AP1100/CP4 and NINA


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I recently decided to try N.I.N.A. as a possible replacement for SGP which I have used for years.  Was wondering if the AP community has any issues with using NINA with respect to meridian flips, CW-UP slews, and such?


Dale Ghent
 

Hi Michael, I'm one of the contributors to NINA and have been using my Mach1GTO+CP3(V2) with it for over 2 years. It works fine. Plenty of other uses use it with a CP4 and CP5 and that's also fine. It just uses the A-P ASCOM driver like any other software.

Some general tips - If you have slew/tracking or meridian limits set up in APCC then of course be sure that you configure NINA to execute flips prior to those limits being reached. If you use the current in-development version of NINA, 1.11, you can use the horizon file that APCC saves directly in NINA's advanced sequencer to trigger actions based on your local horizon, etc.

On May 6, 2021, at 12:38, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri <mjmangieri@xcalrockets.net> wrote:

I recently decided to try N.I.N.A. as a possible replacement for SGP which I have used for years. Was wondering if the AP community has any issues with using NINA with respect to meridian flips, CW-UP slews, and such?


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

OK, thanks. I'll check out the 1.11 version and experiment tonight. I use
APCC and APPM.

My normal mode of operation is to slew to the east with CW UP (based on APCC
limits allowing this) and track past meridian with no need to flip. But
when I slew east with CW DOWN the flip needs to occur at the meridian. I
expect NINA to handle this without any additional inputs or configuration
from me.

If I ever need to track past meridian with CW UP I guess that's when NINA
needs to know when to flip? That's the part I would assume you are referring
to when you state that I need to configure NINA to execute flips prior to
those limits being reached?

Mikey

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Thursday, May 6, 2021 12:54 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100/CP4 and NINA


Hi Michael, I'm one of the contributors to NINA and have been using my
Mach1GTO+CP3(V2) with it for over 2 years. It works fine. Plenty of other
uses use it with a CP4 and CP5 and that's also fine. It just uses the A-P
ASCOM driver like any other software.

Some general tips - If you have slew/tracking or meridian limits set up in
APCC then of course be sure that you configure NINA to execute flips prior
to those limits being reached. If you use the current in-development version
of NINA, 1.11, you can use the horizon file that APCC saves directly in
NINA's advanced sequencer to trigger actions based on your local horizon,
etc.


On May 6, 2021, at 12:38, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
<mjmangieri@xcalrockets.net> wrote:

I recently decided to try N.I.N.A. as a possible replacement for SGP which
I have used for years. Was wondering if the AP community has any issues
with using NINA with respect to meridian flips, CW-UP slews, and such?


Dale Ghent
 

NINA doesn't necessarily know what is CW up and what is CW down, and it certainly doesn't think in those terms. There is no programmatic way an ASCOM driver can transmit this state to an app.

I'm trying to picture how you're managing to do this conditional flip given what I recall about SGPro's flip options, which aren't fancy at all. Is this a new thing you want to try or is this something you already have working in SGPro?

Either way, you can maybe do this on a per target basis in NINA 1.11's advanced sequencer. For the targets that you start in a CW-up orientation, you can simply omit the Meridian Flip trigger and the mount will sail through the meridian without flipping, simply because the trigger command that manages that is missing.

When I referred to the APCC-enforced limits (be they horizon or meridian), NINA does not know of these limits as, again, there is no programmatic way for an ASCOM driver to describe these to an app such as NINA. If you have the limit set to park or stop tracking, NINA will not have any idea why this is happening and you'll probably end up with a hung sequence. However you can probably recover from this predicament on a multi-target sequence by bounding the halted sequence with a time or a target altitude so that it eventually moves on to the next target which could have an unpark or set tracking rate command to get the mount moving again.

On May 6, 2021, at 13:47, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri <mjmangieri@xcalrockets.net> wrote:

OK, thanks. I'll check out the 1.11 version and experiment tonight. I use
APCC and APPM.

My normal mode of operation is to slew to the east with CW UP (based on APCC
limits allowing this) and track past meridian with no need to flip. But
when I slew east with CW DOWN the flip needs to occur at the meridian. I
expect NINA to handle this without any additional inputs or configuration
from me.

If I ever need to track past meridian with CW UP I guess that's when NINA
needs to know when to flip? That's the part I would assume you are referring
to when you state that I need to configure NINA to execute flips prior to
those limits being reached?

Mikey

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Thursday, May 6, 2021 12:54 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100/CP4 and NINA


Hi Michael, I'm one of the contributors to NINA and have been using my
Mach1GTO+CP3(V2) with it for over 2 years. It works fine. Plenty of other
uses use it with a CP4 and CP5 and that's also fine. It just uses the A-P
ASCOM driver like any other software.

Some general tips - If you have slew/tracking or meridian limits set up in
APCC then of course be sure that you configure NINA to execute flips prior
to those limits being reached. If you use the current in-development version
of NINA, 1.11, you can use the horizon file that APCC saves directly in
NINA's advanced sequencer to trigger actions based on your local horizon,
etc.


On May 6, 2021, at 12:38, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
<mjmangieri@xcalrockets.net> wrote:

I recently decided to try N.I.N.A. as a possible replacement for SGP which
I have used for years. Was wondering if the AP community has any issues
with using NINA with respect to meridian flips, CW-UP slews, and such?











Luca Marinelli
 

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature. 

Cheers,

Luca


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Luca,

It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.
It sure would. To do this requires the imaging application to be aware of the pier side flip point. This is required so the application will know when the scope will flip (and not). Using the ASCOM API, the counterweight position (i.e. up or down)can be determined from just pier-side and hour angle.

In the case of SGP, the authors were willing to add a new REST API endpoint that allows applications (e.g. APCC) to set the meridian flip point.

Years ago I also contacted the author of ACP, who declined to make any changes to support this feature in APCC (nor any other APCC features).

The easiest way for NINA to fully support the feature would be to add the same REST API endpoint as SGP has.

-Ray


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Luca Marinelli
Sent: Friday, May 7, 2021 3:39 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100/CP4 and NINA

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging
when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit
tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can
comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit
setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if
all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.

Cheers,

Luca


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

And that would be great! I’m still going to start using NINA but having that feature would seal the decision for me.

On May 7, 2021, at 9:20 AM, Ray Gralak <iogroups@siriusimaging.com> wrote:

Hi Luca,

It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.
It sure would. To do this requires the imaging application to be aware of the pier side flip point. This is required so the application will know when the scope will flip (and not). Using the ASCOM API, the counterweight position (i.e. up or down)can be determined from just pier-side and hour angle.

In the case of SGP, the authors were willing to add a new REST API endpoint that allows applications (e.g. APCC) to set the meridian flip point.

Years ago I also contacted the author of ACP, who declined to make any changes to support this feature in APCC (nor any other APCC features).

The easiest way for NINA to fully support the feature would be to add the same REST API endpoint as SGP has.

-Ray


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Luca Marinelli
Sent: Friday, May 7, 2021 3:39 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100/CP4 and NINA

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging
when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit
tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can
comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit
setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if
all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.

Cheers,

Luca





Dale Ghent
 

Hey Luca,

Ah yes I see. This particular mechanism is out-of-band from ASCOM. From what I gather, SGPro's own network API implements an endpoint that allows an external app (such as APCC) to inform it with the hour angle meridian limit (I think) of the mount's current declination. APCC hits this endpoint with that info and I guess SGPro takes it under consideration as a form of temporary meridian limit (or delay, if the limit is "beyond the pole.") I'm not an SGPro user or familiar with its internals so I can only guess at how it uses this information.

NINA does have an implementation of the SGPro API that is just a subset of SGPro's full API. It's there to service things like 10micron's pointing modeler and (hopefully soon, I need to catch up with Ray on this) APPM. But we NINA devs aren't interested in adopting SGPro's API as our own, and would rather keep it to the subset of functionality that is currently is. Eventually, we will invent our own design that is better suited to NINA's functions and capabilities. But that time isn't right now.

So where does this leave making NINA aware of meridian limits? In NINA 1.11, which is the current development branch and contains the new Advanced Sequencer, there's a new plugin system. A lot of internal app interfaces are available through this plugin system. One of the NINA contributors has made a plugin that uses a user-supplied file of meridian limits to dynamically adjust the flip time based on the scope's declination. Its data format is a mapping of declination to east+west hour limits in 1 degree increments. APCC's MLM file maps those limits using the Meridian Angle in 1 degree increments. I'm going to look at extending this plugin so that it can read APCC's MLM file and just derive the limits at the current declination from that. The developer of this plugin has been using it for some time to solve the same problem that APCC's meridian limits (and delay) feature solves, so extending it to grok the MLM file format is no big deal.

This will give us a solution that avoids having to further extend an API implementation in the app that we'd rather not pay anymore time to, and doesn't make us have to rush to implement our own API to service just for this one feature (and then get Ray to implement it on his end in APCC.) Instead, we'll just read the MLM file directly and include a user-adjustable setting to flip the scope at some defined number of seconds or minutes before the limit is reached to avoid APCC reacting and potentially parking the scope or stopping tracking.

We'll hack on this and I'll let the group know when there's something usable that's available.

/dale

On May 7, 2021, at 06:38, Luca Marinelli <photo@lucamarinelli.com> wrote:

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.

Cheers,

Luca


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

Sounds great 😎

On May 7, 2021, at 10:44 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> wrote:


Hey Luca,

Ah yes I see. This particular mechanism is out-of-band from ASCOM. From what I gather, SGPro's own network API implements an endpoint that allows an external app (such as APCC) to inform it with the hour angle meridian limit (I think) of the mount's current declination. APCC hits this endpoint with that info and I guess SGPro takes it under consideration as a form of temporary meridian limit (or delay, if the limit is "beyond the pole.") I'm not an SGPro user or familiar with its internals so I can only guess at how it uses this information.

NINA does have an implementation of the SGPro API that is just a subset of SGPro's full API. It's there to service things like 10micron's pointing modeler and (hopefully soon, I need to catch up with Ray on this) APPM. But we NINA devs aren't interested in adopting SGPro's API as our own, and would rather keep it to the subset of functionality that is currently is. Eventually, we will invent our own design that is better suited to NINA's functions and capabilities. But that time isn't right now.

So where does this leave making NINA aware of meridian limits? In NINA 1.11, which is the current development branch and contains the new Advanced Sequencer, there's a new plugin system. A lot of internal app interfaces are available through this plugin system. One of the NINA contributors has made a plugin that uses a user-supplied file of meridian limits to dynamically adjust the flip time based on the scope's declination. Its data format is a mapping of declination to east+west hour limits in 1 degree increments. APCC's MLM file maps those limits using the Meridian Angle in 1 degree increments. I'm going to look at extending this plugin so that it can read APCC's MLM file and just derive the limits at the current declination from that. The developer of this plugin has been using it for some time to solve the same problem that APCC's meridian limits (and delay) feature solves, so extending it to grok the MLM file format is no big deal.

This will give us a solution that avoids having to further extend an API implementation in the app that we'd rather not pay anymore time to, and doesn't make us have to rush to implement our own API to service just for this one feature (and then get Ray to implement it on his end in APCC.) Instead, we'll just read the MLM file directly and include a user-adjustable setting to flip the scope at some defined number of seconds or minutes before the limit is reached to avoid APCC reacting and potentially parking the scope or stopping tracking.

We'll hack on this and I'll let the group know when there's something usable that's available.

/dale


On May 7, 2021, at 06:38, Luca Marinelli <photo@lucamarinelli.com> wrote:

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.

Cheers,

Luca





Dale Ghent
 

Ok, we have an enhanced version of the Smart Meridian Flip plugin for NINA that can read an APCC MLM file to know where the limits are and how early or late to flip at the current declination. It'll execute the flip when the mount is within 10 seconds of the limit to avoid triggering a reaction in APCC. That's hard-coded for now, but I might make that configurable. I'll try to test it in the coming days when time is available. At least this doesn't require a clear night to do that.

On May 7, 2021, at 22:43, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> wrote:


Hey Luca,

Ah yes I see. This particular mechanism is out-of-band from ASCOM. From what I gather, SGPro's own network API implements an endpoint that allows an external app (such as APCC) to inform it with the hour angle meridian limit (I think) of the mount's current declination. APCC hits this endpoint with that info and I guess SGPro takes it under consideration as a form of temporary meridian limit (or delay, if the limit is "beyond the pole.") I'm not an SGPro user or familiar with its internals so I can only guess at how it uses this information.

NINA does have an implementation of the SGPro API that is just a subset of SGPro's full API. It's there to service things like 10micron's pointing modeler and (hopefully soon, I need to catch up with Ray on this) APPM. But we NINA devs aren't interested in adopting SGPro's API as our own, and would rather keep it to the subset of functionality that is currently is. Eventually, we will invent our own design that is better suited to NINA's functions and capabilities. But that time isn't right now.

So where does this leave making NINA aware of meridian limits? In NINA 1.11, which is the current development branch and contains the new Advanced Sequencer, there's a new plugin system. A lot of internal app interfaces are available through this plugin system. One of the NINA contributors has made a plugin that uses a user-supplied file of meridian limits to dynamically adjust the flip time based on the scope's declination. Its data format is a mapping of declination to east+west hour limits in 1 degree increments. APCC's MLM file maps those limits using the Meridian Angle in 1 degree increments. I'm going to look at extending this plugin so that it can read APCC's MLM file and just derive the limits at the current declination from that. The developer of this plugin has been using it for some time to solve the same problem that APCC's meridian limits (and delay) feature solves, so extending it to grok the MLM file format is no big deal.

This will give us a solution that avoids having to further extend an API implementation in the app that we'd rather not pay anymore time to, and doesn't make us have to rush to implement our own API to service just for this one feature (and then get Ray to implement it on his end in APCC.) Instead, we'll just read the MLM file directly and include a user-adjustable setting to flip the scope at some defined number of seconds or minutes before the limit is reached to avoid APCC reacting and potentially parking the scope or stopping tracking.

We'll hack on this and I'll let the group know when there's something usable that's available.

/dale


On May 7, 2021, at 06:38, Luca Marinelli <photo@lucamarinelli.com> wrote:

Hi Dale,

A few days ago I posted an example of meridian flips and CW up imaging with APCC and SGP:

https://ap-gto.groups.io/g/main/message/78270

The key setting that allows dynamic (declination-dependent) meridian flip setpoint and CW up or down imaging when allowed by the APCC meridian limits is the checkbox "Send Limit with offset to SGPro" in the Meridian Limit tab in APCC. Does this checkbox only work with SGPro or does it also work with NINA? Maybe Ray can comment why SGPro is special (if it is) and how it is able to take advantage of the full, dynamic meridian limit setting, instead of being limited to a static "flip 15 minutes after the meridian" kind of scenario. It would be great if all imaging applications (not just SGP) could take advantage of this powerful feature.

Cheers,

Luca