First steps with EQ Drive!

In this article, we will help you with the first connection of EQDrive to a personal computer (PC) to control the equatorial mount. Connecting our control unit is no different from connecting other mount using the ASCOM platform and EQMOD, you can use this guide not only with our devices.

So and let’s begin. You need a PC with OS Windows 7, 8, 10 installed. The first thing you have to do is install the ASCOM platform and the Eqmod EQASCOM driver. Depending on the OS, you may need to install additional the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.

The next step is to install the driver for the virtual COM port. Use the FTDI driver for Standard, Standard2, Standard3 units or the SILABS driver for Standard3N, Unitrack units. When installing, follow the instructions on the websites of the driver manufacturers. Connect the EQDrive unit to the USB port of the PC, the OS should detect the connection of the new device and automatically install a virtual COM port for it. After testing, go to “Control Panel”> “System”> “Device Manager” and look at “Ports (COM and LPT)” here the Serial Port (COM …) should appear. Remember the COM port number to which your EQDrive is connected, later this number will come in handy for you .

Connect the stepper motors and apply power to the device, while the status indicator (LED) should be green (for Standard, Standard2), red (for Standard3, Standard3N, Standard4). Congratulations, the connect of device was successful!

We continue. Adjust the EQDrive parameters for your mount, this is the axle reduction factor, the parameters associated with the stepping motors (step, current) and other parameters needed for the mount to work properly. Install the EQDriveConfig Settings Tool. Select the COM port to which the EQDrive is connected, press “READ” to read the current parameters stored in the EQDrive, change the values ​​according to your mount and motors, click “WRITE” to save the parameters in the EQDrive flash memory. You can also save the parameters to a file on the PC by clicking “SAVE”, to later load these parameters, press the “LOAD” and select the desired file.

EQDrive is ready to go!

Now we can  begin customize the planetarium. For example, we took the popular planetarium Cartes du Ciel. Launch the planetarium. At the top of the planetarium control panel, find the “Telescope” tab, click the icon with the image of the telescope.

A new “ASCOM Telescope Interface” window will open.

Follow the steps in steps:

  1. Click “Select” to select the mount wich you want to manage.
  2. In the new “ASCOM Telescope Choose” window that appears, select the EQMOD ASCOM HEQ5 / 6 mount type
  3. Click “Properties” (EQMOD Properties), a new “EQMOD ASCOM SETUP” settings window will appear

  1. Select the parameters and the number of the COM port to which the EQDrive is connected.

4.1 Set the coordinates of your observation point and the altitude above sea level.

  1. Confirm the action with “OK”.

That’s it, the planetarium is set up!

Connect the planetarium to the mount. In the “ASCOM Telescope Interface” window, click “Connect”, if you have done everything correctly, the EQMOD ASCOM control window will start.

Clear Sky!