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iAstroHub: Tablet astrophotography comes true!

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#1 anat

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:59 PM

Dear All,

I would like to introduce "iAstroHub" the World's First Tablet Astrophotography Solution.

It is the time for real "Tablet Astrophotography" which is the passion behind this project. iAstroHub 1.0.0 got out of beta-testing with great supports and comments from developers and CN members here. The development of the project can be found here:
http://www.cloudynig...5369851/page...
Of course, the project is open-sourced.
https://sourceforge..../?source=navbar


How does iAstroHub work?
- iAstroHub is installed on a small ARM CPU device: MK808 (or RK3066 device)
- Astrophotograpy devices are connected to the MK808.
- A mobile phone or tablet can connect to iAstroHub directly. Control of all devices is done via a web browser.


Supported devices.
1. Autoguider: Orion Starshoot autoguider, QHY5, QHY5-II, QHY5L-II, QHY6
2. DSLR
3. CCD: QHY5,6,8,8L,9,11,12
4. Filter wheel: Starlight Xpress
5. Focuser: Robofocus
6. Flat fielder: Flip-Flat
5. USB serial adapter (PL2303-based) for controlling a mount via a serial port. I recommend ATEN UC232A.
6. Powered USB hub
7. TRONSMART MK808 (with RK901 wifi) or MK808B (with RK903 wifi). I got it from geekbuying.com. Or any RK3066 mini PC stick + an external Ralink5370 usb wifi adapter.
8. Class-10 micro SD card (at least 8GB).


Features
- only need a web browser on a mobile device to control everything! ( "i" stands for internet)
- control Orion Starshoot autoguider, QHY5, QHY5-II, QHY5L-II, or QHY6 for autoguiding using customized Linguider engine
- control a DSLR camera (tested on Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras)
- control DSLR setting and Liveview from DslrDashboard on Android
- support DSLR Mirror Lock-Up using DSUSB
- control QHY5,6,8,8L,9,11,12 for imaging using OpenSkyImager engine
- control a Starlight Xpress filter wheel
- control a Robofocus focuser
- autofocus by finding best focus point from V-curve
- control Flip-Flat for flat-fielder and lens cover
- show real-time guiding error graphs and alert logs
- preview images taken by a camera
- perform dithering between frames
- manipulate histogram of images from a CCD camera
- assist polar alignment
- perform plate-solving using the standalone Astrometry.net engine
- re-align mount based on the position from plate solving
- show skychart and control mount from built-in Skychart (Cartes du Ciel)
- show a plate-solving result directly in Skysafari and re-align the mount from Skysafari
- support the control of a mount from Skysafari on iOS and Android
- save all images on a USB flash drive
- support an external Ralink5370 wifi usb adapter for any RK3066 device

How to install:
In short, you need an image file on the micro sd card AND a kernel file for the MK808. Follow the instruction for installation in
https://sourceforge..../?source=navbar


Credit (in alphabetical order):
Andrew Stepanenko, Developer of LinGuider used for controlling an autoguider
Dirk H√ľnniger, Developer of DCD (python INDI client)
Dustin Lang, Developer of Astrometry.net used for plate-solving
Edward Simonson, Developer of GoQat
Giampiero Spezzano, Developer of OpenSkyImager used for controlling CCD
Jasem Mutlaq, Developer of INDI Library
Patrick Chevalley, Developer of SkyChart (Cartes du Ciel)
Stephane Lucas for beta-testing and valuable comments
Zhirong Li and Hongyun Qiu (QHY) from QHYCCD
Zoltan Hubai, Developer of DslrDashboard and DslrDashboard Server





Enjoy Tablet Astrophotography!

Best regards,
Anat

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#2 anat

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:02 PM

This is the main page of iAstroHub

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#3 anat

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:09 PM

In case you want to manually select a star for guiding, it can be done using the touch interface.

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#4 anat

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:11 PM

This is the built-in web-based Cartes de Ciel (Skychart).

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#5 Chote

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 02:23 AM

A great project. I had a chance to witness Anat using his iPad controlling his telescope and ccd camera in the field one night.

He was just lying on a camp bed touching here and there on his iPad like playing a game. That was before he added many more features in his iAstrohub.

I would call it Astrophoto from the couch/bed :)

#6 DetlefL

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 04:14 AM

Hi Anat,

many thanks for the update and for your great work.

Installation to an MK808 went smooth and without any concern.
One observation from my side:

- when starting the applications from the web client the following is shown on the main console:
Argument ":" isn't numeric in numeric gt (>) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 40
Use of uninitialized value in numeric gt (>) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 48
Use of uninitialized value in numeric lt (<) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 52

Dont't know if this is any issue.

I will perform further tests this night if we do have clear sky.

Regards,
Detlef

#7 tango13

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:57 PM

Fantastic work Anat, as usual! ;)

Thank you very much.

Ciao,
Piero

#8 anat

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:47 AM

Hi Anat,

many thanks for the update and for your great work.

Installation to an MK808 went smooth and without any concern.
One observation from my side:

- when starting the applications from the web client the following is shown on the main console:
Argument ":" isn't numeric in numeric gt (>) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 40
Use of uninitialized value in numeric gt (>) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 48
Use of uninitialized value in numeric lt (<) at /home/pi/event_monitor3.pl line 52

Dont't know if this is any issue.

I will perform further tests this night if we do have clear sky.

Regards,
Detlef


Detlef,

Thank you for your report. There should not be any problem. Let me know if you have any problem.

Best regards,
Anat

#9 Mikele

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

Hi Anat,

I'm waiting for MK808B image but I must say I'm impressed. As always amazing job!
And of course a question :)
Should it work with beta version of DSLRDashboard? There is a new multiplatform version (1.0.4) on the app site. I want to use my Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet as a "field computer" - it has Windows 8 installed but I have problem with connection to the old version of iAstroHub.

Kind regards,
Mikele

#10 anat

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 03:57 PM

Mikele,

This new version works with the latest version of DSLRdashboard on Android (0.30.33). Thank you very much for pointing out the cross platform version.
http://dslrdashboard.info/
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=C7gPw8BKlsI

Please try the new image with your tablet and let me know. I will test the cross platform version on my Android Tablet and Windows PC too. Thanks.

Best regards,
Anat

#11 anat

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 12:06 AM

Mikele,

I have tested the cross platform version of qDslrDashboard. It works for both Android and Windows.

Best regards,
Anat

#12 Mikele

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 05:21 AM

Thank you for your effort in testing that, Anat. I'm away from home and my astro-equipment so I'll test it in a few days.

Kind regards,
Mikele

#13 psandelle

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:48 PM

Wow! I'm not using my QHY12 anymore (but may get another), so I won't give this a try, as much of my new gear isn't listed, but THANK YOU for doing this. I can't wait for the day when everything can be done on a tablet. My life will be so much easier.

Paul

#14 StarmanDan

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 10:39 PM

Looks like a neat program. However, I'm having issues installing it on my win7 laptop. I keep getting various .dll missing errors. Even when downloading the dll files I'm still unable to install the program. Any suggestions?

#15 anat

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:59 PM

Hi Dan,

The image needs to be installed on the MK808 pc stick. Then all devices are connected to the MK808. Any tablet will be able to control devices when connected via Wifi to the MK808.

Best regards,
Anat

#16 anat

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 02:15 AM

This is the kernel for MK808B
https://drive.google...dit?usp=sharing

You need to run four commands in the command line:
sudo cp system/etc/firmware/fw_bcmdhd.bin system/etc/firmware/fw_bcmdhd.bin.bak
sudo cp system/etc/firmware/fw_RK903.bin system/etc/firmware/fw_bcmdhd.bin
sudo cp system/etc/wifi/bcmdhd.cal system/etc/wifi/bcmdhd.cal.bak
sudo cp system/etc/wifi/nvram_RK903.cal system/etc/wifi/bcmdhd.cal


In Release 1.0.1, it will be neater than this :)

#17 ManojK

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:39 AM

Thanks for all the hard work anat!! For those of us who had previous versions of iAstrohub already installed, do we just redo the whole installation? Or is it enough to just write the new image to the SD Card (and not have to do the finless write)

#18 anat

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:05 AM

Thanks for all the hard work anat!! For those of us who had previous versions of iAstrohub already installed, do we just redo the whole installation? Or is it enough to just write the new image to the SD Card (and not have to do the finless write)


Please redo both image and kernel installation.

#19 tango13

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:15 AM

Hi Anat,

I had some time to install the new iAH image on my test device (MK808B) and it all went really smooth.
I also had some time to look around the new version and once again I have to say you've done a tremendous job!
Congrats on a great work, I've tested a few features but everything looks really neat, the interaction with CdC and the mount is just great, so many fantastic features.

Just a few notes for now, in no particular order, all of little importance:

- a couple of times I lost the wifi connection to the board (but it could have been my tablet), have you had any stability problem with it?

- I observe a minimum cpu load of 2 even when the system is completely idle, something to fine tune in the kernel?

- wouldn't it be useful to have also a "stop VNC" button, sometimes I see some dangling vnc processes wandering around?

- could it be possible to put back the zoom control buttons (full image, 1:1 etc) in the imageviewer, I found they were quite useful?

- when I push "stop apps" linguider is killed by a KILL signal which is a little brutal and in fact it probably doesn't release correctly its resources leaving my QHY5 in a "dirty" state forcing me to reset it by unplugging and replugging it. Could we try to see if we can find a softer mode, probably by having linguider intercept a TERM signal and then release all its resources? Or maybe via a xdotool action?

Thank you very much.

Ciao,
Piero

#20 ecloud

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:51 AM

Hi Anat,
It seems this equipment can also work as a SkyFi to attach the mount to SkySafari by WIFI?

#21 ccs_hello

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 06:53 AM

I believe SkyFi and friends are simple networking and protocol conversion devices (no processing, pass data as is). View iAstroHub as a tiny but power laptop, doing all the work, except display is shown elsewhere.

I would view these two play in different spaces. There are other DIY discussions on SkyFi equivalent (basically, a reverse-telnet server using wireless IP) in this, Mount, and ATM subforums which may better suit your needs.

In your approach, the tablet will display Skysafari (and Skyfi/&friend is the link to the mount); while the second approach (iAstroHub's native), tablet is displaying iAstroHub's "graphical console" and iAstroHub is linking to many devices at the same time.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#22 ecloud

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 09:45 AM

ccs

I know the main functionalities of iAstroHub
I just want to know how it will serve as a SkyFi, because I have some experience with SkyChart which is a good app but not as powerful as SkySafari, and SkyChart has some troubles to connect to my CEM60 mount

#23 anat

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:23 PM

Hi Anat,

I had some time to install the new iAH image on my test device (MK808B) and it all went really smooth.
I also had some time to look around the new version and once again I have to say you've done a tremendous job!
Congrats on a great work, I've tested a few features but everything looks really neat, the interaction with CdC and the mount is just great, so many fantastic features.

Just a few notes for now, in no particular order, all of little importance:

- a couple of times I lost the wifi connection to the board (but it could have been my tablet), have you had any stability problem with it?

- I observe a minimum cpu load of 2 even when the system is completely idle, something to fine tune in the kernel?

- wouldn't it be useful to have also a "stop VNC" button, sometimes I see some dangling vnc processes wandering around?

- could it be possible to put back the zoom control buttons (full image, 1:1 etc) in the imageviewer, I found they were quite useful?

- when I push "stop apps" linguider is killed by a KILL signal which is a little brutal and in fact it probably doesn't release correctly its resources leaving my QHY5 in a "dirty" state forcing me to reset it by unplugging and replugging it. Could we try to see if we can find a softer mode, probably by having linguider intercept a TERM signal and then release all its resources? Or maybe via a xdotool action?

Thank you very much.

Ciao,
Piero


Hi Piero,

I am sorry for my late reply.

- a couple of times I lost the wifi connection to the board (but it could have been my tablet), have you had any stability problem with it?

> I have no problem with Wifi. I think it can be caused by interference. Try chaning the channel in the setting file /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

- I observe a minimum cpu load of 2 even when the system is completely idle, something to fine tune in the kernel?

> I set the CPU frequenzy between 0.25 - 1.2 GHz. You can try the following commands to adjust. The device is stable for the max freq 1.2 or less.

cpufreq-set -g userspace
cpufreq-set -u 1200000
cpufreq-set -d 252000

- wouldn't it be useful to have also a "stop VNC" button, sometimes I see some dangling vnc processes wandering around?

> I will add it. I don't have the command because we use VNC only in the initial setup only. The VNC server will be stopped when you close the VNC client :)

- could it be possible to put back the zoom control buttons (full image, 1:1 etc) in the imageviewer, I found they were quite useful?

> OK. I will add it.

- when I push "stop apps" linguider is killed by a KILL signal which is a little brutal and in fact it probably doesn't release correctly its resources leaving my QHY5 in a "dirty" state forcing me to reset it by unplugging and replugging it. Could we try to see if we can find a softer mode, probably by having linguider intercept a TERM signal and then release all its resources? Or maybe via a xdotool action?

> xdotools would helps. I will see if it is nicer to use a server command. Usually I shutdown iAstroHub so I didn't pay much attention to the "Stop Apps" button. I will modify it.

Thank you for your feedback :)

Best regards,
Anat

#24 anat

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:25 PM

Hi Anat,
It seems this equipment can also work as a SkyFi to attach the mount to SkySafari by WIFI?


Yes. It functions as SkyFi. In addition, it works with Android because iAstroHub works in the access point mode.

Best regards,
Anat

#25 anat

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:28 PM

ccs

I know the main functionalities of iAstroHub
I just want to know how it will serve as a SkyFi, because I have some experience with SkyChart which is a good app but not as powerful as SkySafari, and SkyChart has some troubles to connect to my CEM60 mount


iAstroHub talked natively with LX200-compatible mounts (including CEM60). Web-based Skychart should be able to control your mount without any problem.

You can also use Skysafari to control the mount. iAstroHub will work as SkyFi for you.

Best regards,
Anat






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