ASCOM Driver "freezing"?


wbelhaven
 

Hi,

I'm seeing this happen more and more frequently (several times last night, for example): everything seems to be working, and then all of the applications that connect to the mount (NINA, PHD2, Cartes du Ciel) freeze, and I look in the Windows task manager to find the AP ASCOM driver process has a status of "not responding". Killing that process, and reconnecting the applications seems to work for a while, then a re-freeze happens. Rinse and repeat.

Latest ASCOM, Latest AP ASCOM v2 Driver (5.3.10), Windows 10 Pro laptop with all updates applied, AP1200 mount, FTDI-based USB to serial adapter/cable into a Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox v2 (all other peripherals attached to that device seem to work fine -- except the mount). Please let me know what other data would be relevant to troubleshoot. 

Is the USB to serial adapter/cable the most likely culprit here? Should I uninstall / reinstall the ASCOM Driver? Other ideas?

WB


wbelhaven
 

Quick follow-up: I replaced the USB to serial cable, and it ran all night without the aforementioned "freeze". So far so good.

WB


wbelhaven
 

I'm seeing the AP ASCOM driver "not responding" again, multiple times a night now. Seems the cable replacement was not a permanent fix. Can someone please help? Can't really automate image capture with this continuing to freeze up.

I just upgraded to the most recent version of the driver and ran it for a few hours without freeze. Are there any bugfixes in the latest version that would address this, or is this just happenstance (again)? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.


midmoastro
 

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 03:06 PM, wbelhaven wrote:
FTDI-based
Didnt see it listed so just asking, Is the FTDI driver installed?


Ray Gralak
 

There's not enough information to say for sure, but the most likely reason is the serial port hung. Are you using a USB/serial converter on a USB hub with a USB connection to your camera? If so, try moving the mount's USB cable to its own USB port on your computer.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of wbelhaven via groups.io
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2022 8:28 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] ASCOM Driver "freezing"?

I'm seeing the AP ASCOM driver "not responding" again, multiple times a night now. Seems the cable
replacement was not a permanent fix. Can someone please help? Can't really automate image capture with this
continuing to freeze up.

I just upgraded to the most recent version of the driver and ran it for a few hours without freeze. Are there any
bugfixes in the latest version that would address this, or is this just happenstance (again)? Any help would be
appreciated.

Thanks.


Steve Reilly
 

Another suggestion worth looking into I hope is your power settings in Windows as I have found that USB connections can be powered off if not active after a period of time. Also check the Device Manager for the USB settings. I have issues with my Starlight Xpress guider not being found if idle too long and have found if I disconnect the cameras and immediately reconnect it brings it back to usable. This is the UltraStar which otherwise works great. Not hijacking the thread but may be the same issue.

-Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ray Gralak
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2022 11:54 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] ASCOM Driver "freezing"?

There's not enough information to say for sure, but the most likely reason is the serial port hung. Are you using a USB/serial converter on a USB hub with a USB connection to your camera? If so, try moving the mount's USB cable to its own USB port on your computer.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf
Of wbelhaven via groups.io
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2022 8:28 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] ASCOM Driver "freezing"?

I'm seeing the AP ASCOM driver "not responding" again, multiple times
a night now. Seems the cable replacement was not a permanent fix. Can
someone please help? Can't really automate image capture with this continuing to freeze up.

I just upgraded to the most recent version of the driver and ran it
for a few hours without freeze. Are there any bugfixes in the latest
version that would address this, or is this just happenstance (again)? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.


wbelhaven
 

Thanks guys ...

@midmoastro -- not sure what to look for. I'd think that the driver has to be installed, otherwise it wouldn't connect at all. What specifically am I looking for?

@Ray -- previously had everything star-connected to a Pegasus Ultimate Powerbox v2, then into a USB 3.1 hub (as an extender) and into the laptop from there. Changed that to go direct from the aforementioned hub to the mount (instead of through the Pegasus) but that didn't prove to be reliable either. I'll try bypassing the hub and connect a cable direct from mount to laptop if I can find one long enough. Is there a way to determine with certainty if the virtual COM port is locking up, and if so, what can be done about it?

@Steve -- Power Options already showed that setting on "Disabled". I went through Device Manager and disabled power management on anything in the USB tree, per your first attachment.

Still no success. Woke up to find the driver "not responding". Other than re-cabling per my comment above, any other suggestions? Is there a log file, or anything else I can gather next time it happens, that will help?  BIOS settings?

Here's a screen shot of the ASCOM driver panel. Number of errors looks high (or is that normal)? I think the mount itself is ok, because killing that process and restarting it fixes the problem. Is it possible that the driver is getting something it's not expecting and freezing?


Ray Gralak
 

The only cases where I have seen the AP V2 driver freeze have been when the COM port has had a problem (hardware or the low-level driver). That said, the error count in your screenshot indicates there is a communications problem. You could try increasing the timeout in the AP V2 driver in case that is the problem, but you should not need to set it above 300 msecs.

 

-Ray

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of wbelhaven via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 8:49 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] ASCOM Driver "freezing"?

 

Thanks guys ...

@midmoastro -- not sure what to look for. I'd think that the driver has to be installed, otherwise it wouldn't connect at all. What specifically am I looking for?

@Ray -- previously had everything star-connected to a Pegasus Ultimate Powerbox v2, then into a USB 3.1 hub (as an extender) and into the laptop from there. Changed that to go direct from the aforementioned hub to the mount (instead of through the Pegasus) but that didn't prove to be reliable either. I'll try bypassing the hub and connect a cable direct from mount to laptop if I can find one long enough. Is there a way to determine with certainty if the virtual COM port is locking up, and if so, what can be done about it?

@Steve -- Power Options already showed that setting on "Disabled". I went through Device Manager and disabled power management on anything in the USB tree, per your first attachment.

Still no success. Woke up to find the driver "not responding". Other than re-cabling per my comment above, any other suggestions? Is there a log file, or anything else I can gather next time it happens, that will help?  BIOS settings?

Here's a screen shot of the ASCOM driver panel. Number of errors looks high (or is that normal)? I think the mount itself is ok, because killing that process and restarting it fixes the problem. Is it possible that the driver is getting something it's not expecting and freezing?


wbelhaven
 

Progress? ...

1. I had plugged the cable into the wrong (bottom) serial port on the GTOCP3 instead of the top one. D'ohhhh. Fixed that.

2. Also, in Device Manager > Ports (COM & LPT) > Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM4) > Properties > Port Settings > Advanced, I noted that "Use FIFO buffers (requires 16550 compatible UART) was checked. I unchecked it and Saved.

Then I powered everything off, rebooted the laptop, re-powered the mount (and everything else), reconnected everything, and started a bit of a USB torture test of running my imaging cam and guide cam at their fastest exposure time and have them looping at their maximum frequency of capture-and-download. So far, haven't seen a single Communication Error (per the AP ASCOM panel), and it's been running like that for about three hours now. 

Maybe these two things fixed it? (I was still getting errors before I did the second.)  Fingers crossed.

Anything else I should collect, capture, or inspect if it the "not responding" freeze happens again?


Tom Blahovici
 

In your first post you say you have an ftdi chipset but here you are modifying a prolific driver. Get a real ftdi usb to Seri port. Prolific ports can be problematic. Also, setting nothing in the control panel will do nothing. It's application based.


Mike Dodd
 

On 1/16/2022 11:14 AM, Tom Blahovici wrote:
In your first post you say you have an ftdi chipset but here you are modifying a prolific driver. Get a real ftdi usb to Seri port. Prolific ports can be problematic.
I'll definitely second that! I've had multiple issues with several Prolific USB/serial devices over the years (astronomy and ham radio), and all the problems disappeared immediately after I replaced the devices with FTDI dongles and installed the official FTDI drivers.


Tom Blahovici
 

Be careful of cheap Amazon usb to serial. Some say they are ftdi but aren't.
Avoid garbage and buy from astro-physics or get a tripplite one. 
73


wbelhaven
 

Thanks everyone. I probably clicked on the wrong thing by the time I added it to the cart. I do have an FTDI based cable (as confirmed by Device Manager and the installed driver) and experienced the same problem, but it wasn't the AP cable. Will get the AP one when it's back in stock. Is it really only 10cm long? Do you plug that into an active USB extension cable or a powered hub to get the required distance to the rest of your stuff?


Ray Gralak
 

Thanks everyone. I probably clicked on the wrong thing by the time I added it to the cart. I do have an FTDI
based cable (as confirmed by Device Manager and the installed driver) and experienced the same problem,
but it wasn't the AP cable. Will get the AP one when it's back in stock. Is it really only 10cm long? Do you
plug that into an active USB extension cable or a powered hub to get the required distance to the rest of your
stuff?
It is better to connect the USB/serial converter directly to a USB port on your computer and run a Male-Female DB9 cable of the needed length from the converter to the mount.

The DB9 cable can be much longer (100+ feet), and, of course, you won't need a USB extender!

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of wbelhaven via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 9:09 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] ASCOM Driver "freezing"?

Thanks everyone. I probably clicked on the wrong thing by the time I added it to the cart. I do have an FTDI
based cable (as confirmed by Device Manager and the installed driver) and experienced the same problem,
but it wasn't the AP cable. Will get the AP one when it's back in stock. Is it really only 10cm long? Do you
plug that into an active USB extension cable or a powered hub to get the required distance to the rest of your
stuff?