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AstroEQ for EQ mounts

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I have been thinking about getting AstroEQfor my setup, which is currently a CQ-4 mount and Skywatcher Explorer 150p, with dual axis motors. I'd get a Web can and attach to finder for guiding.

What I'm wondering though is whether AstroEQ is as good or better than using Shoestring astronomy 's GPUSB or GPPINT for guiding when coupled with PhD. From what I've read so far it seems AstroEQ excels at making these mounts GoTo, but that results from guiding (i.e exposure lengths) are better with the Shoestring mod.

Given that GPINT is quite cheap, would I be better with that for guiding?

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Ive used both the shoe string mod and ASTROEQ and would much rather have ASTROEQ any day of the week. My own guiding efforts have given me good enough results and you have a fully working go to system as well plus you don't need an St4 port. Guiding with the shoestring adapter was no better then guiding with ASTROEQ I found but guiding depends on other key factors like balance of your scope and flexture issues so don't be put off. Like I said tryed both found no real difference.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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Hi Minimalist. Just to balance the discussion, unfortunately I've had no luck guiding with AstroEQ. I was guiding with no problems at all using the ST4 mod and PHD immediately prior to using AstroEQ, but with AstroEQ, whilst being an excellent goto for the EQ5, I wasn't able to guide at all. Now unfortunately, I can't guide with either. I burnt out my modded handset switching back from AstroEQ (forgot to switch it back to 6v from 12v), so bought a used replacement and modded it. Since then, I haven't been able to guide at all. Not sure what the problem is, but it may be the reason why I couldn't guide with AstroEQ - we'll see. Unfortunately we don't have sufficient feedback from users guiding with this kit to make a judgement - at the moment it only seems to be me and Mark (QM) that has attempted guiding, so we currently have one vote for, and one against :)

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i have a skywatcher explorer 200p with eq5 mount and i was just wondering how much this goto setup would cost me by the time i buy the astraeq, dual axis stepper motors, 12v power supply and the other cables that i would need.

i've seen the SkyWatcher SynScan PRO GOTO Upgrade Kit For EQ5 Mount for £299 and wondered what the savings and differences/advantages would be between the two systems.

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I think if you already have the motors then ASTROEQ makes sense and full use of ascom drivers. As for guiding I have got full 5 main sub's from what I now know was a very unbalanced scope and 5min with a modded DSLR is plenty for me as noise increases with longer sub's. I spent a considerable amount of money on the skywatcher handsets I don't think modding them helps as they are not built for this purpose and can overload very easily. Ive had 5 of them so I speak from bitter experience. The upgrade kit gives you better gears but for the cost you might just as well have bought an H eq5. My vote goes firmly to ASTROEQ it does what I want and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. I'm still saving for an HEQ5 but even then I will keep using ASTROEQ its a solid well made bit of kit and its given my eq5 a new lease of life

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ok thanks for that.  i bought my 200p and eq5 secondhand for a £130 so it didn't break my bank and i have a little more spend.  i've seen some nima stepper motors for sale on fleabay that are quite cheap but not sure if they are strong enough.  do you know where to get the best motors from and how much they cost

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Second hand if you can get em on flea bay would be good I had mine from my last dual axis kit after it conked out.

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In terms of motors, I use these on an EQ5 with an Evostar 120:

http://www.zappautomation.co.uk/en/nema-11-stepper-motors/351-sy28sth45-0674a-high-torque-hybrid-stepper-motors.html

For a 200p you will likely want stronger motors - these are quite strong whilst quite compact:

http://proto-pic.co.uk/stepper-motor-bipolar-200-steps-rev-35x36mm-2-7v-1000ma/

Alternatively these are very powerful:

http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/nema-14-high-torque-stepper-15a-40ncm567ozin-14hs201504s-p-59.html

All of the above I have bought for various other projects and had no problems with the suppliers (actually Proto-PIC supplies the motor driver boards for AstroEQ ;) ).

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Thanks for them links. I'll have a look at them now.

Cheers

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Hi Minimalist. Just to balance the discussion, unfortunately I've had no luck guiding with AstroEQ. I was guiding with no problems at all using the ST4 mod and PHD immediately prior to using AstroEQ, but with AstroEQ, whilst being an excellent goto for the EQ5, I wasn't able to guide at all. Now unfortunately, I can't guide with either. I burnt out my modded handset switching back from AstroEQ (forgot to switch it back to 6v from 12v), so bought a used replacement and modded it. Since then, I haven't been able to guide at all. Not sure what the problem is, but it may be the reason why I couldn't guide with AstroEQ - we'll see. Unfortunately we don't have sufficient feedback from users guiding with this kit to make a judgement - at the moment it only seems to be me and Mark (QM) that has attempted guiding, so we currently have one vote for, and one against :)

I am still yet to try guiding with my set up because of this weather. I can't wait to have a play. I am expecting much frustration though

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I am still yet to try guiding with my set up because of this weather. I can't wait to have a play. I am expecting much frustration though

I'll be interested to hear your results. It seems possible that I have other issues with the kit that have nothing to do with AstroEQ - just coincidence that these issues made themselves known at the time I was testing, as so often happens with this stuff. The more test data we have to better the chances of ironing out any glitches :)

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Agreed the weather has prevented me from doing more testing its been very wet and windy here in Suffolk. Still there are enough of us now with comparable kit to test out our methods for guiding and such things. One thing I had over looked was the issue of flexure that can effect guiding if the guide scope is not mounted firmly enough. Was thinking of getting a couple of rings and a bar to fit my finder scope as I think its present fitting may not be solid enough.

Doug, I got your email but my spare motors have gone back to my supplier with the burned out control unit to see I he can get a replacement for me. My be one of Toms alternative motors might do the job especially the stronger ones. :smiley:

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I am still yet to try guiding with my set up because of this weather. I can't wait to have a play. I am expecting much frustration though

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I have suffered much frustration but then again the frustration results in determination to solve the problems which in turn leads to success! Hope you get some clear skies soon and please share your frustrations with us all so we can help you succeed  :grin:

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I have suffered much frustration but then again the frustration results in determination to solve the problems which in turn leads to success! Hope you get some clear skies soon and please share your frustrations with us all so we can help you succeed  :grin:

Doesn't always result in success Mark - sometimes your kit turns to poop   ;)

Edited by Quatermass

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Necessity is the mother of invention Doug  :grin: I think we could all do with a run of clear nights and a little less wind and rain that would cheer me right up.

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I suppose I should extend the post I made earlier about motors.

The reason I don't sell motors as part of a kit is that brackets are required to fit them to the mount.

For my mount I designed and manufactured my own brackets from aluminium angle. I sourced timing pulleys and belts from here.

I got them to make me some custom pulleys that replace the brass gears on clutches from the dual axis kit so that I could still use manual control - but actually if you are using the mount as a Goto you should never move the mount manually so this is not really necessary, you can simply select a bore which matches the size of the spindle of the mount. I used a 40T pulley on the mount and a 15T pulley on the motor. Don't use anything larger than a 40T if getting pulleys from that link as they would collide with the mount - double check this! 15T is the smallest that they will bore to 5mm for the motor shaft which is why I chose that one.

The ratio 40:15 is not a nice whole number, but it does actually work out to produce low error in the calculations for AstroEQ.

I've uploaded a google sketchup drawing of the brackets I made here - these are for the smaller NEMA 11 motors, but you could modify the design for larger motors fairly easily. I've drawn key parts of a skywatcher EQ5 in that file also - these were good enough for me to make working brackets, but I can't vouch for how accurate they really are. In the drawing please note that it shows the pulleys to be 1/8th inch when in fact the ones from that company mentioned earlier are 1/4inch - this was because I was originally going to use different pulleys but couldn't find a UK supplier and I haven't got around to updating the drawing.

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Oh and pictures in case you are curious:

RA Bracket:

IMG_7791.png

DEC Bracket:

IMG_7790.png

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thanks for that tom but i can't see that google sketch of the brackets as its asking for a user name and password

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Sorry about that, typed the link wrong. Try this: 

Nema 11 Version

I've also modified the file for the large motors I posted links to - I drew the longer of the two (NEMA14 x 51mm), but the bracket would be no different for the shorter one (NEMA14 x 36mm)

Nema 14 Version

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I meant to mention also that the belts for the Nema 11 version are both 61Tooth.

For the Nema 14 version, the DEC belt is 61Tooth, the RA belt is 63Tooth.

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For the DEC motor is simply took the little connector board of the old skywatcher motor and soldered the wires from the new motor on. This I then screwed into a random hole that is in the mount - see the picture below (I put some silicon sealant around the ends of the heatshrink to stop water getting in - not pretty, but a good idea).

In my setup I used a different circuit board, so the connections are slightly different for the RA motor - the wires plug straight into the AstroEQ pcb. You could do a similar thing with the RA motor.

An alternative way to do it would be to get one of those RJ11 couplers like the one you used for the shoestring mod. These split in half down the middle leaving you with two connectors in plastic housings. If you cut the wires joining the two halves together you can use one side for the RA motor and one side for the DEC motor.

You would solder the wires from the motors onto the couplings and then you will just have to find a way to fix the housing of the coupling onto the mount.

(This is what the couplings look like inside: http://cdn.instructables.com/FEY/61ON/HXGEP2824EC/FEY61ONHXGEP2824EC.LARGE.jpg - not my picture)

IMAG0401.jpg

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going to solder my rj11 lead direct to the motor this is a pic of the the motor cable out and a picture of my rj11 lead can somebody help  with witch ones to connect please 

coils_zps7805ba33.jpg

stcable_zps84b3e1fc.jpg

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