Telescopes

Configuring the Eagle3

BOLTING ALONG
The Eagle3 meets many astro imager’s needs and it is very simple to assemble and configure. In very little time I’d worked out a suitable manner of securing the Eagle3 (in my case simply using two of the supplied bolts and fixing from underneath my carry-handle). It took longer to ‘think’ about it than to physically do. Suitable bolts are found in the box, well done PrimaLuceLab. I made sure all fittings were nipped up snugly and set about the upper deck. Ideally here you will use the excellent PLUS System fittings. However you don’t have to or perhaps need to. I decided to have a second ‘scope attached by its foot bar and also tested a dovetail and guide rings.

Eagle3 screwed together and wired up

GETTING WIRED
Taking a little time over the connections to the rear power panel paid off, with the sockets properly populated and the screw in connectors really snugly twisted together. There are two styles that correspond to their associated 3amp or 8amp ports as well as the main power connector coming in – simple and robust, a happy upgrade indeed.
I like to bring each device into the mixture individually so I left my accessory USB cables unplugged at this stage and plugged into an HDMI port for a screen and USB wired mouse and keyboard for the initial set up.
Booting up the Eagle3 with the power button revealed a fast and slickly presented machine. Very nice. Eagle Manager presents an important display and it is here you will manage and configure the power and USB side of things and also the important AP v HOST WiFi mode.
Put simply, in AP mode Eagle3 is an appliance on your network in Host mode it becomes its own network and you connect directly to it. I opted for AP mode and once the Eagle3 was part of my home wireless network (simple as adding any wirless device) I was able to disconnect the screen and keyboard and use the excellent MS RDP Remote Desktop Client.
I made a list of the devices required for my rig and set about downloading the latest drivers. As each device was brought online I made sure that the associated entries in Eagle Manager were made. Here you can name each power port and switch them on and off. You can assign default patterns to switch on and shutdown modes and I soon found a pattern of ons and offs that I liked. The three assignable voltage ports are easily configured. I named the two I was using and set their voltage to the required 12v for my dew straps.
Four USB2 ports and an astonoshingly useful four USB3 ports, thank you again PrimaLuceLab, were quickly filled. Each device was tested and everything was operating smoothly. I found that even with a freshly installed payload of programs the Eagle3 was coping fine. It was doing better than fine, it was doing perfectly, so I decided to push things a little further.

Eagle Manager on a populated Eagle3 system – note custom named ports and real time values on the dashboard

ROOM FOR ONE MORE?
Loading programs in the normal MS Windows fashion the ‘List’ comprised the excellent EQMOD for mount control via EQDIR cable (no handset, joypad or finder scope required here) connected to the mount alongside Cartes Du Ciel for slewing. The ASCOM platform and PHD2 had been preinstalled. Saves a little time and brain :0) Next item, Sesto Senso robotic focuser swiftly found (a neat unit that remembered its calibration between imaging computers). Polemaster is a lynchpin for my setup, software and camera work faultlessly on Eagle3 of course. For capture software I like Sequence Generator Pro. All systems Go! and a simulated run completed – using the mono ‘scope with its auto focus and filter wheel and 50mm guide scope. That’s when I decided to try an experiment.
With a new Apo widefield 51mm astrograph in hand, I swapped out the rings and guidescope and bolted the baby refractor in place.

Eagle3 managing everything impeccably. The single trailing cable virtually eliminates snags

DOUBLE DATA
If you can plug a USB cable in you can configure the Eagle3? Well, let’s say if you can manage your own astro affairs in terms of mount control and installing a camera for capture then you will find yourself comfortably at home. It is a computer after all. Just a neat and tidy WiFi PC that also manages the control and distribution of all your power and accessory needs, and becomes part of the mount. It definitely has made my setup time a great deal shorter and more pleasant. The configuration time is minimal, the only new habit to learn is where do you prefer to manage your equipment. I have tested the desktop ‘RDP’ on the PC where I like to do my image runs, on a wireless laptop and on my Android phone. All work perfectly – I really like that
Since this Eagle3 had not shown any signs of stress I thought it would be good to try to double-up on the first light for my new Apo by trying my first dual imaging rig attempt. Running a second instance of Sequence Generator Pro is not without its understandable quirks, however that cannot be any part due to the Eagle3.
Daylight tests concluded with running both imaging cameras and guide cam for focus purposes and a final shake down. All indications are that in my next report we will be talking about how this Eagle3 handles the double load when things get cranky at 3am.
I have no doubts it will continue to outperform all expectations.

A quick test of the focus for each imaging component – Cam1, Cam2 and Guidecam all working perfectly with two instances of Sequence Generator Pro and PHD2

Software list – ASCOM Platform (preinstalled), PHD2 (preinstalled), EQMOD, Cartes Du Ciel, Sesto Senso Software, Polemaster Software, Sequence Generator Pro x 2, Eagle Manager (preinstalled), Remote Desktop (preinstalled)

Devices and Drivers etc. – ZWOASI 071, ZWOASI 1600, ZWO120 mini, ZWO 7 Filter Wheel, Polemaster Camera, Sesto Senso Focus, EQDIR, AZEQ6, 2 x 12v Dew Straps


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Posted on February 14th, 2019.