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Mount Control question


Keithp
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Hello All.

After getting PHD guiding working successfully, polar aligning my pier mounted eq6 and generally feeling quite happy with the setup I was going get computer control working. I know the usual route is to use one of these EQDIR units

Cables, Leads and Controllers - HitecAstro EQDIR adapter

but I have a working serial to usb adapter. Could I use that connected directly to the mount where the synscan controller would normally attach? When I say a working serial to usb adapter, it was used previously for a small scanner unit. Are serial plugs all wired so that the signal on the various pins is shall we say, a standard. I've had the unit apart and inside were various small ciruit boards so it's not a direct wired connection.

Just thought I'd ask in case anyone has done this before and before I splash the cash on one of the above units.

Regards

All Keithp

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Thanks for that Martin, I guess I was just wondering if the Eqdir unit might be different in someway specific for mount control. Is the voltage from the usb connection from the computer the correct voltage required by the mount control circuit board?

Regards

Keithp

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Well I just downloaded all the drivers, eqmod, ascom and so forth. Serial usb drivers installed okay, recognises the device when I plug it in. Sky6 setup to use Telescope API and when I select the settings it fires up the ascom telescope chooser and from there I can select EQ6. Comm port 5 is being used by everthing so I guess the only thing left to do now is plug it into the mount and as you say Martin..give it a try.

I'll do a dry run this afternoon after the Grand Prix and let you know what happens.

Regards

Keithp

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hmm, nothing is happening. Confirmed the serial to usb drivers are installed and reported okay, set to com port 5. I have ASCOM platform 5.0b plus updated to 5.5.1.

I have sky6 installed with it's respective update for ascom use. I also have eqmod installed.

The power to the scope is switched on, the serial plugged into where the handset normally goes, this goes back to a usb extender in to usb on the computer.

If I fire up eqmod toolbox, click register to register the ascom drivers I get success. If I go to the driver setup it is reading eqmod port details: timeout 1000 retry 1 baud 9600 and port 5. I click ok there at the bottom of the window. If I click test connection the EQMOD ASCOM EQ5/6 window comes up and shows Connect Error: Timeout in the mount position part.

Any ideas anyone? Don't think anythings missing.

Regards

Keithp

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Hello All.

I know the usual route is to use one of these EQDIR units

Cables, Leads and Controllers - HitecAstro EQDIR adapter

but I have a working serial to usb adapter. Could I use that connected directly to the mount where the synscan controller would normally attach? When I say a working serial to usb adapter, it was used previously for a small scanner unit. Are serial plugs all wired so that the signal on the various pins is shall we say, a standard. I've had the unit apart and inside were various small ciruit boards so it's not a direct wired connection.

PLEASE DON'T DO IT!

You can wreck your mount and/or your convertor.

The connection to the mount is NOT rs232 - it is TTL. There pinout is a propriatry Synta configuration and has 12V coming out of the mount (to power the handset).

Chris.

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Thanks for the warning Chris. That's the info I was after. I've disconnected everything and re-attached the controller, fired it up and appears to be okay.

Looks like I'll just be using the hand controller tonight then until I've sent off for the bit of kit I mention earlier..

So it's not a standard serial connection then and the EQDIR adapter is different to a normal serial to usb adapter? Is that what you're saying.

Regards

Keithp

FLO - You just got a hitecastro eqdir ordered..for an eq6 mount..

Regards

Keithp

Edited by Keithp
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Keith

Don't do this!!!! Please follow Chris' advice

Following the 'there's one way to find out approach' will bring a premature end to your mount's electronics. The EQDir module is there, amongst other things, to reduce the voltage to that which can be handled by your mount. That's also what in a small way, your hand controller is doing.

You can however use EQMod without an EQDir module by connecting your mount from the PC via your hand controller and putting the HC into PC Direct mode. Thst will of course require an additional cable.

HTH

Steve

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Why is nothing along these lines on the eqmod site to warn of not doing what I attempted..am I being stupid or what...

the connection on the mount is a serial plug that does not conform to serial plug standards. I'm trying to think of an analagy to this, but surely standards should be standards. You expect 230/240 volts from a uk 3 pin socket?

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Cheers Glider, but I still stand by what I said before. The serial to usb adapter I have works with 2 different scanners and is recognised by windows with the standard prolific drivers. If the mount is using a serial port connector as it's interface then this should conform to serial port standards..and by the looks of it it doesn't

Not an arguement but if synta/skywatcher or what they want to call themselves are going to use proprietry connection interfaces then I would have thought they should at least conform to them.

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Old computers used to have serial com ports that used a 9 pin d connector, sent data in serial format and used RS232 voltage levels. The pins on the connector conformed to a standard.

Newer computers have USB ports and for compatability we use USB to serial RS232 converters.

The eqdir and the mount communicate using serial data format but not at RS232 levels, they use 5V TTL. The 9 pin d type connector that historically everyone thinks of as a serial port is there but doesn't follow the pin pattern or the RS232 voltage levels.

Even if it did follow the pin pattern for ground/TX/RX the mount puts 12V out to power the handset and that going into the pc could blow something.

I think that because people see a familiar 9 pin plug they think it's a serial RS232 port when it isn't.

I do see your point about the 13amp plug.

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Cheers again Glider, shame you didn't get on my trail before I started this or at the beginning, your knowledge is superior to mine on the connections/pin outs etc..hehe I only work with the dam things, rather than knowing what's coming out the pins.

But here you go and I stand corrected by those who know more than me. But that's what this site is about.. you live and learn.

Luckily no damage done. All is working okay.

Hopefully there is enough here that anyone searching on this will find the answer in future..

Regards

Keith

Still the best Astro site around here..,:icon_salut:

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Glad you got it sorted.

I laboured the point a bit because I think this is worth a sticky as someone does similar every couple of months and sooner or later something will end up getting fried.

The other ones I've seen over and over again are;

...I've added Goto/motors to my mount and it won't track(wrong gears are meshing)

...I've flashed my handset and it's dead(flashed EQ software into alt/azi handset or visa versa)

Enjoy.

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Why is nothing along these lines on the eqmod site to warn of not doing what I attempted..am I being stupid or what...

the connection on the mount is a serial plug that does not conform to serial plug standards. I'm trying to think of an analagy to this, but surely standards should be standards. You expect 230/240 volts from a uk 3 pin socket?

Keith,

The Overview section of the EQMOD site has clear diagrams of how a PC to mount connection is achieved and the equipment/cables used. This section also clearly states that "Either an external EQDirect level convertor or the SynScan controller (must be V3.21 or later) provides the interface to the mount itself."

The Prerequisites section of the EQMOD site says quite clearly that "The mount itself does not accept RS-232 level signals and so an additional piece of hardware is required to convert the output of the serial port to TTL levels"

The Prerequisites section also provide links to vendors of ready made EQDIRects.

For those not wanting to purchase a ready made device we also provide detailed instructions on how build an interface device. This section shows clearly the mount pinouts and includes a clear warning about the hazzards of directly connect a PC to the Mount.

So if you had read all the information on the EQMOD site you should have found may references as to how to correctly connect to the mount. That you chose to do your own thing is your choice and your responsibility.

I'm not sure what a "serial plug standard" is but the reason why RS232 standard serial pinouts don't apply in this case is simple - the mount is not using a RS232 interface. Just because the connector is a 9 Pin D-type does not not imply RS232. On a HEQ5 the interface to the mount is a RJ45 jack - this doesn't imply the use of ethernet or TCIP, it is a TTL interface just the same as the EQ6Pro its just a different connector that is used.

With regard to UK three pin sockets, I think you'll find that the associated British standard states that complying socket-outlets should be suitable for the connection of portable appliances in a.c. circuits only, operating at voltages not exceeding 250 V r.m.s. at 50 Hz. So whilst we all expect 230/240V, the socket/plug standard itself doesn't require it and you can quite legitimately use 3 pin sockets/plugs for other applications.

Chris.

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With all due respect and thanks to Chris and Glider. I'd agree. We numpties out here need a bit/lot of guidence. I only deal with databases, networks and complete computer re-builds, all to standards.

I'd be quite happy for Admins to make this a sticky as NOT the way to go.

Regards

Keithp

Ps perhaps the title could be modified to read....How NOT to contol your mount with a computer

PPS, I think I was lucky and got away with it..or stupid but not understanding the complexity of the information provided. So Admins please feel free to warn others with this

Edited by Keithp
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Ordered the correct bit off FLO, turned up the day after I ordered...excellent service as usual.

Also posted in supplier reviews. Excellent response from James, many thanks there.

Please, if this is something someone else might try..okay I might be on my own..stupid ..:iamwithstupid:doh! make it a sticky in equipment help. I was lucky, I'd hate to see someone fry £700+ worth of mount..well okay maybe a couple of hundred for a replacement board but there you go.

Not worth the warning?

Regards

Keithp

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Just a quick question for anyone using the astrotec adapter, are the drivers the same as the prolific ones for the normal usb to serial adapter. I just tried downloading them from FLO's link and I got some strange Chinese site

http://www.prolific.com.tw/support/files//IO%20Cable/PL-2303/Drivers%20-%20Generic/Windows/allinone/PL2303_Prolific_DriverInstaller_v10518.zip

I suppose the answer is in the link, but just checking they are the ones on the blue disk receieved with the usb serial adapter1?

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