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Got my EQ6, tis moving ... now what? lol.


room16
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Ok, so i know i cannot really do much until i have purchased the dovetail and tuberings from FLO to mount my scope...but inbetween all of this there seems to be an ever increasing amount of options to try with regards to astrophotography.

Now im not lookin for anything special, tbh, just a couple of decent piccies for now would be enough to show those who keep naggin me for pictures, its almost as if they don't believe it exists until i can show them, like the photos on the net just dont do it lol. Strange indeedy. Right now i have a logitech quickcam pro 4000 sat here so im gonna start with that.

Anyhows.

This mount i bought second hand, its in reasonably good condition and is just the standard eq6 with 2" legs and normal hand control.

My thoughts are that i would like to get this connected to the pc, EQmod seems the most viable option along with the likes of Stellarium and Stellarium scope.

But inbetween all this i require a lead, haha, now this is my question, which bloomin one do i need?

I've seen loads on the net with regards to rj45 to usb and some serial to usb with little boxes which i hazard a guess at housing circuitry.

I really don't have a Rubbish load of cash to drop on all of this, the rings and dovetail along with a filter & 1.25" adaptor for webcam will be about all i can afford for this month....especially as in the coming months i need to upgrade my camera that i use for taking piccies of tattoo's in my shop, so a canon 1000d might be on the cards, which will double for astro :)

Then we have the next stage, how long an exposure can i expect to take without star trailing just through running the mount from the pc without a guide cam? There's a lot to take in lol.....

Sorry for all the questions, i've semi avoided them for the past few days but inbetween work and family life, its hard to put it all together in one place.

Cheers.

Chris.

If there's anyone in my neck of the woods who's experienced in all of this then i would love the opportunity to have a chat and see first hand exactly what the craic is.

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Chris

If you are looking to go down the EQMOD route then I believe that EQMOD only works with 'Synscan' versions of the EQ5/EQ6 mounts which doesn't include the 'basic' EQ6. If you want to make sure that this is correct, have a look at the EQMOD group on Yahoo.

Steve

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If the mount is a standard EQ6 then goto is a no go. You will need to replace the motor control board, motors and the handcontrol to achieve goto.

Peter

Hi, Not exactly true, I modified my standard EQ6 for goto capability.

I used info from this site below.

ATLAS/EQ-6 MCU Replacement

It's a piggyback board which you make up (A reasonable amount of knowledge in electronics is required) which plugs in the old processor socket on the mount electronics board. Skipping any fancy extras you get a serial port on your mount to plug in to a computer and use ascom drivers to control the mount albeit rather slowly.

There is nothing you can do to speed it up as the mounts motors are not capable so a whole refit will be needed, £££...

As just having the ability to do short goto's and guiding was all I needed at the time I chose to email the guy and purchased a ready programmed chip with PCB all for about £20 inc postage.

I bought and scrounged from old modems the components and also purchased a serial to usb converter £3 off ebay and enclosed the new stuff in a box on the side of the mount.

Alternatively you can purchase almost ready made an updated version of the same thing from this guy below.

http://eq6.update.rajiva.de/

Pic of my modification

post-15833-133877418602_thumb.jpg

Edited by astromerlin
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So let me get this straight, with the standard motorised eq6 with the little 4 button hand controller....there is no possibility as it currently stands to connect that to a laptop and use it for astroimaging?

And what i need to do now is either upgrade the mounts motors/board/handset or mod it as the previous poster suggested by making my own board?

Oh well lol ... looks like that option is a long way off.

I mistakingly thought that with that mount and some sort of cable and associated software, i could use the current mount to take longer exposure astropiccies.

Darn it!!!

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Hi Chris

No, that isn't what is being said.

Yes, it can't be connected to a laptop for Goto purposes.

However, for AP, you don't need a GoTo facility. As well as having the camera, imaging software, etc, you need a mount which is polar aligned and can track reasonably well. Your EQ6 should be capable of both. You will however be restricted to shorter, unguided exposures

Steve

Edited by SteveP
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Its not so much the goto that i was actually concerned about....i'd rather find my way around the skys myself for now lol.

Just wondering if the current mount as it stands could be controlled from the pc, with the later addition of a guidecam n scope for longer exposures.

If this isn't the case then what sort of exposure times could i realistically expect to achieve without trailing?

I doubt this makes much difference but i will be using a 10" skywatcher dob ota on the mount.

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You won't be able to control your mount from a PC nor will guiding be an option. It won't of course stop you imaging and using the PC to control the imaging process

What you will be able to do is take unguided exposures. How long those unguided exposures will be is determined by (1) how well you have 'polar aligned' the mount and (2) the focal length of your scope.

If you have really good polar alignment and you, say, use a small refractor then you might get exposures of 5 mins and potentially much longer. If your PA is not as good, and you're using a long focal length SCT, you might only get 30 secs

HTH

Steve

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Yep, GOTO wasn't of first importance rather the computer control for guiding. The modification can be easily done, just a few components. Soldering was easy as the supplied board was pre-plated. The website has building instructions and pics of each step. The hardest bit is cutting a hole in the mount's control board, I have a milling machine to do that but could be done with a hand-power drill by chain-drilling the shape and use a file to finish.

You also have the availability to ask questions to someone that has done it before.

Since doing the mod early last year I have found it ideal to manually set the OTA on a recognised star and sync in Carte du Ceil (software) I can then do goto hops to the thing I want to image. I can also move the mount whilst imaging indoors via usb extenders.

Iv'e yet to have it guiding thou due to problems with getting 2 webcams to keep working at the same time. FYI, so far I've managed 180 sec subs any more and stars start to look egg shaped but that could be more to do with the horrendous PE the mount has, I can see a strip down looming take cover!

Cheers

John

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Ahh ritey. Well cheers for that guys :) cleared up a load for me.

I wouldn't even attempt the electronics part of it tbh. Looks simple enough but im ham fisted when it comes to soldering lol...then the thought of possibly making a mess n fryin the board in the eq6, really doesn't appeal to me either haha.

So for now...not sure what to do.

Cheers.

Chris.

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So let me get this straight, with the standard motorised eq6 with the little 4 button hand controller....there is no possibility as it currently stands to connect that to a laptop and use it for astroimaging?

And what i need to do now is either upgrade the mounts motors/board/handset or mod it as the previous poster suggested by making my own board?

Oh well lol ... looks like that option is a long way off.

I mistakingly thought that with that mount and some sort of cable and associated software, i could use the current mount to take longer exposure astropiccies.

Darn it!!!

Basically correct. If you just want to be able to autoguide then this is possible by modifying the 4 button hand control to add a ST4 port which can be used with the Shoestring Astronomy GPUSB autoguider

Shoestring Astronomy eq mod

Peter

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You said that initially you were looking for decent rather than fantastic photos. It'll still be possible to take good photos without guiding, just take lots of shots at the longest you can without trailing and stack them. This will teach you a lot about imaging and processing and you'll have more knowledge when you're in a position to upgrade.

Helen

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