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VirtualBox, ToupTek camera and EQMOD


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Setup: ProStar LP Mono (Touptek GCMOS01200KMA) Camera and Virtualbox 5.0 running Windows 10 (32bit) virtually on a 2011 MacBook Pro running OSX 11 (El Capitan) and (but not together!) EQMOD running a Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount.

Seems almost pointless posting this as there are so many variables around which drivers are being used, which version of which software is being used, the age of the computer and its ports etc. etc. Anyway for what it's worth I did finally manage to get guiding but have one significant issue I'm hoping to solve!

The Good 

The setting in VirtualBox 5.0 with this ToupTek camera required that I install the extension pack, enable USB controllers, then select USB 3.0 (xHCI) from the options (NOT USB 2.0!) then add the filter TTUSB2.0 (can't recall where this came from but might well have been with the disk of drivers that came with the camera or when I plugged the camera itself into the USB port and the computer detected it). When I start Windows 10 and run PHD2 I then select the ASCOM Toupcam Driver to connect the camera to PHD2 and choose the on-camera option and using the supplied ST4 cable to connect the camera directly to the mount. This worked!

For EQMOD the VirtualBox settings for using a generic serial to USB cable attached to the Synscan hand controller in PC mode requires that I select the USB 2.0 option and a blank 'new filter' (not the filter that the computer detects that is specific to the cable). When I run Windows 10 and open PHD2 EQMOD opens up a control panel and works great. 

The Bad

However now in PHD2 with EQMOD working the camera won't work as VirtualBox has USB 2.0 selected as in the USB port menu. If I close Windows and reselect USB 3.0 (xHCI) in Virtualbox, reopen Windows and run PHD2 the camera works great but EQMOD doesn't connect. 

The Ugly

If anyone, for some reason trying to do the same thing, has a solution I'd love to know about it. Is it just that my serial to USB cable isn't compliant with USB 3.0 (xHCI)? If buying a new cable was the solution that'd be great! Or can EQMOD (or Synscan) only work with USB 2.0 connections? Might it be a VirtualBox/Mac problem and not a cable problem? Or can the Touptek camera be made to work with a USB2.0 setting in VirtualBox (I've tried this already though, connecting the camera to PHD2 as a webcam and, although it shows images, the st4 port doesn't function and PHD2 refuses to guide)? Would a USB EQDirect cable to the mount directly from the laptop work perhaps in VirtualBox with the USB 3.0 (xHCI) interface?

EQMOD is not absolutely necessary for me. I'm happy using the hand controller as it is and with PHD2 guiding and drift aligning as it should through my Finderguider I'm quite happy and have something that works at least. However I'm not computer savvy so if there is some connection problem that is easily solved or an obvious mismatch somewhere I'd love to here about just to know what is and isn't worth stuffing around with in the future :-) Clear skies




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Again not that this will be of much relevance to most but by specifying the Vendor ID of my Serial to USB cable in the properties box of the USB "new filter 1" I created in VirtualBox (ports/USB menu) to detect and access the cable in my virtual Windows machine I got EQMOD and the camera to work together and Cartes du Ciels slewing as well. Rapt! I'm assuming the blank filter in virtual box didn't allow the other filter to function properly. It could just be that I plugged everything in the right order too: scope on the everything connected before starting VirtualBox and Windows? Anyway it's good to know that free virtual software can get an HEQ5 up and running with a ToupTek Mono camera via the PC Direct Mode on the mount hand controller!
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