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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5994707 - 07/28/13 12:56 PM

I have encountered http visible hardware before in Newport motion control stages. The controller shows up directly in browsers if you hit its address on the TCP/IP network (they connect to ethernet directly in that case). It transmits an html page which shows all of its parameters in plain text and has boxes for adjusting values manually, which also tell the address for any control program you are using to reach out and touch to get automatic responses, as well as what addresses to ping to get data outputs. Note, since it is a standard page, you can automatically set up the stage if you pay attention to how it's formatted.

Of course, it's deep in proprietary territory, but it serves as a sort of style guide for what may be made to work, here. It does seem to me there needs to be a mechanism to do this at the mount in the near term. There are quite a few drives which are wirelessly enabled these days. And all we are talking about really is having the ability to push and pull data off of something. Perhaps something like that could be a model for doing this.

-Rich


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Alph]
      #5994722 - 07/28/13 01:09 PM

Alph, what I meant is the nature of astronomical drivers and software for amateur astronomy on non-Windows platforms. Not development on non-Windows, that's self-evident.

The astronomy vendors aren't really interested in supporting non-Intel platforms (Windows, Linux, and OS X are all Intel these days). If you've looked through the state of the various open-source projects attempting to support CCDs and mounts, do autoguiding, etc. the support is very patchy and uneven.

I think this is because the astronomy hobby is small enough, and non-Windows is a tiny fraction of that.

I think this thread is wandering all over..

Do we want:

1) open-source platform for existing CCDs, focusers, and mounts, or...

2) an open-source mount firmware?


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5994731 - 07/28/13 01:15 PM

I would suggest the full-up computer model is still firmly in place, though it is more because of historical reasons now than the installed base, which was the reason when it came about. ASCOM was obviously the way to go when the only thing most people could be counted on having was a PC. Now that has changed- the mobile stuff is far more common, to the point where deciding on what to do isn't really that obviously a computer answer. Look at what is being done with those little Parrot quad-rotor aircraft- they wirelessly support flight control, two channels of video, and automatic goal recognition onboard, and no computer is in the loop.

http://ardrone2.parrot.com/

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (07/28/13 01:19 PM)


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5994870 - 07/28/13 02:40 PM

But the thing is RC aircraft and quad-rotors are far more popular than astronomy.. and the cost of entry is much lower as well. Plus, a lot of equipment such as MEMS gyros and accelerometers, which are very useful for these drones, are dirt-cheap due to their use in smartphones.

I can't see anything (except SkySafari) from the smartphone revolution that directly benefits astronomy...


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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5995033 - 07/28/13 04:10 PM

I'm using an electronic compass module as an azimuth sensor for a dome.

Meade's LS technology must use level sensors and compasses similar to what's in a smartphone.

And lots of scopes use GPS modules.

The revolution that's just starting with the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone is to some extent driven by the smartphone world demanding vast amounts of computing and graphics processing at a low cost in terms of power and price.

The problem I see is that the smartphone technology has raised exceptions, possibly unrealistically. The cost of development is almost fixed and it makes a big difference if you can spread that cost over millions of phones or thousands of scopes.

Chris


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Alph]
      #5995949 - 07/29/13 03:25 AM

i wonder what software the iTelescope people are using. watching a run play out in the console, it sure looks like unix/linux. maybe they wrote their own stuff...?

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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: pfile]
      #5995966 - 07/29/13 04:07 AM

iTelescope = GRAS.

I used their system extensively for my astronomy postgrad work when I couldn't get data myself due to weather.

It is Windows based, and is using TheSkyX. Pretty much a no-brainer considering that they are an all-Software Bisque house.


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pfile
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Reged: 06/14/09

Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5996826 - 07/29/13 03:28 PM

interesting, the console sure looked like unix-based stuff. perhaps that's just their scheduler rather than the actual telescope/camera control. i've only used it once or twice.

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orlyandico
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Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: pfile]
      #5997468 - 07/29/13 11:05 PM

The guiding output messages in the web GUI are exactly the same as the guiding output messages in MaximDL - because it is MaximDL. Post-processing of the images after capture is also done with MaximDL.

I believe the scripting is done with VB.


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pfile
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Reged: 06/14/09

Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5997591 - 07/30/13 12:15 AM

okay, i believe you, it just had a very unix-y feel. not used to seeing that kind of console output in any windows program. been using unix since bsd 4.2, and basically know zero about windows

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: pfile]
      #5999301 - 07/30/13 11:39 PM

SkySafari is indeed pretty cool. I've been looking at the Astro Devices Nexus and BETI with a mind to use with straight encoders. The lack of a drive makes for low power consumption. Still not a route to what we have been talking, but its in the right direction.

-Rich


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orlyandico
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Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5999330 - 07/31/13 12:04 AM

Skysafari + Nexus is a good solution for those of us with old, non-GoTo, encoder-equipped mounts.

The Skysafari folks have also stated that they can look into a multi-star modeling algorithm instead of the current two-star (for the next version). This would put their pointing algorithm on a par with Argo Navis and improve pointing accuracy.

It does not address the issue of automation though.

I think supporting existing mounts is not a problem, so long as the mount communicates via a well-known protocol over serial or IP.

It's the cameras which are the issue. The good news is I found some old code for the QHY8 and passed it to the developer of CCD - https://sourceforge.net/projects/cccd/ - (who also wrote Lin_Guider).

Since there are so many projects out there scratching various itches, one has to choose one. Anat chose to support CCD, Lin_Guider, INDI, and astrometry.net for his stand-alone controller solution based on an Android mini-PC.

since he spent 3 years working on that (and he has a Ph.D.!) i won't duplicate the work - all I've done is work towards support for my camera in CCD. Eventually other cameras may be supported.. I know if I get another camera I would also work towards having it supported in CCD.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5999814 - 07/31/13 10:31 AM

If the hobby were larger, that approach would get things supported pretty quickly. Then again, another way to approach it is back white this sort of project to make a common camera support cape come into being. So far, that's pretty hard, though things like written out SD cards with images in recognizable formats are immediately recognizable to computers. So, that does make it a little bit of a stupid question- why can't the file generator be so easily dealt with?

-Rich


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5999831 - 07/31/13 10:41 AM

well you have to write a FITS. which means you need to have a decent processor on the camera. that is definitely the direction (SBIG STT, QHY IC8300) but it will take a while, I guess..

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6002284 - 08/01/13 10:51 PM

Lots of stuff writes RAW formats, and also output a jpeg. The data for alignment and such isn't in the 16 bit signal to noise ratio of 1.1 regime. So, what about trying to do something with that?

-Rich


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6002968 - 08/02/13 10:39 AM

Intel weighs in with their own BeagleBoard-alike. Made by the same company that makes the BeagleBoard:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Minnowboard-Developer-Raspberry-Pi-Atom-E640...

it costs $200 though

As an aside, I got Astrometry blind plate solving working on my Bone. It takes 43 seconds to solve one 6MP image from the QHY8!!! and 15 seconds to solve a 4x4 binned image.

So building a pointing model with this thing would be... slow. An Odroid U2 is $90 though and has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9. Certainly more powerful than the $200 single-core Intel board.


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visaman
member


Reged: 09/10/13

Re: Open Source Mount Control Suite [Re: orlyandico]
      #6158665 - 10/26/13 05:48 AM

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6158261/page...

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