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EQMOD guiding and alignment


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Hi Guys,

This is my first post on an astronomy forum and would like some guidance on EQMOD please. I downloaded EQMOD a few evening ago and I'm just feeling my way around it.  Due to last nights full moon, I took the opportunity to try out a few things from Chris's video tutorials and now have a few questions.

Guiding.

Does EQMOD actually guide or does just control the guide settings?  I usually guide with PHD and within PHD you tell it what guide camera you are using and go through calibration steps etc.....  Within EQMOD I couldn't find any camera selection drop box or a button to start calibration etc.. so I'm assuming that I need to run PHD in conjunction with EQMOD.

1. Is this correct? 

3 Star alignment

As I always use my Synscan handset, I now need to carry out an alignment  routine within EQMOD. I have had Stellarium  for around 12 months now and I'm comfortable using it, so I downloaded Stellarium scope. On Chris's video he uses Cartes du Ciel. When he slewed to a chosen star, it was then centred and synced. I have 2 questions here.

1. Will the alignment method shown in the video, replace my 3 star alignment on the hand set?

2. Can I sync with Stellarium the way Chris did with Cartes du Ciel?

If you guys have the time to reply, please keep your answers "Dummy" proof as I'm still a novice and an EQMOD virgin.   

Many thanks for your time,

Regards,

Darren

  

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Hi Guys,

Guiding.

Does EQMOD actually guide or does just control the guide settings?  I usually guide with PHD and within PHD you tell it what guide camera you are using and go through calibration steps etc.....  Within EQMOD I couldn't find any camera selection drop box or a button to start calibration etc.. so I'm assuming that I need to run PHD in conjunction with EQMOD.

1. Is this correct?

 yes when you open PHD and connect the camera and mount the EQMOD ASCOM UTILITY opens up and provides an iNterface panel with lots of settings on it.

3 Star alignment

As I always use my Synscan handset, I now need to carry out an alignment  routine within EQMOD. I have had Stellarium  for around 12 months now and I'm comfortable using it, so I downloaded Stellarium scope. On Chris's video he uses Cartes du Ciel. When he slewed to a chosen star, it was then centred and synced. I have 2 questions here.

1. Will the alignment method shown in the video, replace my 3 star alignment on the hand set?

 yes it will, no hand set is required.

2. Can I sync with Stellarium the way Chris did with Cartes du Ciel?

i have never done it, but i believe many people use stellarium but choose cartes du ciel because it takes less PC processing power to run it.

Many thanks for your time,

Regards,

Darren

Edited by bunnygod1
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you can sync with stellarium , i always do it as my polar aligning is rubbish L.O.L. start stellarium, slew to the star you wish to sync on, the target and the scope target will be aligned, now using a red dot finder align it or center it with your camera or an eyepiece, when you have done that the scope target will be out alittle on stellarium, then press ctrl and 3 together and the scope target will move to the star your looking at.

i also use phd when guiding and it works very well with eqmod,

also i do away with the handset and use the eqdirect cable, works a treat and i also use a wireless x box 360 gamepad which also works with eqmod and makes slewing the mount a breeze while standing at the eyepiece. 

Edited by red dwalf
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Thanks Guys for your swift comments and help.

With regards to Brown Dwarf's comments on Stellarium, this is how I use my hand set for a 3 star alignment.

I open Artemis capture and slew to a star. centre it on the Artemis reticule and press enter on the hand set. Repeat for the other two stars. 

so this is my interpretation of what I should be doing now, on EQMOD and Stellarium.

1. Click on a star within Stellariumscope and the scope and mount will move to the target.

2. Centre the star on the Artemis reticule as before.

3. Click back on Stellarium and hold down Ctrl and 3 to sync the star.

4. EQMOD should then register it as 1 star or 1 point count.

5. Repeat for the remaining 2.

Is that correct?

Thanks again guys.

Darren.

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yes but if your polar aligning is reasonable you only need to do it on one star, then when you slew everything else should be centred or at least in the field of view

i should say that your latitude and longitude settings need to be correct also and put into stellarium and eqmod, these must be the same, very important. 

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  • 5 months later...

Sorry for resurrecting this thread, I found it last night while trying out GOTO wth Stellarium for the first time but it didn't quite work as advertised... I wonder if any Stellarium Scope/Stellarium users might have any ideas?

So I slew to Arcturus by Ctrl-1, and the scope reticule moves to the same spot as Arcturus on the Stellarium display. I then manually move the scope to put Arcturus in the centre of my eyepiece (as I would do when aligning using my Synscan alignment). The Scope position reticle is now slightly off Arcturus on the the Stellarium display, as I would expect. I then hit Ctrl-3, which I expect to sync the scope target with the Arcturus target, but nothing happens.

Does anyone know why? I had a look on the documentation and it seems CTRL-1 through 3 are basically slew commands to telescopes 1 through 3 so I'm confused as to why Ctrl-3 should work as a sync command.

Any help appreciated.

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Thanks Guys for your swift comments and help.

With regards to Brown Dwarf's comments on Stellarium, this is how I use my hand set for a 3 star alignment.

I open Artemis capture and slew to a star. centre it on the Artemis reticule and press enter on the hand set. Repeat for the other two stars.

so this is my interpretation of what I should be doing now, on EQMOD and Stellarium.

1. Click on a star within Stellariumscope and the scope and mount will move to the target.

2. Centre the star on the Artemis reticule as before.

3. Click back on Stellarium and hold down Ctrl and 3 to sync the star.

4. EQMOD should then register it as 1 star or 1 point count.

5. Repeat for the remaining 2.

Is that correct?

Thanks again guys.

Darren.

Just seen this is an 'older' post but this could still be helpful to some.

Hi Darren,

I use exactly the same setup as you then ie PHD, Stellarium & the Stellarium scope program.

My workflow is as follows (some may already have been covered by others).

1) Setup scope roughly North in the HOME position.

2) The EQDir cable goes from the laptop to the AutoGuide port on my mount, NO handset connected or used.

3) Switch everything on.

4) Run Stellarium_Scope, click CONNECT to get EQMod up / running, then select Run Stellarium.

5) In EQMod untick Enable Limits, then use the Polar Align function, once PA is completed Re Enable Limits & click Park Scope to get my scope back to the Home position.

As i don't have it running at the moment as the scope is not set up please bear with me.

6) I now want to align the GoTo with the sky using Stellarium + EQMod so click the small notepad style icon with the green + sign & a new window will open.

7) Bring up Stellarium, i then select say Dubhe, Stellarium finds / centers this star. press CTRL & 1 together to get the scope to slew to that star.

8) Using the EQMod arrow pad use N,S,E & W to center the star in my EP (i have RA / Dec speed on 18 for this as it's not too quick / slow) & click ACCEPT.

9) Then i may select Alkaid & Arcturus as the two remaining stars for this side of the Meridian.

10 I then choose three more stars from the opposite side of the Meridian ie it could be Errai, Caph & Deneb.

11) Now press END on the alignment control pad on-screen.

12) Doing 3 stars either side of the Meridian helps 'map' the sky more efficiently, you will be getting your targets bang on center everytime wherever you slew to in the sky, depends on how accurate your alignment points were of course).

13) You can keep adding 3 stars at a time for even better accuracy but 6 works fine for me.

Get back if i can help with anything further.

Sorry for resurrecting this thread, I found it last night while trying out GOTO wth Stellarium for the first time but it didn't quite work as advertised... I wonder if any Stellarium Scope/Stellarium users might have any ideas? So I slew to Arcturus by Ctrl-1, and the scope reticule moves to the same spot as Arcturus on the Stellarium display. I then manually move the scope to put Arcturus in the centre of my eyepiece (as I would do when aligning using my Synscan alignment). The Scope position reticle is now slightly off Arcturus on the the Stellarium display, as I would expect. I then hit Ctrl-3, which I expect to sync the scope target with the Arcturus target, but nothing happens. Does anyone know why? I had a look on the documentation and it seems CTRL-1 through 3 are basically slew commands to telescopes 1 through 3 so I'm confused as to why Ctrl-3 should work as a sync command. Any help appreciated.

With my configuration Notty CTRL-3 is ABORT i think CTRL-2 is SYNC but i only use CTRL-1 for setting up.

Edited by Ewan
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Darren i also meant to add that PHD commands go through EQMod & can be 'altered' before they 'reach' the mount, this is a good way of fine tuning things (which is what i have been trying out).

You set the guiding speed in EQMod with the 2 top sliders far right, if you find the settings still too aggressive you can change the gain so 'not all of the phd command' is carried out.

You can see the guiding progress either in PHD or click on the small + sign just under the EQMod version text (top left) on the program & progress pages will cycle until you see the guiding information.

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Hi

I find the best way to position a target (for imaging) is to use Astrotortilla which plate solves and can re-slew to centre a target selected by Stellarium precisely. With eqmod I switch to 'dialog-based' in the sync options otherwise Stellarium can get confused. AT can (usually) solve in about 4s so is quite quick. It does need some setting up though and you have to download the necessary index files: http://lightvortexastronomy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/tutorial-imaging-setting-up-and-using.html

Louise

See also the thread here: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/193470-my-tutorial-for-installing-setting-up-and-using-astrotortilla/

plus others if you do a search

Edited by Thalestris24
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Hi Darren

As a relative newbie to all this as well some of my suggestions and pains I have been through.

1. Not sure what mount you are using but I use alignmaster (costs a few euros but worth every cent) to polar align first.  You can have you planetarium software open but ensure you do not sync any stars.

2. As far as stellarium goes yes you can use but if I recall correctly it requires an add-on.  However I found this was not as up to date as the main application and was hit and miss in terms of reliability.  I moved to CDC before I purchased Maxim and found this far more stable and better featured - even if not as pretty!

---Note:  Ensure planetarium software has same location settings as EQmod - otherwise you will generate some errors even if minor on your slews etc.

3.  In the planetarium slew to some targets centre and then sync.  In the EQmod software there is a tool that can be opened you can see your synced points being added and also clear any dodgy ones or errors.

4.  How many to sync depends on what you plan to do.  If its a viewing tour a good selection is best from east and west.  I prefer to work in one area of the sky so typically pic some stars that frame the area and one close to the centre.

5.  Once you have got this far you should be close to the target most of the time with some minor tweaking required on final syncs.

6.  Get comfy with this then you can add additional tools such as astrotortilla for plate solving which will help ensure you are bang on the stars. 

---Note:  If you have not polar aligned your guiding will suffer.  If you are not polar aligned you slewing will be off target.  If nothing else get this bit right and the first thing you do at start of session.  I read all the manuals, got confused, had alignmaster recommended by the good people here on SGL, through away the manuals!  This takes no more than ten minutes for a two cycle alignment to ensure accuracy.

7.  PHD is run to guide a previously answered so will not go over that again.

A big however with all of the above, software such as Maxim DL and PemPro makeslife so much easier - yes it costs but for me is worth ever penny and in hindsight wish I purchased much earlier.  You can still use alignmaster for polar alignment if needed to be done quick but Maxim(with Pinpoint) took away most my pain.

Evening goes

1. Open Maxim Connect Mounts, camera and guider.

2. Open alignmaster - start with polaris roughly centred.

3. In alignmaster slew to first star.

4.  Once slewed - go to maxim - slew to star - Maxim plate solves, works out error, adjusts mount to pixel accuracy levels.

5. Repeat for second start - ensure you do not touch Maxim until alignmaster sync has finished (so it can record it position - the Maxim adjustment is then recorded as the error)

6.  Stick maxim on continuous 2 seconds exposures.

7. Complete alignmaster az and alt adjustments.

8. Repeat 3-7 as required.  ( I do this twice in total)

Good to go and takes < 10 mins once rehearsed.

Then in maxim you have

1.  Camera control.

2.  Guiding

3.  Planetarium.

4.  Plate solving.

Everything in one place - don't get me wrong still have some gripes and does not always work as intended but I find it works for me.

I also use PemPro for mount errors and if mount can be left in same place then polar alignment - using drift method - takes longer but even more accurate.

These are just the lessons I have learnt in last few months - not saying the are the best just what works for me.

Any queries drop me a line

Paddy

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