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

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#51 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 07:49 AM

Wow - downloaded this and installed it. SUPER helpful! I'm so thankful for CloudyNights. This is a goldmine. THANK YOU Dave!

 

Using something like USBDeview may be helpful for troubleshooting USB issues:

 

https://usbdeview.en.softonic.com/

 

Here is a screenshot of it on one of my systems:

 

 

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2021-11-24 215231.jpg



#52 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 07:51 AM

Wouldn't ASIair only connect with an iOptron Mount if the ASCOM driver (iOptron Commander) could connect it to the ASCOM system? If that's true, then wouldn't I be right back where I started? My problem was - iOptron Commander refused to see the mount.

 

I'm actually still on Windows 10 so sorry for any confusion. I also normally connect to the mounts via WiFi as I use SkySafari - though direct connection for control also works for me.

 

As noted earlier in the thread, an ASIAIR works. I've got the new AA+ in use with my GEM28 connected via WiFi.



#53 Tom M

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 08:05 AM

Wouldn't ASIair only connect with an iOptron Mount if the ASCOM driver (iOptron Commander) could connect it to the ASCOM system? If that's true, then wouldn't I be right back where I started? My problem was - iOptron Commander refused to see the mount.

The ASiair is a totally standalone environment and commander doesn't enter the picture. My recollection is that it's Indi based for the driver and you just choose the mount type from the dropdown.

 

The first night I used it it was pretty straightforward and control was via a tablet so no Windows PC anywhere to be found. Again, I do this via WiFi as I can run both SkySafari and the ASiair app at the same time. Though the ASiair can connect via USB if you prefer.

 

ETA: The downside to the AA is that it's a ZWO environment only so if you have/use non ZWO gear then it won't use it.


Edited by Tom M, 25 November 2021 - 08:14 AM.

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#54 meansrt

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 08:23 AM

Instead of an ASI Air you could buy a StellarMate or just a raspberry pi 4 and install the StellarMate OS on it. That one has the Kstars/INDI environment installed on it just like the Air but it doesn’t restrict you to ZWO products
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#55 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 09:07 AM

So Robert, you're saying that if I get Stellarmate, I won't have to use iOptron Commander at all? Seriously? For real? You're sure?

 

Instead of an ASI Air you could buy a StellarMate or just a raspberry pi 4 and install the StellarMate OS on it. That one has the Kstars/INDI environment installed on it just like the Air but it doesn’t restrict you to ZWO products



#56 VincenzoZito

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 09:34 AM

Hi,

If your system (PC + software) worked before your problem is not the Commander even if it doesn't work now.
If you want to live happily with your IOptron I recommend the following:

 

1. Also used dedicated PC (I3);
2. Windows 10 updated;
3. Install only your astronomy programs;

If everything works as it should, disconnect your PC from the internet and forget it.
Live happy.

 

PS: if you install or update even just one program you must be aware that something could break and therefore you have to reinstall everything again.



#57 astrokeith

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 09:44 AM

Depending on your preference - I would consider getting a Raspberry Pi and installing Astroberry. Its basically very similar to Stellarmate (the core Kstars/EKOS/Indi is the same), but you have closer control over what happens. Its also free (except for the Pi).

 

Stellarmate has a fancy UI that suits some, but not me.

 

I've just checked and Kstars lists your mount CEM70 specifically and all ZWO cameras.

 

Astroberry includes a VNC server, so you can operate the system from any computer or tablet.


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#58 SkyfallerTac

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 10:36 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??

Asiair Pro/plus runs both my Alt-Az pro and CEM40 without any issues. You can use it just to control the mount if you image with cameras connected to the PC directly. 

 

You can also run skysafari and other such software on the side ..they control the ioptron mounts (at least mine do) without needing to install anything. I've never even downloaded or seen iOptron Commander. 


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#59 csrlice12

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 11:08 AM

Try this, IN STOCK...https://milehighastr...elescope-systemgrin.gif

 

That'll be the grin on your face.


Edited by csrlice12, 25 November 2021 - 11:09 AM.

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#60 Michael Covington

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 12:11 PM

The sudden failure actually sounds to me like a USB cable or hardware failure.

And yes, anything INDI-based does not use iOptron Commander.



#61 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:17 PM

AstroKeith, your comment is music to my ears. So if I understand you correctly, you're basically saying that I should:

a) Buy a Raspberry Pi

b) Install Astroberry

c) Use the Pi to control the mount, specifically

d) Somehow, control the Raspberry Pi from my Windows machine?

 

Wow - I'd love to learn how to do this. I just wonder where I can learn these ninja legends. The only thing I've ever done with raspberrys is help my mother pick them out of the backyard when I was a kid.

 

Depending on your preference - I would consider getting a Raspberry Pi and installing Astroberry. Its basically very similar to Stellarmate (the core Kstars/EKOS/Indi is the same), but you have closer control over what happens. Its also free (except for the Pi).

 

Stellarmate has a fancy UI that suits some, but not me.

 

I've just checked and Kstars lists your mount CEM70 specifically and all ZWO cameras.

 

Astroberry includes a VNC server, so you can operate the system from any computer or tablet.



#62 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:30 PM

But if the mount is being controlled by Astroberry (and not ASCOM?), then I wouldn't be able to platesolve, right? That's super-sad.



#63 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:31 PM

In stock, but probably not quite enough payload capacity, sadly. Just not QUITE enough.

 

Try this, IN STOCK...https://milehighastr...elescope-systemgrin.gif

 

That'll be the grin on your face.



#64 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:33 PM

VincenzoZito, it's just not ideal, though, is it. New nightlies in Nina and/or new betas in Sharpcap... I don't think that's how we ought to live.

 

Hi,

If your system (PC + software) worked before your problem is not the Commander even if it doesn't work now.
If you want to live happily with your IOptron I recommend the following:

 

1. Also used dedicated PC (I3);
2. Windows 10 updated;
3. Install only your astronomy programs;

If everything works as it should, disconnect your PC from the internet and forget it.
Live happy.

 

PS: if you install or update even just one program you must be aware that something could break and therefore you have to reinstall everything again.



#65 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:37 PM

I want to learn more about this, SkyfallerTac. I LOVE the fact that you've never had to use iOptron Commander. I'm not at all opposed to ordering an ASIAir Plus to control the mount -- and you're right... I'd still want to image direclty to my laptop. So... rats... I'd lose plate-solving, which is not idea.

 

Asiair Pro/plus runs both my Alt-Az pro and CEM40 without any issues. You can use it just to control the mount if you image with cameras connected to the PC directly. 

 

You can also run skysafari and other such software on the side ..they control the ioptron mounts (at least mine do) without needing to install anything. I've never even downloaded or seen iOptron Commander. 



#66 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:38 PM

Unless I would *guide* with the ASI Air Plus (and platesolve using the guidescope?) but still image with the primary camera. NOW you're talking!!!

 

Asiair Pro/plus runs both my Alt-Az pro and CEM40 without any issues. You can use it just to control the mount if you image with cameras connected to the PC directly. 

 

You can also run skysafari and other such software on the side ..they control the ioptron mounts (at least mine do) without needing to install anything. I've never even downloaded or seen iOptron Commander. 



#67 Tapio

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:51 PM

You can do plate solving with KStars/EKOS.
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#68 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:54 PM

So maybe plate-solve via a guidescope/guidecamera. OK -- reading about Astroberry. Yikes. It looks like some configuration. Maybe, since I'm inexperienced, I should just try for the ASI Air Plus? But it doesn't look like one can control it from a PC via a network. Looks like the ASI Air is only wireless via a tablet or phone. That seems less desirable to me, for my part. So - Astroberry.

 

It's so interesting to me that these apps don't require any kind of driver from iOptron.

 

You can do plate solving with KStars/EKOS.



#69 jpengstrom

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:01 PM

Doug, just a couple quick comments.  I'm not sure these will help, but might increase your understanding which couldn't hurt.

 

First, ASCOM is a Windows only platform that provides device independent communication to astronomy gear (mounts, cameras, focusers, filter wheels, etc.) using Windows' specific COM port communication.  Then the device manufacturers (Skywatcher, iOptron, ZWO, etc.) provide "drivers" to convert from the ASCOM platform server to their own proprietary hardware commands.  And yes, iOptron Commander is the only driver that I'm aware of that talks ASCOM to iOptron mounts.  Thinks like the ASIAIR, Astroberry, and Stellermate talk a completely different protocol than ASCOM - they talk INDI which is a different protocol than ASCOM and is available on Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc. INDI also requires hardware specific drivers to talk to the mounts/camera/etc.  Most of those hardware specific drivers have been written by the open source community rather than by manufacturers.

 

Second, you say that you couldn't get Sharpcap to "talk" to your camera.  I don't have experience with Sharpcap but the communication to the camera shouldn't involve the iOptron Commander software at all.  It should only involve the ASCOM Platform software and the camera-specific ASCOM driver.  If you just plug in your camera to your computer and run Sharpcap and tell it to take a picture, does that work?  If not then it could be a problem with your ASCOM Platform server instead of the iOptron Commander ASCOM driver. And if there's a problem with the ASCOM Platform (settings, configuration, etc.) then maybe that's effecting your iOptron Commander as well?

Anyway, I hope this helps.  Good luck getting to the bottom of this!


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#70 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:09 PM

JPEngstrom, I like the way you're prompting me to take it back to the basics. 

If I plug the camera in directly, without the mount, Sharpcap complains that I don't have the mount connected, but it does eventually pass me through to the camera anyway. The other night, it saw the camera but seemingly took forever to pass me through. I'm not sure why.

 

I'll double-check my ascom installation.

 

Doug, just a couple quick comments.  I'm not sure these will help, but might increase your understanding which couldn't hurt.

 

First, ASCOM is a Windows only platform that provides device independent communication to astronomy gear (mounts, cameras, focusers, filter wheels, etc.) using Windows' specific COM port communication.  Then the device manufacturers (Skywatcher, iOptron, ZWO, etc.) provide "drivers" to convert from the ASCOM platform server to their own proprietary hardware commands.  And yes, iOptron Commander is the only driver that I'm aware of that talks ASCOM to iOptron mounts.  Thinks like the ASIAIR, Astroberry, and Stellermate talk a completely different protocol than ASCOM - they talk INDI which is a different protocol than ASCOM and is available on Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc. INDI also requires hardware specific drivers to talk to the mounts/camera/etc.  Most of those hardware specific drivers have been written by the open source community rather than by manufacturers.

 

Second, you say that you couldn't get Sharpcap to "talk" to your camera.  I don't have experience with Sharpcap but the communication to the camera shouldn't involve the iOptron Commander software at all.  It should only involve the ASCOM Platform software and the camera-specific ASCOM driver.  If you just plug in your camera to your computer and run Sharpcap and tell it to take a picture, does that work?  If not then it could be a problem with your ASCOM Platform server instead of the iOptron Commander ASCOM driver. And if there's a problem with the ASCOM Platform (settings, configuration, etc.) then maybe that's effecting your iOptron Commander as well?

Anyway, I hope this helps.  Good luck getting to the bottom of this!


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#71 jpengstrom

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:10 PM

And just as a simplified example of ASCOM communication, let's imagine the following:

ASCOM client software (Sharpcap, AstroPhotography Tool, NINA, etc.) gets input from the user telling it to "Go to" M42.  The client software knows the position of M42 so it sends an ASCOM formatted message to the ASCOM Platform telling the mount to go to the RA/DEC of M42.  The ASCOM Platform forwards the ASCOM formatted message to the mount's ASCOM Driver, in this case iOptron Commander.  iOptron Commander parses the ASCOM formatted message and converts it to iOptron specific hardware commands and sends it to the mount.  That way the client software only needs to know how to issue ASCOM formatted messages and doesn't care about the mount specific commands.

 

The same takes place with ASCOM client software talking to cameras.  It send an ASCOM formatted message to the ASCOM platform to set the gain of the camera to some value.  The ASCOM Platform forwards that message to the ZWO ASCOM driver which converts it from ASCOM protocol to the ZWO hardware specific commands and talks to the camera hardware.


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#72 jpengstrom

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:11 PM

JPEngstrom, I like the way you're prompting me to take it back to the basics. 

If I plug the camera in directly, without the mount, Sharpcap complains that I don't have the mount connected, but it does eventually pass me through to the camera anyway. The other night, it saw the camera but seemingly took forever to pass me through. I'm not sure why.

 

I'll double-check my ascom installation.

It would certainly be a relatively easy thing to try and remove your ASCOM Platform and reinstall it.  Well, I say that it would be relatively easy, but I've never done it myself. YMMV. :)


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#73 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:12 PM

JPEngstrom, the more you explain this, the more it seems desirable to stay with one "system" or "universe" -- either ASCOM or Indi, but not both. Right?

 

And just as a simplified example of ASCOM communication, let's imagine the following:

ASCOM client software (Sharpcap, AstroPhotography Tool, NINA, etc.) gets input from the user telling it to "Go to" M42.  The client software knows the position of M42 so it sends an ASCOM formatted message to the ASCOM Platform telling the mount to go to the RA/DEC of M42.  The ASCOM Platform forwards the ASCOM formatted message to the mount's ASCOM Driver, in this case iOptron Commander.  iOptron Commander parses the ASCOM formatted message and converts it to iOptron specific hardware commands and sends it to the mount.  That way the client software only needs to know how to issue ASCOM formatted messages and doesn't care about the mount specific commands.

 

The same takes place with ASCOM client software talking to cameras.  It send an ASCOM formatted message to the ASCOM platform to set the gain of the camera to some value.  The ASCOM Platform forwards that message to the ZWO ASCOM driver which converts it from ASCOM protocol to the ZWO hardware specific commands and talks to the camera hardware.


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#74 EmeraldHills

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:13 PM

I think I'll try that first -- right now.

 

It would certainly be a relatively easy thing to try and remove your ASCOM Platform and reinstall it.  Well, I say that it would be relatively easy, but I've never done it myself. YMMV. smile.gif


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#75 BrentKnight

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 03:42 PM

The ASIair works without ASCOM because it doesn't run on a Windows PC.  You access it through a separate app that runs on Apple or Android devices and on Windows using Bluestacks.  Mount and camera control is on the ASIair gadget itself via the Raspberry Pi.

 

I'm still figuring out the ASIair myself - my first session with it was last night.  I have to say though that plate-solving was the bomb with it - incredibly fast and accurate.  I'm not saying the thing is problem free as I have quite a few issues I'm working out (most of them are probably user error), but it's incredibly nice to connect with my Windows PC from anywhere in the house and be able to do just about anything with the rig.

 

I totally realize this solution does not solve your problem with Commander.  I have had the occasional disconnects when running SharpCap, so I know that system isn't perfect either.  But I'm going to attempt using both systems with my EAA rigs - at least for the time being - as I have the AA+ on the AT72EDII, but I don't have plans to add another for the C8 as I like occasionally using FireCapture with that telescope and the AA+ is useless for planetary imaging..

 

I have read that it's possible to use the camera monitor folder in SharpCap with the folders on the AA+ to do LiveStacking.  I've been able to see all the folders on the device from my Windows devices, but I haven't spent much time actually trying to get SharpCap to work this way.  SharpCap is a Windows program though and so there will be issues with the mount configuration if using it in mixed mode (native Windows and camera monitor).  Still ... it's an interesting possiblility.

 

Best of luck...


Edited by brentknight, 25 November 2021 - 03:44 PM.

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