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20 Aug 2017
INDI development team is happy to announce the release of INDI Library v1.5.0. This new exciting release builds on the maturity of INDI Library and comes with many new supported devices and fixes for existing drivers.
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TOPIC: Celestron AVX mount and Starsense

Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 3 months 1 week ago #16620

Hello, I am a newbee (but fanatic!). I have a Celestron AVX mount with Starsense. I want to control it with my RaspberriPi 3. I tried to use the Nexstar lib, because I know you can control it well with Nexremote (I succesfully tried that) from a PC by a serial/usb cable. But with the Indiserver I get the message that the firmware is 1.2 and must be 4.2 or higher. I assume that the indiserver/lib checks the firmware as if there is a Nexstar HC. Is there a way to workaround this?

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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 3 weeks ago #16996

4.2+ is required for some functions, but you can still use the driver with earlier firmwares.

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Jasem Mutlaq
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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 3 weeks ago #17012

The Starsense 1.2 firmware is not a early version but a version on its own. It has a unique model ID. Indiserver does not accept them. Nothing works.

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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 3 weeks ago #17014

Is there a command set for this mount? Not sure if it is different than the regular Nextstar command.

EDIT: Looks like it is already supported. Can you turn Debug logging on (to File) from Options tab in INDI Control Panel and send the file? Turn the debug & logging options _before_ you connect to the mount.

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Jasem Mutlaq
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Last Edit: by knro.

Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 2 weeks ago #17153

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Actually I also own Starsense and use it with the AVX. It comes with its own hand controller, with additional features to control the Starsense camera to use built in plate solving for mount alignment. To my understanding, even though operation of the Starsense hand controller is different form the standard Nexstar+ controller, it appears to support the full serial command set of the current Nexstar+ controllers and hence should work flawless with libindi. However, since Celestron considers Starsense as its own (rather new) product, the firmware reports something like 1.x as version.

Unfortunately, up to now I had no time looking into details, but a brief test some time ago with a patched indi driver that starsense should work with indi. At that time there where some (reported) bugs in the Starsense firmware which caused problems when parking the mount, but to my knowledge this should be fixed meanwhile by a new Starsense firmware. Probably one of the challenges for the indi driver would be to distinguish between the Nexstar and the Starsense hand controller when reporting the firmware version to prevent the driver from thinking that it talks to an old Nexstar controller.

Even if my time is rather limited currently, if there is something I can do to support your activities, please let me know.
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Last Edit: by geo.

Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 2 weeks ago #17154

Please share the patch. How to distinguish then between Nexstar and Starsense? from firmware information?

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Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 2 weeks ago #17160

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most likely it is not worth sharing the patch, since I simply and crudely disabled version checking for testing. This is obviously not the way how to do it officially.

The question how to distinguish between Nexstar and Starsense is a really good one. Since I did not see an obvious way to distinguish between an old Nexstar version and Starsense when I did my tests, I did not continue with these activities.

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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 2 weeks ago #17170

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meanwhile I posted a question at Team Celestron regarding how to distinguish the Starsense hand controller and old Nexstar controllers. Let's see what will be the result.

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Last Edit: by geo.

Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 4 days ago #17314

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Dear all,

meanwhile I got a response from Team Celestron and have been able to create an experimental patch to unlock newer features of the celestrongsps driver, when a Starsense controller is attached instead of a newer Nexstar controller. Since older versions of the Starsense controller include a nasty bug when syncing, the patch requires Starsense firmware 1.18 or newer in order to unlock full functionality. If you have an older firmware on your Starsense controller, please update to the latest version.

Unfortunately, due to time an weather restrictions, I have been only able to do some dry tests with the modified driver. Since parking and unparking the mount completely screwed up the mount causing the OTA (if it would have been mounted) pointing towards the ground, I decided to disable parking for safety reasons if a Starsense controller is detected. Please note that the patch does nothing else than enabling the full feature set of the celestrongps driver (except from parking/unparking). It does not add any new Starsense specific functionality.

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: On the first glance all other features seemed to work fine, but if you want to test the patch, please note that you do it completely at your own risk. I am not responsible for any side effects or damages caused by the patch.

@bsfstreef: If you want to test the modified driver, simply apply the patch agains the git version of libindi and recompile.
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Last Edit: by geo.

Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 2 months 2 days ago #17336

Thanks for the work geo! Maybe it sounds silly.... But I dont know how to apply the patch agains the git version of libindi and recompile.

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Celestron AVX mount and Starsense 1 month 3 weeks ago #17548

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Ah, no problem, this does not sound silly at all. Regardless of the fact that libindi is very well designed and compiles rather well, the whole process is all but trivial for people who do not work with C++ on a regular basis.

First of all, you should follow the instructions in Jasem's forum post "HOWTO: Building latest libindi & Ekos", paragraph 3, "Building INDI from Source
". If you use Raspbian on your PI, the described steps should work without problems (at least they did for me). As a first test, I would recommend to compile the sources without the Starsense patch, just to make sure that the toolchain and the whole compilation process works flawlessly. For this purpose, simply type "sudo make" rather than "sudo make install" for this purpose.

If compilation works well, as a next step, you can apply the Starsense patch. To do this, enter the libindi directory created when downloading the sources via git, copy the patch to the same directory, and then type

patch -p1 <celestrongps_starsense.diff.txt

You should get then the following three messages:

patching file libindi/drivers/telescope/celestrondriver.cpp
patching file libindi/drivers/telescope/celestrondriver.h
patching file libindi/drivers/telescope/celestrongps.cpp

After this, you are ready to recompile the modified sources. To do this, and in the same step install the modified indi drivers use the command "sudo make install" this time.

If everything has worked correctly, you should now have a modified version of the celestrongps driver on your PI.

If the hole process sounds too complicated, maybe you kindly may ask Jasem, whether he could include the patch in his nightly builds. Since the patch is able to detect the Starsense controller and distinguishes between standard Nexstar controllers and Starsense, it should also be safe for all non-Starsense users. At least, I tested it with my AVX Nexstar+ controller and it worked flawlessly.

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