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AstroEQ for EQ mounts


Oily
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Hi just out of interest what is the benefits of a belt mod? I haven't heard of it so did a bit of searching seems more accurate slewing? Also is it simple to install and use on an Eq5? Thanks.

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That list isn't for the standard skywatcher motors, its for if you make your own motor brackets. I haven't compiled a list for skywatcher motors as I didn't expect anyone to do that.

For the SW motors, you will want to use a 1:1 pulley system as there is already a large gearbox. If you pick a pulley that is of smaller outer diameter than the gears that you couldn't find (otherwise the pulleys will crash into each other). I think a 32 or 36 tooth pulley will be fine, but you should double check that as I am guessing.

From that you can then find the belt length you need using this calculator:

http://www.bbman.com/catalog/belt-length-calculator.html

Set the pulley type to be 'MXL', the belt width to 0.25" and enter the correct number of teeth on each pulley (both should be the same). Then enter the centre distance of the two pulleys - you can measure this as the distance between the centre of the motor shaft and the centre of the mount shaft.

You will need to specify that the pulleys should have a grub screw and the correct bore sizes on the beltingonline website. They charge extra to do the mods, but it is still a reasonable price and the ones I got were very accurate.

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I just had a look and recon a 24T pulley would work well.

http://www.beltingonline.com/24-tooth-mxl-pulley-al24mxl025fb-5173

That's the largest that already has a grub screw so wouldn't cost you extra to get one added. You would just have to specify two with a 6mm bore and two with a 5mm bore (think the SW motors have a 5mm shaft). That is around £35+VAT for 4 pulleys, 2 belts, and custom bores.

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Many thanks for this info Tom.

I had not planned to make the belt mod at this time, but as both Google and Bing show no results for any combinations of searches for EQ5, EQ-5, +  shaft gear assembly, RA gear, RA pulley, RA cog, RA motor pulley, etc.....

I am now pushed into it.

At this global price point, I might as well do the job correctly from the outset, no point in having to retune further down the line if I get into guiding.

The only downside I can see is losing the ability to use the manual controls, but I can keep these over on the EQ3-2 for quick plonk and go sessions.

Due to my out in the sticks location I'll be ordering a 3rd belt as a spare, the price is negligible.

PS, AstroEQ is still working like a charm on the EQ3-2 looking forward to getting it running the EQ5. 

Cheers,

Richard

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Hmmm, apparently not quite as simple as I thought, but still possible.

Spoke to a friendly and very helpful chap at Beltingonline (Ted) and with a bit of back n forth email, with him kindly providing the calculations and explaining the problems + possible solutions and why I wouldn't like them custom making pulleys.

I think that we have arrived at a solution for using standard SW motors and standard pulleys and belts.

The main constraint is that on these EQ-5 mounts we are right at the bottom end of world-wide availability of short 6.35mm wide drive belts. There is only one size that could be used/available with standard pulleys 109.73mm.

If anyone else is considering doing a belt mod to an EQ-5 with standard SW stepper motors, I'd hang fire until I've got through it. Minor physical mount mods are required to move the motors/shafts further apart to increase centre distances.

I'll post up the results with numbers/spec's after completion both here and in the Mounts section (if OK with Mods).

Fingers crossed,

Richard

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David hopefully Tom will be along soon but in the meantime, this is an extract from one of his Q/A.

HTH,

Rich

Possible ‘Config’ install problem, hard fix: Sometimes the config utility won't connect properly. If it does there is a dirty fix. Leave the config utility open (don't exit it). Then, while it is open and at the bit which says is can't connect, do the following:

Unplug the USB cable.

Unplug the power cable.

wait a few seconds.

Plug in the power cable.

Plug in the USB cable.

Once windows has redetected AstroEQ, continue using the config utility. If you are at the point setup screen and clicked done only to have it fail, there is a back button to return the setup screen. Click done again after doing the fix above and it should upload fine.

If you have started running the config utility, you need it to run all the way through, otherwise the AstroEQ firmware won't be downloaded and you won't be able to connect with CdC.

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That's something different. In this case avrdude is failing for some reason. This only seems to happen on Windows XP and I really have no idea why it does it - I didn't make avrdude so have no control over how it works, its simply the program that the Arduino IDE uses.

One thing that I have seen might cause it is if you have either Bluetooth enabled or any left over serial ports from Bluetooth devices.

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David, it suddenly dawns on me, I also had major issues, these eventually boiled down to a duff USB cable.

I went through 5 or 6 including 3 brand new ones before I cracked it.

With a final good cable, the whole process took seconds for it to run through.

You should not need to spend any major time on this, but I would suggest that you try your best assortment of USB to mini-USB cables, all are not created equal.

If you have any old scanners, possibly mobile phones, or printers plus cables lurking around, see if you have appropriate cables to play with.

A good cable cured it instantly for me.

Best,

Rich

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Thank you. I'll get a few to try, the one I'm using at the moment is quite long as it goes from the warm room to where the scope is. I'll try a short one and see what it throws up :) I've not had chance to use the Astro eq on a clear night but I've had it working a few months ago in the conservatory. I'm reluctant to use it till it's updated with all the extra bug fixes tom has ironed out over the last couple of month. I'll see what tomorrow brings :) did you use the eq5 board version in the configuration utility?

Cheers

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That's something different. In this case avrdude is failing for some reason. This only seems to happen on Windows XP and I really have no idea why it does it - I didn't make avrdude so have no control over how it works, its simply the program that the Arduino IDE uses.

One thing that I have seen might cause it is if you have either Bluetooth enabled or any left over serial ports from Bluetooth devices.

Just seen this post tom, thanks I'll copper up and get win 7 if that irradiates it. Could do with it anyway :)

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It will, yes.

You only have to run the configuration utility if you need to do one or more of the following:

  • Change the gear ratios
  • Change the axis direction
  • Change the goto speed limit
  • Update the firmware

Beyond that it will remember all of its settings and will work on any computer with EQMOD. In fact you don't even need EQMOD installed to run the config utility, only Java.

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I really hate XP. Trouble is, I don't have a copy of it to test the utility on other than a virtual PC (on which the utility works fine!), so I can't do anything about the XP incompatibility.

Fortunately Microsoft are dropping support for XP in April, so hopefully most people will find a way to upgrade to 7 or 8.

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I just hate windows in general today lol. Just installed everything on win 7 but the setup eqascom won't load so I can't use it anyway! I give up lol. Looks like its a night with the trusty dual axis handset :s

Edited by The_PSY3NTIST
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Best to do all that setting up stage during the day I found when you have plenty of time to get it all working correctly nothing more frustrating then being in the middle of an imaging session and trying to solve pc glitches. Same with guiding best to do that when the moon is out rather then waste time when its gone and the imaging is looking good but your graph is looking terrible because you have not practised enough before hand. Or you can always do what I do and dodge between the clouds. :grin:

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Ha that's what I was trying to do all afternoon. It works on xp but it's glitchy. Moved everything over to windows 7 now eqmod just keeps flashing up because I can't set it to astroeq AND my guide camera isn't supported in win 7 lol. Threw the towel in anyway after 4 hours, never mind it's cloudy anyway :p

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