OVERVIEW

The purpose of this website is to provide an introduction to the EQMOD Project and applications. For more detailed information please consider joining the EQMOD Yahoo group.

The aim of the EQMOD project is to develop and distribute FREE Astronomy/mount control software. The majority of EQMOD software is made available as open source enabling applications to be customized to any particular users own specific requirements. By placing the source in the public domain we believe we can best ensure not only continued development but also the expansion of the project into other areas and applications.

Before purchasing commercial mount control products it may well be worth your while checking out what features the EQMOD project can deliver for free. All EQMOD applications are subject to on-going development and new features are readily added in response to user requests.

The software makes no modification to the original manufacturers firmware and can be removed at any time. Use and distribution of the EQMOD software and source is governed by the terms in the source code.


The EQMOD Project comprises of a suite of applications:

EQASCOMThis application provides the mount control functionality and acts as an ASCOM server thereby allowing client applications, such as planetarium software or autoguiding software, to drive the mount.
EQMOSAICAn ASCOM client application for precise mount positioning for the managment of mosaics capture..
EQTOURAn ASCOM client application for  Sky Tour planning / navigation.
EQMODLXAn ASCOM client  that allows the mount to be controlled by applications issuing LX200 protocol commands.Often used with satellite tracking applications.
PERECORDERAn automated Periodic Error recording program that uses a webcam
PECPrep A Periodic Error Analysis program capable of using data captured using Perecorder, PHD, MetaGuide, MaixmDl, K3CCDTools, CCDSoft & AstroArt 
ASCOMPADA gampad interface application for ASCOM focuser drivers, filter wheels and mount drivers (if not using EQASCOM)

EQASCOM is the mount control driver, the other applications build upon this driver platform and may be thought of as 'plugins' providing extra functionality and capabilities. The EQASCOM driver currently supports Synta EQ mounts and issues commands to the mount via a PC COM port. Either an external EQDirect level convertor or the SynScan controller (must be V3.21 or later) provides the interface to the mount itself.




PC-Direct mode is an undocumented feature of the Synscan handcontroller that many people have found to work successfully in combination with EQMOD. However you should be aware that the EQMOD developers have no technical insight into its implementation or of its limitations. We cannot therefore guarantee reliable operation when using PC-Direct mode and this fact may limit its practical use to evaluation only. We would advise strongly against unattended operation whilst using PC-Direct Mode. Please refer to the EQMOD Yahoo Group for further advice should you have any concerns.

Additional interface devices may be added/required depending on your requirements. For instance a typcal set up might be:



Please visit the Pre-Requisites section of this website for more information on what you need to use EQMOD, lists of compatible hardware etc.

Note that a telescope/mount simulator is included with EQASCOM to allow you to evaluate the EQMOD applications and features without needing a compatible mount/equipment.

Do I need really EQMOD to control my mount from a PC?
No. If you have a synscan handcontroller then it has the capability to interpret celestron type commands and perform appropriate mount control functions. Any Planetarium programs that support Celestron 5i/8i drivers can therefore exert some control over mount positioning/tracking etc. The important thing to note is that it is the synscan handcontroller that provides the actual mount control algorithms.

When using EQASCOM we connect directly to the mount and bypass the synscan control algorithms. This has allowed us to write our own advanced alignment, tracking, PEC and limit proteciton algorithms that provide greater functionality than provided by the synscan itself.


So why use EQMOD project software?

User interface
  • gamepad support for mount control and focuser control - button functions totally configurable.
  • remote mouse and keypad/numpad support
  • English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian & Romanian language support.
Initial Setup
  • Time/timezone/daylight savings etc taken From PC, corrected by GPS
  • Up to 10 preset Observing sites can be defined.
  • Supports a wide range of GPS for automatic location and time sync correction.
  • Quick and reliable Polar Scope positioning routine 
Alignment
  • No restriction on alignment star selection. You can align on ANY star or point in the sky, you can choose a 15th magnitude star if you want.
  • N-point models 
  • Pointing models can be automatically saved and restored for those with permanent mounts
  • Pointing model can be refined by via sync to add new points.
Gotos
  • Goto accuracy improved by pointing model and iterative gotos.
  • Limit protection for user defined Horizon
  • Limit protection past meridian
  • "Counterwights up"  (pre-flip) gotos possible
Slewing
  • User definable slew rates on RA and DEC any where from 1-800 times sidereal
  • User definable preset rates (10 max).
  • Spiral search
  • Mosaic capablility.
Object Database
  • Only restricted by the ASCOM client you're using.
  • User definable tours.
  • Tour objects can be filtered by declination so that only those above a horizon limit are shown.
  • No restriction on the number of user objects.
Park Scope
  • Automatic Park on Horizon limits or RA limits
  • Park timer
  • Unpark to predefined position.
PEC Training
  • Variable speed PEC rather than fixed speed.
  • Ability to load and save multiple PEC traces
  • Visual display of worm phase and current periodic error even when PEC not engaged.
  • Automated PE capture.
  • PE can be captured and PEC applied whilst guiding/imaging
Tracking
  • PEC, if enabled, is integral part of Sidereal rate not a separate rate.
  • Custom RA and DEC rates supported - ephemeris import for comet and minor planet tracking
  • Limit protection for user defined Horizon and RA limits
  • Satelite tracking
  • Automatic pier flip on RA limit (optional)
Autoguiding
  • Pulseguide support
  • Visualisation of guiding corrections/performance.
  • Close integration with PEC.