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Mick UK

PHD Guiding--->laptop to mount connection help

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Would i be correct in thinking that i only need a cable to connect between a USB port on my laptop and the Auto Guider port on my neq6 pro mount to have everything up and running using PHD?

Can anyone please tell me which cable it is i would require:)

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Sorry but im not a guiding expert (not yet anyway) you'll need a a guide camera with an st4 port on it, along with a st4 cable to connect in between the camera & the st4 port on the mount.

Also the on the reverse of the guide camera there should be a usb port, you connect the usb lead from the camera to usb port on the laptop. Sorry it sounds like a dummy guide.

HTH.

Nadeem.

Edited by Deneb

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"Sorry but im not a guiding expert"

Nadeem, thanks for trying anyway:)

To be honest, im using a webcam as a guide camera and i have this hooked up to my laptop running through the PHD guiding program, the advice i need is how i connect my lapto upto my mount.

Ive read posts on here that say use a Shoestring GPUSB Auto-Guider which connects to the laptop, then a RJ_12 cable connects from that to the mount.

Ive also read that you can just use a cable connecting PDH from the laptop to the mount..its very puzzling at times!:eek:

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I use exactly those two cables RJ12 and GPUSB from shoestring for my guide cables, but I have a CG5 GT mount.

If no-one comes up with the answer you should be able to google it, or ask the manufacturers of your neq6 pro mount what you need.

Carole

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I don't have the neq6, but with the heq5 SynTrek, I didn't bother with the ST4 connection. I replaced the handset with the Laptop, and thus got goto and guiding in one. I used one of the ftdi usb cables, and spliced a bit of cat 5 with an RJ45 plug on the end on. I guess the mount connection would be different though. If you have the goto version of the mount, then there is a PC direct option with the handset. Have a look at EQMOD EQMOD under pre-reqs and the faq. In fact, FLO has the hitec eqdir module that would also work.

Edited by jgs001

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Thanks Carol/John.

John..perhaps i should have mentioned, i am already connected to the Mount with my laptop and using Stellarium to send the mount to the object i want to image (or i hope i will if i get everything up and running!) i am already going through the handset using it in "pc direct mode"...what i now want to do if possible, is connect my laptop to the mount with "hopefully" a single cable if possible so that i can use PHD to guide my mount...im reading different things every time i search which is muddling it up even more!:eek:

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I use PHD and connect from my laptop to the NEQ6 via the Shoestring GPUSB box. AFAIK you do need something like the Shoestring GPUSB to enable PHD to talk to the mount.

Dave

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No, you don't!

Look, the EQ6 has two ports, right? One looks just like a telephone port and the other one looks like a serial port.

eq6port_70.jpg

The technical terms are RJ-12 for the phone look-alike and DB9 for the serial port lookalike.

The DB9 is meant for the hand controller, the RJ12 for autoguiding ONLY according to ST-4 protocol.

Here's the thing: you can autoguide through EITHER.

If you want to autoguide through the autoguider interface (RJ12) , then you need the Showstring GPUSB adaptor and PHD will (reportedly, I haven't tried this) use this to issue guide commands to your mount. That kind of assumes you control the mount through the handcontroller connected to the other port (DB9).

However, you can autoguide through the DB9 interface as well because there is a cable you can get for that interface that will let your laptop control ALL mount operations (including autoguiding) provided you load the right software (ASCOM Platform and EQASCOM/EQMOD driver). PHD can use that too. That's what I've done with my EQ6 Syntrek. You can make the cable yourself (the EQMOD Yahoo group has the details) or use the Hitec Astro cable from FLO (Cables, Leads and Controllers - HitecAstro EQDIR adapter) and a standard USB cable.

Many people autoguide without using the RJ11 "Autoguider port" of the Skywatcher mounts. It's all done via the magic of the EQMOD ASCOM Telescope driver that you download. PHD (and many other guiding software programs) know how to talk to ASCOM mounts to get them to autoguide so they don't need to use the ST-4 system ( which is what the Shoestring GPUSB adaptor uses).

People prefer the ASCOM EQMOD way of controlling the scope because it also gives them GoTo facilities (through an ASCOM-aware Planetarium program like Cartes du Ciel), polar alignment help, Mosaic construction, autoguiding and other goodies all in one package.

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Mick as you already have laptop controlled goto working, presumably using eqmod, then phd should work perfectly well using the same connection. That's exactly what i'm doing without the handset connection.

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This is extremely interesting. I have an EQDIR adapter but have chosen not to use it as I only have 3 USB ports on my netbook. Are you saying that if I use EQMod that I can do away with the Shoestring gubbins and so free up a USB port for the EQDIR adapter?

Dave

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I don't use any shoestring gubbins Dave, I bought one of those USB Ftdi cables and connected it straight into the handset port on my HEQ5. I think the EQDIR adapter is providing the same facility as the ftdi cable. I use 3 USB ports...

1) the FTDI mount connection

2) QHY5v

3) Game controller

I've got GOTO and guiding working fine with that.

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Fantastic - I'll give that a go :eek:

Thanks John and Themos, and Mick for asking the original question.

Dave

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I have an NEQ6 and use the EQDIR which controls the mount via the computer without anything else. It takes the places of the handset on mine.

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I have an NEQ6 and use the EQDIR which controls the mount via the computer without anything else. It takes the places of the handset on mine.

I did know that was possible - it was doing the guiding as well without extra leads that I hadn't realised.

Dave

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Thanks for the replies everyone, they really are appreciated....just one thing...

My brain felt like a bowl of tangled spaghetti that needed untangling when i asked the original question, ..it now feels like a bucket full of spaghetti that needs untangling!

I was rather hoping there was one solution that everyone used and that was that!..there seems so many combinations with cables, connectors,EQDIR adaptors, Ascom platforms, eqmods, guiding software, ST-4, Pulse guiding, CDDCalc, Stellarium, drivers,FTDI mount connection, blar blar, blar de blar...all this and now stellarium wont work again with my mount and i wrote everything down as i got it working the first time so i knew what i did....:eek:.......O GOD....im going for a lie down my heads hurting!!!:icon_eek:;)

Edited by Mick UK
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I was rather hoping there was one solution that everyone used and that was that!..there

Pretend there is!

1. All software talks to hardware through ASCOM interfaces (ignore any cases where the software has "inside knowledge" of particular hardware).

2. Your mount is driven by the EQASCOM driver (part of the EQMOD project).

3. Connect a USB port to your mount with a special cable described under "EQDIRECT-USB" in EQDIRECT (or buy the HitecAstro gizmo from FLO).

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I have the HEQ5 but its the same setup... Laptop(usb) - HitecAstro EQDIR adapter - Mount (via EQMOD) no handset.

QHY5 - Laptop(usb) PHD

QHY5 - Mount.(guide ports)

So using only 2 USB ports

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Thank you one and all I was about to buy the shoestring gubbins. I will just buy the EQDIR adapter now and save a bit of money and a usb port/cables. I learn something everyday on here, great forum.

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Hang on a minute, surely you don't NEED to buy anything? I have read through the posts and it appears that you are 'ready to go'. You are already connect to the mount through the handset; PHD, via ASCOM, should work quite happily. Or have I misunderstood somewhere along the line?

Steve

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PC Direct mode (although it works) is not "recommended" by the Eqmod brigade...

I have left the mount running for 48 hours using it and no hiccups...

going down the EQDir route also means you can put that expensive synscan handset away "safe" or sell it...

Peter...

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Yes, that is what I have done. I was just trying to save Mick a few more pennies.

It should work fine in the short term.

Steve

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Option 3: PC-DIRECT

This option shows how EQASCOM may be evaluated using the SynScan (V3.21 or later)

operating in PC-Direct mode. To date the only application that we are aware of that can

make use of PC-Direct mode is EQASCOM. Please note that PC-Direct mode is an

undocumented feature of the SynScan hand controller and reliable operation with

EQASCOM cannot be guaranteed. This option is recommended for evaluation only and

should not be used where the mount is left unattended.

Connections:

The Synscan is connected to the mount in the usual way

The PC is connected to the Synscan via the serial to RJ-11 cable

Equipment Required:

• Serial connection to the RJ-11 (4 pin port) of the Synscan Hand Control. This cable

should have been supplied with your mount.

• If your PC does not have an RS232 serial port then you will also need a USB-

Serial converter.

General:

Control of the mount by the SynScan and EQASCOM represents two mutually exclusive

methods each operates with its own private parameter sets and data. We would strongly

advise against any attempt to swap between operating modes “on the fly” as this is liable

to lead to a situation where the mounts status and position becomes out of synch with the

unit controlling it.

..http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/docs/PC_Control_Options.pdf

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Sorry to jump into the thread like this but I have a question about the FTDI cable.

I'm planning on going the FTDI route with just a single cable to control the mount and then use my QHY6 for guiding through the ST4 port.

I've just been on the FTDI website and was wondering if anyone could confirm which of the leads it is I require as there are 6 options.

Heres a link FTDI

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