Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. yesterday

I use CdC regularly. In my opinion it is the best free planetarium out there. Feature rich, written by an experienced astronomer for astronomers. Better than Stellarium (which only has the more realistic sky image going for it), and KStars (which has Ekos that is better than anything else). The Ephemeris alone is bar none.

But when I played around with INDI under CdC, it was, well, weird compared to the INDI experience under KStars.

So, I do my observation planning (on my desktop) in CdC, but the actual night out under the stars is with KStars (from a separate old laptop dedicated to astronomy).

If Ekos could run under CdC, then it would be a match made in heaven, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Different worlds.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. yesterday

Hello again Alex :-)

By ccdciel, you mean CdC/Cartes du Ciels?

If so, are you using it via an ASCOM driver, INDI driver, or direct LX200?
With the direct LX200, there is a problem with date format (or was that latitude/longitude? Can't remember).

With ASCOM or INDI, that should not be the case, since the driver should 'understand' what the command formats are are do them correctly.

There is already a feature in KStars to set the date/time for OnStep (or any INDI telescope driver) from the PC, or vice versa. It is under Settings -> Configure KStars -> INDI, then Time and Location Updates.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 2 days ago

To expand on James' point: Alpha, as of a week or so ago, has a change to the OnStep alignment code that removes restriction on where in the sky the alignment stars can be.

This means that we are free to use the Mount Model feature of Ekos, with my internal 'step through align' code that is in my branch.

Allows for unattended alignment. What are these things called eyepieces?

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 3 days ago

Blueshawk and James, thanks for the comments.

I think I should have been clear about how to test this.

Basically, the changes are not in Alpha yet. They are in my own branch of OnStep:

So download this zip, extract it into a directory called OnStep, and copy your Config.h file to that directory, and compile/upload to your OnStep controller

github.com/kbahey/OnStep/archive/plate-solve-align.zip

For KStars and INDI, I am using this version on Ubuntu
indi-bin 1.7.3~201805251740~ubuntu16.04.1
kstars-bleeding 6:2.9.6+201805251429~ubuntu16.04.1

Both are from Jasem's repositories on Launchpad. Nothing compiled locally is needed for the alignment code.

Then, connect KStars to INDI. Go to the INDI panel, LX200 OnStep then Main Control. Click on "3 Stars" (Howard says that more alignment may not work on Mega2560/RAMPS). Sidereal tracking will start.

At this point, note the status in INDI, which will say: "613 Manual Align: Star 1/3"

Then in Ekos, go to the Align tab, then click Mount Model, select "3" in Alignment Points. Then select the stars you want, or let Ekos choose for you.

Then click the triangle to start the alignment.

You will see 613 to 633, then "Manual Align Completed".

I tested it indoors and it seems to do what I intended it to do.

And of course, I would have tested this under the stars if I had a working mount and controller. My project for converting a mount I have to OnStep is still ongoing.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 5 days ago

I have code in OnStep that allows the use of the Ekos Mount Model tool, without changes in OnStep INDI.

Basically, alignment is started from INDI with, say, 3 stars.

Then Mount Model is configured to align on 3 stars.

As Mount Model slews to the stars selected, it takes images, does a plate solve, and sync on the coordinates of the solution. With my change, OnStep detects that an alignment is in effect (i.e. :A3# started, but not enough :A+# done yet), and the :CM# internally calls AddStar() to mimic a :A+#, and this repeats until all stars are plate solved and aligned to.

This requires Alpha, since it has new alignment code that allows alignment anywhere in the sky, as well as the changes in my branch.

Here is an overview with links to the pull request.

groups.io/g/onstep/message/3998

If someone can test it that would be great.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 2 weeks ago

James Lancaster: The other thing is the alignment in the Alpha branch which is changing. I think the plate solver can be used to make it easy.
Blueshawk: Integrating that into a scripted 3 star routine would be fantastic! Sit back and watch the mount tune itself. 8-)


Having plate solving integrated with OnStep alignment has been something on my to do list for some time.

Whether it is the old alignment or the new one, it does not matter.

The idea I have in mind is changing OnStep, so that

If:

a) alignment is started (:Ax# issued),
b) not yet completed (no :AW# issued),

And:

A :CM# is issued,

Then:

Treat each :CM# as an alignment point.

All this has to be within OnStep itself.

If Howard agrees to doing this, and sees no problems with it, this will allow the INDI OnStep driver to start an align, take a few images on the sky (using the Align Model tool), and that is all there is to it.

No need to center a stars, no eyepiece required!

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Canon DSLR Off By One Images - Very Dangerous!' in the forum. 3 months ago

I can't test this right now, but here it is from memory, so I could be off ...

Manual exposures while connected to INDI mess up the sequence. I see the frame count on the camera's screen blinking continuously, and the camera refuses to power down when the power switch is turned off. It will display 'saving image' until the battery is pulled out.

I will try to test again on the next clear night in a week or so.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Canon DSLR Off By One Images - Very Dangerous!' in the forum. 3 months ago

Mainly, it is unintentional. But could also be intentional .

For example, pressing on the touch screen (Canon 650D) while adjusting focus. Or you want to record a video of the moon or Saturn, and forgot to set the dial or so.

Or maybe intentional, for example: I am at the camera, and not at the laptop, and the moon or Saturn is in the field of view, and you just want to snap the picture and not go inside to the laptop, ...etc.

Regardless, this action (intentional or not) throws INDI out of sync, and causes serious issues, as I described with plate solving and syncing to the wrong part of the sky.

So it is best if this scenario is prevented.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Canon DSLR Off By One Images - Very Dangerous!' in the forum. 3 months ago

The danger of such a bug is that if I don't notice it, and do a plate solve, it will be on the wrong part of the sky, and the scope will wind itself around the mount. Happened to me a couple of times before I realized what is going on.

I workaround it by disabling touch capture, but sometimes I need that so I turn it on, then forget to turn it off. Then when I am fiddling with things, the shutter fires, and then INDI has to be stopped, and the camera disconnected from power.

You can simulate the exact problem by using the physical shutter button.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Canon DSLR Off By One Images - Very Dangerous!' in the forum. 3 months ago

Jasem,

Thanks, as always!

Kevin,

Did you try the scenario where the camera is connected to KStars, take a few pics, then go to the shutter button on the camera and take a picture? Then back to KStars and see if there is nothing in the queue?

This was one source of the problem: my Canon 650D has a touch screen, and if I touched it by mistake while zooming for focusing or something, it would go into that mode, and I have to stop INDI, shut down the camera by disconnecting power, then starting INDI again.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 3 months ago

James,

Did you check the basics? Specifically : Polar Alignment, and Balancing, specially in RA?

I've had lots of problems due to these two recently (on a non-OnStep mount).

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Driver OnStep (LX200 like) for INDI' in the forum. 3 months ago

Howard solved it on April 1st by adding a sort of cloud remover


That is still a planned feature, not an actual one. The actual one in the April 1st release is a Light Pollution Eliminator!

Tracking rate


At one point, I was reviewing the spreadsheet , and noticed that 'Steps per second' is calculated as:

(Steps Per degree / (60 * 60)) *15

I thought that it should be 15.041066, because:

Sidereal day length = 23 hrs *60*60 + 56 mins *60 +4.1 seconds = 86,164.1 seconds

And 15 seconds would be 15.041066

When I asked Howard why he is using 15 instead of 15.041066, he said that the calculations use sidereal seconds already, not solar days, hours, minutes, or seconds.

This may be the source of the discrepancy that James is seeing?

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Ekos sends wrong latitude/longitude to mount' in the forum. 4 months ago

Pull request merged into main repository.

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Khalid replied to the topic 'Ekos sends wrong latitude/longitude to mount' in the forum. 4 months ago

Ok, got it.

Before passing the longitude, it is subtracted from 360.

Tested and works fine, east and west of Greenwich.

PR now changed to reflect this.

github.com/indilib/indi/pull/546

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