Topics

iexos-100 beginner comments (Mac user) #iEXOS-100 #FIRMWARE #iPadOS


AnonAstron
 
Edited

Hello everyone - first post here so apologies for any naivety or stupidity on my part!

Just bought an iexos-100 as my entry into the world of astrophotography and in the few days I've had it I'm very pleased with the product quality.

I've read through this group and CN to become familiar with the technology and recognise some of the challenges associated with the use of a Mac in this field.

A couple of observations I'd like to share and hopefully get some feedback on.  These are not complaints, simply observations based on my limited experience and capabilities so please take them in that spirit ;-)

ExploreStars (iOS) - generally easy to use and quite intuitive.  
1.  Doesn't show the current firmware version even when connected to the mount (Ver. 0.00) but I'm assuming the latest version (purchased Aug 2020)
2.  IgnoreFW option isn't sticky - reverts to Ignore when you leave the Settings page
3.  Mount stops tracking when the iPad goes to sleep (but still on mount WiFi connection).  Need to reselect the target and GOTO again in order to continue tracking from wakeup.  I'd read that by default the iexos-100 firmware was supposed to continue to track on loss of  connectivity but this is apparently not happening here.

UPDATE - mount stops tracking when the ExploreStars app loses focus (eg switching to another app) even when not going to sleep.  Green network light is dropped around 10-sec after loss of app focus.  When the app regains focus, green light comes on and the mount slews to the tracked object and resumes tracking. In effect you need to dedicate the iPad to the ExploreStars app if you want continuous tracking.  iPad screen set to no-sleep option.

Mac interaction - no PC available so stuck with what I have for the moment
1.  Both KStars and Stellarium can connect and control the mount over WiFi but ONLY if I have the INDIGO Server application running.  I have tried the INDI driver and control through EKOS but never managed to connect to the mount (errors regarding serial cable and numerous timeouts despite having set up to use Ethernet connectivity and specific ibexes-100 driver).  I noted that one of the other group members had also run into this problem so will try again (and again).  I'm happy with the Indigo Server app on Mac - nice and clear and easy to use so may well just stick with that if it provides the functionality I need for KStars/Ekos/Phd2 going forward.
2. Haven't been able to try to switch to USB cable connection yet but may try through VirtualBox at some stage in future

Currently just seeing what I can achieve unguided and with the DSLR/lens combination before attempting to use a telescope and guiding but that will come sooner rather than later I'm sure.

Cheers everyone and looking forward to any feedback.
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.
Mount: iexos100
Camera: Canon DSLRs
Optics: DSLR lenses


Harry
 

Hi Anon, my setup is very similar to yours. Here is what I have found:

You are correct in that ExploreStars on iPad must be the only app running, and iPad must not go to sleep. 
I have the “Using FW” box active, and it stays that way. I also have the “Show Alignment Data” and “Auto Align Off” selected.

I use the PS Align Pro app to aid polar alignment. I do not use the mounts PA tunnel. I use the live view screen on my Nikon D5500 dslr and lens, with the PS Align Pro to “offset” Polaris with the NCP. It works pretty well. I may then select my first target, but for better and more consistent results will follow up the PA with a 2 Star Alignment.

So, regarding dslr photography, I can consistently get 30” exposures, and sometimes as much as 80 seconds. But beyond 30 is increasingly doubtful.

I am also a Mac user. I plan on installing Parallels/Windows so I can change the 100 to serial mode instead of WI-Fi, (which ExploreStars uses) and use a serial cable to control the mount. I have an ASIair arriving today, so that will control many programs, and control it with my iPad. First I will use it unguided, then guiding later on.

 I’m always learning.

Harry




--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL

Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars iPad, Fire HD8
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Software: MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Affinity Photo, Lightroom,  SkySafari Plus
Cameras: Nikon D600, D5500
Misc: ES USB Power Bank, Rigel QuikFinder, 0.8x Focal Reducer, Filters:
 Optolong L-Pro, L-eNhance





Mirko Gude
 

Hi Harry,

maybe it is usefull: you can switch to serial with the iEXOS 100 and a Max via Terminal. There is no need to install Windows only for switching to serial. I use the command „nc“ (Netcat“) and CoolTerm to switch back.

Best Regards, 
Mirko


Am 19.08.2020 um 16:06 schrieb Harry via groups.io <flykai1@...>:

Hi Anon, my setup is very similar to yours. Here is what I have found:

You are correct in that ExploreStars on iPad must be the only app running, and iPad must not go to sleep. 
I have the “Using FW” box active, and it stays that way. I also have the “Show Alignment Data” and “Auto Align Off” selected.

I use the PS Align Pro app to aid polar alignment. I do not use the mounts PA tunnel. I use the live view screen on my Nikon D5500 dslr and lens, with the PS Align Pro to “offset” Polaris with the NCP. It works pretty well. I may then select my first target, but for better and more consistent results will follow up the PA with a 2 Star Alignment.

So, regarding dslr photography, I can consistently get 30” exposures, and sometimes as much as 80 seconds. But beyond 30 is increasingly doubtful.

I am also a Mac user. I plan on installing Parallels/Windows so I can change the 100 to serial mode instead of WI-Fi, (which ExploreStars uses) and use a serial cable to control the mount. I have an ASIair arriving today, so that will control many programs, and control it with my iPad. First I will use it unguided, then guiding later on.

 I’m always learning.

Harry




--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL

Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars iPad, Fire HD8
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Software: MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Affinity Photo, Lightroom,  SkySafari Plus
Cameras: Nikon D600, D5500
Misc: ES USB Power Bank, Rigel QuikFinder, 0.8x Focal Reducer, Filters:
 Optolong L-Pro, L-eNhance






--

Mounts: ES PMC-8 IEXOS 100, ES EXOS2-GT 
Scopes: Skywatcher 80/600
Cameras:  Nikon Z6, D7000
Lens: Sigma 150-600mm, Sigma Art 135mm/1,8, Nikon Z 50mm/1,8
Msc: LRTimelapse Pro Timer 2.5, Raspberry Pi4
Software: PixInsights, Kstars, Starry Night, Redshift


AnonAstron
 

Thanks Harry, really useful advice and glad to hear that it is not all down to me 😀

A bit of a puzzle with the Ignore/Use FW switch - need to explore further. 

As far as exposure times are concerned, at this stage I’m likely to be happy with the 30”-60” sort of range since I’m in a light polluted environment most of the time. 

Cheers and thanks again for your comments. 
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs


AnonAstron
 

Thanks for that Mirko- I’ll look to give that a go myself. 

cheers


--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs


AnonAstron
 

Upgraded the mount firmware to the latest version (VirtualBox Virtual machine with Windows) without issue. Use/Ignore FW button now works as you describe. 

If you don’t already own Parallels, VirtualBox from Oracle would be worth a try. It’s free (I’m Scottish  but that didn’t influence my choice 😀) and I’ve found it easy to use and reliable over the years. Obviously you still need a Windows licence. 

Here’s to actually getting outside to give it a try!
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs


AnonAstron
 

Mirko, could I ask you to post the commands you use with nc and CoolTerm to do the switching please?  I’m sure this would be of great interest to a number of pmc-8/Mac users to avoid having to resort to Windows. 

cheers
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs


Mirko Gude
 

Hi AnonAstron(?) 

Maybe you already found this PDF. 

It is for Windows, but there is a workflow diagram which is useful. I would suggest to read this first. As a Macuser I was not so familar with these things and I was alwas a little bit afraid, that I never could switch back ;-).

Note, there is also a Mac Version for Packet Sender. For me it worked also, but I prefer the terminal solution as it is normally „on board“. 

To switch the IEXOS 100 form UDP to Serial on a Mac with the Terminal App you can use these commands. I assume, that the IEXOS100 is in UDP Mode and you are connect with the WIFI Network from the Mount.

Open a Terminal and enter

nc -u 192.168.47.1 54372

Then enter 

ESY!

Now you are in TCP Mode and you can switch to Serial, use this command:

nc 192.168.47.1 54372

And enter 

ESX!

Now you are in serial mode and have to connect with a USB cable to the IEXOS 100.

Going Back to TCP/UDP

In CoolTerm you can use the Standard options, change the Baudrate to 115200. And select the correct Port! Under Options—>Serial Port you will find a menu for Port. Select the Port which is connected with the mount. At the moment I can’t tell you exact description, but you will figure it. If in doubt, check the options with the unpluged and pluged mount over USB.

I’ve also changed under options—>Terminal from Raw Mode  to Line Mode, than you have a input line to enter ESX! which is the first step, if you want to switch back to TCP / UDP and Explore Stars.

Hope that helps.

Regards, 
Mirko



Am 21.08.2020 um 11:01 schrieb AnonAstron via groups.io <Sc.anon@...>:

Mirko, could I ask you to post the commands you use with nc and CoolTerm to do the switching please?  I’m sure this would be of great interest to a number of pmc-8/Mac users to avoid having to resort to Windows. 

cheers
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs



--

Mounts: ES PMC-8 IEXOS 100, ES EXOS2-GT 
Scopes: Skywatcher 80/600
Cameras:  Nikon Z6, D7000
Lens: Sigma 150-600mm, Sigma Art 135mm/1,8, Nikon Z 50mm/1,8
Msc: LRTimelapse Pro Timer 2.5, Raspberry Pi4, Polemaster, GPS Dongle
Software: PixInsight, Kstars, Starry Night, Redshift


AnonAstron
 

Many thanks Mirko, a clear and very helpful explanation. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and I’m sure it will enlighten a few more people than me 😀👍

I’ll have a go over the weekend during the wet and windy weather forecast for here. 


thanks again. 
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs


AnonAstron
 

Mirko, just to let you know that your instructions worked a treat!

Might be worth you posting them as a file to be available for other Mac users, just a thought.

You certainly saved me hours of terminal grief - thanks again.
--
Experienced hobby photographer and total newbie to anything Astro.  iexos100 with ES80ED and Canon DSLRs