Topics

USB and cold weather


Micheal Fields Jr
 

I seem to have some errors when I have my stuff out in the cold.  This is california cold at 47F.  Every frame I downloaded had this weird mosaic tile puzzle look to it. Qhy says it is USB CrC errors.

Swapped cables and didn't have luck until I ran a 6 foot cable from my PC to the hub directly bypassing the Mach2 through the mount usb 3 cable.  But it wasn't 100% fixed.  Just a lot better.  Then I brought the whole thing in the house to set up and experiment and shoot video and it all started working again.  The only difference is that inside it is 70F.  I've heard of USB hubs and other electronics get angry when it is cold so I figure that must be it.  

I use the StarTech Industrial metal 12v powered 4 port hub.  I've used this hub for years without issue.  

If I bypass the mount and go direct, I don't have problems  But once I brought all this inside where it is warm, I can go through the mount with very little problems.  Maybe 2 bad frames out of 200.  This hub I have was over 100$ when I originally bought it.  Now it can be had for a steal at $80 on Amazon.  The cables were just whatever Amazon had that had good reviews.

All my cables are minimal length.    Please tell me what cables  you like and what hubs you like?

People from AP, any way for the end user to run my own cable through just in case it turns out to be a finicky cable?  I'd go ahead and upgrade to 3.1 or 3.2 Gen2 most likely.

See attached jpg showing what it looks like.   


Edward Beshore
 

Hi Micheal

I routinely use my USB equipment down to freezing and below in CO.

I would suspect moisture before I would suspect cold (knowing that CA also has a lot of that if you are anywhere close to ocean..)

Ed Beshore


W Hilmo
 

It could potentially be a cable or connector issue.  As it gets colder, cables get stiffer which puts more stress on the connectors when things move.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Edward Beshore via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2021 5:27 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

 

Hi Micheal

I routinely use my USB equipment down to freezing and below in CO.

I would suspect moisture before I would suspect cold (knowing that CA also has a lot of that if you are anywhere close to ocean..)

Ed Beshore


Xentex
 

I have a similar issue with the through mount connection on the Mach 2 when I use USB3.  Works fine until we get below a certain temp, then it breaks up.

Some cables work better than others, but I haven't been able to make it completely go away except by changing it to USB 2.  I bought myself a new cold weather USB 3 hub thinking maybe that would help, but it didn't.

What works for me right now is PC->Mach2 mount->Camera->hub->other stuff.  So only the camera is running USB3.  If I rearrange it to PC->Mach2->Hub->Camera then it fails when temp goes below about 5F.


Don Anderson
 

Micheal
Problem could be related to the cables or the hub. Most consumer/commercial electronics is rated to around 32F(0Celcius). That is not to say that the device will work reliably down to that temp. Failure at 47F is a bit unusual though and suggests something is defective. USB3 is a lot more touchy than USB2. You could have a bad USB3 cable in the mount as well as a failing USB hub. If you are looking for a new robust hub that is good for low (-40F) temp, I would look at the products from Pegasus Astro. I bought one of their USB control hubs to replace my consumer hub that quit working at about 35F. Works great.
Hope this helps

Don Anderson


On Saturday, January 9, 2021, 03:22:22 a.m. MST, Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...> wrote:


I seem to have some errors when I have my stuff out in the cold.  This is california cold at 47F.  Every frame I downloaded had this weird mosaic tile puzzle look to it. Qhy says it is USB CrC errors.

Swapped cables and didn't have luck until I ran a 6 foot cable from my PC to the hub directly bypassing the Mach2 through the mount usb 3 cable.  But it wasn't 100% fixed.  Just a lot better.  Then I brought the whole thing in the house to set up and experiment and shoot video and it all started working again.  The only difference is that inside it is 70F.  I've heard of USB hubs and other electronics get angry when it is cold so I figure that must be it.  

I use the StarTech Industrial metal 12v powered 4 port hub.  I've used this hub for years without issue.  

If I bypass the mount and go direct, I don't have problems  But once I brought all this inside where it is warm, I can go through the mount with very little problems.  Maybe 2 bad frames out of 200.  This hub I have was over 100$ when I originally bought it.  Now it can be had for a steal at $80 on Amazon.  The cables were just whatever Amazon had that had good reviews.

All my cables are minimal length.    Please tell me what cables  you like and what hubs you like?

People from AP, any way for the end user to run my own cable through just in case it turns out to be a finicky cable?  I'd go ahead and upgrade to 3.1 or 3.2 Gen2 most likely.

See attached jpg showing what it looks like.   


Worsel
 

Are you using AC power with an AC-DC adapter or are you using DC power for the hub, etc?  If the former, no big deal.  If the latter, what battery?

Bryan


Micheal Fields Jr
 

I am using a Pyramid 12 amp linear regulated power supply that is AC to DC supplying a nice heavy duty power cable using anderson power poles from that unit to a rig-runner distrubution box on top of the mount.  Power of course goes through the mount.  The USB hub is the https://www.startech.com/en-us/cards-adapters/st4300usbm   and is powered from that rig-runner with 12v.  Nothing on my system draws more than an amp or two so I know there is plenty of amps.  Also I measured the voltage with everything turned on to make sure it didn't drop under 12v and it was all stable at 13+


Micheal Fields Jr
 

This is the hub I am using. https://www.startech.com/en-us/cards-adapters/st4300usbm   It claims it can go down to 32F as well.  I'll check out the pegasus astro product.  I still find it weird though that if I bypass the mount pass through it works fine.


On Sat, Jan 9, 2021 at 09:55 AM, Don Anderson wrote:
Micheal
Problem could be related to the cables or the hub. Most consumer/commercial electronics is rated to around 32F(0Celcius). That is not to say that the device will work reliably down to that temp. Failure at 47F is a bit unusual though and suggests something is defective. USB3 is a lot more touchy than USB2. You could have a bad USB3 cable in the mount as well as a failing USB hub. If you are looking for a new robust hub that is good for low (-40F) temp, I would look at the products from Pegasus Astro. I bought one of their USB control hubs to replace my consumer hub that quit working at about 35F. Works great.
Hope this helps
 
Don Anderson
 
 
On Saturday, January 9, 2021, 03:22:22 a.m. MST, Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...> wrote:
 
 
I seem to have some errors when I have my stuff out in the cold.  This is california cold at 47F.  Every frame I downloaded had this weird mosaic tile puzzle look to it. Qhy says it is USB CrC errors.

Swapped cables and didn't have luck until I ran a 6 foot cable from my PC to the hub directly bypassing the Mach2 through the mount usb 3 cable.  But it wasn't 100% fixed.  Just a lot better.  Then I brought the whole thing in the house to set up and experiment and shoot video and it all started working again.  The only difference is that inside it is 70F.  I've heard of USB hubs and other electronics get angry when it is cold so I figure that must be it.  

I use the StarTech Industrial metal 12v powered 4 port hub.  I've used this hub for years without issue.  

If I bypass the mount and go direct, I don't have problems  But once I brought all this inside where it is warm, I can go through the mount with very little problems.  Maybe 2 bad frames out of 200.  This hub I have was over 100$ when I originally bought it.  Now it can be had for a steal at $80 on Amazon.  The cables were just whatever Amazon had that had good reviews.

All my cables are minimal length.    Please tell me what cables  you like and what hubs you like?

People from AP, any way for the end user to run my own cable through just in case it turns out to be a finicky cable?  I'd go ahead and upgrade to 3.1 or 3.2 Gen2 most likely.

See attached jpg showing what it looks like.   


Micheal Fields Jr
 

My camera unfortunately doesn't have a built in usb hub so I can't go from camera to hub.  I am going to further experiment with this later today but at this point the only solution seems to be to not have through the mount cabling which was one of the factors that steered me towards this mount over its competitors.  

I hope I can get this working reliably.   


Roland Christen
 

The mount adds 18 inches of cable plus two connectors, which may be a problem for your camera. The USB3 signal from your camera is probably too weak to pass thru the extra length and connections. It may take the signal from a robust hub to go thru the mount axis reliably.

Roland



-----Original Message-----
From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 1:55 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

My camera unfortunately doesn't have a built in usb hub so I can't go from camera to hub.  I am going to further experiment with this later today but at this point the only solution seems to be to not have through the mount cabling which was one of the factors that steered me towards this mount over its competitors.  

I hope I can get this working reliably.   

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Micheal Fields Jr
 

Do you have any suggestions?  I was considering the idea of a powered hub with a short cable plugged into the mount bottom and then another hub at the top but I believe there is a limit imposed by Windows on how many hubs you can have.

So it would be PC with USB 3.0 Port > powered hub of some kind > Mach2 in ~~~~ Mach2 out > Pegasus USB 3.1 control box (which seems like a fancy product) > cameras/focuser/MGbox

I also ordered some di-electric silicone grease for the connections.


Xentex
 

You may not love this solution, but if you downgrade the USB cable from the PC to the mount from a USB3 to a USB2 cable then it will likely solve your problem.  Or the cable from the mount to the hub.  Either way, once there's USB2 in the chain it's going to drop back to USB2.

The only downside is download speed.  If you're shooting individual frames you'll probably not notice a difference.  If you're doing video you might, depending on your camera.

With my ASI6200 and its 119MB file sizes, it takes about 3 seconds to download a frame at USB 2 speeds.


Roland Christen
 

I think you only need the Pegasus powered hub on the scope.

Roland



-----Original Message-----
From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 3:11 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

Do you have any suggestions?  I was considering the idea of a powered hub with a short cable plugged into the mount bottom and then another hub at the top but I believe there is a limit imposed by Windows on how many hubs you can have.

So it would be PC with USB 3.0 Port > powered hub of some kind > Mach2 in ~~~~ Mach2 out > Pegasus USB 3.1 control box (which seems like a fancy product) > cameras/focuser/MGbox

I also ordered some di-electric silicone grease for the connections.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Micheal Fields Jr
 

I do not use video for sure.  Not with this camera.  3 seconds on USB2?  

Interestingly I have an Icron Ranger 2304 which is a USB 2.0 over Cat5e which was allowing me to run long ethernet cable out to my mount in the back yard but use my in home computer to control everything.

I would take about 30 seconds per download.    You are right, I don't love your solution but it is either that or not use the through the mount cabling.  Such a shame.

I just did some experiments.  Bottom line is if I bypass the mounts internal cable, I have zero issues at USB 3 speeds.    You are right though.  USB 2 port doing the same cables resulted in perfect no error images.

Damnit.


Dominique
 

I saw a problem like this 2 days ago in 28 ° F. My installation is complex with the Pegasus powerbox V2 installed in front of the plate, 1 USB3 Hub at the output of the mount wiring, 1 active 5m extension cable and 1 other USB3 Hub (not powered) connected to the laptop (see the attached diagram). As it generally works well and ceal makes my life easier, I have no reason to change.
Can the di-electric silicone grease for the connections make things better? In the meantime I have covered all the USB3 connections and I will see tonight (it will still be cold) if it gets better. It would be a shame to do without USB3 especially when you have to do the flats with the QHY294M-pro used in 47M.

Dominique


Xentex
 

A silicone grease can be useful to prevent corrosion of contacts, and if you're plugging and unplugging them a lot or they get jiggled in their sockets it will help reduce wear.  I use it all over outdoor contacts that are exposed to the elements.  I haven't ever used them on a USB connector because I wouldn't expect a USB connector to be exposed to elements.

Regarding download times for a 47M image file, that should be about 1 second on a USB 2 interface.


Micheal Fields Jr
 
Edited

Hi Roland.  I just did a ton of experimenting.  Xentex was right.  If I simply plug into a usb 2 port the problems go away.  Also if I bypass the mount entirely even with a 6 foot long cable, the problems go away.  It is only if I go through the mount with USB 3.0 do I have issues.    The Pegasus USB box is nice.  Probably worth having anyways but it is also an expensive "test".   I just bought a 3.3 foot female to female cable USB 3.0 to simulate going through the mount so I can see if it is simply having those extra connections or something else.

$10.00 with free shipping from Amazon will let me know.  Lets say it turns out that it works great with that "pretend" through the mount female to female cable.  What is my next step? By process of elimination it seems so far that the internal cable is not up to 3.0 standards.  I am waiting to hear back from my second favorite vendor to see if they have the usb control hub in stock then I'll probably go ahead and order it anyways.  Nice being able to turn off and on usb ports.

Edit: I was recording some of my experimenting.  Here is a link to a unedited video if any of you people are bored enough to watch.  At about 7:50 I bypass the mount and everything works great.  At the end I used Xentex idea and swapped to a usb 2.0 port and everything works that way too.  https://youtu.be/AOXtrYJypmA


Roland Christen
 

At the frequencies used in USB3, they begin to act more like light going thru various surfaces. At each connection there is a reflection of the signal just like the air-glass surfaces of a lens. So 2 more connections adds 2 reflections which lowers the signal amplitude and adds ringing of a steep rise-time pulse. If you have low signal to begin with, this may knock it down enough to cause the problem. There are hundreds of papers written on this if you care to search, but they are very technical if you're not knowledgeable of gigahertz stuff.

Running your own cable thru the mount would require taking the mount apart, which is highly not recommended and you could damage the internal wiring.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Micheal Fields Jr via groups.io <mpfjr@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2021 6:58 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB and cold weather

Hi Roland.  I just did a ton of experimenting.  Xentex was right.  If I simply plug into a usb 2 port the problems go away.  Also if I bypass the mount entirely even with a 6 foot long cable, the problems go away.  It is only if I go through the mount with USB 3.0 do I have issues.    The Pegasus USB box is nice.  Probably worth having anyways but it is also an expensive "test".   I just bought a 3.3 foot female to female cable USB 3.0 to simulate going through the mount so I can see if it is simply having those extra connections or something else.

$10.00 with free shipping from Amazon will let me know.  Lets say it turns out that it works great with that "pretend" through the mount female to female cable.  What is my next step? By process of elimination it seems so far that the internal cable is not up to 3.0 standards.  I am waiting to hear back from my second favorite vendor to see if they have the usb control hub in stock then I'll probably go ahead and order it anyways.  Nice being able to turn off and on usb ports.

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Micheal Fields Jr
 

Not going to take the mount apart for sure.

Thanks for the info about the reflections.  Way over my head for sure.  Be interesting though to see if my experiment next week shows the same issue persisting or not.


Micheal Fields Jr
 

I've never used them on USB connections previously but if there is a way to protect the connections and make sure they don't get moisture or start corroding I am going to do that.  This will be in an observatory sitting for weeks at a time so once I have everything working reliably the cables will never have to come unplugged.  (in theory)