Date   

Re: Newbi in need of help.

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Amy,

Thanks for your purchase, I know that it can be a bit intimidating for a new user to the hobby but you will find lots of folks on here to give you a hand. 

You can do either a physical polar alignment using the polar alignment scope, or you can use the 2 or 3 star alignment in ExploreStars, or both. If you want to get the most accurate goto navigation then you should do a 3 star alignment.

The clutch knobs on the RA and DEC knob need to be tight after manually positioning the telescope and balancing the scope on each axis with them loose.

To get you started Here is a link to our knowledge base article on how to get started with the PMC-Eight. 


There is a lot to learn, but you can start with these two videos



Hopefully this will get you started.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.




Newbi in need of help.

Amy Jones
 

I just bought a Exos2 pmc-eight and I feel overwhelmed.  This is my first go to mount and I am not familiar at all with the go to mounts.  I tried to follow instructions to get it to work but needless to say that all I had is a couple of frustrating nights and lots of questions.  I really want to learn how to use it but I am getting to the point where I feel intimidated by it.  I am looking for a good soul who would like to take me under his/her wing and help me through the learning process.  

if you are that soul here is the first question. 


Can I polar align only?  or do I also have to go through the 2 or 3 star alignment?  

also,  are the knobs in the RA and DEC supposed to be loose or tight?  


thanks



Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Mark,

There is nothing in the firmware which forces it to select back to WiFi when the PMC-Eight powers up. Unless the ESX! command is sent it will stay at its current value. As has been stated earlier, just powering down the PMC-Eight and powering it back up will not switch the communications port back to WiFi. 

Having said that, you may be seeing that the SSID for the PMC-Eight is still available for connection and you can in fact connect to it as the WiFi module always powers up when booting up the PMC-Eight. The firmware switch selecting the communications channel is stored in the EEPROM memory (permanent) and can only be changed with the ESX! command.

If you cannot make the serial connection work then there is something else going on with your connection. To verify that your serial cable works fine, you can do the following procedure:

1. Connect your serial cable to your computer
2. Determine the com port assigned to your cable.
3. Start the Parallax Serial Terminal Program


4. Select the proper com port and set the BAUD rate to 115200
5. Power up the PMC-Eight
6. The splash screen for the PMC-Eight should show up in the terminal verifying that you have proper communications with the controller.
7. OPTIONAL - You can send a command via the terminal to see the controller respond, %%% (Diagnostics Mode OFF), or ESB! (reboot), 

If you do not see the splash screen, then verify that the controller is actually selected to the WiFi channel by connecting ExploreStars to the PMC-Eight and making sure it works. If that works fine, then do the following:

1. Go through the procedure again to switch from WiFi to Serial.


2. Try and connect to ExploreStars again to make sure you have actually switched to the serial connection.
3. Follow the procedure above to see if you get the splash screen.

Remember, when switching from WiFi to serial using the ESX! command, you should see ESX0! as a response verifying that it is selected to the serial channel. If you do not see a response then it did not switch.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.
 


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi,
Good.  As a programmer, I can do a lot more when people are running Win10.  Trying to support older versions is just a pain.  The Win10 version will automatically switch wifi networks for you.  With the other version you still have to switch to the pmc-8 network manually, but it will handle doing the switch in the pmc-8.


On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 11:33:16 AM EDT, lamb_mark@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:


 

Chris,


I am running Win10Pro.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

Chris,

I am running Win10Pro.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

BTW - which OS are you using?  I ask because the utility I wrote will work on any version of windows.  I have a windows 10 specific one in the works.  It provides some additional capability.  If you would like to test it, send me an email, please. 

Actually, that goes for everyone.  Anyone who wants to test the win10 version, just let me know.


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi,
   It sounds like you are making real progress learning things!  Be sure to read the Phd2 troubleshooting guide before you go out with it.  It seems really hard when you first start, but there really isn't that much to it.  Feel free to PM me with questions.  I'm not an expert but will try to help.

   The pmc-8 should not be reverting to wifi, at least to my knowledge.  I've never seen that on mine.
    I'll be posting a utility to switch back and forth later today.  I'll consider it a beta until it has been used a bit but it seems to work well.

Yes, that sounds like field curvature to me. 


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Robert Hoskin <r_hoskin@...>
 

Mark,

I put my PMC-8 into serial mode shortly after I received it.  It's been powered on and off, many times since that, and has not reverted to wifi. 
- Bob


From: "lamb_mark@... [ESPMC-Eight]"
To: ESPMC-Eight@...
Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 9:48 AM
Subject: [ESPMC-Eight] Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

 
I have been away for a few days, but last night I got out again.  I had high thin clouds, but had enough visibility to setup, align, use Bahtinov mask to focus, get APT to platesolve, and to take a few shots for training (only) purposes.   I am still not trying autoguiding, as I want to take one step at a time.  With the next couple of days/nights without rain, I may attach my QHY5L-II-M and try PHD2 by Wednesday.

The PMC-8 serial connection does NOT work as I was expecting.  My impression was that after switching to serial with the PUTTY process, it would stay in the serial mode.  I had mine switched to serial in my basement last week, and when I tried it tonight it would NOT work with the serial cable, but would work with wifi.  I noticed the same thing last week, as I switched to serial and my tablet talked to the PMC-8 as expected, but the next day (after turning off the system), the PMC-8 had reverted on its own back to wifi, requiring redoing the convoluted serial switch process.  Is the PMC-8 supposed to always revert to wifi upon power down?

If the PMC-8 automatically reverts to wifi when shut down, it is even more necessary to get an easy, one-click switching method.

Since it was already dark when I went out, I left it in the wifi mode, and it worked perfectly.

Last week I had seen Jerry note on wifi issues, and one of the points was to have the PC more than 1-2 feet from the PMC-8.  I was previously having tablet ~ 1ft from the PMC-8.  Last night, I moved it ~3ft away and had no problems.

When looking at the photos, it seems that my focus is off a bit, as the stars are round but noticeably too large.  I was also trying various exposure times, from 60s to 420s, and upon viewing on my 11" tablet, all of the exposures look ~ the same, with no obvious star trailing.  If I had better fine focus, I wonder how much of a difference there would be?  The 6min and 7min exposure might have been a little ragged, but I have to get the photos on to my Z440 and view on a 27" monitor to check.  So from that experiment (which was consistent with last week), it seems that my G11 is working well and my alignment (with Polemaster) has been good.

When I viewed on my 27" monitor, the star shapes are ~ the same on exposures from 60s to 420s. While the stars in the center of the frame are very round (though slightly out of focus), those on the edges are slightly oval.  To this novice, that seems to tell me that the mount is tracking very well unguided, but I have some field curvature in my ED102CF (there is NO field flattner) and/or some slop in the compression fitting that attaches to my camera's 2"nose tube, causing the sensor to be slightly off parallel.





Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

I have been away for a few days, but last night I got out again.  I had high thin clouds, but had enough visibility to setup, align, use Bahtinov mask to focus, get APT to platesolve, and to take a few shots for training (only) purposes.   I am still not trying autoguiding, as I want to take one step at a time.  With the next couple of days/nights without rain, I may attach my QHY5L-II-M and try PHD2 by Wednesday.

The PMC-8 serial connection does NOT work as I was expecting.  My impression was that after switching to serial with the PUTTY process, it would stay in the serial mode.  I had mine switched to serial in my basement last week, and when I tried it tonight it would NOT work with the serial cable, but would work with wifi.  I noticed the same thing last week, as I switched to serial and my tablet talked to the PMC-8 as expected, but the next day (after turning off the system), the PMC-8 had reverted on its own back to wifi, requiring redoing the convoluted serial switch process.  Is the PMC-8 supposed to always revert to wifi upon power down?

If the PMC-8 automatically reverts to wifi when shut down, it is even more necessary to get an easy, one-click switching method.

Since it was already dark when I went out, I left it in the wifi mode, and it worked perfectly.

Last week I had seen Jerry note on wifi issues, and one of the points was to have the PC more than 1-2 feet from the PMC-8.  I was previously having tablet ~ 1ft from the PMC-8.  Last night, I moved it ~3ft away and had no problems.

When looking at the photos, it seems that my focus is off a bit, as the stars are round but noticeably too large.  I was also trying various exposure times, from 60s to 420s, and upon viewing on my 11" tablet, all of the exposures look ~ the same, with no obvious star trailing.  If I had better fine focus, I wonder how much of a difference there would be?  The 6min and 7min exposure might have been a little ragged, but I have to get the photos on to my Z440 and view on a 27" monitor to check.  So from that experiment (which was consistent with last week), it seems that my G11 is working well and my alignment (with Polemaster) has been good.

When I viewed on my 27" monitor, the star shapes are ~ the same on exposures from 60s to 420s. While the stars in the center of the frame are very round (though slightly out of focus), those on the edges are slightly oval.  To this novice, that seems to tell me that the mount is tracking very well unguided, but I have some field curvature in my ED102CF (there is NO field flattner) and/or some slop in the compression fitting that attaches to my camera's 2"nose tube, causing the sensor to be slightly off parallel.



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

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Jeremy,

I see what you are saying. Maybe Scott has an alternative mounting for the legacy motor system that the PMC-Eight motors can use. I am sure he has it figured out based on the motor assembly we sent him.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


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

Jeremy Parker
 

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the info on the motor, etc.

If the Explore Scientific OPWB is supposed to be the same as the Gemini G11, then the motor should bolt somehow to the OPWB (or vice-versa) only. The motor and OPWB are supposed to be coupled together as one unit, with the only attachment to the G11 being by the two hex bolts that are currently used to adjust the mesh. This is a good site for some detailed pictures of the setup:


Those 2 existing screw holes in the G11 base plate should not be used with the OPWB as I understand it. If they were used to fasten the motor/OPWB to the G11, then it would render the worm adjustment knob useless/ineffective (because a fine angle adjustment of the mesh would not be possible).

Maybe I should reach out to Scott to see what the plan is for the ES G11?

Regards,
Jeremy


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

hubbell_jerry@...
 

I have not seen the modification needed for the OPW that Scott Losmandy will do, but I do know, based on Tanya's comments, that the existing, delivered, PMC-Eight motor assembly will mate up with the OPW for the PMC-Eight version. The motor uses metric hex head screws that are size 4-M3.  Here is the motor datasheet for the G11 motor


The 2 holes that the plate itself uses to mount to the G11 are the standard ones that Losmandy specs. These holes are used for the motors that the Gemini system uses. So there is no change there.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.




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


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