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Looking for software for remote CG-5GT control

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#1 Sean13

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:01 AM

I currently have a remote control imaging setup, but I'm lacking descent control software for my Celestron CG-5GT mount. I have been using Stellarium, but I am looking for something that will still let PHD connect via a virtualized port and guide while the program is still running. As of now I have to close whatever sky map software I'm using and reopen PHD when I'm ready to guide.

I see Celestron sells NexRemote, but the price seems steep for what it is. Are there any free alternatives out there that will do what I need?

#2 Hilmi

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:41 AM

Isn't there an ASCOM driver for that mount? I've never used one, but if you have an ASCOM driver you can use that. If the ASCOM driver you have doesn't allow sharing, you can set up POTH in ASCOM to share

#3 cn register 5

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:02 AM

There is definitely an ASCOM driver for the CG5-GT, the Celestron one. It is a hub type driver so you can connect multiple applications to it.

Chris

#4 frolinmod

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:48 AM

And that may or may not work just fine depending on what each of the connected applications is trying to do at the same time. ASCOM hub and hub type drivers are not required to be designed like air traffic controllers. Multiple applications can connect, but they can also still step on each others toes as well. Likely it'll work fine, but it's by no means a sure thing. Conflicts and unintended side effects can still happen. One shouldn't go into it with any unreasonable expectations.

#5 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:36 AM

NexRemote.

#6 mclewis1

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:44 AM

Sean,

NexRemote gives you the virtual hand controller to control the scope and the virtual serial port so PHD will certainly work in conjunction with it (I do it all the time). NexRemote is however really not a full replacement for the planetarium programs like Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel.

I believe the current version of NexRemote is free, Celestron removed the 30 day limit on the license requirement late last year (although I haven't tried this capability myself since I have a license key).

I'd follow Chris's suggestion and use the capabilities in the Celestron unified scope device driver for the ASCOM platform. Just about any planetarium program can use ASCOM for scope control and this makes things simple when you are trying out different programs. If for some reason there are problems you can always fall back to the NexRemote/PHD combination.

#7 Sean13

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

Yes the scope uses ASCOM but I couldn't find any functionality for a virtual port within ASCOM setting. I figured this was a function of the program itself. As I understood it, ASCOM are the drivers, not the control UI software. I'm looking for a nice software UI for ASCOM control, not the actual ascom drivers themselves.

I just discovered that the NexRemote download is free! About a month ago I was looking at it priced at $89 and was like *BLEEP*? Anyway it appears that it does pretty much what I want, with the exception of having a digital sky aspect like Stellarium. It does proper virtual port emulation and allows PHD to connect as well. Winning

Using NexRemote with a virtual port for PHD to connect leaves me with 2 programs and no virtual sky, and no room to connect a 3rd program. I'm not sure if I can control the amount of virtualized ports, if I could this would solve my problem by allowing NexRemote, PHD, and Stellarium to access the scope at the same time.

I guess in English I'm looking for a program like Stellarium that will still allow PHD to connect.

#8 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

Sean,

NexRemote gives you the virtual hand controller to control the scope and the virtual serial port so PHD will certainly work in conjunction with it (I do it all the time). NexRemote is however really not a full replacement for the planetarium programs like Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel.


BUT...NexRemote works _with_ your planetarium program, giving you all the features it offers, plus NexRemote's abilities (wireless gamepad control in lieu of the hand control, etc.)...

;)

#9 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

Yes the scope uses ASCOM but I couldn't find any functionality for a virtual port within ASCOM setting. I figured this was a function of the program itself. As I understood it, ASCOM are the drivers, not the control UI software. I'm looking for a nice software UI for ASCOM control, not the actual ascom drivers themselves.

I just discovered that the NexRemote download is free! About a month ago I was looking at it priced at $89 and was like *BLEEP*? Anyway it appears that it does pretty much what I want, with the exception of having a digital sky aspect like Stellarium. It does proper virtual port emulation and allows PHD to connect as well. Winning

Using NexRemote with a virtual port for PHD to connect leaves me with 2 programs and no virtual sky, and no room to connect a 3rd program. I'm not sure if I can control the amount of virtualized ports, if I could this would solve my problem by allowing NexRemote, PHD, and Stellarium to access the scope at the same time.

I guess in English I'm looking for a program like Stellarium that will still allow PHD to connect.


You need a program to allow more than one virtual port with NexRemote. Luckily there is one:

http://www.astrogeek...xHub/index.html

#10 cn register 5

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

You don't need a virtual port with the ASCOM driver. Just select the Celestron driver in the ASCOM chooser in both the planetarium program and PHD. You can connect using both the applications at the same time.

You can still use NexRemote by connecting to the virtual port that NexRemote provides but it isn't essential.

Rob's idea should work if you don't want to use ASCOM but AFAIK you will need to for PHD in any case if you use the mount controlled guiding.

Chris

#11 Sean13

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

Awesome Rod! Thats exactly what I was looking for.

I have tried just using the ASCOM driver in both programs but when I try to use it in the 2nd program it fails to connect until I close the first program. I'm still using ASCOM drivers for nexremote, just virtualizing more ports for other programs to connect via the first ascom instance.

#12 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

You don't need a virtual port with the ASCOM driver. Just select the Celestron driver in the ASCOM chooser in both the planetarium program and PHD. You can connect using both the applications at the same time.

You can still use NexRemote by connecting to the virtual port that NexRemote provides but it isn't essential.

Rob's idea should work if you don't want to use ASCOM but AFAIK you will need to for PHD in any case if you use the mount controlled guiding.

Chris


My "idea" works whether you use ASCOM or not. The point of NexHub, which was written by the NexRemote programmers, is to allow multiple virtual ports...

#13 cn register 5

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:27 PM

I have tried just using the ASCOM driver in both programs but when I try to use it in the 2nd program it fails to connect until I close the first program. I'm still using ASCOM drivers for nexremote, just virtualizing more ports for other programs to connect via the first ascom instance.

Precisely what happens when you try to connect the second application? It should just connect. If you try to run the setup it will say that the scope is connected and to just press OK, do so and it connects.
At least that's what happens when I try it.

If one of them isn't using ASCOM then you will get this, and the current version of Stellarium uses it's own driver.

Chris

#14 Sean13

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

I usually get some message to the effect of "That Comm port is already in use" It makes sense that only one program would be allowed to access the comm port at one time. Anything that connects to the mount uses ASCOM, including Stellarium, but it looks like multiple instances of ascom are not possible, so a way to create virtual ports like Rod suggested is needed.

#15 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

Some ASCOM drivers like EQMOD will act as hubs, allowing more than one program to connect. And you can also use POTH (the free hub driver that comes with ASCOM, but if you want really nice remote control, NR and NexHub are real sweet.

#16 cn register 5

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:56 PM

Sigh.

The Celestron driver is a hub, just as I said about 10 posts ago. But I'm only the guy who wrote it, why believe what I say.

Chris

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

Chris, Some of us do ... :grin:

#18 rmollise

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

Sigh.

The Celestron driver is a hub, just as I said about 10 posts ago. But I'm only the guy who wrote it, why believe what I say.

Chris


I didn't say it wasn't, and didn't say I didn't believe you, sai. ;)

But the original request of the OP was _remote control_, which is where NexRemote comes in. Your driver is quite wonderful, and the entire community including me, bigtime, is or should be indebted to you, but he's going to have to have additional virtual ports (I believe he will, anyway), to run his apps through NexRemote, which is why I suggested NexHub.

#19 Sean13

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:03 PM

I know what your saying, but as I said earlier, its confusing, I have no idea how to enable or map these ports that you say the Celestron driver is capable of. I've also had no luck just simply connecting everything to the ASCOM drivers, as I get a "This comm port is already in use" message.

I understand ASCOM comes with POTH, which I suppose is capable of what I want, however NexHub looks like a very straightforward, easy to use, and feature rich interface and exactly what I was looking for initially. I will be needing atleast 4-5 ports, maybe more if I find any additional programs I want to be using. So for me, NexHub looks like the clear answer. Will be downloading and checking out the trial next clear night I have.

#20 hcsceo

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:35 AM

I can tell you how my cg5 works. I open nexremote then select the actual port the mount is taking then select a virtual comm port. In all my applications I select the "celestron driver" which works as a hub. My setup is completely automated this way with CCD Commander, Maxim DL, FocusMax, and the Sky6. I've never used Nexhub though I do think it is mentioned in Uncle Rods article on nexremote. My workflow is to start nexremote and do an alignment through my camera using BackyardEOS. Once the alignment is complete I run my ccdcommander target list which includes plate Solves, focus routines, guide star selection and acquisition, and finally my image run taking 10 images and restarting the process again with focus, etc. I do this for two hours per target and four targets per night in my list and finally automatic dawn flats and parked itself when done. Fully remote and robotic operation all night is possible with the CG5 regardless of what anyone tries to tell you and in my case only required the Celestron Driver as my hub. I ran this way all fall on about 30 total different Messier objects and was rock solid, with the exception of the CG5 large periodic error, once all the bugs were worked out. I would definitely look into the nexhub however. Uncle Rods advice is always spot on and his articles on the CG5 was the reason I selected one for my C8 two years ago when money was tight and his articles alone lead me to purchase my new Atlas and use eqmod for my improved setup (which came in Friday!)






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