Re: SERIAL PORTS (was: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6)


Ray Gralak <groups1@...>
 

Gerald,

Apparently, there are quite a few other folks that don't have a problem with USB. All of my other devices such as
main camera, guider, and focuser all are USB. The only device I have an issue is the one developed over 50
years ago-the serial port on the AP mount.
The problem is probably not the serial port. The problem is probably with the USB converter you are using. If so, that
is a USB problem, not a serial port problem.

IMO, USB is the wrong way to go. Ethernet would be a *much* better solution.

-Ray Gralak
Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)
Author of PEMPro: http://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: http://www.gralak.com/apdriver
Author of PulseGuide: http://www.pulseguide.com
Author of Sigma: http://www.gralak.com/sigma


-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gmillerok
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:36 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: SERIAL PORTS (was: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6)



Apparently, there are quite a few other folks that don't have a problem with USB. All of my other devices such as
main camera, guider, and focuser all are USB. The only device I have an issue is the one developed over 50
years ago-the serial port on the AP mount.

I understand the idea that "if it aint' broke, don't fix it." But again, I had to buy an expensive device to convert
it to
USB which AP recommends on their site to use that didn't work, and I would say that is a bigger problem than any
issue in using USB-at least for me who is now $150 poorer and with a device that doesn't work.

Yes, I undertand the stability of RS-232. It should be, it was developed over 50 years ago.

But when most computers and laptops sold today no longer even have serial ports, and you have to convert the
serial to USB anyway, it seems like it may be time to catch up to the 21st century, even if it is a step backward.
How about this-put both a USB AND a RS232 port on the controller. Then you'd have the best(and worst) of both
standards and could take your pick.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , "Steve Norvich" <snorvich@...> wrote:

This is an absolutely wonderful post. It reinforces my decision with regard
to the Astro-Physics GTO1600. I was never comfortable with the competition
s USB oriented solution.

snorvich@...
-------Original Message-------

From: Christopher Erickson
Date: 10/17/2012 3:19:59 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Re: SERIAL PORTS (was: cannot connect gto CP3 to the
SKy 6)


<SNIP>
"Roland, are your new mounts going to stick with the old serial port
standard? I hope not."
<SNIP>

Careful what you wish for...

Points to consider:

* For better or worse, RS-232 Serial has been the defacto-standard universal
denominator for decades and will likely continue to be so for decades to
come. With hardly an exception, very microcontroller made in the world
today has an RS-232 serial port cast right in its silicon. Whether you can
see them or not, RS-232 serial ports are EVERYWHERE. In fact all modern
"smart" refrigerators have hidden RS-232 serial ports that exist for the
service technicians armed with smart diagnostic tools. Even your car's
OBD-II or CANbus diagnostic interface has embedded RS-232-style serial
communications. Serial can be converted to just about anything (USB,
Ethernet, TCP/IP, Bluetooth, fiber-optic, Xbee wireless, etc.) USB can't be
converted to anything without an intervening pair of computers and the right
software on both ends, which usually doesn't exist. Not to mention the
expenses involved.

* RS-232 Serial can be run great distances (even thousands of kilometers)
using a great number of inexpensive media types and converters. USB can
barely make it across the average room without brain-splitting problems.

* Probably 90% of all problems with USB-Serial adapters are driver-software
related. Just about everything coming out of China has Chinese-written
drivers and these have always been incomplete and highly-problematic. In my
experience, the best and most trouble-free adapters use FTDI chips.
Prolific is a distant second place and everything else is almost complete
junk for any but the most basic of applications.

* For years, iOptron has offered GOTO mounts with USB interfaces instead of
serial interfaces and the unending grief experienced by their users related
to USB problems is infamous. In fact iOptron's most recent GOTO mounts have
gone back to serial interfaces! Good news for people with iOptron mounts
with USB interfaces is that all iOptron did was incorporate a Chinese
USB-to-Serial chip into the mount and the iOptron microcontroller has a
serial interface on it! Cutting two traces and installing a connector has
allowed users to bypass iOptron's junky serial-to-USB adapter chip and it's
horrible drivers.

* Having a serial interface on my mounts means I can easily control them
with a PC, wired/wireless smartphone or tablet computer. If it only had
USB, that usually eliminates the smartphone and tablet computer. SkyFi has
a wireless USB adapter (expensive) coming out that may work with some
USB-only iOptron mounts but they are already warning people that it is a
"work in progress."

* USB 1 is obsolete. USB 2 is officially obsolete. USB 3 is current but
USB 4 is right around the corner. Most USB 3 ports these days don't support
USB 1 peripherals. USB 4 ports are unlikely to support USB 1 or 2
peripherals. Why would I want to spend $10-20,000 for a premium mount with
an interface that will be obsolete and unsupported in about five years?

Like I said, be careful what you wish for.

Christopher Erickson
Consulting Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com








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