Date   

Re: Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

David Johnson
 

Is this what you need?  I can see that changing the system clock could make debugging more confusing.  I can try it in "real time" one of these nights when the ISS makes a pass.  Thanks.


Re: AP 1600, Universal Time and Connecting to Auxiliary Astronomy Programs for Control

Jack Huerkamp
 

Dale,

I got this link from George at Astro-Physics in which it says for a
dedicated observatory PC, to set its clock to UT along with the hand
controller being set to UT:

https://astro-physics.info/tech_support/mounts/keypad/keypad-setting-gmt-utc
.pdf

But it sounds like you are saying to set the observatory PC to local time
and the hand controller to UT, since SkyTools in my case is looking to the
computer time to locate targets.

If so, I will go to the observatory today and set the computer back to local
time, set SkyTools as well and see what happens.

Yours truly,

Jack

Jack Huerkamp
Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC
38388 Pine Street
Pearl River, LA 70452-5192
985-445-5063
mallincamusa@gmail.com
www.mallincamusa.com
30.37N 89.76W

All of us get lost in the darkness.
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars.
..............Neil Peart

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 8:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP 1600, Universal Time and Connecting to Auxiliary
Astronomy Programs for Control


So here's the deal: the mount CP deals only in UTC. All calculations
involving positions of objects in the sky are done UTC. For the purposes of
a mount's internal operations, UTC is the only thing that matters.

When you set the timezone on the keypad, you are essentially just
configuring the keypad's display and input of UTC time as local time. The
mount itself doesn't care that your offset from GMT is now -5 instead of -6.
That factors into none of its operations and calculations. What it does
factor into is how your keypad displays time, and how it converts time that
you input to and from UTC. The former - displaying the same time as your
local time - is just for convenience. The latter - inputting your local time
- is critical for the mount to derive the proper UTC time if you were to
program the mount's clock using the keypad. So if your local time is
18:45:00 and you were to program your mount's clock using the keypad today,
it would definitely need to know your current offset from GMT so that the
proper conversion to UTC can take place (that it would be 23:45:00 UTC).

The reason why you have to manually set the GMT offset in your keypad every
time DST begins or ends (or if you move to a different timezone altogether)
is because the keypad lacks its own timezone database that it can use to do
this automatically. You might ask "well how hard would it be for the keypad
to have one so that I don't need to do this". It's a valid question, but the
reasons are fairly basic. The timezone database is large and would occupy a
non-trivial amount of the keypad's very finite amount of static memory. It
also changes quite often as various countries and locales change their DST
observances or, in rare cases, which timezone(s) they are in. This would
demand that A-P issue several firmware updates a year in order to keep up
with these changes.

As for the computer and accessing the mount through the ASCOM driver, this
changes the situation in terms of mount time management. In this case, it is
presumed that your computer's clock is reasonably accurate as any modern OS
will automatically sync the computer's clock to an internet time source at
least once a week or more often, assuming it has internet access. There is a
setting in the A-P ASCOM driver to sync the computer's clock to the mount.
This should always be on if your computer's clock is reasonably accurate.
The ASCOM driver itself will then program the mount in UTC time directly in
this case. Despite your computer's timezone being set to US/Central, the OS
itself still operates in UTC internally. Because your OS does have a
maintained timezone database, it can do the display and input conversions
between your timezone and its internal clock, which runs in UTC.

So, the only reason why you would want to run your computer in UTC is if you
prefer viewing time that way. Even if you set the display of time on your PC
to be in your local timezone, the mount is still going to get programmed
with the proper time in UTC. It makes no difference to the mount.

As for the keypad, you can also just leave it with a timezone offset of 0 so
that it displays and takes input in UTC. However if you want it do display
and take time input in terms of your local time, you will need to manually
set the proper GMT offset whenever DST starts and ends.


On Mar 16, 2021, at 09:13, Jack Huerkamp <Mallincamusa@gmail.com> wrote:

I use SkyTools 3 and SkyTools 4 to control my AP1600 mount using the ASCOM
driver. But every 6 months, I was having to switch the AP keypad from
standard time to daylight savings time and then back again 6 months later.
It was suggested to me to set the AP keypad to UT and also setting the
computer to UT to avoid have to mess with keypad settings every 6 months. I
did so and can control the mount using the keypad.

I then tried configuring my observatory location, but when I connected the
mount to SkyTools and did a slew to the Sun this afternoon, the scope tried
to aim into the ground on the southwest side of the pier. I need to know
how to set my location in SkyTools now that the mount and computer are set
to UT. I am in the Central US time zone.

I would appreciate feedback on this as I would hate to have to go back to
setting the computer and AP keypad to the current local time.

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp







--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com


Re: Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

Ray Gralak
 

Hi David,

I would need to see the APCC and AP V2 driver logs to see what happened. One possibility is that the computer could not send commands fast enough, but I don't know why any of the rates would go below sidereal unless a limit was hit.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 7:27 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

Thanks for the info. Here's what I tried next. I did as you suggested and was able to get 1 hour's worth of data at
1-sec intervals, bounding the time where the ISS would be above the horizon here. I then reset my computer's
clock to be very close to the time of the data that I'm using for test tracking, so the telescope would be pointing
roughly where it should be. I also verified that the mount time was also set to this time. The initial pointing this time
was fine.

What happened was that I still had problems with RA keeping up. The RA custom rate started out okay, and the RA
Delta was okay, but RA started slowing down quickly and even dropped below sidereal rate. Naturally, the RA Delta
went way up. It was pushing 2h when I stopped. Certainly, the tracking should have been well within the Mach2's
slewing capability. I tried it a couple of times, and the same thing happened.


Re: Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

David Johnson
 

Here’s what happens.  You may even be able to hear the mount slow down in the background.


Re: Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

David Johnson
 

Thanks for the info.  Here's what I tried next.  I did as you suggested and was able to get 1 hour's worth of data at 1-sec intervals, bounding the time where the ISS would be above the horizon here.  I then reset my computer's clock to be very close to the time of the data that I'm using for test tracking, so the telescope would be pointing roughly where it should be.  I also verified that the mount time was also set to this time.  The initial pointing this time was fine.

What happened was that I still had problems with RA keeping up.  The RA custom rate started out okay, and the RA Delta was okay, but RA started slowing down quickly and even dropped below sidereal rate.  Naturally, the RA Delta went way up.  It was pushing 2h when I stopped. Certainly, the tracking should have been well within the Mach2's slewing capability.  I tried it a couple of times, and the same thing happened.


Re: AP 1600, Universal Time and Connecting to Auxiliary Astronomy Programs for Control

Dale Ghent
 

So here's the deal: the mount CP deals only in UTC. All calculations involving positions of objects in the sky are done UTC. For the purposes of a mount's internal operations, UTC is the only thing that matters.

When you set the timezone on the keypad, you are essentially just configuring the keypad's display and input of UTC time as local time. The mount itself doesn't care that your offset from GMT is now -5 instead of -6. That factors into none of its operations and calculations. What it does factor into is how your keypad displays time, and how it converts time that you input to and from UTC. The former - displaying the same time as your local time - is just for convenience. The latter - inputting your local time - is critical for the mount to derive the proper UTC time if you were to program the mount's clock using the keypad. So if your local time is 18:45:00 and you were to program your mount's clock using the keypad today, it would definitely need to know your current offset from GMT so that the proper conversion to UTC can take place (that it would be 23:45:00 UTC).

The reason why you have to manually set the GMT offset in your keypad every time DST begins or ends (or if you move to a different timezone altogether) is because the keypad lacks its own timezone database that it can use to do this automatically. You might ask "well how hard would it be for the keypad to have one so that I don't need to do this". It's a valid question, but the reasons are fairly basic. The timezone database is large and would occupy a non-trivial amount of the keypad's very finite amount of static memory. It also changes quite often as various countries and locales change their DST observances or, in rare cases, which timezone(s) they are in. This would demand that A-P issue several firmware updates a year in order to keep up with these changes.

As for the computer and accessing the mount through the ASCOM driver, this changes the situation in terms of mount time management. In this case, it is presumed that your computer's clock is reasonably accurate as any modern OS will automatically sync the computer's clock to an internet time source at least once a week or more often, assuming it has internet access. There is a setting in the A-P ASCOM driver to sync the computer's clock to the mount. This should always be on if your computer's clock is reasonably accurate. The ASCOM driver itself will then program the mount in UTC time directly in this case. Despite your computer's timezone being set to US/Central, the OS itself still operates in UTC internally. Because your OS does have a maintained timezone database, it can do the display and input conversions between your timezone and its internal clock, which runs in UTC.

So, the only reason why you would want to run your computer in UTC is if you prefer viewing time that way. Even if you set the display of time on your PC to be in your local timezone, the mount is still going to get programmed with the proper time in UTC. It makes no difference to the mount.

As for the keypad, you can also just leave it with a timezone offset of 0 so that it displays and takes input in UTC. However if you want it do display and take time input in terms of your local time, you will need to manually set the proper GMT offset whenever DST starts and ends.

On Mar 16, 2021, at 09:13, Jack Huerkamp <Mallincamusa@gmail.com> wrote:

I use SkyTools 3 and SkyTools 4 to control my AP1600 mount using the ASCOM driver. But every 6 months, I was having to switch the AP keypad from standard time to daylight savings time and then back again 6 months later. It was suggested to me to set the AP keypad to UT and also setting the computer to UT to avoid have to mess with keypad settings every 6 months. I did so and can control the mount using the keypad.

I then tried configuring my observatory location, but when I connected the mount to SkyTools and did a slew to the Sun this afternoon, the scope tried to aim into the ground on the southwest side of the pier. I need to know how to set my location in SkyTools now that the mount and computer are set to UT. I am in the Central US time zone.

I would appreciate feedback on this as I would hate to have to go back to setting the computer and AP keypad to the current local time.

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp


Re: Which GTOCP* connection do you use?

Konstantin von Poschinger
 

Hi,

if you can use only USB connections than have a look at the Ultimate Powerbox v2:



I use it and I think it is quite useful and reduce lots of cables.

Konstantin


Konstantin v. Poschinger

Hammerichstr. 5
22605 Hamburg
040/8805747
0171 1983476

Am 16.03.2021 um 14:32 schrieb Patrick Spencer <patrick.spencer2@...>:

Eric,

That power and data distribution box is amazing! I wish a product like that were available commercially, for those of us who don't have your skills.

Patrick Spencer


Re: Which GTOCP* connection do you use?

Eric Dreher
 

Thank you, Patrick.  This isn't as difficult as it seems, nor did it turn out to be as inexpensive as I originally thought it might be.  Due to the expense of the internal cables, I think it totaled to about $400 when I was done, but the convenience of having it cuts down my portable astrophotography setup time on my driveway to about 20 minutes.

I tried to find the original CN post wherein a friend of mine in California, A-P family member Glenn Diekmann, inspired the construction with his similar results.  It all starts with the front panel design from https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/.  They have free downloadable software you use to place your design, connectors, etc. to suit your needs.  Have a look-see and decide if that's what you'd like to do.

Or...you could just buy a Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox for about $200 more.  An excellent product, it came out just a couple of months after I finished my distribution box.  That's what I'd do now, though the satisfaction and fun in building what I have was enjoyable.

Eric


Re: Which GTOCP* connection do you use?

Patrick Spencer
 

Eric,

That power and data distribution box is amazing! I wish a product like that were available commercially, for those of us who don't have your skills.

Patrick Spencer


AP 1600, Universal Time and Connecting to Auxiliary Astronomy Programs for Control

Jack Huerkamp
 

I use SkyTools 3 and SkyTools 4 to control my AP1600 mount using the ASCOM driver.  But every 6 months, I was having to switch the AP keypad from standard time to daylight savings time and then back again 6 months later.  It was suggested to me to set the AP keypad to UT and also setting the computer to UT to avoid have to mess with keypad settings every 6 months.  I did so and can control the mount using the keypad.  

I then tried configuring my observatory location, but when I connected the mount to SkyTools and did a slew to the Sun this afternoon, the scope tried to aim into the ground on the southwest side of the pier.  I need to know how to set my location in SkyTools now that the mount and computer are set to UT.  I am in the Central US time zone.

I would appreciate feedback on this as I would hate to have to go back to setting the computer and AP keypad to the current local time.

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp


Re: AP1100 past the meridian question

Eric Claeys
 

There’s a declination where my C11 can do a 360, and other declinations where it only goes an hour past the meridian.  One of the great things about APCC is that it has per-declination meridian limits.  It’s actually fairly easy to set them up, and can be done inside as long as the scope/mount/tripod is set up as it will be in the field, which is easy to do.

And unless you change something, the limits don’t need to be redone.

 

Eric


Re: APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

Luca Marinelli
 

It may be as Eric mentioned that the latest beta had some issues or the new QHY ASCOM driver. I was running APPM with SGP 64bit v4.657 on the other system (Mach2) without any problems. I’ll do more testing and see if v4.657 works with the QHY camera. 

Thanks,

Luca

On Mar 15, 2021, at 11:01 PM, Brian Valente via groups.io <bvalente@...> wrote:


I connect to camera via SGP all the time, i have not noticed any problems with port number changes

On Mon, Mar 15, 2021 at 6:38 PM Ray Gralak <iogroups@...> wrote:
Hi Luca,

I've not heard of any connect problems. Maybe the TCP port number has changed?

-Ray

> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Luca Marinelli
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 4:48 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: [ap-gto] APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP
>
> Hi Ray,
>
> I was trying to build a new model for my AP1100 tonight with APCC Pro v1.8.8.17 via SGP v4.661 and a QHY 268M
> camera and APPM was giving an error message "Failed to connect to Camera: cannot Connect: Please make sure
> the camera is connected in Sequence Generator Pro". The camera is connected in SGP, as you can see in the
> screenshot via the QHY ASCOM driver (ASCOM v6.5 SP1). Incidentally on the screen on the left you can see
> APPM running on the other system (Mach2 with ZWO ASI6200MM camera) without any problems. Do you know
> what might be the issue or how to troubleshoot it further?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Luca
>








--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

 

I connect to camera via SGP all the time, i have not noticed any problems with port number changes


On Mon, Mar 15, 2021 at 6:38 PM Ray Gralak <iogroups@...> wrote:
Hi Luca,

I've not heard of any connect problems. Maybe the TCP port number has changed?

-Ray

> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Luca Marinelli
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 4:48 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: [ap-gto] APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP
>
> Hi Ray,
>
> I was trying to build a new model for my AP1100 tonight with APCC Pro v1.8.8.17 via SGP v4.661 and a QHY 268M
> camera and APPM was giving an error message "Failed to connect to Camera: cannot Connect: Please make sure
> the camera is connected in Sequence Generator Pro". The camera is connected in SGP, as you can see in the
> screenshot via the QHY ASCOM driver (ASCOM v6.5 SP1). Incidentally on the screen on the left you can see
> APPM running on the other system (Mach2 with ZWO ASI6200MM camera) without any problems. Do you know
> what might be the issue or how to troubleshoot it further?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Luca
>








--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: AP1100 past the meridian question

Peter Nagy
 

Depends on Declination of your target. In my case I can image anywhere where Declination is below or smaller than my latitude (at or south of Zenith) from East to West without Meridian flipping. The shorter the scope the better.

Peter 


AP1100 past the meridian question

Shailesh Trivedi
 

If the pier or tripod clears the scope and imaging train, approximately how many minutes/hours would an AP1100 go past the meridian?

Shailesh


Re: Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

Ray Gralak
 

Hi David,

1-minute intervals are not accurate enough.

You might try to do a 1-second interval. You can do this by specifying a start and end time and specifying an "equal interval (unitless)" step size. Then, specify a count that results in 1-second intervals. For example, if the range is one hour, the count to produce 1-second intervals would be 3600, because there are 3600 seconds in one hour.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 5:35 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

Okay, I'm trying to use A-P's Horizons to track the ISS, and I have a couple of questions. I was able to get the
ephemeris data from JPL and load it into A-P's Horizons. So I have data loaded in there at 1 minute intervals.

I tried the Test Tracking, and my first question is about the following. It appears that it does the test tracking using
the data for the time period you select, but the mount does not use that time period for pointing purposes but the
current time. What I mean is, for example, if I try to track using the data on 3/16, starting at, say, 9:28 p.m., it says
that the ISS is at a certain celestial coordinate in my sky at that time. The mount goes to that coordinate, but, of
course, that coordinate is not at the same place in the sky now as it will be on 3/16 at 9:28 p.m., so the altitude and
azimuth shown in the ephemeris data will not be where the telescope points now. I noticed this because I naturally
started trying to track as the ISS was coming up over the horizon and therefore the first altitude shown was
something like 1.7 (degrees, I assume), but the telescope was obviously not pointing that low, and, indeed, APCC
says that it was not that low. If this is how Horizons works when doing Test Tracking, that's fine, but I just wanted
to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong.

The second question is on the tracking itself. I noticed that the mount was not able to keep up with the tracking
when the apparent movement of the ISS became relatively fast, even though watching it, it was obvious the tracking
was well within the slewing speed of the Mach2 on 24V, which is what I'm using. The tracking appeared to fall well
behind, as in 2H of RA for RA Delta and something equivalent (a few degrees) in Dec Delta. Maybe this has
something to do with the closed loop correction not being fast enough? I also noticed that there is no check box for
disabling the closed loop correction, as is shown in the APCC documentation.

Anyway, if I can't track the ISS with the Mach2, that's fine. I just want to make sure it's not because I'm doing
something wrong. I have a real pass of the ISS coming over at 9:21 p.m. local time tonight, so I'm going to try "real
tracking", albeit in my basement since it's raining outside.

Thanks.


Re: APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Luca,

I've not heard of any connect problems. Maybe the TCP port number has changed?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Luca Marinelli
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 4:48 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

Hi Ray,

I was trying to build a new model for my AP1100 tonight with APCC Pro v1.8.8.17 via SGP v4.661 and a QHY 268M
camera and APPM was giving an error message "Failed to connect to Camera: cannot Connect: Please make sure
the camera is connected in Sequence Generator Pro". The camera is connected in SGP, as you can see in the
screenshot via the QHY ASCOM driver (ASCOM v6.5 SP1). Incidentally on the screen on the left you can see
APPM running on the other system (Mach2 with ZWO ASI6200MM camera) without any problems. Do you know
what might be the issue or how to troubleshoot it further?

Thanks,

Luca


Re: Which IPad

thefamily90 Phillips
 

Met some close Amateur Astronomy friends in Palermo many years ago. A very nice time. Wonderful memories.

JimP 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joseph Bianco <biancojoseph@...>
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 6:35:47 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Which IPad
 
I use an iPad mini with WIFI only and have entered the coordinates of my remote sites using the data from my iPhone and stored the data in my “User-Defined Observing Sites”. I use 10 sites stored from places in the US and Europe. It’s fun to ask SkySafari what would the sky look like from Palermo Italy

Joseph


Tracking ISS with Horizons #APCC #Mach2GTO

David Johnson
 

Okay, I'm trying to use A-P's Horizons to track the ISS, and I have a couple of questions.  I was able to get the ephemeris data from JPL and load it into A-P's Horizons.  So I have data loaded in there at 1 minute intervals.

I tried the Test Tracking, and my first question is about the following.  It appears that it does the test tracking using the data for the time period you select, but the mount does not use that time period for pointing purposes but the current time.  What I mean is, for example, if I try to track using the data on 3/16, starting at, say, 9:28 p.m., it says that the ISS is at a certain celestial coordinate in my sky at that time.  The mount goes to that coordinate, but, of course, that coordinate is not at the same place in the sky now as it will be on 3/16 at 9:28 p.m., so the altitude and azimuth shown in the ephemeris data will not be where the telescope points now.  I noticed this because I naturally started trying to track as the ISS was coming up over the horizon and therefore the first altitude shown was something like 1.7 (degrees, I assume), but the telescope was obviously not pointing that low, and, indeed, APCC says that it was not that low.  If this is how Horizons works when doing Test Tracking, that's fine, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong.

The second question is on the tracking itself.  I noticed that the mount was not able to keep up with the tracking when the apparent movement of the ISS became relatively fast, even though watching it, it was obvious the tracking was well within the slewing speed of the Mach2 on 24V, which is what I'm using.  The tracking appeared to fall well behind, as in 2H of RA for RA Delta and something equivalent (a few degrees) in Dec Delta.  Maybe this has something to do with the closed loop correction not being fast enough?  I also noticed that there is no check box for disabling the closed loop correction, as is shown in the APCC documentation.

Anyway, if I can't track the ISS with the Mach2, that's fine.  I just want to make sure it's not because I'm doing something wrong.  I have a real pass of the ISS coming over at 9:21 p.m. local time tonight, so I'm going to try "real tracking", albeit in my basement since it's raining outside.

Thanks.


Re: APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

Luca Marinelli
 

Thanks, Eric! Too late to create a new model tonight but I'll give it a shot next time around.

Luca

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Eric Weiner via groups.io
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2021 8:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APPM cannot connect to camera via SGP

Luca,

There have been a few bugs which have shown up in 4.661 (64 bit). Not necessarily what you’re seeing, but they have admitted other issues exist in that beta version and recommend rolling back to 4.657. For me, my equipment profiles were inaccessible. Something to do with the Pegasus UPBv2 implementation. Rolling back fixed that issue. Something to try anyways.

Eric

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