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Afternoon guys,

may I ask your opinions on Maxim V EQMod. Firstly, may I say that I have both items of Software loaded onto my Windows 8 laptop (all though I haven't really played around with EQMod). 

I purchased Maxim around 8 months ago and planned to use it as my "Do all" software, but I encountered problems with the guiding straight away. At the time I was running a 4 years old Dell windows 7 laptop and chose to upgrade to a newer laptop that came with windows 8. After a few problems with the serial to USB cable, I got Maxim to talk to my Avalon mount and could slew with it using maxim's E-W-N-S directional buttons. However, I could not get it to guide. So I called a friend of mine that lives quite far from me to take a look Via Team Viewer. He is very experienced with Maxim but couldn't get the guiding it to work either and suggested I contacted Maxim.  I contacted Maxim who did the same, taking control via TV. and after an hour or so of changing different settings they said it should work now, but as the weather had clouded over, we could not test it fully. The following evening, I tried and it wouldn't guide. After that, I pretty much gave up.

At Present I shoot with Artemis, guide with PHD 1 and calibrate my images with Astroart5. I must admit, I love using all 3 and will definitely stick with Astroart5 no matter what. Now, this is where my problem comes in. I have a Pulsar observatory and eventually I would like to sync my dome to the mount. After speaking with Gary from Pulsar, he said I would need something like Maxim for the dome drivers to operate with :huh: . Also in the future I would also like to use something like Stellarium or the Skyx to dovetail into the system as well (but that's not that important at the moment). It's the dome drive that I would really like to get working. 

I realise I'm asking some big broad brush questions, but here goes.

  1. Does anyone else have problems with guiding in Maxim and have they found out what it was?
  2. Would EQMod give me everything I'm looking for and is it relatively easy to use? 
  3. Has anyone tried both pieces of software and which was better?  
  4. Or am I just over complicating things?

Thanks in advance for you time.

Regards,

Darren    

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Interesting how folks get stuff to work, or not so. If Ian King didn't get it to work then it sounds like something more fundamental than software I would think. I used to use PHD but after many night

Darren, EQmod only works with SW EQ mounts. I use AA5 for all my work. It controls all my cameras, does "slit guiding" with my Lodestar and all my processing. I use an NEQ6pro mount under EQMod and Cd

I use Maxim and haven't had any problems getting it to guide. I don't think I even adjusted it from the defaults. I have just started using the Maxim planetarium to control the mount via EQMod and it

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Darren,

EQmod only works with SW EQ mounts.

I use AA5 for all my work. It controls all my cameras, does "slit guiding" with my Lodestar and all my processing.

I use an NEQ6pro mount under EQMod and CdC.

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I use Maxim and haven't had any problems getting it to guide. I don't think I even adjusted it from the defaults. I have just started using the Maxim planetarium to control the mount via EQMod and it works very well.

EQMod is an interface program rather than a standalone application. So it can get Stellarium and PHD and Nebulosity etc. all talking to the mount, imaging camera and guide camera and coordinating everything.

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Hi Darren,

Sara (Swag72) has the same mount as you (Avalon Linear Drive) and I know that she successfully captures and guides (using a Lodestar) in MaximDL via EQMOD using Cartes Du Ciel (CdC).   She may be able to give you some pointers if you ask her nicely :wink:.  The only major difference I can immediately think of between her set up and yours is that you're running Windows 8...

As Rik mentioned, EQMOD is effectively "integration software" which enables the mount to "talk" to other ASCOM compatible software applications and devices, and for those applications to then "talk" to each other (where applicable).  With ASCOM / EQMOD installed, when I fire up Maxim, I first connect it to the mount which brings up the EQMOD panel, and then I connect the imaging and guide cameras.  I then fire up CdC and connect that to the mount... and from then on both Maxim and CdC talk to each other through ASCOM and share control of the mount.  (I also use PEMPro which also connects through ASCOM and talks both to the mount and Maxim for polar alignment...)

I was going to suggest that maybe you might have a guide setting issue (pulse instead of ST4(?) and/or incorrect setting in EQMOD?), but as Maxim have already crawled all over your laptop, I doubt it's that...  :icon_scratch:.

Try Sara though - Maybe you can compare screenshots...?

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One of my more successful guiding attempt is using the Finder scope 9 X 50 with a Moderastronmy Adapter, the Lodestar screws into a male threaded adapter this replaces the viewing end on the Finer Scope, focus is by turning the front lens so there no flex as its nice and tight, this also allow the adjustment so whats in the centre of the PHD screen is right in the centre of the DSLR/|CCD sensor, the adjusters on the Finder scope could be a source of flexture but on my setup there nice and tight....also added a Dew Shield...

004GUIDESCOPEFINDERSCOPE.jpg

Edited by Tinker1947
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I have used an ST80 with a Starlight Xpress SXV guide-head and currently a 9x50 finderguider with a QHY5. Once I finish my current target (and find some bolts the right size) I will give the ST80 another go as it should be more accurate. If they are of interest, I will grab some screen shots of my settings later this evening. I have pulled off 30min subs at 1,200mm FL with a finderguider. Cable drag seems to be the main enemy to deal with n my set-up.

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Yes Darren, I use EQMOD and Maxim as Andy says ............... and of course the Avalon as well!!

I find Maxim is excellent for guiding in conjunction with EQMOD. If you have some screen grabs of your Maxim screens then by all means pop them over to me and I can compare them with mine.

Do you use the ST4 cable or do you pulse guide? I have found on a few occasions where I have had problems that the cables have been to blame.

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I use EQ MOD on a Celestron CG5.

I thought EQ MOD only works with skywatcher / syntha mounts. Can you tell us how you got it to work? I would love to be able to use EQMOD.

Darren

@SalAstroSoc & @astronut1639

www.salfordastro.org.uk

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I use it in conjunction with the Ascom stuff. Strictly speaking, it's EQASCOM, but they're virtually same and downloaded from the same place. I must stress however that the CG5 I use is the non goto version with aftermarket stepper motors fitted so is basically an EQ5. Still use the DSUSB thing though. ASCOM support a reasonable range of EQ mounts, not just SW. They also do dome control and all sorts of other things.

http://ascom-standards.org/

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Darren,

EQmod only works with SW EQ mounts.

I use AA5 for all my work. It controls all my cameras, does "slit guiding" with my Lodestar and all my processing.

I use an NEQ6pro mount under EQMod and CdC.

The Avalon mount uses the SW control board, motors and handset, so should work fine with EQMOD

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Here are my guide settings with the finderguider. The only change from default is that I raised the Cal time from 10 to 12 when I was shooting M81 and haven't bothered dropping it back again. For pulse guiding via EQMod set the control via 'telescope', if you are using the ST4 cable, set it to 'guider relays'. Since changing to pulse guiding, my guide graph looks worse but my stars look better :)

I always do simple auto-dark subtraction on my guide camera. You need to with a QHY5. Sensitive, but noisy as anything.

post-5915-0-51534300-1396301264_thumb.jp

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Thanks for the reply guys.

Sara:- it's been a while since I fired Maxim up because of the problems I was having. But I will take some screen shots and post them on if that's ok. I've tried pulse guiding and ST4 guiding, but again without any success.

Rik:- Many thanks for your screen shots. Just from memory they do look similar to mine, but I will double check tonight.

I was guiding with a mini guider, but have just purchased a cheap 80mm refractor, just to see if that makes a difference. All I need now is a break in the clouds :-)

Regards,

Darren

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I dither between exposures as well. I have it set to move up to 1.5 pixels on the guider (which gives me 4.5 pixels on the imaging gear). I run two screens in the obs. This is what it looks like when it's running. Stellarium is just for show, I normally have SGL running in that panel. The guide graph is showing error in pixels.

1913477_10203416874447086_284234746_o.jp

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Yes there are some specific settings that Avalon recommend due to no backlash. I've got the Maxim settings and EQMOD settings, but not PHD. To be honest it wasn't massively different from the HEQ5 I was using.

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Olly & Sara,

I got slightly confused a few posts ago regarding Maxim and EQMod being used together. I thought they we're stand along programmes, so you either used one or the other. I realise now (only by the previous posts) they can be used in conjunction.

Ian tried to set my mount up via TV but failed with the guiding. I'm assuming that if I had Maxim guiding, I wouldn't need PHD?

I do however like PHD as it's never given me any problems, apart from M81, but since I've increased the guider scope size it now works.

Maxim is just frustrating me and I worry it will crash on a valuable clear sky so I've stuck to what I know works.

Having said that, I would love to get it working and learn more about EQMod.

Regards,

Darren

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Hi Darren, your experience  sounds the same as mine, I purchased Maxim to use as a one stop shop but couldn't get it to cooperate, so as clear skies are at a premium I reverted to Artemis and PHD.

I even got a "guide star faded" message using the simulator :)

Keep meaning to give it another try as it cost so much.

Be interested to see how you get on.

Look on the Maxim Yahoo group you'll find lot's of folks with guiding problems. 

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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EQMOD is basically the ASCOM driver for the EQ6 I believe. You dome will need an ASCOM driver too - it comes with one.

You can run maxim and EQMOD plus dome, or you can use something else. I use sequence generator pro with mine.

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Interesting how folks get stuff to work, or not so. If Ian King didn't get it to work then it sounds like something more fundamental than software I would think.

I used to use PHD but after many nights of frankly dire guiding, I moved to Maxim and have never looked back. I've used Maxim for guiding now probably for about 2 years without any notable hitches.

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I get regular e-mail's that ping up on my phone from the Maxim users group and a lot of people have guiding issues. Funny how for some people it works straight out of the box and for others they just cant get it to work.   But its so hard to fix a problem if  you cannot diagnose the issue. I think a big part of this learning curve is our weather. When something generally goes wrong you think "I'll take another look tomorrow" but  with our hobby tomorrow maybe a month away and by that time you've forgot what the problem was! 

I may take up flower arranging. 

Darren

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As you say by the time you get to try it again you've forgotten where you were, if that's your pic then you're obviously a lot younger than me and have more time to waste trying to get it to work :) good luck.

Dave

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Hi Darren,

I like Sara use Maxim for guiding. I used to use PHD but got frustrated by it failing on more occasions than I care to remember. I now use Maxim with both a finder guider and OAG from f/l 334 to f/l 1200.

Yes Maxim isn't the easiest software to use, then again, no powerful software is. Just check Photoshop CS6 or Pixinsight. 

Once you get the hang of Maxim it just works. Never had a problem guiding, using the excellent pinpoint, calibrating and stacking subs.

Steve

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