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PoleMaster with Linux?

Polar Alignment
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#1 boxcorner

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 10:25 AM

Is anyone using the QHYCCD PoleMaster with a Linux distribution?

 

With the PoleMaster_Qt app installed and the camera connected via its USB cable, when I click on Device > Connect  I get a message 'Not Found QHYCC PoleMaster equipment'.

 

I have installed their Windows app and driver on the same notebook computer, which is configured for dual booting. It seems to work fine when the camera is connected.

 

Has anyone else encountered this problem?



#2 t-ara-fan

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 03:42 PM

The Polemaster camera should be visible in other apps. Can you see it in the *nix version of something like SharpCapÉ


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#3 boxcorner

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:01 PM

SharpCap is a Window-only app, is it not? I prefer to use Linux.


Edited by boxcorner, 19 June 2021 - 09:21 AM.


#4 wxcloud

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:12 PM

What version (base) of Linux are you using? On my mint 20 (Debian) I can't remember what I had to do but now in order to start it, I need to open terminal and type in the path as sudo. I think it has to do where the package installs itself.

Sorry not much help, I needed to google things. I do know qhyccd had a .Deb package for Linux on its site somewhere.
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#5 MCinAZ

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 07:46 PM

  If there's a Debian package available from QHYCCD, that's probably your best bet. If you're stuck with a Windows application, there are basically three options: dual boot (which is evidently available on your computer), WINE, if the software works in that environment, or running the application under Windows in a virtual machine. I haven't configured a dual boot machine in 20 years or more, mostly because it's too cumbersome for my needs. I've had some success with WINE, however my preferred strategy for running the very few Windows programs that I need is through a virtual machine. Since I don't run native Windows on any of my computers, I simply use the license key to activate the OS after installing it via VirtualBox. If you want to keep a native copy as well as one running in a VM, it may be necessary to buy a separate license.

 

  I've had good success in the past several years with USB-connected hardware controlled by Windows programs running in the virtual environment. The only astronomical equipment which has given me a problem, though I don't think I've tried it since about 2015, are cameras and filter wheels from SBIG. Most everything else works fine.

 

  If there is a native Linux binary as indicated in wxcloud's message (or if you can get the QHYCCD Windows application to run in WINE), and you run into permissions problems, it's likely related to access to the USB device. This can be addressed fairly simply through the addition of a udev rules file. Such rules allow devices to be recognized and configured according to vendor and product ID as well as device-specific fields, e.g., serial number, so that device name and permissions are set consistently each time a USB connection is established. By assigning public read/write permissions for a device in the rules file, software running with ordinary user permissions can gain full access. (It's also possible to limit access to users who are members of specific groups, though this level of granularity is never needed on single-user machines.)


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#6 wxcloud

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 11:03 PM

Well, the good news is I think I found the thread... The bad news? Looks like it's toast. Brings back a 404 error. Not sure if an archive search on google can get it back up or if qhy is just having web issues.

https://www.qhyccd.c...hp?topic=6782.0

You may just have to reach out to them and ask
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#7 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 12:55 AM

Random connections...  There's a similar thread asking about iPolar support under Linux.  The observation is that the iPolar camera is supported by V4L2 as a video device, and there's an INDI driver for that.  CCDciel seems to be able to work with that connection, so should (yet to be proven) be able to do polar alignment with the camera on Linux systems with its polar alignment tool.

 

If the PoleMaster camera "looks like" a video device, that strategy might work for it too.


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#8 MCinAZ

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 01:23 AM

Random connections...  There's a similar thread asking about iPolar support under Linux.  The observation is that the iPolar camera is supported by V4L2 as a video device, and there's an INDI driver for that.  CCDciel seems to be able to work with that connection, so should (yet to be proven) be able to do polar alignment with the camera on Linux systems with its polar alignment tool.

 

If the PoleMaster camera "looks like" a video device, that strategy might work for it too.

  Getting images from QHYCCD, ZWO, etc., cameras  in Linux isn't too difficult. Where things may be complicated from the thread originator's perspective is using the camera to perform polar alignment. If the PoleMaster product relies upon a Windows program to plate solve images, determine the offset between center of rotation and the celestial pole, then provide cues needed to adjust the orientation of the mount, more than just images from the camera will be required.

 

  I have no direct experience with a PoleMaster, however I do use SharpCap Pro (running in Windows 10 on a Linux host via VirtualBox) with a ZWO camera for polar alignment. Perhaps all of the algorithms needed for the task are embedded in the PoleMaster firmware, however it seems more likely that application software running on a separate computer is needed.


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#9 glancey

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 01:43 AM

I just replaced all my Windows astro apps, including Polemaster, with CCDCIEL on Ubuntu 20.04 on a NUC attached to my OTA. I've tried to run the PoleMaster_Qt-for-Ubuntu-x86_64-1.3.5 linux deb available on the QYCCD site, but it's a 2018 app that won't run on the latest Ubuntu. At a minimum, the source needs to be rebuilt, but apparently, nobody at QYCCD has even looked at it in the last 4 years.

 

Too bad, because linux is starting to come into its own for AP and I can't tell you how fast CCDCIEL runs compared to my Windows apps, N.I.N.A. and Sharpcap included. I was even thinking of giving up on Polemaster and going with CCDCIEL's polar alignment routine. Even the Windows version is buggy and won't even run on the latest NUCs without turning off turbo features in the bios.

 

I still have my MacBook Pro, so if I need Polemaster, I can use the MAC version, again, buggy as that is.

 

Apparently, the geniuses at QYCCD don't seem to understand it's the software, not the camera, that's important in polar aligning. What a waste.


Edited by glancey, 19 June 2021 - 01:43 AM.

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#10 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:37 AM

What version (base) of Linux are you using? On my mint 20 (Debian) I can't remember what I had to do but now in order to start it, I need to open terminal and type in the path as sudo. I think it has to do where the package installs itself.

Sorry not much help, I needed to google things. I do know qhyccd had a .Deb package for Linux on its site somewhere.

Thanks for your reply.

 

Operating System: Kubuntu 20.04
KDE Plasma Version: 5.18.5
KDE Frameworks Version: 5.68.0
Qt Version: 5.12.8
Kernel Version: 5.4.0-74-generic
OS Type: 64-bit
 

I installed QHYCCD's PoleMaster LINUX Deb Stable Version.

 

I can start the PoleMaster_Qt app either by using the Application Launcher or from terminal (I used Guake).



#11 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:42 AM

  If there's a Debian package available from QHYCCD, that's probably your best bet. If you're stuck with a Windows application, there are basically three options: dual boot (which is evidently available on your computer), WINE, if the software works in that environment, or running the application under Windows in a virtual machine. I haven't configured a dual boot machine in 20 years or more, mostly because it's too cumbersome for my needs. I've had some success with WINE, however my preferred strategy for running the very few Windows programs that I need is through a virtual machine. Since I don't run native Windows on any of my computers, I simply use the license key to activate the OS after installing it via VirtualBox. If you want to keep a native copy as well as one running in a VM, it may be necessary to buy a separate license.

 

  I've had good success in the past several years with USB-connected hardware controlled by Windows programs running in the virtual environment. The only astronomical equipment which has given me a problem, though I don't think I've tried it since about 2015, are cameras and filter wheels from SBIG. Most everything else works fine.

 

  If there is a native Linux binary as indicated in wxcloud's message (or if you can get the QHYCCD Windows application to run in WINE), and you run into permissions problems, it's likely related to access to the USB device. This can be addressed fairly simply through the addition of a udev rules file. Such rules allow devices to be recognized and configured according to vendor and product ID as well as device-specific fields, e.g., serial number, so that device name and permissions are set consistently each time a USB connection is established. By assigning public read/write permissions for a device in the rules file, software running with ordinary user permissions can gain full access. (It's also possible to limit access to users who are members of specific groups, though this level of granularity is never needed on single-user machines.)

Thanks for your reply.

I installed QHYCCD's PoleMaster LINUX Deb Stable Version in Kubuntu 20.04

I prefer to use Linux and rarely use Windows. I only installed the Windows version to confirm that their app recognizes the camera.


Edited by boxcorner, 19 June 2021 - 08:55 AM.


#12 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:52 AM

Well, the good news is I think I found the thread... The bad news? Looks like it's toast. Brings back a 404 error. Not sure if an archive search on google can get it back up or if qhy is just having web issues.

https://www.qhyccd.c...hp?topic=6782.0

You may just have to reach out to them and ask

Thanks again.

Yes, your link flags a 404 error, similarly whenever I try to access pages from their forum that I have bookmarked previously.

I have tried to register for their forum several times, but it flags a fatal error.

I have emailed their support address, previously about their forum and more recently about their app not recognizing the camera, but to date have not received a reply.



#13 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:57 AM

Random connections...  There's a similar thread asking about iPolar support under Linux.  The observation is that the iPolar camera is supported by V4L2 as a video device, and there's an INDI driver for that.  CCDciel seems to be able to work with that connection, so should (yet to be proven) be able to do polar alignment with the camera on Linux systems with its polar alignment tool.

 

If the PoleMaster camera "looks like" a video device, that strategy might work for it too.

Thanks for your reply. I'll bear that in mind.



#14 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 09:01 AM

  Getting images from QHYCCD, ZWO, etc., cameras  in Linux isn't too difficult. Where things may be complicated from the thread originator's perspective is using the camera to perform polar alignment. If the PoleMaster product relies upon a Windows program to plate solve images, determine the offset between center of rotation and the celestial pole, then provide cues needed to adjust the orientation of the mount, more than just images from the camera will be required.

 

  I have no direct experience with a PoleMaster, however I do use SharpCap Pro (running in Windows 10 on a Linux host via VirtualBox) with a ZWO camera for polar alignment. Perhaps all of the algorithms needed for the task are embedded in the PoleMaster firmware, however it seems more likely that application software running on a separate computer is needed.

QHYCCD's download page has software for Windows, Linux Deb, MAC and Android.



#15 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 09:11 AM

I just replaced all my Windows astro apps, including Polemaster, with CCDCIEL on Ubuntu 20.04 on a NUC attached to my OTA. I've tried to run the PoleMaster_Qt-for-Ubuntu-x86_64-1.3.5 linux deb available on the QYCCD site, but it's a 2018 app that won't run on the latest Ubuntu. At a minimum, the source needs to be rebuilt, but apparently, nobody at QYCCD has even looked at it in the last 4 years.

 

Too bad, because linux is starting to come into its own for AP and I can't tell you how fast CCDCIEL runs compared to my Windows apps, N.I.N.A. and Sharpcap included. I was even thinking of giving up on Polemaster and going with CCDCIEL's polar alignment routine. Even the Windows version is buggy and won't even run on the latest NUCs without turning off turbo features in the bios.

 

I still have my MacBook Pro, so if I need Polemaster, I can use the MAC version, again, buggy as that is.

 

Apparently, the geniuses at QYCCD don't seem to understand it's the software, not the camera, that's important in polar aligning. What a waste.

Thanks for your reply and the tip about CCDciel. I will investigate. Judging by its name I guess the developer is French. My 'desktop' computer is a NUC8i3BEH, but I was planning on using an old Toshiba NB550 notebook that I still have, with the PoleMaster, for outdoors.


Edited by boxcorner, 19 June 2021 - 09:14 AM.


#16 wxcloud

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 09:25 AM

One other suggestion would be to check out the indi forums for mentions of the pole master, they might have suggestions. I believe both ekos and astroberry (basically same thing) have polar alignment routines and might be able to use the pole master since it's basically a cmos camera. It'd likely be a bit of a workaround but I'm far from a Linux pro.
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#17 jgreif

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 09:29 AM

Is anyone using the QHYCCD PoleMaster with a Linux distribution?

I use the Polemaster with Ekos/Kstars on a Raspberry Pi running Astroberry (Astroberry.IO) in Linux.  Ekos has a QHY driver that recognizes the Polemaster, and has a program for polar alignment, with or without Polaris visible.  When Polaris is visible, I use the original Polemaster software on my Mac, because I'm used to it (takes just a few minutes).  When Polaris is not visible, being able to polar align with the Ekos program is very helpful.  Kstars and Ekos are available for Linux, Mac and Windows. Hope that helps.

Jon


Edited by jgreif, 19 June 2021 - 10:43 AM.

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#18 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 10:16 AM

One other suggestion would be to check out the indi forums for mentions of the pole master, they might have suggestions. I believe both ekos and astroberry (basically same thing) have polar alignment routines and might be able to use the pole master since it's basically a cmos camera. It'd likely be a bit of a workaround but I'm far from a Linux pro.

Good idea, thanks. I'll try that, too. I'm definitely not a Linux pro either, just an old user (both senses!). I started using Linux several years before I moved to France in 2005. I switched from Ubuntu to Kubuntu a few years ago, as I found it works better with some of the app I use.


Edited by boxcorner, 19 June 2021 - 10:25 AM.


#19 boxcorner

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 10:25 AM

I use the Polemaster with Ekos/Kstars on a Raspberry Pi running Astroberry (Astroberry.IO) in Linux.  Ekos has a QHY driver that recognizes the Polemaster, and has a program for polar alignment, with or without Polaris visible.  When Polaris is visible, I use the original Polemaster software on my Mac, because I'm used to it (takes just a few minutes).  When Polaris is not visible, being able to polar align with the Ekos program is very helpful.  Kstars and Ekos are available for Linus, Mac and Windows. Hope that helps.

Jon

Thank you! That sounds most promising. I shall definitely investigate further. I get the impression the problem with QHY's app for Linux is its driver. As someone else pointed out, it looks like QHY aren't maintaining their software. It's a shame as so many people use Linux nowadays.


Edited by boxcorner, 19 June 2021 - 10:26 AM.

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#20 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 03:41 PM

Thanks for your reply and the tip about CCDciel. I will investigate. Judging by its name I guess the developer is French.

The developer is Patrick Chevalley, who also created Cartes du Ciel.  He is very responsive to questions about the software. 

 

I think he's physically in Australia, but no clue on French roots, if any.

 

One other suggestion would be to check out the indi forums for mentions of the pole master, they might have suggestions. I believe both ekos and astroberry (basically same thing) have polar alignment routines and might be able to use the pole master since it's basically a cmos camera. It'd likely be a bit of a workaround but I'm far from a Linux pro.

So, a bit of a nit...  EKOS is part of the Kstars package, which is one of the applications that are part of the Astroberry Linux distribution.  Astroberry comes with a bunch of astronomy-oriented software pre-loaded, along with the operating system itself and a set of pre-configured services such as the WiFi hotspot and a browser-based VNC interface.  But one can install and use Kstars / Ekos independently on any other Linux system, and I believe it's also available if you're using Windows.
 


Edited by TelescopeGreg, 19 June 2021 - 03:42 PM.

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#21 boxcorner

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 04:40 AM

The developer is Patrick Chevalley, who also created Cartes du Ciel.  He is very responsive to questions about the software. 

 

I think he's physically in Australia, but no clue on French roots, if any.

 

So, a bit of a nit...  EKOS is part of the Kstars package, which is one of the applications that are part of the Astroberry Linux distribution.  Astroberry comes with a bunch of astronomy-oriented software pre-loaded, along with the operating system itself and a set of pre-configured services such as the WiFi hotspot and a browser-based VNC interface.  But one can install and use Kstars / Ekos independently on any other Linux system, and I believe it's also available if you're using Windows.
 

Thanks for the clarification. I might contact Patrick. I have added Kstars / Ekos to my growing list of astronomy apps for Linux.



#22 glancey

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 11:07 AM

Thanks for your reply.

 

Operating System: Kubuntu 20.04
KDE Plasma Version: 5.18.5
KDE Frameworks Version: 5.68.0
Qt Version: 5.12.8
Kernel Version: 5.4.0-74-generic
OS Type: 64-bit
 

I installed QHYCCD's PoleMaster LINUX Deb Stable Version.

 

I can start the PoleMaster_Qt app either by using the Application Launcher or from terminal (I used Guake).

I haven't tried Kubuntu. I'm running Ubuntu. In any case, QYCCD's Polemaster LINUX Deb Stable version is 4 years old and apparently it's developers have never thought to upgrade it to work in the latest OS. Not good. BTW, is see you are using KDE for your desktop. The default in Ubuntu is Gnome and there is no mention anywhere that Polemaster requires a specific desktop framework/version. 

 

This is just another example of QYCCD's dereliction when it comes to their software.

 

Glenn


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#23 boxcorner

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 10:39 AM

I haven't tried Kubuntu. I'm running Ubuntu. In any case, QYCCD's Polemaster LINUX Deb Stable version is 4 years old and apparently it's developers have never thought to upgrade it to work in the latest OS. Not good. BTW, is see you are using KDE for your desktop. The default in Ubuntu is Gnome and there is no mention anywhere that Polemaster requires a specific desktop framework/version. 

 

This is just another example of QYCCD's dereliction when it comes to their software.

 

Glenn

I used Ubuntu for years, before switching to Kubuntu. I prefer KDE to Gnome, but the main reason for changing was I found Kubuntu to be more compatible with some of the apps I use. QHYCCD still haven't replied to my emailed request for support. I agee, it's not good, but perhaps they can be persuaded to upgrade it, if enough Linux users come forward and ask for it. I can't register for their  forum, either.


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#24 boxcorner

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 02:42 PM

I used Ubuntu for years, before switching to Kubuntu. I prefer KDE to Gnome, but the main reason for changing was I found Kubuntu to be more compatible with some of the apps I use. QHYCCD still haven't replied to my emailed request for support. I agee, it's not good, but perhaps they can be persuaded to upgrade it, if enough Linux users come forward and ask for it. I can't register for their  forum, either.

QHYCCD have now replied to my support request, very professionally and helpfully, which is encouraging. I'm told their app works with Ubuntu 20. Meanwhile, I have discovered the software recognises the camera when the USB keyboard of my NUC computer is disconnected! So, the problem seems to be is Bus-related. I know interrupt conflicts cause problems, so I expect it can be resolved. I still have no idea why their app doesn't recognise the camera when it is connected to the notebook computer, though. Plan-A was to use it for polar alignment. It looks like their forum will be back up soon, when their web server has been updated.



#25 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 10:49 PM

QHYCCD have now replied to my support request, very professionally and helpfully, which is encouraging. I'm told their app works with Ubuntu 20. Meanwhile, I have discovered the software recognises the camera when the USB keyboard of my NUC computer is disconnected! So, the problem seems to be is Bus-related. I know interrupt conflicts cause problems, so I expect it can be resolved. I still have no idea why their app doesn't recognise the camera when it is connected to the notebook computer, though. Plan-A was to use it for polar alignment. It looks like their forum will be back up soon, when their web server has been updated.

You might take a look at the USB bus structure with 'lsusb -t' and see how the devices are related.  Sounds to me like a bug between USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices on the same hub.  Maybe try a different model of keyboard, and different position for the devices in the various ports.
 


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