between 15 and 30 minutes depends on seeing conditions.
*
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 the above gives you a good head start on this great software and telescope control
Good luck
Regards
Martin
*
*
*
*
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  #3  
Old 26-05-2019, 12:47 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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+1. What Martin says . Shoestring eq cable works for me.

Also this tutorial

https://www.lightvortexastronomy.com...s-du-ciel.html
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Old 26-05-2019, 12:49 AM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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My compliments to Martin for such a great effort of a reply to someone
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Old 26-05-2019, 08:12 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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Thanks Martin et al...Thorough response and much appreciated although as mentioned...connecting to Stellarium isn't my issue....It's PHD2 crashing when I attempt to guide.
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Old 26-05-2019, 09:59 AM
brisen (Brian)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzinOz View Post
Thanks Martin et al...Thorough response and much appreciated although as mentioned...connecting to Stellarium isn't my issue....It's PHD2 crashing when I attempt to guide.
Hi Steven

When you say PhD 2 crashes when you try to guide, what exactly happens? Which version of PhD 2 are you using?

Brian
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Old 26-05-2019, 10:24 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisen View Post
Hi Steven

When you say PhD 2 crashes when you try to guide, what exactly happens? Which version of PhD 2 are you using?

Brian
Hi mate, latest version...I connect everything no probs...find star, click guide and the program turns off...literally just disappears...no error, not warning....just turns off
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Old 26-05-2019, 10:31 AM
brisen (Brian)
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Not sure why it is doing that, I use PhD 2 (2.6.6) and haven't had that issue. I ran into issues with the updated camera drivers for my guide cam but it didn't kill PhD 2. Only thing that stands out is that it might be a faulty guide cable causing a crash, they are notorious for issues.

I notice new development build of PhD 2 is out (2.6.6 dev 1)- it might be worth downloading and installing it and see if the crash continues. It will just update the program - no need to redo the settings etc. If it crashes as well there might be an issue.
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Old 26-05-2019, 10:45 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisen View Post
Not sure why it is doing that, I use PhD 2 (2.6.6) and haven't had that issue. I ran into issues with the updated camera drivers for my guide cam but it didn't kill PhD 2. Only thing that stands out is that it might be a faulty guide cable causing a crash, they are notorious for issues.

I notice new development build of PhD 2 is out (2.6.6 dev 1)- it might be worth downloading and installing it and see if the crash continues. It will just update the program - no need to redo the settings etc. If it crashes as well there might be an issue.
Thanks. I'll try that
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Old 26-05-2019, 04:46 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Steven
I had this full procedure in notes anyway just copied and pasted it , thought it might be of some help
I initially used a ZWO 120 MM USB2 guide camera which was nothing but trouble, sometimes connect, sometimes not , sometimes closed PHD2 , found out through cloudy nights and ZWO forum that it had an inherent driver issue which needed a patch
Put it back in the box and put it away , bought a ZWO 120 MM USB3 guide camera and has been working flawlessly for 8 months in PHD2 . I don’t even use a USB3 cable just a USB2 cable 5 metres long
Just thought I’d mention my problem
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Old 26-05-2019, 10:41 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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I had similar problems with the zwo asi120 mm USB 2. Eventually worked with the right USB cable and updated drivers. Still not as sensitive as I would like and barely works at f10 on OAG. I think I also found PhD flaky at first and useless with on-camera guiding with the Zwo until I used the eq cable as set out by Martin and threaded the camera on to the OAG so it can not move.

I also gently cleaned the very poor choice of RJ connectors on the mount. Why those connectors were chosen for use outside pointing up I don’t know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
Steven
I had this full procedure in notes anyway just copied and pasted it , thought it might be of some help
I initially used a ZWO 120 MM USB2 guide camera which was nothing but trouble, sometimes connect, sometimes not , sometimes closed PHD2 , found out through cloudy nights and ZWO forum that it had an inherent driver issue which needed a patch
Put it back in the box and put it away , bought a ZWO 120 MM USB3 guide camera and has been working flawlessly for 8 months in PHD2 . I don’t even use a USB3 cable just a USB2 cable 5 metres long
Just thought I’d mention my problem
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Old 27-05-2019, 06:54 AM
kens (Ken)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzinOz View Post
Hi mate, latest version...I connect everything no probs...find star, click guide and the program turns off...literally just disappears...no error, not warning....just turns off
PHD2 is pretty reliable and and crashes are usually due to driver issues. Use the Help menu option to upload your logs to the PHD support forum at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!fo...en-phd-guiding and explain your issue.
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Old 27-05-2019, 07:32 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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We may have touched on the problem....
That is the guide camera I am using. No problem connecting or looping though it just crashes when I try to guide.
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Old 27-05-2019, 08:37 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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You are using on-camera set in PhD ?
What cable are you using?

I could not get that to work at all either so it will be interesting to hear what the issue is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzinOz View Post
We may have touched on the problem....
That is the guide camera I am using. No problem connecting or looping though it just crashes when I try to guide.
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Old 27-05-2019, 09:26 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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I’m not using oag.. I just have a DB9 - USB converter.. just ordered the direct cable to bypass the controller.. I’m going to give that a go to see if it’s just dodgy cables
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Old 27-05-2019, 09:50 AM
brisen (Brian)
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In the setup up of PhD 2, have you selected "on camera" under the mount setting as opposed to EQMOD for example.

Brian
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Old 27-05-2019, 10:20 AM
OzinOz (Steven)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisen View Post
In the setup up of PhD 2, have you selected "on camera" under the mount setting as opposed to EQMOD for example.

Brian
Hi Brian, yes I have done that... The curious thing is stellarium works so at least as far as that goes, the cable works.. although perhaps PHD2 is more finicky. It could just be the Zwo mini guider that it isn’t liking as has been said by others 🤷*♂️
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Old 27-05-2019, 12:45 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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If you are using the serial cable with on-camera mode and connection to the ST4 port you can check the operation of your cable , using the update handset feature by connecting the cable to the handset. It will return a version number from the update handset update program from skywatcher if it is functioning correctly and is the correct cable. Download the skywatcher handset update program from their website and follow the instructions to check the handset version number.

The direct cable with full Ascom control of the scope in Stellarium is definitely better, but requires a little patience to get it all set up and opening in order.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OzinOz View Post
I’m not using oag.. I just have a DB9 - USB converter.. just ordered the direct cable to bypass the controller.. I’m going to give that a go to see if it’s just dodgy cables
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Old 27-05-2019, 12:50 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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That is with Heq5. I am assuming your EQ6 st4 connection and handset update connection cable is similar , if a different connector.
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Old 27-05-2019, 03:35 PM
OzinOz (Steven)
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got it sorted, thanks heaps guys...it was a dodgy cable
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