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Switching wifi/serial on android

omar1166@...
 

Hi all:
I have been learning and setting up my ED102 on the PMC8 Exos2 mount, and gradually getting things in order and working correctly. I use the setup for both visual and imaging. Here's how I have been going about it:
If I'm going to do visual, I use wifi and ExploreStars with my Fire tablet (android)
For imaging, I use ASIAIR box and do the polar alignment, guiding, and imaging through that. It all works great, including the GoTo through ASIAIR

Depending on which of the above I'm doing, I switch to wifi or serial using the configuration utility on my home PC. 

Here my question: I will be going to a campground for a couple of nights and will do both visual and imaging. Is there a way I can switch from wifi (for visual using Explorestars) to serial (for imaging via ASIAIR) with the android table as I will not have my home PC? And then, would there be a way to switch back without having access to a PC?

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for any help!

Omar

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 10:23 AM, <omar1166@...> wrote:
Is there a way I can switch from wifi (for visual using Explorestars) to serial (for imaging via ASIAIR) with the android table as I will not have my home PC?
Hi Omar,

Thanks for your very good question. There is a way to switch from WiFi (wireless) to Serial (wired) by using a telnet program to communicate directly with the PMC-Eight and issue the "ESX!" command which toggles the PMC-Eight communications port from wireless to wired. The issue then becomes, how do I switch from wired back to wireless by issuing the "ESX!" command again over the wired connection. If you use the terminal program on the ASIAIR (I assume you can access other programs on that device via some kind of "desktop") then you can connect the terminal to the serial port and issue the command to toggle it back to wireless mode. You may have to discuss this with any ASIAIR user forum that you are a member of, I am not familiar with what you can and can't do with ASIAIR but it is Linux I believe, so it is possible. It just a simple matter of configuration and access.

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!

omar1166@...
 

Hi Jerry,

Thanks so much for your reply. That's good to know. I'll work on learning that procedure. I found it in the manual, so now it's a matter of trying. It also occurred to me that I could leave it on wifi and track through ExploreStars and use autoguiding through the ST4 cable from the guide camera to the mount. 

Now I need just some dark skies and a free weekend!

Omar

Harry
 

Hi Omar,

I would also like to use the Asiair to control my iExos 100 PMC8, however I don’t want any PC attached. I see you use a Fire 8, and so do I, but I also have an iPad. So far I use the Fire to control the mount. I have played with the
Asiair on my iPad, but have not purchased the Asiair unit yet.

I see you are using the Asiair wired. Any issues in setting it up or configuring it with PMC8? 

Have you used the Asiair app in a wireless configuration? OS or Android?

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Harry

--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars IPAD & Fire HD8, Explore FirstLight EXOS Nano
Nikon D600, D5500

Gord Farmer
 

I just pulled two zip ties through that little bracket.  It doesn’t move now 


On Nov 22, 2019, at 7:38 AM, Harry via Groups.Io <flykai1@...> wrote:

Hi Omar,

I would also like to use the Asiair to control my iExos 100 PMC8, however I don’t want any PC attached. I see you use a Fire 8, and so do I, but I also have an iPad. So far I use the Fire to control the mount. I have played with the
Asiair on my iPad, but have not purchased the Asiair unit yet.

I see you are using the Asiair wired. Any issues in setting it up or configuring it with PMC8? 

Have you used the Asiair app in a wireless configuration? OS or Android?

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Harry

--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars IPAD & Fire HD8, Explore FirstLight EXOS Nano
Nikon D600, D5500

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 02:20 AM, <omar1166@...> wrote:
It also occurred to me that I could leave it on wifi and track through ExploreStars and use autoguiding through the ST4 cable from the guide camera to the mount. 
Hi Omar,

Yes, you can do autoguiding while using ExploreStars, but if you have seen other messages about doing that, it is not the most reliable solution. To do this effectively you must have a reliable wireless connection and also you need to put the ExploreStars controller into TRACK MODE (square-T symbol) to keep the ExploreStars dynamic tracking commands from interfering with the pulses into the mount from the camera. Also, you may need to get with me to calibrate your PMC-Eight's ST4 port for your particular camera. You can find information about that also in the Explore Scientific PMC-Eight Programmer's Reference.
 
--
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!

omar1166@...
 

Hi Harry,

For the ASIAIR, it does need to be connected to the PMC via serial. You have to use a serial cable with an FTDI chipset, and reverse the DTR signal-it takes 30 seconds and there's an easy utility for it. There's a link somewhere on this site that shows you how to do it. The cable was $8 on Amazon. The ASIAIR is a small and light box that I just velcro to the side of ED102. At that point, you interface with the ASIAIR with the app on your phone or tablet (ios and android both). 

The ASIAIR runs everything-camera, autoguiding, mount, etc. I use it to polar align first (it's got sharpcap built in), focus, slew and find target (it does plate solving), preview, set up guiding, and then run the imaging sequences. It's nice to have it all in one place. I really like that setup because I live in an apartment and all my imaging happens in the field, so to not have to take a full size computer in addition to everything helps. 

Omar

Pavel
 

He has an iExos-100, so he does NOT need any serial cable, just a common USB-A/mini-USB cable.

Regards,
P.

22. 11. 2019 v 16:08, omar1166 via Groups.Io <omar1166=gmail.com@groups.io>:

Hi Harry,

For the ASIAIR, it does need to be connected to the PMC via serial. You have to use a serial cable with an FTDI chipset, and reverse the DTR signal-it takes 30 seconds and there's an easy utility for it. There's a link somewhere on this site that shows you how to do it. The cable was $8 on Amazon. The ASIAIR is a small and light box that I just velcro to the side of ED102. At that point, you interface with the ASIAIR with the app on your phone or tablet (ios and android both).

The ASIAIR runs everything-camera, autoguiding, mount, etc. I use it to polar align first (it's got sharpcap built in), focus, slew and find target (it does plate solving), preview, set up guiding, and then run the imaging sequences. It's nice to have it all in one place. I really like that setup because I live in an apartment and all my imaging happens in the field, so to not have to take a full size computer in addition to everything helps.

Omar

omar1166@...
 

Hi Pavel, makes sense. Thanks for the correction!

omar1166@...
 

Hi Jerry,

I did try some autoguiding via ST4 and there certainly were issues. During calibration, when it was doing backlash clearance it failed to calibrate (star did not move enough). And the RMS number during guiding weren't great. I will try to stick with ASCOM or INDI based guiding. I may take you up on figuring out the parameters for ST4 guiding for those infrequent situations when I'll be doing both visual and imaging.

Thanks very much for your help!

Omar

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 12:37 PM, <omar1166@...> wrote:
I did try some autoguiding via ST4 and there certainly were issues. During calibration, when it was doing backlash clearance it failed to calibrate (star did not move enough). And the RMS number during guiding weren't great
Hi Omar,

What guide camera were you using?  A large number of those doing autoguiding mention that the calibration is not always good when using Pulse-Guiding also which is not related to the calibration error when using the ST4 cable with certain cameras. There is a procedure that can be used with PHD2 using the manual guiding buttons to see if the mount is responding. There is a procedure in the Programmer's reference using the serial terminal to put the controller in diagnostic mode. This shows a continuous measurement of the ST4  port values that can be used to gather the data needed to update the calibration. This requires a custom version of the firmware which I can provide to you if you want to go down that route.

 
--
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!

omar1166@...
 

Hi Jerry,

I used the Zwo mini guide scope (30mm f4) and the ASI 120mini camera. I have not got around really pulse guiding other than a test evening. Once I get back from vacation I will really test it out. And I’m up for any procedures I need to work on to get everything set up. 


Thanks for all your help and availability. It makes you the entire a little less daunting. 


Omar

omar1166@...
 

Hi Jerry and others,

I did get a chance to mess about this weekend a bit. Here are some things that work and don't work:

Wireless mode:

-ExploreStars works well for slewing and visual. As Jerry said, tracking isn't great for photography but works fine for visual. 

-When using Explorestars, guiding via ST4  didn't work very well. Setup was PMC8 connected to ASIAIR, guide camera to ASIAIR, and ST4 from guide camera to PMC8. PMC8 was in wireless mode for Explorestars. It couldn't calibrate properly (could not calibrate backlash). This was through the ASIAIR PhD interface. I think I need to set up some parameters for this?

Serial Mode via ASIAIR:

I also tried using the ASIAIR with for an imaging setup. PMC8 to ASIAIR via serial (DTR reversed), guide camera to ASIAIR, and imaging camera to ASIAIR
-Polar alignment worked fine through the ASIAIR plate solve PA. The ASIAIR rotated the mount automatically.
-The home position in the ASIAIR Goto was off. However, it plate solves and figures syncs so it's able to figure out where it is. Once it did that, it slewed to target fine, and used an additional plate solve to center target in camera frame. Worked really well and made finding and centering target a breeze.
-However: tracking was not working. There is a tracking toggle on the ASIAIR scope setting to turn on tracking. Even when turned on, target moved in RA and is not tracked. I fiddled for a while but could not get it to work. I tried autoguiding to see if it might turn on tracking. However, the guide star simply drifted off with RA movement, and pulses (indicated by vertical bars on the graph) of course did not do much. 
-I know the ASIAIR uses an INDI driver. Are there settings that I need to adjust?

Serial Mode via ASCOM

-I was able to get Stellarium connected:  ASCOM dome hub (POTH) connected to PMC8 and connecting Stellarium scope to the POTH scope.
-I had a hard time connecting PHD2 to the POTH scope


Sorry for the long post. Any help in getting the ASIAIR to track/guide the PMC8 would be appreciated. I can try other methods to track and guide in the meantime once I get them working. In the end, getting the ASIAIR to work would be great because I live in an apartment and have to carry everything out to even test things. Not having to use a computer setup eventually would be great.


Omar

Mount: EXOS2 PMC8
Scope: ES ED102
Guiding: ZWO 30mm f4 guide scope and ASI120MM mini
Computers used so far: Fire HD for Explorestars, Surface Pro 4 for Stellarium/PHD2/ASCOM-POTH software 

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 09:51 AM, <omar1166@...> wrote:
When using Explorestars, guiding via ST4  didn't work very well.
Hi Omar,

I can't comment on the ASIAir configuration as I don't really know anything about it. The only comment I have is that you should use pulse guiding instead of the ST4 cable when auto-guiding with PHD2. When doing this you should use serial mode with the PMC-Eight as it is more reliable. I would not suggest you use wireless mode on the PMC-Eight when doing astrophotography.
 
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!

omar1166@...
 

Thanks for the response Jerry! I will work on it this week and see how things go.

Omar

omar1166@...
 

Hi Jerry, another quick question. As far as you've heard, does the Exos2 PMC8 work well with Stellarmate? 

Thanks!

Omar

omar1166@...
 

Hi everyone. I thought I'd give an update. I got the ASIAIR to work with the mount and everything really worked well: polar alignment, slewing accurately, plate solving and automatic centering, capture sequences, etc. HOWEVER, for some reason, the ASIAIR would stop tracking intermittently. After some trouble shooting and experimenting, it seems that the ASIAIR stops the signal to the mount for a brief moment and the mount stops tracking. It seemed to coincide with the iOS or android ASIAIR app sleeping but sometimes may have been a power issue in addition. Anyway, the result was that sometimes it would track for a few minutes and sometimes for several, but eventually it would stop tracking. In that case, going into the app and turning off and back on the tracking button would start tracking again. Obviously, this couldn't work for me.

So, I decided to go to the Stellarmate OS and Ktars/Ekos/Indi. It's a lot less plug and play but after some troubleshooting and lots of configuring, everything works great now. It keeps tracking. I can PA, plate solve, guide, capture, etc. I can control the Pi4 running Stellarmate with iOS, android, or my mac so it gives me a lot of flexibility when I'm going out in the field. I can also use SkySafari Plus on my iPhone to control the mount. So far, it all seems to be coming together. It's been cloudy here for several days and will be for a few more, so I haven't had a chance to test out the tracking and guiding accuracy yet. 

Omar
--

Scope:        
ES ED102
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-PMC-8, SkyWatcher Star Adventurer
Cameras:   Nikon D7500, Nikon D750
Lens:
          Nikon 200-500mm, Tamron 70-200mm G2, Nikon 120mm manual lens
Misc:          ZWO ASI120Mini Guide Camera, ZWO 30mm mini guidescope, Stellarmate, Asiair
Software:  Kstars, SkySafari, ExploreStars (android), DeepSkyStacker, Regim, Astrostakkert, LR/PS, RNC-color-stretch
Computer:  Macbook, Surface Pro 4, iPhone, Fire 7

omar1166@...
 

One more thing...Jerry, thanks for suggesting the procedure for switching wifi/serial in the field without a computer. I used Connectbot on android to telnet and switch from wifi to serial with the ESX! command. And then back to wifi from serial using Cutecom on the Pi4. It all works great and I can switch from ExploreStars to Stellarmate and back without any trouble or unhooking any cables.

Thanks for your help! 
--

Scope:        
ES ED102
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-PMC-8, SkyWatcher Star Adventurer
Cameras:   Nikon D7500, Nikon D750
Lens:
          Nikon 200-500mm, Tamron 70-200mm G2, Nikon 120mm manual lens
Misc:          ZWO ASI120Mini Guide Camera, ZWO 30mm mini guidescope, Stellarmate, Asiair
Software:  Kstars, SkySafari, ExploreStars (android), DeepSkyStacker, Regim, Astrostakkert, LR/PS, RNC-color-stretch
Computer:  Macbook, Surface Pro 4, iPhone, Fire 7