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Panic Mode HEQ5 problem


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1 hour ago, malc-c said:

This is the baffling part.  As I have mentioned, most boards have been damaged through human error and plugging in either the wrong cable or the wrong type of convertor.  In this case that is less likely as the setup is semi-permanent and you seem to be someone who is not likely to make those mistakes, which as everything was working 12 hrs before backs that up.  The only time I'm aware of someone who used the correct EQDIR cable blowing a board was when they inadvertently  connected the wrong power lead and shoved 19v DC from a laptop supply into the mount, which it didn't like.  Now not saying that's the case here, but an over voltage is one possibility.  Maybe the PSU spiked or something happened to blow the board.

One thing I would try before purchasing a replacement board (at £30 I would still get the one listed above) is to replace the two electrolytic capacitors circled below

heq5_motherboard.thumb.jpg.d0163aab35cc54ef4451d6bb96cd542f.jpg  

Ideally with ones of the same value but higher voltage rating.  I've fixed my original HEQ5 board by swapping them out.  This is a cheap fix, costing around 75p for the two and well worth trying.  Just note the polarity 

 

Thanks, I'll give that a go. Bench supply is fed from the workshop underground and up through the centre of the pier to a splitter. Which then feeds the camera, mount, mini pc and also 2 12v to usb sockets which then power the dew straps. All were plugged in and still working. It is odd, hopefully just a freak failure. 

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It is very odd indeed.  Given your description of how the power is distributed, with everything coming form the one regulated supply one would suspect other items also showing signs of damage if the supply was at fault.  As they are all effectively running at 12 / 13 volts even if the wrong plug was put into the mount it wouldn't cause damage unless the polarity was reversed.  Having said that, these motor boards do seem to lack protection against spikes or reverse polarity.

let us know if changing those two caps work....

If the board still fails to function and you get a replacement for £30 (I'm sure they have missed the 1 before the 30 as that would seem a more realistic price - but as they have it listed for £30 I wonder how they stand legally if it has been mispriced?) I would be more than willing to take the dead board off your hands to see if we can get to the bottom of this issue.  

Edited by malc-c
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3 minutes ago, malc-c said:

It is very odd indeed.  Given your description of how the power is distributed, with everything coming form the one regulated supply one would suspect other items also showing signs of damage if the supply was at fault.  As they are all effectively running at 12 / 13 volts even if the wrong plug was put into the mount it wouldn't cause damage unless the polarity was reversed.  Having said that, these motor boards do seem to lack protection against spikes or reverse polarity.

let us know if changing those two caps work....

If the board still fails to function and you get a replacement for £30 (I'm sure they have missed the 1 before the 30 as that would seem a more realistic price - but as they have it listed for £30 I wonder how they stand legally if it has been mispriced?) I would be more than willing to take the dead board off your hands to see if we can get to the bottom of this issue.  

I'll keep you informed. Got a new eq cable arriving this afternoon so I'll see if that works. If the new board arrives I'm tempted to buy another at that price for a spare. Apart from visually looking, is there anything I can test on the little port board? 

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There is not a lot to test on the small PCB that has all the sockets and power switch, other than for any obvious shorts and blown caps (if fitted).

Let us know if the new cable did anything ?

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7 hours ago, malc-c said:

There is not a lot to test on the small PCB that has all the sockets and power switch, other than for any obvious shorts and blown caps (if fitted).

Let us know if the new cable did anything ?

No luck with the new cable. 

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3 hours ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

No luck with the new cable. 

So what's the plan now..... If it were me I would telephone the company in Cambridge and ask if they have a replacement in stock, and if so place an order for one.  If they state the price is more than advertised and is comparable with the other boards advertised, and won't accept the advertised price then the choice is to pay the normal RRP for it, or see if we can repair the one that's faulty.  

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6 minutes ago, malc-c said:

So what's the plan now..... If it were me I would telephone the company in Cambridge and ask if they have a replacement in stock, and if so place an order for one.  If they state the price is more than advertised and is comparable with the other boards advertised, and won't accept the advertised price then the choice is to pay the normal RRP for it, or see if we can repair the one that's faulty.  

Well I ordered it on Saturday and the PayPal payment went through and had a confirmation email from the company about an hour later. I'll see what happens over the next day. 

Got the board out today and can't see anything catastrophic on it. Here are the picturesIMG_20220725_114819.thumb.jpg.9f037136267a71745ba1a302e52b9c42.jpgIMG_20220725_114831.thumb.jpg.04ee2b65bd0b3197489af57e0319070b.jpg

 

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It's very rare to actually see anything physically blown on these boards when they fail.

Result on getting a replacement for £30.  I would use the new EQDIR cable just to be safe.  You don't know if it was the original EQDIR that failed in some way and shorted the board ?

I've dropped you a PM regarding the faulty board.

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Just now, malc-c said:

It's very rare to actually see anything physically blown on these boards when they fail.

Result on getting a replacement for £30.  I would use the new EQDIR cable just to be safe.  You don't know if it was the original EQDIR that failed in some way and shorted the board ?

I've dropped you a PM regarding the faulty board.

Just read that. If this new board arrives and works I think I'd like to get this one repaired as a spare. Couldn't get any probes in to test the lead so in going to chop the rj45 off to have access to the wires, I've been meaning to shorten it ever since I got it anyway. 

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4 minutes ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

Just read that. If this new board arrives and works I think I'd like to get this one repaired as a spare. Couldn't get any probes in to test the lead so in going to chop the rj45 off to have access to the wires, I've been meaning to shorten it ever since I got it anyway. 

The repair is an option, but if they are honouring the advertised price of £30 I would just buy a second board from them.  Given the extortionate prices I had to pay for the PICs due to covid,  and my preferred method of return postage it would be cheaper than a repair.

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2 minutes ago, malc-c said:

The repair is an option, but if they are honouring the advertised price of £30 I would just buy a second board from them.  Given the extortionate prices I had to pay for the PICs due to covid,  and my preferred method of return postage it would be cheaper than a repair.

I was thinking that too. Fingers crossed I get a dispatch notice today. 

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On 23/07/2022 at 11:57, malc-c said:

I stumbled across this whilst searching for a link to the new board https://www.campkinscameras.com/sky-watcher-motherboard-for-heq5-pro/

£30.00 - 

 

I see the price for this has jumped to £149, think they got the wrong price on. I had also tried to order one as a spare and got an E mail saying out of stock but will be sent one when in stock but that could be sometime. Got a feeling It wont be coming.

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Just a thought on the possible causes for this failure. I might have misunderstood but are you saying that your power supply is in the workshop and the measured 13.8V is at the power supply or at the mount? I don't think you have said how far your cable run is?

In any case, one failure we had when I was still working was due to a local lightning ground strike. The induced voltages in any buried cables in this scenario can reach stupid values and can easily fry connected equipments. The stable door shutting involved fitting protective equipment that would probably have cost more than your total observatory. I guess you would have mentioned any such occurence.

If your PSU is in the workshop then just for voltage drop reasons it would be better situated at the observatory end and in the case of induced voltage the PSU 'might' act as an extra layer of protection. 

Edited by Len1257
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10 minutes ago, Len1257 said:

Just a thought on the possible causes for this failure. I might have misunderstood but are you saying that your power supply is in the workshop and the measured 13.8V is at the power supply or at the mount? I don't think you have said how far your cable run is?

In any case, one failure we had when I was still working was due to a local lightning ground strike. The induced voltages in any buried cables in this scenario can reach stupid values and can easily fry connected equipments. The stable door shutting involved fitting protective equipment that would probably have cost more than your total observatory. I guess you would have mentioned any such occurence.

If your PSU is in the workshop then just for voltage drop reasons it would be better situated at the observatory end and in the case of induced voltage the PSU 'might' act as an extra layer of protection. 

It's an outdoor pier, cable run is 5m (ish) and its 13.8v at the pier. all other connected devices are fine. 

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1 hour ago, simmo39 said:

I see the price for this has jumped to £149, think they got the wrong price on. I had also tried to order one as a spare and got an E mail saying out of stock but will be sent one when in stock but that could be sometime. Got a feeling It wont be coming.

Be interesting to see if a) they do fulfil these orders and b) honour the £30 price tag 

My gut feeling is that where things such as control boards and handsets etc are concerned this shop act as "box shifters" and don't hold stocks as they wouldn't be a fast turn over item.

Edited by malc-c
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11 minutes ago, malc-c said:

Be interesting to see if a) they do fulfil these orders and b) honour the £30 price tag 

My gut feeling is that where things such as control boards and handsets etc are concerned this shop act as "box shifters" and don't hold stocks as they wouldn't be a fast turn over item.

Yep, I think you could be right. I was only getting one as a spare and at that price nothing to lose. 

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1 hour ago, simmo39 said:

Yep, I think you could be right. I was only getting one as a spare and at that price nothing to lose. 

I bet they wondered what had happened when they received all these orders for something that is not really a rapid turnover item 🙂   And then they realised their mistake !

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Well, a little bike ride and some minor abuse of the credit card and my mount is working again. Does anyone fancy popping over to put my setup back together again? I've got nice biscuits. 

 

Been wondering if my cable bundling might have caused the death of the board. Any electronic egg heads have an opinion on the probability? 

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Did they honour the advertised price of £30 , or did you have to purchase elsewhere ?

Hard to say what the original cause was.  PICs are quite sensitive to over voltage so if the regulation failed or spiked that could have blown the PICs, the diodes on the coms links in some boards blow if there is an issue with the EQDIR cable, or an over voltage on the coms lines can blow the serial UART in the PIC.  The two large electrolytic caps can pop/leak and cause a board not to run... Its take your pick really 

 

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2 minutes ago, malc-c said:

Did they honour the advertised price of £30 , or did you have to purchase elsewhere ?

Hard to say what the original cause was.  PICs are quite sensitive to over voltage so if the regulation failed or spiked that could have blown the PICs, the diodes on the coms links in some boards blow if there is an issue with the EQDIR cable, or an over voltage on the coms lines can blow the serial UART in the PIC.  The two large electrolytic caps can pop/leak and cause a board not to run... Its take your pick really 

 

I did change the caps on the board, the soldering was appalling though, wouldn't take, I'm blaming my old solder or the flux, whatever it was even when I got an ok joint it produced the same error so thinking it wasn't them any, the old ones looked perfect. 

Picked up a new style one from FLO, fingers crossed the other one comes in too as a spare, if it doesn't I'll take you up on the repair gamble. 

Only downside to going to FLO is getting hands on with a nice new scope that I really want now. 

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3 minutes ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

 

Only downside to going to FLO is getting hands on with a nice new scope that I really want now. 

LOL - temptation !

Well if you need the old board looking at drop me a PM and I'll pass on my details.  Glad to hear FLO sorted you out and you're back up and running once more

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6 minutes ago, malc-c said:

LOL - temptation !

Well if you need the old board looking at drop me a PM and I'll pass on my details.  Glad to hear FLO sorted you out and you're back up and running once more

Oh they sorted me out alright. Lol. But yeah, good to be back running again. Just gotta get it all set up again as clear skies forecast tomorrow. 

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On 25/07/2022 at 12:09, malc-c said:

It's very rare to actually see anything physically blown on these boards when they fail.

There’s a large piece of thrown solder which has come off of the resistor R680 (R80) next to the processor. There’s evidence of overheating here and as well as checking the component also check that this hasn’t caused a short between the tracks.

Edited by bosun21
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6 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

There’s a large piece of thrown solder which has come off of the resistor R680 (R80) next to the processor. There’s evidence of overheating here and as well as checking the component also check that this hasn’t caused a short between the tracks.

Can you point to it?  I can't see it. 

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