900 GTO3


Vince Salfranc
 

Hi,

I have just manage to get a second hand AP 900 gto3 and I know absolutely nothing about this mount.

I would like to connect it to a laptop and i am wondering what bits of equipment I need to do it.

Thank you.

Vince


Richard Moore
 


Hi Vince,

I do not know how much experience you have so this might be too simplistic.

To get started only controlling the mount:

   1.  Laptop with a LOT of memory....  You will wish you had the memory when your system gets more sophisticated.

   2.  Load your astronomy software:
         a.  A planetarium program to see where the mount is pointing and to command the mount to Go To a selected object.
                    1. "Cartes du Ciel" Freeware. But not as intuitive as others.  See:  "http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start" 
              or  2. "The Sky X"  Expensive but it will do everything; control mount, camera, filter wheel, focuser, autoguide, etc.
                                  You will need the PRO version for it to be able to talk to your other astronomy programs.
                                        See:  "http://www.bisque.com/sc/pages/TheSkyX-Editions.aspx"
              or  3.  Look on the web for "astronomy planetarium program  "
          WHEN ENTERING WHICH TELESCOPE YOU WANT TO CONTROL IN YOUR PLANETARIUM PROGRAM CHOOSE "ASCOM"

         b.  "ASCOM PLATFORM" So your programs do not need to have built in drivers for the myriad devices they could control.
                                         See:  "http://ascom-standards.org/"  Download Platform and any DOT NET files required.

         c.  "AP V2 ASCOM Driver"  See: "http://www.astro-physics.com/"   Click on "AP V2 ASCOM Driver" on list on left side.
                                          On the Driver page that appears, click on link near top "Ray Gralak's ASCOM driver page".
                                          Under Quick Links, click on link "AstroPhysics V2 Setup v5.07.02" to download.

   3.  Get a USB to Serial Converter.  Be sure it has a FTDI chip inside.  Cheap Chinese converters are nothing but trouble.

   4.  Get a Straight-through Serial Cable.  Read about the different types of Serial Cables on the Astro-Physics web site.
                          Products > Serial / USB Mount to Computer Connectivity Products
         If there is going to be less than 15 feet between your mount and your laptop, buy the one on that page.
         If you want your laptop to be up to 100 feet away from your mount, ask Astro-Physics where to find a long one.

   5.  Connect  one end of the Serial Cable to your USB Converter and the other end to the top DB-9 connector on your
             CP3 Control Box.t

   6.  Plug the USB Connector of your USB to Serial Converter into a USB Oort on your laptop.

GOOD LUCK

Richard


On 2/27/2016 01:24, salfranc@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 

Hi, Uhttp://www.astro-physics.com/

I  have just manage to get a second hand AP 900 gto3 and I know absolutely nothing about  this mount.

I would like to connect it to a laptop and i am wondering what bits of equipment I need to do it.

Thank you.molunt to

Vince



Vince Salfranc
 

Hi Richard,
Many thanks for the information. I am used to work with ASCOM so I think I will be OK with the information you gave me.
Vince


Richard Moore
 


Hi Vince,

You are welcome.
I forgot to mention that you can download the 900 GTO User Manual from the Astro-Physics website.

Richard


On 2/28/2016 06:20, salfranc@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 

Hi Richard,

Many thanks for the information. I am used to work with ASCOM so I think I will be OK with the information you gave me.
Vince


OlivDeso
 


One word concerning USB to serial adapters : 

There are mainly 2 available brands on the mass market:

- FTDI as mentionned : the FTDI create a single COM port instance for the adapter. i.e. if you change the adapter from an USB socket from another, the COM port number remains unchanged. If you have 2 adapters in the system, each of them will have its own COM port number, whatever the USB socket is used.

- Prolific : the prolific driver will create an COM port instance for each of the USB socket you will use -> use always the same USB socket, otherwise you would have to change the COM number in the AP/ascom driver

-> so the FTDI is a little bit more friendly for non fixed setup at least. (You don't need to remember which USB socket should be used)


Unfortunately, there are some cheap copies of thoses chips also, I got one prolific copy and it was unstable.


Olivier


Le Dimanche 28 février 2016 22h47, "Richard Moore moorerh2@... [ap-gto]" a écrit :


 

Hi Vince,

You are welcome.
I forgot to mention that you can download the 900 GTO User Manual from the Astro-Physics website.

Richard


On 2/28/2016 06:20, salfranc@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 
Hi Richard,
Many thanks for the information. I am used to work with ASCOM so I think I will be OK with the information you gave me.
Vince




OlivDeso
 

p.s.  you will also need a straight male-female DB9 cable.  (=a serial link exterder cable)


Le Lundi 29 février 2016 17h18, OlivDeso a écrit :



One word concerning USB to serial adapters : 

There are mainly 2 available brands on the mass market:

- FTDI as mentionned : the FTDI create a single COM port instance for the adapter. i.e. if you change the adapter from an USB socket from another, the COM port number remains unchanged. If you have 2 adapters in the system, each of them will have its own COM port number, whatever the USB socket is used.

- Prolific : the prolific driver will create an COM port instance for each of the USB socket you will use -> use always the same USB socket, otherwise you would have to change the COM number in the AP/ascom driver

-> so the FTDI is a little bit more friendly for non fixed setup at least. (You don't need to remember which USB socket should be used)


Unfortunately, there are some cheap copies of thoses chips also, I got one prolific copy and it was unstable.


Olivier


Le Dimanche 28 février 2016 22h47, "Richard Moore moorerh2@... [ap-gto]" a écrit :


 

Hi Vince,

You are welcome.
I forgot to mention that you can download the 900 GTO User Manual from the Astro-Physics website.

Richard


On 2/28/2016 06:20, salfranc@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 
Hi Richard,
Many thanks for the information. I am used to work with ASCOM so I think I will be OK with the information you gave me.
Vince






Joe Zeglinski
 

Olivier,
 
    I would add one warning to your P.S. comment. You will find “different” (inconsistent) cable attachment hardware.
 
    I have a Startech 2-port FTDI USB-Serial and the DB-9 has “nuts”  to attach a serial  extender cable,  while another (SARGANT) single-port version, has attachment “thumb screws” which plugs directly into the CP3 with a 4 foot cord. The former (pair) of DB-9’s require a different kind of serial extender cable,  That one won’t plug directly into the CP3,  even if instead, you decided to use a USB extender cable at the PC end.
 
    I just don’t understand why adapter makers can’t standardize on the DB-9 attachment hardware – I don’t know which one should be the communications industry standard, (screws or nuts). So, have a close look at the lock down hardware, before buying your serial extender cable.
 
Joe Z.
 

Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 11:20 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 900 GTO3
 


p.s.  you will also need a straight male-female DB9 cable.  (=a serial link exterder cable)
 


acf900gto@...
 

The type of connector on a serial cable goes way back to the early days of serial interfaces and modems.  A serial interface can be of two types:  DTE and DCE.   In general, the DTE is the computer end of the cable and the DCE is the modem end of the cable.  A computer with a serial interface has a male DB25 and the modem has a female DB25.  So a serial cable needs to have the matching male / female connectors.  This prevents the cable from being connected backwards.  Short story -- the CP3 / CP4 functions as the modem end of the cable so it has a female connector.  The matching USB to serial cable must have a male connector.

Charlie


Joe Zeglinski
 

Charlie,
 
    Yes, I knew that. However, the “mounting hardware” (screws or nuts), that are attached to the DB-9 (male or female) cable end shell, doesn’t seem to have a standard. Thus I have adapters with different mounting hardware.
 
    I think the problem is that the coms standard assumed panel to device cable connection – extension cables were not considered, or perhaps the modern day adapter makers, didn’t follow the logic, so beware.
 
Joe


 

Amazon.com: Valley Enterprises USB to RS232 Serial DB9 Cable Adapter FTDI Chipset (10 Feet): Computers & Accessories

 This is a good one, I use it with my AP900, nice and long.

Floyd


Joe Zeglinski
 

Nice one,  Floyd.
 
    That’s a generous 10 feet, very rare.
    Too bad they don’t have a Dual serial adapter with screws, like this single one has, even a 6-footer. I was thinking a dual serial cable would be handy if you have a USB hub attached somewhere right ON the OTA, to serve multiple serial devices, without all the extra cabling to tie up, and still lose just one USB hub port, for two serial devices.
 
Joe


Rodolphe Pineau <pineau@...>
 

On Mon 29 Feb , at 13:57, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:



Nice one, Floyd.

That’s a generous 10 feet, very rare.
Too bad they don’t have a Dual serial adapter with screws, like this single one has, even a 6-footer. I was thinking a dual serial cable would be handy if you have a USB hub attached somewhere right ON the OTA, to serve multiple serial devices, without all the extra cabling to tie up, and still lose just one USB hub port, for two serial devices.

Joe
i use this one which has 2 serial port and I have a small 4 port usb hub (same brand) on the mount :

usb to serial adapter (uses FTDI chipset, works on Windows, OS X and Linux) : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007UR2M48
powered usb hub : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001H7AFO6

How it looks : http://www.rti-zone.org/astro/equipment/power.png

Regards, Rodolphe

--

| Rodolphe Pineau RTI-Zone |
| http://www.rti-zone.org/ |
| Robotics / Unix / Mac OS X / Astronomy |