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EQMOD & Atlas EQ-G - So Many Questions...

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#1 SkyHunter1

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 06:53 PM

All,

Just got an Atlas EQ-G mount and it seems eqmod is very popular. I'm sure that all of you will say it's way worth it to use this software as opposed to the handset from what I'm reading. Some questions...

 

1. It appears I can buy a usb to serial cable from Orion that will allow me to use EQMOD and attach directly to the mount and lose the handset altogether... (is this correct?).

 

2. eqmod will allow me to enter the GPS information once in the software and it will provide this to the mount when I use the software? I'm wondering if this will allow me to forgo purchasing the GPS unit and not have to update the firmware on the handset. It's currently not the right version to use the gps unit. I called Orion and they said to use the gps unit you need to use the handset and that would also mean upgrading the firmware... I'm surmising that if I use a PC and eqmod, it will provide GPS info, so no handset firmware upgrade or GPS unit would be needed (is this correct?)

 

3. For PHD autoguiding, the Orion Starshoot autoguider I purchased will now communicate with PHD, which will then in turn communicate with the eqmod software to make tracking adjustments from what I'm reading? I won't have to connect the ST4 cable from the guide camera to the scope?

 

4. Just to confirm, I'm sure that you will all say its worth using eqmod by far over the handset... your reasons would be helpful :)

 

One last thing... I have some experience with AP on an LX200 in alt-az. I've gotten some real good planetary and lunar shots... some DSOs, but we all know the limitations of alt-az for fuzzies. Have a new mount and searching for a c9.25. anyone have some AP they could post using this mount?

 

I want to thank the fantastic CN community in advance for all the help I've received since I joined a week ago...

 

Regards,

SH1

 

 



#2 mistateo

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:19 PM

1. I was not aware of a cable from Orion, but Shoestring astronomy sells the cable that eliminates the need for the hand controller.  I thought the Orion cable was to connect pc to hand controller, hand controller to mount.  EQMod is supposed to work with this config by coincidence, but isn't recommended.  The direct pc to mount connection is preferred.

 

2. The hand controller even stores the last coordinates you entered.  To me the GPS is only useful if you frequently travel with your mount.  With EQmod I believe you can designate different observing locations as well.  Someone with more insight on this topic will probably have better advice.

 

3. Using EQmod, you don't need the st-4 cable at all.  In fact, I think pulseguiding is preferred, as it works better with PEC from what I understand.  I always use pulse guiding with my eqdirect cable.

 

4. If you are IMAGING and not just using for visual, I feel it is HANDS DOWN worth it.  I can do my star alignment sitting in front of my computer screen, align the star in my SGP frame/focus window to the center of the crosshairs with my wireless playstation 3 controller, and then sync the star, which is just like picking an alignment star on the hand controller.  All this without getting up to look through a finder scope.  It also acts as a hub between all the different software you connect to.  If you are just doing visual, I would leave the laptop inside.  Since you mentioned autoguiding, I am assuming you image.

 

Extra credit question:

If you are new(ish) to imaging, I would suggest starting with a much easier scope like a refractor around 750mm focal length or less.  The SCT has a long focal length, which is more challenging to guide well.  They also have image shift when focusing and mirror flop etc.  Just my two cents.



#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:38 PM

All,

Just got an Atlas EQ-G mount and it seems eqmod is very popular. I'm sure that all of you will say it's way worth it to use this software as opposed to the handset from what I'm reading. Some questions...

 

1. It appears I can buy a usb to serial cable from Orion that will allow me to use EQMOD and attach directly to the mount and lose the handset altogether... (is this correct?).

 

2. eqmod will allow me to enter the GPS information once in the software and it will provide this to the mount when I use the software? I'm wondering if this will allow me to forgo purchasing the GPS unit and not have to update the firmware on the handset. It's currently not the right version to use the gps unit. I called Orion and they said to use the gps unit you need to use the handset and that would also mean upgrading the firmware... I'm surmising that if I use a PC and eqmod, it will provide GPS info, so no handset firmware upgrade or GPS unit would be needed (is this correct?)

 

3. For PHD autoguiding, the Orion Starshoot autoguider I purchased will now communicate with PHD, which will then in turn communicate with the eqmod software to make tracking adjustments from what I'm reading? I won't have to connect the ST4 cable from the guide camera to the scope?

 

4. Just to confirm, I'm sure that you will all say its worth using eqmod by far over the handset... your reasons would be helpful smile.gif

 

One last thing... I have some experience with AP on an LX200 in alt-az. I've gotten some real good planetary and lunar shots... some DSOs, but we all know the limitations of alt-az for fuzzies. Have a new mount and searching for a c9.25. anyone have some AP they could post using this mount?

 

I want to thank the fantastic CN community in advance for all the help I've received since I joined a week ago...

 

Regards,

SH1

Good choice for the mount.

 

If you're new to imaging, I (and the experts, and most of those who've become imagers) strongly recommend you start out with a smaller scope first.  Not to exceed 600mm focal length, 480 is better.

 

It's a _far_ better tool for learning AP of DSOs.  If your goal is to image small dim galaxies with the 9.25 you'll reach it faster and better by learning on a small scope first.  I've collected a ton of these quotes.

 

"Of all the recommendations though, if you want to get into imaging then a short imaging refractor is probably the best one (IMHO).  I have a C8 and this was the scope I learned AP on.  It was a long, tough struggle and I have no good pictures to show for it.  I could have easily saved a year by starting with a more image-friendly scope."

 

"I made the mistake of trying to learn how to shoot with an F/10 SCT, an EdgeHD 8". I spent six months struggling with that, and then I made the switch to a William Optics Star 71 F/4.9 and I couldn't be happier with the results! IMO, I think if you're just starting out in AP, you would definitely have an easier time learning with a refractor."

 

Long exposure AP is nothing at all like visual.

 

Whatever your choice, this book will be very useful.  You may not want to start out with PixInsight, the book is still well worth the money for the other stuff now.

 

https://www.amazon.c...=dp_ob_title_bk


Edited by bobzeq25, 17 November 2017 - 07:39 PM.


#4 jdupton

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:43 PM

SH1,

 

1. It appears I can buy a usb to serial cable from Orion that will allow me to use EQMOD and attach directly to the mount and lose the handset altogether... (is this correct?).

   Be very careful, here. The devil is in the details. If you download the manual for the cable, you will find that this cable is NOT the same as the ShoeString USB2EQ6 interface cable or the equivalent Lynx cable.

 

   The Orion cable must be plugged into the firmware update cable that came with the mount and then that plugged into the Hand Controller which is then connected to the mount. You cannot use that cable without the hand Controller. Since the cable they sell is just a USB to RS232 cable, plugging that directly into the mount is very likely to kill the electronics inside the mount. 

 

   See this note on the front page of the manual on the Orion Website:

NOTE: In order to connect the USB to Serial Adapter to a telescope

goto mount, the serial cable that came with the mount should also
be used. The serial cable should be connected to the USB to Serial
Adapter and also to the bottom of the hand controller (Synscan/
NexStar).

 

 

John


Edited by jdupton, 17 November 2017 - 07:44 PM.


#5 SkyHunter1

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:55 PM

I have only ever used an 8" cassegrain for the last 15 years so don't think 9.25 will be much harder. I understand the photography end and have imaged from f25 for the planets and moon, to f4 for fuzzies. I have taken some acceptable DSO's even in alt az, so I'm thinking that a decent equatorial mount should make my shots much better just with a basic polar alignment, even if I didn't autoguide...   I understand your concern :) it would be the same advice I'd give to someone new to imaging and are unrealistic about their expectations. I have never autoguided or had an equatorial mount before, but I'm thinking that if I took acceptable pictures with an 8" cassegrain in alt az, that it cant get any worse with an atlas that's roughly polar aligned even if I didn't autoguide...

 

Thanks for all your help,

SH1



#6 Goofi

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 09:42 PM

I use the AtlasPro with EQMOD ... you can check my astrobin for images.  Bottom line, it works well.

 

I'll offer up some different thoughts that what's already been shared - I agree with the above posts, so why repeat.  The biggest issue (to me) is whether you want a laptop with you while imaging. EQMOD requires a laptop. If you're using a DSLR from a dark site, then you may want to pass and just use the hand controller (but I wouldn't, and didn't when I imaged from my dark site).  

 

Now, since you have a laptop, you can also load a plate solver like AstroTortilla (or use the one included in SequenceGenerator Pro).  This takes care of gotos and makes them exact.  All it really needs is software like EQMOD to interface with the mount (and ASCOM for the camera).  

 

EQMOD has a lot of features, but I really don't use most of them for my current setup. I connect the gear to the laptop (via USB), power up, and it just works. 



#7 SkyHunter1

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 02:16 AM

Goofi,

Beautiful Images!!!. bookmarked your page as it has some good links.

 

Looks like EQMOD is the way to go for a number of reasons even if I don't use all the functionality. Can you tell me the cables I will need to hook this up? If I get the shoestring cable will that be the only cable needed?

 

and thanks JD for helping me not to brick my mount :)

 

Thanks again to everyone for your input and help

 

Regards,

SH1



#8 gbeaton

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 10:50 AM

If I had an observatory, I would definitely use EQMOD. But when setting up at dark sites for your AP, there are so many things to get right that adding the issues of EQMOD is not really beneficial. I have a friend who bought the Atlas Pro and only uses the hand controller so far and he has saved himself a lot of trouble as he learns the art of DSO astrophotography. The mount also has camera interval triggering and Polar alignment assist that works quite well. For DSO, he just adds the laptop running PHD2 for auto guiding. Its the minimum of complications setup to get excellent AP. Once things are working regularly - meaning image quality and post processing - then tackling the remote control issue with things like EQMOD may be interesting and less of an impact on your AP progress.



#9 mistateo

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 04:00 PM

In my opinion, if you are going through the trouble to autoguide with a laptop, I would definitely suggest using eqmod.  If you don't get up and running quickly, you can always fall back to the controller for a night or two and watch the youtube tutorial series from one of the creators of eqmod.  They are very concise and detailed, but not overwhelming.



#10 StarmanDan

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:46 AM

All,

Just got an Atlas EQ-G mount and it seems eqmod is very popular. I'm sure that all of you will say it's way worth it to use this software as opposed to the handset from what I'm reading. Some questions...

 

1. It appears I can buy a usb to serial cable from Orion that will allow me to use EQMOD and attach directly to the mount and lose the handset altogether... (is this correct?).

 

2. eqmod will allow me to enter the GPS information once in the software and it will provide this to the mount when I use the software? I'm wondering if this will allow me to forgo purchasing the GPS unit and not have to update the firmware on the handset. It's currently not the right version to use the gps unit. I called Orion and they said to use the gps unit you need to use the handset and that would also mean upgrading the firmware... I'm surmising that if I use a PC and eqmod, it will provide GPS info, so no handset firmware upgrade or GPS unit would be needed (is this correct?)

 

3. For PHD autoguiding, the Orion Starshoot autoguider I purchased will now communicate with PHD, which will then in turn communicate with the eqmod software to make tracking adjustments from what I'm reading? I won't have to connect the ST4 cable from the guide camera to the scope?

 

4. Just to confirm, I'm sure that you will all say its worth using eqmod by far over the handset... your reasons would be helpful smile.gif

 

One last thing... I have some experience with AP on an LX200 in alt-az. I've gotten some real good planetary and lunar shots... some DSOs, but we all know the limitations of alt-az for fuzzies. Have a new mount and searching for a c9.25. anyone have some AP they could post using this mount?

 

I want to thank the fantastic CN community in advance for all the help I've received since I joined a week ago...

 

Regards,

SH1

1. You need the cable from Shoestring Astronomy linked here: http://www.store.sho...products_eq.htm you need the USB2EQ6 cable.  This cable will allow you to elimiate the hand paddle and connect the mount direcly to the computer.

 

2. EQMOD will allow you to save multiple locations by entering the GPS coordinates manually.  

 

3. Yes, PHD will communicate through EQMOD to send guiding commands.  No need for ST4.

 

4. Using EQMOD you eliminate the hand paddle.  It is possible to use EQMOD with the hand paddle acting as a translator between the computer and mount thus not needing the shoestring cable, but in doing so, the hand paddle is effectively disabled and any fiddling with the hand paddle while connected to EQMOD will mess up the connection and require you to start from square one again.  There is also the ability to use a game controller to move the scope and perform other functions of other ascom equipment like focusers using the game pad.  The modeling feature is good, as is the integrated PEC.  I like that it has user definable tracking rates.  Plus, it just works.  I've never had any issues with it aside from user error.



#11 SkyHunter1

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 06:39 PM

Thanks All,

Seems from the comments that EQMOD is worth using. I'll probably use the handset for the first few session with the new scope below and then get the cable from shoestring.

 

I was able to find a pristine c9.25 Carbon Fiber OTA with moonlight focuser, aluminum shield, heater and a matching Williams Optics carbon fiber 70mm doublet apo with Losmandy Guide scope rings.

 

In my case OTA is only 20lbs. I'm estimating 25-27 lbs. in the end. I'm going to do my best to keep the weight to a minimum.

 

Thanks again everyone for your input. Actually I can't wait to image with the apo lol. I believe I'll start with it. although I've only ever imaged with an 8" cass, I want to see what it can do. enclosed an image from the seller before I picked it up. not the mount, but pretty much all above it. I have an Atlas EQ-G.

 

Regards,

SH1

 

C9.25 & Guidescope

Edited by SkyHunter1, 20 November 2017 - 06:43 PM.



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