Low Cost PMC-8 System


hubbell_jerry@...
 

I guess the only real benefit is that you have one less piece of software to run when using multiple clients connected to the PMC-Eight driver. Plus it gives the user more choices on how to run their system. Other than that, there may not be any tangible difference.

I would be tempted to just let the PMC-Eight developer community create the local server version of the PMC-Eight driver if there is a need. The ASCOM developer tools have documentation on how to do it. Depending on how easy (or difficult) it is, it may be a while before I can get it done based on the priority projects I am working right now. 

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


W. Christopher Moses
 

I guess what I was asking is what benefit does that have?  

Something like iOptron Commander would be nice, I suppose. It basically replicates the handset's functionality on the PC.


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Chris,

What Steve and I would like to provide is a server based driver versus the existing driver. The ASCOM platform development tools provide a server template for driver development that allows the driver to connect to several clients at the same time which is basically what POTH does for us. POTH also includes a hand controller which could be provided in the driver also, but I have to see if that is needed or not.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


W. Christopher Moses
 

Hi Steve,
Why do you want to get rid of POTH? And, what would you want in its place?


Steve Siedentop
 

Moving this to a thread with a relevant cover...

I had a chance at NEAF this year to see the current iteration of the Low Cost PMC-8 system that Jerry mentioned in another thread.  I believe it was called the EXOS iEQ.

I thought I would put together a couple of wish lists of sorts to provide some feedback on features that I feel need to be fully baked for a product with an intended user base that includes beginners and people moving up from a star tracker.

General PMC 8 Wish List
1) Robust WiFi connectivity - WiFi connectivity on my PMC8 is fine for use with the Explore Stars app, but it is unreliable for astrophotography.
2) SkySafari Control - for mount control, SkySafari has become ubiquitous, is already available on multiple platforms.
3) A UI for switching between the serial port and WiFi connectivity.  I agree with Mark that the current method is a bit hacky.  I don't have a problem executing the instructions, but I'm a software developer with a solid technical background in multiple areas.  The target audience of this product will likely be intimidated by this and go elsewhere for competing products with a higher level of polish.
4) Refactor the ASCOM driver to function as a server and eliminate POTH from the mix.

EXOS iEQ Specific Wish List
1) A more robust tripod.  The mount I saw at NEAF was solid and didn't feel cheap.  However, the tripod was on the order of the Celestron SLT tripod.  I see that as weak point creating more issues for a beginner to deal with.   
2) I don't recall seeing a polar scope on the mount.  In the absence of one, a method to relatively quickly polar align the mount would be desirable.  A polar alignment feature in Explore Stars would be a good selling point.  While PHD and SharpCap offer polar alignment options, the more feature inclusive the product is, the more likely a new person is going spend their money on an Explore Scientific product.

This is intended to be a starting point for discussion, so please feel free to add to it.

-Steve