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Autoguide set up for EQ3 Pro??


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Folks, I have decided after much thought, reading up and head scratching to join the dark side and make the jump into autoguiding. I will be using my EQ3 Pro with ST4 port in the hand controller and plan on using something like an Orion starshoot 50mm guide scope with their guide cam attached (or very similar) and have downloaded PHD and PK Tether onto the laptop ready to roll. And this is where my level of current knowledge expires :) To keep the weight down on the 130 PDS/EQ3 set-up I am confident this is the best route and have read posts about SW Synguider being difficult to use hence this thought process. Can anybody please advise on what I need to look out for or be mindful of when I start off? Are there any particular settings I need to use in PHD with the EQ3? And finally, am I right in thinking that I will just be plugging the guide cam into the USB on the laptop and PHD will automatically recognise it? I have tested PK Tether with the Kr today and it works a treat for setting interval shooting and also stipulating exposure times in bulb mode. I want to get it right first time out with minimal headaches if anyone can please advise :) I did search for an answer first, but didn't find a lot. Thanks in advance all!! Clear skies :)

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PHD will not recognise the camera automatically, but if the camera connects to the laptop via USB and to the mount via the ST4, then you need to select 'on camera' as your camera option. When you then press connect, choose the appropriate camera from the list and PHD will find it.

I would advise balancing your setup very carefully. The EQ3 and EQ5's aren't really cut out for autoguiding, or imaging at all, and it's quite a battle to get it all going. I had so success with my EQ5 and it was both fun and educational pushing the limits of what was possible, but now I have made the jump to a bigger mount I wish I'd done it earlier.

As for PHD settings, you'll just have to fiddle around and see what works. This guide http://www.rosecityastronomers.org/resources/pdf/GuideToGuiding.pdf has some good info to ghet you started, but it's not gospel.

A well known and endlessly capable imager on here recently gave me some advice: balance the scope ever so slightly, really slightly, heavy on the east side (this may be either scope-end or weights-end depending on the location of your target). This should help smooth things out a bit with your guiding and stability.

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