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Sky-Watcher Motor Control Box For EQ5 Pro 20123


Joharvey
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33 minutes ago, malc-c said:

You should be able to connect the USB cable between the handset and the PC as it has an in built serial port.  …

….  DO NOT use an true RS232 to USB adaptor to connect between the PC and the Synscan unit.  You WILL blow the board for sure.  If you want to replace the handset with a connection to a PC then use the appropriate EQDIR cable

Interesting. I found this https://olegignat.com/sky-watcher-synscan-v5-hand-controller-firmware-upgrade/ - see his rant about the USB connector. I must admit that based on this I didn’t try it but I will now. 

I’ve been using an EQDIR cable and a mini PC for imaging - I’ve never used the handset. 

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Well that worked. And at the same time it didn’t. 

Connected to the handset ok and updated the handset firmware. Connected to the mount ok and updated the motor firmware. But the problem persists - suggesting it’s a hardware problem. The only option now is a new motor controller 

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1 hour ago, jif001 said:

Well that worked. And at the same time it didn’t. 

Connected to the handset ok and updated the handset firmware. Connected to the mount ok and updated the motor firmware. But the problem persists - suggesting it’s a hardware problem. The only option now is a new motor controller 

Well you can't do any more that that.... I think you're run out of options and a replacement is the only way to resolve it.   Was the mount like this when you received it?  If it was it's a bit naughty of the vendor to sell it in that condition, but then again, maybe it developed the fault which was why it was listed. If the latter then the vendor should have stated that it had this fault.  - Still no point in raking over old coals, it is wat it is.

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2 hours ago, jif001 said:

Interesting. I found this https://olegignat.com/sky-watcher-synscan-v5-hand-controller-firmware-upgrade/ - see his rant about the USB connector. I must admit that based on this I didn’t try it but I will now. 

I’ve been using an EQDIR cable and a mini PC for imaging - I’ve never used the handset. 

* Why, on Earth, would Sky-Watcher put a USB type-B port on the hand controller, but not allow it to be used to program/control it. It is used as a power supply port.

The handset does actually have a Prolific 2303 chip  which is a USB to TTL serial adapter, that statement about it just being used to power the handset is incorrect

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* USB was invented in 1994 and shortly after that PCs stopped carrying COM ports. Why would Sky-Watcher have a COM-port based interface for their mount? It’s been 16 years guys. The upgrade is overdue.

Cost.... Whilst there may be new revisions that utilises changes such as those discussed here, namely the move form DIL package drivers to SOIC, the design is still the same, the firmware is still the same.  To design a new board around a new processor with built in USB and to re-write the firmware is a big undertaking.... but its happening.  The new boards are being brought out, but again they will use the serial protocol because that is what is used in the handsets, and by 3rd party software, so applications such as EQMOD, NINA and possibly the ASCOM platform would need a re-write and compile to use native USB protocol 

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4 hours ago, jif001 said:

 

if I end up with a new board I’ll be happy to let you have the old one, but if you manage to fix it I wouldn’t mind having it back as a spare, just in case!

That would be cool.  I'm sure we could sort something out if I manage to get it to work.  

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52 minutes ago, malc-c said:

Was the mount like this when you received it? 

No. As I said early on, I’ve been using it for 18 months and it’s given me some great images. It’s only this past week that it’s failed on me. 

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33 minutes ago, malc-c said:

* Why, on Earth, would Sky-Watcher put a USB type-B port on the hand controller, but not allow it to be used to program/control it. It is used as a power supply port.

The handset does actually have a Prolific 2303 chip  which is a USB to TTL serial adapter, that statement about it just being used to power the handset is incorrect…

Ha! It did strike me as odd that they would put a USB socket on it and still rely on an arcane method of updating the firmware. I should have listened to myself!

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I went for it and bought the controller. It’s a different board from the ones pictured above, having no jumpers but instead it has DIP switches. Any idea what the switch settings should be for an EQM35? Google isn’t helping!

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Ah well, no luck with that. The new controller works but the problem persists. Now I’m stumped. I’ll have to go right back to the beginning and check everything again. It’s clearly not the controller after all!

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Problem solved. 

According the Third Law of Sod, despite all of my efforts checking the cables and connections for continuity, I today found a broken wire in the ‘Dec out’ DIN socket. I soldered it back and now everything is fine again. I just wish that had revealed itself before I bought a new motor controller …

Well we learned one thing from this sorry tale - a new (MC019 RevD) EQ5 controller with the above DIP switch change will drive an EQM-35. It seems to drive it at a different rate, but I suspect that’s due to an error in the firmware that is said (on the Skywatcher website) to affect the controllers with the USB port (as in this case). There is new EQM-35 firmware there but I’m not inclined to flash it - might try returning this new unit, or selling it on. 

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Glad to hear you have got to the bottom of the issue, which is strange as a I would have expected the motor to stop altogether rather than run fine at full slew but chatter on spool up / down... 

I would contact the supplier to see if they would be happy in accepting the new board back as a return and refund you your money seeing that you have now resolved the problem and your old board works fine.  I'm sure under distant selling regulations or summat like that you have several days to return an item for any reason, so can't see why, and in this case the board had to be used other wise you wouldn't have identified the real reason for the fault.

 

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