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Gemini II HC & System Issues

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#26 davebuechler

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:15 AM

Of course Hilmi you are the expert, but I am gonna call you out on this one.

Here is the exact info regarding that update….please note it refers to the NewGem.bin file for the main unit not the HC Firmware. These are two separate files and updates….. But do what you want.


> There has been a new version of the NewGem.bin
> <http://www.gemini-2....ent/NewGem.zip> file released.
> This can easily be uploaded
> to the main unit using the SDcard menu selection in the web interface
> and then flash it
> with the Firmware/Sram menu Flash Firmware selection.
>
> The only change this new firmware adds is handling the classic
> Losmandy hand controller
> like it was handled in the Gemini-1. See
> http://www.gemini-2....dController.php for a description of
> this hand controller
> and how it's buttons now work.
>
> Tom Hilton

#27 Hilmi

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:19 PM

How is that any different from what I said? Besides, I dont claim to be an expert and will gladly accept being corrected when I am in error. It says the update is only for those using the hand controller that has no screen but has buttons only which I refered to as the classic hand controller. So there is no impact in trouble shooting if he has not updated to this version.

#28 davebuechler

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:31 PM

It is a lot different. There is a HC update Sept 30th that is a separate issue from the NewGem.bin file that is related to the topic you mentioned…better support for the classic HC.

The Sept 20 2013 HC firmware release did have some issues,(nothing to do with better support for the classic HC, that again was the newgem.bin that addressed that issue) which prompted a Sept 30th HC Firmware release. If the OP doesn't have Sept 30th HCFirmware update, he is not current on the HC unit. Classic or no classic

#29 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:40 PM

I agree with the earlier poster. Its a beta that's gone on way to long. Maybe its time to offer to ship the mounts with the SiTech controller as an option.
The Gemini availability issues already took their toll on one mount the MI250, would be a shame to have it happen to another.

#30 davebuechler

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 05:42 PM

I agree with the earlier poster. Its a beta that's gone on way to long. Maybe its time to offer to ship the mounts with the SiTech controller as an option.


Maybe you are right Phil but as far as Gemini II still being in beta, it is from my perspective that the only things that are still beta in the G2 system are add on features that were never intended to be included with the G2. All of the features that the G2 originally promised have been solid for quite some time. As long as Rene continues to respond to customer requests for added features there will be beta testing and there may be bugs. The fact that he continues to improve Gemini and to try to help customers by adding new features to me is a good thing, regardless if I use any of them or not.
I am willing to bet that the operating system running on any computer gets updated regularly…sometimes it fixes bugs, sometimes it is a new feature added, sometimes we don't know why. We are beta testers in that regard too, aren't we? Should they quit selling Windows, Linux or MacOS or bundling it with the machine just because there will be future updates?

But this has nothing to do with the OP and so as not to lead the post astray, back to the original issue. The current Firmware release for the G2 hand controller is dated September 30th, 2013 and the Main Board October 2013.

#31 Raginar

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 06:33 PM

Personally, I appreciate that it's still under development. It's functional, and just because one person on here has issues (Hilmi has mechanical issues, not G2 issues) doesn't mean the whole system is worthless.

Find me a mount that gives me an ethernet port, a web server, and a multitude of other 'firsts' that no one else can compete with (until you get into some VERY expensive mounts), and we'll talk.

The real answer to this guys problem is to call Scott or post on the Yahoo! Group. We're all just 'guessing' as to his problems. Personally, I think it's the firmware. I recently went through this upgrade, and had other issues that magically corrected themselves once I upgraded to the 30 Sep 13 edition. It's stable and works great for a large user base.

#32 davebuechler

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 06:51 PM

We hope the update to the Sept 30th HC would fix Neil's issues. I know it is frustrating at times and I can empathize with him.

I think I saw him post on the Yahoo group, but don't know if he got a reply. I agree and think that it is an excellent forum with good information.

Neil, where'd ya go?

#33 dawziecat

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:36 PM

I owned G11 Gemini 2 for a couple of years. Never had a problem with Gemini. I still think it a very advanced and up-to-date controller that makes my AP1600 GTOCP3 look archaic.

Might as well accept that it may NEVER be finished! And that's a good thing! It will continue to be improved until it is finally supplanted by a successor.

That there are better mounts available at higher cost is not up for debate. The G-11 Gemini still occupies price territory with rather few competitors. Its developmental problems have been exaggerated beyond belief and belabored to death!
My opinion.

#34 kolsen

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 12:00 AM

Gemini II is in a very stable state and has been for awhile. New features are being added and others are being updated but this is not beta software. Far from it.

#35 terry59

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:41 AM

Gemini II is in a very stable state and has been for awhile. New features are being added and others are being updated but this is not beta software. Far from it.


+1

All of the misinformed Gemini II bashing is unfortunate. The GM-8/G11 are quality mounts with many satisfied users and a nice step up from the SE Asian offerings. I have an Orion Sirius that works well enough with EQMOD but just isn't in the same league as my GM-8.

#36 d_calleja2003

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 12:47 AM

I must agree. My new G11 is a step up for me from an LX200. It is orders of magnitude better in terms of setup, features, stability and most importantly PE and tracking.

There are a couple of things I don't like (the gearbox housing is plastic and prone to breakage) but really happy other than that.

The lowest end AP mount (landed in OZ with a tripod) would have cost me twice as much.

I empathize with anyone having issues but I must say I am very happy.

Dan


Gemini II is in a very stable state and has been for awhile. New features are being added and others are being updated but this is not beta software. Far from it.


+1

All of the misinformed Gemini II bashing is unfortunate. The GM-8/G11 are quality mounts with many satisfied users and a nice step up from the SE Asian offerings. I have an Orion Sirius that works well enough with EQMOD but just isn't in the same league as my GM-8.



#37 njensen593

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

OK Folk, Sorry for not being around for a bit. Here is where I am on my issues: Talked with Rene' via email and got a bit of help on the screen issues, it might be the touch screen sensitivity he said and needs to be adjusted. That seems to be a software change. Lots of support from Tom, had a long conversation with his on Thursday which helped me understand more about the system, not an expert by any means but I do understand a bit more of how things work. The man that really stepped up to the plate was Scott, I talked with him on Thursday, he listened to my issues and he did two things, He offered a replacement G2 which he sent out Thursday overnight and second he wanted my older G2 back to go over. I sent both the new one and the older one back Saturday FedEx so he should have both to look at Tuesday. Ok, I got the new on in place Friday and did a dry run inside due to weather, but last night was good so I spent most of the night in the observatory testing. What I found was the one I have now has the Sept 30 HC and the Oct 25 MB firmware as opposed to the upgrades I did on my other two units which were the Sept 5 HC and Sept 20 MB for what that is worth. As I might have said before the older unit had 5 April 2012 MB and March 29 2012 HC. Now down to the testing last night the new unit does not experience the freezing buttons at all, but the reverting to the GOTO menu when using the Alignment Model Builder still happens sometimes not often as the others but sometimes. What I did find is if I used my finger nail as someone else offered, it almost never happened. I did try a stylus and that was about the same as my finger nail. Other than that problem everything worked as it should. What I would like to do is Thank Scott for stepping up to the plate on this and to both Tom and Rene for their help and to all the others that have offered their thoughts and experiences with the G2. I still believe there is a bug in the screen timing or something of the sort that needs to be sorted out by Rene' and issue a new upgraded firmware that address this issue. One other thing is that I was thinking, the weather got somewhat cold here as this all happened and even last night. By cold I mean upper teens to lower twenties but the building most of the time was in the fifties. How cold have some of you guys used this equipment in? Any other thoughts from folks would be much appreciated. Thanks to all of you for your help on this issues. I'll keep folks posted on this as time passes.
Niel

#38 davebuechler

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:47 AM

Excellent news Neil!!!

Yes, I agree that Scott, Tom and Rene are a great team and the customer service is excellent. It helps to have some background understanding and no one knows it like these guys.

I am happy that you have a good performing system and confident it will bring you many years of enjoyment. I don't use the model builder feature but do hope for the sake of others there is a fix in the works.

I have used mine down to about 15, maybe a bit colder, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. I don't have a permanent set up and at temps below 20 it's just to cold for me to set up and tear down.

Please keep us posted and very glad things are sorted out for you.

#39 Raginar

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 12:07 PM

*BOOM*! Told ya Scott was the guy to talk with :). The guy is... in few words... awesome!

Glad you got it worked out Niel!!!!

#40 dawziecat

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 12:12 PM

I used my Gemini 2 at temperatures of about minus 18 Celsius or zero degrees F. I saw no problem when doing so.

#41 njensen593

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 02:29 PM

Heck Terry, my eyelids would have froze to my eyeballs at that temperature!
These Southern boys can't take cold like that!!!!
Niel

#42 njensen593

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 02:35 PM

Terry,
One other thing, Can you tell me what version HC & MB firmware you are using?
Thanks
Niel

#43 dawziecat

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:30 PM

Terry,
One other thing, Can you tell me what version HC & MB firmware you are using?
Thanks
Niel


Sorry Neil but my experience with G2 is in the past. Thought I was clear about that in my first post to this thread. I sold mine to move up to an AP mount. Sold it in February last year. Just received a new AP mount last month.

So now, the inevitable.
"Why did you sell it?"

Because I have fallen off the deep end and wanted bigger and better than the G-11 could go. I don't want to start an A-P vs Losmandy "incident." I am very happy with my new AP mount. But, the software lacks the sophistication of Gemini 2. It seems "dated," but, yes it works very well. Last time I updated my Gemini 2 controller was in the fall of 2012.

Every time I shift away from my target to a bright star to check focus, I miss the "Bookmark" function in Gemini 2. :bawling:

I miss the Sharpless catalog too. A-P does not have it. :(

People really should not be trashing Gemini 2. It is great software!

#44 nemo129

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:37 PM

Niel,
I am using:
Main Unit: 3-Oct 2013
HC : 20-Sep 2013

I have not had any issues with those levels.

Like Terry, in order to go bigger, I purchased an AP1100 which is a wonderful mount, but I also miss the more advanced features of the Gemini 2. The ability to connect via Ethernet, USB, or serial port and the way you can add additional catalogs...and of course the bookmark feature.

#45 Raginar

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:45 PM

I'm running 30 Sep and 3 Oct firmware. I love my G2 with my Mi-250; like the said, all those advanced features are what makes me really appreciate it. I wish it had something as reliable as ASPA for alignments but PAC is pretty close.

#46 dawziecat

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:55 PM

Well, I can't resist this. If I had the option of running Gemini 2 with my AP1600, I'd do it in a heartbeat! :jump:
Hey! I've used both . . . I got the "right" . . . :)

#47 Hilmi

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:22 PM

Theoretically, there is nothing stopping you from doing that. After all the Gemini II was designed to be a generic system that can be hooked up to any mount.

I would also like to make it clear that I do not intend to go around bashing the Gemini II, I am still having issues with it and so as to be clear here are the issues I am still facing specific to the Gemini II:

1) PEC doesnt work because the circuit board on the main Gemini II unit causes the motors to jump on power up, this makes the encoders loose their position making PEC useless. The fix involves a soldering iron or shipping the unit back to the US
2) Modeling asitant doesnt work
3) They removed the mobile hand controller (the one specifically designed to work with mobile phone screens) because the guy who wrote it is no longer developing it.
4) I have had several instances of the model getting corrupt for no apparent reason. Only solution is full power down, cold start and rebuild model, very annoying when you are trying to set up an automated image run
5) The screen to adjust the sensitivity of the heavy duty TR error trigger doesnt work, my mount keeps on constantly throwing this error at the slightest shift in balance outside perfect balance. how can you maintain perfect balance and still refocus when your imaging train weighs close to 3 Kg?
6) I still occasionally, if rarely get runaway DEC guiding

The Gemini II will one day become a great system, but for now, it has still not reached maturity. I am merely stating my opinion based on my personal experiences and I feel people should not assume that every negative comment is vendor bashing.

And one last thing. I consider the fact that several people, including myself have had issues with the hand controller due to the foam seal pressing down too hard and thus confusing the touch screen just pure shoddy workmanship. Again, that is a matter of opinion, others might be willing to live with such a minor glitch while those who never faced the problem might have no idea how annoying it is

Not all errors above will be apparent to all users because some of them are dependent on the motor firmware version. I have the latest version, the upgrade process was very difficult because the connectors you are supposed to use were missing from my main Gemini II circuit board so I had to improvise to get it installed.

Combine the above with the mechanical issues I faced and I think that it is no surprise if I sound bitter. And as good as Scott's customer service is, shipping back the entire mount to trouble shoot the mechanical issues and to implement the "fix" that makes PEC work all the way from the middle east to the USA is just too expensive. But to give the guy credit, he does provide excellent customer service

I would like to add that in certain occasions I have recommended Losmandy mounts to people where I felt it was appropriate for their needs and the issues would not interfere with the way they use it. A person who blindly bashes a product would not do that

#48 Raginar

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 06:19 PM

Terry, I agree. I think I have the best of both worlds with my G2 Mi-250 :). My Mi-250 is some where around 3" PE with close to 65# of gear on her. She works really well with the fancy new motors and the G2.

Hilmi,
That's weird, I've never noticed that my mount moves when I power it on. What if you've got an observatory? You could just leave it powered on :).
2.) I've never had any issues using the modeling assistant. What's broken?
3.) There is still a JAVA page that works great on an iPhone.
4.) Me too. I started saving my models on the SD card and I just reload it when that happens.
5.) Never needed perfect balance... could be the Mi-250 though.
6.) Haven't had that happen since the late August firmware. Guiding works really good now for pulse guiding. I never had any issues using ST-4.

Yea, the foam thing is a bummer. I guess I'd call Scott and see what he can do for you in that regards. It seems like he backs up his gear pretty good. I know it sucks being overseas though. Shipping is pretty darn expensive.

How do you upgrade the motor firmware?

You're fair on the mount Hilmi. You definitely ended up with one of those poor 2012 editions that just didn't measure up. It was painful to read yours (and others) stories about how to get it fixed. Especially when you think about the nights lost. There is an Mi-250 on AM right now :D

#49 Hilmi

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

No need to call Scott about the hand controller. He had that replaced a while back. As I said his customer service is excellent. But just to give you an idea how much it would cost to get the mount sent for repair my camera cost ke $250 to send back to SBIG. Now imagine a mount in a hard case.

#50 Hilmi

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 07:39 AM

Terry, I agree. I think I have the best of both worlds with my G2 Mi-250 :). My Mi-250 is some where around 3" PE with close to 65# of gear on her. She works really well with the fancy new motors and the G2.

Hilmi,
That's weird, I've never noticed that my mount moves when I power it on. What if you've got an observatory? You could just leave it powered on :).
2.) I've never had any issues using the modeling assistant. What's broken?
3.) There is still a JAVA page that works great on an iPhone.
4.) Me too. I started saving my models on the SD card and I just reload it when that happens.
5.) Never needed perfect balance... could be the Mi-250 though.
6.) Haven't had that happen since the late August firmware. Guiding works really good now for pulse guiding. I never had any issues using ST-4.

Yea, the foam thing is a bummer. I guess I'd call Scott and see what he can do for you in that regards. It seems like he backs up his gear pretty good. I know it sucks being overseas though. Shipping is pretty darn expensive.

How do you upgrade the motor firmware?

You're fair on the mount Hilmi. You definitely ended up with one of those poor 2012 editions that just didn't measure up. It was painful to read yours (and others) stories about how to get it fixed. Especially when you think about the nights lost. There is an Mi-250 on AM right now :D


In response to your questions:
1) That was the original question in this post. You would got to the modelling assistant and tell it for example that you want a star in the east. It will suggest a star, you press goto it goes to that star. You center the star and press the bottom right button (can't recall what is written on it). Instead of going back to the modelling assistant, many times it just drops you back to the goto menu. The started after a recent firmware update.
2) The mobile hand controller allowed me to use the GPS on the phone to set location when I am out in the field. The standard web page lacks that feature. It was also a life saver when I had to send my hand controller back for repair (by the way, the repair was due to the foam sticking to the screen but refusing to come apart when separated).
3) we both agree on this one that models do get corrupt.
4) Issue is not really balance. The issue is that the Heavy Duty TR message comes when the motor draws too much current. But what is actually considered too much current is configured at too tight a margin and the web page that allows you to change it doesnt work. If you don't see heavy duty tr error messages maybe you have the old motor firmware.
5)I now use ST4 guiding since guiding via ASCOM still misbehaves. Sometimes it is too slow to respond or in other instances will just flat out fail to respond.

As for upgrading the firmware you need to buy one of these widgets. Then you need to make a custom cable harness and then install the firmware. For me the connector on the Gemini II motherboard was missing. So I had to improvise and trust me it was a messy experience.






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