Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC


Joseph Beyer
 

Was imaging last night with my Mach1/CP4/APCC Pro mount and when it came time for a meridian flip, the flip didn't occur at the time indicated in the NINA sequencer and several minutes later the mount stopped tracking - which was the correct action as indicated in the Meridian Tracking Limits Operation box).  I parked and unparked the mount and immediately NINA flipped the mount and I was off and running again.  I've got everything setup in NINA as per Dale's instructions so I suspect I haven't selected the correct parameter(s) in the Meridian tab in APCC Pro.  I thought I'd start addressing potential conflicts in APCC then check in with the NINA development team once I knew the APCC parameters were correct.

I watched Dale's video this morning and the differences in parameters in his APCC and mine are the following:

1) In the "Operation" box I have Counterweight UP Slews within: East limits and West limits boxes checked.  Maybe this is the problem?

2) In the "Meridian Delay" box, Dale's video shows the Override ASCOM box checked whereas mine is not.

Everything else operated very smoothly all night.

Joe



 


Joseph Beyer
 


Joseph Beyer
 

Meridian flip was scheduled at 10:44

On Sep 12, 2021, at 12:29 PM, Joseph Beyer via groups.io <jcbeyer2001@...> wrote:


Dale Ghent
 

I've been away from my email for much of the week. Is this still an issue? There was a recent update to both NINA and the SMF plugin, so be sure to have those installed.

On Sep 12, 2021, at 12:12, Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@gmail.com> wrote:

Was imaging last night with my Mach1/CP4/APCC Pro mount and when it came time for a meridian flip, the flip didn't occur at the time indicated in the NINA sequencer and several minutes later the mount stopped tracking - which was the correct action as indicated in the Meridian Tracking Limits Operation box). I parked and unparked the mount and immediately NINA flipped the mount and I was off and running again. I've got everything setup in NINA as per Dale's instructions so I suspect I haven't selected the correct parameter(s) in the Meridian tab in APCC Pro. I thought I'd start addressing potential conflicts in APCC then check in with the NINA development team once I knew the APCC parameters were correct.

I watched Dale's video this morning and the differences in parameters in his APCC and mine are the following:

1) In the "Operation" box I have Counterweight UP Slews within: East limits and West limits boxes checked. Maybe this is the problem?

2) In the "Meridian Delay" box, Dale's video shows the Override ASCOM box checked whereas mine is not.

Everything else operated very smoothly all night.

Joe





Joseph Beyer
 

Thanks for checking back.  After changing my APCC parameters to match those in your video everything works fine. 


Dale Ghent
 

Good to hear, Joseph.

I'll make sure to update my docs to explain the configuration further.

On Sep 17, 2021, at 11:25, Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for checking back. After changing my APCC parameters to match those in your video everything works fine.


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

Actually, I have a question about the Smart Meridian Flip plugin.  Three nights in a row my AP1100 failed to flip and once caused a pier crash - the other two times I was monitoring the sequence and stopped in when the flip did not occur.  I have followed your video and have set all the appropriate settings:
In APPC:  Enable Meridian Tracking Limits checked; Action when limit reached set to Just Warn; Limit to Meridian unchecked; Counterweight Up Slews East and West limits checked; Send Limit with offset to NINA checked; Override ASCOM checked.  I have created a Meridian Tracking Limits file and copied East Limits to West Limits.
In NINA, loaded the latest Smart Meridian Flip - added to the Trigger section in the advanced sequencer.

Last night, I was imaging Abell 85. The OTA was facing east, counterweights down, which I believe is Pier Side West.  I expected the mount to flip when the meridian limit was reached (11:25PM). Both APCC and NINA reported that time as the flip time. However, no flip was initiated. I checked the NINA Log and found the following section:

...
2021-09-27T22:16:18.6496|INFO|SequenceItem.cs|Run|213|Finishing Category: * Instruction Set *, Item: NINA.Sequencer.Container.ParallelContainer, Strategy: ParallelStrategy, Items: 1, Conditions:  Triggers: 
2021-09-27T22:16:18.6517|INFO|SequenceItem.cs|Run|213|Finishing Category: * Instruction Set *, Item: NINA.Sequencer.Container.SequentialContainer, Strategy: SequentialStrategy, Items: 1, Conditions:  Triggers: 
2021-09-27T22:16:18.6526|INFO|SequenceItem.cs|Run|195|Starting Category: * Instruction Set *, Item: NINA.Sequencer.Container.SequentialContainer, Strategy: SequentialStrategy, Items: 6, Conditions:  Triggers: Trigger: AutofocusAfterFilterChangeTrigger: AutofocusAfterTemperatureChangeTrigger, Amount: 2°Trigger: SmartMeridianFlipTrigger
2021-09-27T22:16:18.7126|INFO|SmartMeridianFlipTrigger.cs|ShouldTrigger|301|Smart Meridian Flip - Telescope already reports pierWest. Automated Flip will not be performed.
2021-09-27T22:16:18.7136|INFO|SequenceItem.cs|Run|195|Starting Category: Utility, Item: WaitForTime, Time: 20:25:9h
2021-09-27T22:16:18.7146|INFO|SequenceItem.cs|Run|213|Finishing Category: Utility, Item: WaitForTime, Time: 20:25:9h
...

Seems odd - if the OTA is Pier Side West, shouldn't that be an indication that a pier flip is needed?

Here is a link to the complete log: 
https://www.dropbox.com/s/trqbxivm0lyd76p/20210927-184110-1.11.0.1151.9208.log?dl=0

Here is a link to my mlm file:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dd9gcbwvgvzii7r/Default.mlm?dl=0

Baffled - 
Mikey


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Mikey,

Seems odd - if the OTA is Pier Side West, shouldn't that be an indication that a pier flip is needed?
It sounds like NINA should have initiated a pier flip, but there may be a good reason it didn't.

I don't know if Dale always reads this forum, so maybe you could post this information to the NINA Discourse forum?

-Ray


Joseph Beyer
 

Mike,

I got it to work on my mount and there are a couple differences between your setup and mine mainly I unchecked the boxes for Counterweight Up Slews within East and West Limit boxes.  I also have the box for Clear Delay on Exit box checked.  Meridian Delay = 0. I'm not seeing the box you're describing as Send Limit with offset to NINA - I see one for SGP but not NINA.  Even though mine is working I may have it configured incorrectly.

In NINA: Minutes after meridian = 1min; Max minutes after meridian = 1 min; Pause before meridian = 0min

Joe


Joseph Beyer
 

Given the information you've provided I dug a bit further into APCC-Pro.  I know there have been a lot of discussion about smart meridian flips with SGP and several more with NINA but I haven't seen a specific check list of toggles to enable the Smart Meridian Flip in NINA

In "Settings" >> "Advanced Settings"  I hadn't realized there was a button to enable NINA - Resetting the Third Party Applications >> Meridian Support to NINA enables the checkbox for "Send Limit with Offset to NINA" in the "Meridian" tab

I was incorrect in unchecking the "Counterweight up slews within" boxes. It makes sense because without the boxes checked the custom obstruction file data wouldn't be used.   Enabling the "Send Limit to NINA" option requires the toggling of both EAST and WEST Limit boxes.  

I believe I've got the rest of the options configured correctly.  I'll have to give it a run and see if it works now. 

Apologies for introducing more confusion.

Joe


Joseph Beyer
 

The smart meridian flip didn't work well for me last night.  I ran a 28 point APPM arc before imaging.  When I started the sequencer the telescope slewed directly to the target, centered (no movement was required as it was centered already) and focused.  Before NINA started imaging the meridian flip flow alert popped up indicating a meridian flip was scheduled in 35 minutes - which was wrong based on my position.  The program didn't start imaging but just seemed to be waiting for the flip.  I canceled the alert and NINA started imaging and the interval east of the meridian was uneventful.  The flip came at the correct time indicated by the sequencer, not the 35 minutes initially indicated, but after the mount flipped it ended up pointing somewhere north of the target - plate solved - then slewed further away from the target.  I attempted to repoint the mount using CdC and it also went the wrong direction.  Shortly after APCC crashed and after restarting the virtual ports I use 20 and 21 had been replaced by 8 and 9.  Tried reslewing to the target and it was clear the mount was lost.  Manually moved it to PARK 3 and closed it up for the night.

The standard meridian flip worked great several days earlier.  The smart meridian flip not so much.

I can provide logs if anyone is interested.  I'll check in with the NINA forum as well.

Joe


Roland Christen
 


after the mount flipped it ended up pointing somewhere north of the target - plate solved - then slewed further away from the target.  
This is an indication that the reversing of the Dec direction was not set correctly in your plate solve program (NINA?). When you change sides in any German equatorial mount the Dec directions reverse and must be accounted for in automation software. The mount was never lost, it went to the place where it was sent. Your plate solve program was lost.

The same exact ting happens when you are guiding and flip sides. The guider program must reverse the guide corrections on the other side, otherwise the guide star will be lost after a few guide exposures.

Roland

-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Oct 2, 2021 5:21 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC

The smart meridian flip didn't work well for me last night.  I ran a 28 point APPM arc before imaging.  When I started the sequencer the telescope slewed directly to the target, centered (no movement was required as it was centered already) and focused.  Before NINA started imaging the meridian flip flow alert popped up indicating a meridian flip was scheduled in 35 minutes - which was wrong based on my position.  The program didn't start imaging but just seemed to be waiting for the flip.  I canceled the alert and NINA started imaging and the interval east of the meridian was uneventful.  The flip came at the correct time indicated by the sequencer, not the 35 minutes initially indicated, but after the mount flipped it ended up pointing somewhere north of the target - plate solved - then slewed further away from the target.  I attempted to repoint the mount using CdC and it also went the wrong direction.  Shortly after APCC crashed and after restarting the virtual ports I use 20 and 21 had been replaced by 8 and 9.  Tried reslewing to the target and it was clear the mount was lost.  Manually moved it to PARK 3 and closed it up for the night.

The standard meridian flip worked great several days earlier.  The smart meridian flip not so much.

I can provide logs if anyone is interested.  I'll check in with the NINA forum as well.

Joe

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Joseph Beyer
 

Yes, it was NINA.  I'll dig deeper into the settings and see if there's anything that reverses the direction of movement after flip.  The good news is the standard flip worked as designed a couple nights ago and I didn't need to touch the rig all night.  The standard meridian flip doesn't take into consideration the APCC user defined custom meridian limits at each declination but if the flip is being handled accurately and automatically by the program it doesn't matter if the flip occurs at the meridian or slightly after.  I guess if it's not broken don't fix it...


Joseph Beyer
 

It looks like the episode I had with the meridian flip a couple nights ago possibly corrupted something in either APCC or the V2 driver.  Last night I was trying to get the mount pointing in the correct direction and tried to slew from CdC a couple times.  Each time a message would come up that the computer had lost connection with the telescope.  At the same time APCC shut down and if I restarted the program without rebooting the computer the virtual ports had changed and were no longer 20 and 21.  

When I get the mount in this morning I thought I'd try loading one of the backup profiles from earlier this week and see if that might correct the problem.

Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Joe 


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Joe,

Each time a message would come up that the computer had lost connection with the telescope.
Losing a connection to the mount sounds like a possible cable issue. How are you connecting to the mount? Via network, serial port, or USB port?

I may have some time today to look at the logs if you use APCC's log zipper utility and post a link to the zip file. Include your APCC Logs, APPM logs and PNT files, and ASCOM logs. Also, post descriptions of each issue with that issue's approximate time so that I know where to start looking.

BTW, if you are using Dec Arc tracking, I recommend you turn off pointing correction if any of the pointing terms have very high values (greater than 1800 or less than -1800).

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joseph Beyer
Sent: Sunday, October 3, 2021 9:27 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC

It looks like the episode I had with the meridian flip a couple nights ago possibly corrupted something in either
APCC or the V2 driver. Last night I was trying to get the mount pointing in the correct direction and tried to
slew from CdC a couple times. Each time a message would come up that the computer had lost connection
with the telescope. At the same time APCC shut down and if I restarted the program without rebooting the
computer the virtual ports had changed and were no longer 20 and 21.

When I get the mount in this morning I thought I'd try loading one of the backup profiles from earlier this week
and see if that might correct the problem.

Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Joe


Joseph Beyer
 

Ray,

I'm connected to the mount by ethernet cable.  I've had the computer disconnect from the mount a couple times when I've moved it without holding the cables but it's a simple fix of restarting.  It doesn't resemble this situation. In each case last night all connections were as secure as I could make them and each disconnect corresponded to me trying to slew to a star with CdC.

I'll post the logs to Google drive and send along relevant information.

Thanks, Joe


Ray Gralak
 

Okay, is there anything that could interfere with LAN traffic on your network? Also, to what value do you have the network timeout configured in APCC?

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joseph Beyer
Sent: Sunday, October 3, 2021 10:03 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC

Ray,

I'm connected to the mount by ethernet cable. I've had the computer disconnect from the mount a couple
times when I've moved it without holding the cables but it's a simple fix of restarting. It doesn't resemble this
situation. In each case last night all connections were as secure as I could make them and each disconnect
corresponded to me trying to slew to a star with CdC.

I'll post the logs to Google drive and send along relevant information.

Thanks, Joe


Joseph Beyer
 

Logs are posted here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SNl8HLBI4f7ZwGcxsXUghMX8pPz4ArTF/view?usp=sharing

Mount: Mach1GTO/CP4
APCC-Pro v1.9.0.11
ASCOM V2 driver 5.30.10
CP4 software P02-08

Friday, Oct. 1:  Events started at 21:35 with a meridian flip.  Post flip the telescope was incorrectly pointing NNW of target (Pelican nebula).  With each successive plate solve the telescope continued to move further away in what seemed a NNE direction.  I stopped NINA and tried to slew back to the target with CdC which was followed by APCC shutting down.  After shutdown, the virtual ports changed from 20,21 to 8,9.   

Saturday, Oct. 2: I reset the virtual ports to 20,21 and ran the steps to reconfigure the V2 driver.  Last night I was out for a short period of time and tried to slew 2-3 times and APCC was disconnected and closed with each slew attempt. 

Thanks for taking a look, Joe


Ray Gralak
 

Joe,

 

I'll take a look at your logs today, however:

 

> Saturday, Oct. 2: I reset the virtual ports to 20,21 and ran the steps to reconfigure the V2 driver. 

 

You don't need to manually reconfigure the ASCOM driver if you enable the "Auto-config" checkbox in the AP V2 Driver groupbox as shown here in this screenshot:

 

 

-Ray

 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joseph Beyer

> Sent: Sunday, October 3, 2021 10:49 AM

> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io

> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC

>

> Logs are posted here:

> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SNl8HLBI4f7ZwGcxsXUghMX8pPz4ArTF/view?usp=sharing

>

> Mount: Mach1GTO/CP4

> APCC-Pro v1.9.0.11

> ASCOM V2 driver 5.30.10

> CP4 software P02-08

>

> Friday, Oct. 1:  Events started at 21:35 with a meridian flip.  Post flip the telescope was incorrectly pointing

> NNW of target (Pelican nebula).  With each successive plate solve the telescope continued to move further

> away in what seemed a NNE direction.  I stopped NINA and tried to slew back to the target with CdC which

> was followed by APCC shutting down.  After shutdown, the virtual ports changed from 20,21 to 8,9.

>

> Saturday, Oct. 2: I reset the virtual ports to 20,21 and ran the steps to reconfigure the V2 driver.  Last night I

> was out for a short period of time and tried to slew 2-3 times and APCC was disconnected and closed with

> each slew attempt.

>

> Thanks for taking a look, Joe


Ray Gralak
 

Joe,

 

As I suspected, there are some crazy-high values in the West model's pointing terms. The temporary solution is to turn off pointing correction, but I will make a change to APCC to ignore high-value terms like that. The problem is that there is not a large enough distribution of data points in both hour angle and declination to produce a good all-sky model. The Eastside doesn’t have the high values because the initial zenith point has a sufficiently different dec value than the arcs.

 

 

-Ray

 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joseph Beyer

> Sent: Sunday, October 3, 2021 10:49 AM

> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io

> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Smart Meridian Flip with NINA #APCC

>

> Logs are posted here:

> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SNl8HLBI4f7ZwGcxsXUghMX8pPz4ArTF/view?usp=sharing

>

> Mount: Mach1GTO/CP4

> APCC-Pro v1.9.0.11

> ASCOM V2 driver 5.30.10

> CP4 software P02-08

>

> Friday, Oct. 1:  Events started at 21:35 with a meridian flip.  Post flip the telescope was incorrectly pointing

> NNW of target (Pelican nebula).  With each successive plate solve the telescope continued to move further

> away in what seemed a NNE direction.  I stopped NINA and tried to slew back to the target with CdC which

> was followed by APCC shutting down.  After shutdown, the virtual ports changed from 20,21 to 8,9.

>

> Saturday, Oct. 2: I reset the virtual ports to 20,21 and ran the steps to reconfigure the V2 driver.  Last night I

> was out for a short period of time and tried to slew 2-3 times and APCC was disconnected and closed with

> each slew attempt.

>

> Thanks for taking a look, Joe