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INDI Library v1.9.7 Released (29 Jul 2022)

Bi-monthly INDI Library released with new drivers and bug fixes.

Flat Panels Question

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Replied by David Swinnard on topic Flat Panels Question

When you say driver, are you looking for an Indi driver for a flat panel that is not "FlipFlat" (indi_flipflat)? Or are you looking for a flat panel device itself that is not one of the Optec (Alnitak) offerings?

If a flat panel device itself, have you considered any of the inexpensive DIY flat panels described on a variety of internet sites. They range from rewired (to add a controller) electroluminescent panels to LED based devices controlled by a microcontroller like an Arduino. Many of these use the drive protocol initially defined by the Alnitak Generic Serial Commands (Optecinc.com site has this document) coded into the Arduino and connected to the "system" via USB.

I have one such LED/Arduino based system I am currently working the bugs out of. Kstars/Ekos/Indi controls it using the FlipFlat driver.

Dave
7 months 4 weeks ago #80060

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

Hi Dave. I'm not a programmer, so what I as hoping for a turn-key system (INDI driver) that would control the brightness of any Flat Panel monitor on the market. Basically I just wanted any flat panel that I can mount inside my observatory, and have EKOS control it so I can take consistent flats. Right now I am using T-shirts. But a quick look at the only brand flat panels that INDI seems to work with is the Flip Flat or Flat Man. The Flip Flat wouldn't work for me as I have a C11, and the Flat man is very expensive. I see lots of panels out there for much less (Spike-a-Flat), but they require ASCOM or at least a Windows PC. So, before I fork out $600+ for an Optic Flat Man, I was just checking to see if there are other options for a large enough panel for a C11, at a price lower than $600, and that works with INDI as is (i.e. no programming or scripting needed).

Peter

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
7 months 4 weeks ago #80062

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Replied by Alan Archer on topic Flat Panels Question

Peter,
As a low cost low fuss option, just get a standard flat panel fix it to the wall and switch it on or off using a microswitch which is activated when the scope points at the flat panel. Then use the automated flats sequence to capture the flats at the correct ADU. The automatic process adjusts the exposure to match the set ADU level. Also if the panel is set at the scopes park position, the automated flats sequence can even park the scope pointing at the panel prior to starting the sequence.

Alan
Raspberry Pi4B,ASI120MM -S Usb3, ASI385MC, Atik 428CCD, Canon 600D, NEQ6, EQMod, EQ5, AstroEQ, EQMod, Equinox ED80, ASI533MC, RedCat 51 ASI 120MM Mini.
7 months 4 weeks ago #80071

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

Thanks. I will probably try a simple flat panel, but you list me at “…using a microswitch which is activated when the scope points at the flat panel”. That kind of engineering isn’t in my bailiwick.

I will have to figure out the best way to mount it in my domed observatory. I will have to have my scope pointing down a bit. Horizontal won’t work with dome.

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
7 months 4 weeks ago #80076

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Replied by Nuno Gameiro on topic Flat Panels Question

You can always use an EL Panel with an Arduino, load this firmware to arduino, and use the Alnitak driver

github.com/ivonnyssen/ArduinoFlatBox
7 months 4 weeks ago #80086

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

Thanks Nuno. So if I understand you…. I purchase an EL Panel (www.technolight.com/product/14-inch-uv-f...-any-color-or-design) and an Arduino. Then I replace the firmware in the Arduino with the one you linked, and then EKOS will be able to control the brightness of the EL panel using the Alnitake Flip Flap driver?

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
7 months 4 weeks ago #80087

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Replied by Nuno Gameiro on topic Flat Panels Question

Exactly

There's actually two versions of the same arduino ino (one for Revision 3 and another for Revision 4 of the Alnitak commands).

I believe that both will work with Alnitak INDI driver, but just in case, get both :)

github.com/ivonnyssen/ArduinoFlatBox
github.com/jwellman80/ArduinoLightbox
Last edit: 7 months 4 weeks ago by Nuno Gameiro.
7 months 4 weeks ago #80088

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

The notes in the Lin you sent talk about controlling a stepper motor. The EL Panel I liked to doesn't have a dimmer.
Also - it connects using a JST connector. Does that attach to an Arduino board?
Also - I don't even know how to install a new firmware in an Arduino board.

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
7 months 4 weeks ago #80089

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Replied by Nuno Gameiro on topic Flat Panels Question

The Arduino IDE it's just like a text editor, you just have to open the ino (the firmeware file), make a change in the code if needed, choose your board, the port where it's connected and press a button. It's really that simple.

If you read the code you will find that if just want to use the brightness control, you have to replace just the line 79 line of the code...

github.com/ivonnyssen/ArduinoFlatBox/blo...r/ArduinoFlatBox.ino

You will need the dimmer if you want to set the brightness manually. If you want to adjust only using Ekos, you don't need it.

These kind of DIY projects, even a small one like the one you need, will always involve some adaptions / cuts / solder. But it's where the fun is :)
7 months 4 weeks ago #80090

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

Ok, I’m willing to buy all the parts to this project, but I just want to make sure you understood that I need EKOS to control the brightness of the panel, and not adjust the camera exposures as most people do. I want to keep my camera exposures the same and only the light box brightness changes to get my ADU to 13000.

His does the Arduino board change the EL panel’s brightness?  There’s no dimmer controller on them.

Peter

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
Last edit: 7 months 4 weeks ago by Peter Kennett.
7 months 4 weeks ago #80094

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Replied by Nuno Gameiro on topic Flat Panels Question

I made a similar project with this one:
elpanelandtape.co.uk/product/13-x-13cm/

Keep in mind that it's very dificult to use the same exposure for all the filters and adjust only the pannel brightnes.
I have an Atik 383 with a shooter that needs at least 2s of exposure to hide the shadow of the shooter, so i use about 2 seconds expusure with the brightness set to 90 (in a range 0-255) for Luminance, but for HA filter, with the brightness set to maximum, i have to rise the exposure. This will hapen with a DIY Flat Pannel or with a comercial one. It will be the same.

Yes the Arduino board will manage the brightness of the EL Pannel using PWM. The board will receive the value from Ekos (or another client).

A word of advice. It's very difficult to mantain a very low value of brightness of the EL Pannel without flickering (mine starts to flickering at below of a value of 50-60). There are diferent ways to connect the EL Pannel to arduino, some more elaborated then others, but you can start with something as simple as a Mosfet.
So, if you will do flats with a C11 and a CMOS, i have no doubt that you have to use very low values of brightness, or using something to lower the brightness without dimmering the EL Pannel (some sheets of paper, for example).
The following user(s) said Thank You: Peter Kennett
7 months 4 weeks ago #80098

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Replied by Peter Kennett on topic Flat Panels Question

How far can I have a 13" square flat panel away from the front of my C11 (with dew shield) and still get good flats?
Do I need a much larger panel?
The goal is to automate flats in a remote observatory.



 

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD and William Optics Star71
ASI 1600MM Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight Litecrawler (C11) and Motorfocus (WOStar71)
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
Nextdome, AAG Cloudwatcher
MacMini
7 months 4 weeks ago #80103

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