Eagle3 Advanced

Now that you have integrated your Eagle3 with your rig as a physical mounting component and tested it a few times, it is a very good idea to check all the fixings for movement and especially check and tighten any bolts, nuts, screws etc which can easily settle and wriggle loose.
If you haven’t tackled it yet, after this initial succesful testing phase is proved satisfactory then sensible cable management may take place.

A typical cabling situation
A much neater solution for power and data

If you are sourcing cables that suit your particular requirements then you can really go to town neatening things up. My quick tips are to source short lengths of velcro strip cable tie and to be aware of how all of your rig moves with relation to its cabling – can my scope swing freely with no cables becoming tensioned? Make sure to check the focus can travel! No snags, no binds and perhaps a tidy look should be your goal.
There are many things to be gained by doing these chores now because the rig stiffness, weight loss and lack of intertia induced by swinging rigging can transform guiding accuracy and ultimately your images.
A final tip – my single, off -mount cable burden is the heavy power cord, which I now tie by velcro to a hitch on my pier. This allows full movement in each axis without dragging the extra cable or cigar type connections which could cause vibration.

An early outing with Eagle3

To supply power to my Eagle3 I have chosen to use a 12v DC battery supply which is fed to Eagle3 by the proper 16A cigar type cable. To ensure that the voltage is always at the correct level it is important to use a suitable regulator and also that your battery supply is fused. I am using two 100 amp hour marine type 12 volt batteries combined to make 24 volts which I reduce to 12.9 volts with a ‘buck’ type transformer. This provides plenty of power for all of my equipment with no fear of nasty spikes.

Eagle3 in full control

Upon booting up, the very useful Eagle Manager app is opened and its dashboard is displayed. This combines your ‘at a glance’ status information with the means to label ports and set voltages where controllable. If you have already cabled your rig then double check the ports during the naming process and set any required voltages. If you are using a battery supply you can also enter your parameters to enable the State of Charge estimator.
In Access Point mode the Eagle3 should be easily accessible on your Windows network and resolvable by network machine name / IP address. I use the Microsoft Remote Desktop program for connection to Eagle3 on my main console, my laptop and my mobile phone. Where there is no network to join, the Eagle3 can be switched to Host mode and its own WiFi network is enabled. During configuration the HDMI and USB ports are utilised for keyboard, video, mouse purposes and naturally these can be used to control the unit should you choose

A typical Eagle3 imaging session will provide automation and reliability

Typically, after setup and balance, I will bring my Eagle3 online, check Eagle Manager and run Polemaster to double check polar alignment and estimate sky conditions. During the next five minutes I connect to my mount with EQASCOM via Cartes Du Ciel, open Sequence Senerator Pro and begin cooling my imaging cameras. After double checking Eagle Manager and ensuring all systems are nominal, the imaging run is initiated, the ‘scope slewed and target solved. Operating the applications listed along with PHD2 guiding and a second instance of Sequence Generator Pro does not significantly impact the performance of the little dual core processor and 4GB RAM in this unit
Using the Eagle3 has meant I can concentrate on improving the areas of astrophotography I prefer rather than constantly troubleshooting a series of failures that have previously robbed me of my imaging time.

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 April 9th, 2019.