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Re: ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight One-Piece-Worm (OPW) Available Soon

Jeremy Parker
 

Hi Jerry,

Can you comment on how the new OPWB will attach to the motor? Will it use the existing motor mounting plate? If so, there are four hex bolts that secure the plate to the motor. They seem like they're an odd-size, as none of my hex keys would fit properly, metric or standard. Can you say what size these hex bolts are? I'm guessing that the plate would have to be removed to allow access to the 'empty' holes that would likely need to be used from the opposite side to bolt into the OPWB.

Regards,
Jeremy


Re: Low Cost PMC-8 System

hubbell_jerry@...
 

I guess the only real benefit is that you have one less piece of software to run when using multiple clients connected to the PMC-Eight driver. Plus it gives the user more choices on how to run their system. Other than that, there may not be any tangible difference.

I would be tempted to just let the PMC-Eight developer community create the local server version of the PMC-Eight driver if there is a need. The ASCOM developer tools have documentation on how to do it. Depending on how easy (or difficult) it is, it may be a while before I can get it done based on the priority projects I am working right now. 

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: Low Cost PMC-8 System

W. Christopher Moses
 

I guess what I was asking is what benefit does that have?  

Something like iOptron Commander would be nice, I suppose. It basically replicates the handset's functionality on the PC.


Re: Low Cost PMC-8 System

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

What Steve and I would like to provide is a server based driver versus the existing driver. The ASCOM platform development tools provide a server template for driver development that allows the driver to connect to several clients at the same time which is basically what POTH does for us. POTH also includes a hand controller which could be provided in the driver also, but I have to see if that is needed or not.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: Low Cost PMC-8 System

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Steve,
Why do you want to get rid of POTH? And, what would you want in its place?


Re: ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight One-Piece-Worm (OPW) Available Soon

W. Christopher Moses
 

Thanks for the upate


Re: ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight One-Piece-Worm (OPW) Available Soon

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Steve,

If you are asking if we are going to provide upgraded couplers for free, then no, we will probably provide the upgraded Ruland couplers at our cost to those customers that want to upgrade. The cost would be substantially less than if you were to buy them from Ruland however. We have not set a price point yet, but depending on the customer's specific needs, it may be worth the upgrade.

I have just received the Ruland couplers from Alex and am going to install them in the next day or two and do some testing to determine if, with a good motor/worm shaft alignment, they make a significant difference in PE. If the existing couplers are used with a well aligned motor/worm shaft (pretty much what I have in the observatory) then installing the new Ruland couplers may not add any value. That's the purpose of my testing.

We will be making a statement soon talking about this issue and what our customers need to do to 1) determine and document they have the problem, and 2) determine what the proper fix is, whether just adjustment, replacing the motor plates, and/or replacing the couplers with the current ones, or upgraded ones.

Thanks

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.
 


Re: ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight One-Piece-Worm (OPW) Available Soon

Steve Siedentop
 

Are you able to comment on whether or not there will be a charge to the coupler?

-Steve


On Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 3:47 PM hubbell_jerry@... [ESPMC-Eight] <ESPMC-Eight@...> wrote:
 

I wanted to update everyone about the work I have been doing to provide a version of the One-Piece-Worm (OPW) for our version of the Losmandy G11. Scott Losmandy has recently completed his evaluation or our motor assembly for fitness to the OPW and has determined that it will work fine with a small modification. 


So in about 2-4 weeks we will have available for order on our website the Losmandy OPW for the ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight mount system. I will be reporting any status updates on this item on this forum and on CloudyNights in the Vendors Forum.


We have not made a decision yet about delivering the system with the OPW already installed on the G11, but I am sure we will decide that soon.


I want to thank everyone again for you continued support of our products and look forward to working with you in the future for your astronomy equipment needs.


Jerry Hubbell

Director Electrical Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.

www.explorescientificusa.com



ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight One-Piece-Worm (OPW) Available Soon

hubbell_jerry@...
 

I wanted to update everyone about the work I have been doing to provide a version of the One-Piece-Worm (OPW) for our version of the Losmandy G11. Scott Losmandy has recently completed his evaluation or our motor assembly for fitness to the OPW and has determined that it will work fine with a small modification. 


So in about 2-4 weeks we will have available for order on our website the Losmandy OPW for the ES Losmandy G11 PMC-Eight mount system. I will be reporting any status updates on this item on this forum and on CloudyNights in the Vendors Forum.


We have not made a decision yet about delivering the system with the OPW already installed on the G11, but I am sure we will decide that soon.


I want to thank everyone again for you continued support of our products and look forward to working with you in the future for your astronomy equipment needs.


Jerry Hubbell

Director Electrical Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.

www.explorescientificusa.com



Re: CJ Wagner at Roswell Astronomy

W. Christopher Moses
 

Cool.
Thanks


CJ Wagner at Roswell Astronomy

Steve Siedentop
 

A couple of Roswell Astronomy videos have been referenced here.  The one that comes to mind is the spring washer on the RA axis.


CJ visited our local astronomy club to make the first in a series of videos highlighting astronomy clubs and how they serve the community.  A lot of Explore Scientific equipment on the field in part 2!


Part 1:

Tech Talk and Meeting

https://youtu.be/5LkVxnUWdrs


Part 2:

Member Interviews on Jon Wood Astronomy Field.  A lot of Explore Scientific equipment...

I'm the last interview.  Fortunately, it was dark so he got my good side!

https://youtu.be/xPE0L9akHho


Enjoy!


-Steve


Low Cost PMC-8 System

Steve Siedentop
 

Moving this to a thread with a relevant cover...

I had a chance at NEAF this year to see the current iteration of the Low Cost PMC-8 system that Jerry mentioned in another thread.  I believe it was called the EXOS iEQ.

I thought I would put together a couple of wish lists of sorts to provide some feedback on features that I feel need to be fully baked for a product with an intended user base that includes beginners and people moving up from a star tracker.

General PMC 8 Wish List
1) Robust WiFi connectivity - WiFi connectivity on my PMC8 is fine for use with the Explore Stars app, but it is unreliable for astrophotography.
2) SkySafari Control - for mount control, SkySafari has become ubiquitous, is already available on multiple platforms.
3) A UI for switching between the serial port and WiFi connectivity.  I agree with Mark that the current method is a bit hacky.  I don't have a problem executing the instructions, but I'm a software developer with a solid technical background in multiple areas.  The target audience of this product will likely be intimidated by this and go elsewhere for competing products with a higher level of polish.
4) Refactor the ASCOM driver to function as a server and eliminate POTH from the mix.

EXOS iEQ Specific Wish List
1) A more robust tripod.  The mount I saw at NEAF was solid and didn't feel cheap.  However, the tripod was on the order of the Celestron SLT tripod.  I see that as weak point creating more issues for a beginner to deal with.   
2) I don't recall seeing a polar scope on the mount.  In the absence of one, a method to relatively quickly polar align the mount would be desirable.  A polar alignment feature in Explore Stars would be a good selling point.  While PHD and SharpCap offer polar alignment options, the more feature inclusive the product is, the more likely a new person is going spend their money on an Explore Scientific product.

This is intended to be a starting point for discussion, so please feel free to add to it.

-Steve



Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hmmm...A low cost PMC-8 system?  Maybe one small enough to check through on an airplane? I would love that.
I'm heading to my sister's place in Lake Tahoe next week.  She lives at 7700" and has 10K acres of national park as her backyard.  The skies are incredible. Some little mount I could take, or keep there would be great.  I just picked up a WO Star 71 that would be perfect up there.
Let me know if you need any beta testers. 


Re: Thanks Chris for jumping in an helping out

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

I would very much like to try out your utility to swap communication channels on the PMC-Eight. Just send it to me when you get it ready.

Thanks

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: Thanks Chris for jumping in an helping out

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,
No problem. I actually kind of enjoy doing tech support. Perhaps I'm just a masochist, lol.

And, thank you for the long write-up on the TDM. 

 I fully agree that time is the most valuable commodity when imaging. RIght now my two big time consuming tasks are babying the autoguider and prococessing.  With my camera, a CMOS ASI1600mm-c, it is better to shoot many short photos rather than fewer long ones.  THat actually has some advantages, but not when it comes to processing.  All those files suck up tons of disk space and take forever to work with.  There is no interactivity. You have to have a precisely defined workflow.  A drizzle itegration I did a few days ago took 10h.  That was on a hex core I-7 with 48g RAM and everything running on fast SSDs.

In short, I love the idea of the TDM and if that's how my final analysis comes out, I would really look forward to using one. Is there a lead time for them?

Also, I have that utility to let users change from serial <--> wifi and to send basic commands working.  I'm planning on spending an hour or two on it later this afternoon just putting a real gui on it.  If you have a second ot two to try it out, that would be great.

I hope you haf a good weekend,
CHris


On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 11:34:23 AM EDT, hubbell_jerry@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:


 

Hi Chris,


I have been away from the forum the past few days, I appreciate you jumping in and helping out. To me that is really the value in having this forum, sharing our experiences and helping out inexperienced folks is primary goal here, I have been working on updating the knowledge base; there is an article about the WiFi issue here:


I am working to continuously improve our documentation and help system to help even more beginners take advantage of our system going forward. It will be a lot of work getting beginners going and I expect we will see some more growth later on this year after we release another version of our PMC-Eight mount system at a price point that almost any beginner can afford.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Thanks Chris for jumping in an helping out

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

I have been away from the forum the past few days, I appreciate you jumping in and helping out. To me that is really the value in having this forum, sharing our experiences and helping out inexperienced folks is primary goal here, I have been working on updating the knowledge base; there is an article about the WiFi issue here:


I am working to continuously improve our documentation and help system to help even more beginners take advantage of our system going forward. It will be a lot of work getting beginners going and I expect we will see some more growth later on this year after we release another version of our PMC-Eight mount system at a price point that almost any beginner can afford.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

Chris,

Thanks a lot!  One step closer.

I expected that the newness of the system was a risk, but I was hoping that it have been out a year would have worked out almost all of the kinks.  I guess that the low volume of these types of products means they will never be as finished as most things.  It is basic economics, and we want ES to be financially viable!  So, we are basically beta testers providing ES revenue.

With that frustration off my chest, it is great that ES is based in the US (though Chinese owned) and Jerry has been very helpful and responsive.  This forum has also been very helpful.

The open source nature should make the PMC-8 less likely to "strand" the buyer if the manufacturer ends its production.  The "community" could also develop extra functionality that could make the PMC-8 the preferred platform.  I am not however a coder at the basic level, though I have been a high powered developer of models using Excel, MATLAB, and Javelin (20-30 years ago) for higher level solutions.

I do not have worry about the physical mount platform, as the Losmandy G11 is beautifully built and has evolved over the past 20 years.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi,

I'm glad you got things workings.

I agree that there is no reason the wifi connection should be having problems.  I've only used it a few times and I never had any problems but I was just tinkering around.  

I also agree that ASCOMPAD is a pain. maybe there is an "Always on top" switch somewhere that I'm not aware of.  I've only started playing with it recently.  Usually, I use the controls on the POTH or slew directly to a target in TheSkyX.

I've been meaning to connect a wireless XBox controller to it, but really just for fun. 

I also, also (lol) agree that the current method of switching between wifi and serial is kind of a hack.  Actually, I just wrote a program to do it automatically, and to send the common commands to the PMC-8.  I'm pretty sure it all works, but I need to spruce-up the interface a bit.  Hopefully, I'll get a chance to do that this weekend. I'll post the executable here and the source on github asap.

I think the entire AP world would rejoice if there was some decent way of simulating tracking.  The only method I've ever seen is very, very convoluted.  In short, no.

The PMC-8 is new.  We all have to decide how much we want to live on the cutting edge.  For most people, I think it will just be a matter of figuring out which configuration, programs, and workflow suite them best.  The nice thing is that the PMC-8 gives us lots of flexibility to customize those.  It also has lots of potential for future development.  Just my opinion.
 
Keep me posted.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

Chris,

Thanks!

I have been out of the house, going to church immediately after I sent my last reply.

I just got back to my computer, and I changed the PMC-8 driver port to COM3.

I am in my basement, as we are forecasted to be cloudy and/or rainy for the next several days.

After the COM3 change, my tablet is operating my G11/PMC-8 via the serial cable, hopefully the serial connect will not have the erratic communication drops the wifi has.  There is NO REASON that the wifi should problematic as the tablet is just a few feet away and the data transmission rates are minuscule.  When the PMC-8 has dropped wifi in the past, it has been after it has been working for at least an hour, so I am wondering if it has a bad electrical part or too narrow operating envelope, and as something heats up it flakes out.  (Though I would expect the aluminum case is a good heat sink, assuming the heat generating parts are thermally coupled to the case.)

Now hopefully I can find ASCOMPAD to work when it is not the active window; it is working the exact same way on the serial cable as it was with wifi (as expected).  At least the XBox controller works (and a HUGE improvement over using touchscreen/mouse), but having to switch to the ASCOMPAD window everytime is a PITA.

I also will need start trying guiding with PHD2.  My QHY5L-II-Mono cam came more than a week ago, but I have not yet tried it.  Being a newbie, I have too many things to get to work, and I have been to add one thing at a time.  

Is there a way experiment with PHD2 with the guidecam and mount while the mount is inside and no actual stars to track?

At some times I feel that the PMC-8 is still an early stage "beta" or maybe "alpha" product instead of commercial production release.  The process of going from wifi to/from serial seems very kludgy, and almost like an unofficial "hack", akin to processes that allow my Oppo bluray player to rip SACDs.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

Also, I would make sure you have closed putty

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