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Full EQStar Pro Review


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So I've had the EQSTARPRO for about a month now.

I think it's time for a review.

I got the pro version for the EQ5. It comes in other versions.

You get the controller box (solid aluminium box), servos with mounts, cogs and belts, and all the cables you need.

You need to supply your own power supply (12v standard connector).

The manual is.. not great. It doesn't cover fitting, just using it. It's all pretty straight forward though - I'd already fitting a motor kit, so I just removed that and fitted this stuff.

I adjusted the tension on the belt to pretty right (about 2mm play). There is no tensioner, so it needs to be tawt.

Before you fit them you should probably take the opportunity to adjust your worm gears to eliminate any backlash from your mount.

Once fitted, the motors connect to the controller via standard ethernet cables.

I changed the DEC for for a curly spiral ethernet to keep things neat.

You get a little hand controller with it which plus into the ST4 port and lets you manually move it at different speeds.

It has a USB post, which has a built in serial chip so it basically looks like any other EQMOD mount when plugged in to a PC. It also has build in wifi which can be switched on and off. Initially I used it in the wifi mode and used the synscan mobile app.

To SW Synscan app it just looks like an EQ5 goto mount - and connects fine.

There is one quirk (well quirk for me coming from azgti), in that you must set home position and hibernate to home position at end of sessions if you want to avoid doing the following each time. This might be the same on EQ5 goto - I don't know.

Basically disengage the clutches and goto home on synscan - and the servos will start to move and will move for a few minutes. You need clutches disconnected as they will otherwise twist your mount round and round.

Once motors have stopped, manually set mount in home position, and then engage clutches. At this point app AND mount know they are in home position.

From that point on it just acts like the azgti really - you can do your 2 star or 3 star align, your PA, gotos, moon tracking, sidereal, etc. All works fine.

Out the box it's set to 80% of max current/torque. which was fine till I stuck my bug 200p on it. It struggled a bit with that, so I changed it to 100%. You do that via a config utility on a PC with the mount plugged in to USB.

A few weeks later I got an ASIAIR PRO. Initially I had some trouble connecting it, and to be honest I'm not sure why. I did nothing to fix it, and it just started working. I can't swear to it that I didn't get an ASIAIR update inbetween. Bottom line is, it will connect to mount fine either in direct USB/COM serial way or via wifi (though I won't go into that here as you need to know what you are doing to bridge wifi networks).

Again, once connected to ASIAIR it has full control. Again, like synscan you must first tell it to go into home position with clutches disengaged. Unfortunately ASIAIR has no 'hibernate' function so you do have to do this every single sessions, which takes a few minutes.

Obviously with ASAIR no alignment is required, just jump straight into PA, then goto somewhere and let it plate solve you into the target.

This works a treat.

Guiding wise, it also works as you'd expect. My EQ5 is a bit of an old dog, but I can tell get about 1.5" RMS from it.

Neither motors or controller gets hot. They don't use a lot of current, and seem rock solid stable - unlike the azgti for example which sometime won't let me connect to it.

Support wise, Alexander over at www.astro-gadget.com  has been great. He often replied to emails immediately. English is not his first language (they are based in Ukraine), but he got me through the bits I struggled with above (home position, etc).

So the only real quirk is the home position stuff - it will need someone to comment to find out if this is the same on the real SW EQ goto mounts or not.

Also, they are only available direct from Alexander or via ebay - both from Ukraine. Mine arrives in around 1 week, and not extra tax/duty was due. Your mileage may differ.

For the money - it is a fraction of the SW Goto upgrade kit, is ready to plug into a PC with USB AND has build in wifi. It's also servo/belt based rather than basic motors.

Provided you don't mind working stuff out yourself (and hopefully articles like this one will help future owners to not have to), it offers great value for money. I'm not sure it's worth trying to build your own now really imho.

disclaimer: I paid for this, I have no commercial interest in www.astro-gadget.com. This is just my own view.


stu

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Just to say I had an EQStar EQ5 from Alexander (I think bought in late 2019 IIRC) & would echo what you said.  He's v responsive.  And the product was perfect for what I needed (goto on a Vixen GP2) - worked w EKOS (important to go back to Park position at the end of the night, but that is the same w my HEQ5Pro too).  Sadly had to sell the GP2 in the end to upgrade due to weight of total AP kit.  But would definitely buy from him again if I needed s/t like that again.

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  • 1 month later...

One thing to add - the continuing to have to do the gome palaver every time is a pain. I'd love to know if this is normal or an eqstar pro quirk.

Additionally I've never got meridian flip to work. Whenever you goto something on the opposite meridian it never works and goes all the wrong way. the only way I've found around this is to manually (well..via controls) move it to the other meridian, plate solve and goto somewhere close a few times.

No idea what thats about.

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14 minutes ago, powerlord said:

One thing to add - the continuing to have to do the gome palaver every time is a pain. I'd love to know if this is normal or an eqstar pro quirk.

Additionally I've never got meridian flip to work. Whenever you goto something on the opposite meridian it never works and goes all the wrong way. the only way I've found around this is to manually (well..via controls) move it to the other meridian, plate solve and goto somewhere close a few times.

No idea what thats about.

So parking the mount at the end of the session doesn't work? You still need to do the strange startup sequence each time? Do you use EQMod? 

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i use asiair pro - there is no park. there is a 'goto home' but afaik this doesn't seem to do the same thing. it's not like in synscan where you have a hibernate/restore from hibernate.

For all i know it's an asiair issue, but its all I've got.

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