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edarter

Controlling NEQ6 from a laptop

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Hi,

Some advice needed please.... I'm currently imaging unguided on my NEQ6 Pro, using the hand controller to set up and find the target. I'm then using APT to control my DSLR for the imaging session. Playing around over the many many cloudy nights there have been here in the UK recently I've got APT talking to Stellarium ok to plate solve, though I've not used that in anger for a session as yet.

However, I'm getting myself confused around what I would need to do to control the mount from my laptop rather than the handset. Would I need to install EQMOD? or can I do everything from within APT? Or indeed is it even worth doing, should I just stick with the hand controller??

Thanks
Ed

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Many of us successfully use EQMod to control our HEQ/NEQ SW mounts. Using a EQDir cable you can bypass the hand controller direct to the mount.

You should have the latest ASCOM installed, then EQMod ......

Accessed through a planetarium program (I use Cartes du Ciel), EQMod gives you the opportunity to sync, and control the mount from a laptop etc.

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11 hours ago, edarter said:

Would I need to install EQMOD?

Hi

Yes. The easiest way is then to lose the handset and instead connect the mount to the computer using this cable.

If you want to/must  keep the handset, then one of these.

Then as @Merlin66..describes above.

HTH

 

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Yep EQMOD is pretty cool, just recently gone there myself.

I was very nervous about moving from the trusty handset to EQMOD/Cartes du Ciel at first. For me the software took a little bit of initial learning but nothing very demanding and I’ve found it has been a very worthwhile move. If you already use Stellarium then you are halfway there I guess. All I did was buy an EQDIR cable downloaded EQMOD ASCOM Cartes du Ciel etc... and it all worked without a hitch.

Good luck !

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white dwarf - whats the difference between the EQ Mod cable and the Ali Express cable? Both look like Serial to USB to me??

Thanks

Ed

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There are two cables listed. Both are from AliExpress. One of them is wired so that it connects the mount directly to your computer, eliminating the handset. The other does the same but keeps the handset. 

I'd recommend the former. It is called an eqmod or eqdir cable.

You don't have to obtain either from AliExpress. It just works out a lot cheaper that way.

HTH

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I have a cable from this brand but for AZ-EQ6, it is working perfect and flawless, i bought two separately in period, one is 2m and the other is 5m just in case, you can give it a try.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-cables-leads-accessories/lynx-astro-ftdi-eqdir-usb-adapter-for-sky-watcher-eq6-or-neq6-syntrek-pro-mounts.html

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As alot of people advised me too to go with cable and bin the hand controller so to speak.

I did and as you say nervously worked my way through another learning curve and once you've got used to it you'll never look for your hand controller again.

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I have and can use EQMod but prefer using the handset and find it just as simple.  Only thing I can't do is change targets or do a Meridian flip from indoors, but the only time I tried I had a nasty clash with scope and mount.  Prefer to be there watching what's going on.  Don't like limits being set as I can image way past the Meridian on some targets without having to flip.

Carole 

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On 08/12/2019 at 01:07, TareqPhoto said:

I have a cable from this brand but for AZ-EQ6, it is working perfect and flawless, i bought two separately in period, one is 2m and the other is 5m just in case, you can give it a try.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-cables-leads-accessories/lynx-astro-ftdi-eqdir-usb-adapter-for-sky-watcher-eq6-or-neq6-syntrek-pro-mounts.html

This is the cable you want if you run under windows 10.  The older hitech astro one does not work.

Search for Chris' EQMod videos on Youtube.  You can practise getting it all going, including dummy platesolves from photos, indoors.

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I use Apt  and more often than not don’t bother to connect to carte du ciel  , you don’t have to connect to a  planetarium software to platesolve in Apt  though useful to see what your pointing at , I start off  taking an image from the home position and blind solving ,after polar aligning sync mount then choose an  objects from  objects catalogue in APT  that’s it use Goto ++ if you want to move slightly about using Aim button .

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On 10/12/2019 at 08:54, kirkster501 said:

This is the cable you want if you run under windows 10.  The older hitech astro one does not work.

I'm glad I found this thread - I've been setting up a new Windows 10 based laptop today and cannot for the life of me get my Hitecastro USB-serial cable to work with the AZEQ6.

Thanks Steve, I guess it's not me then!

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I have never been able to get the USB Serial cable to work using Windows 10 with EQMod and my EQ6-R-Pro.

Spent many an hour trying to with various different drivers and no go.

The best way I have found is to use a USB3.0 cable and connect the laptop to the USB port on the hand controller and put the hand controller into "PD Direct" Mode on the "Utilities Menu".

This works for me.

Daemon 

 

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Just a comment:

The latest version of the Synscan handcontroller (V5) is the only one with the USB port in the handcontroller.

All the previous versions (V2, V3 and V4) need to be connected using the "upgrade" SW cable with the DB9 serial plug at the computer end.

This usually (as very few, if any, current computers have a serial port), means adding a Serial > USB adaptor. I use the Keyspan adaptor.

 

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On 03/01/2020 at 18:55, Jonk said:

Hitecastro USB-serial cable to work with the AZEQ6.

The older hitecastro eqdirect cables used prolific chipsets you need the cables that are fdti , if in doubt I’m sure @FLO will advise , I ditched my hitecastro cable and got a lynx Astro branded one for my Eq6 pro tbh honest it was a better made cable .

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Found this thread really useful thanks to everyone's input, as I too have just started to setup my mount, ascom/eqmod and stellarium with no previous experience. Managed to get everything talking and working then my graphics card let the side down and kept crashing stellarium and my laptop. Its 8 years (windows10 upgrade) old and I think the graphics card doesn't supports opengl3.0 or the other spec requirement or both. anyhow I downloaded and ran Cartes du ciel and truthfully I was up and running slewing to targets in 2 minutes without researching how or when. It may not be as graphically pleasing to the eye as stellarium but its has my vote for newbie usability. Right im off to research APT now.:thumbright:

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15 hours ago, bottletopburly said:

The older hitecastro eqdirect cables used prolific chipsets you need the cables that are fdti , if in doubt I’m sure @FLO will advise , I ditched my hitecastro cable and got a lynx Astro branded one for my Eq6 pro tbh honest it was a better made cable .

I have just bought an FTDI cable but not had a chance to test it yet. Tomorrow night's looking good and dare I say it, so is Saturday!

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I’ve tested the ftdi cable and it’s fine under windows 10 👍🏻

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On 16/01/2020 at 21:21, Jonk said:

I have just bought an FTDI cable but not had a chance to test it yet. Tomorrow night's looking good and dare I say it, so is Saturday!

The ftdi chipsets assign themselves a com number on first plugin. After that, it matters not which usb socket you connect to, it will retain the port number (unless you want to change it).

The improved reliability over the prolific chips is like night and day!

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That's right - it's always a good thing to use the same ports for USB equipment if possible, as they can become very confusing within Windows sometimes.

There's a program called devicecleanup or something that can clear all the comm ports and USB device history.

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As a word of caution I’d avoid cheap ftdi cables from the likes of Ali Express. They often use conned chips and when a driver update is released they often stop working. 
 

Buy a decent cable from a reputable astro dealer and you have far few issues in the future. Not often I recommend a ‘branded’ solution over a value alternative but having been then and done it with cables to hook up my ham gear it’s well worth it :)  

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