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Sky Safari issues with a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT mount


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Hi Everyone,

I just thought I'd share some issue I've been having recently with my newish Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT mount in AltAz mode. I'm using a SkyFi wifi module to contol the mount with Sky Safari Pro on my ipad.

I have updated my Synscan firmware to version 3.35. I get a really good alignment before I activate SkyFi and SkySafari Pro. All objects are consistently placed very near the center of my reticle eyepiece when using only the Synscan handset to perform GOTO’s and this accuracy is repeatable for all objects.

So this is what I observe when I connect SkyFi & Sky Safari to the mount after alignment:

1) The scope slews away from it’s current target as soon as I hit the CONNECTbutton in Sky Safari scope control (I assume that the scope should not move at all on connection as no Slew/GOTOcommands have been issued and Sky Safari is simply reading the scopes position and adjusting the display to match it).

2) The UP & DOWN direction keys on the Sky Safari scope control console do not work properly – when performing a long slew the scope will stop after a few seconds and I need to take my finger off the button and hold it down again to make the scope slew for another few seconds (the L/R buttons appear to work fine).

3) When slewing at low speed for fine adjustment all the direction keys will only move the scope for a second before it stops so I have to keep jabbing at the button to make it move in small increments.

4) GOTO’s from Sky Safari yield mixed results last night – here is a summary:

- Vega, M57, Epsilon Lyrae, M13, M92, Caph, Polaris, Kochab and Saturn all returned consistently good GOTO’s both at

the eyepiece and on the Sky Safari display

- Arcturus, Dubhe, Alcor and Mizar all return poor GOTO’s – the Sky Safari reticle showed the object outside the

eyepiece FOV and I could not see it in the eyepiece at the scope itself

- Interestingly, this issue was not consistent – if I used GOTO from Dubhe to Arcturus the GOTO would be poor but if

I used GOTO from Vega to Arcturus it would be good.

- I tried using the ALIGN function when this happened and it didn’t help – further GOTO’s to the object used for

ALIGN still returned poor results

One point concerning the SkyFi unit – when I turned it on initially it appeared in the WiFi list on my ipad and I

connected to it but it didn’t appear in SkySafari. I had to restart SkyFi several time before

the correct IP address appeared (10.0.0.2) on the ipad. The SkyFi unit is using factory default settings.

I am awaiting a response from Southern Stars on this as I’m interested in what is causing these GOTO issues. I don’t think it’s the mount or

Synscan hand controller as everything works very well when it’s operating on it’s own. Could it be the SkyFi unit or something else?

Has anyone else experienced similar issues?

Any help any can give very much appreciated

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Hello David, I have the same mount and exactly the same issues!! I too contacted Sky Safari but as yet I've not resolved the issue, have you had any joy on this yet? One thing I will say however is that once connected if I move the Bull's-eye on the I Pad back to the target on the I Pad the target reappears in the eyepiece. Have you noticed this? Best regards Karl

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Hi Karl,

Thanks for your response, I'm glad to hear from someone else who is having the same issues - I was beginning to think it was just me! .....

Southern Stars say they have been using the same code for Synscan in Sky Safari for over a year and have not had anyone else report these issues - sounds like it's just you and me so far!. They also say they investigated this on an Orion Sirius EQ-G and a Skywatcher AllView using Synscan 3.35 and didn't find anything wrong (but they didn't test using am AZ-EQ6 and I think that's were the problem may lie) - they imply 3.35 should have fixed any issues but they don't specify what the fixed issues were - they say they think it's a Synscan problem so they are washing their hands of it at this point!......

I have spoken to the company who sold me the mount and they say if I get reasonable alignments & GOTO's with the mount on it's own then the issue must be with Sky Safari - I tend to agree, I don't think Southern Stars have tested with the AZ-EQ6 at all and the fact that they say they haven't changed the SkySafari Synscan interface for over a year tends to support this argument.

I have tried to eliminate possible causes - I have tried it with both SkyFi and Skywire and I get the same results so it's not a cable/connectivity problem (apart from the fact that SkyFi doesn't always connect firts time for me)..... I have also tried using my iPhone and iPad and the issue occurs with both..... I also reset my Synscan to factory default - no effect

So, I'm not sure what to do next .....

Would you be interested in taking this issue off-line outside this forum? - perhaps we could put our heads together and compare notes to see if we can zoom in on the issue to give us a bit more leverage with Southern Stars.

I'm happy to give you my email address and phone nember if you are interested in this approach .....

Thanks

PS - yes, I have noticed what you described when moving bulls-eye back to the target but it's not consistent.....

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I suggest you join the sky safari yahoo group, I am convinced i saw an article about this issue recently and it had been fixed. must admit i did not take much notice with not having that mount

Thank you Michael, I had not thought of that there is a Yahoo group for everything these days.

Much appreciated

Karl

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Hi Karl,

Thanks for your response, I'm glad to hear from someone else who is having the same issues - I was beginning to think it was just me! .....

Southern Stars say they have been using the same code for Synscan in Sky Safari for over a year and have not had anyone else report these issues - sounds like it's just you and me so far!. They also say they investigated this on an Orion Sirius EQ-G and a Skywatcher AllView using Synscan 3.35 and didn't find anything wrong (but they didn't test using am AZ-EQ6 and I think that's were the problem may lie) - they imply 3.35 should have fixed any issues but they don't specify what the fixed issues were - they say they think it's a Synscan problem so they are washing their hands of it at this point!......

I have spoken to the company who sold me the mount and they say if I get reasonable alignments & GOTO's with the mount on it's own then the issue must be with Sky Safari - I tend to agree, I don't think Southern Stars have tested with the AZ-EQ6 at all and the fact that they say they haven't changed the SkySafari Synscan interface for over a year tends to support this argument.

I have tried to eliminate possible causes - I have tried it with both SkyFi and Skywire and I get the same results so it's not a cable/connectivity problem (apart from the fact that SkyFi doesn't always connect firts time for me)..... I have also tried using my iPhone and iPad and the issue occurs with both..... I also reset my Synscan to factory default - no effect

So, I'm not sure what to do next .....

Would you be interested in taking this issue off-line outside this forum? - perhaps we could put our heads together and compare notes to see if we can zoom in on the issue to give us a bit more leverage with Southern Stars.

I'm happy to give you my email address and phone nember if you are interested in this approach .....

Thanks

PS - yes, I have noticed what you described when moving bulls-eye back to the target but it's not consistent.....

Hi David,

Apologies but phones are down in the area so no Internet all day and now relying on BT Wifi which is seriously slow. I may not even finish this blink'n message!

Great to know we are not alone and yes I'm happy to discuss in person so I'll send you a pm shortly possible. From what you say it is almost like I'm writing it myself we have both tried the same things to resolve without success. You can call now or whenever suits.

best regards

Karl

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,

I just heard back from Skywatcher via my AZ-EQ6 mount dealer (Rother valley Optics) yesterday. The AZ mode inaccuracies affecting stand-alone operation and use with Sky Safari have been recognised by Synta and they have developed a fix that will appear in the next firmware release (3.36). They have given no date for this yet but let's hope it fixes the issues so we can all (at last) get good performance in AZ mode.

Thanks

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  • 1 month later...

HI All,

I just got an update on the fixes for this issue by Skywatcher (firmware release 3.36) from my Skywatcher vendor (Rother Valley Optics). They say it will be a few months before it is available - not the best news as that means we have to live with inaccurate AZ-EQ6 GT alignment/GOTO's and Sky Safari being virtually unusable with this mount until then! ......

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  • 7 months later...

It´s not just a problem of the AZ version. I got the same problems here with my NEQ-6 Pro Synscan after updating to 3.35. Me too got a good 3-star alignment with the Synscan handbox itself and all objects were hit directly. After connecting SkySafari 4 Pro and choosing an object on my iPad it seems to slew directly to the wanted place, slows down, hits the target and then it wents back some degrees the same direction were it comes from. Very strange ... hope they fix it soon. Thanks for your informations, thought it was just me!

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  • 2 months later...

Everyone

I have received this reply from Skywatcher via my dealer today:

"The WiFi adapter and Sky Safari Pro application are not developed by Skywatcher, thus we can not do much to find and solve the problem. It is the developers responsibility to find out the problem and solve it if they want their products to support AZ-EQ6 mount.

Skywatchers hand control only supports a subset of Celestrons communication protocol, that might be the cause of the problem. We might implement the full Celestrons protocol in the future, but we have not setup a firmed schedule yet".

Needless to say this type of "not our problem" attitude demonstrates that these companies do not care about their customers and it makes my blood boil!. I have included (below) the response I have now sent to Skywatcher through my dealer and urge you and all other users affected by this issue to do the same.

"To Skywatcher,

This answer is unacceptable and does nothing to foster good relations with your customers. In fact, it is typical
of the responses consumers often get when both manufacturers are happy to wash their hands of the problem by blaming the other company's product.

This is simply not good enough - there are hundreds if not thousands of customers out there who have bought both products (AZ-EQ6-GT and SkySafari) in good faith in the hope that the two products used together will provide a superb way to explore the heavens. Unfortunately, due to the apathy demonstrated by both Skywatcher and Southern Stars all of us who find ourselves in this position have effectively wasted significant amounts of hard earned money.

I would remind you that Skywatcher support have already inferred (about a year ago) that this issue is down to
problems with the current hand-controller firmware (3.35) and promised to rectify this in the next release (3.36).
This has not happened, so what are you people now saying? - have you changed your tune and decide the problem is easier to deal with if you simply blame Southern Stars' Sky Safari product?

For their part, Southern Stars say they have not made any changes at all to their interface with the Skywatcher
handset so what works for other Skywatcher mounts should work with the AZ-EQ6-GT. This is why they say the issue has to be resolved by Skywatcher!

Ultimately, your customers really aren't interested where the problem lies, it is the responsibility of Skywatcher
and Southern Stars to work together to resolve this problem to keep the customer satisfied.

Rest assured I will be posting your unhelpful response (and my retort) on all the Astro forums I subscribe too and will be urging my fellow AZ-EQ6-GT owners to do the same, I will also be writing to most of the popular
Astronomical magazines to highlight this issue. After this fiasco, it is unlikely that I will ever buy another
Skywatcher or Southern Stars product which is a great shame because it would probably only take a little effort
with both companies working together to resolve this issue once and for all which in turn would create much happier customers".

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Everyone

I have received this reply from Skywatcher via my dealer today:

[...snip...]

This answer is unacceptable and does nothing to foster good relations with your customers. In fact, it is typical

of the responses consumers often get when both manufacturers are happy to wash their hands of the problem by blaming the other company's product.

[...snip...]

Ultimately, your customers really aren't interested where the problem lies, it is the responsibility of Skywatcher

and Southern Stars to work together to resolve this problem to keep the customer satisfied.

[...snip...]

Thanks for this posting Mr. Cox. I just came across it right before I was going to buy an EQ6 mount with the explicit intent using Star Safari to control it. I just returned a Celestron 8" Evolution after a less than stellar performance (I suspect I got a defective unit). This initial experience was bad on the hardware side but I did like the "SkyPortal" (SkySafari repackaged for Celestron) approach.

This being said, after checking out the hardware in a showroom, SkyWatcher's Goto hardware/Tripod definitely seem superior to Celestron's equivalent (comparing and EQ6 mount to CGEM). I am ready to put down the extra $$ but I was explicitly told that SkyWatcher's software is the deficient part of their product.

So, what are the other software available for controlling an EQ6 mount?

PS: I suspect one of the problems in the current situation might have to do with patent infringement ("Skywatchers hand control only supports a subset of Celestrons communication protocol"), even thought their protocol is described in the user's manual. I was told Celestron Vs Meade had such an encounter regarding their CPC series.

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Thanks for this posting Mr. Cox. I just came across it right before I was going to buy an EQ6 mount with the explicit intent using Star Safari to control it. I just returned a Celestron 8" Evolution after a less than stellar performance (I suspect I got a defective unit). This initial experience was bad on the hardware side but I did like the "SkyPortal" (SkySafari repackaged for Celestron) approach.

This being said, after checking out the hardware in a showroom, SkyWatcher's Goto hardware/Tripod definitely seem superior to Celestron's equivalent (comparing and EQ6 mount to CGEM). I am ready to put down the extra $$ but I was explicitly told that SkyWatcher's software is the deficient part of their product.

So, what are the other software available for controlling an EQ6 mount?

PS: I suspect one of the problems in the current situation might have to do with patent infringement ("Skywatchers hand control only supports a subset of Celestrons communication protocol"), even thought their protocol is described in the user's manual. I was told Celestron Vs Meade had such an encounter regarding their CPC series.

The problem is with the AZ EQ6 not the normal NEQ6 pro as I have been using it for years without problem

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