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Photosbykev

NEQ6 Hardware/Software for Astrophotography

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Well, there's no EQMOD/EQASCOM hardware as such.

True, the EQMOD project doesn't supply physical hardware but we have always published full instructions on how to self build an EQDirect.

Chris.

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I've updated the block diagram and text in the 1st post to correct some errors that I made.

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Kev,

I think this should be a "sticky"

It covers the subject well.

(I'd still add the PC> handcontroller under "PC Direct" as a workable alternative to EQMOD.)

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Kev,

I think this should be a "sticky"

It covers the subject well.

(I'd still add the PC> handcontroller under "PC Direct" as a workable alternative to EQMOD.)

If you can point at a reference for PC Direct I'll see what I can do. From what I understand the SynScan handset is used as the interface between the computer and mount rather than using a EQDirect usb/serial module ?

Edited by Photosbykev

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The Hitec EQDIR module is USB in from the computer. The EQDIR output looks like a serial cable but electrically it isn't. You can also get a serial in/EQ6 out EQDIR module.

The canon 1000d comes with software that allows full control of the camera, programmed exposure series, download of images and remote liveview.

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Thanks for the extra info BlueAstra, the EOS Utilities software that is bundled with the EOS bodies is ok but there is far better control software out there that is baised towards Astrophotography and include a lot of features relevant to Astro work.

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Don't forget, PC Direct mode is not actually recommended.

I use the handset with the Celestron driver and not PC Direct mode.

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Great thread and very useful to a noob such as me:icon_salut:

Thanks for taking the time to pull this together.

2 Questions, if I may:


  • The ST4 cable between the guide camera and the mount is optional because EQMOD allows for pulse guiding using only the EQDIR cable from laptop to mount.
    Steve
    I assume that if the guide camera has an ST4 port, then the connection from the guide camera to the laptop is redundant, as the guide-camera issues the slew commands directly to the mount? Or does PHD on the laptop issue the correction commands (which makes the ST4 connection for the guidecam to the mount redundant)?
  • If I use a remote shutter release (like this), then I do not need to use a connection from the DSLR back to the lappy?

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If you are using PHD with a guide cam with ST4 connections you still need both connections (USB+ST4) the camera contains 4 switches that are controled by the USB. PHD sends a pulse to the camera whish then activates the switch and sends the voltage to the mount.

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Great thread and very useful to a noob such as me:icon_salut:

Thanks for taking the time to pull this together.

2 Questions, if I may:


  • I assume that if the guide camera has an ST4 port, then the connection from the guide camera to the laptop is redundant, as the guide-camera issues the slew commands directly to the mount? Or does PHD on the laptop issue the correction commands (which makes the ST4 connection for the guidecam to the mount redundant)?
  • If I use a remote shutter release (like this), then I do not need to use a connection from the DSLR back to the lappy?

Martin ^^ answered the first point well, but this only applies if you have selected the on-camera option for guiding, if you use EQMOD to control the PHD corrections then the ST-4 lead is redundant.

If you use a standalone remote timer on the camera then the DSLR usb and serial control cables aren't needed.

Edited by Photosbykev

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If you are using PHD with a guide cam with ST4 connections you still need both connections (USB+ST4) the camera contains 4 switches that are controled by the USB. PHD sends a pulse to the camera whish then activates the switch and sends the voltage to the mount.

Not if you're using EQMOD. Just the usb is needed. The cam talks back to PHD which passes it's info onto EQMOD which then talks to the mount.

Edited by astroimpulse

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If you are using PHD with a guide cam with ST4 connections you still need both connections (USB+ST4) the camera contains 4 switches that are controled by the USB. PHD sends a pulse to the camera whish then activates the switch and sends the voltage to the mount.
Not if you're using EQMOD. Just the usb is needed. The cam talks back to PHD which passes it's info onto EQMOD which then talks to the mount.

Arrggghhhh:icon_scratch:

If I read this correctly, then I can either:

  • use PHD (which requires the ST4 cable from guidecam to the mount and the USB from cam to lappy)
  • Use EQMOD (which requires USB from the guidecam to the lappy and an EQDIR connection from the lappy to the mount.

I assume if I use a normal webcam for guiding, then the 2nd option is what I need?

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Arrggghhhh:icon_scratch:

If I read this correctly, then I can either:

  • use PHD (which requires the ST4 cable from guidecam to the mount and the USB from cam to lappy)
  • Use EQMOD (which requires USB from the guidecam to the lappy and an EQDIR connection from the lappy to the mount.

I assume if I use a normal webcam for guiding, then the 2nd option is what I need?

Yup,

if your guide camera doesn't have the built-in ST-4 port then you need to use EQMOD to get the PHD guiding corrections back to the mount

Edited by Photosbykev

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Yup,

if your guide camera doesn't have the built-in ST-4 port then you need to use EQMOD to get the PHD guiding corrections back to the mount

OK, great. Thanks for the quick answer:icon_salut:

Last question (for now:D).....why not connect the DSLR to the USB hub, cutting down on a cable? would the size of the files from the DSLR (assuming you are saving the images back onto the lappy, not onto a card in the camera) saturate the bandwidth on the single USB cable?

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Yes,

If the guide camera ie DSI or webcam doesn't have a built in ST-4 port, then you have to guide via the PC.

This means either a EQMOD/ EQDIR cable between the PC and the mount or a ShoeString guide cable GPUSB to the ST-4 port on the mount.

The Shoestring Astronomy Store - Products

Glider,

Can you explain the comment about the PCDirect???

I use the handcontroller and PCDirect to connect CdC/ TheSky etc to the mount via a serial cable for control and GOTO. Works 100%

Also handcontrollers above V3.2 can still control the scope (ie directional buttons) when connected via PCDirect or EQMOD... I never experienced any problems with this method. HEQ5pro and NEQ6pro, with V3.25 firmware.

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Glider,

Can you explain the comment about the PCDirect???

I use the handcontroller and PCDirect to connect CdC/ TheSky etc to the mount via a serial cable for control and GOTO. Works 100%

Also handcontrollers above V3.2 can still control the scope (ie directional buttons) when connected via PCDirect or EQMOD... I never experienced any problems with this method. HEQ5pro and NEQ6pro, with V3.25 firmware.

What he said?! I was going to ask the same. This is how I control my mount through my Mac and Stellarium.

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Yes,

Glider,

Can you explain the comment about the PCDirect???

I use the handcontroller and PCDirect to connect CdC/ TheSky etc to the mount via a serial cable for control and GOTO. Works 100%

Also handcontrollers above V3.2 can still control the scope (ie directional buttons) when connected via PCDirect or EQMOD... I never experienced any problems with this method. HEQ5pro and NEQ6pro, with V3.25 firmware.

According to the EQMod Project:

"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."

So, presumably since it is an undocumented feature of the Synscan hand controller, future firmware revisions may alter or perhaps even remove this functionality. Or may not. The point is, it's always a bit tricky relying on any feature which is undocumented and/or untested by the manufacturer.

Edited by Black Knight

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On the ASCOM/EQMOD website they do not recommend using PC Direct mode (the option in the handset menu) for unattended use as it is not fully documented in the public domain by Skywatcher.

I use the Celestron driver because it gives me a keypad on the desktop I can nudge the mount with plus all of the handset functions still work when not in PC Direct mode.

I don't think 'all' of the handset functions still work if you use PC Direct mode on the handset. I could be wrong on that one though.

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This would make an excellent sticky with the handset route added for completeness, with and without reference to PC-Direct.

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OK, great. Thanks for the quick answer:icon_salut:

Last question (for now:D).....why not connect the DSLR to the USB hub, cutting down on a cable? would the size of the files from the DSLR (assuming you are saving the images back onto the lappy, not onto a card in the camera) saturate the bandwidth on the single USB cable?

rightly or wrongly I think the DSLR usb link is best kept away from all the serial comms and the guidecam signals that are running on the powered hub to avoid any bandwidth issues. I know my system works fine the way I've connected it so I'm happy to stay with the setup I use.

I save the images to a 64Gb card in the camera and copy them onto the laptop as well.

Edited by Photosbykev

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Thats interesting, I'm guessing this is the case if you are using ASCOM / EQMOD? As it stands I dont use ASCOM and cant use it on my Mac. Funnily enough when I connect my mount to my Mac you don't actually switch to PC Direct Mode....anyway, dont want to hijack the thread and would also like it to be made a sticky!!!

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