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INDI Library v2.0.0 Released (01 Feb 2023)

Bi-monthly release with major changes to INDI properties and client API in addition to new drivers and improvements.

Using 3 cameras at once?

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Hi,

I have actually managed to do exactly run two DSLRs (450D AND 550D) simultaneously as suggested by Jasem using two instances of Kstars locally on a machine.

The first instance has the mount, guider and 450D on my Skywatcher 120ED and the 2nd instance just runs the one device (550D).

I uncheck guiding deviations on the second instance and it essentially runs the same schedule as the first instance. I have tried 5 seconds delay between subs and haven't seen any noticeable degradation with the camera shutters firing at different times.

The next session I am going to run dithering with more delay between subs to allow the first instance to do it's thing and then by the time it's done the second slave instance should be firing in time to allow capture without any movements since that has been accomplished by the first instance. Hope that makes sense.

I am using an ACER r3710 dual core pc and it can handle all processing with two cameras simultaneously. A true testament to the work everyone has put i INDI because in the past i tried two instances of AstroPhotographtTool (APT) programs and my i7 laptop struggled controlling two the two cameras.

Also, I don't have the fits previews running because i don't want to burden the slow ACER nettop too much.

Thanks again
The following user(s) said Thank You: Eric, Torsten Daiber
4 years 8 months ago #25984

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Thanks for your experience. As a quick test, I just launched a second instance of KStars on my Pi3B and it worked, although not yet doing guiding or even connected to a scope/mount. But it worked at least in this test with an ASI1600 and a 183 without any problem, all frames were saved. Can't wait to test it under real conditions :)

Torsten
4 years 8 months ago #25986

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Replied by Oleg on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

On the other hand, you can:
1. open two terminals to run two copies of indiserver with drivers
2. use these copies with two CCDciel
You can try my open project Astronomy Linux
The following user(s) said Thank You: Teseo
Last edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Oleg.
4 years 8 months ago #26024
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Replied by Andreas on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

Hi there,

if dithering is active, does the sequencer wait for settling after dithering between exposures or must this be done by delay time?
Or is the guidemodule sending some "dithering performed and settled" signal for the sequencer is listening to? Is it like this with external guiders?
If one session of ekos is mastering the guider and scope and other sessions just listen to that guider saying "dithering ok", than the sessions would be synced and multicamera operation was easy.

Andreas
4 years 8 months ago #26061

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Replied by Jim on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

A bit of an old topic, but I am curious. Has anyone done any more work with 3+ cameras? It would be amazing to guide with my off-axis, capture wide-field with the 1600MC and go deep with the 1600MM.
12" pier with HDX110 using EQMod
ASI 1600 mono/color mains with ASI290MM in off-axis
ASI filter wheel
Moonlite focusers for the sharpening
AT115EDT w/.8x for the light
Fedora Linux, 100% INDI
3 years 1 month ago #47636

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Replied by Niko Kivel on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

I tried it quite some time ago with two sessions and simulators. But, it wouldn't keep the sessions in sync. Might very much be my fault, though.
I think it would be a great feature to support multiple long exposure cameras. But I guess it could be tricky to fiddle with the exposure pattern, like 1800 s for Ha in Cam 1, but 6x300 s L on Cam 2 and 3x600s R,G,B on Cam 3. The master-sessions would have to wait for respective slave session(s) to complete. Certainly manageable, but not a quick/easy implementation I assume. If one messes up the exposure pattern it might also cause a horrible duty-cycle.
Anyway, INDI/Ekos/KStars has received so many great features over the last few years, I keep my hopes up that the multi-cam feature will find it's way into the code eventually.
3 years 1 month ago #47643

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It's on my TODO list for quite a while, but as indicated by Niko it can get quite complicated. It's also a LOT of work to make the architecture of Ekos ready for N cameras (not just 2, but any arbitrary number). This also requires changes to how the telescope information is shared as well, so we're talking major architectural changes.
Jasem Mutlaq
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3 years 1 month ago #47668

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+1 for this. I'm help to a friend with an INDI based setup and he have in mind use two DSLRs with two telescopes in parallel (same mount).
3 years 1 month ago #47699

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Replied by Jim on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

Just a thought I had, but the support is already there and working for 2 cameras. The first camera is the main imaging camera, and the second is the guide camera. The guide camera still has all the basic functions such as repeated capture with settings such as exposure time and gain, and it always returns the image and goes to grab another one. It already does this in conjunction with the main imaging camera doing it's work. Would it be easier, as an intermediate step, to configure a third camera more like a second guide camera than a full fledged imaging system? It would not have all the features, but it seems like it could work. I am not certain if the architecture allows that any easier than what @knro was talking about though.
12" pier with HDX110 using EQMod
ASI 1600 mono/color mains with ASI290MM in off-axis
ASI filter wheel
Moonlite focusers for the sharpening
AT115EDT w/.8x for the light
Fedora Linux, 100% INDI
3 years 1 month ago #47702

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Replied by Andrew on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

How would it handle dithering with different exposure lengths? For example, camara 1 takes 300 second exposures on the main scope, and 120 seconds with a piggybacked camera 2. Having the shorter exposure camera waiting for the longer shot to finish is inefficient. So ideally dithering will take place with the least amount of idle time according to a ratio of images between camera 1 and 2 to finish.
With my example Camera 1 fanishes 1 image in 300 seconds and camera 2 can take 2 in 240 seconds but would then idle 60 seconds a ratio of 1:2. Instead camera 1 can take two images in 600 seconds, and camera 2 can finish 5 with zero idle time, a ratio of 2:5. While that works in theory; the time to download each frame must also be considered. Each frame could take 10-20 seconds to download. That would have to be added to the time per frame and could change the most efficient ratio between camera 1, 2, or more cameras.

Certainly not very straightforward.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
PHD2
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
3 years 1 month ago #47703

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Replied by Jim on topic Using 3 cameras at once?

Or just don't start the exposure if there is not enough time left in the dithering timer/counter. There is no download contention either, this way. Yes, you would get fewer than the maximum frames on the waiting camera, but perfect is the enemy of something cool we don't have today.
12" pier with HDX110 using EQMod
ASI 1600 mono/color mains with ASI290MM in off-axis
ASI filter wheel
Moonlite focusers for the sharpening
AT115EDT w/.8x for the light
Fedora Linux, 100% INDI
3 years 1 month ago #47704

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There are two major challenges here, first is the synchronising of all the activities - alignment - focusers - filter wheels - rotators - weather - guiding - dithering - image acquisitions - meridian flip - limits - etc. Then there is the management of the schedules so as to minimise the waiting time, especally for the image devices.

The second is really up to the user but some tools to help would be useful. I can imagine running a rehearsal of the sequence using estimates for the various activities to get an idea of how much wasted time there is and when. A graphical display showing this would be good.

I'm not saying all this must be in place at the start but having a strategy for fitting everything into the system will I think be essential. Without that there's a risk that development will get bogged down in an endless series of refacatoring everything to handle an annotional scheduler option.
3 years 1 month ago #47727

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