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Introduction to the Explore Scientific PMC-Eight

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Welcome to the Explore Scientific PMC-Eight group! This group is for you, our customers to ask questions and discuss anything and everything about the new PMC-Eight mount control system. The PMC-Eight product line is the basis for the OpenGOTO Community, the open-source community for anyone interested in developing applications for the PMC-Eight Control System. I will be posting more on the OpenGOTO community in the future. In the meantime, please make yourself at home, I look forward to your questions and comments! I have included a poll if you wish to let us know what you think about the PMC-Eight.


Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.



Explore Scientific PMC-Eight Webpage Link

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Here is the link to the PMC-Eight Control System webpage on the Explorescientific.com website. You will find links to all the different PMC-Eight related items at the bottom of the page.



Jerry



PMC-Eight Customers

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Shipments of the Losmandy G-11/PMC-Eight started 3 weeks ago, and the EXOS 2/PMC-Eight have been shipping for over a week now. If you are a PMC-Eight customer, check out the Explore Scientific Facebook page at  www.facebook.com/explorescientificusa



ALPO Podcast about the work I do for the Lunar Section - Lunar Topographical Studies

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Here is a link to a recent interview I did with Tim Robertson for ALPO talking about the Lunar Section - Lunar Topographical Studies. Tim just made it available this week
 
 
If you are interested in contributing your lunar images or other observations to the ALPO please let me know!

Thanks,
 
Jerry Hubbell
Assistant Coordinator
Lunar Topographical Studies, Lunar Section
Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers
jerry.hubbell@...
 

Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC
jrh@...


New Images taken at the MSRO

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Here are images of M20, M13, and M51 taken with the Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) which has the Explore Scientific 152 ED APO CF refractor mounted on the Losmandy G11 with PMC-Eight control system. We also have the Telescope Drive Master drive correction system installed. The M20 is a 60 minute exposure, the M51 is a 2.5 hour exposure, and the M13 is a 110 minute exposure. The M51 and M13 were processed by world famous astrophotographer Jack Newton. I imaged and processed the M20 image.



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


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.


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.


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: Balancing

W. Christopher Moses
 

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


Guiding Settings

W. Christopher Moses
 

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


Re: Guiding Settings

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Which settings do you need?


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: 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.


Re: Accessing WiFly

W. Christopher Moses
 

Once again, thanks.


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
 

Cool, thanks.

I'll try it out tomorrow.




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. 


Pulse Guide

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Jerry,

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


Thanks,

Chris Moses


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.