Home position


Carmine Iaffaldano
 

I don't understand well  the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP mount with absolute encoders;  for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.

I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too many errors , too many stops, too many function useless.... 

 


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Carmine,

I don't understand well the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP
mount with absolute encoders; for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like
the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.
The home feature is intended for permanent setups and works as long as you don't declutch the mount. The exact RA and Dec motor positions at the "home" position are remembered persistently through power cycles. This allows you to restore the mount position if you accidentally unpark the mount to the wrong position or if you sync to the wrong location.

Is this as good as a mechanical home position? Of course not. But it does provide an extra level of recovery for permanently setup mounts.

I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too
many errors , too many stops, too many function useless....
What software features would you find useful? Some companies provide little or no software for their mounts. And there are some with much more complicated (e.g. TheSkyX). And of course there never have been any bugs in complicated software like TheSkyX, right? :-)

The most important features in APCC revolve around safety and convenience. However, after APCC is setup it should be transparent in the background (and thus not complicated at all). I can see that some of your posts have revolved around the meridian and horizon limits. Are these some of the features that you find useless?

Best regards,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/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: Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:14 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Home position



I don't understand well the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP
mount with absolute encoders; for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like
the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.

I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too
many errors , too many stops, too many function useless....




Joe Zeglinski
 

Thanks Ray,
 
    For pointing out that benefit of the APCC “HOME” position.
Until now, I just considered it a useful “alternate User’s Park position”, handy under normal conditions, or for slewing to a  Flats shooting position.  I wish I had thought of using it when I actually DID get confused on my Planetarium Map selected target and confirmed it to RCAL on entirely the wrong star. I was pointed at a different star outside the FOV and accepted it incorrectly,  as the selected target name in the program.
 
    Well, that lead to very much lost time in slewing around trying to get the mount correctly re-oriented to the map, and  declutching the mount, then using a regular PARK position to re-clutch at a known physical  position, and start all over again. Must have lost an hour poking around,  when the HOME position solution was right there.
 
    If I had thought of making good use of the (software based) HOME position, all that time and effort would not have been wasted – and luckily my “Remote” scope is just in the backyard, not hundreds of miles away. Even more useful, since my old AP-900 and AP-1200 mounts are not upgradable to an encoder option hardware based HOMING system.
 
    I think that is yet another GREAT example of the APCC’s major benefits and many tools, that should be written about more often, in case people like me, miss the “obvious”.
 
Joe Z.
 

From: 'Ray Gralak (Groups)' groups3@... [ap-gto]
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 9:34 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position
 
Hi Carmine,

> I don't understand well  the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP
> mount with absolute encoders;  for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like
> the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.

The home feature is intended for permanent setups and works as long as you don't declutch the mount. The exact RA and Dec motor positions at the "home" position are remembered persistently through power cycles. This allows you to restore the mount position if you accidentally unpark the mount to the wrong position or if you sync to the wrong location.

Is this as good as a mechanical home position? Of course not. But it does provide an extra level of recovery for permanently setup mounts.

> I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too
> many errors , too many stops, too many function useless....

What software features would you find useful? Some companies provide little or no software for their mounts. And there are some with much more complicated (e.g. TheSkyX). And of course there never have been any bugs in complicated software like TheSkyX, right? :-)

The most important features in APCC revolve around safety and convenience. However, after APCC is setup it should be transparent in the background (and thus not complicated at all). I can see that some of your posts have revolved around the meridian and horizon limits. Are these some of the features that you find useless?

Best regards,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/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


Carmine Iaffaldano
 

I don't know the meaning of cycles power...; i want speak more easy: if the mount for a problem of cable, power, connection, has an error on pointing so that apcc shows certain coordinates but they are not true , the parking at home position will be with the same errors ; this is always happen to me with park 4 and i think that it will be the same with the home position....
I have also a 10 Micron mount and if the mount loses power the memory card inside the mount preserves the position and the mount is alway synchronized.....
I think that to use an AP mount in remote are necessary: Apcc, SkyX, acp or sgp, pinpoint engine, and all sky plate solving....too many softwares; i think that it should be better to have a single software that works for all the singles softwares ....
Is Apcc able to do? At the moment not and your attention is taken for little problems on limits , on parking positions and others that i see on this forum...
I want say that the architecture of the software is not right.


Ray Gralak
 

Carmine,

I don't know the meaning of cycles power...;
It means that the A-P controller saves the HOME position, even when the power is off.

I have also a 10 Micron mount and if the mount loses power the memory card inside the mount preserves
the position and the mount is alway synchronized.....
I think that all A-P mounts made in at least the last dozen years can do that. The mount controller will automatically park the scope at the current position if power is lost (or if you shut power of purposely). When power is restored the mount position can be restored by unparking from last parked position.

I think that to use an AP mount in remote are necessary: Apcc, SkyX, acp or sgp, pinpoint engine, and all
sky plate solving....too many softwares; i think that it should be better to have a single software that works for
all the singles softwares ....
So, are you suggesting that APCC should have a TheSkyX feature set (planetarium, camera control, autoguiding, platesolving), but only for A-P mounts?

APCC adds some nice features but using it is not a requirement. Currently, you just need to use one package, SGP for instance, which includes plate solving. The AP V2 ASCOM driver is free. There are other solutions as well, some much more sophisticated.

There are very few mounts with an all in one solution, but I think that being able to pick and choose is a BIG positive rather than a negative.

Best regards,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/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: Saturday, August 26, 2017 9:49 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position



I don't know the meaning of cycles power...; i want speak more easy: if the mount for a problem of cable,
power, connection, has an error on pointing so that apcc shows certain coordinates but they are not true ,
the parking at home position will be with the same errors ; this is always happen to me with park 4 and i think
that it will be the same with the home position....
I have also a 10 Micron mount and if the mount loses power the memory card inside the mount preserves
the position and the mount is alway synchronized.....
I think that to use an AP mount in remote are necessary: Apcc, SkyX, acp or sgp, pinpoint engine, and all
sky plate solving....too many softwares; i think that it should be better to have a single software that works for
all the singles softwares ....
Is Apcc able to do? At the moment not and your attention is taken for little problems on limits , on parking
positions and others that i see on this forum...
I want say that the architecture of the software is not right.


Jon <jmartin590@...>
 

I have been kinda intimidated by all the problems people are having with APCC and have decided to stick with the driver only and SGP for my permanent set up. That being said, I think this software is designed for pros and not so much for us duffers.

On 8/26/2017 1:13 AM, gc.iaffaldano@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 

I don't understand well  the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP mount with absolute encoders;  for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.

I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too many errors , too many stops, too many function useless.... 

 



Carmine Iaffaldano
 

I think that all A-P mounts made in at least the last dozen years can do that. The mount controller will automatically park the scope at the current position if power is lost (or if you shut power of purposely). When power is restored the mount position can be restored by unparking from last parked position. 

Strange.... some people referred to me that the power lost causes the misalignment of the AP mount...

So, are you suggesting that APCC should have a TheSkyX feature set (planetarium, camera control, autoguiding, platesolving), but only for A-P mounts?

Yes or a better integration of APCC with other softwares,

However referring to Home parking position i have experimented many problem of parking of which there are not always explanation ...


Joe Zeglinski
 

Carmine,
 
    It would be nice if there was just one “Universal” program to do everything, or you could hire a small staff of friends to be responsible operating various parts and keep on top of updates ... but then we would be unemployed :-)
 
    Actually, you don’t really need any software with some of the good computerized mounts these days. The mount could be entirely controlled using its Keypad, which has a star and major object database to get you to the target. Cameras can use basic vendor provided operating software. Many people just use their scopes for visual observations, or enjoyment of the skies – no need for software. Packaging all the extra software would turn the thing into a “government project”, and we know how well that works. Prices would have to rise to cover everything, just like their budgets – so nobody could afford to buy software more expensive than the mount and telescope
 
    Besides, you would lose the option to choose among many “competitive software makers” – The Sky-X is just one of many planetarium programs for example – some are free and just as good at the basics. If one company forced you to use their universal components package, then there would be no room for different new ideas, in some function, and certainly no time for them to improve or add something, based on a user's suggestions. Keeping software independent, but compatible, following some universal standard like e.g. ASCOM, is ideal, and has worked well for decades.
 
    But ... would you really like to put all your “software eggs” in one software basket?
If one function has a problem e.g. planetarium program, then you might not trust the interdependence of other functions, of the same program. Likewise, if you need a software update or fix for one problem, of some functionality, then the entire program update is delayed until everything has been tested for every possible conflict within itself – usually by the same small staff, who get tired and stressed. It would require a larger staff to stay fully knowledgeable and experienced from all the history of “little problems” in past experiences.
 
    Yes it would be nice to have centralized collection of functions. APCC does an excellent job on what it is responsible for – telescope control – leaving the remainder of support like Sky Modelling to other experts who have the time to concentrate on just one aspect. Perhaps auto guiding could be added, since that is also telescope control, but there are so many “guiders” out there and more coming along, that even this is a huge field, and could only be limited to bare basics, if it were incorporated. Soon. new guiders, and technology like differential guiders, comes along, requiring specialty drivers for unique and different electronics, most users can’t afford or would buy – more things to break and cause field problems.
 
    You have to consider how to divide the tasks, so they are manageable – for both the developers, and for the user. Agreed, with so many different components and needs or desires of the amateur astronomer, the learning curve can become steep, even overwhelming. But, part of the enjoyment is learning a bit at a time, rather than swallowing everything at once. Imagine the thickness of the User Guide – never mind weight to carry with you in the field, if everything were just one all-encompassing software package.
 
    Simplest approach is to stay with the basics, learn each functional software, gradually and fully, before attacking another new interest in this hobby. Otherwise, both you and the software support staff will be overwhelmed with the complexity of questions, and required clear and detailed responses to the users like us.
 
    If you consider the alternatives, you might consider how fortunate we are to have so many compatible choices in our hobby.
The software load balance is just fine, as it is. The day of the “one room school house” is in the past – astronomy is more of  a series of class lectures, not based  just on one lecturer with a narrow field of knowledge or opinion. So, it is with astronomy and telescope software
 
Joe
 
 
From: gc.iaffaldano@... [ap-gto]
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:48 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position
 
I don't know the meaning of cycles power...; i want speak more easy: if the mount for a problem of cable, power, connection, has an error on pointing so that apcc shows certain coordinates but they are not true , the parking at home position will be with the same errors ; this is always happen to me with park 4 and i think that it will be the same with the home position....
I have also a 10 Micron mount and if the mount loses power the memory card inside the mount  preserves the position and the mount is alway synchronized.....
I think that to use an AP mount in remote are necessary: Apcc, SkyX, acp or sgp, pinpoint engine, and all sky plate solving....too many softwares; i think that it should be better to have a single software that works for all the singles softwares ....
Is Apcc able to do? At the moment not and your attention is taken for little problems on limits , on parking positions and others that i see on this forum...
I want say that the architecture of the software is not right.

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Joe Zeglinski
 

    FYI – Misalignment on power loss – under very “unique” situations.
I had such a problem in the past, just one time, under exceptional conditions, in how the mount was used.
Downloading the very latest (free) Keypad software Update,  along with the latest CP3 chip revision,  easily solved that weird, and rare situation, with the usual exceptional AP tech staff support – who are not just workers, but avid astronomers like their customers.
 
    The mounts and their controllers performance are generally very solid, as is APCC & ASCOM driver software. Best one’s on the market, in my opinion – and certainly get more than you paid for in the premium price for a very high quality mount.
 
Joe


dave@...
 

true, you have to at least be as smart as the software.

dig

Dave


dave@...
 

i've never had an issue. a bug here and there but nothing ever to stop a session. I used apcc with an encoder mount and now with a non encoder mount. i use appm as well.

True, you have to be as smart as the software. If you've had it for awhile and still don't get it, you'll probably never will. I hatdly ever read manuals. maybe some need to sit downand read, from cover to cover, all your AP manuals and the apcc and appm manuals.

can you dig it?

D


dave@...
 

limit switches would help but not a cure all

an ap and 10micron mount are different. Hi Carmine. Dave from DSW.

2017 is slowly coming to an end. maybe these limit switches ap has been talking about will be out by the end of the year?

Dave


Christopher Erickson
 

I would say that maybe 1% of APCC users have problems of some kind and 99% of those are actually Windows quirks, bugs and security misfires.  It's just that the 99% of APCC users who aren't having problems don't continually post about how everything worked fine.  Thank goodness.
 
I would also say that 90% of APCC users aren't pros (and aren't "duffers" either.)  APCC isn't mandatory to get fantastic, precise performance out of your AP mount.  APCC simply adds another layer of useful information and control of your AP mount.  I use it because it's fun and informative, not because I can't operate without it.
 
I hope that helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 



From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 11:49 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Home position

I have been kinda intimidated by all the problems people are having with APCC and have decided to stick with the driver only and SGP for my permanent set up. That being said, I think this software is designed for pros and not so much for us duffers.

On 8/26/2017 1:13 AM, gc.iaffaldano@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 

I don't understand well  the function of this new position of APCC; i think that it has a meaning only for a AP mount with absolute encoders;  for a mount without absolute encoders the Home position is a position like the others and if the mount for any reason lost the alignment also the home position is lost.

I dont understand why a so great brand like AP continues to float in such a terrible, complicated software; too many errors , too many stops, too many function useless.... 

 



Virus-free. www.avg.com


Christopher Erickson
 

AP CP4/CP3 mount servo controllers have always had a brownout feature where the controller is able to detect the loss of power and quickly save the axis worm gear and wheel positions to non-volatile memory before power drops to zero.  This allows the servo controller to know exactly the positions of both worm gears and worm wheels when started back up.  I have NEVER had this feature fail to work as advertised.  I believe the CP2 had this feature as well.
 
If the axis clutches are not released and the pier/tripod is not moved or disturbed, the servo controller knows exactly where the mount is pointing and operations can commence immediately after the hand controller or some program has initialized the servo controller with current time/date/location information.
 
If there is a loss of pointing after a power cycle is most likely because of a fixable software and/or user error.  Not an AP servo controller error.
 
Most user problems seem to come from not fully understanding how the servo controller operates and interacts with the hand controller or other software programs.
 
Sometimes it helps to say that the servo controller is the master computer of the mount and the hand controller is actually just a planetarium program that also knows a number of handy AP-specific functions and replies.  The hand controller talks to (and gets power from) the servo controller over a standard RS-232 connection with a special cable and connector.
 
AP mounts can be parked in any position without problems.  The servo controller always knows where it left the worm gears and wheels.  Problems with parking and unparking are always user training issues.
 
I have been working on a block diagram, visual explanation of how the AP servo controllers operate and interact with external connections.  When I have it done I'll pass it by the AP folks for review and comment.  When it is ready I'll post it on the Internet.  Hopefully it will permanently answer many questions that get repeatedly posted on this Yahoo group and other Internet discussion forums. 
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 



From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:02 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position

I think that all A-P mounts made in at least the last dozen years can do that. The mount controller will automatically park the scope at the current position if power is lost (or if you shut power of purposely). When power is restored the mount position can be restored by unparking from last parked position. 

Strange.... some people referred to me that the power lost causes the misalignment of the AP mount...

So, are you suggesting that APCC should have a TheSkyX feature set (planetarium, camera control, autoguiding, platesolving), but only for A-P mounts?

Yes or a better integration of APCC with other softwares,

However referring to Home parking position i have experimented many problem of parking of which there are not always explanation ...


Virus-free. www.avg.com


Carmine Iaffaldano
 

I just want you to check how many requests for intervention on various issues are on this forum; If you go to the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month ....; APCC is a software to build a model for the sky and to correct the alignment error to the pole; it is fun and for many futures well done but not free; so there are CP2,CP3,CP4 always to pay; 10 Micron has a software with the mount that can be uptdated freely and the hardware remains the same...


Ray Gralak
 

Carmine,

Strange.... some people referred to me that the power lost causes the misalignment of the AP mount...
Those people were incorrect. :-) The controller saves the mount position when powered off.

Yes or a better integration of APCC with other softwares,
APCC is not an ASCOM client application like SGP or ACP. APCC is supposed to be invisible to other applications. It connects between the mount and other applications, including the AP V2 driver. I'm not sure that there is anything else like it, which I think might be why it's "architecture" seems foreign to you.

Best regards,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/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: Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:02 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position



I think that all A-P mounts made in at least the last dozen years can do that. The mount controller will
automatically park the scope at the current position if power is lost (or if you shut power of purposely). When
power is restored the mount position can be restored by unparking from last parked position.



Strange.... some people referred to me that the power lost causes the misalignment of the AP mount...

So, are you suggesting that APCC should have a TheSkyX feature set (planetarium, camera control,
autoguiding, platesolving), but only for A-P mounts?



Yes or a better integration of APCC with other softwares,


However referring to Home parking position i have experimented many problem of parking of which there are
not always explanation ...



Ray Gralak
 

Hi Carmine,

I just want you to check how many requests for intervention on various issues are on this forum; If you go to
the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month
Even if that is true, I don't think you can use that as a measure of quality because there have probably been a couple orders of magnitude more A-P mounts in the field. Has 10 Micron produced any software for their mount besides an ASCOM driver? If not, then it's not even an apples to apples comparison. A better comparison might be to compare the number of firmware issues for each mount scaled to the ratio of mounts in the field.

Usually when any non-trivial software is involved many of the technical problems posted are not related to the quality of the software or the mount (e.g. computer hardware/hardware driver/Windows issues).

Best regards,

-Ray Gralak
Author of APCC (Astro-Physics Command Center): http://www.astro-physics.com/index.htm?products/accessories/software/apcc/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: Sunday, August 27, 2017 12:46 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position



I just want you to check how many requests for intervention on various issues are on this forum; If you go to
the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month ....; APCC is a software to build a model for the sky
and to correct the alignment error to the pole; it is fun and for many futures well done but not free; so there
are CP2,CP3,CP4 always to pay; 10 Micron has a software with the mount that can be uptdated freely and
the hardware remains the same...


Christopher Erickson
 

The volume of "requests for intervention" might be related to the significantly larger volume of AP mounts and users that exist out there versus 10-Micron.  10-Micron is a young company. AP has been in existence for many years with a very large number of mounts sold and a very large user base.
 
The CP2 and CP3 are older technology and required new chips to update the firmware.  The CP4 is cutting-edge technology that is upgradable via free firmware downloads.  Comparing current 10-Micron technology against 10 and 20-year old AP technology isn't meaningful, or fair.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 



From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2017 12:46 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Home position

I just want you to check how many requests for intervention on various issues are on this forum; If you go to the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month ....; APCC is a software to build a model for the sky and to correct the alignment error to the pole; it is fun and for many futures well done but not free; so there are CP2,CP3,CP4 always to pay; 10 Micron has a software with the mount that can be uptdated freely and the hardware remains the same...

Virus-free. www.avg.com


Mlooker
 

If you go to the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month
That is because they sell 4 mounts a year ;-)

On 8/27/2017 12:45 AM, gc.iaffaldano@... [ap-gto] wrote:
 

I just want you to check how many requests for intervention on various issues are on this forum; If you go to the site of the 10 Micron you find one only every month ....; APCC is a software to build a model for the sky and to correct the alignment error to the pole; it is fun and for many futures well done but not free; so there are CP2,CP3,CP4 always to pay; 10 Micron has a software with the mount that can be uptdated freely and the hardware remains the same...



dave@...
 

That's the dumbest most uneducated thing i've heard today.

Dave