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Has anyone had any experience installing ASCOM driver onto the EQM 35 pros SynScan hand controller for using with PHD2?  I'm watching a tutorial using PHD2 and the chap is using ASCOM for connecting his computer to his guide camera instead of using a cable.  So the computer becomes the middle man instead of the mount.



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I use it with my EQ5 mount.

I got an EQDIR cable from FLO, which connects to a USB port on the laptop and replaces the hand controller on the mount. It just plug into the hand controller port. 

With the ASCOM drivers installed for your mount, you then install EQMOD and PDH2 will guide the mount direct using the HEQ5 setting for the mount instead of using the On Camera setting if you use the ST4 cable.

The other advantage to using ASCOM and EQMOD is that it will also talk to APT and CdC or Stellarium.

I use CdC which connects to the mount via EQMOD, slew to a bright star close where I want to image so I can focus the camera (I'm currently using a DSLR). Then start APT and take a shot so I can Plate Solve the location and get APT to slew to my target.

Once on target I start PHD2 and get it to calibrate and start guiding, then start the image plan in APT and go and have a coffee. :D

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Got it to work, I can now control my mount via my laptop in PHD2 using ASCOM. 

I have a usb to B2 cable which I needed to update the drivers on the handset so I just use that for my laptop to control my mount in PHD2.  It's s bit windy tonight, but I might still take the trig out and practice polar alignment using SharpCap and maybe see how the guiding is. 

Edited by Sidecontrol
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      Hi all
      I had promised myself to write this up but then NigeB beat me to it  - so thanks NigeB for the prompt!
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    • By scotty38
      Hi all PHD2 seems to be playing up again and Iost a clear night again 🤬 Everything appeared to be fine and after polar aligning (separate camera to guide scope) I set up a new sequence.  That started up and focused, plate solved and then guiding started but after a few seconds of perfect looking guiding the RA and Dec went off the scale massively ending up with a PHD error along the lines of "PHD2 is unable to make sufficient corrections in RA, check for cable snags, redo calibration...." Images obviously come out trailed. I have an RDP connection to the laptop at the mount so after happening a few times I went to check for snags etc but it all seemed fine. I set up the sequence again at the mount and the same thing happened. Restarting the apps, power cycling the kit and choosing different targets all resulted in the same issue so I packed it all away. It was also the same if I used PHD2 via NINA or if I just started PHD2 on its own and tried guiding separately.
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    • By raf2020
      As I remember it was painful for me at the beginning to find complex list of the software that needs to be installed on your PC to control your rig remotely so I have decided to tie all things together and share.

      I will try to explain it simplest I can. As whole idea is quite complex I am not going to be too detailed. You can treat it as quick catch up for novices and beginners only. I have tested it all on Windows 10.
      I am a beginner as well but true is that I have struggled a lot to find those information all together (what actually you need to install) so it could make some confusion for novices I think. That’s why I want to tight things a bit together and reveal the tip of the iceberg. But at least COMPLETE tip. It should be suitable for most of equatorial mounts with guider.
      First why I am not using SynScan hand controller? Answer is simple. Controlling rig through PC is way more accurate and more convenient. So in general I have USB hub attached to one of tripod legs.
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      HEQ5 Pro mount through EQDIR USB cable (it is plugged on mount into hand controller port) ZWO ASI 120MM-S guide camera which is attached to my guide scope Canon 6D camera 2 x dew heater straps (for scope and guide scope). Those are attached to charging only ports on my USB HUB. Mentioned USB HUB is plugged to the laptop which is outside, close to my rig during sessions. Then I use RDP to connect to laptop from inside of my house as both, laptop and my desktop are connected to the same router.
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      ASCOM; You can understand it as a platform which will create environment for EQMOD driver (I will explain what EQMOD is in next paragraph). This, alongside with EQMOD, is core part which will communicate with your rig through USB and also will create a kind of link between all astrophotography software that you need. Please watch Dylan’s short vid who has explained it in convenient way: https://youtu.be/Se88i3Cs6M0. You can find and download ASCOM platform in here: https://ascom-standards.org/. EQMOD (EQASCOM) is a driver that provides the astronomical 'brains' of the mount control system as per: http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/eqaindex.html. As you can see there a list of functionality is huge. You can download it from here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/eq-mod/files/EQASCOM/. FTDI Virtual COM Port Driver is another small piece of software that you need to install. In general it is driver for your EQDIR cable. To be honest I haven’t heard about it in ANY tutorial. Like everybody has forgot about it but without it nothing will work. So in general EQDIR USB cable needs to be emulated as standard COM/Serial device. You can find it in here: https://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm. It will install itself as COM1, 2 or 3 device. You will need to pick same port in EQMOD with same speed. Above three apps are core and needs to be installed. If you have doubts (I am sure you do, like I had a bit more than a month ago) please just lurk YouTube and watch more related tutorials.
      You will need also to install drivers for your main and guide cameras. You can find it on your manufacturers website.
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      PHD2. Ok in here there are no alternatives. If you have decided to control remotely you rig you need an autoguiding software and PHD2 is probably only or at least best and simplest option. In general it will connect with your mount, guider, will “stick” on one or more stars close to your object, will look on it carefully through your guide scope/guide camera and will send information to your mount how and where it should move to stay on track. You can visit again Dylan for more info: https://youtu.be/Mt0luBLaHDw. You can download PHD2 from here: https://openphdguiding.org/. This is first example of software that will communicate and control your rig through 3 core software described above. SharpCap; This is actually software of my pick. Its main purpose is planetary astrophotography but it has one very useful for me functionality. A great and cheap tool for polar alignment. You don’t even need to look through your polar scope or spent fortune on dedicated polar cameras. It will use your guide scope camera! I have used this tutorial to learn it: https://youtu.be/ivlgbgNIeTU. It is really simple and straight forward. No more kneeling in the wet grass for just 10 quids: https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/. If you struggling with standard PA process you should definitely consider to check it out. I am super happy with it. Cheers @SharpCap. Stellarium. This is planetarium software of my pick. I use it to plan my session in time, plan FOV (at what angle should the main camera be attached to the focuser to cover object in best possible way) and before I used it as GoTo tool (now I use Plate Solving GoTo). You can find more info and download it in here: http://stellarium.org/ A lot of people use app called  “Cartes du Ciel” but I have never tried it.. Astro Photography Tool – APT. Next software of my pick. I use it to control my main camera, plate solving and few other minor, but still very important things. Cost is less than 20 quids per year for further updates. I think I have decided for APT because I like interface, functionality and something silly- most of experienced astrophotographers which I have watched on YT have used it. And I absolutely do not regret it. You can check demo version or buy it in here: https://www.astrophotography.app/downloads.php. You can watch Trevor’s walkthrough as well: https://youtu.be/icd9Tlrb9Jg. Lots of astrophotohraphers uses NINA which is offering similar functionality and it’s free. I haven’t tried it for longer yet as I have already get used to APT but if you want and you will like it - it could save you 20 quids. Plate Solving – is one of very cool APT and NINA functionality (based on external free software). In general it works like this: You can for example take a blind shoot of night sky and ask plate solve software to tell you where exactly you are shooting with your scope and how FOV look like for you. So if your software knows it already it can take you to any other object on the sky just like that (like GoTo). I have learned how to install and use it from this video: https://youtu.be/dpYXoYEKFpA. It is 2 apps plus databases. You can also consider to buy (or at least check out) ZWO ASIAir. In general it is micro PC which has all software similar to above installed and tied together on one simple panel which you can control through WiFi on your tablet. A lot of astrophotographers use it. I didn’t have any occasion to try it yet but it looks so complex and simple in the same time. Definitely it looks very convenient and handy as well.
      At the end just few words about post processing software of my choice:
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    • By stargamed
      I recently got an Orion StarShoot Astrophotography Camera and have had difficulty getting it
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