Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC


M Hambrick
 

Here's one for Ray.

I am on the third round of fighting issues with my 1100GTO mount status not being communicated to MaxIm DL, but last night I encountered an anomaly with the AP V2 ASCOM Driver as well. See the screen shots below the text.

Note that I am running the current software versions and drivers on all of my programs.

I started up the system and connected my mount to APCC and to the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. Then I started up my SBIG cameras and connected them to MaxIm DL. Finally, I connected the mount to MaxIm DL. 

Initially, everything was OK. The mount status in MaxIm, APCC, and the AP V2 ASCOM Driver was consistent across all three. The first command I gave the mount was from APCC to go to Park 2. This is when the mount status in MaxIm went bad, but I also noticed a strange event in the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. The mount went to Park 2, and in APCC, the RA coordinates were continuously changing (as would be expected), but this was not the case in the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. The mount indicated to be parked, but the RA coordinates AP V2 Driver were not changing.

Next, I unparked the mount from APCC and the mount status changed to "Tracking" in APCC, but in the AP V2 Driver it still showed to be parked.

I clicked the Unpark button in the AP V2 Driver, and it updated to show the same RA and DEC coordinates as APCC. after that, everything appeared to be OK with the AP V2 Driver.

So, my question for Ray is whether you think that this failure to show the correct mount status in the AP V2 Driver is related to the problem with the mount status issue in MaxIm ?

Mike










Ray Gralak
 

Alt/Az is not a reliable comparison to judge if there is a mismatch because it is constantly changing  when tracking is on. The driver polls APCC only once per second so the driver can be a little behind in Alt/Az position. Another possibility is that refraction may be on in APCC. And in your screenshot the driver is showing the site in red, which means long/lat don’t match what is set in the mount -- and that can affect the alt/az calculation.

 

Concerning the status, are you observing this directly on the computer or via remote desktop?  The driver polls the tracking/parking status once every 5 seconds so it can take up to 5 seconds to show in the driver, assuming another application is not dominating the CPU.

 

-Ray

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of M Hambrick
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2022 8:16 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

 

Here's one for Ray.

I am on the third round of fighting issues with my 1100GTO mount status not being communicated to MaxIm DL, but last night I encountered an anomaly with the AP V2 ASCOM Driver as well. See the screen shots below the text.

Note that I am running the current software versions and drivers on all of my programs.

I started up the system and connected my mount to APCC and to the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. Then I started up my SBIG cameras and connected them to MaxIm DL. Finally, I connected the mount to MaxIm DL. 

Initially, everything was OK. The mount status in MaxIm, APCC, and the AP V2 ASCOM Driver was consistent across all three. The first command I gave the mount was from APCC to go to Park 2. This is when the mount status in MaxIm went bad, but I also noticed a strange event in the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. The mount went to Park 2, and in APCC, the RA coordinates were continuously changing (as would be expected), but this was not the case in the AP V2 ASCOM Driver. The mount indicated to be parked, but the RA coordinates AP V2 Driver were not changing.

Next, I unparked the mount from APCC and the mount status changed to "Tracking" in APCC, but in the AP V2 Driver it still showed to be parked.

I clicked the Unpark button in the AP V2 Driver, and it updated to show the same RA and DEC coordinates as APCC. after that, everything appeared to be OK with the AP V2 Driver.

So, my question for Ray is whether you think that this failure to show the correct mount status in the AP V2 Driver is related to the problem with the mount status issue in MaxIm ?

Mike










M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

I am not talking about the Alt/Az position coordinates, but rather the RA coordinates.

With the mount in Park 2, the RA coordinates were changing continuously as I watched the APCC screen, but they were not changing at all in the AP V2 Driver window. I watched this for several minutes before concluding that AP V2 driver was not updating at all.

When I unparked the mount from APCC (see 3rd screen shot), again AP V2 did not update the to show that it was tracking again. Again, this was not just for a few seconds, but for several minutes.

Mike

I am running everything directly off my laptop.


Ray Gralak
 

Mike,

Okay, I will need additional information to figure out what you saw, since it looks like you pasted separate images together.

1. Please use the APCC Log zipper from APCC's tool menu. Ensure including the APCC and ASCOM log files that cover the time this happened.
2. Please provide a ten-minute time window when this happened.
3. Any actions taken from MaximDL (e.g. did you Park or Unpark or slew from MaximDL).
4. A list of any other applications running on your desktop.
5. What operating system (type "winver" from Windows start menu or any command prompt).
6. The model of the laptop you were using, including the CPU, memory size, type of disk drive, and amount of free space on the disk. Most of the CPU usage of the driver is for logging to disk, which may be a factor if the laptop is slower or if the disk is fragmented (or SSD needs trimming).

You can send this via email to me instead of posting it if you want. If the APCC/ASCOM zip file is larger than a few megabytes, you will need to provide a dropbox or other link to the file for download.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of M Hambrick
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2022 3:22 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

Hi Ray

I am not talking about the Alt/Az position coordinates, but rather the RA coordinates.

With the mount in Park 2, the RA coordinates were changing continuously as I watched the APCC screen, but
they were not changing at all in the AP V2 Driver window. I watched this for several minutes before concluding
that AP V2 driver was not updating at all.

When I unparked the mount from APCC (see 3rd screen shot), again AP V2 did not update the to show that it was
tracking again. Again, this was not just for a few seconds, but for several minutes.

Mike

I am running everything directly off my laptop.


M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

I will answer a couple of your questions now, and then try to gather all of the other requested information (i.e logs) this evening when I get home from work.

#3 In this particular instance the first command I gave the mount after making the initial connections was from APCC to go to Park 2. Note that I have it set up to start tracking when the connection is made.

#4 In addition to the system applications, I will have the following applications running during every observing / imaging session: MaxIm DL Pro, APCC Pro, AP V2 ASCOM Driver, Microsoft Excel (for my observing notes), Snagit 12 (screen capture software), Deep Sky Planner (only for their red screen). I am not sure it makes any difference, but the laptop is connected to my home wireless network even when I am out in the back yard. However, all of the connections to the cameras and mount are via cables. I am using an ethernet cable to connect the CP4 to my laptop and USB cables to connect the cameras. 

#5 I am running Windows 10, I will have to get the specific details about the latest Windows upgrade when I get home.

#6 My laptop is an ASUS Model Q552U Notebook PC. I purchased it in December, 2015. It has an Intel Core I7 processor. It has 12GB RAM and 940 GB of disc storage. The hard disk still has over 600 GB of available storage. Typically, with all of the applications listed above running the CPU usage averages about 20%, but it will spike up during certain events (like image downloads). Note that in this particular session I was monitoring the laptop memory usage throughout the process of starting up all of the programs and while downloading a couple images in case there was a memory overload going on. At no time did the memory usage exceed about 4.5 GB, an there were no spikes that I could see.

With one exception, all power to the system is coming from two Powerwerx 25 Amp variable voltage power supplies; The mount and one of the cameras coming from one power supply, and the dew heaters and laptop power are running off of the other. My guide camera is an old SBIG ST2000-XM with a multiple voltage power supply. For this camera I use the OEM power supply plugged into a 120 VAC power strip. The negative terminals of both power supplies are jumpered together so that they share a common ground, and the pier is grounded.

Mike


M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

I am running Windows Version 21H1 (OS Build 19043.1586)

Here are the AP Zip files from April 9

Look in the ASCOM log starting at 18:27:31. I do see a couple errors that showed up at18:27:31 but I am not sure what these are about. I think trhis is when I was connecting the mount to the AP V2 Driver.

I also notice a gap in any ASCOM log activity from 18:27:31 until 18:40:00. I have no idea what that is about. There is no such gap in the APCC log

I am pretty sure that the park command where all this started was at 18:50:21

There seems to be some inconsistency in the logs there is an unpark command from APCC at 19:01:15 but this event does not appear in the ASCOM log

The unpark command that I made from the AP V2 Driver was at 19:07:24 This command does not show up in the APCC log.

I parked the scope again from APCC at 19:16:23. This event shows up in both logs. After this park command, the AP V2 Driver was matching APCC. After I parked the mount, this time I disconnected the mount from MaxIm.

There is also a gap in the ASCOM log from 19:19:47 from 21:33:32 This is probably where I took a break and went inside for a little while, but again, this gap does not appear in the APCC log

Let me know if there is anything else you want me to try to get.

If you have any troubleshooting tips that might help to sort this out, please let me know.

Mike


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Mike,

There seems to be some inconsistency in the logs there is an unpark command from APCC at 19:01:15 but this
event does not appear in the ASCOM log
If you are stating this, then I don't believe you understand how APCC and the driver are related. APCC sends commands directly to the mount, not through the driver. So, when you park or unpark in APCC those commands do not go through the ASCOM driver and thus won't be in the ASCOM driver's log file. However, the driver finds out later about the park status change only by polling the mount through APCC.

The unpark command that I made from the AP V2 Driver was at 19:07:24 This command does not show up in the
APCC log.
That's incorrect. To unpark the mount, the driver sent a ":Q#", which unparks and starts tracking. This command not only shows up in APCC's log, but the driver shortly sees that the mount is unparked and tracking. There is no issue here.

There is also a gap in the ASCOM log from 19:19:47 from 21:33:32 This is probably where I took a break and went
inside for a little while, but again, this gap does not appear in the APCC log
To save disk space, the driver will pause logging after a few minutes when the mount is parked.

You wrote this previously:
When I unparked the mount from APCC (see 3rd screen shot), again AP V2 did not update the to show that
it was tracking again. Again, this was not just for a few seconds, but for several minutes.
To me, it just looks like the driver just didn't update the text in the park status field. I will take a look at that. However, the driver also should indicate that the mount is unparked to ASCOM devices because the driver shows the mount tracking in that screenshot.

BTW, is the drive in your computer an SSD?

-Ray


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of M Hambrick
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2022 7:16 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

Hi Ray

I am running Windows Version 21H1 (OS Build 19043.1586)

Here are the AP Zip files from April 9

Look in the ASCOM log starting at 18:27:31. I do see a couple errors that showed up at18:27:31 but I am not sure
what these are about. I think trhis is when I was connecting the mount to the AP V2 Driver.

I also notice a gap in any ASCOM log activity from 18:27:31 until 18:40:00. I have no idea what that is about. There
is no such gap in the APCC log

I am pretty sure that the park command where all this started was at 18:50:21

There seems to be some inconsistency in the logs there is an unpark command from APCC at 19:01:15 but this
event does not appear in the ASCOM log

The unpark command that I made from the AP V2 Driver was at 19:07:24 This command does not show up in the
APCC log.

I parked the scope again from APCC at 19:16:23. This event shows up in both logs. After this park command, the
AP V2 Driver was matching APCC. After I parked the mount, this time I disconnected the mount from MaxIm.

There is also a gap in the ASCOM log from 19:19:47 from 21:33:32 This is probably where I took a break and went
inside for a little while, but again, this gap does not appear in the APCC log

Let me know if there is anything else you want me to try to get.

If you have any troubleshooting tips that might help to sort this out, please let me know.

Mike


M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

Thanks for looking at the log files.

To your question my hard drive is not a SSD.

Do you think anything that you have seen might be related to the mount status not updating in MaxIm DL ? This is really the problem I have been trying to solve. When I saw the other night where the AP V2 driver was not updating the RA coordinates when the mount was parked I thought that there may be a connection.

Mike 

Mike


Ray Gralak
 

Mike,

Do you think anything that you have seen might be related to the mount status not updating in MaxIm DL ? This is
really the problem I have been trying to solve. When I saw the other night where the AP V2 driver was not
updating the RA coordinates when the mount was parked I thought that there may be a connection.
The first "suspect" is your computer. Windows 10 is continuously writing to internal log files and gathering/sending telemetry information, so any slow component can exasperate the threading issue that MaximDL appears to have accessing the driver. At a minimum, I recommend you swap out that drive with a SATA SSD.

Plus, your third screenshot, the one that you indicated shows a status difference between APCC and the driver, has separate images taken at different times that you pieced together. The ASCOM driver's screenshot is over a minute and a half earlier than the APCC screenshot. A lot could have happened in that much time. So, in the future, I suggest you line up the applications next to each other and take one screenshot of all of them simultaneously.

-Ray


M Hambrick
 

Thanks for the suggestion, Ray, but surely there are many other users who have traditional disk drives who have not experienced this kind of issue. While I might see some benefits from doing so, it is hard for me to believe that the type of hard drive I have in my laptop is the root cause of this problem.

Can you perhaps suggest some different things for me to try that will not require a complete overhaul of my hardware ?

FYI, I set up indoors last night to try to duplicate this issue with the plan to experiment with some different configurations, but everything worked perfectly. Something is triggering this loss of communication. 

Mike


Ray Gralak
 

Mike,

Thanks for the suggestion, Ray, but surely there are many other users who have traditional disk drives who have
not experienced this kind of issue. While I might see some benefits from doing so, it is hard for me to believe that
the type of hard drive I have in my laptop is the root cause of this problem.
It isn't the root cause. There is a bug in MaximDL that is exasperated by slow performance. I have been using various versions of MaximDL for over 20 years, and I have never seen the problem you are experiencing. It may be that I usually use higher-performing desktop computers, and I would reinstall Windows when a computer started to slow down.

Can you perhaps suggest some different things for me to try that will not require a complete overhaul of my
hardware ?
There are not many things you can do to improve the performance of most laptops. The weakest link in older laptops was a spinning hard drive. Swapping the hard drive for an SSD will significantly improve the performance of a laptop over a long period of time. The reason is apparent once you hear it.

When Windows is first installed on a blank drive all of the O/S and files are installed near each other on tracks of the disk, so disk head seeks take very little time and performance is not too different than an SSD. However, in time, after installing applications and many operating system updates, the system files will get scattered all over disk, thus seeking times become much larger and more plentiful. This will vastly slow down the computer with a spinning disk. An SSD is hardly affected because seek times are essentially zero.

The only other thing you could do is to install more memory so more O/S and application files will get cached in memory, but this will not help disk write performance. Your laptop has 12GB, and the max that the CPU supports is 32GB, but your laptop may not support that much RAM.

-Ray


M Hambrick
 

Thanks for the explanation Ray. That helps to make some sense of what is going on with the hard drive. I will investigate what it will take to upgrade to a SSD. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just get a new laptop. I think most of the new models have SSD's. I have also heard that the current generation of Core I7 processors is much faster than the ones from 2015.

The downside to getting a new laptop would be having to transfer all of my software licenses over. I have seen quite a few posts on that topic on this and other forums. Then there would be the Windows 11 vs Windows 10 switch. 

Mike


Wayne Hixson
 

Mike
, I agree going to a new PC is a hassle but there’s a huge difference between today’s machines and one from 2015. I just migrated from an older laptop to a desktop and I think preparation is the key. Write down all the software involved. Most of my license keys came via email and I created a License folder in my Yahoo mail to keep them. Once they’re in the Cloud I can access them easily from any computer. There are settings and profiles sometimes, find out where they’re kept, write down the oath, and copy those folders to a USB drive under the name of the program involved. 

It does take a while to recover the applications involved but once you do it’s relatively easy to install the licenses and profiles. 

Good luck!

wayne


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I also run Belarc Advisor on my PCs periodically, and always just before an upgrade or replacement.  Provides lots of useful information, including license keys (although I have found some missing for some of my apps).

 

Mikey

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Wayne Hixson via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2022 12:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

 

Mike
, I agree going to a new PC is a hassle but there’s a huge difference between today’s machines and one from 2015. I just migrated from an older laptop to a desktop and I think preparation is the key. Write down all the software involved. Most of my license keys came via email and I created a License folder in my Yahoo mail to keep them. Once they’re in the Cloud I can access them easily from any computer. There are settings and profiles sometimes, find out where they’re kept, write down the oath, and copy those folders to a USB drive under the name of the program involved. 

It does take a while to recover the applications involved but once you do it’s relatively easy to install the licenses and profiles. 

Good luck!

wayne


 

Excellent advice from you and Wayne! Thank you.

 

Clear Skies,

Marj Christen

Astro-Physics

11250 Forest Hills Road

Machesney Park, IL 61115

Phone: 815-282-1513

www.astro-physics.com
Video Tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/astrophysicscorp 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2022 12:22 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

 

I also run Belarc Advisor on my PCs periodically, and always just before an upgrade or replacement.  Provides lots of useful information, including license keys (although I have found some missing for some of my apps).

 

Mikey

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Wayne Hixson via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2022 12:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

 

Mike
, I agree going to a new PC is a hassle but there’s a huge difference between today’s machines and one from 2015. I just migrated from an older laptop to a desktop and I think preparation is the key. Write down all the software involved. Most of my license keys came via email and I created a License folder in my Yahoo mail to keep them. Once they’re in the Cloud I can access them easily from any computer. There are settings and profiles sometimes, find out where they’re kept, write down the oath, and copy those folders to a USB drive under the name of the program involved. 

It does take a while to recover the applications involved but once you do it’s relatively easy to install the licenses and profiles. 

Good luck!

wayne


M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

Here is another weird occurrence from the other night. I was trying to connect the AP V2 Driver to the mount through the virtual COM port in APCC. After some difficulty in getting connected I finally had APCC and the AP V2 Driver connected. After several minutes I gave the command to park the mount from APCC. The screen shots below shows what happened next:

In the first screen shot you can see from the APCC screen that both APCC and the AP V2 Driver show to be connected, but if you look at the mount info windows in both it appears that the AP V2 Driver is totally locked up and had been for some time. 

In the second screen shot I have the window arranged so that you can see the comparison of the computer time with the time shown in the AP V2 Driver. There is a 12 minute difference !

I have downloaded all the logs from this session, but I stopped and restarted the AP V2 driver many times, so I need to try to look through them and give you the time stamp of the ones that might show this event.




Ray Gralak
 

Hi Mike,

If this is the same computer with the other issues then I would rather wait until you have a replacement computer.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of M Hambrick
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 3:36 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mount Status in AP V2 ASCOM Driver Does Not Match APCC

Hi Ray

Here is another weird occurrence from the other night. I was trying to connect the AP V2 Driver to the mount
through the virtual COM port in APCC. After some difficulty in getting connected I finally had APCC and the AP
V2 Driver connected. After several minutes I gave the command to park the mount from APCC. The screen shots
below shows what happened next:

In the first screen shot you can see from the APCC screen that both APCC and the AP V2 Driver show to be
connected, but if you look at the mount info windows in both it appears that the AP V2 Driver is totally locked up
and had been for some time.

In the second screen shot I have the window arranged so that you can see the comparison of the computer time
with the time shown in the AP V2 Driver. There is a 12 minute difference !

I have downloaded all the logs from this session, but I stopped and restarted the AP V2 driver many times, so I
need to try to look through them and give you the time stamp of the ones that might show this event.





M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

That (laptop replacement) is not likely to happen any time soon. And as for other issues, other than this one communication issue with these particular applications this laptop behaves perfectly.

If there is in fact a problem with this computer, it should be possible to at least identify what the problem. Just saying that it is old is not an answer.

When I read some of the suggestions from other users about what kind of laptop to look for, I was surprised at how many of the computers that were being suggested were using older generation processors than this one has.

Mike


Ray Gralak
 

Mike,

If there is in fact a problem with this computer, it should be possible to at least identify what the problem. Just
saying that it is old is not an answer.
Are you asking me to find a hardware problem on your computer? I've given you a couple of suggestions on what you should do (replace hard drive with an SSD and add more memory). You could at least try those things first, as your computer definitely has some issues! :-)

-Ray


M Hambrick
 

Hi Ray

As for memory, when all of my applications are running, I am using 4.99 GB out of 12 GB of my computer's RAM capacity, and 260 GB of the 1 TB storage capacity If this were a problem, I would expect that you would have a lot more people with the same issue.

While switching to a SSD might not be a bad idea, I would put it in the category of just swapping out hardware hoping that it might solve a problem. I am not sure that I have the skills to do that anyway. That's why I said that it might be a better idea to replace the laptop.

If you have any other suggestions for troubleshooting this issue, I would be interested in hearing them.

Mike