Date   

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

Christopher Erickson
 

I agree that Ethernet/TCP/IP would be a good choice to eventually-replace
RS-232 serial. Ethernet/TCP/IP is much more stable, extendable and reliable
interface choice than is USB.

USB has built-in obsolescence. The vast majority of USB devices are
disposable junk and nobody cares if you have to buy a new $100 printer every
couple of years. That is a completely different scenario than a $10-20,000
telescope mount.

Computers and laptops these days are geared to the average consumer that no
longer has an understanding or need to interface to serial devices. We
high-tech astro-geeks are now a minority that has to deal with the
limitations of mainstream products for our specialized applications.

Personally, I would rather take a few steps to improve/upgrade the
disposable, mainstream products so they will work with my premium astro
gear, versus asking the makers of my premium astro-gear to turn their
products into disposable objects.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Ray Gralak
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:42 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Re: SERIAL PORTS (was: cannot connect gto CP3 to the
SKy 6)

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


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

Christopher Erickson
 

Your problem isn't with the conversion of serial to USB.

Your problem is most likely with investing in box-store Chinese brand-X to
perform the conversion.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
gmillerok
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:36 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, "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
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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Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question

John Gaul
 

Gerald,

Thanks for posting your experience. I have exactly the same "squelch" thing with my 2011 Mach1 - you describe it well. I saw the screws, but didn't try tightening them up, for fear of straining something. Now I might try it some time, gently.

Best regards

John

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "gmillerok" <grmok1@...> wrote:

Thanks, just wanted to be sure.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:


Sounds like you fixed the problem.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: gmillerok <grmok1@>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 5:39 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question


Howard, Roland, or anyone at AP, I was wondering if you could comment on my
post? Thanks.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "gmillerok" <grmok1@> wrote:

I noticed that there was some "slop" after reassembling my mount on my
permenant pier when I would push/pull on the counterweight bar lighly when the
scope was in Park 1 position. I could hear something that sounded like grease
sticking and unsticking if that makes sense, and could see the rotating azimuth
moving vertically and seemed a bit loose under the mount. I noticed that there
were two small allen screws on the east and west side, and I tightened them and
that seemed to fix the issue. There are no instructions for that (at least that
I could find), so was that the correct thing to do? If so, is there anything I
need to know as to how tight, etc., to turn these small allen screws? Is there a
third under the adjuster knob assembly that I should adjust as well(I couldn't
see one).

Thanks,
Gerald



------------------------------------

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see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links









Re: Shot a 6 hour time lapse of 168P Hergenrother

pgwsteve
 

Thank you Sir!

This was my first time lapse. I used a Meade 14" LX200R on a 1200GTO, camera was a Hutech Canon 5DII.

I did a 2 hour meridian delay and picked up the comet on the east side, counterweight high in the air, I wanted to follow it for as long as I could.

I just kept taking 2 minute exposures at ISO3200 via BackyardEOS for as long as possible which ended up being 143 exposures.

I just converted the RAW files to jpeg, and then used Windows Movie Maker to create a video. I set each frame to .04 seconds so it would be ~24 FPS.

I didn't do any flats, or darks, or any processing of each frame to correct the redish tint due to the camera mod. The sky hazed up towards the end, thus the background got fairly pink.

The mount tracks perfectly, the polar alignment is spot on. The drift is from the very slight shift of the mirror over the 5ish hours even though the mirror was locked.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "DavidD" <destrehandave@...> wrote:

Breath taking! May I ask for more details... camera, focal length, and most importantly - techniques - for doing such a superb work of art.

Thanks

Destrehan Dave


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Altstadt" <steve@> wrote:

My 1200 had no problem with 2 minute subs at 3500mm focal length, minor
trailing but that is due to the mirror 'sag'. I wouldn't call it 'flop' as I
have it locked down on my 14" LX200R, but there is a gradual movement over
time. All images were gathered over 6 hours, I used a 2 hour meridian delay
to start counter weight up. Sky hazed up in the last 90 mins or so.



Polar alignment is '0' for azimuth and 90" low as reported by T Point and
'good enough', I'll fine tune later.



Thanks for looking,



Steve



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW7PXj4C2cY&feature=plcp



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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

Gerald Miller
 

Ray, I concur 100% with you on ethernet.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" <groups1@...> wrote:

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





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question

Gerald Miller
 

Thanks, just wanted to be sure.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:


Sounds like you fixed the problem.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: gmillerok <grmok1@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 5:39 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question


Howard, Roland, or anyone at AP, I was wondering if you could comment on my
post? Thanks.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "gmillerok" <grmok1@> wrote:

I noticed that there was some "slop" after reassembling my mount on my
permenant pier when I would push/pull on the counterweight bar lighly when the
scope was in Park 1 position. I could hear something that sounded like grease
sticking and unsticking if that makes sense, and could see the rotating azimuth
moving vertically and seemed a bit loose under the mount. I noticed that there
were two small allen screws on the east and west side, and I tightened them and
that seemed to fix the issue. There are no instructions for that (at least that
I could find), so was that the correct thing to do? If so, is there anything I
need to know as to how tight, etc., to turn these small allen screws? Is there a
third under the adjuster knob assembly that I should adjust as well(I couldn't
see one).

Thanks,
Gerald



------------------------------------

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see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links









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

Gerald Miller
 

That much I absolutely agree! That would be fantastic. Think of the possibilities-wifi enabled control-no more wires. No distance limitation-control the mount from anywhere in the world directly by making it a web based server.

Now, that would be a winner in every way. It gets my vote over both Serial and USB and would be a very much welcome solution.


Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:


I had a very frustrating night a few weeks ago with USB. While trying to connect my Dell laptop to my imaging system (QSI683 and Lodestar) I could not communicate with the Lodestar. I tried every USB port on my laptop, but to no avail. I finally ditcvhed my Dell and borrowed Howard's laptop. Lost several hours of darkness in the process. Later on I noticed that some of the USB connectors on my Dell had a little plastic spacer missing - apparently broken off. So those are now out of commission.

One other thing about USB - our electronic engineer, who works on aerospace equipment, said that USB is not rated for outdoor use. Humidity and cold temperatures can cause failure. It is absolutely forbidden in any equipment that would go on an airplane.

USB also cannot be used long distance. You can be 200 ft away with serial, but not USB. Look at how much trouble Meade has had over the years with USB hubs on their mounts. The future is Ethernet, not USB.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: gmillerok <grmok1@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 5:35 pm
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, "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
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









------------------------------------

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6

George LaBelle
 

Really you guys. Let's be honest here. Any new designs should use USB. It is the industry standard for plug-and-play communications (has been for quite a while). Many computers, mostly laptops, do not have serial ports any more for good reason - nothing new uses it. Adapters are troublesome.

I am surprised if the AP1600 or 3600 does not use USB.

George

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" <groups1@...> wrote:

Hi Gerald,

I bought a new Win7 Asus high end laptop dedicated solely for imaging. I know of no current laptop that comes
with a dedicated serial port. Mine didn't. These new laptops replace the desktop pretty much these days,
particularly in the field.
Laptops with serial ports still exist. For instance, some of the Panasonic Toughboooks still have a serial port which
might have been a better choice than your Asus for outdoor environments - I wouldn't want to use my high-end 17"
Alienware outdoors.

Also, many of the Dell laptops have docking stations with COM ports. Probably other manufacturers have docking stations.

-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 10:59 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6




Ray,

I bought a new Win7 Asus high end laptop dedicated solely for imaging. I know of no current laptop that comes
with a dedicated serial port. Mine didn't. These new laptops replace the desktop pretty much these days,
particularly in the field.

Gerald
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ray Gralak" <groups1@> wrote:

Hi Gerald,

since no laptops or PC's have no serial ports.
Actually there are some desktop computers that still come with serial ports built in (e.g. some of the Dell
Optiplex and
Precision desktops).

If you are using a desktop without a serial port the best solution is a 2-port PCI and PCI-express card. They run
from
$10-40 usually and are much more robust than the USB/serial adapters. You can find them at Newegg or
Amazon.

-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%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of gmillerok
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:02 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6



Reboot the computer and don't let it go to sleep while connected. Change it under Power settings so it won't
ever go
to sleep or hibernate if you want to avoid such problems. How it's set up with the mount is not relevent.

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

I also have had issues with serial connections-mainly related to using USB to Serial converters that are now
required
since no laptops or PC's have no serial ports. I bought a 4-port $150 Tripplite USB-Serial converter from AP to
use
with the Icron Ranger (both bought because AP recommends them to work on the AP site). It does not work
with the
Icron and neither Icron or Tripplite can tell me why after hours are trying to get it to work. So now I have a
$150
paperweight.

Fortunately, a Startech USB-Serial 4-port works with the Icron without issue.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
, chris1011@ wrote:


You DO NOT need to set the keypad to EXT in order to use an external planetarium program!!! Please read
the
manual.

1) set the keypad to Autostart YES
2) start your mount by turning on 12 volt power
3) Connect TheSky6 using Astro-Physics mount and your serial cable
4) In the Sky6 press "Link > Establish"

That is all you need to do!
You do not need to do anything else in order to control your mount fully from your planetarium program.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: dan j <danjanos@>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:ap-
gto%40yahoogroups.com> >
Sent: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 8:24 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6


Hi Everyone,
I upgraded my computer to a Windows 7 platform and reinstalled all the
software. But I am having a problem connecting my Parallax hd150c with AP GTO
electronics. The keypad is set to "ext", using com port 4 set to 9600 bps here
is the error message I get from the SKY 6.
"Astro-Physics GTO not responding. Please check communications port
settings,powers and connections to the control the system".
Now here is the crazy part. I had the system working before dinner doing test
slews through the SKY 6! The computer went into sleep mode and after wakening
the computer up the problem started. ugh!!
Any help would be appreciated.
dan



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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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

Pete Su
 

I could get behind Ethernet.

I find the fascination with RS232 in astronomy circles to be puzzling.
While there are certainly reasons that embedded industrial control
applications still use them (super simple device interfaces) this is
not what we are doing with telescope mounts. Telescope mounts (and
cameras, and all the other devices) use the serial line to send
commands to the mount controller which are then translated into lower
level signal to the motors or whatnot. The only rational reason I can
see to prefer RS232 for this above anything else is cable length, but
even that's a red herring IMHO. Ethernet cable runs can be just as
long and what "everyone" ends up doing anyway is to remote control the
mount using a second computer and TCP/IP, which doesn't even need a
wire.

So yeah, ethernet. It's almost as old as RS-232 anyway (invented in
the 70s, vs. the 60s).

Pete


Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question

Roland Christen
 

Sounds like you fixed the problem.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: gmillerok <grmok1@swbell.net>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 5:39 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question


Howard, Roland, or anyone at AP, I was wondering if you could comment on my
post? Thanks.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "gmillerok" <grmok1@...> wrote:

I noticed that there was some "slop" after reassembling my mount on my
permenant pier when I would push/pull on the counterweight bar lighly when the
scope was in Park 1 position. I could hear something that sounded like grease
sticking and unsticking if that makes sense, and could see the rotating azimuth
moving vertically and seemed a bit loose under the mount. I noticed that there
were two small allen screws on the east and west side, and I tightened them and
that seemed to fix the issue. There are no instructions for that (at least that
I could find), so was that the correct thing to do? If so, is there anything I
need to know as to how tight, etc., to turn these small allen screws? Is there a
third under the adjuster knob assembly that I should adjust as well(I couldn't
see one).

Thanks,
Gerald



------------------------------------

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

Roland Christen
 

I had a very frustrating night a few weeks ago with USB. While trying to connect my Dell laptop to my imaging system (QSI683 and Lodestar) I could not communicate with the Lodestar. I tried every USB port on my laptop, but to no avail. I finally ditcvhed my Dell and borrowed Howard's laptop. Lost several hours of darkness in the process. Later on I noticed that some of the USB connectors on my Dell had a little plastic spacer missing - apparently broken off. So those are now out of commission.

One other thing about USB - our electronic engineer, who works on aerospace equipment, said that USB is not rated for outdoor use. Humidity and cold temperatures can cause failure. It is absolutely forbidden in any equipment that would go on an airplane.

USB also cannot be used long distance. You can be 200 ft away with serial, but not USB. Look at how much trouble Meade has had over the years with USB hubs on their mounts. The future is Ethernet, not USB.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: gmillerok <grmok1@swbell.net>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 5:35 pm
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, "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
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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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









Re: Mach1GTO rotating Azimuth question

Gerald Miller
 

Howard, Roland, or anyone at AP, I was wondering if you could comment on my post? Thanks.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "gmillerok" <grmok1@...> wrote:

I noticed that there was some "slop" after reassembling my mount on my permenant pier when I would push/pull on the counterweight bar lighly when the scope was in Park 1 position. I could hear something that sounded like grease sticking and unsticking if that makes sense, and could see the rotating azimuth moving vertically and seemed a bit loose under the mount. I noticed that there were two small allen screws on the east and west side, and I tightened them and that seemed to fix the issue. There are no instructions for that (at least that I could find), so was that the correct thing to do? If so, is there anything I need to know as to how tight, etc., to turn these small allen screws? Is there a third under the adjuster knob assembly that I should adjust as well(I couldn't see one).

Thanks,
Gerald


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

Gerald Miller
 

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, "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
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





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Meridan flip for drift alignment

jbtgolfer@...
 

Rolando....

Thank you for the response. I intend to purchase the rt angle polar scope and perhaps APCC at the first opportunity. I am hoping for that chance in November....I am on the notification list.

I also look forward to seeing you in Tucson, Arizona in November.

JohnT in Scottsdale
On Oct 15, 2012, at 2:21 PM, chris1011@aol.com wrote:


Answer to #3: Yes, you can use a pointing model, however you will need to do aprecision polar alignment each time so that the system is in the same orientation as before. You can do this with PEMPro polar alignment routine, or APCC which will also have this routine, or with our new Right Angle Polarscope.

The reason to use these pointing models is for unguided imaging. I doubt that you will need pointing models for anything else if you do not have a permanent setup that you want to control remotely or semi-remotely. I assume that you will be at the scope during your session, so why is a pointing model required? It is quite easy to go to various parts of the sky and have your object on the chip. Unless, do you have a tiny tiny chip that requires arc-sec pointing?

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: John <jbtgolfer@yahoo.com>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 4:12 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Meridan flip for drift alignment

i am a new Mach1 owner with a lot to learn. Can you help me with a few
questions.

1) I am trying to do the drift alignment using a star near the senith and
meridan. WHen I set the merdian delay to 1 hr and ask for the flip it does not
move. I believe it is due to Dimension 4 resetting the clock before the flip can
occurr. How can I get Dimersion 4 out of the loop for a short interval so I can
do my driftt alignment? Do I have to turn it off?

2) Once I am operational ( Polar Aligned and calibrated ) I try to use ASCOM to
move the scope or Maxim DL Observatory to GoTo an object. Can I do a Recal in
ACOM similar to the Rec buttom 9 procedure on the keypad?

3) I have to setup and tear down every time I use the scope i.e. no observatory.
Does it make sense to use a pointing model like Maxpoint or the upcoming AP
model APCC?

Thanks, John in Scottsdale

------------------------------------

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see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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

John Gaul
 

Very well put, Christopher!

As a new arrival in this pursuit a couple of years ago, I did wonder at first about this "old" technology, but quickly realised the superiority of the RS-232 standard for amateur astronomy applications. It's great: simple, reliable, and it does the job perfectly.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson" <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

<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


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

Steve Norvich
 

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@comcast.net

-------Original Message-------

From: Christopher Erickson
Date: 10/17/2012 3:19:59 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.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


Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6

tucstargzr
 

I'll also note that current generation MOBOs still have a Serial Connector. The correct Connector/Cable/Back plate is easy to find for 10 bucks.

Maybe it's me, but using a 64 bit Win7 OS I have issues getting the Serial Port to work with my planetarium (ECU). Life is too short to bang my head against the wall so I'm running a 32 bit version.

Tom

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" <groups1@...> wrote:

Hi Gerald,

since no laptops or PC's have no serial ports.
Actually there are some desktop computers that still come with serial ports built in (e.g. some of the Dell Optiplex and
Precision desktops).

If you are using a desktop without a serial port the best solution is a 2-port PCI and PCI-express card. They run from
$10-40 usually and are much more robust than the USB/serial adapters. You can find them at Newegg or Amazon.

-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


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

Christopher Erickson
 

<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


Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6

Ray Gralak <groups1@...>
 

Hi Gerald,

I bought a new Win7 Asus high end laptop dedicated solely for imaging. I know of no current laptop that comes
with a dedicated serial port. Mine didn't. These new laptops replace the desktop pretty much these days,
particularly in the field.
Laptops with serial ports still exist. For instance, some of the Panasonic Toughboooks still have a serial port which
might have been a better choice than your Asus for outdoor environments - I wouldn't want to use my high-end 17"
Alienware outdoors.

Also, many of the Dell laptops have docking stations with COM ports. Probably other manufacturers have docking stations.

-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 10:59 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6




Ray,

I bought a new Win7 Asus high end laptop dedicated solely for imaging. I know of no current laptop that comes
with a dedicated serial port. Mine didn't. These new laptops replace the desktop pretty much these days,
particularly in the field.

Gerald
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ray Gralak" <groups1@...> wrote:

Hi Gerald,

since no laptops or PC's have no serial ports.
Actually there are some desktop computers that still come with serial ports built in (e.g. some of the Dell
Optiplex and
Precision desktops).

If you are using a desktop without a serial port the best solution is a 2-port PCI and PCI-express card. They run
from
$10-40 usually and are much more robust than the USB/serial adapters. You can find them at Newegg or
Amazon.

-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%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of gmillerok
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:02 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6



Reboot the computer and don't let it go to sleep while connected. Change it under Power settings so it won't
ever go
to sleep or hibernate if you want to avoid such problems. How it's set up with the mount is not relevent.

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

I also have had issues with serial connections-mainly related to using USB to Serial converters that are now
required
since no laptops or PC's have no serial ports. I bought a 4-port $150 Tripplite USB-Serial converter from AP to
use
with the Icron Ranger (both bought because AP recommends them to work on the AP site). It does not work
with the
Icron and neither Icron or Tripplite can tell me why after hours are trying to get it to work. So now I have a
$150
paperweight.

Fortunately, a Startech USB-Serial 4-port works with the Icron without issue.

Gerald

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
, chris1011@ wrote:


You DO NOT need to set the keypad to EXT in order to use an external planetarium program!!! Please read
the
manual.

1) set the keypad to Autostart YES
2) start your mount by turning on 12 volt power
3) Connect TheSky6 using Astro-Physics mount and your serial cable
4) In the Sky6 press "Link > Establish"

That is all you need to do!
You do not need to do anything else in order to control your mount fully from your planetarium program.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: dan j <danjanos@>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:ap-
gto%40yahoogroups.com> >
Sent: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 8:24 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] cannot connect gto CP3 to the SKy 6


Hi Everyone,
I upgraded my computer to a Windows 7 platform and reinstalled all the
software. But I am having a problem connecting my Parallax hd150c with AP GTO
electronics. The keypad is set to "ext", using com port 4 set to 9600 bps here
is the error message I get from the SKY 6.
"Astro-Physics GTO not responding. Please check communications port
settings,powers and connections to the control the system".
Now here is the crazy part. I had the system working before dinner doing test
slews through the SKY 6! The computer went into sleep mode and after wakening
the computer up the problem started. ugh!!
Any help would be appreciated.
dan



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