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Alternatives to the ASIair...?

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#1 Jaimo!

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 02:32 PM

Hello, 

I am relatively new to deep sky imaging and I started in November of 2019 with a ZWO ASI294MC / ASI120MM-mini / ASIair and things were working well and I felt I was making some real headway in my progress.  However, with the ASIair firmware "upgrade", in early January 2020, the ASIair has basically been rendered useless...  It frequently changes my longitude from W to E without warning and the guiding cannot be used.  I really like the form factor of the ASIair but I have spent the last 4 clear evenings, for a total of over 10 hours "trying" to image.  I know the new ASIair Pro is going to be available soon, but I am really hesitant sending ZWO another $300 when my current version is in such a mess.  I have been on the ASIair Facebook page where my issues seem common for many other users...   

 

I hope eventually ZWO fixes these issues, but while I wait on them I am loosing sky time.  I have considered Astroberry Server on a RP4, or would a Windows 10 Pro stick or mini PC be a better option?  The options I like most on the ASIair:  plate solving, polar alignment routine, small form factor/remote operation and the basic image acquisition; the options I like least:  guide scope,  no ability to review acquired images.

 

Help?

 

Jaimo! 



#2 wrnchhead

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 02:36 PM

Dude I spent a couple of months fighting this exact same issue and it is extraordinarily frustrating. Now that I got the shoestring astronomy cable to eliminate the hand controller and plug directly into its port on the side of the mount all those problems have went away. I see that you use a different mount than I use so I don’t know if that solution will work for you. 


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#3 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 04:22 PM

I went with the Astroberry solution.  4GB Raspberry Pi 4B with case and power adapter is ~$80, Astroberry Server 2.0 software (free), plus an SD card.  This was an upgrade to a manually assembled solution on a Raspberry Pi 3B, and the Astroberry software made the upgrade go very smoothly.

 

I run everything local.  CCDciel for overall control, ASTAP for plate solving, PHD2 for guiding.  INDI Server links everything together.  Some folks use Kstars / Ekos; you have choices / options.  A few other utilities, easily loaded as needed.  Currently image acquisition is via a separate intervalometer, due to limitations of my DSLR, but it can also be done locally if you have the right kind of camera.  You are not limited to ASI brands.  I VNC into it from either a laptop or tablet / cell phone. 


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#4 sbradley07

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:45 PM

I hope eventually ZWO fixes these issues, but while I wait on them I am loosing sky time.  I have considered Astroberry Server on a RP4, or would a Windows 10 Pro stick or mini PC be a better option?  The options I like most on the ASIair:  plate solving, polar alignment routine, small form factor/remote operation and the basic image acquisition; the options I like least:  guide scope,  no ability to review acquired images.

I don't have an ASIAir, so I'm not sure if they lock it down in some way, but it's just a RPi3 - - have you tried running Astroberry on it?


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#5 Jaimo!

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:23 PM

I am a big Raspberry Pi fan...  My lovely wife left a RP4 with 4MB in my stocking at Christmas, I am currently downloading the Astroberry Server software.  I am also downloading a previous version of the ASIair firmware, V1.2 hoping I can get back to where I was a month ago...  But, I am still looking into a Windows 10 solution.  Taking multiple shots on goal on this issue.

 

Thanks,

Jaimo!



#6 Biggen

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:51 PM

Really can’t beat a NUC style mini PC. Can buy them as fast as you want and since it’s a full blown PC you can use just about any software combination you want.


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#7 ThatsNoMoon

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:39 PM

I use the Stellermate OS with my Raspberry Pi 4. The OS has been in beta since this summer for the Pi4 and thus has been a little rocky at times but the latest version seems to have addressed most issues people have been having. This is the fisr non-beta version for the Pi 4. It comes loaded with Kstars/Ekos, PHD2, and Polemaster Software.

 

Personally, I do all my sequencing, guiding, and capture in Ekos. I found it very simple and intuitive to use. You can control the software from your desktop or laptop remotely over wifi via VNC or you can download the mobile app for control. The mobile app will also sync the GPS coordinates to Pi which is a nice feature. 


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