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Testing the new ZWO ASI AIR PLUS

Astrophotography
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#1 kjeanpaul

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 12:33 PM

Dear all,

I am one of the lucky zwo early testers of the ASI AIR PLUS. 

Here below results of my first tests comparing it with my ASI AIR PRO.

 

1- Cable management: One of the best thing using the PLUS versus PRO is the simplified cable management when using a RASA. Camera being in the front of the RASA telescope, and to minimize the number of cables
which connect to the camera (USB and power only), USB ports are only usable from the ASI AIR. One is dedicated to the guide camera, one to the mount, one to the EAF and one to the main camera. When using the pro, I had to connect an USB stick to record frames, a wifi extender powering with 5v, and a USB Hub. Thanks to the PLUS, I now have 4 available ports and can get ride of the USB Hub, Wifi extender, and memory stick.

 

2- WIFI tests comparing the ASI AIR PLUS and PRO: My previous settings with the ASI AIR PRO was at 5Ghz, however I was using a TPLink Wifi Extender. I was capable to control the AIR PRO from inside my house. For this test, the telescope remains outside in my garden.

The test configuration is as follows, the ASI AIR PRO and PLUS are both on a table, outside in the garden. There are PVC shutters and a glass door to the kitchen. Both the shutters and door are closed. The PRO and PLUS are at 4 m from the door.
I tested the signal inside the house, sitting on a kitchen table, then on a chair in my living room. The kitchen table is at 3 m from the door, the chair is at 4.5 m from the door. A ZWO ASI 2600MC Pro was connected to the AIR, and I was taking frames in preview mode with very short exposures, continuously.
Starting with the PRO at 5Ghz, signal started dropping in the kitchen, a 1 m from the door.

 

At 2.4Ghz, it was non functional, I was not able to keep the signal inside the house. I also was not able to set the PRO to station mode from inside the kitchen.

 

Using the TPLink however, it worked well with a strong signal on my 2 sitting spots, with no signal drop.
Testing then the PLUS at 2.4Ghz: signal rapidly dropped in the kitchen.
Setting the PLUS in station mode , image loading was so slow that it was not workable.
Testing at 5GHz, things worked reasonably well from my two sitting spots, however signal could drop from the chair from time to time, forcing me to to move back to the kitchen near the door to catch the signal again.
Some performances in loading frames:
at 5Ghz with the PLUS, loading 1 frame took 8.6 seconds to display, loading 10 frames took 55 seconds.
Using the PRO at 5Ghz with the Wifi Extender, 1 frame took 5.4 seconds to display, 10 frames took 1 minute and 12 secs.

As a pre-conclusion: in field, connecting the plus in 5Ghz should give a sufficient range for moving around the telescope with a stable connection, eventually sitting in a car in winter time, however this is to be tested. At home, in 5Ghz, it remains reasonably stable to operate, however less than with the Pro with a WIFI extender. I also want to test further with a bigger antenna I just ordered.

 

3- Guiding test: I obtained one of the best guiding I ever had with my Celestron CGX, Skywatcher EVO guide 50 and ASI174mm mini. Does the improved computing power of the ASI AIR Plus play a role, I cannot

say but it might be the case.
One suggestion: The guide graphs on the bottom of the Guide screen is transparent, I would suggest the graph panel to be opaque, the transparency makes it less easy to read.

 

4- Power Management: With the Air Pro I was able to power my two dew heaters (one for my RASA8 and one for my guide scope). Using the exact same cables on the ASI AIR PLUS, at 75%, I got some electrical

noise. I actually got noise at any % above 30% or below 100%. The same configuration with the ASI AIR PRO works without noise. I understood this can be fixed by software and would come in a next release.

 

5- Focal length calculation: When I first launched my newly updated App I was not able to get the focal length for my guide scope calculated. An error message was displayed indicating that the guide scope focal length

could not be set to 0.

 

6- Storage on the eMMC: I few times got an issue with no image display in Autorun mode, however I could find my image properly saved in the internal eMMC.

 

#ASIAIRPLUS

#ZWO

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Edited by kjeanpaul, 28 September 2021 - 12:35 PM.

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#2 teashea

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 07:10 PM

Nice review



#3 kjeanpaul

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 12:55 AM

Nice review

Thank you 


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#4 Ryan1776

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 06:05 AM

Thank you for the write up, my takeaway here, if I'm reading correctly, the wifi is still awful? 

 

I currently have the original Air, but want to upgrade if nothing else but for the multi object "plan" mode. 
But from this, I see no reason to wait for the Plus, I should try and get a used Pro and figure out a wifi extender scenario. 

 

Thoughts? 

 

Ryan 


Edited by Ryan1776, 29 September 2021 - 06:23 AM.


#5 kjeanpaul

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 09:53 AM

Thank you for the write up, my takeaway here, if I'm reading correctly, the wifi is still awful? 

 

I currently have the original Air, but want to upgrade if nothing else but for the multi object "plan" mode. 
But from this, I see no reason to wait for the Plus, I should try and get a used Pro and figure out a wifi extender scenario. 

 

Thoughts? 

 

Ryan 

good question,

I am quite happy with the plus as I can go on field (my main usage) and have no need for any wifi extender, also save usb ports (no usb stick, no powering of any wifi extender such as the TPlink I bought). hoppefully the bigger antenna I ordered will improve the wifi range even more (5Ghz).

 

but yes, the pro with the wifi extender is a good option and as per my tests, it provides the best wifi range. in a home environment with doors and walls that may be the best option.

of course you can also use the wifi extender with the plus.

if you can have a good deal with the pro, why not.

one point to keep in mind: they may develop additional features in future for the plus only, however I have no clue what they could be.

 

i hope this help, my view point only of course


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#6 Ryan1776

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 10:37 AM

good question,

I am quite happy with the plus as I can go on field (my main usage) and have no need for any wifi extender, also save usb ports (no usb stick, no powering of any wifi extender such as the TPlink I bought). hoppefully the bigger antenna I ordered will improve the wifi range even more (5Ghz).

 

but yes, the pro with the wifi extender is a good option and as per my tests, it provides the best wifi range. in a home environment with doors and walls that may be the best option.

of course you can also use the wifi extender with the plus.

if you can have a good deal with the pro, why not.

one point to keep in mind: they may develop additional features in future for the plus only, however I have no clue what they could be.

 

i hope this help, my view point only of course

Yeah good stuff! I appreciate the insight. 

 

OH wait.....the Plus doesn't have SD card storage? You have to use a USB stick? I didn't catch that. 

Interesting. I actually like the compactness of the SD card on the original one. 

 

Thank you

Ryan 



#7 kjeanpaul

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 12:20 PM

Yeah good stuff! I appreciate the insight. 

 

OH wait.....the Plus doesn't have SD card storage? You have to use a USB stick? I didn't catch that. 

Interesting. I actually like the compactness of the SD card on the original one. 

 

Thank you

Ryan 

Hi, no this is not the correct understanding, sorry.

 

The Pro can save frames on the sd card (however this is not recommended due to the fact the OS is on the sd card), and on a usb stick,

The Plus can save on the eMMC internal memory (20gb), on a sd card (os is properly protected on the eMMC, an sd card can be used for saving frames), and on a usb stick.

 

what differences does this make? for me, as a RASA user, it frees one usb port. I have 20gb in the eMMC internal memory, and an sd card dedicated to saving frames. no need for an usb stick.

 

hope this clarifies



#8 Ryan1776

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 12:27 PM

Hi, no this is not the correct understanding, sorry.

 

The Pro can save frames on the sd card (however this is not recommended due to the fact the OS is on the sd card), and on a usb stick,

The Plus can save on the eMMC internal memory (20gb), on a sd card (os is properly protected on the eMMC, an sd card can be used for saving frames), and on a usb stick.

 

what differences does this make? for me, as a RASA user, it frees one usb port. I have 20gb in the eMMC internal memory, and an sd card dedicated to saving frames. no need for an usb stick.

 

hope this clarifies

Yeah, it defiantly matters. I currently use all 4 of my ports as it is now. 

Guide, mount, camera, focuser. So I would still need the internal SD. 

The first gen one saves to the SD card which houses the OS as well. I've had no issues with it. But is a good point. 

 

Thank you. Much clearer. 

 

Ryan 



#9 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 02:38 PM

but yes, the pro with the wifi extender is a good option and as per my tests, it provides the best wifi range. in a home environment with doors and walls that may be the best option.

My experience would support this. I get great connectivity from the relatively close dining room, but some drops in office on the other side of the house with my Pro with external antenna. I suspect an extender would have more punch.

 

I also suspect the aluminum tube of my telescope is having a blocking effect in certain orientations. With consideration of cord wrap, an extender has more mounting possibilities (such as a tripod or pier leg) and perhaps would be better in that respect. 
 

OTOH, operating from my dining room table (close to the scope) presents no hardships and I don’t need the iPad to be connected all session.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 29 September 2021 - 02:41 PM.


#10 carolinaskies

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Posted 09 October 2021 - 03:32 PM

good question,

I am quite happy with the plus as I can go on field (my main usage) and have no need for any wifi extender, also save usb ports (no usb stick, no powering of any wifi extender such as the TPlink I bought). hoppefully the bigger antenna I ordered will improve the wifi range even more (5Ghz).

 

but yes, the pro with the wifi extender is a good option and as per my tests, it provides the best wifi range. in a home environment with doors and walls that may be the best option.

of course you can also use the wifi extender with the plus.

if you can have a good deal with the pro, why not.

one point to keep in mind: they may develop additional features in future for the plus only, however I have no clue what they could be.

 

i hope this help, my view point only of course

Have you tested yet with the bigger antenna? 
The basic antenna they include is pretty weak from my understanding.  

Also, have you used used an app to analyze the possible channel interferences from other devices?  That can slow down both 2.4 and 5 if they are using same channels in the range.  



#11 kjeanpaul

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Posted 09 October 2021 - 06:22 PM

Yes I found a good antenna for the AA+

I repeated the same wifi tests in 5Ghz with this antenna that I bought from Amazon. 
Link to the Antenna is below.
In my configuration it works sufficiently well, with no more drops or disconnects, driving the AA+ from inside my home, in same conditions as discribed in my earlier post.
I tried yesterday on field and it worked great (still in 5Ghz)
Hope this can help you and will also solve the Wifi issues you may face.

 

https://www.amazon.c...OPy95HTjJxJu-pE



#12 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 09 October 2021 - 11:07 PM

Yes I found a good antenna for the AA+

I repeated the same wifi tests in 5Ghz with this antenna that I bought from Amazon. 
Link to the Antenna is below.
In my configuration it works sufficiently well, with no more drops or disconnects, driving the AA+ from inside my home, in same conditions as discribed in my earlier post.
I tried yesterday on field and it worked great (still in 5Ghz)
Hope this can help you and will also solve the Wifi issues you may face.

 

https://www.amazon.c...OPy95HTjJxJu-pE

I hope to test this one tomorrow night:

 

https://www.amazon.c...product_details



#13 kjeanpaul

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Posted 10 October 2021 - 01:15 AM

what I understand is key:

 

Orientation: omnidirectionall
Input Impedance: 50 Ohms (same as the AAA+)
Connector: SMA male




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