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#26 Starhawk

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 10:36 PM

Those of who do use the keypad, not so much.

-Rich
 

#27 Starhawk

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 11:07 PM

And for those who expect this will be dealt with any day now, AP promised the next big rev to the hand pad was to be 4.20 as promised in March, 2008:

 

"March 24, 2008. We have a new keypad firmware version - v.4.15 - ready for download that deals with a few of the issues that customers in Eastern Longitudes were experiencing. This is NOT a complete new firmware release. (That will be the upcoming version 4.20.) It is, however, an important fix for any customers who use their mounts in longitudes between 0 and 180 degrees EAST. Customers whose mounts never leave the western hemispherre have no need to upgrade, and should probably not do so. Follow this link to our main downloads page. There, you can learn about the firmware download / upload process and find additional documentation on v.4.15."

 

4.16 and 4.17 were issued to fix bugs in 4.15.

 

It's nice of them to keep all updates up on the website.

 

-Rich


 

#28 flyingcougar

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 11:22 PM

Those of who do use the keypad, not so much.

-Rich

 

I think you must of missed the "and" my statement. ;)  I have never had a computer hooked up to my mount, I only use the keypad along with the others I mentioned.


 

#29 Starhawk

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 12:20 AM

No disagreement- others have been making it sound like fixing this would be a nice to have.  The hand pad is really an important control point for these systems.  I am curious about why 4.20 never showed up.

 

-Rich


Edited by Starhawk, 08 January 2016 - 12:29 AM.

 

#30 dsidote

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 09:31 AM

No disagreement- others have been making it sound like fixing this would be a nice to have.  The hand pad is really an important control point for these systems.  I am curious about why 4.20 never showed up.

 

-Rich

 

Rich,

 

I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, but why don't you just call AP and talk to them? Your obviously an "AP guy" if you own their mount and scope, so why complain here?  I hope this is pretty obvious to you, but your one guy complaining on a forum to a bunch of people who can do nothing about your issues.

 

Dave


Edited by dsidote, 08 January 2016 - 10:19 AM.

 

#31 Starhawk

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 02:29 PM

Where do you think I started?

 

Why do you think I've mentioned The results from AP?  I got answers with lots of explaining away as to why things weren't going to be done- for really basic issues. Even with extremely simple fixes proposed, there just isn't any engagement.  For example, having the hand pad ask the user for manual confirmation if the command it is about to execute results in a current RA position more than 3 degrees different from the current one, and make the default response to reject the change.  Note several subsequent bugs would have been fixed that way.  That was not going to be considered. 

 

Don't take my word for any of this. Look at the firmware update page and really read the history, and look at the dates.  We've had none in eight years, while there really have been issues. Then notice how faults with similar features recur. As an AP user community, we really need to pay attention to this.

 

-Rich

 

 

 

No disagreement- others have been making it sound like fixing this would be a nice to have.  The hand pad is really an important control point for these systems.  I am curious about why 4.20 never showed up.

 

-Rich

 

Rich,

 

I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, but why don't you just call AP and talk to them? Your obviously an "AP guy" if you own their mount and scope, so why complain here?  I hope this is pretty obvious to you, but your one guy complaining on a forum to a bunch of people who can do nothing about your issues.

 

Dave

 


 

#32 dsidote

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 03:26 PM

Rich,

 

I meant no disrespect. I didn't realize that you already tried to engage with AP directly. I agree that user issues should be brought to AP's attention and fixed, and from what I have seen that is the case.

Dave 


Edited by dsidote, 08 January 2016 - 03:49 PM.

 

#33 dawziecat

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 03:38 PM

Rich:

 

With all due respect, we've seen this kind of thing before.

Specifically, one fellow has complained vociferously about Losmandy FOR YEARS!!!

 

Now most Losmandy owner rave about the service they get from the company! But not this guy! Same thing over and over . . . in just about every Losmandy thread!

 

You are in danger of falling into the same behaviour.

 

You are an unhappy AP mount owner. We can't fix that.

Sell it and see if the grass is really greener in the other pastures!

It may well be!

 

But, as you just must have discovered by now, most of us simply do not agree with you!


 

#34 Starhawk

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 04:24 PM

D, and D,

 

I'm actually pretty happy to have people disagree with me if the known data is acknowledged and the goal is constructive.

 

Losmandy may seem to be a viable counterexample, and I'm sure folks have their own stories about other manufacturers which may sound relevant to them, but really when it comes down to it, they aren't.  I didn't buy an airline ticket to go meet Roland, Marj, and the gang at NEAF because I was really interested in SB mounts.  That's nothing against SB; it just isn't relevant.

 

I'm more concerned at this point about the interest in blame games and outrageous claims like the current issue would be fixed in a couple days or had already been fixed showing up this forum.  At a minimum, we should be honest, shouldn't we?

 

There are a lot of good features in AP mounts, and I've said what they were and brought attention to them in many posts.  It was a big deal for me to get one.  I'm not a retiree, nor am I from old money, so please take a moment and try to understand someone with very limited time got what was, for them, some really expensive gear with a thought to making what are too infrequent trips and opportunities for astrophotography successful, that means the equipment really needs to perform. There really aren't resources for continuing voyages of discovery on new high end mounts while raising a family.

 

Yes, I expect there are some generational viewpoint differences involved here- I always think there ought to be a way to fix everything.  And frankly, I don't see what's wrong with trying, or why so many seem bent on preventing that.

 

-Rich


Edited by Starhawk, 08 January 2016 - 04:40 PM.

 

#35 MJB87

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 06:51 PM

I will say that having recently acquired a used AP 130mm EDFS and a new 1100GTO that I am very impressed with AP's design and fabrication of optics and hardware.  Their stuff is a joy to use. However, I can also say that I don't see the same level of excellence in software design and, especially, documentation.  Don't get me wrong, the software and documentation is adequate, but just such.

 

Software documentation seems to be a consistent area of weakness in this industry niche.  I've suggested to one manufacturer that they start a wiki for product documentation.  Let users keep it up to date and accurate.

 

MJB


 

#36 blueman

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 07:32 PM

Well, it is sad that a problem popped up but certainly not that unusual. You would be hard pressed to find a product where there have be 0 problems found over the years.

For me, I never use the hand paddle for starting, so this is not a problem at all. But for those that do not I understand the frustration. But to expect a problem to be addressed in just a couple of days, is a bit unrealistic. First you must find the source of the problem, isolate it and determine how best to correct it without creating another problem. Then test it to be sure it works and finally release it to the public.
I think we should have a little patience don't you?

I mean, with the comparison with Losmandy, well they still don't have a manual for their Gemini II after how many years, and the majority of the support comes from a forum online that a person not employed to support the mounts has seen fit to create. So hey, maybe AP should be given a week or two. :flowerred:

Blueman


 

#37 Starhawk

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 08:59 PM

I totally agree. I'm the one who first said a couple of days wasn't a realistic timeline. Someone else suggested the couple of days, and another person who started claiming the fix had already been posted.

 

-Rich

Well, it is sad that a problem popped up but certainly not that unusual. You would be hard pressed to find a product where there have be 0 problems found over the years.

For me, I never use the hand paddle for starting, so this is not a problem at all. But for those that do not I understand the frustration. But to expect a problem to be addressed in just a couple of days, is a bit unrealistic. First you must find the source of the problem, isolate it and determine how best to correct it without creating another problem. Then test it to be sure it works and finally release it to the public.
I think we should have a little patience don't you?

I mean, with the comparison with Losmandy, well they still don't have a manual for their Gemini II after how many years, and the majority of the support comes from a forum online that a person not employed to support the mounts has seen fit to create. So hey, maybe AP should be given a week or two. :flowerred:

Blueman


 

#38 lphilpot

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 09:39 PM

Software documentation seems to be a consistent area of weakness in this industry niche.  I've suggested to one manufacturer that they start a wiki for product documentation.  Let users keep it up to date and accurate.

 

FWIW, it's not a weakness in just this industry niche... it's all over the place from what I've seen. What passes for good documentation is all too often a joke. I've not seen the A-P docs so I'm not commenting on them specifically, but inadequate, inaccurate and poorly-written "documentation" (often in video form) is all too common elsewhere. However, I think wikis are a great idea, as long as there's a review and validation layer in place.


 

#39 dawziecat

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 10:08 AM

Perhaps we all tend to see things only as they affect us personally.

While I was bitten by the Leap Year bug, and rather badly I might add, once I understood what was going on, I simply hung up the hand pad and used ASCOM. So, for me, this problem immediately became simply irrelevant. I appreciate we're not all imagers, enslaved to our laptops though.

 

Were I a solar system person too, I might feel differently as I would now have to look up the current ephemeris for each object and enter the coords manually in software to get to the object I am interested in. Hardly convenient.

"Use a finder," you say???? You jest! I don't even have one! :D

 

I've had a system with software that had a lot of very fancy features . . . Gemini 2.

When I switched to an AP mount, I immediately became aware at how primitive the AP software seemed in comparison.

The AP hand controller also seems a relic from the past. Built like a tank though. And not finicky like the Gemini 2 hand controller, which frequently caused me to have to peck repeatedly with a fingernail or stylus.

 

But, do I miss all those fancy features?

No. Not at all.

 

Others have said it before, the AP stuff "just works and the mount disappears." Well, most of the time that is true.

I am certainly not against the "modernization" of AP's HC software, but no glitzy Gemini 2-like LCD touch screen displays

please as I found them unreliable.

 

From my perspective, way too much has been made of this bug by a very few persons. Perhaps I say that because avoiding the bug is such an easy matter for me. That it needs to be addressed is certainly a given. I have no doubt it will be.

 

I am curious as to the procedure we will use to update the handpad FW though. Here too, the antiquated nature of some of AP's hardware is apparent.

 

I consider myself a satisfied AP mount owner . . . but not a "fanboi," oblivious to some of the  the product's rather arcane and dated aspects. I've had my mount a couple of years now. Were I buying today, choosing AP would be a tougher call. The 10-Micron mounts are very appealing. But, to get the same carrying capacity as the AP1600, the 10-Micron GM3000-HPS is even more costly! And not by a little! So, I'd probably end up with the encoderless version of the 1600 all over again.

 

As for the bug. It will be fixed. I feel sure of that. How quickly is rather immaterial to me personally but I appreciate it is a more significant matter to others than myself. I've already had three, entirely successful imaging nights since "Bug Nite." :D


 

#40 Cotts

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 10:22 AM

I won't be using my AP Mach one until after March 1, I and use Park 3, so......

 

......meh.

 

 

I Suppose the first three months of 2020 we'll go through all this again?

 

Dave


 

#41 William Mc

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 10:46 AM

 

 and another person who started claiming the fix had already been posted.

 

 

And who would that be?


 

#42 Peter in Reno

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 11:09 AM

I just realized that this is NOT a bug but actually a NEW feature. It's actually a blessing in disguise. After reading Rolando's description of how the bug (feature) works as described in:

 

https://groups.yahoo.../messages/50068

 

Here is a snippet from the above link and read it VERY carefully:

 

"Hello all mount users,

If you are using Park1 please note, there is a problem now on the first day of 2016 starting the mount from Park1 position. There is a timing issue that has arisen with this first day of 2016. Resuming from Park 1 using the date of 1/1/2016 will cause the mount to go the wrong way and the scope will hit the pier if you send it to any object. The best option right now is to go into SETUP, go to the date/Time menu, change the date in the keypad to 01/01/2015.

Meanwhile I will consult with our software engineer and try to determine what has happened with the new year date as far as calculating Park 1.

The easiest procedure to avoid wrong move after startup from Park1 would be the following procedure:

First turn on power. Let the mount initialize normally with Autoconnect = Yes. If you are in Autoconnect = NO, enter the Location and then enter Resume From Park (don't Resume from Park1). Now go into the Setup menu, then Time/date menu. Change the date to 01/01/2016. Press the GoTo button, you should hear a beep, which means that the date changed successfully. If you don't hear the beep, go back and check the date again. Once you have the date set to 2015, verify you 3 park positions, starting with Park3, then Park2 and finally Park1.

With a date of 2016 in the keypad, for some reason it now calculates Park 1 to be on the East side of the mount. It works fine this way too, but now if you want to resume from Park1 in a new setup you would need to start the mount with scope on the East side (flipped over to the other side pointing North). Everything else will work fine, just this one park position has now flipped. I will try to determine where the timing issue is and let you all know how it can be fixed for the proper date.

Roland Christen"

 

Read the last paragraph very carefully.

 

We've been having horrible weather at my location for the last three months so I am having a blast learning about this "feature" indoors and it works very well. Instead of the normal Park 1 position as described in the manual, I flipped RA axis to other side of the pier where the counterweight faces West instead of East and the scope still faces North, powered up the mount, using the Hand Controller I selected to "Resume from Park 1" and slewed to a known star like Arcturus, it slewed PERFECTLY and NO PIER COLLISION.

 

This new Park position is exactly like in between Park 1 and Park 4 so I call it Park 1-4 position. :grin:

 

Give it a try and you can still use your hand controller like before, just place it to Park 1-4 position, that's all. No need to set the date to the year 2015 in hand controller the way Rolando described. It's my understanding that this feature will only work until February 29. I actually like this new Park 1-4 position better than Park 1 or Park 4.

 

Kudos to Astro-Physics for not only accidentally creating a new feature but for letting EVERYONE know about this. Think Celestron would have done this (sending e-mails to all Celestron owners about many of their bugs in the past)? Yeah right. :rofl:

 

Peter


Edited by Peter in Reno, 09 January 2016 - 11:52 AM.

 

#43 dawziecat

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 11:53 AM

They've been trying to ween us off Park 1 for, well, forever! :D


 

#44 Peter in Reno

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 11:57 AM

Yes I know. I posted a new thread at A-P gto Yahoo groups asking Rolando to modify the code so that the "new" Park 1 behaves like the "buggy" Park 1-4. Park 1-4 is safer than the existing Park 1. Park 1-4 is like Park 4 except that the scope faces North while the scope in Park 4 position faces South.

 

Peter


Edited by Peter in Reno, 09 January 2016 - 12:10 PM.

 

#45 Starhawk

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 01:10 PM

That was Orion61.

 

 

 

 and another person who started claiming the fix had already been posted.

 

 

 

And who would that be?

 


 

#46 CCD-Freak

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 01:10 PM

I somehow missed the e-mails from AP but I just got my AP-900GTOCP3 and sent George the registration info last month.  I was on a trip when the e-mails went out so who knows.   I think I will power mine up in the kitchen to see how it behaves before I go to the Big Bend area later this month so I won't be surprised.

 

John

CCD-Freak


 

#47 Starhawk

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 01:30 PM

This is the boat I'm in.  I'm purely hand pad.  The only version of indirect control I do is SkyFi and a planetarium app, and that still does startup on the handpad. 

 

I'm now wondering about doing a very careful leveling of the tripod, then doing a careful alignment of the mount, and then ordering it to Park 3.  There I would put a set of alignment markers on with white 3M tape, like a CGEM. While writing that, I suddenly realized I needed to check and see if the roll interface is the same on powered moves as it is with the brakes open, and it is.  So, this should be possible, so there would be no reason to go to Park 1.

 

-Rich

 

 

I won't be using my AP Mach one until after March 1, I and use Park 3, so......

 

......meh.

 

 

I Suppose the first three months of 2020 we'll go through all this again?

 

Dave


 

#48 dawziecat

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 01:56 PM

Rich:

I have no idea what you're talking about. :confused:

Avoiding this bug is just not all that hard!


 

#49 AstroGabe

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 02:32 PM

Question from someone new to AP mounts.  Why is Park 1 before the bug inherently less safe than the other park positions?  I use Park 2, so no issues here.


 

#50 BCNGreyCat

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 02:36 PM

 

This is the boat I'm in.  I'm purely hand pad.  The only version of indirect control I do is SkyFi and a planetarium app, and that still does startup on the handpad. 

 

I'm now wondering about doing a very careful leveling of the tripod, then doing a careful alignment of the mount, and then ordering it to Park 3.  There I would put a set of alignment markers on with white 3M tape, like a CGEM. While writing that, I suddenly realized I needed to check and see if the roll interface is the same on powered moves as it is with the brakes open, and it is.  So, this should be possible, so there would be no reason to go to Park 1.

 

-Rich

 

 

 

Rich,

 

You are too over worried about this Pak-1 leap year bug if you are a pure hand pad user and suppose you are using an AP mount.

 

For me, as a pure hand pad user with an AP mach 1, I simply mark the tripod location in my drive way. Each of my observing session, I place the tripod the same location if possible. Then power up the mount, choose location, then press GOTO. Then chose menu 3, "resume from park". Till now, the mount won't move yet. Then select your target and press GOTO. This time, the mount will slew my OTA toward my target. If the target is not within FOV, then manual adjust using the four arrow buttons and sync. After that, nothing to worry about at all. When done observing, set the OTA to park 2 position (CW down, OTA up horizontal pointing east). And then power off. Put everything back to garage.

 

Now since the bug announced, I just did a dry run at day time (although it's cloudy/raining outside), pretending I am observing the sun. I did exactly as above and carefully watched how RA/DEC moved. Everything worked as before. No pier crash. No under the pier slewing. OTA pointing to the supposed position of the sun.

 

All in all, if you don't use the item 4 "Resume ref-park-1" when you powering up your mount and after you choose your location, you should not trigger the bug. And as RC already pointed out in the AP user group, even if you do "Resume ref park 1" menu item (the number 4 choice in the menu), you can position your OTA at east side (the future Park-4 position) as a temporary workaround.

 

Alex


 


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