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Old 14-12-2008, 04:41 PM
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Seeking some autoguiding advice

I have got DSLR Focus up and running after some foolish panicking - doh!

Now seeking some advice on autoguiding. I have a Vixen ED80 that I use for imaging and am planning on adding an 80mm Ioptron scope as the guider and using a webcam through that using PHD Guiding.

My question is what cable do I need to connect the scope to the laptop? The laptop I plan do use doesn't have a serial port which I guess means ruling out the RS232 cable I have seen mentioned.

Is there a USB equivalent? With an Australian supplier hopefully.

thanks in advance

niko
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Old 14-12-2008, 05:11 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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niko,

You will need a serial-to-USB adapter.

Have a look at Gary's Wildcard Innovations web site; they're an Australian supplier of the Keyspan branded adapter.

Regards,
Humayun
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Old 14-12-2008, 06:18 PM
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thanks Octane...is it not possible to get an autoguiding cable that is straight to USB. Is there ant data loss going through an adapter?

niko
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Old 14-12-2008, 07:46 PM
ozstockman (Mike)
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Hi Niko,

what mount are you using and does your laptop has either a bluetooth built in or a spare usb port?
If it's EQ6/EQ5 I can recommend a wireless bluetooth connection from your mount to a laptop for both autoguing and controlling your scope.
I am using it for months and have never had any problems with it.

cheers,

Mike
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Old 15-12-2008, 08:03 AM
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Thanks Mike,

am using an HEQ Pro 5 mount. will have to use a usb hub as the number of usb connections mounts up with each passing day!

What's involved in using bluetooth? Do I need receiver/transmitter at eazch end?

cheers

Niko
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Old 15-12-2008, 08:12 AM
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Ohhh!! wireless EQMOD?? Mike, Details please!!
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Old 15-12-2008, 03:58 PM
ozstockman (Mike)
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Hi guys,


The idea is very simple and works because Bluetooth technology provides a serial communication service. It's not only for EQMOD/EQ6 and I am sure that a serial cable can be replaced with Bluetooth connection in virtually any setup with any mount where serial connection is required.
Once a Bluetooth enabled PC is paired with a Serial To Bluetooth adapter software on that PC can call the adapter serial service. It creates a virtual serial(COM) port. After that this port can be used for a serial communication without any cables running.


I'll describe steps you'll need to follow if you want to connect wirelessly to your EQ6/EQ5 mount via Bluetooth and use it with EQMOD for both autoguiding and controlling your mount.


You'll need to have the following hardware:


1)A desktop/laptop with a Bluetooth module built in or a spare USB port on your PC so you can use a Bluetooth USB dongle if your PC doesn't have Bluetooth built in.

(If you don't have a spare USB port or Bluetooth built in there may be other solutions for your laptop/desktop to make it Bluetooth enabled.
It can be either a PCI Bluetooth card for a desktop or a Bluetooth PCMCIA card for a laptop. They are all quite cheap these days.)

2) an EQDIR module from shoestring astronomy.


3) a Serial to Bluetooth adapter. Usually cost US$50-120.

(I am using the one from http://www.aircable.net/ and it's their Serial3x model. It has a rechargeable battery built in so I don't need to supply any power for the adapter. They also produce cheaper versions of these adapters without a battery. I haven't seen them closely but since mine comes with a USB cable for powering/charging the adapter I guess that ones without batteries come with the same USB cable just for powering them.)


How to connect it all together:


1) Remove your mount remote control from a mount serial port. You won’t need it at all. You can use any planetary software that you like to control your mount. The only requirement for this software it must support telescope connection through ASCOM platform.

2) Connect EQDIR module to the mount serial port

3) Turn a Serial To Bluetooth adapter on

4) Turn your mount on


On your PC you should have Bluetooth software installed. If your PC has a built in Bluetooth module software should be already installed on your PC.
(If you add it as USB/PCMCIA/PCA module it usually comes with this software. Note: the cheapest Chinese Bluetooth USB dongles may not have Bluetooth software supplied with them)


Bluetooth software allows you:
1) Find any Bluetooth device near you(range up to 10m)
2) Pair with required device and then.
2) Get list of all the services they provide
3) Use a required service

If you use the laptop/pc with the Serial To Bluetooth adapter for the first time you'll need to find the adapter with your PC, get the adapter serial service and connect to it from your PC first. You will see what serial (COM) port number is assigned to this connection once it is established.

(If you don't know what paring means or how to connect two Bluetooth devices together please Google for it. It's very simple and not that much different than connecting your Bluetooth hands free kit to your mobile phone.)

That's probably all what's involved. If you put the COM port number you've got from the first time in settings window for EQMOD it'll use this port to establish connection.
Just remember that you should have your mount and adapter to be ON. EQMOD and Bluetooth software will do the rest when you will try to connect/disconnect from your mount.

If you start using EQMOD Pulse Guiding you won't need to use a ST4 port on your mount anymore. Simply use ASCOM (EQMOD) in PHD and all guiding commands will be sent through an established via Bluetooth serial connection.
And you don't need to worry about problems when connecting your planetary software (i.e. Cartes Du Ciel) and PHD to your mount at the same time. EQMOD will handle situations when more than one program trying to use the same serial port simultaneously.

Note: If you going to use the same model of a Serial To Bluetooth adapter as I’m using(Air Cable Serial3x) you'll need to set positions for two last dip switches on the adapter to OFF(Down) mode. There are four of them on the adapter and it’s supplied with all switches set to ON(Up). The first three are responsible for serial communication speed (baud rate) and the fourth one is for turning on/off handshake method. I've found out that baud rate must be set to 9600bps and handshake must be set to OFF when these adapters are used for telescope connection. You should change stitches positions before you’ll try to connect to the adapter for the first time.

See the "Baudrate & Hardware Handshake Configuration" section at http://www.aircable.net/support-serial3x.htm for more details.
If you are going to use different model of an adapter from aircable.net or from a different manufacturer make sure that this adapter can be configured or comes set to 9600bps speed and has handshake set to OFF.


Hope this helps.
I am also attaching 2 pictures with views of how it's all connected + 1 pictures with the other side of my adapter . The last one is closeup for these four switches I was mentioning above.

Cheers,

Mike
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Last edited by ozstockman; 15-12-2008 at 04:12 PM.
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  #8  
Old 15-12-2008, 04:10 PM
ozstockman (Mike)
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Also if you're good with electronics you can even try to build in a bluetooth into your mount using this interface. I wish I could do it myself but even my soldering skills suck, not to mention that I don't understand how this interface should be connected with a mount curcuit and powered from it :-)
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Old 15-12-2008, 04:18 PM
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Mike,

very thorough description of your set-up - many thanks

niko
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Old 15-12-2008, 05:40 PM
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Fantastic Mike... More things that I "NEED" to buy

I love it... I might have a closer look at building bluetooth into the mount... that might be a real goer!

Cheers.
Alex.
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Old 15-12-2008, 07:04 PM
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Fantastic Mike you have no idea how you saved me doing something different..changes everything.
I must say Alex into the mount would be great ... mmm should be standard built in ,,,mmm better tell the factory let them think it was their idea.

thanks Mike I have a mess that you have to step over its a pain.
alex

alex
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  #12  
Old 15-12-2008, 07:31 PM
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Niko, not wanting to upset your plan, but why not use an ST80 (cheaper,lighter)/Qhy5 for guiding, and connect the QHY5 guider port to the EQ5 pro guide port, the QHY5 is USB.
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Old 15-12-2008, 09:42 PM
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Mike, you are a genius! Wireless sounds fantastic!!!
And here I was thinking that finally I have a complete set up and the spending can halt for a little while....
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Old 16-12-2008, 12:13 PM
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What about the cameras..dsi and a canon? otherwise there will still be cables..must figure all this out.
alex
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  #15  
Old 16-12-2008, 02:17 PM
ozstockman (Mike)
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You are welcome guys. I was trying to share this idea many times but it seemed to me there was no interest at all :-)

Alex,

I've just ordered a new model of IOGear USB wireless hub and I am going to test it with my QHY8 and QHY5 cameras. It's using a new UWB chipset that expected to deliver data at max of 480MBs. So I hope it might work with CCD cameras. At least it's expected to work with webcams streaming video while all previous models of wireless USB hubs don't work with webcams.

In regards to Canon DSLRs, if this hub will work with QHYs it should definitely work with Canon DSLRs. I guess that previous models of these hubs that can deliver max of 80Mbps may do the job for Canon DSLRs as well.



cheers,

Mike
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Old 16-12-2008, 03:30 PM
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Ahh!! You're costing me money Mike!! I love it, but its bad!! I definitely see the use for wireless USB hub... Guide cam/qhy8/fcusb... All leads that I could do without.
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  #17  
Old 16-12-2008, 03:45 PM
ozstockman (Mike)
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Sorry Alex, I am just trying everything to get rid of all cables.
I guess it's better to wait till I get this hub and test it with my QHY cameras. I'll post the results here.

The only place where I could find it was online shop in US. They don't ship overseas and I've had to buy it through priceusa.com.au
It has added extra $10 for their service but it takes more time for them to get it from shop in US and then ship it to me.

Last edited by ozstockman; 16-12-2008 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 16-12-2008, 04:16 PM
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Thanks Mike..I was not worried about frame download as much as just camera control.
My head is spinning ..
I have had a mental block with this guiding things because of the cat killing all I had set up on my now dead lappy..
AND time has been tortured with "events"
alex
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Old 16-12-2008, 04:21 PM
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I know without commenting on the earlier I tried to down load the shoestring program and got a library error message on this new lappy ...there was a number but I was waiting until I could get near a land line to look at it again...but I had the feeling there was something wrong with the usb set up and maybe the power supply I was working with..
I wanted to at least get the "old guider going that was never going"... ah set ups.
alex
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Old 16-12-2008, 04:24 PM
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mmm nice hub
alex
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