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Meade LPI and Linux

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#1 caheaton

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:43 AM

Hello, I've recently switched my (very old) laptop over to Xubuntu from Windows 2000. Is there any imaging software that works with the Meade LPI that will run under Linux? If so, is it easy to use? (I'm still a novice to imaging). Lacking such software, has anyone tried running the Meade software under Wine?

I suppose there's always the virtual pc route, but this laptop isn't really powerful enough to support such an option (it's an old P3 with 256MB of Ram and 6G HD...quite the screamer :crazy: !)

#2 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:19 PM

The freeware program wxAstroCapture has a Linux version. However, I haven't found any camera drivers that work with my Orion LPI. Some programs work under Wine such as Hallo Northern Sky but I don't know if that applies to drivers. Many driver packages do not use an EXE installer which Wine-Doors requires. I don't know how else you would create a Windows environment that would run the driver install package by just plugging in the device.

#3 caheaton

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:49 PM

Good point about the drivers...I should have thought of that. It looks like a virtual machine might be the way to go (maybe). I did replace xubuntu with Puppy Linux this morning. The latest version is Ubuntu based (like xubuntu), so it can still use Ubunutu software packages but it runs much faster! The default install leaves me with around 150MB free as opposed to the 13MB I'd managed to get with Xubuntu.

I like the XFCE desktop better, but it's worth the tradeoff for performance. Next step...trying out SkyX and Starry Night under wine.
Craig

#4 Edward E

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:52 PM

Try this app. Audela
I have no experience with this app but I have read good reviews about it. It supports webcams, so it may support your LPI.

:foreheadslap: just remembered this venerable app: XEphem
I have used this app before. It is not eye candy, but it is very powerful software and if you take the time to learn it, it is amazing what you can do with it. It will control a Meade LPI camera using the INI drivers. There is a freeware copy and a purchase copy; you will want the purchase copy (69.95 US download or 79.95 US for 3 CDs).


#5 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:22 PM

I tried all the Linux download links and they're all E404. May try the XP version but wonder if there's an English version. The screen shots are not.

#6 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:32 PM

I vaguely remember trying something with INDI drivers on both PCL2009 and Mint9. All I remember is a horrible experience with version numbers so had to remove it all.

#7 Edward E

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:51 PM

Most likely you will have to use the source code and compile it yourself, that is if the Ubuntu group does not have audela in the repository. The link to audela source code still functions.

There is KStars, it uses the INI driver plugins and use to support various cameras. You might have to install it from source as well if you want all of KStars's features to work. KStars is in Ubuntu's repository.

#8 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:07 PM

Just tried Audela in XP. It has an English interface but doesn't recognize either my Orion LPI or the Acer netbook built-in webcam.

Will try the Linux version when I find a working download link.

#9 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:41 PM

Found a link to the DEB file. It installs ok in Mint9 but doesn't appear in the main menu. It will launch in a terminal but only as root. It doesn't recognize any of my cameras and the error windows will not close. Removing it now.

#10 caheaton

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 10:51 AM

Thanks for the links, guys, and thank you to "Arctic Eddie" for saving me some time and testing out Audela. Xephem sounds promising, but wonder if it's worth purchasing given that it costs more then the laptop is probably worth :-) ! At the moment, I use my work (owned but for me to use) to gather my Meade LPI images (its a fairly new XP machine). The Linux laptop is more for testing and playing with.

If anyone is interested, I did manage to get Starry Night installed and running...but it's (pardon the pun since it's running on Puppy Linux) dog slow! I suspect this is due to the lack of hardware acceleration. I haven't figured out how to get that working yet...or if it's even possible under puppy with the old graphics the laptop is using (ATI Rage 128). SkyX wouldn't even install properly. (These installs are under WINE). Starry Night would probably work okay on a faster machine.

I have an old copy (version 2) of the Meade Autostar Suite...that might work better on this machine. I'll have to give that a try next. If that fails, somewhere I have a star atlas that was written for DOS...I used to use it back in my Tandy 1000 days (8088 CPU). That one should surely run!

#11 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:25 PM

I wouldn't buy any program until it's proven to work with particular hardware. Use the time trial version to test hardware.

#12 ccs_hello

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:46 PM

Indeed. Read the whole thread through this point and had not heard LPI's device driver is found.

Clear Skies!

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#13 groz

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:16 AM

Lpi is just the 'USB SN9C10x PC Camera Controller' to linux. It's just a plain old webcam, rebranded. This particular webcam is different than most in that it can be set to do longer exposures, and the last time I looked, the video4linux drivers (latest renditions) do support the longer exposure modes.

Much like the NexImage from celestron is just a rebadged philips webcam, the lpi is just 'yet another rebadged webcam', so shouldn't be difficult to get going at all with a relatively recent linux distribution.

Once the correct drivers are in, and recognize the camera, then any program that can work with a v4l device should work fine with the lpi.

An old page with some of the details is here:-

http://www.weasner.c.../lpi-linux.html

#14 ccs_hello

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:09 AM

Groz,

Wonderful!
SN9C10[12] PC Camera Controller detected (vid/pid 0x0C45/0x602A)
HV7131D image sensor detected
These are key information!

I have not found the long exposure related config information (exposure control 1 - 25) for the SN9c102 device driver. Probably LPI does not support long exposure at all??? :question:

PS. just found HV7131D conf registers:
0x26 and 0x27, max. integration time 65535*648*100nS= 4.246Second

P.S.2 another driver
http://www.linux-pro...ewcat.php?cid=2 and
http://www.linux-pro...g/modules/news/


Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#15 caheaton

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:41 PM

Thank you! I'll have to give those drivers a try. Also, for the record, the Meade Autostar software installed and appears to be running okay (at least the atlas part) under WINE. It's quite snappy in performance too. As far as long exposure, the LPI can go from .001 to 16 seconds, but I've never tried it at anything near that long as I've only used it for recording sunspots so far.
Craig

#16 bookman1995

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 01:01 AM

Looks like this one died off around 9/5 but for what it's worth, I had good luck with Kstars on Ubuntu 10.10 working right off the bat with the LPI. My main problem was getting Ubuntu to recognize my mount for goto operation. That said, the LPI is a POS in my opinion - the plastic case is translucent and transfers light from the amber "on" light to the chip, meaning you have to do a bit of work to keep the chip in the dark. Meade really should make a 64-bit Windows driver for it as well.

#17 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 10:00 AM

Did you have to deal with the Indi drivers to get the GT to work?

On some systems I find Indi, libindi, and indilib. Not all are needed and some combinations won't work at all. Kstars may have some of the drivers included. I'm using Mint Linux 2010 and CDC 3.2.

#18 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 01:10 PM

I just looked at the dependency list for Kstars in Synaptic for Mint. It shows that libindi0 is needed. That's a good clue for other sky charts that have GT features. I see there are also two driver files for Apogee and SBig cameras.

#19 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 05:56 PM

I have CDC talking to my Nexstar 6SE through the Indi server and apparently only using the libindi0 driver. The USB/Serial adapter shows up on /dev/ttyUSB0. In Kstars, no telescope is listed so I can't get past the setup screens. Does anyone know where the driver file can be found for Celestron scopes in Kstars?

#20 groz

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:02 PM

Have you installed the whole indi package, or just the libindi0 library ? The way I do it here, I start indiserver on it's own, with parameters for the telescope driver. For the celestron driver it would be

indiserver indi_celestron_gps

In the Kstars telescope setup panels, click on the 'client' tab, then set up a server connection using the 'add' tab for the indiserver running at localhost port 7624. Hilight that one, and click 'connect'.

For Cdc, in the telescope settings, select indi driver, then configure localhost port 7624, leave the 'automatically start' unchecked. Set the device port for your serial port (/dev/ttyUSB0) and in telescope type, it really shouldn't matter what's there, I have 'other' selected, but if you have the full indi package installed, there should be an entry in that drop-down for the celestron scope. That should only be used by Cdc if it's actually starting the indiserver, but the current release of Cdc has a few issues in this area, which have been corrected in the svn issue daily builds after I submitted problem reports.

When I first started using indi with kstars and cdc, I had some issues figuring out the right twiddling to get it all working, but once going, it seemed to work ok. I really wanted all of my gear at the telescope to work over the indi connection, so I dug in a couple months ago, and started writing some drivers. I have recently commited to the indi svn drivers for

SXV-H9 ccd with sxv guide head attached
Starlight Xpress filter wheel
fcusb focus motor controller
Synscan mount

In the process of getting all of the drivers going correctly, I ran into a few issues with both indi and Cdc. Much to my surprise / delight, bug reports to the Cdc bug tracker setup got response / fix within a week, and bug reports into the indi mailing list resulted in fixes showing up in the svn within 24 hours in most cases.

I believe most distributions that carry indi are still packaging 0.6x, but there is a ppa for ubuntu that has the most recently released 0.72 variant. It's listed with 'howto' for ubuntu at the indi website in the downloading section ( www.indilib.org ).

For our own use here, we will be putting indiserver onto headless little solid state boxes for set up at the telescope. I'm using a couple old atx motherboards, with a minimal lucid install that boots from a jumpstick. I've got pico-ps power supplies in them, and it's a fanless cpu, so we end up with all solid state, no moving parts for the 'outside' stuff. I'm running gigabit ethernet between the house network and the telescope location, so, we'll be using it all over the network, the little headless boxes at the telescope will have no user-land programs on them other than the basic indiserver and the drivers for telescope, camera, filter wheel and focus stuff. It'll be a good setup, and I'll finally have a proper 'network aware' remote telescope operation happening.

I have played with some of the other drivers etc in the indi package. The gphoto driver for dslr 'just worked' with my Canon 350, likewise the qhy5 stuff. I checked open-phd out of it's version control, and it built with no issues here. It looks just like phd on any other platform, but I haven't had a chance to feed it real starlight yet due to incessant and continuous rain over the last few weeks. Csc is hinting at some possible clear time over the next few days, so, I may get a chance to finally put starlight into all of this new stuff, but I'm not getting my hopes up to high right now.

#21 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 04:33 PM

I appear to have the whole Indi package but it was apparently embedded in the CDC V3.2 install. All the files are in /usr/bin. I also installed the libindi0 file using Synaptic. CDC would run on Mint 9 on one laptop. On another laptop running Mint 10 it would sometimes not connect. If I moved the USB cable to the adjacent socket it would connect and run correctly. The bad socket is not always the same. It appears that the cable has to plugged in after bootup. Udev must not be doing a scan after boot.

I have KStars on Mint 9. I've installed it directly using Synaptic. It runs but no telescope control. I uninstalled completely and installed again as part of Kdeedu. I did not solve the problem. All the same files are present in /usr/bin. However, none of the drivers are seen in the telescope setup.

I'm trying your ideas now. I have Name=indiserver, Host=localhost, and Port=7624. However, when I try to connect I get "encountered an error. Connection refused". In the Telescope Wizard, the scope dropdown list is empty. Apparently, KStars is not looking in the right location. The Indi info in Configure KStars is all correct. If I start the server from a terminal, it appears to run but is looking at ttyS0. That apparently doesn't hurt as CDC works. The KStars wizard says the drivers cannot be found. I found in a Google search a comment on a forum about a misconfigured XML file for KStars but cannot find it now.

Your setup sounds like top-line.

#22 groz

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:54 PM

Apparently, KStars is not looking in the right location. The Indi info in Configure KStars is all correct. If I start the server from a terminal, it appears to run but is looking at ttyS0. That apparently doesn't hurt as CDC works. The KStars wizard says the drivers cannot be found. I found in a Google search a comment on a forum about a misconfigured XML file for KStars but cannot find it now.


The indi install should have put drivers.xml into /usr/share/indi, and that's the default place where things will look for drivers. But, you can bypass that all by simply starting things from the command line with your indi server, then connect via the tcp connection as if it's a remote indi server.

With kstars, ignore the wizards. Devices -> Device Manager -> Client. Set up the info to connect to your indi server there, and hit connect. Once connected, go to the indi control panel. Select your telescope from the top tab, and in the options tab there, you can change the serial port. You should be able to save the configuration once it's changed, and it'll remember the config after that. I've never used the celestron driver so, I cant say for sure it saves/restores correctly.

It's all working very well here now, keeping in mind that I've got all the most recent svn changes in my locally built copy. One indi server running on the remote box connected to the telescope hardware, then multiple clients here connecting to it. open-phd can guide via the qhy5 connection. Kstars will manage the ccd and filter wheel for a photography run, and it can do telescope controls at the same time, altho I am using Cdc for that.

There is some work afoot right now to try get a 0.8 cut on the indi stuff out during january, and that will have a significant amount of upgrades / changes, as well as a few new drivers included.

#23 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:13 AM

I found the driver file and it's contents seem ok. I also set the location of the drivers in KStars but the drop down list is empty. The server starts from a terminal window with the Celestron driver. Using your instructions, it now works. The Indi control panel shows it was looking for the scope only on ttyS0 so I added ttyUSB0. There's something in KStars that's not right as CDC works fine on the same laptop.

Is there a hot key or toolbar button to slew to the selected object? I'm using right-click on object then Celestron/Slew.

Thanks for the help.

#24 Raginar

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 11:26 AM

Hey Groz,

I know this is kind of a dead thread. How's the work on INDI coming? I've had some troubles compiling the SVN (Ubuntu 11.04) 0.72.

When I do cmake . in the trunk/libindi folder, I get the following error:

/home/chris/devel/indi/trunk/libindi/libs/indibase/basedriver.h:4:32: fatal error: boost/shared_ptr.hpp: No such file or directory
compilation terminated.

Any ideas? I'm trying to get Open PHD to work so I can autoguide on my macbook.


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