Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

SkySafari + ASCOM = Great Success

DIY equipment planetarium software
  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#26 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 15 January 2021 - 05:42 PM

Sorry for being dense. I have this file alpacascope-0.0.3-linux-arm64. It's not gzip, not tar, what is it? How do I install it? By itself is does not execute as a binary (yes I did the chmod 777). I'm no Linux wizard.

 

I suspect the problem is that the RPi's Raspian Buster OS is 32-bit so this can't run. Am I right? I have a RPI4 but I think it still has Raspbian Buster 32-bit.


Edited by Bob Denny, 15 January 2021 - 05:48 PM.


#27 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 15 January 2021 - 06:59 PM

Ah, RasPi is 32bit ARM not 64bit ARM.  Here ya go: https://synfin.net/m...0.0.3-linux-arm

 

I'll add 32bit releases in the future.



#28 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:02 PM

I've just released v0.0.4: https://github.com/s...ases/tag/v0.0.4

 

From the release notes:

 

This release improves documentation, adds 32bit ARM support for RasperryPi (arm32) and includes two useful features:

  1. If your Alpaca Remote Server is running on the same network or host, it should be automatically be found. The new default value for --alpaca-host is auto which enables this feature. You can still of course specify a FQDN or IPv4 address if you so choose.
  2. Add support for specifying the Alpaca Remote Server telescope ID via --telescope-id to match the value in the Alpaca Remote Server Setup -> Device Configuration.

 



#29 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 17 January 2021 - 01:43 PM

Thanks to some help from a fellow CN member I'm happy to release v0.0.5 which adds support for the SkyFi discovery protocol.  Now if you're using SkySafari or other app which supports auto-discovery of SkyFi devices, it will be able to automatically find AlpacaScope and treat it like a SkyFi device.

 

As always, official AlpacaScope releases can be found on github: https://github.com/s...ases/tag/v0.0.5


Edited by synfinatic, 17 January 2021 - 02:06 PM.

  • Bob Denny likes this

#30 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 17 January 2021 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for this update. I'm still struggling but for connectivity issues not your program's functionality. 



#31 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 18 January 2021 - 09:50 AM

I got it and it runs!!! I had problems connecting to the PC and ran out of time last night (dinner date :-)) Will try again after work today. But thanks for building the 32-bit app. —help gave me all I needed. I think I need to open the Windows Firewall for inbound to ASCOM Remote. I’ll let you know.

#32 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 18 January 2021 - 11:38 AM

That's great to hear Bob!  I'd be curious to know if the auto-discovery features worked well- it should have been able to auto-detect ASCOM Remote on your windows box and SkySafari should be able to auto-detect it via "Auto-Discover SkyFi" feature.

 

Anyways, if find any bugs or have any feature requests please let me know.  Clear skies!



#33 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 20 January 2021 - 10:50 AM

I had to set it aside for my real work on my Scheduler. A change opened a Pandora’s Box :-) I’ll get back to testing AlpacaScope in a few days and let you know. I got the app running on the Pi and —help told me what I needed to know.

Thanks again!!

#34 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 20 January 2021 - 07:37 PM

BOO YAH!! I have it working with Sky Safari in NexStar mode. It auto-discovered the ASCOM mount (the simulator but it would have found any ASCOM mount). Nice work using the discovery. To make things interesting, I have ASCOM Remote running on a PC which is on a separate subnet from the WiFi LAN where the Raspberry Pi and the iPad are located. Brilliant, Auto-Detect SkyFi instantly found AlpacaScope on the RPi as a NexStar. ASCOM Remote is on a routable IPV4, going through the WiFI/Router serving the RPi and iPad (Sky Safari). 

 

This is the bomb. I can use any mount that has universal ASCOM PC software like PlaneWave's, Astro-Physics', EQMOD, 10 Micron, even Software Bisque Paramount mounts... and move it around from Sky Safari on my iPad. No software changes on the PC, all off the shelf. Basically the $35 + $10 RAM Raspberry Pi is now an adapter for Sky Safari to connect to a fancy automated observatory running Sequence Generator Pro, ACP, CCD Autopilot, MaxIm DL, etc.  On Sky Safari you can watch your automation software move the scope around. Or on a manual observatory with imaging software like SharpCap, TheSky, MaxIm, whatever, you can use SkySafari to manually move and manage the mount.

 

NICE WORK!!!

 

I did see one thing.. When I connected the scope in SkySafari, I got a console/shell message from AlpacaScope:

 

ERRO[0459] Tracking commands (t) are not supported by ASCOM

 

This may indeed be right depending on what it means. My interpretation of a "tracking command" is one that can start and stop the sidereal tracking on the mount? Is that what you mean? If so then ASCOM definitely supports tracking on/off. I didn't notice AlpacaScope checking CanSetTracking though, so maybe this has a different meaning to you. And I had the simulator set to allow turning sidereal tracking on and off. You can probably clarify. Maybe Sky Safari doesn't know how to start/stop sidereal tracking (I am a doofus with SkySafari though I love it).

 

To try to answer my own question, I decided to turn off the SiderealTracking in the ASCOM Simulated Scope. Now I get this error in AlpacaScope and it is correct

 

ERRO[nnnn] Error talking to scope: 1035: SlewToCoordinatesAsync is not allowed when tracking is False

 

If I turn on sidereal tracking in the scope's virtual handbox then GoTo works fine in SkySafari.

 

PPS I started an issue on the GitHub page for this


Edited by Bob Denny, 20 January 2021 - 08:28 PM.

  • synfinatic likes this

#35 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 21 January 2021 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for the feedback Bob. :)

 

From the NexStar docs:

 

Tracking Commands:

The following commands retrieve or set the tracking mode.
Depending on the mount type, following tracking modes are available:

 

0 = Off
1 = Alt/Az
2 = EQ North
3 = EQ South

 

where as Alpaca/ASCOM seems to only be on/off.  I suppose in theory, I could just treat values 1,2,3 as "on" and 0 as "off"  Does that make sense to you?

 

Anyways, I'm really glad to hear that the auto-discovery worked.  Since AlpacaScope is just a CLI tool and doesn't currently support any kind of GUI, I wanted to make it as easy as possible to use.



#36 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 21 January 2021 - 03:02 PM

I'm not an expert on any mount, but I assume that 1, 2, and 3 are the tracking "on" modes for when the scope is mounted alt-az, on a wedge for the N hemi, and on a wedge for  the S hemi? If so then my remaining question is what you're doing inside to make the ASCOM based "real" scope look like a NexStar to Sky Safari?  I know nothing about SkyFi. I see somehow it supports all sorts of mounts. Does SkyFi just pass the serial line traffic straight through to SkySafari and therefore SkySafari has native NexStar support (and native support for all those other scopes listed in SkySafari)? 

 

Based on the answers, and given that I will spend some time looking at what things I can do to/with the scope controls in  SkySafari and what AlpacaScope does in it's Alpaca calls to the "real" mount on Windows, I'll probably have some ideas.

 

I totally get "no gui" for cross platform! THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS.


Edited by Bob Denny, 21 January 2021 - 03:03 PM.


#37 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 21 January 2021 - 05:09 PM

Basically AlpacaScope translates the "NexStar" or "LX200" protocol to Alpaca.  It's sorta like translating English to a foreign language.  You can converse, but sometimes there are rough edges because sometimes there just isn't a word for that.

 

https://www.bustle.c...-word-nerds-out

 

SkyFi on the otherhand doesn't need to do any translation.  It's just like the postal carrier passing letters back and forth between the mount and SkySafari.  SkySafari speaks a few dozen telescope languages and doesn't need an interpreter.  Unfortunately, SkySafari doesn't speak Alpaca.

 

This is where my limited experience with telescopes, mounts and ASCOM becomes a liability.  The only mount I've ever owned which supports ASCOM is my Celestron Evolution.  I've implemented my own digital setting circles emulating a really basic protocol that SkySafari understands, but no goto.  Never owned a GEM.  

 

Sounds like you have a scope like my Evolution and sometimes you use it with a wedge?  As far as I can tell/have seen, SkySafari only sends the command to see if tracking is enabled... can you use SkySafari to to tell a mount to stop tracking?  I don't recall seeing that in the UI.  It's not like SkySafari is sending guiding commands like a guide scope or anything like that.  I think it just needs to know how to send the GoTo commands and slewing?

 

Anyways, from what I can tell, the NexStar protocol is the same protocol used for the Celstron CGE series GEM mounts.  That probably explains the whole different kinds of tracking bit.  I could imaging some client software would care... but SkySafari at least is pretty limited in functionality and I'm pretty sure it doesn't care.  I think what this means is that the user should tell AlpacaScope if they are using an Alt/Az or N/S GEM and then when SkySafari/etc queries it, it can check to see if tracking is enabled and then report the correct _kind_ of tracking to SkySafari/etc.

 

Also, this may seem really weird, but you can totally use the LX200 protocol in SkySafari and AlpacaScope with a Celestron Evolution (or NexStar protocol with LX200 for that matter).  That's because the scope is only talking ASCOM and not it's native tongue.

 

Also, I just figured out what you were talking about the webpage in SkySafari.  I'll have to see what I can do.



#38 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 21 January 2021 - 05:56 PM

I thought I'd try to grab the 0.0.5 build for Win64. It didn't get the vicious quarantine and delete treatment. But the Pi and the iPad are on the same LAN so that's where I'll be running AlpacaScope anyway. Just thought you'd like to knnow.



#39 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 21 January 2021 - 08:33 PM

Hi again -- I ran into a small snag. To repro the problem, set up ASCOM Remote to the Telescope Simulator for .NET as the mount. Click Setup and make sure you have Lat/Long/Elevation set. This says that the simulated mount may be told by its client to set its lat/long. This would allow SkySafari to "push" its lat/long into the scope controller. Now if you turn on Set Time & Location in SkySafari, it fails. You'll see this. The Lat/Long should succeed, but you will get an error from the simulator scope trying to set the date/time because that scope takes its date/time from the OS and it cannot be changed. AlpacaScope should log an error but not crash. It would be cool for SkySafari to be able to push its Location lat/long to the scope.

 

And yeah, I can't see any way to control tracking from SkySafari. So it's just necessary to make sure the scope is in a condition to be slewed by having sidereal tracking turned on in the handbox if that's supported.

 

Snap1.jpg


Edited by Bob Denny, 21 January 2021 - 08:35 PM.


#40 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 22 January 2021 - 11:26 PM

Pretty sure this beta version will fix that problem: https://synfin.net/m...ndows-amd64.exe

 

Trying to add date/time support for LX200 for the next official release but SkySafari is giving me fits.  May have to reach out to SCC to see what is going on.



#41 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 23 January 2021 - 12:31 PM

Well I figured out mostly what was going on with LX200... for now at least I recommend everyone interested in using that protocol with SkySafari choose the "LX200 GPS/ACF LX600" option and not "LX200 Classic" as for some reason SkySafari does something different that causes a 30sec delay when trying to connect when using Classic mode.

 

That said, I'm happy to announce version 1.0.0 :)  Things seem pretty stable now.

 

As always, binaries are available from the releases page:

https://github.com/s...ases/tag/v1.0.0



#42 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 23 January 2021 - 06:36 PM

Would you like to make this available on the ASCOM Talk Forum, and maybe have it listed on the ASCOM Initiative web site? I got assigned to do some updating to the site from the core team meeting last Sunday. I could make this one of the cool "current projects". It provides a nice link from the unmodified and very popular SkySafari to any telescope mount that's plugged into a Windows machine and which has an ASCOM driver. In the future, when native Alpaca mounts appear it can of course be used to talk to them from SkySafari as well! 

 

I'll try out your 1.0.0 build over the weekend too. I just need to get the changes to the web site done first.



#43 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 733
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 23 January 2021 - 06:50 PM

So yeah, I think I did a post on the developer forum once upon a time, but not in the general forum.  I probably should do that now that things have gotten quite stable.  

 

But to answer your question, I would be honored to have it listed on the ASCOM Initiative web site. That would be really cool. :)



#44 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 24 January 2021 - 10:22 AM

Good post! I just replied to it and gave it a plug!! I’ll list it as a tool and give it some other exposure. Again bravo!!

#45 Bob Denny

Bob Denny

    Vendor (DC-3 Dreams)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mesa AZ USA

Posted 24 January 2021 - 05:24 PM

PS for those using AlpacaScope with PC-attached mounts make sure you have Sidereal Tracking enabled on the mount. SkySafari apparently doesn't have a way to control that, and some mounts will not slew unless tracking is on.

 

Look at the shell window where you have AlpacaScope running to see errors and other issues.

 

1.0.0 works great on the Raspberry Pi!


Edited by Bob Denny, 24 January 2021 - 05:26 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: DIY, equipment, planetarium software



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics