Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Equipment Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 26-12-2021, 08:49 AM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
EQMOD disconnecting + PHD2 Playing Up

Team,

I really need some help and feel like I am caught in a cycle that I cannot seem to navigate out of regarding my new setup.

What I think the issues are:

1) EQMOD Disconnecting: Over the past ~3 weeks, I have had nights where EQMOD constantly disconnects / drops out. When running NINA, the error pops up that the 'telescope' has disconnected. When I try to reconnect, the 'port not connected' error comes up. Often I need to completely*restart the computer to get it reconnected. Last night, it did this for over an hour before I threw the towel in and gave up for the night. Specifically, this kept happening when I was attempting PA plate solving in NINA...it would stall, freeze, the error would pop up and then I would need to restart to get the whole thing going again.*

2) PHD2 Guiding Issues: I have the following errors come up when I try to calibrate PHD2. I suspect that the issues are linked and that my mount is not tracking correctly but I am such a novice....I really dont*have any idea what is going on.'PHD2 is not able to make sufficient corrections in RA'
'Advisory: Calibration completed but few guide steps were used so accuracy is questionable'

What I have tried:

EQMOD
* Uninstalled and reinstalled EQMOD (not ASCOM, raising this as I am not sure if I needed to remove everything and then reinstall...but I didnt*do that, I only uninstalled EQMOD and re-installed / reconfigured)

* Changed out the USB cable (trying to eliminate if it is a dodgy USB cable)* Tried running everything in Admin mode (with no change)

* Restarted multiple times to get things re-working...for it to only happen again Note: I have not yet tried to run the setup with a different powersource. I have a new Lithium powerhub 170AH and have not noticed anything with it and it has not caused any issues from what I can tell with the controller unit (primelicelad Eagle LE).*

PHD2
* I have posed on the PHD2 forum with my guide data and Bruce has provided the following insight* "The*issue Bruce mentioned is something I discovered several months ago. I was also getting non-orthogonal calibration results, among other strange behaviors. The issue was that when Eqmod connects to a EQ6R Pro, it turns off the mount's tracking. The easiest way to spot this is to watch the stars in the PHD2 window while the camera is looping, you'll see the stars marching off the screen. Simply use the hand controller to restart sidereal tracking or use the tracking button on the bottom of the Eqmod window. This also happens with Sharpcap and Stellarium, which also use Eqmod. Just something to check each time PHD2 first connects to the mount". I have not been able to try this as the EQMOD keeps disconnecting.

* It appears to me that there is a software issue here that I am facing (or hardware) relating to EQMOD, NINA, PHD2Link to PHD2:*https://groups.google.com/g/open-phd...m/-UkFk7C4AwAJ

Any thoughts, links to other chats, ideas....most welcome. I am feeling like I am hitting a brick wall with my capability. The only other things I have not yet tried are to not use the control unit and setup on a fresh PC, try an alternate power supply or take the mount back to the retailer for some investigative support.*

Setup:
* Scope: ED80 Explore Scientific (w/Field Flattener), EFW 8x w LRGB*+ Narrowbands), ZWO EAF
* Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM Pro cooled
* Guiding: Testar 50mm*+ ZWO ASI120MM
* Mount: AZEQ6 Pro (USB version)
* Controller Unit: Primalucelab Eagle LE*+ ECCO* Software: NINA, PHD2, ASCOM / EQMOD, CDC

Thank you so much for any support. Steve
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (image3.jpg)
194.1 KB35 views
Click for full-size image (image4.jpg)
192.8 KB38 views
Click for full-size image (image2.jpg)
198.3 KB24 views
Click for full-size image (image1.jpg)
195.3 KB36 views
Click for full-size image (image0.jpg)
201.0 KB33 views
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 26-12-2021, 10:32 AM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
I feel your frustration
Canít help you with NINA but hereís all my procedures for EQMOD and PHD2
Hope you pick up something from all this info
Good Luck
Martin

PS: My EQ6-R ( later model with USB2 port ) use to stop tracking on EQMOD at random times through the night , so I disabled the limits ( meridian ) in EQMOD and it solved the problem once and for all
Donít know if this relates to your issue ??
I also have a second EQ6-R mount ( older model with no USB port ) and the tracking interruption issue never occurred on this mount so I left the limits active

Cheers
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 27-12-2021, 09:55 AM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Thank you for the links and acknowledgement of my struggles.
Martin.
I have read through all of your attachments which were a helpful reference point. While some of my settings were a little different (in PHD2) I was aligned for most.

It is interesting re the "so I disabled the limits ( meridian ) in EQMOD and it solved the problem once and for all"...I think that there is a bug somewhere here in that when I connect something is happening where it disconnects EQMOD. What is frustrating is that I cannot seem to get it reconnected without hard restarting everything.

Everything connects nicely in my office but I am not running any procedures in there (ie guiding) so it ends up resulting in another frustrating (and at the moment late) night under the stars.

If you think of any other suggestions, please let me know.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 27-12-2021, 10:53 AM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Martin,

Another thought, something I have not tried is connecting the original RJ port on the mount to the camera. By doing so, I would eliminate if the USB is creating the issue.

Any thoughts on this?

Steve
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27-12-2021, 12:23 PM
sunslayr (David)
Registered User

sunslayr is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Perth
Posts: 209
In my experience 99% of the time it is the usb cable. It seems that these usb-b cables are often very low quality, they are designed for printers after all. I have gone through several that look nice on the outside ( thick, shielded, etc) that just don't perform well under constant use. At the moment I'm using one that I picked up from an op shop, sometimes you can get lucky and get a high quality one from back in the 2000s. You could also try the green swamp driver (GSS) see if you get better results. It's a newer more maintained driver for eq mounts.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 27-12-2021, 12:24 PM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev0 View Post
Martin,

Another thought, something I have not tried is connecting the original RJ port on the mount to the camera. By doing so, I would eliminate if the USB is creating the issue.

Any thoughts on this?

Steve
I donít follow you regarding ďcamera to original RJ port on mountĒ

Set up should be as follows -

Mount Control
Mount USB2B port , USB2A to USB2B cable (5m maximum length) direct to Laptop USB port for EQMOD mount control ( no hand controller)

PHD2 Guiding ( Ascom Pulse Guiding recommended )
Guide camera USB3 cable direct to the Laptop ( max length 5m)

Common faults with EQMOD and PHD2

Power supply !!!! Are you running on mains or Battery ?? Try using a 12v power adapter plugged into mains like a Powertech 12V 7.5amp ( model no. MP3575 ) Iíve been using these on a EQ5 , HEQ5 , 2 x EQ6- R , 12Ē Goto dob and have been flawless for years and years

USB cables for your imaging and guide cameras , the only 5m long USB3 cable that has been flawless over 4 years has been the Startech Active USB3A to USB3B ( $190+ ea ) Iíve tried $20 to $60 USB3 cables ( different brands) up to 5m in length and they have all given me intermittent connectivity problems. Expensive ?? YES but they bloody work !!! If you buy one and use it for 5 years , thatís $50 a year . Iíve spent more on crappy cables that donít work over a few months

USB cables for your mount control ( EQMOD) Use good quality USB2A to USB2B cable max 5m length

Baud rate , the baud rate for EQMOD when using a USB2 cable must be 115200
not 9600 !!!
Also ensure baud rate is checked in Device Manager > USB com port > Properties

USB power management ( check my procedure to check USB power management in Laptop )

Disable limits in EQMOD

Guide rate in EQMOD ( check my procedure in EQMOD for PHD2 guide rates )

Drivers
Ensure drivers for cameras are updated
Ensure Ascom is downloaded
Ensure EQMOD is downloaded correctly using EQASCOM

Establish a Base line
Donít use your capture software NINA to launch EQMOD and PHD2
Open them manually
Start by connecting Laptop to mount via EQMOD Tool Box
( if using Stellarium for your planetarium) Open Stellarium and connect mount ( this will launch EQMOD control pad )
From mounts Home Position, test mount control by slewing to a Bright Star in the east up around 30 to 50 degrees , centre it and sync it , mount should be tracking on that Star at sidereal in EQMOD
Open PHD2 manually
Slew to location near celestial equator and just before the north meridian ( Declination 0 ) start calibration
Once calibrated, PHD2 should be guiding
Slew to another Star in the east up at 40 or 50 degrees and track / guide for an hour or so
If no issues , mount connections , cables , cameras etc.., are all ok
This establishes a Base line from which to continue testing
Next step would be your capture software NINA which I canít help you with ( NINA may very well be the issue ??? )

Thereís probably a million other things to check but this is a start

Hope it helps in some way

Cheers
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 27-12-2021, 01:58 PM
bluesilver (Peter)
Registered User

bluesilver is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Australia, Tasmania
Posts: 307
I am not expert by any means and this could be incorrect,
But looking at those images, it appears that phd2 is sending quiet a lot of guiding commands to the mount, now this may be normal for this mount, i am not sure, but generally on mine AZ/EQ6 i don't get any where near this many command signals.

May be worth while setting up a brand new profile in phd2 to see if that helps,
Also possibly that the mount is binding, as if the backlash is too tight.
A tad odd having two faults though.
Just try one thing at a time though otherwise it will be hard to find out what the culprit was.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 27-12-2021, 04:49 PM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesilver View Post
I am not expert by any means and this could be incorrect,
But looking at those images, it appears that phd2 is sending quiet a lot of guiding commands to the mount, now this may be normal for this mount, i am not sure, but generally on mine AZ/EQ6 i don't get any where near this many command signals.

May be worth while setting up a brand new profile in phd2 to see if that helps,
Also possibly that the mount is binding, as if the backlash is too tight.
A tad odd having two faults though.
Just try one thing at a time though otherwise it will be hard to find out what the culprit was.
Peter,
Good pick up ( I didnít open all the photos to be honest ) yes the mount appears to be sticking and PHD2 is sending guide pulses with no responding reverse movement in either Ra or Dec.
Another item I noticed was the guide camera gain is only 48 , it should be up to 95.
The Ra and Dec movement should be checked for stiction and binding with all the payload on board. I use the hand controller to rotate the mounts Ra at least 180 degrees and Dec 360 degrees, standing close using the handcontroller allows you to hear the whining sound of the motors and ensure thereís no binding sound. The Mount should also be checked for Ra and Dec balance. A badly balanced mount can upset PHD2 as well

Also redoing the calibration steps in PHD2 using the wizard calculator would be advisable

Cheers
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 28-12-2021, 03:14 PM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Peter and Martin,

Thank you for your thoughts and comments thus far.

A few things I have done:
1) Cables: Changed out all cables and also tried connecting through a high quality ST4 cable
2) Power: I have eliminated that this is an issue now. I have booted both on my Lithium 170AH power supply and also tried through my mains power supply with the same issue
3) Fresh Install: I have tried a fresh profile and even gone as far as using a fresh install on a different PC.. complete setup with the same issues
4) EQMOD Disconnecting: Yesterday, I had the same issue plague in a 4 hour session with my Astro Coach, we couldnt work it out. Tried diff USB, ST4 etc and then loaded up GS Server as an alternate to EQMOD. interestingly, no drop outs at all. Needs more testing but it appeared more stable. It appears to me that this app is not as widely used by many as yet but it looks fantastic (from a user interface perspective)
5) GS Server: On the topic of GSS, Interestingly it wont connect through to PHD2 at all. PHD2 will connect to GSS when completing a star cross test it pops up the "PulseGuide command to mount has failed". I have also tried this on two different computers and watched a number of config youtube videos with no solution. I have also logged onto the GSS forum and logged a note to see of the developer has any idea why PHD2 is not connecting to the mount through GSS.
6) EQMOD: I have successfully run the EQMOD star cross test but it looks like it only progresses in one direction with all N/S/E/W testing. I have a video (which is long) but 'mock star' i setup in a dark room moves in the same direction with each test. I also cannot move the mount with PHD2....where the mount does move in EQMOD
7)PHD2: I have jumped on the forum and asked Bruce for some help. He has sent me a link to a new testing script which I have just run and sent back to him. Will see what he comes up with....
8) Sidereal tracking: also found that when I load EQMOD, it automatically doesnt enable sidereal tracking. When I tick this, it works a charm in star cross test. Without, it doesn't work. I thank Bruce from PHD2 for this gem!

With all of the above attempted, I still don't have a solution but I am most certainly feeling a lot more comfortable working through the applications and trouble shooting which is a small benefit of trying to solve this enormously annoying problem. @Martin, I have tried most of what you have said other than some of the steps in the procedure bit in your email. I dont think however that these are going to help me at this point unless I am missing something key here...to me, it appears that there may be something wrong with my mount. I suspect that it could be the belts....I need to speak to Testar tomorrow re this (when they are back open). My suspicion strengthened on this when setting up on a new PC and finding the same issues (noted that it could still be a user error though with settings etc )

thank you again for your support. I feel some comfort in others telling me that I have been dealt a sh&t sandwich on this one and it has not been as hard for others.

THanks again, Steve
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 28-12-2021, 04:34 PM
bluesilver (Peter)
Registered User

bluesilver is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Australia, Tasmania
Posts: 307
Just out of interest, did you check for any binding in the mount ( when the power is off and clutches undone )?
Have you checked the tension on the belts themselves to see if they are over tight , too loose, you just undo the side cover to see them.
Have you tried just running the mount with the hand controller to see if the mount slews ok,
I had sort of a similar thing when i did some work on my mount and slightly overtighten one of the backlash gears when i put it back together, mount had a error and wouldn't slew due to too much pressure on the worm gear.
Just trying to eliminate the mount from the software to narrow things now a tad
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 28-12-2021, 04:58 PM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Peter,

I honestly dont know how to check for binding in the mount. nor tension belts. I plan to speak with Adriano at Testar tomorrow to see if he has a clue here. I have balanced it well (all axis) and I can slew in any direction and have done so with Nina and taken some shots. I slew manually in EQMOD (Rate x 4) or post PA using NINA I find a location and then go from there.

I have not tried to use the hand controller yet as I thought that if I can use EQMOD to slew, it would be the same thing but I will give it a go.

To me, and acknowledge I am super new to this, the issue seems to be when connecting between PHD2 and EQMOD and potentially GSS. PHD2 now appears to be making corrections and Bruce from PHD2 has just informed me that the mount is making corrections (through a separate query app he has) but the connection between PHD2 and EQMOD is not there. I cannot manually control it in PHD2 when connected to either EQMOD or GSS....
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 28-12-2021, 07:57 PM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Steve,
We always exhaust every avenue but rarely attribute blame on a faulty mount.
Could very well be the issue
Hope you resolve the issues soon
By the way any reason why you chose the AZEQ6 over say the EQ6-R ?? I notice you are using quite a small refractor ED80 ( 2.5 kg ) on a 21kg class mount ( future upgrades in mind ). Will you using the AZ mode ?
All the best
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 29-12-2021, 05:55 AM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Hey Martin,

Future proofing. Would love a larger scope down the track. I also struggled to get the EQ6-R pro due to covid.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-01-2022, 10:20 AM
jrm_astro's Avatar
jrm_astro (John)
Registered User

jrm_astro is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Wynnum, QLDt
Posts: 9
Hi Stev0,

Not sure if you've fixed these issues yet.
They sound very similar to problems I was having with my gear.
I have the same equipment as you, though I run a HEQ5 mount.
After 6 months plus of going around in circles I finally solved my problems by disabling mount limits in EQMod settings.

Cheers. Good luck.

John
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-01-2022, 10:52 AM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrm_astro View Post
Hi Stev0,

Not sure if you've fixed these issues yet.
They sound very similar to problems I was having with my gear.
I have the same equipment as you, though I run a HEQ5 mount.
After 6 months plus of going around in circles I finally solved my problems by disabling mount limits in EQMod settings.

Cheers. Good luck.

John
John,
Good advice
I mentioned that to Steve in my post a few weeks ago
I had the same issue a few years ago , once disabled , it has worked flawlessly on both of my EQ6-R mounts at two different sites
Cheers
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 12-01-2022, 10:17 AM
jrm_astro's Avatar
jrm_astro (John)
Registered User

jrm_astro is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Wynnum, QLDt
Posts: 9
Cheers Martin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
John,
Good advice
I mentioned that to Steve in my post a few weeks ago
I had the same issue a few years ago , once disabled , it has worked flawlessly on both of my EQ6-R mounts at two different sites
Cheers
Martin
These issues were incredibly frustrating. I had a feeling it would be as simple as changing a setting, but which one? After what felt like hundreds of iterations of checking/unchecking things I got there.

One thing that may give the mount limit thing away is to watch the RA/DEC screen in EQMOD as the mount is tracking. Mine would flash a horizon message for a split second and then stop tracking. Also, PHD cannot calibrate once this occurs. It took a long time to see this happening, if you are not staring at it, you'll miss it. This sent me down the correct path of identifying a limit problem.

John
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 12-01-2022, 02:05 PM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrm_astro View Post
These issues were incredibly frustrating. I had a feeling it would be as simple as changing a setting, but which one? After what felt like hundreds of iterations of checking/unchecking things I got there.

One thing that may give the mount limit thing away is to watch the RA/DEC screen in EQMOD as the mount is tracking. Mine would flash a horizon message for a split second and then stop tracking. Also, PHD cannot calibrate once this occurs. It took a long time to see this happening, if you are not staring at it, you'll miss it. This sent me down the correct path of identifying a limit problem.

John
I found the solution to my mount limit issue on Cloudy Nights on a few posts
Funny thing though , back in 2017 I was using mount limits in EQMOD when I was using Stellarium Scope ( 3rd part driver for Stellarium) and had no issue at all , the scope would track just past the meridian and then return to home position. I must admit Stellarium Scope was very unstable.As soon as I ditched Stellarium Scope in favour of the new recommended Ascom supported Stellarium in early 2020 , I started having intermittent issues
So far touch wood itís been flawless for nearly 2 years
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 13-01-2022, 10:52 AM
Stev0's Avatar
Stev0 (Steve)
Registered User

Stev0 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16
Update

Hi all,

Thanks for the additional insights.

As per the title, I have been looking to solve 2 main issues of which I believe I have a solution to both:

1) PHD2: Bruce from PHD2 has been awesome. He has helped me work through a solution which includes (as you identify) both disabling mount limits and ALSO ensuring that sidereal tracking enabled. Whenever EQMOD restarts, mine and no doubt others deselects sidereal tracking and so it needs to be checked each time. Since doing this, I have been able to track without any issues. I have sent the tracking records to Bruce for analysis Ö which also pointed out my second issue
2) mount disconnecting: I have been plagued with mount issues for months. For context, my mount will disconnect ~12 times a night and also randomly slew and not stop. To test if it was a mount or software issues, I tested the mount on two separate clean installations and also tested EQMOD and GSS as well - on both. The same issue persisted. My mount board is now being replaced under warranty. Fingers crossed this is it. I have also tried ST4 and USB .. many different USB cables and also powerÖ so, fingers crossed the replacement board will fix it. A big thanks to my Astro coach RoRo for his support with thisÖ itís been painful!

As always, I really appreciate your support. I feel like I am slowly getting there and the support and persistence has led to a deeper education/understanding of my kit and supporting softwareÖ this stuff ainít easy.

On a side pointÖ GSS is GREAT and something I am looking to transition to instead of EQMOD. Early days but it certainly looks more modern.

Thanks steve

In terms of an update, I have been waiting to get my mount board
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 14-01-2022, 10:13 AM
AdamJL
Registered User

AdamJL is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,547
Yep GSS is fantastic. When I tried it there were still some bugs but I’m sure 6 months later it’s a lot better. I’ll be switching over this year unless EQMOD gets a complete visual overhaul.
That program is like something from the 80s
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 14-01-2022, 02:09 PM
Startrek (Martin)
Registered User

Startrek is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney and South Coast NSW
Posts: 4,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
Yep GSS is fantastic. When I tried it there were still some bugs but Iím sure 6 months later itís a lot better. Iíll be switching over this year unless EQMOD gets a complete visual overhaul.
That program is like something from the 80s
The look of EQMOD doesnít worry me too much , the main objective is that works and does exactly what it was designed to do , mainly Goto and tracking plus a load of other features
Maybe Iím just a stubborn old fart who doesnít like change !!
Nothing wrong with a Green Swamp , it might smell a bit
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 04:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Limpet Controller
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
Testar
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement