Topics

Updated Explore Scienttific PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi David,

I would agree, the WiFi drop problem is very frustrating for us also. The Microchip RN-131GX module that we use is a fairly expensive module and we chose it thinking that spending more on a quality module would go toward making the WiFi more robust. But that hasn't been the case in some instances. The only real thing we can change is the channel number so we put that option in place for our customers. After that, all we can do is hope for the best as the WiFi environment is out of our control.

We have discovered that part of this issue is Windows related and is related to the specific device that Windows is running on as some cheaper tablets have more problems than my expensive HP laptop for instance. Also, the Android application seems to be much better in this regard as we have not seen the dropouts using the Android ExploreStars application as we have seen with the Windows version.

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC


David Pickett
 

Dear Jerry,

Many thanks for this response. While it is a disadvantage that your development team is so small, it is an advantage to be able to have regular contact with this team through you!

At 00:57 28-02-18, hubbell_jerry@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:

I would agree, the WiFi drop problem is very frustrating for us also. The Microchip RN-131GX module that we use is a fairly expensive module and we chose it thinking that spending more on a quality module would go toward making the WiFi more robust. But that hasn't been the case in some instances. The only real thing we can change is the channel number so we put that option in place for our customers. After that, all we can do is hope for the best as the WiFi environment is out of our control.
I will try different channels and test again. I am reluctant to think that my Asus Zenbook (Win 10) is the cause of the problem, as it has no difficulty in staying locked to the home WIFI, even when I use it is different rooms. My apartment building was built c. 1830-50, and the walls are solid masonry varying between 6 and 16 inches thick --
not dry wall!

We have discovered that part of this issue is Windows related and is related to the specific device that Windows is running on as some cheaper tablets have more problems than my expensive HP laptop for instance.
If Windows and the device are to blame in my case, the price may not be a determining factor: my laptop cost 1300 and has an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260.

Also, the Android application seems to be much better in this regard as we have not seen the dropouts using the Android ExploreStars application as we have seen with the Windows version.
I would be prepared to spring for a not-expensive Android device, if I could be assured that it will be compatible with PMC-8. I hope the Android build of Explore Stars will have a more user-friendly method of changing tracking rates, and that this can be incorporated into the Windows version! :)

Best wishes,

David


r_hoskin@...
 

David,

I know just barely enough about the wifi side of the (IT) business to perhaps help clear a bit of mystery for you.  PMC-8 wifi runs in ad hoc mode, and your router will be operating in infrastructure mode.  Those are two different standards. 

In ad hoc, the two adapters have to basically take on a portion of the work that a router usually handles for them in order to manage their connection.  So comparing home wifi stability with the PMC-8's ad hoc is probably not apples-to-apples.  I expect that Jerry's gone down in the weeds on the Microchip side looking for a remedy, but the two network adapters have to collaborate, and if the one on the laptop side turns out not to do a good job with ad hoc, there won't be a lot they can do about that.

Some of the magic on the laptop adapter side will be in its windows driver.  Win10 will probably push 'the latest' driver to your machine, but sometimes 'latest' isn't best-for-your-machine, and that becomes a research project, if you want to go down that road.  Background: I had a Win10 driver update clobber the trackpad on my x230.  Turned out to be a known problem, and the best resolution was to fall back to a Win8.1 driver.

I believe you are able to disable a 'bad-for-my-machine' driver (in Win10 Pro, at least) and replace it with another if necessary.  Not sure what stops the next 'latest' update from clobbering your preferred one, though - I moved on from Win10 after getting that far into it.

- Bob


David Pickett
 

Dear Bob,

Thanks for taking the trouble to write this. I
can now add "ad hoc" to my Google searches when I
look to see if there is a solution!

Do you know what mode my iPhone runs in when I use it as a hotspot?

As far as Win 10 is concerned, my laptop came
with the Home version and, as I intend to use it
with the internet, it should probably stay on Win
10. I did "upgrade" my desktop to Win 10 before
the free period expired, but finding no advantage
with it, I reverted to Win 7 Ult, so I can
control what gets updated. Win 10 is totally out of our control, of course!

Fifteen years ago I had a nice Fax Modem, that I
used for dial up and also for faxing. It would
answer faxes and voice mail and put them on the
hard drive. Every so often people would complain
that my voicemail wasnt working. I eventually
realised that it stopped working after every Win
2000 update, and learned to reinstall the
original driver from there on out. I actually had
far less troubles in this regard with XP, but
with the introduction of that, the fax/voicemail
software was unsupported. That's progress for you!

No question that the functionality of many things
that used to be quite straightdorward has been
severly diminished by the introduction of computers!

CLEAR SKIES! (Send us some more pictures!)

David

At 15:54 28-02-18, r_hoskin@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:

David,

I know just barely enough about the wifi side of
the (IT) business to perhaps help clear a bit of
mystery for you. PMC-8 wifi runs in ad hoc
mode, and your router will be operating in
infrastructure mode. Those are two different standards.

In ad hoc, the two adapters have to basically
take on a portion of the work that a router
usually handles for them in order to manage
their connection. So comparing home wifi
stability with the PMC-8's ad hoc is probably
not apples-to-apples. I expect that Jerry's
gone down in the weeds on the Microchip side
looking for a remedy, but the two network
adapters have to collaborate, and if the one on
the laptop side turns out not to do a good job
with ad hoc, there won't be a lot they can do about that.

Some of the magic on the laptop adapter side
will be in its windows driver. Win10 will
probably push 'the latest' driver to your
machine, but sometimes 'latest' isn't
best-for-your-machine, and that becomes a
research project, if you want to go down that
road. Background: I had a Win10 driver update
clobber the trackpad on my x230. Turned out to
be a known problem, and the best resolution was
to fall back to a Win8.1 driver.

I believe you are able to disable a
'bad-for-my-machine' driver (in Win10 Pro, at
least) and replace it with another if
necessary. Not sure what stops the next
'latest' update from clobbering your preferred one, though - I moved on from Win10 after getting that far into it.

- Bob


Robert Hoskin <r_hoskin@...>
 

David,

I think your iPhone is probably something else again...  (phone model + IOS version + hotspot feature standards)

Yes, Win10 vs alternatives is about control.  I spent too many years in change-controlled environments where, once a server is stabilized, any proposed change is evaluated first for risk and then for benefit, to have any level of comfort with Windows-as-a-service endlessly fiddling with 'my' machines.  Call me a Luddite :-)

Pictures?  Oh, you don't want my latest pictures...  I call them:  "Seagulls as seen through haze" :-))
In January, after adding Sharpcap, I finally got to round stars (if a bit fuzzy) over reasonable exposure lengths.  Now I'm back to seagulls. 
I have a question in with Jerry about one of the driver parameters, and I really hope he says 'oops!'.  That would greatly simplify my (astro) life. :-)

 



From: "David Pickett yahoo@... [ESPMC-Eight]"
To: ESPMC-Eight@...
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 10:45 AM
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Re: Updated Explore Scienttific PMC-Eight ASCOM Driver

 
Dear Bob,

Thanks for taking the trouble to write this. I
can now add "ad hoc" to my Google searches when I
look to see if there is a solution!

Do you know what mode my iPhone runs in when I use it as a hotspot?

As far as Win 10 is concerned, my laptop came
with the Home version and, as I intend to use it
with the internet, it should probably stay on Win
10. I did "upgrade" my desktop to Win 10 before
the free period expired, but finding no advantage
with it, I reverted to Win 7 Ult, so I can
control what gets updated. Win 10 is totally out of our control, of course!

Fifteen years ago I had a nice Fax Modem, that I
used for dial up and also for faxing. It would
answer faxes and voice mail and put them on the
hard drive. Every so often people would complain
that my voicemail wasnt working. I eventually
realised that it stopped working after every Win
2000 update, and learned to reinstall the
original driver from there on out. I actually had
far less troubles in this regard with XP, but
with the introduction of that, the fax/voicemail
software was unsupported. That's progress for you!

No question that the functionality of many things
that used to be quite straightdorward has been
severly diminished by the introduction of computers!

CLEAR SKIES! (Send us some more pictures!)

David

At 15:54 28-02-18, r_hoskin@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:

>David,
>
>I know just barely enough about the wifi side of
>the (IT) business to perhaps help clear a bit of
>mystery for you. PMC-8 wifi runs in ad hoc
>mode, and your router will be operating in
>infrastructure mode. Those are two different standards.
>
>In ad hoc, the two adapters have to basically
>take on a portion of the work that a router
>usually handles for them in order to manage
>their connection. So comparing home wifi
>stability with the PMC-8's ad hoc is probably
>not apples-to-apples. I expect that Jerry's
>gone down in the weeds on the Microchip side
>looking for a remedy, but the two network
>adapters have to collaborate, and if the one on
>the laptop side turns out not to do a good job
>with ad hoc, there won't be a lot they can do about that.
>
>Some of the magic on the laptop adapter side
>will be in its windows driver. Win10 will
>probably push 'the latest' driver to your
>machine, but sometimes 'latest' isn't
>best-for-your-machine, and that becomes a
>research project, if you want to go down that
>road. Background: I had a Win10 driver update
>clobber the trackpad on my x230. Turned out to
>be a known problem, and the best resolution was
>to fall back to a Win8.1 driver.
>
>I believe you are able to disable a
>'bad-for-my-machine' driver (in Win10 Pro, at
>least) and replace it with another if
>necessary. Not sure what stops the next
>'latest' update from clobbering your preferred
>one, though - I moved on from Win10 after getting that far into it.
>
>- Bob
>




CYRIL BONNETT
 

Hi Jerry

When we first set our PMC-8 up we experienced random wifi dropouts.

We use a HP Pavilion X2 detachable with the PMC-8 running the latest Win 10 and had no problems before with wifi connections , what I did discover is that Microsoft says "Windows 10 misses the ability to set ad hoc network feature"

Updating the networking adapter solved the problem on the pavilion.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-networking/how-do-i-set-up-an-ad-hoc-wifi-network-in-windows/0caa92d8-e02f-4e7f-aa5c-0abf10ed2039

But it didn't work on my own HP Envy tablet, for that I had to delete the network adapter and install HP's original driver, will Microsoft's future updates break it again?

Cyril



David Pickett
 

The interesting thing is that the document referred to below is dated Aug 22, 2015. Does this mean that Microsoft's subsequent updates have been designed not to mess things up, as they usually do, or is it a coincidence, or even a mistake?

David

At 13:26 11-03-18, cyril.bonnett@... [ESPMC-Eight] wrote:

When we first set our PMC-8 up we experienced random wifi dropouts.

We use a HP Pavilion X2 detachable with the PMC-8 running the latest Win 10 and had no problems before with wifi connections , what I did discover is that Microsoft says "Windows 10 misses the ability to set ad hoc network feature"

Updating the networking adapter solved the problem on the pavilion.

<https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-networking/how-do-i-set-up-an-ad-hoc-wifi-network-in-windows/0caa92d8-e02f-4e7f-aa5c-0abf10ed2039>https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-networking/how-do-i-set-up-an-ad-hoc-wifi-network-in-windows/0caa92d8-e02f-4e7f-aa5c-0abf10ed2039

But it didn't work on my own HP Envy tablet, for that I had to delete the network adapter and install HP's original driver, will Microsoft's future updates break it again?

Cyril


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Cyril,

Thanks for digging into this more. I really don't know what Microsoft's plans are there, I have not investigated this.

Thanks for sharing with the group!

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


CYRIL BONNETT
 

Hi David

I originally installed the PMC-8 software on my HP Envy laptop, but quickly realised that I would need something more manageable so purchased a second hand HP Pavilion X2 which lets you detach the keyboard and use it as a tablet. After spending a long evening removing windows 8.1 and then installing Windows 10 and then uninstalling all of HP's needless programs I ended up with a very nice, fast 10.5 notebook tablet.


Explore Stars and all the drivers needed to run the PMC-8 installed without any problems it was only after we had sorted the small problem of the belt slipping  and started setting the mount and the scope up that we experienced the wifi connection randomly disconnecting.


On investigating it I found that Microsoft had in the wisdom been changing their ad hoc setup, and had been doing so since Vista!!!


With their update around Christmas it changed a lot of things, in fact really changed things, my son's Dell Alienware gaming laptop flashed a red screen after the update, and refused to load windows, it turned out thath Intel and AMD and Dell dropping support/drivers for it completely, he now has a very expensive basic Windows 10 home laptop.

I looked to see what they had replaced the ad hoc with and found that the problem was the adapter driver which led me to Microsoft's website that I posted, and although the tablet worked fine the network adapter had problems, reinstalling HP's driver cured it.

The date is really of no consequence because the same page is displayed with a December 2017 date, https://www.howto-connect.com/create-wireless-ad-hoc-internet-connection-on-windows-10/


Having a searched to see what Microsoft reasons for this was I was led to the following page, dated 2018,which I think explains the future. https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-direct


At my age I am fast being left behind by the speed of change in computing software! well really most things:-)

Cyril