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Upgrading the EXOS-2GT for AP with ASIairPro and EQStarProEQ5

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#1 AstroGaston

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 02:54 PM

Upgrading the EXOS-2GT for AP with ASIairPro and EQStarProEQ5

First, I should say I bought my first telescope - a 114mm Newt - a year ago. Like a lot of folks here, I'm a fan of space having grown up watching the Apollo missions. I thought I'd be content with visual astronomy eventually upgrading to a 200mm f/5 Newtonian. Until I felt compelled to get a DSLR and try taking a picture – just 7 months after getting started - and I was down the rabbit hole.

 

This revealed a lot of issues I needed to address with my rig. The past several months I've been working away, improving my manual PA, converting my finder scope to a guide scope, getting a cooled CMOS camera, adding an ASIairPro and, finally, unable or unwilling to buy a new mount, I knew I had to upgraded the motor control of my EXOS2-GT. After some research and contacting several of the good people on CN I bought the EQStarProEQ5 kit. I did a half-teardown of the mount, cleaning and lubricating while replacing the motors. Now with everything up and running I've had a 2 good nights with the new set-up, and it really is great.

 

I am on a fast and steep learning curve right now, yet in this combination I am able to very accurately polar align, target, track and guide better than expected, and can see good things coming. Last night I shot my first 300 second light with guiding around 0.9 – exciting, for sure, and will improve with better balance. Although I was lax on my focus and optimizing my gain while working out the other aspects last night I will still process all the images captured.

 

The AAP ads a lot of automation from managing the cameras and imaging, to the PA function and the meridian flip, which I like a lot.

 

The EQStarPro upgrade to the mount is what makes it all work, though. Without the improved motor control none of the other upgrades matter. I've learned here on CN that it really is all in the mount.

 

My rig now:
GSO 8” f/5 Newtonian w/2-speed crayford
EXOS-2GT with EQStarProEQ5 on the Twilight Heavy Duty Tripod
ASIairPro with dedicated router connected by ethernet cable
ASI120MC guiding with the 8x50 scope
ASI071MC-Pro main camera

Here are some pictures of the scope and the backyard astro-shed - half the wall are doors I can open to work and then close for imaging. Also the single 300s image of Orion.

 

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#2 Eye stein

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 03:06 PM

one year?? I am very impressed with what you have accomplished so far.

looking forward to some of your future pics.

best

JL


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#3 Serial

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 07:51 AM

I'm thinking about getting the EQStarProEQ5 for my CG-5 Mount.  Right now it just has a clock drive.  Would you recommend it?  Is it worth doing the upgrade as opposed to just buying a new, better mount?  I got a great deal on my mount so even if I paid $300 for the upgrade, I would still be way cheaper than a $1100 HEQ-5 (which I'll never be able to afford with my meager fun money stipend.) 



#4 AstroGaston

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 09:43 PM

Vostok 1, I am sorry for not responding sooner. I have been very impressed with my EQStarPro. It's very consistent, and like most things requires maintenance, but nothing unnecessary or troublesome. Reliable, consistent, accurate, all high marks. Easy to install, easy to operate. Works great with my ASIAirPro, too. 



#5 Halfstar

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 09:45 AM

Hi AstroGaston

I too have the EXOS2 GT and want to upgrade it, like you did, how hard was it to change out the motors to the EQStarProEQ5, 

Your post was exactly the information I needed.  I bought the First Light about five years ago, and never really managed to enjoy it, but I don't want to spend the money to buy a new one.   I also have an HEQ5 Pro and I love it, so hopefully now I can get my little Firstlight EXOS going too

Really appreciate your info and knowledge.

Also where did you get the storage cabinet for your Mount and scope, really like it.


Edited by Halfstar, 08 September 2021 - 09:47 AM.


#6 Halfstar

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:34 AM

AstroGaston

 

Another question, I am researching the EQStarProEQ5 on AstroGadget, do you remember which kit you bought to upgrade the Firstlight, would really appreciate your advice, so I order the right one  I don't see one that says for the EXOS2




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