Re: [ap-ug] RS-232


Howard Hedlund
 

HERE IS THE WHOLE THREAD FROM THE AP-UG.

Why does Astro-Physics continue to use RS-232 in their CP mount electronics?  This adds to the difficulty of upgrading the electronics with current computers, especially operating in Win 10.  What other telescope mount maker uses RS-232?  These plugs are not on current laptops, they are so old system developed in 1968!  Today's electronics only need USB.

 

 
Steve Reilly
10:52am  

Look at the CP 4 and you’ll see many options of which includes RS-232. Win 10 can easily run RS232 ports and the hardware is available. I use StarTech PCIe boards on new builds. As for laptops, I don’t even try to run an observatory on one especially if imaging. I use the Ethernet connection as primary with a RS232 backup.

 

-Steve

 

 

 

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What are you connecting your CP4 RS-232 directly to?  What other external devices have RS-232 ports?  Why continue to rely on RS-232-to-USB adapters anymore? I would think that most AP mount owners who connect their mounts to an external device, commonly a laptop or imaging device, they would only need USB ports.  RS-232 is so old and outdated.

 

 
Dale Ghent
11:20am  

On Jul 16, 2020, at 1:42 PM, Peter Natscher <natscher@...> wrote:

Why does Astro-Physics continue to use RS-232 in their CP mount electronics? This adds to the difficulty of upgrading the electronics with current computers, especially operating in Win 10. What other telescope mount maker uses RS-232? These plugs are not on current laptops, they are so old system developed in 1968! Today's electronics only need USB.
The CP4 and CP5, which all new A-P mounts have shipped with since at least 2016 and all GTO mounts since the late 90's can be upgraded to, offers 4 different interconnect types including USB. Are you confused?

/dale

 

 
Dale Ghent
11:23am  

On Jul 16, 2020, at 2:19 PM, Peter Natscher <natscher@...> wrote:

What are you connecting your CP4 RS-232 directly to? What other external devices have RS-232 ports? Why continue to rely on RS-232-to-USB adapters anymore? I would think that most AP mount owners who connect their mounts to an external device, commonly a laptop or imaging device, they would only need USB ports. RS-232 is so old and outdated.
RS-232, the protocol, is still quite relevant and still useful for low-bandwidth synchronous communication between devices.

Are you complaining about the 9-pin D-sub style physical interface? The CP4/CP5 has those, but also a USB type-B plug that can be used instead. Have you ever looked at one of these before? RS-232 signaling can exist over many different physical layers.

 

 
Steve Reilly
11:24am  

 

 
Ray Gralak
11:27am  

What are you connecting your CP4 RS-232 directly to? What other external devices have RS-232 ports? Why
continue to rely on RS-232-to-USB adapters anymore? I would think that most AP mount owners who connect
their mounts to an external device, commonly a laptop or imaging device, they would only need USB ports. RS-
232 is so old and outdated.
Some things:

* GTOCP4/5 has Ethernet, WiFi, USB, and RS232 ports.

* USB is known to have reliability issues.

* USB cables are limited to 15 feet without active extenders.

* USB plugs are not physically very secure. That is, they are easy to get pulled out especially with only 15 feet of cord.

* Many customers are still using RS232 ports, so getting rid of them would not be wise.

* You can still get computers with built-in RS232 ports and add in cards are cheap and very reliable.

* You can run serial cables several hundred feet.

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-ug.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-ug.groups.io] On Behalf Of Peter Natscher
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2020 11:20 AM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] RS-232

What are you connecting your CP4 RS-232 directly to? What other external devices have RS-232 ports? Why
continue to rely on RS-232-to-USB adapters anymore? I would think that most AP mount owners who connect
their mounts to an external device, commonly a laptop or imaging device, they would only need USB ports. RS-
232 is so old and outdated.

 

 

What good is this board for a laptop, pad, or phone?  Most mount operators aren't running their mounts from a big computer tower with PCI slots.

 

 
Ray Gralak
11:33am  

What good is this board for a laptop, pad, or phone? Most mount operators aren't running their mounts from a big
computer tower with PCI slots.
I don't see the problem. There is WiFi on GTOCP4/5.

Just because you are using a laptop doesn't mean everyone else is!

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): https://www.astro-physics.com/apcc-pro
Author of PEMPro V3: https://www.ccdware.com
Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: https://www.siriusimaging.com/apdriver


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-ug.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-ug.groups.io] On Behalf Of Peter Natscher
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2020 11:31 AM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] RS-232

What good is this board for a laptop, pad, or phone? Most mount operators aren't running their mounts from a big
computer tower with PCI slots.

 

 
Dale Ghent
11:45am  

What is the problem you are trying to solve? The CP4 *has* a USB port, which is a built-in serial-over-USB connection. You can also use network-based connections over ethernet and wifi as well, yet you're acting like any of these don't exist. Is there a deeper problem that you are trying to solve here and have trouble figuring out where to start?
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Let me jump in.  In Peter’s defence, his issue with the RS232 occurred when attempting to load the database back into the keypad after the battery had been replaced.  For that activity, we do not yet offer a web-based loader, but it will be coming along with the next generation of keypad firmware.  

 

PLEASE NOTE:  We now have a version of CP4 software – P01-14 – that allows both RS232 ports AND the USB port to be used for keypad loading.  Older CP4 versions and all earlier control boxes were top RS232 port only for keypad loads.  P01-14 is not up on the website, yet, but I can provide a dropbox link to anyone who needs it.  The only difference between P01-13 and P01-14 is this one feature.  If you have P01-13, and you don’t need to load keypad firmware or the database, there is no need to rush out and get P01-14

 

Except for cameras, almost all astro-equipment is serial if you look under the hood.  Manufacturers (our friends at Optec come to mind) do exactly what we did:  they install an OEM USB to serial converter inside the device electronics.  You may be plugging in a USB cable, but the communication is serial.

 

Serial may be old technology, but it has many advantages.  Ray summarized them beautifully!

 

FINALLY  I AM MOVING THIS TO THE AP-GTO GROUP WHERE IT BELONGS.

 

Mag. 7 Skies!

 

Howard Hedlund

Astro-Physics, Inc.

Phone: 815-315-7015

www.astro-physics.com

Please include this e-mail with your response.

 

P Consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

 

 
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11:52am  
Edited 11:55am

For many years, laptops have stopped using the 9-pin RS-232 port for the 15-pin port.  This in itself requires that more adapters need to be used to connect via RS-232 to the CP electronics.  The other day, I spent two evenings trying to replace a corrupted database in my Mach1 Keypad  I started out using my MacBook Pro partitioned with Parallels and running Win 10 64.  After downloading APs Keypad Database Tool, Win 10 wouldn't open it up, even after installing the other AP recommended utilities. Howard Hedlund helping me out acknowledged this for Win 10.  Win 10 is here and AP needs to get onboard with it.  Hanging on to RS-232 is like hanging on to Win 7. Since my laptop doesn't have a RS-232 port, I connected a RS-232-to-USB cable between it and the CP4 electronics.  Win 10 wouldn't recognize this connection between the two even after installing the driver for it.  Frustrated, I then used a late 2000's laptop PC with Win 7 32.  The Win 7 wouldn't even open up the Keypad Database Tool and the PC had the usual 15-pin RS-232 port, something I had no cable for to connect to the 9-pin RS-232 port on the CP4. Do you see where I'm going?  For a average owner of a AP mount who just wants to operate it for observing, and doesn't use an observatory, it becomes very difficult to manage their expensive mount electronics with support that doesn't work easily, if at all.  These mounts should be as easy to update and reload software as my everyday cell phone and laptop computer.  The RS-232 requirement just gets in the way.

 

 
Donald Rudny
11:55am  

Peter,
There is a need for the serial connection if you want to use SkySafari on an iOS device with it hard wired to the CP4 or 5.  You could use Wi-Fi, but some have trouble with drop outs.  SC sells Skywire to connect an iOS device to the serial port with a DB9 connection.
 
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