Date   

Re: Beginner question-am I following the right steps?

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Lynn,

You are pretty much correct. If I might suggest, it might be easier to level the tripod by itself before you install the mount on the tripod since it is easier to do fine adjustments on the legs without all the extra weight. After you install the mount and your telescope/equipment, then you should check the level and maybe tweak it if you feel that is necessary. Small errors in level will not impact the operation of the mount nor its alignment.

Once you have completed your polar alignment with Polemaster, then you can do a 2 or 3-star alignment ( I always suggest a 3-star alignment) After you complete the alignment the ExploreStars app will sit at the last star you aligned after you SYNC'd on it and wait for you to slew to your first object. You can do that or PARK the mount to start out if you like but it is not necessary.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Re: Question from a prospective buyer: networking

hubbell_jerry@...
 

The WiFi module used in the PMC-Eight can be reconfigured as a station on a WAN versus as an access point. There is an Application Note I created to do just that. The Application Note tells you what to do to change the configuration but not how it needs to be changed. That needs to be worked out as far as the settings are concerned. Early on (3 years ago) we demonstrated the configuration for connecting to a WAN but have not done any work on this since then. See this knowledge base article:


Most, if not all of your other questions may be already answered on our knowledge base:


Please spend some time browsing those and then I will be pleased to answer any other questions you may have.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.



Beginner question-am I following the right steps?

clchev@...
 

Not sure if I have the steps correct and in the right order setting up the ESPMC 8 and Losmandy ES G-11 mount.
Feedback welcome!
  • Set up/balance tripod-one leg towards true north
  • Install RA & DEC units on Tripod
  • Install counter weight bar and counter weights
  • Install telescope and balance in RA & DEC
  • Level RA & DEC
  • Run Polemaster
  • Open Explore Stars
  • Press 'Set Alignment'
  • Press Park Mount?



Re: Question from prospective buyer: MacOS / iOS support

hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Jim,

Michael Fulbright has developed an INDI driver for the PMC-Eight that runs in LINUX. There is an INDI server available for MAC OSX that I had started testing using a OSX virtual machine on my PC, but I was waiting for the driver to be rolled into the INDI distribution. That is now available but I have not had time to try it out. You may want to find the INDI server (which includes the drivers for several devices including the PMC-Eight) and try it out on your MAC OSX machine. I am not an Apple developer, so I cannot speak to how good it is or how it was developed.

The iOS version of ExploreStars is under active development now and should be released before the end of the year.

As far as a browser interface, I started down that path early in the development of the controller using a WiFi module that included a web server that supported Java. I developed some rudimentary web pages that allowed you to issue commands to the PMC-Eight using that interface. I know that there is active development going on to create an ASCOM web server so that you can post HTML commands to the driver hosted on the web server and control a mount that way. I will probably start looking into that and talk to some folks involved with that.

Overall, development is happening!

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


---In ESPMC-Eight@..., <joe@...> wrote :

I use two Mac laptops, and iPad, and an iPhone.  One laptop is configured with bootcamp, so I use Windows under duress. ExploreScientific sales (always helpful) say MacOS and iOS support is coming and may happen in early 2019.  Can anyone confirm or provide further details?


I run Windows Autostakkert 2 and 3 and Registax executables inside wine on my Mac.  Does ExploreStars and other Windows executables that interface to the PMC-8 run work properly inside wine on a Mac that has a USB-serial interface? Can I survive until there is real Mac support?


What are my options if I choose to sidestep the platform issue by controlling the G-11/PMC-8 from a browser window that was tethered via wifi or 100-base-T ethernet? Would I have basic slewing controls? Could I do alignments? Could I switch between point and track mode?  Would I have Go-To capability?


Re: Question from prospective buyer: No hand paddle

Mark Lamb
 

I have successfully been using an XBox controller with ASCOMPAD through ASCOM Poth.  It is much nicer than using a non-tactile touchscreen.  However, for me ASCOMPAD needs to be the active window for this to work (PITA).  This is for Poth not for ExploreStars.


Re: Question from prospective buyer: MacOS / iOS support

W. Christopher Moses
 

1. iOS/Mac support:
I have no idea. Someone from ES will have to handle that one.

2. Wine:
I haven't heard of anyone trying that configuration.  I would imagine that if ascom runs under wine then the PMC-8 driver would run.  There is also an INDI driver.

3. BRowser interface
There is no browser interface to the pmc-8. It has wifi, but not a web server.


Re: Question from a prospective buyer: networking

W. Christopher Moses
 

It's definitely possible to run the mount through a serial connection.  That's how I use it all the time.

Sorry, It's been too long since I used wifi to answer the other questions.


Re: Question from prospective buyer: No hand paddle

W. Christopher Moses
 

I have frequently used my Surface book in tablet mode - with the KB disconnected.  I used ascom to move/jog the axis.  It worked fine, although I did have to wipe it off once or twice as condensation formed.  I doubt that would happen in most cases but it was a fast temperature drop.

I'm not  sure about anyone grafting a paddle onto the serial port, but it should be pretty easy if you want a project to play with.

There have been some threads about using xbox controllers to control the mount via EQMOD.  It sounds like it works but you should double check, I haven't followed the threads closely. 


Question from a prospective buyer: networking

joe@...
 

I've read through a number of conversations/questions about having the PMC-8 use DHCP to join a LAN. I haven't seen a solution.  Does a recipe exist?


If not, is there an engineering reason that LAN functionality is precluded from ever being implemented?


I've seen helpful documentation of configuring a PC with putty to use a terminal window to TELNET to a PMC-8.  Does a PMC-8 support ssh, and can you disable telnet?  In the internet of things, if PMC-8 joins a LAN, it potentially could be hacked.


Is there a recipe for using an ethernet cable to connect a laptop to a PMC-8 instead of wifi?


There are some DSLR's that can already be controlled and read out via wifi from a laptop.  We are living in the Age of Fastar. Dedicated astrocams that readout over wifi  so as not to drape wires in front of and SCT corrector is just around the corner. I really hope that there is no fundamental limitation to LAN connectivity, and that a camera and a PM-8 can join the same LAN so that a laptop can control both a mount and a camera.  Imagine, for example, controlling your mount and recording astrophotos from inside a house on a cold winter's night. It would be a pity to throw out $1000 electronics in a year because it can't join a LAN




Re: Question from prospective buyer: Suitability for EdgeHD C14

joe@...
 

I've noticed (!), but extrapolating from a C11 to a C14 would be foolhardy. I have a friend who gets great results with a C11 on an Orion Atlas mount, but a C14 exceeds the 40 lb load spec for the Atlas. 

(If I want to annoy my students, I'd say that good results with a C11 was necessary for similar results with a C14, but not sufficient ;-) )


Question from prospective buyer: No hand paddle

joe@...
 

Paddles have tactile buttons that can be pushed while looking through an eye piece to center an object.  Touch screens don't.


Has anyone successfully grafted a traditional hand paddle onto the DB-9 intended for auto guiding? If not, is there a technical reason why this couldn't/shouldn't be done?


I am interested in the impressions of those who have been using phones or tables for tweaking RA/declination.  Are phones just as good as paddles? Am I anticipating a non-problem, or did ES miss this "human-factors" engineering/design issue?


Thanks!


Question from prospective buyer: MacOS / iOS support

joe@...
 

I use two Mac laptops, and iPad, and an iPhone.  One laptop is configured with bootcamp, so I use Windows under duress. ExploreScientific sales (always helpful) say MacOS and iOS support is coming and may happen in early 2019.  Can anyone confirm or provide further details?


I run Windows Autostakkert 2 and 3 and Registax executables inside wine on my Mac.  Does ExploreStars and other Windows executables that interface to the PMC-8 run work properly inside wine on a Mac that has a USB-serial interface? Can I survive until there is real Mac support?


What are my options if I choose to sidestep the platform issue by controlling the G-11/PMC-8 from a browser window that was tethered via wifi or 100-base-T ethernet? Would I have basic slewing controls? Could I do alignments? Could I switch between point and track mode?  Would I have Go-To capability?


An existing poll has been modified, check it out.

ESPMC-Eight@...
 

Poll to see which Operating Systems we are using. This will help me when developing programs for the PMC-8
Created by: Chris_Moses
  1. Android tablet


Thanks!


Re: Question from prospective buyer: Suitability for EdgeHD C14

W. Christopher Moses
 

See the post "Images from Guadalupe State Park."  Sunil is using a C-11 with an ASI1600 imaging system and getting very good results.


Re: Question from prospective buyer: Suitability for EdgeHD C14

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi jmizen,
    I don't think my rig is that heavy but with a mini-pc, all electronics, an extra 11" mounting plate, clamps, etc... it is getting up there.  I'll weigh it and let you know.


Re: PMC-8 Helper Program

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi,

Two more notes:
1. Don't send commands to the PMC-8 if you don't know what you are doing. There is no real reason to "play" with that functionality. (Although switching between debug and non-debug mode should be safe)
2. If you get an error. Please write it down as precisely as possible and let me know.


Question from prospective buyer: Suitability for EdgeHD C14

joe@...
 

First of several questions. Losmandy specs the G-11 at 60 lbs for imaging.   Celestron 14" scopes are in the upper 40 lbs range. Loaded with reducers/extenders and cameras, probably in the low-mid 50 lb range. Is there anyone using the G-11/PMC-8 for imaging with a 14" SCT?  I'd be interested in your impressons. Thanks!


An existing poll has been modified, check it out.

ESPMC-Eight@...
 

Poll to see which Operating Systems we are using. This will help me when developing programs for the PMC-8
Created by: Chris_Moses
  1. iOS (added by: jmizen . June 21, 2018)


Thanks!


New poll for ESPMC-Eight

ESPMC-Eight@...
 

Enter your vote today! A new poll has been created for the ESPMC-Eight group:
Poll to see which Operating Systems we are using. This will help me when developing programs for the PMC-8
Created by: Chris_Moses
  1. Windows 10
  2. Windows 8
  3. Windows 7
  4. Mac (OS X)
  5. Linux
  6. Other


Thanks!


PMC-8 Helper Program

W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Everyone,

I have uploaded a program to the files section.  It is a program that allows you to switch the PMC-8 controller between wifi and serial, and to send commands to the PMC-8.


It allows you to switch between serial and wifi without using any terminal programs. It has built in buttons for the most common mount commands and allows you to send your own commands.


This should be considered an early BETA. Hence, it will probably have some bugs.  I'm pretty confident of all the major functionality, but there may be small gui issues.


A few notes - 

0. I created a new folder in the files section entitled "User Contributions" to make it extra clear that this is not an official ES product.

1. This is a BETA. Please post any bugs you encounter.

2. This version does not automatically switch to the PMC-8 network.  You still need to manually connect to it in windows.  (Developers - see Note 1)

3. Please let me know what other functionality you would like to see in it.

4. I STRONGLY recommend that you play with it indoors.  There is no need to waste valuable observing/imaging time testing beta software.  Once you are convinced it works, I would use it in the field.


I'm also working on a version that will automatically switch to the PMC-8 wifi network.  The limitation, however, is that it will require windows 10.


I have a couple of remaining items on my todo list, mainly sprucing up the gui, adding links to the knowledge base, etc... 


Note 1 -

It appears that connecting to a new network is a real pain under .NET Standard, i.e. WinForms.  If you have any code for this please let me know and I'll add it.

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