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Pardon my ignorance in the matter, but I was wondering if I could get some tips as to what I would need if I were to buy either HEQ5 SynTrek or similar mounts. Not sure if I would upgrade my 6" very soon, maybe to an 8" in the future.. Maybe I'd go for a NEQ6. But anyway.. Lets leave guiding out of the equation for now, what would I need to be able to track? Do I need some sort of USB > ST4 cable and a laptop? Or is the SynGuider a better option?

If I'm leaving stuff out, please let me know, cause I have no clue as of yet. Oh, and I probably need some heavy batteries as well. How do you hook that up by the way?

Lots of question, hoping for lots of good answers. Which I know I'll get from you magificent people ;)


- Ken B.

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The HEQ5 comes with a dc power lead that plugs into a cigar lighter socket and a lead that goes into a laptop, i think this is a serial lead.

You would need a power source, i got a 12v battery from a scrapyard 26 amp hour in tip top condition for £15, a word of caution, the mount power lead is tip positive, if this is not observed, the mount will blow

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If you go for the HEQ5 or NEQ6 Pro you do not actually need anything on order to "track". The mount, once setup (date,time,lattitude&longitude details inputted into handset) and polar aligned properly will automatically track the target object. This is fine for visual use. My understanding is that autoguiding is required for astrophotography as the accuracy and correction that autoguiding offers ensures better photos as the chip on a camera picks up everything, even the slightest inaccuracy in tracking.

As others above have said you will need a field battery. I use a 65amp/hour battery in a very good box that I purchased off the bay at the following link: http://bit.ly/11YufKi

It's worth putting some form of insulation in the box around the battery also for when you are out in colder temperatures as the cold effects battery performance. Another accessory required is a multi cigarette socket adaptor as the battery box (should you wish to use it) only has the one one female cigarette style socket.

Then if course there is dew prevention. So depending on what scope you go for (I have an 8 inch Newtonian reflector on an NEQ6 Pro) so I have just ordered (should arrive today!) a Kendrick 4 port dual channel dew heater controller, and dew heater strips for the objective and eyepiece ends of my 9x50 Right Angled Correct Image (RACI) finder scope (the RACI finder scope is a useful accessory if you don't have one already-a real neck ache saver when compared with the straight through version that came with my scope). Also I purchased a dew heater strip for my eyepieces as sometimes when it's cold just the heat of my eye has dewed up the eyepiece. Keeping in line with dew prevention a dew shield is a good idea. I made mine from an old camping Mat and some heavy duty self adhesive Velcro, although you can buy them. They also help keep out stray light. The one thing that is hard to source for an 8 inch reflector is a secondary mirror heater, so I am very lucky in my local observing group in that a member is helping me make one as he is good with electronics.

Other things you may need that you may not think of immediately if you're upgrading your mount/scope are a compass, spirit level. Velcro cable tidies (to keep things neat so you don't trip over them in the dark). One other thing that I bough from Dion (the brilliant man who invented this site and tinkerer extraordinaire) is a cooling fan system for the primary mirror of my scope. It simply velcros on to the back of the primary and takes its power from the battery and cools the mirror an keeps the surface of the primary mirror cool and reducing turbulence caused by temperature difference and improving the view.

Hope that helps. I should add I have only just entered the world of EQ mounts so I am still learning them and their accessories myself. All the above listed are what I have purchased so far. Before that I mounted my scope on a Dobsonian mount.

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Sorry edit for above-Dion is inventor/administrator of astronomy shed site not SGL. Got mixed up as to which forum I was on as am using tapatalk on iPhone-Doh!!

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Thanks guys, and thanks for all the great advice catman161! Lots of stuff I hadn't thought of.

I see.. So I probably need to get guiding asap then. I thought tracking increased your exposure times to some degree, maybe they don't, I'm not sure..

But how good of a scope do you need for guiding really? I'm guessing very faint stars could be a problem without a fairly good scope. I've seen a few cameras out there for guiding, any idea on which one to get?

And as far as I understand it shouldn't take much to run a tracking software on a laptop, so the laptop doesn't have to be very expensive..?

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