Date   

Re: apcc and european decimal notation

Philip Perkins <ppml5@...>
 

Interesting point! (as in the decimal). And that's the reason it's called a point (rather than a comma). If they do make this change they will need to start splitting up Europe, because the US use the system that originated in parts of Europe (including the UK) and which continues to be used in those parts of Europe. So two systems for Europe? As well as about a dozen languages? As well as a different date systems? Unfortunately 'Europe' is quite a complicated place... :-)

Philip
----
At 19:18 18/12/2014, you wrote:

I'm about to get the APCCpro for my ap1600. Before I push the button I'd like to know whether the issue about the European decimal notation is solved, or if it will be solved. I.e. the problem that arises because you folks in the US use , as thousand separator and . as decimal point instead of our use which is the other way around (have had numerous programs that was useless because of that).

I know you can change this in the Windows setup, but that will make some of the other programs on the pc useless.


Morten la Cour,

Denmark (EU)

Philip Perkins
<ppml5@...>
Wiltshire UK & Luberon France
www.astrocruise.com
--


apcc and european decimal notation

lacour.morten
 

I'm about to get the APCCpro for my ap1600. Before I push the button I'd like to know whether the issue about the European decimal notation is solved, or if it will be solved. I.e. the problem that arises because you folks in the US use , as thousand separator and . as decimal point instead of our use which is the other way around (have had numerous programs that was useless because of that).

I know you can change this in the Windows setup, but that will make some of the other programs on the pc useless.


Morten la Cour,

Denmark (EU)


Re: connecting APCC to mount

Ray Gralak &#92;(Groups&#92;) <groups2@...>
 

APCC will work with any application. It simply provides a layer between applications and the mount.

CCD Commander is an ASCOM client that talks to the AP V2 driver. CCD Commander tells the ASCOM driver to park. Have you confirmed that you have setup the ASCOM driver to the appropriate park position? And, of course, parking only happens if the mount is unparked and tracking. This has nothing to do with APCC. It's an ASCOM requirement.

-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@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:26 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] connecting APCC to mount



I got APCC and the A-P ASCOM driver to talk to each other. It turned out to be quite easy. But APCC wouldn't
work with CCD Commander. I told CCDC to do a simple park, and it just sat there with the little spinning circle.
Unless somebody can tell me that APCC and CCD Commander have worked together for them, then that's
pretty much the end of the road for me with APCC.


Re: connecting APCC to mount

calypte@...
 

I got APCC and the A-P ASCOM driver to talk to each other.  It turned out to be quite easy.  But APCC wouldn't work with CCD Commander.  I told CCDC to do a simple park, and it just sat there with the little spinning circle.  Unless somebody can tell me that APCC and CCD Commander have worked together for them, then that's pretty much the end of the road for me with APCC.


Re: Autoguiding questions

Andy Galasso
 

>> I have often thought that a better slow guiding system would measure the average drift of the axes 
>> over a period of 10 - 20 seconds 
>
> PHD is open source : ) someone should add that.

Actually, PHD2 has it already. If you choose "Lowpass" as the guide algorithm, it will look at the drift trend and apply corrections based on that. The "slope weight" parameter is an aggressiveness setting.  It's most applicable to use this algorithm for the Dec axis, though I have heard of people using it for RA.

Taking the idea a big step further, there is a project in the works from a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tubingen, Germany to make predictive corrections accounting for both drift and PE. The work is currently being integrated into PHD2, though it is not yet included in the released versions. There is some discussion of the project in the PHD2 google group if you are interested in more details, like a link to the research paper.

Andy


On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 4:43 PM, Mike C mike@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

> I have often thought that a better slow guiding system would measure the average drift of the axes
> over a period of 10 - 20 seconds

PHD is open source : ) someone should add that.


Re: Autoguiding questions

Mike C
 

> I have often thought that a better slow guiding system would measure the average drift of the axes
> over a period of 10 - 20 seconds

PHD is open source : ) someone should add that.

On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 12:08 PM, ngliatis@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

Thanks Rolando for all the good points. It gives me a better idea of what to expect. A few of the points you mentioned stuck with me. First, that we want to gently nudge the star back to zero. I noticed that it takes a larger correction to consistently stay close to zero (around 0.5-1 pixel on my setup), and that is when the minimum move is set to around 0.1. The RMS value is also lower. When min is set to 0.01, I notice very small corrections that take longer to go back to zero, and when it finally happens, the correction is very large.
So is the goal achieving the lowest possible RMS setting? I have seen anywhere between 0.30 and 0.55 RMS using PHD, but for some reason Maxim's graph doesn't show any RMS stats. 

Second is DEC drift control. I know my polar alignment is not perfect, but it's close. Does this also impact RA guiding performance and to what extent? 


Third, poor conditions will cause all kinds of effects to guid ing. I assume you're also in the Midwest, and if you recall the high winds we had not too long ago, guiding was literally impossible at this high focal length, since the star got "bumped" out of position by at least 10 pixels with every gust. I have had much better imaging results using the same setup in the summer/fall than in spring/winter. I would agree that an AO solution would be ideal and superior to standard guiding, for sure. 

I do have the original PE curve loaded and enabled. Guide rate is always at 1X. Should the autoguider output be set to "Telescope" or "Main Relays"?

Regards,
Nick



Re: Autoguiding questions

Nick Gliatis
 

Thanks Rolando for all the good points. It gives me a better idea of what to expect. A few of the points you mentioned stuck with me. First, that we want to gently nudge the star back to zero. I noticed that it takes a larger correction to consistently stay close to zero (around 0.5-1 pixel on my setup), and that is when the minimum move is set to around 0.1. The RMS value is also lower. When min is set to 0.01, I notice very small corrections that take longer to go back to zero, and when it finally happens, the correction is very large.
So is the goal achieving the lowest possible RMS setting? I have seen anywhere between 0.30 and 0.55 RMS using PHD, but for some reason Maxim's graph doesn't show any RMS stats. 

Second is DEC drift control. I know my polar alignment is not perfect, but it's close. Does this also impact RA guiding performance and to what extent? 

Third, poor conditions will cause all kinds of effects to guiding. I assume you're also in the Midwest, and if you recall the high winds we had not too long ago, guiding was literally impossible at this high focal length, since the star got "bumped" out of position by at least 10 pixels with every gust. I have had much better imaging results using the same setup in the summer/fall than in spring/winter. I would agree that an AO solution would be ideal and superior to standard guiding, for sure. 

I do have the original PE curve loaded and enabled. Guide rate is always at 1X. Should the autoguider output be set to "Telescope" or "Main Relays"?

Regards,
Nick



Re: Autoguiding questions

Roland Christen
 

I would set Min to .02, Max to 0.5 and watch the response to correction signals on the guider graph.
 
Autoguiding is not an instant response closed loop system. It is a take exposure, download, calculate centroid, make correction. The make correction comes sometime after the star is sampled for position. It depends on how long your guide exposure is. For a 5 second exposure there is an average 2.5 second time lag between where the star was from exposure beginning to end and where the star is when the error command is sent to the mount. When seeing is steady, there is a high correlation between where the star is located versus the zero point and where is actually is when the error command is sent. When the seeing is turbulent, there is little correlation, thus the error commands can be all over the place between one guide exposure and the next. Therefore we have the variable of aggressiveness to play with the tamp down the tendency for the software to chase the seeing.
 
In the end, all we really want to do for autoguiding is to gently nudge the star back toward the zero line periodically and not try to push the star around back and forth after every guide exposure. Assuming that Dec drift is under control and is around 1 arc second for any 5 minute period, it makes little or no sense to do large corrections of 1 arc second or more every few seconds. Same is true of RA. If the PE is well controlled with periodic error correction activated and working smoothly, then RA drift of 1 or 2 arc seconds per 5 minutes can also be handled the same way.
 
If you run the mount unguided and watch the excursions of the guide star in the guider box, or better yet with PEMPro, you will see on an average night the star will bounce around+- an arc second or three from one exposure to the next, every few seconds. With the present slow "after-the-fact" guide software you cannot hope to correct this motion. You can only make it worse, not better. In my part of the country, this motion on some nights is more East-West than N-S, and is caused by upper level winds (jet stream). This means that sometimes I cannot get round stars, no matter how well the mount tracks. They will be slightly oval East to West due to this motion. On calmer nights the star may slowly move in a random pattern, and will result in round stars, although larger than on a very quiet calm night. The only way to chase the motion of a star when it wanders in a 1 - 2 second time period is to use a Tip-Tilt AO system with very fast exposures on the order of 1/100 to 1/10 seconds. Normal (slow) guiding can only produce an average correction of a slowly drifting guide star.
 
I have often thought that a better slow guiding system would measure the average drift of the axes over a period of 10 - 20 seconds and then apply that average every few seconds consistently with an update to that average every few seconds. This requires accurate RA tracking with low overall periodic error (good smooth PE compensation and a smooth gear). The software would also need to allow for a rapid dither move before each new exposure.
 
Rolando
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: ngliatis@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto Sent: Wed, Dec 17, 2014 1:26 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Autoguiding questions



So does this mean that min/max move settings need to be different depending on where the scope is pointing? Or is there a happy medium?




Re: connecting APCC to mount

Ross Salinger <rgsalinger@...>
 

Maybe this will help -- once you use any USB/RS232 adapter (I personally have to use two) its port number will show in windows device manager under Ports.

 

Since I often set up in remote locations I check what ports are being used by what devices that way before trying to use the device. I have never worked out how Windows selects the ports I just know that they change so I check.

You’ll see the keyspan adapter and what port it’s using and you’ll connect APCC to that port (of the AP driver). Don’t change any connections and it should remain the same night after night.

 

I also use a telescope in New Mexico and since the wiring is invariant it just works. There is a computer locally in NM that does the imaging we use RADMIN to connect to it. (Personally I prefer teamviewer but radmin seems to be the standard there.)

 

Rgrds-Ross

 

From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:01 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] connecting APCC to mount

 

 

> I'm not sure what you mean by this because you can't connect APCC if the ASCOM driver is already

> connected on the COM port (I'm not sure if that is what you are saying).

 

Exactly!  When my first post said I couldn't connect with APCC, it was because I had already started ASCOM in MaxIm.  There may have been other things going on, too, but this by itself was a show-stopper.

 

After my last message last night, I reviewed Tripp Lite's documentation for the Keyspan adapter and also other online items about serial ports, in order to re-educate myself about what I once knew before the days of USB.  According to a Microsoft document, Windows reserves COM1 & COM2, so COM3 is the lowest number the Keyspan can adopt.  The computer is out in the observatory, but I suppose COM1 is already assigned to the built-in modem.  I just needed reassurance that I haven't been doing something wrong all this time.  However, this raises the interesting thought that the computer in your videos didn't have an operating modem.  For us outside the APCC development loop, this isn't possible, since we must have Internet access on the computer where APCC is installed.  What do the guys with remote observatories in NM do?


Re: Autoguiding questions

Nick Gliatis
 

So does this mean that min/max move settings need to be different depending on where the scope is pointing? Or is there a happy medium?


Re: Autoguiding questions

Roland Christen
 

A 0.1 second move command will move the mount 1.5 arc seconds at the celestial equator in both axes. It will be less in RA as you approach the pole. At 45 degrees it will be 1.06 arc seconds, at 60 degrees it will be 0.75 arc seconds, at the exact pole it will be zero.
 
Rolando
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: ngliatis@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Wed, Dec 17, 2014 12:34 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Autoguiding questions



Sorry for yet another autoguiding thread - seems to be the hot topic these days :)
I've had my AP900 for a few years now, and while I get pretty decent autoguiding performance out of it, I feel that it can do better. Some info about my setup first. I image through an 8'' Vixen scope, and an OAG. The autoguider is a DSI Pro 2. Image pixel scale is 0.63asp, autoguider around 1asp. 
On some nights I get good guiding, while on others, not so much, which I attribute to varying seeing conditions. The software used is Maxim DL or PHD, depending. I calibrate the guider at DEC 0, and disabled compensation. The calibration values look normal - around 15 and -13 for X,Y. I am looking to gain a better theoretical understanding for autoguiding vs. seeing conditions, so I can narrow down the guess work with regards to settings. Experimenting with min/max move settings is fine, as long as I understand what these functions mean. I und erstand that a value of 0.1 means how many seconds of pulse is sent to the mount, and at sidereal rate that translates to 1 arc second. In another document I found online, it mentions that this translates to 1.5 arc seconds at siderial rate. What is the correct formula? So far the hardest challenge has been to figure out a good balance for min/max move and aggressiveness. Lastly, the mount is connected via the DB-9 to USB converter to the PC. In the Autoguider Output section I have control via "Telescope". Is this the recommended setting for this mount?

Thanks,



Autoguiding questions

Nick Gliatis
 

Sorry for yet another autoguiding thread - seems to be the hot topic these days :)

I've had my AP900 for a few years now, and while I get pretty decent autoguiding performance out of it, I feel that it can do better. Some info about my setup first. I image through an 8'' Vixen scope, and an OAG. The autoguider is a DSI Pro 2. Image pixel scale is 0.63asp, autoguider around 1asp. 

On some nights I get good guiding, while on others, not so much, which I attribute to varying seeing conditions. The software used is Maxim DL or PHD, depending. I calibrate the guider at DEC 0, and disabled compensation. The calibration values look normal - around 15 and -13 for X,Y. I am looking to gain a better theoretical understanding for autoguiding vs. seeing conditions, so I can narrow down the guess work with regards to settings. Experimenting with min/max move settings is fine, as long as I understand what these functions mean. I understand that a value of 0.1 means how many seconds of pulse is sent to the mount, and at sidereal rate that translates to 1 arc second. In another document I found online, it mentions that this translates to 1.5 arc seconds at siderial rate. What is the correct formula? So far the hardest challenge has been to figure out a good balance for min/max move and aggressiveness. Lastly, the mount is connected via the DB-9 to USB converter to the PC. In the Autoguider Output section I have control via "Telescope". Is this the recommended setting for this mount?


Thanks,


Re: connecting APCC to mount

calypte@...
 

> I'm not sure what you mean by this because you can't connect APCC if the ASCOM driver is already

> connected on the COM port (I'm not sure if that is what you are saying).

 

Exactly!  When my first post said I couldn't connect with APCC, it was because I had already started ASCOM in MaxIm.  There may have been other things going on, too, but this by itself was a show-stopper.

 

After my last message last night, I reviewed Tripp Lite's documentation for the Keyspan adapter and also other online items about serial ports, in order to re-educate myself about what I once knew before the days of USB.  According to a Microsoft document, Windows reserves COM1 & COM2, so COM3 is the lowest number the Keyspan can adopt.  The computer is out in the observatory, but I suppose COM1 is already assigned to the built-in modem.  I just needed reassurance that I haven't been doing something wrong all this time.  However, this raises the interesting thought that the computer in your videos didn't have an operating modem.  For us outside the APCC development loop, this isn't possible, since we must have Internet access on the computer where APCC is installed.  What do the guys with remote observatories in NM do?


Re: connecting APCC to mount

Gene Mroz
 

Ray:

I just installed the 1.0.0.7 Standard version for the 30-day Trial.  Is it advisable to upgrade to 1.0.0.8 beta 11 version for the Trial?  I'm always a little leery of installing beta versions of anything.

Thanks,

Gene


To the folks at Astro Physics, thanks for the holiday card - and happy holidays!

Adam Klein
 

Adam


Re: connecting APCC to mount

Ray Gralak &#92;(Groups&#92;) <groups2@...>
 

Thank you. I installed the .08 Beta11 from your website. It's not available on the A-P website. I got APCC to
connect to the mount, and it shows the correct firmware version.
OK, great.

But I've found that I must let APCC do the
connecting. If some other program (e.g. MaxIm) is already connected to the mount via ASCOM, then I get an
error.
I'm not sure what you mean by this because you can't connect APCC if the ASCOM driver is already connected on the COM port (I'm not sure if that is what you are saying). The recommended way is to start APCC first, which if you have the appropriate checkboxes checked (mentioned in my last post) will automatically connect to the mount and start the ASCOM driver. Then connect Maxim and other apps to the (already running) ASCOM driver.

The ASCOM driver can launch APCC but, depending on your computer, you may have to adjust the settings to account for the speed of your computer. However, I highly recommend that you launch APCC first. I also recommend that you take a read of the help file. Doing so will save you lots of time and questions.

Also, under "Manage Sites," the "Send to Mount" button doesn't exist. It's not grayed-out or inactive. It's
not there.
Yes, it was taken out because the only valid time to send long/lat is during mount initialization (and that's where you set the site!).

Now, before I dive into defining virtual ports, I must ask something that I'm sure a PC guru such as yourself can
answer. This is the fourth different computer that I've used with an ASCOM connection to my Mach1 mount.
I'm using the Keyspan adapter. On every one of the four computers, including this one, I can't get a connection
through COM1. I have to use COM3. I've never understood why this is the case. APCC shows COM3 as the
connection. According to your last post, I have conflict right there. Correct?
You should not assume that the specific COM ports shown in the videos or manual will be the same as on your computer. The actual COM ports available can change between computers so you must set APCC to use the appropriate COM port for your computer. For instance, if COM3 is the port for your Keyspan a good virtual port might be COM4. If this is not clear please try reading the help file. Howard put a lot of time into it so that most questions will be answered before you have to ask them here. That's not saying you shouldn't ask questions here but many answers are already at your fingertips.

-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@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 10:26 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] connecting APCC to mount



Thank you. I installed the .08 Beta11 from your website. It's not available on the A-P website. I got APCC to
connect to the mount, and it shows the correct firmware version. But I've found that I must let APCC do the
connecting. If some other program (e.g. MaxIm) is already connected to the mount via ASCOM, then I get an
error. Also, under "Manage Sites," the "Send to Mount" button doesn't exist. It's not grayed-out or inactive. It's
not there.




Now, before I dive into defining virtual ports, I must ask something that I'm sure a PC guru such as yourself can
answer. This is the fourth different computer that I've used with an ASCOM connection to my Mach1 mount.
I'm using the Keyspan adapter. On every one of the four computers, including this one, I can't get a connection
through COM1. I have to use COM3. I've never understood why this is the case. APCC shows COM3 as the
connection. According to your last post, I have conflict right there. Correct?


Re: connecting APCC to mount

Ray Gralak &#92;(Groups&#92;) <groups2@...>
 

As you know APCC was in beta testing for a long time so unfortunately many of the videos are rather old. We've made tweaks to the user interface since some of the videos were made so not everything is the same as it is now. The sign of the Time Offset, for instance, was changed.

That said, the videos should still guide you through the general process of using APCC. The manual however should reflect the current user interface much more closely. I'll get around to redoing the videos but I have a pressing need (greatly understated!) to get out the long-delayed PEMPro V3.

-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@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 10:48 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] connecting APCC to mount



Also, according to the video, "Time Offset" should display a positive value. But, via a dropdown menu, I'm
allowed to select my time zone, which happens to be PST, and the "Time Offset" shows "-8.0."


Re: connecting APCC to mount

calypte@...
 

Also, according to the video, "Time Offset" should display a positive value.  But, via a dropdown menu, I'm allowed to select my time zone, which happens to be PST, and the "Time Offset" shows "-8.0."


Re: connecting APCC to mount

calypte@...
 

Thank you.  I installed the .08 Beta11 from your website.  It's not available on the A-P website.  I got APCC to connect to the mount, and it shows the correct firmware version.  But I've found that I must let APCC do the connecting.  If some other program (e.g. MaxIm) is already connected to the mount via ASCOM, then I get an error.  Also, under "Manage Sites," the "Send to Mount" button doesn't exist.  It's not grayed-out or inactive.  It's not there.


Now, before I dive into defining virtual ports, I must ask something that I'm sure a PC guru such as yourself can answer.  This is the fourth different computer that I've used with an ASCOM connection to my Mach1 mount.  I'm using the Keyspan adapter.  On every one of the four computers, including this one, I can't get a connection through COM1.  I have to use COM3.  I've never understood why this is the case.  APCC shows COM3 as the connection.  According to your last post, I have conflict right there.  Correct?


Re: connecting APCC to mount

Ray Gralak &#92;(Groups&#92;) <groups2@...>
 

Curtis,

First make sure you have installed the latest version, 1.0.0.8 beta 11, which I posted a while back. AP has this version also but I'm not sure if they have posted a link to it on the main APCC page. If not you can find it here:

Pro edition:
http://www.gralak.com/_Ap_Cc_Beta_/APCC_Pro_Setup_1.0.0.8_Beta11.exe

Standard edition:
http://www.gralak.com/_Ap_Cc_Beta_/APCC_Standard_Setup_1.0.0.8_Beta11.exe

Next, to make things easier there are 3 checkboxes that you should have checked:

1) In "Advanced Settings" -- "Auto-select first virtual COM port if not defined (recommended).

Also, make sure you don't accidentally map a virtual COM port to a real COM port number!

2) On the "Virtual Ports" tab, check "Auto-Connect COM port and create Virtual Ports when started".

3) Also on the "Virtual Ports" tab, check "Auto-connect to ASCOM driver on first Virtual Port". This is an important option as it will automatically configure the ASCOM driver so you will not need to do it manually.

Lastly, make sure the COM port is correctly set and that nothing else is connected to that port (like the AP V2 ASCOM driver).

-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@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 3:25 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] connecting APCC to mount





I can't get APCC to connect to the mount. It says I have an invalid firmware version. APCC refuses to pick up
the firmware version, which is version V. However, before I get into that, I'm trying to set up the ASCOM driver
(v.5.06.00) according to the "Getting Started" documentation for APCC. The documentation says the "Use
ASCOM Serial Object" will probably be checked by default. It not only isn't checked, but I'm not allowed to
check it. I don't know if this has anything to do with my failure to get APCC to connect.