The main thing to get to grips with here is this mysterious thing called an ST4 port. It is basic plug in port that enables the information from your Laptop or Auto-guider to communicate with the telescopes motors and gears that move the axis points RA and DEC (which if you dont understand what that means) RA is for Right Accent-ion and DEC is for declination which is the equivalent of longitude and latitude in the coordinates that govern the position of the stars.
So we come up against the first hurdle which was how do I get an ST4 port if my telescope does not have one.
The answer is,you can buy a telescope mount that has one or buy a set of motors for your telescope mount and then modify the control pad of those motors to have an ST4 port on them. Thats what I did with a cheap kit that had an ST4 port and some wires that you solder on to the control pad of your dual axis motor kit. And NO it was not at all difficult to fit so dont panic I am rubbish with electronics and terrible with a soldering iron most times I never ever go near one in fact I'm scared of doing stuff like that.
Then your next problem will be how do I attach a cable from the ST4 port to my laptop if I am running a free guiding software to control the motors? the answer is to buy an adapter called a GPUSB which stands for Guide Port USB ie the USB port on your laptop.
So next up is how to get a webcam and a guide scope that will plug into the laptop and work with the free guiding software and my new motor kit and ST4 port? Well there are several option here but basicly you do some diy on your finder scope and put in a suitable webcam. Do a search for webcams for astorophotography as you cant just use any old webcam.
So you can see from the diagrams above the stuff I have had to get in order to get a guiding set up for my telescope and mount. If you have the same telescope and mount the skywatcher 200p and eq5 mount then keep reading my blog as I will be putting it all through its paces soon.
In the mean time if you have any questions you can find me on the stargazers lounge forums as Quatermass or leave a post on my blog. I dont always have time to check my posts on this blog so it might be better to join stargazers lounge forum and reach me through that. The star gazers lounge forum is packed full of really helpful astronomers so my advice is go there and make some friends.
More to come on the Guiding system as I put it all to the test.