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I’ve just bought a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro. I’m trying to drive it from Stellarium using EQMOD but I’m running into a problem I haven’t the experience to solve.

This is my set up:

Windows 7 Laptop > 10m active USB 3.0 cable > 4 port powered Atolla USB 3.0 hub > Lynx Astro EQMOD cable > Mount (plugged directly into hand control socket)

When I first connected the mount to the laptop (a 2015 Dell Inspiron) Windows 7 searched for a serial/USB driver and installed it on COM 8 (according to Device Manager).

In Stellarium I created a profile for the mount but it wouldn’t autodetect the COM port. So I manually set it to 8.

When I try to connect to the mount it sits for a while and then tells me the connection has timed out.

Anyone have any suggestions as to where I should start to try and get the connection sorted please? Thanks.

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I followed this guide https://www.lightvortexastronomy.com/tutorial-setting-up-an-equatorial-mount-on-ascom-with-eqmod-stellarium-and-cartes-du-ciel.html

Good guide i used this to setup my eq5

Totally endorse the light vortex guide. I'd even recommend installing stellarium scope, as it suggests, because I find it useful when aligning. I was getting nowhere with my NEQ6 and I still remember,

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Ade,

Just to evaluate the set-up can you temporarily set the laptop closer to the mount, bypass the USB3 cable/hub and connect the EQMod cable.

I had some "issues" with a USB2 camera when connected to a USB3 port......may be this is similar????

(Was there sufficient power to the mount when you tried??)

 

Edited by Merlin66
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Robert,

I can't see an EQMod/ EQascom driver on the Skywatcher site - only the Ascom driver for the later Synscan hand controllers....

Connecting the EQDir cable from the laptop directly to the mount bypasses the Synscan controller.

 

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2 hours ago, Merlin66 said:

Ade,

Just to evaluate the set-up can you temporarily set the laptop closer to the mount, bypass the USB3 cable/hub and connect the EQMod cable.

I had some "issues" with a USB2 camera when connected to a USB3 port......may be this is similar????

(Was there sufficient power to the mount when you tried??)

 

Hi Merlin66

Thanks, I will try that tomorrow. I did wonder whether it’s related to the hub and long cable, but I’ve seen others during similar set ups without issue.

I’m powering the mount with a regulated 13.8V bench top supply, I’m confident it’s getting enough power.

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1 hour ago, Jm1973 said:

I’ve just had a skim - looks very useful. I’ll check it out properly tomorrow, thanks. Up to now I’ve been following YouTube videos, but some are more comprehensive than others.

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3 minutes ago, Ade Turner said:

I’ve just had a skim - looks very useful. I’ll check it out properly tomorrow, thanks. Up to now I’ve been following YouTube videos, but some are more comprehensive than others.

I was a complete beginner a few months ago, and that tutorial made it relatively straightforward to start controlling my mount with my laptop.

I think an evening was all it took to get the basics down.

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41 minutes ago, Ade Turner said:

Hi Merlin66

Thanks, I will try that tomorrow. I did wonder whether it’s related to the hub and long cable, but I’ve seen others during similar set ups without issue.

I’m powering the mount with a regulated 13.8V bench top supply, I’m confident it’s getting enough power.

I use a 5m usb repeater cable attached to a 5m eqmod cable and I have no problems with that.

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9 hours ago, Jm1973 said:

I was a complete beginner a few months ago, and that tutorial made it relatively straightforward to start controlling my mount with my laptop.

I think an evening was all it took to get the basics down.

Definitely going to go through it today, thanks. I get to the point where I think I understand something but then hit a brick wall; it gets so frustrating.

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48 minutes ago, Ade Turner said:

Definitely going to go through it today, thanks. I get to the point where I think I understand something but then hit a brick wall; it gets so frustrating.

Yeah, it is quite a steep learning curve. And there are a lot of different strands that all have to be working at the same time. Try not to get too frustrated though, as other people have already hit the same problems you have, and solutions are normally either on the internet already, or there are people who are able to give help.

If you hit any specific problems, pop them up here. The more specific you can be with the issue, the easier it is for someone to give you the right advice.

I was given a lot of help and advice when I first started, so if I can help with anything I am glad to.

Edited by Jm1973
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Totally endorse the light vortex guide. I'd even recommend installing stellarium scope, as it suggests, because I find it useful when aligning. I was getting nowhere with my NEQ6 and I still remember, after going through that guide, taking a deep breath, connecting... and finally hearing the sweet sound of the mount responding. 

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3 minutes ago, BrendanC said:

Totally endorse the light vortex guide. I'd even recommend installing stellarium scope, as it suggests, because I find it useful when aligning. I was getting nowhere with my NEQ6 and I still remember, after going through that guide, taking a deep breath, connecting... and finally hearing the sweet sound of the mount responding. 

Same here. I'd built up controlling my mount via EQMOD as this big thing, but the LVA guide made it pretty straightforward.

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Thanks everyone for all the advice.

I stripped everything back to basics i.e. EQ6-R (powered) > Lynx EQDirect cable (hand controller socket) > USB 3.0 on laptop - I connected nothing else and then followed the Light Vortex tutorial. Unfortunately, I’m still having the ‘timed out’ problem; the mount just won’t connect.

The laptop is about 5 years old running Windows 7 if that’s relevant.

I have taken a few screenshots of my setup dialogues hoping someone might spot something relevant.

The COM port is still reported as 8.

Photo 1: Following the set up tutorial when I click ‘OK’ in EQMod’sToolbox I get an ‘unexpected error’ flag, but when I closed it underneath is a ‘Success’ message - so I blindly carried on...

Photo 2: my EQAscom driver setup values.

Photo 3: the ‘Connect Error Timed Out’ error flagged up on the control panel.

Photo 4: I clicked the ‘Comms Statistics’ button and started a test - this is the result.

My instinct is to uninstall and reinstall both Ascom and EQAscom and try again.

Open to suggestions. Thanks.

4EACEB41-F621-421F-8BA3-D5E2B2A73A31.jpeg

5620327E-8DF2-4593-8BE2-B7221F850824.jpeg

AF02E359-0189-4907-88FF-1AFF1B4597E7.jpeg

36506E2A-7674-465D-9C9D-917A7E8E26C8.jpeg

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16 hours ago, Jm1973 said:

Have you tried installing any software before that might have used an earlier version of EQMOD or ASCOM? If so this can cause problems.

I did muck about with an earlier version of ASCOM (but not EQMOD) on my Celestron Evolution mount controlling slewing and focussing through Astro Photography Tool. Had weird issues with that too. It always connected to the mount fine, but pressing the virtual arrow keys would start slews which never ended... Had the same slewing issue using ASCOM inside Firecapture too.

When I bought this new mount I updated ASCOM during which process it reportedly uninstalled the older version.

If I get time today I’ve decided to uninstall both ASCOM and EQMOD (and possibly Stellarium) and start over.

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Don't worry about the unexpected error message. I think the light vortex guide even mentions that.

You're doing the right thing by running the Comms statistics test. Have you been through all the other ports on that test to see if any respond? 

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3 hours ago, BrendanC said:

Don't worry about the unexpected error message. I think the light vortex guide even mentions that.

You're doing the right thing by running the Comms statistics test. Have you been through all the other ports on that test to see if any respond? 

Thanks Brendan. TBH no, I haven’t tried the other ports. I haven’t had chance to play today, but I’ll work through them tomorrow 👍

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The other night, my EQMOD ini file corrupted, and I had to go through several steps to get it all working again. The Comms stats test was really useful - I just went through COM1, COM2, COM3 etc until one responded, and then I was back up and running. So, it really is worth trying before reinstalling everything. Good luck. I feel your pain. I've had a lot of problems connecting my current and previous mounts so I've been there!

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12 hours ago, BrendanC said:

The other night, my EQMOD ini file corrupted, and I had to go through several steps to get it all working again. The Comms stats test was really useful - I just went through COM1, COM2, COM3 etc until one responded, and then I was back up and running. So, it really is worth trying before reinstalling everything. Good luck. I feel your pain. I've had a lot of problems connecting my current and previous mounts so I've been there!

I’m sure I’ll get everything sorted eventually, but these early days feel more like I’m on a learning cliff rather than a curve. And here’s me thinking retirement was going to be less complex than work! 😂

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I just noticed that in your eqmod settings you have mount options set to auto detect. Try setting that to eq5/eq6 or whatever the setting is...

Edited by Jm1973
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5 hours ago, Ade Turner said:

I’m sure I’ll get everything sorted eventually, but these early days feel more like I’m on a learning cliff rather than a curve. And here’s me thinking retirement was going to be less complex than work! 😂

It's an extraordinarily steep learning curve.

There is another way to connect your scope to your laptop: by using the handset as a relay, and using a different sort of cable. So, keep trying with your current setup because it's really the best ie the simplest, and very common, so that means a lot of people will have similar setups and can help. But there's a plan B if this doesn't work.

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5 hours ago, Jm1973 said:

I just noticed that in your eqmod settings you have mount options set to auto detect. Try setting that to eq5/eq6 or whatever the setting is...

I did wonder about that, but the only other choice available was ‘Custom Mount’ - I didn’t see eq5/eq6 as an option. At the moment I’m in the process of reinstalling everything. Clean sweep 👍

Edited by Ade Turner
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1 hour ago, BrendanC said:

It's an extraordinarily steep learning curve.

There is another way to connect your scope to your laptop: by using the handset as a relay, and using a different sort of cable. So, keep trying with your current setup because it's really the best ie the simplest, and very common, so that means a lot of people will have similar setups and can help. But there's a plan B if this doesn't work.

Thanks, I’d considered that, but must admit I decided to go for broke right away with this new mount and go the whole EQMOD route. The opportunities and flexibility it offers are really appealing. My goal is to have a system through which I can blind plate solve and pretty much do all I need direct from the laptop. It’s a bit of a step change from StarSense and StarPortal.

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