Explore Scientific PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver Beta Test Version - ASCOMPAD Fix


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi everyone,
 
I have fixed the issue with the ASCOMPAD Gamepad interface program (ASCOM client)  not working correctly. Specifically, I corrected the issue with the direction buttons on release not stopping the motion of the mount. I have also corrected a couple of small issues that I noticed during testing.
 
There are a couple of anomalies in this release that don't seem to affect the operation. Primarily, when slewing to an object, the SLEWING status update is either delayed or doesn't show. It sometimes just shows TRACKING when it is actually slewing. I will continue to troubleshoot this. When using the ASCOMPAD program, the status shows SLEWING correctly.  I am not sure why it is somewhat intermittent in its reporting, but I will track it down and post the updated Beta test file.
 
I have tweaked the timing of the slews so that the RA position should end up a little closer to the object. You may still have to do another "slew to object' after the initial slew to settle it closer to the target. YMMV.
 
In the Mount Setup dialogue, I set up the presets to the following values in Sidereal Rate multiplier:
 
Preset          Value        Equivalent rate
1                  2                30 arc-sec/sec
2                 5                 1.25 arc-min/sec
3                 10               2.5 arc-min/sec
4                 20               5.0 arc-min/sec
5                 50               12.5 arc-min/sec
6                 100             25 arc-min/sec
7                 200             50 arc-min/sec
8                 500             2 degrees/sec
9                 800             3.2 degrees/sec
10               undefined
 
I would caution you that the higher Sidereal Rate multipliers (x200, x500, x800) may cause the mount to lose counts because the buttons are mapped to the ASCOM API Move command which does not provide a ramp when setting the rate. The motors jump immediately to the rate indicated. 
 
I have mapped the following buttons on the Gamepad to the functions found under Devices/Gamepad/Assign Buttons:
 
Function                                     Button
Emergency Stop                        button_10 (Right Joystick press)
Park to User Defined                 button_3 (X button)
Unpark                                      button_4 (Y button)
Increment Preset Rate              button_1 (A button)
Decrement Preset Rate            button_2 (B button)
 
When I was testing these buttons they all worked as expected except for one. The Park to User Defined button doesn't seem to work even though when you press the PARK button on the ASCOMPAD application window on the screen it performs a Park.  That is a fault in the ASCOMPAD program that is easy to work around.
 
I have uploaded the DLL file to the files section Mount Related entitled :ASCOM.ES_PMC8.Telescope_dll.zip
  
This file should be unzipped and copied to C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ASCOM\Telescope. First rename the old file by appending _OLD to the filename, and then copy the new version into the directory. There is no need to do anything else.
 
You must reenter all the data in the Driver Setup Dialogue box including your location information. To verify you are accessing the correct driver, you should see 20180324_1 in the lower left hand corner of the dialogue box. 
 
Please let me know if this works for you and if you see any other issues than those I spoke to above.
 
Thanks for your help in testing this.
 
Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC. 
 
 


David Pickett
 

Jerry,

exactly what device do I need to use this software? Does it plug into the Windows 10 computer, or use WIFI?

Thanks and best wishes,

David


At 22:12 24-03-18, hubbell_jerry@yahoo.com [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:

I have fixed the issue with the ASCOMPAD Gamepad interface program (ASCOM client) not working correctly. Specifically, I corrected the issue with the direction buttons on release not stopping the motion of the mount. I have also corrected a couple of small issues that I noticed during testing.
etc.


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi David,

The ASCOMPAD program uses the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver to provide an interface for a wired or wireless (Bluetooth) gamepad. Here is the website for the project:


You can use a standard gamepad or Xbox controller. This is only for the Windows platform. You should be able to connect the game controller wirelessly to your Tablet if you enable Bluetooth and load the driver for the controller, or if you have a USB port on your tablet you can use a wired controller.

This program will allow you to do basic hand control functions such as set the rates and move the mount N,S,E, or W.  There are some more advanced functions available, you can play with those.

This interface program is for those who want a convenient way to adjust their mount position to center objects. I would suggest connecting POTH to the ES PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver and then the ASCOMPAD client program to the POTH. You can connect several ASCOM Clients to the POTH concurrently, i.e., you can use Maxim DL, Cartes du Ciel, PHD2, and ASCOMPAD all at the same time with the PMC-Eight. 

I hope that makes it clear.

Thanks

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.
 


hubbell_jerry@...
 


hubbell_jerry@...
 

FYI - I have done regression testing on this Beta release driver using the ASCOM Platform Conformance Tester program:

 
Here are the test results: Note at the bottom there were no failures. I also ran the new driver in my test environment with Cartes du Ciel, Maxim DL, POTH, and ASCOMPAD to make sure nothing weird was going on (other than what I reported in my previous message).


Thanks

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Mark Lamb
 

I have not been able to get ASCOMPAD V209 to work.

When I installed it, it was NOT put in ... \Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ASCOM\Telescope
but it is in  \Program Files (x86)\EQMOD\ASCOMPAD

the file being: ascompad.exe

I did NOT find:  ASCOM.ES_PMC8.Telescope_dll.zip


 


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Mark,

I think you have confused ASCOMPAD with the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver. ASCOMPAD was developed as part of the EQMOD open-source driver and is an independent client program like Cartes du Ciel, or Maxim DL which is only used to connect a gamepad controller to any ASCOM Telescope driver.

The directory and filename I was talking about is the PMC-Eight ASCOM Telescope driver file (.dll) that is not related to the ASCOMPAD program.

You should be able to install the ASCOMPAD client program  and connect it to POTH as with any other ASCOM client program.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Mark Lamb
 

I have installed ASCOMPAD v209 and have used the settings that Jerry used for the mount in another post (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?


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Mark,

If when you press the ASCOMPAD NSEW buttons the mount does not move make sure the ASCOMPAD is connected to POTH. It should be no different than pressing the POTH buttons on the screen. It sounds like the gamepad is connected to the ASCOMPAD program as it responds and maps the buttons as you said. The problem appears to be the connection between ASCOMPAD and POTH. When you use the chooser in ASCOMPAD make sure you choose POTH, not the PMC8.Telescope driver.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Mark Lamb
 

Jerry,

Thanks!

I did have the ASCOMPAD Mount set to the PMC-8.  When I changed it to POTH and then had Mount to Connect, the PMC-8 would then respond to the XBox controller.

There are a few issues still:

1) Pushing the XBox button "X" to Park has no response, it requires me to mouse click the "Park" button on the ASCOMPAD window.  XBox button "Y" to UnPark seems to work, however.

2) POTH and ASCOMPAD do not seem to work together all the time, when I have both apps working.  It seems like the cursor has to be on ASCOMPAD window for the XBox controller to work, when the cursor is not on the ASCOMPAD window, there is no response.

3) If I bring CdC to the front, ASCOMPAD window disappears (and not in the tray at the bottom), and the ASCOMPAD app has to be relaunched to work.  After relaunch, ASCOMPAD does NOT know where Park is.
 


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Mark,

Yes, I have seen the issue with the Park not seeming to work. I would need to dig into the source code for both the ASCOMPAD and POTH to really figure it out, but I don't currently have the time to troubleshoot that issue. You may want to post a message to the EQMOD Yahoo group to see if anyone there has seen this issue and may have an answer. I am not an expert in these programs and others here on the forum may have some experience with them and/or may want to tackle this issue.

The ASCOMPAD program when minimized goes to the hidden icon tray in lower right of the task bar (vertical chevron/arrow) You don't have to start another instance of it. It's kind of annoying, but I think the idea is that ASCOMPAD just runs in the background and you don't need to worry about it, but that may not always be the case.

I hope that helps

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Mark Lamb
 

Jerry,

I have just noticed it was in the hidden tray; I actually had several of them in there, as I was restarting extra versions.

Is there a way to keep the XBox controller to work when the ASCOMPAD is hidden?


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Mark,

As far as I know, the ASCOMPAD should be running when it is minimized and you should not lose communications with the gamepad. There may be a setting somewhere that speaks to that perhaps, but as far as I know, it should work. That may be another question to post to the EQMOD Yahoo group.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.