Date   

Parking Issue

Steve Reilly
 

This is a recurring problem that I’ve often blamed on ACP but am rethinking this as the screen shot shows ACP attempting to park, the ASCOM driver says it’s parking, and APCC says it is parked. I’m guessing that ACP gets the information from the ASCOM driver so yes, it actually isn’t parked. This is a rare problem but when it happens, once long enough to have let rain fall on the equipment, it causes real problems. The mount must be parked before my roof can close so using a direct close on moisture reading can’t work. I had hoped to find a solution but I don’t see this now. The screen capture shows the roof closed only because I closed it using the close command in AstroMC and the mount was already in the Park 4 position and had been since 0623. The last image had downloaded at 0531 and the shutdown script was executed at 0623 if I remember correctly. It was a brief notification from Windows 10 but those were cleared after reading. Not sure if any record is made of those. ACP doesn’t have a shutdown record as it seems that is made after it completes which it didn’t. If there is a log somewhere else to backup this event I’m unaware. Maybe APCC can pinpoint the time as it seems to show the mount parked?

 

Anyway the issue remains, the roof was wide opened, scope was in the Park 4 position, my inline Microswitches wired in series were both closed (continuity signal to the relay) proving a safe position for the roof to close, the roof was manually directed to close in AstroMC which it did successfully, and yet ACP still shows the mount as “Parking” as does the ASCOM driver but not APCC. The difference is that ASCOM and APCC show the mount at the parked position whereas ACP shows what I assume is the position it was prior to being commanded to park. So the question is, where is the log jam and who is responsible for the stall? How can I prevent this?

 

I hopefully will have Good Night System fully configured today but that only notifies me via smart phone of these failures if  I set it up correctly and I have cell signal. It doesn’t correct anything. The system is still in this “Parking” phase and I’ll leave it like that hoping that Bob Denny or other person has some idea to tracing the problem. I can stop this and power everything off and start from scratch with a startup script run but that only puts me back at square 1 and doesn’t identify the problem. Is it a communication issue where a request is sent and waits forever and if so why can’t there be a reasonable time restriction before another request is sent or other action is taken?

 

Wide open to ideas/suggestions.

 

-Steve


Re: USB and cold weather

Joseph Beyer
 

Not sure this idea will help but my Nikon D800 uses a USB3 cable and I commonly had problems with connectivity, especially in the cold.  Now I use the following: from the camera I use an 18 inch USB3 cable plugged into a powered Startech USB2 hub on the OTA, then down through my Mach1 using a 6 foot USB2 cable plugged into 16 foot active USB2 cable (Tethertools).  I use either a USB2 or 3 plug on the computer.  The raw images are roughly 50 Mb and download in about 1-2 seconds.  I’ve not had a problem since adding the active cable into the line. 


Re: USB and cold weather

Joe Zeglinski
 

A bonus for using USB-2, besides 3x the distance,  is that those cables are “thinner”, by two extra wires in the sheath, than USB-3. So, the cable bundle  inside the mount is just a bit looser, especially twisting when its cold.
 
Joe
 
 

From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2021 6:09 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather
 
I do not use video for sure.  Not with this camera.  3 seconds on USB2? 

Interestingly I have an Icron Ranger 2304 which is a USB 2.0 over Cat5e which was allowing me to run long ethernet cable out to my mount in the back yard but use my in home computer to control everything.

I would take about 30 seconds per download.    You are right, I don't love your solution but it is either that or not use the through the mount cabling.  Such a shame.

I just did some experiments.  Bottom line is if I bypass the mounts internal cable, I have zero issues at USB 3 speeds.    You are right though.  USB 2 port doing the same cables resulted in perfect no error images.

Damnit.


Re: USB and cold weather

Xentex
 

In automotive applications I've seen people slop silicone grease all over a multi-prong connector and not have any issues.  I do it myself for outside connectors, but for the most part those are only speaker terminals and low speed or low voltage power terminals (pool applications).

Thinking more about USB connectors, I'm not so sure.

The way the USB connectors work you have relatively small surfaces making contact with each other with pretty low pressure spring force.  The silicone greases are pretty viscous and very good insulators.  So my concern is they might actually weaken the signal transmission a bit because when you slide the connectors together the pins might not have enough surface pressure to completely push the grease out of the way.  I'm sure they'll still make contact, but it could be a little less contact area, which could slightly degrade a signal that's already nearing its limit.  As it the temp gets colder the silicone grease gets thicker (harder to displace) and the spring force on the connectors likely goes down.  So a silicone grease could make the situation worse, not better.


Re: USB and cold weather

Sébastien Doré
 

Hello Michael,

As Roland pointed out, it also seem to me to be a matter of signal integrity at high freq. From your video I counted 6 USB interfaces between your PC to your camera (1st hub input connector, 1st hub output, Mach2 TTM input, Mach2 TTM output, 2nd hub input, 2nd hub output), each of which are certainly affecting your USB3 signal waveform.

I would try removing one of the hubs from the signal path (hence removing 2 USB3 interfaces) and see if that helps. 

Having 2 hubs to amplify signal is probably of little help anyway in your case given the short cables used  between your PC and the camera. In fact, it probably does more harm than anything by causing multiple insertion loss, reflections, frequency multiplication (harmonics) adding noise and cross-talks which all gets worst the higher you go in frequencies (i.e. in speed). More amplication (gain) isn't better when applied to a noisy and heavily distorted (USB) signal unless the signal gets very efficiently conditionned (filtered) inside the hubs (which is unlikely).

Sébastien
_._,_._,_


Re: AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Greg Bradley
 

Thanks for the replies Roland, Ray and Steve.

I am using TSX. Camera is a FLI Proline 16803 and guider is currently an ASI290. I started using that to 
replace an SBIG Sti guider which I have used successfully for years and I thought it may have been the problem.

i’ll keep the pulse guiding at 1x.
Should I set the autoguiding program to using relays And an ST4 cable? As that was what I used in the past successfully? However ir would not calibrate this time with that setting. It would not give a cross shaped calibration but rather all lines in the same direction. Pulse guiding did give a good cross shape.

I’ll download the earlier driver.

Thanks for the super fast advice.

Greg


Re: USB and cold weather

Steven Panish
 

I use an Atolla 7port USB3.0 powered hub in my observatory, temp now is about 20deg F, no problems.  It's cheap, about $25 on Amazon or Ebay.  My ASI 1600mm camera has an internal hub adding the filter wheel and guide camera to a USB3 output that goes to the hub, the mount is connected via a serial to USB 2 converter, and the Shoestring USB focuser and a dongle for keyboard mouse goes in as well.  So just the hub's single USB3 output goes to the computer, an Acer laptop.  No issues save that the hub's USB3 output cable is only about 1 meter and USB 3 extension cables don't work well, whether active or passive.  I can just get by with that length.  The Pegasus looks great but this inexpensive hub has been working well for me for a year and it doesn't care about cold.

Steve

On Sat, Jan 9, 2021 at 4:11 PM Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Do you have any suggestions?  I was considering the idea of a powered hub with a short cable plugged into the mount bottom and then another hub at the top but I believe there is a limit imposed by Windows on how many hubs you can have.

So it would be PC with USB 3.0 Port > powered hub of some kind > Mach2 in ~~~~ Mach2 out > Pegasus USB 3.1 control box (which seems like a fancy product) > cameras/focuser/MGbox

I also ordered some di-electric silicone grease for the connections.


Re: USB and cold weather

Micheal Fields Jr
 

I've never used them on USB connections previously but if there is a way to protect the connections and make sure they don't get moisture or start corroding I am going to do that.  This will be in an observatory sitting for weeks at a time so once I have everything working reliably the cables will never have to come unplugged.  (in theory) 


Re: USB and cold weather

Micheal Fields Jr
 

Not going to take the mount apart for sure.

Thanks for the info about the reflections.  Way over my head for sure.  Be interesting though to see if my experiment next week shows the same issue persisting or not.


Re: AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Greg,

Which version of the ASCOM driver are you using? Since you are using a GTOCP3 you might want to stick with one of the older ASCOM drivers like 5.21.01.

New rate commands were added in the 5.30.xx versions for the Mach 2 and newer GTOCP4 firmware, so maybe one of those rate tables is getting used.

Here is the link to AP V2 v5.21.0:

https://www.gralak.com/apdriver/AstroPhysics_V2_Setup_5.21.01.exe

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

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Greg Bradley via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2021 3:31 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

I have a usually reliable AP1600 mount.
It is slewing fine but autoguiding suddenly went wild a little while ago.
So normally I get very small guide errors .2 to .6 arc sec
guide errors. They suddenly went to 15-20.
I couldn’t get it to callibrate either using relays.

I switched to pulse guiding and I could callibrate.

But guiding is still wild. I tried various settings
for the guiding.

I pulled apart the electronics box and inside it looks lile
new.

I noticed in the driver you can set the guide rate and it was set at 1 so I reduced that to .5 and I can set it lower. I
will disconnect the hand controller
tonight in case that is having an effect.

Any suggestions?

I am using SkyX, ascom mount and the AP driver. Its an AP cp3 electronics.

I am able to do plate solving, polar alignment using TPoint so go to’s are working.

Greg

Greg


Re: USB and cold weather

Roland Christen
 

At the frequencies used in USB3, they begin to act more like light going thru various surfaces. At each connection there is a reflection of the signal just like the air-glass surfaces of a lens. So 2 more connections adds 2 reflections which lowers the signal amplitude and adds ringing of a steep rise-time pulse. If you have low signal to begin with, this may knock it down enough to cause the problem. There are hundreds of papers written on this if you care to search, but they are very technical if you're not knowledgeable of gigahertz stuff.

Running your own cable thru the mount would require taking the mount apart, which is highly not recommended and you could damage the internal wiring.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 6:58 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

Hi Roland.  I just did a ton of experimenting.  Xentex was right.  If I simply plug into a usb 2 port the problems go away.  Also if I bypass the mount entirely even with a 6 foot long cable, the problems go away.  It is only if I go through the mount with USB 3.0 do I have issues.    The Pegasus USB box is nice.  Probably worth having anyways but it is also an expensive "test".   I just bought a 3.3 foot female to female cable USB 3.0 to simulate going through the mount so I can see if it is simply having those extra connections or something else.

$10.00 with free shipping from Amazon will let me know.  Lets say it turns out that it works great with that "pretend" through the mount female to female cable.  What is my next step? By process of elimination it seems so far that the internal cable is not up to 3.0 standards.  I am waiting to hear back from my second favorite vendor to see if they have the usb control hub in stock then I'll probably go ahead and order it anyways.  Nice being able to turn off and on usb ports.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: USB and cold weather

Micheal Fields Jr
 
Edited

Hi Roland.  I just did a ton of experimenting.  Xentex was right.  If I simply plug into a usb 2 port the problems go away.  Also if I bypass the mount entirely even with a 6 foot long cable, the problems go away.  It is only if I go through the mount with USB 3.0 do I have issues.    The Pegasus USB box is nice.  Probably worth having anyways but it is also an expensive "test".   I just bought a 3.3 foot female to female cable USB 3.0 to simulate going through the mount so I can see if it is simply having those extra connections or something else.

$10.00 with free shipping from Amazon will let me know.  Lets say it turns out that it works great with that "pretend" through the mount female to female cable.  What is my next step? By process of elimination it seems so far that the internal cable is not up to 3.0 standards.  I am waiting to hear back from my second favorite vendor to see if they have the usb control hub in stock then I'll probably go ahead and order it anyways.  Nice being able to turn off and on usb ports.

Edit: I was recording some of my experimenting.  Here is a link to a unedited video if any of you people are bored enough to watch.  At about 7:50 I bypass the mount and everything works great.  At the end I used Xentex idea and swapped to a usb 2.0 port and everything works that way too.  https://youtu.be/AOXtrYJypmA


Re: USB and cold weather

Xentex
 

A silicone grease can be useful to prevent corrosion of contacts, and if you're plugging and unplugging them a lot or they get jiggled in their sockets it will help reduce wear.  I use it all over outdoor contacts that are exposed to the elements.  I haven't ever used them on a USB connector because I wouldn't expect a USB connector to be exposed to elements.

Regarding download times for a 47M image file, that should be about 1 second on a USB 2 interface.


Re: USB and cold weather

Dominique
 

I saw a problem like this 2 days ago in 28 ° F. My installation is complex with the Pegasus powerbox V2 installed in front of the plate, 1 USB3 Hub at the output of the mount wiring, 1 active 5m extension cable and 1 other USB3 Hub (not powered) connected to the laptop (see the attached diagram). As it generally works well and ceal makes my life easier, I have no reason to change.
Can the di-electric silicone grease for the connections make things better? In the meantime I have covered all the USB3 connections and I will see tonight (it will still be cold) if it gets better. It would be a shame to do without USB3 especially when you have to do the flats with the QHY294M-pro used in 47M.

Dominique


Re: AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Steve Reilly
 

I would also look for loose equipment, snagged cables, and software settings.  It sounds like you image using TSX software so maybe try a simple stand alone program and see what happens without TSX.  What camera/guider are you using?

 

-Steve

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roland Christen via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2021 6:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

 

P.S. unplugging the keypad won't do a thing one way or other. The keypad does not communicate with the mount unless you push one of the buttons. It is totally silent at all times and does not interfere in any way with any other program that you connect to the mount.

 

Rolando

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 5:44 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Guide at 1x. Going slower will not help.

Make sure you have a good calibration run.

Remove all backlash compensation, both in the keypad and in the guide software.

 

If using PHD2, you should first use the mount wizard to find out what you have fundamentally. You can find out things like PE, Dec backlash, sky scintillation and other good stuff.

 

A good calibration near the celestial equator and meridian is a MUST. Without that, you won't be able to guide successfully.

 

Rolando

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Greg Bradley via groups.io <bradgregley10@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 5:31 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

I have a usually reliable AP1600 mount.
It is slewing fine but autoguiding suddenly went wild a little while ago.
So normally I get very small guide errors .2 to .6 arc sec
guide errors. They suddenly went to 15-20.
I couldn’t get it to callibrate either using relays.

I switched to pulse guiding and I could callibrate.

But guiding is still wild. I tried various settings
for the guiding.

I pulled apart the electronics box and inside it looks lile
new.

I noticed in the driver you can set the guide rate and it was set at 1 so I reduced that to .5 and I can set it lower. I will disconnect the hand controller
tonight in case that is having an effect.

Any suggestions?

I am using SkyX, ascom mount and the AP driver. Its an AP cp3 electronics.

I am able to do plate solving, polar alignment using TPoint so go to’s are working.

Greg

Greg


--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Roland Christen
 

P.S. unplugging the keypad won't do a thing one way or other. The keypad does not communicate with the mount unless you push one of the buttons. It is totally silent at all times and does not interfere in any way with any other program that you connect to the mount.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 5:44 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Guide at 1x. Going slower will not help.
Make sure you have a good calibration run.
Remove all backlash compensation, both in the keypad and in the guide software.

If using PHD2, you should first use the mount wizard to find out what you have fundamentally. You can find out things like PE, Dec backlash, sky scintillation and other good stuff.

A good calibration near the celestial equator and meridian is a MUST. Without that, you won't be able to guide successfully.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Greg Bradley via groups.io <bradgregley10@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 5:31 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

I have a usually reliable AP1600 mount.
It is slewing fine but autoguiding suddenly went wild a little while ago.
So normally I get very small guide errors .2 to .6 arc sec
guide errors. They suddenly went to 15-20.
I couldn’t get it to callibrate either using relays.

I switched to pulse guiding and I could callibrate.

But guiding is still wild. I tried various settings
for the guiding.

I pulled apart the electronics box and inside it looks lile
new.

I noticed in the driver you can set the guide rate and it was set at 1 so I reduced that to .5 and I can set it lower. I will disconnect the hand controller
tonight in case that is having an effect.

Any suggestions?

I am using SkyX, ascom mount and the AP driver. Its an AP cp3 electronics.

I am able to do plate solving, polar alignment using TPoint so go to’s are working.

Greg

Greg

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Roland Christen
 

Guide at 1x. Going slower will not help.
Make sure you have a good calibration run.
Remove all backlash compensation, both in the keypad and in the guide software.

If using PHD2, you should first use the mount wizard to find out what you have fundamentally. You can find out things like PE, Dec backlash, sky scintillation and other good stuff.

A good calibration near the celestial equator and meridian is a MUST. Without that, you won't be able to guide successfully.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Greg Bradley via groups.io <bradgregley10@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 5:31 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

I have a usually reliable AP1600 mount.
It is slewing fine but autoguiding suddenly went wild a little while ago.
So normally I get very small guide errors .2 to .6 arc sec
guide errors. They suddenly went to 15-20.
I couldn’t get it to callibrate either using relays.

I switched to pulse guiding and I could callibrate.

But guiding is still wild. I tried various settings
for the guiding.

I pulled apart the electronics box and inside it looks lile
new.

I noticed in the driver you can set the guide rate and it was set at 1 so I reduced that to .5 and I can set it lower. I will disconnect the hand controller
tonight in case that is having an effect.

Any suggestions?

I am using SkyX, ascom mount and the AP driver. Its an AP cp3 electronics.

I am able to do plate solving, polar alignment using TPoint so go to’s are working.

Greg

Greg

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


AP1600 autoguiding gone bad

Greg Bradley
 

I have a usually reliable AP1600 mount.
It is slewing fine but autoguiding suddenly went wild a little while ago.
So normally I get very small guide errors .2 to .6 arc sec
guide errors. They suddenly went to 15-20.
I couldn’t get it to callibrate either using relays.

I switched to pulse guiding and I could callibrate.

But guiding is still wild. I tried various settings
for the guiding.

I pulled apart the electronics box and inside it looks lile
new.

I noticed in the driver you can set the guide rate and it was set at 1 so I reduced that to .5 and I can set it lower. I will disconnect the hand controller
tonight in case that is having an effect.

Any suggestions?

I am using SkyX, ascom mount and the AP driver. Its an AP cp3 electronics.

I am able to do plate solving, polar alignment using TPoint so go to’s are working.

Greg

Greg


Re: USB and cold weather

Micheal Fields Jr
 

I do not use video for sure.  Not with this camera.  3 seconds on USB2?  

Interestingly I have an Icron Ranger 2304 which is a USB 2.0 over Cat5e which was allowing me to run long ethernet cable out to my mount in the back yard but use my in home computer to control everything.

I would take about 30 seconds per download.    You are right, I don't love your solution but it is either that or not use the through the mount cabling.  Such a shame.

I just did some experiments.  Bottom line is if I bypass the mounts internal cable, I have zero issues at USB 3 speeds.    You are right though.  USB 2 port doing the same cables resulted in perfect no error images.

Damnit.


Re: USB and cold weather

Roland Christen
 

I think you only need the Pegasus powered hub on the scope.

Roland



-----Original Message-----
From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 3:11 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

Do you have any suggestions?  I was considering the idea of a powered hub with a short cable plugged into the mount bottom and then another hub at the top but I believe there is a limit imposed by Windows on how many hubs you can have.

So it would be PC with USB 3.0 Port > powered hub of some kind > Mach2 in ~~~~ Mach2 out > Pegasus USB 3.1 control box (which seems like a fancy product) > cameras/focuser/MGbox

I also ordered some di-electric silicone grease for the connections.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics

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