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Photosbykev

NEQ6 Hardware/Software for Astrophotography

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I bought mine long before I had the HEQ5/ NEQ6. I also use other mounts which are NOT suitable for EQMOD ie LX200 etc so for Non-Skywatcher mounts the GPUSB still does its job.

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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? :)

If your guide cam already had a ST4 port built in, like the QHY5 you don't need the GPUSB unit.

Tony..

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This thread has turned into a cracker!

Some good questions with good answers. Should help a lot of people.

Kev, you've got the hub as 5V DC. Are you using a specific lighter socket or does your usb hub accept 12v and deal with it internally?

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This thread has turned into a cracker!

Some good questions with good answers. Should help a lot of people.

Kev, you've got the hub as 5V DC. Are you using a specific lighter socket or does your usb hub accept 12v and deal with it internally?

I use a 7 port powered hub that originally had a mains psu. I purchased this DC adaptor 3A Digital Car Power Adaptor : InCar Power Adaptors : Maplin which I run off a 12v 110Ahr battery and it has a 3A variable voltage output. It also has a digital voltmeter monitoring the battery voltage which is a bonus as I can keep an eye on the battery condition.

Edited by Photosbykev

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That looks cracking. Decent selection of outputs too!

I've got voltmeters on both my batteries (making a case as we speak) so that parts not too important.

Is the input plug a standard size (like the mount) as I have loads of lighter socket leads? By the looks of the description it has a good selection of output adapters.

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That looks cracking. Decent selection of outputs too!

I've got voltmeters on both my batteries (making a case as we speak) so that parts not too important.

Is the input plug a standard size (like the mount) as I have loads of lighter socket leads? By the looks of the description it has a good selection of output adapters.

The adaptor comes with a cigarette lighter plug on one end of the supply lead. I don't recall the exact size of the DC power plug that powers the adaptor but I think it is pretty standard, maybe slightly smaller than the 2.1mm standard.

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They do a cheaper/not so fancy one too.

I'm still trying to decide whether or not to use a powered hub.

I have one that I wanted to put under the dovetail but it doesn't cut down on the leads coming off the scope. Reason being is there's currently 3 (QHY5, DSLR USB, DSLR shutter) and if I add the hub there I will have the power for the hub, USB for the hub, and one separate anyway. So it doesn't help. Hmmm.

I want to have the QHY5 on it's own USB and also the EQDir on it's own USB so there's no control interference. Even though the signals from the EQMOD won't be bandwidth hungry...I'd still prefer it. The rest can run off a plug in hub right next to the laptop as they're not powering anything really. Also the camera will be storing to card so there shouldn't be a need for loads of bandwidth.

Still deciding though. Wish the netbook I'm getting had more than 3. :)

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They do a cheaper/not so fancy one too.

I'm still trying to decide whether or not to use a powered hub.

I have one that I wanted to put under the dovetail but it doesn't cut down on the leads coming off the scope. Reason being is there's currently 3 (QHY5, DSLR USB, DSLR shutter) and if I add the hub there I will have the power for the hub, USB for the hub, and one separate anyway. So it doesn't help. Hmmm.

I want to have the QHY5 on it's own USB and also the EQDir on it's own USB so there's no control interference. Even though the signals from the EQMOD won't be bandwidth hungry...I'd still prefer it. The rest can run off a plug in hub right next to the laptop as they're not powering anything really. Also the camera will be storing to card so there shouldn't be a need for loads of bandwidth.

Still deciding though. Wish the netbook I'm getting had more than 3. :)

I like the way I've got mine connected with the DSLR on it's own active 5m usb lead because I do download the images to the laptop and they are 20Mb files lol.

I don't have any problems running all the rest from the powered hub which lives on the spreader plate under the mount and is also fed from an active 5m usb lead.

Edited by Photosbykev

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Aye, if I was downloading the images I would definately have the cam on it's own too. *nods*

As it is (in my plan) it will be sharing a port with the shutter cable so there shouldn't be any bother...I hope :)

The xbox controller will only be used with the slew and then turned off. I might not even use it.

So I'll have:

USB Port 1: EQMOD via EQDIR

USB Port 2: QHY5

USB Port 3: Split between the two dslr ones

Should be ok. Shame you can't get wireless USB on the cheap :)

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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.

Ken,

EQASCOM has been designed to operate ONLY in the situation where it is in sole command of the mount. This is clearly not the case with PC-Direct mode, which I would assume provides transaction buffering and routing arbitration to allow both handcontroller and EQASCOM access to the mount simultaneously. Use EQASCOM via PC-Direct and you are effectively operating it out of spec.

PC-Direct first appeared in V3.21 and some brave souls tried it in combination with EQASCOM. Unfortunately it proved to be very unreliable, frequently stopping tracking on button presses. By V3.25 these initial problems appeared to have been sorted out but still there is no word from skywatcher as to whether EQASCOM integration was ever its intened purpose. I'm not aware of any documentation detailing what it PC-Direct does, how it does it, or what represents best practice in using it. Against this background there is no way I can guarantee that past, present or future release of EQASCOM provide stable and reliable control when used in combination with PC Direct. I imagine Skywatcher would also refuse to give any such assurance.

I'm surprised that folks are not aware of this - it is plainly stated on the EQMOD website.

Anyone using EQASCOM and who seeks the simplest and most robust setup for their equipment will connect directly to the mount and avoid PC-Direct. Knowing the frailties of the mount protocol, and knowing that it is not designed to operate in a multi-master environment, I personally would not entertain unattended use via PC-Direct. EQDirect devices are quite easy to make and, to me at least, are well worth the peace of mind they offer.

Of course many folks find that PC-Direct works perfectly well for them and they are happy to accept that the onus falls squarely on themselves to verify that whenever new releases of EQASCOM or Synscan firmware are installed their equipment continues to perform reliably.

Chris.

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Chris,

I understand your comments.

I work with PCDirect (no EQMOD) most of the time and when I have used it with EQMOD -probably 10-15 times last year I had no issues whatsoever, but as you correctly say -at my own risk.

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Thank you for the additional information on using PC Direct wirh EQASCOM Chris, I've added a note in the main thread pointing to your caution note above

Edited by Photosbykev

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Aye, if I was downloading the images I would definately have the cam on it's own too. *nods*

As it is (in my plan) it will be sharing a port with the shutter cable so there shouldn't be any bother...I hope :)

The xbox controller will only be used with the slew and then turned off. I might not even use it.

So I'll have:

USB Port 1: EQMOD via EQDIR

USB Port 2: QHY5

USB Port 3: Split between the two dslr ones

Should be ok. Shame you can't get wireless USB on the cheap :)

I'm afraid I reserved one of my three usb ports for a Mouse lol. I can use a mouse with gloves on but I can't use the trackpad unless I buy some of the E-tip gloves.

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Didn't think about the mouse! :)

I've got hunters mitts which peel back when needed so should be fine. But I hate the lappy kind of nav pads.

Hmmm...wonder what else I've forgot! :)

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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!!!

I've read it and it's top stuff. :)

But now I'm confused as to which parts of the diagram I can use for a mac if I don't need ASCOM and can't use EQMOD.. Or is that for another thread?

Excellent info Kev, at least I know I can "borrow" swmo's PC when I try this out in the future.

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Mark,

The PCDirect route should work for you...see the additional notes in #1 post.

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Mark,

The PCDirect route should work for you...see the additional notes in #1 post.

Doh! I missed that very last line... Cheers

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Mark,

The PCDirect route should work for you...see the additional notes in #1 post.

and PHD is available for the Mac so you should be sorted.

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Didn't think about the mouse! :(

I've got hunters mitts which peel back when needed so should be fine. But I hate the lappy kind of nav pads.

Hmmm...wonder what else I've forgot! :)

From everything I've read on here and other forums unpowered hubs are very unreliable so I didn't even consider using one.

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I'm concerned by the confusing use of the term "PC direct"

In the context of a SYNSCAN controller PC-Direct is a "special" mode (it is not automatic!) that must be entered into from the handcontroller. As far as I am aware the only driver that can use PC-Direct mode is EQASCOM. I think using "PC-Direct" to describe any connection from a PC to the mount will only serve to confuse.

Yes, you can use celestron nexstar drivers (ASCOM or otherwise) to talk to the mount via a synscan (which acts as a protocol convertor). However this is not PC-Direct, indeed if you put the synscan into PC-Direct mode and try this, it simply will not work.

Here is the EQMOD project's description of the various PC control options for synscan mounts. http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/docs/PC_Control_Options.pdf

Chris.

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Chris,

You're 100% correct!

I apologise to all the readers/members for the confusion I may have caused! My only excuse other than senility, was the fact that on the early (V2) synscan controllers you has to use the utility menu to open a comms port between the PC and the handcontroller/mount.... I was confused about this function and the fact that with the synscan >V3.25 just automatically allowed you to connect the PC cable to the handcontroller and use CdC etc.

The "PCDirect" as Chris points out is a special function under Utilities menu and doesn't work with a Celestron/Skywatcher mount selected..it only seems to work when EQMOD is required to communicate with the mount. Chris' earlier comments about possible non-compatibility apply.

Sorry guys

(I'll take my pills now and go back to bed)

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I'll just adopt my confused stare until I can access Chriss notes from home and make any corrections necessary. I think I choose the right way to control my system by using EQMOD lol

Sourceforge is blocked on the works machines

Edited by Photosbykev

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