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Setting up a 10 Micron based observatory

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Jeff Struve

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 12:38 AM

Hi all,

 

A school system ended up with a lot of nice gear and now has a pretty elaborate roll off roof observatory set up... but no one there knows how to begin to get it running... so I volunteered to download, install, hook up and configure, and basically write up user documentation so the school system can start doing some astronomy...

 

I dont know all of the specific gear, but the mount is a 10 Micron GM2000hps carrying, I think, a 12" Meade SCT... the roll off roof is motorized and automatable... they have a weather station... the pier is of the type that raises and lowers via motor control... they have a 60mm Lunt mounted on top of the SCT... Star Sense... Electronic filter wheel, electronic focuser... a number of different imaging cameras and guidescope and camera... dew control... and who knows what other gizmos... very elaborate set up...

 

I'll be heading out there on my own to inventory what is all there and try to make sense of it all... I think that they have more gear than they need... for instance, I don't think that they need starsense or guiding... 

 

Along with an inventory and head scratching for tomorrow, I want to install the software that they intend on using:

 

1. Stellarium (required interface between users and the telescope)

2. ASCOM Platform (required program to allow programs to talk to the instruments)

3. ASI Studio (preferred program which allows individual control of cameras using the ASI platform) 

4. PinPoint Astrometric Engine (required to do advanced plate solving, NEO and nova surveys)

5. All Sky Plate Solver (required program to feed plate solve data to ModelCreator. Will also require their full proprietary guide star catalog)

6. ModelCreator (required 10Micron program to tune the mount model when needed)

7. Hubble Guide Star Catalog (required by PinPoint to function)

 

Can anyone give me some pointers on the installations and drivers...?

 

I think I should do ASCOM first, but not sure which drivers are needed... specifically for the 10 Micron... and maybe for Stellarium as I believe now you don't need EQMOD or Stellariumscope...

 

I know I'll need to dig out the models of the camera, filter wheels, and focuser for the proper drivers, but again, I think my first step is to get the mount control working via Stellarium...

 

Tips are very much appreciated!

 

Jeff


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#2 Paul Garais

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 04:01 AM

Hey Jeff,

sounds like a nice project :).

The first step is always connectivity and manufacturer drivers for your OS. You need to make sure everything is properly connected to your computer and electricity. If the different parts are "visible" (in your device or network manager) for your computer, start gathering the drivers. Check the manufacturer websites. You will find system drivers and usually also ASCOM drivers.
After installing system drivers and making sure it works, you can proceed by installing ASCOM platform and drivers. And after that the other software.

Going forward step by step, starting with the parts that are "closest" to the system base makes it easier to early detect hardware or connectivity issues without having to guess wether it is an software issue or something else.


Good luck!
Paul
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#3 alphatripleplus

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 06:42 AM

Moving from Mounts to Astronomy Software & Computers for a potentially better fit.


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#4 Jeff Struve

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 08:05 AM

Hey Jeff,

sounds like a nice project smile.gif.

The first step is always connectivity and manufacturer drivers for your OS. You need to make sure everything is properly connected to your computer and electricity. If the different parts are "visible" (in your device or network manager) for your computer, start gathering the drivers. Check the manufacturer websites. You will find system drivers and usually also ASCOM drivers.
After installing system drivers and making sure it works, you can proceed by installing ASCOM platform and drivers. And after that the other software.

Going forward step by step, starting with the parts that are "closest" to the system base makes it easier to early detect hardware or connectivity issues without having to guess wether it is an software issue or something else.


Good luck!
Paul

 

 

Yes, thanx you for the advise. A concern I have at this point is that there are a few different 10 Micron Drivers out there, and I am not sure which driver would be the best bet



#5 Paul Garais

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 08:22 AM

Yes, thanx you for the advise. A concern I have at this point is that there are a few different 10 Micron Drivers out there, and I am not sure which driver would be the best bet

I generally start with the most recent drivers from the official manufacturer websites and only consider other drivers, if the current have issues or for example community made drivers give me some extra functionality, that are worth the effort.

Usually nowadays "never touch a running system" is a bad advice (which was good before 1997 or so) for modern computers, since most of them are online and need security fixes. But for astronomy gear drivers that may still be good advice.
On my "astro notebook" I install Windows 10 updates and also updates for N.I.N.A. because of extra functionality. But I avoid updating anything else, especially drivers for critical components like my camera, as long as I am not forced to.
For example, I never updated firmware and drivers for my EQ6-R since I bought it several years ago, because it works reliable and gives great guiding results even with high payload. There is nothing to gain with newer versions but potentially new troubles. I want to sleep well, while my imaging rig works through its night shift ;)
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#6 ms6107

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 02:11 PM

Hi!

 

I've installed my GM1000 recently, it came with a USB drive. You will find instructions, drivers and tools there (except model creator).

You will need 10micron updater to push new delta-T and satellites/asteroids data to the mount.

I believe delta-T lasts about half an year before expiration, MW4 has a reminder, and it was the only confusing thing to me. (MW4 tells to update it but doesn't tell how)

 

Maksim.


Edited by ms6107, 20 July 2021 - 02:11 PM.

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#7 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:07 PM

Hi Jeff,

 

Wonderful that you offered to help, setting up an observatory is a wonderful thing. 

 

I have a few comments and, if you don't mind, some suggestions regarding the software that you'll be using:

 

  • general note #1: there have been very useful threads about 10Micron model building in the Mounts forum here on CN, just search for "10Micron" and you'll find them.
  • general note #2: when installing software, stick with 64-bit drivers and apps whenever they are available. Mixing 32-bit and 64-bit causes problems sometimes and 64-bit is the right choice anyway for the future.

Now the specifics:

  • indeed, you won't need the StarSense, it's for Celestron mounts and nowadays can be replaced by software and a camera anyway. Nor EQMOD.
  • you mentioned a weather station but it's not clear whether it's a standalone observatory station or a weather station made to interface with the 10Micron mount, which allows the mount to correct for refraction and temperature changes. If you don't have it, it's highly recommended to get one (MGBoxV2 or MGPBox, see https://www.astromi.ch/shop/).
  • install the latest stable ASCOM platform (6.5SP1) and the latest ASCOM driver from 10Micron (v 1.6.0.0 from here)
  • mount firmware are published at https://www.10micron....php?f=4&t=1587 (you'll need to register as a customer). The latest is 3.0.7 published yesterday. You don't have to rush to install it but it's worth checking what firmware you have (there have been significant changes with the 3.x release)
  • Stellarium is a choice, not "required" per se. It's a fine program but depending on what you want to do at the observatory, there are others as well. It's perfectly fine to start with it and use it for a while.
  • ASI Studio is ok to start with, I guess, but for camera control and live stacking, SharpCap is far superior. 
  • ASPS: I used it some years ago and I would highly recommend using ASTAP instead. It's faster, does a lot more and it's very actively developed (its author, Han, is a frequent contributor here). You'll find many threads (even recent) discussing its advantages. It works very well with the modeling utilities.
  • PinPoint Astrometric Engine - interesting, I haven't heard of it being used in combination with 10Micron mounts, whose controllers have an internal alternative to what PinPoint does, at least for alignment. For plate solving during alignment I'd recommend ASTAP again.
  • ModelCreator is fine, but MountWizzard4 (very actively developed and also free) does more and provides more analysis capabilities (useful to troubleshoot when models are not as good), as well as other the automation of other tasks. 

 

I'll stop here since there's plenty to absorb. Again, there have also been several very useful (and somewhat similar) threads which I'd encourage you to read.

 

Let us know if we can help with anything else,

Razvan


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#8 Jeff Struve

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:14 PM

 


Hi Jeff,

 

Wonderful that you offered to help, setting up an observatory is a wonderful thing. 

 

I have a few comments and, if you don't mind, some suggestions regarding the software that you'll be using:

 

  • general note #1: there have been very useful threads about 10Micron model building in the Mounts forum here on CN, just search for "10Micron" and you'll find them.
  • general note #2: when installing software, stick with 64-bit drivers and apps whenever they are available. Mixing 32-bit and 64-bit causes problems sometimes and 64-bit is the right choice anyway for the future.

Now the specifics:

  • indeed, you won't need the StarSense, it's for Celestron mounts and nowadays can be replaced by software and a camera anyway. Nor EQMOD.
  • you mentioned a weather station but it's not clear whether it's a standalone observatory station or a weather station made to interface with the 10Micron mount, which allows the mount to correct for refraction and temperature changes. If you don't have it, it's highly recommended to get one (MGBoxV2 or MGPBox, see https://www.astromi.ch/shop/).
  •  

Let us know if we can help with anything else,

Razvan

 

Thank you!

 

I'm still not sure what it is.. I asked for Brand/Model... any documentation... he hasnt responded yet but did say he had a thumb drive, hopefully the documentation and software is on it. He said it talked to the observatory and mount and pier.... 

 

For my mount I have the MGBoxV2

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#9 Jeff Struve

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:27 PM

  •  
  • install the latest stable ASCOM platform (6.5SP1) and the latest ASCOM driver from 10Micron (v 1.6.0.0 from here)
  • mount firmware are published at https://www.10micron....php?f=4&t=1587 (you'll need to register as a customer). The latest is 3.0.7 published yesterday. You don't have to rush to install it but it's worth checking what firmware you have (there have been significant changes with the 3.x release)

 

Yep... I had ASCOM on there and installed the 10 Micron Driver you suggested... I also downloaded the 3.0.7 firmware, but due to complications I'll mention later, couldnt update the mount yet. 



#10 Jeff Struve

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:30 PM

 

  • Stellarium is a choice, not "required" per se. It's a fine program but depending on what you want to do at the observatory, there are others as well. It's perfectly fine to start with it and use it for a while.
  • ASI Studio is ok to start with, I guess, but for camera control and live stacking, SharpCap is far superior. 
  • ASPS: I used it some years ago and I would highly recommend using ASTAP instead. It's faster, does a lot more and it's very actively developed (its author, Han, is a frequent contributor here). You'll find many threads (even recent) discussing its advantages. It works very well with the modeling utilities.
  • PinPoint Astrometric Engine - interesting, I haven't heard of it being used in combination with 10Micron mounts, whose controllers have an internal alternative to what PinPoint does, at least for alignment. For plate solving during alignment I'd recommend ASTAP again.
  • ModelCreator is fine, but MountWizzard4 (very actively developed and also free) does more and provides more analysis capabilities (useful to troubleshoot when models are not as good), as well as other the automation of other tasks. 

 

I'll stop here since there's plenty to absorb. Again, there have also been several very useful (and somewhat similar) threads which I'd encourage you to read.

 

Let us know if we can help with anything else,

Razvan

 

I installed ASTAP, and a couple libraries as I wasnt sure which to use... probably the one with Photometry... I havent gone over the instructions so not sure how the library and application tie together 



#11 Jeff Struve

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:35 PM

 

  • ModelCreator is fine, but MountWizzard4 (very actively developed and also free) does more and provides more analysis capabilities (useful to troubleshoot when models are not as good), as well as other the automation of other tasks. 

 

I'll stop here since there's plenty to absorb. Again, there have also been several very useful (and somewhat similar) threads which I'd encourage you to read.

 

Let us know if we can help with anything else,

Razvan

 

Here is where I got into a bit of trouble...

 

I installed Python 3.9 and that seemed to work as when I check both via CMD and via PowerShell it shows a sucessful 64bit version

 

I installed MountWizzard4 and that seems to install... lots of success lines in the Text file it writes... but when I do the Run from the folder, it seems to fail saying something about 32bit??? The PC is a 64bit...

 

Here is the Text File:

 

install script version 2.0
checking environment and start script
variable T has value of Python 3.9.6
variable P_VER has value of 'python3.9'
Checking 32/64 bit OS
variable OS has value of 64bit
python 64bit installed
installing wheel
Requirement already satisfied: wheel in c:\users\stem\appdata\local\programs\python\python39\lib\site-packages (0.36.2)
Installing 'python3.9' in virtual environ
Requirement already satisfied: pip in c:\users\stem\desktop\work\venv\lib\site-packages (21.1.3)
Requirement already satisfied: setuptools in c:\users\stem\desktop\work\venv\lib\site-packages (56.0.0)
Collecting setuptools
  Using cached setuptools-57.4.0-py3-none-any.whl (819 kB)
Installing collected packages: setuptools
  Attempting uninstall: setuptools
    Found existing installation: setuptools 56.0.0
    Uninstalling setuptools-56.0.0:
      Successfully uninstalled setuptools-56.0.0
Successfully installed setuptools-57.4.0
Collecting wheel
  Using cached wheel-0.36.2-py2.py3-none-any.whl (35 kB)
Installing collected packages: wheel
Successfully installed wheel-0.36.2
Collecting mountwizzard4
  Downloading mountwizzard4-1.1.1.tar.gz (10.1 MB)
Collecting numpy==1.20.2
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Building wheels for collected packages: mountwizzard4, skyfield, jplephem, ordered-set, comtypes
  Building wheel for mountwizzard4 (setup.py): started
  Building wheel for mountwizzard4 (setup.py): finished with status 'done'
  Created wheel for mountwizzard4: filename=mountwizzard4-1.1.1-py3-none-any.whl size=10842956 sha256=0244246352fca562f063c742db760aeb9c9693c72f04276bcfc3902551c94b88
  Stored in directory: C:\Users\stem\AppData\Local\Temp\pip-ephem-wheel-cache-44bdu_hg\wheels\7c\ee\3c\f8a76d8bbcee205b2882a6915e45f6ea3c70398cc0eff5e4a2
  Building wheel for skyfield (setup.py): started
  Building wheel for skyfield (setup.py): finished with status 'done'
  Created wheel for skyfield: filename=skyfield-1.37-py3-none-any.whl size=431660 sha256=8dbd488241e1ead4144b3ccbf955f596b2bba02d1566c55e491d73722ce5ec5a
  Stored in directory: C:\Users\stem\AppData\Local\Temp\pip-ephem-wheel-cache-44bdu_hg\wheels\18\dd\72\67d065dda38902ea43083abb704890846288731cf238585925
  Building wheel for jplephem (setup.py): started
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  Created wheel for jplephem: filename=jplephem-2.16-py3-none-any.whl size=46793 sha256=1d59f5681f16e03fe3cb61c23c8bf3a33eec569397d7dc44749a54be7e849988
  Stored in directory: C:\Users\stem\AppData\Local\Temp\pip-ephem-wheel-cache-44bdu_hg\wheels\cc\0a\e5\a0a55b06caf95ce0914bbe0d2ed16a8340837763ffd554be24
  Building wheel for ordered-set (setup.py): started
  Building wheel for ordered-set (setup.py): finished with status 'done'
  Created wheel for ordered-set: filename=ordered_set-4.0.2-py2.py3-none-any.whl size=8218 sha256=aa809c1d33a85fdc6ca162cd00536012e25880367d6c574f22c60eb1a96d073f
  Stored in directory: C:\Users\stem\AppData\Local\Temp\pip-ephem-wheel-cache-44bdu_hg\wheels\c0\a1\09\0c736ab4beb6a48ae2f5f2529b2ad3770c8e6cc32d01d75a2c
  Building wheel for comtypes (setup.py): started
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  Created wheel for comtypes: filename=comtypes-1.1.10-py3-none-any.whl size=164937 sha256=972a42df9d314afaf419e6f514ed602976655f83de4a5526c00e02152280e8d7
  Stored in directory: C:\Users\stem\AppData\Local\Temp\pip-ephem-wheel-cache-44bdu_hg\wheels\76\c4\bb\651111ab6c5e31ad6a1ff3022bfdbef5a4e88bfe568150870c
Successfully built mountwizzard4 skyfield jplephem ordered-set comtypes
Installing collected packages: pillow, numpy, urllib3, six, scipy, PyQt5-sip, PyQt5-Qt5, imageio, idna, chardet, certifi, zipp, sgp4, requests, pywin32, python-dateutil, PyQtWebEngine-Qt5, PyQt5, PyQt3D-Qt5, pyparsing, pyerfa, ordered-set, kiwisolver, jplephem, cycler, comtypes, colour-science, wakeonlan, skyfield, sep, requests-toolbelt, qimage2ndarray, pywinauto, PyQtWebEngine, PyQt3D, pybase64, matplotlib, importlib-metadata, deepdiff, colour-demosaicing, astropy, mountwizzard4
Successfully installed PyQt3D-5.15.4 PyQt3D-Qt5-5.15.2 PyQt5-5.15.4 PyQt5-Qt5-5.15.2 PyQt5-sip-12.9.0 PyQtWebEngine-5.15.4 PyQtWebEngine-Qt5-5.15.2 astropy-4.2 certifi-2021.5.30 chardet-4.0.0 colour-demosaicing-0.1.6 colour-science-0.3.16 comtypes-1.1.10 cycler-0.10.0 deepdiff-5.0.2 idna-2.10 imageio-2.9.0 importlib-metadata-3.7.3 jplephem-2.16 kiwisolver-1.3.1 matplotlib-3.3.4 mountwizzard4-1.1.1 numpy-1.20.2 ordered-set-4.0.2 pillow-8.1.2 pybase64-1.1.4 pyerfa-1.7.2 pyparsing-2.4.7 python-dateutil-2.8.2 pywin32-300 pywinauto-0.6.8 qimage2ndarray-1.8.3 requests-2.25.1 requests-toolbelt-0.9.1 scipy-1.6.1 sep-1.1.1 sgp4-2.20 six-1.16.0 skyfield-1.37 urllib3-1.26.6 wakeonlan-1.1.6 zipp-3.5.0
MountWizzard4 successfully installed



#12 Jeff Struve

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:45 PM

So... I did get a lot of cleaning and sorting and arranging done... some software installed and various configurations done.

 

The PC doesnt have WiFi and its Network cable is being used for the Intranet, so I coudnt connect to the mount... the IT guy said he'll set up a 24 port swith for me... I think we need to hardwire as I think MountWizzard will require that anyway...

 

So.... after I can connect to the mount, I'll give Stellarium a shot... and the Virtual Hand Controller... then write the documentation for that.

 

Next will be getting MountWizzard to connect ad see if I can figure out modeling and plate solving. I still am confused as to how Stellarium and MountWizzard and the HC and the Virtual HC talk to each other for alignments... I want to set this up for visual before I hook up cameras...

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanx!

Jeff 

Attached Thumbnails

  • WSSO.jpg
  • Scope and Mount.jpg
  • Box.jpg


#13 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:15 AM

The log shows the successful installation but not the problem you reported. What exactly was the "something about 32bit" message?

 

The best approach is to open a ticket via https://github.com/m...Wizzard4/issues, Michael is very responsive (the amount of work he's put in is amazing). He also answers threads in the "Software Developers" forum over at the 10M site. Have a look in both places, maybe you see a similar case already reported. You can also paste the error here, but it's better to exercise the more direct channels, as you may need to do it again in the future.

 

 

Here is where I got into a bit of trouble...

 

I installed Python 3.9 and that seemed to work as when I check both via CMD and via PowerShell it shows a sucessful 64bit version

 

I installed MountWizzard4 and that seems to install... lots of success lines in the Text file it writes... but when I do the Run from the folder, it seems to fail saying something about 32bit??? The PC is a 64bit...

 

Here is the Text File:

 

[...]

MountWizzard4 successfully installed


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#14 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:23 AM

In your case, neither the HC nor the Virtual HC are used during the alignment. Nor Stellarium.

 

With this mount, MW4 (and similar utilities) simply automate the process of model building which fundamentally consists of moving the mount to a given RA/Dec, then plate solving the image, finding out where it's actually pointing and telling the mount controller where it's actually pointing. The actual model building, the mapping between the given and real position, is done inside the mount controller. MW4 in particular gives you very nice graphs showing the errors, helping debug issues made visible during alignment, such as flexure in particular directions. BTW, while building the model, make sure you have open the window showing the points (in cartesian or polar coordinates). 

 

Once a model is created in the controller, you can slew the mount to a target with any tool: HC, Virtual HC, Stellarium or anything using ASCOM. The results are the same.

 

Hope this answers your question,

Razvan

 

 

Next will be getting MountWizzard to connect ad see if I can figure out modeling and plate solving. I still am confused as to how Stellarium and MountWizzard and the HC and the Virtual HC talk to each other for alignments... I want to set this up for visual before I hook up cameras...

 


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#15 Jeff Struve

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:33 AM

The log shows the successful installation but not the problem you reported. What exactly was the "something about 32bit" message?

 

The best approach is to open a ticket via https://github.com/m...Wizzard4/issues, Michael is very responsive (the amount of work he's put in is amazing). He also answers threads in the "Software Developers" forum over at the 10M site. Have a look in both places, maybe you see a similar case already reported. You can also paste the error here, but it's better to exercise the more direct channels, as you may need to do it again in the future.

I tried to take a pic of what happened... but for some reason, I'm not finding it or the pop up was too quick...

 

I believe that when I tried to run the app as shown in one of the videos, rather than what was supposed to happen I received, I think, another DOS CMD box and in the boarder is said 32bit... but I guess that is what shows in the video too... IDK... 

 

What I was gleaning from it all was that I have a successful Python 64bit install and a successful MountWizzard install... is there other ways to open the APP rather than the way shown in the video in the MountWizzard PDF...  https://youtu.be/q9WbiHhW5NU ?

 

In the video when he did the install, all of the info shows up in the CMD box (1 min 45 sec  into the video)... mine never did show any of that info... and when I clicked on WM4_Run_Bat I think I just got the CMD box, and I think that is where I saw the 32bit message in the boarder, again as in the video... 



#16 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 08:16 AM

Open a command prompt, go to the directory and run the .bat from there. The window will stay open and you can copy/paste the text from there (there are several ways to do it, one is to click at the top-left corner of the window and choose Edit/Select All and then Edit/Copy).

 

One possibility is that you may have a different Python (32-bit, older) that has priority in the execution path - once we know the cause, it should be easy to fix.


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#17 Bob Denny

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Posted Yesterday, 10:47 PM

Ha ha @Jeff Struve - Yeah, Python. Wow. If you have a problem like that it can be a challenge to solve. Dependencies and their versions can be a b**tch. 

 

Keep in mind that many of the devices have only 32-bit drivers. Also any device with an executable driver (like Astro-Physics, EQMOD, TheSky ...) are bitness-independent. 

 

Keep in mind that PinPoint can use lots of different catalogs (PP7 the new-ish and awesome ATLAS catalog) but if your FOV is 20 arcmin or more, the GSC or UCAC4 are fine. For telescope centering there are other solutions as well. 


Edited by Bob Denny, Yesterday, 10:49 PM.



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