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About kman42

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    Queensland, Australia
  1. I have a 12v battery to use in the field. My only concern is laptop battery life...
  2. OK thanks, so from what you're saying I don't need to have my Arduino connected directly to my laptop during tracking?
  3. My Arduino does indeed have a USB port. I thought it was only for uploading code, I didn't know it could accept live signals. Can you elaborate on the use of the ST4 port? Are you saying I connect my camera to the laptop via ST4 rather than USB? The stepper motor was a DIY solution. It is controlled with an A4988 driver. I was planning to control the guiding of the mount using PHD2. Are you suggesting the use of a laptop isn't necessary for sidereal guided movement?
  4. Hi, I am trying to build a circuit that autoguides the RA axis of my EQ5 mount. My mount is already modified with a bipolar stepper motor on the RA axis. I only want RA guiding, not DEC control. I have bought a guide camera with a USB and ST4 output and have successfully connected it to my laptop, and have gotten an image on PHD2. I have an Arduino nano, and an A4988 stepper motor driver. I will use the arduino to receive signals from the laptop and control the stepper motor with RA+ or RA- signals. I have been searching for some missing pieces to a puzzle I have but can't find good answers so I'll ask. - how, specifically, does my laptop connect to my arduino? I have read about ASCOM drivers, but what role do they play, and what's the physical connection between laptop and arduino? - many auto-guiding circuits use an optocoupler. Why do I need one, and where does it go in the circuit? - Depending on the above answers I may have follow-up questions about the arduino code.
  5. Thanks for all the help. After further research I will shrink my project a little to achieve high accuracy at low cost. To this end I will discard DEC control as I have heard they are hard to get accurate tracking when motorised. Instead I will use drift alignment and only guide for sidereal movement. To clarify, I will not be doing this in my backyard. Typically I shoot at dark sky sites in Australia, so will be in the field with my gear. For this reason I don't need autofocus or wireless communication. I was steering away from laptops because of the battery life limitation but I am swinging back around now after what you guys are suggesting. It sounds like my Arduino Nano will be sufficient if I am only controlling RA movement. So my setup will be: 1. Stepper motor and driver moves mount 2. Arduino Nano controls motor 3. RPi or computer gives commands to arduino 4. Guide Camera feeds to RPi/computer Laptop sounds straightforward - my only question is how does my Arduino talk to my laptop? I am still interested in the RPi for portability. What would be involved in such a setup using a RPi?
  6. That is helpful, however I'd love to avoid the use of a laptop in addition to the RPi - do you know what would have to change to achieve this?
  7. What won't be supported out of the box? Having to control DEC axis? If astro software isn't supported by the RPi camera module, can you suggest an alternative camera? I thought RPi could only support the RPi camera module
  8. I have considered this, the laptop route will be about twice as expensive. It is my plan B if I can't get my head around RPi.
  9. I have an EQ5 telescope mount which i use for astrophotography. I have modified it with a motorised RA axis using a bipolar stepper motor - my thread for the build is here . I want to expand the mount's tracking ability by motorising the DEC axis and using a guide scope/camera. I generally use the mount in fairly remote locations so would like to use a raspberry Pi for portability. I understand that I'll need to use a Raspberry Pi Camera Module for the guide camera. The capability I want is: 1. guide the mount along RA and DEC axes using a guide star as feedback 2. track the mount using the RA axis only, and if possible continuously take 20-30 second exposures on the guide camera (this functionality is optional, but would assist in polar alignment of the mount) I don't want any GOTO capability. I am very new to RPi and need some help: - do I need to write code for this, or is there existing programming available for what I want to do? - is it possible to avoid the use of screens (in the field)? My preferred option would be to flick a switch to start and stop the guiding, with another switch for alignment mode (or something simple like this). - do I need to use any particular stepper motors/drivers for raspberry Pi? I'm using a bipolar stepper motor running quarter steps, with an A4988 stepper driver - is the RPi 3 Model B+ the unit I should buy? Thanks
  10. Really? The RPi can directly control the stepper motor? I am completely new to RPi.
  11. So after a bit of research, I think I've got a plan for a budget tracking setup. I am planning to aquire a range of manual focus lenses for astro work, eg. 200mm F/4, 135mm F2.5, 300mm F4.5. I can use one of these lenses as a guide scope. I will get an M42 to 1.25" adapter to fit the guide camera, and will get this guide camera or similar: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/T7C-ST4Guide-Star-Monocular-Telescope-Electronic-Eyepiece-Camera-CMOS-Equatorial/113342001852?epid=19025357936&hash=item1a63b5b2bc:g:wNcAAOSw-HRb2Y7A:rk:22:pf:0 Then I will fabricate a rail to mount both DSLR imaging camera and the guide camera setup to the EQ5 mount. I will probably go for a Rasberry Pi to control the guide camera and stepper motor via arduino, so that I don't have to carry a laptop around. I can choose a guide lens based on the imaging focal length I am using. That will save the cost of a dedicated guide scope. Thoughts?
  12. It's not marked anywhere that I've found, but it looks identical to Skywatcher mounts except that it's a different colour. Maybe it's an older version?
  13. I got the scope and mount both secondhand. The mount is a Skywatcher EQ5.
  14. Do you have to go through a Laptop, or can you control things through Arduino?
  15. What kind of guiding camera is usually recommended?
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