Jump to content

sgl_imaging_challenge_2021_2.thumb.jpg.72789c04780d7659f5b63ea05534a956.jpg

EQ5 Dual Motor Guiding Tips Please


Recommended Posts

Hey All,

I've been very happy so far with my polar alignments but looking to get some sort of Autoguiding together to increase the exposure times of some DSO objects.

My first step is to add the ST4-style port to my hand controller which I will do this weekend. However after this, I got in a bit of a muddle and need some guidance (excuse the pun).

The way i've worked it out so far is that I will need an adaptor from the ST4 ports to go in to my laptop via a LPT socket (is there a cheaper alternative to spending £40 on this?).

Once i've crossed that bridge, I take it some kind of software will read the frames from my modded webcam/guidescope and send the signals back to the stepper motors to correct the image? (which software/freeware would you recommend?)

Finally, i've read a few topics about modding the finderscope to autoguide, is this any good or is there another cheap alternative?

As you can probably tell, i'm on a budget, so I do really appreciate any input that you may have in relation to this mod (apart from save save save, do it properly and spend £££) ;)

Thanks in advance!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Luckily, my astro Laptop still has a parallel port, so a friend is making me one of these: http://www.store.shoestringastronomy.com/images/gpint_pt.jpg cost = £5

He is also modding the EQ5 hand controller so i'll have an ST-4 port. so another few quid on parts for that. I plan to use guide dog but if there is another program what will work better, i'm open to suggestions ;)

Now the only thing I need to work out is how to get my Webcam to pick up a guide star through either a finderscope or small refractor. I'm hoping that turning the exposure up very high will do the trick.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Would love to see how you get on guiding a 200P on an EQ5 especially if you decide to put a small refractor on top of that 200P. My CG5 could only just cope with the 200P and 1000D camera on it, let alone a guidescope and camera but anyways..Good luck with it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pete, personally feel the 200P on an EQ5 is on the limit for visual let alone imaging, with the HEQ5 being the entry level for imaging. Fitting a small refractor such as an ST80, plus a webcam, and dslr will be over the weight limit for the EQ5, and lacks the stability of the larger mounts. Modern astronomy offer adapters to attach webcams to standard 9 x 50 SW finder for around £30, which would keep the weight down a tad. One big thing the HEQ5 scores over the EQ5 is the resolution of the motor drives, in that the HEQ5 has twice the number of micro-steps providing better accuracy.

Be interesting to see how you get on...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update - I've got all the bits back now and due to the rain in London I couldn't get out to see the stars. So I tracked a pic through the webcam of a pic I took of orion neb using guidedog and moving the pic across the screen... All good so far and managed to familiarise myself with the software. Hopefully, I've also worked out how to use the finder scope for finding and use it as a guiding tool too! Just a few more mods to the webcam chassis and i'm all set. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, here's a pic of my modded hand controller ;)

IMG_2031.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Im intersted to see how you get on. I have a Celestron 150 on a CG5 and have added a skywatcher 80mm startravel with a QHY5 guide camera. I am waiting for the shoestring conversion kit for my hand controller ad them I am hpoing to get going with autoguiding. My mount is old so I dont know how the gears wil cope. Crossing my fingers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right then, last night was the first clear-ish night in a long time. So i set up and gave it a go. It's my first time doin this, so it took a while to set up and i soon realised that getting the finderscope into any kind of focus would be a real pain. So out came the electrical tape to temporary fix the issue so i could at least test some settings in guidedog. It was windy and seeing conditions wasn't great at all. I had problems with the guide star being too big with the focus issue, so it was over compensating all the time.

So the solution i've come up with now is to ditch the finder as a guider and try my original approach with a small refractor. It's cost me a further £26 on a nat geo kiddies scope, but it's very light and fits nicely on to the skywatcer rings. Fingers crossed it's clears again tonight and i'll have better results with the focus issue.

The only thing i can report back so far is the the parallel port works very well. Now it's just a case of finding a stable/easy setup to get focus and all should be good!

I'll post some pics up as soon as i managed to take a solid 3/5 min sub :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Right then, last night was the first clear-ish night in a long time. So i set up and gave it a go. It's my first time doin this, so it took a while to set up and i soon realised that getting the finderscope into any kind of focus would be a real pain. So out came the electrical tape to temporary fix the issue so i could at least test some settings in guidedog. It was windy and seeing conditions wasn't great at all. I had problems with the guide star being too big with the focus issue, so it was over compensating all the time.

So the solution i've come up with now is to ditch the finder as a guider and try my original approach with a small refractor. It's cost me a further £26 on a nat geo kiddies scope, but it's very light and fits nicely on to the skywatcer rings. Fingers crossed it's clears again tonight and i'll have better results with the focus issue.

The only thing i can report back so far is the the parallel port works very well. Now it's just a case of finding a stable/easy setup to get focus and all should be good!

I'll post some pics up as soon as i managed to take a solid 3/5 min sub :)

You need to spin the locking ring 180 degrees to gain focus with your SW finder/guider.This allows the ring to go further down the finder.So you can then get focus.

Wayne

post-18037-133877702296_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Wayne, i think i'm going to try and copy your idea for this, at least it will beat all this trial and error! :)

Guidedog really didn't like my webcam (vx3000), so i'm going to have a crack again tonight (if it's clear) with PHD. I have a SPC 900 on route so the project is still in process.

Edited by peterules
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tonight's update:

Managed to install PHD and get it to calibrate. Although, as i was not familar with the software, it wasn't sending guiding commands to the handcontroller. :)

I believe i missed a step in the setup process and failed to press "connect to scope" button..... The clouds have now come over so fingers crossed my guiding days will be ever closer!...

Edited by peterules
Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

PHD is fantastic! My SPC900 arrived today so was itching to get out and try it. Hit a problem as i didn't have the adaptor to fit in inside the finder yet. but comprimised and taped it in there to just test it. focus was ok and locked on to betelgeuse as a tester. Took a series of pics from 2-5 minutes but due to the wind it kept knocking the guiding out slightly. Maybe i still need to figure out the PHD and SPC settings a little.

Good points so far:

The Parallel port works

PHD is working good for me

Bad points:

EQ5 needs a good service

Figuring out SPC/PHD settings

Wind needs to stop lol!

Things to buy (rolls eyes) the spc to finder adaptor

Here's the best pic of the night albeit a little windswept 2 minute exposure

DSC_1499.jpg

Edited by peterules
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey that's looking pretty good so far.

I'm trying to get the backlash out of my CG5s RA at the moment and have the conversion kit on the way.

Coincidentally, I've also been using duck tape to get my camera connected. I taped an old eyepiece barrel onto it :)

Thanks for the update.

eid

Edited by eid
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Just a little update:

The EQ5 has been serviced and is now smooth as silk. I picked up a Meade 8x50 Finder today as I couldn't live without a finder, so now I have a dedicated finder and finder-guider. The problem I had with the Nat geo scope was that it was just to wobbly, so now everything is rock solid.

I'm just waiting for the winds to settle and I'll be on it again with long exposures :)

Here's some recent pics of the project:

IMG_2096.jpg

IMG_2098.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.