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Autoguiding Problem

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#1 AstroSWAYZE

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 07:44 PM

Hello all,

 

First time posting, and apologies already as I know this topic has been discussed at length before. However, I believe I may have a unique situation that I need support with. I am very new to astrophotography and have only carried out 4 successful imagining sessions so far.

 

Here is the problem, and I will try to keep it short:

 

I have a ASI120Mini for my guide camera. I use PHD2 for autoguiding. I connect the camera to PHD2, and then use "on camera" for the mount and utilize the ST4 connection. I successfully carried out 4 autoguiding sessions on my first mount (iOptron SmartEQ Pro) using this setup. However, all the sudden it wasn't guiding correctly one night. It was giving me the cable snag error (there were no snags). After doing some research, it appears the ST4 cables/connections are notoriously finicky. That being said, after visually inspecting the ends of the ST4 cables and both ports on the camera and mount, I ended up just purchasing a new ST4 cable.

 

With the new cable connected, same issue.

 

I have also attempted to use the "manual guiding tool" for both ST4 cables, set the pulse to 5000ms, and still nothing when sending commands N/S/E/W.

 

Just a few days ago, I ended up getting my brand new Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount. (Nothing negative about the iOptron, just decided to upgrade for payload capacity options.) 

 

Same issue. It will not allow me to use manual guiding to send commands to the mount.

 

Therefore, I have now used 2 different mounts and 2 different ST4 cables. Granted, I've not attempted an imaging session with the HEQ5 yet, but I have attempted to manually guide it with commands through PHD2, and still nothing.

 

I am wondering, could the ST4 port on the ASI camera be compromised? Is there something else I'm missing here? 

 

Thank you for the support.

 

Andrew 



#2 Stelios

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 07:51 PM

"Cable snag error?" Can you be a bit more specific? 

 

It's not impossible for the camera guide port to be compromised, but it's not that likely. 

 

Did you try recalibrating? Did you check the brain to make sure that the data for your guidescope (F/L, pixel size of cam) is still correct? Did you check that guide speed in PhD2 is same as guide speed for mount?

 

If all fails, with the HEQ5, why not connect the mount to your computer and try pulse guiding? It's better anyway. 



#3 AstroSWAYZE

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 08:05 PM

Hi Stelios,

 

I'm trying to recall the exact error, but it was along the lines of "little to no east movement detected, so guiding will probably be impaired." After researching it appeared that a new ST4 cable was a good place to start.

 

F/L, pixel size are all in alignment with the guidescope and the ZWO camera. 

 

I believe I defaulted to 0.50x speed when setting it up, which is what I selected on the synscan for the HEQ5 as well. Should I change this?

 

And yes, I would not be opposed to pulse guiding using ASCOM based off what I've seen others say. I'm just scratching my head as to why I successfully autoguided (horrendous graph, but it was autoguiding and had some pretty great 4-5 min exposures), and then it just decided to quit on me with no settings changed on my part.

 

All this being said, shouldn't I still in theory be able to manually guide it on PHD2 and confirm N/S/E/W is working, with the ST4 and "on camera" setup?

 

Thank you.



#4 Stelios

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 08:17 PM

I would try the nighttime star-cross test. Have you tried that? What happens, no motion at all, or motion in only one direction? 

 

Do you have good focus on your camera? Can you select a star?

 

If you can start looping, see stars in focus, can select a star, and then when manual guiding there's no star motion at all (and calibration also results in no motion), then you may indeed have a problem with the camera's ST-4 port. You can also ask at the PhD2 forum for more ideas. 



#5 AstroSWAYZE

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 08:33 PM

I've not tried the cross test, I will look into that.

 

The focus on the camera appears to be good. It can auto select a star easily and up until this issue, seemed to be performing quite well.

 

I also now recall it specifically stating in the error "check cables for snags", which there were none. 

 

I'll try running through all the motions with the HEQ5 on the next clear night to see if it will autoguide. Again, I've not had the chance to try to guide with it yet, but the fact that I'm unable to manually guide it with the new ST4 cable isn't adding up.

 

Will post on PHD2 as well, thank you..


Edited by AstroSWAYZE, 08 July 2020 - 08:34 PM.


#6 AstroSWAYZE

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 08:59 PM

On the point of pulse guiding, can you help with the connections needed to carry this out? Which cable do I need to directly connect the HEQ5 to my laptop, and what driver would this require?



#7 Phishin_phool

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 09:51 PM

If the eq5 is like the eq6 then all you need to do is connect the usb cable to the computer and your mount to the computer. Make sure you have the ASCOM driver downloaded and then in the set-up menus select that driver. I use stellarium (and phd2) and it interacts with the mount via eqmod. I am brand new and was up and running that way in like 30 minutes from unboxing to ready to go.



#8 klaussius

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 11:19 PM

Probably not the case... but have you checked whether you've got guide output enabled in PHD2?

 

Maybe you disabled it by accident. Basically the "Enable mount guide output" setting in the guide tab.



#9 AstroSWAYZE

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 07:33 AM

Thanks Klaussius,

I’ve not checked that setting, good idea. I’ll check that today and see if that’s the culprit.

Also, if I did want to try to use pulse guiding and connect directly to the laptop, can anyone confirm this is the correct cable for the HEQ5?

https://www.highpoin...ASABEgJj0_D_BwE


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