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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?
By Martin AB Cohen
After trying and failing some time ago to find a video tutorial on how to strip-down my Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount, clean all the bearings and gears, re-grease them, and put it all back together again, I eventually learned how to do this from various other online resources and have now created my own video tutorial. For those of you with a Skywatcher HEQ5 or HEQ5 Pro mount, or indeed an Orion Sirius EQ-G mount (which is the same mechanically), this video can help you to keep you mount running smoothly through regular DIY servicing (~every 2 years). I hope you find it useful. Here is the link...
I'm trying to get a photo of Jupiter and Saturn with my Nikon D3000 DSLR but I can't get anything clear. I attached the kind of photos I'm getting with my camera. They end up being too bright and no distinguishable features show up. Is it even possible for my Nikon to get photos of planetary objects like Saturn and Jupiter?
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!
Sky-Watcher HEQ5 PRO Go-To Astronomy Mount
With all accessories - as new February 2020
HEQ5 Mount Head
1.75" Stainless Steel Tripod
2x 5kg Counterweights
SynScan Handset & Cable
12v Cigarette DC Power Cable
Vixen-Style Medium Dovetail Bar
Price £690 - buyer collects Hampshire