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Posts posted by malc-c

  1. OK I'm confused... in post #1 you stated you are using an LYNX EQDIR cable... If your mount has an USB port (as the newer versions of SW mounts now have) then all you need is an A-B USB cable to connect the mount to the laptop.  When doing so the port settings does indeed have to be set to 115200 baud.  If you connect via the EQDIR cable, replacing the handset, then the baud rate is 9600.

    Personally I never connect the mount via a hub. In the observatory I have two 5m active USB ext cables between the mount and the warm room.  One has the EQDIR cable plugged into it, with the other end directly into a USB port on the PC.  The second USB ext cable connects to a powered hub for the cameras.

  2. Great news that the mount is OK.  - Everything is pointing towards the EQDIR cable or the registration of the driver. 

    Open up Device manager, right click on the com port associated with the EQDIR cable, and select "Uninstall Device" and then confirm the operation.  If prompted to remove the driver as well, then do so.  Once the device has been removed, pull the USB cable out of the port and plug it back in so Windows detects the hardware and will re-install the driver and give it a com port.  You may find the port number has changed, if so then repeat the previous instructions to set the baud rate etc in both the port properties and EQMOD

    • Like 1
  3. 17 minutes ago, paul mc c said:

    After tidying up my cables i added a usb extension to my laptop,which turns out to be faulty,so resorted back to the original usb,and getting same can not connect message.

    I have checked the com ports are the same and all the cables are not loose and still no joy.Obviously i am doing something wrong,but starting to do my head in now.

    If you still have the handset, do you get any "no response" messages for either or both axis.  If  not and the handset connects and you can move the mount then that confirms the motor control board is OK.

    USB extension leads can cause problems, which is why is always advisable to use active extension leads rather than passive.  I would suggest you try deleting the com port associated with the LYNX cable and repeat the instructions I gave above.  If that fails then the problem may be that the faulty extension cable has damaged the FTDI chip in the EQDIR cable and a new cable may need to be purchased.

    • Like 1
  4. 19 hours ago, Logan Run said:

    I am a new member to stargazers lounge Hello to everyone hope you are all keeping well & safe , i got some gear which i will send later , am stuck on a few things , my mount sky-watcher eq5 pro

    I am using ascom drivers with eqmod APT platesovling and stellarium to operate my gear ,just like to know how you use the pulse guiding on eqmod , my guiding OAG is all over the place , please help 

    Try the search function above.  Enter PHD as the search string and then just read through the posts - PHD (PHD2) is discussed at length, from installation to advanced calibration, so chances are you'll find the answer rather than members repeating what has already been posted.  Failing that, post up screen grabs of the traces and the log files if you have a specific issue.  The main issue with failure when pulse guiding is that the users don't change the pulse rate in EQMOD to 0.9x for both axis.


  5. 19 hours ago, PeterCPC said:

    Sharpcap only works with Windows. Not Android.

    Which is clearly stated on the download page 


    Sharpcap runs on Microsoft Windows – you should choose the version of SharpCap to install based on your version of Windows.


  6. On 10/11/2021 at 23:23, Swoop1 said:

    It would also have a single bed, a Lazeeboy and a beer fridge.


    Didn't go as far as the beer fridge, but my warm room had a bench for a sleeping bag, a kettle and a microwave to warm up some pasties or pies at 3am on a cold winters night... I now remote into the observatory from the warmth and comfort of the living room.....




    • Like 1
  7. My 2p worth.

    Is there anything preventing you from running an mains extension cable to the location and having the powersupply in a portable box of some description.  I've seen insulated plastic coolers being used before, the insulation preventing a lot of dew forming on the contents.

    If this is not an option, use a multimeter and measure the actual current drawn directly from the supply for each item of equipment so you have a true understanding of the load.  I would expect the mount to draw around 1.8 - 2.3 amps when both axis are slewing, but have no idea about the cooling of the camera and dew heaters.  Then you have some real values to use in the calculations.  You may find 2.5m2 multi strand cable is better than solid core twin and earth, an electrician could advise you better on that.  

    Power supplies are split into two types.  Constant current or constant voltage.  In order to provide a constant current the voltage is adjusted, with the opposite when a constant voltage is used.  Personally if the power supply needs to remain inside, then look for a constant voltage supply which can supply 7-20 amps.  There will be voltage drop of the distance which would be between 0.75 and 1v over that distance and depending on the resistance of the cable used and the true current draw.

    • Thanks 1
  8. On 24/11/2021 at 21:43, dnl said:

    For my canons I use dummy batteries and a buck converter to step down from the the 12v of my power pack. 


    I did the same for my 400D, but used an old fashioned 7885 linear regulator and a pair of capacitors - Does the same job.... 

  9. For items over £135 VAT and Excise Duty is payable.  - If the EU retailer has an option to display EX VAT prices on their website then select it.  Take that ex VAT price, add the companies delivery fees to the UK to get a total EX VAT price.  If its over £135 add 5% of the total EX VAT price, and then add 20% VAT to that sub total.  This will give you an approximation of the landed cost to your door.

  10. 1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

    Handset control of my 14 inch LX200 GPS is not giving workable Go To so I was thinking about controlling it via a PC planetarium to see if that worked better. Anyone doing this? If so, what planetarium do you use and do you have any tips on the setup, cables etc?



    Hi Olly,

    I found this page that shows the connectivity and software suggestions.  Seems a USB/serial adapter and USB cable is all that is needed, but they do list genuine Mead adapters (well they would being Mead).


    Hope that helps

    • Like 1
  11. 5 hours ago, ghostofrecon said:

    So i bought an EQ6-R recently.  I have, as of yet, been unable to connect the mount using the USB on the side.  It's not a huge problem since i can connect using the handset, but I would really like to be able to connect to the side port cause it will enable me to do some much better cable management.  Anyone know how to do this?

    There are so many posts asking about PC connection to SW mounts a simple search will throw up the answers, whether you use the USB cables on new mounts with this option, or using an EQDIR cable to replace the handset.  You need to download and install the ASCOM platform if you run windows.  (You will have to search for options if running a flavour of Linux. - I can't advise on that topic)

    Let me copy the post I made on a similar thread on Monday - In this example it uses EQMOD, and an EQDIR cable (I've edited the baud rates as they are different ) but the same would apply to GSServer.  Ideally your A-B USB cable should be 3m or less if standard, or 5m active cable used to prevent drop out.

    • Open up windows device manager and under ports confirm the mount  is registered when it is connected and that the  ) driver (you may need to download this from SKywatcher main website has installed correctly (ie no warnings)
    • Select the PORT and right click to select PROPERTIES and then select the second tab PORT PROPERTIES
    • Confirm the BITS per second is set to 115200, databits to 8, parity NONE, stop bits 1 (older mounts run at 9600, newer ones seem to be 115200 baud)
    • Close Device manager
    • Ensure the same port number that you just checked in Device Manager, and select the same baud rate of 115200 




    • Click OK to close
    • Power up the mount 
    • From the toolbox select TEST CONNECTION.  EQMOD should launch and make connection with the mount.  To the right of the NSWE buttons are two sliders for RA and DEC rate.  Between them is a drop down option - select 4
    • Use the NSEW buttons to move the mount.

    Hope that helps

  12. Hi Matt, 

    You basically contradicted your other statement and agreed with me :) ..  Both mounts are equally suited to the OTA used with them.  But you wouldn't consider mounting the RC8 on the Az-GTi, which is my point.  It may work, you might get something decent, but equally you may run into problems with stability.

    Anyway, a lot of what's been discussed here is going OT - That lovely Redcat scope is £200 over the OP 500 euro budget, although the mount would fit within the budget, but for me I still prefer to recommend an EQ  


  13. 1 hour ago, wuthton said:

    I'm sorry but this isn't true, you can take some fabulous images with some very modest equipment if you keep your focal length short and your sampling rate high. If I was re-buying today, a big mount would be a long, long way down on my list of priorities. A cooled camera and some nice filters would take the top spot for the big money.


    I'm sure you would soon be disappointed with the results your expensive cooled camera would give when its attached to a reasonable scope on a modest mount...   the two really go hand in hand.  There is no way I would attach something like a QSI 683 to a 200P mounted on an EQ3 or EQ5 mount...   If you are spending that sort of cash then you more likely to be using a 200mm Ritchey-Chretien telescope on a Skywatcher EQ8 mount.

    Yes you can get some fabulous images using modest equipment, but often that takes a lot more effort to make the equipment play nice

  14. Nigella raises another point.  Security.  The majority of low life are still able to recognise what a dome observatory is.  Even if they don't, the fact that it doesn't look like any other domestic outbuilding draws them to it.  If you live in the sticks then things may be different.

    Her video also highlights that you still have to factor in the construction of the floor and base.  Personally give UK weather I would have used exterior grade ply rather than a particle board for the floor, which at todays prices can add a further £200 to the budget.


  15. My apologies, the price was for the short height dome - the 2.1m standard is indeed £3795

    The nexdome is listed as being under £3K at £2960 (inc VAT - which presumably is at UK rates?).  But being outside the EU you may have to pay duty to import it into the UK following Brexit.  

    I'm hoping its just their website that is at fault as I wanted to find out how much the shipping cost would be given the size, and this was the result when I placed the product code into their website on the shipping page, yet the table below shows the standard UPS for <44kg being £78.51, up to £194 for UPS Express



    Hopefully they will get back to you to confirm the price, shipping and if any additional taxes or duty would be payable

    I know I've said it's your money etc, but you could get a far better alternatives for the £3k  -  If you do reconsider and look at traditional wooden ROR observatories, DONT place an order with Home Observatories UK - other forum members have been waiting more than 12 months for their observatories and two have resorted to recovering their deposits via the small claims courts.

    Even though my observatory is 10 years old, the equipment is always dry, and I can be up and taking that first image in less than 15 minutes on a good night.  I don't have to worry about any issues with the dome matching the Earths rotation, and thus can run sessions all night from the warmth of my living room via RDC to the observatory PC.

    That observatory that Stuart built from a small summer house looks very sturdy and practical.  Such a building would make an excellent replacement for the metal shed you currently have.  I'm sure they can offer larger if you wanted more space.  My scope room is approx.  6.5' x 8'  and I can easily walk around the 200P without having to limbo around it !  I would even wager a pack of donuts that if your went down the same route as Stuart you could build the base, purchase the building and materials to modify it, and lay in all the power and data for the same amount you would spend on just purchasing a commercial  dome.

    But as I said, its your money, your choice and your project... 



  16. Life is never easy :)

    I think you need to find out from the seller exactly what make and model the observatory is, and if they are vague, find out its history and how they came to have it.  If it is their own observatory then they should know its age, make and model.  If it does turn out to be a MK1 pulsar then yes, based on the above information an off the shelf ready to run drive system would require a lot of fettling to get it to work.


    A quick google and came up with this 


    Which confirms its a pulsar.  But as their new domes are totally smooth and unsegmented then this suggest it is an early version

    In fact further research and its an original - have a read of this document and you can see one of the originals form 2000 which is the same as the one in the listing

  17. 25 minutes ago, DaveS said:

    Be aware that if it is a mk1 Pulsar (Possibly 2.1 metre rather than the current 2.2 metre) that you will have problems with the Pulsar automation. From what I've read on other threads people have had no end of trouble.

    And this throws another variable into the works.....

  18. I was product manager for Tasco between 1981 and 1986, and use many of the telescopes we had on display, including the 11TR.  In fact my first view of Saturn was through an 11TR and from my aging memory was thrilled with what I saw that I dragged the whole family out (I was circa 20 year old at the time !).  The optics were good, it had a parabolic mirror, and the 12m and 20m eyepieces were OKish - but if you could get hold of a better eyepiece the images were a lot better.  It suffered from two things that made using it a pain.  The wooden tripod and small mount didn't provide a sturdy platform, and the eyepieces were basic and of the 0.96" size rather then the now standard 1.25", so you were limited to what accessories you could use.

    For $100 CAD  - £60 GBP its worth a punt, especially if its in mint condition, if only for the nostalgia. 

    • Like 2
  19. 33 minutes ago, Astropedro said:


    Just thinking.....is a used pulsar worth £1800?  If it even is a pulsar I wonder.....

    I'm guessing that its the one in Kent


    I'm not sure if its a Pulsar, if it is then it's possibly an early version.  But at £1500 plus the delivery that's still half that of a new one.

    The advantage of new is that that it will have 12 months warranty, and if you want to spread the cost, choose the three instalment plan via paypal. If you later want to motorise the dome you know the drive will fit and will work.

    Bottom line is that its your cash, and ultimately your observatory.  This DIY section is filled with examples of home build observatories from £300 sheds from Argos through to £10,000 fully automated domes.  We all built them the way we did for various reasons and had different budgets.  Do you pay £2K for a second hand dome, petrol, hire charges, and any other expenses associated with renovation (the rollers look as if they need replacing - something a friend had to do when he got a second hand dome), or pay £3K for a new one that won't need anything else and should work out of the box.  - Only you can make that choice

    • Like 1
  20. 19 minutes ago, barbulo said:

    After giving up trying the INDI / Rpi route, I have just ordered a refurbished Mini-Computer Fujitsu ESPRIMO Q9000 (Core i3 2,53GHz 4GB 120GB SSD HDMI WIN10) in eBay.

    I hope it can handle my setup running APT + CdC + PHD2 + RDC

    I've chosen this one because of its price and dimensions: Width168mm, Height165 mm, Depth57 mm, Weight1.4 kg. 

    Although it doesn't have wireless connectivity, I plan to use an old PLC Powerline Passthrough to connect it to the router.

    Well if all that can run on my old core 2 duo PC I'm sure the above machine will cope 

    • Thanks 1
  21. Not sure about the "best" version, but the latest can be found on the CdC web site  4.2.1 has been the current version since November 2019.

    Latest build of the Beta version here  but it's beta and not a RC version so what bugs are in it or how stable it is is anyone's guess

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