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I would PAY to buy my way out of iOptron Commander. Are there options?

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#1 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:37 AM

Hello. When I purchased a CEM70G mount for my RASA 11, I didn't realize it wouldn't work with Green Swamp Server (an improvement on EQ Mod). For 10 months, GS Server had worked flawlessly. Last night, I fought with iOptron Commander from 9:45pm until 4am and never COULD make it "see" my mount. I'm sure there was something awry and that the solution was probably a simple one, but still, Is there any mount available anywhere in the world (in stock) that would allow me to go back to something off the shelf (not have to use iOptron Commander)? Everything I see is out of stock. Sadness. Any options 70+ pounds-capable payload-wise??


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#2 meansrt

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:55 AM

You could download KStars which is an astronomy automation program. It connects to the mount without using ioptron commander.


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#3 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:58 AM

No way! KStars works with iOptron!??????????????? I'm download it right now this very minute at work even! So exciting, Robert! I hope so much that you're right!!! How did I not know this?????????????????????

 

You could download KStars which is an astronomy automation program. It connects to the mount without using ioptron commander.


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#4 meansrt

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:02 PM

It sure does! I run it on a raspberry pi that controls my whole setup. 



#5 Gary Z

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:08 PM

Or, maybe ASIAIR Plus as an option...



#6 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:11 PM

But wait. Doesn't iOptron expect Commander to act as the ASCOM connector for all those programs?

 

https://www.ioptron....To_Computer.pdf

 

In other words, is there an ASCOM driver for iOptron mounts apart from Commander???

 

See, for example, 

 

https://www.ioptron....egory-s/138.htm

 

When I click on CEM70, it takes me to the Commander download page as if Commander IS the ASCOM driver for iOptron mounts. Please tell me I'm misunderstanding it. Because last night was sooooooooooo frustrating.


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#7 Tapio

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:12 PM

If you want something working with Eqmod (and like) you are limited with Skywatcher (or Orion) mounts.
And with such load EQ8 would be the choice.

But your problem with iOptron Commander.
Do you have a thread on this?
What is the problem?
When you connect the mount to computer do you get connect sound and see com port in device manager?

If you want to use Kstars (using Linux) you need Indi and Indi driver for iOptron
https://indilib.org/...es/ioptron.html

But for Windows iOptron Commander is the ASCOM interface for it.

Edited by Tapio, 24 November 2021 - 12:20 PM.


#8 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for asking, Tapio. CloudyNights is just... the best. 

 

Yes, I kind of have a thread at:

 

https://www.cloudyni...anged-but-what/

 

In a way, this thread is basically asking - is there any way to ESCAPE from using iOptron Commander? In other words, is Robert correct, above? If I use KStars, does it somehow connect to an iOptron CEM70G without having to run Commander? Because the only way I can see to get a CEM70 mount into the ASCOM system is to RUN Commander.

 

Here's the email I sent iOptron support this morning:

 

---

Hello. I have a brand new CEM70G. I'm running Windows 11 on a new Lenovo T14 with an Intel CORE vPRO i7. Last night, iOptron Commander just would not cooperate. One behavior: Upon opening (or pressing 'ok'), it would just vanish. Opening the Task Manager would reveal that it was still present in RAM, but ... somehow... invisible on the screen. Another behavior: Although Sharpcap could "see" that I had an ASI2600 camera available, it wouldn't "connect" to it per se. I worked on it from 8:45pm until 4am and never could figure it out. I tried multiple USB ports, tried rebooting and even reinstalling. Downloaded a fresh copy of the application. swapped out USB cables. Power-cycled the mount. Basically everything I could think of - and still no joy. Is there a chance that a Windows 11 update has rendered it incompatible?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Doug

---

 

When I plug in the USB cable, I instantly get a USB 'port' and a USB 'device' - and three connection tones. But Commander would NOT acknowledge that they were there -- all night long. Sigh. I'm weary of Commander. Sometimes, while I was rebooting my laptop, I was looking for other mounts for sale, both new and used. But alas, they all seem backordered. I'm ready to bolt from the iOptron universe totally. Tapio, if you can give me any wisdom on this, I'd appreciate it greatly.



#9 meansrt

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for asking, Tapio. CloudyNights is just... the best. 

 

Yes, I kind of have a thread at:

 

https://www.cloudyni...anged-but-what/

 

In a way, this thread is basically asking - is there any way to ESCAPE from using iOptron Commander? In other words, is Robert correct, above? If I use KStars, does it somehow connect to an iOptron CEM70G without having to run Commander? Because the only way I can see to get a CEM70 mount into the ASCOM system is to RUN Commander.

 

 

Yes it connects directly and avoids using the commander. 

 

Seeing that you use windows 11 makes me think this may be the issue. Commander may not be updated for windows 11 yet unless you've used it without issue in the past?


Edited by meansrt, 24 November 2021 - 12:24 PM.

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#10 Tapio

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:26 PM

Ah Windows 11. And the curse of forerunner.
Joke aside but it just might have something to do with the problem.
Personally I have no rush switching to Win 11 in many years.

Have you tried starting Commander using admin?
Or do you have a Win10 machine to try?

Edited by Tapio, 24 November 2021 - 12:27 PM.


#11 astrokeith

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:28 PM

Did you upgrade to Windows 11 yourself, and if so did you afterwards remove and then re-install ACOM and all your other programs?



#12 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:45 PM

Robert, if Kstars allows me to connect an iOptron mount into the ASCOM universe, then that very well could be EXACTLY the answer I was looking for in this thread!!!!

 

Yes, I had used the mount via Commander just 7 days ago (well, 8 now) via Windows 11... and the iOptron page even states that it works with Windows 11. But I already didn't like Commander even before last (wasted) night. I'm already in the process of trying to download Kstars, brother. Thank you.

Doug

 

 

Yes it connects directly and avoids using the commander. 

 

Seeing that you use windows 11 makes me think this may be the issue. Commander may not be updated for windows 11 yet unless you've used it without issue in the past?


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#13 base104

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:10 PM

I have been tearing my hair out trying to get my Ioptron CEM40 talking to Maxim. I'm doing variable star stuff, so for a ton of reasons that I won't go into here, I gotta use Maxim. The Fitts header alone that it creates is invaluable in VPHOT.

 

I try to upgrade the firmware and the driver loads along with Ioptron Commander, which is a crappy piece of junk that I don't want to use. Backyard EOS is super cheap, and great. I don't understand why most screens don't look and work that well.

 

I can't connect Maxim to the mount, which has the GCVS loaded in, and will do everything that I need to do to work fast.

 

I've about had it. I contacted Ioptron, which is usually pretty good, but they haven't replied. Why oh why don't they allow you to just install the drivers without also installing commander? The support is such a messs that I'm thinking about selling my Ioptron mount and just going with a Skywatcher. It is that bad.

 

If you want to just use the hand controller and take RAW files, the mount is great. Ipolar is excellent and takes just a couple of minutes. But if I can't get it talking to Maxim, I'm screwed.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.


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#14 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:21 PM

base104, misery loves company. I was so afraid someone would pop on here and say, "You're nuts. I LOVE Commander." Honestly, I'm thrilled to find another kindred spirit, in part, just so I know I'm not going crazy. I've been to every telescope vendor I know in the past 12 hours, trying to find a mount with a 70-pound-or-so payload that would handle this RASA 11. I would LOVE it if someone happens across something that might work, as long as I don't have to use iOptron Commander to load it into Ascom!!!!

 

The funny thing is, sometimes it just works. But other times, like last night, I will have done everything exactly the same (muscle-memory), assembled, connected, executed - and it won't find my mount. And it NEVER runs the camera through the in-mount cabling, as advertised. EVER. 

 

I'm ready to bolt too. I just can't find something available. It's that bad. Agreed.



#15 meansrt

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:28 PM

Doug did you happen to try other USB ports or USB cables during your trouble shooting last night?


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#16 Tapio

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 02:05 PM

So I will give you positive testimony.

I've had CEM60 now for over then years and over the years had hardly any trouble.

There have to be a driver for mount and Commander is the ASCOM driver for it.



#17 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 02:13 PM

Robert, thanks for asking. Yes - my laptop has 4 USB ports and I tried each of them. I also tried alternative cables (that are known quantities). No joy.

 

Doug did you happen to try other USB ports or USB cables during your trouble shooting last night?



#18 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 02:14 PM

Tapio, thank you. I assumed there had to be satisfied customers out there.

Of course, "Commander" for the iOptron CEM70 is a different installer. So, although your comments speak well of the company, they don't necessarily mean that the CEM70 version is friendly.

 

So I will give you positive testimony.

I've had CEM60 now for over then years and over the years had hardly any trouble.

There have to be a driver for mount and Commander is the ASCOM driver for it.



#19 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 02:16 PM

So Tapio, according to your reply, you're saying that KStars would NOT function without Commander being 'live.' So I'm right back where I started? Commander IS the ASCOM driver. So if I can't run Commander, the CEM70 is lost -- and so am I.

 

So I will give you positive testimony.

I've had CEM60 now for over then years and over the years had hardly any trouble.

There have to be a driver for mount and Commander is the ASCOM driver for it.



#20 RSJ

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 03:15 PM

Hi Doug, I was watching your stream last night and commiserating with you. You mention two behaviors in your email to iOptron:

 

One behavior: Upon opening (or pressing 'ok'), it would just vanish. Opening the Task Manager would reveal that it was still present in RAM, but ... somehow... invisible on the screen.

Since Task Manager showed Commander was still running, could it have vanished to another monitor out of view? I figure you're probably running more than one monitor for the streaming sessions.

 

Another behavior: Although Sharpcap could "see" that I had an ASI2600 camera available, it wouldn't "connect" to it per se.

Now that another peripheral, the camera, is also showing issues you may be able to eliminate the mount as the culprit. One thought I had while watching you trouble-shoot is that it was cold in Maryland last night, and cold can affect batteries/power supplies. Do you run on AC through an extension cord or using a remote deep cycle battery? If the battery, I would check the charge level.

 

I've experienced strange issues with USB when power is adequate to show the device (USB hub, mount, camera) is 'on' but issues arise when those devices try to 'work' (mount slews or tracks incorrectly, camera connects intermittently, etc).

 

I've also had to replace 2 powered USB hubs in the last year as they stopped working -I keep a spare now because of the frequency in which they die. Depending on how cables are run, a bad USB hub could also be to blame.

 

Good luck!



#21 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 03:25 PM

RSJ, unfortunately, I just run 1 monitor. But I suspected that the Commander Window was somehow "off screen." However, even if it WAS "live" and off-screen, it still hadn't connected to the mount properly though. But I just look at one monitor at a time, rather than spread my screen across two.

 

I use a meter to determine the exact voltage I'm supplying to all devices. The power supply to the 12V connection on the mount was a 12.2 volts last night. As for USB hubs, it behaved mysteriously like this even with not one single hub or extender in the picture, with the short USB cables plugged directly into the laptop (not a USB hub). I don't think it was power. But these are great questions.


Edited by EmeraldHills, 24 November 2021 - 03:26 PM.


#22 Tapio

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 03:50 PM

So Tapio, according to your reply, you're saying that KStars would NOT function without Commander being 'live.' So I'm right back where I started? Commander IS the ASCOM driver. So if I can't run Commander, the CEM70 is lost -- and so am I.


I repeat and try be more clear.
Kstars and Indi are like Stellarium and ASCOM but for Linux machine.
But if you have only Windows machine ASCOM and Commander you shall use.

I'm sure you could make it work. So many have?

If I would troubleshoot I would do the following
- start Commander using admin privileges (right click in program and choose)
- Task manager - is Commander really running?
- Device manager - is there com port there without error marks?
- event viewer - are there any errors related to Commander?

#23 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:10 PM

Tapio, that was exactly the approach I took.

No errors. No error marks. Commander wasn't really running. It was present in the task manager - but not "live" to Sharpcap, even though I started as Admin.



#24 Woodbridge_Dave

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:19 PM

Many years ago I had an iOptron mount.  I really disliked Commander, which led me to sell the mount.  I've been using EQMOD and Skywatcher mounts since then.  Love them.  I know this doesn't help you today, but I might suggest the same path to nirvana ..... ditch all iOptron products and get an EQ8.  You'll never look back.



#25 EmeraldHills

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:31 PM

Dave, I'll give it my best shot to troubleshoot this. But honestly, since about 1am last night, I've felt exactly like you feel. One hitch: All the EQ8 mounts seem "backordered." : (




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