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CThody

Synscan failure - HELP!!

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Hi. I have an EQ5 with Synscan. Setting it up this evening under beautiful skies and it worked ok. Switched off, went back to it, switched on and no display on the handset! Have tried different power supply and car power supply to test. Still no joy. When switched on the direction keys move the mount, but it doesn't track. Press any key and the direction keys cease to operate then.

Has anyone experienced similar problems?

Edited by CThody

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You could be 'lucky' and re-flashing the hand controller may resolve the issue as it is possible that firmware has become corrupted.

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The hand controllers do not like moisture. If re-flashing it does not work, try putting it under a hair drier for a few mins.

It could also be the lead.

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The hand controllers do not like moisture. If re-flashing it does not work, try putting it under a hair drier for a few mins.

It could also be the lead.

Maybe, but I've had no problem with my HC and it's been outside for hours on end without any issues.

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Hi. Thanks for your replies... Have treid the hairdryer treatment, to no avail. Also trying to re flash the handset, but not with any success (programme reports being unable to connect with the handset). I've reaqd people have difficulty with this, so any tips most welcome!!! I have a COM1 port etc operating according to Windows Device Manager, so no idea why it won't connect.

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I never leave my hand controllers outside when not turned on because I find they never seem to work well this way. I find they work fine if left outside when there is power going through them.

It must be a warm dry thing.

Edited by Dave-Ryan

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Well, have tried everything. According to an old XP PC the handset connected and updated. I've dried it out, even checked all internal connections, and it still has no display. Looks terminal to me... Just as we have the clearest sky for many weeks!!!

Edited by CThody

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Leave it in the airing cupboard overnight and try in the morning. Unless you have one of those new-fangled combi-boiler gizmos which means you won't have an airing cupboard. In which case leave it somewhere warm and dry. I reckon it's damp inside.

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Thanks, will try the airing cupboard trick... So strange that it was working and then didn't! Haven't got another cable unfortunately, will have to get it tested if still not working in the morning.

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When you flash up graded it how was the handset powered, direct from a power supply or from the mount? Did the display come on when you upgraded it?

I use a Cat5 network cable between my mount and handset.

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Power supplied from stand alone 12v supply. Display didn't show anything when updating or updated, but computer reported upgrade successful.

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A few comments on electronics & damp in general. These apply to any hand controls, motor drives, laptops outside, etc.

In the olden days of 'through hole' soldered components, dimensions were large. Typically 0.1" (2.54mm) between pins of integrated circuits. This meant that you needed a lot of moisture to cause problems. Also there was plenty of room to evaporate it off easily. The old components were more power hungry, so there was some self heating to keep things dry. The copper tracks linking components were wide, so if corroded from moisture, there was usually something left to keep the kit working. The tracks were a long way apart so you needed a lot of water to short adjacent tracks.

As the new millenium arrived, so did a new construction technique. Surface mount. This lends itself to automated (high volume) assembly and the parts are much smaller. Components are stuck to the board by solder, or sometime glue as well. Often the lead pitch on integrated circuits is measured in fractions of a millimetre. The copper tracks widths and spacings are similar. All of this means that small amounts of moisture can cause problems. Tracks are easily shorted, or corroded. Add to this the new devices are much better on power consumption, so there is little self heating to keep them dry.

A good non-astro illustration of the extent of electronics changes is the mobile phone. The brick of the 80s had a few hours standby time. Today's matchbox can't be smaller or it would be unusable, and has a standby time of days.

Always warm up the electronics after use. My observatory handset and motor drives are left powered up most of the time. If there are problems, and you are confident, take things apart to have a look. Many 'electronics' problems come down to connections rather than component failure. Whether it be a damaged/failed soldered joint, or a leakage due to moisture. You will though need magnifiers up to x10 or even x20.

Sorry it's a long one. But I hope this is helpful.

Edited by DavidValentine

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Is it covered under warranty perhaps. If you've only had it a short time, it should be replaced FOC.

If not, why not clean the Circuit board with IPA and a camel hair brush. Check the ribbon cable to the screen. It could be something dislodged, or a poor connection. Dry joint?perhaps.

I know it's a bummer when this happens. It makes one wonder when my turn comes. The thing is, with EQMOD being widely used, a controller can be found on sale boards these days.

Ron.

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Is the screen still illuminated ? If the warranty is out then it might be worth opening up and checking to see if the ribbon is still stuck down on the screen. There is a chance that damp has got in and lifted the adhesive if this is the case then some gentle heat and pressure on the joint may fix the problem.

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Thanks for all the replies, very much appreciated. The light does stay on but no text. Have checked the ribbon inside, seems ok but could only take the smallest break I guess. Fortunately there is still a warranty, so will try to get a replacement. Interested in this EQMOD that was noted, is that run from a laptop? Thanks too for the post about the electronics, undoubtedly later developments in manufacturing do have a price. Apart from bringing the mount into the warm house when not in use (not too popular with my Wife!) it's difficult to keep any moisture out sadly. I think it must have been the cause.

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Hmm. Keeping kit in the house? Consumer electronics has to be dry most of the time. At best you will get long term corrosion problems on connectors, etc. Corrosion on component connections means condensation is more likely, resulting in erroneous operation. You may even get total failures.

The military get away with leaving electronics kit in nasty places. But the build quality is very different to home kit. The price tags have two or even three zeros on the end compared to consumer stuff.

Tell this one to the wife. Some years ago a friend bought a house without a garage. He had to keep tools etc in a garden shed. His wife kept unused vases, ornaments, etc in the spare bedroom. After a couple of years electric power tools failed. Joints in pliers rusted. Chisels were blunt. The hundreds of pounds in wrecked tools just kept on. The unused mostly ceramic ornaments could have even been left in the garden without coming to harm. I was very unpopular for pointing this out before and after the events. I'm often politically incorrect.

If that doesn't work, tell her to leave her ipod, MP3 player, phone or whatever in the garden or shed and see what problems they get!

Edited by DavidValentine

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