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Dear all,

This is my first post. I'm quite new at astrophotography, although I've used a startravel mount together with a camera for a couple of years. I recently decided to upgrade to a skywatcher heq5 pro mount which I intend to use with a Ed-80 refractor, also from skywatcher.

I've been spending countless hours trying to solve my problem and I am now to the point where I think my équipement is faulty and needs to be returned to be checked. Before I do, I wanted to ask you guys for advice because I can not exclude the possibility that I'm just doing things wrong. Here is my problem :

The mount does not track even though I've done the polar alignment and hooked on the synscan handset. I initially believed I would not need the handset for simple tracking and that after polar alignment, the mount would automatically start tracking. Clearly it did not, as the mount did not move and was completely silent. I then hooked on the handset, entered all the info for initialisation, checked the sidareal tracking was checked, but still no tracking, even though the mount did make some noise at that point. I did try to align one or two stars, but the telescope would just be way off the targeted star. I mean totally way off, sometimes pointing the opposite direction. I gave up star alignment, so just skipped the alignment part, thinking I could still use the mount to track without star alignment. However, when pointing to a star, I would see it drift after a few seconds, so clearly no tracking.

Can somebody help me out?

Questions: is it possible to use the mount to track without any star alignment, or without using the synscan handset? Is there an on/off button somewhere I have missed to start tracking?

Any idea why the star alignment is so incredibly off target? I doubled check all the gps, elevation, date info and the polar aligment is accurate as I checked it after a couple of hours and polaris was exactly where it should be according to my Find polaris app.

I'm quite desperate now, so any advice is more then welcome!






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Posted (edited)

Hi Fred, welcome to the forum.

 I have never used a “tracking only “ mode but a quick look at the manual (V4 Synscan) shows the below. Have you got a Synscan manual??....It appears that you can skip star alignment and track after finding an object USING THE HANDSET manually with the directional keys.

If I was you though I would study the manual and start from scratch with star alignment to get it right. There could be a number of reasons why this is happening, difficult to ascertain with the information provided. Once you’ve got that right and using the GoTo to find objects, the mount will track automatically 


Easy Tracking Mode:
The flow chart of the “Easy Tracking” operation is shown below:
Start Tracking
Locate a celestial
object manually
In Easy Tracking mode, the hand control also needs to be connected to a Sky-Watcher telescope mount. The mount must be setup at a proper “Home Position” (refer to Section 2.1 for details) before turning on the power. After turning on the power to the mount, the hand control must complete an “Initialization” routine. Then the user can choose to skip the “Alignment” routine and start the tracking function directly (refer to Section 6.1 “Choosing Tracking Speed”). Users will need to locate a celestial object in the sky, and then use the hand control to manually point the telescope to the target. The object locating function may still be used but it will only give a rough result.
The Easy Tracking mode is suitable for quick setup for visual observing of brighter celestial objects, such as planets, the moon, or the sun. If the user does not turn on the tracking function, the Easy Tracking mode can also be used for observing terrestrial objects

Edited by Jiggy 67

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After you switch it on does the handset come on and after a few seconds using the arrow buttons can you move the mount??

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Yes, once the handset has initialized you can slew the mount using the directional keys on the handset 

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Sorry jiggy that was a question to Fred to see if we can work out if its a minor (set up) or major issue (blown board or power supply) or various other issues that can arise as i am sure you know

  • Haha 1

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Posted (edited)

When you do the 3 star alignment, the first one will almost certainly be 'off' by a significant amount....

However, there are several things you have to be careful with as I think the HEQ5 handset is confusing...

You have to start from 'home' position. 

  • You need to put in your latitude and longitude and these need to be accurate to the nearest minute of arc. If you don't know them, there are apps you can download to your phone, including the ones that help with polar alignment, that will do it
  • You need to select the correct time zone. For UK that is +0.00
  • You need to input the correct time use 24 hour clock - it will then confirm it back to you e.g. 22.30 = 10.30pm
  • And at present you have to reply 'yes' to the daylight saving time question

If this is not done correctly, the mount will not point to the correct place at all.  

Edited by Tenor Viol

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Im in the same platform than you "Skywatcher the troublemaker".

At the moment I haven't aligned the mount any time, and im sure where polaris is.......im on holidays soon, so ill take it with time....( look for a post with my name " im giving up", there are good advice there...)

I can track the moon/sun, for a few minutes, after goes out the eyepiece..... if I don't use the track option, it disappear from the eyepiece sooner, much sooner....so, it works, but nor for hours as I was expecting...


with all the mounts sold, I think they should do a masterclass for us....

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I don't think you can use the mount without the handset or alternatively a computer for control.

You can use it for tracking without doing a star alignment though - I did that last summer while looking at Jupiter & Saturn. Had to do that from a location in my garden where I couldn't see Polaris, so could only do a rough alignment towards north, and skipped the star alignment entirely.  As soon as I turn on my mount, there's a whirring noise from it. I thought it was tracking, but seems not to be the case - manually located objects would drift out of view very quickly.  Going into the menus and selecting 'Sidereal tracking' changed the noise, and then the mount clearly tracked.  Kept the planets in view for minutes, only requiring vertical adjustments in the view.

Why your star alignments are so far off is hard to say.  Do remember to enter the date in US format - MM/DD/YYYY.  A few times my mount has suddenly misbehaved, pointing into the ground, or maybe 90º off the suggested alignment star.  In those cases, I've solved it by turning off the power for 30+ secs and then starting over - this seems to reset the mount and clear old alignment data.  However, if yours has never worked, it probably isn't a solution, as I assume it must have been turned off for hours or days between sessions ?

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