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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Calypte]
      #6136892 - 10/14/13 12:41 PM

As I stated before, my 1600 has ridiculous pointing based on a fairly low sample model. I absolutely love dropping little NGC's on my small FOV on a full sky basis, even from meridian flip to meridian flip. If building a bigger model improves upon this AND can calculate out a slick tracking model, it should be a new level in guided and unguided imaging for owners of AP mounts, especially those with the long focal length scopes that typically sit on a rigid AP mount.
I've just learned that when using CCDAP that I can't take advantage of my pointing model unless I don't use the A-P ASCOM driver, and use The Sky X driver. If I do that, I can't take advantage of the accuracy of the encoders, that were a substantial portion of the purchase price of the mount.
With that said, I'd really really like to know if I build a pointing model, with APCC, that it will fall in the correct path of connectivity with all of my software, like The Sky and CCD Auto Pilot to allow me to have amazing pointing, and tracking while automated.
To me the encoder function is geared towards an automated observatory, but right now it is not being used to its capability due to the available software not being evolved to take advantage of it.
It isn't the supporting manufacturers (CCDAP) fault as the features are new, and specific to one mount (A-P). I expect A-P to have this sorted out quickly as more and more mounts with encoders are hitting the street. This isn't even taking into consideration all of the features that non encoder mounts can benefit from.


Hilmi- Does PEMPro V2. not work at all for you? I'm sure V3. will have some new features, but V2. does what it claims, no false advertising there.

Aquarist- The disk that came with my 1600 says 'Full Version' or something like that on it. I never loaded it since I bought the full version in the spring with all of the CCD Ware suite. I know my 1200 came with PEMPro 'lite'.


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #6137042 - 10/14/13 01:36 PM

It's been a long time since I spoke with Ray about APCC, but if I remember right, it sits between the ASCOM V2 driver and the mount's firmware. As such, it should work transparently with whatever you are doing today.

As for the benefit of the pointing model (which will only be in the Pro version), APCC will be able to use the model to send the mount custom tracking rates that account for polar misalignment, atmospheric refraction, repeatable flexure, etc. The other comment that Ron Wodaski mentioned in his talk is that the goal is to get away from guiding completely. With enough samples in the pointing model, APCC should get you mostly there. You would still need to handle non-repeatable effects (like intermittent mirror shift in an SCT, for example) if your system has them. If you are using the encoders, you should be able to achieve all-sky tracking to an accuracy approaching 0.2 arc seconds. That is really cool.

I try not to bug people "in the know" too much about the release date because I am sure that they get it all the time. I did hear a couple of things about it from people who should know, but I don't want to repeat anything here. Like everything else AP ships, it will be ready when it's ready. And it should be really cool.

I learned a long time ago that astrophotography is a game for the patient.


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6137080 - 10/14/13 01:47 PM

Quote:

A version of Pempro for Astro-Physics comes with the AP1600GTO mount but it is not fully featured.




It's not?

Awwww . . .

Will I be able to drift align with it?


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6137112 - 10/14/13 01:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

A version of Pempro for Astro-Physics comes with the AP1600GTO mount but it is not fully featured.




It's not?

Awwww . . .

Will I be able to drift align with it?




Yep. I've been using it with my Ap1200s. It's amazing just how (bleep) you can get with it on Full Moons dialing in alignment to single digit arc seconds.....

Edited by Tom and Beth (10/14/13 02:01 PM)


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6137129 - 10/14/13 02:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

A version of Pempro for Astro-Physics comes with the AP1600GTO mount but it is not fully featured.




It's not?

Awwww . . .

Will I be able to drift align with it?




I am going from recollection here, but yes you can. Somewhere is a table showing which features the AP "version" supports and which ones come in the fully featured package. But I can no longer find it among my various links.


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Skunky
sage


Reged: 09/16/13

Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6137798 - 10/14/13 08:26 PM

Quote:

APCC will cost $250. So, most likely the Pro version will be an addition.




Corrent for the standard version. The standard version price is already on the A-P website.

Quote:


My understanding is that the killer feature is a Pro Track like capability.

Not sure I'd pay 500 bucks for it though. No idea how much APCC Pro will cost. And you need the Pro version to get the unguided tracking feature...




True, especially when you already spent the $400+ for the full skyx package and subscriptions. Still probably worth it.

Quote:

With that said, I'd really really like to know if I build a pointing model, with APCC, that it will fall in the correct path of connectivity with all of my software, like The Sky and CCD Auto Pilot to allow me to have amazing pointing, and tracking while automated.




APCC will be an ASCOM hub and support the use of virtual com ports. APCC would be your main connection to your mount, then all your other software would connect to the virtual com ports created by APCC. This allows multiple connections to the mount. Nexremote for Celestron mounts has this feature.

Us users with the 1600 and encoders would really like some sort of wireless hand controller support. The encoders gto box has to plug into the hand controller port and we loose the use of the hand controller. Do you know how hard it is to try and line up a star going back and forth to the eyepiece then the PC to move the mount?!


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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Skunky]
      #6137846 - 10/14/13 09:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

APCC will cost $250. So, most likely the Pro version will be an addition.




Corrent for the standard version. The standard version price is already on the A-P website.

Quote:


My understanding is that the killer feature is a Pro Track like capability.

Not sure I'd pay 500 bucks for it though. No idea how much APCC Pro will cost. And you need the Pro version to get the unguided tracking feature...




True, especially when you already spent the $400+ for the full skyx package and subscriptions. Still probably worth it.

Quote:

With that said, I'd really really like to know if I build a pointing model, with APCC, that it will fall in the correct path of connectivity with all of my software, like The Sky and CCD Auto Pilot to allow me to have amazing pointing, and tracking while automated.




APCC will be an ASCOM hub and support the use of virtual com ports. APCC would be your main connection to your mount, then all your other software would connect to the virtual com ports created by APCC. This allows multiple connections to the mount. Nexremote for Celestron mounts has this feature.

Us users with the 1600 and encoders would really like some sort of wireless hand controller support. The encoders gto box has to plug into the hand controller port and we loose the use of the hand controller. Do you know how hard it is to try and line up a star going back and forth to the eyepiece then the PC to move the mount?!




Skunky,

I've had about a dozen nights since I've set up the encoders in my mount, and it always nails the object near the middle of the chip every time. I remember with my 1200 having to go through manual alignments/sync but not with this thing.
I power on the mount and encoder box, connect to the mount via The Sky X, connect the APAE Utility V1.1. Slew to a target. I have the AP V2 driver getting time from the computer, and I always check the time via the internet source.

Hopefully you can get that sorted out, because it sounds a bit tedious compared to my experience. I know when I first looked at the wiring diagram for the 1600 with AE, I though 'oh great, no keypad for alignment'. Well I don't miss it at all!!!

Regarding the PEMPro that is supplied with the 1600....this is right off of the printed label in the CD case "PEMPro v.2.x Full Version!". Also on the back of the jewel case is a stuck on label with "PEMPro V2-Full License" with the 30 digit key code.


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Skunky
sage


Reged: 09/16/13

Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #6137878 - 10/14/13 09:19 PM

 

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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Skunky]
      #6137890 - 10/14/13 09:28 PM

Skunky, are you referring to the very first time you set it up? Are you in a permanent set up, or are you setting up each time?

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Skunky
sage


Reged: 09/16/13

Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #6138225 - 10/15/13 01:25 AM

first time setup in a perm location

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Skunky]
      #6139354 - 10/15/13 03:59 PM

I've been asking them if any mount modeling can make it into the CP3 for onboard pointing. I'd think it was freaking awesome if I could move my Mach 1 GTO to a new spot (which happens every single time it is powered on) and be able to get some decent performance. I don't get specific answers to that question, and since I have no hope whatsoever for a fixed site dark enough to bother with, I'm a frustrated AP user.

-Rich


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M13 Observer
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/09/06

Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6139420 - 10/15/13 04:39 PM

Quote:

I've been asking them if any mount modeling can make it into the CP3 for onboard pointing. I'd think it was freaking awesome if I could move my Mach 1 GTO to a new spot (which happens every single time it is powered on) and be able to get some decent performance. I don't get specific answers to that question, and since I have no hope whatsoever for a fixed site dark enough to bother with, I'm a frustrated AP user.

-Rich




My Mach1 goes through the same setup, tear down and move procedures as does yours and I have absolutely NO problems with reasonable pointing accuracy (in a low power eyepiece or on the CCD chip) once I have decently polar aligned. I sincerely doubt the current keypad will ever have the capability to do what you ask.


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6144095 - 10/18/13 01:17 AM

Quote:

I've been asking them if any mount modeling can make it into the CP3 for onboard pointing. I'd think it was freaking awesome if I could move my Mach 1 GTO to a new spot (which happens every single time it is powered on) and be able to get some decent performance. I don't get specific answers to that question, and since I have no hope whatsoever for a fixed site dark enough to bother with, I'm a frustrated AP user.

-Rich




As you are always moving your mount, I'm not sure what modeling could be input into the Control Panel that would improve on what they already programmed. Being able to run "Roland's iterative alignment" procedure should minimize your pointing issues.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #6144131 - 10/18/13 01:53 AM

I think I've figured out the problem- I am slightly too far forward on the OTA of the AP130EDFGT, where the radius leading into the ramp up isn't obvious, but apparently it takes it slightly out of orthogonality with the mount if part of this area ends up in the tube ring. And at that point, the AP alignment routines completely collapse- as the manual semi-helpfully says, you will never converge, no matter what you do. Anyway, I'll just have to scoot the OTA forward- not so good for balance with that heavy cell in front, but the mount will work. I have had a couple of sessions where the Mach 1 GTO was a dream, and for each of those two where it just won't do anything. So, I think I know why, now.

And it'd never have come up if it had a CGEM's ability to measure its internal orthogonality and correct for it.

-Rich


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Ray Gralak
Vendor (PEMPro)


Reged: 04/19/08

Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6210921 - 11/23/13 09:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Looking at how companies get universally panned on this website when they release products and they still have bugs, do you blame Ray for wanting his releases to be as close to perfect as possible? I would certainly take my time...




I purchased PEMPro 2 because it was announced that version 3 was coming soon and I will get it for free. This was on 31 Dec 2011. There is a point where delays become excesive and beyond reasonable expectations off delays to get it right. If we were not a tollerent lot with a sense of humor we would be screaming false advertising. The least Ray could have done was send an appology to all buyers who purchased while that advert was up. Anyway, I am only mildy annoyed and poking a bit of fun at the delay is only fair game after almost 2 yearsof waiting



I don't usually follow cloudynights any more but after a private email from someone I decided to take a peak at a few threads, this being one of them.

Hilmi, I did post an apology for the PEMPro V3 delay and explanation on the PEMPro forum.

I am sorry it has taken so long to get PEMPro V3 out but I too was counting on AP to launch APCC two years ago, thus freeing me to work on PEMPro V3. Unfortunately there were a few issues uncovered in the, then new, AP firmware that had caused the delay. The firmware issues were hard to find and fix, and required extensive testing... more rigorous testing than had ever been done on an AP mount. Plus even more features were added to the firmware to more tightly integrate APCC with the mount and to improve performance and APCC's feature set going forward. The new firmware so far seems to be bulletproof so I think the wait will be worth it. Also, along the way APCC has gained additional slew-safety features and a new program (Horizons, which can track comets and asteroids). There will be more features to come for sure.

That said, since APCC is nearing launch I have been working on PEMPro V3 again. I don't want to make any promises but the PEMPro V3's launch is not *that* far away. You will get a free upgrade to V3 but in the mean time I believe V2 is very capable.

-Ray

p.s. I'm not planning on monitoring this thread so send me a private message if you need to ask me a question.

Edited by Dave M (11/25/13 02:46 AM)


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #6210960 - 11/23/13 09:59 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Earlier in this thread it was stated the version of PEMPro that came with the AP1600 mount was not fully featured.

I since have taken delivery of a 1600 and the CD states "PEMPRro v.2.x Full Version!" (Their exclamation point, not mine.) See image.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6211636 - 11/23/13 03:31 PM

AP had the public beta signing sheet out at ASAE. That would appear to be imminent.

-Rich


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