Date   

Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Don W
 

Hi Rusty,
Since your main concern is to separate the guiding functions from the mount control and imaging, putting the guider on a separate PC is only possible if that PC is not using ASCOM to connect to the mount control.  The only way I know to do this is to use the "old" ST-4 style commands which are simple timing on-off signals.  SiTech servo II has a "guider port" which does this.

Many autoguiders have a port to connect directly to the SiTech controller that use this system.  PHD2 can also use this port using a GPUSB adapter made by Shoestring.  This system only sends guide commands to SiTech controllers, it does not allow anything except guide commands (no slewing or any other commands).  It would allow you to use two PC's by simply separating the guider from all ASCOM connections.

Basically the ST-4 guider system sends timed on-off signals on 4 lines to either move north-south (Dec) or East-West (RA).  The timing signal "ON" time lets the mount move at your designated  guide speed (1x = sidereal, or 15 arcsec per sec).  These correction signals are very short, typically  making corrections of 0.2 or more arc-sec.

So get a GPUSB adapter and you can run PHD2 on your separate PC.

Don W


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

Don W
 

Hi Paul,
The greatest load on the servo and drive components generally is the acceleration and deceleration loads.  SiTech ServoConfig.exe allows you to set the rates.  A slower acceleration setting really is not noticeable as far as timing a slew, but it can reduce the loads which "Might" have caused your failure.  This is conjecture on my part.

Depending on the load (the telescope and equipment and the required balance weights) the highly loaded friction drive pins are relatively small cross section and operate under a lot of stress.

Don W


Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

T. van Hees
 

On Tue, Jun 8, 2021 at 01:58 AM, Rusty Fletcher wrote:
Hello Don!

I like your Idea! If I understand everything correctly, I would connect my Meade DSI II Camera (That I use for auto-guiding) to the first computer running PHD auto-guiding software with a connection directly to the guider port on the SiTech Controller II box... I think that is what you are suggesting. Then connect the primary imaging camera to a second computer which would also run SiTech.exe. I could connect the primary imaging camera to SiTech.exe because the software for both would be running on the same computer. My goal is to have each camera connected to a separate computer to speed up the image download time... especially the auto-guiding image download time... and still be able to send auto-guiding commands... and Go-to, Sync, Park, and other commands from each computer to the telescope. In this scenario the second computer controls the primary imaging camera and would be the one on which I would run PlateSolve, PointXP, and "The Sky 6". If this works this is a great solution!

A few questions:

How would I connect the computer running the PHD auto-guiding software directly to the guide port on the SiTech Controller II? I think that is basically a ST-4 guiding port... correct? Will I need to buy some type of adapter?

Also... will the guide port work as well and as fast as using pulse guiding? With Mel Bartel's system I have always used pulse guiding.

Will the SiTech Controller II system support a connection that controls the telescope from one computer connected directly to the guide port, and a second computer connected through the USB port simultaneously? 

Thanks!

Rusty


 Hello,

I would first try to find out where the bottleneck in your current system is - sorry if this is the wrong thread for that, I could not find the one discussing it.

I do not know the specs of your laptop but I am quite sure you do not need a $1400 setup to run your imaging sessions, especially not for DSO with the cameras you are using: People are using Raspberry PIs for that (me, too).

For my main imaging rig I am getting by with a 4 year old NUC (Intel i5-7260U Dual-Core, 8GB RAM, cheap 1TB SATA SSD), it cost me 600€ (with a smaller SSD and a spinning disk at the time). Any entry-level laptop with a recent i3 processor should best these specs (The first result on Amazon is a Dell for 500€ - there are certainly better deals). It works fine even for planetary imaging at up to 100fps (the SATA SSD is the bottleneck here). Downloads from the guiding cam (ASI290MM or QHY 294M) are instant, CPU load never exceeds 20%.

I do not know TheSkyX as I automate my setup with Voyager or SGP, but as it is not really recent tech I do not think it would be the resource hog. If it is, as a free alternative, many people are very happy with NINA, which could replace TheSkyX for planning and automating your sessions.

Which process exactly is keeping your CPU so busy and how high is your RAM usage? Maybe the CPU is swapping image data to the hard drive during downloads.


Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Rusty Fletcher
 

Hello Don!

I like your Idea! If I understand everything correctly, I would connect my Meade DSI II Camera (That I use for auto-guiding) to the first computer running PHD auto-guiding software with a connection directly to the guider port on the SiTech Controller II box... I think that is what you are suggesting. Then connect the primary imaging camera to a second computer which would also run SiTech.exe. I could connect the primary imaging camera to SiTech.exe because the software for both would be running on the same computer. My goal is to have each camera connected to a separate computer to speed up the image download time... especially the auto-guiding image download time... and still be able to send auto-guiding commands... and Go-to, Sync, Park, and other commands from each computer to the telescope. In this scenario the second computer controls the primary imaging camera and would be the one on which I would run PlateSolve, PointXP, and "The Sky 6". If this works this is a great solution!

A few questions:

How would I connect the computer running the PHD auto-guiding software directly to the guide port on the SiTech Controller II? I think that is basically a ST-4 guiding port... correct? Will I need to buy some type of adapter?

Also... will the guide port work as well and as fast as using pulse guiding? With Mel Bartel's system I have always used pulse guiding.

Will the SiTech Controller II system support a connection that controls the telescope from one computer connected directly to the guide port, and a second computer connected through the USB port simultaneously? 

Thanks!

Rusty


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

paul K
 

Hi Sedat, in your original post you mentoned
'I am using the mount at slow speeds and with much less acceleration than originally configured by Lucas.'

I was wondering why you do that? I have the same mount and it's roughly the same age. My dec motor shaft snapped recently and I am in process of reinstalling it wth Lucas now it's been repaired.

I think I may have moved the dec axis too quickly by hand when powered down and perhaps that caused the shaft to break, but I'm not really sure if that was the cause as I'd done it many times before. Lucas Mesu has been really helpful with it.

best wishes
Paul


Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Don W
 

Hi Rusty,
You could run the guiding function on a separate PC to separate it from the Main camera and SiTech, which would allow platesolving.  You can't do this using pulse guiding, but you can guide using a cable from a guide camera to the SiTech controller, using the radio handpad with the Servo I or direct with the Servo II.  This would completely separate the guide operation from all other activity.
Don W


Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Rusty Fletcher
 

Hello Don!

Thank you for your advice and help. I tested both laptops under "Windows Task Manager - Performance", as was discussed in another post. It turns out the CPU does get used consistently at about 80% and often hits 100% when all the processes I want to use are all running simultaneously. I think it hits 100% when the computer is attempting to download both an auto-guiding image from PHD and a deep sky image from my ZWO ASI533 Camera simultaneously. With everything running on one laptop the processes are as follows:

SiTech.exe;   The Sky 6 connected to SiTech.exe (ASCOM);   ASI Studio V1.4 running "Deep Sky Imaging" connected to my ZWO ASI533 Camera;   PHD2 Guiding 2.6.9  connected to both My Mead DSI II Camera & SiTech.exe (ASCOM).

This test was done using the camera's and motors lying on my desk... so the images were done with dust caps on... no actual guiding commands were sent to the SiTech.exe driver. Also, I plan to stay inside my house on cold nights and remotely control both laptops using "Remote Desktop" on Windows 7 since all my computers are running Windows 7 Professional. There will be some additional CPU usage when using Remote Desktop over a TCP/IP network.

if everything is running on one laptop my concern is it's just too much for one laptop to do with the ease and grace that makes for great performance. I was in the computer business for almost 20 years. I sold my business in 2015. I learned that even though a computer can often handle a job... it is wise to allow for extra memory and CPU usage for everything to run smoothly and at peak performance. Especially when doing critical work. With 1 second exposures I want my guiding camera to update every 2.5 to 3 seconds to maintain good round stars. I confess my homemade mount could handle many improvements but I have learned, by experience, that good auto-guiding will make up for my mounts poor performance. If there is any way I can divide all the task's between two older laptop computers I want to do it. The other option would be to purchase a new (very powerful) $1,400 laptop but I don't want to do that ... I want to keep my wife happy! Lol She approved my purchase of the SiTech Controller II. I think she is still happy!  :-)

I timed the download speed of my auto-guiding images. With everything running on one computer I found that it definitely slows down the auto-guiding speed by about 30 to 40%. That is enough to require that I throw away a lot more of my main images when doing deep sky imaging. When I ran the PHD auto-guiding software by itself on just one laptop with 1 second exposures the performance was about 2.5 seconds per update. Using 2 computers to run everything definitely makes some difference. I could run PlateSolve connected to my guiding camera because that is the computer I am using to run SiTech.exe. But, I would prefer to use PlateSolve connected to my primary imaging camera. It will allow for faster centering of objects and will probably work best with PointXP because the primary imaging camera is mounted on the primary imaging scope. Maybe with your expertise and possibly the advice of others this could be made to work. Thank you sir!

Rusty Fletcher


Re: How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Don W
 

Hi Rusty,
I seriously doubt you can connect to a second computer.  The connection is via ASCOM, internally on a single PC between SiTech and your camera control program.  In order for SiTech to do any platesolves, it must communicate both ways to and from the camera control software, so they must be on the same PC.
Don W


Re: Meridian Flip Settings Explained

MartinC
 

Hi Don,

 

Many thanks for your reply. I appreciate Dan must be busy & that he is the only person who can resolve this but I’m also conscious that time is creeping by.

Hopefully I will hear from you soon.

 

Best wishes

Martin


How do I connect SiTech.exe over TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop?

Rusty Fletcher
 

Hello All,

SiTech.exe is running great on my 1st laptop. It connects to The Sky 6 Planetarium Software, running on the same laptop, beautifully... How do I connect over a TCP/IP network to a ZWO ASI533 camera connected to a 2nd laptop? I want to use the camera with PlateSolve & PointXP

SiTech.exe with Plate Solve and The Sky 6 are running on the first computer... the ZWO ASI533 camera is running on a second computer. The two computers are networked together through a router. The connection is good... I can transfer files, etc.

Is there a way to setup SiTech.exe & PlateSolve to use the camera to access images automatically?

Thank you for any help or advice!

Rusty


Re: Meridian Flip Settings Explained

Don W
 

Hi Martin,
Dan knows about your issues and I am following up on the problem.  My last contact with Dan was a while ago - with the Covig virus getting almost under control, Dan's workload supporting professional observatories around the world has increased tremendously.  Dan indicated he would not be able to work on SiTech issues for a while (maybe weeks).  I am waiting for word from Dan when he will again work on SiTech.
I will let you know when that happens.
Don W


Re: Meridian Flip Settings Explained

MartinC
 

Hi Don,

I was wondering if you had any update on how this was progressing?

Kind regards
Martin


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

Sedat Bilgebay
 

Hello Chuck,

I have the back ups for both the .car and .cfg files. There were no electrical disturbances or power cut off at this time and the weather is beautiful these days. This is really mysterious. The only thing I can think of is this: I'm using the mount remotely via Splashtop through my Mac, ipad or iphone. When I use my ios devices, I need to press the direction buttons 3 times in quick succession and sometimes I press 4-5 times :) Maybe this triggers a "reset" function in the controller. This is exactly what happened prior to the problem, I pressed the screen 4-5 times accidentally then I ran into the problem.

Last time I flashed the eeprom was in 2015 when the mount was brand new and Sitach DEC led started blinking for some unknown reason. At that time Dan had kindly sent V93.bin together with the some instructions and since then I had no problem related to Sitech. It just runs perfectly.

Last night all went well... we will see.


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

CandCShaw
 

Great that it is working!  Download the .car File and make a backup copy. Do the same with the .cfg file for Sitechexe.  

Did you have any electrical disturbances (spikes, lighting, surges, etc) after the last time it was working ok?  When was the last time you flashed the controller eprom?

Cheers!

Chuck


On Jun 6, 2021, at 2:06 PM, Sedat Bilgebay <bilgebay@...> wrote:

Thank you Chuck.

My Sitech.cfg is in good shape, no problem with that.

The problem is with the mount specific parameters stored in Sitech II. All the settings that Lucas Mesu keyed in like the tick numbers, motor gain parameters etc were erased. As soon as I uploaded the the configuration from the *.car file he sent to me everything got back to normal. All I want to know os why this has happened and if it can be avoided. I have been using the mount in the same way for the last 5 this never happened before.


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

Sedat Bilgebay
 

Thank you Chuck.

My Sitech.cfg is in good shape, no problem with that.

The problem is with the mount specific parameters stored in Sitech II. All the settings that Lucas Mesu keyed in like the tick numbers, motor gain parameters etc were erased. As soon as I uploaded the the configuration from the *.car file he sent to me everything got back to normal. All I want to know os why this has happened and if it can be avoided. I have been using the mount in the same way for the last 5 this never happened before.


Re: Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

CandCShaw
 

Sorry for your problem!   Sitechexe will create a “new” Sitech.CFL file if it cannot find one. Sounds like the previous Sitech.cfg may have gotten corrupted?   Do you do backups on your PC?

Chuck


On Jun 6, 2021, at 9:33 AM, Sedat Bilgebay <bilgebay@...> wrote:

Dear group,

This is a 5 year old Mesu 200. I have no clue as to what caused this hiccup but it's happening to me for the first time.  As usual, the other day, I was preparing for the night and when I pushed the East button on the Sitech.exe the mount started slewing to west  at full speed. So I stopped playing with the buttons and started Servo Config to check the parameters... My settings can be seen in the first image below but what I found were the values in the second screenshot:

<Servoconfig_SB_before.jpeg>


<Servoconfig_SB_after.png>


I reloaded the orijinal .car file to the controller then edited  a few of them with the values in the top image. I am using the mount at slow speeds and with much less acceleration than originally configured by Lucas.

Now the mount is back to normal and running perfectly. 

Has any of you experienced a similar situation ? What could be the reason behind this. As I said, this is happening to me first time in 5 years of operation. This seemed to me like the AP mounts' internal battery failure where the mounts is not able to hold the user adjusted parameters and reverts to a default configuration. I know Sitech stores this info in a NV memory but then how on earth this hiccup occurred ?

Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences/comments with me.

Clear skies

Sedat Bilgebay


Mesu 200 - Sitech II, lost all the Servo config data all of a sudden

Sedat Bilgebay
 

Dear group,

This is a 5 year old Mesu 200. I have no clue as to what caused this hiccup but it's happening to me for the first time.  As usual, the other day, I was preparing for the night and when I pushed the East button on the Sitech.exe the mount started slewing to west  at full speed. So I stopped playing with the buttons and started Servo Config to check the parameters... My settings can be seen in the first image below but what I found were the values in the second screenshot:





I reloaded the orijinal .car file to the controller then edited  a few of them with the values in the top image. I am using the mount at slow speeds and with much less acceleration than originally configured by Lucas.

Now the mount is back to normal and running perfectly. 

Has any of you experienced a similar situation ? What could be the reason behind this. As I said, this is happening to me first time in 5 years of operation. This seemed to me like the AP mounts' internal battery failure where the mounts is not able to hold the user adjusted parameters and reverts to a default configuration. I know Sitech stores this info in a NV memory but then how on earth this hiccup occurred ?

Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences/comments with me.

Clear skies

Sedat Bilgebay


Re: Track past Meridian 95p

pburke@...
 
Edited

This was on a target east of the Meridian (southern horizon) when the mount is tracking and reaches what I assume is the meridian(the blue and green dash line) the hr angle goes from a neg number to zero and the slew is initiated the tracking is stopped. I dont get any nearing the Meridian warning. From here if I start the tracking I will get the nearing meridian warning when the mount aproaches the dashed blue line (I'm assuming that is 8 deg past the Meridian) and the tracking will stop.
Sorry for the photo qual. Best I could do in the obs.


Re: Track past Meridian 95p

Don W
 

Show us your Mount Parms config page.
Don W


Re: Track past Meridian 95p

pburke@...
 

I repeated the steps above and not sure what is triggering the slew when it crosses the green dash line in sky view but it does it every time. attached is a short debug log.
At 2059:59 I slewed using sky view to a star that was just east of the meridian and let it track till it did it's slew thing reaching the green dash line (just as the hr angle reached 0 (counting from a neg number as it tracked)
and stopped the tracking.
Ive got some setting messed up but cant figure out what it is....

2041 - 2060 of 35134