Topics

UPDATED PMC-Eight System Firmware Available #ExploreScientific #iexos-100 #G11 #EXOS2 #TECHNICAL

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 
Edited

I apologize for the previous version of this SPECIAL NOTICE, I inadvertantly sent it out before I had completed it.

I have just released an updated version of the PMC-Eight System firmware for our G11, EXOS 2, and iEXOS 100 mounts.

This update is RECOMMENDED  as it corrects an intermittent problem where the mount may stop in the middle of a slew during an alignment.
UNLESS you have experienced this issue, you can consider this update OPTIONAL. 


I also have implemented a couple of other changes namely:


1) An increase in motor current from 600 mA to 700 mA in the EXOS 2 mount
2) Support for providing the hardware/firmware version to the ExploreStars application.

This is an enumerated code value with the following coding:


Firmware Code   HEX Code            hardware/firmware      Note
0.00                     0x0000                2A06B-9T11G11           Version data not available, production
0.00                     0x0000                2A06B-9T12G11           Version data not available, production
0.00                     0x0000                2A06B-9T11EXOS2       Version data not available, production
0,00                     0x0000                1A01C-10B1                 Version data not available, production
2.00                     0x0200                2A06B-9T13G11           900 mA motor current (original), production
2.01                     0x0201                2A06B-9T14G11           1300 mA motor current (uprated), production
2.02                     0x0202                2A06B-9T13EXOS2       700 mA motor current (original), production
2.03                     0x0203                1A01C-10B2EXOS100   600 mA motor current (original), production
2.04                     0x0204                1A01C-10B2EXOS200   current prototype
2.05                     0x0205                2A07A-10A1G11           1300 mA motor current (original), current prototype
2.06                     0x0206                2A07A-10A1EXOS2       600 mA motor current (original), current prototype

The PMC-Eight Software and Downloads page has been updated and you can get the firmware here:  
NOTE: You must have an FTDI Chip DB9 Serial (male) to USB Adapter

https://explorescientificusa.com/pages/software-and-downloads-for-pmc-eight-system

We will also be posting an updated version of the ExploreStars application for ANDROID devices in the next day or two, and we will also be releasing the updated version of the Apple iOS version of ExploreStars a couple of weeks after. I will be making additional SPECIAL NOTICE announcements for those releases.

Thank you for your continued support of the PMC-Eight system!!

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!

Sean Stimson
 

Good news:) thank you. Are there any plans to incorporate variable motor speed settings? For iexos 100?

Kind Regards,
Sean.


Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering <jrh@...>
Date: 05/08/2019 17:24 (GMT+00:00)
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: [ESPMC-Eight] UPDATED PMC-Eight System Firmware Available #ExploreScientific #G11 #EXOS2 #iexos-100 #TECHNICAL

I have just released an updated version of the PMC-Eight System firmware for our G11, EXOS 2, and iEXOS 100 mounts. This update is RECOMMENDED and should not be considered optional as it corrects an intermittent problem where the mount may stop in the middle of a slew during an alignment. I also have implemented a couple of other changes namely:

1) An increase in motor current from 600 mA to 700 mA in the EXOS 2 mount
2) Support for providing the hardware/firmware version to the ExploreStars application. This is an enumerated code value with the following coding:

Firmware Code   HEX Code                   hardware/firmware      Note
0.000x0000                2A06B-9T11G11           Version data not available, production
0x0000                2A06B-9T12G11           Version data not available, production
0x0000                2A06B-9T11EXOS2       Version data not available, production
0x0000                1A01C-10B1                 Version data not available, production
0x0200                2A06B-9T13G11           900 mA motor current (original), production
0x0201                2A06B-9T14G11           1300 mA motor current (uprated), production
0x0202                2A06B-9T13EXOS2       600 mA motor current (original), production
0x0203                1A01C-10B2EXOS100   600 mA motor current (original), production
0x0204                1A01C-10B2EXOS200   current prototype
0x0205                2A07A-10A1G11           1300 mA motor current (original), current prototype
0x0206                2A07A-10A1EXOS2       600 mA motor current (original), current prototype

--
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!

 

Jerry,
 
Just looked over your release notes and see that we can have firmware installed, either with or without the communications watchdog.  
 
I can see why you'd want that feature disabled for a wireless user, but what's your advice for the rest of us?  
 
At first I thought it might be a good idea to do without it as well, but then thought about an AP session scenario and began to doubt.  In that case, if the laptop dies, I would think that you'd want the mount to halt.
 
Thoughts?  
 
Oh - and the notes mention Explorestars and ASCOM - what about INDI?
 
Thx!
 
- Bob
 
 
  
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 01:14 PM, Robert Hoskin wrote:
Jerry,
 
Just looked over your release notes and see that we can have firmware installed, either with or without the communications watchdog.  
 
I can see why you'd want that feature disabled for a wireless user, but what's your advice for the rest of us?  
 
At first I thought it might be a good idea to do without it as well, but then thought about an AP session scenario and began to doubt.  In that case, if the laptop dies, I would think that you'd want the mount to halt.
 
Thoughts?  
 
Oh - and the notes mention Explorestars and ASCOM - what about INDI?
 
Thx!
 
- Bob
Hi Bob,

Thanks for your questions. You are correct, disabling the communications watchdog timer is most applicable to those who are doing astrophotography with ExploreStars and want the capability to be able to disconnect their tablet while an imaging sequence is going on and the mount would continue to track and image. As far as using that feature for wired ASCOM connections, you would, as you say, want to know if the communications dropped out because the control system on your PC is much different than that provided by ExploreStars. 

As far as updates to INDI that is an OpenGOTO Community project that is basically owned by Michael Fulbright. This update does not really effect the ASCOM driver, so I would not expect any real changes to the INDI driver.
 
Thanks!
--
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!

Patrick Maher
 

I see your link to the downloads page and I have found where the zip file is located but, before I even attempt to download and install, I'd really like to see the instructions so can review them beforehand.  I'd also like to see instructions to determine if I need any other hardware, cables, etc.  Are there instructions that I am missing?  

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 09:20 PM, Patrick Maher wrote:
I see your link to the downloads page and I have found where the zip file is located but, before I even attempt to download and install, I'd really like to see the instructions so can review them beforehand.
Hi Patrick,

The instructions are included in the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager Program on how to install the firmware.  It's a very simple process:

NOTE 1: To update the firmware, you need to use a Windows PC that you can install and run the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager on. It is possible to install the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager on a Mac OSX computer running bootcamp or similar PC Emulator.
NOTE 2: You should download and unzip the firmware into a folder of your choice. Make sure you have access to the .eeprom files. 

1.  For the G11 or EXOS 2 PMC-Eight system you will require a DB9 Serial (male) to USB A adapter cable. A mini-USB to USB A cable is required for the iEXOS 100 mount.
2. Connect your cable between the PMC-Eight and Computer and power up the PMC-Eight system
3. Start the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager
4. Determine the firmware .eeprom file you need. Consult the readme.txt file to determine the correct firmware you require for your mount.
5. Select the Advanced tab in the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager program.
6. Under the "Load FIRMWARE into PMC-Eight EEPROM" section at the lower left, use the ellipsis button to select the file location and eeprom file you wish to load.
7. Click the Upload EEPROM button to install the firmware.
8. Monitor the progress of the upload which should only take 15 - 20 seconds
9. Verify you see the successful installation message in the log window.

Your PMC-Eight system is now updated.
 
--
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!

Patrick Maher
 

Thanks for the instructions, Jerry.  One question though...  since we are using the USB cable, I assume the mount's wifi needs to be set to serial first, correct?  Or, does that happen automatically when doing a firmware update?  (I haven't had much time for playing with my mounts and telescopes in recent months so I'm not all that familiar with the Config Manager as I should be and probably making this out to be far more complicated than it really is.  The memories of updating the firmware on my Bresser non-PMC EXOS-2 are still too fresh in my mind so I remember the firmware update being problematic which is probably making me far too overly cautious about tackling this update.)   I'll try to set aside some time in the coming days for this firmware update though.  Thanks again.

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 09:28 AM, Patrick Maher wrote:
since we are using the USB cable, I assume the mount's wifi needs to be set to serial first, correct?
The firmware update DOES NOT REQUIRE a switch from wireless to serial communications mode.

In the PMC-Eight Configuration Manager, the firmware loader automatically boots the system looking for data from the serial port when performing a firmware update. Normally, If the system boots and there is no serial communications seen on the wired port, then the system loads the firmware from the EEPROM into RAM and starts up running the PMC-Eight Firmware already installed. At that point, when the PMC-Eight firmware starts up it looks to see if it is set to communicate via wireless or wired according the stored configuration parameter (toggled with the "ESX!" command).

Here is the way it is described in the Parallax Propeller Datasheet

3.1.Boot-Up Procedure Upon power-up, or reset:
1.The Propeller chip’s internal RC oscillator begins running at 20 kHz, then after a 50 ms reset delay, switches to 12 MHz. Then the first processor (Cog 0) loads and runs the built-in Boot Loader program.
2.The Boot Loader performs one or more of the following tasks, in order:
         a. Detects communication from a host, such as a PC, on pins P30 and P31. If communication from a host is detected, the Boot Loader converses with the host to identify the Propeller chip and possibly download a program into global RAM  and optionally into an external 32 KB EEPROM.
         b. If no host communication was detected, the Boot Loader looks for an external 32 KB EEPROM on pins P28 and P29. If an EEPROM is detected, the entire 32 KB data image is loaded into the Propeller chip’s global RAM.
         c. If no EEPROM was detected, the boot loader stops, Cog 0 is terminated, the Propeller chip goes into shutdown mode, and all I/O pins are set to inputs.
3. If either step 2a or 2b was successful in loading a program into the global RAM, and a suspend command was not given by the host, then Cog 0 is reloaded with the built-in Spin Interpreter and the user code is run from global RAM.
.
 
--
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!

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 12:54 PM, Sean Stimson wrote:
Good news:) thank you. Are there any plans to incorporate variable motor speed settings? For iexos 100?
Hi Sean,

I apologize for the late response, I missed your message.  I am not sure what you mean exactly about "variable motor speed settings"

You can set the tracking rate very precisely over a very wide range in the ExploreStars application. Also the system uses a control algorithm called POINT MODE which is different from the traditional TRACK MODE where the rate is set to a fixed value, typically the Sidereal Rate. When the ExploreStars control is set to POINT MODE - indicated by the "Triangle-P" symbol, the mount uses the 2 or 3 star alignment model to correct the coordinates and "points" continuously at the target coordinates. This results in the behavior that the mount is tracking both in RA and DEC at a variable rate depending on where the mount is currently pointing in the sky.

I don't think this is what you are referring to, but in this way the mount does use "variable rate" control via the pointing algorithm in the POINT MODE.
 
--
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!

 

Jerry,

Thanks!  Done, no issues so far.  ESGv! looks ok.  Mount responds to slews indoors after restert.  
That change to 700ma was supposed to smooth out motor action and improve tracking, wasn't it?
I'll advise if I see any difference, next night out.

- Bob
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Hi Bob,

I really don't expect much difference as far as the motor current increase from 600 mA to 700 mA as far as any smoothing action is concerned. It is about a 15% increase in torque which is always useful but you are trading battery life during your session because of that. I am interested what you see as far as differences.
--
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!