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Old 11-05-2022, 04:48 PM
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AstroViking (Steve)
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Kstars device support - HEQ5?

Hi all,

I've done a search through the site (and the Ekos / IndiLib sites, too) and can't find a conclusive answer to my question.

I have just bought an HEQ5 mount (Yay! Shiny! ) and am looking to the future when everything will be semi-automated and controlled by a computer. I'm not a Windows user, so am planning to drive everything through Kstars on a Linux device.

The SynScan controller has a USB port and 'PC Direct' mode, which, according to my reading of the manual allows computer control with only a USB cable and NOT an EQDirect cable. Is this correct?

Secondly, I am also looking towards auto-guiding. The SVBony SV905C camera and 30mm guidescope looks quite appealing. Similarly, will Kstars/Ekos be able use this camera? (There are some forum post in the IndiLib site, but they are inconclusive.)

Many thanks,
V
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Old 11-05-2022, 05:46 PM
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Marko of Oz (Mark)
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I use PC Direct mode on my HEQ5 Pro and an ordinary USB cable to my laptop for control.

Can't help with the rest.

cheers

Mark
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Old 11-05-2022, 09:40 PM
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mswhin63 (Malcolm)
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Hi, I have been using KStars and Ekos for a while, I have an HEQ5 and the latest version 3.5.8 has been very stable for me with DSLR. EQDirect is required due to the limitation of the mount, not the software.
It is possible that Skywatcher has created alternative connectivity, but I haven't heard any updates.
I am a Windows user but the primary platform is Linux. I personally use a Raspberry Pi 4 B+ 8G and connect directly using VNC from Windows, or I can remote in using Kstars for Windows.

I was planning to make some EQDirect type cables for sale, but not sure as yet the viability.
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Old 11-05-2022, 09:40 PM
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Sunfish (Ray)
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I use the same shoestring eq usb cable that I use for the other setups when I use Linux Kstars Ecos on the HEQ5. Good for automating filter changes and scripting, also integrates the same external phd guiding setup in Linux into the system.

Pc Direct does not work for me.

Not sure how to do it otherwise.

Depends on your scope. I am sure any basic guide camera will work. For best guiding on longer focal length however you may eventually need to consider an OAG and again , any basic guide camera should be fine.
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Old 12-05-2022, 10:09 PM
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As far as SVBONY cameras there is ongoing driver building for INDI. I don't know much about the process, but my first forum search which appears to the about a month old shows someone developing it. Possibly has some bugs but really do not know.

https://www.indilib.org/forum/wish-l...tart=408#81771
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Old 13-05-2022, 10:35 PM
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Hi all,

Thanks very much for the help - it looks like an EQDirect cable will be going on the shopping list, then. (It's early days yet, so plenty of time to accumulate the necessary bits and pieces - including the laptop.)

I did more reading on the IndiLib site and the 'SynScan' driver has limited functionality compared to the EQMod driver.

Malcolm - thanks for the IndiLib forum link regarding the SV905C camera - that was the one I had read (and couldn't easily find again).

I'll keep plugging away and see how I go.

Have a great weekend all!
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Old 15-05-2022, 04:17 PM
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Hi again everyone,

A couple of things that I neglected to mention - I didn't realise how long the HEQ5 has been around, and all the updates that have happened over the years...

The mount is a brand-new Saxon HEQ5 Pro, purchased last Monday. (Aside from one small booklet with specifically says "Saxon", the remainder of the manuals all proclaim "SkyWatcher".)

The mount has the following ports:
- "Hand controller" (8 wires)
- 12v
- "Auto Guider" (6 wires)

The SynScan controller has the following ports (from left to right, looking at the bottom of the handset)
- "Mount port" (8 wires)
- "Multi-purpose port" (6 wires)
- USB "B" port

As I mentioned in my first post, am I right in assuming the USB port on the handset / controller (what is the correct name for the thing?) allows me to fully control the mount from a computer? Is this functionally the same as the EQDirect cable?

Cheers,
V
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Old 15-05-2022, 06:26 PM
Drac0 (Mark)
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Hi Steve,
Yes. Connecting through the handset - setting it to PC DIRECT mode - will allow full control on a pc/laptop, at least with EQMOD on a windows system.
Cheers,
Mark
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Old 15-05-2022, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac0 View Post
Hi Steve,
Yes. Connecting through the handset - setting it to PC DIRECT mode - will allow full control on a pc/laptop, at least with EQMOD on a windows system.
Cheers,
Mark
Just to advise that the developers of EQMOD do not endorse running remote control of the mount via the Synscan handset due to insufficient information regarding this type of connection and its functionality ( also known as PC Direct method )

See attached doc from EQMOD ( available on their site )

A lot of folk use this method of connection ( PC Direct ) across the globe but it is not recommended ( EQMOD have not designed this method of connection nor do they endorse it due its unknown functionality and operation)

EQMOD recommended connection is EQ Direct ( Shoestring cable Laptop direct to mount ) or EQ Direct (mounts with new USB port, USB2B )

Cheers
Martin
Attached Files
File Type: pdf EQMOD PC Direct or EQ Direct.pdf (93.7 KB, 24 views)
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  #10  
Old 15-05-2022, 10:25 PM
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Hi Mark and Martin,

Thanks for your replies.

I spent some time this evening with the mount connected to my Mac via a USB cable to the SynScan controller in PC-Direct mode. After a lot of messing around I was able to successfully control the mount (configured as an EQ-MOD mount) via Kstars and Ekos.

I had a great time slewing the mount to various stellar objects with a click of the mouse...

For what it's worth, when connected to the Mac, the SynScan reported itself as a USB-Serial adaptor. The same as you would see if you plugged in any USB serial adaptor.

I was also able to control my DLSR through Ekos, and managed a fake polar alignment (using the CCD Simulator). Not a bad night's effort, I think.

However, if PC-Direct is not the supported method of connecting a computer to the mount, then I'll have to add an EQDirect cable to the shopping list.

Cheers all,
V
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Old 16-05-2022, 12:03 AM
Drac0 (Mark)
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An EQDirect cable or Synscan USB Adapter. Both do the same thing, removing the handset from the control path. I'm still surprised that current HEQ5's haven't yet got to the point of having a USB port built into the mount. Maybe they will get there one day...
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Old 16-05-2022, 06:38 PM
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Well done.


They key I think is guiding.

Does phd2 support any other method of controlling the mount through Linux than eqmod ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroViking View Post
Hi Mark and Martin,

Thanks for your replies.



However, if PC-Direct is not the supported method of connecting a computer to the mount, then I'll have to add an EQDirect cable to the shopping list.

Cheers all,
V
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Old 18-05-2022, 07:57 PM
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Hi Ray,

I've just had a look through the PHD2 forums and it looks to support the INDI driver on both macOS and Linux.

Cheers,
V

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Well done.


They key I think is guiding.

Does phd2 support any other method of controlling the mount through Linux than eqmod ?
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Old 18-05-2022, 09:55 PM
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I was referring more to the PHD connection hardware cable and selection for the mount in phd outside of Indi more than the Indi drivers for the camera . But there are many ways to skin that cat and it can get complicated.

My advice is to get PHD guiding working separately and set up as an external guider in ecos before you introduce any other complexity
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Old 19-05-2022, 11:03 AM
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Ah. That makes more sense.


Guiding is not on the agenda at the moment - I still need to buy the guide scope + camera, as well as a cheap-ish laptop to drive it all.


I've only had the HEQ5 outside once, and that was to get acquainted with the three-star alignment process and seeing how well it located various targets in the sky.


Hopefully this weekend will give me clear skies so I can try again.
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:40 AM
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PHD2 guiding will work under LINUX on any old laptop back to XP vintage or cheap Ubuntu micro computer (pine 64 ,rock 64 , etc) with wireless networking So will kstars ecos if you have enough USB ports or hub for the devices you want to add or you can buy the complete Stellarmate package.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroViking View Post
Ah. That makes more sense.


Guiding is not on the agenda at the moment - I still need to buy the guide scope + camera, as well as a cheap-ish laptop to drive it all.


I've only had the HEQ5 outside once, and that was to get acquainted with the three-star alignment process and seeing how well it located various targets in the sky.


Hopefully this weekend will give me clear skies so I can try again.
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Old 24-05-2022, 09:37 PM
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Just to give a quick update (following on from and expanding the discussion over in my 'M8' post).

I have the following software to hand:
- Stellarium (love it - great for finding targets)
- A test installation of Kstars / Ekos on my Mac to get my head around it
- A test Linux virtual machine with Kstars / Ekos (again, for testing)

And the following hardware that's not mentioned above:
- A guide scope & guide camera are on their way
- QHY PoleMaster
- I MIGHT be able to borrow the finder scope off my girlfriend's telescope (didn't think of it until just now...)

I'm hopeful that all my current frustration will disappear when I get a laptop and can then use Kstars / Ekos / PoleMaster to get the alignment right and really start having fun.

Again, thanks to everyone who's offered support and advice - I greatly appreciate it.

Cheers and clear skies!
V
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Old 22-06-2022, 10:58 AM
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Hello all,


Just a quick update on where things stand at Chateau Viking...


I had the scope and everything setup last night (yay for a break in the clouds!) and tried my hand at (1) using the PoleMaster and (2) guiding.


The PoleMaster software is quirky to use, but once you get your head around their workflow it does the job quite well. The hardest part was realising that the 'template' for stars around Octantis are NOT the actual stars that make up the 'U' shape. Once I had that sorted, getting what looked like a good PA was easy.


I need to practise it a few more times to really get the hang of it, especially getting the mount back to it's 'park' position after doing the RA rotations. I might have been a bit off, which then impacted my tracking later in the evening.


Guiding was a bit of a failure. I suspect I need to tweak the camera settings (more gain?) to pick up more stars. As it was, Ekos was reporting 'RMS has exceeded value, refinding guide stars / Autoguiding started' every 30 seconds or so.


I managed to get about 20 minutes of IC2602 (The Southern Pleiades) before the clouds rolled in. I haven't looked at them yet to see how good the tracking was - hopefully this evening.


Cheers,
V
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Old 22-06-2022, 12:57 PM
Drac0 (Mark)
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Glad to see you're starting to get it together Steve. Can take time, especially if trying to use a less 'popular' platform. Good luck & clear skies.
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Old 22-06-2022, 03:45 PM
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Thanks Mark.


It's a case of one slow step at a time, and "what does this button do?". I'll get there eventually.



Cheers,
V
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