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Goto using a laptop?

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#1 zrlevin

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 06:00 PM

Hi,

I have an Orion Sirius non go-to mount that I am thinking I would like to upgrade to go-to. I see that Orion sells the hand controller, but that it costs $400. Since I use a laptop when I observe anyway, is there any software I can use to control my mount?

Thanks.

#2 rmollise

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 06:21 PM

Hi,

I have an Orion Sirius non go-to mount that I am thinking I would like to upgrade to go-to. I see that Orion sells the hand controller, but that it costs $400. Since I use a laptop when I observe anyway, is there any software I can use to control my mount?

Thanks.


Yes. EQMOD. http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/

I have the HC, but never use it with my Atlas. 400 bucks? More like "two nickels, a bottlecap, and a dead frog." :lol:

You will need a standard serial cable and the EQDIR module from Shoestring Astronomy, but that won't be much more than 50 - 60 bucks all told.

#3 djnct

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 06:33 PM

Hi, and Happy New Year!
There are several programs such as "The Sky" by Software Bisque that can control the mount; the bigger issue is likely to be with the mount itself- if it does not have encoders (many non go-to mounts don't) to provide orientation information to the software it won't be possible to accurately point the scope. The mount has to incorporate a means of determining where the scope is pointed in order for the software to build a model of the sky and then direct the scope to what you want to see. (i.e. it's the equivalent of trying to give driving directions to a particular location if you don't know where the driver is starting from.) If on the other hand you have a hand controller that isn't working and would rather use the computer, I would suggest calling Orion and asking them what your options are. I have purchased equipment from them in the past and their customer service is terrific; I bet they would be willing to help. I hope this helps,
good luck with it!
Clear skies,
Dan

#4 Lane

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 06:41 PM

Thanks Rod,
I have been trying to remember the name of that company where you buy the EQDIR and cables. I just ordered a set for my Sirius mount.

#5 MarioCh

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:40 PM

the company the makes the EQDIR is shoestringastronomy. As for what software, I use StarryNight Pro 6 and the EQMOD software for the mount. EQMOD takes a little to get use to but once you get a hang of it, its much better then using the handcontoler that come with the mount. If you go to the EQMOD Yahoo group they can help you out some more.

#6 rmollise

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:43 PM

Hi, and Happy New Year!
There are several programs such as "The Sky" by Software Bisque that can control the mount;


This will NOT work without the go-to HC.

His mount is go-to ready save for the HC (or EQMOD).

#7 ccs_hello

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:00 PM

...Orion Sirius non go-to mount...


Please make sure it has the intelligent motor controller inside, not the original Sirius/HEQ5.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#8 zrlevin

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:13 AM

Thanks for all the help everyone! I do have the computerized model, so I ordered the EQDIR and serial adapter and downloaded EQMOD.

#9 MarioCh

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:11 AM

your going to love eqmod. I know I do. It has a small learning curve but man is it cool. Has polar alignment tool, and you can use as many alignment star as you want. I usually map 3-4 stars in each side of the sky for a total of 12-16 star. Sometime more and as the night sky changes i sync the scope to get better GOTO accuracy. It alot better the using the had controller. Oh and the best part is the guiding is done using the EQASCOM instead of ST4 port.

#10 guyroch

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:00 PM

Oh and the best part is the guiding is done using the EQASCOM instead of ST4 port.


Really? What are the advantages of using EQASCOM instead of ST4 port?

#11 MarioCh

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:24 PM

Not much but it does get rid of one extra cable. I think if I am not mistaken it also allow you to use PEC were as the st4 does not. Something about the st4 and PEC setting getting crossed. I really like not having to worry about forgetting the st4 cable when I go out to darksites.

#12 Synergy

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:18 AM

EQMOD is fantastic, i actually hooked my EQ6 Pro up to my laptop using a cable made from one of these and a 9 way D-Sub connector from here . The result is a USB cable for my EQ6 :)

#13 rmollise

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:06 AM

Not much but it does get rid of one extra cable. I think if I am not mistaken it also allow you to use PEC were as the st4 does not. Something about the st4 and PEC setting getting crossed. I really like not having to worry about forgetting the st4 cable when I go out to darksites.


You can use PEC either way.

#14 pfile

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 08:49 PM

can EQMOD be used to drive an orion skyview pro EQ (non-goto version)? i don't care about EQMOD knowing where the mount is pointed, i just want to replace the hand controller with a laptop.

#15 Takman

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:58 AM

You can use 3rd party astronomy software packages such as The Sky by Software Bisque. If you are on a budget, you can use Stellarium, which is an excellent free application and much better than many for pay products. Just install the ASCOM drivers and appropriate mount software which can be found here...

http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/

EQMOD can be used to drive your telescope mount by using the built-in virtual software buttons.

#16 pfile

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:13 PM

i'm very confused now. the eqmod yahoogroup introduction page/FAQ says that you must have the goto version of the skyview pro in order to control the mount with eqmod.

am i missing something here?

#17 ccs_hello

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 06:11 PM

can EQMOD be used to drive an orion skyview pro EQ (non-goto version)? i don't care about EQMOD knowing where the mount is pointed, i just want to replace the hand controller with a laptop.


Does not work since it does not have
1. intelligent motor controller board
2. proper microstepping friendly stepping motor
3. proper gear box

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#18 pfile

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 07:31 PM

okay, thanks. bummer.

#19 Chris Shillito

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 06:55 AM

i'm very confused now. the eqmod yahoogroup introduction page/FAQ says that you must have the goto version of the skyview pro in order to control the mount with eqmod.

am i missing something here?


Yep that's correct, you must have synscan version of the skyview Pro or have fitted the synscan upgrade kit.

Chris.

#20 pfile

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:28 PM

@chris, which means the $500 upgrade, right? that's what i was trying to avoid.

i had this crazy idea (probably not original) that i could do a sort of poor man's guiding by using astrometry.net's code to platesolve each exposure i'm taking (DSLR mounted on skyview pro.) from watching the drift of the center of the plates, i could calculate a RA motor rate adjustment (and a DEC motor speed) to compensate for bad polar alignment.

forgetting about even controlling the non-goto motors somehow, it sounds like the non-goto motors are not precise enough for this anyway. and this method could not correct for guiding errors that have a period less than the exposure length.

also i've found that i can manage 5min exposures even at 200mm with pretty minimal drift, and 5min is at about the light pollution threshold for me @ISO800 and f/4.

#21 m4ilm4n

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:51 PM

You could still do autoguiding with a non-go-to SVP - I used Shoestring's kit to add an ST-4 port to the hand controller, and via their GPUSB use PHD for guiding.

#22 pfile

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 08:13 PM

ah ha. thanks for the hint. i'll look into that.

edit. goodness... never realized an ST4 port was so simple. so this means you can't really control the motor rates but instead you have to send pulse commands? i suppose that would work.

edit edit: i realize now that people were talking about this upthread, but i missed the "shoestring" part... i thought they were talking about some other hardware. :o






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