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EQ5 Guiding Without the hand controller


Kevin17
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Hey,

 

i have attempted guiding / polar alignment without the hand controller last night, i have an EQMOD cable now and am trying to use NINA, after using NINA to plate solve and getting the accuracy down to small numbers, i tried using Stellarium for my go-to and it was off by about 4cm as viewed on my laptop screen, meaning that when i slewed to point at something like for instance the star Capella, it wasn't even accurate enough to by within my camera view and then i had to use my red dot to move on to it, it made trying to find objects like M33 impossible as i didnt know how far or in what direction i was off.

 

Do i still need to plug the hand set it to tell my remote what time and date it is and to a 3 star alignment before i plug in to my PC, this doesnt seem right?

 

Could it be a inaccurate scope 'Home' position?

 

Could it be that my location height / coordinates arnt entered correctly?

 

Do i still have to 3 star align with EQMOD i see there is a section for it?

 

 

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I haven't used NINA or Stellarium but I use APT and CDC with EQMOD all the time and I'm pretty sure there will be similar facilities in both. The routine I do is this. Select the object in CDC and use it to send the scope to the position. It's usually quite a bit off. SO take a picture then plate solve. In APT after you've plate solved you can click on SYNCH and it will synchronise CDC and APT. Then tell CDC to go to the same object again. Take another picture and usually the object is pretty close to centre. I might do this one more time and by then the object is smack in the middle.

 

The key to this is the synch button which matches up the mount position between APT, CDC and EQMOD. I'm pretty sure there will be something similar in NINA.  I find that if I go to some other part of the sky then there will be a mismatch again and I think this is to do with the mount and scope flexing and so on. Then I repeat the exercise.

 

I've never needed to use the hand control when doing this and almost all commands are given through APT which in your case will be NINA. Also once its started I don't need to touch eqmod and I don't have to do a 2 or 3 star alignment either directly on the mount or with EQMOD.

 

It's good to switch on and switch off the mount in the home position but it doesn't have to be dead accurate. 

Edited by woodblock
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I thought of another thing which might cause a small discrepancy. This is to do with the EPOCH of the coordinate system you are using. In my case I have to make sure CDC and APT are both using J2000 coordinates. Another system is called Jnow. This won't cause a big error in positioning and it probably won't cause the 4cm difference you are seeing.

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Hi, thank you for taking the time to reply, ive not really use CDC at all, i prefer the look and feel of Stellarium but if CDC is more accurate maybe i need to swap? i think i have NINA and EQMOD both set to J2000 as NINA checks for discrepancies with things like time/date and location etc, im sure i have worked through all of these now.

 

I'll see if manage anything better on my next night out and report back, if its no different i might try going back to using the hand controller as that was accurate with a 3 star alignment, its only since i tried to move away from the had controller that i am having issues, maybe i set up with the hand controller and go to my target then un plug the controller and switch to EQMOD and laptop from there to do the capturing but thats a bit of a faf i can do without, i already have been doing that for polar align as the red LED in the mount polar scope is too damn bright to see stars through, you need the remote in to dim it down to a reasonable level, i was hoping to move away from the polar scope and on to computer control...

 

a colleague at work uses an ASI Air and the software that comes with that and his go-to is spot on, i'll just keep saving for one of those and see if throwing money at the problem makes the problem go away, or induces some new ones.

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Hi Kevin, the key to making it work is after doing plate solve click on the synch button which gets CDC tied in to the right position. Obviously I'm using APT and CDC. You'll be using NINA and Stellarium but I'm sure there must be an equivalent to the synch button.

 

By the way, if I need hand control I no longer use the handset which comes with the mount I use a games controller via Eqmod. It's easy to set up and use. I have the games controller plugged in to a spare port on my USB hub. The advantage is that you can leave it in all the time and use it whenever you want and have automatic positioning via NINA/Stellarium at the same time. For example you could position it via Stellarium and then tweak the position with the games controller without having to unplug or plug anything. The games controller I use is this one from amazon

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07V31LPGV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I see this one is unavailable but there's probably a newer equivalent.

 

 

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I use NINA and Stellarium together. My CGX mount sets up using the CPWI software to initialize the ASCOM drivers and does the job your EQMOD carries out, but I have no experience with EQMOD. The connection was through a USB into the bottom of the hand controller but the latest update of CPWI allows a direct USB connection to the mount without the need for the hand controller. Once aligned, I minimize CPWI and don't use it again until the end of the session. 

 

Your plate solve variance probably isn't an elevation error but you can check it with routecalculator.co.uk. You have probably already double checked your latitude and longitude and you definitely need to double check your J2000/JNow. (Stellerium calls it on date)

 

CPWI loads your PC's date and time, I don't know if EQMOD is the same, so the hand controller info doesn't matter. NINA compares the ASCOM (through CPWI) coordinates with the NINA recorded coordinates and lets you know if there's a difference.

 

NINA then has an excellent Polar Alignment routine.

 

I don't use Stellerium as my goto because NINA handles this really well. But I do import target coordinates into NINA from Stellerium using the Framing tab. NINA does the goto and the plate solve. This then leaves your target bang in the centre of the screen. 

 

HTH

 

Regards

 

Graeme

 

 

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