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With new mount and upgraded scope features, now looking to venture into imaging.
Before I start, I'm not looking to get feedback on polar alignment, mono guidecam, better imaging cameras, etc; this is more a 'dummies guide' setup discussion! I'm not expecting to get great images at this stage, just more the options available, getting over some issues, so that I can jump outside on a clear night with an ideal, foolproof(!), setup for either imaging or visual as time would permit and what may work best for me. As you may guess from the topic name, I'm a mac user (Macbook Pro) and would rather keep to this if possible (whilst I do have Windows (and Ubuntu) via parallels, I'd rather not use these).
I've got a setup which has worked well for visual, and obviously want to have a couple of 'staple' setups that I can use depending on expectations of night observing or imaging. So far, the best one for me has been the Skywatcher Wifi Synscan controller, which has worked a treat with my Android phone - I use the Synscan app to complete alignment and GOTO stars/planets/DSO etc, or Stellarium_plus after completing alignment. This removes the need for the Synscan Handset and any USB cables to the mount altogether. But I don't know if this will work for guiding.
That then brings me to my issue on mac - connecting USB(A) between Macbook and Handset, I've attempted to control the mount through Stellarium. Trying each of the available connections (/dev/tty.usbsetial-1420, /dev/cu.usbsetial-1420, and just for sake of it, the /dev/tty.Bluetooth-Incoming-Port and /dev/cu.Bluetooth-Incoming-Port) in the dropdown menu under DeviceSettings/SerialPort, I cannot get the mount to connect (well, more like selecting the telescope and clicking the "Start" on the TelescopeControl just results in the spinning icon and I have to Force-Quit Stellarium and start again with the same result each time. Annoyingly (for fellow mac users!), Parallels/Windows/Stellarium connects and controls the mount fine! As the mount is the newer "pro" type, I also have a USB connection directly under the hand-controller RJ45 and AutoGuider ST4 sockets, but using this still results in the same issue. Another issue I have seen is that when I unplug the USB from the computer when connected to the handset, the date on the controller jumps significantly - for example, last night at ~23:30, I was transported through the local wormhole galaxy to Jan 2048 according to Synscan! Obviously unplugging isn't going to happen during a genuine session, but just wondering if this is a possible issue somewhere?!
Any other mac users connecting USB directly to the SW 'Pro' mounts?
Software wise, would folks generally suggest steering away from Stellarium towards KStars or SkySafari(Plus) for controlling the mount?
Can the Wifi dongle be used for controlling mount from computer (any OS) or do I need to go USB either to handset or directly to mount?
Is there an issue in using Mac USB to the telescope compared to 'straight' Windows (i.e. PC/laptop with Windows instead of virtual)?
Anyway, back to topic... I've a Nikon DSLR to use for primary camera at this stage, which would be triggered independently from guiding software. PHD2 is my hopeful choice of guiding software (is EKOS with KStars similar?), with T7C guide-camera on 240mm f/4 guidescope, and at this stage, I can confirm PHD2 at least connects to the camera on OS-X. There is an ST4 port on the camera, but having read several topics, I think I want to pulse-guide directly - is this correct or is ST4 best for this setup? This sorta comes back to software and connections - my understanding is one of the following cable setups for guiding (as a minimum) :
Guiding-camera => USB(A) => Macbook => PHD2 => USB(A) => SynscanHandset => AZEQ6
Guiding-camera => USB(A) => Macbook => PHD2 => USB(A) => AZEQ6
Guiding-camera => USB(A) => Macbook => PHD2 => Wifi => SynscaWifi Adapter on AZEQ6
[using ST4: ST4_on_AZEQ6 => Guiding-camera => USB(A) => Macbook => PHD2] (no additional connections needed if ST4 is used)
Additionally, I'd like to use an observatory package, say Stellarium/KStars/SkySafari, to select objects and drive the mount, then use guiding software to keep good 'tracking'.
Where in this train does EQMac fit in, or when is it used?
What about the 2019 addition to EQMod (ASCOM Alpaca)? Can this be used or is it already in other packages?!
For Windows users, how does EQMod fit in (if I go down route of getting Windows laptop for controlling things, is the setup similar to above?
There may be bits in the above that repeat, and for that, I'm sorry, just want to get across the message that I'm new to the guiding but haven't quite settled down into the software/hardware I'm expecting to use for 'goto' and 'guiding'
For a mac user, what setup and software are folks using for guiding and observatory softwares for the newer USB-on-mount 'AZEQ6/EQ6-R Pro' mounts from SW?
am posting this in case it helps anyone who has suffered the same problem as myself.
In a nutshell: Own a Skywatcher Gti mount for some time now and used with some success, also purchased some time ago Skysafari and wanted to use both, with a problem much reported on the web and so much information out there that it can get a bit confusing and certainly in my case frustrating, after all just want stuff to work!
After much experimenting and help from other postings this is what happens when you fire up the Gti.
The mount generates its own wireless network and becomes the gateway, its IP address is always 192.168.4.1 you see this when making a connection with the Synscan app/program, its very similar to a normal router that serves you the Internet. Any device that then connects to this network then gets an assigned address one up from this, i.e. 192.168.4.2, .3, etc. However if you run the Safari app and go in to settings you will find it has also been allocated an address which is one up from the device you are using. In my case my Ipad was connected to the wireless network and had been given the address of 192.168.4.3. but when I checked the IP address in the settings page of SkySafari it was 192.168.4.4 !
If you accept this you get the error that the app cannot join the wireless network check your settings etc. If you now manually change that address to the same as the device running the Synscan app in my case .2 it should connect and work. However there is a caveat to this, I tried using an Iphone 4 and an old Ipad and they would not work together no matter what. I got the other error message that I had joined the network but the mount did not recognise the device type I had selected (Skywatcher Synscan Alt Az GoTo) and no amount of changing things would solve it. To get around this I used my trusty Win 7 laptop to run the Synscan program and things worked perfectly so it can be done don't give up!
Sorry this is so long but I hope it helps someone out there. So to round off when you fire up the mount it becomes address no 1, any physical device gets the next address 2, any software running on the that device gets the next address 3. When you fire up SkySafari it must have the same address as the one that the SynScan app has got and this can e changed in SkySafari settings. None of this makes any sense to me as I thought software couldn't act in that way but there you are. I hope I have got this right feel free to contact me if things don't work
OK, my second guide, this took a bit more thinking about cos I haven’t used Stellarium before but I wanted a ‘single device’ option as my other stuff is IOS. I will be using this with my Canon tethered to the PC by an active usb cable so I can do pretty much everything (bar focussing) indoors when it’s too cold outside!
Anyway, this how I did it. If there is a better way I am happy to update this guide. Let me know. Hopefully this is straight forward cos there isn’t a lot of info on how to do this all in one place! I’ve had this working indoors this PM so I’m really excited to try it at night now. Note that you need to be connected to the SynScan WiFi network to control your scope.
1. Download & install Stellarium (I’m using v18) – do not run at this point
2. Download & install Stellarium Scope (I’m using v2016.12.26.330) – do not run at this point
3. Download ASCOM software & install (I used ASCOM Platform63) – do not run at this point
4. Download ASCOM driver from Skywatcher & install
5. Download and install SynScan App (it will run either Alt Az or Eq mounts as needed)
6. Connect to SynScan WiFi & open SynScan app, settings, WiFi and select Access Point mode (which is what I used as it seemed most straight forward). Add naming and security as needed. Note that the unit ‘resets’ to factory settings if powered up and unaccessed for 24 hrs (I have also seen this as 1 hr but haven’t tried it).
7. OPTIONAL TEST STEP OTHERWISE GO TO STEP 8. In settings set to ‘emulator’ if you want to test first. Go back to main screen and ‘connect’ – you will need to select eq or alt az. Note: you can do this part without the WiFi adaptor as it is only testing the software. Go to step 9.
8. In settings, select UDP, go back to main screen and connect (select eq or alt az). Do a star align if you are ready and leave running.
9. Run ASCOM diagnostics, tools, telescope chooser .net – select SynScanMobile Telescope in dropdown box. You may have to select and exit properties before ‘OK’ is enabled.
10. Open Stellarium Scope. Accept the disclaimer, select mount as ASCOM.Synscanmobile.Telescope and connect.
11. Label your Telescope on this screen if you want and then select update Stellarium. Accept all the warnings. If you want to customise further look in ‘options’ for auto start of Stellarium etc. You may need to update Stellarium again via this screen if you change anything.
12. Open Stellarium. It should now be ready with your scope. If you scroll around the reticle should be on the star you last aligned. You are now good to go! Select something in Stellarium and press CNTL and 1 together. Your scope should slew to the new target. Conversely, if you select something on the SynScan App it will show in Stellarium.
13. If you did this all in test mode and have a SynScan WiFi connected you should now be able to go to step 8. You do not need to do the other steps again apart from restarting Stellarium Scope and Stellarium. I have Stellarium auto open in options so I just click on StellariumScope.
Hope that helps anyone interested. I’m happy to update this as needed, or do pics if required.
PS I’m running this on a Win10 Dell Laptop - I have experienced a ‘form error’ bug when looking up stars in the SynScan App but that maybe because I moved the folder to a new location so it can’t find a library or something. It’ll be interesting if anyone else gets this. This does not affect the running in Stellarium so I’ve ignored it for now and will recheck later. UPDATE: 19/04 - I raised this with SW app team. It appears there is a DB missing from the v1.9 zip (previous versions are fine), they are rectifying asap - so it wasn’t me!! ?