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Re: ExploreStars feature request

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

Yes of course, I understand now. I actually do this with the ASCOM driver by setting the Explore Scientific HQ location. We could add code that would prompt them to enter it, but It may be more cost effective to include a specific note about setting the location and time information in the user manual. This also assumes that customers will read and heed the instructions given.

Bottom line is that we would need to discuss spending the time and effort to make it completely fool-proof for absolute beginners in the application assuming that the instructions are not being used.


Re: ExploreStars feature request

W. Christopher Moses
 

In other words, they have to enter coordinates before they can slew for the first time.
Clearly, the program won't know if they have moved the mount*, but it will make sure it is set the first time and, just as importantly, train them as to where and how to set it.

*It could, or course check the internet, if available, but with the default ad-hoc network, it wont be.  Even if it is, it may not be accurate, especially if they are using a VPN.


Re: Pulse Guide

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,
Thanks for the info.
Please add +1 next to the votes for it.

I have to admit that I'm a little bit concerned that pulse-guiding might be a check-list item for some people. Many new comers (and even some people that have been in AP for a while) may never have used ST4 and may be reluctant to learn how to do it.

If I ever get around to making that video, I'll be sure to show how to set it up in PhD.


Re: ExploreStars feature request

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,
I completely agree.
I think what I was trying to say is that it should force them to enter a location at once. Otherwise the location is inherently incorrect.


Re: ExploreStars feature request

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

That's a good thought except that there is no way to validate that the coordinates are the correct ones for that location. You could still put a value in there but it would not slew to the correct location if it is not right. If the value is set correctly the first time (assuming you are not traveling too far from the initial location) then it should work okay. The user needs to be knowledgeable enough to understand the importance of the location data and keep it in mind when setting up their mount. One of the issues we have as a manufacturer is that we have to assume a certain level of knowledge and skill for the customer when creating documentation. For instance, we need to assume that the user knows how to use Windows and can install and configure programs on their Windows device.

I think your suggestion is good, but I also think that there is nothing wrong with making mistakes. It's how we learn things. I always say that we don't learn anything by being successful, it's only when we fail that we learn. So I don't think it is bad to have the mount slew off in a wrong direction per se, as long as the user can figure out what is wrong. I would suggest that we put a caution in the manual that says that if the wrong coordinates or no coordinates are put in the setup preferences then the mount will point in the wrong direction. We don't explicitly state that, but again, the assumption is that the user will understand that implicitly if they understand the purpose of those values, along with the time being accurate.

Let me know what you think of that approach.

Thanks


Re: Pulse Guide

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

I have started looking at it, but with all the work I have on my schedule working on a new version of the PMC-Eight, it will be later this year before I get it done. I think once I start focusing on it, it shouldn't take all that long. The current ST4 auto-guiding port is implemented at the hardware/firmware level, so I have to modify the firmware to include a command to support the pulse-guiding function in ASCOM. Not a big deal, but I want to make sure I don't break anything of course when doing it. Also, I have not decided on a strategy, or the technique to use to integrate it into the existing firmware.

The current auto-guiding function runs in the watchdog process (on it's own processor) to maintain good response and does not interact with the command process (which is also running on it's own processor). I will probably configure it to run on the watchdog processor and monitor the 2 required parameters (Percent Sidereal Rate, and Duration) set up in the global memory space. I may be able to integrate it into the existing interface by just substituting the values read from the global memory space versus the value read from the hardware ST4 interface. We shall see. I may fit the work in sooner, if I think it won't take too long.


Pulse Guide

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,

Do you have a rough time frame, or prioritization, for pulse guiding.


Thanks,

Chris Moses


ExploreStars feature request

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,

Just a quick thought for a simple change to ExploreStars that might help new users - Don't let them slew until their observing location coordinates are set. I forgot to set it last night and the scope took off in the wrong direction. 


Re: Accessing WiFly

W. Christopher Moses
 

Cool, thanks.

I'll try it out tomorrow.




Re: Accessing WiFly

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Here are the instructions to change the interface and enter command mode for the RN-131 module

 

First you will need the following 2 terminal programs:

 

1. Putty Serial Terminal program:  https://www.chiark.g...sgtatham/putty/
2. Parallax Serial Terminal program: https://www.parallax...serial-terminal

 

Install both of these programs by following the installation instructions

 

If you want to change the PMC-Eight WiFi RN-131 configuration then perform the following procedure:

 

CAUTION: You change these parameters at your own risk, If you want to go back to the Explore Scientific default settings you will need to perform a factory reset by issuing the command
"factory RESET" at the <4.xx> prompt. After a factory reset, you will need to run the Explore Scientific configuration commands.  Step 6 below will provide the default parameters as set by
Explore Scientific. Ensure that logging is enabled on the Putty terminal program to record these default parameters so that you can set them back to the Explore Scientific defaults if needed.

 

1.  Set your SSID to the PMC-Eight-xx, whatever yours is
2.  Using Putty, TELNET into address 192.168.47.1 port 54372.
3.  You should be greeted with the *HELLO* prompt of the RN-131 module
4.  Enter "$$$" and you should see "CMD".
5.  Hit Enter again, and the version number prompt, i.e., "<4.41>" will be displayed.
6.  Enter "get everything" and see that you get a list of all the parameters and what they are set to.

 

You can now enter configuration commands for the RN-131 module.

 

NOTE: If you change the default IP Address and Port number, then you need to use the new IP Address and Port number when connecting to the PMC-Eight with Putty.

 

If you want to change the interface from the default WiFi Port (interface 1) to the Serial Port (interface 0), do the following:

 

NOTE: This assumes that you start with the delivered configuration of the PMC-Eight with the WiFi interface enabled

 

1.  Set your SSID to the PMC-Eight-xx, whatever yours is
2.  Using Putty, TELNET into address 192.168.47.1 port 54372.
3.  You should be greeted with the *HELLO* prompt of the RN-131 module
4.  Enter "###" you should see "Diagnostic Mode Disabled#!
5.  Enter "ESX!" and you should see "ESX0!" which says that the interface was switched to the serial port (interface 0)

 

If you want to change the interface from the Serial Port (interface 0) to the WiFi Port (interface 1) then do the following:

 

1. Using the Parallax Serial Terminal, connect to the assigned serial port with connection parameters: 115200, N, 8, 1
2. Once connected, you should see the startup information scroll on the screen.
3. At the top line, enter "###" you should see "Diagnostic Mode Disabled#"
4. Enter "ESX!" and you should see "ESX1!" which says that the interface was switched to the WiFi port (interface 1)

 


Re: Accessing WiFly

W. Christopher Moses
 

Once again, thanks.


Re: Accessing WiFly

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

The default configuration of the PMC-Eight is to communicate through the WiFi connection. You have to issue the command ESX! over the WiFi connection to change the communications port to the serial interface. I include a utility called the ES ASCOM Driver Tester in the SDK that exercises the ASCOM driver. In it you can send ES commands in the bottom section of the program. You need to run that program and issue the ESX! command to toggle the communications channel. I plan on writing an application note about this soon.


Accessing WiFly

W. Christopher Moses
 

I'm trying to access the WiFly module in order to configure the automatic access point association. Two questions regarding that:


1. Can I just plug into the back of the pmc-8 and start issuing commands to the WiFly, or do I need to "access" it in some fashion?


I tried just plugging into it and sending commands, such as  "$$$" to enter command mode, but I never receive anything back.


2. If I should be able to, shouldn't the sequence to associate with a network be:

$$$

set wlan ssid <name>

set wlan pass <password>

set wlan join 1

save

reboot


Thanks,

Chris



Re: Guiding Settings

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Which settings do you need?


Guiding Settings

W. Christopher Moses
 

Anybody have any good starting points for guiding setting in PhD or TheSkyX?


Re: Balancing

W. Christopher Moses
 

Nope. 
After looking at the losmandy diagram, I see the correct knobs.  


Balancing

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,

Time for my first, probably obvious, question. 

Balancing - I assume the RA and Dec lock screws are the 4 larger hex screws on the motor assemblies?


Re: Wifi Connectivity

W. Christopher Moses
 

Oh, Cool. Even easier.
I think I was just glancing though a document and it showed connecting directly to the wifi module.


Re: Wifi Connectivity

hubbell_jerry@...
 

You don't have to open the case, what gave you that idea? You just have to TELNET into the system and enter the command mode for the RN-131 ($$$) and then enter the configuration parameters. The only reason to open the case is if you cannot send the "factory reset" command to reset to factory defaults. The other way to do it is to use the PIO9 pin, GND and VDD pins. I have a procedure for this I can send to you if you really need it. I also have the commands to return it to the Explore Scientific configuration. If you change it, there is no guarantee it will connect to the ExploreStars app, we have not tested it yet by setting the IP_ADD and PORT to a WAN value. It is easier when using the ASCOM driver to set the IP_ADD and PORT.


Wifi Connectivity

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi,

I'm pretty surprised that the general wifi connectivity isn't yet enabled. This is a major feature of the mount. However, I don't really mind opening up the case and telnet-ing in to configure the settings. Reading through the doc, it looks pretty straight forward.


Is this OK to do? Can you think of any problems it may cause?


If I can get it to work, I'll write a quick and dirty program for other users to use until a solution that doesn't involve opening the case is available.


Thanks,

Chris Moses