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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.

Astro-Physics Experimental driver not working properly in KStars 3.4.2

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Hello wildi,

Using a GTO CP3 with a recent firmware (V2) driven by the AP experimental driver, I see 2 problematic usecases that should be considered and fixed (if possible, of course) :
- Case 1 : The mount is initialized and properly set (precise time and location), and the Park positions are processed by the driver. Slewing to Park3 position is fine. Then I slew to a real star, far away from the celestial pole to improve the precision. I sync the mount on that star. Re-slewing to the Park3 position, the mount does not come back this park position, but may be off by many degrees. I suspect the Park3 error is the same as the star position error before I sync the mount. So maybe park positions should be re-processed each time the mount is sync'ed.
- Case 2 : A star is located in the eastern hemisphere, not very far from the meridian. By that time, I properly initialize the mount. As I want to track this star whenever it is in the western hemisphere (so after it has crossed the meridian) I just sit and wait until say 15-30 min after the actual crossing (to make sure the crossing has occurred). Then, if I slew the mount to that star, the mount moves to that star, but goes on the wrong side of the pier, with the counterweight up. Maybe the mount internal time is not updated, or ... I do not know. If, after this sequence, I restart the entire Ekos process, re-initialize the mount, slew to that star, then the mount behaves normally by going to the correct side of the pier.

I hope my explanations are clear enough. It would be fine if you could reproduce and fix these issues.
However, thank you for your time and good work.

J.
2 years 7 months ago #56306

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Hello Dahu

I consider your points and they look to me more like errors than features. Can you tell me your long- and latitude, e.g. E/W and N/S is enough?

Thanks, kind regards, bye, wildi
2 years 7 months ago #56322

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Hello wildi,

Thanks for your answer. I am located in the French Alps area. So East longitude (approx 6 deg E) and North latitude (approx 45 deg N)
Best regards,

J.
2 years 7 months ago #56323

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Hi wildi,

Have you been able to make any progress on the driver? If so, I can run some tests when you are ready for additional testers.

Thanks!
Vixen 114ED
Borg 45ED (as guider)
Astro-Physics 900GTO with GTOCP3
ZWO ASI071MC Pro
ZWO ASI178MM (Guider)
Raspberry Pi3/Pi4
2 years 7 months ago #56549

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Hello LinuxUser

yes, I'll start my tests on Friday and I think at the end of the weekend I'll have something.

Kind regards, bye, wildi
2 years 6 months ago #56578

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Hi Wildi,

How is the work on the driver coming along? I know these things often tend to take a bit longer than expected, however I hope you are progressing well. I stand ready to test the driver if you would like additional feedback.

Thanks!
Vixen 114ED
Borg 45ED (as guider)
Astro-Physics 900GTO with GTOCP3
ZWO ASI071MC Pro
ZWO ASI178MM (Guider)
Raspberry Pi3/Pi4
2 years 6 months ago #57051

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Hello LinuxUser

The reason why I'm behind my schedule is that I was "thrown" into a new project at my day job.
Un-/park and meridian flip at HA=0 works and I'm thinking more about the init process. E.g. I'm
using GTOCP2 with the experimental driver and I like to hide pulse commands.

Again, I hope at the end of this week I'm done so far that the driver is testable.

Kind regards, bye, wildi
2 years 6 months ago #57075

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Hello

I have a version of the lx200ap_experimental driver that works with GTOCP2 version D and GTOCP4.

The below listed procedure has been tested East of Greenwich and hence people West of it are specially invited to carry it out.

People with a GTOCP3 or with GTOPC2 version above D please contact me.

In order to simplify a test I attached the bash script cold_start_part1.sh which fetches, compiles and starts the indiserver/driver in $HOME/indi_cold_start/build and it works on x86_64 as well on RPis.

My repo is here: github.com/wildi/indi/tree/ap_park3


Either you create a local profile in Ekos or connect with KStars, Device Manager, Client localhost/7624.

As a rule of thumb, if anything does not follow your/my expectations, please stop. The Abort Motion, Abort button works :-) but it will not be necessary because during this test the mount will not be moved. It can be carried out indoors.

First thing the cold_start_part1.sh must work.

The procedure is independent of an (not) existing ParkData.xml or driver's config file.


1) Power on the mount and locate one of the markers at the RA circle and remember its position.
2) Start Ekos/INDI and connect
3) Tab Option turn on the logging
4) Tab Main Control, see

Connection: Connect (as usual)
Driver config: Read

The latter reads the dirver's config file and ParkData.xml before one can Unpark(ed)

5) Connection, Connect
6) Driver config, Read
7) Set Unpark From?, Park2, if not set so

eight) Set Park To?, Park2, if not set so

At this point, AP icon on KStars may be displayed at any location, ugly but unavoidable.

9) Press Parking, UnPark(ed) (only a sync happens, no movements)
10) see HA = -6:00:00, constant
RA : increasing every second
check if the RA circle marker is still at the same position

11) must see: AP icon exactly at az=90, alt=0, no movement
(During startup I stop tracking at the earliest possible moment)

12) Tab Site Management, check
Firmware: your firmware
ap sidereal time: is it correct within a few seconds with e.g. stellarium
AP UTC offset: your TZ offset including DST

The most import point is the sidereal time. If it is not correct, do not proceed.


13) Tab Motion Control, check your settings
in case file ~/.indi/AstroPhysics Experimental_config.xml
was available.
If it was not there: set your preferences followed by
Tab Option, Configuration, Save
14) The mount is still unparked:
Set Unpark From? to Last Parked
15) Tab Site Management, Park Options, Write Data
16) press Tab Main Control, Parking, Park(ed)
17) press Connection, Disconnect
18) check if the RA circle marker is still at the same position
19) kill the indiserver/driver

20) leave the power on

21) start ./indiserver ./indi_lx200ap_experimental
22) Connect with EKos/INDI
23) Connection, Connect
24) Driver config, Read
25) see
Unpark From? Last Parked
Park To? Park2
26) Check log window, see:

2020-07-27T16:01:22: [INFO] Driver's config 'Unpark From ?' is set
to 'Last Parked': will unpark from Alt=0.000000 Az=90.000000
2020-07-27T16:01:22: [INFO] Mount is parked

27) Press Parking, UnPark(ed)
28) see HA = -6:00:00, constant
RA : increasing every second
check if the RA circle marker is still at the same
position like at the very beginning

29) Press Parking, Park(ed)
30) press Connection, Disconnect
31) kill the indiserver/driver
32) Power down the mount

After I received (positive) feedback from people on the Western hemisphere I'll go on with the un-/park procedure and how to check if the meridian flip occurs at HA=0h +/- few seconds (typically the difference of AP and real sidereal time).

Those who ar used to see Unpark From? before connecting may ask why I changed that. In case no ParkData.xml is present or more likely the position therein is not valid an unpark from last_parked will surely fail. In addition I wanted to show a message in the log window where from the mount is actually unparking.

Kind regards, bye, wildi
The following user(s) said Thank You: Spartacus
Last edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Markus Wildi.
2 years 6 months ago #57477
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This is excellent news! I have downloaded the "cold_start_part1.sh" script and will begin testing later today. I am in the Midwestern US and have a GTOCP3 with the latest V2 firmware. I will perform the procedure as documented in your post (my mount is currently still indoors) and follow with a report when completed. Thank you for your continued work on the driver!
Vixen 114ED
Borg 45ED (as guider)
Astro-Physics 900GTO with GTOCP3
ZWO ASI071MC Pro
ZWO ASI178MM (Guider)
Raspberry Pi3/Pi4
2 years 6 months ago #57482

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Hi Wildi,

I have completed the procedure you outlined in your post successfully with the expected results as you describe. I ran the test on a Raspberry Pi4 and had to run the "cold_start_part1.sh" script with sudo as it would not run properly unless I did (needed root permissions). As I progressed through your procedure I had to log in as root user (sudo su) at the point which the indi server had to be restarted for the later part of the test since /indi_cold_start/build/ directories were located inside the root user (/root on the Pi4) directory.

I stand ready to move on for further testing.

Thank you!
Vixen 114ED
Borg 45ED (as guider)
Astro-Physics 900GTO with GTOCP3
ZWO ASI071MC Pro
ZWO ASI178MM (Guider)
Raspberry Pi3/Pi4
2 years 6 months ago #57494

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Hello LinuxUser and Midwest Astronomer

thanks for your feedback ! The most important information for me was if the local sidereal time has been read back correctly.
LinuxUser, running INDI as root is not necessary - I usually run it under default UID pi.

The below listed procedure can be carried out indoors and it really moves the mount. For your convenience use the previously posted script to fetch, compile and run it.

Many other INDI mount drivers do not have the feature park to and unpark from and unpark immediately. Since unparking from a invalid park position is not the best idea I adapted the cold/warm start feature found in lx200ap.cpp (and removed the driver config read item). If there is no or an invalid ~/.indi/ParkData.xml one must perform a cold in all other cases a warm start. Only after that unparking is possible.

This driver is made for firmware versions D and V. I limited that artificially in order no tube hits the pier. Please contact me if you have a different version.

I'm happy to hear from you, kind regards, bye, wildi




0) power up the mount and bring it to park2 position (Az=90, Alt=0), mount points to the Eastern horizon on northern and southern hemispheres

1) Main Control
1.1) Connection Connect
1.2) Startup Cold
1.3) see Unpark From? and Park To? having the values Park2
1.4) Parking Unpark(ed)
1.5) see Hourangle Coords HA = -6, Dec = 0
1.6) see mount icon on KStars near the East point at Alt = 0

2) Site Managment check if AP sidereal time is correct against e.g. stellarium

Only if so proceed

3) KStars, select a star 5 deg above East point, goto, check if mount's movement was correct.

Only if so proceed

4) Main Control
4.1) Park To?, Park2 (even it is selected)

5) Site Managment
5.1) see Park Position AZ = 90, Alt = 0
5.2) Park Options, Write Data (park position can not be set while parked)

5) Main Control
6.1) Parking Park(ed)
6.1) Unpark From?, Last Parked

7) Options, Configuration, Save

8] Main Control, Connection, Disconnect

9) Kill and restart the indiserver/driver (the ount is still powered on)

At this point we have a valid ParkData.xml and the mount is at park 2 position.
A) Main Control
A.1) Connection Connect
A.2) see Unpark From? with value Park2
A.3) Startup Warm
A.4) see Unpark From? with value Last Parked
A.5) Unparking Unpark(ed)
A.6) Park To? Park3

B] Options, Configuration Save

C) Site Managment
C.1) see Park Position AZ = 0:06 northern hemisphere or southern AZ = 179:54, Alt = your latitude
C.2) Park Options, Write Data

D) Main Control
D.1) Parking, Park(ed)
D.2) Connection, disconnect (after mount parked)

D) Kill and restart the indiserver/driver (the mount is still powered on)


I) Main Control
I.1) Connection Connect
I.2) see Unpark From? with value Park2
I.3) Startup Warm
I.4) see Unpark From? with value Last Parked, Park To? with Park3
I.5) see line (my latitude is 47.6):
[INFO] Driver's config 'Unpark From ?' is set to 'Last Parked': will unpark from Alt=47.563900 Az=0.100000
I.5) Unparking Unpark(ed)
I.6) see Hourangle Coords HA = -5.59:51, Dec = 89:55:57

That's it.
Last edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Markus Wildi. Reason: cut/copy/paste
2 years 6 months ago #57665

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Hi Wildi,

Using the cold_start_part1.sh script, and then running the 2nd sequence of tests on my AP900 (GTOCP3, V2 firmware), everything went smoothly, the Park2 and Park3 positions were correctly computed, and the HA angle and the sidereal time were as expected. However, as I am located in the Eastern hemisphere, my test may not be that relevant.
The only thing I could not find in the Indi GUI is the 'Startup' entry. Or is it just a step note to indicate what is going on in the sequence ? So, to workaround this miss, I just wiped the previous ParkData.xml and Astrophysic_Experimental_config.xml files. And let the driver recreate them during the test sequence.

Thanks for the good and promising work.

Dahu
2 years 6 months ago #57767

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