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Bit of a strange one. I have a NEQ6 which I control with EQASOM for imaging using SGP and PHD2 for guiding and have recently replaced the HC connection to the pc with an Lynx Astro FTDI EQdir cable.
First time I used it it worked perfectly, it connected straight away, the guiding was good and SGP found the target without any issues. But I tried it again last night and whilst SGP worked perfectly, plate solved the image and moved directly to the target, PHD2 wouldn't connect to the scope. I selected the correct ASCOM mount from phd2 dropdown list but the EQASCOM connected briefly then disconnected with a display saying that it had failed to find the correct port. I tried adjusting the settings next to the mount selection tab and ensured it had pulse guiding selected but still no joy.
As a result the phd2 software is not sending guide commands to the mount.
The funny thing is that PHD2 will connect to EQASCOM if done so before SGP is connected but then the subsequent connection to SGP fails. But with PHD2 connected on its own its still not sending signals to the mount.
Is this a faulty cable or is it a EQDIR driver problem or even an issue with PHD2 or EQASCOM?
Any help would be appreciated as I am a loss as to how to rectify the situation.
Hi, Everyone could with a little advice on connecting a my Synscan v4 to my laptop.
I now how to do it and also know about USB serial adapters, what i am wondering is my laptop has a RJ11 coms port but in the Synscan V4 Manual it says you need a RJ12 port as the cable supplied is RJ12. The RJ12 cable fits into the RJ11 perfectly
Is there much difference in these and could i still connect using the method or do i have to go and buy the USB serial adapter?
if anyone can shed some light on this it would be greatly appreciated.
Finally had a clear night which coincided with not being too tired, not busy, plus my better half was out for much of the evening. Even the toddler went to bed with no problems.
I wanted to try out two things mainly. The first was a Synscan handset I acquired from Astroboot, and the second, also an Astroboot purchase as a present for the children was a Heritage 130P. This was without the base and ideal to go on either the Giro-WR or AZGTi. Being on a tripod makes it easy to get the eyepiece at a sensible height for the children.
Tonight though, no short people around, I just got the chance to play myself. I setup in the back garden, eyeballed a level for the tripod then powered up. I now use the Tracer battery rather than the internal AAs and the mount now seems to slew with a little more purpose, lasts a lot longer obviously.
Alignment was trivial. Power on, set the time, two star align choosing Vega to manually slew to first, centred in the 24mm eyepiece, then chose Polaris as the second star. It got close but not in the fov so I centred it again, alignment succesful. Note that I did not bother going to higher power for more accuracy, but I still found that most objects were within the field of view on gotos. A couple were just outside but easily found. I find the AZGTi very impressive, simple to use, compact but very effective. The Freedom find clearly works too as the alignment remained accurate even after moving the scope manually a few times.
When I first used the mount a while ago it had backlash in az, and during the first use developed quite severe movement in alt. I was a bit disappointed and hoped I would not have to return it. I got instructions from Skywatcher via FLO and sometime later found the time to try them out. After removing the cover it was very clear how to adjust the two worm gears. They were both loose, explaining why I was getting movement. After a bit of experimenting I found a good compromise in adjustment and the mount now performs as I would expect.
I acquired the handset largely because the mount will not work with SkySafari on an iPhone (well it will but you need two devices, one for the Synscan app and one for SkySafari, too cumbersome for me). The handset worked well. I actually find it easier to use when centring objects because you can feel where the buttons are without having to look up. The database is bigger in the handset, particularly for SAO doubles which is something I found lacking in the app. If they ever do manage to fix the mount so it works properly with SS I believe I can still have the handset connected to have the best of both worlds.
The Heritage was not supplied with a Finder which I found a little annoying, I guess I didn't read the description fully, but the SkySurfer V fits to the mounting point without too much trouble so this problem was overcome.
I tried a few targets first just to get the hang of things, Double Cluster which looked surprisingly good in the 24mm Panoptic, M57 was a tiny bloated star in the 24mm but at higher power showed its ring shape nicely.
A brief comment about the Heritage focuser at this point. I actually find it better than I expected. Yes, there is some slop which is a little annoying but it was quite possible to achieve a good focus by gentle adjustment. My eyepieces these days are a set of BGOs plus a 3 to 6 Nag zoom and 24mm Panoptic. The BGOs focus much further in, so what I learned to do was find the focus point for the BGOs and then leave the focuser there. When swapping back to the Pan or Nag, I simply pulled them back out so they were in focus and then tightened the locking screws, followed by a little tweak to focus. This saved the frustration of winding in and out constantly. I will try the plumbers tape mod to improve the slop as I think this will really help. I keep wondering if there is a possible mod to put a decent focuser on the scope but actually it would be a shame to lose the simplicity and lightweight of this scope.
Next stop the Double Double. Whilst this split just about (if you squinted a bit and used your imagination), it showed the collimation needed a tweak. Back to Vega and defocused star test showed it was a little off. Not disastrous but worthwhile tweaking. This proved very simple too, loosen the locking screws, then adjust, recentreing after each tweak to check. The beauty of such a small scope is that you can be looking in the eyepiece whilst adjusting, it took me a couple of minutes to get it looking good. Refocusing and immediately Vega looked much better. Back to the DD and it was much improved, a clearer split with the Nag at x130. Compared with the Tak, which gives beautiful bullseye stars it was still a little messy, flaring a little and nowhere near as clean or aesthetically beautiful, but the splits were there. What can you expect for such an entry level scope, good stuff. I had expected much worse diffraction effects from the single stalk secondary mount but the reality was it was a lot less noticeable than some scopes I've used with 4 vane spiders. They were 10, 12" and 16" scopes so the additional aperture and brightness will have caused the larger spikes but either way, the Heritage was very good in this respect.
The sky appeared very clear and stable, best I've seen it for a while although the dew was quite heavy. At one point the secondary dewed up so I had to use a hair dryer to clear it. I think a lightweight shroud is needed to prevent dew and also to cut down glare from the open Truss design.
So, other targets? Back to the Double Cluster to enjoy the improved collimation. Lovely star colours showing through.
NGC457, an old favourite looking amusing as always
M27 was faintly visible without filter, but I added a Baader OIII filter and that brought it out much more. Not much detail but not bad.
The Blue Snowball was tiny in the 24mm, better at higher power but no sign of blueness. Darker sky and better dark adaptation needed I think.
M31, normal fuzzy oval but M32 picked out well. No sign of 110, skies too bright.
M45 was really nice. Could do with a slightly wider fov (not possible in this scope) but it fitted in and Alcyone with its three companions look lovely. The collimation was looking great and the star shapes surprisingly good.
Alberio, lovely star colours in the 24mm
Mizar, another old favourite, always delivers
Polaris I was quite surprised with, the primary was nicely controlled and the little pinpoint secondary showed very clearly. Nice
Somewhat optimistically I typed NGC6992 into the handset, with the OIII in the 24mm. To my surprise I could see the arc of the Eastern Veil quite clearly. Not much detail visible under local LP but I reckon a dark site would be quite rewarding. Panning across to 52 Cygni I could again see the Western Veil as it passes by the star. Impressive to see this from home with such small aperture. I'll get this scope under a dark sky soon to try it out further.
Uranus was my last success of the night, clearly non stellar but presenting only a tiny white disk even at x162. No sign of colour, I suspect the frac would bring out more colour but would need to try as I can't remember. I've certainly seen it as a greyish green before but can't recall which scope that was in.
Neptune was a possible but not sure as my phone died and I could not match the star fields to be certain.
I also tried for Caroline's Rose without success. It should have been in the eyepiece but nothing there, I do find this quite a subtle target with the LP round here, more aperture required most likely. M81 and M82 were poorly positioned in my 'Heathrow Glow' direction so I could not see them either.
So, a very good little session with this mount and scope combo. Next time I will pop the Tak on although the AZGTi does enjoy the lighter weight of the Heritage I think. For nebulae I suspect the additional aperture will be worthwhile too.
A long old report in the end, apologies, just nice to have something to talk about even though the objects seen are hardly exotic! Pleased with the little 130P, very good value and performance and a great match for the AZGTi
For a long time now I have been using the Prolific driver installer v10518 from the HitecAstro site on my windows 7 computer.
Recently I have been getting a lot of overnight crashes and lost a lot of imaging time. An analysis of last night's crash pointed to the Prolific driver. MS today offered me a new driver V18.104.22.1687 to replace v22.214.171.124.
First signs are that it works... well I can move the mount.
My question to the group is in 2 parts:-
1) Is this new driver reliable?
2) Is this now the time to find a new more reliable EQDIR interface and if so what recommendations can you offer.
By Twisted Lip
This is a pretty general question about cables and the like and I've posted it here in the imaging section as I think we're the people who end up with these problems!
Sadly I haven't been out much over the summer and only starting again for the winter sessions (just as the weather turns rubbish you say? lol) but I've added a few things to the set up which I'm now only starting to use in anger and have caused a few issues.
Anyway to cut the back story short I have a laptop (2 USB ports, 1xUSB2.0, 1xUSB3.0, Windows 8, etc) that runs the setup. The mount is an NEQ6, DSLR and Lodestar is still being used to guide. Traditionally I only ran the imaging aspects from the laptop and used the Synscan handset and ST4 port to run the mount and guide. At SGL 9 this year Gav (and a few others) rightly convinced me to use the lappy for everything. As such I bought a HITEC Astro EQDIR cable which - after taking a long while to get working - is great and alongside Cartes du Ciel, APT, etc works an absolute treat.
So here is the problem.
I've only recently managed to get back outside and on the occasions I've used the setup, CdC has crashed (it looses connection, I'm guessing through lack of bandwidth) which of course kills the guiding and everything else. I don't think (or can't find) that the EQDIR cable is USB3.0 only but it only seems to work directly in the USB3.0 port on the laptop. Oddly it seems to work fine in the USB2.0 hub (this one in fact) but again, only when plugged into the USB3.0 port (weirdness). It crashes when I have the lodestar and DSLR (Canon) plugged in too (just the lodestar and its fine, plug in the DSLR and thats when it goes and vice versa), hence why I think its probably bandwidth or power.
So I guess the question(s) are:
Does anyone else have the HITEC ASTRO EQDIR, how do you use it and do you also have the USB 3.0 weirdness? How do you power (if at all) your cables and do you get bandwidth problems? Do you use a hub of any kind? Finally, given I'm not getting out much in the evenings I'm going to try and image from the Coronado Solarmax during the day but will need a new imaging camera and most are (at least) USB3.0. What is everyone's recommendation around USB3.0 cables and hubs? I'm guessing this is just going to compound my issues :/
Anyway, clear skies everyone and thanks for any advice!