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Thread: EQASCOM test

  1. #1
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    Default EQASCOM test



    My clear sky chart showed a patch of blue, and I could just make out some stars when I went out, so I figured it would be adequate for my planned session: trying out the EQASCOM software to control the HEQ5 mount. Had I been able to see anything, seeing would probably have been decent, but the transparency was crap, so no chance of knocking any new Messiers off my list.

    I was able to see enough of Polaris to get my polar alignment, and I started my star alignment. What a treat to be able to pick any stars I wanted! I am surrounded by tall trees, so my choice of alignment stars is limited. I chose Dhube, Capella and Regulus. It worked very smoothly. Then what to test it on?

    Optimistically, I tried M65. Nothin'. Even the stars looked like faint fuzzies, so the fuzzies themselves were invisible. I asked it to find Mizar, and ta-da, there it was. Ursa Major was actually a bit clearer than the rest of the sky, so I took a long shot and asked for M81, remembering that it was one of the brighter galaxies. Yep, I could actually see it and its partner M82. Kewl! There's no way I could have found them without a working star alignment, they were so faint. So chalk this test up as a success.

    I really liked being able to control the scope from Stellarium. Just point at something, hit Ctrl/1, and away she goes. That alone is cool enough, but the ability to select my own choice of any alignment stars makes it worthwhile for me.

    EDIT: Actually, I did knock off one new Messier, M40, which is a double star in Ursa Major. I could see why it was a Messier object: it was just a fuzzy spot, and with the conditions being what they were, I couldn't split it. But I confirmed its identity from the positions of adjacent stars. (It forms the right angle of a right angle triangle with two other stars.)
    Last edited by KathyNS; 04-01-2011 at 05:41 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Sounds good Keith. I recently got EQMOD working with my Atlas. Took me several attempts to get all the software in synch. Also got a wireless keypad to control slewing and a reticule eyepiece to improve accuracy in setup. I tied it to Stellarium and also Cartes Du Ciel. Haven't tested Cartes Du Ciel yet but Stellarium is really neat. Pick your object, hit CTRL+1 and the scope goes there. Last time out I wanted to try drift alignment. I carefully did the EQMOD polar alignment procedure first before I started up. It worked pretty well. It took several minutes of tracking to get enough drift to make adjustments. Just a few tweaks in azimuth and alt and it held pretty good. Next out I want to improve my N point alignment for gotos. It works OK but I was able to do as good with a two star alignment using the handset. I know I can do better. Need to do some more reading and hands on to get more comfortable with it. It takes awhile to work through the process but I think it's worth the effort. Glad to hear it's working for you.
    Len
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    Default

    Are you guys using Stellariumscope with the Ascom drivers? I had that working back before the first of the year, but that version of Stellariumscope was deactivated I believe Jan 1st. I have things working really good with eqmod and Starry Night, but that program is a resource hog on my less than stellar laptop.

    Jim
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    Now where did I put that clear sky button!

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimt View Post
    Are you guys using Stellariumscope with the Ascom drivers?
    Yes, that's what I am using. I am really liking it.

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    Default

    Cool. I need to go get the new Stellariumscope then. I really like the simplicity of Stellarium. I know the other planetarium softwares have more information and stuff, but I just like the feel of Stellarium.
    Thanks Kieth

    Jim
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    Now where did I put that clear sky button!

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    Default

    Yes. I am using Stellariumscope. I load Stellariumscope and click connect to load Ascom. I then load Stellarium right from Stellariumscope. Works pretty good. I also prefer the simplicity of using Stellarium. I only use Cartes Du Ciel when I observe doubles. I loaded the double star catalog. It's not as simple but it works OK. When I'm not doing doubles I use Stellarium. Do you guys use a game controller for slewing? I picked up a wireless keypad so I could stand at the mount for alignment slews and such. Should have seen my first attempt trying to do alignment carrying the laptop around. Almost dropped it. Have you guys tried PC Direct through the hand controller? Everything I read recommended using Eqdir so I set it up that way. I'm wondering if I had used a serial to USB adapter through the hand controller it would have been possible to use the hand controller for slewing while using EQMOD? If so I could have saved some cash for the EQDIR adapter and the keypad. It's been improving as I gain experience. Clear skys would help a lot.
    Len
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    Default

    I use the PC DIR Mode of the hand set. Works great. You can align with the hand set, switch to PC Dir, and drive with the laptop.


    Jim
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    Now where did I put that clear sky button!

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenbo View Post
    Do you guys use a game controller for slewing?
    Yes. I picked up an el-cheapo wired game controller. Even with the laptop on the opposite side of the scope from the eyepiece, I have lots of cable. I just have to remember which direction to walk around the tripod!
    Have you guys tried PC Direct through the hand controller? Everything I read recommended using Eqdir so I set it up that way. I'm wondering if I had used a serial to USB adapter through the hand controller it would have been possible to use the hand controller for slewing while using EQMOD?
    Yes, I use PC Direct through the hand controller. Eqdir would probably be more convenient, but it's one more gadget to buy. Though the EQMOD people disclaim all responsibility if you use PC Direct, it works just fine.

    I don't think you can use the hand controller for slewing while in PC Direct mode. Having said that, I haven't tried it, so I could be wrong. I just assumed that the hand controller was disabled during PC Direct mode. I'll check it out and get back to you.

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    Default

    I have used both PC Direct via the handset and EQDIR USB. (Keith don't try slewing with the hand set after you have aligned. It confuses the software.)

    I found that I got 'disconnects' on occasion with the handset in PC Direct. Never had a problem with the EQDIR USB. Plus it got rid of two more connections, the usb to serial adapter and the handset!

    I also used a Logitech 'rumblepad' which I found was the best way to do the centering and syncing for "N-points".

    One and only problem is keeping up with the software revisions. I'm on the EQMOD yahoo group and watch for updates there. I normally will do the 'pre-release' stuff as the group is pretty active and it seems to get tested really fast.

    It's amazing how many little "tricks" are included in the EQASCOM. Always finding something new.
    Gordon
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    Sounds good. Reason I asked was because I found it kind of cumbersome using a keypad with EQDIR to slew. I had a hard time getting the slewing rates right. A lot of back and forth between the mount and laptop. Not really a big deal though because once all this stuff is set up manual slews won't be all that necessary if you have a decent alignment. I have a usb to serial adapter. I'll try it both ways. If it works better I can always sell my EQDIR adapter. Thanks.
    Len
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