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Topics - Jonesdee

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Guys, I have been running my DIY AstroEq controller for just over a year with great succes, until recently when I started getting frequent 'Port unavailable' messages from EQMOD and nothing seems to rectify this when the problem occurs.

It sometimes happens when attempting to start the equipment but more often it will die during an imaging session.  Powering everything off and restarting again and again has no effect until it apparently decides to work, and runs perfectly again.

I first thought it was a laptop issue, so ran everything from a desktop machine, but the same issue arose quite quickly.  A second (more powerful) laptop also exhibited the problem (Win 10) so I reverted to a clean Win 7 install on that machine, blaming the Win 10 Creators update which had just been deployed.  THe Win 7 configuration has worked fine for 2 weeks of random testing until tonight, when it failed after 30 minutes of use.  It would not reconnect despite more than an hour of trying, including powering everything down, disconnecting and reconnecting cables, power supply, etc, then finally it burst into life for no obvious reason and has been running perfectly for almost 2 hours. When it is in failure mode, disconnecting all other devices/software has no effect, EQMOD running in isolation simply will not locate the port. I have a second AStroEQ unit that I use for experimenting with Stepper driver boards an when the problem occurs, this fails to connect also.

Device Manager always shows that the controller (Mega 2560) is connected and working properly, but EQMOD cannot find the port. The port settings in EQMOD and the COM Port are idential and never change. Tried different USB ports/cables/hubs (powered and non-powered) and am now tearing my hair out.

Any suggestions or obvious things I am missing would be gratefully received!  The controller is located in a small observatory which is dry and has good air circulation so I don't believe that condensation in he controller is an issue. I am running the kit from a 12v 6A switch mode psu - has anyone had issues with using these as power sources?  I have included 7808 supply regulators in my Arduino controllers (AstroEQ and focuser) for the processor board power, with decoupling and filter capacitors on the input and output of the regulator, so I believed that they should be immune to any EMC output from the PSU.

I should add that  only the necessary astro software is loaded on the PC, so no Anti-virus programs to give problems.

I am sure that this will eventually turn out to be something obvious, but until this happens, all suggestions are welcome!

Many thanks


UPDATE: after imaging for 95 minutes, the mount has stopped tracking again with the port timeout message and will not reconnect.  Off to bed now . . .

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