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Using XBox controller with PMC8 Exos2


James Buck
 

Is it possible to use an Xbox controller with PMC8?  I am using the Explorestars App but also would like to use the Worldwide Telescope app to control the mount. 

Sometimes when looking at objects, it would be nice to just have a controller to make a move instead of looking through the eye piece then looking at the tablet and then back into the eyepiece again.

I am finding that is a little cumbersome and the one drawback from the system.


The other question I have is when I do try to set up the PMC8 with the Worldwide Telescope app, I get a message indicating that the PMC8 drivers are 32bit and the new computer I am using is 64 and won't configure the settings.  Any ideas?

  I will try to get a screen shot later.

Thank you,

Jim Buck

PS  Friday I was at the ES store in Springdale, AR and Alex gave me your number to help get the Orion Starshoot Autoguider working with the PMC8.  But I think I got it figured out yesterday after a little playing around with it.  Something simple I was not looking at in the settings!





hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Jim,

It was good talking to you. There is a way to use an XBOX controller via the application called ASCOMPAD. Here is the link to it.


I have not yet tested this with the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver, but there is no reason it should not work. This will not work with the ExploreStars application as it is not an ASCOM client program. After we release the Android app and the Apple iOS app, this will be the next thing for the Windows ExploreStars app, along with other updates to the Windows version of the ExploreStars app. 

The ASCOM platform supports both 32 and 64 bit drivers, in fact I developed the PMC-Eight driver on my Windows 10 Pro 64-bit system. I compiled the PMC-Eight driver as a 32-bit driver to maintain compatibility with older ASCOM clients that are 32-bit. I have seen the 64-bit version of Cartes du Ciel have problems with accessing the driver configuration dialogue box, but the 32-bit version of Cartes du Ciel works fine with the current driver. There may be a setting in World Wide Telescope that you can set to be able to connect to a 32-bit ASCOM driver.

I could compile and  release a beta of a 64-bit version of the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver if it becomes a real problem, as long is will solve the issue with these clients. It's hard to tell. If I were to do that, I would have to solicit the help of the PMC-Eight owners to maybe test out whatever 64-bit ASCOM client applications that they want to run and see how it works.

Thanks Jim for your questions

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.



James Buck
 

Jerry,

Thank you for your help.  I got CDC and the ASCOM Pad version to work with an Xbox Controller.

However when I use the joystick on the controller and then release it the mount still continues to slew.
I think it is a problem with the controller or the ASCOM Pad program itself.

Do you have any ideas?  Was going to reach out to ASCOM Pad to see if they have any info.

Again thank you for your help.  I know you have been helping a lot of PMC8 users in this venue, your time, efforts and patience with us is much appreciated.  Again you are a reflection of the quality people that Scott and ES have brought on board to make our experience in astronomy much more pleasant.  Thank you


Brent Phillips
 

I am having a similar issue, when using a game pad it moves at one speed really slow and will not stop slewing.  I am going to follow this to see if any answers come up.


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Jim,

Thank you for the kind words, I enjoy working with all my customers. As some of you know. This is basically my baby and I want it to work as well as possible for everyone. Its not just Explore Scientific's system, its my system so I am responsible for getting it right. Anything I can do to help our customers understand how our equipment works I will do. Over the past 1 1/2 years, I have probably fielded well over 200 messages with multiple questions each on CloudyNights and here on this forum. I am working on gathering all those questions and my detailed answers and will be updating over the next few months the Explore Scientific Knowledge Base for the PMC-Eight.  I will be talking more about that soon after I have started updating the content. This will make it easier for our support team to answer everyone's questions.

Now, as far as the game pad and ASCOMPAD program is concerned. I will need to find time this week to test this out myself. One of the tools that is provided with the PMC-Eight ASCOM driver is a check box to turn Trace On. What this does is creates a detailed log file showing all the commands and responses to and from the PMC-Eight and the host computer. These log files are created under the C:\Users\**\Documents\ASCOM\
directory where ** is your account name. Each day, a new folder is created with the date that stores that days log files. Give it a try and post the log file created here for me to look at and maybe we can figure it out. I will work on doing the same.

You may get some response from the ASCOMPAD developer, but they will more than likely need more information such as that from the log. I think if we gather that information and then figure out the specific failure, they would be more likely to answer us quickly. Also, there is a chance I could fix it since the ASCOMPAD source code is available (although I have never looked at it). We will see.

Thanks again

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.



---In ESPMC-Eight@..., <piperjimb@...> wrote :

Jerry,

Thank you for your help.  I got CDC and the ASCOM Pad version to work with an Xbox Controller.

However when I use the joystick on the controller and then release it the mount still continues to slew.
I think it is a problem with the controller or the ASCOM Pad program itself.

Do you have any ideas?  Was going to reach out to ASCOM Pad to see if they have any info.

Again thank you for your help.  I know you have been helping a lot of PMC8 users in this venue, your time, efforts and patience with us is much appreciated.  Again you are a reflection of the quality people that Scott and ES have brought on board to make our experience in astronomy much more pleasant.  Thank you


James Buck
 

Mr. Bell,
Thank you for taking time to look into this.  I will play around with settings, keeping track of what I change and what happens.  Maybe I can figure it out in a couple of days.

In the mean time here are the logs from the other night when I got things working together.

Again, it is a pleasure to have ES behind their products!

Jim B


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi everyone, 

I spent some time getting my xBox controller set up and tested the ASCOMPAD application, and I was able to trace what was going on with the system. There are a couple of things I did in the ASCOM driver. First, I found that the ASCOMPAD uses the MoveAxis command which in turn uses the ESSr! command (Set Rate) in the firmware. I found that I had not implemented the DEC axis move axis command correctly (among other miscellaneous things) so I am correcting this. It will take me a day or two to code and test it out. It looks like the RA axis move works fine.

Once I get it working, I will probably just release the .dll file to replace the one that gets installed with the latest installation setup program. This would be a beta test version. I have made a few other changes to the driver to support some upcoming hardware that isn't applicable to your version of the PMC-Eight.

In order to test this you need to do the mount/setup in the ASCOMPAD program. You are presented with a bunch of sliders and I set them up as follows:

Slider      Value
1            5
2            10
3            20
4            100
5            200
6            500
7            800 max
8            0

You then need to map the buttons for  the following items
Increment Preset (I used A)
Decrement Preset (I used B)
Park (I used X)
Unpark (I used Y)
N, S, E, W (I used the toggle direction buttons)

You should be able to increment and decrement the rates with the assigned buttons and then see how it slews faster and slower. The RA works correctly in that when you hold down the toggle, it slews, and then when you release the toggle, it stops slewing and starts tracking. You may see it not report the status correctly though, that is one of the issues I am fixing.

Let me know if you discover anything else.

Thanks for your help on this!

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.