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Found 42 results

  1. Hey, I've been looking for a mount for my 8 inch skywatcher reflector for a while now and can't decide what mount to buy. The requirements i am looking for are the following: Goto system or synscan 10+ kg weight capacity Tripod My budget is around £500. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some good mounts or point me into the right direction. My goal is to get better at astrophotography, my previous mount was a dobson mount ( which came with the scope ) but does not have any features to track objects which doesn't help when doing astrophotography. Tnanks
  2. I'm trying to update my v3 handset prior to selling the mount. I need to update the bootloader from v1.0 to v1.7 before I can upgrade the firmware from 3.12 to the newest version. I've tried following the instructions in the bootloader download but the upgrade loader refuses to install anything. Before I realised I needed to update the bootloader, the synscan loader v3.3 just showed 255 255 255 where it should display the handset software, ie 3.12. Can anyone advise what I'm doing wrong? The handset won't run the mount probably because I had a replacement motor control board a few years ago., I'm guessing. It worked fine before that. I've been using eqMod for years. Thanks. Anne
  3. Recently had some bad personal news so did what I usually do in these circumstances.....I bought a new scope To be precise a Synscan 127mm Maksutov from Rother Valley Optics (no planned advert but have to say great service) At last clear skies tonight so set up my new scope, used 2 star alignment, Regulas and Sirius as my garden is only any good towards the south (street lights everywhere else), really simple, five minutes and up and running. Quick tour using handset for messiers and whipped through M46, M47, M48 and M50, followed by the Christmas tree cluster and the beehive With 25mm and 15mm eyepieces I have to say the Mak was a revelation, great views and a fun evening Looking forward to some great nights with this little treasure
  4. Can it be done? Without any programming skills? Yes, it actually seems that way... THIS WAS TESTED ON AN SW AZEQ5 mount which communicates with the handcontroller on a 3.3V TTL LOGIC. CHECK YOUR MOUNT'S MANUAL FOR 3.3V compatibility (should be azeq5,azeq6,eq6rpro,eq8), although I suspect it will work with the other 5V TTL logic mounts since the DT-06 board appears to be 5V tolerant, but CAN'T CONFIRM Ingredients: - DT-06 Wireless Serial TTL WiFi board - RJ45 ethernet cable -5v power supply (or 4x1.2v AA batteries) First, take the ethernet cable and cut it in half. Strip the cables and identify the cables to the corresponding pins. Then I consulted SW azeq5's user manual hand control port's pinout. In my case the pinout is as follows: pin1: orange-white ---- ground pin2: orange ----not used pin3: green-white ----not used pin4: blue ---- ground pin5: blue-white ----mount Tx to controller Rx pin6: green ----mount Rx to controller Tx pin7: brown-white ----- +11 to+16 V pin8: brown ----- +11 to+16 V Then I connected the orange-white & blue cables to the DT-06 Wireless Serial TTL WiFi board's ground pin, the blue-white cable to the DT-06 Wireless Serial TTL WiFi board's Rx pin, the green cable to the DT-06 Wireless Serial TTL WiFi board's Tx pin, and a 5V power supply to the DT-06 Wireless Serial TTL WiFi board's ground & Vcc pins (or 4x1.2v AA batteries) , I 've ordered a buck stepdown converter to utilize the +11 to+16 V from pins 7&8 to power the module, but for now I just wanted to make sure it works! Now that the hardware connections are done, we move on to the settings. Power the module and a led will confirm it's on. It is on AP mode so scan with your phone for wifi, and you 'll see something like DoitWiFi_xxxx. Connect to it (no password was set on mine). Open your browser and type 192.168.4.1 , this will take you to the Built-in WebServer where you set the parameters for the module. You will see three tabs: "status", "module", & "more" From the "module" tab's dropdown menu, select "serial" and enter the values : baud rate:9600, databits:8, parity: none, stopbits:1, serial split timeout : 200. Click save. From the "module" tab's dropdown menu, select "wifi". Here you can change the SSID name (I put Synscan), and set a password if you like (I don't). Click save. From the "module" tab's dropdown menu, select "networks". Change the "socket type" to UDP server, and assign UDPserver port to "11880". Click save. Then from the "more" tab's dropdown menu, select restart. Now you 'll have to re-join the network under the SSID name you 've given. I 've only encountered some connection problems related with the serial split timeout. I found a stable connection when I set it at 200ms at the module's Built-in WebServer, and 400ms as the Readtimeout on the synscan app. That's it, you 're set to go. Download synscan pro app and skysafari plus or pro and I 'll post the settings in those apps in my next post.
  5. Hi all, I'm trying to connect SkyWatcher Synscan to my MacBook Air via wifi adapter using EQMac v2.0.0 beta3. According to the release note of EQMac v2.0.0 beta1, it supports wifi as well as serial connection. However, I couldn't find any document for wifi connection. What I'm trying to do is.. 1. Establish Wifi connection to "SynScan_WiFi_####" 2. Configure following connection in EQMac's Preference Connection Type: TCP/IP IP Address: 192.168.4.1 Port: 11880 3. Close Preference setting However, EQMac console is still gray out.. Appreciate if anyone share how to configure EQMac for wifi or alternative application/tool to connect Synscan to Mac via wifi.
  6. I have Skywatcher Synscan V3 working with my EQ6 without problem. I've lately flashed firmware v.3.39.05 and tried using it with my Skywatcher Virtuoso. I have problem with 2-star alignment. After manually move the mount to point to the first bright star, align; then choose the 2nd alignment star, the mount will slew to the sky very far away from the 2nd star. After I managed to complete the 2-star alignment successfully, the goto accuracy was very bad. It always placed my scope quite far away from the targets. I've tried the whole night and gave up. I then begin to wonder whether I have to flash the hand controller with the firmware for Allview mount (v.3.09.06) instead. Anyone can share your experience on this? Thank you.
  7. Hi All I need the combined brains and experience of SGL please, I'm stuck!! I've been an astronomer for 30+ years and have had several Skywatcher telescopes over time, including my current EQ6-Pro for about 10 years. This is largely irrelevant to my post, except that I hope to convey that I'm not a total novice to getting telescopes to work as they should...although I feel like I am today. I recently picked up a very battered early-version EQ6 with 10" reflector, cheap. It hadn't been looked after well and when I first fired it up...it didn't fire up at all. No life. I noticed that the power supply wasn't suitable as it only had a 0.5A output. So after digging out a spare one from the cupboard outputting 12V 1.25A, the Synscan chirped into life. My first attempt to slew the mount was met with a horrible grinding noise and refusal to move. Needless to say, I didn't do that again. Clearly the motor/gear train was seized. So a quick look on the internet brought up the amazing website posted by Astro Baby, with step by step instructions on how to strip and rebuild an EQ5 or EQ6 mount. This kept me entertained for a couple of nights, followed by a lovely smooth running mount slewing in RA and DEC as it should. Many thanks Astro Baby! Last night was the first clear night, so I took the mount out, popped the 10" scope on (had a full respray, new finder, new focuser and laser collimation), and awaited the fall of darkness. Here comes the rub. I roughly aligned the mount on Polaris, not bothering too much for this first test. The Synscan controller is (unfortunately) running Version 2.05, which is one of the early versions that are not flash upgradable. Although I didn't realise this until after I had downloaded all of the upgrade files from OVL's website. When I picked the first alignment star (Capella, rising nicely in the north-east sky), the mount did something completely unexpected and slewed around to east of the meridian and pointed somewhere in the direction of Alcor! What the ...? After several unsuccessful attempts at carrying out an alignment, I gave up and looked online for any similar problems. I've checked and confirmed all of the following things are correct: Location - yep as per my Cumbria coordinates Date - yep in the right format (mm/dd/yyyy) that good old confusing American format Time - yep I tried with BST and without BST (not really expecting any significant difference) Made sure the mount was in the "parked" position (weights down, scope pointing towards Polaris) before turning the mount on Tried all sorts of initial alignment stars, but none of them were in the right area of the sky at all Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anything on the web that offers a solution. I did wonder if I've done something during the disassembly of the mount - but I know the mount doesn't have encoders on it. I didn't see anything that looked like a counter of any kind? I don't think it can be anything to do with the power supply...surely that couldn't introduce such a wild error in pointing? It's like the handset has no idea where it is. Any help would be much appreciated. This was going to be a second mount for me, but at this rate it's going to go on the scrap heap. I did think about buying a V3 handset, but didn't want to commit another £120 in case it's something in the mount itself that's the problem. Yours hopefully Jeremy
  8. Hi, I've got one of the cheap Skywatcher SynScan AZ mounts (like this one: Synscan AZ (with Skyhawk 1145p) ) and the handset has a 'Synscan AZ' sticker on it (see pic.). It runs the v3 synscan firmware (an old version for now, until I can get a cable). I've seen a couple of the EQ 'Pro' mounts advertised without a handset (as they've been using EQDIR) and wondered whether this handset would work with those mounts? I know I will need to get get the appropriate connector for the mount end of the cable; (I think EQ5 uses RJ11 and EQ6 uses RJ45) I have read that all Synscan handsets should work with all Skywatcher EQ mounts, but as mine has an 'AZ' sticker, I thought I'd check and see whether anyone has actually done it with one of these... Thanks Ady
  9. I am trying to understand why the declination position reported by my new EQ8 - Synscan 4 hand controller keeps changing. After starting my aligned scope from Park the declination reported by the hand set ( Utilities/Show Position/ "Dec/Ra" ) slowly increases ( around 7" / minute when I first measured it ). However, the rotation angle of the declination/altitude axis of the mount ( Utilities/Show Position/ "Ax1/Ax2" ) is reported as being constant ( as one would expect if the mount is not receiving an instruction to move ). That is, it would appear that the motor is not running and the encoders on the shaft are not detecting any rotation of the mount's altitude axis however the Sysnscan reports that the Celestial declination is slowly changing. Does anyone know if this is a bug or a feature? It did occur to me that maybe the Synscan is trying to compensate for the declination drift that would result from the Polar Alignment error as stored in the controller after alignment. To test this, I adjusted the Polar Alignment to try to reduce the error and see if it changed the drift rate. The initial results do not support this - after much tweaking of the alignment, and with an indicated polar alignment error of less than 15" in either axis, the rate of drift changed but was still around 5" / minute ( whereas it should be << 1 with so small a Polar Alignment error ). Has anyone else noticed this slow change in declination reported by the mount/Synscan when the mount is tracking in RA? ----- EQ8 MC Firmware version: 2.11.04 Synscan HW version: 4.16 Synscan firmware version: 4.39.04
  10. Greetings, This is my first post. I have a Saxon 8" with an HEQ5. I am mounting this on a peer in the garden and I am going to remote control everything from my hobby room. I am going to use USB/Ethernet/USB (USB to Ethernet on each end) for the video from the camera (ZWO ASI120MC) and the Shoestring remote focus. and I will put the Synscan down another Ethernet cable. I have tested this using only a 1 meter Ethernet cable and it works fine. If I try it on a very long Ethernet cable it won't work for either use. Just wondering if anyone else has done this and what sort of lengths it goes over. I need it to run over approximately 20m length but don't want to cut two lengths and then find it won't work. Thanks in advance Colin
  11. I've had the skywatcher 12" dob goto for a few years and I've dabbled with tuning up the bearings. I found the first year pointing was nice and accurate but the second year it went south. Adjusting the bearings fixed that up (they were slipping in both axis). I've been dabbling with photography using a DSLR and the results are often quite good with 20-30 second exposures but I keep getting an annoying jump in the altitude axis. What I can't figure out is the exact cause. This mount has two encoders on each axis - one on the motor and one on the scope. When the clutch slips the scope axis and motor encoders mismatch so the controller kicks the motor to try and get them closer together. I figure this is what is causing the jumping. What I'm not certain about is the cause. Do you think it more likely that the bearing is loose, letting the clutch slip or that the bearing is too tight, causing the clutch to slip until the controller gives the motor an extra shot, breaking free of the sticktion?
  12. Selling the big stuff to make room for some small ! My 200PDS and HEQ5Pro have got to go, changes in shifts and clouds mean I have been out twice in the last 10 months with this kit. Time for a change.... 200PDS -HEQ5Pro Synscan, bahtinov mask, 3 counterweights, accessory tray and a new power adapter as the original one was sporadic in keeping connection, had been using tape to keep it secure. The OTA is in really good condition with just a few marks from the clamp ring screws, this doesn't affect it whatsover. I've blacked out the drawtube against reflections. The mount is in very good order, the handset still has it's original screen cover ! Have also put this up on Astroy BS for the same price, which is £650 for the lot Lee
  13. I recently purchased a EQ5 mount with synscan. But rather then use the car adaptor running though a 3 pin convertor i bought a 12v 500mA DC power supply. The back of the manual states it requires 100mA (see image). So here i am thinking great this will do. Wrong. Its enough to start the hand controller and go through all the set up but it doesnt seem to move any motors. This being my first attempt i wasnt sure if i was doing something wrong. Did the brakes need releasing? - No. are the cables going to the right sockets? - Yes. After much head scratching i went back to to start and used the supplied 12v car style plus in a convertor i had. Sure enough it all worked perfectly. okay went back to my 500mA and nope nothing worked. After searching the house for a 12v 1A DC supply with the correct plug and trying that, Sure enough it all works fine. Have they simply missed a '0' off the manual or am i missing something else here? Tomorrow i'll probably go an exchange it for this 12V 1000mA Power supply. I'll let you know how i fair. And for anyone checking for power supplies (Like i did) your looking for a 5.5mm x 2.1mm power tip to for the unit.
  14. I have severe red/green colour blindness, which prevents me from being able to read a Synscan controller in the dark or in red light even with the display at maximum brightness. When I'm on my own, I use a low-power, white light when reading the controller display and accept that it'll take me ten minutes or so before my eyes get back to dark adaptation. However, I'm taking my EQ5 Pro mount to a public star party next weekend and suspect that using a white light to read the display won't be welcomed. Hence I'd appreciate ideas on how I can get around this issue. TIA and clear skies, Geoff
  15. Near perfect polar alignment with the synscan? I doubt it, but the proof will be in the proverbial pudding. There's too much of a moon for serious imaging, but I need more training in guiding. Hope tonight there will be opportunity for that. Btw, 2-star alignment with a 2 x barlowed 17 (?) mm eyepiece with homemade reticule resulted in these numbers. The second alignment star was pretty much spot on without adjustment, so there's hope.
  16. With EQ5 Synscan there are 90 stars embedded for polar alignment (source: http://www.vcse.hu/konyvtar/Cikkek/SkyScan_Alignment_Stars.pdf) and I was fiddling with NEQ6 the other day and it only showed me 20-odd stars. Could it be that Synscan is "hiding" the stars that are below horizon or close to it so that they don't appear or does it really have fewer stars for polar alignment?
  17. purchased a skywatcher synscan ten inch dob recently...when attempting to use two star or brightest star allignment the synscan immediately shuts down and returns to initializing process after second star is selected ... Will not slew. ... 4.37 software version installed... Don't think this is an equipment problem but an error of some kind on my part... Any ideas would be appreciated.
  18. Hi Folks, I have been happily using my new skywatcher skymax 127 on a synscan az goto mount and a question occured to me when going through the alignment procedure. Does the time between centering the first star in the eyepiece and aligning the second star matter. The reason that I ask is that sometimes the accuracy of the goto differs slightly and I am wondering could it be due to me being too slow to find the next star. I am good with constellation identifying but the star names I only know a few of the major ones such as vega, betelgeuse etc., so I have to rely on a star chart to pick a suitable star which takes maybe about an extra minute. I am wondering if the mount does not keep the 1st star centred due to setup not being fully complete at this point and obviously the earth is still rotating so the star will drift and then the reference point of this star is now not centered when aligning to the 2nd star. Everything else is always the same as I have already marked the ground where I put the tripod so it goes in the same place every time and levelled it with a spirit level. The power is supplied with a skywatcher powertank so I know its not a battery power problem and all the information is correct such as time/date, elevation, lat/long etc. It isnt massively out, so far everything I have requested has been in the FOV of my 25mm eyepiece but its just something that I wondered and also whether I could improve things. cheers
  19. wimvb

    Ditherbox

    In order to minimize noise in my data, I've gone the Tony Hallas way and started dithering between exposures. My setup is a simple one (EQ3 Pro with Pentax K20D, no guiding), and I try to keep everything as much standalone as possible, since I don't want to take my computer out in freezing cold or wet grass. Unfortunately this also means I have to do dithering by hand, i.e. pushing the Dec/RA buttons on the Synscan hand controller between exposures. Doing this for a few hours in a stretch at -10 C or colder, is definitely not my idea of having fun. So I started thinking of automating the dithering procedure. Searching the internet, I found no solutions for unguided dithering compatible with my setup, so I decided to build my own. The idea was quite simple: The RJ12 port of my Synscan hand controller controls the camera, working as an intervalometer. The Synscan mount controller has a guiding port, so all I had to do is find a way to send signals to the guider port in between exposures. So, I built a simple circuit around an Atmel ATtiny84 which takes the Synscan camera control as an input. It senses when an exposure ends and sends a signal to the guiding port. A counter keeps track of which command to send from a simple string: 214488222111444488..., where 2 means Dec+, 1 means RA+, 4 means Dec- and 8 means RA-. So here is a pictures of my solution. The ditherbox is the black box below the mount controller. It has three connections: input from the hand controller (RJ12), output to the camera (phono plug type) and output to the mount (ST4, RJ12) FYI, I put the code and a more detailed description on my Github page: https://github.com/wberlo/AutoDither I've tested it and it works like a charm. Unfortunately I have no images yet with this setup, because when I tested it, clouds moved in after just 5 exposures. I do have 20 dithered exposures of clouds.
  20. Having recently acquired an EQ6 mount with Synscan v3 handset, I checked it and it was only v3.03 firmware - so therefore wanted to update it to the latest v3.35. The mount didn't come with a firmware update cable, and I looked around and didn't feel like paying the £12 or so, plus another couple of quid for a serial cable or port. I therefore bought a few cheapo USB to Serial devices and a 4pin RJ11 cable off ebay, but couldn't get any of them to work with the Skywatcher Handset update software. Next plan was to buy a PCI or PCI-E card with Serial ports, but then I dug out my PC motherboard manual and actually found it had a serial 10-pin header already on it. I searched around the house and in the loft through all my old PC cables and gear but couldn't find a serial port cable. In a flash of inspiration I thought "well, why not butcher a Firewire/USB header since I had a few of those spare. I cut the Firewire plug off the cable, separated out all the individual cables, cut the header to a 2x4, and left in the 3 cables that are needed (GND, RXD, TXD), then used a quick electrical join to match it to the RJ11 cable. Powered down the PC, inserted the cable, turned PC on, entered BIOS and set up the serial port, booted into Windows 7 64bit, checked Device Manager and saw that it had loaded drivers and set it as COM1. Opened up the Skywatcher Firmware update software and it found it straight away. Update done. Total cost, £0.99 for the 4pin RJ11 cable and £0 for the Firewire header. You could probably get a Serial port header cable for about £1.50.
  21. Hi, Everyone could with a little advice on connecting a my Synscan v4 to my laptop. I now how to do it and also know about USB serial adapters, what i am wondering is my laptop has a RJ11 coms port but in the Synscan V4 Manual it says you need a RJ12 port as the cable supplied is RJ12. The RJ12 cable fits into the RJ11 perfectly Is there much difference in these and could i still connect using the method or do i have to go and buy the USB serial adapter? if anyone can shed some light on this it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  22. Hi all, I bought a Astromaster 130EQ two years ago and bought separately a celestron xcell barlow 2x and a Xcell LX 25mm. I now use my iphone to take photo's with a adapter. However, I have trouble finding and specially tracking objects. Will an Goto system make this much easier? The next question is, should i stay with my astromaster 130 mm newt. telescope and invest in a goto mount like the skywatcher eq5 with synscan or can i better take an Nexstar 5SE? I am open for other suggestions I want to make planetary pictures with my cannon camera (moon / mars / jupiter) if possible deep sky. However there is severe light pollution in my area. Thanks in advance
  23. Hello, Bought and received my Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount yesterday along with a Skywatcher 12v 17ah power supply. This is my first goto mount (had a non computerised EQ5 previously). We've updated the firmware, balanced the scope and tried playing around with the slewing on the hand controller. The mount will only slew in certain directions and not in others dependant on the starting orientation of the telescope. Declination seems to be the biggest culprit. Also is it supposed to sound so loud when it slews/doesn't slew? Any advice would be appreciated, we are out of ideas about how to get it to work or what we could try. Thank you! Simona
  24. Hello all I wanted to ask those that already use EQMOD what are the main benefits of using it. I have a eq6 and I currently use synscan BUT I have just loaded up cart du ciel with EQMOD and moved my mount for the first time. Lovely! What do people think of it? Does it help with imaging? Can it help with better alignment? I'm particularly interested in this. If some of you out there use it please give me a list of things that you use it for where it outshines synscan. Gerry
  25. Hi, First post - so I hope I'm putting this in the right place. I wonder if anyone can help? I've got an EQ3 synscan mount which sits on top of a concrete pillar. Despite the Rigid Pillar and good Polar alignment I get terrible Goto's and Tracking. I wonder if upgrading to an EQ5 might solve some of the problems. It seems, from the reviews, to be a much more accurate mechanism. But if I did that is there any way I could buy the basic EQ5 and use my current EQ3 Synscan motors/handset with it. Buying the whole EQ5 with synscan is horribly expensive, and having already got the synscan unit would seem a waste.
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