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EQ6R Won't Work Unless Turned On, Then Off, Then Back On

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#1 Star Trails

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Posted 29 November 2023 - 09:47 PM

I just sent the message below to SkyWatcher tech support in hopes of a way to resolve this but perhaps someone here might understand the problem and know a solution. I have been trying to resolve this for literal months.

 

I have an EQ6R that I bought in 2022 from Telescopes Canada to use in the Sky Story program.  Overall, the mount works beautifully but I am experiencing a quirk that I have been trying for months to resolve.  To get the mount to work properly I have to turn it on, shut it off, then turn it back on.  That probably takes some elaboration.

 

I have an observatory where the EQ6R mount is permanently mounted on a pier.  I am controlling the EQ6R mount with a U59 Beelink mini PC running NINA.  NINA uses Stellarium for its planetarium and EQMOD to operate the mount.  I start the mini PC, then the mount.  I then start NINA and attempt to plate solve or do a three point polar alignment using ASTAP and Astrometry.net.  All attempts to use ASTAP for plate solving will fail, though NINA will successfully plate solve through Astrometry.net.  But the plate solve will not sync with the mount. I get a sync error message.

 

The only way to resolve this and make the mount work is to turn the mount off and back on.  At that point NINA will properly quickly plate solve with ASTAP and everything goes smoothly.  But this means every time I use the mount I have to turn it on, turn it back off, then turn it back on.  I don't understand this.  I think the mount thinks it's at the date and time of previous usage and that is screwing up syncing and plate solving.  Here in cloudy Nova Scotia it can be days or sometimes weeks between usage.  Does the mount  retain the date of previous usage? If so, what is the best way to have the mount update the date and time so I don't have to start it twice every time I use it?  Or is the problem something else entirely?

If anyone on CN has any idea how to resolve this, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts.


Edited by Star Trails, 30 November 2023 - 09:46 AM.

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#2 emflocater

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Posted 29 November 2023 - 11:32 PM

Have you tried to clean the terminals on both cord and mount? Maybe another power cord? Check continuity of wires in power cord.

 

Cheers

Don



#3 michael8554

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 05:56 AM

I don't have an EQ6R, but I doubt it remembers the date and time.

 

Does the U59 Beelink remember the date and time ?

 

Then check that EQMOD and NINA and the mount have the correct time.



#4 Son of Norway

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 08:33 AM

Get yourself one of these.  Connects directly to EQMOD and gives it date, time, location, elevation etc. GPS receiver, about $20 - $60.

 

 

GPS.jpg


Edited by Son of Norway, 30 November 2023 - 09:01 AM.


#5 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 02:30 PM

I just sent the message below to SkyWatcher tech support in hopes of a way to resolve this but perhaps someone here might understand the problem and know a solution. I have been trying to resolve this for literal months.

 

I have an EQ6R that I bought in 2022 from Telescopes Canada to use in the Sky Story program.  Overall, the mount works beautifully but I am experiencing a quirk that I have been trying for months to resolve.  To get the mount to work properly I have to turn it on, shut it off, then turn it back on.  That probably takes some elaboration.

 

I have an observatory where the EQ6R mount is permanently mounted on a pier.  I am controlling the EQ6R mount with a U59 Beelink mini PC running NINA.  NINA uses Stellarium for its planetarium and EQMOD to operate the mount.  I start the mini PC, then the mount.  I then start NINA and attempt to plate solve or do a three point polar alignment using ASTAP and Astrometry.net.  All attempts to use ASTAP for plate solving will fail, though NINA will successfully plate solve through Astrometry.net.  But the plate solve will not sync with the mount. I get a sync error message.

 

The only way to resolve this and make the mount work is to turn the mount off and back on.  At that point NINA will properly quickly plate solve with ASTAP and everything goes smoothly.  But this means every time I use the mount I have to turn it on, turn it back off, then turn it back on.  I don't understand this.  I think the mount thinks it's at the date and time of previous usage and that is screwing up syncing and plate solving.  Here in cloudy Nova Scotia it can be days or sometimes weeks between usage.  Does the mount  retain the date of previous usage? If so, what is the best way to have the mount update the date and time so I don't have to start it twice every time I use it?  Or is the problem something else entirely?

If anyone on CN has any idea how to resolve this, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Have you tried powering up the mount first, let it complete boot, then start the PC?



#6 pvdv

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 05:33 PM

The mount is agnostic in terms of date and time unless the hand controller is connected.

You seem to imply that the plate solve fails because of some time/date issue, but don't provide any specific info. Syncs will be rejected if they are too far off from where the control software thinks it points. Typical situations where this can happen (excluding a broken or severely misaligned mount) are indeed date/time errors in the hand controller or even wrong daylight saving time options. But those only occur when the hand controller is connected with those wrong options and, depending on the software, you may get a message such as "telescope time/date/coordinates don't match - use mount values or use PC values", or no messages at all.

While it is possible to use the HC and the PC software at the same time, going directly to the mount without even connecting the HC is the best option imho.

That's about the only thing I can think of - if you don't have the HC connected, I have zero idea of what could be going on.


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#7 Star Trails

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 05:53 PM

Have you tried powering up the mount first, let it complete boot, then start the PC?

How would I know if the mount completes boot?


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#8 Star Trails

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 05:54 PM

The mount is agnostic in terms of date and time unless the hand controller is connected.

You seem to imply that the plate solve fails because of some time/date issue, but don't provide any specific info. Syncs will be rejected if they are too far off from where the control software thinks it points. Typical situations where this can happen (excluding a broken or severely misaligned mount) are indeed date/time errors in the hand controller or even wrong daylight saving time options. But those only occur when the hand controller is connected with those wrong options and, depending on the software, you may get a message such as "telescope time/date/coordinates don't match - use mount values or use PC values", or no messages at all.

While it is possible to use the HC and the PC software at the same time, going directly to the mount without even connecting the HC is the best option imho.

That's about the only thing I can think of - if you don't have the HC connected, I have zero idea of what could be going on.

It's an EQ6Ri--there is no hand controller. It's intended to be directly connected only to a PC.



#9 pvdv

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 06:15 PM

Ah, sorry, the thread title is EQ-6R.

Anyway, I assume the "pod" contains the equivalent of the HC firmware. Date/Time/DST settings/location are worth checking if possible.

How far off is the initial plate-solve astap can't handle? astap should also be able to blind solve, like astrometry.net just in case. 

I also see from product pictures that there still seems to be a USB port - have you tried controlling the mount through that USB port with either GSS/EQMod without connecting the pod?

I tried to find a manual on the main skywatcher (https://skywatcher.c...s/go-to-mounts/) but the mount isn't listed. 



#10 Skywatchr

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 06:23 AM

How would I know if the mount completes boot?

Give it 5 to 10 seconds. The fact that turning it off, then back on "fixes" it, is a clue. 

OR, let the PC fully boot so it can fully recognize the mount when you switch it on.  A PC isn't "instant on".  The OS needs time to "come alive" and is busy loading software for a bit..

You gave us your startup sequence, but no "time" intervals between power-on switching.

Many things work better with a specific startup sequence.  But other "machines" aren't really fussy about it.

So try turning the PC on first, wait about 30 seconds, then turn on the mount, then load your Astro software.

All you gotta do is try it. grin.gif


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#11 Star Trails

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 07:18 AM

I've heard back from SkyWatcher. I live in Canada and their Canadian tech support is really fast. As in they got back to first thing in the morning the day after I emailed them.  Very impressed, SW--thanks!

SW recommends going into Park mode in the morning and unparking next time I use the mount. Since building the observatory I haven't been parking since if working in the little observatory I would often end up having to unlock the gears and move it around to work around the pier.  I'll give that a try.

I'll also try booting the mount and waiting for a couple minutes first, then booting the PC and also try the reverse if that doesn't work.

One thing I have observed is I used to get a notice through NINA when I "Connected to Telescope" which in NINA actually means connected to the mount.  At the time of connection it would ask if I wanted the mount to accept NINA's location settings or if I wanted NINA to accept the mount's location settings. I always told the mount to accept NINAs settings.  I don't get that notice anymore.  I think that's about when the problem started.

Since the mount will always slew manually just fine, I can't tell if a potential fix is going to work until I try to have the mount Three Point Polar Align or Plate Solve (meaning I can only test it on clear nights, which are infrequent in Nova Scotia).  So this has gone on for some time.


Edited by Star Trails, 01 December 2023 - 12:28 PM.

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#12 Skywatchr

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 08:17 AM

I've heard back from SkyWatcher. I live in Canada and their Canadian tech support is really fast. As in they got back to first thing in the morning the day after I emailed them.  Very impressed, SW--thanks!

SW recommends going into Park mode at night and unparking in the morning. Since building the observatory I haven't been parking since if working in the little observatory I would often end up having to unlock the gears and move it around to work around the pier.  I'll give that a try.

I'll also try booting the mount and waiting for a couple minutes first, then booting the PC and also try the reverse if that doesn't work.

One thing I have observed is I used to get a notice through NINA when I "Connected to Telescope" which in NINA actually means connected to the mount.  At the time of connection it would ask if I wanted the mount to accept NINA's location settings or if I wanted NINA to accept the mount's location settings. I always told the mount to accept NINAs settings.  I don't get that notice anymore.  I think that's about when the problem started.

Since the mount will always slew manually just fine, I can't tell if a potential fix is going to work until I try to have the mount Three Point Polar Align or Plate Solve (meaning I can only test it on clear nights, which are infrequent in Nova Scotia).  So this has gone on for some time.

That could be another clue.  Is it possible NINA has a "default" that can be changed to accept one or the other?  It may be automatically choosing the mount's settings, thus no notification.

One other thing, did this begin after an upgrade for NINA?



#13 Star Trails

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 12:31 PM

That could be another clue.  Is it possible NINA has a "default" that can be changed to accept one or the other?  It may be automatically choosing the mount's settings, thus no notification.

One other thing, did this begin after an upgrade for NINA?

It began about 3 months ago.  At the time I didn't pay attention to it. I thought there was just a boot bug in NINA.  And then we had weeks and weeks of bad weather so it was a while till I realized it was a regular problem, ergo, I didn't take any notes when it started. I wish I could recall the circumstances when it all started.  I haven't been able to figure out how to get NINA to open that dialog asking if I want it to tell EQMOD the settings or accept EQMOD's settings again. Maybe a project for tonight.


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#14 t-ara-fan

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Posted 02 December 2023 - 01:45 AM

I think I have seen sort of a similar thing with my EQ6-R PRO once in a while.   It appears that if I power up the computer first, the USB power in the USB cable turns on some of the electronics in the mount.  But of course not all of the electronics i.e. not all the motors and high power stuff.

If I would then power up the mount, I often got errors on my PC about not talking to the mount.

Switching the sequence to power up the mount first, then the PC meant I never saw the problem. 

 

Have you tried powering up the mount first, let it complete boot, then start the PC?

Bingo.

 

How would I know if the mount completes boot?

Wait ten seconds.
 


Edited by t-ara-fan, 02 December 2023 - 01:46 AM.

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#15 Star Trails

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Posted 02 December 2023 - 01:36 PM

I think I have seen sort of a similar thing with my EQ6-R PRO once in a while.   It appears that if I power up the computer first, the USB power in the USB cable turns on some of the electronics in the mount.  But of course not all of the electronics i.e. not all the motors and high power stuff.

If I would then power up the mount, I often got errors on my PC about not talking to the mount.

Switching the sequence to power up the mount first, then the PC meant I never saw the problem. 

 

Bingo.

 

Wait ten seconds.
 

Thank you! One of these days, when we get a clear night again, I will try it. I've made a list of different sequences and options to try.


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#16 Star Trails

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Posted 09 December 2023 - 09:30 PM

Finally had a clear night.  I tried two suggestions and one of them worked.  But as I didn't want to waste the night (we've only had one other good night in almost 30 days), I tried them both at the same time, so I don't know which was the key thing.
 

1. I parked the mount after last use and unparked today. Before building the observatory, I never bothered to park.  I don't know why it would matter now but anyway, I did (per Skywatcher's own advice).

 

2. I turned on the mount and waited a full minute before turning on the mini PC.

Something worked because the mount plate solved and synced first attempt. Smoothest startup I ever did.  The whole system was ready to go in moments.


Edited by Star Trails, 09 December 2023 - 09:32 PM.

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#17 Skywatchr

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Posted 09 December 2023 - 09:44 PM

Finally had a clear night.  I tried two suggestions and one of them worked.  But as I didn't want to waste the night (we've only had one other good night in almost 30 days), I tried them both at the same time, so I don't know which was the key thing.
 

1. I parked the mount after last use and unparked today. Before building the observatory, I never bothered to park.  I don't know why it would matter now but anyway, I did (per Skywatcher's own advice).

 

2. I turned on the mount and waited a full minute before turning on the mini PC.

Something worked because the mount plate solved and synced first attempt. Smoothest startup I ever did.  The whole system was ready to go in moments.

FarmerRon.gif  Now if it still works next time. waytogo.gif



#18 CharLakeAstro

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Posted 09 December 2023 - 10:07 PM

Thanks for circling back with the results... helps others reading this thread later.

I think you are good now... I use an AZ-EQ5 with EQAscom, and my mount is always powered first, from park. It always connects.

 

Finally had a clear night.  I tried two suggestions and one of them worked.  But as I didn't want to waste the night (we've only had one other good night in almost 30 days), I tried them both at the same time, so I don't know which was the key thing.
 

1. I parked the mount after last use and unparked today. Before building the observatory, I never bothered to park.  I don't know why it would matter now but anyway, I did (per Skywatcher's own advice).

 

2. I turned on the mount and waited a full minute before turning on the mini PC.

Something worked because the mount plate solved and synced first attempt. Smoothest startup I ever did.  The whole system was ready to go in moments.


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#19 Phil Sherman

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 11:53 AM

Finally had a clear night.  I tried two suggestions and one of them worked.  But as I didn't want to waste the night (we've only had one other good night in almost 30 days), I tried them both at the same time, so I don't know which was the key thing.
 

1. I parked the mount after last use and unparked today. Before building the observatory, I never bothered to park.  I don't know why it would matter now but anyway, I did (per Skywatcher's own advice).

 

2. I turned on the mount and waited a full minute before turning on the mini PC.

Something worked because the mount plate solved and synced first attempt. Smoothest startup I ever did.  The whole system was ready to go in moments.

It's most likely the parking and unparking that did the trick. At my remote observatory, the computer is always powered on before the mount and I never have any issues with the scope connecting or GOTO/plate solving when powering up the mount. EQMOD, depending on its settings, can do weird things with a saved sky map and not parking the mount before powering it off. If you're not using a saved sky map, EQMOD makes assumptions about where the mount is pointed when it's powered up. If it's not pointed where EQMOD thinks it is,  GOTOs and local plate solves don't work. If you use the astrometry.net online plate solver, you can point the mount anywhere and you'll get a solution for the mount's position.




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