Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

stargazine_ep29_banner.thumb.jpg.da7f3b163f7bd35187cb558b0346baf6.jpg

pedromreis

A bit lost .... how to computerise an EQ3-2?

Recommended Posts

So I have an EQ3-2 "Deluxe" plain, with no motors/etc.

Exactly what do I need in order to:

1 - Track an object in order to get long exposures

2 - Be able to "goto" an objecto using my computer (Mac)

3 - Have sturdier tripod, is the 2" skywatcher tripod for EQ5/6 compatible? Are there other options? (including DIY)

 

Thanks!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't help on the Mac connection but you can get a GOTO system to fit the EQ3-2 mount for around £300 and you can put the mount onto a sturdier 1.75 inch EQ5/HEQ5 steel tripod - the mount is compatible with these.

The EQ6 tripod is a different fitting though. The Celestron CG5 steel tripod has 2 inch steel legs and is compatible with the EQ3-2 if you can find one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can go without the GoTo system then there's a kit to install motors on the EQ3-2 with a basic hand controller which does have a ST4 connection for autoguiding.

Sky-Watcher Enhanced Dual-Axis DC Motor Drives for EQ3-2

Sky-Watcher SynScan PRO Go-To Upgrade Kit for EQ3-2

It may work out cheaper and easier to look out for a second hand EQ5 Pro mount, which already has what you're looking for. ;)

Edited by Budgie1
Typo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Budgie1 said:

If you can go without the GoTo system then there's a kit to install motors on the EQ3-2 with a basic hand controller with does have a ST4 connection for autoguiding.

Sky-Watcher Enhanced Dual-Axis DC Motor Drives for EQ3-2

Sky-Watcher SynScan PRO Go-To Upgrade Kit for EQ3-2

It may work out cheaper and easier to look out for a second hand EQ5 Pro mount, which already has what you're looking for. ;)

That st4 connection allow to control the motors via PC or only with the GOTO that is possible?

I live in Portugal, and believe me I've tried to buy some used mounts, but with no luck....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

Assume windows then, after the GOTO system what else do I need?

The upgrade you talk about is this right? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-mount-upgrade-kits/synscan-pro-goto-version-3-upgrade-kit-for-eq3-2.html

That is the GOTO system that I was thinking of. I can't help on connecting a PC to a mount though. Sorry.

The ST4 connection on those non-GOTO drive systems is to connect an autoguider to the mount. I'm not sure that it can be used to connect a PC or Mac :icon_scratch:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Budgie1 said:

If you can go without the GoTo system then there's a kit to install motors on the EQ3-2 with a basic hand controller with does have a ST4 connection for autoguiding.

Sky-Watcher Enhanced Dual-Axis DC Motor Drives for EQ3-2

So with that and something like this https://hackaday.io/project/4386-arduino-st4-telescope-control I could get it done right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

That st4 connection allow to control the motors via PC or only with the GOTO that is possible?

I live in Portugal, and believe me I've tried to buy some used mounts, but with no luck....

ST4 connection goes between the guide camera and the mount. You use a USB connection from the guide camera and the PC so PHD2 or other guide software can sent the guide pulses via the guide camera.

You will be able to guide with it, but that's about it. There's no GoTo connection (that i know of) for other software using this method.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, pedromreis said:

Assume windows then, after the GOTO system what else do I need?

You need either

1. EQDIR cable Like this one

or

2. FTDI USB to Serial Cable for Sky-Watcher Handsets like this one

 

Option one plugs from your PC directly into the mount where the handset normally goes, i.e. you cannot use the handset, only the PC to control the mount.

Option two plugs into the bottom of the handset and into the pc, i.e. you can use both the handset and the pc to control the mount. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Viktiste said:

 

2. FTDI USB to Serial Cable for Sky-Watcher Handsets like this one

 

The newer Synscan handset has a USB connector rather than a RJ connector so you just need a standard USB-A to USB-B cable to connect the handset to a PC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

Whats is the diference between a EQ3-2 + synscan upgrade and a EQ3 pro? 

Whats is the diference between a EQ3 + synscan upgrade and a EQ3-2 + Enhanced Dual-Axis DC Motor Drives (besides the obvious that it cannot find targets itself)

Asking more about the quality/performance of the motors/etc..

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

Whats is the diference between a EQ3-2 + synscan upgrade and a EQ3 pro? 

Operationally there should be no difference.

21 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

Whats is the diference between a EQ3 + synscan upgrade and a EQ3-2 + Enhanced Dual-Axis DC Motor Drives (besides the obvious that it cannot find targets itself)

The dual axis motors move the mount more slowly (the max speed is 16x sidereal rate compared to 800x for the full goto Synscan) . The motors drive the mount so slowly that it is sometimes easier to release the clutches and move the mount manually than use the handset to slew the mount. The ST4 port on the enhanced handset allows autoguiding, but thats it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also this: https://www.astroeq.co.uk/tutorials.php

I've used one to allow my EQ3-2 to be controlled from a Linux laptop using KStars/Ekos/INDI.  I don't see why it should be any different if you're using a Mac.

James

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could also try Onstep if you are up for a bit of a project. 

https://onstep.groups.io/g/main

Can be done very inexpensively. You will need to be able to hack together a mounting plate and be a bit handy with computers.. The instructions are very helpful, but it will not be plug and play. I just finished converting an LX200 classic to Onstep and it went pretty smoothly and I do not have any specialist skills.

Might do my old black HEQ5 next, which would be a very similar project to yours. Quite a few folks have done an EQ3 already, so you won't be breaking new ground: https://onstep.groups.io/g/main/wiki/4414 (about a1/3 of the way down the page)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, yuklop said:

Could also try Onstep if you are up for a bit of a project. 

https://onstep.groups.io/g/main

Can be done very inexpensively. You will need to be able to hack together a mounting plate and be a bit handy with computers.. The instructions are very helpful, but it will not be plug and play. I just finished converting an LX200 classic to Onstep and it went pretty smoothly and I do not have any specialist skills.

Might do my old black HEQ5 next, which would be a very similar project to yours. Quite a few folks have done an EQ3 already, so you won't be breaking new ground: https://onstep.groups.io/g/main/wiki/4414 (about a1/3 of the way down the page)

 

Computers are my day job.. so I don't have a problem there. Nor hacking an arduino/raspberry pi/etc. Or putting together a pcb with some components and connections. 

I just need to understand how it works :).

I'll take a look at that tks!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, let me see if I got this right:

1 - Using the synscan upgrade + fancy cable + sw in the laptop is the easiest and most expensive way to get a GOTO system controlled by the computer with slew speed acceptable, and auto guiding (+ camera + guiding scope)

2 - Using the dual axis + some HW + sw on the laptop I can achieve auto guiding via st4 port, with slow slew speed. GOTO may be possible but slow (?) 

3 - Going all DIY route I can achieve everything, if I can get everything right, including setup a pcb board to control the motors, develop firmware, drivers, etc.... (not going to happen any time soon :) )

I think I got 1 and 3. Need to investigate more option 2 to see if a GOTO with decent speed is possible without major hacking...

Did I got this right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

3 - Going all DIY route I can achieve everything, if I can get everything right, including setup a pcb board to control the motors, develop firmware, drivers, etc.... (not going to happen any time soon :) )

Or go DIY with a solution someone has already designed, written the software for and so on.  I'm not familiar with Onstep other than being aware that it exists, but with AstroEQ I believe you can build everything based on the documentation that already exists (there are schematics, a BOM and so on all on the website) and then use the open source firmware developed by the person who designed the board.  At that point it looks just like a Skywatcher GOTO mount and you can use it with any software that works with one.

I took a shortcut with mine and bought a ready-made controller, but added my own motors and brackets to fit the mount, used the configuration utility to set up the controller and that was pretty much it.  Kstars etc. "just worked" on Linux.  I see no obvious reason why it wouldn't on a Mac.

James

Edited by JamesF
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, JamesF said:

I took a shortcut with mine and bought a ready-made controller, but added my own motors and brackets to fit the mount, used the configuration utility to set up the controller and that was pretty much it.  Kstars etc. "just worked" on Linux.  I see no obvious reason why it wouldn't on a Mac.

What controller did you buy? I probably have some nema motors around ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

why not get a mount that is goto https://www.firstlightoptics.com/computerised-goto-astronomy-mounts/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi-alt-az-mount-tripod.html that can be converted to EQ https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-star-adventurer/skywatcher-star-adventurer-equatorial-wedge-white.html 

You need to flash the mount but it is simple, I did the same. 

It can be controlled from your computer. 

Downside I don't think it is a tracking mount but I have managed imaging planetary of 15 minutes without drift. 

Just a thought.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom (who designed the AstroEQ controller) used to sell them ready-made.  I don't know if he still does though.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, JamesF said:

Tom (who designed the AstroEQ controller) used to sell them ready-made.  I don't know if he still does though.

James

not in the site.... due to covid.

But i'm looking at the schematics... with a bit of luck I should have all the parts need, arduino, motor drivers, motors, leds, capacitors, etc... maybe in the  weekend I give it a try on breadboard and see how it goes...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, pedromreis said:

But i'm looking at the schematics... with a bit of luck I should have all the parts need, arduino, motor drivers, motors, leds, capacitors, etc... maybe in the  weekend I give it a try on breadboard and see how it goes...

If you're happy with the electronic side (as you certainly appear to be) I think it's definitely worth spending a bit of time experimenting with it.  I started my own conversion quite a long time back and then life got in the way.  I promised myself I'd get back to it when I finished building my observatory and I did in fact reach the point of mounting the motors, plugging them into the controller and having it all working very neatly on the workbench using Kstars to control the mount.  Then Covid-19 happened and work got in the way of just about everything.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how things work out) work is about to get almost completely out of the way at the end of next month, so I shall be returning to the project very soon.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im no electronic wiz, never had any training ... but I can read and execute small elctronic projects and I do know how to program arduinos. so, lets see...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bomberbaz said:

why not get a mount that is goto https://www.firstlightoptics.com/computerised-goto-astronomy-mounts/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi-alt-az-mount-tripod.html that can be converted to EQ https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-star-adventurer/skywatcher-star-adventurer-equatorial-wedge-white.html 

You need to flash the mount but it is simple, I did the same. 

It can be controlled from your computer. 

Downside I don't think it is a tracking mount but I have managed imaging planetary of 15 minutes without drift. 

Just a thought.

maybe nice for a dslr? is it usable with a sw 150P-DS?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.