Mach2 thru-mount USB when using USB 3.0 ? (and an M51)


Jeffc
 

i've been troubleshooting an issue with a new camera (QHY268M) (and of course new-to-me drivers).

This is the second night I've had the QHY268M up and running.   
The reliability of getting images out of it has been very hit and miss for me.   
I'm using the Ascom QHY drivers, but also noted issues with "native driver" capture apps.

The reliability issue seems to be cable related:

-- It turns out if I run the USB 3 cable direct from the camera to the computer then it seems reliable.   (I'm still testing this configuration for "longevity".)
-- However if I run the cable "through the Mach2 mount", then the connectivity is kind of flakey.  Sometimes the downloads just don't happen.  Sometimes the camera disappears from the win10 Device Manager.

Works:   Camera --> USB-3-B--cable--USB-3-A --> Computer
Is flakey:  Camera --> USB3-B--cable--USB-A --> Mach2 --> USB-A--cable--USB-A --> Computer

Anyone else run into USB-3 issues with the "mach2 USB pass-thru"?
Any suggested solutions?    

For example, I'm wondering if adding a USB extender somewhere along the data path would help.

(I will note the USB-2 ST-8300M worked fine with the Mach2 "thru the mount USB".)

A workaround would be to move the computer to the OTA.  To be honest, I think this is the best solution as the focuser and other devices can then connect directly to the computer without the need for a USB hub.  I would just need a smaller computer - Like an Eagle or a NUC.   (I'm currently using a late 2012 Intel-i5 Mac-Mini (running win10) which requires AC power, tho a 12volt input mod is possible.   The Mac-Mini seems rather lightweight, but it is still a bit large for "on-top of the OTA".)

Here's my QHY268M first light, 300 seconds Luminance only under light polluted skies with the AP 130 GT & Mach2 unguided.
image.png


Jeffc
 

ok.. I read the Mach2 manual.   It seems this might be a reasonable option:

Presumably the cabling with the hub would be ...

Computer --> USB-3-A--cable--USB-3-B --> Geamo hub --> USB-3-A--cable--USB-3-A. --> Mount --> USB-3-A--cable--USB-3-B --> camera

-jeff


On Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 11:27 PM Jeffc via groups.io <jeffcrilly=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
i've been troubleshooting an issue with a new camera (QHY268M) (and of course new-to-me drivers).

This is the second night I've had the QHY268M up and running.   
The reliability of getting images out of it has been very hit and miss for me.   
I'm using the Ascom QHY drivers, but also noted issues with "native driver" capture apps.

The reliability issue seems to be cable related:

-- It turns out if I run the USB 3 cable direct from the camera to the computer then it seems reliable.   (I'm still testing this configuration for "longevity".)
-- However if I run the cable "through the Mach2 mount", then the connectivity is kind of flakey.  Sometimes the downloads just don't happen.  Sometimes the camera disappears from the win10 Device Manager.

Works:   Camera --> USB-3-B--cable--USB-3-A --> Computer
Is flakey:  Camera --> USB3-B--cable--USB-A --> Mach2 --> USB-A--cable--USB-A --> Computer

Anyone else run into USB-3 issues with the "mach2 USB pass-thru"?
Any suggested solutions?    

For example, I'm wondering if adding a USB extender somewhere along the data path would help.

(I will note the USB-2 ST-8300M worked fine with the Mach2 "thru the mount USB".)

A workaround would be to move the computer to the OTA.  To be honest, I think this is the best solution as the focuser and other devices can then connect directly to the computer without the need for a USB hub.  I would just need a smaller computer - Like an Eagle or a NUC.   (I'm currently using a late 2012 Intel-i5 Mac-Mini (running win10) which requires AC power, tho a 12volt input mod is possible.   The Mac-Mini seems rather lightweight, but it is still a bit large for "on-top of the OTA".)

Here's my QHY268M first light, 300 seconds Luminance only under light polluted skies with the AP 130 GT & Mach2 unguided.
image.png


annaski
 

I've also had problems with running the camera 'thru-mount', even with a powered hub on top. Sometimes the camera didn't show up at all, though other devices (slower devices) worked fine.
I've switched to an Eagle4 on top so the only thing I run through the mount now is the CP5 'backwards' up to the Eagle. This works reliably, probably due to the lower speed.


Terri Zittritsch
 

Use a usb repeater just before the mach2, will clean things up once and for all.    You’re cables are not the issue, and doubtful it’s the hub.   I use a $15 hub throughout the Vermont winter.    I have an 8” usb a to a cable on the mount and then a usb repeater cable which is spec’d to drive another 15’ thought the mount side (better than std usb3 which is only 3M) but it’s not the length but the added connections which cause issue here.  I did a bunch of testing early on with lots of configurations and cables.  The run through the mount was the issue on mount 14. 


Dale Ghent
 

On Apr 11, 2021, at 02:27, Jeffc <jeffcrilly@gmail.com> wrote:

i've been troubleshooting an issue with a new camera (QHY268M) (and of course new-to-me drivers).

This is the second night I've had the QHY268M up and running.
The reliability of getting images out of it has been very hit and miss for me.
I'm using the Ascom QHY drivers, but also noted issues with "native driver" capture apps.

The reliability issue seems to be cable related:

-- It turns out if I run the USB 3 cable direct from the camera to the computer then it seems reliable. (I'm still testing this configuration for "longevity".)
-- However if I run the cable "through the Mach2 mount", then the connectivity is kind of flakey. Sometimes the downloads just don't happen. Sometimes the camera disappears from the win10 Device Manager.

Works: Camera --> USB-3-B--cable--USB-3-A --> Computer
Is flakey: Camera --> USB3-B--cable--USB-A --> Mach2 --> USB-A--cable--USB-A --> Computer

Two rules with USB3:

1. Keep cables runs between powered equipment short. I don't do runs more than 2m.

2. Use quality cables. "Amazon's Choice" cables are a dice roll, so just source cables directly from a decent manufacturer. L-Com, for one, but StarTech and Tripp Lite seem to source their cables from some place decent, too.

USB3 far less tolerant of distance and interference than USB2 is. You have to plan to these aspects. USB3 unpowered USB3 extension cables are unreliable in my experience. They add too much length to the total run in a lot of cases, their own construction quality might not be great, and of course there's the extra issue of just having two more physical connections in the line.

For my two QHY-based rigs (Mach1/130GTX/QHY600M and RST135/CFF92/QHY268M) I put a USB hub on the top of the telescope and run all on-scope equipment to that. In my case, the USB hub is a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box v2 or Pegasus Pocket Powerbox Advanced, respectively. A 2m USB cable comes off that and, on my Mach1, goes through the mount and directly into my imaging mini PC. My one PC drives both rigs at the same time, so I can't really keep it mounted on the telescope like many do now.


Eric Weiner
 

Jeff,

I have the same camera and mount as you and have not had any problems. Could it be USB 3 overall cable length? Keep the total USB 3 length under 10 feet. One difference is I use a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box v2 on the OTA, then run the shortest USB 3 cables possible between my accessories and the UPBv2. Keep in mind the output USB 3 cable from the mount to your PC must also be included in that 10 foot overall length limit, unless you use a USB 3 extender which are quite expensive.

Eric


Keith Olsen
 

I have found that JSAUX produces a great quality USB cable.   I would occasionally have issues related to usb cables and after I switched to all JSAUX I have not had any cable issues.  This includes a 16' cable from my usb hub to my computer.  I've also noticed that the connections are tighter with these cables that others that i've used.  


Dominique
 

Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Jeffc
 

Thx everyone for the suggestions.   I've ordered a handful of super short USB-3 Male A -> Male A cables for testing.
I do feel the mount -> computer cable is a bit long.   It might be 10 feet (which is the shortest I had on hand).
(Fwiw, i'm also using USB for the Computer -> CP5 connection... on a separate port on the computer.)

I've resisted the Pegasus powerbox, but it might be time to upgrade the Dew Buster anyhow... sure would be convenient to have remote control for the dew heater.
Right now, I feel like the UltimatePB v2 is overkill, but it seems the Advance does not have a "managed" USB hub.  Plus, i could use the power (current) monitoring on a per port basis, especially when there are dew heaters involved.
The Eagle seems super clean, and flexible, but I'm just not ready to spend the $$ there.

If anyone knows of a good-bang-for-the-buck USB powered hub for the Computer -> Mount path let me know.  (Preferably fetchable from amazon.)   

E.g.  Dominique - what is the "HUB USB3" box in your schematic?   Is that basically the Active 16 meter cable?

-jeff


On Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:06 AM Dominique <d.h.durand@...> wrote:
Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Jeffc
 

Just to get some closure on this.... I've pretty much resolved my QHY268M -> Mach2 data issue with a new (shorter) cable.

Last night I secured a 3 foot USB-3-rated Male-A to Male-A cable from Amazon.   The brand was U-Green.   
(I know you all said to be careful on the amazon cables, but for a few bucks and free shipping I thought it wouldn't be too much of a gamble.)

I plugged this into the Mach2 pass-thru and to the computer (which is now sitting under the mount, and that's ok).

The camera side cable is the shortest USB-3 cable with Male-B connector I could find around the house..   (Its like maybe 1.5 meters.. I think the "factory supplied" QHY cable is 2 meters.   I'm actually looking for a shorter cable for the camera side as this one needs to get wrapped up a bunch.)

This setup seemed to work fine last night!  No dropped connections to the camera, no messed up frames, etc.  
So I suspect the issue is the 6 foot "USB 3 rated" cable I was using.   (Nonetheless, I do have a pegasus v2 on-the-way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

;^)  Longshot followup question:   Now that the computer is "on the floor" under the Mach2 Eagle... Does anyone have experience with a super clean solution for mounting a Mac Mini (2012) on the side of the Eagle pier?   
I'm thinking of getting a wall mount for the Mac Mini, and then use some sort of adapter (possibly plastic or delrin) to go between the Mac Mini wall mount and the pier, using one (or two) of the many holes on the Eagle pier.
A better solution would entail a custom "mounting" using the AP Tray brackets... This setup is to be used "portable" , so setup / teardown needs to be easy.

-jeff


On Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 4:07 AM Jeffc via groups.io <jeffcrilly=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thx everyone for the suggestions.   I've ordered a handful of super short USB-3 Male A -> Male A cables for testing.
I do feel the mount -> computer cable is a bit long.   It might be 10 feet (which is the shortest I had on hand).
(Fwiw, i'm also using USB for the Computer -> CP5 connection... on a separate port on the computer.)

I've resisted the Pegasus powerbox, but it might be time to upgrade the Dew Buster anyhow... sure would be convenient to have remote control for the dew heater.
Right now, I feel like the UltimatePB v2 is overkill, but it seems the Advance does not have a "managed" USB hub.  Plus, i could use the power (current) monitoring on a per port basis, especially when there are dew heaters involved.
The Eagle seems super clean, and flexible, but I'm just not ready to spend the $$ there.

If anyone knows of a good-bang-for-the-buck USB powered hub for the Computer -> Mount path let me know.  (Preferably fetchable from amazon.)   

E.g.  Dominique - what is the "HUB USB3" box in your schematic?   Is that basically the Active 16 meter cable?

-jeff

On Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:06 AM Dominique <d.h.durand@...> wrote:
Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Bill Long
 

I use Amazon cables all the time and have for years with no issues at all. I don't use the Amazon Basic branded ones. When I went to set up my Mach 2 I realized I did not have an A to A USB3 cable as well, so I picked up the 6-foot UGREEN cable from Amazon. Works great.

As for mounting things on tripods, I usually use trusty outdoor rated Velcro. It can be a pain to get back off if you want to remove it, so be careful about that, but it holds nicely. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...>
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 6:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach2 thru-mount USB when using USB 3.0 ? (and an M51)
 
Just to get some closure on this.... I've pretty much resolved my QHY268M -> Mach2 data issue with a new (shorter) cable.

Last night I secured a 3 foot USB-3-rated Male-A to Male-A cable from Amazon.   The brand was U-Green.   
(I know you all said to be careful on the amazon cables, but for a few bucks and free shipping I thought it wouldn't be too much of a gamble.)

I plugged this into the Mach2 pass-thru and to the computer (which is now sitting under the mount, and that's ok).

The camera side cable is the shortest USB-3 cable with Male-B connector I could find around the house..   (Its like maybe 1.5 meters.. I think the "factory supplied" QHY cable is 2 meters.   I'm actually looking for a shorter cable for the camera side as this one needs to get wrapped up a bunch.)

This setup seemed to work fine last night!  No dropped connections to the camera, no messed up frames, etc.  
So I suspect the issue is the 6 foot "USB 3 rated" cable I was using.   (Nonetheless, I do have a pegasus v2 on-the-way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

;^)  Longshot followup question:   Now that the computer is "on the floor" under the Mach2 Eagle... Does anyone have experience with a super clean solution for mounting a Mac Mini (2012) on the side of the Eagle pier?   
I'm thinking of getting a wall mount for the Mac Mini, and then use some sort of adapter (possibly plastic or delrin) to go between the Mac Mini wall mount and the pier, using one (or two) of the many holes on the Eagle pier.
A better solution would entail a custom "mounting" using the AP Tray brackets... This setup is to be used "portable" , so setup / teardown needs to be easy.

-jeff


On Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 4:07 AM Jeffc via groups.io <jeffcrilly=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thx everyone for the suggestions.   I've ordered a handful of super short USB-3 Male A -> Male A cables for testing.
I do feel the mount -> computer cable is a bit long.   It might be 10 feet (which is the shortest I had on hand).
(Fwiw, i'm also using USB for the Computer -> CP5 connection... on a separate port on the computer.)

I've resisted the Pegasus powerbox, but it might be time to upgrade the Dew Buster anyhow... sure would be convenient to have remote control for the dew heater.
Right now, I feel like the UltimatePB v2 is overkill, but it seems the Advance does not have a "managed" USB hub.  Plus, i could use the power (current) monitoring on a per port basis, especially when there are dew heaters involved.
The Eagle seems super clean, and flexible, but I'm just not ready to spend the $$ there.

If anyone knows of a good-bang-for-the-buck USB powered hub for the Computer -> Mount path let me know.  (Preferably fetchable from amazon.)   

E.g.  Dominique - what is the "HUB USB3" box in your schematic?   Is that basically the Active 16 meter cable?

-jeff

On Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:06 AM Dominique <d.h.durand@...> wrote:
Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Eric Weiner
 

You can find some reliable 24” USB3 A to B cables for the 268 and UPBv2 on Amazon as well. I bought an extra CP5 mount for my Eagle Pier to mount a small router to. I’m sure it’ll be sufficient for a mini-pc too with some ingenuity.


Jeffc
 

trusty outdoor rated Velcro

Velcro might work.   I could see a way to use a big piece of velcro for the "quick release" part.

Speaking of mounting things... recently I wanted to quickly mount the robofocus box and various other small boxes (USB Hub) on top of the OTA rings.
I found this stuff called "Alien Tape" which is really quite awesome for sticking two things together.   
And it is "removable" (and somewhat reusable).


On Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 7:05 PM Bill Long <bill@...> wrote:
I use Amazon cables all the time and have for years with no issues at all. I don't use the Amazon Basic branded ones. When I went to set up my Mach 2 I realized I did not have an A to A USB3 cable as well, so I picked up the 6-foot UGREEN cable from Amazon. Works great.

As for mounting things on tripods, I usually use trusty outdoor rated Velcro. It can be a pain to get back off if you want to remove it, so be careful about that, but it holds nicely. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...>
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 6:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach2 thru-mount USB when using USB 3.0 ? (and an M51)
 
Just to get some closure on this.... I've pretty much resolved my QHY268M -> Mach2 data issue with a new (shorter) cable.

Last night I secured a 3 foot USB-3-rated Male-A to Male-A cable from Amazon.   The brand was U-Green.   
(I know you all said to be careful on the amazon cables, but for a few bucks and free shipping I thought it wouldn't be too much of a gamble.)

I plugged this into the Mach2 pass-thru and to the computer (which is now sitting under the mount, and that's ok).

The camera side cable is the shortest USB-3 cable with Male-B connector I could find around the house..   (Its like maybe 1.5 meters.. I think the "factory supplied" QHY cable is 2 meters.   I'm actually looking for a shorter cable for the camera side as this one needs to get wrapped up a bunch.)

This setup seemed to work fine last night!  No dropped connections to the camera, no messed up frames, etc.  
So I suspect the issue is the 6 foot "USB 3 rated" cable I was using.   (Nonetheless, I do have a pegasus v2 on-the-way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

;^)  Longshot followup question:   Now that the computer is "on the floor" under the Mach2 Eagle... Does anyone have experience with a super clean solution for mounting a Mac Mini (2012) on the side of the Eagle pier?   
I'm thinking of getting a wall mount for the Mac Mini, and then use some sort of adapter (possibly plastic or delrin) to go between the Mac Mini wall mount and the pier, using one (or two) of the many holes on the Eagle pier.
A better solution would entail a custom "mounting" using the AP Tray brackets... This setup is to be used "portable" , so setup / teardown needs to be easy.

-jeff


On Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 4:07 AM Jeffc via groups.io <jeffcrilly=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thx everyone for the suggestions.   I've ordered a handful of super short USB-3 Male A -> Male A cables for testing.
I do feel the mount -> computer cable is a bit long.   It might be 10 feet (which is the shortest I had on hand).
(Fwiw, i'm also using USB for the Computer -> CP5 connection... on a separate port on the computer.)

I've resisted the Pegasus powerbox, but it might be time to upgrade the Dew Buster anyhow... sure would be convenient to have remote control for the dew heater.
Right now, I feel like the UltimatePB v2 is overkill, but it seems the Advance does not have a "managed" USB hub.  Plus, i could use the power (current) monitoring on a per port basis, especially when there are dew heaters involved.
The Eagle seems super clean, and flexible, but I'm just not ready to spend the $$ there.

If anyone knows of a good-bang-for-the-buck USB powered hub for the Computer -> Mount path let me know.  (Preferably fetchable from amazon.)   

E.g.  Dominique - what is the "HUB USB3" box in your schematic?   Is that basically the Active 16 meter cable?

-jeff

On Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:06 AM Dominique <d.h.durand@...> wrote:
Hi Jeffc,
I have a complex installation (see the diagram in PJ) and I have no problem with my QHY294C and QHY294M-Pro, even for the 47M mode flats of the QHY294M-pro. It is useful to put a Hub-USB3 powered at the output of the Mach2 before an active extension cable. I only have a bit rate problem with a QHY5III224c because with the Altair GPCAM3 224C at 154fps no problem either.
I think that the duration of the exposures should be limited to 180s with this type of camera and in particular without Ha filter.
Dominique


Robert Berta
 

I am using USB active extenders. I have run 62' with no issues and running to a USB splitter at the mount to run a imaging camera and guider camera. These use a small power supply plugged in similar to a cell phone charger to provide the power. As another person mentioned....I also have some UGreen USB cables that are quality. There are a few USB active cables....just make sure you get the ones that can be powered and are USB 3. Mine are all USB 2 currently.


Jeffc
 



On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 4:17 PM Robert Berta <biker123@...> wrote:
I am using USB active extenders. I have run 62' with no issues and running to a USB splitter at the mount to run a imaging camera and guider camera.

Thx for the info.    It turns out the imaging/mount-control computer is collocated with the mount/tripod... access is over remote-desktop / wifi (which is working great).
I just needed the shortest cable possible to the "thru mount" connection.
However, I'll keep in mind the powered extension possibly for the future, or if I find I need to move the computer.

Btw.. not sure I mentioned this here... I also added a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box v2 on top of the OTA to help resolve the USB3 issues.   
I kinda scoffed at getting the UPBv2 for the USB-3 managed hub.... but i'm finding the UPBv2 to be a fantastic addition.
It is very convenient to be able to power-up the camera remotely and track power usage.
Additionally, I've eliminated the robofocus controller wiring (and additional USB/serial adapter) by using the UPBv2 focus controller and a simple RJ45-DB9 cable I soldered up the other evening.
Oh.. and I no longer need the manual DewBuster controller as the UPBv2 also does intelligent dew-strap heating.  Plus the UPBv2 also tracks temperature humidity and dew point over time.

-jeff

These use a small power supply plugged in similar to a cell phone charger to provide the power. As another person mentioned....I also have some UGreen USB cables that are quality. There are a few USB active cables....just make sure you get the ones that can be powered and are USB 3. Mine are all USB 2 currently.