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GoTo upgrade for EQ5 mount


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Hi humans ;)

Dumb newbie query for you.....

Am now the proud owner of a Skywatcher Explorer 200P EQ5!!

Have had fun on the few nights I've had available to me so far, but I'm very keen to upgrade the mount, with the aim of motorising/computerising the system and starting astro-imaging in the longer term :).

I've read a couple of threads in the forums, and it looks like I should go for a SynScan GoTo upgrade.

Anyone have any further thoughts before I put my hand in my pocket?

TIA

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I've never used the Synscan or Celestron's Nexstar for EQ5, so I can't comment on the Synscan system for this mount. However, the three star alignment is very easy to use on my Nexstar SE, and reasonably accurate.

Your other EQ5 GOTO upgrade options are iOptron's Go ToNova and Vixen's Starbook S.

On a budget, I would just go for the dual-axis drive, and do everything manually. If money is not a problem, you don't need portability or you want to do astrophotography, the HEQ5/EQ6 may be a better choice for a mount upgrade.

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Hi AstroDwarf

Sorry, please ignore the bit about Vixen Starbook S. I tried it on my EQ5 tonight and GOTO was all over the place. May be I was inexperience with the system, but there is a chance the Great Polaris's worm gear may have a different ratio to its clone - EQ5. I won't recommend it until I find out more about the problem. That probably means Vixen's SkySensor may not work on EQ5 either.

Anyway, your choices are SynScan, Go ToNova and Celestron's AS-GT (Nexstar). I don't think they sell the AS-GT as an upgrade, but someone might strip off theirs to sell on the used market.

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Get the skywatcher version. It's no more expensive and will quite definitely work with th minimum fuss.

When you install it have a search on here because most peeps end up connecting the wrong gears together. It's easy enough to install though.

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A 200P on a motorised EQ5 may be pushing it for taking pictures, especially when you add all the other bits that are associated with photography - you may be better off selling it and buying a ready made goto version of the HEQ5/NEQ6, rather than upgrading it.

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Get the skywatcher version. It's no more expensive and will quite definitely work with th minimum fuss.

Hi Astro Baby

Thanks for your comments.

It looks like motorizing the EQ5 is not a problem using the upgrade kit.

However, I'm going to need to factor in the potential difficulties of using this setup for astro-imaging.

Depends how desparate I get and how friendly my bank manager feels!

:)

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Hi E621Keith

Thanks for your comments.

It looks like motorizing the EQ5 is not a problem using the upgrade kit.

However, I'm going to need to factor in the potential difficulties of using this setup for astro-imaging.

Depends how desperate I get and how friendly my bank manager feels!

:)

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A 200P on a motorised EQ5 may be pushing it for taking pictures, especially when you add all the other bits that are associated with photography - you may be better off selling it and buying a ready made goto version of the HEQ5/NEQ6, rather than upgrading it.

Thanks for your input.

I am considering my financial strategy!!!!

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I bought a skywatcher 200 reflector on an EQ5 mount, then did the GOTO upgrade. As already mentioned it's easy to get the gears meshed incorrectly (like I did) but it's easily resolved. If you decide to install the GOTO and are struggling then drop me a PM.

I am also a newbie and find the jargon very difficult to understand - it takes me a while to fathom things out.

I have taken some pictures with my Nikon D70s and are very pleased with them. Many would laugh at my results but taking pictures often shows a lot more detail than can be seen visually though a scope. The problem I now have is that despite having the GOTO some of the pictures have trails.

What you really need for taking pictures is a guidance system. This involves another small telescope and a camera mounted on top of the main scope. This guidance scope / camera corrects any errors.

I hope that helps you a bit

Pete

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Hi there, Petrol Pete :)

Thanks for your comments - very helpful...

One question: apart from the visible trails, why do you feel many would laugh at your images? You say you get plenty of detail.

I'm trying to establish how far I can push the combination of 200P and upgraded EQ5 with regard to basic astro-photography.

Steve

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Nobody will laugh at any images and I'm sure everyone will echo that. We all have to start somewhere and you will get better with practice and experimenting. The tricky bit is getting the best from the software like Photoshop but I've found so much useful stuff on this website that it makes life so much easier. Go for it on the upgrade, but be patient - it takes a while to develop the expertise.

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Hi there, Petrol Pete :)

I'm trying to establish how far I can push the combination of 200P and upgraded EQ5 with regard to basic astro-photography.

Steve

I have a 200p and a EQ5 Synscan. I can get around 60 second exposures unguided with my DSLR if the target is overhead, probably nearer half that if the target is lower down. What you will need though is very good polar alignment and drift alignment to reduce star trails to a minimum. I'm no expert when it comes to alignment though, many people can seem to manage 2 minute subs unguided!

If you want to increase your exposure length by using a guidescope then it may not be practical because of the extra load this would involve adding to the mount. Another option though would be to use your existing finderscope as a guidescope. That is an option I nearly took up, but I decided in the end just to upgrade my mount.

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Hi Steve,

I thought I would do exactly the same as you - try to push the combination of 200P and upgraded EQ5 to take some pics. There’s a bit more to it than I first thought.

I’m a newbie so please, if the more experienced members could correct me if I’m wrong, I would appreciate it.

Try to understand what you are attempting to achieve – long exposures of a very difficult to focus object. Add to that you have a monumental telephoto lens on the camera (the scope) and it starts to get difficult. Basically it’s an “engineering nightmare” to do. That’s only the beginning though, the object is moving very slowly across the sky.

From what I can gather, the most you are going to get out of an EQ5 is about 2 mins max. An EQ6 PRO might offer slightly better exposure times (Though it will handle a lot more weight – more on that later) I have also been told that GOTO mounts costing even more will struggle with long exposures.

The answer is guidance. I have just bought a Skywatcher Startravel 80 as a guidescope

Startravel - Skywatcher Startravel 80 (EQ1)

And a Skywatcher Synguider Autoguider

Guide cameras - Skywatcher Synguider Autoguider

The guidescope looks at a nearby star and the Synguider corrects any errors that the mount has made. Whilst this is a cheap and cheerful solution, and I am sure, by no means the best, it’s all I can afford. Remember though that another scope / camera is more weight on the EQ5 – it can only handle so much. A PRO mount handles miles more Another downside is that my setup time will increase, as will my imaging setup time – the Synguider Autoguider will also have to be set up.

Hope that helped a bit and look forwards to more experienced members input.

Some of my pics should give you a benchmark to work to. All 1 frame and no processing. They are all easy targets :)

My cam is a Nikon D70S not modified

Pleiades

pleiades.jpg

M31

M31.jpg

Vega

120secs.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just want to add my thought on this thread. I have the eq5 mount and sky watcher explorer 200p with just a single RA drive motor and control panel. I have been taking shots of M45 and quite pleased with what I could get so far but now want to use a guide scope with the LVI Smart guider. Problem is there is no ST4 port on the single or dual axis drives you can get. SO your thinking dam I will have to upgrade to the go to system for the eq5 which means spending another 300 quid.. But no you dont have to.. It is possible to buy the dual axis controls for just under a 100 and with a little bit of soldering and a kit for 7 quid from astronomy on a shoe string website put in an st4 port in to it. Leaving you with a the port for attaching a guide camera to a small guide telescope mounted on your main scope. SO if you do it this way you can have enough money left for a guide camera and go down that road. You wont have a got to system but who needs it if you want to take picutures the priority is guiding and alignment this way is cheaper and will save you some dosh to invest in what you need. Up to you but thats the way I am going to go as I dont use or need a go to system mybe one day but not now I just dont need it. heres a shot of the Orion Nebula I got with no go to just a single RA drive good polar alignment and 30 30 second exposures.0n34.JPG

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May be I was inexperience with the system, but there is a chance the Great Polaris's worm gear may have a different ratio to its clone - EQ5.

Doubt it. Many people here are using the DK-3 motors and they're a clone of the Vixen MT-1 as well.

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However, I'm going to need to factor in the potential difficulties of using this setup for astro-imaging.

It's not more difficult, it's that the motor and gear train isn't as good as on the true Vixen stuff. If you are planning imaging, you'll have a laptop anyway, so you could also get the DK-3 and modify the handset with 4 relays to give it an ST4 port; that way you could use a Shoestring USB and "GoTo" from your laptop. That set of motors is a clone of Vixen's non-GoTo MT-1.

IIRC, at one time Astronomica hinted they could provide you with a modified DK-3 handcontroller, but I don't know if they still do.

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Doubt it. Many people here are using the DK-3 motors and they're a clone of the Vixen MT-1 as well.

Thanks. I now found the GOTO inaccuracy was to do with backlash, as it's accurate in one direction but about 1-2 degree off in the other. I also read the SBS firmware's alignment algorithms have some problem and accurate alignment required eight stars in four quadrants.

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Thanks. I now found the GOTO inaccuracy was to do with backlash, as it's accurate in one direction but about 1-2 degree off in the other.

Mhh - that's a lot of backlash. One thing: with that much backlash it's very important to always end centring of the alignment stars with the same keys on the handcontroller (e.g. right and up). Otherwise GoTos will end up all over the place.

My comments on the DK-3 or Vixen stuff vs. the Shuzou Synta stuff wasn't about GoTo's (I think EQ5 SynScan mounts with the Synta motors and gears GoTo quite well), by the way, but the size of the periodic error and the smoothness of the periodic error curve.

Edited by sixela
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  • 4 years later...

Just like to add my 2 pennorth in here if I may, and please, all you experienced astronomers feel free to shoot me down if I'm wrong . . . . . . .

I too am completely new to the hobby, with a SW 200 PDS & EQ5 mount and considering the SynScan GoTo upgrade.

As I see it, any GoTo system will reveal star trails at long (how long is long ?) exposures if the mount isn't properly polar aligned at the beginning.

If the PA is 'out' the RA motor will (allegedly) keep pace with the earth rotation. Keeping the subject in a fixed position there will be no star trails if the RA is rotating on the same axis.

However, a poor PA and the RA and earth rotational axis will be different. The mount obviously doesn't know this, so effectively the tracker and and earth axis will continue in different directions and hence leave star trails.

Obviously employing a computerised guidance system will (help) eliminate this as it will constantly detect a mismatch in the axes and make any necessary adjustments thus keeping the subject in a fixed position.

Hope this helps . . . . .

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Yes that's pretty much it, if the 'out' was meant to be 'correct'.  If PA is 'out' it could be wrong in RA &/or DEC.

Unguided a good PA may give you a couple of minutes of exposure time without trailing.

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I have exactly same setup as you 

i use SW ST80 as guide scope with web cam and i used to use canon 30d recently upgraded to 450d

Even tho i havent got chance to take any new pictures in about 2 years since my son was born and we bought house ( those things keeping me busy for some reason :) )

In work so cant post any pictures but if you look around there should be few from me here on forums so you know what you can expect

you will be pushing EQ5 to the limit and praying for no wind but it can be done easy enough

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