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Everything posted by Astro-Geek

  1. Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but it turned up in a search for a problem I'm having at the moment.. I use a HitecAstro DC Focus controller with my skywatcher auto focus motors, and I'm very happy with it, working well with most of my Ascom enabled progs, such as Sharpcap, APT etc.. The HitecAstro app itself is very nice too, making remote fine focus very easy, with simulated incremental steps, even though the Skywatcher motors are not steppers, just simple DC. I'm using an older HitecAstro focusser, and initially had problems getting it to work because in the Ascom drop down list I was selecting "HitecAstro DC focus", but then I tried "HitecAstro DC Focuser 1" and that works fine. ....all except with Ascompad, via a PC gamepad controller. That controls my EQ6 nicely through my Synscan Wifi adapter, but when I enable the focuser through the Ascom chooser on there, the buttons don't have any effect..... (and I have configured the In/Out to a couple of the gamepad buttons).
  2. Yes, sounds like the same as mine, the older type of EQ6 Pro with Synscan. Here's some more photos of the case with dimensions and the base lifted out. Internal width (side to side) is 505mm and depth (front to back) is 355mm, so it was a DURATOOL D03134 https://cpc.farnell.com/duratool/d03134/water-resistant-case-569x425x215mm/dp/SG33494?ost=D03134&ddkey=https%3Aen-CPC%2FCPC_United_Kingdom%2Fsearch Still at £47 including VAT. It comes with a cubed foam insert, but I used that with something else, because the EQ6 is far too heavy to be held securely with this type of foam, especially in the pre-cut cubed form. My EQ6 Pro fits quite snugly in there, but I must stress again, that is with the counterweight bar removed and stored separately in the case, because it didn't retract enough. To do that, you could either loosen the grubscrews that hold the Puck, or what I did was to simply drill a 25mm hole through the centre of the base of the Puck, so that the counterweight bar could be pulled right out from that end. (It has a shoulder at the top end to prevent it being accidentally pulled right out of the bottom end). The pictures also show my "heavy duty" shoulder strap attachment points, because I find it much easier to carry the weight that way, especially down a staircase.
  3. Sorry for the delay in replying, I've only just noticed this thread again. I'll measure it in the morning and reply with the details. It's the old type EQ6 and I should add that I wanted to use the smallest size that would fit, so I made the counterbalance bar easily removable, as it extended out quite a bit, even when fully retracted up against the Puck. ( I'm not sure if it's an extra long one or standard one.) You can see it in the photo, at the hinge end of the case.
  4. I have a problem with the £200 price tags too .... You need to be mindful of the weight of the EQ6 when thinking of flight cases though, there are so many around now that look the part, but are quite flimsy. Even a medium quality one for a musical instrument may not be up to the weight. I made my EQ6 case from a "Peli" type case bought from CPC Farnell - https://cpc.farnell.com/search?st=waterproof case It was under £50 and very strong, with handles and catches to match. I don't use foam inserts for things that are very heavy as they tend to sag, and the box is often much bigger than neccessary to give a reasonable thickness of padding around it. Instead, I use the simple method of adding a plywood base plate with carefully spaced vertical wooden separators covered with foam rubber sheet (cut from a cheapo yoga mat).
  5. As a follow up to my editing of my opening post, I now have my preferred complete solution, My Skywatcher Synscan Wifi dongle with the Windows SynscanPro app, Stellarium, and AscomPad. This works with my Skywatcher EQ and Alt/Az mounts, and I can control the mount from the PC and/or from the eyepiece with a gamepad. Each time I think I've cracked Ascom, it surprises me again with how much it can do ! Here's a screendump of Stellarium, SynscanPro, and AscomPad all working together. Whoopee......
  6. My Gamepad for Ascom - Not EQMod thread on here went down like a lead balloon, so I've been trying out the various PC to mount controlling options and each has its advantages and disadvantages.... When I first tried connecting my mount to my PC I was a little bewildered at the choice of methods, so maybe this thread may be of use to anyone starting out on the same "adventure" ..... (I also found that PC Keyboards and Numpads can only be used for slewing via EQMod) Direct Skywatcher serial cable connection Pros - Can be used with any Synscan mount, EQ or Alt/Az Synscan controller remains active, e.g. for fine slewing while looking through the eyepiece. Can work in conjunction with some planetarium progs, e.g. Stellarium. Cons - Can't be used with EQMod software, because a hardware adapter cable is needed instead. Skywatcher Synscan Wifi adapter Pros - Can be used with any Synscan mount, EQ or Alt/Az Can work in conjunction with some planetarium progs, e.g. Stellarium. Cons - All slewing of mount can now only be via PC Screen or Tablet/Phone as Synscan hand control is replaced by the wifi dongle Correction ! I've now discovered that "AscomPad" can co-exist with the SynscanPro app and stellarium, so I can now nudge the mount whilst looking through the eyepiece with a PC gamepad. It can also control an Ascom focuser and filterwheel EqMod adapter cable Pros - Much more sophisticated and extensible PC interface Can work in conjunction with some planetarium progs, e.g. Stellarium. Gamepad interface enables all controls while looking through eyepiece Cons - Cannot be used with Synscan Alt/Az mounts, only EQ If any of my deductions here are inaccurate, please feel free to correct me, especially the Pros and Cons ! A further area of comparison that I haven't explored yet is using the Ascom drivers with the Synscan Wifi adapter and the Synscan hand controller.
  7. Is there a way to use a gamepad with an Ascom controlled mount, but not via EQMod ? I've been using a Synscan Wifi adapter with the SynscanPro app on a windows NUC PC in my Obsy, with great success... As this connects to the mount in the place of the Synscan hand controller, I have no means of making fine slew adjustments while looking through the telecope eyepiece. When I connect the mount to the PC via a wired lead, that plugs into the hand controller, so it remains operational for slewing. Call me awkward, but I prefer the SynscanPro App's interface via the PC screen, rather than the hand controller's tiny two line display. When I search for Ascom gamepad drivers, all roads seem to lead back to EQMod, which I can't use because one of my mounts is AltAz, not EQ.
  8. As a follow up to my threads on my Goto Dob motor board's demise (which was entirely my fault ), I've been modifying it in the meantime for manual use. (It looks as though it will be weeks or months before replacments are available again with the current situation). It already had an Alt setting circle so I've added an Az one to the rim of the base. I couldn't think of a simple way to give it a movable degree scale so I marked it directly with a stencil and sharpie, after very carefully measuring the (huge !) circumference and dividing by 360, (in 10 degree steps, so no cumulative errors). I then made a pointer that clamps on anywhere around the edge, allowing me to set it to North. That gave me the bonus of being able to place it anywhere around the perimeter for ease of viewing. I'd already adapted a triangular "movers" trolley with strong outriggers and screw jacks to level and anchor the base after it is wheeled in position. The final mod was a strong removable podium to raise it about 12 inches to get the Alt pivot point just below the rim of my Skyshed Pod (48 inches from the ground). This was made simply out of 18mm MDF. It works quite well in there, coexisting with my EQ6 on a wheeled pier. I can move either one into position for the night's intended viewing with no problem of the standard Pod's obscured Zenith with a fixed central pier. It does mean the EQ6 needs regular polar alignment, but that's a breeze now with the Polemaster software and camera. The 12 inch Dob is a fantastic light bucket, and (when the goto is fixed again) it does track nicely, albeit with field rotation from the Alt/Az, so I use the EQ6 with a 100 ED or a 180 Mak for AP. If anyone is undecided about the expense and bother of getting an Obsy, go for it, it transforms the usability, especially with our fickle clear skies....
  9. .......I even still have some 8 inch floppies, just to show my Grandson when he can understand what they are... Confession time (again) - Stellarium is working perfectly with the Synscan Wifi adapter...... it was my fault again. The reason I wasn't seeing the telescope's "gunsight" in Stellarium was because when I was going through the dialog boxes to connect the scope, I was selecting telescope controlled by "external software", mistakenly thinking that was right because it was via the SynscanPro app. What I should have selected was "Ascom" instead, and it now works really well. The only tiny criticism now, (nothing's ever perfect !) is that I can't switch off night mode in the SynscanPro app. The drop down in user settings lets me switch it to "off", but it has no effect, and then reverts to "auto". I'm a very happy Bunny now, because I can use my Skywatcher goto mounts (AZ and EQ) with Stellarium and Sharpcap etc. or any other Ascom software. I was able to do that with the direct serial cable as well, but the icing on the cake with the SynscanPro app is that it so much nicer to use than the Synscan handset, (when you have a PC and monitor in your Obsy). ...and my problems with Windows 10 and the wifi Station/Access Point settings were due to some sort of delay needed after changing settings. If I wait about 5 minutes before trying to access it after changing any of the wifi settings, it now connects ok with Windows, as well as with Android devices.
  10. ...aahhh, those were the days.. "pip destination = original", such a greater sense of achievement than simply dragging and dropping visually... I can fully appreciate the feelings of all the UNIX and LINUX anti-Microsoft warriers over the years, but I had to unravel Bill's damn OS on a daily basis professionally for decades, though it did provide a good lifetime's employment before retiring, (after the headaches stopped !). The vagaries of Windows have now reached greater heights though, as Windows 10 becomes more and more "insistant" with each update.....
  11. ....on another angle, My experimentation with altering the wifi settings of the SynscanWifi adapter are a little frustrating via Windows. I can switch back and forth between Station mode and Access Point with no problems via the Android app on my Tablet. ...with Windows though, it is very haphazard. After I switched it back to Access Point, the Windows SynscanPro app refuses to connect, even though the PC connects readilly to the SynscanWifi adapter's access point. I'm fairly certain it is something to do with Windows 10's network security, not allowing full port interaction with "open" wifi networks. It keeps banging on about "Edge Traversal” in the firewall, and not allowing me to change the access point from "Public" to "Private".... ...Bl**dy Windows 10.......
  12. Yes, from memory, about x2 down and x1 right. As it's the Sidereal path, could it be that the synchronisation is not taking the tracking during the synchronisation confirming between the two programmes into account ?...
  13. I'll try switching it to access point and see if it then shows the cursor. (strange thing though, when used via StellariumScope, it did work completely in station mode). It's a bit too soon to be certain, but I may have a similar problem with the App and Stellarium nit quite agreeing on the position too. When testing during the daytime, (rather than actiually seeing the targets through the scope), when I do the various alignment routines in SynscanPro, by fine slew adjustments looking at the cursor in Stellarium, after I click "ok" in the App, the target cursor drops down and to the right a small amount. It's quite noticable when zoomed in. I was wondering if it could be the 1 sec or so delay between lining up the target onscreen and then pressing "ok" to the sync button in the app, because the sidereal tracking has moved on ?.....
  14. Almost there now..... I have now installed the latest version of Stellarium (v2.0), and it now recognises and connects to the Synscan Wifi Ascom driver. Synscan Pro (for windows) is running successfully in the background, and can slew the scope and perform the various alignment routines. ....unfortunately though, there's no cross-hair in Stellarium showing the position of the telescope, and the slewing options in that do not move the scope. In the configure scopes window, it connects correctly via wifi with port number 11882, and then shows "connected". The only thought that comes to mind now is that I'm running the Synscan Wifi adapter in "station" mode, is it possible that Stellarium is expecting it to be an access point instead ? I'm thinking that's maybe a red herring though, becuase the Ascom toolbox sees the driver ok, and the Android and PC synscan apps both work fine in station mode. As Jon says, Stellarium Scope is on the way out, so I'm trying hard to not have to resort to that as a link between the two.
  15. Thanks for the detailed reply Jon. Now that you mention it, I think maybe the PC I was trying it on wasn't loaded with the very latest version of Stellarium, so I'll check it. I confess I also had quite a job getting the Synscan wifi in station mode because I misunderstood the instructions. I still haven't managed to get it running with a fixed IP, but I can live with that.
  16. I'm having great success with my Synscan Wifi adapter, bought some months ago, but I've only just started using it in earnest. The SynscanPro apps work nicely on my Android tablet or with my dedicated NUC PC on my Pedestal, giving all the functionality of the Synscan handset, but with a much easier to use display. Then the icing on the cake is the way the SynscanPro app works seamlessly in conjunction with the Android's Sky Safari planetarium app, and the SynscanPro app works on the PC with Stellarium. Also, The Wifi adapter works exactly the same with my AZ and EQ skywatcher goto mounts, so it's quite universal, unlike EQmod. So, finally my question, it's working fine on the PC, but so far only with the StellariumScope software running as an interface with the Ascom drivers. However, I understand that the latest releases of Stellarium don't need StellariumScope when connected via the skywatcher serial cable, because it can now access the Ascom drivers directly. I've googled the question and searched through youtube, but so far everyone still seems to need StellariumScope as a go-between when using the Synscan WiFi adapter. Am I right in assuming that ?
  17. Thanks for trying though. I'm now fairly resigned to it being one of the chips, maybe blown underneath, or not visible, as Malcolm suggested.......
  18. I've drawn another blank I'm afraid....... I checked all of the inductors on the board, and I get less than 1 ohm on my meter with all of them..... I also used my binocular microscope on it at 20x, and couldn't find any damage visible. (at that magnification the solder blobs look like Christmas Puds !)
  19. Excuse my ignorance on this, but if the motor boards can be flash programmed in-situ, wouldn't they need some sort of Skywatcher Engineer only flashing programme ?
  20. Sorry for the confusion, all of my refernces to controller boards are to the ones in the mount, not the Synscan hand controller. The configuration of the Skywatcher goto Dobsonions is two seperate boxes, each with a motor "controller" PCB, the "master" one being on the Alt axis pivot, and the "slave" being in the base, over the az axis. Each of them have a sensor too, so that the Dob can also be pushed manually, without losing sync. The power supply section of the board seems to supply 12v and 5v, so hopefully there's no 3.3v in there. (but that is a best guess on my part).
  21. I'm afraid I can't remember whether it was connected at the PC serial plug end, but it probably was. Thanks for the testing suggestions, I'll start on them right away.
  22. ...but wouldn't the chip have to be removed from the board ?
  23. Alas Julian, chip flashing is beyond my abilities..... (other than the nice turnkey progs for popluar firmware updates.)
  24. I'll do that David, one of my toys is a cheapo binocular microscope, which will give me a 20x magnification on it.
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