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First experience - Sirius EQ-G - EQMOD and Cartes du Ciel

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#1 CN_102NE

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 02:16 AM

I recently swapped some equipment for a used Orion Sirius EQ-G mount.

The mount's hand controller was missing

But I discovered the EQMOD project and with their help I had the mount responding to slew commands directly from a laptop - with Cartes du Ciel installed.

 

Firstly, I'm a visual observer and I found even with Cartes du Ciel in night mode - the laptop screen really messed up my night vision.

That is not going to be a workable solution!

 

Additionally I've been an AZ mount user for a couple of years - and I found myself making the wrong adjustments constantly trying to get the scope centered on an object.   I think when I look at the sky - I'm going to have to imagine the celestial DEC and RA lines in the sky - and learn to move the mount axis in accordance to those lines. 

 

I'm a visual observer only - so I'm wondering if an EQ mount is simply overkill and unnecessary complexity - and therefore I don't find it enjoyable to use.



#2 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:22 AM

In youre case i would to  try to get a handcontroller. A forget the laptop all together. I agree, it is amazing how much light such things produces and indeed for visual use a pain  in neck. I do AP now, but i don't like it either, as for now i keep it indoors , more convenient and it will not produce straylight that might cause gradients in the images...

 

For visual an EQ is more hassle but has it benefits. Especially for the planets, you don't have to fiddle to keep it centered and well also for DSO this is a advantage. With a goto, you don't have to search or do star hopping to get to the target. I alwyas used EQ for observing, except for my 18" off course, because that is not workable at those apertures...

So EQ for visual for me overkill? Certainly not.

 

Think handcontroller is sold separatly, i would take look at Orion

 

Link below is an Eur example

 

https://www.astromar...ning-v-5/p,8364

 

After all a laptop is expensive too. To bring you home laptop in the field is a risk...(dropped my lately). That is why i using an old laptop , that still works fine  but is not my home laptop...


Edited by F.Meiresonne, 01 August 2020 - 04:31 AM.


#3 endlessky

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:24 AM

Most planetarium softwares should have a "night mode" (everything turns red and dark). Also, I would put the laptop screen luminosity the lowest it can be. If that isn't enough, one thing I can think of is taping some see-through thin red paper to cover the whole laptop screen - this should also dim the amount of light that goes through.

 

As far as EQ vs AZ, I have a NEQ6 Pro mount, mainly for astrophotography. But when I use the Celestron C8 for visual, I don't have any problems keeping things centered in the eyepiece. For visual, a perfect polar alignment is not needed, so just point the polar scope directly at Polaris, without worrying too much. You'll then won't need to do many adjustments with the arrow keys, as the mount tracking capabilities should be good enough to keep stuff inside the field of view of the eyepiece. The movements take some getting used to, but once you figure out what "UP-DOWN-LEFT-RIGHT" do, you should be fine.

 

With EQMOD you can also plug in a joypad (for PC use) and configure it to control the mount, so you can just hold it and make corrections on the fly while viewing at the eyepiece, without going back and forth to your laptop.


Edited by endlessky, 01 August 2020 - 04:25 AM.


#4 CN_102NE

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:13 PM

Thank you both for you kind responses.

I guess I'll keep plugging away at it.

The hand controller in the U.S. is about $140.00

I might have to break down and invest in that.

It would also make the 3 star alignment process easier - as the hand controller incorporates direction buttons and I wouldn't have to add a game-boy controller for EQMOD.

 

I think for me - that is probably the way to go.

However I do enjoy looking at CdC and seeing the possible objects to slew to.

But everything is a trade-off isn't it!   :-]

 

Thanks



#5 endlessky

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:31 PM

Personally, once I saw what I could do with the planetarium, I never felt the need for the hand-controller anymore. It's been locked inside a cabinet ever since!



#6 bignerdguy

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:54 PM

FYI when i or others i know go out in the field to do AP we all use laptops.  However as you said the screen can be quite bright. In order to combat this and in lieu of a night mode that simply put doesnt keep ALL of the desktop red, we use colored plastic film (cellophane) taped to the LCD.  Then we turn the brightness way down on the laptop.  One or more layers is usually enough to preserve most of our night vision and you can use hoods and other things to keep stray light from interfering with your scope or others around you who are also taking long exposures and may or may not be pointing their scope your way.

 

You can buy the clear Cellophane at most hobby stores by the roll or sheet.  I still have some from the last time i went out in the field( okok, its been a while... sheesh.  lol.gif cool.gif ) which i keep handy for my next trip.  Trust me that stuff is worth its weight in gold-pressed latinum.



#7 jdupton

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 08:20 PM

Brian,

 

   If you are running Windows 10, there is a way to make everything red, including the desktop and all programs that are running. As you say, some programs have a night mode which usually only affects that one particular program but doesn't apply to things like Windows File Explorer and such. You can get Windows itself to give you a nice all-red mode that is very helpful when doing AP.

 

   I wrote up the method in a post here on CN a couple of years ago. I then copied and consolidated the information into an article on my Website. Some things have changed in Windows in the two years since I wrote up the method but the essence of the method still works. I use it for my own laptop and never bother with using "Night Mode" from any running program. Windows does all that is needed for me. You can see the method at the following links.

 

Consolidated Article:

https://www.atm-workshop.com/win10-red-mode.html

 

CN Thread:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/611647-windows-10-night-vision-mode/

 

 

John



#8 Phil Sherman

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 09:07 PM

My simple approach to having the screen not effect my night vision is to cover the screen with a red piece of plastic. I can get rigid ones at NEAF and I've also used thin plastic sheets I've taped to the screen. These sheets should be available at any artist supply store.

 

Orion will not sell you a hand controller because you are not the mount's original owner. Skywatcher dealers should have them available.

 

EQMOD has a polar alignment routine that should be good enough for visual use. If you want to do imaging with exposures longer than 15-20 seconds, you'll probably need to do a drift alignment. Drift alignment can be done using your camera which is much faster than doing it with an eyepiece.



#9 CN_102NE

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 03:21 PM

Vostok:

Personally, once I saw what I could do with the planetarium, I never felt the need for the hand-controller anymore. It's been locked inside a cabinet ever since!

 

I would love to purchase a used hand controller - but they seem to be extremely rare - even though people have switched to Laptop control or tablet control.  I've seen a few on Cloudy Nights classified - but the sellers seem to want an arm and a leg for them. 

 

I've seen some listed used for $10 below the cost of a new one.   :-]



#10 bignerdguy

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:56 PM

Brian,

 

   If you are running Windows 10, there is a way to make everything red, including the desktop and all programs that are running. As you say, some programs have a night mode which usually only affects that one particular program but doesn't apply to things like Windows File Explorer and such. You can get Windows itself to give you a nice all-red mode that is very helpful when doing AP.

 

   I wrote up the method in a post here on CN a couple of years ago. I then copied and consolidated the information into an article on my Website. Some things have changed in Windows in the two years since I wrote up the method but the essence of the method still works. I use it for my own laptop and never bother with using "Night Mode" from any running program. Windows does all that is needed for me. You can see the method at the following links.

 

Consolidated Article:

https://www.atm-workshop.com/win10-red-mode.html

 

CN Thread:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/611647-windows-10-night-vision-mode/

 

 

John

The drawback to making windows red this way is that some programs don't color everything red depending on what is displayed.  For example, Google.com the background is White and this cannot be changed, trust me i have tried.  Yes my astronomy program does have a night vision mode but not everything goes red and it is still very bright.Try opening that when you need the lights to be kept low and night vision friendly.  Yes my astronomy program does have a night vision mode but not everything goes red and it is still very bright. The easiest way i found is the method i described since no matter what you view it will have a red tinge to it. Also there are brightness controls on most laptops that you can use to reduce the light level to something that wont interfere with night vision. Also adding something to restrict the view of your laptop display to only someone sitting right in front of it, not to the side (like a cardboard box over the display with the open end facing out) helps a lot when doing AP especially if there are others around you doing the same.  This is the method people in the astronomy club here in Dallas used to use, back when i was in the club, since it was the most workable and easiest to do and simply changing windows themes still left things too bright.  Didn't cost a lot either nor take a lot of time to setup plus you don't need to know how to use Windows really well to make it work.



#11 jdupton

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:51 PM

Brian,

 

   Did you actually try the method I outlined? Your comments seem to indicate that you did not and instead based your answer on your own observations using other methods. I can assure you that all programs are converted to a Night Vision mode when you follow the method in the linked tutorial.

 

   As an example, I just activated my Night Vision Mode on my imaging laptop and took a photo of the screen. Sorry it came out rather dark. Note that the Chrome browser is showing the Google.com index page and to the left, MS Edge is showing your post on Cloudy Nights. No special changes were used other than invoking the special Night Vision Theme the tutorial outlines.

 

IMG_0008rsz.jpg

 

   The linked tutorial on my Website does state that this method works best on laptops with IPS screens but will work on any laptop running Windows 10. Laptops without IPS screens will leak light towards the sides but IPS screens usually don't require a box to hide off-axis light.

 

   Why not take 10 minutes and try setting it up on your laptop. It may not be to your liking but it does work and doesn't depend on anything special about the applications you run while imaging.

 

 

John


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#12 ray8ffx

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:10 PM

 

Orion will not sell you a hand controller because you are not the mount's original owner. Skywatcher dealers should have them available.

 

 

I see the hand controller on the Orion website, so I don't think they're going to require that you're the original owner.

 

Ray


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#13 CN_102NE

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 07:38 PM

I see the hand controller on the Orion website, so I don't think they're going to require that you're the original owner.

 

Ray

Thanks Ray,

Yes that is correct - the hand controller is easily available also on Amazon for anyone who wants to buy it.
 




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