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Photosbykev

NEQ6 Hardware/Software for Astrophotography

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

Merlin66 is giving me info on the PC-Direct option which I'll add back into the 1st post on the thread.

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Digz, I think that the Skywatcher handset basically emulates a Celestron mount. As such it doesn't need to be put into PC-Direct mode. As you say, you don't do that on your Mac anyway. I seem to remember reading words to that effect somewhere.

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I think it's worth pointing out that you don't need EQMOD at all, thereby simplifying the whole setup.

Tony..

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I've added some notes on PC Direct usage that Merlin66 has given to me in Post #1. As usual any comments/corrections are always welcome

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Kev,

Just one comment on point 4 for PC Direct mode - Ascom software isn't required for Mac users. I did actually wrote an article on connecting a mount to a Mac and running it through Stellarium but it seems to have gone unoticed here, lol.

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Kev,

Just one comment on point 4 for PC Direct mode - Ascom software isn't required for Mac users. I did actually wrote an article on connecting a mount to a Mac and running it through Stellarium but it seems to have gone unoticed here, lol.

thank you Digz I'll add a note about mac users

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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?

Here's an attempt to clarify this ST4 cable question;

There are two main options for connection of a guide camera to an HEQ5 or 6 mount. Both use PHD (or other guiding programme) but from my experience you have a choice in PHD between;

  • Setting the "Mount" menu bar item in PHD to ASCOM. In this mode PHD uses Ascom and an EQDIR lead to send guide pulses to the mount The mount must be selected and connected using "Connect to Telescope" icon at the bottom of the screen. This works whether the guide camera has an ST4 guide port or not - but an ST4 cable is NOT needed in this mode because PHD talks to Ascom, and Ascom guides the mount via the EQDIR lead.

OR BY

  • Setting the "Mount" menu bar item in PHD to On-Camera. This is only appropriate if the guide camera has an ST4 guide port (i.e. not yer standard webcam) and you need an ST4 lead to connect the camera to the mount. In this mode there is no need for Ascom and there is no need to select and connect the mount using "Connect to Telescope" icon at the bottom of the screen. This is because PHD drives the guider relays in the camera to guide the mount via the ST4 lead.

Hope this helps....

Duck!

Steve

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Here's an attempt to clarify this ST4 cable question;

There are two main options for connection of a guide camera to an HEQ5 or 6 mount. Both use PHD (or other guiding programme) but from my experience you have a choice in PHD between;

  • Setting the "Mount" menu bar item in PHD to ASCOM. In this mode PHD uses Ascom and an EQDIR lead to send guide pulses to the mount The mount must be selected and connected using "Connect to Telescope" icon at the bottom of the screen. This works whether the guide camera has an ST4 guide port or not - but an ST4 cable is NOT needed in this mode because PHD talks to Ascom, and Ascom guides the mount via the EQDIR lead.

OR BY

  • Setting the "Mount" menu bar item in PHD to On-Camera. This is only appropriate if the guide camera has an ST4 guide port (i.e. not yer standard webcam) and you need an ST4 lead to connect the camera to the mount. In this mode there is no need for Ascom and there is no need to select and connect the mount using "Connect to Telescope" icon at the bottom of the screen. This is because PHD drives the guider relays in the camera to guide the mount via the ST4 lead.

Hope this helps....

Duck!

Steve

I think the first option uses ASCOM and EQMOD for pulse guiding ? Edited by Photosbykev

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I've no experience of controlling the Nikon cameras for astrophotography, if there is alternative software to control them could someone add a few links.

Here's another one..

I use Sofortbild - Mac Tethered Shooting

You still need to use a remote trigger for over 30 secs though.

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Here's another one..

I use Sofortbild - Mac Tethered Shooting

You still need to use a remote trigger for over 30 secs though.

Thank you Sp@ce_d, there doesn't seem to be many remote programmes that support the Nikon bulb mode

Edited by Photosbykev

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I think the first option uses ASCOM and EQMOD for pulse guiding ?

Hi Kev

Yes - you're right it does use Ascom and Eqmod - I was just trying to stick with the terms used within PHD.

The point I was trying to make was that the first option (Mount > ASCOM) in PHD can be used whether your guide cam has an ST4 or not and doesn't use the ST4 lead, while the second option (Mount > On-camera) will only work with an ST4 enabled camera and with an ST4 lead.

Cheers

Steve

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Hi Kev

Yes - you're right it does use Ascom and Eqmod - I was just trying to stick with the terms used within PHD.

The point I was trying to make was that the first option (Mount > ASCOM) in PHD can be used whether your guide cam has an ST4 or not and doesn't use the ST4 lead, while the second option (Mount > On-camera) will only work with an ST4 enabled camera and with an ST4 lead.

Cheers

Steve

This confused me for awhile when I was setting up my system. I was plugging in the ST-4 lead between the QHY5 and mount thinking it was needed BUT I using the ASCOM method of guiding in PHD so the ST-4 lead was doing nothing and is now gathering dust in a cable box lol. Edited by Photosbykev

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I don't get it: If the camera has an ST-4 port and the mount has an ST-4 port and you connect the two together, what lead (and to what device) does PHD use to guide?

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As I understand it, the commands are sent via the ST4 cable from the camera to the mount, however the camera is connected to a laptop via a USB so some guiding software can detect star movement and issue an instruction to the mount via the camera and ST4 cable.....I may be wrong though!

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Camera sends images to PHD running on PC via USB lead. PHD analyses and determines control signals to send to mount. Information sent from PC via USB to camera, camera forwards to mount via ST4 lead.

The camera does no image processing and has no control logic.

Now, that's where the Synguider comes in.

The advantage is that there is only one USB lead trailing off the mount to the PC.

With a Synguider there is not even this.

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I'm using the QHY5 camera as an ASCOM v5 camera in PHD for guiding without the ST-4 lead connected. The video signal is transmitted to PHD on the laptop via the USB lead. Once PHD has analysed the star position it sends tracking corrections to the mount via ASCOM/EQMOD and the EQDir usb/serial adaptor. If PHD is set to use the "on-camera" option then the tracking correction is sent back to the camera via the USB lead and onwards to the mount via the ST-4 lead

This is how I understand it works UNLESS I'm wrong ??? in which case I've been wasting my time trying to use guide stars lol

Edited by Photosbykev

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Same here - LOL - I've just bought a QHY5v which is equipped with an ST4 after having used a webcam for a couple of years - I'm still never quite sure whether the ST4 lead's actually doing anything - and I think I'm coming to the conclusion that having EQMOD in the guide chain (i.e. without the ST4 lead) gives you more control over guide rate settings etc.

Steve

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penny drops. So, just connecting a guide cam's ST-4 port to the mount's ST-4 port is not enough to guide. You need some smarts in the loop so guider sends image to computer over USB and computer sends commands back to guider (or the Synguider will do the work of the computer).

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As mentioned, you can connect your guide camera to the PC and use PHD to "control" - the signal can then be sent to the ST-4 port on the mount via the ShoeString GPUSB module....... No EQMOD/EQDIR module or anything else.....

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Merlin66, that would work even with a guide camera with no ST-4 port, yes?

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Yes, the Shoestring GPUSB works with any camera. Just needs a guide software program like PHD on your PC.

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and another penny drops for me :) . It's ok Steve we are using PHD correctly without the ST-4 lead, there are just a lot of different alternatives lol

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As mentioned, you can connect your guide camera to the PC and use PHD to "control" - the signal can then be sent to the ST-4 port on the mount via the ShoeString GPUSB module....... No EQMOD/EQDIR module or anything else.....

Agreed - but why spend US $71 on a GPUSB when you can make an EQDIR USB lead for £20 and get EQMOD functionality thrown in for free? :)

Steve

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