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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?
I am looking for help and advice on my SynScan EQ5 pro problem which i am struggling with. Everything was working fine and as expected. I have never updated the firmware and thought while i had everything connected i would update the Hand Controller and the skywatcher WiFi dongle.
Everything updated first time without issue and i was pleased to be up to date. However i loaded SynScan app on the pc which connected fine through the handset and USB/Serial adaptor cable. I clicked on the movement arrows and nothing happened, i then went in to a random 1 star alignment and again no response from the motors.
I powered off again and instead of the PC i tried the hand controller, i tried a 1 star alignment and the hand controller was displaying the slewing but again no response from the motors. in panic i then did the same with the WiFi dongle and phone app, same thing the software is showing movement but the scope remains still.
Knowing all was well prior to firmware updates i reverted back to the previous firmware version and no difference, i tried it again in Lo mode and still nothing. I then noticed a firmware update for the Motor Control so thought i had nothing to loose i updated the Motor Control firmware and again no sign of life from the Motors. I have swapped the cables around, checked that they are all inserted correctly, the power is from mains not battery and the power source is plugged in to a a Power Filter and Surge protector.
I have little experience of circuit board electronics, i was struggling to find similar experiences online other than voltage issues due to batteries which is not the case. I have opened it up and no obvious loose cables of solder loose, but this was straight after the firmware update which seemed to have installed and updated very smoothly no crashes etc.
Any help would be really appreciated.
M45 Pleiades. Captured using Nikon D3200 at prime focus of Skywatcher 150P on EQ3-2 with RA motor tracking (no guiding). Total of 79 x 10s subs at ISO 800 aligned and stacked in DeepSkyStacker to give 7min 20s. Processed in StarTools.
Thin and high cloud for some of the subs. Taken at 3:30am on Sunday morning Aug 30, 2020.
I'm matt from the UK, essex to be more accurate. I had a skywatcher 150p around 8 years ago and had some amazing moments with it, Jupiter being one of the highlights despite the 150p's declination towards DSO's. Unfortunately due to some financial problems at the time I had to sell it. Astronomy was a hobby I locked away to a quiet corner of my brain until my very wise other half helped me realise how much I missed it.
We have just bought a skywatcher 150pds as i want to focus on astrophotography this time. Its currently on a eq3 pro mount with synscan. Not the ideal mount, i plan to upgrade to the heq5 as soon as possible, but its perfect for me to learn and practise on.
We bought the scope and mount second hand in an amazing deal, coming with the coma corrector, all 3 sky panorama uwa lenses, the canon t ring adaptors and a clubman flight case for £700. Everything in perfect condition, although the mount has some stickiness and i think maybe some binding in the gears, so I plan to strip it down, de and regrease and reassemble as soon as possible.
Have only had the opportunity for a couple of hours viewing so far, during which I very unsuccessfully attempted to polar align and then 2 star align the mount, but loved seeing it slew. I did get some amazing manual visual observation on the moon, but was surprised that despite my previous experience with a very similar scope just how much I don't know. Am very eager to learn as much as I can and am very excited to be back in the hobby, as you can probably tell from my extracted and probably boring welcome message.
Anyone with any experience of this scope or mount with any tips or little known tweaks I would be exceptionally grateful for any advice. Or any tips in regards to polar aligning and star aligning, especially in a class 6 bortle or similar.
One problem I struggled with was gaining any focus on any lens I have while using the barlow lens. Am sure it is either my error or cheap equipment but I gained a very nice focus with the 28mm supplied lens and the panorama range but struggled gaining focus with the barlow and said lenses. After looking into this though I'm wondering if it was due to me not accounting for eye relief?
I look forward to meeting like minded people on this forum.
Is anyone on here signed up for the SkySafari and SynScan beta testing to natively support IOS? If so how has it been going?