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eqmod basic help needed please


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Hello all, couple of questions for you guys on initial eqmod setup as I am trying to get my mind around things and I do seem to be going around in circles;

Has anybody used eqmod with a usb hub local to the mount and then an active usb 10M cable to laptop?

Has anybody used eqmod with the synscan wifi adapter to laptop?

I have very poor wifi in the garden so the laptop will not be able to connect to the home network so what do you use for gps when using for example stellarium on a remote laptop?

Many thanks for your help

Les

 

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From experience I'd forget the 10M active cable, as I've never found them any good..... 

IF your set-up is permanent, then I'd consider sighting a small single board computer (Raspberry Pi3\4, Pine64 Pro's etc...) at the scope and then controlling everything inside...  If everything is running on the SBC, then interruptions due to bad connectivity won't matter so much. 

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10m is pushing USB, especially if it's going to a hub which then has other devices connected to it.  I have two 5m active USB cables between the observatory PC and the mount.  One then has the EQDIR cable connected to it, the other is connected to a HUB.  The guide camera, dslr camera, and gamepad is then connected to the hub.  The observatory PC then handels the software (EQMOD, APT, CdC and PHD2) to run the sessions.  If it's cold I can remote into the observatory PC from the main PC via the home network and monitor the imaging session from the comfort of the lounge.

As Julian mentions, the alternative is a dedicated SBC such as the Pi,  or a NUC if you want to stick with windows that can replace the full blown PC if space is a problem.

Edited by malc-c
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Hi,

I used to have a powered USB 3.0 hub attached to the side of my mount then I would run a 10m USB 3.0 cable into my back room and connect it to my computer.  This would work but as previously stated 10m is a bit of a push.  When I first tried it I could not get it to work as I was using cheap USB 3.0 hub and cables.  I paid a lot more for the hub from 'Startech' and the USB 3.0 active cable from Lindy and I got it to work and ran it like that for a number of years.

 

I am now using a RPI 4 attached to my telescope and from this I am running a Cat 6 cable into my house and computer and this works very well.  I can also use it over WiFi when not at home as the RPI 4 has its own WIFI which I connect it to.  I am running KStart and Ekos on the RPI4.

 

Doug

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2 hours ago, Dr_Ju_ju said:

From experience I'd forget the 10M active cable, as I've never found them any good..... 

IF your set-up is permanent, then I'd consider sighting a small single board computer (Raspberry Pi3\4, Pine64 Pro's etc...) at the scope and then controlling everything inside...  If everything is running on the SBC, then interruptions due to bad connectivity won't matter so much. 

Thanks for getting back, does eqmod work on a Raspberry Pi? I thought it was windows only.

Scratch the 10M active usb 👍

It's not a permanent set up at the moment, I just want try to take first steps to get things working remotely from the mount. Because of the layout of the garden I can get the telescope to about 8M from the shed/summer house so a 5M cable into a hub would work as long as the cables from device to hub are about 3M. 

 

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41 minutes ago, malc-c said:

 I have two 5m active USB cables between the observatory PC and the mount.  One then has the EQDIR cable connected to it, the other is connected to a HUB.  The guide camera, dslr camera, and gamepad is then connected to the hub.  The observatory PC then handels the software (EQMOD, APT, CdC and PHD2) to run the sessions.  If it's cold I can remote into the observatory PC from the main PC via the home network and monitor the imaging session from the comfort of the lounge.

As Julian mentions, the alternative is a dedicated SBC such as the Pi,  or a NUC if you want to stick with windows that can replace the full blown PC if space is a problem.

Many thanks 👍 so your powered hub is 5M from your observatory PC then the devices connected to the hub are a few meters from there and all is good, that works for me. 

You have done me with this though......NUC? 

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28 minutes ago, Doug64 said:

I paid a lot more for the hub from 'Startech' and the USB 3.0 active cable from Lindy and I got it to work and ran it like that for a number of years.

I am now using a RPI 4 attached to my telescope and from this I am running a Cat 6 cable into my house and computer and this works very well.  I can also use it over WiFi when not at home as the RPI 4 has its own WIFI which I connect it to.  I am running KStart and Ekos on the RPI4.

Thanks for getting back to me 👍 I already have a startech usb 4 port hub so my thoughts were to use what I have as far as it goes, I was looking at a startech active usb 3.0 cable to link between laptop and hub. It's a similar price for an active usb cable and a raspberry pi so some thoughts are needed.

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27 minutes ago, M40 said:

Many thanks 👍 so your powered hub is 5M from your observatory PC then the devices connected to the hub are a few meters from there and all is good, that works for me. 

You have done me with this though......NUC? 

 

My observatory is 2.2m x 4.8m, divided into a scope room and warm room (although even with insulation in the floor, walls and roof it's not really warm in winter so whoever came up with the term must have been drunk at the time  !)  The cables are fed from the PC in the warm room, down a pipe that runs under the floor, then back up to the pier in the middle of the scope room, to the top plate where the hub and power is.  So whilst the distance as the crow flies between the PC and mount is less than 5m (probably circa 2.5m) the actual route is close to 5m.  

From the hub most USB cabled are 1.5m or 2m depending how far away the device is, or how much slack is needed so they don't get snagged

NUC - Next Unit of Computing - Basically an ultra small form factor PC.  Typically 4.5" x 4.5" x 1.5" 

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Amazing how you think you have things more or less there and then you lose track of where you are, so...

My thoughts were an eqdir usb cable into a windows laptop running eqmod ascom as I quite like the interface and it "appears" straightforward. It also covers everything I need. I was also going to use backyardeos. Now the spanner is well and truly in the works with a RPI networked from the mount to a remote laptop running Kstart and Ekos which to be honest I wasn't aware of...... so.....

whichever direction I go, it's a learning curve, which would you say is easiest to use?

I can't see me at the moment doing many hours of processing so it'smore for visual and some playing at stacking

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3 minutes ago, M40 said:

Amazing how you think you have things more or less there and then you lose track of where you are, so...

My thoughts were an eqdir usb cable into a windows laptop running eqmod ascom as I quite like the interface and it "appears" straightforward. It also covers everything I need. I was also going to use backyardeos. Now the spanner is well and truly in the works with a RPI networked from the mount to a remote laptop running Kstart and Ekos which to be honest I wasn't aware of...... so.....

whichever direction I go, it's a learning curve, which would you say is easiest to use?

I can't see me at the moment doing many hours of processing so it'smore for visual and some playing at stacking

Pretty much all astro software is hard to use - it's just degrees of difficulty!

If you're just looking to start using as a basic "visual" setup I'd start with something Windows based like SharpCap and EQMod. They're very simple, will let you leverage experience with Windows drivers etc to get you going while you understand the mount/telescope/camera side of things, so are a good entry point (and low cost!). Active USB cables to feed a hub might be OK but I'd want to use a powered hub and run mains/12V out to the hub to avoid it trying to bus power stuff off a long extension lead (which will itself be drawing some of that USB power budget for itself). One of those cheap "dry box" things and an extension lead and you're sorted.

In the grand scheme of things ASCOM and USB is going to be around for a long while but INDI is basically the only game in town for networked astrophotography stuff and widely supported by vendors now, so getting on board with a Raspberry Pi on your mount/scope will put you in better stead for more sophisticated stuff down the line when remotely operating with a PC distant from the scope. KStars/Ekos is also incredibly powerful for the startling cost of free (do buy Jasem a coffee if you enjoy using it, though).

I use two Pis - one as a "desktop" indoors and one on the scope - using INDI on the scope and KStars/Ekos on the desktop to run it all. But you can use an existing laptop for the indoor end as easily!

As soon as you start tinkering with imaging there's a bunch of other things you'll undoubtedly want to have available on your upgrade path - motor focusing being the big one of course - and eventually you're going to need more USB ports. Daisy-chaining etc can work, but is expensive and quite clunky - and much less reliable.

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Has anybody used eqmod with a usb hub local to the mount and then an active usb 10M cable to laptop?

Are you using USB2 or USB3 ( not the laptop ports...the equipment USB ports) as this will make a huge difference to the reliability of longer USB cables ?

What total equipment do you have connected to USB ?

 

I have very poor wifi in the garden so the laptop will not be able to connect to the home network so what do you use for gps when using for example stellarium on a remote laptop?

You wont need GPS at home as you can input co-ordinates manually .... or have I missed the point ?

 

 

Kev

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17 minutes ago, discardedastro said:

Pretty much all astro software is hard to use - it's just degrees of difficulty!

If you're just looking to start using as a basic "visual" setup I'd start with something Windows based like SharpCap and EQMod. They're very simple, will let you leverage experience with Windows drivers etc to get you going while you understand the mount/telescope/camera side of things, so are a good entry point (and low cost!). Active USB cables to feed a hub might be OK but I'd want to use a powered hub and run mains/12V out to the hub to avoid it trying to bus power stuff off a long extension lead (which will itself be drawing some of that USB power budget for itself). One of those cheap "dry box" things and an extension lead and you're sorted.

In the grand scheme of things ASCOM and USB is going to be around for a long while but INDI is basically the only game in town for networked astrophotography stuff and widely supported by vendors now, so getting on board with a Raspberry Pi on your mount/scope will put you in better stead for more sophisticated stuff down the line when remotely operating with a PC distant from the scope. KStars/Ekos is also incredibly powerful for the startling cost of free (do buy Jasem a coffee if you enjoy using it, though).

I use two Pis - one as a "desktop" indoors and one on the scope - using INDI on the scope and KStars/Ekos on the desktop to run it all. But you can use an existing laptop for the indoor end as easily!

As soon as you start tinkering with imaging there's a bunch of other things you'll undoubtedly want to have available on your upgrade path - motor focusing being the big one of course - and eventually you're going to need more USB ports. Daisy-chaining etc can work, but is expensive and quite clunky - and much less reliable.

Many thanks discardedastro, you used two words I really like, very and simple 🤪  I have a powered usb 3 hub and a motorised focuser so eqmod fitted the bill. I will look at sharpcap 👍

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8 minutes ago, Kev M said:

Are you using USB2 or USB3 ( not the laptop ports...the equipment USB ports) as this will make a huge difference to the reliability of longer USB cables ?

What total equipment do you have connected to USB ?

You wont need GPS at home as you can input co-ordinates manually .... or have I missed the point ?

Thanks for getting back to me 👍 I was going for all usb 3 as far as poss. As to equipment, not fully sure but a start off was focuser, DSLR, mount and in the future a guide cam. Reading backyardeos the camera may get a bit iffy with a hub so was toying with the idea of a single powered usb cable between laptop and camera but was going to initially try it through the hub. The hub I have is a startech 4 port powered usb 3 device so allegedly should be ok.

As for the gps......... I never thought of inputting the data manually 🤦‍♂️ I will be packing it all away each night so not a fixed install, but it will always be set up in the garden so the data will always be the same .... doh 🤪

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I guess it's whatever you are used to.

I played about with Linux, Kstars and INDI a few years back, probably not long after the Pi came out.  For me I found it very confusing and frustrating as most of the time it was still command line driven and scripted.  Things have probably moved along a lot more and now INDI is becoming as widely supported as ASCOM is on the windows platform.  As I've already mentioned, I use two PCs which are both hard wired via cat6 cable to the GB switch that forms the centre of the home network, and use remote desktop for convenience.   

If you find linux "better" than windows, then look at the post from discardedastro and follow that path.  There are so many options and none of us can really tell you which path to go...  There are dedicated controllers like Asiair (although I think these only work with their cameras) or you could use USB over Ethernet to get over the distance issue.... it can get as complicated as you want to make it...

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