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Everything posted by malc-c

  1. Some good suggestions there, Personally, and I respect your opinion, if someone is looking at getting into imaging, an AZ mount is not the best suggestion IMO due to field rotation... But then you addressed this by suggesting the purchase of an additional wedge to convert the mount to EQ. It shows that work arounds are available and whilst initially not required, can be undertaken at a later stage for an additional cost, without the need to replace the mount. Alternatively, taking an EQ mount and setting the latitude to 0 converts it to an ALT AZ mount (but why you would do that is questionable ). The OP would just have to factor the additional costs, which would be spread over time The MAC would be an excellent planet killer - with high magnifications, but not so good for DSO's - As we know until you start venturing into the big league with 14" SCT etc then we're in that "no scope fits all" arena. The problem is that these days £400 doesn't get you far in purchasing astro gear. Often what you can get for that budget doesn't cover your wants, and what does cover your wants and needs is twice your budget !
  2. Exactly... Irrespective if you have a cheap scope with basic optics, or a top of the range ED triplet, they won't perform on a poor mount, but even a basic chap scope will give great results on a decent mount. The EQ5 really is a decent mount. It is upgradable, although going down the upgrade path works out more expensive than jumping to the end result at the start. The basic mount retails around £315. You then have a choice of two motorised upgrades, the non goto set for £215 or the full computerised goto upgrade at £389, bringing the total outlay to £530 and £704 respectively. Buying the EQ5 pro goto outright at £674 saves you £30, but if your budget is limited then buying the unpowered mount and upgrading later may be your only option. I've originally purchased an EQ5 / 200P combo and whilst this was a good combo, IMO the 200P was to much of a wind sail and pushed the mount to its limit. If I had to recommend a combination, it would be the Skywatcher 150P / PDS on an EQ5. This gives a decent fast scope with good aperture, on a stable mount which is also portable enough to place on the back seat of a car and taken to a decent dark site without giving you a workout. However it would more than double your budget at £998 for the 150 PD-S pro goto version. As to going for goto or not... its a personal and subjective topic that has been discussed a lot on the forum. For me I use it as a means to teach me the night sky, and it saves me time and frustration of doing it manually. Others like to learn how to star hop and navigate the night sky using their own eyes... I would recommend some form of motorising the RA axis, irrespective of visual observing, or if you tried to image with the scope, having it track and keep an object in the field of view makes life a lot easier. There is nothing worse then finding a target, then letting someone else have a look for them to see it disappearing out of view or not be there altogether. The speed at which we are spinning becomes very apparent through a telescope. Speaking form personal advice, try and think what you would like to achieve form the hobby and then see what kit fits that capability and then save or raise the cash to get that kit. You may (most probably) get the urge to try and take pictures through the scope, and if you get hooked on this, then an EQ mount is essential. So buy for the future not for today. As mentioned I soon found that the 200P / EQ5 combo was at its limits by the time I added a camera etc. I ended up betting a second-hand HEQ5 which was more than capable of handling the weight and size of the 200P. I sold the EQ5 goto at a loss.... Second-hand kit will be cheaper, but given the current world shortage of kit, people are not upgrading as much, and even second-hand kit is commanding a premium and gets snapped up very quickly. Anyway that's my 2p worth... good luck with your research
  3. It gets saved as an alignment point in EQMOD. If you have a permanent set up the more alignment points you add the higher the precession the goto's get
  4. Well back in 2019 the question was being mentioned on EQMOD group Seems its a windows issue rather than EQMOD / ASCOM issue
  5. Well a NEMA 17 and NEMA 23 are different motors, the NEMA 17 being 1.7" x 1.7" and the NEMA 23 being 2.3" x 2.3", so the 23 will be half an inch square larger. I doubt that Synta would run to the trouble of having custom NEMA 17's wound for the HEQ5 / EQ6 mounts, and would use off the shelf components, but as I mentioned, it's possible that they have used motors that operate at high voltages with large amounts of torque, given the 34v the motors are driven at.
  6. Check the powersave options on the laptop, and try disabling the USB selective suspend option. The USB selective suspend feature allows the hub driver to suspend an individual port without affecting the operation of the other ports on the hub. Selective suspension of USB devices is especially useful in portable computers, since it helps conserve battery power.
  7. Try posting on the EQMOD group - there may be a reason. Personally I've only used a USB gamepad when setting up the mount in the observatory, but that was the only time. It may be down to the protocol your BT pad uses not being seen, or maybe EQMOD only supports USB devices ?
  8. It will only get worse when starling is fully up to capacity...
  9. Looking at this gives the impression I said what's in the quote box !! " on 29/10/2021 at 13;31. malc-c said" - --- AFAIK I never said anything detailed in the quote
  10. Can you elaborate - you seem to have miss quoted me !! I was under the impression you replaced a faulty HEQ5 board with one of the new versions. I don't follow that last sentence regarding INDI
  11. As mentioned NEMA XX standard is simply the measurement across the face plate. NEMA 17 is 1.7" x 1.7", NEMA 14 is 1.4" x 1.4". The depth of the motor, the internal resistance, the method of control (bipolar or unipolar), and other electrical characteristics all vary depending on their specification. All these are NEMA 17 But available in 8 different specifications - see here Unless the internal resistance and voltage ratings for the coils of the original motor is known, it's not a straight forward case to just replace a $55 stepper with a $6 one.
  12. If you must go for a dome then go commercial as suggested. Some have attempted DIY domes and they end up being heavy, costly and or time consuming. Alternatively look at "traditional" roll off roof type observatories, which are far easier for DIY construction.
  13. Trawling through posts on this forum and cloudy nights, seems one suggestion was this - $54 per motor, which might explain why SW replacements are averaging £75 with new mounting plates included
  14. If you have one, measure the face plate of the existing motor... you may find that they are NEMA 14
  15. NEMA 17 refers to the face plate size, which is 1.7" x 1.7". It doesn't relate to the actual specs of the windings, torque etc. For example the holding torque can range form 0.85kg / CM up to 3.7kg / CM and they all look the same physical size with a 5mm diameter shaft. Also the operating voltages can vary between 3v and 30v (Seeing that the switch mode power supply on HEQ5 / EQ6 mounts generate 34v to the driver chips, it may well be that the NEMA 17 sized motors in the EQ6 that have the designated part number HM6GT-F00-1 are custom / hybrid design, and you may burn out an off the shelf Stepper motor and or damage the motorcontrol board. I would do more investigation before committing to an order
  16. Just to clarify, both EQMOD and the handset default to the slowest speed. If you set the handset to speed 9, or set the speed value to the right of the NSEW button in EQMOD to 4 this will slew at maximum rates when the directional buttons are pressed
  17. Nice bit of research there... At least on the face of it the two follow similar protocols, other than pins 1 and 6 not being used (which may be a problem as the handset is expecting 12v on pin 6) and we assume that the common on the handset pin 4 is also ground 2 and 5 being the RS232 TX and RX pins. But don't forget the handset is expecting true RS232 voltages on those pins, ie +/- 12v as it has the MAX232 chip inside that drops that to 5v TTL serial. The D1-DNT07A D1 DNT08A MEGA-FABS D1 Servo Driver Cable will more than likely operate at 5v TTL levels (or possibly 3.3v depending on the chipset used) as its essentially a FTDI USB to 5v(or 3.3V) TTL cable terminated with an RJ11/12 plug.
  18. Yes, Synta are moving away from PIC based boards to ARM based. If you still have the old board I would be willing to take it off your hands. I've had some success at repairing blown boards as documented in this thread Often its a case of replacing the two PICs with new programmed ones which tend to resolve the "no response both axis" issue.
  19. Do not get that adapter, you have no idea how the pins are wired and you could end up damaging the handset If your handset lacks a USB port then you'll have to go old school The sysnscan should have come with a Skywatcher serial cable that is a long grey cable that looks like a telephone cable but with a 9 pin D type plug on it. Like this You then need a USB to SERIAL adapter to connect the cable to a PC. like this BUT - as stated above... unless there is a problem with the handset then there is no need to update the firmware.
  20. Glad to hear you've sorted the issue... thanks for the closure
  21. As others have said, use a decent mix of concrete rather than the postcrete stuff.
  22. I didn't design the handset, so can say if the circuitry inverts the signals when the PC-DIRECT port is used as a means of connection to a PC's serial port . In my experience of testing and repairing motor boards, communication with the mount via the handset in PC DIRECT mode worked when the PC-DIRECT cable ( the one that looks like a telephone cable terminated with a D9 connector - NOT and EQDIR cable) was connected to either a Belking RS232/USB adaptor, or when connected direct to the COM1 port of an old PC. It might well be that the Belkin USB/RS232 converter handled the inversion These days there is little point in using this method. You are effectively taking 5v USB protocol, converting it to true RS232 levels and standards to send it to the handset where it is then converted to 5v TTL serial protocol, and relayed to the mount. It's far better to use an FTDI based EQDIR cable connected directly to the mount in place of the handset, or if the mount is more recent and has a USB type B port, use a straight USB A-B cable. The method of using the handset as a pass through in PC-DIRECT mode stems back a few decades when 9 pin / 21 pin serial ports were common on a PC and USB was in its infancy... In terms of set up. Other than the the connections described above, the process is the same. All three methods are presented as serial ports within device manager, and EQMOD or GSServer simply needs to have the corresponding port selected at either 9600 baud or 115200 baud depending on the cabling method used.
  23. Dave, simply use a 5m active USB ext cable. Plug the EQDIR cable into that which would give you 6.5- 7m between mount and PC in the summer house. Or connect a hub to the active cable, and plug the EQDIR cable and any USB cameras into the hub...
  24. Using a true RS232 adapter will indeed fry the motor boards of most modern mounts if it is used as an EQDIR cable. True RS232 voltage levels are typically +/- 12v. The FTDI232 devices operate at 3.3v or 5v, but this is only applicable if you are making your own EQDIR cable. All commercial EQDIR cables use the 5v version of this chipset. The interface of older versions of handsets that use the serial cable (long grey cable with a 9 way D type connector at one end and phone line connector at the other) when in PC Direct mode can be used with a standard RS232 to USB adapter as the handset has a MAX232 chip inside it which handles the conversion to TTL levels into the processors. Modern handsets have a USB port on them, so can use a standard USB A-B cable for a direct connection to a PC. These new handsets have the USB to 5v TTL serial adapters built in, this may be the Prolific 2302 chipset rather than FTDI, which also may be the reason why the OP is having issues with this method of connection. Windows dropped support for the Prolific chipset when windows 10 came out, and as such the comport driver needs to be downloaded and installed manually. However until the OP explains what method of connection they are using between the PC and the Handset this may be irrelevant, and as I asked, if they are using an EQDIR cable then I personally can't see the point in making the connection via the handset in PC direct mode.
  25. When you connect the handset to the PC via USB, and place the handset in PC-DIRECT mode you should see a new com port appear in Device manager (much the same way as when you connect an EQDIR cable). By default the baud rate is set to 9600. Try changing this to 115200 and see if you can control the mount (once you configure EQMOD / GSServer to use that same com port). I have to ask though, if you can control the mount using an EQDIR cable why would you want to do the same via the handset in PC-DIRECT mode ?
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