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  1. My Skywatcher HEQ5 came with the older V2 handset and runs Ver 2.05 of the Synscan Firmware - despite this aged version, it functions perfectly albeit without the ability to upgrade the firmware and some of the advantages of the newer V3 (PAE, Backlash Compensation and GPS support). Beside this the units looks superficially identical and there seems to be little information to compare and consider the under the hood differences. So what follows is a quick side by side comparison, with lots of pictures. On display are ; left - fully working V2 (ver 2.05) handset and right - a defunct V3 (ver n/k) handset that I'm hoping to resurrect. From the front view the units are identical, other than the different coloured Synscan logos, there are no differences between key layouts or connection ports or the backlit LCD displays. The units are also indentical from the rear view (other than stickers and velcro). There are 4 x No1 recessed cross point screws which are removed to gain access. Closer comparison of the two PCBs (Rear View). Here you will notice the changes in layout and updated components on the V3 handset - Although there is commonality of many of the board components, the processor, flash and RAM memory ICs are updated.. Fully exploded view of both Handsets (showing front view/ekypads of PCB): Other than the PCB differences there is full comonality of parts between these handsets. Close up comparison of front PCBs The V3 circuit board design shows significant design simplification corresponding with the layout changes to the rear of the board. There are some closer images of the PCBs in my gallery Both units were re-assembled and some minor soldering done to re-attach the LCD backlight on the V3 handset. V2 handset now working with less sticky keypad membrane and the V3 handset is still stubbornly refusing to give any sign of life, though a quick check with my multimeter revealed useful voltages at key points - seems likely that the main logic is dead! Hope this is of use for future reference
  2. I use the Synscan app (1.19.12 pro), and I don't have access to a handset. When I do an alignment (brightest star or north-level), I get a list like this: For each of the possible choice of first star, the app tells me how many second-star choices would be available (shown as "Next") and also a "Quality" score. If I choose one of the stars, I'm given a list of selected second stars, each of which also has a Quality score: (If I were doing a 3-star alignment, there would also be a further "Next" number, relating to the third-choice stars) Now the "quality" number is interesting for two reasons: (1) It isn't mentioned at all in the app user guide (2) For all first and second choice stars that are displayed, the quality value is always 5 (out of 5, I believe). So either most of these values are wrong, or the app is displaying only the very best choices, both of which I would describe as a bug. In fact it can't be the latter because, I've had it suggest alignment stars with a 5 rating, even though they don't meet all of the alignment criteria described in the user manual. I'm sure that in previous versions of the app there were quality scores from 1 to 5. My question to owners of the Synscan handset is: do you also get these quality scores displayed during alignment, and if so, are they always "5"?
  3. Hi, I've recently gotten into astrophotography. I've been using a Nikon D7200 on my dad's Sky-Watcher telescope which came with a SynScan mount and version 3 handset. I've seen that there is a Camera Control function on the handset. In the manuals it's telling me I need an 'proper shutter release cable'. Anyone know where I can get this cable or an adapter? - Multipurpose port to Nikon's shutter control port? Thanks!
  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. 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
  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 have just acquired a SkyWatcher EQ5 Pro mount and SynScan to replace/augment my ageing CG5-GT. The mount came with the lead and Prolific USB Serial Converter to allow me to control the mount or update firmware from my laptop. After downloading the latest firmware and firmware uploader I followed all the instructions and successfully managed to update the firmware with no problems. Feeling I was on a roll, I then downloaded and installed the ASCOM platform bits'n'pieces and successfully managed to control the mount via EQMOD and slew to objects using Cartes du Ciel (CdC) - brilliant! A few days later, I had been thinking about doing a Factory Reset to clear any details from the previous user. Having been working in IT for a number of years, and knowing how things can change for no apparent reason, before I attempted any Factory Reset I would just check that I was still able to do a Firmware Update if the Factory Reset 'downgraded' the firmware. This is where it got interesting. Sequence of events follows; 1. Connect serial cable from laptop to hand controller 2. Start hand controller in firmware update mode (ie holding down 0 & 8) during hand controller switch on. Hand controller indicates it's ready to be updated. 3. Start Firmware Uploader application. Decide to check current HC version etc via this application. Auto detect COM port is checked but I know that the COM port used is 6. 4. I see the COM port indicator in the Uploader application change from it's default value of 1 to 6 (as I expected) 5. A few seconds later, I get the "Cannot connect to hand controller" message. 6. Hmm! Check all cable connections - fine. 7. Run through above sequence again - same result. 8. Start Hand controller in normal, observing type mode and select "Direct PC" control. Start EQMOD and I find that all is working fine and I can control the 'scope no problems. 9. Thinking I may have 'tightened' a loose connection, I decide to try the Firmware update process again. I did not disturb/break any connections after using EQMOD as I knew they were working. 10. Ran through 2 to 4 above. Sadly, I got item 5 message again. Cannot connect to hand controller! 11. After trying a number of things and none of them working, I finally ended up disconnecting the Serial cable by unplugging from the USB port on my laptop. Plugged it back in again, pressed the "HC Version" button on the Firmware uploader app (which was still running) and, Hey Presto, it worked! I can't get my head around why this should happen. Needless to say, I decided not to do a Factory Reset - I didn't want to push my luck too far :-)
  8. I have run with v3.35 for a while now on my HEQ5 pro, ignored v3.36 because of all the bug reports, but i thought I would upgrade to v3.37 as nothing has been reported to my knowledge. I installed v 3.37 easily and read the associated documentation which says it has fixed the 'start from park bug'. Well it hasn't. Every time I fire it up after having parked in home position I get an 'Alt/Dec no response' error and it won't start from home park. After a few days of this I've gone back to v3.35 which works just fine every time. Just a small warning.
  9. Hello again friendly forum! Recently I upgraded from an old Vixen refractor to a Skywatcher 200 P reflector with a HEQ5 Pro mount. My first night out was pretty horrible as I couldn't even find polaris due to a mass of trees. But instead I spun the telescope around and took a variety of photos of the moon to make a huge a moasaic. So I made turned a bad night into a semi decent one (see my profile post if interested.) Finally on my second light, the moon had gone from the sky and I found polaris and I aligned my polar scope up perfectly (SUCCESS!). The last time the illuminated polar scope was so bright I couldn't see polaris through it, but this time a combination of turning the mount on and off helped me align the scope as I wanted. So I entered in all the useful coordinates/time and started the 3 star alignment process. I chose Pleiades of Tauros to the South as I could see it. So I accepted the target chosen and the mount started slewing but instead of pointing anywhere near the target, it pointed up to the west. I am very confused and still have no idea how it's happening as I've been checking the forums but I'm pretty certain I'm entering incorrect coordinates. Could somebody please help me format the location of my scope in a format the SYNSCAN will understand. Thanks for any advice! I'd love to get my setup sorted this month as I hear January is a good mont hfor astronomy, planetary-wise at least! Cheers, Tom
  10. 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
  11. Hello, Is anyone on here signed up for the SkySafari and SynScan beta testing to natively support IOS? If so how has it been going? https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360043282514-Beta-Testing-SkySafari-6-iOS-Only-SynScan-WiFi-Read-This-To-Participate-?page=2#community_comment_360012192693 Its 2020.
  12. Hello there, My synscan V3 handset is having issues in the goto settings, for example, it may be over 10 degrees out in azimuth and a few degrees out by altitude. For troubleshooting purposes and to save you from asking unnecessary questions, I have tried different locations and made comparisons, I have also tested multiple different targets. My location, date and time are also correct and to make sure, I have tried different variables to see if there is a difference but there is not, the handset is still out. I should also let you know that the difference between the real value and H.C. Value is not fixed and does vary. Help would be greatly appreciated as this has really puzzled me. I have updated the firmware and went to older versions - same issue. I have searched for this topic on the likes of YouTube and other forums and cannot find some information. Fingers crossed one of you can help me with this. Thank you, Cai
  13. 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
  14. Sooo...I'm getting quote frustrated here. This spring I tested my HEQ5 with guiding. The synscan controller was connected to the computer trough the USB plug on the hand controller. This worked like a charm in my living room. On the new controllers you dont need the rs cable. But when I tried the whole thing with guide cameara for some live shooting, it just did not work. I get something wrong with the com port in decice manager, driver not working. I have tried 3 different drivers. The whole thing responded, connected and was guiding when i did a dummy test before the summer. So setup is pc-synscan via usb for pulse guiding. Can it be a problem with windows 10? What t h.... just happened? Where can I find a driver that works? And believe me it worked 5 months ago, argh. Thanks for any respons and support
  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. 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.
  17. Hi Guys, Wim has wisely persuaded me to go for an eqdir cable from my RPi to my SynScan controller. I currently have a usb:db9 + db9:st4 setup to the SynScan handset (ie 3 cables connected). Can I just change the db9 to st4 to a db9:Rj45 or similar? Eg: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201608325158 Plus an old ethernet cable? Ie does the pinout of an ethernet cable correspond to the pinout of the SynScan controller handset socket? Regards Steve.
  18. With several clear nights over the past week, I've been playing with the Synscan Pro app (Android) in conjunction with a Synscan WiFi adapter on an EQ3Pro mount. I have to say I'm generally quite impressed. Much cheaper than buying a traditional handset. However, this evening I was trying to "creep up" on the Andromeda Galaxy by star hopping towards it via Mirach, Mu Andromedae and Nu Andromedae. Mirach was no problem but the other stars were not available for selection in the app. Am I missing something? I couldn't find any way to enter an SAO number or any other catalogue number to find the minor stars. Is this a limitation of the app? Or the adapter perhaps? Or is it me? Clear skies, Mark.
  19. 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.
  20. Brand new to the website, been searching with Google for the last couple of hours looking for help. I apologize if this has been asked and is buried somewhere on the forum. I could not find it. I have an Orion StarSeeker III 127mm Mak-Cass. I've had no issues with it, until now. For some reason when I power on my mount, my Synscan remote, says initializing. After it finishes with initializing, it says the Synscan version (04.05.17) and then doesn't do anything else. I can move the mount with the directional keys. I can hit the number 2/Rate button to change the rate. When I select a rate, when I hit enter, it doesn't recognize the button push. The rate will change after 5 seconds if I don't push anything else. None of the other buttons do anything. I know the buttons work, since I can change the rate from 1-9. However, none of the alignment, setup, etc stuff can be accomplished because the buttons don't do anything outside of rate. There was no trauma to the Synscan unit, or my mount. It didn't get wet, etc. I'm bummed out because I'm trying to use the scope for some beginner astrophotography and I can't get the thing to track obviously without being able to use any of the functions of the Synscan remote. I know 99% of the people here are smarter than me, and I can't believe I'm the only one to have experienced this. Please someone help! For the record, I did just order the adaptor so I can try to update the firmware on the remote. I'm hoping this is a simple fix, but I'm wondering if others have had similar issues. I would like to become more knowledgeable in viewing, and astrophotgraphy but holy steep learning curve Batman! Thank you in advance, Tolero
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. The Synscan 4 with my new mount ( EQ8 ) has strange behaviour and I am trying to find out if it is bug, a fault in the unit or a strange "feature" of the firmware. During tracking in RA the celestial declination reported by the Synscan is slowly changing even though the declination axis of the mount is apparently not moving. Has anyone else noticed this? If you get a chance could you check? In my case the problem is seen via the following steps: - start aligned scope from park - select and rotate to object using Synscan - on hand controller display the rotation angle of the mount's declination/altitude axis ( Utilities/ShowPosition/AX1 ) - whether tracking in RA or not, I have found this figure to be constant as soon as the mount has finished moving to the target. - on hand controller display the Celestial declination ( Utilities/Show Position/DEC ) - it is this figure that is slowing increasing ( ~ 5" / min ) ( note it does not change if tracking is set to "off" ). Does anyone else have this "issue"? Do you have any ideas what it could be? Note that this has nothting to do with PHD or flex of the tube or imaging system - the above is just related to the declination information being displayed ( and exported ) by the Synscan unit. Much appreciated, Mike
  24. 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
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