Date   

Re: Updated Knowledge Base on Explore Scientific Website

W. Christopher Moses
 

Sounds great.
    If you want me to write-up some stuff on some of the issues we went over a while ago I'll be happy to.  Maybe:
1. Doing a star-cross test / Testing your guide camera
2. Switching from wired to wireless and when to use each
3. Relationship between explore stars and ASCOM.


BTW - I wrote a simple terminal program, especially for the PMC-8.  It has buttons for common PMC-8 commands. I wrote it mainly to speed up interactions with the PMC-8 in the field.  I.e.  I don't want to have to look up commands in the dark.   Right now it only works for wired, but I'm planning on adding wireless tonight or tomorrow. 
I'll put it on Git.  If anybody wants any more functionality, just let me know.


Re: Updated Knowledge Base on Explore Scientific Website

Robert Hoskin <r_hoskin@...>
 

Jerry,

IMO, a good start. I took a quick look in general, and watched the video "how do I install Explorestars and the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver".  Hit a couple of bumps with that:

- A bit confusing that they're back-to-back in the same video, as they're mutually exclusive and have different use cases.  Might want to re-edit into two videos.
- The current downloads web page doesn't have the ASCOM platform link that the video talks about, anymore.  Probably should put that back.
- The PMC-8 driver file named on the page doesn't match the one that's physically linked.  
- The file that's physically linked is just ES_PMC8_Setup.exe.  No version in the name, and when you click on it, a security warning is thrown (win 7) "publisher could not be verified", "no valid digital signature".  Norton warns as well, as it's only seen the file a very few times before.

The antivirus thing, at least, appears to be easy enough to get past.  I had Webroot give a false positive on my astro laptop, over the new version of DSS.  Posted a note on the new DSS forum, the developers uploaded a copy (somewhere... :-) on the Webroot site for them to check, and poof, it was moved to the whitelist.  I expect the same holds for Norton.

Hope this helps...

- Bob


From: "hubbell_jerry@... [ESPMC-Eight]"
To: ESPMC-Eight@...
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:12 PM
Subject: [ESPMC-Eight] Updated Knowledge Base on Explore Scientific Website

 
I have reorganized the knowledge base articles for the PMC-Eight to make it easier to find what you are looking for. I have revised them to have the question as the title of the article and updated the content of the answers. I will continue to add articles (mostly on the technical side) as time goes on based on all the questions I have received and answered over the past year and a half about the PMC-Eight system. Please let me know what you think about the new structure. I probably will add a section for the Application Notes as I create additional ones.

Here is the link:

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC

 



Updated Knowledge Base on Explore Scientific Website

hubbell_jerry@...
 

I have reorganized the knowledge base articles for the PMC-Eight to make it easier to find what you are looking for. I have revised them to have the question as the title of the article and updated the content of the answers. I will continue to add articles (mostly on the technical side) as time goes on based on all the questions I have received and answered over the past year and a half about the PMC-Eight system. Please let me know what you think about the new structure. I probably will add a section for the Application Notes as I create additional ones.


Here is the link:

http://hosted.comm100.com/knowledgebase/Category.aspx?id=5000000&siteid=56501


Jerry Hubbell

Director Electrical Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC


 


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

Steve,

Thanks!

I have NOT been using StellariumScope.

I like the idea of Stellarium FoV with scope/sensor for composition, but I noticed that it seems that most folks use CdC.  I had NO PROBLEM getting CdC to work, and will keep using CdC as I have too many bugs (mainly my inexperience) to work out.

I have not tried serial cable, though I have bought one, as I want to try to get one thing working at a time.

 


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

Chris,

Thanks!

My tablet/laptop is NOT going to sleep.  I have set the power management to keep the pc awake and display alive for 5 hours after interaction, when on AC power.

I know how to do PoleMaster align, my question was since I have not been able to get XBox controller to interact with the mount, do I have to use ExploreStars to rotate and after PM alignment, then switch to ASCOM?  (I expect that since the Poth buttons seem to work, I can use them, but I really would like the controller to work.)

I have been running Poth/CdC for 5 hours since the Error, and it has worked without any problem.  I also think that was the same error I got in my basement testing with the laptop several days ago, but it only occurred once.

Outside, my tablet has been on the same small table as the PMC-8 box, ~ 1 foot away, with the power supply on the ground.  In my basement testing, the tablet/laptop has been  about 4 ft away from the PMC-8.  Without a controller, the tablet HAS to be close to the mount to make position tweeks (touch screen positioning while observing in an EP is a PITA, but using a Non-touchscreen is even more of a problem).


Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Steve Siedentop
 

Hi Mark -

I can answer some of these...

Chrome...
It's unlikely that Chrome is generating outbound traffic significant enough to disrupt coms.  However, it's worth testing.  If you need these tabs retained, try adding them as "startup pages" (I think that's what it's called) in Settings.

WiFi...
Windows 10 is Power Management is integrated fairly tightly with WiFi connectivity.  Check this out for some guidance on setting:
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/wifi-gets-disconnected-after-sleep
Have you considered connecting directly via the serial port?  While it's primitive and adds "one more cable," it seems to be quite stable.  I'm going to test WifiScope from Main Sequence Software to see if I can get the PMC8 working with SkySafari with the PMC8 connected to a laptop/compute stick via a serial cable.

Polemaster...
In spite of what the manual says, I move the mount manually by loosening the clutches.   I've never had a problem doing this on my CGEM DX, NEQ6 Pro, or the ES G-11.
I haven't checked it out yet, but I've been told that the latest PHD2 update includes some changes to the Polar Alignment routine that may be worth checking out.

Stellarium...
I believe you need StellariumScope installed to use Stellarim with ASCOM.  Stellarium connects to StellariumScope which connects to the POTH which connects to the PMC8.  I used this with EQMOD and found it all to be more trouble than it was worth.  I settled on CdC.
http://welshdragoncomputing.ca/x/index.php/home/stellariumscope/download-stellariumscope
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX6TTxYBxCs

Stellarium vs. Cartes du Ciel
Stellarium has a much nicer UI, but CdC seems to have quite a bit less overhead.  CdC also is a bit more simple to connect.  Connect the PMC8 to the POTH, connect CdC to the POTH.

-Steve


On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 3:12 PM, lamb_mark@... [ESPMC-Eight] <ESPMC-Eight@...> wrote:
 

I have had my G11/PMC-8 for more than 2 weeks, and it is my 1st mount, so I am playing in the dark.


I have had issues with wifi dropping while using it outside, but it seems to work fine (for 5+ hours) in my basement in my dummy testing, most of the time.  I have had ExploreStars shut down on its own, but the laptop still being connected to the PMC-8 wifi (this has happened with 2 separate computers), and I have had ExploreStars stay open, but the laptop disconnect from wifi (and stop tracking).  I have Chrome browser with many tabs open in the background (though they are NOT connected to the internet, as tablet is connected to the PMC-8).  Could unconnected Chrome generate interrupts that cause the tablet to disconnect from the PMC-8?


I have gotten ASCOM Poth to work (wifi, have not tried physical serial) and slew/track with CdC for very long periods of time (unattended) in my basement sessions as well.


Today, I had Poth disconnect on its own and seen the following error with my basement wifi testing:

Error.  Addittional non-parsable characters are at the end of the string.

And with this, I noticed that the wifi network was switched from PMC-8 to my home wifi.  (I was away when this happened.)


I have installed ASCOMPAD v209 and have used the settings that Jerry used for the mount (though mount Slew rate 8 of 0 gives Undefined, and Rate9&10 left at default 1). I also used Jerry’s Gamepad buttons settings, with the addition of having D-pad’s N/S/E/W assigned to identical N/S/E/W, and Emergency Stop mapped to Button_5.


My laptop/tablet is communicating to the Xbox controller, as pushing the buttons made the changes to the driver’s button mapping.


However, when I used the Xbox controller, with Poth and CdC running, it (either D-Pad or left joystick) does NOT rotated the mount’s axis; it does nothing.  When I push the Poth’s N/S/E/W buttons (either touchscreen or mouse-click) the mount moves.


What do I need to do to have Poth/PMC-8 react to the Xbox controller?


For those who use PoleMaster and use ASCOM, how do you get the mount to do the rotations required?  (Do you start with ExploreStars to get alignment, and then switch to ASCOM/Poth?)


I also have Stellarium installed, but it does NOT seem to have a button to connect to mount.


How do I connect Stellarium to Poth/PMC-8?


Is CdC preferable to Stellarium?


Thanks!




Re: ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

W. Christopher Moses
 


I have had my G11/PMC-8 for more than 2 weeks, and it is my 1st mount, so I am playing in the dark.


I have had issues with wifi dropping while using it outside, but it seems to work fine (for 5+ hours) in my basement in my dummy testing, most of the time.  I have had ExploreStars shut down on its own, but the laptop still being connected to the PMC-8 wifi (this has happened with 2 separate computers), and I have had ExploreStars stay open, but the laptop disconnect from wifi (and stop tracking).  I have Chrome browser with many tabs open in the background (though they are NOT connected to the internet, as tablet is connected to the PMC-8).  Could unconnected Chrome generate interrupts that cause the tablet to disconnect from the PMC-8?


I strongly doubt the tabs would make a difference.

Make sure your laptop/tablet is set not to go to sleep at all. I've seen that cause issues.

Can you reproduce it at all. Maybe there is some location you are moving the laptop that has really bad reception?  I always try to avoid setting my laptop right next to my large 12v dc power supply.


I have gotten ASCOM Poth to work (wifi, have not tried physical serial) and slew/track with CdC for very long periods of time (unattended) in my basement sessions as well.


Good


Today, I had Poth disconnect on its own and seen the following error with my basement wifi testing:

Error.  Addittional non-parsable characters are at the end of the string.

And with this, I noticed that the wifi network was switched from PMC-8 to my home wifi.  (I was away when this happened.)


Can you reproduce this?


I have installed ASCOMPAD v209 and have used the settings that Jerry used for the mount (though mount Slew rate 8 of 0 gives Undefined, and Rate9&10 left at default 1). I also used Jerry’s Gamepad buttons settings, with the addition of having D-pad’s N/S/E/W assigned to identical N/S/E/W, and Emergency Stop mapped to Button_5.


My laptop/tablet is communicating to the Xbox controller, as pushing the buttons made the changes to the driver’s button mapping.


However, when I used the Xbox controller, with Poth and CdC running, it (either D-Pad or left joystick) does NOT rotated the mount’s axis; it does nothing.  When I push the Poth’s N/S/E/W buttons (either touchscreen or mouse-click) the mount moves.


What do I need to do to have Poth/PMC-8 react to the Xbox controller?


Sorry, never used it.  I've been meaning to try it.


For those who use PoleMaster and use ASCOM, how do you get the mount to do the rotations required?  (Do you start with ExploreStars to get alignment, and then switch to ASCOM/Poth?)


Get the polemaster roughly aligned, so you can see Polaris, and then use ASCOMPad or POTH to rotate the mount as instructed.  Also, if you really need to, you can always manually rotate the mount.  Just be sure to bring it back to zero using the levels when you are done.


I also have Stellarium installed, but it does NOT seem to have a button to connect to mount.


How do I connect Stellarium to Poth/PMC-8?


I can help you with TheSkyX, but not Stellarium.  I know somebody here will be able to help with that one.


Is CdC preferable to Stellarium?


Ditto


Thanks!



ASCOMPAD and PMC-8 Connection Problems

Mark Lamb
 

I have had my G11/PMC-8 for more than 2 weeks, and it is my 1st mount, so I am playing in the dark.


I have had issues with wifi dropping while using it outside, but it seems to work fine (for 5+ hours) in my basement in my dummy testing, most of the time.  I have had ExploreStars shut down on its own, but the laptop still being connected to the PMC-8 wifi (this has happened with 2 separate computers), and I have had ExploreStars stay open, but the laptop disconnect from wifi (and stop tracking).  I have Chrome browser with many tabs open in the background (though they are NOT connected to the internet, as tablet is connected to the PMC-8).  Could unconnected Chrome generate interrupts that cause the tablet to disconnect from the PMC-8?


I have gotten ASCOM Poth to work (wifi, have not tried physical serial) and slew/track with CdC for very long periods of time (unattended) in my basement sessions as well.


Today, I had Poth disconnect on its own and seen the following error with my basement wifi testing:

Error.  Addittional non-parsable characters are at the end of the string.

And with this, I noticed that the wifi network was switched from PMC-8 to my home wifi.  (I was away when this happened.)


I have installed ASCOMPAD v209 and have used the settings that Jerry used for the mount (though mount Slew rate 8 of 0 gives Undefined, and Rate9&10 left at default 1). I also used Jerry’s Gamepad buttons settings, with the addition of having D-pad’s N/S/E/W assigned to identical N/S/E/W, and Emergency Stop mapped to Button_5.


My laptop/tablet is communicating to the Xbox controller, as pushing the buttons made the changes to the driver’s button mapping.


However, when I used the Xbox controller, with Poth and CdC running, it (either D-Pad or left joystick) does NOT rotated the mount’s axis; it does nothing.  When I push the Poth’s N/S/E/W buttons (either touchscreen or mouse-click) the mount moves.


What do I need to do to have Poth/PMC-8 react to the Xbox controller?


For those who use PoleMaster and use ASCOM, how do you get the mount to do the rotations required?  (Do you start with ExploreStars to get alignment, and then switch to ASCOM/Poth?)


I also have Stellarium installed, but it does NOT seem to have a button to connect to mount.


How do I connect Stellarium to Poth/PMC-8?


Is CdC preferable to Stellarium?


Thanks!



Re: RA Stiction

W. Christopher Moses
 

It's a pendulum

After putting in the wavy washer with just a tad bit of grease on it, my RA is so nice and loose it will swing back and forth like a pendulum!  Amazing difference!

Video of it:



Just call Losmandy and tell them you want the RA wavy washer. They will know what you are talking about.


Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

Robert Hoskin <r_hoskin@...>
 

Hi Chris!

Just a little painful experience (life in IT as well as w/ASCOM).  The Windows Registry is... 'complex'.  Some complexity coming from Microsoft, and some coming from the way some developers use it.  It's a remarkable product de-installer that actually removes everything that the *installer* put out there in the first place.  Hence the occasional need for products like CCleaner, that do registry scans and try to clean up dangling detritus.

The user/installer doesn't really experience a problem from an incomplete deinstall until they start doing sequences like install-deinstall-install, such as during upgrades, or repetitive installation troubleshooting.  At that point, they can start bumping into registry entries left from the previous install, and that can have them tearing their hair out, because they may have this problem that won't go away, and they don't understand why - because they trust the deinstaller to do a good job. 

Most Enterprise software I've worked with tended to use the Registry for just the entries they needed, to keep the Microsoft environment happy, and then put everything else (application and site-specific parameters, paths, etc.) out in config files, ini files, xml, or other data structures.  I much prefer that, as it reduces risk from registry problems and makes stored parameters, etc. easier to work with.  Reduces risk, doesn't eliminate...

I ran into this with ASCOM, when my mount became confused about its park state (see my Dec 19 post).  I think what happened was that something went wrong and left ASCOM's record of the mount's state in the Registry inconsistent, and ASCOM was unable to cope with that, when next it ran.

Like most software users, I ran the Programs-and-Features deinstaller and expected it to work.  Then reinstalled, and still had my problem..and many of my config settings...  Then deinstalled again, and took a look at the Registry.  It was hardly touched, and many entries remained - they store everything they can, in there. The registry is hierarchical, so you have to drill entries to find things, and the meanings are not always clear.  I'll poke Registry values if needed and based on good understanding, but I lacked understanding needed to fix my Park-related entries, so that was out.

I subsequently found that standalone deinstall utility, ran that, and it cleared out most of the ASCOM Registry entries.  That was probably sufficient, but by that time, I had blood in my eye, and I gave CCleaner a turn at the Registry.  It did find a few more things to remove, but I think they were probably harmless.  A fresh install, and I was back in business.

Call me gunshy...  :-)   A platform upgrade puts you in the install-deinstall-install scenario I mentioned above. I think that thread I linked will get you started on the deinstall/install procedure needed for the RC, but I'd double-check ASCOM-Talk to see if there's more before starting. 

Hope this helps...

- Bob



From: "chris_moses@... [ESPMC-Eight]"
To: ESPMC-Eight@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:04 PM
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

 
Hi Robert,
   You obviously know more about ASCOM than I do, which is why I ask - Do you mean an internal repository pattern?  What is wrong with that?
    It's been a while since I did any ascom programming.  Looking forward to geting back into it.



Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Robert,
   You obviously know more about ASCOM than I do, which is why I ask - Do you mean an internal repository pattern?  What is wrong with that?
    It's been a while since I did any ascom programming.  Looking forward to geting back into it.


Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Thanks Bob for pointing this out. I remember reading that message and had been aware of this tool but didn't recall it. This will be the first time I have bothered to install a beta version of the ASCOM platform and am curious to see how it goes. 

Thanks

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: ASCOM driver not upgrading

Steve Mallia
 

Thanks for the offer.  I didn't reply yesterday as I was swamped.....the life of the online telescope dealer....

Jerry's post solved the problem.  The .DLL file was not being replaced.

Now all my problems have gone away and I can do exactly what I need to do.

Thank you very much for the support!

Steve Mallia


Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

Robert Hoskin <r_hoskin@...>
 

Just FYI...

The extent to which ASCOM uses the Repository as a data store makes me very uncomfortable, and there's so much out there that a normal platform deinstall will not get it all.

They have a separate deinstaller for times like this.  It's mentioned in the thread I've linked below, from ASCOM-Talk.  Looks like folks are getting (assumed to be) false positives from their AV as well.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ASCOM-Talk/conversations/topics/39219 

FWIW...

- Bob



From: "chris_moses@... [ESPMC-Eight]"
To: ESPMC-Eight@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 5:20 PM
Subject: [ESPMC-Eight] Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

 
I'll play with it tonight.  Is there a changelog in the repo?




Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

No, it is the ASCOM Platform update. I have not made any changes lately to the PMC-Eight driver.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

W. Christopher Moses
 

Oh cool, it is an ASCOM uodate. I just assumed it was a driver update. I gate reading email on phones...


Re: Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

W. Christopher Moses
 

I'll play with it tonight.  Is there a changelog in the repo?


Re: ES G11 / ExploreStars issues

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi jrsonejazz,
   I've gone through this thread a couple of times but I'm still not sure I have absorbed all the lessons and tips.  Any chance I could coax you into writing a one
or two-page summary.  Maybe just:

1. Overview
2. Problem statement
3. Solution
4. Lessons Learned

I know it would be helpful for me, and I bet it would for others also.

Thanks,
Chris


Beta Release of ASCOM-Standard Platform version 6.4RC1

hubbell_jerry@...
 

The latest beta version of the ASCOM Platform (ver. 6.4RC1) has been released and is available for download for those that are interested. I will probably be installing this version on a computer soon to test the PMC-Eight driver to make sure nothing gets broke.  Anyone interested in doing the same I would appreciate you letting me know the results of your testing.


https://github.com/ASCOMInitiative/ASCOMPlatform/releases/tag/Platform6.4RC1


Thanks


Jerry Hubbell

Director Electrical Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.


RE-POST: Request for Customer PMC-Eight Information

hubbell_jerry@...
 

NOTE:  I did not receive very many responses to my original post of the following request for customer information about their PMC-Eight purchases. As I explained below, this would be a personal favor to me to help me keep track of your issues and help us improve our customer support. This system will have a long life-cycle and as our initial customers you can have a large impact on how we improve the system and our customer service going forward. Please respond to my company email jrh@...


I also want to remind everyone about our PMC-Eight OpenGOTO Conference that we are holding on July 20-21, 2018 at our Arkansas Headquarters. We will be posting more information about that soon. You can find out more here: https://explorescientificusa.com/collections/destinations-and-experiences/products/opengoto-community-user-conference


Thank everyone for you support.


Dear Explore Scientific PMC-Eight Yahoo Group Member,


I would like to request that you send me your status in terms of PMC-Eight equipment owned and registration. If you could send me the following information for my records it will help me to keep track of those customers that I have interacted with directly and those that have not been in contact with me.  I appreciate anything you wish to provide in this regard.  I would like the following:


PMC-Eight System Customer or Prospective Customer? Owner/Prospective

PMC-Eight System Owned? G11/EXOS2/NONE

Date PMC-Eight System Purchased: Month/Year

PMC-Eight System Serial Number: XXXXX

Did you register your PMC-Eight System on our website?

Have you talked directly to me on the phone? Yes/No

Have I connected to your computer via TeamViewer? Yes/No

Have you contacted Explore Scientific Customer Service? Yes/No

Describe in one sentence the issue you had when you contacted me for help


I appreciate your time in filling this request, this will help me a lot in keeping everyone straight in my mind, and update my records for future. Please send this information to my work email: jrh@.... 

Don't respond to the Yahoo Group unless you want to make your information publicly available.


Thanks


Jerry Hubbell

Director Electrical Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.


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