Date   

Mach2/APCC Pro communication and low power errors during imaging run

Luca Marinelli
 

I was imaging unattended last night and this morning I found the mount stopped (not parked) in Park 3 position with many communication and low-power errors in the APCC console, which stopped the imaging run. The SGP log showed errors communicating with the AP ASCOM driver. The 24V power brick works and when I parked, unparked, and slewed the mount from both APCC and the keypad, everything worked. I am stumped as to what might have gone wrong during the night.

Ray, I have zipped the log files and parked them here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/86upw9pw2igmxdx/ApccZip-Luca_Marinelli-2021-06-29-071128.zip?dl=0

I would appreciate if you could take a look and see if anything jumps out at you.

thanks!

Luca


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

W Hilmo
 

Ok, so I have the system up and running again and was able to reproduce the problem.

If I connect to the camera via ASCOM, and set binning to 2, then it fails to take a picture and gives the following error::

----------
ASCOM CCD Expose Failed(1): NumX set - '6776' is an invalid value. The valid range is 1 to 3388.
----------

If I set binning to 1x1, then it successfully takes the image. It failed to solve, but that's likely related to my plate solver. I'm using TheSkyX (until ASTAP is available as a direct selection in APPM) and I probably need to tweak the image link settings, although TheSkyX solves fine if I'm using MaxIm/DL as the capture program. MaxIm also works fine if I bin 2x2.

Note that the valid range mentioned in the error message is the camera's native resolution, binned 1x1. This seems to be very similar to the problem that I was seeing a few years ago with SGP. The difference then is that the obvious symptom was that the image never appeared in SGP, and I had to go to the logs to see the error message. In this case, the error message pops up on the screen.

Also, I do have some feedback for using ASCOM as the capture software. The APPM camera image viewer renders the image at 100%, which is far too large for my monitor's resolution (my observatory computer is 1920x1080). I don't see any way to automatically scale the image. Actually, I don't see any way to manually scale the image either. I need to use scroll bars to pan, in order to see it. The viewer also doesn't appear to do an automatic screen stretch. There is a slider to adjust the gamma, but it would be nice if it auto selects a decent stretch. Finally, the timer that displays during capture, download and solving stops just before the exposure is complete, and then nothing happens on screen until the solution is completed (in my case, with an error from TheSkyX, as above). When I use MaxIm as the capture software, the timer runs continuously until it completes.

Thanks,
-Wade

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of W Hilmo
Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2021 7:02 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

There was an error message. I don't remember it, and was in the field when it occurred and didn't make a note of it at the time. With limited time at that site, I just switched to another piece of camera software, probably Maxim. I remember that the error message referenced pixel coordinates, which is why I think that it might be related to binning the camera 2x2.

I was planning on reproducing it at home and digging a bit deeper, and was going to do that before reporting it. I mentioned it here, due to the mention of using the ASCOM driver in APPM, and in case someone else encounters it. And since problems seem to happen in groups (at least for me) the computer that I was using in the field failed and could not be restarted when I got home from that trip. I have a new computer nearly fully provisioned and ready to go, but have been slowed by lots of family things going on.

I hope to be going again before the next new moon and will give a much more precise description of the issue then.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:03 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Hi Wade,

Regarding the ASCOM driver, I tried it a few weeks ago with my QSI690
and it did not work. I’ve not reported it yet because I haven’t had
any time since to do a preliminary investigation. I suspect that the
problem is that I bin the camera 2x2 for plate solves (because it has
slow downloads of full resolution images). I remember that a couple of years ago, I found a problem where APPM would not plate solve through SGP with 2x2 binning, and Ray fixed that. I believe that the same problem might exist in the current APPM when plate solving with the ASCOM driver.
What doesn't work? The binned image doesn't get created? Or, the plate solve of the image fails?

-Ray


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

W Hilmo
 

This is outstanding! I'm really looking forward to this.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2021 9:18 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?



On Jun 26, 2021, at 14:46, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

In the meantime, I’ve found that the best way for me to use APPM is with MaxIm/DL. I’ve not used it for a few years now for my automated imaging, but it’s still my favorite tool for setup and testing, etc. It is bulletproof reliable. It has a built-in light version of Pinpoint, so it can plate solve out of the box (assuming you download a catalog for free). Once synced to the sky, it’s “point telescope here” function works great. I like how it easily reports FWHM and roundness of stars just by putting the mouse over them. It’s large size report of FWHM makes manual focusing easy. And just about anything that connects to image capture software can work with it.

Most of the other packages that I’ve tried, mainly SGP and NINA are more focused on automated collection of images and don’t have as nice a workflow for ad-hoc taking, saving and analyzing single images.

So I have a Plan(TM) to improve the quality of life here.

NINA 1.11 has the new Advanced Sequencer and, with it, a new plugin system. The plugin architecture is based on MEF and anyone can write one using the exported NINA frameworks that are on nuget. The plugin system is intended to allow people to create functionality that can be used in Advanced Sequencer as a sequence instruction, trigger, condition, or any other current or future type of thingy that Advanced Sequencer implements.

This weekend, I made a plugin that runs APPM from within Advanced Sequencer. It will depend on the upcoming APCC 1.9 release. Here is an annotated screenshot of how this looks:

https://i.imgur.com/AZR2cjd.png

With APPM talking through NINA to get images, this means you can keep the camera connected in NINA even if it's being driven by a native/direct driver. Since APPM 1.9 will also be able to use ASTAP, it can now also plate solve using a freely-available app. With these two features, we can now have automated and unattended APPM model runs be done as a part of a NINA sequence. For NINA users, this completely obviates the need to run APPM under a different software stack (say, SGPro or TheSkyX) and the manual toil involved in switching things between the that and NINA.

There's still some kinks to work out and some testing to be done, but I expect this plugin to be available in the NINA 1.11 plugin repository (which is also a new thing) shortly after APCC 1.9 is released.

I'd like to extend a huge thanks to Ray for his patience and help in supporting NINA and ASTAP in APPM and I hope that automation such as this helps people consider using pointing models, or to use them more regularly.

/dale


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

 

Dale that seems quite impressive, thanks for the details


On Mon, Jun 28, 2021 at 9:18 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


> On Jun 26, 2021, at 14:46, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
>
> In the meantime, I’ve found that the best way for me to use APPM is with MaxIm/DL.  I’ve not used it for a few years now for my automated imaging, but it’s still my favorite tool for setup and testing, etc.  It is bulletproof reliable.  It has a built-in light version of Pinpoint, so it can plate solve out of the box (assuming you download a catalog for free).  Once synced to the sky, it’s “point telescope here” function works great.  I like how it easily reports FWHM and roundness of stars just by putting the mouse over them.  It’s large size report of FWHM makes manual focusing easy.  And just about anything that connects to image capture software can work with it.
>
> Most of the other packages that I’ve tried, mainly SGP and NINA are more focused on automated collection of images and don’t have as nice a workflow for ad-hoc taking, saving and analyzing single images.


So I have a Plan(TM) to improve the quality of life here.

NINA 1.11 has the new Advanced Sequencer and, with it, a new plugin system. The plugin architecture is based on MEF and anyone can write one using the exported NINA frameworks that are on nuget. The plugin system is intended to allow people to create functionality that can be used in Advanced Sequencer as a sequence instruction, trigger, condition, or any other current or future type of thingy that Advanced Sequencer implements.

This weekend, I made a plugin that runs APPM from within Advanced Sequencer. It will depend on the upcoming APCC 1.9 release. Here is an annotated screenshot of how this looks:

https://i.imgur.com/AZR2cjd.png

With APPM talking through NINA to get images, this means you can keep the camera connected in NINA even if it's being driven by a native/direct driver. Since APPM 1.9 will also be able to use ASTAP, it can now also plate solve using a freely-available app. With these two features, we can now have automated and unattended APPM model runs be done as a part of a NINA sequence. For NINA users, this completely obviates the need to run APPM under a different software stack (say, SGPro or TheSkyX) and the manual toil involved in switching things between the that and NINA.

There's still some kinks to work out and some testing to be done, but I expect this plugin to be available in the NINA 1.11 plugin repository (which is also a new thing) shortly after APCC 1.9 is released.

I'd like to extend a huge thanks to Ray for his patience and help in supporting NINA and ASTAP in APPM and I hope that automation such as this helps people consider using pointing models, or to use them more regularly.

/dale






--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Dale Ghent
 

On Jun 26, 2021, at 14:46, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

In the meantime, I’ve found that the best way for me to use APPM is with MaxIm/DL. I’ve not used it for a few years now for my automated imaging, but it’s still my favorite tool for setup and testing, etc. It is bulletproof reliable. It has a built-in light version of Pinpoint, so it can plate solve out of the box (assuming you download a catalog for free). Once synced to the sky, it’s “point telescope here” function works great. I like how it easily reports FWHM and roundness of stars just by putting the mouse over them. It’s large size report of FWHM makes manual focusing easy. And just about anything that connects to image capture software can work with it.

Most of the other packages that I’ve tried, mainly SGP and NINA are more focused on automated collection of images and don’t have as nice a workflow for ad-hoc taking, saving and analyzing single images.

So I have a Plan(TM) to improve the quality of life here.

NINA 1.11 has the new Advanced Sequencer and, with it, a new plugin system. The plugin architecture is based on MEF and anyone can write one using the exported NINA frameworks that are on nuget. The plugin system is intended to allow people to create functionality that can be used in Advanced Sequencer as a sequence instruction, trigger, condition, or any other current or future type of thingy that Advanced Sequencer implements.

This weekend, I made a plugin that runs APPM from within Advanced Sequencer. It will depend on the upcoming APCC 1.9 release. Here is an annotated screenshot of how this looks:

https://i.imgur.com/AZR2cjd.png

With APPM talking through NINA to get images, this means you can keep the camera connected in NINA even if it's being driven by a native/direct driver. Since APPM 1.9 will also be able to use ASTAP, it can now also plate solve using a freely-available app. With these two features, we can now have automated and unattended APPM model runs be done as a part of a NINA sequence. For NINA users, this completely obviates the need to run APPM under a different software stack (say, SGPro or TheSkyX) and the manual toil involved in switching things between the that and NINA.

There's still some kinks to work out and some testing to be done, but I expect this plugin to be available in the NINA 1.11 plugin repository (which is also a new thing) shortly after APCC 1.9 is released.

I'd like to extend a huge thanks to Ray for his patience and help in supporting NINA and ASTAP in APPM and I hope that automation such as this helps people consider using pointing models, or to use them more regularly.

/dale


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

W Hilmo
 

There was an error message. I don't remember it, and was in the field when it occurred and didn't make a note of it at the time. With limited time at that site, I just switched to another piece of camera software, probably Maxim. I remember that the error message referenced pixel coordinates, which is why I think that it might be related to binning the camera 2x2.

I was planning on reproducing it at home and digging a bit deeper, and was going to do that before reporting it. I mentioned it here, due to the mention of using the ASCOM driver in APPM, and in case someone else encounters it. And since problems seem to happen in groups (at least for me) the computer that I was using in the field failed and could not be restarted when I got home from that trip. I have a new computer nearly fully provisioned and ready to go, but have been slowed by lots of family things going on.

I hope to be going again before the next new moon and will give a much more precise description of the issue then.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:03 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Hi Wade,

Regarding the ASCOM driver, I tried it a few weeks ago with my QSI690
and it did not work. I’ve not reported it yet because I haven’t had
any time since to do a preliminary investigation. I suspect that the
problem is that I bin the camera 2x2 for plate solves (because it has
slow downloads of full resolution images). I remember that a couple of years ago, I found a problem where APPM would not plate solve through SGP with 2x2 binning, and Ray fixed that. I believe that the same problem might exist in the current APPM when plate solving with the ASCOM driver.
What doesn't work? The binned image doesn't get created? Or, the plate solve of the image fails?

-Ray


Re: [ap-ug] M5 - the lonesome Globular

Peter Bresler
 

This was with a PW 12.5, SBIG stf 8300m, 15 stacked 30 second lums, calibrated, cos calibrated.


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

I understand you want to use NINA, tho you also mentioned SGP.
I mentioned it as one of the three tools documented as required.

Fwiw I use APPM with SGP and ASTAP, and it seems to work fine.
It takes about 35 minutes to run a 71 (iirc) point model (which i
run during astronomical twilight before it’s really dark).
Good to know.

I suppose this would require switching to SGP for APPM, then shutting
that down and running the imaging session with NINA.
Exactly. I do that with TSX (shutting down the camera side) when I switch to NINA after running tPoint. I'm assuming APPM is similar, just looking for what the most straightforward solution will be for just that aspect.

Unless I get lucky and timing works out!


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Wayne Hixson
 

Great. Love ASTAP, almost always instant solutions. 

Wayne


On Jun 26, 2021, at 11:36 AM, R Botero via groups.io <rbotero@...> wrote:

Great news Ray! I’m glad my post is already out of date in this case 😂


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Wade,

Regarding the ASCOM driver, I tried it a few weeks ago with my QSI690 and it did not work. I’ve not reported it yet
because I haven’t had any time since to do a preliminary investigation. I suspect that the problem is that I bin the
camera 2x2 for plate solves (because it has slow downloads of full resolution images). I remember that a couple
of years ago, I found a problem where APPM would not plate solve through SGP with 2x2 binning, and Ray fixed
that. I believe that the same problem might exist in the current APPM when plate solving with the ASCOM driver.
What doesn't work? The binned image doesn't get created? Or, the plate solve of the image fails?

-Ray


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Jeffc
 

I understand you want to use NINA, tho you also mentioned SGP.

Fwiw I use APPM with SGP and ASTAP, and it seems to work fine. It takes about 35 minutes to run a 71 (iirc) point model (which i run during astronomical twilight before it’s really dark).

I suppose this would require switching to SGP for APPM, then shutting that down and running the imaging session with NINA.

On Jun 26, 2021, at 10:24 AM, ap@captivephotons.com wrote:

My understanding is one day, maybe, APPM will support ASTAP but not yet, and probably not before I need something.


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

W Hilmo
 

Both SGP and NINA also work with PlateSolve2, which is available standalone from Planewave for free.

 

Regarding the ASCOM driver, I tried it a few weeks ago with my QSI690 and it did not work.  I’ve not reported it yet because I haven’t had any time since to do a preliminary investigation.  I suspect that the problem is that I bin the camera 2x2 for plate solves (because it has slow downloads of full resolution images).  I remember that a couple of years ago, I found a problem where APPM would not plate solve through SGP with 2x2 binning, and Ray fixed that.  I believe that the same problem might exist in the current APPM when plate solving with the ASCOM driver.

 

In the meantime, I’ve found that the best way for me to use APPM is with MaxIm/DL.  I’ve not used it for a few years now for my automated imaging, but it’s still my favorite tool for setup and testing, etc.  It is bulletproof reliable.  It has a built-in light version of Pinpoint, so it can plate solve out of the box (assuming you download a catalog for free).  Once synced to the sky, it’s “point telescope here” function works great.  I like how it easily reports FWHM and roundness of stars just by putting the mouse over them.  It’s large size report of FWHM makes manual focusing easy.  And just about anything that connects to image capture software can work with it.

 

Most of the other packages that I’ve tried, mainly SGP and NINA are more focused on automated collection of images and don’t have as nice a workflow for ad-hoc taking, saving and analyzing single images.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of R Botero via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2021 11:35 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

 

You only need your ASCOM camera driver and a plate solver for APPM to work. PinPoint may be the easiest solution. That is what I use when creating models (I have a Moravian G4) and have used APPM for both an 1100GTO and a 1600GTO. 

I expect NINA will work with PinPoint for your imaging needs. I use it with Voyager for mine. In fact, PinPoint has been my astrometric engine since I was using it with MaxIM v3 (or 4?). 

It will be great when APPM works with other (stand alone) plate solvers but for the moment PinPoint may be the simplest route.
Enjoy that 1100!

Roberto


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Support for ASTAP and NINA in APPM have been finished. A few details need to be sorted
out before it will be released, but it should not be much longer.
That's great!

Meaning in time? Or if you need a beta tester, I'll happily apply. 😊

But you know, when all those boxes show up blocking my front door, my impatience gene will kick in. It's awful, but there's no vaccination for impatience yet. 😊 😊

Linwood


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

R Botero
 

Great news Ray! I’m glad my post is already out of date in this case 😂


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

R Botero
 

You only need your ASCOM camera driver and a plate solver for APPM to work. PinPoint may be the easiest solution. That is what I use when creating models (I have a Moravian G4) and have used APPM for both an 1100GTO and a 1600GTO. 

I expect NINA will work with PinPoint for your imaging needs. I use it with Voyager for mine. In fact, PinPoint has been my astrometric engine since I was using it with MaxIM v3 (or 4?). 

It will be great when APPM works with other (stand alone) plate solvers but for the moment PinPoint may be the simplest route.
Enjoy that 1100!

Roberto


Re: AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Linwood,

Support for ASTAP and NINA in APPM have been finished. A few details need to be sorted out before it will be released, but it should not be much longer.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of ap@CaptivePhotons.com
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2021 10:24 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

I have an AP1100GTO-AE coming hopefully very soon. My understanding for modeling is I will need software to
build a model with APPM, and that I need some combination of Pinpoint, TSX, SGP plus camera control (though it
appears so long as I have ASCOM that's covered, it's a ASI6200MM I would be using). If it matters I got the
RAPAS, no keypad, and will be using it with setup and teardown nightly.

I have a MyT now I will be selling, so while I have TSX it will go with the mount.

I use NINA for session manager and hope/plan to keep doing so. My understanding is one day, maybe, APPM
will support ASTAP but not yet, and probably not before I need something.

What is the shortest and simplest path to satisfy APPM with the understanding I really do not care to use that path
for imaging. I.e. if I buy TXS, SGP or Pinpoint it will just be for APPM, and not for regular use during imaging. At
least that's my hope, that I can do that.

I could keep TSX for a while but it's not worth it, since I plan to sell the mount. With no release date announced for
ASTAP I think I need to plan on having to buy one of those three.

I realize I could get trials, experiment with all of them once I get the mount and see how they work, but my guess is
99% of their features are irrelevant if all I want is plate solving.

So I'm hoping you folks can save me some trouble -- what's the shortest, simplest path here. I think all of these
are in the few hundred dollar range, so in the scope of things it is not about cost, it is that I have so many other
things to learn getting started I just want the simplest solution.

Suggestions?

Linwood


AP1100 coming, least hassle plate solver?

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

I have an AP1100GTO-AE coming hopefully very soon.  My understanding for modeling is I will need software to build a model with APPM, and that I need some combination of Pinpoint, TSX, SGP plus camera control (though it appears so long as I have ASCOM that's covered, it's a ASI6200MM I would be using).  If it matters I got the RAPAS, no keypad, and will be using it with setup and teardown nightly.

I have a MyT now I will be selling, so while I have TSX it will go with the mount. 

I use NINA for session manager and hope/plan to keep doing so.  My understanding is one day, maybe, APPM will support ASTAP but not yet, and probably not before I need something.

What is the shortest and simplest path to satisfy APPM with the understanding I really do not care to use that path for imaging.  I.e. if I buy TXS, SGP or Pinpoint it will just be for APPM, and not for regular use during imaging.  At least that's my hope, that I can do that.

I could keep TSX for a while but it's not worth it, since I plan to sell the mount. With no release date announced for ASTAP I think I need to plan on having to buy one of those three.

I realize I could get trials, experiment with all of them once I get the mount and see how they work, but my guess is 99% of their features are irrelevant if all I want is plate solving.

So I'm hoping you folks can save me some trouble -- what's the shortest, simplest path here.  I think all of these are in the few hundred dollar range, so in the scope of things it is not about cost, it is that I have so many other things to learn getting started I just want the simplest solution.

Suggestions? 

Linwood


Re: [ap-ug] M5 - the lonesome Globular

Roland Christen
 

?
Need more info. Planewave  what size. Camera type? Single exposure? Length of exposure? Did you do a simple processing?

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jun 26, 2021 11:17 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] [ap-ug] M5 - the lonesome Globular

Planewave and 1200, Lum channel.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: [ap-ug] M5 - the lonesome Globular

Peter Bresler
 

Planewave and 1200, Lum channel.


Re: Broke Through-the-mount Connector :-(

Wayne Hixson
 

Will do. Thanks Roland. 


On Jun 26, 2021, at 7:52 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...> wrote:


Probably best bet is to contact George during our office hours and send him pix and info of your problem.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Hixson via groups.io <wayneh9026@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jun 26, 2021 12:07 am
Subject: [ap-gto] Broke Through-the-mount Connector :-(

Stupid error on my part - A too-long cable connecting the Telescope-top computer to the female USB 3 connector on top of the Mach2 got caught and when it pulled out of the through-the-mount connector, it broke some of the internal parts. Is this gonna require I send part of the mount back for repair? Or can it be done in the field?

Wayne

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics

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