AstroEQ: Telescope Controller With EQMOD Emulation

AstroEQ is another GOTO telescope controller from the UK.

Basically, the author was a university student when he started this project, to convert a non-GOTO motorized mount into a GOTO mount.

A ready made AstroEQ controller is available for purchase. It has USB on one side, and two connectors for steppers on the other.

You buy your own stepper motors (e.g. this motor), and find a way to install them on the mount, after sourcing pulleys, belts, and custom brackets. Spur transfer gears are also possible. But if pulleys are used, there is zero backlash.

The strong point of this project/controller is that it fully emulates a Synscan EQ6/EQ5 using EQMOD, and is therefore compatible with many software planetariums.

It is therefore usable out of the box with KStars/INDI, just like any EQMOD mount. See this video, and writeup (Italian) for an example. The person even added Bluetooth!

Another strong point is that the author sells ready made controllers, for those who don't have the time or skill to assemble their own.

There are some limitations for AstroEQ though:

  • It is meant to be driven from a computer only, so there is no hand controller included, but one is available at extra cost.
  • It does not provide Bluetooth or WiFi on the pre-made controller, although it can be added if you build the board yourself.
  • It uses the older DVR8825 stepper drivers, and does not have TMC2100/TMC2130 by default. This limits the microstepping that can be done, which can be sub arc second if using the latter.

Contents: