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AstroEQ for EQ mounts


Oily
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I know that feeling I have set up on 3 laptops and re installed windows 7 several times to get my camera working it hates 64bit system and will only run on a 32 bit system so most frustrating. There is a lot of things that can drive you bonkers in astrophotography the pc glitch that strikes in the middle of a great imaging session, the dew that creeps up on you and ruins all your best subs or the counter weight falling on your big toe and banging your head on the telescope when you forget its position lol so many things. Makes you wonder why we do it but its all part of the learning and fun of this hobby.

I was testing my guiding out on my new second hand HEQ5 mount and it was going lovely then the cloud all moved in and so I decided to give up as well looking forward to a clear dark moonless night with the owls.

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The thing is though, you don't need your full setup to be on Windows 7. AstroEQ will work with EQMOD fine on XP, the only thing that won't work is the config utility. As this is only done once, you can do the config of your Windows 7 pc, and run EQMOD/Ascom on your XP machine.

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Yeah that was the original plan but thought I'd just move everything over and do away with xp as phd isn't too stable on there. I've slept now so might have an hour trying to find out what's happening with eqmod later, as Mark says it's all good fun! :p

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Ha yeah. Yesterday wasn't much fun :p. Back to xp now so I'm up and running again :) hopefully phd will play more friendly. Not sure what was going off with eqmod.. Tried 2 versions but still no joy. I've been slewing at clear Bly skies for the last hour :p hopefully it will stay clear when it gets dark! Might be asking too much there though. Looks like a few hour with the PST this afternoon :)

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Why do you suspect there is something wrong with EQMOD?

If it is flashing up then ASCOM is working and EQMOD is being started. The fact that is is then closed down again is probably due to the controlling client program being told that communications could not be established to the mount controller. Many applications (CDC etc.) will just immediately shut down EQMOD and then blindly retry  - hence the repeated flashing of the EQMOD user interface. EQASCOM_RUN will also do this - its job is to relentlessly keep trying to keep EQMOD active. 

So if you're seeing EQMOD flash up I would suggest that you have an issue with your serial connection, or the drivers for that serial connection. Run EQMOD from the toolbox utility that installs with EQMOD. This utility will not close down EQMOD if a connection to the mount fails - thus allowing you to see the error message that the EQMODuser interface is most likely displaying (Timeout, Port not found etc.)

Chris.

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

There's really nothing fortunate about Microsoft dropping XP. Forcing folks to change operating systems, and most likely hardware, might provide a convenient work around for your particular issue (I've personally never had any problems using avrdude under xp) but in reality its going to cause a whole lot of unnecessary hassle for folks - and that generally means more hassle for those providing support.

XP is stable, reliable and quite capable  but its big advantage is that it will run on lower spec hardware that folks don't mind leaving out in the cold and damp - as such it is quite an essential component in many astronomy setups. Although microsoft may be dropping it I suspect XP will remain in widespread use for some time yet.

Chris.

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There's really nothing fortunate about Microsoft dropping XP. Forcing folks to change operating systems, and most likely hardware, might provide a convenient work around for your particular issue (I've personally never had any problems using avrdude under xp) but in reality its going to cause a whole lot of unnecessary hassle for folks - and that generally means more hassle for those providing support.

XP is stable, reliable and quite capable  but its big advantage is that it will run on lower spec hardware that folks don't mind leaving out in the cold and damp - as such it is quite an essential component in many astronomy setups. Although microsoft may be dropping it I suspect XP will remain in widespread use for some time yet.

Chris.

I think I meant that as a joke ;)

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I never had any issues using xp and still have it on my old dell which gets tough wear and tear being used on many cold damp nights. Just hope the next release of windows is not a massive fail like windows 8 bluuuuuargh. ;-)

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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Quick update, I am awaiting delivery from the UK for belts and pulleys from beltingonline to mod the EQ5 mount..

But in the meantime the nice guys at Teleskop-Service have sent me a couple of perfect S/H shaft drive gear clutches.

Arrived this afternoon, so moved the motors back and hey ho away we go.

Had to force a run of the config utility because I needed to change the Dec gear ratios over to EQ5 from EQ3-2.

Fired up CdC and the EQ5 is now also under control. :)

Quick question, the dec motor is getting too hot to touch should I a, drop the voltage inside AstroEQ, or b, drop the voltage from the power supply, currently 12v ?  (burnt mi thumb)

Cheers,

Rich

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You need to set the current limit slightly lower.

If you open up the box (2 screws on the back), you will see two purple circuit boards with screw heads in one corner. Turn the one for the DEC axis anticlockwise a small way (maybe a couple of degrees). You can do this with AstroEQ connected to EQMOD, in which case keep turning by small amounts until the motor is no longer hot.

[The board next to the DEC connector is the driver for the DEC axis]

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Hi, I'm also having trouble with the motors becoming hot and not moving the mount, I have adjusted the pots as described earlier and tried to adjust the motors but the RA pot broke off, i have not forced it and used a proper electronic screwdriver. the dec motor was moving but not the ra one, maybe Tom could supply me another RA board? all the best Tony

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, I have found the issue with my DEC motor getting hot, the skywatcher supplied type had a bad connection in the small circuit board covered in shrinksleeve,  it was only hanging on by 1 wire, so was probably drawing more current through that 1 wire rather than the whole bundle of wires it had nothing to do with the astroeq unit, which is working fine and is also connecting with the ascom 1st time and every time, so just in case anybody has this issue check the connections 1st. hope this helps. all the best Tony. :grin:

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Hi Quatermass, like Tom mentioned before about skywatcher motor quality, amazing 1 wire could give me so much grief, I had this sorted weeks ago, but wanted to test the mount fully and under "load" conditions, also the astroeq was building up temp as well. so far so good! So much to learn about on here and also to help others. many thanks.Tony :smiley:

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Nothing is ever straight forward about astrophotography in my experince but its all part of it I guess that and the cursed cloud. No doubt about it this can be a very frustrating hobby as well as a very rewarding one. Glad you got it sorted in the end. Well I no longer have the astroeq now as I got a second hand HEQ5 with the upgrade installed so sold it on to another chap on the forum to enjoy using with my old EQ5. However I am still very grateful to Tom for coming up with astroeq I think for all of you with the EQ5 its a great bit of kit. Guiding is not easy with that set up but that is more down to the gears that come with the dual axis kit. The gear on the HEQ5 are much better and it would be very interesting to see how someone with the EQ5 mount fitted with better gears got on with the guiding using Astroeq.

I managed full 10 and 5 min subs when guiding with my set up but it required a lot of patience and practise to get that going perhaps more then most people would want to bother with but it was fun doing it.

I see so many people spending thousands of pounds without getting some basic understanding of doing astrophotography first and that is such a mistake. No one out there can say I have not done a long hard apprentiseship with my earlier set up and learned how to use it to its maximum abilitys and in the end that has really paid off.

Really hope everyone using eq5 mounts gives Toms Astroeq a try if there on a budget when you have the money and can upgrade your kit fine but in the mean time you can get some great results without spending a fortune.

Try to keep this game in perspective and do it for the fun of it the stars are still going to be there when we are long gone. :grin:

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The gear on the HEQ5 are much better and it would be very interesting to see how someone with the EQ5 mount fitted with better gears got on with the guiding using Astroeq.

Thats an interesting point. I've been pondering taking off and selling my eq5 synscan upgrade and refitting the original motors on my Vixen GP. The Vixen motors 'seem' to be better quality, and drive them with Astroeq. Unless someone knows otherwise about the Vixen gears and drives?

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