Date   

Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Dave Cherry
 

Nice one Bill! , glad you got it going

Update from me. Since switching to serial drive. It is all working much better. I can now even use Sharp cap at the same time to plate solve as well as image currently shooting the bubble right now ūüėä

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Bill the Mortal
Sent: 20 May 2020 23:37
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Hi All,
Just wanted to give an update on using the direct ASCOM connection in Stellarium without Stellarium Scope.
Thanks to Dave's notes, I've discovered that not only do you need to unpark the Scope with POTH, but you also need to turn on tracking in POTH.
Once I did that, everything started working! (pic below... yellow circle on tracking box, which must be checked and red arrow pointing to park/unpark button, which must say "Park Scope"... i.e., it is unparked)

guitsboy, Sorry about hijacking your thread here.
To some of your questions, I do believe that the PMC8 controller retains the alignment data until it is rebooted or realigned -- but I can't swear to that as I don't really use ExploreStars.
Also, I recommend pulse guiding over a serial connection for your auto-guiding. I've gone to a strict serial connection now due to sporadic results over wifi.


--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385

 


--
Scopes: Sky Watcher 200PDS, Skywatcher 72ED
Mount: Explore Scientific PMC8 EXO2
Cameras: ASI 294MCPRO Coooled, Altair guide cam + 50mm scope
Software: Sharpcap Pro ,PH2, Stelarium Startools


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Tony
 

Thank you guys for your insight.

Bob, what you say makes a lot of sense.  This mount will probably be primarily for lightweight AP, so I should probably just gravitate towards that now.  We have a nextstar 6se that Ill put back in alt-az mode for grab and go visual.  Maybe it is better to simply sync on a recognizable star and just go.  I was simply planning on using the polar scope for alignment.  Since this is my first real eq mount, Ive not used sharp cap, but seems like a lot of people recommend it for alignment purposes, among other things.  For syncing on a star, would I simply center with the clutches loose, tighten them up and then sync?  I apologize if my questions are quite rudimentary, its a completely new procedure from what Ive been doing in the past.

Jerry, your concerns are pretty much what I expected.  Even if I found a sparsely used channel, its just too unpredictable to rely on wifi.  The mount would of course have a physical PA, but coming from celestron, and my fathers old meade eq before that, Ive always had to do a star alignment as well.  Again, I apologize if my knowledge is lacking some very basic ground rules.  I hope to catch up quickly once I get my hands dirty.

Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, everyone.


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Wed, May 20, 2020 at 05:52 PM, <guitsboy@...> wrote:
Once alignment is done, I can use the EXOS utility to switch from Wifi to serial.
From there, I have both APT and PHD are configured to use POTH instead of the mount directly.  And POTH is configured over serial.
No, ExploreStars is a wireless (Wifi UDP/IP) only stand alone application and provides a virtual alignment for the mount when navigating to objects. When you switch to ASCOM connectivity and control, you mount MUST have a physical alignment. The alignment model from ExploreStars DOES NOT apply to the ASCOM driver. It is internal to the ExploreStars application only.

I would not suggest doing auto-guiding with the ASCOM driver over the wireless connection as its reliability is variable depending on your local WiFi traffic level. 
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Guits,
 
This looks complicated, because you're trying to straddle two different paradigms.  It gets simpler if you put Explorestars/wireless + short exposure AP in one lane, and ASCOM/INDI/things-to-do-with-guiding-and-longer-exposure-AP/wired into a second lane.  Tools for the job, and all that...
 
The thing you didn't mention in your post is a polar alignment. If you do that (and if you have a guidescope, this is easily and cheaply done with Sharpcap Pro), then in lane #2, there is no need for a star alignment.  Just do a polar alignment, slew to some easily recognizable star and when centered, tell CdC/whatever to sync.  That's pretty much it.  No need to go back and forth.  I found plate solving (at least with Astrotortilla) a bear to set up, but once done, what a simplifier!  Makes centering those faint fuzzies so much simpler, because even a sync may not be enough to center a target that you cannot see.
 
Anyway, my $0.02 is that this gets a lot simpler if you think of your evening's session as travelling in either one lane or the other, no lane-hopping...   
 
To your question about guiding over wifi - I think you've already guessed, that while it may work for a time, you should not count on it working reliably...  :-)

HTH...
 
- Bob
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2 290M
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Bill Black
 

Hi All,
Just wanted to give an update on using the direct ASCOM connection in Stellarium without Stellarium Scope.
Thanks to Dave's notes, I've discovered that not only do you need to unpark the Scope with POTH, but you also need to turn on tracking in POTH.
Once I did that, everything started working! (pic below... yellow circle on tracking box, which must be checked and red arrow pointing to park/unpark button, which must say "Park Scope"... i.e., it is unparked)

guitsboy, Sorry about hijacking your thread here.
To some of your questions, I do believe that the PMC8 controller retains the alignment data until it is rebooted or realigned -- but I can't swear to that as I don't really use ExploreStars.
Also, I recommend pulse guiding over a serial connection for your auto-guiding. I've gone to a strict serial connection now due to sporadic results over wifi.


--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Tony
 

Hi All.  I'm hoping to get the scope out for the first time tomorrow, and wanted to make sure I had all my ducks in a row.  I've done a little bit of testing in my living room, but still not sure how it will work once I drag everything outside.

Firstly, I'm woefully unfamiliar with Stellarium or CDC, so I really dont feel comfortable using either of those for alignment or navigation.  And plate solving for PA is something well beyond my abilities right now.   Typically I would just use the handbox for both, then simply let PHD do its thing.

I'm guessing the way that makes the most sense to me is to simply use explorestars via tablet for star alignment since it most closely resembles the handbox method.   
Once alignment is done, I can use the EXOS utility to switch from Wifi to serial.
From there, I have both APT and PHD are configured to use POTH instead of the mount directly.  And POTH is configured over serial.
It appears that mount alignment, RA and Dec info is carried over when I make the switch from WiFi to Serial, is that correct?
I also believe I can use APT directly for navigation if I'm not mistaken, though I have not actually done so.

Exactly how big of a no-no is attempting to guide over wifi?  I'm guessing the latency causes all sorts of problems.  I find it would be much much easier to keep it in wifi mode and simply toggle between POTH or Explore Stars on the tablet.  Otherwise it could get a bit unwieldy slewing to find something while looking through the eyepiece.  I'm guessing that I may simply have to toggle between wifi and serial every time I change targets, unless my go-to's are dead on, which they never are.


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Kim,

You had an earlier post that mentioned that you were connecting wireless?  It wasn't clear just how 'wireless' you are, whether just the PMC8 or other gear as well.

Anyway... No idea if that's part of your present issues, but we have had a few members try guiding over wireless and they generally end up a bit frustrated.  
Thing is... when you're guiding, you're basically setting up a closed-loop, near-real-time control system.  
Wireless anywhere in that control loop can have latency issues and dropouts that you don't notice when going visual, but different story if you're guiding. 
A serial FTDI-to-USB cable plus drivers connecting the PMC8 is more stable than wireless for guiding, and fast enough to do the job well.  

HTH...

- Bob

--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2 290M
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Kim
 

I had to take Stellarium out of full screen mode to find the last dialog box for choosing the POTH Hub. After I selected that it acted like it connected, but I still couldn't get it to slew. I downloaded and installed StellariumScope. After I configured through StellariumScope I was able to slew the mount in Stellarium. Unfortunately, everything seems a bit unstable and has a tendency to hang, especially POTH Hub.


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Bill Black
 

Thanks Dave,
I was just using the serial connection. I did not try wifi. I also have not tried rebooting my PC.
I may give those a shot and report back weather or not I have any luck.

--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Bill Black
 

Hi Kim,
When I click the "ASCOM" Radio button on the "Add New Telescope" window in Stellarium, it activates the lower portion of the window.
I had to click the lower scroll up/down arrows (circled in yellow in the pic below) to find the input to select the type of ASCOM telescope.
When I click the "Choose ASCOM Telescope" button (big red arrow), it pulls up the ASCOM interface where I can choose the POTH Hub (or alternatively connect directly to the PMC 8).
I'm curious if you get these inputs, and if so, can you get it to work for you?


--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Dave Cherry
 

 

Correction.... Cntrl Shift 1 for sync not Alt shift 1 !

Dave.

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Bill the Mortal
Sent: 20 May 2020 20:31
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

I would like to know this as well.
I installed the latest version of Stellarium, but no luck getting it to work directly with the PMC 8 on my EXOS II. However, Stellarium Scope is still working fine, so I'm still using it for now.

My steps were:

  • Installed Stellarium 20.1
  • Started POTH connected to the PMC 8
  • Started Stellarium and went into the Scope configurations
  • Added a new scope, selected ASCOM, selected ASCOM POTH
  • Click connect, connected to the mount, Scope icon appears on the Stellarium screen at the NCP reporting essentially the same coordinates as the POTH hub.
  • Pick an object in Stellarium, click current object coordinates, click slew... nothing
  • park the scope in POTH, click slew in Stellarium, get a message from Stellarium that you cannot slew a parked scope.
  • unpark the scope in POTH, click slew... nothing
  • click sync... nothing.

So the communications all seem to be working fine, but Stellarium does not seem to be sending any commands to the POTH Hub, but it is reading information from the POTH Hub.

Also tried bypassing the POTH Hub and just connect directly to the PMC 8 from Stellarium (the PMC8 shows up as one of the options in Stellarium directly when you pick ASCOM).
However, similar results. The Scope icon appears on the screen, has essentially the correct coordinates, but when I click slew I get the "parked scope" message from Stellarium and now no way to unpark the scope, since I've bypassed the POTH Hub.

Interestingly, Stellarium Scope is still working fine. I can Start Stellarium Scope and also connect directly to the Poth Hub so that I now have two active scope icons showing in Stellarium (I named the direct connection "Direct" and the default name for Stellarium Scope is just "Scope"). So with this set-up, I can control the mount with the "Scope" connection and the "Direct" connection will follow it around on the screen. However, I cannot issue any commands through the "Direct" connection... it just sits there.

Valiant effort from the folks at Stellarium, but as far as I can tell it doesn't actually work.

Wondering if anyone has actually gotten it to work with the PMC8 EXOSII... or any PMC8 for that matter.
Thanks!
--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385

 


--
Scopes: Sky Watcher 200PDS, Skywatcher 72ED
Mount: Explore Scientific PMC8 EXO2
Cameras: ASI 294MCPRO Coooled, Altair guide cam + 50mm scope
Software: Sharpcap Pro ,PH2, Stelarium Startools


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Dave Cherry
 

Hi Bill,

I feel your pain, I’ve spent the last 3 days trying to get this to work!

 

But last night , everything worked! And I’m not entirely sure why

Using ascom 6.4 ,  6.5 does not work for me

 

 

Reboot the laptop from cold

Connected to mount via wifi (I’m going to try the serial tonight)

Load poth

select Ascom , setup ascom with pmc driver check you site data etc...

dis-engage tracking then re-engage it.

load sharpcap Pro (but do not connect it to any mount, this is still a problem for me)

load Stellarium select poth as mount.

Load ph2 select poth as mount

 

 

It worked , like I said if you have asked me a couple of days ago , I would have said its never going to work?? Who knew.

I’m going to have another go tonight.

If I find anything else out , Ill let you know.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

 

Note that when using Stellarium directly with poth the slew sync and cancel keys are different than Stellarium scope.

Eg: ALT SHIFT 1 to sync

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Bill the Mortal
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 8:31 PM
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

I would like to know this as well.
I installed the latest version of Stellarium, but no luck getting it to work directly with the PMC 8 on my EXOS II. However, Stellarium Scope is still working fine, so I'm still using it for now.

My steps were:

  • Installed Stellarium 20.1
  • Started POTH connected to the PMC 8
  • Started Stellarium and went into the Scope configurations
  • Added a new scope, selected ASCOM, selected ASCOM POTH
  • Click connect, connected to the mount, Scope icon appears on the Stellarium screen at the NCP reporting essentially the same coordinates as the POTH hub.
  • Pick an object in Stellarium, click current object coordinates, click slew... nothing
  • park the scope in POTH, click slew in Stellarium, get a message from Stellarium that you cannot slew a parked scope.
  • unpark the scope in POTH, click slew... nothing
  • click sync... nothing.

So the communications all seem to be working fine, but Stellarium does not seem to be sending any commands to the POTH Hub, but it is reading information from the POTH Hub.

Also tried bypassing the POTH Hub and just connect directly to the PMC 8 from Stellarium (the PMC8 shows up as one of the options in Stellarium directly when you pick ASCOM).
However, similar results. The Scope icon appears on the screen, has essentially the correct coordinates, but when I click slew I get the "parked scope" message from Stellarium and now no way to unpark the scope, since I've bypassed the POTH Hub.

Interestingly, Stellarium Scope is still working fine. I can Start Stellarium Scope and also connect directly to the Poth Hub so that I now have two active scope icons showing in Stellarium (I named the direct connection "Direct" and the default name for Stellarium Scope is just "Scope"). So with this set-up, I can control the mount with the "Scope" connection and the "Direct" connection will follow it around on the screen. However, I cannot issue any commands through the "Direct" connection... it just sits there.

Valiant effort from the folks at Stellarium, but as far as I can tell it doesn't actually work.

Wondering if anyone has actually gotten it to work with the PMC8 EXOSII... or any PMC8 for that matter.
Thanks!
--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com

 

 


--
Scopes: Sky Watcher 200PDS, Skywatcher 72ED
Mount: Explore Scientific PMC8 EXO2
Cameras: ASI 294MCPRO Coooled, Altair guide cam + 50mm scope
Software: Sharpcap Pro ,PH2, Stelarium Startools


Re: UPDATED VIDEO: New Video on How To Install and Configure the ASCOM Driver for the iEXOS 100 Mount #ExploreScientific #iEXOS-100

 

Hey Jerry,

New iEXOS-100 owner here. I followed your video step-by-step but am still not able to connect my mount to my computer. While it says it's connected via UDP and everything seems fine, when I click "Connect Telescope" in the POTH hub it just spins and spins until it tells me it can not connect "80040407 - ASCOM.ES_PMC8.Telescope GetRAMotorPosition" It also seems that I do not have a "com port" or at least nothing is coming up for me ("Could not automatically find the com port for the PMC-8. Please make sure it is connected.") and it's making it so I can't connect via serial cable at all.

Any advice or insight on what I should try next would be greatly appreciated!


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Kim
 

You actually got more working than I did. I clicked on ASCOM and I didn't any further configuration options. 


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Bill Black
 

I would like to know this as well.
I installed the latest version of Stellarium, but no luck getting it to work directly with the PMC 8 on my EXOS II. However, Stellarium Scope is still working fine, so I'm still using it for now.

My steps were:
  • Installed Stellarium 20.1
  • Started POTH connected to the PMC 8
  • Started Stellarium and went into the Scope configurations
  • Added a new scope, selected ASCOM, selected ASCOM POTH
  • Click connect, connected to the mount, Scope icon appears on the Stellarium screen at the NCP reporting essentially the same coordinates as the POTH hub.
  • Pick an object in Stellarium, click current object coordinates, click slew... nothing
  • park the scope in POTH, click slew in Stellarium, get a message from Stellarium that you cannot slew a parked scope.
  • unpark the scope in POTH, click slew... nothing
  • click sync... nothing.
So the communications all seem to be working fine, but Stellarium does not seem to be sending any commands to the POTH Hub, but it is reading information from the POTH Hub.

Also tried bypassing the POTH Hub and just connect directly to the PMC 8 from Stellarium (the PMC8 shows up as one of the options in Stellarium directly when you pick ASCOM).
However, similar results. The Scope icon appears on the screen, has essentially the correct coordinates, but when I click slew I get the "parked scope" message from Stellarium and now no way to unpark the scope, since I've bypassed the POTH Hub.

Interestingly, Stellarium Scope is still working fine. I can Start Stellarium Scope and also connect directly to the Poth Hub so that I now have two active scope icons showing in Stellarium (I named the direct connection "Direct" and the default name for Stellarium Scope is just "Scope"). So with this set-up, I can control the mount with the "Scope" connection and the "Direct" connection will follow it around on the screen. However, I cannot issue any commands through the "Direct" connection... it just sits there.

Valiant effort from the folks at Stellarium, but as far as I can tell it doesn't actually work.

Wondering if anyone has actually gotten it to work with the PMC8 EXOSII... or any PMC8 for that matter.
Thanks!
--

Bill
Location: Dallas, GA
Scopes:
 Celestron C8, AstroTech 80mm APO

Mounts: EXOS II PMC-Eight, LXD75

Cameras: ZWO ASI294MCPro, ASI385


Re: EXOS 2 GT Payload Capacity

Kent Marts- Explore Scientific Customer Service
 

Whenever I'm faced with a difference like this, I ALWAYS refer to the manufacturer's information rather than a dealer or vendor. Why? Because there are fewer links in the information chain to get messed up. Sort of like the old Telephone Game, where you whisper a phrase in someone's ear, then they pass it to the next person, and the final person says it out loud.

About a year ago, after testing the payload capacity of the EXOS2 with PMC-Eight was raised from a broad statement of 28-pound capacity (and leaving it to the customer to learn about the 60% rule, or 50% rule for astrophotography) to a much more transparent statement -- this much for AP, this much for visual. The capacity went to 28 pounds of equipment (not including counterweights) for astrophotography.

--
Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific

Gear: Anything in the store!


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

jrichard333 <jrichard333@hotmail.com>
 

Good day Patrick,

 

Would you be so kind as to explain how it works without the need for Stellarium scope?  How is your device setup?

 

JR

 

From: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io [mailto:MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io] On Behalf Of Patrick Maher via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 11:44 AM
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

 

Stellarium works fine without the need for the quirky and unstable Stellarium Scope now and for the past few months.  However, make sure you are still using the current version of ASCOM Platform and not the Beta version.  

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor


Re: EXOS 2 GT Payload Capacity

Jeny@
 

All EdgeHD optical tubes are Fastar-compatible, allowing the secondary mirror to be removed and replaced with a third party lens accessory for ultra-fast f/2 wide field imaging
I'm wandering if changing to dedicated astro-camera in Fastar setup will solve the issue...
--
EXOS2-GT PMC8
Orion150 Mak, Polemaster, ZWO ASI178MM


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Patrick Maher
 

Stellarium works fine without the need for the quirky and unstable Stellarium Scope now and for the past few months.  However, make sure you are still using the current version of ASCOM Platform and not the Beta version.  

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor


Re: Couple questions about the EXOS2-GT PMC8 #EXOS2 #ExploreStars

Kim
 

Bill,

I have Stellarium 20.1 that I have been trying to connect to POTH. I had looked at StellariumScope and read the note about it not be necessary with the newer versions of Stellarium. The configuration only specifies ASCOM which doesn't seem to work with POTH. I really don't see how it can as the PMC-Eight driver is also ASCOM. How would it know which ASCOM driver to select? I haven't tried looking at any code, so I don't know what parameters are associated with the ASCOM selection that are used to find the appropriate API to connect to.

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