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any raspberry pi users? need some help please

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#1 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:03 AM

so i decided to start guiding after some awful sessions with my cem25p, and out of budget constraints, i opt for raspberry pi over ASIAIR for controlling the setup and guiding as well.

 

so things got complicated when i start learning how to set it up...

 

first of all, do i have to install stellarmate / astroberry as my mount has GOTO function already and i'm happy to image with shutter release for my DSLR, is PHD2 alone enough just for guiding? im aware that both of them have PHD2 included, but is it the exact same phd2 thing? so should i just install it anyway in case i need it in the future?

 

 

 

then i found this tutorial for installing PHD2 only, seems addressing my needs but very challenging to follow:

https://gist.github....6e92215738c0539

 

im a complete programming noob, so what am i supposed to do with those commands such as:

$ cmake -DOPENSOURCE_ONLY=1 ..

 

i enter those commands and raspberry pi will install the drivers / application from online sources by its own??

 

 

 

lastly, could you guys suggest some tutorials for drift alignment and guiding in PHD2? cant find one that is simple enough to understand as a complete newbie.


Edited by Bc0428, 08 August 2020 - 01:11 AM.


#2 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:40 AM

You can build stuff yourself (I've done it), but Astroberry is so much easier.  Same price.

 

Do go for the 4gb Pi 4b. The 3b can work for giuding, but you'll want to do more in the future. Having the software doesn't prevent you from using the scope's features.



#3 DeanCN

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:57 AM

since you have a pi, you dont need stellarmate gadget or asiair, just a software package.

stellarmate OS bundles everything you need to do AP and includes phd2 as a means to guide

although it already provides internal guiding through the very comprehensive kstars/ekos software

but costs 49 USD (you get good support with it).

Astroberry is another option which provides pretty much the same software, including kstars/ekos

and phd2 but its free.  With either option you dont need to build phd2 from source. 

 

cmake is software for configuring your build environment (particular to your operating system) and compiling

from source.  Sounds like you do not want to be going down what would probably be a rabbit hole for you.

However, if you want to set up on your own there are many ways to do so without stellarmate OS or astroberry but it depends ...

what pi do you have and what operating system is it currently running ?  I say currently because you can

easily change that to an official raspberry pi OS or ubuntu.  What you connect to the pi and how

you do that will also help determine your best route forward.

 

Also, you will need a dedicated camera for guiding in addition to the one you use for imaging.



#4 endlessky

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 02:18 AM

As stated above, you can:

 

1) compile everything you need on your own - not recommended if you are like me and only knows two commands: "sudo apt update" and "sudo apt upgrade"

 

2) buy StellarMate OS from the makers of KStars/EKOS/INDI

 

3) use precompiled image called Astroberry

 

So, if 1) is out, that leaves 2) and 3).

 

StellarMate OS and Astroberry are pretty much identical (KStars/EKOS suite is regularly updated on both and the contents are the same). With StellarMate you get the possibility to control everything with an app on your phone, since it is already configured for it. Both systems have a hot-spot preconfigured. Astroberry defaults to hot-spot from the first boot: you can install VNC Viewer on another PC/laptop (this can even be Windows based) and remote desktop immediately into Astroberry. I suspect StellarMate has the same thing. Astroberry also have PHD2 pre-installed and ready to go. You can either use PHD2 as a guider or the internal guider of EKOS. This just had a major upgrade and has a lot of great new features: for example multi-star guiding and predictive PEC algorithm. I haven't started guiding - I will soon, when my auto-guider setup arrives - but I suspect the only thing I would miss from completely abandoning PHD2 is the polar drift alignment routine. But I can always fire up PHD2 first to polar align, and then go with EKOS for guiding.

 

I have used Astroberry on my Raspberry Pi 4 4GB since April, and I absolutely love the suite. Doesn't make me miss AstroPhotography Tool and Windows too much.

 

EKOS has everything you need. Focusing, plate-solving, sequencing, guiding, to name a few.



#5 RemcoNL

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 03:57 AM

I'm using stellarmate OS.
Worth every penny if you ask me.
I'm currently running it on my PI3B since I'm still having some issues running it with my gear on the PI4.

Two pieces of advice:

  • invest in a good power supply for the PI4 (5v. 3A I believe). Apparently most issues come from a lack of power.
  • Once you have a version that has all your gear play nice, be very selective with updates. 

 

Stellarmate and EKOS have really helped me grow better in astrophotography. (Though there is a lot of room left to grow wink.gif  )

Clear skies!


Edited by RemcoNL, 08 August 2020 - 03:58 AM.


#6 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:33 AM

I'm using stellarmate OS.
Worth every penny if you ask me.
I'm currently running it on my PI3B since I'm still having some issues running it with my gear on the PI4.

Two pieces of advice:

  • invest in a good power supply for the PI4 (5v. 3A I believe). Apparently most issues come from a lack of power.
  • Once you have a version that has all your gear play nice, be very selective with updates. 

 

Stellarmate and EKOS have really helped me grow better in astrophotography. (Though there is a lot of room left to grow wink.gif  )

Clear skies!

I noticed there are issues with power supply resulting poor connection. Is a QC 3.0 usb port with 5V 3A capable of doing the job? Or should i get a supply above its requirement like stepping down the 12V DC ouput?



#7 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:42 AM

However, if you want to set up on your own there are many ways to do so without stellarmate OS or astroberry but it depends ...

what pi do you have and what operating system is it currently running ?  I say currently because you can

easily change that to an official raspberry pi OS or ubuntu.  What you connect to the pi and how

you do that will also help determine your best route forward.

 

Also, you will need a dedicated camera for guiding in addition to the one you use for imaging.

I would prefer using astroberry instead of setting up everything on my own. I ordered a raspberry pi 4B RG ram should arrive in a few days, I have a canon 500d, redcat and i do have a qhy5L-ii-m for guiding. So i guess sticking to the astroberry wouldn’t go wrong?

 

as per my setup, it seems the only thing i need is drift alignment (polaris not visible) and guiding from phd2, I’m not using auto focus/filter wheel functions. So i am thinking if i could take advantage of getting astroberry instead of phd2 only



#8 RemcoNL

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:44 AM

I noticed there are issues with power supply resulting poor connection. Is a QC 3.0 usb port with 5V 3A capable of doing the job? Or should i get a supply above its requirement like stepping down the 12V DC ouput?

Unfourtunately, I'm not (yet) in a position to advice you on that.
I do know that it is wise to use a powered USB hub for any other devices rather than powering them through the PI4's USB sockets.

I'm currently powering my stellarmate through my Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox Advance.
through a USB port with that is supposed to be able to power a PI3/4.

My PI3 works flawlessly. My PI4 gives me some connectivity problems. Only when connecting 2 ZWO camera's.
So I'm not sure if it's a bug or a power issue. I'm going to try connecting it with the 12v to 5v cable next. (the one you get when buying an official stellarmate device.)



#9 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:48 AM

Astroberry defaults to hot-spot from the first boot: you can install VNC Viewer on another PC/laptop (this can even be Windows based) and remote desktop immediately into Astroberry.

I dont have the luxury to remotely control the setup at home, since I’ll be doing it in the park. I could instead control with an ipad, how’s the experience of controlling through vnc on an ipad? Or do you prefer stellarmate as it has its app which i presume would be better?



#10 endlessky

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:52 AM

I dont have the luxury to remotely control the setup at home, since I’ll be doing it in the park. I could instead control with an ipad, how’s the experience of controlling through vnc on an ipad? Or do you prefer stellarmate as it has its app which i presume would be better?

I haven't personally tried StellarMate - or the app for it - so I can't really comment on it.

 

However, I tried installing VNC Viewer on my Redmi Note 5 and I can "control" Astroberry with it. The screen size is the only limiting factor. I am sure with an iPad, with a larger screen, things will be a lot easier. VNC Viewer is available for Apple products, too, so you should be fine.



#11 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 05:11 AM

I haven't personally tried StellarMate - or the app for it - so I can't really comment on it.

 

However, I tried installing VNC Viewer on my Redmi Note 5 and I can "control" Astroberry with it. The screen size is the only limiting factor. I am sure with an iPad, with a larger screen, things will be a lot easier. VNC Viewer is available for Apple products, too, so you should be fine.

Ah i see, just afraid it would be quite laggy for a 5+ years old ipad mini, thanks!



#12 RemcoNL

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 08:36 AM

I haven't used the app much. (Allthough I think ill try it again soon)

I do use EKOS live to monitor my sessions. I believe the functionality is pretty much the same as the app. But it is dependent on an internet connection. 

 

I love the full EKOS experience and therefore I mostly VNC in (from my browser) if I'm not using the desktop client. Thats where I have my astrometry files downloaded as well. So when I wanted to use the stellarmate completely standalone from my tablet I would probably need to install astrometry.net and index files on my PI first. 

 

I can see it working, but be sure to have some test sessions closer to home during bad weather. You can even do it during the daytime using the build in simulators.



#13 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 08:59 AM

I can see it working, but be sure to have some test sessions closer to home during bad weather. You can even do it during the daytime using the build in simulators.

Actually what’s those simulator about?lol.gif  like rehearsing the setup?...



#14 RemcoNL

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 09:44 AM

Actually what’s those simulator about?lol.gif  like rehearsing the setup?...

It's pretty cool.

Basically,  when you first start using EKOS you select which driver you want to use for each device. (Example: Nikon dslr for main camera, zwo ccd for guidecam and eqmod for your mount) Then you group these together into a profile so the next time all equipment is initialized with one button.

 

Each driver has a simulator as well. 

Telescope simulator,  ccd simulator,  focusser, guider even weather simulator. 

You can use these for testing or demonstration. And you can make combinations between real equipment and simulations. Yesterday,  I was testing my ccd with my focuser bud didn't bring my mount inside,  so used a telescope simulator instead.

 

It helps you learn the software. Since the ccd simulator actually generates an image, you could test your plate solving during the day . 

Offcourse all of this works easier from a laptop or desktop at home, but once you add a simulator to a profile, the app will most likely be able to use it as well.


Edited by RemcoNL, 08 August 2020 - 09:47 AM.

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#15 endlessky

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:40 AM

And you can make combinations between real equipment and simulations.

I even use simulators in the setup for things that I don't have, simply because there might be features of those simulators that do work, even if you don't have the gear intended for them to be used.

 

For example, I use the autofocuser simulator, even if I have to manually focus, because the autofocuser has a feature that calculates the FWHM value of the star(s) in the picture and help me reach a better focusing, faster. With the new version of EKOS released not too long ago, they even added a Bahtinov mask assistant in the autofocuser module, so even more reason for me to keep using it.

 

I also use the autoguider simulator, even if I don't have an autoguider, because in the autoguider options I can turn on unguided dithering and dither between exposures, without the guiding camera.

 

So, yes, simulators are really useful. Both for testing equipment and for equipment you don't even have!


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#16 AnakChan

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 11:04 AM

I’ve currently got the ASIAir Pro but have put Astroberry on it to make it “camera (& focuser) brand” agnostic.

 

Also since the ASIAir Pro has a 4xport DC hub, there’s no need for a separate DC distributor power box. I’ve also found a hard-coded way to enable DC hub so I can power my camera, but no INDI drivers so can’t control each individual DC port yet.

 

So far it seems Astroberry works best with EKOS running on it with a PC/tablet VNCing into it. I tried server/ client mode where only the INDI server running on the ASIAir Pro & EKOS/KStars client on my desktop, whilst I can initiate the scheduling, the FITS download to the desktop timesout - note I’m using an Ethernet connection to the ASIAir Pro; not using WiFi. But running everything on the ASIAir Pro & saving to the local SDCard or USB stick works fine.



#17 RemcoNL

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:49 PM

 

I also use the autoguider simulator, even if I don't have an autoguider, because in the autoguider options I can turn on unguided dithering and dither between exposures, without the guiding camera.

 

Good call! Manual dither has made me postpone buying a guidescope/cam for at least a year.
I was getting good enough tracking for my setup and manual dithering helped me reach a new level.

Anak's idea for repurposing an ASIair pro sounds interesting too. Interesting to see any other benefits from that.  



#18 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:52 PM

VNC works very well, and you can set up the Pi to use whatever resolution you want, separate from the physical display you're using.  I use an older laptop as my primary VNC client, but when its battery died one night, I pulled out my cell phone and watched and managed the rest of the imaging session from there.  It was a bit clunky compared to the laptop's physical keyboard, but I didn't lose any imaging time.  A tablet is better, with its larger display (easier to poke at buttons), and I've used in the past as well.



#19 fewayne

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 02:05 PM

I also had budget concerns, and I do software for a living. So I first thought I'd build it all from scratch. Very shortly decided that life was too short for that! I bought a Pi for $35, a friend 3D-printed me a case for it, and I went with the Stellarmate OS option. It's all precompiled and ready to go, all you need to do is burn it to a microSD card, plug it into the Pi, and start setting it up with your equipment.

 

Stellarmate OS is fifty bucks.

 

For my second time around I went a little bit spendier; I bought a higher-end Pi 4 and a motor-controller board that also powers the Pi off 12V, so I didn't need any kind of separate power supply for the Pi. I needed a new version of Stellarmate OS but my previous purchase of a license gave me that for no more money.

 

In the field, I often start with a laptop, with its big screen and full keyboard. Then once I'm set up and running, I can just use an iPad to connect over VNC (same as the laptop) to refocus or whatever. I've also done it with just the iPad, or even just my Android phone, though running the full Linux desktop that is frustrating because the user-interface affordances are so tiny. That works for literally any device that has a VNC app, Windows, Mac, Linux, doesn't matter.

 

That's the simplest, cheapest, least-hassle means I know of to acquire a low-power-consumption scopeside computer and get it running with full-featured software. The good news is that it's not at all hard to run just the parts you want. You can run the driver software "headless" on the Pi if you want, and then connect to it over WiFi or Ethernet with PHD, KStars, or a bunch of other packages that talk to the INDI system.


Edited by fewayne, 08 August 2020 - 02:09 PM.


#20 fewayne

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 03:23 PM

Oh, another good reason to go with a scopeside computer is plate solving. Not too difficult to set up, and it makes a big difference. For example, there's a feature in Ekos that uses three shots as you rotate your scope around the polar axis pointed near Polaris, and analyzes them to guide your polar alignment. Plate solving is also terrific for finding targets. Granted that, once star-aligned, your handset can point to any target that's in its memory, but it does so "blind", whereas plate-solving analyzes what the scope is actually looking at.



#21 AnakChan

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 08:23 PM

Anak's idea for repurposing an ASIair pro sounds interesting too. Interesting to see any other benefits from that.  

For me the main benefit is that the ASIAir Pro has a built-in DC distributor - so no need for a separate DC distributor which requires additional cabling. From a h/w perspective the ASIAir Pro is ideally integrated. It’s merely ZWO’s software that’s limiting it to their cameras/focuser only. With Astroberry put on it, I can have QHY, or any other brand camera, and similarly with the focuser - as long as those other brands have INDI drivers.

 

This however is not a cost effective solution ‘cos a separate RPi4 & Pegasus box is still cheaper than the ASIAir Pro.



#22 Bc0428

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 09:14 PM

It's pretty cool.

Basically,  when you first start using EKOS you select which driver you want to use for each device. (Example: Nikon dslr for main camera, zwo ccd for guidecam and eqmod for your mount) Then you group these together into a profile so the next time all equipment is initialized with one button.

 

Each driver has a simulator as well. 

Telescope simulator,  ccd simulator,  focusser, guider even weather simulator. 

You can use these for testing or demonstration. And you can make combinations between real equipment and simulations. Yesterday,  I was testing my ccd with my focuser bud didn't bring my mount inside,  so used a telescope simulator instead.

 

It helps you learn the software. Since the ccd simulator actually generates an image, you could test your plate solving during the day . 

Offcourse all of this works easier from a laptop or desktop at home, but once you add a simulator to a profile, the app will most likely be able to use it as well.

Ok I’m getting lost here, any tutorials/videos that demonstrate how to operate the simulator?confused1.gif confused1.gif



#23 KenS

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:55 PM

I’ve currently got the ASIAir Pro but have put Astroberry on it to make it “camera (& focuser) brand” agnostic.

 

Also since the ASIAir Pro has a 4xport DC hub, there’s no need for a separate DC distributor power box. I’ve also found a hard-coded way to enable DC hub so I can power my camera, but no INDI drivers so can’t control each individual DC port yet.

 

So far it seems Astroberry works best with EKOS running on it with a PC/tablet VNCing into it. I tried server/ client mode where only the INDI server running on the ASIAir Pro & EKOS/KStars client on my desktop, whilst I can initiate the scheduling, the FITS download to the desktop timesout - note I’m using an Ethernet connection to the ASIAir Pro; not using WiFi. But running everything on the ASIAir Pro & saving to the local SDCard or USB stick works fine.

In client/server mode there is the option in EKOS to save images to the server. When I am previewing/platesolving on the client I bin 4x4 so the downloads over wifi are adequately fast. Saving images to the server is instantaneous. When I'm done I plug in with gigabit ethernet to download all the files.

So there's any number of ways of configuring the hardware/software to suit all situations.



#24 Kevin Ross

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 11:58 PM

So far it seems Astroberry works best with EKOS running on it with a PC/tablet VNCing into it. I tried server/ client mode where only the INDI server running on the ASIAir Pro & EKOS/KStars client on my desktop, whilst I can initiate the scheduling, the FITS download to the desktop timesout - note I’m using an Ethernet connection to the ASIAir Pro; not using WiFi. But running everything on the ASIAir Pro & saving to the local SDCard or USB stick works fine.

That's weird. I can run KStars/Ekos on my laptop, and connect over WiFi to INDI running on the Pi, and image downloads from my ASI1600MM Pro take 3 or 4 seconds, over WiFi. You're using Ethernet, which should be faster. So obviously something is wrong.



#25 AnakChan

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 12:26 AM

That's weird. I can run KStars/Ekos on my laptop, and connect over WiFi to INDI running on the Pi, and image downloads from my ASI1600MM Pro take 3 or 4 seconds, over WiFi. You're using Ethernet, which should be faster. So obviously something is wrong.

 

I should clarify that I have the ASIAir Pro connected ethernet to my home router, then from there it's WiFi to my desktop (which is 15 feet away in the same room). I dunno why I'm getting a timeout. My camera's the ASI6200MM and it produces 122MB files. Even though large, I would have expected it to work.

 

Anyhow, it's not a big deal as I can save the local microSD and USBstick on the ASIAir Pro. I'll investigate @KenS' recommendation too to have EKOS save on the server rather than the client. I didn't know that option is available.




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