#ASCOM #EXOS2 Problems Stellarium ASCOM scope control and ExploreStars #EXOS2 #ASCOM


Stan
 

I have been trying (for several months off an on) to get Stellarium to control my EXOS2 reliably. With the release of the new firmware and driver, I thought I'd give it another go. I also have a new laptop with very little software on it, so a decent platform for a new install (using Windows 10 Pro). 

So after installing the new firmware, driver, and ASCOM 6.5, I tried once again. After setting up the driver, I was able to connect to the mount with POTH, but Stellarium would not connect to the mount while POTH was running. I thought I had read that you had to use POTH with ASCOM, but on a hunch, I closed POTH and now I was able to control the mount with Stellarium. The EXOS2 reticle showed up on sky and I was able to slew the mount by using the Stellarium commands. Then for fun, I took advantage of the new firmware features and used my iPad to control the mount. To my surprise, when I opened ExploreStars, it took over control of the mount and slewed it back to the home position. Stellarium tracked that movement, so I just used ES to slew to some other locations. I was a bit surprised that the EXOS2 reticle did not land precisely on the correct coordinates in Stellarium (off by just a few minutes), so I checked the reported coordinates in Stellarium vs what it said on ES and they were different by up to several minutes.  This did not make sense to me since I thought the coordinates reported by Stellarium should be coming from the mount. So I decided to park the mount and reboot the PMC-8 controller.

After that reboot, it took me quite a while to get reconnected to the mount (had to close all the apps, disconnect the serial cable, and reboot the PMC-8 again and reconnect the cable, then restart the apps). After reconnecting, Stellarium now shows the mount is pointing at -50deg DEC. Tried rebooting the mount and restarting Stellarium, but no luck. However after the second Stellarium restart (and mount reconnect), things got back in synch. This time, I used ES to control the mount and this time the coordinates between the two apps were spot-on (perhaps because I updated the location in ES, but the difference was only 2 miles). Now I used Stellarium to control the mount and while the results on Stellarium were was expected, the OTA coordinates on the ES app did not update. It still claimed it was pointed at the previous target.

So based on my results I would state the following:
1. I don't think the combined use of ASCOM wired and ES app wireless control is useable yet.
- The ES app forced the mount to park when it was started
- The ES app does not update when the ASCOM app moves the mount
2. I don't understand how to use Stellarium with the EXOS 2
- The reported mount position is often not accurate
- Getting the mount control running is difficult and does not seem to be reproducible
- At one point, Stellarium told me the mount was 'parked' but I got around this error by disconnecting the mount and reconnecting within Stellarium. Furthermore, unlike POTH, there is no 'park mount' control in Stellarium, so this is yet another unexplained obstacle to usability.

If anyone has any suggestions for how to make this work, even it if means, not using ExploreStars, I am all ears!



Wes Mcdonald
 

Stan

Let me assure you your issues are configuration error.  Easily rectified. ( subject to being proved wrong of course)

1.   For dual mode to work you must be using the ascom and the driver.  The correct connection method is ascom hub or poth connected to the mount which does so via the driver

2.  Stellarium in your example is not actually using ascom.  Connect stellarium to the ascom poth or hub.  You must pick the correct hub In stellarium, they are not the same

3.  Stellarium will not move the mount until you unpark the mount and check the track box in either the hub or poth, which ever you are using.

4.  At this point Explorestars will work cooperatively with the ascom driver to control the mount and report it’s position etc etc.   now it is important to note the dual use is smoothest when you use either the Android or the iPad Explorestars.  Windows Explorestars requires you to take an additional control step in Explorestars 

5.  In windows, ascom locks out Explorestars until explore goes to T mode.  This is automatic when you press the various keys in Android and iPad but windows stays in P mode until you use one of theLRDU buttons.  Once the Explorestars goes to. T mode ascom will allow control to Explorestars if you want to do something.

Approach this always from the standpoint that the basic function must work or ES would not release the code.  (None obvious conditions might uncover a bug, but the basic stuff will be ok). Thus if things don’t work, ask here but also reevaluate what you might have gotten wrong.

I know some of these details are not explained in written docs.  That is what it’s great to ask so someone can add the needed info!

Thanks for the report.  I think you will be ok.  I have run this Cotten picking thing through hundreds of iterations for operation with no issues.

It was actually a forum member who pointed out that the stellarium demanded the track box to be ticked.  The heck of it is that upon first boot the hub normally will have the mount parked and not tracking.  Thus Stellarium is in irons.  Nothing Es can do about that.  I was frustrated with stellarium also until that post by the adroit user.  I wish I could give them kudos by name but don’t remember who it was.  I believe leuve my reply to this person was that they were a steely eyed rocket man for figuring that out.

After things get going, if you don’t park, the track box always remains ticked unless the mount is slewing.

It’s a dirty trick!

I have been a bit over served tonight so hopefully this makes a little sense.

Wes


--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Chris Hanson
 

Stan,

I have had the same "Parked" issue with Stellarium and the EXOS mount every time I try to drive the mount with Stellarium.  I even skipped the POTH and connected directly to the ExploreScientific mount in the list.  I've had this issue ever since I started trying to control the mount with Stellarium, over a year now.
Also I am experimenting with the ES wireless and a wired app concurrent.  Still not sure how well it's working.  I use Stellarium and NINA together to drive my mount, feeding NINA coordinates from Stellarium, which works really cool.  I have a workflow to test:
1) Slew to object with ES
2) Select object with Stellarium
3) Frame object in NINA
4) Platesolve in NINA
5) Sync in ES

I need a cloud/smoke free night here to test this.


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Hi Stan,

As Wes said, the simultaneous use of ExploreStars (via wireless) and the ASCOM Client (via Serial) with the PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver and POTH Hub is the reference configuration and has been thoroughly tested over the past few months. What is missing is an Application Note explaining the configuration and operation of the system for simultaneous control and the control system behavior when doing so. There is a specific procedure used when starting up the system including the order for connecting everything up. We have tested every combination of connecting and disconnecting the applications and I can say generally the system is pretty tolerant, but it is possible for it to lose it's mind sometimes. If you follow the specific recommended connection procedure for this configuration, then you should have trouble free operation. There are of course a couple of assumptions that are made to ensure trouble free operation, namely that the ExploreStars wireless connection is stable, and that you are using either the POTH hub, or the Device Hub. We have users that have had success using the Device Hub included in ASCOM Platform 6.5 and others (such as myself) who have had issues using the Device Hub that do not happen when using POTH. YMMV.

One big piece of advice when connecting simultaneously to the PMC-Eight with ExploreStars and an ASCOM Client is that the host devices (iPad, Android Tablet, and Windows PC) is that both hosts have to have the identical Latitude, and Longitude set in the Driver and ExploreStars, and the local time should be set a close as possible. Time differences as small as 4 seconds can result in pointing errors of 1 minute of arc. A difference of 60 seconds will result in a pointing error of 0.25 degrees. Additionally, the star and object catalog used in ExploreStars can have different RADEC coordinates as compared to those in CdC, or Stellarium, or in any other planetarium program you may be using to point the mount. This is a precision instrument so these settings will absolutely impact the performance of the system, not to mention the whole polar alignment issue.

I will work on the Application Note to clarify and further explain these operational requirements when performing simultaneous controller operations with the PMC-Eight system.

Thanks again for your comments and questions.
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Stan
 
Edited

@wes

You were correct sir! I was inadvertently connecting Stellarium to the ES ASCOM driver directly instead of through the POTH hub. This is why I could not control the mount while POTH was running. The thing that has been tripping me up since initially trying this months ago, is that there are TWO places to select ASCOM mount control in Stellarium. I had selected one but not the other. As shown below, there are two options that both must be set properly. I had been thinking 'choose ascom control" meant clicking the ASCOM selection under 'telescope controlled by' and while I think this is necessary, there is more. I now finally understand you have to select the POTH hub after clicking on the 'Choose ASCOM Telescope'. I did this as indicated by the choice status.



Now everything is working as expected (mostly)! When I fired up ExploreStars after slewing to a planet in Stellarium, the OTA coordinates in ES were not updated. I had to take control with ES before that happened. I am still getting discrepancies between the target and OTA coordinates as reported by Stellarium and ES that are over 10 minutes, but this may be due to slight location differences in the apps and driver.

@Jerry
Thanks for mentioning that the location coordinates in the driver were important. I set that up some time ago and because it has to be entered manually (as opposed to using GPS like the apps), I may not have got it accurate to more than 1%. That's a shame that the driver has to have that info, since I am now setting up in multiple locations that are a few miles apart. I am getting time from the internet, so assume that will be accurate to within a second or so. Note that the discrepancies that were reported in my initial post were due to: slight difference in ES app location, and the ES app had leftover alignment data. It was actually kind of interesting to see how that works!

You also mentioned that there is a connection/reconnection procedure that is known to work when setting up ASCOM control. I would sure like to see that. Let me know if you need someone to help proofread and test. I'd be happy to help!

@Chris
I used to have that 'mount is parked' error all the time when I first tried to use ASCOM and Stellarium. That appears to be gone now that I have setup the scope control properly in Stellarium. See above and see if that helps.

Thanks for the support! I am a happy camper now!

P.S. Sorry for implying that the firmware did not work. I intended only to state it was not working for ME, but used a poor choice of words.





Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Stan
 

UPDATE: Happy camper status revoked.

Decided to try a few different scenarios (starting with ExploreStars control, then switching to Stellarium and vice versa) and then spent about two hours trying to get back where I was. Never succeeded. Perhaps I was not holding my mouth right or had too much change in my pocket, but I tried every boot-up/connection order I could think of short of rebooting the laptop and although I got the scope reticle on Stellarium to show up, it was always in the weeds (or the virtual weeds as indicated by the landscape). The mount was in the home position, so should have been pointed at the CP. Just to get to this point I had multiple other failed attempts such as: POTH could not connect, Stellarium said it was connected but no mount control and no reticle, wireless network kept going down even though I did not reboot the PMC-8.

So I think I know how to setup Stellarium properly now, but still have no idea how to reliably get Stellarium control working nor how to get it to play with ExploreStars. I guess I'll have to wait for that app note to come out.
--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Wes Mcdonald
 

Stan

When stellarium
Point to the ground you can check either the time of
Day or the location.  My stellarium always quits and the time is wrong when I boot it.

I have not found much in the  way of specificity in connection order except one must boot the mount, boot ascom, then stellarium.  Stellarium seems to  understand pretty well ascom being connected or disconnected.  But get the driver hooked to the mount.   Then unpark the mount, check the track
Box and connect stellarium.   Now you can use stellarium.   

Now you can connect Explorestars.  Make sure the pmc8 is not connected via wifi to any other device after booting before you use Explorestars.  If it joins another network first it will not communicate to the tablet.  So when you boot the pmc8 and make sure the pc does not join the pmc8 network (assuming you are not running windows Explorestars) then get the  tablet connected.   Btw if the tablet blanks sometimes you have to close Explorestars and start it again.  It should pop right back where you left it but any target you picked will have to be picked again

What Explorestars are you using, windows, iPad,or android.   

Wes



--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Stan
 

Here is the method I was using. 
1. Reboot PMC-8 (with serial cable connected)
2. launch POTH
3. Launch Stellarium
4. Check location of telescope reticle in Stellarium

What I found:
- POTH would typically not connect, saying it could not find the mount. Occasionally, I would see an error thrown by POTH, but did not write it down. 
- When POTH would not connect, I would reboot the PMC-8 without the serial cable and then connect afterwards. 
- When POTH would connect, I would then launch Stellarium and look for the reticle. I would look at the coordinates reported by POTH.
- Part of the time, there was no reticle at all (as far as I could tell)
- Part of the time, the reticle would appear in the ground. When this happened, the reported DEC position of he EXOS2 was always 0.0
- After a failure, I would start over by disconnecting the serial cable and then a PMC-8 boot.

After about 4-5 times through this procedure, I gave up.

Tried it again just now and it worked! However, I noticed that when I disconnected the mount using POTH, the reticle in Stellarium when to 0 degrees DEC. Perhaps this is what is happening when the reticle is in the grass (i.e. POTH is not really connected). One other note, I could have sworn that POTH showed a 'green LED' when the mount connected, but I never see it now. Perhaps I am getting confused with POTH on my PC (which is still running ASCOM 6.4). Finally, for some reason, I the 'track' box in POTH is always checked when I start it. I still have no confidence that I could make Stellarium track or control the mount if given less than an hour to do so.

I am using a Windows 10 laptop for ASCOM/Stellarium and an iPad for ExploreStars.


--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Wes Mcdonald
 

Stan

Launch poth
Connect poth
Launch stellarium 
Connect stellarium to poth


Make sure pc does not connect to pmc8 via wifi

Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Stan
 

Hi Wes,

Sorry, forgot to mention the step where I connect Stellarium to POTH (between steps 3 and 4 above) if I did not do that I would never see a reticle anywhere (even in the ground). PC stayed connected to my home network. I don't have 'connect automatically' checked for the PMC-8 network. The results I listed ( no reticle, reticle in ground, Stellarium reported coordinates of mount at zero degrees DEC after connecting to POTH) all occurred after those steps.


--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Jennifer Shelly
 
Edited

Stan:

Below are screen shots of my Stellarium configuration.  You may be missing a few steps.  Obviously you want to enter information for your specific camera and telescope.  Hopefully this will help.  Once you are all set up do the following.

1) connect to POTH (tracking box must be checked)
2) start Stellarium
3) unpark the mount
4) find your target in Stellarium
5) press space bar the center your target
6) press Cntrl 1 to slew to the target

--
Sincerely,

Jennifer Shelly
AstroPorch, VA

Mounts: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2, ES PMC-8 iEXOS-100
Scopes: ES ED127 FCD-100, Askar FRA400, Askar FRA600, ES Levy Comet Hunter, ES N208CF, QHY Mini Guide Scope, Solomark F60 Guide Scope
Cameras: QHY600M, QHY128C, QHY168C, QHY183M
Misc: MoonLite CFL 2.5 / High Res Stepper / V2 Mini Controller, Baader SteelTrack NT / SteelDrive II, Baader UFC, Optolong 2" L-Pro / L-eNhance / L-Extreme, QHY CFW3-L, Baader 2” LRGBSHO CCD, Primaluce Lab Sesto Senso 2, QHY CFW3-S, Optolong 1.25” LRGBSHO CCD
Imaging Software:  NINA, APT, SharpCap Pro
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements


Stan
 

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks, but your pictures did not come through. However, I don't think this is a software config issue. If it was, it would never work until I corrected the bad config. Instead, it works, but very infrequently and I don't seem to be able to come up with a process that works every time. I guess I am insane because I keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results - and sometimes I get them!

At any rate, I am convinced that the system (PMC-8, ASCOM Driver, ASCOM, and Stellarium) does work, so there is really nothing for anyone to 'fix' except there needs to be a foolproof process for getting that config up and running. BTW - as a test, I tried getting this up and running on my desktop PC which has ASCOM 6.4 and a Stellarium 20.4 and that worked once I got the PMC-8 serial connection working, which always seems to be difficult. Have not had the energy to try to disconnect and start over to see what happens...
--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Sat, Aug 14, 2021 at 06:04 PM, Stan wrote:
POTH would typically not connect, saying it could not find the mount. Occasionally, I would see an error thrown by POTH, but did not write it down. 
Some or most people may not realize that you cannot connect with POTH until the PMC-Eight has completed booting as indicated by the flashing green process light. It takes approximately 10 seconds to boot up. If this is the first instance of connecting to the Serial Port during this session, then the PMC-Eight will reboot AGAIN because the Virtual Com Port driver sends a Data Terminal Ready (DTR) signal when started which is used by the PMC-Eight processor to reboot. So, it could take up to 20-30 seconds to establish a good connection that will be reliable,
 
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Wes Mcdonald
 

Jerry makes an excellent point.  To elaborate:

1.  Upon boot the PMC8 goes through a series of initializations that take time.  The green status light may be used to indicate when the unit is ready.  

2.  As the system boots it will flash the green light once or twice to indicate which mode of wifi the equipment is in.  If using the exos2, this is unimportant as the wifi module in existing exos2 units is the rn131 and does not care about its communication mode.  The iexos100 however must be put into the appropriate mode of TCP/IP for wireless ascom, or UDP/IP for Explorestars use.  One flash of the green light indicates UDP, two flashes indicate TCP.

3.  If classic RA motor mode is enabled, the system will begin doing a slow flash of the green light when it is booted and ready.

4.  If continuous track with loss of comms is enabled, and moto mode is not enabled, the green light will flash rapidly

5.  If continuous track is not enabled (recommend you do so) and motor mode is not selected, the green light will go out until some app, for example the POTH or Explorestars, is connected, at which time the light will turn green solid.  

6.  If you use POTH, the green light will remain on pretty much all the time.  If you are using the ASCOM Hub, the green light will be on for a second or two, flash for a second and then go solid again.  The difference is because of the rate at which the Hub and POTH interrogate the mount.  The green light is set to begin flashing if no comms happen for about 2 seconds.  The mount will continue to track after loss of comms for about 20 seconds.

7.  As Jerry noted, when you first connect to POTH or the Hub, the PMC8 will reboot.  Thus you have to hang around and watch the lights or just keep hitting connect a few times on the ASCOM hob or POTH until the unit finishes rebooting.

While I am describing these lights, I will include one more useful thing about the firmware.  In the past one had to use the Configuration manager to change the wifi module from TCP/IP to UDP/IP and back again.  The new firmware facilitates this through use of the little channel changer device or dongle.  If one reboots the unit with the dongle in, the unit will change from whatever wifi mode to the other.  Once the unit boots you should remove the dongle and the system will be ready to use.  

The dongle is still able to be used as a wifi channel changer.  After boot, you may insert the dongle and withdraw it to increment the wifi channel.  Eah insertion and removal will result in another channel increment.  When the channel number is incremented past 11, it will be set back to channel 1.

Unlike in the past, if the dongle is left inserted, the unit will continue to perform in wifi mode.

So that's a run down on the status lights, the dongle functions, and the need to wait for reboot upon first connection.

Wes.




 

Virus-free. www.avg.com

--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Stan
 

On Sun, Aug 15, 2021 at 09:45 AM, Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering wrote:
as indicated by the flashing green process light.
Which LED is that? I see mention of it in the 20A01.1 release notes, but the programmer's reference does not use that term. Is it LED 3? In the programmer's reference it is labeled as the 'Main processor watchdog active' LED.

If this is the first instance of connecting to the Serial Port during this session, then the PMC-Eight will reboot AGAIN
How is that defined? First connection after reboot of the serial cable to a USB port? First connection of a cable to the serial port whether or not it is connected to anything? I suspect the latter since I am pretty sure my iPad lost the wifi connection after I simply plugged an unconnected serial cable to the serial port. Also regardless of which it is, does that mean I can disconnect the cable from my PC at a later time and reconnect without the PMC-8 rebooting?

Yes, I was one of those that had no idea this happened although it may explain a lot!
 
--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Stan
 

Although I think there is a fairly simple workaround, I thought I would post what I have been seeing when Stellarium does not work with POTH.



As I hope you can see (I reduced the size to make it fit the email), even though POTH is connected and showing the correct mount coordinates (polar home), Stellarium, connected to POTH, does not. It appears that the solution when this happens, which is often, is to simply restart Stellarium and reconnect to POTH. Previously, I was going back to the whole reboot PCM-8 process which would often get the same result. I also find that when I connect to POTH the first time I get a timeout error, even though I have waited minutes since connecting the serial/USB cable. I did not see Wes's email before posting my last email, but if he is saying the reboot happens when the POTH connection is made, the this would explain why I am getting a timeout even after waiting. I also found that simply trying again when I get the timeout from POTH often connects. Before I thought I had to reboot the PMC-8 which simply resets the waiting period.

Making progress....

--
Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Wes Mcdonald
 

Stan

Haha. Well we are slowly
Finding out issues with your procedure.   This is a good thread I hope everyone is reading.  

Gonna get there 

I believe you have experienced one of those odd behavior things that happen with the exos 2 when the usb to serial adapter is plugged into the pmc8 but not the computer.   In that case the pmc8 is held in a reset state.  Can’t do anything about it.  Knowing that you can make sure the adapter is not plugged in if all you want to do is use Explorestars.  

As to why stellarium might not show you the correct position I cannot say.  It always does for me.  But I don’t k kw what version I am running and don’t have it handy.

The green led is the old watchdog process light .  It still is— it’s the watchdog condition that the fast flash/ steady is indicating.  The other flash modes share the light but are defined in context of the boot process.

Wes


--
Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Stan
 

On Sun, Aug 15, 2021 at 02:25 PM, Wes Mcdonald wrote:
when the usb to serial adapter is plugged into the pmc8 but not the computer.   In that case the pmc8 is held in a reset state.  Can’t do anything about it.
Well one thing that could be done about it is to put that info in the user manual. That is very unusual behavior and certainly is not expected. I think most people would leave that cable plugged in on the DB9 while getting this set up. That connector has two thumbscrews in it while the USB side is easily removed. That's what I did and it undoubtedly lead to more consternation.


As to why stellarium might not show you the correct position I cannot say.  It always does for me.  But I don’t k kw what version I am running and don’t have it handy.
Well, it has happened to me consistently across two systems (laptop and PC) with different versions of ASCOM and different versions of Stellarium, so I suspect others will run into it as well. 

Thanks for the info as always.
 
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Mounts: ES EXOS2 PMC-8
Scopes: Skywatcher Evostar 120ED
Cameras:  iPhone, Lumix LX-7, SvBony 305
Misc:
Software: ExploreStars (windows and iPad), ASCOM, Stellarium, PS Align Pro, SharpCap


Wes Mcdonald
 

Stan

Yes the info concerning the usb to serial reboot is not in the manual.  But it has been discussed in the past in the forum.

Stellarium issues really are not explore scientific issues.  Many have it work fine, including with all of the new firmware and driver etc, at least it does for me, and there have been no other complaints.  Realize stellarium connects and obtains data from ascom.  If poth or the hub has the correct information and stellarium does not then something is amiss in stellarium.

Wes


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Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired


Kevin
 
Edited

I successfully connect my Stellarium but I need to go through hoops I think I should be able to remove.

My method is to connect Stellarium to the ASCOM Device Hub, The ASCOM Device Hub to ASCOM POTH, and Poth is configured for the PMC8 EXOS2 mount. I also connect APT and PHD2 to the ASCOM Device Hub. (Side note: I'm still working on getting my RA tracking improved via PHD2 but I don't know or think this may be part of that problem. It sure would be nice to have a more or less direct link to eliminate potential weak links).

It seems to me that I should be able to use either POTH or Device Hub, but evidently Device Hub does not manage multiple connections to the mount well.

Anyway, this works for me and seems to require an extra step more than I think is needed as I thought Device Hub was to replace POTH, but evidently not. I also still need to frequently hit connect/disconnect 2 or three times to "Wake Up" the connection. Once connected I'm good to go. However I could not get Stellarium to reliably work directly with POTH after updates to ASCOM 6.5. Seems ASCOM now wants you use the device hub as a primary interface, I suspect ultimately for multi-platform capabilities.

I don't use explore stars in this setup but I have no need to at the present time, so I cannot speak to that part of the issue.

It is nice to know about that USB/DB9 issue and I wonder if that is why I need to hit the connect button several times? Even though USB is connected to a powered hub, I frequently don't plug into the computer until PMC8 is up so the computer can "see" the ports. I do leave the DB9 plugged in as I have all my power and PMC8 on a control board I made.