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About mikey2000

  • Rank
    Star Forming

Profile Information

  • Interests
    DSLR and mirrorless 'terrestrial' photography, space, telescopes and now astrophotograpy
  • Location
    Leighton Buzzard UK
  1. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    FLO says it’s rated at 20kg for astrophotography. That’s 44lb. It comes with 2x 5kg counterweights and a counterweight extension bar. I’ve not done the measurements on how far the bar extends but it looks rather long with the extension on. my rig is about 7kg and I use the extension bar (mainly so I don’t lose it!). One 5kg weight balances the rig when placed halfway along the bar. So if my maths is correct, two weights would balance 14kg. Moving the weights to the very end would then balance 28kg 30lb is about 14 kg so I’m sure you will be fine with two weights. (that’s pretty rough and possibly incorrect maths but I think it gets us in the approx right area)
  2. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    When I first got my EQ3 Synscan, I had a similar frustrating moment. It turned out its the time of year you need to be careful with your date format. mm/dd/yy I think is correct. 01/11/2018 is quite different to 11/01/18, depending on your date format!
  3. Hi, I've been meaning to put this up for sale for ages but only just managed to get around to it I'm selling it because I upgraded to a heavier mount. It's the entire mount (aluminium legs, tray, synscan controller + handset + holders, mount, pre-installed ra/dec 'synscan pro' drives, polar scope, both counterweights, "home made" polar scope illuminator, slo mo hand control knobs and a baader AC adapter) It's always been kept in a clean place in my garage and never left outside in the rain. The polar scope is nicely centered. It guides reasonably well with my 150PDS. I stuck with it for a year's worth of astrophotography and was mostly happy but sometimes had trouble with the mount's inherent DEC backlash (noted in the EQ3 DSO Challenge thread - https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/279039-the-eq3-dso-challenge/?tab=comments#comment-3054192 Many would say this mount is better suited to visual use but many people on a tight budget and a slightly lighter scope than my 150PDS might disagree! It's in good condition and works as expected. I can't find the manuals anywhere but I have PDF files somewhere on my computer. I don't have the original boxes so postage would be somewhat difficult/impossible. Therefore this is for collection only from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire UK £150 please Here's a photo - any questions, please ask. Mike
  4. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    It’s not just the voltage but the amps too. I have a mains adapter that converts UK 240V to 12V and rated at max 5A. (Mains wall plug leads to a black box which leads to a female car cigarette lighter outlet) It hasn’t ever let me down.... (it sends + to the inside terminal in the cigarette lighter style socket) it was hard to find one with a decent amp rating. Many on amazon/eBay are lower Amp rates...
  5. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    I just checked my cable - it looks very very similar to the one pictured, but mine is a 'HiTecAstro' branded cable. I wonder if I maybe I didn't get it from FLO after all. It was a while ago now (!!!). I seem to recall spending a similar price though. After struggling for a while with my USB ---> Serial ---> Syscan adapter set, I noticed an immediate and complete improvement in reliability with the proper EqDirect cable and leaving the handset out altogether. I think if you post a new thread somewhere here, you will get a more technical/complete answer. Maybe ask "Are all EQDirect USB cables created the same?" or similar. That might get a bit more attention than in this thread.
  6. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Not stupid questions! Very sensible questions, to protect your investment from avoidable damage. I don't have the synscan manual to hand at the moment, so I can't help at the moment. I prefer to use EQMOD instead of the handset and I believe it has 'limits' you can set and there is an Emergency Stop you can assign to your preferred gamepad-style controller. I've never tried an auto-meridian flip though, especially unattended, just in case it goes wrong. I, too, am afraid of bashing my scope!
  7. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Enjoy! Sorry, I'm not sure about the cable. I have a USB version but I ordered it specifically from First Light Optics here in te UK. I'd recommend buying a 'decent' cable from a reputable astro supplier as USB issues with slightly poor cables/hubs have given me all kinds of trouble in the past...
  8. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Once again, happy to help! If I may be so bold as to offer some more advice.... Go out and get the cable now. You can end up spending rather longer than you want getting it all to work and all of that preparation can be done way before winter, even in broad daylight if you like. Getting it all operating is non-trivial... I had all sorts of USB issues just getting things to connect properly. Then after that, getting PHD2, APT and EQMOD all working together nicely was a bit of a job too. PHD2 will happily guide under less-than-perfect skies. In fact, you can still get decent pics even under summer skies. I'm smack in between Milton Keynes and Luton (UK) and it doesn't get astronomically dark here at all in July. But from 11:30pm to 2:30am or so, it's nautically dark and if aim high in the sky, I can still grab things like this: I can't find the name of this one but its at 19h59m RA, +15deg 18' Declination. In the constellation Cygnus, not far from the Crescent Nebula (this mystery nebula shows quite clearly in Stellarium..
  9. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    No problem. its a learning curve and I'm happy to help I align via eqmod, the synscan handset stays firmly in my drawer.... Plate solving is where you take a photo and then use software to calculate the exact center of the photo (RA/Dec). Most plate solving can then work out how 'off' your alignment is then nudge the scope in the right direction. I use APT to control my imaging camera and if you install the right 'extras' then it can plate solve. I seem to have more luck with 'astrotortilla' - a standalone application. It has a better success rate but was a fiddle to set up. I expect if I worked a little on my APT settings, it could be equally good. Without platesolving, here is how I get my alignment working. 1. Polar align. (by built in polarscope then fine tune with software - 'sharpcap' is my favourite polar align tool) 2. Use Stellarium to slew the scope to a nice obvious star somewhere roughly where I want to start imaging. Invariably, the first slew is not very accurate. (Choose a star in stellarium then press ctrl-1 to start the slew) 3. Use eqmod to center the star in my scope view 4. Go back to stellarium and press ctrl-3. This sends a sync command to eqmod and adds an alignment point to the eqmod pointing model. I then repeat that another time on another nearby obvious star. EQMod seems to only need 2 or 3 stars maximum to generate a reasonably accurate pointing model for that patch of sky. As I tear down and set up for each sesssion, I don't bother saving the model. With a rough alignment, you give platesolving a little head start. It helps the platesolver immensely if you hand it a photo that is quite near where you think it should be. In APT, the Goto++ in the 'pointcraft' section is very good. 1. With a good polar alignment and rough pointing alignment as per above, open Pointcraft in APT 2. Choose a target from the built in database and tell it to GoTo++ 3. Automatically, it slews to where it thinks it should and takes a pic. The platesolver calculates where the pic really is then sends a Sync command to eqmod and re-slews to counter the pointing error. It repeats this until the target RA/Dec is dead-center in your pic. it's blimmin handy, especially on multi-night sessions. It takes a while to figure out how to install and configure but is such a time saver, long term, that I *highly* recommend it!
  10. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    How I guide my eq6-r: Ingredients: EQ6R QHY5L-Cii guide camera QHY mini Guidescope Windows 10 Laptop Powered USB Hub EQ Direct Cable guide Software: EQMOD, PHD2 Ages ago I tried ST4 guiding and connecting to the mount via the handset for slewing etc. I found it to be most unreliable on my old EQ3 and splashed out £25 on a proper USB EQ-Dir cable. So, I have a reliable setup now. Physically, I connect the mount to the usb hub via the EQDIR cable (I've not even unpacked the synscan handset....) I also connect my guide cam (and imaging cam) to the same hub. The hub then connects to the laptop via just one cable. I run EQMod on the laptop. This lets me turn on sidereal rate tracking (or lunar rate if I'm looking at the moon). PHD2 talks to the mount via eqmod by enabling 'pulse guiding' on EQMOD. In this setup, PHD2 monitors the guide star then sends commands eqmod to speed up or slow down RA for a short 'pulse' It also controls DEC in the same way. It seems reliable and after some tweaking, I'm satisfied that I can't really improve it much. I have also enabled EQmod AUTOPEC to flatten out the mount's very small periodic error. This only works with pulse guiding. One otherr big advantage that I see is that eqmod allows for much easier sync/alignment. I found the synscan star align to be most cumbersome. EQMod makes it a breeze, especially if you get some kind of plate solving software.
  11. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    @@Luna-tic - yes you are a member! It's the EQ-6R owners club, and you own one. You are most definitely *in*
  12. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Shelster - that looks pretty close to my results.... For the scattergraph, I prefer to zoom out a step or too and set it to "400" It gives a nice idea if the guiding is sort of symmetrical or not. I thought "wow - the main guide graph is really flat!", Then I saw that you have Pixels instead of ArcSeconds as the Y axis. To allow comparisons between different setups, the ArcSecond measurement is more relevant. I have a feeling that most people's final image pixels are approx 1ArcSecond or so. Heres a PHD log view of a 1 hour session.... 0.65" total RMS. Nice and round too - look at the scatter graph. With my suburban/near country setting, I'm probably at the limit now. Even if I bought a million-dollar mount, the seeing and LP would be invsible shields, stopping any better results. I'd so dearly love to try my mount in a proper dark site on a decent seeing night.....
  13. mikey2000

    image sizes in pixinsight

    And a worthy result too!
  14. mikey2000

    Jupiter from RGB

    25th June. Seeing was quite good and that’s about as high in my sky as Jupiter ever gets... next stop, Saturn!

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