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SynScan Handcontroller Not Turning On

Beginner Orion Mount
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#1 xavierstein

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 07:41 PM

Hello,

 

I got an Atlas EQ-G second hand, and the mount seems to power up well, and I can see 12V coming out of the serial port, but the hand controller does not turn on. I've tried it with the original hand controller and a new one from Orion. Is there something else I can test or need to do?

 

Clear skies!



#2 Bean614

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 07:54 PM

Do you have it pushed in all the way, until it clicks?

You don't have it in the "Guide" port, or "PC" port, do you?  It should be in the HC or Controller port.



#3 bignerdguy

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 09:52 PM

Question, once you have the scope powered on, can you look at the HC really closely and see if you can see the screen barely visible with words?  it might be that either the back light is off or REALLY dim or has gone bad.  If you can see the words barely that may be the issue.  Try also pushing one of the direction arrows once it is on, it should slew the scope if the HC is working.  Also, depending on which version of HC you have yours may or may not have a power jack on the bottom, if so, try plugging the power into it when the HC not connected to the mount.  It should at least power on that way if it works.  I have the v3 and I know it has one, the v4 or v5 HC's don't unfortunately so this may or may not work for you.



#4 xavierstein

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 12:28 AM

I am fairly certain it is clicked in all the way. There are only two ports on the mount, the dsub and autoguider ports. I have this plugged in to the dsub port going to the controller. I will try pressing the arrow keys and see if things work like that. This was a brand new cable and hand controller that arrived from Orion today, so the brightness issue would be strange I think? Will let you know what else I find out.

#5 Bean614

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 05:23 AM

Please post a Photo of the 'Control Panel' side of your Atlas 'EQ-G'. (Where the various cables plug in)



#6 xavierstein

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 03:33 PM

I'm having trouble uploading an image but hopefully you can see this: https://imgur.com/a/v78jSte



#7 Bean614

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 08:53 PM

Since you have the Older, Original version of the Atlas EQ-G, with the 9-Pin DB connection for the Hand Controller,  where were you trying to plug in the new controller that Orion sent you?  Does your Hand Controller have a DB9 connector on it? Were you trying to plug your new controller into the GUIDE port, as I  mentioned in a previous post?

If so, you've probably damaged the electronics.

The Guide port is for a Guide Camera, period.



#8 xavierstein

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 09:16 PM

I tested the power coming coming out of the DB9 port which showed 12V coming out of it, and I plugged the DB9 connector from the mount to the hand controller through the RJ45 port. At that point the hand controller doesn't turn on.



#9 Bean614

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 04:23 AM

So, you plugged the Hand Controller into the "AUTO GUIDER" port on the Atlas????



#10 Phil Sherman

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 10:56 AM

Your old controller should have a power port on it that matches the one on the mount. Plug the mount's power supply into the hand controller and it should work. This was the way to update the hand controller without the mount. The new hand controllers don't have the power port and may be able to be powered through the USB port instead. In either case, the hand controller shouldn't be connected to the mount if power isn't being supplied to the mount. It's unlikely but not impossible that a new controller is dead but when added to the dead original controller, this increases the probability that your problem is something else. Did you try powering up everything in a darkened room? This will make it much easier to see the hand controller display if the display brightness is set to its minimum value.

 

Using the arrow keys immediately after powering on the mount will not result in visible mount movement. Power on settings have the movement rate set to 1x sidereal which is too slow to visually see.



#11 xavierstein

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 10:19 PM

Let me add some more information to make this more clear. The mount came with a controller (ports on the right in photo 1) but no cable. I ordered a new controller (ports on the left in photo 1) which came with a cable (photo 3). When I plug the DSUB end of the cable into the mount and measure the voltage coming out of the RJ45 end, it reads 12V. However the controller does not power on when plugged in. When I plug the new controller into the computer via USB, it does turn on.

 

Any steps for further debugging would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

Photo 1:

2021 06 13 2
 
Photo 2:
2021 06 13

 



#12 Phil Sherman

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 11:07 PM

Your cable in photo #2 should power either of the hand controllers. The new controller powering up with a USB cable to the computer indicates that the hand controller is working. If the old hand controller has a power port so you need to try using the mount's power supply plugged into the hand controller's power port.

 

The old controller should have two RJ type ports. One is for the update cable, the other for the mount cable. The update port should be too small for the mount cable to fit in it. Check the RJ ports on the hand controllers for a bent connector wire that isn't making contact with the plug when it's inserted.

 

The Synscan hand controller manual has the pinout for the connector on it that goes to the mount. This should allow you to use some thin wire probes to check the RJ end of the cable you received with the new hand controller to verify that the 12V power is supplied to the correct pins. An alternative to this is to get an RJ11 socket which will give you easier access to the plug's pins by using the back side of the socket where the cat5 (or other) cable is attached. 

 

A final alternative is to locate someone near you that has a Skywatcher mount. You can try your hand controllers on their mount to verify that yours are working properly. A local astronomy club would be a good choice for this.


Edited by Phil Sherman, 13 June 2021 - 11:10 PM.


#13 jdupton

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 11:12 PM

xavierstein,

 

   The old controller looks strange. I do not think it is a v3 controller at all. It should have a power input to the right of the two other connectors. It may be a v2 controller or even an older non-GoTo controller. 

 

   Can you post a image of the full face of the old controller? That would help determine just what it is exactly. 

 

   It is possible that the older controller is not even for the Atlas mount but made for something else. A photo would help determine that.

 

 

John



#14 bignerdguy

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 07:29 AM

xavierstein,

 

   The old controller looks strange. I do not think it is a v3 controller at all. It should have a power input to the right of the two other connectors. It may be a v2 controller or even an older non-GoTo controller. 

 

   Can you post a image of the full face of the old controller? That would help determine just what it is exactly. 

 

   It is possible that the older controller is not even for the Atlas mount but made for something else. A photo would help determine that.

 

 

John

The controller on the right is probably the v4 controller.  only the v3 came with a power connection on it.  the v4 they removed it.  At this point if the controller is powering on via usb but not when connected to the mount hen there is an issue with the mount controller board.  I would suggest contacting SkyWatcher and see if they can sell you replacement parts for the mount controller board, if they will work.  The only other op0tion is to source the parts online as Orion will not fix your Atlas if you are not the original owner.


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#15 xavierstein

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 09:57 AM

The controller on the right is probably the v4 controller.  only the v3 came with a power connection on it.  the v4 they removed it.  At this point if the controller is powering on via usb but not when connected to the mount hen there is an issue with the mount controller board.  I would suggest contacting SkyWatcher and see if they can sell you replacement parts for the mount controller board, if they will work.  The only other op0tion is to source the parts online as Orion will not fix your Atlas if you are not the original owner.

Thank you for this. I will try a few more things and then try to contact Orion or SkyWatcher.



#16 xavierstein

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 07:10 PM

Update for everyone. The v4 and v5 controllers both power up directly when supplied with a 12V 1A current, but still not when connected to the mount directly. However, if I connect the v5 controller to the mount and to the computer via USB the hand controller does power on and is able to control the mount. Additionally I am able to control the mount via EKOS and a EQDIRECT cable. I hope this helps someone else in the future!

 

Clear skies!



#17 bignerdguy

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 07:21 PM

Update for everyone. The v4 and v5 controllers both power up directly when supplied with a 12V 1A current, but still not when connected to the mount directly. However, if I connect the v5 controller to the mount and to the computer via USB the hand controller does power on and is able to control the mount. Additionally I am able to control the mount via EKOS and a EQDIRECT cable. I hope this helps someone else in the future!

 

Clear skies!

Try something here: plug the v5 controller in and power the mount on.  try hitting one of the slew buttons and see if it does anything.  if it doesn't, then the mount controller board has a fault.  If it does, see if you can reset its settings to default and try again.  One of the two would be an issue here but I have to admit I am leaning towards the controller board on the mount.



#18 Phil Sherman

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 10:18 PM

Since both controllers work when they are directly powered and don't work when only plugged into the mount, I'd strongly suspect that one or more of the wires that attach to the DB9 connector in the mount or the DB9 cable that came with the new hand controller is disconnected. You stated that you measured 12V at the mount connector which means that the cable is the most likely suspect. If you have some small diameter solid wire, you can attach it to your meter probes to check for 12V at the hand controller end of the cable.



#19 xavierstein

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 12:59 PM

Since both controllers work when they are directly powered and don't work when only plugged into the mount, I'd strongly suspect that one or more of the wires that attach to the DB9 connector in the mount or the DB9 cable that came with the new hand controller is disconnected. You stated that you measured 12V at the mount connector which means that the cable is the most likely suspect. If you have some small diameter solid wire, you can attach it to your meter probes to check for 12V at the hand controller end of the cable.

I have powered the cable directly from a power supply via wires and it powers the hand controller on no problem, so I don't think the cable is the issue. If there controller board has a fault like mentioned above, is there anything I can do for that?



#20 bignerdguy

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:11 PM

I have powered the cable directly from a power supply via wires and it powers the hand controller on no problem, so I don't think the cable is the issue. If there controller board has a fault like mentioned above, is there anything I can do for that?

Check with SkyWatcher and see if they can sell you a new control board if it will work.  it might it might not. Orion and SW sell the same mount under different names but i am not certain if the SW hardware under the hood is the same as Orion or not.  If you are not the original owner of this mount you can bet Orion will not be able to assist as they only warranty it for the original owner.



#21 Phil Sherman

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 10:57 AM

I have powered the cable directly from a power supply via wires and it powers the hand controller on no problem, so I don't think the cable is the issue. If there controller board has a fault like mentioned above, is there anything I can do for that?

If the cable is good then there's an issue with the mount's control board. The good news is that the board appears to be fully functional in controlling the mount. I'd suspect that either the ground or +12 v lines are disconnected/broken somewhere between the DB9 connector and the circuit board. A wire that's partially broken internally will present voltage at the connector but under load (plugged into the hand controller) won't supply enough current to run the hand controller. Another possibility is that one of the power wires was soldered to the wrong pin on the back of the connector but that shouldn't have happened. I'd also check for a bent pin or a bad solder joint on the control board where the cable from the DB9 connector attaches to it.



#22 astrokeith

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 11:04 AM

Have you looked into the cable sockets? You should see a regular row of gold plated contacts/pins sitting up at an angle. As the RJ plug goes in it it guides these pins into the grooves on the plug alongside each contact.

 

These pins can get bent sometimes.


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#23 xavierstein

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 11:31 AM

I was able to power the hand controller by supplying 12V directly into the DB9 end, and plugging the RJ45 end into the hand controller. So I suspect that bignerdguy is right when he says that there must be something wrong with the mount controller board. For now I am getting away with powering the hand controller separately, or controlling the mount via EKOS in kStars.


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#24 xavierstein

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 02:17 PM

Another update on the topic, when the telescope is slewing, the power light flashes. So this leads me to believe there is something wrong with the controller board. Will continue to update if I find anything else.


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