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ASCOM Connection Issues to Orion Sirius Mount

Astrophotography Beginner Equipment Orion Software
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11 replies to this topic

#1 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 12:56 AM

Hi all - I've been doing visual astronomy with an equatorial mount for about a couple years now and am currently preparing to make my first foray into astrophotography. My latest obstacle has proven to be more difficult than the previous ones I've overcome, but I'm hoping you all can help me out. I am trying to establish a connection between my laptop and mount to be able to use PHD2 guiding but the ASCOM platforms I have installed (GS Server and EQMOD) are both having issues connecting to the mount. I just keep receiving the same "ErrNoResponseAxis1, Timeout" message. 

 

My mount (Orion Sirius) has a SynScan V5 hand controller which is connected to a USB hub attached to a Windows laptop via a USB type B printer cable. So far I have tried switching out the USB cable, uninstalling/re-installing the programs, and resetting the Baud rate both in the applications and the device manager for the COM port to ps115,200 and ps9,600 to no avail. 

 

I would appreciate any tips you may have! I am still quite inexperienced in this hobby, but I am very excited to be one step closer to capturing these objects that captivate us all so much. Thanks in advance and clear skies! 

 

 



#2 Ljubo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 01:53 AM

Hi,

 

You need dedicated EQMOD cable (similar with USB type B printer cable, but the one that mount can recognize). And you have to connect it directly to the mount, in order to work correctly.


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#3 rgsalinger

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 01:56 AM

I use the Shoestring cables. These cables reduce the 5 volt USB side to 3.25 volts which is what the hand controller uses. Just find the right one for your mount. I thought, though, that the latest EQ5 mounts actually had a useable USB port on them so that the special cables were no longer necessary. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#4 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:00 AM

Thank you so much for the responses! Is the cable you guys are referring to a USB A to RJ45 connection? the RJ45 port that says AutoGuider is the only other open connection directly on the mount. I had seen a few posts that said that RJ45 was a suboptimal so I tried to establish the connection in a different way. I bought the mount second hand so I'm not certain if it is a recent production or if it may be a bit older.



#5 rgsalinger

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:06 AM

The RJ45 jack is for an ST4 cable, an old fashioned way of guiding that isn't used much anymore. The connection I'm referring to is the connection used by the hand controller. You remove the hand controller and run the Shoestring cable from your computer to the port that WAS used by the HC. Now it should be easy to get EQMOD or any other ASCOM driver working with your mount. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#6 Tangent

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:20 AM

Did you install the Prolific driver on the computer (assuming your hand controller uses this)?  Prolific has a device identifier program, or you can get the device_id from the DeviceManager and check the list on the driver download.   Did you set the hand controller to "PC Direct Mode"?



#7 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:31 AM

I did update my drivers before performing these tests but did not install any separate drivers to assist. I just tried putting the HC in PC Direct Mode and connecting and it gave me the same result. The suggestion of the shoestring cable and going directly through the HC port on the mount makes a lot of sense and I think I'll purchase one of those cables and give that a go. 



#8 jdupton

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:35 AM

Dr. Gonzo,

 

   Wow, there is a lot of conflicting and confusing information in this thread. When it comes to connecting a SynScan mount to a computer, the information is confusing simply because there are many ways to accomplish the connection. Everyone gives you a tiny bit of information about how they connect without full context of everything required. So, everyone can be telling you how to connect but you cannot mix and match all the different partial advice you get to make it work.

 

   Below is a chart I put together that shows all the different ways you can connect. You can choose any one method (shown as different rows) but you cannot mix up connection methods shown of multiple rows at once. This chart was made for the EQ6r_pro but is valid for the Sirius mount also. I think you have been trying to use method #2 in the chart where the USB goes from the computer to the Hand Control and then the Hand Control is plugged into its normal RJ45 connector on the mount. You can use any one of the software drivers in the rightmost column for a given row. Note that connection method #3 is very similar with the only difference being the Hand Control configuration and the device driver being used.

 

   Do not mix up connection methods. (For example if you use #2, you must use either EQMOD or GSS and put the HC into PC-Direct mode. If you use #3, you must use the SW ASCOM driver and not put the HC in PC-Direct mode.) (Other combinations will fail when you use something from Row #2 versus something else from row #3.)

 

EQ6R-EQAZ5_Connections.png

 

   In addition, I wrote up a tutorial of the more common ways to reach a connection that works. However, the methods in the tutorial predate the inclusion of USB connectors on the mounts by SkyWatcher and Orion. As background, you can read through the tutorial and then use the chart above to choose one method to get a working connection.

 

https://www.atm-workshop.com/synscan-pc-connect.html

 

 

John

 

PS: As @Tangent indicated above, when using a USB connection, you should make sure to download and install the Prolific Chipset Device Driver from the SkyWatcher website. This is required to use the USB ports on either the mount or Hand Control. (Some generic Prolific drivers automatically installed by Windows may or may not work properly. Skywatcher's website has a version that they have tested and is known to work.)


Edited by jdupton, 04 December 2022 - 10:47 AM.


#9 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:43 AM

Hi John,

 

That is a lot of information to digest but I think I understand, this is massively helpful and I'm going to try out these configs starting out with #2! Will install the prolific drivers first and hopefully report back with a success!



#10 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 10:49 AM

Aaaaaaand method #2 worked immediately when I reset all rates to 9600 and set the mount to PC Direct mode! Thank you so much to everyone who reached out with suggestions, I'm very fortunate to be part of a community that is so dedicated to helping its newer members gain skills and experience. I hope everyone has a great weekend and clear skies!


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#11 Phil Sherman

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 11:42 AM

If your mount also has a USB port in it, then you can bypass the hand controller and plug the USB cable directly into the mount. You will need to adjust the serial speed and port number.

 

I still prefer to use a serial cable that plugs directly into the hand controller port in the mount. I only use ones that use the FTDI chipsets. The EQMOD group has, over many years, discovered that the FTDI based USB to serial chipsets have the least communications issues with the mount and, as a bonus, retain their port number even when plugged into a different USB port.


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#12 Dr. Gonzo

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 11:59 AM

When I initially purchased my Sirius I was surprised that seemingly very few of the entry level equatorial mounts (HEQ5, Sirius, AVX) have any "normal" USB connections (A, B, C) only a couple of RJ45 ports. The Star Adventurer GTI seems like it has a multitude of convenient options for PC/mobile control, if I was entering the hobby now I'd strongly consider going with that one.




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