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davedownsouth

Help with Autoguiding an iOptron ZEQ25 using an Atik one 6.0

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davedownsouth    458

Hi, I am after some fairly basic advice on getting started with autoguiding.   My set-up is as shown in my signature and the Atik One 6.0 with the integrated Off Axis Guider and Atik GP is a pretty new bit of kit which I have had some success with normal guiding, and I am keen to try out Autoguiding (which I have never tried before).  Now, I will get onto asking for advice on using software later, but my first question is how do I set things up in terms of connecting the camera / computer / mount to one another? 

Atik One 6.0 Camera to the OAG Atik GP is via a  MiniUSB cable, Ok with this :).

Atik One 6.0 Camera to the Laptop is pretty obvious (standard USB cable).

Now I am lost; how do I connect the Laptop to the Mount.  Here is a picture of the guide Port on the mount:-

ZEQ25GT-ports-500w.jpg

Can someone please give me a link to what cable I would need to connect the Laptop to this Port (I assume that this is what I need to do).  Once I have achieved this, I will follow up with what software is best to use for Autoguiding (PHD or the supplied Artemis Capture software via the Tracking function).

Thanks in advance,

Dave :)

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Leveye    908

Hello, First congrats on choosing one of the best mounts money can buy. I personally run a 9x50 162mm guidescope with a meade DSI 1 mono CCD with a usb cable to the laptop and then  back out to the hand controller with a usb cable using an FTDI usb serial converter. I've never used the ST4 port so maybe someone else can chime in on that set up. My setup is quite bulletproof and i get 10 minute guided exposures with perfectly round stars using PHD2 and either Backyard EOS or APT to take the images.

Edited by Leveye
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davedownsouth    458

Hi Leveye, yes, I love the ZEQ25; pretty quick to set-up and polar aligning is easy, when there are no clouds to obscure everything :rolleyes:.  I assumed that you would have to use the guide port for autoguiding? 

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sambarber    2

Umm from what ive heard all you beed to do is connect the aitoguider to to computer and to the mount hia autoguider port. But still dont blame me if im wrong im just trying to help. ☺

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Tim    3,039

How do you define "normal guiding" ?

The answer may have a bearing on your requirements.

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davedownsouth    458

How do you define "normal guiding" ?

The answer may have a bearing on your requirements.

Sorry, I meant no guiding, just tracking  :embarrassed:.

Umm from what ive heard all you beed to do is connect the aitoguider to to computer and to the mount via autoguider port. But still dont blame me if im wrong im just trying to help. ☺

It is how you connect the computer to the Guide port that I am unsure of?  What cable do I use for this?

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Grimmec    28

You will need an st4 cable to run from guide camera to the mount and your computer connects to the guide camera. Phd will then connect to the camera and sends correction signal via the camera to the mount (once calibrated). Hope that helps

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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ollypenrice    18,798

In truth the term 'ST4 cable' is inaccurate because the original ST4 Autoguidier used a different cable! However, the term 'ST4 cable' is nowadays used to define the one that looks like a phone cable and goes from the mount to the guide camera. The USB to the PC carries messages both ways with the current position of the mount coming from the camera and the commands going back to it, thence to the mount via the ST4 cable. That is one way of doing it and is the one I use. In pulse guiding the system is different. I can't help on that because I've never used it.

Olly

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IanL    840

Here is a guide to making a suitable ST4 cable (although as Olly says, it isn't actually an ST4 cable):
 

http://www.store.shoestringastronomy.com/guide_port_cables.pdf

Unfortunately that won't help you directly, as the Atik GP does not have an ST4 port, so you can't connect from the guide camera to the guide port (which is what you'd normally do).  There are two options:

1. Get a third party product, e.g. the Shoestring GPUSB (http://store.shoestringastronomy.com/products_gp.htm)  This connects to a USB port on the laptop (or indeed the hub on your Atik One) and to the ST4 port on the mount using the cable described above above.  You then install an ASCOM driver (provided by the supplier) which drives the GPUSB device.  In PhD (or other guiding software), you select the GPUSB driver as the 'mount' and the Atik GP as the guide camera and you're good to go.

2. Connect using ASCOM (via the handset or directly to the handset port on the mount) to control it from the laptop using ASCOM pulse guiding.  On SkyWatcher mounts you can get an EQDIR device which replaces the handset and allows you to use the EQMOD software for mount control, or link from laptop to handset in 'PC-Direct' mode.  This allows the mount to interface directly to PHD guiding, etc.  Don't know if there is anything similar for the iOptron though.

Please note that you can't just connect a cable from the USB port of your computer or hub to the ST4 port or to the handset port on the mount, you will need some sort of device and a software driver to make it all work.

Once you have the physical or software connection sorted, read this for help with PHD guiding (and guiding more generally):

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/188777-phd-guiding-basic-use-and-troubleshooting/

Edited by IanL
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ollypenrice    18,798

Thanks for the replies :).

Okay, so this is an ST4 cable:-

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/guide-cameras/st4-guide-cable.html

st4_guide_cable.JPG

How exactly do I connect this to my Laptop :huh:

[EDIT]  Does it fit in my Cat 5e (Ethernet) port??

You don't. It runs between the guide camera and the mount. Communication  camera to PC is via USB.

Note that the ST4 cable is not, I think, literally a phone cable.  I seem to remember that one of them involves a reversal of cables not found on the other but if you bought it as an ST4 cable it will be fine.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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ollypenrice    18,798

PS, Sorry, I have just read Ian's post saying you don't have an ST4 on your camera. My system won't work then. Follow Ian!

Olly

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bruno    46

your cable one end fits into your ccd the other into the guide port on your mount

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davedownsouth    458

your cable one end fits into your ccd the other into the guide port on your mount

Do not think this will work, for the reasons detailed by Ian (no connector port on my CCD).

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davedownsouth    458

Oooh, this is just getting too complicated, extra controller boxes, making cables and then I have to learn how to get what sounds like a difficult program (PHD) to manage all of these things. The mount can handle 2 minute exposure pretty well, I think I will stick to unguided until I feel brave enough to make my own cables (I will fuse something  :rolleyes:).  Got to say I am a little disappointed that Atik do not make this function a bit simpler, beginning to wish I had just bought the Atik One 6.0 and given the OAG / Atik GP a miss  :huh:.

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melsky    672

You would only have saved yourself £100 Dave, the guide camera and OAG are worth a lot more, I know because I bought the same camera at IAS.

Mel

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davedownsouth    458

You would only have saved yourself £100 Dave, the guide camera and OAG are worth a lot more, I know because I bought the same camera at IAS.

Mel

True :D, and that is where I got the camera from as well :).  I am just just being a miserable [removed word]; I hate it when things do not work  as I expect them too  :p

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bruno    46

Down load a program called alignmaster (free for thirty days)  run it alonside stellarium or similar with your camera program i use backyard EOS and you will get double that at least ( just make sure you set alignmaster right ) there is a very good video on the website on how to do it

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Grimmec    28

I can't believe atik didn't out the control (st4) port on a camera they are marketing as a guide camera, this seems very wrong.

Setting up for guiding is not that complicated once you figure it out, but does add another layer of complexity to a already complex hobby.

Do you run your mount via your laptop/ascom as pulse guiding may be an option for you as does away with the need for a st4 style communication port as runs via the camera USB only, not sure if phd does pulse guiding tho.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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davedownsouth    458

1. Get a third party product, e.g. the Shoestring GPUSB (http://store.shoestringastronomy.com/products_gp.htm)  This connects to a USB port on the laptop (or indeed the hub on your Atik One) and to the ST4 port on the mount using the cable described above above.  You then install an ASCOM driver (provided by the supplier) which drives the GPUSB device.  In PhD (or other guiding software), you select the GPUSB driver as the 'mount' and the Atik GP as the guide camera and you're good to go.

I did a bit of asking about with a local supplier to see if I could get a suitable cable made, but it does not seem to have come to anything so I have just ordered up one of these, and a Guide Port Cable.  When it arrives (guess that could take a while as it is from the US), I will try it out and report back :)

Thanks again for all the help,

Cheers,

Dave :)

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davedownsouth    458

The GPUSB arrived today and I have connected it to my laptop and it is recognised fine :).  I have connected 'the box' to my mount via the guide port on the mount and a Guide Port Cable and using the GPUSB check program, when I click on the Dec+ and Dec- buttons, I hear a noise from the mount (good sign), but when I click on ether the RA+ or RA- buttons, I hear nothing, which suggests no signal is being sent?  I have routed about on the internet ( :BangHead:) and found this picture of what the port on the mount should be (note, this is not from ioptron's site so it might be wrong :confused:) and it agrees with what the port on the GPUSB should be:-

ST-4%20port%20pinout.jpg

I will try the mount out with my scope attached later, but my gut feeling is something is not quite right.  Any pointers / advice on what to try next?

Cheers,

Dave :)

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davedownsouth    458

Okay, I checked with the scope mounted and it confirms that the two DEC directions are working fine, but neither of the R.A.'s are responding :sad:.  I am going to have to get in touch with i-optron and see if they can let me know what the configuration on the Guide Port on the ZEQ25 mount is.  Too be honest, it is a bit of a poor show that this info is not in the user manual for the mount, or at least easy to find on their website :huh: .

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davedownsouth    458

Well, I-optron responded to my e-mail immediately, so I am impressed about that :cool:.  This is what they sent me as a reply to my question about how the autoguider port is set-up:-

GuidingPortWiring_zps67a536ee.jpg

Unfortunately, this means that the GPUSB should be controlling the DEC and the RA correctly, so unless I am missing something (very likely :grin:), this either means that the GPUSB is not working properly, or the mount is at fault?  Is this a correct assessment, or am I missing something :confused:

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StarryEyed    156

ST4 means the signals are compatible. Voltage basically. Pin wiring as you have posted is not the same thing. You can make a lead up which is not really so difficult once you have the plugs and gripping tool (go to maplins) or try and and find one from a dealer which could be expensive for somthing that pretty cheap.

Or cut the lead you have strip the wires cros and solder the up and a bundle of electrical tape. I've made some odd cables in my time..

Personally I would go to maplins being able to make cables up can save you a small fortune over the years.

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